16 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Caribbean - Western

My family really enjoy this trip form the very beginning. I'd love to thanks every one who met us in Airport and transported to the Hotel and then to the Ship- it was welcome, pleasant, well organised and easy ( my granddaughter 2.5 ... Read More
My family really enjoy this trip form the very beginning. I'd love to thanks every one who met us in Airport and transported to the Hotel and then to the Ship- it was welcome, pleasant, well organised and easy ( my granddaughter 2.5 years old travel with us ). Balcony Cabin with Spectacular view , excellent service our Stuart, Magnificent Food, Incredible Entertainments , selection of any possible activities for any age groups- we never get enough and never get bored - it was Seven Heaven ! All Princes Crew hard working Team made this trip for us unbelievable!!! Thanks for your Royal Service - We feel like Crown Princesses!!! We definitely looking forward yo plan ours next trip . Podlegaev Family, Vancouver . All the best !!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Let me begin by saying that I am now a fan of cruising and will cruise again in the future, but will most definitely cruise on different lines / ships until I find one that exceeds my expectations. With that said, the Crown Princess did ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that I am now a fan of cruising and will cruise again in the future, but will most definitely cruise on different lines / ships until I find one that exceeds my expectations. With that said, the Crown Princess did not meet my expectations in some areas (based on pre-cruise marketing materials and information directly from Princess, and the on-board experience) and exceeded my expectations in other areas. Embarkation: Exciting process for my first cruise and walking onto the ship for the first time was wonderful. Princess greets you with a smile! When first arriving, read the signs carefully, especially the very small ones that are hung in difficult to find locations. If you do not, you will most likely end up lugging your luggage to your own stateroom or lugging it back down the stairs to find the drop off. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the staff, but be prepared for the staff member to not know the answer. Staff have been assigned specific duties and may not know all the duties, so may not be able to answer your question. (Please ask nicely - they are there to help you and make your journey special - I noticed so many passengers treat the staff negatively - their work is important and passengers are not superior to staff.) Embarkation was efficient and Princess knows how to move passengers quickly. Room: Choosing a mini-suite was a financial challenge, but I am very thankful that I did. In this area, the room exceeded expectations. The bed was comfortable, lots of counter space and storage areas, two televisions, spacious closet space, large bath, desk, couch, chair, table, perfect space for 7 nights. Maybe a smaller room would have been just as nice, so I hope I haven't spoiled myself for future cruises. If money is not an issue, choosing a mini-suite is the way to go. It is perfect for two people and it was nice to return to at the end of the day. Having a large bathtub/shower may have been worth the extra dollars. Not sure if the smaller rooms have a refrigerator in the room, but this was a nice amenity. On the other hand, I spoke with another passenger that cruises often and always books the cheapest room because she does not spend much time in the room and still receives all of the same activities/dining as mini-suite passengers. A shout out to our Cabin Steward - he was attentive, always had a greeting and smile, and promptly provided when asked. The balcony - a wonderful amenity and used often. The blue mat was prickly, so wear your shoes/slippers on the balcony, but thankful for the relaxing experiences / views from our balcony. Dining: This was the most disappointing aspect of my cruise on Crown Princess. The literature, the marketing materials, and reviews all led me to believe that the food and experience would be something special, even 5 star quality. That was certainly not the case. The food lacked in overall quality, taste and presentation. One night I ordered a Pear-Stilton Salad and what I received was, picture this, a white salad plate with small pieces of chopped canned pear and small scraps of Stilton strewn about the plate with a few pecans for color. It was at the most maybe 1 piece of canned pear and 1/2 ounce of Stilton. It was a joke - literally laugh out loud plating - that I took a photo and may post. If you like cheese though you will always have the opportunity to eat a square of Cheddar or Edam as it was served at every buffet meal. I saw asparagus once on the entire cruise and then I only received 3 small stalks (which were overcooked). Never saw a bit of crab, but did have lobster one night - just a small tail, but at least it was served. As for the steak don't expect it to be a good cut or cooked properly. The staff of the Horizon Court Buffet were always helpful, but the Horizon Court Buffet is not open 24 hours, so if you think you will have a buffet open to you around the clock this is not true. However, you can get cookies, pre-mixed meat or seafood salads (chicken, tuna or other) or paninis (don't bother) 24 hours in the "International Cafe." One night the Horizon Court Buffet was closed, so all passengers were directed to the Cafe Caribe. We were not to happy having to wait in a long buffet line. No explanation was provided - this may have helped - many passengers were "disgruntled." Our party chose the "Anytime Dining" option and we appreciated the opportunity to eat when we wanted. We enjoyed the "Bier-fest" themed night - the food for this special evening was delicious. Lotus Spa: If you are a spa person - lower your expectations. The spa is co-ed, lacks solitude / quiet, and is truly an "up-sell" experience. If you order a 50 minute facial, expect 20 minutes of discussion (skin type, product sales) and only 30 minutes of mediocre facial work. I cancelled my massage because the facial was so disappointing. I also did the Go Smile teeth whitening process and purchased the up sell. I would suggest skipping this experience and save the $400 for something that is more meaningful. If you can get the spa to give you a DIY (Do it Yourself) body scrub, the Orange Vanilla was spectacular. I took it back to my room and enjoyed a hot shower and the scrub. Get two if they will give it to you. If you are a sensitive, large woman/man, be prepared to hear spa staff openly talk about how "soft" most passengers are. It was certainly something I did not expect to hear, or appreciate, and was quite offended. TIP: The spa robe was nice, so I would suggest getting a robe from the Spa to use in your cabin (just remember to return the robe to the spa on your last day.) Excursions: We enjoyed all of the excursions. The literature was different from the experience, but that was ok - we were on an excursion, in a foreign county, experiencing something different and so went with the flow and enjoyed it all. Our tour guides were all fantastic. Our next trip to Cozumel we plan to not do any excursions, but simply enjoy walking around, shopping and eating local cuisine. The excursions were a bit overpriced for what you receive, but it was an easy way to see the countries and not have to research on our own. Activities: Bingo: four games, expensive, crowded and predictable. If you have the "free bingo card" coupon - expect to purchase the most expensive pack to get your one free card. Daubers for $1.50 make a great souvenir - as they have a picture of the Crown Princess on it. Casino: Fun entertainment - don't expect to win anything and you will enjoy the entertainment; electronic poker table was interesting; loved the Caribbean stud and open face blackjack. All of the dealers were professional and friendly. Games: Always something to do - trivia, tv game shows like games etc. Fun - cruise staff very bubbly and make the experience enjoyable. Don't forget to check out the small putt putt course. Movies Under the Stars: I was looking forward to this activity the most and found myself highly disappointed - I guess I set my expectations way to high on this. The pre-cruise email from princess stating the movies that would be shown during our cruise was incorrect - we never saw any of the movies promised, but they did show "Breakfast at Tiffany's." If you like soda, popcorn and candy while you watch a movie, bring your own soda and candy (you can purchase candy in the giftshop) or get some cookies from the international cafe. A small bag of popcorn will be provided if you ask. The screen is big and the lounge chairs comfortable. We had no problems hearing the movie either. Get there early if you want to sit next to your loved one. Try not to sit behind/near the hot tub or you will get sprays of water often. Unfortunately for us during one evening movie, the ship staff decided to do something with the sewage, so we were subjected to some pretty awful odors. Not sure what that was about and hope if doesn't happen to you. Entertainment: Spectacular! Don't miss the crew show - lots of fun! The Princess Theater was spacious. Arrive at least 15 minutes early to get a seat or 25 minutes early if you like a certain spot to sit. Suggestion: Move to the middle of a row so that others can fill in and not have empty seats. Don't leave a single seat between you and the party beside you - sit in the chair next to your fellow passenger - it is polite and leave more seating room for those that arrive one minute before show time. Enjoy this part of the cruise - we did and Princess does this right. Disembarkation: Easy process. We packed the night before and were ready to go in the morning. We chose the Easy Walk-Off process and it was easy. We left the ship and 7:30am and were in our car on and the road by 9:00. Again, Princess has highly structured/efficient people moving process that works. Follow the instructions and your experience will be smooth. TIP: Get a copy of your account statement the night before. The line can get long, so if you see a short line at customer service desk - jump in the line. I feel very blessed for this opportunity and I thankful for the vacation. I am now a cruiser and will cruise again. Will I choose Princess again - maybe. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
