2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Went to islands we had not been to before. The ship was clean and well managed. There is obviously a lot of Elite members now cruising. Laundry warning about extra time for turn around of returned clean clothes was the first clue. ... Read More
Went to islands we had not been to before. The ship was clean and well managed. There is obviously a lot of Elite members now cruising. Laundry warning about extra time for turn around of returned clean clothes was the first clue. Dining room food choices are getting smaller with lots of unknown dishes being presented. Sabatini's and Crown Grill were better food in general and service in both was very good. Kind of confused by them having different wine lists. The wine we chose in Sabitini's, and all enjoyed was not available in Crown Grill. Strange since both are on the same ship. Regular dining room food seemed lackluster. A sign of the times in almost all cruise lines. Bottom lines are taking effect. Princess still ranks high for me but declining. Cruise staff was excellent as always and the hosted cruise critic event visit by a staff member was a great positive. Biggest complaint is still seat savers and deck chair hogs. All cruise lines need to enforce some more stringent rules! Overall meeting fellow passengers were a positive experience. I will still look at Princess first but continue to cruse by destination and itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this ship for ports or call and length of trip. We loved all the tucked away areas on the ship. The Sanctuary was quiet and enjoyable, we booked it for three half days. The restaurants were fantastic and the service provided by ... Read More
We chose this ship for ports or call and length of trip. We loved all the tucked away areas on the ship. The Sanctuary was quiet and enjoyable, we booked it for three half days. The restaurants were fantastic and the service provided by Antonio and Anthony was five star. We never visited any specialty restaurant because the food in the main dinning room was so delicious. Behind the fitness center is a free unisex sauna and steam room that can be used free of charge. The TRX classes lead by Dan were outstanding. We enjoyed the outside jogging track on 18 as long as people walking didn't get in the way. The shows were very good and we enjoyed all of them. The ports of call were our favorite. We went to Pirates Cove in Barbados, The Marriott in St. Kitts and in St. Lucia we did the "Joy Tour Excursion". They took us to the mud baths, waterfalls and finished up with a delicious local meal. Our tour guys Captain Phil, Nano and Jonathan were polite, informative and fun. Our least favorite excursion was in Antigua. We visited Church Valley Beach which was disappointing because the bar service and food were horrible and way overpriced. The steep slope to enter and exit the water was challenging for the ederly. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
-The cabin and common spaces were well laid out and polished. -The service was overall very good. -Evening entertainment was mixed, both very good and some average -The daily programmes were good but scheduling was not well ... Read More
-The cabin and common spaces were well laid out and polished. -The service was overall very good. -Evening entertainment was mixed, both very good and some average -The daily programmes were good but scheduling was not well thought out. eg last day had a lot of interesting things but the day before last was boring. -Large outdoor movie screen by one of the pool decks was great. -My kids 19-23 enjoyed the cruise thoroughly as there were plenty in their age group even though the bulk of the crowds were old. -Shore excursions were ridiculously expensive especially if you are a family of 5. How about some family rates instead of pp rates please? Go with local tour operators at less than half the price. 6 shore stops on this 10-day cruise, very good. -Buffet food and snacks were good but food menu and quality in main dining halls were patchy and mostly average. exception the creme brulee. -Fitness area was large and good, some Norwegian and RCI ships can have small areas. However, the spa was as with all these ships very expensive - avoid. Good nightclub layout but music /DJ average. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first Crown Princess Cruise. Our friends cruise with Princess on a regular basis and referred this ship. We we couldn’t have been more pleased with everything from checking in to disembarking. Every person that we came in ... Read More
This was our first Crown Princess Cruise. Our friends cruise with Princess on a regular basis and referred this ship. We we couldn’t have been more pleased with everything from checking in to disembarking. Every person that we came in contact with was more than helpful. Our room steward, Igor...Bartenders, Bruce, Viktor, William and Dragana. Every employee we passed in the hallway were smiling and friendly. There was so much entertainment on this ship and we loved it all! Just to name a few, Movies under the stars, the voice, ice carvings, fruit and Vegetable carvings. The buffet was excellent as well as all the other restaurants. We have cruised with other cruise lines and found this one to be far better. I thought there were very few children on this ship, however, when I stopped up on the sports deck 17, I saw the youth center & kids area! Very nice! We look forward to another trip soon on the Princess. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This sea day intensive 8 day cruise was very relaxing. We chose this cruise because we have not been to Bon Aire before and were looking for something warm during our home state’s cold months. We set sail from Fort Lauderdale. I will ... Read More
This sea day intensive 8 day cruise was very relaxing. We chose this cruise because we have not been to Bon Aire before and were looking for something warm during our home state’s cold months. We set sail from Fort Lauderdale. I will be as honest as I can. With that being said this is not our first time on The Crown and we are also Elite cruisers. We have noted a number of things have changed both prior and during the cruise. Our last cruise was just seven months ago to Alaska. We flew Delta Air going down and it was very easy and getting our luggage was very smooth. We could not get into the hotel we prefer to stay in so we were at Hilton on 17th just outside the marina. This was our first (and our last) time in this hotel. As you know there are many hotels that are quite expensive in the immediate area. We like just outside the port for many reasons. Everything is in walking distance and very convenient. Currently Carabbas has “happy hour” from 3-6 if you sit in the bar area and this includes drinks and appetizers for half price. You can easily eat your fill very inexpensively. Walgreens, Publix, Winn Dixie and a Ross is just minutes away so if you forget something you can get whatever you need. One of the best reasons to stay so close is that you can walk onto the ship yourself rather than pay for another taxi ride. If you aren’t taking a ton of luggage walking on will save you easily 20 plus dollars. We have in the past had a hotel tell us you could not walk on and wanted 20 dollars pp to ride to the port. Not true and a good way to save yourself a few dollars to spend elsewhere. Hilton was much more inexpensive than where we normally stay but we wanted to keep in the area. We saved more than 150 dollars per night, however, this hotel is showing its wear and Is lacking a bit of elbow grease. Staff were very effective but even the mini fridge in our hotel was not even working. In fairness, they did give us free cold drinks at the bar to compensate. There is Einsteins Bagels within a few minutes walking distance for breakfast and Starbucks next door. After walking up to the pier we were able to hand over our bags to the porter. They will ask you for a tip but will tell you it isn’t required. I asked a Princess Employee and they said a dollar a bag is pretty typical. Getting on the ship was super easy and dropping off your carry on’s is simple once onboard. Usually boarding after 1 pm your wait times are reduced. Once onboard employees will ask you if you would like one of the drink packages. From our own personal experience the coffee card is worth the thirty dollars you pay for it. We do not typically pay for the soda card because part of being Elite does set up a mini wet bar in your room and we don’t drink a ton of soda. The Adult Beverage package is almost 70 dollars per day and covers drinks I believe up to 12 dollars per drink. Do the math and decide how much alcohol you will drink per day as it may not be worth it for you to buy the package. The International Cafe always has wonderful fare and you can get a quick sandwich (warm or cold) along with soup or salad. Remember this location as i think you will visit it often. It is always open so if you are up late it may be the place to go. We had an obstructed outside cabin an it was wonderfully positioned on Emerald deck in the middle of the ship. Everything was super handy to get to. Crown Princess is a very classically appointed ship and doesn’t have a lot of the newer bells and whistles so it may not be perfect for young active kids. It is a very quiet, relaxing ship for us it has just the right amount of amenities. We choose to do the late traditional seating. The benefit of this is that your wait staff gets to know your needs and your likes and they strive to make you comfortable and satisfied. We have done “anytime” before and did not care for the constant reintroducing yourself to passengers and staff. Late seating gives you enough time to get back from the islands and prepare for dinner without rushing. Dining is pretty steadily good fare. We believe it is good enough not to pay the surcharge to go to the speciality restaurants. They have a wide variety of foods and a “standard” menu so if you don’t like what is on that night you can have steak or chicken or pasta instead. I am a vegetarian and cruise after cruise you know what is being served. It would be nice if they had a variety or changed up the menu. Some of the dishes are better than the others. My husband’s favorite night is the 2nd Formal Night where they offer escargot, lobster and prawns and Beef Wellington. They have removed things that I think were a bit spendy like soufflés. They only offer that once during an eight day cruise. Rolls are half the size of what they once were and rather than put out butter they sort of dole it out on an as needed basis. What we do enjoy about Princess is they are not afraid to employ comedians for their shows. We have seen some of the best comedians on these ships. Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) sadly is not what it once was. They used to have pretty close to first run movies every night but that is not the case anymore. We are not fans of the musicals and broadway productions. Sea days have many fun activities. We enjoy the trivia. There are plenty of pools and hot tubs. There are movies either outside at MUTS or in the Princess Theater. The cruise staff are quite interactive and put on different demonstrations. We enjoy the Martini demonstrations. But they also do food carving and have wine tastings. Whatever your pleasure. The choice of islands are usually very enjoyable. This cruise was Curacao, Aruba and Bon Aire. All of which were excellent. We did the Dune Buggies, Hato Caves and “Ostrich Farm”. The off road vehicles were wonderful and Princes caught the fact that we bought 2 tickets and you only needed one ticket for two people on this excursion which was very refreshing. The hike to the caves were absolutely worth it but arrival at the Ostrich Farm supposedly the tour “did not include tix to the farm” so we went to the souvenir shop at the Ostrich Farm and waited for the tour bus. This was very disappointing and telling the tour desk the fact that we were “there for 20 minutes” and no one else complained I guess means nothing. I guess when you advertise specifically for the farm if no one else says anything then it did not happen. Aruba had a beautiful tour that was on the Mi Duschi and included 3 snorkel stops, snorkeling over the WWII Antilla ship wreck, a hot lunch and a ship “swing” was more than fun. And finally at Bon Aire we did the glass bottom Kayaking to the marine “reef” was super fun. If you do this please have sand shoes or water sandals the shore is very rocky and sharp. You do about a 3/4 mile kayak up then swim an then back. It isn’t hard but you can’t be a total couch potato. The reef snorkel was amazing. I am not sure I have EVER seen so many fish and so many different types. All islands are very clean and the locals are wonderful. Our cabin steward was not up to par as they have been in the past. We like to tip upfront to ensure prompt and service that excels but this time that did not work. It was probably the most disappointed in service we have ever had. But dining service was above and beyond. We did eat at Sabatnni’s Italian this time. Service was great. But for the surcharge the food was not worth it. We would have had better food in the dining room. We ate at the Italian restaurant when they first opened these speciality dining rooms and the fun of it initially was that you would get a little bite of all the antipasta’s and got to taste more of what they offered. Now you order like you do at a regular restaurant and food was not impressive at all. Maybe the Crown Grill (Steak) would be different. The Pub Lunch they offer on two different sea days with British flair has always been good and I would recommend trying it. There is no cost on Pub Lunch days. There is now “Salty Dog” Gastro Pub in the evening for a couple of hours that has a surcharge but we did not try it. The fee was minimal (12 dollars I believe) so I would give it a try maybe next time. It was a great cruise. Very relaxing and worth every penny we paid. Knowing this I’d recommend this itinerary and ship. I would also like to recommend really sticking to a particular line for loyalty benefits. Elite (15 cruises) you get free mini bar set up, certain amount of free internet minutes, free dry cleaning, no waiting in lines, captains parties, free special hor devoures every night prior to dinner so something to strive for whichever line you choose. My husband and I enjoy Princess and we find it a very relaxing line. We can do as much or as little as we like but there isn’t pushing and shoving, small amount of children, you don’t see a lot of drunks it is just relaxing. Makes for nice memories and a great vacation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
