3 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews for Gay & Lesbian Cruises to Caribbean - Western

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
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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