Sail Date: June 2012
General comments: We are in our late 20s and this was our first cruise. We chose to do a cruise as a low stress way to fit in several destinations over a short period of time, and it was a great decision. We stopped in several beautiful ... Read More
General comments: We are in our late 20s and this was our first cruise. We chose to do a cruise as a low stress way to fit in several destinations over a short period of time, and it was a great decision. We stopped in several beautiful ports (Venice, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Katakolon, Athens, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Naples, Rome), more than we would have been able to cover on our own over 12 days. After a busy day it was great to be able to come back to the ship to relax. I did feel a bit trapped on the two sea days and found some areas of the ship quite noisy. It was much easier to find a quite spot to relax near the front of the ship just outside the sanctuary. Room: We had a balcony cabin on the caribe deck (deck 10). Balconies on this deck seemed to be the largest, and were half covered, half exposed. Because we booked a balcony and not a mini suite, we only had two rather uncomfortable chairs and a small side table. I had read some reviews saying the chairs were uncomfortable and was surprised that it was as noticeable as it was (I thought people may have been exaggerating). We asked for stools thinking that it might help and were provided smaller side tables to use as stools (real stools are apparently only for the minisuites). Anyways, fairly minor issue but did impact the amount of time we spent on the balcony. Because of this, I would probably look at another cruise line that offered more spacious rooms (i.e. with a couch or living space) and better balcony furniture before sailing with Princess again. The room otherwise was great. Flat screen tv, efficient bathroom, large closet with room to store everything. Our room steward Jerry was excellent and refreshed our room several times a day. Restaurants: Buffet was good with new items daily. Most things were pretty good and only a few misses. I enjoyed the smoked salmon for breakfast and the different scrambled egg combinations each morning. Pizza was very good and we often had it as an afternoon snack. Dinner in the main dinning room was also quite good. I really enjoyed the clam linguini as well as the lobster tail on the second formal night. They had some really creative soups as well. Cheesecake and princess love boat dream desserts were delicious. Portions are small enough that you can order all 3 courses. Wine selection was good and reasonably priced, especially coming from Canada. We got a seven bottle wine card that cost around $140 (I don't remember the exact cost). On one of the sea days, there was a free cooking demonstration led by the chef and the head maitre D, followed by a tour of one of the kitchens. Highly recommend. We didn't pay to try the specialty restaurants, as we were very satisfied with the main dinning rooms. Coffee, tea, iced tea, lemonade, and juices at breakfast all free. The sushi at the vines wine bar was decent (complementary with wine order), about what I expected on a cruise ship. Public spaces/entertainment: The restaurants, buffet, etc were all very clean and nice spaces. The main atrium area was also very nice, as were the lounges on flours 5-7. I didn't really think they were dated. There were hardly ever any people in the lounges or bars after dinner, but maybe because it was a port intensive cruise and there weren't that many younger people. As mentioned, I found the areas around the pools very noisy with loud music and movies going all day. Pools were always very crowded on sea days. The best spot we found to read and relax was at the front of the ship, just outside the sanctuary (anyone can use the pool outside of the spa, which was generally much less busy, especially at the beginning of the cruise before people discovered it). The bars we enjoyed most were tradewinds and the aft bar (great place to watch the sunset). We also enjoyed walking around the promenade deck. It looked like a nice place to read during the day if you wanted to avoid the sun. Other: We didn't do any princess tours, because once we did a bit of research, we found better options with private tours or using public transit. Highly recommend rick steves book for do-it yourselfers. Note that Princess sometimes omitted info or provided false info to sell their transfers. In particular, they advised people that there were 50 stairs and no escalators if they decided to take the train to Rome instead of paying for a transfer, and we didn't encounter any stairs at all after a quick 10 min walk from the port terminal. Also, there was a public bus for I think $1.60 euro in Mykonos, but they were pushing people to buy bus tickets for a shuttle to town for $15 dollars to avoid a dangerous walk along the road. On a positive note, the crew was flexible in terms of what you could bring on board at each port. Overall, it was a great experience and a great way to see a lot of different places in a short period of time. We came home feeling relaxed, which may not have been the case if we had tried to visit the same places in the same period of time on our own Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
This was our first cruise and apparently we had jumped in head first according to the many other passengers we spoke to on the cruise who had all completed a number of cruises prior to this one. After reading much online about cruising in ... Read More
This was our first cruise and apparently we had jumped in head first according to the many other passengers we spoke to on the cruise who had all completed a number of cruises prior to this one. After reading much online about cruising in general and specific reviews of the Crown we still were apprehensive about whether we had chosen wisely for our first taste of cruising. My husband and I have quite differing interests and tastes so we did not know which of us, if either, would really get the most out of this experience but it turned out that we found enough aspects to keep us both happy. We opted for a more port intensive intinerary as that was our main reason for choosing a cruise holiday and as much as we generally found things to occupy our time on the sea days we found that 4 days at sea was more than enough for us. CABIN:We were both impressed with our balcony cabin from the start. Yes the bathroom is tiny as I have read numerous complaints about, but hey, it's a ship! The small space was so well designed that we were always very happy with it anyway. The large wardrobe area was fabulous and we never had any issues with where to store anything. Our steward 'Mar' was wonderful and always did a fabulous job of keeping our room beautiful without ever intruding on our privacy. Mar even took my shoe to be mended when I had problems. Nothing was too much trouble for him. Also we slept so well on the incredibly comfortable bed that we would love to have taken it home with us! The ship as a whole is very impressive, it really is beautiful. After reading some reviews about the ship looking tired I was surprised to find nothing at all in that area that disappointed us. DINING: We chose to have room service breakfast every morning which was simple but adequate for us even though it proved pretty much impossible to ever get hot water for our tea.Eventually we realised it was better to just walk downstairs to the cafe and get boiling water in a take out cup. The menu is extremely basic and limited but that was enough. We tried the buffet one morning but did not enjoy the 'Battle' to find food and decided to stick to having it in our room. Lunches we generally enjoyed from the International cafe as we really liked the simple soups and sandwiches on offer there as well as the best quiche I have ever had. We tried some of the little cakes and pastries and enjoyed a few of the yummy cookies each day. Dinner was enjoyed in the main dining rooms each night except for one when we were too tired after a long day onshore. THe service was generally without fault and the food superb. I loved that the servings were usually small enough that I could try something from each course and still be able to fit into my clothes at the end of the cruise. I found the variety of the nightly menus to be exceptional too and could not fault our enjoyable nightly dining experiences.We met so many interesting people at dinner each night by opting to share a table rather than request a table for two as I would usually prefer on a holiday. ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed a couple of the comedians on board and tried the stage shows but really found them a little too outdated for our tastes. We LOVED Michael Minor , the comedian/ventrilloquist/singer - he was simply the highlight of the entertainment for our entire trip. There really was not as much to keep us entertained as we had expected so we were very glad we had our comfortable balcony stateroom to relax and enjoy the television if we felt like it. SHORE TOURS: We did all ships tours, except for Mykonos where we wandered in the rain on our own, as this was our first cruise and we were worried about running late back to the ship so this seemed the safest way to go. These were generally pretty good although some had guides that left a little to be desired.One thing that tended to irritate us like crazy was the ships photographers trying to take our photos every time we stepped on and off the ship - it was like trying to avoid the annoying vendors in Egypt. We have a camera, Thank you!! We had a blast learning to do the Merengue one sea day but that was the only time any ball room dancing lessons were offered over the entire cruise. That really disappointed us as it was one thing we had both been looking forward too. The seminars on offer were interesting until the 'hard sell' began and I always had to quietly sneak out at that stage. Overall this was the most amazing experience and we really did relax as well as enjoying the sights. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
My friend and I booked our first cruise with Princess because we had heard good reports about them. All started well but then we were informed by other passengers that the trip to Rhodes had been cancelled, no information from Princess. ... Read More
My friend and I booked our first cruise with Princess because we had heard good reports about them. All started well but then we were informed by other passengers that the trip to Rhodes had been cancelled, no information from Princess. Rhodes and Santorini were the two most important islands which made us book this trip. The trip to Santorini was a total waste of $55 dollars, my advice to future passengers on this cruise is do your own thing, you will see far more of the island, we saw nothing. You are more than encouraged to buy a 'coffee card', if you want what they call speciality coffees you have to pay for them, the card costs $33 and then you can get a cappacino or latte, great. The food in the main restaurants was excellent but there are two restaurants on board that have a cover charge if you use them, one of $25 and one $20. At the end of the cruise we were supposed to have a tour of Rome with time for lunch and shopping before going to the airport, this did not happen we were taken to the airport at 10 a.m. for our flight out at 17.20 p.m. 7 hours to wait with luggage in the airport, NOT GOOD PRINCESS. I have written twice to the company about these items but they have not had the decency to even write and say they are looking into our concerns. TWO PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT BE TAKING ANOTHER PRINCESS CRUISE. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
This was my 3rd cruise, but first with Princess. Also on this cruise was my boyfriend, and this was his first ever cruise, and my parents, who have a few cruises under their belts to say the least! Getting to the port from Fort ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise, but first with Princess. Also on this cruise was my boyfriend, and this was his first ever cruise, and my parents, who have a few cruises under their belts to say the least! Getting to the port from Fort Lauderdale Airport was a bit of a mess ... the layout and traffic flow leaves a lot to be desired, but we eventually got in there! We paid for a transfer through Princess from the Airport to the port, but I don't think a cab would have cost any more money. We made independent arrangements coming home because we were going to a hotel for a night before our flight home. Getting on the ship was easy enough, no big lines and our luggage got to our room just after dinner (we had the early seating). Overall impression was good. We had a fantastic time. Our room could not have been better, we were right need the elevators, had a fabulous balcony room on the 14th deck and just loved the view! My parents also had a balcony room a few decks down midship (but we liked ours better). Our Room Steward was very pleasant and always greeted us by name when he saw us and would stop and chat for a few minutes, we really enjoyed him. He took great care of our room and we never had any problems. I would suggest to future cruisers that if you know what shore excursions you want to do, you book them even before getting on the ship. Virtually ALL of the shore excursions in ALL of the ports were Sold Out before we got on the ship, which was disappointing because there were some that we would have done if they had been available, so Princess lost out there in my books. The entertainment on the ship was also pretty good. We didn't get to all the shows but did enjoy the ones we did go see. Our favourite was the comedian, Rollin' Jay Moore ... he had us laughing and crying from almost start to finish! We enjoyed the Casino (really liked the Smoke Free Nights), would have liked to see the Texas Hold'Em on a real table with a live dealer, we don't play video poker. We took a few of the beginning dance classes and watched a few. All of the entertainment in the Piazza was wonderful and you would stop to watch or listen. There were a lot of choices for watching movies which was really nice, we did watch War Horse under the stars, but couldn't really hear the movie and we watched the Descendants in the Princess Theatre and it was quite good. The food was a plenty to say the least. We had a formal dining room reservation, but didn't go that much, I would say only 3 of the nights. We just found the menu to be too over the top for us, maybe we are more simple, but we couldn't pronounce half the stuff on there, let alone know what it was. They only had a steak one night (last cruise I went on it was on the menu 90% of the time). We also thought there would have been more seafood offered, and they did have fish almost every night, but it was just so "fufu fancy" that it didn't appeal to us. We ate most of our meals in the Horizon Court or Caribe where it was simplified and buffet style and it was quite good. All the food was good, don't get me wrong, but a lot of the dining room items were just over our head and not appealing to us and what we are used to. Our Ports were fantastic! We went to Princess Cays and tendered in and didn't have any issues. We bought a soda package and were disappointed that we could not use it on the Princess Cays, which stuck us as odd, since it was owned and operated by Princess, but that was our only real "complaint" about our experience there. The water was a tad on the chilly side, but I don't think Princess had any control over that .. LOL! The beach was beautiful and people seemed to enjoy themselves. Curacao was my favourite place I have ever cruised to ... we just fell in love with it! The people were super friendly. We didn't book any tours or excursions in any of the ports, instead we just got off the ship and walked around, finding very quickly a 2 hour tour in an A/C van that hit all the tourist attractions and then dropped us off at the beach for the afternoon. Our guide was good, gave us a lot of information about the Island, its history, its current way of life and we had lots of time after the tour to go to the beach and then hit the town and check out the local vendors. This is definitely a place we will return to! Aruba was our final destination, and it was also a beautiful Island. We did the same thing as we did in Curacao and got a 2 hour tour with a beach drop off ... both of which were only $20 per person .. which we found very economical for the 2 of us and really gave us a chance to "see it all". The beaches were gorgeous and the water was warm. We wanted to buy some of their coin currency before getting back on the ship from the local vendors, but none of them would sell us any which we found as odd and disappointing and by that time the bank was closed. Overall, Aruba was beautiful and all of the Islands were hard to say goodbye to! The ship itself was very nice. Our only complaint is that we tried to go up to play the mini putt a few times and there were never any balls to play with, but overall it was a very nice ship, easy to get around. We went on a kitchen galley tour which was pretty cool and their kitchen was in impeccable shape and very, very clean. We also tried to watch one of the movies "Under the Stars" but we could not hear the movie, so we only tried that once, but they had plenty of movies running throughout the day for entertainment. We did not travel with any children this cruise, but there were plenty of them on the