27 Princess Crown Princess Holiday Cruise Reviews

I was on the Crown Princess for Christmas and celebrated it with my family on board. For our itinerary, we visited Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Manzanillo. My family of 4 stayed in two connecting premium balconies, which ... Read More
I was on the Crown Princess for Christmas and celebrated it with my family on board. For our itinerary, we visited Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Manzanillo. My family of 4 stayed in two connecting premium balconies, which were fantastic and definitely worth it. This was my first time on the Crown but my 17th cruise overall. It has also been almost 10 years since I've cruised during Christmas and I was definitely unprepared for the 3,500 passengers that were onboard, 600 of which were kids. There were many holiday activities that were offered onboard which made the experience so much more enjoyable. Many of the activities, such as cookie decorating, visiting Santa Claus, building gingerbread houses, etc. were designed for small children and didn't allow any adult participation. The production shows were great, especially the all new Stephen Schwartz show "Magic To Do" which was fantastic and such a great and refreshing show for cruisers that have seen Princess's old production shows one too many times. My family and I have been to Mexico over a dozen times so we are familiar with the ports and thus, not interested in doing many excursions. Our first visit was Cabo San Lucas, which was of course is a tendered port. The weather was great for shopping and walking which is what we ended up doing. At Puerto Vallarta my family and I did the Los Veranos Canopy Tour which was absolutely fantastic, highly recommend it! Mazatlan had great dining, I especially love La Puntilla, which is a cheap beach side Mexican seafood restaurant that is within walking distance to the cruise terminal. We also made a stop at the Golden Zone to do some cheap shopping. We arrived in Manzanillo on Christmas Eve and it reached mid 90's by noon. It was hot and there wasn't a lot to do unless you were willing to drive an hour to their resort city. I did some local shopping and returned to the ship three hours after I got off. Manzanillo in my opinion was a wasted port stop. The service onboard the Crown was definitely below par, which I believe was influenced by the overwhelming number of people that were onboard. There were often long lines to the bathrooms, International Cafe, elevators, coffee/tea bar, etc. I had anytime dining and we ate in the dining rooms every night except one. It was obvious, just from a quick observation, that the waiters were under staffed. Each team had way more passengers than normal which made for incredibly slow and mediocre service. One night my family and I got our appetizers before we even got napkins, water, or utensils on our table. We constantly waited over 30 minutes just to get any bread or our orders in. However, our room attendant was excellent and very outgoing and social. The staff on board was mixed. Some staff members like the cruise director were great, while others came off a bit cold. I've never had any problems or complaints about the staff, however; on this cruise I was completely thrown off by how some of them were treating the passengers. There was one staff member who I found to be rude and arrogant towards passengers, on two separate occasions. Disembarkation and embarkation was easy and went smoothly. Overall, this cruise was still a lot of fun. The activities are fantastic and great for families. The new production shows are a must see. The crew were still great, but beware of some of the staff members. The food was average on this ship, nothing special. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My husband and I wanted to do something different for Christmas, like not spend time with our family this year and do our own thing!!! It was our second cruise we have ever been on. I am going to list the pros and cons. Pros: The pizza ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to do something different for Christmas, like not spend time with our family this year and do our own thing!!! It was our second cruise we have ever been on. I am going to list the pros and cons. Pros: The pizza was AWESOME!!! Always fresh, hot, thin crust, nice sized pieces, and there was always cheese and pepperoni available along with a special for the day. Great selection of alcohol under 10$ which was included in the all-inclusive beverage card. The bartenders did not skimp on the amount of booze in the drinks. Our stateroom attendant was great! She was very attentive, our room was always clean, and available to meet our requests/needs. Deck 7 was our favorite. It is an open deck and we would walk around the ship a lot. There were several places throughout the deck to sit, read, and relax. They had a British Lunch a few times during the week and the Fish and Chips were GREAT!!! The disembarkation was very well organized, smooth, and efficient. Recommend letting cruise line get you to