On our sailing there was about a 9 hour delay due to fog (not Princess's fault - the US Coast Guard would not allow the ship into port, a problem they stated they had never experienced before), then a long line at the port with 3,000 ... Read More
On our sailing there was about a 9 hour delay due to fog (not Princess's fault - the US Coast Guard would not allow the ship into port, a problem they stated they had never experienced before), then a long line at the port with 3,000 tired and grumpy fellow passengers. We didn't know we could have checked in when we dropped off our bags earlier in the day and skipped that whole line altogether, but the crew were so overwhelmed with the massive delay that they probably just overlooked it. No big deal - we'll know next time. We were allowed priority boarding once we got to the front of that gawdawful line because we booked a suite (St. Kitts - alllllll the way aft & overlooking the wake). Yes, the suite is expensive, but I promise the perks are worth the extra cost. Once we were aboard, there were no further problems. My expectations were exceeded at every turn and by every crew member with whom we had contact. Our room steward was an absolute delight, as were the dining staff, bartenders, dealers and other crew in the various venues where we spent time. The ship was beautiful, the suite spacious (including a jacuzzi tub!) and the food was delicious. The head waiter even brought me the next evening's menu every night so the chefs could prepare whatever I wanted gluten free, per my dietary restrictions. Our disembarkation was smooth too. We chose express carry-off, so we retained our luggage and carried it out ourselves. We walked out of the suite at 7:08 am, walked down to our lounge area and had time for 1 cup of coffee before they called us to the gangway. I already had the customs form filled out and we breezed through customs, waited 5 minutes for the parking lot shuttle and were loaded in my car pulling out of the parking lot by 7:45. Can't ask for smoother than that! We enjoyed ourselves so much that even my husband, who has never been interested in travel or doing much more than anchoring the sofa, had a great time and even put down a deposit for an Alaska sailing in summer 2014. He's even talking about taking other cruises after that. I have to thank Princess for giving my husband the travel bug. We're looking forward to sailing again & again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
OK, so I'm back. Day 3 and I still feel like I'm on the ship. (Will this feeling ever go away?) Back to the reality of daily life. First let me say the service was fantastic. The crew/staff really go all out to make sure that ... Read More
OK, so I'm back. Day 3 and I still feel like I'm on the ship. (Will this feeling ever go away?) Back to the reality of daily life. First let me say the service was fantastic. The crew/staff really go all out to make sure that your experience goes smoothly. The shows: I was expecting sort of a H.S. type "Glee" thing, I was shocked- BROADWAY AT SEA. I made a mental note of names because I expect some time in the future to see a few of these performers make it to dry land and really make it BIG. TALENT like you wouldn't believe! OK, now onto food. I ate my weight in smoked salmon. My next life I am coming back as a bear. Fabulous. All in all, food was alright, not all of it to die for, but if you found a favourite like I did you make a meal of it. Bars/Drinks: Explorers- ran across some surly staff there- guess it's because when I realized I was paying gratuties EVERYDAY my BIG tipping slowed down ALOT. Crooners- lovely. Old charm. Felt like I was in a 40's movie with my martini listening to the piano player. Wheelhouse- very dark, not as nice as Crooners. Gatsby's the casino- no time spent there I could never get a shot at the machine that pushed coins off. One lady seemed to live at that machine! Speakeasy- the smoking room. Wow, I met some really great people in that area. Down to earth, fun, and willing to chat when I came in to sit down for a smoke. Now I have some cons to this trip. I went with 'mother' while I love mom to death I was dissapointed when I read in the Patter there was a singles and solos meeting and when I got to where it was (15 minutes late) I didn't see anything that let me know I was in the right spot and the ukranian guy I asked didn't seem to know anything. (much less english!) I was expecting someone from the ship to be there and see people wearing name tags to let me know who's who. I would've liked to have found someone who was in the same position as I was that I could've hung out with and done some excursions-like zip lines, dolphin swimming-My 75 yr. old mother couldn't do any of those things! I did enjoy the iguana farm in Roatan. I also loved seeing Tulum in Cozumel. And here is my biggest beef with Princess- Mom took a fall at 4:30 am the 3rd day out. She tripped over that little ledge to get in the bathroom- Please Princess, put SOMETHING on that ledge to let the old folks remember to step up!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Every Year we have traveled to All inclusives throughout The Caribbean, and Mexico, so we thought we would take the plunge into the Cruising world for a change. Friends of our have recently returned from the Crown Princess and raved about ... Read More
Every Year we have traveled to All inclusives throughout The Caribbean, and Mexico, so we thought we would take the plunge into the Cruising world for a change. Friends of our have recently returned from the Crown Princess and raved about their experience so we decided to give it a try. The Ship itself was very nice and very large. I really thought we would feel trapped on a ship, but never felt that way at all. Our room was a little scary at first, we were not used to the condensed room-styles that cruise ships offer, but once we unpacked all of our luggage, it seemed that there was room for everything. We were absolutely amazed by the cabin stewards, they seemed to magically appear when we left the room and when we returned the cabin was spotless. We were so used to having hotel maids banging at our doors, or having to chase after them in regular hotels, so this was a very unexpected and welcome surprise. The food was actually very good. We ate all over the ship and experienced every type of food and service that the ship had to offer. Our favorite was the Steak house and Sabatinis. We enjoyed the buffet on the days that we wanted to just relax and just dress casually. We were a little alarmed by the cover charges, but quickly learned that they were well worth the extra expenditure. We quickly found that the major difference in land based all inclusives and the Cruise ship experience was definitely the entertainment. Most All inclusives provide very lack luster, low budget entertainment. We found the entertainment to be fantastic the majority of the time. We were not too fond of the Singing and dancing revues so we opted out of those. There were a pair of comedians~Alfred and Seymour who we really enjoyed. The highlight for us was the Hypnotist Fernandez. We watched the first show, loved it and returned for the later show. My husband volunteered and was hypnotized. I honestly laughed until I cried. It was brilliant. We really enjoyed the ports of call, it was really nice to be as busy or as relaxed as we felt in each destination. We love to snorkel and dive and found plenty of great areas to do this. Our favorite spots were Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We have our own gear, so we just arranged our dives locally. There was one ship tour we were interested in, but it was sold out and extremely expensive so we were not really disappointed that we missed it. All in all we really loved our first Cruise and will probably become more avid cruisers in the future. We did feel that we needed a holiday after the holiday as we were so active throughout the cruise. Next time we will book a few days after the cruise to wind down. Bravo Princess~Fantastic crew, Fantastic experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
After sailing the Crown for our anniversary last year, I chose the Crown again for our second cruise with a similar itinerary (Western Caribbean) as it had changed somewhat and we had only visited two of the four ports the first time ... Read More
After sailing the Crown for our anniversary last year, I chose the Crown again for our second cruise with a similar itinerary (Western Caribbean) as it had changed somewhat and we had only visited two of the four ports the first time around. Due to work schedules, we flew from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale the morning of embarkation. It was a non-stop flight and we utilized the Princess transfer. We were very fortunate in the timing of our flight and were able to board the transfer coach within 15 minutes of claiming our checked luggage. Due to the Grand and Crown both sailing that day, our Princess transfer was for both ships and the process was very smooth with visiting two different piers at Port Everglades. We arrived at our pier at approximately 12:45 and were able to proceed directly to an agent to check in and obtain our cruise cards. We only had a wait of 5-10 minutes to get onboard (due to all of the Bon Voyage photos being taken). We were able to proceed directly to our stateroom to deliver our carry on bags. The stateroom was clean and ready for us and our steward arrived within minutes of us and introduced himself. At that first meeting, he asked my husband about our preferences for the room (i.e., ice daily, extra pillows, etc.). He was very personable and was always available for anything we might want. We chose Anytime Dining as it worked well for us the first sailing. I called ahead and made reservations for the first evening in the MDR. We were willing to share a table and were able to get a seating at exactly the time we requested. This ended up being the only meal we ate in the MDR as we chose the casual atmosphere of the buffet most evenings. Our meal in the MDR was very good and it was nice to meet fellow passengers. The buffet food was average buffet food and we felt the choices were not as plentiful as they were last year. We made reservations for the Crown Grill for the last night aboard and it was magnificent! Well worth every penny!!! As far as activities on board (when not visiting a port), we mainly relaxed on our balcony, the decks for sunbathing and attempted MUTS (Movies Under The Stars). Unfortunately, we had rain several evenings and the movie options on the clear nights weren't movies we would care to watch. (Yes, we were VERY lazy on this trip!) We elected to utilize the EZ check program again and found it to be worth the $20/person fee instead of lugging those checked bags along with us on disembarkation day. Because we bought very few souvenirs this year, customs was a breeze and the Princess transfer back to the airport was very smooth. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Ok, so I have nothing to compare the cruise that I went on because it was my first cruise but my boyfriend has been on several and he agreed with everything that I have written.Embarkment and Disembarkment- Quick, easy and organized! We ... Read More