I was a little skeptical about this ship after reading a so so review by some people on cruise critic. Princess is Princess, so I had to think it would still be good. The Crown Princess is a little older, but still a fantastic ship. ... Read More
I was a little skeptical about this ship after reading a so so review by some people on cruise critic. Princess is Princess, so I had to think it would still be good. The Crown Princess is a little older, but still a fantastic ship. The service provided by the very friendly crew was wonderful. The food in the main dining room was great. The surprise was the food in the buffet, which provided wide choices and the quality of dishes some of which that you would find in a five star restaurant. I am sure that it is not easy to cook for thousands of people for a buffet, The food and the pastries were amazing. There was always a good choice of entertainment day or night. I love the Princess experience, because they spoil you and let you have your vacation as busy and fun as you want at your own speed. We have been on many cruise ships and cruise lines over the years. The Crown Princess was so much fun that we have decide to take another cruise on the ship in a few months. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise because we took a 5 star cruise on Princess two years ago. This cruise was especially important, because destinations Bonaire & Curacao are where we spent our honeymoon diving, 20 years ago. NEGATIVES: A ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we took a 5 star cruise on Princess two years ago. This cruise was especially important, because destinations Bonaire & Curacao are where we spent our honeymoon diving, 20 years ago. NEGATIVES: A cruise ship is a floating hotel. This review is one star, because the mattresses on this ship are SHOT. We paid $3,200 for a suite. Look at the images of our bed, and you will agree that this 'hotel' deserves this one star rating. Regardless how 4-5 star other features on the ship are, if you are sleeping in a 'boat-shaped' bed, tossing and turning all night, back aching, knees aching, it is a ONE STAR experience! The ship is to go in dry dock in March, and all mattresses are set to be changed. That just made us angry! BEWARE, if you have booked Crown Princess between now & March, you will be sleeping on shot mattresses. The ONLY thing Princess can do, to satisfy us at this point, is to give us an anniversary RE-DO, because we deserve it! AGE DISCRIMINATION: My husband & I are avid divers. We booked Princess dive shore excursions on this trip to 'recreate' our 3 week honeymoon in Bonaire & Curacao. We carried 70 pounds of dive gear on this trip, everything we needed except for weights & tanks, for four planned dives, two in Aruba, and two in Bonaire. Princess description of the Bonaire dives stated age 15-70. My husband is a very fit 64 year old Orthopedic surgeon. 36 hours prior to our planned dives in Bonaire, we found a letter on our door stating that Mike's dive had been cancelled because "as stated on our paperwork, 60 is the cutoff age." SO not only was our dive cancelled, they blamed US! Throughout the trip, I checked on Princess' description of the Bonaire Certified Dive Excursion, and it STILL read 15-70! Princess stated that the dive partner's insurance is the reason our dives cancelled. We dive all over the world. I do not believe this is true. Never have I ever seen on any dive liability form, an age limit. Divers fill out a detailed medical questionnaire. That, and fitness to handle your heavy gear are used to determine whether you are fit to dive. Princess has partnered with an excursion that practices gross age discrimination in Bonaire. SIXTY is especially crazy! Really? I would suggest that Princess find a different excursion partner in Bonaire, and I would also suggest that an additional criteria for certified divers, is that they submit proof of DAN insurance, a divers insurance that any avid diver carries. We pre-paid beverages. There is a 15 drink limit, which was not disclosed, but we never came close to that anyway!! In our case, we would have been better off just paying our bar tab. Once we figured out that we would need about 7 drinks a day to break even, we realized that in our case, this was not a good deal! SALES hits: The first two hours on the ship, I believe SEVEN Princess employees hit us up for a wine tasting. Once or twice was fine, but this was highly annoying. I was ready to put a sicker on my forehead that stated "I am not interested in your wine tasting"! Overall, we felt bombarded by staff hitting us up for sales features. INTERNET GRIND: We purchased 100 minutes (110) for $69. The band width is WAY too narrow to accommodate the number of passengers using the internet. The only reason I accessed the internet was to check on my elderly father every couple of days. I needed the entire 110 minutes to accomplish that. The minutes begin when you "connect" but you are NOT connected at that time! It grinds, and grinds, and grinds. It took me 15-20 minutes to access FB and check on my dad, and send him a little note that we were safe, each time I did so. POSITIVES: The Ship: Aside from the mattresses, we were very pleased with this ship & its amenities. I would be rating this a 4 star. 'MUTS' (Movies Under The Stars) is fantastic! One night mid-ship, they had a fabulous 70's style disco night and incorporated Love Boat theme. SUPER FUN! The bar areas are great, we especially frequented the aft bar and greatly enjoyed it! The gym is incredible, with a large selection of equipment, and all cardio-type machines are high and up front, providing majestic views of the sea. The ship has enough pool/bar areas that we never felt crowded. STAFF was just wonderful. From the front desk, to the excursion crew, to bar tenders, wait staff, our main dining staff. Just incredible. 5 Star all the way. Our cabin attendant was SUPERB. Her name is Maria, and we wanted to bring her home! She did her best to resolve the mattress issue, but the images below are AFTER her efforts! NOT Maria's fault. Aruba Certified Diving Excursion was AMAZING. We weren't taken to the beautiful, fragile reefs, and we did not expect to be. Having observed the lack of buoyancy control by many of the other ship divers, I understand fully why! BUT, they took us to two shipwrecks and both were VERY interesting and teeming with life. We actually saw THE biggest Green Moray we have ever seen on the second dive. It was at least 8' long, and just behind it's head top to bottom was two FEET thick! We also saw an octopus on that dive, a rarity in the daytime. I plan to review the operator separately from this. Big KUDO's! Once our dive trip in Bonaire was canceled, we did not book another excursion through the ship. We easily hailed a cab and took the scenic route past the salt flats & flamingos to Jibe City, a world famous windsurfing destination. We sat with our feet in the water drinking a beer, and had a fabulous time. All 3 ports were nice. Bonaire had the best shopping for gifts, really classy, not so much typical "souvenir" items. Port vendors in Aruba & Curacao will warn you that you won't find much in Bonaire. DON'T believe them! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was a bucket list trip around South America. Boarding was total disorganized and took over 4 1/2 hours. No one in the terminal had any answers as to why the delays. The ship is old and outdated. stains in carpeting, ratty mats and ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip around South America. Boarding was total disorganized and took over 4 1/2 hours. No one in the terminal had any answers as to why the delays. The ship is old and outdated. stains in carpeting, ratty mats and flooring in the gym, no nets on basketball courts, broken machines in the casino. When I spoke to a supervisor about the condition of the ship I was told" Sir, you have to understand that the ship will be going into dry dock so we're not bothering now with those things." Could not believe a crew member would say that to a recently boarded passenger. Got sick first night. Went to medical center second day but could not be seen then due to emergency. went next day and received a bill for $600. Due to critically ill patient we had to turn around and as a result of the delays we missed two of 5 ports- Montevideo and Falkland Islands. Cabin next door to us flooded and at 5:30 AM we had to move ourselves into another cabin. No help from crew as they were "busy" cleaning up. Two small fires during cruise- one in engine room and one in incinerator room. Food was very mediocre in buffet and dining room. The food in Sabatini's was very good. So many problems that the line finally offered passengers a credit on the cruise and on a future cruise. That was well received but as for this cruise, we spent 11 of 14 days at sea on a somewhat run down ship. Very disappointing and a waste of a lot of money. Front desk staff were great as was Cruise Director, trying to be helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2016
My first complain complain is the bed furniture need to be replaced very badly, the mattress has cave in that make us feel like sleeping in the sink hole (it also happen to friends of us on other room), otherwise the room is clean and cozy ... Read More
My first complain complain is the bed furniture need to be replaced very badly, the mattress has cave in that make us feel like sleeping in the sink hole (it also happen to friends of us on other room), otherwise the room is clean and cozy except the shower room is so tiny, it doesn't have room to turn around for a skinny person like me (I am only 140 pounds and 5 feet 7), I wonder how can I 200 pounder can take their shower. Second is the embarkation is a mess and chaos, our priority boarding is long and tiresome, other than that everything is excellent: the boarding process is somehow smooth, the food are excellent and the dinning service is excellent but the buffet service is not good (stuff are talking to each other and ignore our present, so we have to get our own drink after waiting for 30 minutes), all on board program and activities are excellent, never have a bore moment.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
The Crown Princess needs some work. IE: Paint, repairs etc. That being said the crew (nearly everyone) we came in contact with were fabulous, friendly, helpful, informative, polite, & accommodating. Food overall was the best we have ... Read More
The Crown Princess needs some work. IE: Paint, repairs etc. That being said the crew (nearly everyone) we came in contact with were fabulous, friendly, helpful, informative, polite, & accommodating. Food overall was the best we have ever had with Princess on a longer than 7 day cruise. Local entertainment that joined us in several ports were great. Though the music was very good we need more on deck during the sea days. The exercise room should & needs to be open at 6:00 not 7:00. We were there everyday & there was always a large group waiting to get in at 7:00. We are Casino players & the staff was on the most part very friendly though we could have used more BJ tables. Only 2 were open most of the time. We seldom ate in Horizon court as we opt for a light healthy breakfast from room service. Lunch mostly was the Lido grill or Pizza; always good as per normal. We ate at Crown grill twice & it was great. Dinner was always fun (great wait staff) & mostly VERY good & if we did not like something we sent it back & opted & received another choice cheerfully. We originally signed up for the 31 day cruise but cut back to 17; though the other ports coming up next probably would have been just as exciting as ours were. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
