13 Princess Crown Princess Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

We went with a large group (100+) organized by a very reputable agency. The agency owner & key organizer traveled with us & did their best to address issues, but... The room was consistently over 75 Fahrenheit - even after two ... Read More
We went with a large group (100+) organized by a very reputable agency. The agency owner & key organizer traveled with us & did their best to address issues, but... The room was consistently over 75 Fahrenheit - even after two visits from engineering staff. Front desk said it wasn't possible to send a fan... In a truly bizarre twist, the cold water was over 100 Fahrenheit - I've never before had a hot cold shower. Before booking, specified that we would need multiple electrical outlets at bedside (both use CPAP + other med device) - no problem. When we arrived, there was a 1-outlet extension cord & no outlets near bed. It took 2 calls & 3 increasingly heated visits to customer service before finally getting a 3-outlet strip to use with the cord. Partner uses a 48-lb collapsible power chair, but can do short standing transfers. There are no accessible excursions on this voyage... none. Had a great time on the islands hiring our own (considerably cheaper) private excursion or renting a car. Cabin hallways are consistently clogged with housekeeping carts. The cruise director is regularly on the overhead screeching about the latest sale & the entire ship is designed around squeezing out every dollar possible. The 'Sports Deck' has no sports... it's the kid's area. Highlights Some of the staff were truly exceptional. Some of the dining room dishes were excellent and creative. Most of the theater presentations were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 8th cruise, and our first on Princess. We chose the cruise for the itinerary, as well as a desire to try Princess out. Our previous 4 cruises have been on Celebrity. We're going back to Celebrty. We found the ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise, and our first on Princess. We chose the cruise for the itinerary, as well as a desire to try Princess out. Our previous 4 cruises have been on Celebrity. We're going back to Celebrty. We found the service to be subpar - mostly because the workers were stretched way too thin. We encountered several employees with really bad attitides in both the International cafe and the 7th floor martini bar - the bartender who gave us attitude when we ordered coffee - she curtly informed us that coffee is to be ordered in the 5th floor international cafe - even though she had a huge espresso machine behind the bar. I think the rude service was due to the employees just being tired, and stretched too thin. That is more the fault of management in my opinion. We got no beach towels with our balcony room, even though instructions on what to do with our beach towels was included in our daily program - a daily reminder of penny-pinching by Princess. Food at the Crown Grill was great. All other food venues (we tried them all) was mediorcre at best. Most things on the room setvice menu come at additional cost. If you want a pizza in your room from the pizza restaurant, the pizza is supposedly free, but they charge a $3 delivery fee (and no, you can't just pick it up yourself - not allowed). Pizza in the restaurant was quite good though, as was the service. Service in the wine bar Vines was great, even though the poor guy working there was running his fanny off most times. The "santuary" comes at a cost of $20 per half-day. It's an area that is just a cordoned off section of common area - more nickle and diming. We refused to pay for it. Food was the most mediorcre we've ever experienced on a cruise line - no doubt the result of a tight budget being placed on the chef. The layout of the ship is terrible - elevators that don't go to all floors, and elevator banks with no stairs nearby. I hope whoever designed this ship changed jobs. There was more rust than I've seen on any ship. And our cabin balcony B744 had lots of rust around the entire balcony - really ugly and clearly indicative of a penny-pinching company. Princess is owned now by Carnival corp - and it shows. This was the last cruise we'll take on any cruise line owned by Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My cruise experience aboard the Crown Princess was not relaxing at all and I am disappointed with Princess Cruises. I have been on many cruises and I have to say that this was the worst cruise I have ever taken. It has shaken my faith in ... Read More
My cruise experience aboard the Crown Princess was not relaxing at all and I am disappointed with Princess Cruises. I have been on many cruises and I have to say that this was the worst cruise I have ever taken. It has shaken my faith in Princess. It was not one thing thing that went wrong but many. First, our departure was delayed due to virus cleaning and we could not even board the ship until 6:30 p.m. The boarding process was disorganized and took aver an hour. The check in staff were not very friendly and we were told that our rooms were still not ready at the time of boarding. Once on board dinner was very rushed in the dining room due to the fact that the muster drill took place at 9:30 p.m. When we did go to our room after the drill we found trash on the floor and in the closet from the prior guest! There were also many stains on the carpet and the room did not look or feel very clean. We were very upset to find out that due to the delayed departure the show for the first night was canceled. I wish I could say that the cruise got better the next day but it did not. The ship seemed very crowded and there were lines everywhere. We waited over an hour to go to afternoon tea, thirty minutes for pizza on deck and we even had to wait at the Crown Grill with reservations for dinner. The host at the Crown Grill was very rude to me as well. We arrived at the Grill about three minutes before our reservation and were told we would have to come back in three minutes! The next day we had a problem with the toilet in our cabin. It was making a loud banging noise and would not flush at all. I called guest services to report the issue and have it fixed. I phoned guest services three different times in the next few hours and no one ever answered the phone! With no working toilet and no answer or help from guest service I walked to the desk to report the issue. After waiting in line for thirty minutes I was able to ask to get the toilet fixed. When we arrived back in the cabin after dinner the toilet was working again but there was dirty toilet water left on the bathroom floor! The crew on the Crown Princess don't seem to care about guest service at all and that is truly disappointing. The disembarkation process on this cruise was very, very slow. We waited in a long line to get off the ship and then in another long line in the terminal. The entire process took about two hours. This was yet another disappointing part of our Crown Princess cruise. I have loved cruising with Princess in the past but after this cruise I am not sure when I will cruise again with Princess. I did not feel as if I was a valued Princess guest on this cruise and that was the most disappointing part of my whole experience.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This cruise experience was nothing short of amazing. After having read many of the reviews I was a bit concerned that the experience would be akin to our Carnival experience...something no one should ever have to live through. But, we were ... Read More