ship! Getting off the ship was pretty easy, we had one of the later times to get off, but it was a pretty good process and the only hiccup was actually getting transportation out of the port. There was a big lack of taxis (cars and vans) getting off and we had to wait quite a while to actually get a taxi that we could fit into. Cost about $40 to get to our hotel (which I found a bit steep) and from there we flew out the next day to Tennessee. So, overall we had a great vacation. We really enjoyed ourselves, had plenty to eat and drink. We LOVED our room and the ship was great. We didn't care for the formal dining room menus, had too much on it that we didn't know what it was and the menu just wasn't that appealing to our tastes in food. The staff in the dining room were good, just not very personable, friendly yes, personable no. We just felt they came off stiff, they didn't talk to us much other then to get our orders and deliver our food. My boyfriend expected to see more seafood options on the menu then there was and I would have liked to see steak, more then the 1 time it was offered. I do have to say that I had the very best Cheese Ravioli on the dinner buffet that I have ever had! It was also a nice treat to see Biscuits and Gravy on the breakfast buffet 2 mornings, made my boyfriend feel a little more at home. Our overall impression of the crew was ok. Alina in the Casino was very good with the customers and was the most interactive with the passengers. Our Room Steward, Richard, was also very enjoyable and friendly. Outside of that, the crew was there, but just "stuffy" ... I just didn't get a real "fun atmosphere" feel from them ... I just didn't get a real vacation vibe from the crew in general. I have previously cruised with Carnival and Royal Caribbean before and the general vibe or feel on those ships were just very different ... Princess just seemed to lack the "fun feel". Would have liked to see an Alcohol Drink Package offered and a Drink of the Day ... would have made it feel more like a vacation. Their unlimited Soda package for $49.00 (unlimited sodas, juice and mocktails) was a great value. The coffee on the ship was awful ... no matter how much sugar and cream I put in it, I still couldn't choke it down, however we did have a few fancy coffees and they were quite good! So, would we sail with Princess again? Probably .. would they be my first choice? Not for our next cruise probably. We are looking to book Alaska for 2013, so I am starting my research now. My parents who were on the cruise with us have sailed with Princess previously and had the same thoughts as we did, especially about the food and coffee. I believe they will be sending Princess a personal review. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
OK, so I'm back. Day 3 and I still feel like I'm on the ship. (Will this feeling ever go away?) Back to the reality of daily life. First let me say the service was fantastic. The crew/staff really go all out to make sure that ... Read More
OK, so I'm back. Day 3 and I still feel like I'm on the ship. (Will this feeling ever go away?) Back to the reality of daily life. First let me say the service was fantastic. The crew/staff really go all out to make sure that your experience goes smoothly. The shows: I was expecting sort of a H.S. type "Glee" thing, I was shocked- BROADWAY AT SEA. I made a mental note of names because I expect some time in the future to see a few of these performers make it to dry land and really make it BIG. TALENT like you wouldn't believe! OK, now onto food. I ate my weight in smoked salmon. My next life I am coming back as a bear. Fabulous. All in all, food was alright, not all of it to die for, but if you found a favourite like I did you make a meal of it. Bars/Drinks: Explorers- ran across some surly staff there- guess it's because when I realized I was paying gratuties EVERYDAY my BIG tipping slowed down ALOT. Crooners- lovely. Old charm. Felt like I was in a 40's movie with my martini listening to the piano player. Wheelhouse- very dark, not as nice as Crooners. Gatsby's the casino- no time spent there I could never get a shot at the machine that pushed coins off. One lady seemed to live at that machine! Speakeasy- the smoking room. Wow, I met some really great people in that area. Down to earth, fun, and willing to chat when I came in to sit down for a smoke. Now I have some cons to this trip. I went with 'mother' while I love mom to death I was dissapointed when I read in the Patter there was a singles and solos meeting and when I got to where it was (15 minutes late) I didn't see anything that let me know I was in the right spot and the ukranian guy I asked didn't seem to know anything. (much less english!) I was expecting someone from the ship to be there and see people wearing name tags to let me know who's who. I would've liked to have found someone who was in the same position as I was that I could've hung out with and done some excursions-like zip lines, dolphin swimming-My 75 yr. old mother couldn't do any of those things! I did enjoy the iguana farm in Roatan. I also loved seeing Tulum in Cozumel. And here is my biggest beef with Princess- Mom took a fall at 4:30 am the 3rd day out. She tripped over that little ledge to get in the bathroom- Please Princess, put SOMETHING on that ledge to let the old folks remember to step up!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Every Year we have traveled to All inclusives throughout The Caribbean, and Mexico, so we thought we would take the plunge into the Cruising world for a change. Friends of our have recently returned from the Crown Princess and raved about ... Read More
Every Year we have traveled to All inclusives throughout The Caribbean, and Mexico, so we thought we would take the plunge into the Cruising world for a change. Friends of our have recently returned from the Crown Princess and raved about their experience so we decided to give it a try. The Ship itself was very nice and very large. I really thought we would feel trapped on a ship, but never felt that way at all. Our room was a little scary at first, we were not used to the condensed room-styles that cruise ships offer, but once we unpacked all of our luggage, it seemed that there was room for everything. We were absolutely amazed by the cabin stewards, they seemed to magically appear when we left the room and when we returned the cabin was spotless. We were so used to having hotel maids banging at our doors, or having to chase after them in regular hotels, so this was a very unexpected and welcome surprise. The food was actually very good. We ate all over the ship and experienced every type of food and service that the ship had to offer. Our favorite was the Steak house and Sabatinis. We enjoyed the buffet on the days that we wanted to just relax and just dress casually. We were a little alarmed by the cover charges, but quickly learned that they were well worth the extra expenditure. We quickly found that the major difference in land based all inclusives and the Cruise ship experience was definitely the entertainment. Most All inclusives provide very lack luster, low budget entertainment. We found the entertainment to be fantastic the majority of the time. We were not too fond of the Singing and dancing revues so we opted out of those. There were a pair of comedians~Alfred and Seymour who we really enjoyed. The highlight for us was the Hypnotist Fernandez. We watched the first show, loved it and returned for the later show. My husband volunteered and was hypnotized. I honestly laughed until I cried. It was brilliant. We really enjoyed the ports of call, it was really nice to be as busy or as relaxed as we felt in each destination. We love to snorkel and dive and found plenty of great areas to do this. Our favorite spots were Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We have our own gear, so we just arranged our dives locally. There was one ship tour we were interested in, but it was sold out and extremely expensive so we were not really disappointed that we missed it. All in all we really loved our first Cruise and will probably become more avid cruisers in the future. We did feel that we needed a holiday after the holiday as we were so active throughout the cruise. Next time we will book a few days after the cruise to wind down. Bravo Princess~Fantastic crew, Fantastic experience. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
After sailing the Crown for our anniversary last year, I chose the Crown again for our second cruise with a similar itinerary (Western Caribbean) as it had changed somewhat and we had only visited two of the four ports the first time ... Read More
After sailing the Crown for our anniversary last year, I chose the Crown again for our second cruise with a similar itinerary (Western Caribbean) as it had changed somewhat and we had only visited two of the four ports the first time around. Due to work schedules, we flew from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale the morning of embarkation. It was a non-stop flight and we utilized the Princess transfer. We were very fortunate in the timing of our flight and were able to board the transfer coach within 15 minutes of claiming our checked luggage. Due to the Grand and Crown both sailing that day, our Princess transfer was for both ships and the process was very smooth with visiting two different piers at Port Everglades. We arrived at our pier at approximately 12:45 and were able to proceed directly to an agent to check in and obtain our cruise cards. We only had a wait of 5-10 minutes to get onboard (due to all of the Bon Voyage photos being taken). We were able to proceed directly to our stateroom to deliver our carry on bags. The stateroom was clean and ready for us and our steward arrived within minutes of us and introduced himself. At that first meeting, he asked my husband about our preferences for the room (i.e., ice daily, extra pillows, etc.). He was very personable and was always available for anything we might want. We chose Anytime Dining as it worked well for us the first sailing. I called ahead and made reservations for the first evening in the MDR. We were willing to share a table and were able to get a seating at exactly the time we requested. This ended up being the only meal we ate in the MDR as we chose the casual atmosphere of the buffet most evenings. Our meal in the MDR was very good and it was nice to meet fellow passengers. The buffet food was average buffet food and we felt the choices were not as plentiful as they were last year. We made reservations for the Crown Grill for the last night aboard and it was magnificent! Well worth every penny!!! As far as activities on board (when not visiting a port), we mainly relaxed on our balcony, the decks for sunbathing and attempted MUTS (Movies Under The Stars). Unfortunately, we had rain several evenings and the movie options on the clear nights weren't movies we would care to watch. (Yes, we were VERY lazy on this trip!) We elected to utilize the EZ check program again and found it to be worth the $20/person fee instead of lugging those checked bags along with us on disembarkation day. Because we bought very few souvenirs this year, customs was a breeze and the Princess transfer back to the airport was very smooth. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
I have read the many negative reviews given by other Cruisers and I just have to say that like in life itself, cruising is what you make of it and I choose to be happy! This was my first cruise, my Hubby's second and I was not sure ... Read More
I have read the many negative reviews given by other Cruisers and I just have to say that like in life itself, cruising is what you make of it and I choose to be happy! This was my first cruise, my Hubby's second and I was not sure what to expect. I have to say that everything on board was just about perfect. From a quick boarding and delivery of our luggage to our state room to the excellent drinks we received on deck and in Crooner's Lounge. Disembarking was quick and painless also! We enjoyed Princess Cays and saw no flies as mentioned in other reviews. We went out of the gated area and shopped with the locals and found much better prices than in the Princess Cays compound. Lunch there was very good and enjoyed just hanging out in our clam shell and sipping on cold drinks. Days at sea were very enjoyable and relaxing for us. All areas of the ship were clean and in good working order. Monday night the sea was a bit rough, but that of course is beyond anyone's control. The next morning Captain Nash advised that he had slowed the ship down during the night to avoid much of the rocking of the ship. We always felt safe with Captain Nash at the helm. We enjoyed Curacao and took a taxi out to Mambo Beach and relaxed there for most of the day. We ask our cabbie where to eat and he gave us very good advise to try one of the restaurants at the The Waterfort Terrace and I think we ate at the Perla del Mar-where my husband had his best meal of the trip! Very good Peruvian Cerviche and entrees were both excellent. Curacao is beautiful at night, but get your shopping done early as the shops close at 6:00. We enjoyed Aruba and did the Antilles snorkel trip. Very nice! We ate at The Queen's Bar and Restaurant-and while the food was excellent the prices were a bit steep-lunch cost $100.00! Ah- but we shan't complain as we have had the experience! We ate at the Horizons Buffet several times and the food was always good and we had plenty of variety. Loved the day at lunch when the fare was Sushi! Quite a treat. The burgers and fries at the Trident Grill were very good as well as the Pizza-one night we just got pizza and ate in our room! I would suggest the Coke package as if you purchase sodas separately it could get a bit pricey. Drinks on board are very good but they are also a bit expensive. I enjoyed many different Martini's at Crooner's Bar and enjoyed very much getting to know the bartenders there-John and Jenny and one of the waiters John. Always greeted everyone with a smile and called them by their names. Very enjoyable! We did eat at the Crown Grill and the food and the service were both very good. It was my birthday and they brought out a cake that I couldn't eat after the delicious meal so the server wrapped it up in a tin foil "Gucci" purse! I ate it the next day and it was delicious also. We really just hung out on the upper deck and watched movies on the large screen and enjoyed just relaxing. We could always find a deck chair no matter what time of day or which deck we visited. I did hear a bit of complaining aboard about various and sundry things, but I will just attribute that to the fact that most of the passengers were elderly and perhaps were just used to complaining. I, however was happy to be on board and couldn't really find anything to complain about. We met a 93 year old gentleman in the elevator on the last day and he summed it up well "I'm just happy to be hear and be alive". Words to live by perhaps. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
This was my first cruise and my partner's 3'rd (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity)Just like everybody else the delays at the Embarkation was a setback and caused some inconvenience. There was no food at all except for the concession ... Read More