Stayed in cabin C-102 which is on deck 10. Room was fine, except for: 1. Bed was too soft and sank significantly when I slept on it. 2. Cigarette smoke was smelt in our room during the morning hours. Appears to come from air ... Read More
Stayed in cabin C-102 which is on deck 10. Room was fine, except for: 1. Bed was too soft and sank significantly when I slept on it. 2. Cigarette smoke was smelt in our room during the morning hours. Appears to come from air vents. We notified the cabin steward and he said he would tell his supervisor. Didn't do any good. On the last day, we smelled cigar smoke in our room. Very disappointed that staff could not stop this. Food was fantastic. Horizon Buffet was extremely busy and crowded during breakfast and lunch. Very difficult to find seating. Eating at the Crown Grill was truly a great experience. The rib eye steak was cooked perfectly. The lemon meringue pie was out of this world. We did not utilize any of the ship's excursions as they were way too expensive. We used local taxis to get around the port of calls we visited. The port of Loreto was a waste of our time. The town was swallowed up by the cruise tourist. Not a lot to do in Loreto but walk. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
The Crown Princess is the largest ship we'd sailed on, and this was apparent from the get-go, as embarkation was a well-organized but lengthy process: 90 minutes from terminal to boat. In the past, we've sailed onto cruise ships. ... Read More
The Crown Princess is the largest ship we'd sailed on, and this was apparent from the get-go, as embarkation was a well-organized but lengthy process: 90 minutes from terminal to boat. In the past, we've sailed onto cruise ships. Not so the Crown Princess. In boarding group 2, we waited as multiple levels of preferred and elite loyalty club passengers made their way onto the ship, followed by group 1. At first glance, the interior of the ship was large and confusing, which made the crew members stationed throughout the entry ways an even more welcome sight, as they directed us to elevators. We dropped our luggage in our stateroom and made our way to a long line for lunch at the buffet. This dining facility is the smallest and least well-laid-out of the ships we've sailed, and we made use of it as seldom as possible. The food was middling good. The dining room offerings were uniformly better at breakfast and lunch. We've never eaten a dinner in a buffet, and probably never will. So we lunched, then went to our cabin to unpack, and began checking out the sundecks. Our cabin was on deck 10, directly below the 16th deck spa and fitness center, and we used the stairs as frequently as possible. It wasn't long before we gathered in the Princess Theater for the muster drill, led by the cruise director, Dan Falconer. This was a fairly painless process. Live music was available throughout the days and evenings in various locations on board, which we appreciated. The music was very good. The DJ occasionally blasted tunes too loudly on the sundecks, but it was never long before the Castaway band took the stage. And we enjoyed the mariachis and the showband jazz ensemble in the Piazza. The ship has multiple venues for music and entertainment and we were able to visit all at least once. Each had ample comfortable seating, waitstaff, and excellent music. As predicted, the ride was a bit bouncy that first evening, and I wore my Seabands to dinner. There was a first night show in the theater, and it was reminiscent of shows on other cruise lines and ships. Missing from the week's lineup: late night comedy shows. Comedy was included in the Tyler Bryce and Steve Moris presentations, and both were fine. The vocalist Alison Ward gave a fine show, but I can always do without the denigrating remarks about other artists. I think we can all agree that some young pop stars' antics are regrettable, but we don't need to hear about them from the performer on stage. The final night's Magic To Do show was the closest we came to musical theater excellence during the week. We opted for anytime dining, and soon learned that the smart money calls for reservations beginning at 8 a.m. for that evening's table. We had a mix of table-for-two and shared dining. Without exception, we met delightful folks at our tables and enjoyed conversation. Ditto for lunch and breakfast. There were few children on this sailing and they were a pleasant sight: little girls in pretty dresses for dinner, families enjoying vacation, adorable babies. Formal nights were especially nice, as Princess passengers on the whole dress for the occasion. It's off-putting to see people in tank tops, sandals, and ballcaps anywhere near a dining facility, let along dinner on a cruise ship. On the whole, there were fewer passengers toting buckets of cheap beer and more displays of decorum. Smokers were relegated to a few corners of the boat. Which brings us to the calorie un-do portion of the ship: the fitness center. Spacious, well-equipped and oh-so-busy the first morning of the cruise. But pleasant, as always. Plenty of nice passengers everywhere we went. Another aspect of the ship I want to mention is the public area restrooms: nicely decorated, spotlessly clean, and small vases of fresh carnations at each sink. The first-run movies under the stars is a great amenity, but showtimes conflicted with either dinner or musical entertainment, and we never made it to a screening. The viewing areas were well organized, and crew brought blankets and popcorn to moviegoers at night. The first formal night included a captain's champagne reception, and waiters circulated in the Piazza offering glasses of sparkling wine in old-style glasses (not flutes) which was a nice touch. Speaking of the Piazza, the International Cafe was an excellent bonus. Sandwiches, salads and desserts all available for the asking, with seating nearby and nearly always, a musical offering. The second formal night featured lobster tails at dinner and they were of very good quality. Another venue we missed out on was Vines, where you could enjoy a glass of vino and freshly made sushi. The promenade deck was well-used and had cushioned deck chairs. The bow had decks that were often accessible to passengers. An aft adults-only deck and pool provided a pleasant area to lounge, easy access to food and drink, and whale sightings. The bridge officers would announce wildlife sightings on our days at sea. The art gallery and the paintings on stairway landings were varied and of high quality. And no, we don't do the art auctions. Happy hour at the Wheelhouse Bar was well-attended and staffed by friendly crew and live music. Princess regulars are hip to the happy hour and were a jolly bunch. On this voyage, we met passengers who'd been on 15 or more Princess cruises. Nearly everyone we spoke with had traveled a long way to reach Los Angeles by air: from Vancouver, Calgary, Washington, the Midwest, Utah and Colorado. We snorkeled in each of the three ports we visited: Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan (easier said than done) and Cabo San Lucas. We also enjoyed touring the zocalo, cathedral, and mercado in Mazatlan, and purchased some lovely Oaxacan embroidered blusas, gazed longingly at the fresh fish for sale, and soaked in a little local color at a fabulous art atelier. A really nice touch on return to the ship was cool washcloths and cups of water. The last day of the cruise was as good as the first, full of tasty meals, entertainment, good weather on the sundecks, and a little more space in the fitness center. Debarkation was a breeze, as we were in the "walkoff 1" group and at our car by 8:15 a.m. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever, and we were generally pleased with it. We knew several other couples who had done the Princess cruise to Alaska, and none had complaints, so we never even considered another cruise line. Our total vacation was 3 days in Vancouver before the cruise, 7 days on the ship, 5 days of Princess cruisetour on land, and then 3 days, mostly in Seward. The 3 days in Vancouver before embarkation was just about the right amount of time. We stayed at the Landis, a suite hotel, and there are many small restaurants within walking distance. We rented bikes to go around Stanley Park,and also went to the Aquarium, the Capilano suspension bridge and the Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden. We went to Vancouver Island and Butchart Gardens on a previous trip, so skipped it this time. Cruise embarkation was as slow as other reviewers have reported, but we finally made it on. The weather was warm and sunny as we sailed from Vancouver, and after exploring the ship a little, we settled on our balcony with the wine we had brought on board and watched the city slip away. Our cabin was spic and span and, although small, there is adequate storage space for everything. Our steward came in at least twice a day to clean and replace any used towels. We were very satisfied with the food in general. We ate almost all breakfasts and lunches in the Horizon Court (buffet). On the first at-sea morning, we tried the Da Vinci dining room to order breakfast off the menu. That was a mistake, as the service was extremely slow, and the food was no better than in the Horizon Court. There is a large selection of food at all meals in the HC. The only problem is it can be difficult to find an open table, as people tend to sit at the window tables for a long time to just enjoy the passing scenery, but staff are helpful in getting you a table. We ate most dinners in the Michelangelo dining room, as we wanted any-time dining. The food was generally very good there, although sauces tend to be heavily salted. The service is slow there, and it was usually 9-9:30 by the time we were done, so not being night people, we did not go to any evening entertainment, except once for the 50's and 60's music night. We did not purchase any beverage cards as we are not soda drinkers and I couldn't see spending an additional $49/day for alcoholic beverages, so we just ordered them a la carte, and remained well below the $49/day . As first-time cruisers, we found the Princess Patter daily newsletter very helpful in notifying us of the day's events, port info, etc. The weather in Alaska in August was not as rainy as I had feared, but at sea it was quite cold, as were some of the days during the land portion (the second half of August is already Fall season in Alaska). Going out on the outside decks meant dressing in warm jacket, hat and gloves most of the time, but in the ports it was warmer. Many days were cloudy with occasional drizzle, but there were periods of sun, especially in Skagway, where it was warm and delightful. We did shore excursions at every port. In Ketchikan we did a Misty Fjords float plane sight seeing flight; well worth it; in Juneau the rain forest garden, Mendenhall glacier, Mt. Roberts Tram-- warm and sunny at the top so we hiked around a bit. We saw bald eagles, Dall sheep and a marmot. We had booked the Yukon train from Skagway, which it turned out was a bus ride up, and then train back (the train actually is slower than the bus, so you wouldn't want to take it both ways anyway). It was very scenic but Caribou Crossing (not to be confused with the nearby town of Carcross) is a tourist trap and the barbecue lunch there is mediocre, although it was fun to see the sled dogs. Glacier bay and College Fjord were stunning, for the last 2 at-sea days. On one of the at-sea days we attended a presentation by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod race. Her story was fascinating. We also attended a naturalist presentation, which was informative, but not as riveting. After disembarkation in Whittier we got right on the train up to Denali. We were lucky to get views of Mt. McKinley from the train as we approached--everyone tells you that only 30% of visitors get to see it as it's usually in clouds. The room in the Denali Princess lodge was a let down after our nice cabin on the Crown--dark and musty smelling but at least the window opened to air it out. We went to the Music of Denali dinner theater which is a very silly retelling of the first climbers to summit the mountain. Food is served family-style at long tables, and is plentiful and adequate. It did seem ironic, however, after all of the sanitary precautions on the ship buffet (hand sanitizer at entrances, staff wiping up spills quickly, clearing dishes quickly, etc.), that you would have perfect strangers serving themselves seconds onto their used plates as was done at the dinner theater-- always a no-no at buffets. We did the park bus shuttle tour into Denali the next day, instead of the included Natural History tour and got a refund from Princess for it. We took the shuttle all the way to the Eielson visitor center, which is farther than either the Tundra tour or NH tours go. We were very lucky that the mountain was "out" again that day and got some great pictures of the sun glowing on its white peaks. We were also lucky in seeing lots of wildlife--about a dozen grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. The next day we took the bus down to the McKinley Princess lodge, which was, surprisingly, a 3 hour trip. No more views of the mountain, though, as it was foggy and drizzly. That afternoon we did the Byers Lake nature walk and the weather cleared up a bit. I was surprised that we didn't encounter any mosquitoes, since I'd heard they are really bad in Alaska--maybe too cold already? The following day in Talkeetna we did the Mahay jet boat adventure which was a blast as you go through rapids before the turn around point. Saw a black bear and more bald eagles. Back to Anchorage the next day; Captain Cook hotel was very nice--meals a bit pricey but there are also many restaurants within walking distance. After our cruisetour ended we rented a car and drove down to Seward on the Kenai peninsula to extend our Alaska vacation a few more days. We took the Kenai Fjords Tours National Park boat tour-- it was fantastic, in part due to great weather, and the park is gorgeous. We saw glaciers and lots of wildlife-- whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals, puffins, cormorants and more. In Seward we also hiked to Exit Glacier--an easy hike, and did the Ididaride sled dog ride. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped in at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage. We did the behind-the-scenes tour which was well worth the money as we got to go in the pens of the more docile animals. The weather our last 3 days in Alaska was mild and sunny (upper 60's), so a great ending to our trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