where you need to go (for us LAX). We paid 20$/person to go to the Crab Shack and it was worth it!!! Delicious seafood and portions! For entertainment we enjoyed Movies under the stars, bingo, and the exec chef demonstration. We were GRATEFUL that they televised the NFL games on the big screen Sunday and Monday night. We appreciated that they hand sanitizer throughout the ship and at the entrances of food stations. Although we didn't have kids with us, It was a nice touch that they had Santa circle the boat on the tender on Christmas day for the kids. Overall, service was great and employees were friendly. CONS: Food in the Horizon Court buffet was so-so to below average. My husband had a piece of andouille sausage that he said tasted like throat spray.....and he eats everything! For a cruise in the Mexican Riviera we were surprised there wasn't more Mexican food? We wished our time in Cabo was all day instead of just 1pm... The tender took some time getting to and from the shore. The internet packages were overpriced so we opted to just quickly check our e-mails paying 80 cents per minute!! If you purchase the all exclusive beverage package you better drink! Doing the math, it equates to drinking $50/day whether it be booze, soda, specialty coffee, etc. We did make good use of getting large bottles of water which were $3.50 each. We expect it to be crowded when there is >4,000 people on a ship but...It seemed like there was never anywhere to sit for meals and there was always a long line when waiting to be seated for dinner (we were anytime dining). Overall we had a good time!!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for ... Read More
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for comparison. Embarkation was relatively easy, and after arriving via Park And Go from our parking area, we boarded by 1:30p and met up with the rest of our party onboard. A row of 4 interior cabins and a balcony cabin at the back of the ship were our home for the duration; our cabin steward Merlito was very attentive and became known, among the teens, as the "all-seeing, all-knowing" all-powerful presence who always knew who was up and perhaps even where they were headed. The cabins were small but entirely adequate and well-organized with a nightstand per person, and shelves and safe in the closet area (with plenty of hangers) that separates the bathroom from the bedroom. Initially the A/C seemed not to be working well, but after the first day, this was better. We had a very nice time overall and gained several pounds along the way, so we can't complain about the food. I was surprised by the relative absence of symbols/signs on the menus that would indicate "waist-watchers" choices, or calorie counts that would help guide those inclined to limit themselves. The first day, we had to petition the maitre de for a table for 10, even though we had requested this upon reservation, but once this glitch was overcome, had a good time every night with our waitstaff Tanya and Ketut in the Boticelli DR for late seating. Service was prompt and accurate, though the pace seemed to slow as dessert approached, when much of the table was eager to break free for the evening entertainment. The choices in the buffet areas were a bit repetitive, but since one can't possibly eat every item at each meal, this was not an issue. In addition, the grill and pizza were available on Deck 15 (and deemed excellent and good respectively) but the general feeling is that the pizza in particular should be served til at least 1am rather than 11p to allow for night owls with late-night cravings. The International Cafe on Deck 5 had good salad and panini offerings and was open 24/7. We were disappointed by the sushi offered in the Caribe Area, but don't know if the quality of the sushi served at Vines (when one purchases wine/drinks) is any better. No midnight buffets were offerred. Entertainment was varied and widely available. The 2 person Cinnamoon duo in the Wheelhouse Bar were good for couples to dance to. The piano bar Crooners was convivial, but I had hoped for a piano bar where the crowd could surround the piano and join in lusty song; here, the entertainer was very talented but performed primarily solo. Club Fusion was home to karaoke, trivia, Mass, Pop Princess competition, and Bingo, though some evenings it seemed to be underused for such a large space. The Princess Theater was the venue for every evening's main entertainment and the singers and dancers were quite good; show quality varied, but they get an A for effort. Lisa and Toby, the co-cruise directors, were awesome and funny both. I was surprised by the lack of drink sales in this location, though there may be a reason for this. Explorers Lounge hosted the ventriloquist, the Marriage Game, the Bad Boy of Magic, and another fun game night hosted by Toby. The Adagio Bar, up on Deck 16 next to Sabatini's, was the quietest bar on board, but Allen was the consummate bartender every night. Skywalkers was the nightclub on Deck 18, which could really "rock and roll" if the seas were up, and the