This cruise experience was nothing short of amazing. After having read many of the reviews I was a bit concerned that the experience would be akin to our Carnival experience...something no one should ever have to live through. But, we were pleasantly surprised. Our room was perfect, clean and comfortable, and our staff and crew members were kind, curious and always willing to assist. Dissimilar to some of the reviews I have read here, I never encountered any staff member gunning down the hallway with the intent to run over passengers. The only encounter I had with a hallway issue was a sweet, little old lady with her walker and oxygen tank. There was no way I could get around her, so I walked behind her until I could move past. We had a nice conversation about the cruise and the mileage that she got out of the tennis balls that were fitted to the bottom of her walker. She was a delight. The food was good in the main dining rooms and the buffets, but it was AMAZING in Sabatini's and Crown Grill, as well as room service. We ate at Sabatini's 5 of the 7 nights and every day for breakfast, one night at Crown and the other evening was room service. Hands down--awesome. The boat was well equipped and we loved it. With that...here are just some things that you should know when booking this cruise. 1. The gym hours are really limited: (07h00 to 22h00). Given the ports of call, the capacity of the gym, and a number of other scheduling factors, it is not as convenient as some people would like. Extended hours would be nice especially on days when the boat is at port. Furthermore, given the location of the gym, only a small number of treadmills (5) are available before 9h00. Power to all other treadmills is disconnected until 9h00. While it was comical to see other passengers get on the disabled machines, read the signs, remove the signs and then proceed to figure out why the unit was not turning on, it did create frustration. While it's understood there are cabins below the gym and the restriction is due to ensure quiet enjoyment hours for passengers on the deck below, this creates a further bottleneck in the availability of equipment. 20 minute restrictions on cardio equipment (while understood) further detriment the gym experience. If you are an avid gym goer, you may have to sacrifice some port time to get your workout in during off-peak times. That's what I had to do to ward off the harmful effects of martinis and pina coladas. 2. If you are adults, over the age of 18, and you wish to book time at The Sanctuary spa (for the week), try to be on the boat as soon as possible. This is a very popular destination and it fills up fast. They only allow so many reservations for the week, and then it is first come, first serve on a 1/2 day basis. We wanted to reserve chairs at The Sanctuary for the week, but by the time we got there (which was just after 12h00 on the first day) all of the week reservations were filled and we were number 16 on the waiting list. The crew member advised us that next time we should get there earlier and do not go to the stateroom first. Go right up to The Sanctuary, get your reservation then go settle in. 3. While menu items are subject to change, many of dining items in the main dining rooms as well as the specialty restaurants were centred around seafood and beef as a second choice. Sabatini's was mainly seafood, with one beef, chicken, and veal option. The food was AMAZING, but limited in scoop. The Crown was the same. It was mostly beef with one...perhaps two non-beef choices. The buffets always had a vast assortment for any taste buds. 4. Unless you are and avid pop drinker, do not buy the unlimited pop/souvenir cup that they offer you at the beginning of the cruise. Firstly you get another plastic cup that will take up space in your cupboards, and secondly, the cost is 4.50 a day. I don't drink pop, but I do like club soda. In hindsight I was better off with just paying by the class. The only two things I think that Princess could do to make the experience a bit better is to: 1) Reduce the number of formal nights. On a seven day cruise, one formal night is sufficient. For the vast number of people who do not partake in this evenings, all they do is serve to clog up the ship's main areas while over-dressed people, have their pictures taken on the main stairs--again blocking egress for other passengers. On the formal evenings it as near impossible to navigate the Piazza between crowds and closed areas for pictures. 2) Cut out the picture taking bits all together, or make it such that passengers are not bombarded with cameras and folks in get-ups every time they get on or off the ship. It's brings down the classiness of the experience. If folks want their pictures taken, sure thing, just have a place for that away from egress areas and out of the way of folks who want to get on and off the ship without having to wait for photo ops. While the Princess Paparazzi were all very respectful of our space, it's tiresome having to ward off cameras.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our 6th cruise with Princess and our first as Platinum members. Arrival: We arrived in Houston Friday night around 8pm and met the Princess representative at baggage claim, and were put in our own van for the hour ride to ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with Princess and our first as Platinum members. Arrival: We arrived in Houston Friday night around 8pm and met the Princess representative at baggage claim, and were put in our own van for the hour ride to Galveston. Hotel: Princess booked us into the Hotel Galvez. It is a lovely old hotel, and very clean. The lobby is being renovated so you couldn't see the entire lobby past the construction wall. Ate a late dinner at the restaurant, and it was fine if pricey. Also had the breakfast buffet the next morning and it was good quality for the money. Next time I would arrive earlier to see more of what Galveston has to offer. Embarkation: Princess offers several shuttles to the terminal starting around 9:30. We booked for 1:30 but there was room on the 12:30 shuttle so we went then. Embarkation was very quick and easy, we were in our cabin by 1:15. Ship: The Crown Princess is our new favorite ship! The piazza is really beautiful, a notch above the atrium conversions on Grand class ships. The purpose-built piazza layout on this class provides more seating and better traffic management than the older atriums. Seeing the built-to-order layout of this ship is a nice change from the retrofitted designs on Princess' older ships. It's grander, and much more impressive on the Crown. The ship itself is in great condition, except for a few maintenance items in the spa I'll mention later. We noted very little wear in public areas or cabins. I liked the overall layout of the venues on this ship, with the exception of the spa thermal suite, which is actually downstairs from the rest of the spa. Cabin: We had a mini-suite on Dolphin deck 9, and it was ready upon check-in. I liked the newer color scheme; gone are the salmon/pinks. Our steward, Mario, kept the cabin very clean and neat. My one complaint about the cabin would be the air conditioning, it seemed to be inconsistent in temperature, ranging from comfortable to too warm. Food: We had anytime dining and usually chose the DaVinci dining room. Our first night our server was Denis from Ukraine. We liked him so much we requested him the rest of the week. We didn't pack any formal wear on this trip so we ate in Cafe Caribe on formal nights. By the third night the ma'tre d' had our reservation penciled in, which was nice. The food was good to very good, but we weren't wowed by anything, except the daily soups and ice creams, which were excellent. The pizza on Lido deck was very good as well. We didn't actually have anything from the grill on this trip (how unusual). The International Cafe was very good as usual. We tried the gelato ($1.50 for 3 scoops) and found it to be of good quality. We made friends during the week and added them to our dinner table, finally expanding to 8 people. The staff handled the extra diners well, and was very responsive to our requests. Spa: The thermal suite pass was $108 each for the week (up $10 from last year but now includes a fun salt scrub). We had the pass in Alaska and loved it so got it again. The thermal suite needs a little TLC. One of the fog showers was broken, which was not fixed during the week. All the fountains in the steam rooms were off the entire week. Several of the hand showers in the steam rooms were inoperative. And finally the large steam room was turned off the entire last day. This was strange considering how well the rest of the ship was maintained. Roatan: It was too windy to dock the ship, so we skipped it and had an extra sea day. It was fun watching the cruise director rearrange the day and get a revised Patter distributed within a couple of hours (though they couldn't make up their minds which movies would be showing and when). Belize: This is a tender port. We took the ruins and river tour and met in the theater at 7:20am. Our group was herded to the tender so we would all be together. We enjoyed the Altun Ha ruins. Our bus broke down on the way to the river portion of the tour, and the tour company had a 'rescue' bus to us within 20 minutes. The river portion was a lot of fun -- and very wet at the end. Highly recommended. Cozumel: Another long day, we met on shore at 7:10 and went en masse to the Ultramar ferry to Playa Del Carmen. The ferry is very comfortable and air conditioned. The bus tours all stop at a 'rest stop' (gift shop) then head out. The Cob' Maya ruins were amazing and truly the highlight of the trip. The site is still deep in the jungle and has one of the few temples you can still climb. Highly recommended. Toilets: On Thursday someone flushed something that clogged the system to a block of cabins for the day. We chatted with several people who were affected and it wasn't a big deal for them (though they didn't speak for everyone, of course). They also got $50pp credits for their troubles. Disembarkation: The worst part of any cruise! Left our cabin at 8am and headed to the MDR for breakfast. Afterwards we waited in Club Fusion (Platinum/Elite lounge) for our group to be called. Customs was very fast and we were on the shuttle to the airport within 20 minutes of being called. Overall another fine cruise on Princess. We've booked another cruise already. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. ... Read More