Our family was on the April 5, 2014 California Coastal cruise with the norovirus outbreak that made national news. We occupied three mini suites aboard the Crown Princess. One of us contracted norovirus. The previous cruise also had a ... Read More
Our family was on the April 5, 2014 California Coastal cruise with the norovirus outbreak that made national news. We occupied three mini suites aboard the Crown Princess. One of us contracted norovirus. The previous cruise also had a norovirus outbreak and embarkation was delayed several hours to sanitize the ship so there was a long line and no lunch. Once the cruise began, the staff seemed slow to respond to the new norovirus outbreak. It wasn't until nearly half way through the cruise before handrails and elevator buttons were being regularly cleaned. Infected passengers were confined to their cabins with their non-infected cabin-mates. Normal cabin-cleaning service stopped, and a slower less-reliable sanitizing teams came. Fresh linens and towels became scarce, beds were unmade, room service slow and inaccurate, plumbing clogged, and it took many calls and trips to the front desk to get the simplest tasks done. For those uninfected, the food was bland and flavorless. Not necessarily low quality, although certainly not high quality, but reminiscent of tasteless hospital food. Several steps below Las Vegas buffet food. There were no salt and pepper on the table because of norovirus outbreak. I bought my own seasoning in San Francisco and brought it to the dining room. In the main dining room or buffet, the hot entrees were cold. Amazingly, frozen desserts were served cold. The itinerary had two sea days in a one week cruise. There should have been port stops in Catalina and/or Monterey, especially considering the banal activities and bad food. Our dinner server worked extremely hard and efficiently. She had only one helper and she was obviously overworked. Through no fault of hers, we didn't have enough time to look at our menus and felt rushed by the frantic atmosphere. Dinner was not a relaxing experience. I've been on many cruises, and have never had this issue. In most of the dining rooms and especially the buffet, beverage service was slow or never came. My water glass was empty more often than partially full. During some meals we had no beverages. I have been on about ten cruises from the low end to Oceania, including a Princess cruise in the past. I thought Princess was a decent cruise line before this cruise. Even the few Carnival cruises I've taken were better. I realize that because of the norovirus outbreak, it is unfair to judge Princess by this cruise. That said, when faced with challenges, does an organization rise to the occasion or flounder? Taking everything into account, this cruise was unbelievably bad. It really had a low-budget / bargain feel and I'll not travel with Princess again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for ... Read More
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for comparison. Embarkation was relatively easy, and after arriving via Park And Go from our parking area, we boarded by 1:30p and met up with the rest of our party onboard. A row of 4 interior cabins and a balcony cabin at the back of the ship were our home for the duration; our cabin steward Merlito was very attentive and became known, among the teens, as the "all-seeing, all-knowing" all-powerful presence who always knew who was up and perhaps even where they were headed. The cabins were small but entirely adequate and well-organized with a nightstand per person, and shelves and safe in the closet area (with plenty of hangers) that separates the bathroom from the bedroom. Initially the A/C seemed not to be working well, but after the first day, this was better. We had a very nice time overall and gained several pounds along the way, so we can't complain about the food. I was surprised by the relative absence of symbols/signs on the menus that would indicate "waist-watchers" choices, or calorie counts that would help guide those inclined to limit themselves. The first day, we had to petition the maitre de for a table for 10, even though we had requested this upon reservation, but once this glitch was overcome, had a good time every night with our waitstaff Tanya and Ketut in the Boticelli DR for late seating. Service was prompt and accurate, though the pace seemed to slow as dessert approached, when much of the table was eager to break free for the evening entertainment. The choices in the buffet areas were a bit repetitive, but since one can't possibly eat every item at each meal, this was not an issue. In addition, the grill and pizza were available on Deck 15 (and deemed excellent and good respectively) but the general feeling is that the pizza in particular should be served til at least 1am rather than 11p to allow for night owls with late-night cravings. The International Cafe on Deck 5 had good salad and panini offerings and was open 24/7. We were disappointed by the sushi offered in the Caribe Area, but don't know if the quality of the sushi served at Vines (when one purchases wine/drinks) is any better. No midnight buffets were offerred. Entertainment was varied and widely available. The 2 person Cinnamoon duo in the Wheelhouse Bar were good for couples to dance to. The piano bar Crooners was convivial, but I had hoped for a piano bar where the crowd could surround the piano and join in lusty song; here, the entertainer was very talented but performed primarily solo. Club Fusion was home to karaoke, trivia, Mass, Pop Princess competition, and Bingo, though some evenings it seemed to be underused for such a large space. The Princess Theater was the venue for every evening's main entertainment and the singers and dancers were quite good; show quality varied, but they get an A for effort. Lisa and Toby, the co-cruise directors, were awesome and funny both. I was surprised by the lack of drink sales in this location, though there may be a reason for this. Explorers Lounge hosted the ventriloquist, the Marriage Game, the Bad Boy of Magic, and another fun game night hosted by Toby. The Adagio Bar, up on Deck 16 next to Sabatini's, was the quietest bar on board, but Allen was the consummate bartender every night. Skywalkers was the nightclub on Deck 18, which could really "rock and roll" if the seas were up, and the bouncers did a pretty good job of keeping the under-18s out. DJ Nikki knew what she had to play to get folks to flock to the dance floor, so I was surprised on the last night that her selections were pretty weak, with long lulls of dullness between bursts of activity. Our teens found it odd that there was no place and no effort made to allow those in that difficult age range of 16-18 to hang out together; the Teen Club allows only those up to 16, the disco allows only those over 18, so for example, if cousins who are 16 and 18 want to be together, they have nothing to do but roam the ship aimlessly! If announcements can be posted in the daily flyer for AA folks and LGTB folks, why no 16-18ers? Activities on board could have been more in quantity. When trivia is held in Adagio/Wheelhouse and there is SRO, that's a sign that folks are looking for something to do. When 2 teenaged boys plan to attend napkin-folding, that's a sign that they need more things to do. When the Speed Sudoku held in Adagio runs out of sheets for eager participants who arrive and no effort is made to procure more for them to be able to do so, that is a lack of initiative on the part of the staff. Why is there NO shuffleboard, the iconic cruise activity? Only 2 ping pong tables for a ship this size is inadequate. The minigolf area is somewhat seedy-looking, it is unclear where to get the clubs and balls, and it's impossible to get on the course without climbing over the wall! And what's with the "jogging track" that measures, what, 0.3 miles and at the very top of the ship--a recipe for dizziness and disaster! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Every time we take a Princess Cruise we have an amazing vacation and this was true once again. First off my wife and i love to vacation and we are not complainers as it seems so many are. We go with the flow on our trips and if something ... Read More
Every time we take a Princess Cruise we have an amazing vacation and this was true once again. First off my wife and i love to vacation and we are not complainers as it seems so many are. We go with the flow on our trips and if something isn't perfect we don't whine and cry about it as we are on VACATION! Life is good is you can vacation so enjoy the trip. Embarkation was a breeze and our room was ready upon arrival. We loved out cabin steward Lilly who was constantly working and doing her best. The ship was beautiful and there was a constant stream of workers throughout the cruise painting, dusting, washing and making the ship shine. Food- First let me say if anyone on the cruise from Dec 7 thru the 21st didn't like the food well you could have fooled me. My wife and I laughed constantly at the over-flowing plates fellow cruisers had at the buffet as well as in the dining room. Pizza, burgers, ice cream, pastry treats, room service, a buffet, two specialty restaurants how the H %@! can anyone complain. I did hear two rather large women talking they didn't think the food was as good as Celebrity and may not return.. Please go to Celebrity so we don't ever have to listen to you negative people again. LOL Excellent food by Princess and by the way folks they do have fresh fruit and salads might be worth skipping a cookie to try something healthy for a change. Entertainment- Very nice variety. Again if you weren't happy with the multiple options they offer then please go elsewhere. The musical reviews, the musicians, the comedians, the hypnotists, the dancers, the parties, the night clubs, and piano bar offer something for everyone. Overall- We love princess and especially 99% of the fellow princess passengers. Met great folks like Richard and Karen, Rex and Barb, etc We like that on Formal nights it is actually a formal night where almost everyone dresses for the occasion; it makes the night special. I mean come on folks you have all week to wear shorts and flip flops it is nice when the men and women dress to impress each other for a formal date night. Cheers to those on our cruise who dressed and enjoyed a great night. Loved the islands especially St Maarten. Outstanding dining room staff and a wonderful group of Princess employees. Looking forward to our Panama Canal cruise next year. Happy cruising!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
I've been on a number of the Grand Class ships before but this one beat them hands down in most areas! It is so well designed: you never realise that there are so many passengers. Like other Princess ships, there are main dining ... Read More