bouncers did a pretty good job of keeping the under-18s out. DJ Nikki knew what she had to play to get folks to flock to the dance floor, so I was surprised on the last night that her selections were pretty weak, with long lulls of dullness between bursts of activity. Our teens found it odd that there was no place and no effort made to allow those in that difficult age range of 16-18 to hang out together; the Teen Club allows only those up to 16, the disco allows only those over 18, so for example, if cousins who are 16 and 18 want to be together, they have nothing to do but roam the ship aimlessly! If announcements can be posted in the daily flyer for AA folks and LGTB folks, why no 16-18ers? Activities on board could have been more in quantity. When trivia is held in Adagio/Wheelhouse and there is SRO, that's a sign that folks are looking for something to do. When 2 teenaged boys plan to attend napkin-folding, that's a sign that they need more things to do. When the Speed Sudoku held in Adagio runs out of sheets for eager participants who arrive and no effort is made to procure more for them to be able to do so, that is a lack of initiative on the part of the staff. Why is there NO shuffleboard, the iconic cruise activity? Only 2 ping pong tables for a ship this size is inadequate. The minigolf area is somewhat seedy-looking, it is unclear where to get the clubs and balls, and it's impossible to get on the course without climbing over the wall! And what's with the "jogging track" that measures, what, 0.3 miles and at the very top of the ship--a recipe for dizziness and disaster! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from ... Read More
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from the eastern cruises we typically do in the winter. We arrived in Galveston the day before and used Super Shuttle for our transportation from Hobby airport. I spent a lot of time looking at different options and this seemed the most reasonable. We were a group of 4 adults and chose to book a private SUV at $35 per person. When we arrived there was a slight snafu, I received a voicemail from the company and they told me that it looked as though our flight was now arriving at 10pm instead of 10am. Not sure where they got that from so I called them back and it ended up being their mistake. Now the problem was that because they thought we were delayed they did not have a driver available to take us. I was not very happy and a bit testy from traveling since 3am and after a bit of a back and forth they had the super shuttle van take us by ourselves to Galveston for the same price. The van was perfectly fine and the driver was very nice. We stayed at the Hotel Galvez which we all thought was very nice. I really love historical hotels and the location was right on the beach with great views from the rooms. I only wish it had been warm enough to actually hang out on the beach, it was pretty chilly. There were restaurants within walking distance and a town car that would take you into town and pick you back up for no cost. It was really easy to call them and get picked up when we were ready to go back to the hotel. My husband was excited to stay at the Galvez since it is said to be haunted, he even called months in advance to request the "haunted room". To his disappoint nothing out of the ordinary happened during our stay. The rooms are clean and slightly updated but very small which we expected since the hotel is so old. Our rooms were fine for 2 adults but if we were looking to get 3 or 4 in a room it would be very tight. Check in is at 4pm but we arrived by 12pm and only had to wait about 30 minutes for our room to be ready and the others in our party could check in right away which was really nice. If you stay at the Galvez they do have a complimentary shuttle to the pier but you need to make sure you sign up right away as it does fill up quickly. We ended up getting in the 12pm slot and it worked out great. When we arrived at the pier there was really no wait at all. Dropped our bags off and were on board within about 20 minutes. I thought the check in was very organized, we have preferred check in but the rest of our group without boarded very shortly after us and were very complimentary of the whole process. Once on board we dropped our things off at the room and headed up to the buffet for lunch. The weather in Galveston was sunny but cool so since we would not be hitting the pool we ended up getting back off the ship and walked around the historical strand which is right across from the pier. We made it back on board just in time the muster drill and then we were off! Dining I have to say that we thought the food was very good on this cruise but we were not overly thrilled with the selections on the new menus. Maybe it was because some of our old favorites were missing but I had a harder time choosing something in the MDR at night because not a lot seemed to appeal to me. I did enjoy all of my food, except for what they were calling a filet in the MDR, it tasted almost gamey to me both times I tried it. I always love