Ok, so I have nothing to compare the cruise that I went on because it was my first cruise but my boyfriend has been on several and he agreed with everything that I have written.Embarkment and Disembarkment- Quick, easy and organized! We got to the boat from the airport in about 15 minutes. From there, we were on the boat in a half out after that. All in all it was about 45minutes from the airport to our room.The ship was neat, clean and staff was very friendly. Our statesmen was very friendly and was there for us when we needed him. The room was always clean and neat.The food was excellent. We mainly ate at the buffet as we always had something to do. If you go hungry on this ship, it is only your fault. The food is plentiful and always had a variety of food to eat. Loved it. We ate at the Crown Grill one night and I had the best lobster, steak I have ever had. Delicious and would highly recommend it.The excursions at Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Roatan were awesome!! The weather had a lot to do with that.I would TOTALLY recommend this cruise to anyone. There were always things to do and if you wanted to relax you could do that too. The people on board were friendly, helpful and were always there to accommodate anything you needed or wanted.The only negative point I would say is that I would have like to have won more in the casinos! LOL!! :)I'd give this cruise an A+++++ and will be booking again Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I would like to say that my girlfriend and I were first-time cruisers on this cruise and we had high expectations of fun and relaxation, and very little knowledge of the whole idea of cruising and ports and excursions, etc. First and ... Read More
I would like to say that my girlfriend and I were first-time cruisers on this cruise and we had high expectations of fun and relaxation, and very little knowledge of the whole idea of cruising and ports and excursions, etc. First and foremost we were NOT disappointed. The Crown Princess was a beautiful ship. Our interior room was about what we expected, not huge but cozy enough. We wanted to save money for food, drinks and shopping so we decided to just get the interior room. Our room steward, Richard, was top notch. My girl and I joked he was like John Tuturro's butler character in Mr. Deeds! We would be gone for minutes and he was in and out of the room. Bed made, dry bathroom towels folded, pool towels hung up, papers organized and mini fridge restocked. This guy even set my book and reading glasses carefully next to the bed and put our shoes in order. Incredible! He was the only ship employee we tipped and we did give him a very large one. I was told before cruising the stewards are really the only ones you should tip without offending anyone. We enjoyed the aft pool as our room was only a quick walk away. It was usually quieter than the other pools. Every pool has a full bar by it and friendly waiters come around asking if you would like any 'yummy-yummy' drinks. The food at the buffets is as good if not better than most 'ruby tuesday' or 'applebys' dinners. Breakfast is fairly typical with eggs, cereal and breads but the assortment of fresh fruit was outstanding. Also each morning was a different smoked fish, salmon, tuna, whitefish, all very delicious. The Crown Grill was the highlight. We are both 'meat and potatoes' people so this was our big evening out. We each picked out our steak from the cart the waiter brought out for us and added loaded baked potatoes. I also added lobster tail, to my surprise I was brought 5, yes 5!, tails! WOW! We could not finish dessert so our waiter had it brought back to our room so we could eat it later. This meal was one of the best culinary experiences I have ever had, the food, atmosphere, the waiter, all of it together. Just to include some info for new cruisers that we learned about once we got on board. Coke, soft drinks, whatever, you must pay for, Alcohol you must pay for. Dinner in the dining rooms is free unless you get alcohol or wine. The buffets are the same way. The pizza, ice cream, hot dogs hamburgers are all free. You can check your ship account balance at the front desk in the piazza level. Hopefully this will help others. I will say we booked our next cruise, only our second, for next year while still on board and just had it billed to our onboard account. If that is not a glowing recommendation I don't know what is. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I feel obligated to let you all know my experience on the Crown Princess the week of Feb 12, 2011. As a travel agent, I escorted a small group of eight cabins with people of various ages, cruising experiences, and disabilities. I am ... Read More
I feel obligated to let you all know my experience on the Crown Princess the week of Feb 12, 2011. As a travel agent, I escorted a small group of eight cabins with people of various ages, cruising experiences, and disabilities. I am very disappointed with the experience we had on the Crown Princess. I read many reviews prior to our cruise. I was hoping all along that our experience would be different. It was not. This was very disappointing. I have never wrote a review before and I am a new member. I feel very obligated to tell our experience with this ship and cruise line. I will divide the review by sections. Dining - We chose Anytime Dining. I was advised that we could make reservations for the week for my group only to find out that you can only make reservations one day at a time the day before and because of the size of my group I was given either very early or after 7:00 PM reservations not the 6:30 PM my group wanted. This was very frustrating. There did seem to be a line if you just arrived and requested a table. The food selections were limited. The menu that they had available everyday included fillet medallions which were very low end. Normally we look forward to dinner. There was only a few nights (mainly formal nights) that dinner was worth looking forward to. The lobster was very good. The pork tenderloin was awful. Desserts were just ok. The service in the dining room was hit and miss. The first couple of nights we had terrible service. The wait staff did not understand English very well. They seemed preoccupied with what was going on around the dining room and did not seem to focus on the guests at their table. When we did find a waiter and asst. waiter that we liked, we requested them the remaining nights. This is not how it should be. Everyone should experience good service in the dining room. I don't expect 5 star at budget prices however I expect good service. It was very confusing to figure out who was suppose to take your drink orders etc. because other wait staff would show up at your table other than the traditional waiter and asst. waiter. It would take so long to get drinks refilled that you would end up asking two different people for a drink refill just to hope that one would respond to your request. We enjoyed the Pub Lunch on sea days, it was very good. We also visited the Crown Grill. The food was very good. My fillet was excellent as was the other steak and lobster meals that my party ordered. The main complaint we had about the Crown Grill was it took 3 hours. We did not plan on spending that much time but it seemed that we had to wait 20 minutes for our coffee/tea and then we waited a long time for our check to come at the end of dinner. It was not very crowded that night either so we don't understand what the hold up was. They do tell you in the beginning that everything is freshly prepared so we were patient waiting for appetizers however, there was too much time wasted between the other courses. International Cafe was very nice. I wish they had complimentary beverages available there but the food is very good. The cookies are great and the pastries/donuts/etc. in the AM are very good also. Breakfast buffet was very limited and we found the eggs to be cold. Overall the buffet seemed limited even for lunch. The tables were preset with silverware. Drink service at the tables was okay. There were a few times we had to hunt staff down to clean off table or to retrieve drink orders. We visited the buffet for dinner one night only to find a very long line, only one section open and it was single file. There were no stations. There were pre made salads, the selection was awful, and people were complaining like crazy about the single file line. If you wanted seconds, forget it you had to stand in line another half hour. There really was nothing you would want seconds of. We opted for a late night pizza snack because we left the buffet hungry. I thought the pizza was good, I would have to say better than the other cruise lines we have experienced. Room Stewards - None of my group had any complaints about the room stewards. Most did their job. Nothing outstanding. No towel figures which the children and my first time cruisers would probably have enjoyed. Gratuities - The automatic gratuities are a problem. There is no incentive for good service. We opted to have our gratuities removed so we could reward personally for good service which was few and far between in the dining room. Disappointingly, we eventually found out that even though you personally hand an envelope of money to these people they must turn that in to be put in a pool and divided among everyone. Again, there is NO incentive for good service. The staff that perform poorly get the same amount that the outstanding staff receive. Casino - There were no $5 blackjack tables. This was very disappointing. I asked why and was told that passengers do not want them. I don't believe this. I think that they should have a few available. By the way, it is possible to get $200 from the slot machines without paying a fee. I read a previous post regarding this and I think some people thought you were getting $200 just free period. Free means no 3% surcharge or transaction fee that you would normally pay with ATM or using your card at one of the gaming tables. Shows - The comedians were good and the hypnotist was entertaining. The other shows were not impressive. Wheelchair request - One of my guests requested a wheelchair two days in advance to use in Cozumel. The request was lost by passenger services and the wheelchair was never delivered. I had a meeting with the Maitre D and the Manager of Passenger Services for 45 minutes regarding all of the disappointments we experienced on this sailing. I told them I am embarrassed to have invited my guests on the Princess Crown and I feel I need to apologize to my guests. I should not have to do this. Princess was always rated close to Royal Caribbean in my opinion. Not anymore. I will be personally be sailing Royal Caribbean and will strongly hesitate to recommend Princess to my customers. I hope that my recommendations and complaints were heard at my meeting. That is all I can do. I also thought it was important to write this review. It is harder writing a review than I thought. I hope it is helpful to you all. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Embarkation - Arriving at the port there was not much of a line walking to the check-in area. We were aboard the ship within a half an hour. Getting up to the room was a breeze. Our cabin was no issue to me. People complain too much ... Read More