I've been on a number of the Grand Class ships before but this one beat them hands down in most areas! It is so well designed: you never realise that there are so many passengers. Like other Princess ships, there are main dining rooms, speciality restaurants, bars, a club, theatres, shops and plenty of deckspace around the pools/tubs. What it didn't have was young people! My wife, aged 51, must have been in the youngest 150! In fact 150 could've been the average age! With such elderly cruisers the pace was slow and the music/PA seemed to be rather too loud ---for our ears. Most of the passengers were fellow Brits. This was a shame because I really enjoy meeting people from other countries. Still, the many trivia competitions were well attended and fun. We dined in Sabatini's for our breakfast ---the three waitresses in there were brilliant! For lunch we tried various locations and for our evening meals we went to the Crown Grill steakhouse four times (thanks Marius & George who looked after us so well), had room-service once and otherwise used the main restaurants. We did find the plague of photographers too much. The prices are so high as well. You'll sell more if you half the prices, guys. Yes, we did some ship's tours at some ports: Gibraltar: the dolphin watch. Great fun but no dolphins. I give it **** Corfu: missed because we helped some poor Syrians who were in a really bad way. Dubrovnik: Sadly I missed this because I had injured my leg playing tennis (!) Koper: ship's tour to Piran. So interesting---although some people found it too focused on history and culture! I give it ***** Venice: we did our own thing (ate at Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal---wow!) Valetta: I've never been to Malta before. We went on the ship's Hypogeum tour. It was absolutely amazing. If you are into history this is a great experience! ***** Cadiz: the ship's tour to see the Andalusian horses and taste sherry was one of our highlights. ***** Otherwise, the good and bad things: For me, the food in the main dining areas was disappointing. Also, the long queues that happen on such a huge ship. The luggage collection ashore once we had disembarked in Southampton was awful. The good things for me that I haven't already mentioned.... the crew were fab, some of the entertainers were so good (the Russian girls Lady Hit Trio who played their violins and accordion so well plus Chris Ricketts, the singer/guitarist who was so enthusiastic about sea shanties ----not everyone's cup of tea though. Would I go on this ship again? Yes. Would I go on this cruise again?...Probably yes. Would I change the time of year? Well, I just wish that there was a greater mix of passenger nationalities and ages.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
We sailed on the 3/23 sailing of the crown princess. Everything about the trip was problem free and enjoyable. We arrived at the port around 11am and walked right up to the suite line with no wait, then had a lounge to relax in with ... Read More
We sailed on the 3/23 sailing of the crown princess. Everything about the trip was problem free and enjoyable. We arrived at the port around 11am and walked right up to the suite line with no wait, then had a lounge to relax in with beverages. Within 20 minutes we were welcomed aboard, went right to our room and started enjoying our vacation. The suite was beautiful, the steward was nice and helpful and we enjoyed all of the suite perks. The french toast at Sabatini breakfast is a winner, as well as the international cafe which we freuqented daily. The Crown grill was delicious, and the buffet and main dining rooms were generally pretty good. The burgers at the pool grill were delicious as was the pizza. We had a blast in all 3 ports and arranged our own tours to save on cost. The debarkation was unbelievable organized, from the luggage, waiting lounge, leaving the ship and the air port transfer were all smooth and the best we have ever experienced. The Princess Pelicans was a great program, diverse activiities and our 6 year old thoroughly enjoyed it. There were 3 sessions a day and he attended most of them. The fitness center was busier than we expected but still had nice ammenitites. All in all we loved the trip and would cruise the crown again! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from ... Read More
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from the eastern cruises we typically do in the winter. We arrived in Galveston the day before and used Super Shuttle for our transportation from Hobby airport. I spent a lot of time looking at different options and this seemed the most reasonable. We were a group of 4 adults and chose to book a private SUV at $35 per person. When we arrived there was a slight snafu, I received a voicemail from the company and they told me that it looked as though our flight was now arriving at 10pm instead of 10am. Not sure where they got that from so I called them back and it ended up being their mistake. Now the problem was that because they thought we were delayed they did not have a driver available to take us. I was not very happy and a bit testy from traveling since 3am and after a bit of a back and forth they had the super shuttle van take us by ourselves to Galveston for the same price. The van was perfectly fine and the driver was very nice. We stayed at the Hotel Galvez which we all thought was very nice. I really love historical hotels and the location was right on the beach with great views from the rooms. I only wish it had been warm enough to actually hang out on the beach, it was pretty chilly. There were restaurants within walking distance and a town car that would take you into town and pick you back up for no cost. It was really easy to call them and get picked up when we were ready to go back to the hotel. My husband was excited to stay at the Galvez since it is said to be haunted, he even called months in advance to request the "haunted room". To his disappoint nothing out of the ordinary happened during our stay. The rooms are clean and slightly updated but very small which we expected since the hotel is so old. Our rooms were fine for 2 adults but if we were looking to get 3 or 4 in a room it would be very tight. Check in is at 4pm but we arrived by 12pm and only had to wait about 30 minutes for our room to be ready and the others in our party could check in right away which was really nice. If you stay at the Galvez they do have a complimentary shuttle to the pier but you need to make sure you sign up right away as it does fill up quickly. We ended up getting in the 12pm slot and it worked out great. When we arrived at the pier there was really no wait at all. Dropped our bags off and were on board within about 20 minutes. I thought the check in was very organized, we have preferred check in but the rest of our group without boarded very shortly after us and were very complimentary of the whole process. Once on board we dropped our things off at the room and headed up to the buffet for lunch. The weather in Galveston was sunny but cool so since we would not be hitting the pool we ended up getting back off the ship and walked around the historical strand which is right across from the pier. We made it back on board just in time the muster drill and then we were off! Dining I have to say that we thought the food was very good on this cruise but we were not overly thrilled with the selections on the new menus. Maybe it was because some of our old favorites were missing but I had a harder time choosing something in the MDR at night because not a lot seemed to appeal to me. I did enjoy all of my food, except for what they were calling a filet in the MDR, it tasted almost gamey to me both times I tried it. I always love the fettuccine and we had that as a third main dish to share every night. Loved the ice creams and sorbet selection each night and usually added a scoop to whatever dessert I had. We went to Sabatini's on our first night and Crown grill on our last night and both were excellent and definitely our favorite meals for the week. These are so worth the extra cost! We love to start and end our trips in the specialty restaurants. Afternoon tea was really nice (this was the first time I have gone), a good selection of sandwiches, cookies and pastry. I thought there was supposed to be live music but the occasions we were there is was just music over the speaker system. All in all a very nice experience in the afternoon when there was not a lot going on. We tried to make it to pub lunch but both times the line was HUGE and we didn't feel like waiting an hour plus so we have yet to give that a try. Enjoyed lunches in the MDR and the buffet and found both to have really nice selections during this time. Wish they had more available late night, the cafe caribe was open until midnight but it just seemed to have old left over looking options from dinner that night and nothing great for a little late night snack. Pizza always works though, very yummy. Entertainment We love to do Movies Under the Stars and enjoyed the movies even though most we have already seen. They played Bourne Legacy, Pitch Perfect, Robot and Frank and Premium Rush. My only issue was that the first and last night they replayed the same movie which usually does not happen. The comedians on board were a lot of fun and we enjoyed seeing Lincoln and Argo in the Princess Theater. We didn't attend any of the other shows as they don't usually interest us. We also enjoyed the entertainment in the Piazza throughout the day and evening when we were waiting around for this and that. Ports Belize- We did a princess excursion, the river cruise, Altun Ha ruins and lunch. I really enjoyed this tour but the rest of the group I was with did not. Their biggest complaint was that the river cruise portion was way too long for the type of boat they put you in. I can agree with that, the boat was small and had everyone facing inwards so you always had to turn or stand up to see anything they were pointing out. We did see a lot of wildlife which was great but it did drag on a bit. The lunch was nothing special, you pull up to a building on the side of the river (they called it a resort, I'm not sure why). There was a food line inside for chicken, rice and salad and a soda. It was ok, and by that time we were starving. It's not a lot of food but enough to hold you over until the tour is over. I thought the ruins were wonderful but it was so hot and no shade to be had so definitely wear a hat or bring your sunscreen! We got to climb up some of the structures and get some great pictures but you need to be very careful as the steps can be steep and very uneven. Roatan- This was my first time at this port and we knew it would basically be a beach day. I was expecting something like Princess Cays but I was pleasantly surprised. Mahogany bay was a very nice beach and the water was wonderful! We had a lot of fun and really loved the chair lift that you could take to get to the beach, its $2 cheaper to get the tickets on board the ship. Next time I would love to head out to one of the other beaches and see more of the island. A very pretty port. Cozumel- We had planned to head to one of the beach clubs for the day but the weather was cloudy and it rained off and on most of the day. We took it as a nice break from the sun and decided to walk around town and do a little shopping. We also stopped at Pancho's backyard for lunch which was decent but nothing to write home about. Sea Days- We had three on this cruise since one of our ports got canceled shortly after we booked. I don't love sea days, I find them to be a little boring but I tried to get to some new things and keep busy. We loved the Thermal Suite and used it every afternoon, I don't think it's worth the price they charge but we still tend to purchase the weeks pass. I did feel like there were a lot more people than usual just walking in without having the pass which was annoying since we actually paid for it. People were also just really sloppy leaving towels all over the floor and on the loungers after they left. Our final sea day was cold and rainy, a bust weather wise. This was my only issue with leaving from Galveston, it's not very warm this time of year so your first and last days can be iffy weather wise. We still found a lot to do but it was a little disappointing. Just some other things... This was the first time for us that there was a kiosk near the purser's desk where you could print out your statement without having to wait in line, that was really nice. I did actually find a mistake, a bottle of wine was charged to us in error. The staff at the desk were very helpful and cleared up the charge right away. I thought all of the staff was wonderful and always very helpful. One of the members of our party got a horrible sunburn (her own fault for not wearing any sunscreen) and the buffet staff could see how uncomfortable she was and told her to put plain yogurt on her burns, they even brought her a bunch to put in her cabin fridge. Good to know for the future. We were in cabin R737 and loved our room steward Romel. This is always our favorite location when we do not get a balcony room; we are steps from the aft pool which is really nice. All in all this was a great cruise; I really enjoyed the itinerary and look forward to sailing on the Crown again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Young, blonde, energetic, Hungarian head waiter Kitty + her assistant Batman were the spark plugs that got this event engine up, running & eventually hilarious, not to be missed fine dining! Nothing on this ship tops this time of the ... Read More