the fettuccine and we had that as a third main dish to share every night. Loved the ice creams and sorbet selection each night and usually added a scoop to whatever dessert I had. We went to Sabatini's on our first night and Crown grill on our last night and both were excellent and definitely our favorite meals for the week. These are so worth the extra cost! We love to start and end our trips in the specialty restaurants. Afternoon tea was really nice (this was the first time I have gone), a good selection of sandwiches, cookies and pastry. I thought there was supposed to be live music but the occasions we were there is was just music over the speaker system. All in all a very nice experience in the afternoon when there was not a lot going on. We tried to make it to pub lunch but both times the line was HUGE and we didn't feel like waiting an hour plus so we have yet to give that a try. Enjoyed lunches in the MDR and the buffet and found both to have really nice selections during this time. Wish they had more available late night, the cafe caribe was open until midnight but it just seemed to have old left over looking options from dinner that night and nothing great for a little late night snack. Pizza always works though, very yummy. Entertainment We love to do Movies Under the Stars and enjoyed the movies even though most we have already seen. They played Bourne Legacy, Pitch Perfect, Robot and Frank and Premium Rush. My only issue was that the first and last night they replayed the same movie which usually does not happen. The comedians on board were a lot of fun and we enjoyed seeing Lincoln and Argo in the Princess Theater. We didn't attend any of the other shows as they don't usually interest us. We also enjoyed the entertainment in the Piazza throughout the day and evening when we were waiting around for this and that. Ports Belize- We did a princess excursion, the river cruise, Altun Ha ruins and lunch. I really enjoyed this tour but the rest of the group I was with did not. Their biggest complaint was that the river cruise portion was way too long for the type of boat they put you in. I can agree with that, the boat was small and had everyone facing inwards so you always had to turn or stand up to see anything they were pointing out. We did see a lot of wildlife which was great but it did drag on a bit. The lunch was nothing special, you pull up to a building on the side of the river (they called it a resort, I'm not sure why). There was a food line inside for chicken, rice and salad and a soda. It was ok, and by that time we were starving. It's not a lot of food but enough to hold you over until the tour is over. I thought the ruins were wonderful but it was so hot and no shade to be had so definitely wear a hat or bring your sunscreen! We got to climb up some of the structures and get some great pictures but you need to be very careful as the steps can be steep and very uneven. Roatan- This was my first time at this port and we knew it would basically be a beach day. I was expecting something like Princess Cays but I was pleasantly surprised. Mahogany bay was a very nice beach and the water was wonderful! We had a lot of fun and really loved the chair lift that you could take to get to the beach, its $2 cheaper to get the tickets on board the ship. Next time I would love to head out to one of the other beaches and see more of the island. A very pretty port. Cozumel- We had planned to head to one of the beach clubs for the day but the weather was cloudy and it rained off and on most of the day. We took it as a nice break from the sun and decided to walk around town and do a little shopping. We also stopped at Pancho's backyard for lunch which was decent but nothing to write home about. Sea Days- We had three on this cruise since one of our ports got canceled shortly after we booked. I don't love sea days, I find them to be a little boring but I tried to get to some new things and keep busy. We loved the Thermal Suite and used it every afternoon, I don't think it's worth the price they charge but we still tend to purchase the weeks pass. I did feel like there were a lot more people than usual just walking in without having the pass which was annoying since we actually paid for it. People were also just really sloppy leaving towels all over the floor and on the loungers after they left. Our final sea day was cold and rainy, a bust weather wise. This was my only issue with leaving from Galveston, it's not very warm this time of year so your first and last days can be iffy weather wise. We still found a lot to do but it was a little disappointing. Just some other things... This was the first time for us that there was a kiosk near the purser's desk where you could print out your statement without having to wait in line, that was really nice. I did actually find a mistake, a bottle of wine was charged to us in error. The staff at the desk were very helpful and cleared up the charge right away. I thought all of the staff was wonderful and always very helpful. One of the members of our party got a horrible sunburn (her own fault for not wearing any sunscreen) and the buffet staff could see how uncomfortable she was and told her to put plain yogurt on her burns, they even brought her a bunch to put in her cabin fridge. Good to know for the future. We were in cabin R737 and loved our room steward Romel. This is always our favorite location when we do not get a balcony room; we are steps from the aft pool which is really nice. All in all this was a great cruise; I really enjoyed the itinerary and look forward to sailing on the Crown again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This cruise was a last minute booking for us. We were delighted that it ended in Athens, Greece where we live. The Crown Princess is an absolutely gorgeous ship and many fine touches are there to make you feel special. I don't like ... Read More
This cruise was a last minute booking for us. We were delighted that it ended in Athens, Greece where we live. The Crown Princess is an absolutely gorgeous ship and many fine touches are there to make you feel special. I don't like the fact that there is no indoor pool though. That would have been very nice because the weather in November in the Med is not pool weather. The kids program was very nice and our son enjoyed his time there. We have been to all of the ports before so our goal with this cruise was to enjoy the ship, service and family time. I'm the one who ventured out on my own for most of the ports and that was ok. Dining on the ship was lovely and Thanksgiving was absolutely terrific. We loved the outstanding service in the dining room. The food was very good though I wouldn't recommend fish other than salmon. The desserts were always wonderful as was the bread. The cruise director Sam tried hard but really needs to get some new material. She told a set of jokes I've heard at least four other times about the "dumb questions cruisers ask." Our cabin was very nice but the only problem was that the cabin steward had such a huge load that our cabin often was not done up until late in the afternoon and late in the evening. This did not work well for us. But, I give him credit for getting our mattress changed out for us. It was in horrible shape and I can't believe wasn't changed before. I know Princess is supposed to have the best onboard shopping but I didn't think so. Their sales weren't very good and I really didn't find much that I wanted or needed. I'm really into onboard shopping so this was unusual. Carnival Breeze had much better shopping in my opinion. I like the Piazza idea but not the fact that seating is limited to those who buy beverages. It is therefore not easy to enjoy the entertainment there unless you are willing to pay for drinks. Well, you can stand. Also, we had our teeth whitened and just to warn you... it is a bit of a gimmick. Yes, our teeth were a bit lighter but the technician tried to sell us $400 worth of capsules so that the results would stick. We were disappointed and would not recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We go away in August every year to celebrate our anniversary - next year we will go somewhere cool! Last year we were on 7 day med cruise with RCI and was not too happy. There were many eastern european first time cruisers who obviously ... Read More
We go away in August every year to celebrate our anniversary - next year we will go somewhere cool! Last year we were on 7 day med cruise with RCI and was not too happy. There were many eastern european first time cruisers who obviously did not understand the ways of cruising. Was it a coincidence that we went on code red for norovirus? This year we were away for 12 nights and had many more established cruisers and no overall health issue. Lots of kids though so it was not unusual to find all the buttons in the lift pressed. For the first time we used anytime dining and it worked very well for us. Every morning we would check the entertainment and book a table so were able to avoid the queues that built up. Cabin was standard bit I had to request an egg crate for the bed. The entertainment was fairly typical except that the 'humour' of the American comediens that the US passengers found hilarious completely passed us by. There was music everywhere in the ship - more than we have experienced elsewhere and it was of high standard and good variety. I thought that there was a slight reduction in the quality/variety of food since our last trip with Princess. There was also no farewell party - could not remember whether this was a new development. The first couple of days it looked as if it was all 'no'. No more coffee mugs with coffee card, no more wine packages, no more towel sculptures - not a great loss but the occasional one was pleasant. No compaints about general presentation of ship. Usual problem with chairs in prime position on deck being reserved. For some reason one of the ports of call had been deleted from the itinerary - another cost saving feature? The port shuttles all appeared to be run by outside companies and were very expensive indeed - I remember when they used to be included. Our main gripe was the transfer to the airport at the end. Again it was very expensive - more for the 2 of us than a private taxi but we decided that the convenience might have been worth it. We ended up arriving at chaotic Rome airport more than 1.5 hours before the check in opened and, there being nowhere to sit had, literally to stand around for the duration - never again! In summary a middle of the road ship, the large number of pax were not evident except that the theatre filled up a couple of times so there were no seats for the late show. We will continue to sail with Princess when the itinerary is appropriate but would always prefer the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