Embarkation - Arriving at the port there was not much of a line walking to the check-in area. We were aboard the ship within a half an hour. Getting up to the room was a breeze. Our cabin was no issue to me. People complain too much about the size of the room and the bath, GET OVER IT. I was surprised that our balcony was twice as big because of the room configuration below. Food - We had traditional dining which is at a set time of 6pm or 8:15pm at the same table with the same people. The people were nice. The food was either dried out/tough, overcooked, smaller portion then expected while others were bigger. I did like some of the food. Next time we plan to choose anytime dining. The entertainment that I went to was good to ok. I went to a magic show and a comedy show that were good. We went to movies under the stars but I didn't like the movie so we left. The select a port pull down doesn't have Princess Cays(Eleuthera),Bahamas. The view when we arrived amazing. When we got ashore, the cruise line was serving food at the pavilions. The island was very beautiful. We stayed on the island longer than the others. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
For a first-time cruiser, I had high hopes for this new adventure on the Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, with ports in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and the Bahamas (Princess Cays). Unfortunately, the all mighty drive for corporate ... Read More
For a first-time cruiser, I had high hopes for this new adventure on the Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, with ports in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and the Bahamas (Princess Cays). Unfortunately, the all mighty drive for corporate dollars and some crew members' poor attitudes cast a shadow over an otherwise enjoyable week upon the seas. First, I'll comment on the brighter side of this cruise. Embarkation/disembarkation were expedient and well organized. Interior stateroom was roomy, comfortable and well-equipped. Room steward was extra friendly and seemed to always be close by, if needed. 8:15 dining room options each night were good, yet not memorable. Food on Princess Cays was easily accesible and seemed to be perfect for beach fare (jerk chicken!). Now, for the not-so-positives. I purchased a $29 "soft drink card" for the week but was let down when I realized that this meant only soda options and not any other non-alcoholic drinks (OJ, tomato juice, etc.). In addition, the "soft drink card" was not accepted on Princess-owned Princess Cays. None of this was explained to me when I purchased the card, which would have been nice. I experienced four (4) instances of crew members with unacceptable behavior (bad attitude) towards myself or members of my party. What happened to the customer is #1? Clearly Princess doesn't adhere to this time-tested concept. On Princess Cays, our last port for the week, our entire group was harassed when we chose beach chairs that were in the $30-only group of beach chairs! The lounge chairs we chose had sun shades or "clamshells" attached to some of the chairs, but not all. So let me get this straight: it's a Princess-owned island and you CHARGE ME FOR A LOUNGE CHAIR? The explanation was that the "clamshells" were for rental and therefore, so were the chairs in that area, regardless if you wanted shade or not (which we didn't). The "free" chair area was a considerable walk to the other end of Princess Cays. How convenient. Needless to say, we didn't pay for the un-used "clamshells" and eventually, the beach staff went away. Ultimately, our group had a good time aboard Crown Princess but personally speaking, I wasn't impressed enough to cruise with Princess again. Maybe I'm just not a "cruiser" or perhaps, Princess needs to focus less on profits and more on the overall satisfaction of their customers. Just one man's opinion! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We are loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers. Prices seemed to be a bit high on their ships this fall so we booked on Princess where the pricing was much more affordable. We normally cruise at least twice a year. We had some apprehensions ... Read More
We are loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers. Prices seemed to be a bit high on their ships this fall so we booked on Princess where the pricing was much more affordable. We normally cruise at least twice a year. We had some apprehensions about booking the Crown Princess because two of the couples we sailed with are in their mid twenties and love RCCL for the Royal Promenade, the flow rider and the pub style bar. While on vacation we really vacation. We have theme nights like 80's nights, toga parties and crazy hat nights. Generally we do not do the formalities. Formal night means long pants, unfortunately, with open shirts, crazy hats and lighted jewelry. Other passengers either think we are trashy yet most love to party with us. When entering a dining room for dinner, we get applause. I don't get the whole formal, snooty thing people have about cruising, but I respect it. I wish some passengers would mind their own business. We are not lewd, loud or obnoxious. We basically stick to ourselves unless you want to party with us then you are graciously accepted into the partying. Now that you know where we are coming from I would like to say that we all were very pleased we booked on the Crown. Princess and this ship lived up to most of our expectations. Our only gripe is that the pools and hot tubs are not open all night. We are kind of used to that. Normally w are the last ones up. The nightclub, Skywalkers was great! DJ Emotion was fabulous! Being 57 I am not crazy about listening to techno dance remixes but dancing to it was a riot. We enjoyed his mixes very much. Abi, one of the bar servers, was really attentive and a partier. We drink a lot and he was there whenever we needed him. He is also a great guy. The rooms are larger than on RCCL. This is a plus. The beds were very comfortable although I was not in it much. Our porter was great. We had an inside room, as usual, as again we are very seldom in the room and like th darkness it provides in the morning. The Crown has a beautiful Atrium where you can get great coffees, chai and teas, along with finger sandwiches and pastries. The food in the dining rooms was very good. We had everything from great tenderloin filets, lobster and beef wellington to fried calamari, french fries and watermelon soup. The food all rally is of high quality for a cruise ship. The buffet on the lido deck wa also very good. They had everything from crab and lobster claws to reuben sandwiches. Again, all of high quality for a buffet. Pools were great as were the hot tubs. Clean and never overly crowded. Just wished they stayed open longer. Pools games were th same they have on every other ship. They are always fun. The outdoor movie screen is a great idea. We watched a Monday night Football game and a couple of late night movies. Better than the rock wall on RCCL, in my opinion. Some of the bars were stuffy but we avoided them. The large theater was very warm and the seating was tight so we did not frequent it much. There were many other comedians, bands and entertainment in other venues on board. There as always something to do or you could make your own party in the nightclubs or on deck. Embarkation and and debarkation went smooth and tidy. We really loved the ship. We really loved the itinerary. We do a day pass at the Wyndham Cozumel resort. Really fun times there. All the food and drink you can ingest plus swim up bar and a fabulous beach. Princess Cay is a bunch of fun and very pretty, a great stop. We were all a bit concerned about Roatan, as none of us have been there before and none of us really enjoy Costa Maya which is a similar port. Roatan is beautiful and has fantastic beaches and amenities. We only went to the beach, so I can't comment on the rest of the island. Clean and really a lot of fun. 7 mile beach in Grand Cayman is a must do if you are in to sun and sand. Overall this was a terrific cruise. The Crown Princess should be a ship to consider if you are planning a cruise. We highly recommend it, just keep the darn pools open later. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our first cruise in more than 20 years, and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. Missing Cozumel was a huge deal for us, we really wanted to see Mayan ruins - it was the largest factor in choosing this ship/itinerary. I felt ... Read More