This was my first cruise and my partner's 3'rd (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity)Just like everybody else the delays at the Embarkation was a setback and caused some inconvenience. There was no food at all except for the concession which was expensive. I would take the delay rather then going on the ship with no cleanup done at all. Once we boarded and got our room everything was good and embarked at 5pm with no delays going to Princess Cays. Restaurants On the evening of the embarkation we had Assigned dining at 5:30 but never made it because of the delays so we went to the Horizon Court buffet for diner which was a big mistake. The food was mediocre to say the least. After that we switched to anytime dining for the rest of the cruise. We went to Michael Angelo's and Da Vinci's for dinner on Sunday and Monday evening and thoroughly enjoyed every Entree from the appetizers to the wonderful desserts. The waiters were very friendly and courteous. Sabatini's was not what we expected the seas were rough on the night we were there but not to the point where glasses were sliding off the tables. I thought the service was slow and the food was not up to par from even revamping the menu didn't appeal to us. I had the triple lobster and was missing something ( butter I would assume) and was dry. My partner had the duck and it was tough and chewy. We both liked the International Cafe for the pastries and the salads. The shrimp and chicken salads I would recommend trying them out. The coffee was ok but not worth $2.00 for a 16oz cup of java. The pizzeria on the deck was good and liked the free ice cream as well. One last this regarding the MDR and Formal nights the dress code is very relaxed we seen people wearing shorts and Hawaiian shirts and still let them in. I know the ship was in Red Alert and had to comply with the policy from management but some people still complained about it and such as why can't I pour my own milk and I need more sugar!!! This goes to the lady who complained about the slow service and not being able to touch the milk or handle the sugar all her DH did was sit there and do nothing!! Grow a pair!! Entertainment We enjoyed the shows at the theater, Motown, Princess Anywhere Anytime, Swell Time. Comedian Phil Tag was hilarious and had the crowd laughing all the time. The Karaoke challenges and trivia games were a great way to entertain and enjoy the evening even with the rough seas. Movies under the starts is a good idea but can be a bit too loud when relaxing during the day but well worth it in the evening. Excursions Princess Cays After waiting at Michael Angelo's for our tender ( 2 were out of service)arriving at Princess Cays we walked around took some pictures and and got some sun tanning. The only disappointment was the buffet closed early and had to wait to go back the the ship for lunch. If they new they were short 2 tenders wouldn't they figure something out or at least have the buffet stay open longer?? Curacao Is very colorful with the buildings on each side of the port. We took the ferry over although it was crowded it didn't take very long. You can walk around and be done in about an hour. We stopped and had a cocktail and Iguana bar what ever its called. The drinks were good and and more alcohol then some of the watered down ones on the ship. Aruba What can I say other then it rained but didn't dampen our spirits. The excursions on the ship are expensive and you can get a better deal at one of the buses that will take you around the north end of the island for a 2 hour tour for $20.00. You'll see the Aloe Vera plant, Eagle and Palm beach and a small chapel on the way as well. Hopefully next time there wont be rain and more sun to enjoy it but you cant control the weather. Service ETC.. In all the service from the stewards was excellent considering they were under a lot of pressure to ensure the ship was kept in good condition. As for the Noro virus we had to issues at all as long as you wash your hands frequently and don`t do anything stupid you`ll be fine. We met and talked to a lot of people from all over the world. The rough seas and the gale warning form the captain didn't bother me I enjoyed the tossing and turning and have been on worse seas in a speedboat in the Dominican. In all it was a great cruise even with the minor setbacks I would go on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Crown Princess Norwegian Interlude 28th July to 4th August 2011 This is was our first cruise as we usually travel independently, therefore our first cruise review. The opinions expressed are ours (feel free to express your own) any ... Read More
Crown Princess Norwegian Interlude 28th July to 4th August 2011 This is was our first cruise as we usually travel independently, therefore our first cruise review. The opinions expressed are ours (feel free to express your own) any facts or events mentioned are true we have photographs to support. Lastly we are Brits so other travelers may misinterpret some words ie Thongs in Australia are shoes, but in the UK are underwear. We drove down to Southampton and stayed in a Holiday Inn with parking included the first night so didn't use any transfer services. On waking in the morning we opened our curtains to see our home for the next seven nights. The crown Princess had docked overnight and towered over the waterfront what a sight. We booked a local taxi to the terminal through the hotel cost £5.50. We arrived at the terminal at 1145 our bags were taken, documentation completed, photographs taken and in our suite by 1225. Superb Service, I wish airports were so organized. The cabin, sorry suite, was an inside one on Calibre deck. We found the room to be spotless with plenty of storage space and well equipped. Our steward Christopher was superb always smiling and always ready to help if needed. The whole ship was fantastic, clean and well looked after by the staff most of whom had a smile on their faces and always said hello. As we was 'Anytime Dinning' we had the choice of restaurants and used all three, The Michelangelo, The Da Vinci and The Horizon Court, but preferred the Michelangelo only because the Matre De was more welcoming. We found the food to be good, the menu's well balanced and the waiting staff to be very good or good. The International Cafe was superb but as the ship was full the staff struggled with the demand but were always smiling. My wife loved the cakes and salads. The Trident Grill & Pizzeria provided excellent snacks during the day. We didn't eat at Sabatini's which had a $20 cover charge but did eat at The Crown Grill $25 cover charge, here I had the best steak I've had in a long time, The server Ilyan ( Bulgarian ) explained every cut of meat offered advice and was simply superb. There was never a night when we didn't have to queue for dinner even though we arrived at different times. We tried to book but were told as we wanted a table for two we couldn't. We found out later that you could, perhaps the colour of our cruise card made a difference. We always, when asked agreed to sit with others but on our first night were seated on a table for six with four guests from Belgium only one of whom spoke English the rest only Flemish which they spoke between themselves, which made it uncomfortable for us. After reading about the Chefs table on cruise critic we applied for and managed to get two places cost $75 each. The format has been mentioned previously so I won't go into detail. However we encountered a problem with the serving of the wine, which we complained about. This resulted in a meeting with the food and drinks manager. We explained that we did not want a refund as the food was superb but informed him of our experience so it wouldn't happen again. Further details will be supplied if you contact me directly. At the end of the evening we received a cookery book signed by the chef, a menu and photographs. The ladies received a rose. There was a big push on sales of Wine, Wine Tastings, and the first couple of days Ultimate Drink Packages and Coffee Cards, reminded me of the old time share touts. During the cruise there were two formal nights. Prior to the first another passenger mentioned that he'd forgotten his jacket so would have to eat in the Horizon Court. He needn't have bothered as we noticed people entering the dining room with shirt sleeves, open collars and NO Jackets in one case a man was wearing walking boots. I'm not a great believer in formal nights but if you're going to have them, stick to the rules. The standard got worse on normal nights with Jumpers, Tee Shirts and Jeans being common. We actually followed a couple out of the dining room one night, he was wearing a suit & tie but had white training shoes on she wore a dress with shoes that flashed led lights as she walked. Made us and others smile. We also noticed cans of beer be brought into the dining room which when empty were crumpled and left on the table. The entertainment was as we expected. The shows good and well attended, the comedian (worked with Benny Hill) not so good but passable after a few drinks. The resident group Indigo was good as were the pianist and string group. There was a BMX trick cyclist who had great skill but always seemed to be performing the same tricks in the plaza. Took a tour of the Gym and The Lotus Spa both well equipped BUT every staff member we met was selling and selling hard even the Gym Guys who did a great presentation but during the last five minutes were selling detox diets and personnel assessments, which my own gym do for free. As this was UK school holiday season we expected to see kids, which we did, most of who were well behaved. As expected a number of passengers were physically disabled and were using walking frames, sticks, crutches, wheel chairs and mobility scooters. We encountered passengers from all nations including the UK, USA, France, Belgium, Spain, Japan and China. The Chinese passengers were the most entertaining as they were in groups of no less than six, always talking loudly and always smiling. We have travelled in China and understand some of their ways, but being in a full lift and having seven more Chinese people get in does make you despair. I was a bit disappointed to see adults sat in the hot tubs with drinks in bottles, cans and glasses. Also kids in water wings in the tubs. The pools were always packed with both adults and children with inflatable toys. The ports of call were Bergen, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Olden, and Stavanger. Bergen. Having been to Bergen before I knew what to expect but didn't expect to be docked in the Industrial dockyard and having to queue for 1 hour and 10 mins to get off the ship and board the courtesy coach to the centre. The last time I arrived we stepped off the boat into the town. However I've got to admit that the Crown Princess is a lot bigger than the ferry I last used. Hellesylt Schedule showed docking between 0800 - 1000, we had decided prior to arriving here that we wouldn't disembark. However it was only on arrival that we were informed that only passengers on a prepaid excursion could disembark. Geiranger This was a tender port. Disembarkation was a dream the tenders well organized and we had a great day walking around the area. Olden We had booked an excursion hiking to the Brenndalsbreen and Brisdalbreen Glaciers cost $258 prior to the cruise. Once again the organization of disembarkation was superb. We were split into two groups, each group to a coach and each coach having a local guide and driver. We arrived at the start of the first hike through some very scenic countryside. The guide explained that it was a hard climb to begin with but leveled off later on. We soon noticed that only one guide was leading the two groups, as the other guide had left with the coach and the guide was leading from the front. Okay we had been warned that the hike was strenuous so no problem there but after 40mins hard walking we realized that we were towards the rear of the group and with others were losing the trail. We never made it to the Glacier but encountered others who had and followed then down to the coach. 16 other people were in the same position as us. We boarded the coaches and were taken for a great lunch near to the start of the second hike. This proved a lot easier than the first and well sign posted. Stavanger The last stop in Norway, easy disembarkation onto the quayside. A very easy town to navigate and plenty of shopping including street markets. Disembarkation Southampton Opted for late disembarkation was allocated Gold 5 at 0930 which was perfect. Only problem encountered was the number of bags on the floor in the Horizon Court during Breakfast. When called we were off the ship, collected bags and in the taxi in 15mins Superb. In Conclusion The Crown Princess is a very, very, large ship and when full becomes crowded. The Infrastructure is superb as too are the staff, with some very few exceptions. We met some really nice fellow passengers but we also met some who had a severe lack of manners, usually the older ones. Entertainment was better than expected. We didn't like the big push on sales which left us feeling as targets not guests. The food was very good and in some cases superb. If you disagree try cooking for 3,200 people. We did enjoy the cruise but may try the Grand next time, due to there being more public area. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
Ok, so I have nothing to compare the cruise that I went on because it was my first cruise but my boyfriend has been on several and he agreed with everything that I have written.Embarkment and Disembarkment- Quick, easy and organized! We ... Read More
Ok, so I have nothing to compare the cruise that I went on because it was my first cruise but my boyfriend has been on several and he agreed with everything that I have written.Embarkment and Disembarkment- Quick, easy and organized! We got to the boat from the airport in about 15 minutes. From there, we were on the boat in a half out after that. All in all it was about 45minutes from the airport to our room.The ship was neat, clean and staff was very friendly. Our statesmen was very friendly and was there for us when we needed him. The room was always clean and neat.The food was excellent. We mainly ate at the buffet as we always had something to do. If you go hungry on this ship, it is only your fault. The food is plentiful and always had a variety of food to eat. Loved it. We ate at the Crown Grill one night and I had the best lobster, steak I have ever had. Delicious and would highly recommend it.The excursions at Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Roatan were awesome!! The weather had a lot to do with that.I would TOTALLY recommend this cruise to anyone. There were always things to do and if you wanted to relax you could do that too. The people on board were friendly, helpful and were always there to accommodate anything you needed or wanted.The only negative point I would say is that I would have like to have won more in the casinos! LOL!! :)I'd give this cruise an A+++++ and will be booking again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
I would like to say that my girlfriend and I were first-time cruisers on this cruise and we had high expectations of fun and relaxation, and very little knowledge of the whole idea of cruising and ports and excursions, etc. First and ... Read More
I would like to say that my girlfriend and I were first-time cruisers on this cruise and we had high expectations of fun and relaxation, and very little knowledge of the whole idea of cruising and ports and excursions, etc. First and foremost we were NOT disappointed. The Crown Princess was a beautiful ship. Our interior room was about what we expected, not huge but cozy enough. We wanted to save money for food, drinks and shopping so we decided to just get the interior room. Our room steward, Richard, was top notch. My girl and I joked he was like John Tuturro's butler character in Mr. Deeds! We would be gone for minutes and he was in and out of the room. Bed made, dry bathroom towels folded, pool towels hung up, papers organized and mini fridge restocked. This guy even set my book and reading glasses carefully next to the bed and put our shoes in order. Incredible! He was the only ship employee we tipped and we did give him a very large one. I was told before cruising the stewards are really the only ones you should tip without offending anyone. We enjoyed the aft pool as our room was only a quick walk away. It was usually quieter than the other pools. Every pool has a full bar by it and friendly waiters come around asking if you would like any 'yummy-yummy' drinks. The food at the buffets is as good if not better than most 'ruby tuesday' or 'applebys' dinners. Breakfast is fairly typical with eggs, cereal and breads but the assortment of fresh fruit was outstanding. Also each morning was a different smoked fish, salmon, tuna, whitefish, all very delicious. The Crown Grill was the highlight. We are both 'meat and potatoes' people so this was our big evening out. We each picked out our steak from the cart the waiter brought out for us and added loaded baked potatoes. I also added lobster tail, to my surprise I was brought 5, yes 5!, tails! WOW! We could not finish dessert so our waiter had it brought back to our room so we could eat it later. This meal was one of the best culinary experiences I have ever had, the food, atmosphere, the waiter, all of it together. Just to include some info for new cruisers that we learned about once we got on board. Coke, soft drinks, whatever, you must pay for, Alcohol you must pay for. Dinner in the dining rooms is free unless you get alcohol or wine. The buffets are the same way. The pizza, ice cream, hot dogs hamburgers are all free. You can check your ship account balance at the front desk in the piazza level. Hopefully this will help others. I will say we booked our next cruise, only our second, for next year while still on board and just had it billed to our onboard account. If that is not a glowing recommendation I don't know what is. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
I feel obligated to let you all know my experience on the Crown Princess the week of Feb 12, 2011. As a travel agent, I escorted a small group of eight cabins with people of various ages, cruising experiences, and disabilities. I am ... Read More