First Time Princess sailing view from a veteran cruiser: Crown Princess Review (Dec 17 -- 24) Background to this review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. ... Read More
First Time Princess sailing view from a veteran cruiser: Crown Princess Review (Dec 17 -- 24) Background to this review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. On this cruise, we booked a suite on Lido deck(deck 15 -- L106). This cruise was affected by an outbreak of the Norovirus on the previous cruise which impacted the embarkation process (will not comment on this) and I believe to some extent the level of service we received on our cruise. I tried to factor the effect of the Norovirus into my evaluation because the purpose of us taking this cruise was to evaluate Princess as a cruise line for future cruises. Overall Evaluation: (more detail comments appear below) - Crown is an elegant ship, well decorated for Christmas, clean, and relatively easy to navigate - Suite was comfortable but our location was problematic (see comments below) - Food quality was good, not great except for the Crown Grill which was exceptional - Dining room (Michelangelo, Da Vinci) menu variety not great, anytime dining reservation system is chaotic, and service level can vary greatly - International Cafe and Ice Cream and Pizza Bar (great pizza) were two of our favorite places - Entertainment variety was good and some of the special acts were exceptional, shows ordinary - Exercise room and spa were below expectation levels compared to other cruise lines - The staff was not as friendly and helpful on the Crown as other cruise lines. Of course there were exceptions. SUITE: DO NOT BOOK LIDO SUITES L106, L104 or cabins L104,L103,L102, and L101 unless you want to be awakened every morning at 7:00 by the sound of treadmills from the exercise room above. I booked suite L106 because the deck plans showed the Lotus Thermal Spa to be on deck 15 which looked easily accessible from our suite. However, the only access to the Thermal Spa is from deck 16 by going through the Lotus Spa and then back down. The deck plans also do not show the restricted view from the balcony of L106. Being in the front of the ship with a large curved balcony, I expected to have a good view of the front of the ship. This view was obstructed by the extended bridge and the top of the bridge. Therefore, this suite's view was nothing more than a good side balcony cabin. If you're a first time Princess Suite passenger, you better inquire about how to access the amenities offered because there is NO ONE to assist you such as a concierge or butler like on other cruise lines. This may have been the responsibility of the room steward on Princess but that was not clear to us. Nor was it helpful to receive inconsistent information from the front desk versus the printed material left daily in our room. One amenity that was useful to us was the COMPLIMENTARY internet service. The service on the ship, like any other, is slow so I spent over 500 minutes online. This would have been a $175+ charge if I had to pay for it. I did discover the speed is much faster early in the day rather than in the evening. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres are featured in Skywalker's lounge from 5:00 -- 7:00 pm for suite passengers and elite members on "selected evenings" according to a letter we received onboard. I inquired at the front desk for the definition of selected evenings and it was quite a task to discover it was any night except when the Captains Elite meeting occurred. Finally, I learned from a Princess Elite passenger that a "card" should have been placed in my room listing the evenings and the specialty drink of the day offered in Skywalker's lounge. All my problems would have been solved if the Front Desk knew of this card or the letter reference it. Priority tender tickets are a GREAT perk. The first day tendering to Princess Cay can be a chore with LONG waiting lines but if you are a suite passenger with priority tickets you are offered the seating on the next boat leaving from the ship. Go directly to the exit side of the Michelangelo staging area rather than getting in line or asking staff people because you may get different directions from various staff members. I finally just went directly to the dining exit area where people were leaving for the next boat when I found someone