This was our first cruise in more than 20 years, and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. Missing Cozumel was a huge deal for us, we really wanted to see Mayan ruins - it was the largest factor in choosing this ship/itinerary. I felt sorry for the crew, they worked so hard but many people were really angry and upset. I never heard an explanation as to why we couldn't just arrive late in Cozumel and skip Princess Cay? Roatan was just a (bad) beach stop when the Cabana we'd rented was giving to Carnival passengers before we arrived. And Princess Cay was nice, but the end of the day was crazy with everyone having to stand in line forever to get on tenders. I was not impressed by the food, it was okay in the Da Vinci and the service was good but I would have liked better, fresher food on the buffet for some quicker meals. Very glad I got the coffee card, the coffee was often out at the buffet. I liked the MUTS, and some of the trivia games, and enjoyed the (pricey!) spa. I was upset to realize the theater show was PG-13 as I sat there with my children, we had to get up and walk out. The comic was good and we were very sorry we missed seeing the 2nd one, I guess he was to have boarded in Cozumel? The whole week's entertainment was thrown off, so we missed things and were generally unsatisfied with the shows. The last morning the water was cut off without warning while I was half done with my shower. And then were were hassled by Homeland Security about our lack of passports after we'd been assured by Princess that we didn't need them, the birth certificates would be fine. Sure, they were "fine" but the homeland security guy said our names would now be on the warning list and if we went again without them we could have to pay fines. I don't think I'm generally a crank or that I have lofty expectations, but I'm really happy we got a significant discount on the cruise (and nice cabin upgrades, we'd paid for BF and got BB) because I felt the value was much less than what I expected. We're not likely to cruise again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my ... Read More
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my husband and I booked and paid for a room for 4. The names on the booking manifest clearly showed 4 cruisers for a room for 4. When questioned, the purser told us that this was the way it was to be. They had no more rooms to offer despite the mistake. My children and grand kids stayed in a room designed for 3 with a roll away bed for my grandson with Cerebral Palsy. The room was a liability and a fire trap. There was no room to get out of beds but rather to crawl over each other!!!! When I spoke to Princess upon my arrival home, I was essentially told that a room with a roll away constitutes a room for 4! This is rubbish and I know it it is not correct. My daughter was taken ill last minute and was unable to come on the cruise, It was too late to get a refund. I boarded the ship and told them that I was requesting the use of her room for our disposal since we had paid for it. I was given a key. An hour later, the key was de programed and the room taken from us. The purser told us that the room belonged to Princess even tho I had paid for it. They were going to upgrade another passenger on MY DIME. This is reprehensible!! I have sailed 4 times with Princess and this was by far the worst. Our room stewart forgot bath mats and gave me a robe that was clearly stained with what looked like blood. We never saw him to make requests and had to leave notes. Our waiters got our food orders wrong. On disembarcation day in port, the hot water was turned off and no one could shower. The poolside music was not Caribbean and did not fit the theme of the cruise. They allowed the constant breaking of the ships rules. People were putting their towels on chaises to reserve and then walked off to return later. No reserving was to be allowed. We sailed into Roatan into a port that Carnival/Princess built and operated. Any money spent at this port goes into the coffers of Carnival/Princess. When they could not or would not sail out that evening due some breeze issues or so say they, we were forced to spend the night there, making us bypass Cozumel. Cozumel was to be the highlight of our trip. Upon my return home, I relayed this issue and told Princess that they consciously set this situation up to fail. This was NOT the first time this had happened. I made a point of telling them that tendering in was the resolve. I was told that tendering was not/is not an option due to some farce of a safety issue. The tendering would be far safer then the scenario of a squeezing a large ship into a bottle. My complaints were all listed in a letter to Princess upon my return home. I received a call over 4 weeks later from a young CSR who responded to my complaints in a rather well scripted manner. This scenario was the result of a well versed young lady prompted and practiced to feed me a line of Princess rhetoric. I truly did NOT expect this from Princess. I honestly thought that there would be some kind of restitution while not big, just something. I now have my travel agent working on trying to get this sorted out. Until and unless Princess does right by us, there will be no future cruises with Princess. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean and honestly.....they should have been the line that I was building credits with all along! Very Disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Booked the Rodeway Airport/Cruiseport for the night prior to embarkation. Decent facility at a very fair price - $85/night included shuttle from airport and to cruiseport plus a very nice breakfast. Embarkation was very efficient - we ... Read More
Booked the Rodeway Airport/Cruiseport for the night prior to embarkation. Decent facility at a very fair price - $85/night included shuttle from airport and to cruiseport plus a very nice breakfast. Embarkation was very efficient - we were in our stateroom in under an hour from the time we arrived at the port. Baggage was slow to be delivered but with 3000 guests and therefore 6000+ bags, I can't complain. Food - we opted for anytime dining and LOVED it. The folks we met each lunch/dinner were friendly & talkative, from a variety of places and walks of life. I can't recall a single bad meal. Service was excellent. Breakfasts served in the dining room were a real treat. The International Cafe on the Plaza deck, just down from our stateroom was fabulous. The donuts, exp. the chocolate dipped, in the morning were heavenly. The $1.50 three-scoop gelato would have been a bargain at twice the price!! Service - our room steward Robert was attentive and efficient. Our favorite staff in the International Cafe - Nadiia and Roderick - were a joy. Entertainment - loved the comedians, esp. Troy Thirdgill, and Berte the piano man. Attended two of the main theatre shows and enjoyed them. The Movies Under The Stars were enjoyable - saw The Blind Side and Sherlock Holmes. Not so keen on the band Straight Up. Cabin - our outside cabin on port side of Deck 5 fully met our needs. Small but very functional. Great closet space. Great to have the mini-fridge. Had carried 2 bottles of white wine on board without problem and so was able to keep them chilled. Fitness Centre - made good use of the treadmills throughout the trip and my wife participated in several of the free classes - circuit training, morning stretch, etc. Disappointed that they charge $10 per for spin classes, yoga and pilates. IMHO these should be without charge. Formal nights - both my wife and I enjoy dressing for formal occassions so came prepared with tux, long gown, etc. Pleasantly surprised that there were so many like minded souls. My wife enjoyed the pouring the champagne pyramid on night 1 and the balloon drop/dancing on night 2 was great. Disembarkation - a very well run operation. Less than 1/2 hour from the time we showed up at our meeting spot until the time we were on shore with suitcases in hand. Shuttle to airport - pre purchased a shuttle coupon through the Rodeway Inn. Called the shuttle from a coutesy phone outside the terminal, it arrived in less than 15 minutes. One further stop to pick up folks disembarking from the Oasis of the Seas and then a short drive to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship that looks majestic in port and glamorously spotless on board. There are always people cleaning and ensuring that standards are upheld, from wiping down the underside of lounge chairs during the day ... Read More
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship that looks majestic in port and glamorously spotless on board. There are always people cleaning and ensuring that standards are upheld, from wiping down the underside of lounge chairs during the day to polishing the stairs in the Piazza at 5am in the morning, the attention to detail is very impressive. Our cruise was Valentine's week and there was a romance summit onboard so there were several weddings and people renewing their vows onboard. I think this cruise was an excellent mixture of relaxation, delicious food and fun adventures. Embarkation Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale (10.30am) we were issued with a boarding number so boarding could be done as quickly and efficiently as possible which ensured that controlled groups checked- in to avoid a 3000 passenger crush! We were given number 1 (which meant we were in the first 25 to arrive) and when it was time to check-in we headed for the Dolphin desk. We were issued with our cruise cards and our credit card was swiped again ready for our onboard account. Then after a quick photo in front of a Crown backdrop we headed onboard and had a headshot taken for the ship computer which was then checked every time we returned to the ship from a port. Embarkation started at 11.50am and by midday we in the DeVinci restaurant enjoying our first lunch onboard, having dropped off our hand luggage in our cabin. We were told that the restaurant wasn't open for cruisers unless they were B2B but we ignored that and went down anyway and the restaurant staff were lovely and treated us like VIPs. I got the Head waiter to try and get us on the Chef's table and he then called me across when he got the man with the waiting list on the phone, we were second on the list! Our cases were waiting for us outside our cabin after lunch so the $4 porter tip definitely did the trick! Mini-Suite We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck which was mid-ship and we loved it as we were never too far away from anywhere on the ship. There are six lifts mid-ship as opposed to two at the front and two at the back and we never heard any noise in the corridors from our cabin. We had an uncovered balcony with table and four chairs, a bath, a large sofa, two televisions, a safe, a fridge (where we chilled the champagne and wine we had brought on as this is permitted by Princess) and a queen size bed which was extremely comfortable. Our two large cases and flight bag fitted easily under the bed so you don't