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. First of all, the Crown Princess is beautiful as was the suite. Unfortunately, this ship is very unstable and tends to pitch and roll with even the smallest waves. Of all my cruises, this ship was the worst. If you tend toward motion sickness, please avoid this ship. The staffing seemed very light. Many of the restaurants were very short handed. I agree with many of the other reviewers: the staff is very stuffy and walk around like zombies half the time. Many seemed like they would rather be anywhere else but working on a cruise ship. I hate to profile but much of the staff is from Eastern Europe and quite unfriendly. Pool areas are extremely crowded during days at sea. Unlike on cruise lines, Princess crew does not go around and keep things in order. The decks are a mess of wet towels, garbage and deck chairs. Again, it seems like the ship is short staffed. The Crown Grill steak house ($25 up charge) is nice but the meat is tough and chewy. Deserts are pretty, yet bland. My biggest criticism is how bland the food is throughout the ship. It looks nice, but has no flavor. except for the French Onion soup which was incredible. The Italian restaurant, Sabatini's, does not fare much better. ($20 up charge).Bland and very slow service. The maitre de (Pedro) is downright rude and treats the staff - and guests - poorly until the last day of the cruise when then the "rate our service" cards are displayed on the podium. Let's take a look at the suite amenities and what was delivered. -Luxury mattresses [very comfortable] -Fluffy duvets in place of blankets [ more flat than fluffy] -Luggage protector on bed at embarkation [every cabin gets it] -Luxury bathrobes [very stiff, needs fabric softener badly] -Luxury towels [they look nice but very rough] -Pillow menu [requested pillows never appeared] -Massage shower heads [broken] -Luxury bathroom amenities (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath gel, plus new lip balm, gel eye mask, bath salts and loofah mitts) ["luxury"? not really] -Facial mist (choice of scents) [zilch] -Complimentary slippers [very small] -Fresh flower arrangement [ very nice and looked great the entire trip] -Complimentary mini-bar - one-time set up [nice!] -Combined DVD/CD Players [ broken] -DVD Library [no one seemed to know about this amenity] -Complimentary Princess tote bag [very cheap] -Umbrella for use during the cruise [zilch] -Expedited embarkation process [nice to walk past 800 people standing in the other line] -Preferred Anytime DiningSM reservations [yes, you can make a reservation, but NO the table is never available and wait time can be up to an hour] -Personal shore excursion reservations [zilch] -Complimentary laundry and dry cleaning service -Complimentary shoe polishing service [zilch] -Welcome glass of champagne at embarkation [zilch] -Extended room service menu (extended breakfast, lunch, dinner offering) [no one on the ship knew anything about an extended menu for suites] -In-suite afternoon tea service [never happened] -Passenger's choice of deluxe canap?s, delivered daily [delivered once] -Complimentary internet access in onboard Internet Cafes [we got free wireless] -Private portrait sitting [do not confuse this with receiving a free photo] -Complimentary use of the thermal suite in the Lotus Spa [zilch] Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Returned my rental car to Sunshine Rental on Rte 84, just outside the west port road entrance- great prices on cars! $12 ride in with tip. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and painless. Muster drill now assigned to a lounge/casino ... Read More
Returned my rental car to Sunshine Rental on Rte 84, just outside the west port road entrance- great prices on cars! $12 ride in with tip. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy and painless. Muster drill now assigned to a lounge/casino or other area, not outside. As Port Everglades raised their fees to accommodate Oasis (also in port), sailing time was moved up an hour to 4 pm. Note, it's always important to stay on ship's time when in port. Cabin was spacious. The ship had just come out of The Bahamas dry dock for 'freshening.' Opted for 50% surcharge to be alone. Leo, the steward was helpful. Travelled with a group of 220, so we had many of our own activities planned; but, used Princess for shore excursions. Luggage seemed to be delivered for everyone before dinner. It was unusually rocky crossing the gulf stream in both directions.... The Lido deck buffets were okay. I visit Vegas often, and it's always an issue when items are not labeled and the dish looks unusual requiring finding someone to offer an explanation. Staff attentive in helping you to a table and refreshing your drinks. Enjoyed pizza; but, mostly really enjoyed the choices at the International Cafe. Actually, preferred their mini desserts to the dining room desserts. Ordered room service breakfast twice and it arrived a bit ahead of requested time. They don't understand how to toast an English Muffin though for their breakfast sandwiches. Did not particularly care for the Crown Grille food or service. The prices had just been raised $5. Sabbatini's was more enjoyable, but, it's insane to serve all those separate side dishes in bowls to a party of four when there are also four entrees. Alas, Proseco is no longer available on the ship. As I did Chef's Table previously, chose not to cough up another $90 for the experience. I recently donated the souvenir cookbook I received. Have some great pix of the dishes served though! Main dining room service was generally very good and the food choices fine, if uninspired. Sometimes service backed up to a most leisurely pace. Some table gets served last....I'm not a big red meat eater and enjoyed mostly fish (probably frozen) and chicken, turkey, pork. Had a coffee card and it was always nice to finish with a decaf cappucino. MUTS- caught one and probably missed 35% of the dialog. Shows- These are the exact same production shows I saw three years ago. There were even a few numbers that were identical to the Carnival ship I had been on for the two previous years. Comedian was good; enjoyed music ensembles around the ship. Never got to see the hula hoop gal who got very good reviews from other cruisers. Casino- Diddled at the slots; if you find a machine that seems to have a better payout; then start playing maximum coins for some really nice jackpots. Had the 10,000 suitcase (penny machine); but made a deal at the end for 5,400. Lucky Lemmings has infectious music. Hotel Desk- Always helpful! Spa/Gym- Even though there's a sign that says lockers are for spa patrons only, you just leave your room card and get a locker key. Bring a small towel in from the gym to stand on.... Ports- As I had been travelling for over a week before getting on the Crown; I chose the first day to stay on board- eat leisurely, do laundry (bring your own detergent and softener sheets and a roll of quarters) and iron all my evening wear shirts. So, missed Princess Cay which is a tender stop. It's just a beach and last time there were flies like crazy around the buffet items. Curacao- Group walking tour and off to see some caves by bus. As humid as it was on the island, the caves were worse. Do your own thing. Dine off the ship and catch the lovely lit village. Aruba- a desert island, with little landscape that is natural, our tour bus was one of those party buses which run at night and I wasn't ready for blasting R&R at 8:30 am. Went only to Lighthouse and the chapel for a pee break amongst the cacti. The restaurant adjacent to the Lighthouse charged and fee had small bills. Then dropped at Nikki Beach Restaurant, south of town and near the airport. Calm water and pleasant, narrow beach with comfy lounge chairs and their own pool. However, the lunch sandwich that was included was meager though it did include a welcoming mimosa. Owner was genuine- but, this is no relation to Nikki Beach of South Beach, FL fame. The first K was placed backward and was missing from the "crab" salad sandwich. The smoked salmon sandwich looked to be the best bet. I'm just not impressed with Princess- found Carnival more enjoyable, even with the hokey waiter singing and dancing during dinner. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