who actually knew how to direct me. ANYTIME DINING: We chose anytime dining because we enjoyed the flexibility it offers and had a great experience on NCL with this option. On Princess it was not as enjoyable because it wasn't as flexible as they advertise. Only the Michelangelo dining room is accessible entirely for anytime dining and Da Vinci after 7:30 pm. Michelangelo only allows a limited number of reservations for anytime dining and after that you are "invited" to wait on line to get in. Before making reservations, I always like to know the menu for the evening. The menu for the dining room is not easily accessible from your suite via interactive TV like other cruise lines and you have to actually visit the dining area to read the menu. If you decide the menu is OK for the evening, you better make your reservation EARLY or you will be told to come "wait in line". This is where ANYTIME DINING on the CROWN fails!!!! Heard MANY complaints from "ELITE" Princess cruisers about the lines and chaotic reservations system on the Crown. They tried to inform me that it was NOT this bad on other Princess Ships. I was not overly impressed with the menu in the dining areas. The food quality was acceptable but there was not a great variety of items I enjoy. Lunch in the dining room wasn't anything special. The buffets were just ordinary. Typical buffets. SPECIALITY DINING: Crown Grill a delight!!!! As a suite passenger we were offered breakfast daily in Sabatini's. The breakfast was good but the waiters were not overly friendly like the Crown Gill and the dining area. For that reason, we did not return to Sabatini's for dinner. However, the Crown Grill is totally different. The food is EXCEPTIONAL and the wait staff was very friendly and an absolute delight to experience. I don't know how anyone could complain about the menu, food quality or service in the Crown Grill. I do know people complain about the $25 up charge but I had the filet with "several" lobster tails and have NOTHING but complements for this dining venue. Don't miss the "fish and chips" in the Wheelhouse Bar at the pub lunch. INTERNATIONAL CAFe and PIZZA BAR: We opted for the beverage card when we arrived on the ship since we are not alcohol drinkers. For $49.00 you can upgrade to a the beverage card that allows you all the soda, fruit drinks (i.e. virgin pina coladas, strawberry daquires, etc) and milk shakes at the ice cream bar (delicious). The pizza bar was one of the MOST POPULAR places on the ship. Absolutely great "New York" style pizza. We would almost rather eat there some nights then the dining room!!! The other MOST POPULAR place on the ship was the International Cafe for deserts, sandwiches and salads 24 hours a day. We made many trips to this venue.....don't miss it. If you are a coffee drinker, one complaint with the Cafe is you have to pay for your regular or decaf coffee when the buffet lines are open. Just an inconvenience to walk to deck 15 for free coffee but have to pay on deck 7. Not very customer friendly!!!! EXERCISE ROOM AND LOTUS THERMAL SPA: This is one area of the ship I frequent often. The exercise room has the typical equipment but has ONLY TWO recumbent bicycles that are always in demand. This should tell Princess something if they are paying attention!!!!!!!! GET MORE RECUMBENT BIKES!!!! I really enjoy the Thermal Spas on the ships I cruise. Access to the Lotus Thermal Spa was one perk of being a suite passenger. The Thermal Spa has heated chairs and steam rooms accessible through the Spa area on deck 16. If you are not a suite passenger, there is a charge for access. There is a LACK of a nice relaxation area that I have enjoyed on other cruise lines. Areas that allow a view of the ocean, comfortable music, choice of various juices and flavored water, etc. This is missing on Princess. The locker room facility for the SPA is small and many lockers are visible from the hallway when the door is opened. Don't change in front of your locker if you're near the doorway!!!! The HOT TUBS outside the SPA area are more like heated pools....not very hot and not a lot of "jet" action. The one tub did NOT work the entire week we were on the ship. ENTERTAINMENT: This was hit or miss and a matter of opinion. A lot to choose among most nights, but not always great. The shows were OK but nothing spectacular but the comedians, especially Phil Tag, and the piano player (Kory Simon) were very entertaining. Of course, they may not be on the next cruise. Music and the gymnastic performer Li Liu entertained in the Piazza area by the International Cafe and were very entertaining. PORTS: Princess Cay was very relaxing. The beach area was nice with beach chairs available and access to a barbecue lunch. Curacao was a very colorful town with many unique shops on both sides of the inlet. Access to the shops on the other side of the inlet requires you walk over a pontoon bridge or take a ferry. When we were there another cruise ship was leaving and the pontoon bridge was not available. We took the ferry to the other side but I felt it was not worth the trip. In