need to worry about where to put your suitcase in the cabin. The wardrobe had ample hangers and the mini-suite seemed generously spacious. We had good wi-fi connection and did all our postings in our cabin on our laptop rather than in the internet cafe. Avoid busy times as the internet speed varied considerably depending on what time of day it was. We tended to use it early in the morning for quickest speeds and benefitted from free minutes with the pre-paid internet package we purchased the week before. We asked our steward for bath robes and ice which were promptly delivered by the time we returned after sailaway. The room service was always very efficient and we enjoyed phoning up for tea, coffee, pastries and orange juice to start the day. We also made use of room service if we had been out on a port day and got back too late in the MDR lunch. There is something truly indulgent about tucking into lunch on your balcony in the Caribbean sun! We did a video tour of the cabin which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#788229302_6fyKw-M-LB Main Dining Room Restaurants I fancied egg Benedict for breakfast one morning (we rarely get it in the UK) and it wasn't on the breakfast menu in the MDR so I asked our waiter if it would be possible to have it - yes of course was the reply. As Rob said, no doesn't seem to be part of the ship vocabulary they are so keen to make your holiday absolutely perfect. Afternoon tea has the best cup of tea you will get on the ship - which was served with finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. The scones are not as good as my Mum can make but the rest was fantastic. We liked the fact that the waiters wore gloves to pour the tea which helped give the afternoon tea a sense of occasion. We were Anytime Dining which worked really well. If one MDR has a long queue head straight to the other one as you will probably find a shorter queue (we did). We only had to wait for a table for 2, on the formal nights, apart from that we have always walked straight in. If you are prepared to share you will probably be seated earlier and you can book a specific time if you choose through the dine line, but we prefer to go with the flow (it is called Anytime for a reason!) and the little pagers they give you mean you are free to wander around, have more photos or sit and enjoy a drink while you are waiting. The food was delicious and consistently excellent throughout. For lunch on embarkation day I enjoyed prawns with melon, châteaubriand with Bearnaise sauce and chocolate soufflE. Other lunches included a spicy beef pot topped with puff pastry, steak sandwich and spaghetti carbonara. Whenever we had beef it was cooked exactly as requested even if it was slow roasted beef or Beef Wellington! We always felt spoilt for choice and were never disappointed with what we ordered. Our meals in the main dining room included lobster, scallops, Alaskan Salmon, Fish in a tomato and saffron sauce, filet mignon and pork medallions in a honey and mustard sauce. The menu in the evening consisted of a choice of appetisers (Fettuccini Alfredo was a favourite) then soup or salad, then a main course, then dessert. Whenever we had a problem it was dealt with so professionally that Princess went up again in our estimation, making everything perfect as they make you feel like you are the only diners in the restaurant - this is certainly service with a smile. Sabtini's Restaurant - $20 cover charge We decided to book a table at Sabitini's the Italian speciality restaurant for our final night. We both had a fabulous meal. You choose your soup, main and dessert and everything else is served to you automatically. The hot and cold appertisers are presented with silver service which means that it sometimes doesn't look as good on the plate as it would have done presented by the chef (so if you have seen photos of the hot and cold starter selection they may look as if they lack a bit of finesse). The main problem is trying to fit everything on the plate! The cold anti-pasti (served together) included proscuttio and melon, bresola, porticini mushrooms with garlic puree, shrimp and artichoke in truffle oil, anchovy, salad and parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes and red peppers. The hot anti-pasti included crab cake, calamari, ricotta cheese flan and courgette in a tomato sauce. We then had our soup (I had tomato and shellfish) followed by two pastas - I really liked the egg noodles in a mushroom veloute, tender asparagus baby spinach and fresh tomato, the other was a homemade potato and ricotta ravioli. For main I had lobster tail with lobster sauce and pumpkin risotto and Rob had Chilean sea bass with a whole grain mustard crust, lemon asparagus and a mustard green salad. For dessert I had an expresso crème brûlEe with star anise biscotti and armagnac foam and Rob had tiramisu. (cappicino / expresso coffees etc where complimentary) We felt that this meal was the perfect way to end our cruise. The restaurant is much quieter than the MDR and the meal lasts a good two hours from start to finish. As with all venues the drinks stickers are accepted in the restaurant. We have a video which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...649_7JDDd-M-LB The Piazza This was one of my favourite areas on the ship. It is on decks 5, 6 and 7 which are linked by sweeping spiral staircases adding to the magnificence of the venue. It is here that you will find the International cafe, a real gem of the ship. It is open 24/7 for the best coffee and delights of the day. In the morning there is a large selection of croissants, muffins and Danish pastries by lunch there are salads, warm quiches and sandwiches and there is always a fabulous selection of cakes, desserts and patisserie tempting you between meals. I recommend the cookies and tiramisu which were both indulgently delicious. Also in the Piazza on deck 5 is Vines a wine bar serving tapas and sushi. All food served in the Piazza is complimentary apart from the speciality ice cream at the International Cafe. This is also where you will find the internet cafe. The Piazza is the place to meet friends or relax and enjoy the entertainment as there were musicians and artists who performed throughout the day and into the night. Entertainment The Princess Patters (the ship's daily newspaper) are delivered to your cabin each evening and they give you all the information you will need for the following day from what activities and shows are on, to information about tendering and the clocks on the ship changing to keep to local port times. With Princess you can certainly be as active or relaxed as you like. We used to plan our time like a military operation so as not to miss out on anything but it impossible to do everything. Activities during the day that we enjoyed included line-dancing, a make-up demonstration, a sushi, vegetable and fruit demonstation, ice carving, a putt putt competition (I won gold and Rob got silver for Great Britain, which was better than we did at the Olympics). Rob took part in a Valentine cake decorating competition and just missed out on winning but we then enjoyed the cake at dinner as they put it in one of the ship's fridges labelled with our cabin number. The comedy on the Crown was excellent. Kevin Hughes and Troy Thirdgill both did two different shows which we thoroughly enjoyed. We went to the 7pm show "Destination Anywhere" and it was absolutely superb. There are always at least two separate times for the main shows so it doesn't matter whether you are first or second sitting in Traditional Dining you will not miss out. "Destination Anywhere" had great dancing, costumes and singing. We really felt like we had been to a professional show. The Crown has seven different venues for entertainment in addition to the Princess Theatre, not to mention places such as the Adagio bar with a pianist, which works well at distributing the passengers so we never ever had a sense of just how many people were on the ship. We braved the Movies under the Stars once (it is fun snuggling up under a blanket on the sun loungers equipped with extra thick padded cushions at night) but the film was not to our taste and the popcorn was chewy and salted so we didn't stay for long! Chef's Table If I had to give one piece of advice from the entire cruise it would be to try and get on the chef's table if you love and appreciate food. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. It was $75 each and definitely worth every penny. Second piece of advice make sure you follow the advice of not eating much at all in the day. We all gathered at the International cafe at 7pm, and as we had already met for the health and safety briefing we already felt like we knew each other a bit. The Maitre D'hotel Francesco Ciorfido then escorted us up to Da Vinci dining room where we were given our white coats and led into the galley. In the galley you get an extensive explanation of how the food is organised and a complete tour. It was Italian night in the MDRs so all the waiters were dressed in Italian stripy t-shirts rather than the formal suits that they normally wear. Everyone was so friendly in the galley and seemed genuinely pleased that we were interested in seeing behind the scenes. We were then led through the galley to one area where the gastronomie began. We were each given a glass of champagne (constantly refilled) while we enjoyed the canapEs. Our first was Tuna tartar served on an oriental spoon which had been marinating in soy and ginger, delicious, next we had bistro mini quiche with fortini cheese and truffle which just melted in your mouth. Our third canapE was bistro vol-au-vent forestière with truffle oil, which was so light and our fourth canapE was a buckwheat blini with caviar and crème fraiche. The chef then left us in the safe hands of the Maitre D' so he could make our dinner. We gave back our white coats and were led back through the restaurant and down to the Michelangelo restaurant were a special table was waiting for us. The wine waiter then introduced the wine he had selected for the meal. The red was a robust 2004 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon (from Califorinia I think, called something Jackson) the white was a Pinot Grigio (I think) but I can't remember the details - just that it was light and delicious. We were given an appetiser (not listed on the menu) of beef carpaccio which was delicious. The executive chef Manlio Cuzzolin came to our table and introduced the risotto with lobster tail and claws which was divine. We