I feel obligated to let you all know my experience on the Crown Princess the week of Feb 12, 2011. As a travel agent, I escorted a small group of eight cabins with people of various ages, cruising experiences, and disabilities. I am very disappointed with the experience we had on the Crown Princess. I read many reviews prior to our cruise. I was hoping all along that our experience would be different. It was not. This was very disappointing. I have never wrote a review before and I am a new member. I feel very obligated to tell our experience with this ship and cruise line. I will divide the review by sections. Dining - We chose Anytime Dining. I was advised that we could make reservations for the week for my group only to find out that you can only make reservations one day at a time the day before and because of the size of my group I was given either very early or after 7:00 PM reservations not the 6:30 PM my group wanted. This was very frustrating. There did seem to be a line if you just arrived and requested a table. The food selections were limited. The menu that they had available everyday included fillet medallions which were very low end. Normally we look forward to dinner. There was only a few nights (mainly formal nights) that dinner was worth looking forward to. The lobster was very good. The pork tenderloin was awful. Desserts were just ok. The service in the dining room was hit and miss. The first couple of nights we had terrible service. The wait staff did not understand English very well. They seemed preoccupied with what was going on around the dining room and did not seem to focus on the guests at their table. When we did find a waiter and asst. waiter that we liked, we requested them the remaining nights. This is not how it should be. Everyone should experience good service in the dining room. I don't expect 5 star at budget prices however I expect good service. It was very confusing to figure out who was suppose to take your drink orders etc. because other wait staff would show up at your table other than the traditional waiter and asst. waiter. It would take so long to get drinks refilled that you would end up asking two different people for a drink refill just to hope that one would respond to your request. We enjoyed the Pub Lunch on sea days, it was very good. We also visited the Crown Grill. The food was very good. My fillet was excellent as was the other steak and lobster meals that my party ordered. The main complaint we had about the Crown Grill was it took 3 hours. We did not plan on spending that much time but it seemed that we had to wait 20 minutes for our coffee/tea and then we waited a long time for our check to come at the end of dinner. It was not very crowded that night either so we don't understand what the hold up was. They do tell you in the beginning that everything is freshly prepared so we were patient waiting for appetizers however, there was too much time wasted between the other courses. International Cafe was very nice. I wish they had complimentary beverages available there but the food is very good. The cookies are great and the pastries/donuts/etc. in the AM are very good also. Breakfast buffet was very limited and we found the eggs to be cold. Overall the buffet seemed limited even for lunch. The tables were preset with silverware. Drink service at the tables was okay. There were a few times we had to hunt staff down to clean off table or to retrieve drink orders. We visited the buffet for dinner one night only to find a very long line, only one section open and it was single file. There were no stations. There were pre made salads, the selection was awful, and people were complaining like crazy about the single file line. If you wanted seconds, forget it you had to stand in line another half hour. There really was nothing you would want seconds of. We opted for a late night pizza snack because we left the buffet hungry. I thought the pizza was good, I would have to say better than the other cruise lines we have experienced. Room Stewards - None of my group had any complaints about the room stewards. Most did their job. Nothing outstanding. No towel figures which the children and my first time cruisers would probably have enjoyed. Gratuities - The automatic gratuities are a problem. There is no incentive for good service. We opted to have our gratuities removed so we could reward personally for good service which was few and far between in the dining room. Disappointingly, we eventually found out that even though you personally hand an envelope of money to these people they must turn that in to be put in a pool and divided among everyone. Again, there is NO incentive for good service. The staff that perform poorly get the same amount that the outstanding staff receive. Casino - There were no $5 blackjack tables. This was very disappointing. I asked why and was told that passengers do not want them. I don't believe this. I think that they should have a few available. By the way, it is possible to get $200 from the slot machines without paying a fee. I read a previous post regarding this and I think some people thought you were getting $200 just free period. Free means no 3% surcharge or transaction fee that you would normally pay with ATM or using your card at one of the gaming tables. Shows - The comedians were good and the hypnotist was entertaining. The other shows were not impressive. Wheelchair request - One of my guests requested a wheelchair two days in advance to use in Cozumel. The request was lost by passenger services and the wheelchair was never delivered. I had a meeting with the Maitre D and the Manager of Passenger Services for 45 minutes regarding all of the disappointments we experienced on this sailing. I told them I am embarrassed to have invited my guests on the Princess Crown and I feel I need to apologize to my guests. I should not have to do this. Princess was always rated close to Royal Caribbean in my opinion. Not anymore. I will be personally be sailing Royal Caribbean and will strongly hesitate to recommend Princess to my customers. I hope that my recommendations and complaints were heard at my meeting. That is all I can do. I also thought it was important to write this review. It is harder writing a review than I thought. I hope it is helpful to you all. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We booked a Southern Caribbean New Years nine day cruise on the Crown Princess. This was our first experience in cruising, so we really did not know what to expect. We were not real sure if we would like it. But it was better then what we ... Read More
We booked a Southern Caribbean New Years nine day cruise on the Crown Princess. This was our first experience in cruising, so we really did not know what to expect. We were not real sure if we would like it. But it was better then what we expected. We were totally taken back by the size of the ship and it's decor that included beautiful paintings and murals throughout the ship and a gorgeous foyer and it's amenities that include multiple dining venues (Traditional Dining, Anytime Dining, Specialty Dining or Casual Dining), four outdoor deck areas, multiple sports facilities, four pools, and nine hot tubs (one was not working), An indoor theater and a huge outdoor flat panel screen for movies under the stars, a casino, a spa, and duty free shops to name a few. Even though, at the time of the cruise, the Crown Princess was full to capacity, it did not seem overly crowded because of it's size and there was so much to do. The only time I felt it, were the days we were at sea and everyone wanted a chaise lounge, we needed to go early to secure one. The weather did not always cooperate and we had days at sea where it was only in the upper 70's and cloudy with sprinkles at times. So it made those chairs a little more desirable when the weather was good. When we entered our room, it was average, clean and very small (285 Sq Ft), the shower too was very small. My husband who is 6'3" complained about it's size with good reason. We had a decent size balcony that I enjoyed, especially as we were approaching the islands and I loved watching the sunset. I felt the staff was always very pleasant and seemed to always want you to not so much as get your own coffee. The ship had many activities, we did not do much during the day, but we went to shows that included dancing, comedians, comedians/magicians,and hypnotist. Our Cruise included ports of call at Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, St Thomas, and Princess Cuys. Our First stop was Dominica, we signed up in advance for the "Dominica River Float Excursion" for $59. It took some time to get there (90 minutes) and the island itself is really not too picturesque, so the ride was not really entertaining. But once we got to the area to tube it was a lot of fun. For those of you who would love to try this, you should have your swimsuit on and a pair of waterproof shoes because you will need to walk down to the river and there are sharp rocks in that area and in the river. We left our belongings on the truck while tubing. They will supply you with a safety vest. It was very enjoyable and I would highly recommend it. Our next stop was Barbados where we signed up for the "Five-Star Sail & Turtles with Lunch" for $79. We sailed aboard a Catamaran and snorkeled in Payne's Bay where we saw many turtles, and many other types of fish and spied a few baby stingrays. After snorkeling, we enjoyed lunch, an open bar and a swim to a very pristine beach. The weather cooperated and it was a beautiful and enjoyable day and I would highly recommend it. Our next stop was Antigua where we just planned to swim on one of their many pristine beaches (they have 365 of them), but the weather was very cool in the morning with a threat of rain. Therefore, we decided to take a island tour with one of the locals for $25. We stopped of at their National Museum, it cost an additional $7 and was not worth it. All in all the day was just ok. Our next stop was St Thomas where we decided on the excursion "Views of St. Thomas" for $39. St Thomas was the most beautiful Island we had been on, so it was breathtaking. Our tour was a 3 hours long and included a skyride to the top of Paradise Point and other observation decks throughout the island. I felt it was a good way of seeing the island as a whole. Our next stop was supposed to be the Princess Cays, but the weather did not cooperate and the captain made the announcement early in the day, that due to the rough waters we would not be able to stop at the island. Due to the size of the ship, we were to be tendered to the island in small boats, but the captain felt it was too unsafe. Our excursion was to take a ride on a glass bottom boat. This was a disappointment to me. But non the less, we spent the day at Sea. Our final day, We had a late flight 8:30 PM. We were supposed to vacate our staterooms by 8:00 am Luckily, Princess made it easy for us. They had an excursion for passengers in our situation. Since we Disembarked at Port Everglades, Fl in Ft Lauderdale, our excursion was an "Everglades Airboat ride & Flamingo Gardens Wildlife Sanctuary" for $64. I did enjoy the Flamingo Garden and Wildlife, but I can't say I enjoyed the airboat ride we saw very little wildlife in it's natural habitat. Our tour guide for this excursion was very knowledgeable and interesting and that in itself made it enjoyable. Overall, I felt that the cruise exceeded our expectations and my husband who was not so sure of going on a cruise at all has since been searching the web for another one. I felt that Princess has thought of everything, from keeping the passengers informed with the Princess Patter they distribute daily to keep all of us informed of the daily activities and gave background and a map of each island we visited The food and entertainment was good. The cruise line took pictures all throughout the cruise for you to purchase at the end. I felt they were very organized with both the embarkation and disembarkation. The only time we had any complaints would be our first port Dominica we went down early and we were waiting to get off the boat and it was very crowded and then finally they opened up the gate to let us out, what a relief. And my second complaint would be the not going to Princess Cays but of course that would not be the cruise line's fault. I would highly recommend a cruise for anyone thinking about it, I really liked Princess, but this was our first cruise so I have nothing else to compare it to. I cannot wait to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Embarkation - Arriving at the port there was not much of a line walking to the check-in area. We were aboard the ship within a half an hour. Getting up to the room was a breeze. Our cabin was no issue to me. People complain too much ... Read More
Embarkation - Arriving at the port there was not much of a line walking to the check-in area. We were aboard the ship within a half an hour. Getting up to the room was a breeze. Our cabin was no issue to me. People complain too much about the size of the room and the bath, GET OVER IT. I was surprised that our balcony was twice as big because of the room configuration below. Food - We had traditional dining which is at a set time of 6pm or 8:15pm at the same table with the same people. The people were nice. The food was either dried out/tough, overcooked, smaller portion then expected while others were bigger. I did like some of the food. Next time we plan to choose anytime dining. The entertainment that I went to was good to ok. I went to a magic show and a comedy show that were good. We went to movies under the stars but I didn't like the movie so we left. The select a port pull down doesn't have Princess Cays(Eleuthera),Bahamas. The view when we arrived amazing. When we got ashore, the cruise line was serving food at the pavilions. The island was very beautiful. We stayed on the island longer than the others. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Made it out of JFK smoothly, despite NY's snow. Princess transfers at airport were fast and easy, and embarkation was just about effortless. We stopped by the cabin to drop off hand luggage, then had lunch at the Lido level ... Read More
Made it out of JFK smoothly, despite NY's snow. Princess transfers at airport were fast and easy, and embarkation was just about effortless. We stopped by the cabin to drop off hand luggage, then had lunch at the Lido level buffet that first day, one of the few times we ate there. Luggage arrived in afternoon and meanwhile we explored the ship. As an ice-breaker, the crew had handed out cards for a raffle to be held at sailaway. To enter, you needed to visit and get check-offs from different venues on board. It seemed like a good way to familiarize passengers with the ship. Ship seemed very large at first, but eventually became almost homey as we figured out the layout. The public venues were mainly on levels 5 through 7 and above level 15. Our cabin was on level 5 (Plaza) aft which was very convenient, and we were never disturbed by noise from either the theater (on 6 and 7) or any of the music in the public or gathering areas on 5, 6, and 7. (On the other hand, we were at the very front of the ship and did at times hear what sounded like navigational noises from ship machinery, but not enough to make me regret the cabin choice.) Cabin had twin beds with a table between, a desk/dressing table area, and then a separate closet area by the bathroom. The cabin -- and the ship in general -- seemed faultlessly clean. Our porter serviced our room at least twice a day, and gave us fresh towels every day (or maybe even more often), even though we didn't ask for them. In the public areas, the moment one put down a dirty plate or finished a drink, the table was cleared. Passing through the Plaza late one night, we saw that some cushion covers had been removed for cleaning, and there were frequently people vacuuming the carpeted areas. Bathrooms through the ship seemed spotless. We mainly breakfasted and often lunched at the International Cafe at the Plaza level, just down the hall from our room. Breakfast generally consisted of croissants, muffins, pastries, muesli, or an egg/cheese/ham breakfast sandwich. Starting at lunchtime, there was quiche there each day, as well as vegetable and other salads, shrimp, and basic sandwiches, as well as really delicious ice cream/gelato and fresh-baked cookies. Food there was free except for the ice cream, for which there was a nominal charge. We picked anytime dining, and ate most of our dinners in one of the main sit-down dining rooms. Dining room food was very good, and it was often hard to decide what to get. The dining room staff was very accommodating and friendly. Everyone seemed intent on pleasing. One night we ate at the Crown Grill, which had a $25 up charge. I enjoyed the food and atmosphere there a lot, but we ate there only for variety rather than because of any lack in the other food operations. Occasionally, we had pizza or ice cream from the pool side area on 15. Never made it to the burger grill on that same level. A nice afternoon tea was served every day, though we only went once. One of the highlights of our cruise was participation in the Chef's Table dinner, which we had read about here. We called to put in our names for that as soon as we boarded, and two mornings later found a letter under our door inviting us to meet with the Maitre D' to discuss our interest in participating. That meeting essentially addressed whether we had any food allergies that would affect the menu. A day later, we were thrilled to learn that we were invited to the Chef's Table, which turned out to be an 11 course extravaganza, starting with a galley tour, champagne and appetizers in the kitchen, and a multi-course meal at an extravagantly appointed table. The meal featured a beef carpaccio napolean, lobster risotto, a three-meat course featuring beef, pork and veal flamed at table-side, a pallette clearing bloody-mary sorbet, and then a really delicious stilton mousse with port wine reduction, followed by cointreau mousse on a blown sugar plate with three dimensional cookie adornment -- as well as a plate of handmade chocolates that was decorated with a gorgeous blown sugar dolphin. The women at the table received roses and a copy of the Princess cookbook too. We started with white wine (wasn't paying attention to what), then red, then homemade limoncello, and finally a sweet dessert white. Every penny of the $75/person up charge was worth it. We only hit four of our five port destinations, missing Princess Cay because the waters were too choppy for tender on January 6 when we were due to stop there. Because that wasn't a port that I had been intent on visiting, I didn't miss the stop, and enjoyed the extra sea day instead. We did stop at Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Thomas, and I enjoyed them all. Rain forest aerial tram on Dominica was enjoyable, but not remotely worth the $99 excursion cost. The rain forest may be home to 170 types of birds, but