It has been several years since my family and I have taken a cruise vacation. We have traveled on NCL (3), Carnival (1), Princess (2) and I sailed on the Dolphin II back in the 80s. My husband (when we are in Canada and several states) and ... Read More
It has been several years since my family and I have taken a cruise vacation. We have traveled on NCL (3), Carnival (1), Princess (2) and I sailed on the Dolphin II back in the 80s. My husband (when we are in Canada and several states) and I are in our 40s and our 2 boys are 10 and 12 years old.We live in Minnesota and flew to West Palm Beach (PBI) the day before embarkation. I'm a bargain shopper and I discovered that the flights to PBI were $130 less per person than flights to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. We rented a car with Avis. We stayed at the Hilton Suites Boca Raton and the rate was $109 and included cooked to order breakfast. It was close to shopping and restaurants. The hotel was okay for a day or two, but I probably wouldn't want to stay there longer.It is finally embarkation day and we are all very excited, especially the boys. We were up early, so we decided just to head out to Port Everglades. It was about a 25 minute drive from Boca Raton to Ft. Lauderdale. We returned the rental car to the Ft. Lauderdale airport and expected a shuttle to take us to the port. An agent informed me that Avis didn't provide a shuttle to the port. I know I have used one in the past, but I wasn't going to let a $15 taxi ride ruin my day.We arrived at the port at 1015 am just as they opened the doors for the waiting area - we were in group 1. My boys waited more patiently than I expected and we happily boarded the ship at 1145am. I took the boys and our carry on bags to the room, while my husband went to the Sanctuary to get our seats for the week. Sorry to those of you that arrived after us, we got the last 2 spaces - one in the sun and one in the shade (exactly what we wanted).In the past, we have stayed in family or balcony staterooms; however, this time we tried an inside cabin to see if we could handle it. Our room was Dolphin 511 and it was very cozy (yes, I mean small). There was enough space for us to change, sleep and it provided a place if one of the boys needed some down time. I was worried about the room smelling like smoke, but it did not. I did not notice any smoking odors in the hallways either. We were able to save money on the cabin, so we had more to spend on activities and the Sanctuary.We got the Ultimate Kids Package for the kids - it was $7 per day plus tax. We got the soda card - don't remember the exact price but under $5 per day. Power hour drink specials were from 4-7pm on port days. Pina Coladas, Singapore Slings, Strawberry Daiquiris and some of the beers were $2.99.The ship was very nice and well maintained. The staff members were pleasant and friendly. I finally managed to navigate around the ship by day 6, but I still had to look out at the ocean to determine if I was headed forward or aft. The husband pointed out to me that in the stateroom hallways the blue carpeting with blue trim was starboard and the blue carpeting with red trim was port. This was very helpful information since I had to look for a sign or odd/even numbers to know if I was on the port side or starboard side.There was an unpleasant sewage odor most of the trip. I noticed it while we were still in port and I just assumed it was a smell coming from the port area. Nope. It remained the entire trip. It was most noticeable in the pool areas. I hope that is remedied soon.The ship felt really crowded. Maybe it is because I wanted to be places when everyone else wanted to be there too. There were many children on the ship - most of them very well behaved. My boys attended the kids program, Shockwaves and they enjoyed their time there. My 10 year old enjoyed it most, he would rather be there than anywhere else on ship. He was also quite fond of table tennis. My 12 year old enjoyed it as well - he is about 1 month from being 13 and was disappointed he wasn't able to join the teen activities. On sea days the boys went to Shockwaves 3 times a day and shore days they went after dinner most evenings. I asked my 10 year old if he liked the kids program on Carnival or Princess better - he prefers Princess (although he wishes they had waterslides).We had traditional early seating in the Botticelli dining room. We sat at a table for 8 and our dining companions also had 2 children. We had a really nice time and our kids got along very well. My boys were more adventurous with their menu selections and tried more new things than I expected. It was definitely a fun experience. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very accommodating and the food was enjoyable. We went to breakfast in the dining room 1 time, but with the boys anxious to get the day started, Horizon Court worked out best. The choices in the HC were fine, but it was almost the same thing every day. For lunch it was pizza, burgers, international cafe or Horizon Court. I'm not a big pizza fan, but I love thin crust pizza and the pizza on the Crown was great.The problem with early seating for dinner - after we picked up the kids from Shockwaves at 10pm - we found ourselves in Horizon Court or Cafe Caribe having a 2nd dinner.We tried the Crown Grill one time and that dining experience took longer than we expected. We had almost a 45 minute wait from appetizers/salads until main course. I had steak and my husband had veal. It was good, but it really wasn't worth the wait or the extra expense. Honestly, the steak I had in the Botticelli dining room on day 6 was better. However, I had the best dessert of the entire trip at the Crown Grill. I had the molten chocolate, fudge something with ice cream. Made my day.We didn't get a chance to see the entire ship or do everything we wanted to do. There was an LGBT gathering every day at 515pm, we were unable to attend - getting 4 people ready for 6pm dinner takes quite a while. We attended 2 shows in the Princess Theater (Destination Anywhere and Motown) and wished we hadn't. We saw Ray Coussins in one of the lounges and he was quite entertaining. We went to MUTS one night to see The Tourist. The seat saving going on there was ridiculous.Sanctuary. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Did I use it as much as I would have liked? No. Would I book it again? Yes.Grand Cayman. I booked a trip with Stingray Sailing. We were in one of the first tender groups and were on the island about 745am. We met Captain Chip and headed to his Catamaran about 815am. There were 30 people on this trip, but it didn't seem crowded. He and his family (Buster and Michelle) are very personable and knowledgeable. My boys were uncomfortable around the stingrays. Eventually, with encouragement from Chip, my 12 year old fed and interacted with the Stingrays. The Catamaran can go to places on the sand bar that are shallow, so we were able to avoid the majority of the crowds. There was also a stop for snorkeling along the reef. The water was pretty rough that day, so it was difficult for my kids to snorkel there. Captain Chip put up the sails on the return trip and had complementary water and fruit and he also beverages for sale. Nice trip, I highly recommend Stingray Sailing.Roatan. I booked the Fantasy Island trip through Island Marketing (about $100 cheaper than through Princess). Roatan did not look like it did when I visited in 1997 - Mahogany Bay reminded me of an amusement park. Our driver was Sovony, she was waiting for us out of the complex and up the hill. She gave us information about the island on our way to the resort. The trip included snorkeling and kayaking. We were able to pick out our place on the beach (the other larger tours that came had to sit in certain