were then served a bloody mary sorbet complete with a celery decoration and Manlio came round with a bottle of vodka which he then poured over the top. The waiters then removed the table decorations and bread baskets from the table ready for the theatre to begin! Manlio and his team then reappeared once more carrying huge medieval spiked flambE roasters which they laid down on the table behind us. They then poured over ladles and ladles of flames that looked truly spectacular. Another waiter carried out a huge paella shaped pan filled with lobsters - and that wasn't even on the menu! Our main course was Trio of beef, veal and pork tenderloin with jus, salsa verde, bEarnaise sauce and cafe de Paris butter (they were each in little sauce pots so you helped yourself to what you fancied) served with lobster on the side. This was accompanied with mashed potatoes (infused with the flambEed meat juices) with baby sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, char grilled asparagus and charred premium vegetables. The wine and conversation just kept on flowing. We were lucky that everyone was so friendly and we all got on really well. Our cheese course was potted stilton with port wine reduction and walnuts and rosemary biscotti - I couldn't believe just how tasty it was and even Rob who is normally not keen on stilton cheese loved it. Our dessert was orange mousse with raspberry mango glaze which was served with a delicious dessert wine. The head pastry chef came out with Manlio for this and I asked him how long the dessert took him to make....five hours!!! The dessert was served on an edible sugar crafted plate which was so attractive. To complete the meal, we had coffee (or tea) with Manlio's homemade biscotti and amoretti. Manlio gave all the ladies a red rose and all the men a signed Princess cookbook (worth $49.95). We then had our photographs taken with Manlio and Francesco and another one with the entire group. These were delivered to our cabin the following day. We were the envy of the entire restaurant with the food and extra attention we were given - and several diners got up and took pictures of the medieval spiked flambE roaster. I thanked Manlio again while we were having our group picture taken and he said it was an absolute pleasure to cook for people who really appreciate his craft - we definitely got the impression that they really enjoyed the evening as well. This is truly an experience of a lifetime not to be missed! Rob has done a great job at capturing the evening in just over a minute on video which you can see on: http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#789772110_TQPnm-M-LB Formal nights Our first formal night was on Valentine's day and ship was decorated with red and white balloons and an amazing selection of Valentine's cakes made by the pastry chefs for a display in the Piazza. There was a champagne waterfall in the Piazza and all the ladies were invited to help the Maitre D' pour wine into the top by standing on a small platform. The champagne waterfall was accompanied with complimentary glasses (yes in the plural) of champagne and canapEs. At the International cafe a waitress came and asked us what we wanted to drink and we said we wouldn't mind a complimentary glass of champagne so she tracked down one of the waiters with trays of glasses of champagne and got him to come over to us - we were very impressed. The canapEs just kept on coming too so it was a very pleasant experience waiting for our table. The champagne came round again and the waiter automatically put another glass down on the table for us both even though mine was still half full!! There are several photographers on formal nights so there are lots of opportunities to capture the evening. However, we tended to offer to take photos of others and then they returned the favour. 95% of the passengers were suitably dressed for a formal night and we loved dressing up in our finery for the evening. The second formal night was lobster night and another opportunity to have formal shots taken by the ship's photographers. At 11pm there was a balloon drop in the Piazza and earlier in the afternoon we had signed our balloons in the hope of winning a bottle of champagne. Tendering The organisation was superb and it was clear the whole operation is a well oiled machine. We enjoyed watching the tenders being lowered into the sea for the day, and after breakfast we headed down to the Michelangelo restaurant where we were issued with a ticket for our tender. We didn't wait more than 5 minutes either time which is incredible when you consider there were 3000 passengers potentially wanting to disembark for their island excursions. Pools There are four pools on the Crown. The one at the front is adult only next to the Lotus Fitness and Spa near the Sanctuary. It is extremely quiet perhaps because many wrongly believe that it is part of Sanctuary with a charge. The pool at the back of the ship (aft) is also adult only and near the Calypso cafe and Horizon Court. I tried both adult pools and they were pleasant although cold when first getting in. The two pools on the Lido are family pools, one by the Trident Grill, pizzeria and ice cream parlour and the other has the Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) which start showing films at lunchtime, although we found it too loud. The ports The port stops in the Western Caribbean all seemed very different which definitely added to the wonderful experience. There are four ports of call: Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, Roatan Honduras, Cozumel Mexico and Princess Cays in the Bahamas and I have done a report for each. Disembarkation As with everything on the Crown the organisation was superb and disembarkation was easy. Towards the end of your cruise you are asked what time your flight is, whether you have an excursion or whether you wish to self disembark. From this information you are then given coloured labels for your cases and a disembarkation time and meeting point. The night before disembarkation you are asked to put your packed suitcases outside your cabin. Having a flight bay (carry on) was really useful for bringing wine onboard and for putting our evening wear and shoes in from the last night (don't forget to you lay out the clothes you intend to travel in, so you don't pack them in your suitcase by mistake!) Water, tea and coffee are provided at the meeting points so again you feel you are valued right up to the last minute you are on the ship. You are then disembarked according to the number and colour of your luggage labels. All the suitcases at Fort Lauderdale were lined up in the different number and colour labels so it was really easy to find our suitcases at the port. I think we were really lucky to sail on such a fine ship for our first cruise and would love to take another cruise next year - we have our free onboard credit letter (obtained from the future cruise sails desk) tucked away in a safe place! Grand Cayman The ship arrived about 6.50am (due in at 7am). We watched some of the lifeboats being lowered into to the water ready to be tenders for the day. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Horizon Court (main dining room doesn't open until 7.30am) which was convenient but not half as nice as the MDR.??From there we went down to Michelangelo MDR where they give you a tender ticket number. This is a great location as you can get something tasty at the International Cafe and munch it in while you are waiting. We didn't have to wait more than 5 mins before we were escorted down to the tender. It has to be said that the organisation by Princess is superb and we really couldn't fault the tendering. You need your cruise card (and passport although we didn't have to show it) to get on and off the boat.??Upon arrival at Grand Cayman there are iced water dispensers and paper cups for you if you want. We hadn't pre-booked a tour but as soon as you get off the tender in George Town you are greeted by tour operators all offering the same highlights tour offered by Princess. We took a highlights tour for $20 per person, this included the Cayman Governor's residence, Hell, rum and rum cake tasting and the Dolphin Park (where one person on our tour got in the water to pet and kiss the dolphins for $20 including a lovely professional photograph) We went back via 7 mile beach where we all opted to get dropped off at Sea Grape Beach for some sea and sun (if you do this you have to get back independently)??We headed down the beach a bit and found a lovely quiet spot (on Mondays there are only two cruise ships in port us and the Carnival - tomorrow there will be six ships in port!!) It is no problem getting transport back, a taxi would be $5 each but we just crossed the road and immediately got picked up at the bus stop and that only cost $5 for both of us! (A taxi will want to hang around to try and get more passengers (they like at least four) unless you are prepared to pay $20, so the bus was not only cheaper but a lot quicker)??We had a quick look at George Town (a tax free haven but we are not shoppers) and then got the tender back. Before you get on the tender you are given a fresh cold flannel to cool yourself down and again there is water on tap if you wish.??Once back onboard we ordered room service and enjoyed a club sandwich on the balcony in the sunshine looking across to Grand Cayman (we are the starboard side) with a glass of wine from our box in the fridge. Is was so hot on the balcony I had to come in after lunch!!! I didn't think I'd be saying that in Miami, and yes to answer a previous question the dolphin balconies are completely uncovered. ??There were about 15 suitcases at the tender boat coming back which belonged to passengers who missed the Crown at Fort Lauderdale and therefore caught up with it in Grand Cayman. The Carnival ship arrived after us and left before us so we felt that Princess gave us as much time possible on the island. There was a call for one passenger at 3.30pm and then they said he was on his way (I wouldn't want to risk missing the ship, I think he only just made it) http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Other/Caribbean-Cruise/10862873_GvoHV#789147795_fEo5A-M-LB Roatan We both really loved Roatan Honduras!??When we got up rain was lashing against the window which was quite a surprise after the blue skies of Grand Cayman. Fortunately the rain had stopped by the time we docked as Captain Andy gently reversed the Crown into Mahogany Bay and we admired the ship wrecks from our balcony. Last