I don't think we saw more than 5 birds total, if that. Driving on Dominica roads is almost a thrill-seeking activity itself. Hairpin turns, steep drop offs and few guard rails. On Barbados, the Taste of Barbados and Scenic Drive was also fine, but not worth its $79 price-tag. Didn't see that many of the picturesque sites, and lunch at the Sunbury Plantation was tasty but not luxurious. There was a fair amount of waiting around -- including when the bus broke down afterwards and a replacement had to be sent. On Antigua, we did the Antiguan Island Highlights tour ($59) but probably should have done the Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Heights tour ($49) instead. The difference was that the former also had a stop at a site to watch a not-particularly-gripping multi-media presentation about the island's history. The tour of Nelson's Dockyard -- given by a Park Service docent, not by the excursion company -- was disappointingly short and general. One of the highlights of the museum there is that it has Admiral Horatio Nelson's own telescope as well as wood from the HMS Victory. In response to a direct question, the guide said that she didn't think the telescope was at the museum -- wrong. The Views of St. Thomas excursion ($39) was the most cost-effective of our excursions, even though our particular guide told us very little, explaining that he was a last minute sub for the regular guide who had to babysit that morning. But the sights were lovely, and we enjoyed the ride up the gondola to Paradise Point with its vantage over the city and port. The tour also stopped at the Botanical Gardens. The driver offered to drop us off downtown by the shopping area, and we took him up on that invitation. If you want to shop for jewelry in particular, this is the port to do it. I lost count of how many jewelry stores there were. We went to the shows almost every night and enjoyed them all. It seems that experienced cruisers may be irked by reappearances of shows they had seen before, but everything was new to us and we were impressed by the singing, dancing and staging/sets of the production shows (Motor City, Destination Anywhere and a couple of others). The magician did a great show at the Explorer's lounge and we are still puzzling over how he did some of the tricks. It's helpful to get to the Explorer's venue at least 15 minutes before show-time, because there are limited seats and they fill up early. We also enjoyed the piano music at one of the bars in the evening. Movies Under the Stars was a bit less successful because seats were often at a premium and the screen was hard to see from some angles and the soundtrack often hard to hear. And of course, if it was cold or windy or too sunny, that made it less pleasant to stay put for the duration of the movie. Saw a couple of movies in the theater too. Enjoyed the various trivia contests and other game-type activities, especially the Newlywed and Not-So-Newlywed game. Daily puzzlers at the library were also fun. Also a lot of fun was a "cook-off" between the Executive Chef and the Maitre D'. The former demonstrated some really delicious looking dishes and the latter was over-the-top goofy. New Year's was fun out by the pool on the Lido deck. Lively music, a nice vibe, confetti, and champagne (although you had to buy your own). There was a balloon drop inside for those who didn't want to brave the elements. Most of the shows and many of the activities were introduced by the Cruise Director Ron Goodman and the Deputy Cruise Director Stuart Mac. They were warm, and funny and had a great rapport with each other. They genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs and the passengers and added a lot to the cruise. Disembarkation was easy. Labels were distributed to cabins identifying which disembarkation group each person was in (which seemed to depend on flight time, and other factors. We were asked to put our main bags in the hallway outside our cabin around dinner time the night before disembarkation with our group's labels, and we reclaimed them the following morning at the ship terminal. Overall, we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
For a first-time cruiser, I had high hopes for this new adventure on the Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, with ports in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and the Bahamas (Princess Cays). Unfortunately, the all mighty drive for corporate ... Read More
For a first-time cruiser, I had high hopes for this new adventure on the Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, with ports in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and the Bahamas (Princess Cays). Unfortunately, the all mighty drive for corporate dollars and some crew members' poor attitudes cast a shadow over an otherwise enjoyable week upon the seas. First, I'll comment on the brighter side of this cruise. Embarkation/disembarkation were expedient and well organized. Interior stateroom was roomy, comfortable and well-equipped. Room steward was extra friendly and seemed to always be close by, if needed. 8:15 dining room options each night were good, yet not memorable. Food on Princess Cays was easily accesible and seemed to be perfect for beach fare (jerk chicken!). Now, for the not-so-positives. I purchased a $29 "soft drink card" for the week but was let down when I realized that this meant only soda options and not any other non-alcoholic drinks (OJ, tomato juice, etc.). In addition, the "soft drink card" was not accepted on Princess-owned Princess Cays. None of this was explained to me when I purchased the card, which would have been nice. I experienced four (4) instances of crew members with unacceptable behavior (bad attitude) towards myself or members of my party. What happened to the customer is #1? Clearly Princess doesn't adhere to this time-tested concept. On Princess Cays, our last port for the week, our entire group was harassed when we chose beach chairs that were in the $30-only group of beach chairs! The lounge chairs we chose had sun shades or "clamshells" attached to some of the chairs, but not all. So let me get this straight: it's a Princess-owned island and you CHARGE ME FOR A LOUNGE CHAIR? The explanation was that the "clamshells" were for rental and therefore, so were the chairs in that area, regardless if you wanted shade or not (which we didn't). The "free" chair area was a considerable walk to the other end of Princess Cays. How convenient. Needless to say, we didn't pay for the un-used "clamshells" and eventually, the beach staff went away. Ultimately, our group had a good time aboard Crown Princess but personally speaking, I wasn't impressed enough to cruise with Princess again. Maybe I'm just not a "cruiser" or perhaps, Princess needs to focus less on profits and more on the overall satisfaction of their customers. Just one man's opinion! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
We are loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers. Prices seemed to be a bit high on their ships this fall so we booked on Princess where the pricing was much more affordable. We normally cruise at least twice a year. We had some apprehensions ... Read More
We are loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers. Prices seemed to be a bit high on their ships this fall so we booked on Princess where the pricing was much more affordable. We normally cruise at least twice a year. We had some apprehensions about booking the Crown Princess because two of the couples we sailed with are in their mid twenties and love RCCL for the Royal Promenade, the flow rider and the pub style bar. While on vacation we really vacation. We have theme nights like 80's nights, toga parties and crazy hat nights. Generally we do not do the formalities. Formal night means long pants, unfortunately, with open shirts, crazy hats and lighted jewelry. Other passengers either think we are trashy yet most love to party with us. When entering a dining room for dinner, we get applause. I don't get the whole formal, snooty thing people have about cruising, but I respect it. I wish some passengers would mind their own business. We are not lewd, loud or obnoxious. We basically stick to ourselves unless you want to party with us then you are graciously accepted into the partying. Now that you know where we are coming from I would like to say that we all were very pleased we booked on the Crown. Princess and this ship lived up to most of our expectations. Our only gripe is that the pools and hot tubs are not open all night. We are kind of used to that. Normally w are the last ones up. The nightclub, Skywalkers was great! DJ Emotion was fabulous! Being 57 I am not crazy about listening to techno dance remixes but dancing to it was a riot. We enjoyed his mixes very much. Abi, one of the bar servers, was really attentive and a partier. We drink a lot and he was there whenever we needed him. He is also a great guy. The rooms are larger than on RCCL. This is a plus. The beds were very comfortable although I was not in it much. Our porter was great. We had an inside room, as usual, as again we are very seldom in the room and like th darkness it provides in the morning. The Crown has a beautiful Atrium where you can get great coffees, chai and teas, along with finger sandwiches and pastries. The food in the dining rooms was very good. We had everything from great tenderloin filets, lobster and beef wellington to fried calamari, french fries and watermelon soup. The food all rally is of high quality for a cruise ship. The buffet on the lido deck wa also very good. They had everything from crab and lobster claws to reuben sandwiches. Again, all of high quality for a buffet. Pools were great as were the hot tubs. Clean and never overly crowded. Just wished they stayed open longer. Pools games were th same they have on every other ship. They are always fun. The outdoor movie screen is a great idea. We watched a Monday night Football game and a couple of late night movies. Better than the rock wall on RCCL, in my opinion. Some of the bars were stuffy but we avoided them. The large theater was very warm and the seating was tight so we did not frequent it much. There were many other comedians, bands and entertainment in other venues on board. There as always something to do or you could make your own party in the nightclubs or on deck. Embarkation and and debarkation went smooth and tidy. We really loved the ship. We really loved the itinerary. We do a day pass at the Wyndham Cozumel resort. Really fun times there. All the food and drink you can ingest plus swim up bar and a fabulous beach. Princess Cay is a bunch of fun and very pretty, a great stop. We were all a bit concerned about Roatan, as none of us have been there before and none of us really enjoy Costa Maya which is a similar port. Roatan is beautiful and has fantastic beaches and amenities. We only went to the beach, so I can't comment on the rest of the island. Clean and really a lot of fun. 7 mile beach in Grand Cayman is a must do if you are in to sun and sand. Overall this was a terrific cruise. The Crown Princess should be a ship to consider if you are planning a cruise. We highly recommend it, just keep the darn pools open later. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
Wanting a break from flying & with my Wife pestering me to go on a cruise for some time,in a moment of weakness I relnted & back in January I booked a cruise to Iceland & Norway aboard the Crown Princess for July 29th. My ... Read More
Wanting a break from flying & with my Wife pestering me to go on a cruise for some time,in a moment of weakness I relnted & back in January I booked a cruise to Iceland & Norway aboard the Crown Princess for July 29th. My reluctance has nothing to do with sailing,I love it & where possible would much rather use a ferry than a plane but more than a couple of days on board did not appeal. My enthusiasm did not alter as cruise time approached,this was costing me serious money,I suddenly had to buy a suit,proper slacks,proper shirts(neck size-don't ask me I haven't bought one in 20+ years!),a final last minute shopping spree sorted them just in time to pack. By this time my Wife was also having 2nd thoughts,we had found out about the $10+ tipping per person per day,the 15% on drinks,the price of the drinks,no tea & coffee facilities,$10 each for half a day in the Sanctuary,only 1 bottle of wine each to be taken on board,we could buy a Half bottle of Vodka from the Steward for £10.63(no doubt plus 15%),some items on the buffet may incur an extra charge,$20/$25 each extra to eat in the 'proper' restaurants,her claim that all was included was well & truly coming back to haunt her as we wondered how much flushing the loo would cost! So Thursday July 29th found us at Chester Station to catch an Eavesway Coach(an exellent service,it cost us £148,probably as much as petrol would have cost,no parking fees,really good) to Southampton arriving about 1315hrs,the luggage was removed from the coach & then we alighted. We waited our turn to be sent up an escalator in groups to arrive in what looked like Hell,take a ticket & a seat we were told,easier said than done with so many people in there,but we found one,eventually our turn came & we headed for a check in desk,tried to squeeze in between the 4 at the desk to our left & a similar number on the right & tried to listen to what the Lady was saying above the racket before heading off for the expected pre boarding photo shoot(although little did we suspect at this point how many of these there would be!) & boarded the relative peace & quiet of the vessel. The next part worked surprisingly well,finding the customer services desk to be quiet we changed the auto tipping to a figure we were happy with,deposited an amount of cash for our on board account(my Wife was happier doing it that way) & headed for our cabin. Finding the cabin was easy,slightly mixed feelings as we entered,the bathroom is disapointingly small,we've had bigger on overnight ferries,it looked like somebody had been writing on the walls in a number of places & this wall covering had been scraped off to remove it leaving unsightly patches,overall though,the room was spotless,there was loads of storage space,it was well equipped & quite roomy but the clincher was the balcony which was probably as big as the room,quite superb,one observation being that we at first took to be 'farewell messages' from the seagulls on the balcony furniture turned out to be paint,in fact all over the vessel there were paint splashes & just general iffy paint jobs(looked like I'd done it!),I guess the mark of a hard working vessel. We set sail on time in glorious sunshine,with us sat on our balcony enjoying a lovely sunny summers evening,sipping the Champagne we had bought with us,how could I have had any doubts?........ Dinner time saw us head for the Da Vinci room,seeking a table for 2 but persuaded to share a table with 6 others,all really nice people,but we both had a feeling that it wouldn't always be that way,how right we were! Then followed 3 days at sea,during which some of our worst nightmares came true,the Crown Princess is beautiful but spends most of her year roaming the Carrib. where her large outside spaces come into their own,but as we sailed up through the Irish Sea(where a large number of passengers were already wearing coats,hats,scarves,gloves,etc while we were still in t shirts & shorts) & up toward the Arctic Circle the decks became vast empty spaces,wherever you went inside so,it seems,did the other 3000+ passengers,making for cramped & overcrowded conditions.Breakfast,lunch or dinner in the buffet became a battle to get a table,certainly a table for 2 became impossible,some of the sharing was not a nice experience! Normally when away if things got this crowded we would retire to our room where would would share a bottle or two of wine while my Wife knitted & I listened to music,here the price of drink made this a big no,no! Ok for reference,2 large Jamesons Irish Whiskey came in at $22+,2 bottles of Grolsch $13+,2 pints of Stella $15+,cocktails were $6.95,the cheapest bottle of wine $24,both + 15%,it was going to be a sober trip! We settled into a routine,early rise for breakfast(not what we had planned) in the Da Vinci(occasionally in the buffet although the food there was sometimes cold) & we booked a table for 2 each evening in the Da Vinci,apart from the 3 nights(the 2 formal nights & the last night) in The Crown Grill.The food was superb,service excellent although the Da Vinci did resemble a mad house at busy times,the staff were magnificent. My Wife found herself a cosy seat in the Explorers Lounge on sea days for knitting,while I strolled the decks,exploring every nook & cranny,this was heaven to me,many years ago I was a regular sea traveller to the Isle Of Man,many times just for day trips & just standing on deck watching the world go by was wonderful to me,so I was quite happy. We loved the Crooners Lounge where three Mexican guys,Goce,Jose & Oswaldo were the life & soul of the party,quite brilliant,along with Doreen in the Wheelhouse Bar & our Steward,Phong,were the people we were really sorry to say goodbye to at the end of our cruise.I think a special mention also to the Phillipino guy at the Calypso Bar,the outside bar below the movie screen,no matter what the weather or temperature he kept smiling,no doubt while dreaming of the return to the Carrib! Having said that we didn't get to enjoy these areas as much as we might want,too often the Crooners Lounge would be full with people reading books from the nearby Library & the