Young, blonde, energetic, Hungarian head waiter Kitty + her assistant Batman were the spark plugs that got this event engine up, running & eventually hilarious, not to be missed fine dining! Nothing on this ship tops this time of the day. Next best feature were the workers - dedicated to serving, smiles, always making everything seem sunny - how refreshing! Better dance floors & clientele than Carnival's Conquest but entertainment was just OK. Serious Sounds judged the best for dancing but needs more music tuned for ballroom, fewer fast beats. All the bars judged good, Explorers the best but still needs a bit more searching for orders from those seated. Water is $3.50/large container, bars/dining can serve tap water for free BUT will not fill your bottles ?!?!?!?!? Another "for sale" hitch added to your $11.50/day "tips" hole in the pocket. Foot Traffic is horrible, made worse by walkers/wheelchairs, exacerbated by photo shoots and photo displays, then let's march some sales on tables out there = butt-butt traffic moving real slow. The Captain seems to drive this boat like there were no dance floors to consider, only to arrive early into a Galveston fog that delayed going home 8 hours. In fact, with no weather channel, we were dependent on his daily forecasts = always wrong. 8 hours delay due to fog after being told firmly to be out of cabins by 8am, dining closing shortly thereafter. Some smart enough to keep their rooms took naps & even got unprecedented room service (not announced); others stormed the dining areas anyway and got steak lunches (not announced). Word came (not announced) that a cash bar (with few one dollar bills) was open near the pizza place serving as well. What WAS announced were movies (rent for $1 at home), daycare, etc. Gambling - win going out, lose bigger coming back, suspicious bad luck stories .. Tips: After using your carry on bottle, simply order 1/2 bottle from room service (have to be present to sign for it - ugh). Tip well on first drink @ bars, following orders will be very satisfying. Galveston: Find another port - ANY port! Jan 2010 - bathroom frozen after looong lines Jan 2013 - 8 hour fog delay (really?) wide entry, turn left - simple Always get a porter for your bags - saves time, backache & luggage - they find your room going in and the van/bus going out pronto. $2/bag seems cheap for the stress relief. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
As way of background, my husband and I are 59 and 62 and have cruised many times. This was our second TA and our third time with Princess. We booked a guaranteed balcony with our travel agent almost three months ahead and received our ... Read More
As way of background, my husband and I are 59 and 62 and have cruised many times. This was our second TA and our third time with Princess. We booked a guaranteed balcony with our travel agent almost three months ahead and received our cabin assignment (Riviera deck, starboard side) a month later. We were very happy with virtually every aspect of the cruise. Pre-Cruise We booked the Hyatt House Ft. Lauderdale Airport South through Hotwire. I used www.betterbidding.com to know, with reasonable certainty, which hotel I would be bidding on. We got the hotel for $87 ($105 with tax). This hotel is all suites, which was unnecessary for our brief stay, but the room was spacious, modern, well-equipped, and very clean. The buffet (free) breakfast was substantial, and the dining area is huge. We slept terribly on an extremely soft mattress, and I was miffed that the front desk would not provide me with a cheapie toothbrush (forgot mine) but would certainly sell me one! The hotel is within comfortable walking distance of a few fast food restaurants and a strip shopping mall, with K-Mart and BJs, if you need to pick up, say, a toothbrush. We bought sodas to take on board. Embarkation We arrived at the ship ($8 hotel shuttle) at 12:30, and long lines snaked in and out of the sun. I never heard what the problem was, but within an hour, we were on the ship, skirting the photographer, dropping off carry-ons, and enjoying a meal in the Lido. New to us was the scanning system for the ship card -- no more ka-chunk of inserting it into the podium as you enter and leave the ship. Ship The ship is tastefully beautiful and, aside from some carpet stains in a few hallways, quite clean. That cleanliness only improved as the norovirus broke out again on the Crown a few days into our cruise, and we were not allowed to serve ourselves any food the rest of the trip; nor were salt and pepper, bread, or sugar even allowed on the tables. This made for a tremendous increase in the amount of work for the staff. I wish Princess followed Holland America's procedure of not allowing anyone to serve any food for the first 48 hours; then assess the level of outbreak. Princess has it backwards. Once the virus appears, I can't imagine how it can be brought under control. Passengers may think the hand sanitizer is a catch-all and even neglect hand-washing, when the sanitizer does nothing for this virus. Other passengers may not report illness or adhere to quarantines. One woman boarded a Princess excursion even though her roommate was quarantined, and not fifteen minutes into the trip she was desperately needing a bathroom. We left the ship in Livorno, but word was that all passengers were going to have to disembark in Civitavecchia for a deep-down scrubbing of the ship. We experienced a power outage one afternoon during the crossing. While lights and some power were restored fairly quickly, most power was out for an hour, and so we drifted at sea. The captain was very good at explaining and updating the passengers. Cabin We were on the Riviera deck, almost at the front of the ship. We had easy access to the Lido deck and gym. Our balcony room was on the small side. With other cruise lines, we had been used to a sofa in our balcony room (standard balcony, not a suite), so we missed the extra room and a couch to sit on or use as a shelf! We do prefer Princess's style of closet though, and we had plenty of room for our clothes and shoes. Everything else in the room was standard, and our steward kept it meticulously clean. While I do enjoy towel animals, we had none, and I think that is for the best -- the stewards have other things to do. We used the self-service laundry three times. Only one day close to the end of the cruise was it crowded. ($2 to wash, $2 to dry) Food We opted for traditional early dining, and we enjoyed our table of 8. Juan Carlos was an attentive, friendly waiter. I requested some extra spice for my meal one night, and thereafter, I had a small bowl of chopped jalapenos every dinner! His assistant waiter was equally conscientious, always remembering what we all liked to drink with and after the meal. The food was consistently good, sometimes great. The menu is weighted heavily in favor of meat, but there was always one vegetarian dish (few very tasty, I am sorry to say) and one or two fish. Salmon and fettuccine Alfredo were always available, as was the Princess love boat for dessert (yum). Oddly, French onion soup and escargots were offered only once during the 14-day cruise. Many on these boards have said one could get it any night, but we asked. Nope. We had three formal dinners, lobster (and enormous prawns) for one of those. We spotted some tuxedos, some suits, but plenty of casual (and sometimes quite casual) wear for formal nights. If you like entertainment (table tricks or singing or napkin waving), you won't find it on this sailing. We did not try either specialty restaurant, and no one at our table did either. The specialty steak place was never crowded. We never had a chocolate extravaganza or midnight buffet, but honestly, we never went hungry, and if you crave sweets, the Internat'l Cafe is always open as is room service. The breakfast buffet offers the standard fare. The lunch buffet is served in a confined space with no set pattern of traffic flow, which can be annoying if it is crowded. Again, standard fare. I would have liked a fresh pasta bar or a deli sandwich fixin's bar. But that's being picky. The 3:30afternoon buffet offered superb guacamole, assorted cheeses, fruit of course, even scones/clotted cream if you didn't want to go to the formal tea. The 24/7 International Cafe looks expensive, but everything there is free! Try the fantastic chicken salad or Greek salad. The dried fruit, nuts, and cheeses make a lovely snack. Cookies, puddings, and desserts were always available, and at breakfast, the parfaits, donuts, and beignets were crowd favorites. The adjacent coffee bar charges, but the Internat'l Cafe does not. We tried the pub lunch in the Wheelhouse just once, although I know it was offered at least twice during the 14 days. It can be crowded, but the fish is hot and very tasty. Near the pool, you can get pizza and ice cream (but only chocolate or vanilla), and the grill is on the other side of the pool. Beware the veggie burger; it is awful! We used room service twice, and special requests (for instance, oatmeal and grapefruit are not on the menu) were honored. I did not, however, try for anything more exotic than fresh berries, which were not available. Entertainment & Activities We did not pay for any spa services, but every morning for the crossing, three spa ladies were available for free neck massages. They were wonderful! They, naturally, tried to sell the spa's services, but no one was pushy, and as my neck was hurting, I went 3 or 4 times (making sure I had a different technician each time, although they probably would not have minded anyway). We used the well-equipped gym and the Promenade as a running track since the designated running track is very small. Three entertainment staff members alternated conducting free Zumba classes each sea day; that was an unexpected treat! As with most cruises, you can be as busy or relaxed as you want. We chose the former and found the morning activities heavily outweighed the afternoon. We had conflicting choices every morning, but the afternoons activities were sparse. We could play bridge; take line, Bollywood, or ballroom dance lessons; watch a hulla-hoop dancer or a world-class ballroom couple in the atrium; listen to three different lecturers; visit the (small) library; play Bingo or trivia; tour the art gallery; watch a concert or movie (MUTS) or a cooking demo; or participate in silly poolside games. It is difficult to be bored. Evening entertainment was also varied. The typical variety shows showcased singers and dancers; they were entertaining enough; if that is your thing, you will be more impressed than we were. We enjoyed the two comedians (esp. the juggling comedian), the hypnotist (had never seen that at sea!), the vocalist, and the piano player. Plenty of music venues (Accent is the best band I have ever heard at sea; the piano player in the Crooners Bar is equally amazing) and game show opportunities dotted Deck 7, and the karaoke was fun to watch. Don't miss "The Liars' Club"!! On our port day in Barcelona, the ship brought aboard a flamenco dance troupe for a late afternoon show. That was an unexpected treat; they were outstanding. Debarkation Our experience is not what the rest of the passengers experienced, I am sure, for we (along with maybe 15 others) left the ship a day early in Livorno. We turned in our passports the night before, as required, but they were not ready in the morning, and we waited an hour for them. The shuttle that was advertised as available for all passengers to go to the Livorno train station was nowhere to be found. That necessitated another hour wait as a Princess rep finally rounded up a bus. We left the ship much later than we would have liked. See the links below for my reviews of Gibraltar, Montserrat (Barcelona),Marseille, and Livorno/Florence. My Alicante is included here. Email me (djkiser@gmail.com) with any questions. *** Alicante, Spain We had never heard of this town before booking this cruise and figured it would be a "so-so" stop. Far from it!! We loved Alicante! I had done a little research ahead of time and found several self-guided walking tours: www.alicante-turismo.com. Those were very helpful. Alicante provides a free shuttle bus to the town. You will only have to walk a block to the exquisite Esplanada -- a promenade with a wavy mosaic pattern made from almost 7 million colored marble tiles, lined with palm trees and adorned with gorgeous flowers in the median. Pensioners sit in chairs in small groups; what a way to while away the time. We walked along it for a while but had a hike ahead of us which we wanted to finish before it got too hot. The Castillo de Santa Barbara dominates the town, and reaching it was our goal. Anyone can take an elevator up, but we wanted to take the old city walls all the way up. We had a difficult time finding the beginning of the walls, but that was fine -- our journey took us through El Barrio, the old town with charming white-washed houses in tiny streets filled with flowers, and we were happy enough to get lost. If you want to do this, continue through El Barrio, following signs to the Santa Cruz church. Once there, follow the path in front of the church down to the street; go left , and that street will take you to the old walls. The walk is long and you have a good ascent, but anyone in reasonable shape could do this. The views are beautiful. If you prefer, you can ask directions to Ereta Park, which is a terraced park in front of the castle, and walk the switchbacks all the way to the castle (we took this was down, and it is lovely). The castle is free, and once you're there, it is quite an extensive place to explore. It is definitely worth it, elevator or hike. After the castle, we walked to the beach and strolled the water's edge to the sandbar and back, then back into Alicante itself for some walking and sightseeing. If this interests you, El Barrio has a Nativity Scene Museum that is free and excellent. We made our way through more streets over to the Rambla, the Central Market, bought some tourron (local sweet -- kind of a dry nougat with nuts),and sat at a beautiful fountain before finding the Promenade again (the opposite end from where we began) and walking back to meet the shuttle late afternoon (the ship left at 6pm). Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We had no idea Princess Cruises were catered for the elderly, (live and learn). - There was a constant flow of "American" fare, unexciting for us, since we enjoy piquing our palates, frozen seafood-sometimes overcooked, lots ... Read More