week it was so windy that the ship was unable to dock at Roatan or Princess Cays so we felt very lucky to just have cloud.??After breakfast we headed down to the Princess Theatre for our organised excursion meet point. As there are several trips organised by Princess they assign you a sticker, then your sticker colour all sit together and when your trip is ready to go you are led out orderly one row at a time. Again Princess have this down to a fine art, as with everything you know you are in safe hands. ?Once through the duty free shop (the only way to exit the port) we met our guide (remember your tour number we were 110) and were led to an air conditioned mini-bus. Unlike Grand Cayman we didn't see lots of private tour companies offering tours at the port although there were plenty of taxis. This could be because they are not allowed in as security in Roatan is very high (not sure about this).??First we were led to a view point to look down on the old port (an NCL was berthed there) and given 15 mins for shopping (there was a tourist gift shop and a supermarket)...oh dear we thought we don't want a tour of the gift shops!!! We didn't need to worry at all. We were then driven through the main street in the town, this area was extremely poor with wooden shacks for houses, lots of litter, broken down cars, and banks guarded at the door by burley men with guns and rifles! We passed the Ambulance and Fire station (the Fire engine didn't have any wheels!! fortunately there were two and the other one did) Our guide said crime on the island is not high only about 10% - that seems extremely high, but the mainland is apparently really bad. ??Our tour was island highlights and from this point we were driven to richer, well kept areas but we both felt that the town drive through was an important part of the tour as it showed how many people on the island live, rather than glossing over it. The iguana sanctuary was great. They provide you with banana leaves to feed them and they are so tame - and enormous - that you get lots of picture and petting opportunities. I nearly got hit on the head by one falling out of a tree! There were also monkeys and parrots in cages plus the fish and lobster in the sea.??We then went to a private house which had a superb view and a fantastic garden with lots of beautiful plants and flowers. Next was Parrot Tree Plantation an exclusive residential area where we had a complimentary drink and a swim. The island highlights tour was a great tour and highly recommended.??We popped back to the Crown for a spot of lunch at the International cafe then headed to Mahogany beach on the Magical chair lift (this went up to $8 three weeks ago and you can pre-book tickets on the Crown to be delivered to your cabin at no extra charge)??Mahogany Bay is a beautiful new port and you can have a perfect day for free on this island if you wish! There is a path leading across to white sands and sea with hundreds of lounge chairs that are complementary! It is actually quicker to walk to the beach than take the chair lift but we fancied the chair lift experience of an aerial view! There is a bar for snacks and refreshments if you wish. It is not until you get on the beach you realise just how enormous the Crown actually is - but she maintains a look of class and beauty. We didn't experience any problems with sand fleas or mosquitoes at Roatan - although I did use insect repellent based on other postings I am not aware that any one else had a problem either. Interestingly, even though we had good weather with some cloud on Roatan the people who visited the West side of the island had quite a lot of rain!?What a great day, enjoy the video! ?http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...720_Y58Ju-M-LB Cozumel ?At breakfast there was an announcement that several shore excursions had been cancelled due to the windy weather. These were mainly snorkling and scuba diving excursions plus the speedboat to Passion Island. ?We hadn't pre-booked any excursions for Cozumel and that didn't matter as there are lots of tour operators in booths at the port who are very accommodating and gave us directions for the tour we were looking for. We were keen to do an x-rails trip in the jungle and just had to cross the road at the port where there was a tour operator there offering a lot of additional tours. ??We paid a deposit with the chap $10 then got a cab into town $7 for the pick up. Unfortunately we didn't have enough cash on us so we paid by credit card ($155) which normally wouldn't be a problem but we had to pay in pesos so we were subject to a less than favourable exchange rate of 13 rather than 12.5 to the dollar. The cost included taxi there and back to the ship which considering the distance was good.??The x-rails is an off road drive through the jungle. It is very dusty and dirty so if you do it make sure you wear old clothes (and bring a change of clothes to get back on the ship!). Helmets and goggles are provided. You drive to Jade Caverns where you can swim in the jade green water under the bats. You also swim into a cave which is pitch black and that is quite an experience. We then stopped off on the way back to see some natural coral shelters used in hurricanes. You can see that the coral used to be under water as there are shells embedded into the wall. The x-rails trip is really exhilarating but not for faint hearted (or anyone with a back problem) You are really thrown about on the rough road which is great fun.??We popped back to the ship for a bite to eat in the International cafe and then headed out again. At the port as well as shops there is an area with sun loungers and hammocks so we chilled out there in the sun and then I got a massage in the massage tent (full body massage for $25 - better than the Lotus spa prices!!!)??Cozumel is a lovely island with very friendly helpful people who are keen to make sure you have a good holiday. Having been to Roatan which is still quite primitive it was all the more apparent who advanced this Mexican island is. We thoroughly enjoyed Cozumel and think that this cruise has an excellent balance of fun and relaxation.??You are always requested to be back on board 30 mins before we are due to set sail, today 4.30pm for a 5pm sailaway. However it was 4.55pm and the gangways were still out. A call was put out for the missing passengers. 30 mins later they arrived in a taxi right up the pier next to the ship and gangway. Four passengers got out and everyone on the balconies gave a huge cheer... how embarrassing, they were lucky as I don't think we would have waited much longer. Needless to say captain Andy then announced we were now all on board, that they had been stuck in traffic and we were about to set sail.?Enjoy the video? http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...083_H577u-M-LB Princess Cays, Bahamas Princess Cays, Bahamas.??We knew that this was the stop that the Crown often fails to tender due to the weather so we had fingers crossed that we would be lucky and we certainly were. The weather forecast said we would have highs of 19 degress (66F) not a good sign. However, the forecast was completely wrong, after a cold start we had glorious weather in the Bahamas and lots of people caught the sun.??The sun came out as soon as our tender landed and as we were the only ship using the island today there were loads of free sun loungers so we were really spoilt for choice. Once on the island you can either turn right or left. Right of the tender pier is quieter and is where you will find clam shells if you have rented them. Left of the pier is busier although this is also the side where you can hire private cabanas (bright coloured beach huts). I would definitely say don't waste your money on a cabana as we spoke to one chap with a cabana who had been led to believe it would be secluded but it was actually on the main path and he had paid $200 for the privilege! Needless to say we used the free sun loungers (available in the sun and the shade) and were very happy.??Your soda card won't work on Princess Cays however we had a UKP sticker and were able to get mocktails and juice all day (one waiter said we couldn't use it but everyone else served us no problem).??I was keen to snorkel so hired the gear for $24 (flippers, vest, mask and snorkel) Having headed to the right handside as it would be a quieter beach we were advised that the snorkelling is better on the left had side so we crossed the little wooden bridge once more. Unfortunately my first snorkel was plagued by jelly fish which were absolutely everywhere and I spent as much time looking out for jelly fish as the colourful fish I'd gone in to see! ??The lifeguard said it was the direction of the wind that had brought them in from the sea so it is good to know they are not normally a problem. He said they will sting you so swim around them and then pointed out that they were not such a problem in his area so I went in again and I was really pleased I did. The coral although mainly grey had parts that were bright purple and yellow and the fish were so beautiful and swimming all around.??There is a BBQ for lunch which is okay, I personally thought the fresh fruit salads and cookies were better than the main BBQ. We had reservations for Sabitini's so were not wanting to eat a lot anyway. We had sun, sea and sand today and it was perfect. As on board ship the food and beverage staff are constantly circulating in case you would like a drink so you never have to stand at the bar waiting to be served. There is iced water provided for free and several waterfountains dotted along the main path.??The last tender was 3.30pm but we didn't fancy standing in a long line at the end of the day so we headed back about 2pm and then enjoyed a glass of fizz on the balcony still enjoying the sunshine. ?http://howarthfamily.smugmug.com/Oth...208_RBquh-M-LB One thing I would like to add is how lovely and friendly everyone is on a cruise (both passengers and staff).The staff work so hard and are really professional throughout. Anyone new to cruising and questioning the autotip let me reassure you that the staff earn every single penny of it and thoroughly deserve it. By doing the autotip you ensure that everyone is rewarded for your good service and not just those on the "front line".??The one thing that really impressed us about Princess was the superb organisation throughout. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
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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