areas). We had a nice section of beach all to ourselves. The beach was nice and it was a calm protected bay area. I wouldn't want to stay at this resort, but it was great for the day. The snorkeling was okay, we saw many conchs. It was possible to snorkel out to the reef, but there was boat and seaplane traffic - so it was a little dangerous. There were 3 kayaks and my 10 year old spent most of his time in one of them. There were large iguanas and a monkey on the island. The monkey was quite fond of my 10 year old and played with him for a while. Sovony waited for us and took us back to the ship when we were ready. When we returned to Mahogany Bay, we did a little shopping and stopped at Fat Tuesdays before returning to the ship.Cozumel. I booked Nachi Cocom through Island Marketing. We took our time getting ready and going to breakfast. We grabbed a taxi at 930am and headed to the resort. The taxi was $15 each way and took about 15 minutes. The resort was very nice - there was a pool and a large stretch of beach. It looked like they were about at maximum capacity, but there was still plenty of room and did not seem crowded. I tried a few of the drinks, like the mamasita (tasty), but then just went with Corona and Dos Equis. There were quite a few kids, so my little darlings had others to play with. My 10 year old played in the sand, building castles and collecting shells, while my oldest rented snorkel gear ($17) and spent his time face down in the water. Not great snorkeling there, but he didn't mind. I didn't care for the food, but I'm a fairly picky eater - my kids didn't care for it either. We stayed until about 230pm and a taxi was ready to take us back.Princess Cays. I didn't have anything planned for this day - just a beach day. We didn't rush to get a tender. We had a nice breakfast then packed the beach bag. The place is very nice. The place is also very crowded. We found some chairs, one in the sun and one in the shade. My 10 year old played in the sand and my 12 year old was face down in the water looking at fish. The snorkeling area was okay. The buffet lines were long the entire time it was open. I waited in line with my 12 year old for 45 minutes so he could get food. We decided to head back at 130pm to avoid the long lines for the tender ride back. I don't think the beach day was worth the hassle of the tender ride and the crowds. I think next time I'll stay on the ship.Customs was a little weird - even though one Customs Form was required per family, we had to complete 2 forms. I put the kids on my form and my husband went through solo. My kids were bothered that we all couldn't go through customs together (so was I). We had to explain, once again, that the U.S. government does not recognize our family. It doesn't change the fact that we are a family, just a reminder that things still need to change.It was a great vacation. The weather was perfect with sunny days and high temperatures of about 80 degrees. It was a nice change from the snowy, cold winter we had. And yes, as a matter of fact, I did buy future cruise credits so I can start planning my trip for next Spring Break! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We thought the food, service of the crew and excursions on the Crown were excellent. Of course there are areas to improve, since there are so many ships to sail going the same place. We had a mini suite on Emerald deck before and loved ... Read More
We thought the food, service of the crew and excursions on the Crown were excellent. Of course there are areas to improve, since there are so many ships to sail going the same place. We had a mini suite on Emerald deck before and loved it, due to late booking we ended up the a balcony on the Rivera deck which was very nice. The mattress needed to be upgraded and the AC at the lowest is at 72, so we always bring a fan. The big show numbers and the comedian in the Princess theater was boring. The costumes designs were the worst we have seen and the "Elvis" Las Vegas routine was almost comical in being so bad. I would suggest the movies on TV. Tendering to Cayman and the Princess Cays can be tedious. We were in line for over an hour coming back from the Cayman excursion to get back on the ship. The Princess Cays have a loud band playing outside the compound that competes with the band that Princess provides, which we loved. We had rented the blue shell beach chairs, but finally gave up, the noise. The local staff on the Cays are surly and just there for the paycheck. Fortunately, the ship food staff comes to the beach and does a great job. We had the early self walk off departure, so we showed up in the right place and no one made any announcements, the doors opened and chaos ensued as everyone tried to leave at once. Before there was someone in the lounge giving directions, so I assume someone just slept in and missed the early shift. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This is the third cruise that I have taken with my husband, and we chose to go with a large group. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale with little trouble and traveling with friends the Holiday inn Express Cruise Port suggested we wait until a ... Read More
This is the third cruise that I have taken with my husband, and we chose to go with a large group. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale with little trouble and traveling with friends the Holiday inn Express Cruise Port suggested we wait until a late shuttle to head to the cruiseport. It was a good suggestion, arriving at the terminal at 2 meant we missed many of the lines of other passengers who were thrown out of their hotels much earlier. Our balcony stateroom on the Baja Deck was already ready for us. After watching the gigantic Oasis of the Seas head out to sea we were off. It was our first time sailing with this group, but on previous cruises they take over the back pool. We found several of our friends there, and would find them there or in the buffet area. Since we were there most of the time, it did take a while to really explore this ship. It's a good ship with some nice surprises like the International Cafe that had great desserts and pastries. It's hard for me to judge food, but I can tell you that it was abundant, even if there was some confusion at times on exactly which of the three buffets were open, there was always something. The food in at the buffet changed from day to day, except for breakfast that was usually the same each time. Since we were a late night group, I did wish that the pizza and ice cream bar stayed open later. With our large group of almost 500, we were given the 8:15 seating in the Michelangelo dining room. With such a large group the staff had difficulty in keeping up with us. I found the staff slow and overworked. I expected that they might be able to work this out as the week went on, but even on the last night at sea any meal in the dining room was going to take more than two hours. I was impressed with the ships bar services. They staffed up the bar at the back terrace pool for us. We certainly kept them on their toes. They also kept the bar open much later than normal. I'm sure that that bar rarely stays open until 2 am. Our group stayed on the back deck late into the night, as there wasn't much else to do on the ship that late at night. Most of our group is in their 30's and 40's and we felt that a lot of the entertainment was directed to an older audience. I saw young couples wandering a ship that at 11 pm was as dead as a one-light town. They were looking for nightlife and saw little of it. Strangely the late nightclub, the Skywalker Lounge never attracted more than a couple of people and its tiny dance floor remained empty. I have never really desired to see the Caribbean, so the islands weren't a great draw, but it seemed that Princess strived to clean up the experience so much that it was about as authentic as going to a mall in Chicago and saying that you had been to Chicago. The worst of this was at Roatan Island, Honduras where Princess docks at Mahogany Bay, a new sea port that has all of the recommended shops in an outdoor shopping mall that you must walk to. Those who went on excursions experienced a very different Island, but many people stayed in the shopping mall, content. The port in Couzmel seems to be the same, on a smaller scale with the same shops, and Princess Cays is a completely controlled experience. If you wish to explore on your own, without an excursion, Princess is making that much more difficult. Grand Cayman was a port full of the same shops, but