7 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews for Fitness Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

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
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date November 2017
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 December 2013
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 March 2012
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
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

Find a Crown Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click