We had no idea Princess Cruises were catered for the elderly, (live and learn). - There was a constant flow of "American" fare, unexciting for us, since we enjoy piquing our palates, frozen seafood-sometimes overcooked, lots and lots of beef, no wholegrain breads or pasta/rice, some breakfast items like oatmeal, fruits, yogurt and toast were cut off at 8:00am on day of disembarkation, even though supposed to go to 10 am. (Disembarkation went till 10:30) - Many. many smoking areas on the ship, not well assigned, apparently randomly spaced. We had to deal since it was on the way from buffet to our room, not so great. - Many, many, very, very drunk folks. - Cruise entertainment got old after the first day, was kitschy at best. - Stingy with the good free stuff, like soft ice cream. Had to wait on line (to get served, not self serve like Disney) for a tiny cone with 12 jimmies...and got a snide leer for going back a second time in one day...yet very easy to get buckets of beer-ugh! - All beverage purchases include tip, yet also have a line item on your bill (for you) to fill in a gratuity..no exceptions. Soda for $3.49....we bought the "package" up front, that came with a signature cup, only to find out that waiting on line at bars was a hassle if you were seen with the "soda package cup"...the "tip" was charged up front with the package so crew was not motivated to fill your drink cup at a bar, which was the only way to get your prepaid soda...we would have to wait until all the "tipping" passengers got their drinks first...even though we had been pre charged tip for the 7 day cruise on day one....frustrating and disappointing! - crew are not trained to let you pass when there isn't enough room for two in a pathway... - level of service and courtesy after final, additional "gratuities" are handed out goes down to zero, nil, zilch...btw, gratuities are added to your room charge daily, $11.50 per person per day...not sure how much the working crew members, like cabin stewards and table waiters get, and how much goes to the un-working-maitre' de-type-people! - passenger services proved very inefficient, I called in a request for my daughter's 18th birthday celebration twice, and visited with the request once, was assured room balloons and card, yet nothing came. - beach excursions to Cayman Island are a waste, do your own thing with a taxi...better to find your own in every port except Cozumel. - Princess Cruise website is archaic and unmaintained at best, hard to preplan and prebook because of it. Now the good stuff.. - food available at all hours - room service, although very limited in menu, would deliver within 15 minutes of ordering! Amazing! - lots of elevator space for wheelchairs, well utilized . There were times when we opted to take the stairs, which were almost always empty, to allow one more vehicle and navigator on. - spa very big, great massages and facials, best I've had on any cruise ship. - fitness center huge, well run, well equipped - entire ship was kept very clean, all the time - room stewards are very obliging, as are your dinning room waiters. I substituted the fat loaded second course with a sorbet almost every dinner time and our waiter was always at the ready with it. - The Crown Grill had some of the best lamb chops I've ever tasted, and awesome dessert....$25 per person flat rate, and you have to reserve before you get on the boat... - laundry room well placed, well equipped and maintained, not unreasonably priced - disembarkation was well organized Things that bothered me but may not bother the majority- -There is a very apparent ethnic and social divide among crew...Asians at the bottom, then Hispanic, then Eastern Europeans, British at the very top. -There were apparently less than 1% non white passengers on the ship, awkward for us being 3 of those 30 or so.... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Embarkation We were supposed to use Pier 2, but were told that it has been closed for renovations until the fall of 2012. That said, we used it to disembark at the end of the cruise since Princess had three ships in port and they ... Read More
Embarkation We were supposed to use Pier 2, but were told that it has been closed for renovations until the fall of 2012. That said, we used it to disembark at the end of the cruise since Princess had three ships in port and they needed to use it. We boarded at Pier 29 which is set up very well. From arrival at the port (11:30) to our cabin was less than 25 minutes. Cabin - we were in a midship Mini-Suite on the Dolphin deck. Our cabin steward was Dario and as with most cabin stewards on Princess, he is a friendly professional. He took his craft to another level in that he didn't just do his job, he always did the little things to make you feel special. Muster was well organized and they scan your cruise card to ensure you are there. Hand scanners are used now to board and disembark at the ports which speeds the lines up. The Sail Away deck party was somewhat different as the band played, and the cruise staff did their draws, etc - all before we left port. When we actually departed, all the excitement was over. This seemed strange. Public areas of the ship are very well maintained and the setup of the various venues is laid out so that there is a maximum use of space, yet traffic flow is not restrictive. The wine card has been discontinued as has any happy hours -- other than the specialty drink at the Platinum/Elite event. Instead they have instituted a loyalty type punch card where each time you purchase a drink they punch out a variety of punches - 1 for a beer, 2 for a cocktail, three for a bucket of beer, etc. When the card is completed (twenty punchers) it is placed into a draw where one person per cruise gets their alcoholic beverages free. Seems like this one isn't going to last long, nor is it much of a deal -- of note that we did back to back cruises with the second on the Emerald where they still have happy hour pricing and no punch card. We chose Anytime Dining and went for dinner at around 8:00 pm. We waited in line for about 10 minutes and were then provided a beeper. We were beeped within another 5-10 minutes. We saw a Head Waiter we have cruised with before (Florion) and he found us a very nice window table with great waiters (Simona & Dexter). Don't forget to show your appreciation to these hardworking individuals. We didn't do any entertainment the first night. Princess Cays We don't usually go onto Princess Cays, and thus we get to enjoy the ship while everyone is on shore. We worked out - the gym is great on the Crown. Lots of equipment to use and since everyone was off the ship - it was pretty much empty. Anytime Dining was pretty much open seating at 8:00 pm. We went to see Comedy Hypnotist Tim Triplett before dinner and while he was okay, his show wasn't that great. After dinner we went to the Princess Theatre and saw Alfred and Seymour - now they are HILARIOUS ! ! ! They are not to be missed. Day Two - Sea Day Pub Lunch today if anyone is interested. Deck chairs were in short supply but we still found them after going to the gym. MUTS has The Help playing tonight, and Motor City in the Princess Theatre. The Captain's Welcome Aboard Party and Champagne Waterfall was tonight. There is a Singles Group aboard - about 150 of them and they certainly appear to be having fun. Sea is quite rough this afternoon and the spray coming off the bow is spectacular. We love the movement of the ship but I am guessing there are some that won't be too pleased. Dinner tonight was one of our favorites - Halibut, Shrimp Scampi and Beef Tenderloin. Makes choosing just one very hard so we order all and share. As usual the food was fabulous. Seas continue to be quite rough. Curacao We docked at around 1:00 pm. The day is grey and windy - but still quite warm. We docked at a pier at the entrance to the harbour. The Crown doesn't leave Curacao until 9:30 tonight so there is lots of time to go ashore and explore. The Ultimate Deck Party is tonight. Puss & Boots was on MUTS at 10:00 this morning, New Year's Eve at 2:00 pm, & War Horse at 10:45 tonight. The Deck Party was one of the most lively we have attended in a long time. Changes continue and there is no buffet at the party -- always seemed strange to me anyways since the Horizon Court is twenty feet away. Also they no longer throw the streamers which I am sure were a pain for the staff to clean up. Aruba Arrived early at around 8:00 am. Aruba is a very clean island with lots to do if people are interested. We just walked off and over to the wine/liquor store -- La Bodega -- and for beer there is an Oriental Market just beside it. To get to both you walk off the port but instead of turning right into the shopping area, you go left and across the street. Around 150 yards towards the beaches area you see a Harley Davidson shop. Turn right (away from the water) and go up of a block and it is on the left side of the road. It is a higher end shop but not that bad. Remember to take small US bills or use your credit card since they don't usually have much in the way of change if you use US. Conversion is about 1.75 ECD to one US dollar. Others we know -- one couple took a catamaran snorkel tour which they thought was great. Another couple rented a cab to go up to the hotel strip, while another walked twenty minutes to the beach (turn left going out of the port gate). Sea Day Typical sea day as we travel to port -- Internet is crawling and then you lose it. Up until today the on board Internet was pretty good as ship's Internet goes. This morning it took five minutes to hook up and then we immediately lost service and now can't get back on. The gym was pretty much open today as is the case with most cruises -- by the last couple of days it is no longer a priority for many. Internet came back up in the afternoon. Second formal night & Captain's Circle event. Tonight was lobster and tiger prawns -- delicious. At midnight was the balloon drop in the atrium. Last Day -- Another Sea Day Must have a great satellite feed today -- Internet is quite fast. Today is packing and relaxing -- fitting in both when the mood hits. At around 1245 the captain announced that the ship had to be turned as we had a passenger in medical distress and the Coast Guard would be sending a helicopter to evacuate this person. All areas around the Neptune Pool and the deck immediately below had to be cleared of passengers and wiring etc had to be removed. They dismantled all the electrical around the pool, then the Coast Guard showed up and dropped a fellow via a winch who then put the patient into a basket to lift back onto the helicopter. It was very interesting to watch - but unbelievable the amount of work to make it happen. Sure hope he had some sort of Emergency Medical insurance. Overall the Crown staff did a great job of making the cruise an experience for each person. The staff is friendly and the food is great. Weather was warm, but windy until we left Aruba. Lots of sun. Disembarkation with Princess is always a breeze -- very well organized. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
First Time Princess sailing view from a veteran cruiser: Crown Princess Review (Dec 17 -- 24) Background to this review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. ... Read More