you could wander into town without having to find a local taxi. If you like to be on vacation with very little more than a moving hotel, this will be fine, but if you love travel for the exploration of new places, this would not be the cruise for you. Our stateroom was pleasant and clean with a surprising amount of storage. I wish that our balcony was a little more private but lower decks could look right up at us. The ships staff was pleasant and friendly, especially the bar staff when they knew our group would buy. We enjoyed the Movies under the Stars more than the entertainment in the theater. All in all it was a good trip full of fun when traveling with a large group. I will be happy to travel on Princess again if I'm with this group, but I'm not sure if I would want to if it was just me and my husband as I'm not sure we would have found the entertainment and ports interesting enough. The ship is good, with all the amenities you'd want, but doesn't seem to rate as being an outstanding ship, or an outstanding cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This my 86th lifetime cruise, my 5th with Princess. Had pre-cruise stay at Days Inn in North Ft Lauderdale for 2 nights , no problems. Used United Airport Parking ( parked at Marriott Renaissance suites) for only $49.86 vs $105 at port ... Read More
This my 86th lifetime cruise, my 5th with Princess. Had pre-cruise stay at Days Inn in North Ft Lauderdale for 2 nights , no problems. Used United Airport Parking ( parked at Marriott Renaissance suites) for only $49.86 vs $105 at port garage with free courtesy car to/from ship . Check-in was easy and organized by groups. no problems. On board less than 30 minutes after arrival at pier and cabins were ready for occupancy. unpacked carry-ons and went up to Horizon Court for buffet lunch. Usual crowds and no self-serve carry trays but managed just fine. all baggage delivered before sailing so unpacked totally and missed most of sail-out except what we could see from our mini-suite balcony. met other group members at private function. Mini-suite D722 was 8ft 8 inches wide by 30 feet long plus balcony of 7 by 9. plenty of room, closet space, large bathroom with huge tub. only 4 small night stand drawers but plenty of shelves for storage of clothing. 2 flat screen tv's but only one remote. good fridge. good a/c. we also brought 2 power strips, 3 fans, 2 c-pap machines, our own 4 cup coffee maker, etc etc. we drove down so had total of 12 suitcases. Ive cruised so many times now that i bring everything i could possibly want as everything on board and in most ports is so expensive these days. Had all dinners in Boticelli dining room with group at 2015 hours. Princess food is good quality hotel banquet stuff. some "iffy" soups and they insist on serving this green hockey puck that is supposed to be creamed spinach. otherwise , no major disappointments. had one breakfast in dining room and 2 lunches, all decent. rest of meals in Horizon court or international cafe at base of atrium. my sign and sail was only 52 dollars for tips (11 per day) after 25 dollar credit applied. didnt buy anything on board or take any shore excursions. Im a self-starter and didnt need a cruise director to tell me what to do, just checked the daily program and went my own way. didnt go to any shows or nightclubs on board as have seen too many "B" lounge acts and broadway medleys on my other trips. weather was good but on the cool side for a caribbean trip. some passengers brought a head cold on board with them and by the end of the voyage 50 percent of the passengers were coughing and wheezing as it spread like wildfire despite excellent shipboard sanitation procedures (lots of hand sanitizer) Since i cant add Princess Cay (Eleuthera island) as a port suffice to say typical private island experience for those in my party who went over by tender. Im not a beach,, sun, water person as live in Florida year round so holds no allure for me. Dis-embarkation was smooth ( no announcements) and we had an early number and were off the ship with luggage and in our car driving back to Orlando by 935am. would definitely recommend Princess and travel with them again. one small complaint...no free aspirin, tylenol, alka seltzer, band-aids at pursers office. only free bonine. Carnival corp really is cost cutting these days! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
STATEROOM: Ours was an obstructed view outside cabin. We got what we paid for. No view, but at least we knew whether it was day or night. Rather small, but perfectly adequate and comfortable. Lots of storage space. DINING: Dinner ... Read More
STATEROOM: Ours was an obstructed view outside cabin. We got what we paid for. No view, but at least we knew whether it was day or night. Rather small, but perfectly adequate and comfortable. Lots of storage space. DINING: Dinner in one of the main dining rooms was always excellent. I usually ordered fish or seafood. Delicious appetizers and desserts! Buffet on the Lido Deck was sometimes a bit crowded at breakfast or lunch. Our ship was full. SERVICE: Superb. Uniformly pleasant, helpful, and courteous. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS: On this cruise, I mostly explored independently at the ports. On a previous cruise on the Crown, I took the $84.00 St John Eco-Hike (from St Thomas). One could also do this independently for far less if you do your homework and plan. I did take the Hurricane Ike tour of Grand Turk this time. For $19, it was a great introduction to the island scenery, history, and culture. One thing about port stops on the Crown Princess: they are sometimes rather brief. You have to be back on the ship at St Thomas by 3:30 pm, making for a short visit on an island where there is a lot one can do. You don't arrive at Grand Turk until 1:00 pm. Our stop at Princess Cays was cancelled because of high winds. Our stop at Grand Turk was almost cancelled for the same reason. I was told that cancellations of these ports are not infrequent, as there is no protected harbor for the ship at either island. ACTIVITIES and ENTERTAINMENT: If you like sophisticated entertainment and activities, there isn't much on the Crown Princess. The fitness center is a pleasure, as are the fore and aft pools. On sea days, it can be very relaxing to sunbathe on the deck, as long as you can get away from the noisy commotion of games, contests, and activities surrounding the main pools. Entertainment was not very entertaining for me. Without criticizing anyone else's tastes, I am not much interested in contests and games; Vegas-style shows; stand-up comedians; magicians; disco clubs; and so-called "art" auctions, etc. Perhaps my tastes are not mainstream, but it nevertheless would have been nice to have a *few* other options. I would have enjoyed a couple of classical music performances; lectures on current events, finance, the arts,history, etc; solo musical performers. There were none of these. Luckily, I am very content to relax, walk around the ship, breathe the fresh air, enjoy the sun, and read. One very nice touch was the warm welcome given by a crew member at a daily LGBT reception that the ship posted every day. SUMMARY: This was my second cruise on the Crown Princess. Both experiences were a pleasure. My main criticism is the lack of sophisticated entertainment or enrichment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Background: I'm a 27 year old male who celebrated a birthday onboard who sailed with my mother who is in her upper 50's. This was my seventh Princess cruise and her fifth (she's now Platinum). Other lines we've both ... Read More