Wheelhouse Bar would be full with people doing quizzes,even when you wanted to pay those prices sometimes you couldn't! So we really loved the Crown Princess,warts & all,it's a beautiful ship,a wonderful crew,she is big & it was so impressive how the crew manouvered her in what seemed impossibly tight locations. So now the really irritating thing is the way Princess have turned her into a cash cow,leaving us with the impression that the only ultimate escape they are interested in is your escape from your cash! Having already mentioned the welcome aboard photo shoot & the lack of room to move inside at times,well it got much worse,the area between Crooners & the Wheelhouse is a pretty busy area,add a photo shoot area one side & tables outside the shops on the other & not only have you got lines of people trying to get through this area but now having to battle past crowds which have gathered there to be photographed(photos were $29.95 each) or to shop,this was a regular occurance,indeed table & phot opportunities kept springing up everywhere making getting around a real pain,just to amplify the problem there was the art auctions where every chair,table,pillar,wall,set of steps,etc in the Explorers area had at least one piece leaning against it making it ineveitable that they would be knocked over or people would trip over them,& making seating in the area difficult. The photos were the biggest problem for most people tho',the photographers seemed to be everywhere,they tried to get everybody as they got off the vessel at each port,all around the vessel in the evenings,out on deck when cruising the Fjords,even when we were trying to have a peaceful meal in the Crown grill where we thought we would have peace & quiet. As for the shore excursions,we had a manic run up to the cruise & had decided to forget the organised tours(they seemed very expensive) & just have leisurly strolls at our stops,the first of which was Rekjavik,bad planning,not only did we disembark in gale force winds & driving rain but it was a Bank Holiday,not only that but a shop workers bank holiday so pretty much everywhere was shut,we took a shuttle bus into what was pretty much a ghost town,visited the very impressive church,took the lift up the tower for wonderful views before taking the shuttle bus back to the ship for the best piece of entertainment of the cruise(the intended entertainment seemed pretty poor but it wasn't my kind of thing so it could just be me!),there were 2 gangways out,one was closed,the other,a steep & narrow wooden one being in use,one member of crew kept shouting at the long line of people waiting to form 2 lines,totally ignoring the fact that people were also trying to get down the gangway followed by pure farce,some poor souls in wheelchairs having to be physically,carried,dragged,whatever up this gangway,what year is it,how can they not have a better system than this,meanwhile we in the lengthening line watched the ever darkening sky! Second stop in Iceland,Akureyri,a very pretty little town where did some strolling,photo taking & then some people watching outside a very busy & pleasant cafe while downing a few beers,before returning to the ship,a good day. Another day at sea followed before our first Norway stop,Aalesund,high level pics I had seen made the place look unbelievably pretty so after exploring the harbour & town area we headed up the 418 steps(my knees haven't recovered yet!) for the view,wow,absolutely breathtaking,we headed back down & because of my Irish roots we headed the Dirty Nelly's Irish Bar only to find it shut,we went downstairs next door & enjoyed some superb beers while chatting to the owner,returned to the ship for a wonderful send off,another great day. The next day saw us cruising the Fjords,quite magnificent,stopping at Geiranger on a very hot day,another impossibly beautiful place,strolling up to the waterfall & church before returning dockside for the customary people watching & beers at Cafe Ole,taking the frequent tender back to the ship. Olden was next,another misty start as we again cruised up Fjords to reach another beautiful place,by now we had decided that we must return to Norway,the people & scenery made a huge impression on us,usual routine of exploring,people watching & beer before probably the biggest send off of the trip so far in brilliant sunshine! The last stop was Bergen,it had long bugged me how they had worked out the schedule on this trip,Bergen seemed to have more to see but here we were arriving at 0700 on a Sunday morning & leaving at 1400hrs,what would be open,well the Tourist Info was & we headed there for tickets for the Funicular,a good move avoiding the long lines at the station itself,getting up there just before the weather closed in & ruined the view,this was to become one of their 300 rainy days in a year it seemed,we took shelter at the Fish Market where the seats were nearly all soaking,they didn't seem well prepared for all the rain they apparently get!To add insult to injury instead of berthing at the Bryggen as we had expected at the last minute we were told that we would be at the Container terminal as the CP was too big,sounds a poor excuse,she has been here before,more likely a reason being that there were 2 other Cruise Ships there!All this meant shuttle buses again from the Museums,the last one being at 1245,making the chance of getting a last beer in Norway unlikely as Sunday laws phorbid sales of alcohol until noon,an Oriental lady on one of the fish market stalls did sell bottled beer though,couldn't understand a word on the label so it probably was alcohol free but it looked & tasted right & was selling well!A poor finish to what had been a great time in Norway,not surprisingly there were not too many people to see us off in such a remote spot! A few days previously I had checked our online account,surprised at how much was left,a message on the bottom told me that we were cleared for automatic check out & did not need to visit Customer Services again,luckily I did,asking how long it would take for the remaining funds to be credited to the card I had registered I was rather surprised to be told that it wouldn't,I had to go to Customer Services to collect it or lose it,so much for not having to go there again! So began the jouney back to Southampton where we arrived at 0500hrs on the Tuesday morning,a wet welcome,we had breakfast before heading for our designated departure point,clutching the tiny coloured tear off bits from the luggage tags which we were told to guard with our lives as they are required to leave the vessel & collect your luggage,I've still not been asked for them so I guess it's OK to throw them away now! Entering the baggage hall we located the line of luggage marked Purple which was our colour,only to find our suitcases in the neighbouring Orange line,far easier than expected,we had heard some horror stories about this part,exiting the terminal we duly found our Eavesway bus waiting to whisk us back to Chester. Overall we enjoyed it,a beautiful ship with great crew,a great pity that Princess left us with an overall money grabbing feeling,would we do it again,our hearts say yes,our minds are less certain,looks like back to the USA next year! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
I won't repeat what the last reviewer said about this trip to Iceland and NOrway from Southhampton. Pretty much I agree with this report: here are some different comments > Although I didn't particularly love the places we ... Read More
I won't repeat what the last reviewer said about this trip to Iceland and NOrway from Southhampton. Pretty much I agree with this report: here are some different comments > Although I didn't particularly love the places we visited, I did love this cruise, it was my first, and I am not a cruise type person...... I travel a lot, and since I travel alone generally.. cruises don't work financially. I am 55, and single. As for this trip... 2/3 of the boat was 70-80 yrs old... or appeared to be, and were couples. Most passangers were British. we opted for anytime dining and shared tables. 10 out of the 12 nights, the dinner conversation consisted of the others comparing their ( very numerous) cruises and experiences. Sometimes, they seemed to be in competition.This was a vey affluent group . 9these are all things that prospective travelers should know0 the formal dinners were amazing and have spoiled me for local restaurants. I have nothing but praise for the Princess staff, the kitchen, the dining room personell and the menus. I am almost sorry that this was my first cruise as I believe it will be a hard act to follow.......... Iceland/Norway... expensive ! the forays into town can be cheaper with a sandwich from the boat..and also, there is little time to visit so this saves the cafe time. The excursions from the boat cost double what you'd pay if you book from a local port travel service or online before you go. many times tours around town on a bus etc.... are avail right there as you get off the boat.. for even less than 1/2 . If money is no issue, just book through boat..why not. I did bring two large bottles of wine with me in my suitcase..kept them in the in room refrig..... it is within the princess guidelines.. I asked my steward for a corkscrew as mine broke..and wine glasses..There is a tip structure of $ 10.50 per day charged to your onboard credit card for service. We gave our steward another tip as well. Drinks were mostly $ 6.50 or so... you can save money with a wine card/or a coffee card... I ordered room service often for breakfast..it is continental but it is nice to have coffee in the room as you get ready for the day with a balcony.. it was too chilly to enjoy the balcony for about half the trip. each room has a hairdryer.. nice bathroom, I was happy with my room size and storage and safe. And, now..although " I am not a cruise persoN" I find myself surfing the net looking for more of these 'ESCAPES" Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
This was our first cruise in more than 20 years, and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. Missing Cozumel was a huge deal for us, we really wanted to see Mayan ruins - it was the largest factor in choosing this ship/itinerary. I felt ... Read More
This was our first cruise in more than 20 years, and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. Missing Cozumel was a huge deal for us, we really wanted to see Mayan ruins - it was the largest factor in choosing this ship/itinerary. I felt sorry for the crew, they worked so hard but many people were really angry and upset. I never heard an explanation as to why we couldn't just arrive late in Cozumel and skip Princess Cay? Roatan was just a (bad) beach stop when the Cabana we'd rented was giving to Carnival passengers before we arrived. And Princess Cay was nice, but the end of the day was crazy with everyone having to stand in line forever to get on tenders. I was not impressed by the food, it was okay in the Da Vinci and the service was good but I would have liked better, fresher food on the buffet for some quicker meals. Very glad I got the coffee card, the coffee was often out at the buffet. I liked the MUTS, and some of the trivia games, and enjoyed the (pricey!) spa. I was upset to realize the theater show was PG-13 as I sat there with my children, we had to get up and walk out. The comic was good and we were very sorry we missed seeing the 2nd one, I guess he was to have boarded in Cozumel? The whole week's entertainment was thrown off, so we missed things and were generally unsatisfied with the shows. The last morning the water was cut off without warning while I was half done with my shower. And then were were hassled by Homeland Security about our lack of passports after we'd been assured by Princess that we didn't need them, the birth certificates would be fine. Sure, they were "fine" but the homeland security guy said our names would now be on the warning list and if we went again without them we could have to pay fines. I don't think I'm generally a crank or that I have lofty expectations, but I'm really happy we got a significant discount on the cruise (and nice cabin upgrades, we'd paid for BF and got BB) because I felt the value was much less than what I expected. We're not likely to cruise again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my ... Read More
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my husband and I booked and paid for a room for 4. The names on the booking manifest clearly showed 4 cruisers for a room for 4. When questioned, the purser told us that this was the way it was to be. They had no more rooms to offer despite the mistake. My children and grand kids stayed in a room designed for 3 with a roll away bed for my grandson with Cerebral Palsy. The room was a liability and a fire trap. There was no room to get out of beds but rather to crawl over each other!!!! When I spoke to Princess upon my arrival home, I was essentially told that a room with a roll away constitutes a room for 4! This is rubbish and I know it it is not correct. My daughter was taken ill last minute and was unable to come on the cruise, It was too late to get a refund. I boarded the ship and told them that I was requesting the use of her room for our disposal since we had paid for it. I was given a key. An hour later, the key was de programed and the room taken from us. The purser told us that the room belonged to Princess even tho I had paid for it. They were going to upgrade another passenger on MY DIME. This is reprehensible!! I have sailed 4 times with Princess and this was by far the worst. Our room stewart forgot bath mats and gave me a robe that was clearly stained with what looked like blood. We never saw him to make requests and had to leave notes. Our waiters got our food orders wrong. On disembarcation day in port, the hot water was turned off and no one could shower. The poolside music was not Caribbean and did not fit the theme of the cruise. They allowed the constant breaking of the ships rules. People were putting their towels on chaises to reserve and then walked off to return later. No reserving was to be allowed. We sailed into Roatan into a port that Carnival/Princess built and operated. Any money spent at this port goes into the coffers of Carnival/Princess. When they could not or would not sail out that evening due some breeze issues or so say they, we were forced to spend the night there, making us bypass Cozumel. Cozumel was to be the highlight of our trip. Upon my return home, I relayed this issue and told Princess that they consciously set this situation up to fail. This was NOT the first time this had happened. I made a point of telling them that tendering in was the resolve. I was told that tendering was not/is not an option due to some farce of a safety issue. The tendering would be far safer then the scenario of a squeezing a large ship into a bottle. My complaints were all listed in a letter to Princess upon my return home. I received a call over 4 weeks later from a young CSR who responded to my complaints in a rather well scripted manner. This scenario was the result of a well versed young lady prompted and practiced to feed me a line of Princess rhetoric. I truly did NOT expect this from Princess. I honestly thought that there would be some kind of restitution while not big, just something. I now have my travel agent working on trying to get this sorted out. Until and unless Princess does right by us, there will be no future cruises with Princess. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean and honestly.....they should have been the line that I was building credits with all along! Very Disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
Booked the Rodeway Airport/Cruiseport for the night prior to embarkation. Decent facility at a very fair price - $85/night included shuttle from airport and to cruiseport plus a very nice breakfast. Embarkation was very efficient - we ... Read More
Booked the Rodeway Airport/Cruiseport for the night prior to embarkation. Decent facility at a very fair price - $85/night included shuttle from airport and to cruiseport plus a very nice breakfast. Embarkation was very efficient - we were in our stateroom in under an hour from the time we arrived at the port. Baggage was slow to be delivered but with 3000 guests and therefore 6000+ bags, I can't complain. Food - we opted for anytime dining and LOVED it. The folks we met each lunch/dinner were friendly & talkative, from a variety of places and walks of life. I can't recall a single bad meal. Service was excellent. Breakfasts served in the dining room were a real treat. The International Cafe on the Plaza deck, just down from our stateroom was fabulous. The donuts, exp. the chocolate dipped, in the morning were heavenly. The $1.50 three-scoop gelato would have been a bargain at twice the price!! Service - our room steward Robert was attentive and efficient. Our favorite staff in the International Cafe - Nadiia and Roderick - were a joy. Entertainment - loved the comedians, esp. Troy Thirdgill, and Berte the piano man. Attended two of the main theatre shows and enjoyed them. The Movies Under The Stars were enjoyable - saw The Blind Side and Sherlock Holmes. Not so keen on the band Straight Up. Cabin - our outside cabin on port side of Deck 5 fully met our needs. Small but very functional. Great closet space. Great to have the mini-fridge. Had carried 2 bottles of white wine on board without problem and so was able to keep them chilled. Fitness Centre - made good use of the treadmills throughout the trip and my wife participated in several of the free classes - circuit training, morning stretch, etc. Disappointed that they charge $10 per for spin classes, yoga and pilates. IMHO these should be without charge. Formal nights - both my wife and I enjoy dressing for formal occassions so came prepared with tux, long gown, etc. Pleasantly surprised that there were so many like minded souls. My wife enjoyed the pouring the champagne pyramid on night 1 and the balloon drop/dancing on night 2 was great. Disembarkation - a very well run operation. Less than 1/2 hour from the time we showed up at our meeting spot until the time we were on shore with suitcases in hand. Shuttle to airport - pre purchased a shuttle coupon through the Rodeway Inn. Called the shuttle from a coutesy phone outside the terminal, it arrived in less than 15 minutes. One further stop to pick up folks disembarking from the Oasis of the Seas and then a short drive to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship that looks majestic in port and glamorously spotless on board. There are always people cleaning and ensuring that standards are upheld, from wiping down the underside of lounge chairs during the day ... Read More