First Time Princess sailing view from a veteran cruiser: Crown Princess Review (Dec 17 -- 24) Background to this review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. On this cruise, we booked a suite on Lido deck(deck 15 -- L106). This cruise was affected by an outbreak of the Norovirus on the previous cruise which impacted the embarkation process (will not comment on this) and I believe to some extent the level of service we received on our cruise. I tried to factor the effect of the Norovirus into my evaluation because the purpose of us taking this cruise was to evaluate Princess as a cruise line for future cruises. Overall Evaluation: (more detail comments appear below) - Crown is an elegant ship, well decorated for Christmas, clean, and relatively easy to navigate - Suite was comfortable but our location was problematic (see comments below) - Food quality was good, not great except for the Crown Grill which was exceptional - Dining room (Michelangelo, Da Vinci) menu variety not great, anytime dining reservation system is chaotic, and service level can vary greatly - International Cafe and Ice Cream and Pizza Bar (great pizza) were two of our favorite places - Entertainment variety was good and some of the special acts were exceptional, shows ordinary - Exercise room and spa were below expectation levels compared to other cruise lines - The staff was not as friendly and helpful on the Crown as other cruise lines. Of course there were exceptions. SUITE: DO NOT BOOK LIDO SUITES L106, L104 or cabins L104,L103,L102, and L101 unless you want to be awakened every morning at 7:00 by the sound of treadmills from the exercise room above. I booked suite L106 because the deck plans showed the Lotus Thermal Spa to be on deck 15 which looked easily accessible from our suite. However, the only access to the Thermal Spa is from deck 16 by going through the Lotus Spa and then back down. The deck plans also do not show the restricted view from the balcony of L106. Being in the front of the ship with a large curved balcony, I expected to have a good view of the front of the ship. This view was obstructed by the extended bridge and the top of the bridge. Therefore, this suite's view was nothing more than a good side balcony cabin. If you're a first time Princess Suite passenger, you better inquire about how to access the amenities offered because there is NO ONE to assist you such as a concierge or butler like on other cruise lines. This may have been the responsibility of the room steward on Princess but that was not clear to us. Nor was it helpful to receive inconsistent information from the front desk versus the printed material left daily in our room. One amenity that was useful to us was the COMPLIMENTARY internet service. The service on the ship, like any other, is slow so I spent over 500 minutes online. This would have been a $175+ charge if I had to pay for it. I did discover the speed is much faster early in the day rather than in the evening. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres are featured in Skywalker's lounge from 5:00 -- 7:00 pm for suite passengers and elite members on "selected evenings" according to a letter we received onboard. I inquired at the front desk for the definition of selected evenings and it was quite a task to discover it was any night except when the Captains Elite meeting occurred. Finally, I learned from a Princess Elite passenger that a "card" should have been placed in my room listing the evenings and the specialty drink of the day offered in Skywalker's lounge. All my problems would have been solved if the Front Desk knew of this card or the letter reference it. Priority tender tickets are a GREAT perk. The first day tendering to Princess Cay can be a chore with LONG waiting lines but if you are a suite passenger with priority tickets you are offered the seating on the next boat leaving from the ship. Go directly to the exit side of the Michelangelo staging area rather than getting in line or asking staff people because you may get different directions from various staff members. I finally just went directly to the dining exit area where people were leaving for the next boat when I found someone who actually knew how to direct me. ANYTIME DINING: We chose anytime dining because we enjoyed the flexibility it offers and had a great experience on NCL with this option. On Princess it was not as enjoyable because it wasn't as flexible as they advertise. Only the Michelangelo dining room is accessible entirely for anytime dining and Da Vinci after 7:30 pm. Michelangelo only allows a limited number of reservations for anytime dining and after that you are "invited" to wait on line to get in. Before making reservations, I always like to know the menu for the evening. The menu for the dining room is not easily accessible from your suite via interactive TV like other cruise lines and you have to actually visit the dining area to read the menu. If you decide the menu is OK for the evening, you better make your reservation EARLY or you will be told to come "wait in line". This is where ANYTIME DINING on the CROWN fails!!!! Heard MANY complaints from "ELITE" Princess cruisers about the lines and chaotic reservations system on the Crown. They tried to inform me that it was NOT this bad on other Princess Ships. I was not overly impressed with the menu in the dining areas. The food quality was acceptable but there was not a great variety of items I enjoy. Lunch in the dining room wasn't anything special. The buffets were just ordinary. Typical buffets. SPECIALITY DINING: Crown Grill a delight!!!! As a suite passenger we were offered breakfast daily in Sabatini's. The breakfast was good but the waiters were not overly friendly like the Crown Gill and the dining area. For that reason, we did not return to Sabatini's for dinner. However, the Crown Grill is totally different. The food is EXCEPTIONAL and the wait staff was very friendly and an absolute delight to experience. I don't know how anyone could complain about the menu, food quality or service in the Crown Grill. I do know people complain about the $25 up charge but I had the filet with "several" lobster tails and have NOTHING but complements for this dining venue. Don't miss the "fish and chips" in the Wheelhouse Bar at the pub lunch. INTERNATIONAL CAFe and PIZZA BAR: We opted for the beverage card when we arrived on the ship since we are not alcohol drinkers. For $49.00 you can upgrade to a the beverage card that allows you all the soda, fruit drinks (i.e. virgin pina coladas, strawberry daquires, etc) and milk shakes at the ice cream bar (delicious). The pizza bar was one of the MOST POPULAR places on the ship. Absolutely great "New York" style pizza. We would almost rather eat there some nights then the dining room!!! The other MOST POPULAR place on the ship was the International Cafe for deserts, sandwiches and salads 24 hours a day. We made many trips to this venue.....don't miss it. If you are a coffee drinker, one complaint with the Cafe is you have to pay for your regular or decaf coffee when the buffet lines are open. Just an inconvenience to walk to deck 15 for free coffee but have to pay on deck 7. Not very customer friendly!!!! EXERCISE ROOM AND LOTUS THERMAL SPA: This is one area of the ship I frequent often. The exercise room has the typical equipment but has ONLY TWO recumbent bicycles that are always in demand. This should tell Princess something if they are paying attention!!!!!!!! GET MORE RECUMBENT BIKES!!!! I really enjoy the Thermal Spas on the ships I cruise. Access to the Lotus Thermal Spa was one perk of being a suite passenger. The Thermal Spa has heated chairs and steam rooms accessible through the Spa area on deck 16. If you are not a suite passenger, there is a charge for access. There is a LACK of a nice relaxation area that I have enjoyed on other cruise lines. Areas that allow a view of the ocean, comfortable music, choice of various juices and flavored water, etc. This is missing on Princess. The locker room facility for the SPA is small and many lockers are visible from the hallway when the door is opened. Don't change in front of your locker if you're near the doorway!!!! The HOT TUBS outside the SPA area are more like heated pools....not very hot and not a lot of "jet" action. The one tub did NOT work the entire week we were on the ship. ENTERTAINMENT: This was hit or miss and a matter of opinion. A lot to choose among most nights, but not always great. The shows were OK but nothing spectacular but the comedians, especially Phil Tag, and the piano player (Kory Simon) were very entertaining. Of course, they may not be on the next cruise. Music and the gymnastic performer Li Liu entertained in the Piazza area by the International Cafe and were very entertaining. PORTS: Princess Cay was very relaxing. The beach area was nice with beach chairs available and access to a barbecue lunch. Curacao was a very colorful town with many unique shops on both sides of the inlet. Access to the shops on the other side of the inlet requires you walk over a pontoon bridge or take a ferry. When we were there another cruise ship was leaving and the pontoon bridge was not available. We took the ferry to the other side but I felt it was not worth the trip. In Aruba it rained the day we were there. Unusual but it did not damper our enthusiasm for shopping. We enjoyed our stay in Aruba and access the shopping area is a very easy walk. A nice change from other Caribbean islands is that we were not HASSLED or HUSTLED while walking from the ship to the shopping area. A very popular shop in Aruba was Dunkin Donuts. It seemed that many other passengers who love coffee seemed to agree that the coffee on the Crown Princess was NOT very good and we could not wait to purchase a decent cup of coffee. DISEMBARKATION: This turned out to be very quick and easy but as a first-time Princess cruiser trying to learn the night before what I needed to do in the morning was not so easy. As a suite passenger, I received information that I could go to the Club Fusion at 7:30 am for priority disembarkation. Since we were going to walk off with our luggage, the instruction sheet indicated we could only do that at 6:15 and 6:45 am. I went to the excursion desk to inquire if I could walk off at 8:00 after going to the Club Fusion lounge and they were not sure. I never got a definitive answer so I decided to do what was best for us..... visit Club Fusion and walk off with our luggage. As it turned out, disembarkation did not start on time and we went to Club Fusion for coffee and danish, walked off the ship with our luggage, cleared customs and were in a taxi within 30 minutes. NEXT CRUISE: I am still unsure about going back to Princess. We are scheduled in a suite on NCL very soon and from past experience have had excellent service and great accommodations as suite passengers. We also would like to evaluate Celebrity and Oceania cruises as alternative options. CRUISE CRITIC MEET AND GREET: I had worked with Princess to schedule our M&G meeting in the Wheelhouse Bar and Cruiselover57 (Laurie) did a fabulous job in organizing the meeting, the gift exchange, and printing name tags. This meeting allowed us to meet several new friends and arrange dinner and social gatherings together while on board. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
When I booked this cruise, I didn't expect too much of the Crown Princess. Mainly because of a lack of photos on the web and poor reviews of cruise critic. I was surprised at how gorgeous the ship was. Staterooms: we booked a ... Read More
When I booked this cruise, I didn't expect too much of the Crown Princess. Mainly because of a lack of photos on the web and poor reviews of cruise critic. I was surprised at how gorgeous the ship was. Staterooms: we booked a verandah stateroom, and the room itself was rather spacious. There was ample storage space and the balcony provided beautiful views of the ocean and the islands at which we docked. The rooms were clean, well kept, and the cabin stewards were very friendly. Public rooms: one of my favourite features on this ship was movies under the stars. They show great movies every night, but sadly we were only able to attend one. There are also blankets and popcorn available. The main dining rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated, we booked the late night seating, which was nice. There are two pool decks and lots of deck chairs, so it is relatively easy to find a spot to relax. Food: the food onboard the Crown is delicious. I really enjoyed the buffet, which is huge and provides a wide variety of different kinds of foods. There never really seemed to be a long line up. Dinner onboard was sublime. I would recommend the flour less chocolate cake, which is delicious. Service: the crew onboard the ship are all very polite and friendly, no one was ever rude to us and our waiters especially provided excellent service. The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship, there is a lot to do, and we really enjoyed the trip. This is a great ship, and I would highly recommend it. Embarkation and debarkation were also a lot faster than on Holland America, where it was very chaotic and confusing. Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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