Background: I'm a 27 year old male who celebrated a birthday onboard who sailed with my mother who is in her upper 50's. This was my seventh Princess cruise and her fifth (she's now Platinum). Other lines we've both sailed together on include NCL and Carnival. Other lines I've sailed on alone are Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. With this said, some comparisons will be made between brands - particularly NCL - during this review. Now there are positives and sometimes negatives to any vacation - keep this in mind when reading the review. Overall the Crown Princess was just an ok experience. It didn't stand out and it's sad to see Princess become an average cruise line. Pre-Cruise Stay: Since Fort Lauderdale was having an art show going on, a lot of the hotels in the port area were extremely booked up so we stayed at the Days Inn Airport / Cruiseport on Broward Blvd by the highway. While the rooms are being renovated one room at a time while the hotel remains open and we were put into a renovated room, the hotel itself has a dated exterior and is in the middle of no where! The neighborhood it's in is very seedy with a set of projects just a block away (and a police station the next block after that down towards Las Olas Blvd). While you could walk about a mile to shops and dining at the Las Olas Blvd mall area, it isn't advisable. I wouldn't stay at this hotel again but if you are out for a bargain then you might want to give this place a shot (the price was too tempting not too given what other hotels were charging)! Embarkation: Went very smoothly. Being a platinum member I never stopped moving when I arrived. I got there just before noon and moved from giving the porters to the bag to a short line where I was identified for my status and whisked to another area and right on through security. At that time they started boarding and checking in! Within 15 minutes of arrival I was on the ship and in my cabin! Nice job Princess!! Cabin: We were in the very forward part of Caribe Deck in C101. The cabin was spacious as the other Grand class ships we've sailed on with Princess. The balcony is bigger on this deck and I thank Princess for the upgrade to this deck since we booked this cruise past the 90 day final payment period and were on as a guarantee. The cabin was clean upon arrival and our room steward Sushet was fantastic. Whenever we had a request, which was very rare outside of normal stateroom servicing, he took care of it right away. The cabin's balcony door was a different story though. It seems as though the exterior frame had suffered some damage. It was covered with duck tape to hold it in place. It was worth a chuckle but on the first sea day when the ship was moving along briskly and overnight, the door wouldn't stop whistling as much as you had it locked the whistling still returned. Finally had to call the Purser's office and had to wake up the maintenance guy at 2AM to come and figure out how the heck to make the thing stop whistling! A piece of plywood later rigged to hold the slider firmly shut and tada - no more noise! We used the piece of wood for the rest of the cruise after we were done on the balcony each night. Odd since the ship was in drydock two weeks prior I thought they might have tended to this problem. Either way it got fixed and off to dream land we went. As for the cabin bathrooms, I guess I got spoiled by NCL's shower system as Princess has a fixed shower nozzle that comes out of the wall at about 6 feet. It points downward and you can't get the shower head to move up at all. Consequently being 6 foot 4 inches tall this was a real pain in the butt to get my hair washed! The shower space isn't that big to contort yourself in such a manner as to getting your hair wet. With respect to this I think Princess could learn a little something from NCL's bathroom design which has a nozzle attached to a hose that you can remove to get all areas of your body cleaned. Public Rooms: In the dry dock two weeks prior the ship received new interior carpeting. Some of the carpeting was shedding but the new carpeting was quite refreshing since the passenger decks can get quite musty with all the sewage problems that occur from sailing to sailing. I'll take the fresh shedding carpet over the nasty sewage smell any day. Some of the chairs were re-upholstered as well in some areas. The ship looked fresh and as good as new. She didn't really show any wear or tear throughout. Some areas of rust on the Promenade Deck were being tended to by the deck crew and were largely scraped and repainted by the end of our sailing. All in all the ship was in fine working order. Entertainment: Due to the time of the year and the football championships Movies Under the Stars had two night's wasted with endless games being shown. This has become a real hidden treasure and a great alternative to the other ship entertainment such as endless comedians! Only one good movie was shown at night this trip which was Mamma Mia and the popularity of it was astonishing as people were dragging chairs from everywhere to watch it. I love that experience. Production shows were great. A show on Cole Porter was WAY before my generation and it was just before my moms. While this show wasn't enjoyable for me because I had no clue who the guy was, the set and costumes and overall work of the production staff was great. The Motown show was ok. It would have been better if one of the male vocalists could have kept his notes a little better. This was the only time any of the production staff seemed off in their performance. Destination Anywhere, the first major production, was the best of them all. This is not to be missed. Overall, nice work by the production team in the main theater entertainment. Daytime entertainment was the same as always with trivia to be had, pool games on sea days and gatherings for various groups ranging from alcoholics anonymous and red hat society to LGBT gatherings. Something new Princess is venturing into that NCL has been doing for quite some time is the Nintendo Wii. While I was the only person who showed up to play it, some new games I had never had before (Wii Fit) were fun and helped pass the day away (as opposed to lounging on deck). The Cruise Staff were very nice and very friendly. Big stand outs on the cruise staff were Elaine (such a darling), Kirstie and David. If you get to know these three people - even if sailing solo - you'll have a fantastic time! David got my mom up dancing and she had a blast. Other evening activities were also available. Every show lounge had some performance and dancing available. Quadri a quintet onboard was quite good. They had a special classical performance in the Explorer's Lounge during the middle of the cruise. Endless comedians were paraded around with the best one leaving the ship that week who participated in the variety show. The other comedians we skipped. We did take in the magician's show which was quite good. Now for the discos, DJ Tommy Boy who spun in Club Fusion was at least trying to play a fair mix of music. He had the music onboard that I like but couldn't really play it because the age / demographics were more towards the disco and Motown eras. Motown could be heard playing almost everywhere during the cruise from the Princess Theater to the pool deck. I like Motown but not that much! Rotate the music Princess! Skywalker's disco with DJ Artik was ok. He also had to play to the demographics which on this cruise skewed younger with a lot of 18-25 year olds. The music large centered on hip hop and R&B. Redundancy did pop up since it was the same Top 40 played every night pretty much. Skywalker's on this ship is much better designed than on previous Grand class ships (Star, Golden and Grand). Spa & Fitness Services: If you wanted to be pampered there were options for you! The Sanctuary was a very warm and inviting place and you could use it to escape from the hustle and bustle of the ship but it also seemed to be a bit over priced in some respects. I guess that is to limit the passengers who wish to use it to what it can accommodate. The fitness areas are comparable to other Grand class ships. A large workout area consisting largely of cardio equipment with a few resistance machines in the mix. I didn't really go to sea to workout and when I wanted to do cardio the Promenade Deck was a much better alternative and probably less likely to spread norovirus. Enrichment: Princess's Scholarship@Sea program was in full gear. From dance lessons, ceramic painting, photography lessons and teaching magic tricks, you had plenty of options to choose from if enrichment is your thing. Service: Let me start with all the positives because there are so many. The crew, staff and even Captain are what make a cruise enjoyable and there was barely a let down by anyone. I do have to send out special heartfelt thanks to Elaine on the Cruise Staff for hosting various events during the day that kept me very well entertained including Wii Hoola Hoop and the Friends of Dorothy gathering. She made sure I wasn't bored! Other cruise staff that I felt went above and beyond were Kirstie (from Australia) and David (from Canada - whose mom is on Cruise Critic too)! Stateroom service was excellent and provided by Sushet in the forward Starboard side of the Caribe Deck. We ate in the Michelangelo dining room each night of the cruise from start to finish. The hostess greeter, who later became the sanitizer lady, was extraordinary! She made sure we got a table of our choosing - usually a two seater and on my b-day celebration night she got me a window seat to boot. The dining room's maitre d' was also very nice. At the Purser's Desk the people were so very kind given all the stuff passengers throw at them! One lady from the Ukraine was so very nice and gave me a Princess Patter (second copy) each night when they were hot off the presses (at 8:30PM). She also helped to fix a problem on the folio that was minor and it was quick to fix. Some service issues were had at the shore excursion desk. This area seemed disorganized and we wouldn't have had to utilize their services had the Grand Turk tour we booked online not been cancelled or if we were given advanced warning of its cancellation so we could have rebooked something else online. The people there couldn't figure out how exactly to bill two folios in the same cabin as opposed to billing two tickets to one folio. This took more time than it really should have and I think the folks in this department could use a wee bit more training on the computer system. The only other gripe I had was with the International Cafe attendant. I had asked on Cruise Critic if it was possible to get a tea (chai) latte from this cafe. Several folks said it was possible. After trying several times the first two days I gave up because the server always had an excuse for standing there. First it was the machine caught fire from the previous cruise and it was out of order, then it was working but could only make regular caffeinated coffee lattes, then it was broken again and it wouldn't be fixed until after 3PM (at 11AM) and then he finally told me that they don't make chai lattes or any non-coffee beverages there unless I wanted to purchase small boxed teas for $1. This was very disappointing and he could have told me that at the start when I told him what I wanted the first time. He seemed very cocky and I wasn't impressed with his service at all. Dining: I left this for last because out of the entire cruise this was the most disappointing part of it all. The food was always good to order and cooked the way I liked when it came to steaks and various other meat dishes. The problem was in the selection. The food selection in the main dining room at dinner has been shuffled up something fierce with nothing exceptional standing out any more. Beef Wellington and lobster tails were served on the same night as they had been. The night of the Chef's dinner though none of the entrees were appealing and it was hard to find something to order. Some menu items to my astonishment were actually the SAME as what NCL serves! Escargot is long gone from the Princess menu and so isn't larger sections of meats such as the Filet Mignon. If you want any sizeable beef dish you have to go to the Crown Grill, their specialty restaurant. Before one night used to have Filet Mignon on it in the main dining room. Since Carnival took over several food changes have been made and while I could understand this being for cost cutting measures, why should I pay more to sail on Princess when they offer the SAME dishes (spring roll appetizers and strip steak are two immediately that come to mind) as NCL? The cold soups left something to be desired as well. NCL does a much better job. The buffet areas are typical for breakfast with the same selection you would find anywhere. The omelet station was never busy either which meant two minutes later you were on your way with the item you ordered. After the Norovirus outbreak spread more around the ship and sanitization stations were setup, the buffet moved a lot slower with the crew serving passengers. I didn't mind the wait but others were rudely impatient to the crew and it was completely unnecessary. Lunch time options in the buffet were ok. Nothing to scream at but poolside burgers and pizza seemed so much more popular. On days when the ship was at sea the line to get a burger or pizza was quite lengthy but it was well worth the wait for both. Princess has the best pizza at sea that I've tasted. Shore Excursions (Booked Through Princess): St. Maarten Ecoworld Tour. Who knew that St. Maarten had a zoo? I didn't and it was an ok visit to the zoo which allows you to get much closer to wildlife than you can in the United States. Our tour guide was informative and in-depth on her explanations of the origins of the animals (none are actually indigenous species to the island). The zoo gets its financial support largely from cruise ship tourists and I would recommend this tour as it also drives you all over the island with two scenic stops after going to the zoo. St. Thomas Walking Tour - OUTSTANDING - NOT TO BE MISSED! The owner of the company did a fantastic job giving us the legends and lore of St. Thomas and the surrounding islands. She's a history buff and she knew the islands in and out enough to give a great tour and she had a great personality even though she's been in the business for so long. She was so very enthused about her subject matter and it came out in her presentation. This tour was well worth the money! Grand Turk - The reason for why we booked this cruise with Princess was to experience this island. Unfortunately the only tour being offered on land at this time is the Hurricane Ike experience that doesn't require you to do swimming, snorkeling or diving. For $19 you get taken all over the island and shown what damage happened to the island, which was quite extensive. Some residents four months later don't have power and the island still needs construction done. Tarps are on roofs everywhere. The tour does stop at the Scenic Lighthouse for about 20 minutes. The tour is very cheap and it is worth it unless you like to just lay on the beach which this island is so small that there isn't much to see there anyway and it could really just be another private island beach day with more upscale shops available than on Princess Cays. Disembarkation: Again, another smooth flowing process from Princess. Since we booked a post-cruise excursion to Everglades National Park, we were the first ones off the ship after the people who walked-off with their luggage and thereby the warehouse was empty of people killing each other to get their luggage. It was very nice and by 9AM we were on our way to the National Park after arriving in the dining room for debarkation at 8AM. Very smoothly done again Princess! Overall: Did I think I got the value for my money - not really! I had spent about $300 more for this Princess cruise per person than I would have if I sailed with NCL. With the exception of daytime activities being more abundant on Princess than NCL, there really is no difference between the two brands with respect to food selection and service given. It's sad to see Princess go downhill so badly after the lecherous Carnival Corp sucked the good out of there. For a first time cruiser you'll have a blast on this ship as it does offer many options but you can find a similar product elsewhere for a cheaper price. Princess was the first cruise mom and I took and at the time both of us agreed it was the cruise line "where we belonged" and now it's become the cruise line we're going to "escape completely" from and go with Norwegian Cruise Line. As for the Noro-virus outbreak onboard from our sailing, this is the first time since I started cruising where it's been bad enough to have a nightly reminder about being sanitary. This particular sailing was full of people new to Princess. A stroll down the Caribe deck on the port side or starboard looking at the stateroom tags, you could tell just how many new people either to cruising or to Princess there were aboard. With this said, I think Princess could do a far better job preventing an outbreak onboard by practicing the same sanitization techniques that are implemented ALL the time on NCL. After the outbreak there were people stationed to force you to use sanitizer at the buffet. On NCL this is standard practice irregardless of an outbreak. When coming back from onshore, only after the outbreak did a hand sanitizer station get setup and were you made to use it before embarking the ship. This practice is standard procedure on NCL. I think Princess needs to re-evaluate its methods to contain an outbreak before it even begins but passengers could do more too such as washing their hands after the bathroom!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
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 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
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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