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship that looks majestic in port and glamorously spotless on board. There are always people cleaning and ensuring that standards are upheld, from wiping down the underside of lounge chairs during the day to polishing the stairs in the Piazza at 5am in the morning, the attention to detail is very impressive. Our cruise was Valentine's week and there was a romance summit onboard so there were several weddings and people renewing their vows onboard. I think this cruise was an excellent mixture of relaxation, delicious food and fun adventures. Embarkation Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale (10.30am) we were issued with a boarding number so boarding could be done as quickly and efficiently as possible which ensured that controlled groups checked- in to avoid a 3000 passenger crush! We were given number 1 (which meant we were in the first 25 to arrive) and when it was time to check-in we headed for the Dolphin desk. We were issued with our cruise cards and our credit card was swiped again ready for our onboard account. Then after a quick photo in front of a Crown backdrop we headed onboard and had a headshot taken for the ship computer which was then checked every time we returned to the ship from a port. Embarkation started at 11.50am and by midday we in the DeVinci restaurant enjoying our first lunch onboard, having dropped off our hand luggage in our cabin. We were told that the restaurant wasn't open for cruisers unless they were B2B but we ignored that and went down anyway and the restaurant staff were lovely and treated us like VIPs. I got the Head waiter to try and get us on the Chef's table and he then called me across when he got the man with the waiting list on the phone, we were second on the list! Our cases were waiting for us outside our cabin after lunch so the $4 porter tip definitely did the trick! Mini-Suite We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck which was mid-ship and we loved it as we were never too far away from anywhere on the ship. There are six lifts mid-ship as opposed to two at the front and two at the back and we never heard any noise in the corridors from our cabin. We had an uncovered balcony with table and four chairs, a bath, a large sofa, two televisions, a safe, a fridge (where we chilled the champagne and wine we had brought on as this is permitted by Princess) and a queen size bed which was extremely comfortable. Our two large cases and flight bag fitted easily under the bed so you don't need to worry about where to put your suitcase in the cabin. The wardrobe had ample hangers and the mini-suite seemed generously spacious. We had good wi-fi connection and did all our postings in our cabin on our laptop rather than in the internet cafe. Avoid busy times as the internet speed varied considerably depending on what time of day it was. We tended to use it early in the morning for quickest speeds and benefitted from free minutes with the pre-paid internet package we purchased the week before. We asked our steward for bath robes and ice which were promptly delivered by the time we returned after sailaway. The room service was always very efficient and we enjoyed phoning up for tea, coffee, pastries and orange juice to start the day. We also made use of room service if we had been out on a port day and got back too late in the MDR lunch. There is something truly indulgent about tucking into lunch on your balcony in the Caribbean sun! We did a video tour of the cabin which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#788229302_6fyKw-M-LB Main Dining Room Restaurants I fancied egg Benedict for breakfast one morning (we rarely get it in the UK) and it wasn't on the breakfast menu in the MDR so I asked our waiter if it would be possible to have it - yes of course was the reply. As Rob said, no doesn't seem to be part of the ship vocabulary they are so keen to make your holiday absolutely perfect. Afternoon tea has the best cup of tea you will get on the ship - which was served with finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. The scones are not as good as my Mum can make but the rest was fantastic. We liked the fact that the waiters wore gloves to pour the tea which helped give the afternoon tea a sense of occasion. We were Anytime Dining which worked really well. If one MDR has a long queue head straight to the other one as you will probably find a shorter queue (we did). We only had to wait for a table for 2, on the formal nights, apart from that we have always walked straight in. If you are prepared to share you will probably be seated earlier and you can book a specific time if you choose through the dine line, but we prefer to go with the flow (it is called Anytime for a reason!) and the little pagers they give you mean you are free to wander around, have more photos or sit and enjoy a drink while you are waiting. The food was delicious and consistently excellent throughout. For lunch on embarkation day I enjoyed prawns with melon, châteaubriand with Bearnaise sauce and chocolate soufflE. Other lunches included a spicy beef pot topped with puff pastry, steak sandwich and spaghetti carbonara. Whenever we had beef it was cooked exactly as requested even if it was slow roasted beef or Beef Wellington! We always felt spoilt for choice and were never disappointed with what we ordered. Our meals in the main dining room included lobster, scallops, Alaskan Salmon, Fish in a tomato and saffron sauce, filet mignon and pork medallions in a honey and mustard sauce. The menu in the evening consisted of a choice of appetisers (Fettuccini Alfredo was a favourite) then soup or salad, then a main course, then dessert. Whenever we had a problem it was dealt with so professionally that Princess went up again in our estimation, making everything perfect as they make you feel like you are the only diners in the restaurant - this is certainly service with a smile. Sabtini's Restaurant - $20 cover charge We decided to book a table at Sabitini's the Italian speciality restaurant for our final night. We both had a fabulous meal. You choose your soup, main and dessert and everything else is served to you automatically. The hot and cold appertisers are presented with silver service which means that it sometimes doesn't look as good on the plate as it would have done presented by the chef (so if you have seen photos of the hot and cold starter selection they may look as if they lack a bit of finesse). The main problem is trying to fit everything on the plate! The cold anti-pasti (served together) included proscuttio and melon, bresola, porticini mushrooms with garlic puree, shrimp and artichoke in truffle oil, anchovy, salad and parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes and red peppers. The hot anti-pasti included crab cake, calamari, ricotta cheese flan and courgette in a tomato sauce. We then had our soup (I had tomato and shellfish) followed by two pastas - I really liked the egg noodles in a mushroom veloute, tender asparagus baby spinach and fresh tomato, the other was a homemade potato and ricotta ravioli. For main I had lobster tail with lobster sauce and pumpkin risotto and Rob had Chilean sea bass with a whole grain mustard crust, lemon asparagus and a mustard green salad. For dessert I had an expresso crème brûlEe with star anise biscotti and armagnac foam and Rob had tiramisu. (cappicino / expresso coffees etc where complimentary) We felt that this meal was the perfect way to end our cruise. The restaurant is much quieter than the MDR and the meal lasts a good two hours from start to finish. As with all venues the drinks stickers are accepted in the restaurant. We have a video which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...649_7JDDd-M-LB The Piazza This was one of my favourite areas on the ship. It is on decks 5, 6 and 7 which are linked by sweeping spiral staircases adding to the magnificence of the venue. It is here that you will find the International cafe, a real gem of the ship. It is open 24/7 for the best coffee and delights of the day. In the morning there is a large selection of croissants, muffins and Danish pastries by lunch there are salads, warm quiches and sandwiches and there is always a fabulous selection of cakes, desserts and patisserie tempting you between meals. I recommend the cookies and tiramisu which were both indulgently delicious. Also in the Piazza on deck 5 is Vines a wine bar serving tapas and sushi. All food served in the Piazza is complimentary apart from the speciality ice cream at the International Cafe. This is also where you will find the internet cafe. The Piazza is the place to meet friends or relax and enjoy the entertainment as there were musicians and artists who performed throughout the day and into the night. Entertainment The Princess Patters (the ship's daily newspaper) are delivered to your cabin each evening and they give you all the information you will need for the following day from what activities and shows are on, to information about tendering and the clocks on the ship changing to keep to local port times. With Princess you can certainly be as active or relaxed as you like. We used to plan our time like a military operation so as not to miss out on anything but it impossible to do everything. Activities during the day that we enjoyed included line-dancing, a make-up demonstration, a sushi, vegetable and fruit demonstation, ice carving, a putt putt competition (I won gold and Rob got silver for Great Britain, which was better than we did at the Olympics). Rob took part in a Valentine cake decorating competition and just missed out on winning but we then enjoyed the cake at dinner as they put it in one of the ship's fridges labelled with our cabin number. The comedy on the Crown was excellent. Kevin Hughes and Troy Thirdgill both did two different shows which we thoroughly enjoyed. We went to the 7pm show "Destination Anywhere" and it was absolutely superb. There are always at least two separate times for the main shows so it doesn't matter whether you are first or second sitting in Traditional Dining you will not miss out. "Destination Anywhere" had great dancing, costumes and singing. We really felt like we had been to a professional show. The Crown has seven different venues for entertainment in addition to the Princess Theatre, not to mention places such as the Adagio bar with a pianist, which works well at distributing the passengers so we never ever had a sense of just how many people were on the ship. We braved the Movies under the Stars once (it is fun snuggling up under a blanket on the sun loungers equipped with extra thick padded cushions at night) but the film was not to our taste and the popcorn was chewy and salted so we didn't stay for long! Chef's Table If I had to give one piece of advice from the entire cruise it would be to try and get on the chef's table if you love and appreciate food. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. It was $75 each and definitely worth every penny. Second piece of advice make sure you follow the advice of not eating much at all in the day. We all gathered at the International cafe at 7pm, and as we had already met for the health and safety briefing we already felt like we knew each other a bit. The Maitre D'hotel Francesco Ciorfido then escorted us up to Da Vinci dining room where we were given our white coats and led into the galley. In the galley you get an extensive explanation of how the food is organised and a complete tour. It was Italian night in the MDRs so all the waiters were dressed in Italian stripy t-shirts rather than the formal suits that they normally wear. Everyone was so friendly in the galley and seemed genuinely pleased that we were interested in seeing behind the scenes. We were then led through the galley to one area where the gastronomie began. We were each given a glass of champagne (constantly refilled) while we enjoyed the canapEs. Our first was Tuna tartar served on an oriental spoon which had been marinating in soy and ginger, delicious, next we had bistro mini quiche with fortini cheese and truffle which just melted in your mouth. Our third canapE was bistro vol-au-vent forestière with truffle oil, which was so light and our fourth canapE was a buckwheat blini with caviar and crème fraiche. The chef then left us in the safe hands of the Maitre D' so he could make our dinner. We gave back our white coats and were led back through the restaurant and down to the Michelangelo restaurant were a special table was waiting for us. The wine waiter then introduced the wine he had selected for the meal. The red was a robust 2004 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon (from Califorinia I think, called something Jackson) the white was a Pinot Grigio (I think) but I can't remember the details - just that it was light and delicious. We were given an appetiser (not listed on the menu) of beef carpaccio which was delicious. The executive chef Manlio Cuzzolin came to our table and introduced the risotto with lobster tail and claws which was divine. We were then served a bloody mary sorbet complete with a celery decoration and Manlio came round with a bottle of vodka which he then poured over the top. The waiters then removed the table decorations and bread baskets from the table ready for the theatre to begin! Manlio and his team then reappeared once more carrying huge medieval spiked flambE roasters which they laid down on the table behind us. They then poured over ladles and ladles of flames that looked truly spectacular. Another waiter carried out a huge paella shaped pan filled with lobsters - and that wasn't even on the menu! Our main course was Trio of beef, veal and pork tenderloin with jus, salsa verde, bEarnaise sauce and cafe de Paris butter (they were each in little sauce pots so you helped yourself to what you fancied) served with lobster on the side. This was accompanied with mashed potatoes (infused with the flambEed meat juices) with baby sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, char grilled asparagus and charred premium vegetables. The wine and conversation just kept on flowing. We were lucky that everyone was so friendly and we all got on really well. Our cheese course was potted stilton with port wine reduction and walnuts and rosemary biscotti - I couldn't believe just how tasty it was and even Rob who is normally not keen on stilton cheese loved it. Our dessert was orange mousse with raspberry mango glaze which was served with a delicious dessert wine. The head pastry chef came out with Manlio for this and I asked him how long the dessert took him to make....five hours!!! The dessert was served on an edible sugar crafted plate which was so attractive. To complete the meal, we had coffee (or tea) with Manlio's homemade biscotti and amoretti. Manlio gave all the ladies a red rose and all the men a signed Princess cookbook (worth $49.95). We then had our photographs taken with Manlio and Francesco and another one with the entire group. These were delivered to our cabin the following day. We were the envy of the entire restaurant with the food and extra attention we were given - and several diners got up and took pictures of the medieval spiked flambE roaster. I thanked Manlio again while we were having our group picture taken and he said it was an absolute pleasure to cook for people who really appreciate his craft - we definitely got the impression that they really enjoyed the evening as well. This is truly an experience of a lifetime not to be missed! Rob has done a great job at capturing the evening in just over a minute on video which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#789772110_TQPnm-M-LB Formal nights Our first formal night was on Valentine's day and ship was decorated with red and white balloons and an amazing selection of Valentine's cakes made by the pastry chefs for a display in the Piazza. There was a champagne waterfall in the Piazza and all the ladies were invited to help the Maitre D' pour wine into the top by standing on a small platform. The champagne waterfall was accompanied with complimentary glasses (yes in the plural) of champagne and canapEs. At the International cafe a waitress came and asked us what we wanted to drink and we said we wouldn't mind a complimentary glass of champagne so she tracked down one of the waiters with trays of glasses of champagne and got him to come over to us - we were very impressed. The canapEs just kept on coming too so it was a very pleasant experience waiting for our table. The champagne came round again and the waiter automatically put another glass down on the table for us both even though mine was still half full!! There are several photographers on formal nights so there are lots of opportunities to capture the evening. However, we tended to offer to take photos of others and then they returned the favour. 95% of the passengers were suitably dressed for a formal night and we loved dressing up in our finery for the evening. The second formal night was lobster night and another opportunity to have formal shots taken by the ship's photographers. At 11pm there was a balloon drop in the Piazza and earlier in the afternoon we had signed our balloons in the hope of winning a bottle of champagne. Tendering The organisation was superb and it was clear the whole operation is a well oiled machine. We enjoyed watching the tenders being lowered into the sea for the day, and after breakfast we headed down to the Michelangelo restaurant where we were issued with a ticket for our tender. We didn't wait more than 5 minutes either time which is incredible when you consider there were 3000 passengers potentially wanting to disembark for their island excursions. Pools There are four pools on the Crown. The one at the front is adult only next to the Lotus Fitness and Spa near the Sanctuary. It is extremely quiet perhaps because many wrongly believe that it is part of Sanctuary with a charge. The pool at the back of the ship (aft) is also adult only and near the Calypso cafe and Horizon Court. I tried both adult pools and they were pleasant although cold when first getting in. The two pools on the Lido are family pools, one by the Trident Grill, pizzeria and ice cream parlour and the other has the Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) which start showing films at lunchtime, although we found it too loud. The ports The port stops in the Western Caribbean all seemed very different which definitely added to the wonderful experience. There are four ports of call: Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, Roatan Honduras, Cozumel Mexico and Princess Cays in the Bahamas and I have done a report for each. Disembarkation As with everything on the Crown the organisation was superb and disembarkation was easy. Towards the end of your cruise you are asked what time your flight is, whether you have an excursion or whether you wish to self disembark. From this information you are then given coloured labels for your cases and a disembarkation time and meeting point. The night before disembarkation you are asked to put your packed suitcases outside your cabin. Having a flight bay (carry on) was really useful for bringing wine onboard and for putting our evening wear and shoes in from the last night (don't forget to you lay out the clothes you intend to travel in, so you don't pack them in your suitcase by mistake!) Water, tea and coffee are provided at the meeting points so again you feel you are valued right up to the last minute you are on the ship. You are then disembarked according to the number and colour of your luggage labels. All the suitcases at Fort Lauderdale were lined up in the different number and colour labels so it was really easy to find our suitcases at the port. I think we were really lucky to sail on such a fine ship for our first cruise and would love to take another cruise next year - we have our free onboard credit letter (obtained from the future cruise sails desk) tucked away in a safe place! Grand Cayman The ship arrived about 6.50am (due in at 7am). We watched some of the lifeboats being lowered into to the water ready to be tenders for the day. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Horizon Court (main dining room doesn't open until 7.30am) which was convenient but not half as nice as the MDR.??From there we went down to Michelangelo MDR where they give you a tender ticket number. This is a great location as you can get something tasty at the International Cafe and munch it in while you are waiting. We didn't have to wait more than 5 mins before we were escorted down to the tender. It has to be said that the organisation by Princess is superb and we really couldn't fault the tendering. You need your cruise card (and passport although we didn't have to show it) to get on and off the boat.??Upon arrival at Grand Cayman there are iced water dispensers and paper cups for you if you want. We hadn't pre-booked a tour but as soon as you get off the tender in George Town you are greeted by tour operators all offering the same highlights tour offered by Princess. We took a highlights tour for $20 per person, this included the Cayman Governor's residence, Hell, rum and rum cake tasting and the Dolphin Park (where one person on our tour got in the water to pet and kiss the dolphins for $20 including a lovely professional photograph) We went back via 7 mile beach where we all opted to get dropped off at Sea Grape Beach for some sea and sun (if you do this you have to get back independently)??We headed down the beach a bit and found a lovely quiet spot (on Mondays there are only two cruise ships in port us and the Carnival - tomorrow there will be six ships in port!!) It is no problem getting transport back, a taxi would be $5 each but we just crossed the road and immediately got picked up at the bus stop and that only cost $5 for both of us! (A taxi will want to hang around to try and get more passengers (they like at least four) unless you are prepared to pay $20, so the bus was not only cheaper but a lot quicker)??We had a quick look at George Town (a tax free haven but we are not shoppers) and then got the tender back. Before you get on the tender you are given a fresh cold flannel to cool yourself down and again there is water on tap if you wish.??Once back onboard we ordered room service and enjoyed a club sandwich on the balcony in the sunshine looking across to Grand Cayman (we are the starboard side) with a glass of wine from our box in the fridge. Is was so hot on the balcony I had to come in after lunch!!! I didn't think I'd be saying that in Miami, and yes to answer a previous question the dolphin balconies are completely uncovered. ??There were about 15 suitcases at the tender boat coming back which belonged to passengers who missed the Crown at Fort Lauderdale and therefore caught up with it in Grand Cayman. The Carnival ship arrived after us and left before us so we felt that Princess gave us as much time possible on the island. There was a call for one passenger at 3.30pm and then they said he was on his way (I wouldn't want to risk missing the ship, I think he only just made it) http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#789147795_fEo5A-M-LB Roatan We both really loved Roatan Honduras!??When we got up rain was lashing against the window which was quite a surprise after the blue skies of Grand Cayman. Fortunately the rain had stopped by the time we docked as Captain Andy gently reversed the Crown into Mahogany Bay and we admired the ship wrecks from our balcony. Last week it was so windy that the ship was unable to dock at Roatan or Princess Cays so we felt very lucky to just have cloud.??After breakfast we headed down to the Princess Theatre for our organised excursion meet point. As there are several trips organised by Princess they assign you a sticker, then your sticker colour all sit together and when your trip is ready to go you are led out orderly one row at a time. Again Princess have this down to a fine art, as with everything you know you are in safe hands. ?Once through the duty free shop (the only way to exit the port) we met our guide (remember your tour number we were 110) and were led to an air conditioned mini-bus. Unlike Grand Cayman we didn't see lots of private tour companies offering tours at the port although there were plenty of taxis. This could be because they are not allowed in as security in Roatan is very high (not sure about this).??First we were led to a view point to look down on the old port (an NCL was berthed there) and given 15 mins for shopping (there was a tourist gift shop and a supermarket)...oh dear we thought we don't want a tour of the gift shops!!! We didn't need to worry at all. We were then driven through the main street in the town, this area was extremely poor with wooden shacks for houses, lots of litter, broken down cars, and banks guarded at the door by burley men with guns and rifles! We passed the Ambulance and Fire station (the Fire engine didn't have any wheels!! fortunately there were two and the other one did) Our guide said crime on the island is not high only about 10% - that seems extremely high, but the mainland is apparently really bad. ??Our tour was island highlights and from this point we were driven to richer, well kept areas but we both felt that the town drive through was an important part of the tour as it showed how many people on the island live, rather than glossing over it. The iguana sanctuary was great. They provide you with banana leaves to feed them and they are so tame - and enormous - that you get lots of picture and petting opportunities. I nearly got hit on the head by one falling out of a tree! There were also monkeys and parrots in cages plus the fish and lobster in the sea.??We then went to a private house which had a superb view and a fantastic garden with lots of beautiful plants and flowers. Next was Parrot Tree Plantation an exclusive residential area where we had a complimentary drink and a swim. The island highlights tour was a great tour and highly recommended.??We popped back to the Crown for a spot of lunch at the International cafe then headed to Mahogany beach on the Magical chair lift (this went up to $8 three weeks ago and you can pre-book tickets on the Crown to be delivered to your cabin at no extra charge)??Mahogany Bay is a beautiful new port and you can have a perfect day for free on this island if you wish! There is a path leading across to white sands and sea with hundreds of lounge chairs that are complementary! It is actually quicker to walk to the beach than take the chair lift but we fancied the chair lift experience of an aerial view! There is a bar for snacks and refreshments if you wish. It is not until you get on the beach you realise just how enormous the Crown actually is - but she maintains a look of class and beauty. We didn't experience any problems with sand fleas or mosquitoes at Roatan - although I did use insect repellent based on other postings I am not aware that any one else had a problem either. Interestingly, even though we had good weather with some cloud on Roatan the people who visited the West side of the island had quite a lot of rain!?What a great day, enjoy the video! ?http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...720_Y58Ju-M-LB Cozumel ?At breakfast there was an announcement that several shore excursions had been cancelled due to the windy weather. These were mainly snorkling and scuba diving excursions plus the speedboat to Passion Island. ?We hadn't pre-booked any excursions for Cozumel and that didn't matter as there are lots of tour operators in booths at the port who are very accommodating and gave us directions for the tour we were looking for. We were keen to do an x-rails trip in the jungle and just had to cross the road at the port where there was a tour operator there offering a lot of additional tours. ??We paid a deposit with the chap $10 then got a cab into town $7 for the pick up. Unfortunately we didn't have enough cash on us so we paid by credit card ($155) which normally wouldn't be a problem but we had to pay in pesos so we were subject to a less than favourable exchange rate of 13 rather than 12.5 to the dollar. The cost included taxi there and back to the ship which considering the distance was good.??The x-rails is an off road drive through the jungle. It is very dusty and dirty so if you do it make sure you wear old clothes (and bring a change of clothes to get back on the ship!). Helmets and goggles are provided. You drive to Jade Caverns where you can swim in the jade green water under the bats. You also swim into a cave which is pitch black and that is quite an experience. We then stopped off on the way back to see some natural coral shelters used in hurricanes. You can see that the coral used to be under water as there are shells embedded into the wall. The x-rails trip is really exhilarating but not for faint hearted (or anyone with a back problem) You are really thrown about on the rough road which is great fun.??We popped back to the ship for a bite to eat in the International cafe and then headed out again. At the port as well as shops there is an area with sun loungers and hammocks so we chilled out there in the sun and then I got a massage in the massage tent (full body massage for $25 - better than the Lotus spa prices!!!)??Cozumel is a lovely island with very friendly helpful people who are keen to make sure you have a good holiday. Having been to Roatan which is still quite primitive it was all the more apparent who advanced this Mexican island is. We thoroughly enjoyed Cozumel and think that this cruise has an excellent balance of fun and relaxation.??You are always requested to be back on board 30 mins before we are due to set sail, today 4.30pm for a 5pm sailaway. However it was 4.55pm and the gangways were still out. A call was put out for the missing passengers. 30 mins later they arrived in a taxi right up the pier next to the ship and gangway. Four passengers got out and everyone on the balconies gave a huge cheer... how embarrassing, they were lucky as I don't think we would have waited much longer. Needless to say captain Andy then announced we were now all on board, that they had been stuck in traffic and we were about to set sail.?Enjoy the video? http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...083_H577u-M-LB Princess Cays, Bahamas Princess Cays, Bahamas.??We knew that this was the stop that the Crown often fails to tender due to the weather so we had fingers crossed that we would be lucky and we certainly were. The weather forecast said we would have highs of 19 degress (66F) not a good sign. However, the forecast was completely wrong, after a cold start we had glorious weather in the Bahamas and lots of people caught the sun.??The sun came out as soon as our tender landed and as we were the only ship using the island today there were loads of free sun loungers so we were really spoilt for choice. Once on the island you can either turn right or left. Right of the tender pier is quieter and is where you will find clam shells if you have rented them. Left of the pier is busier although this is also the side where you can hire private cabanas (bright coloured beach huts). I would definitely say don't waste your money on a cabana as we spoke to one chap with a cabana who had been led to believe it would be secluded but it was actually on the main path and he had paid $200 for the privilege! Needless to say we used the free sun loungers (available in the sun and the shade) and were very happy.??Your soda card won't work on Princess Cays however we had a UKP sticker and were able to get mocktails and juice all day (one waiter said we couldn't use it but everyone else served us no problem).??I was keen to snorkel so hired the gear for $24 (flippers, vest, mask and snorkel) Having headed to the right handside as it would be a quieter beach we were advised that the snorkelling is better on the left had side so we crossed the little wooden bridge once more. Unfortunately my first snorkel was plagued by jelly fish which were absolutely everywhere and I spent as much time looking out for jelly fish as the colourful fish I'd gone in to see! ??The lifeguard said it was the direction of the wind that had brought them in from the sea so it is good to know they are not normally a problem. He said they will sting you so swim around them and then pointed out that they were not such a problem in his area so I went in again and I was really pleased I did. The coral although mainly grey had parts that were bright purple and yellow and the fish were so beautiful and swimming all around.??There is a BBQ for lunch which is okay, I personally thought the fresh fruit salads and cookies were better than the main BBQ. We had reservations for Sabitini's so were not wanting to eat a lot anyway. We had sun, sea and sand today and it was perfect. As on board ship the food and beverage staff are constantly circulating in case you would like a drink so you never have to stand at the bar waiting to be served. There is iced water provided for free and several waterfountains dotted along the main path.??The last tender was 3.30pm but we didn't fancy standing in a long line at the end of the day so we headed back about 2pm and then enjoyed a glass of fizz on the balcony still enjoying the sunshine. ?http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...208_RBquh-M-LB One thing I would like to add is how lovely and friendly everyone is on a cruise (both passengers and staff).The staff work so hard and are really professional throughout. Anyone new to cruising and questioning the autotip let me reassure you that the staff earn every single penny of it and thoroughly deserve it. By doing the autotip you ensure that everyone is rewarded for your good service and not just those on the "front line".??The one thing that really impressed us about Princess was the superb organisation throughout. Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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