Aruba it rained the day we were there. Unusual but it did not damper our enthusiasm for shopping. We enjoyed our stay in Aruba and access the shopping area is a very easy walk. A nice change from other Caribbean islands is that we were not HASSLED or HUSTLED while walking from the ship to the shopping area. A very popular shop in Aruba was Dunkin Donuts. It seemed that many other passengers who love coffee seemed to agree that the coffee on the Crown Princess was NOT very good and we could not wait to purchase a decent cup of coffee. DISEMBARKATION: This turned out to be very quick and easy but as a first-time Princess cruiser trying to learn the night before what I needed to do in the morning was not so easy. As a suite passenger, I received information that I could go to the Club Fusion at 7:30 am for priority disembarkation. Since we were going to walk off with our luggage, the instruction sheet indicated we could only do that at 6:15 and 6:45 am. I went to the excursion desk to inquire if I could walk off at 8:00 after going to the Club Fusion lounge and they were not sure. I never got a definitive answer so I decided to do what was best for us..... visit Club Fusion and walk off with our luggage. As it turned out, disembarkation did not start on time and we went to Club Fusion for coffee and danish, walked off the ship with our luggage, cleared customs and were in a taxi within 30 minutes. NEXT CRUISE: I am still unsure about going back to Princess. We are scheduled in a suite on NCL very soon and from past experience have had excellent service and great accommodations as suite passengers. We also would like to evaluate Celebrity and Oceania cruises as alternative options. CRUISE CRITIC MEET AND GREET: I had worked with Princess to schedule our M&G meeting in the Wheelhouse Bar and Cruiselover57 (Laurie) did a fabulous job in organizing the meeting, the gift exchange, and printing name tags. This meeting allowed us to meet several new friends and arrange dinner and social gatherings together while on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We where in Crown Princess the week of 17th december 2011. We where with two friends an for them it was a first time with Princess but they sail many time with other company an they said it is the first an the last...We said it is not like ... Read More
We where in Crown Princess the week of 17th december 2011. We where with two friends an for them it was a first time with Princess but they sail many time with other company an they said it is the first an the last...We said it is not like the other cruise we took with the same compagny... the embakation was disturb because the other cruise had novovirus on so the disinfects an the sanitising so we understand it is longer to embark but after that many things is not the same the same. Nevertheless it is with this company that we developed the taste to make cruise... We realized that it is not this cruise which could give taste to one to make another cruise for a new cruiser. CABINS: The cabins was good but if you choose more in front of the ship it could be noisy because training center is just in front so I heard from people who was in front they had a lot of noise because the trademills but not us it was de L253 if perfect near pool, lunch on the deck 15. But if you have the seasickness maybe it is a bet high because we had a big wave about aft of the week 7.5 to 12 feets...they made an announcement to secure dentures for those who have one... so we had waves...but is it not the fault of the company. For Seasickness choose lower level. Excursion: Excursion was ok but to get out of the boat ... what a mess... long line anywhere they would have advantage has to find another way of functioning as the one we we had set previously in Oasis of the seas. So disembark late every time to much time to go ashore. We where late to take the excursion they had to wait for passengers because the disembarkation. We too caribbean Princess an it was not the same, whe where waiting on a theater an the call us by tout an it was on time. Breakfast At buffet it is ok not more an we took breakfast at the Dinner place but it was not what we expect an not very good The dinner It was good like the one we took before the Caribbean Princess. Pool Many pool it is very good but a lot of them where cloosed many time. Tne entertainments It is basic , nothing nothing nothing to compare to Royal the Oasis The boat is nice, the café international is perfect, pastry an coffee capuccinno woaw! buy a coffee card it worth the price for a people who love special coffee. Right now ,we will take Allure of the seas this summer an to take Princess another time we dont say no but we will try other compagny before Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Background I sailed with my entire family. Mom, Dad, sister, BIL, niece (11) and nephew (5). Mom, Dad and I are Elite and my sister achieved the status by the end of the second week. We sailed for two weeks, 12/17 and 12/24. This was my ... Read More
Background I sailed with my entire family. Mom, Dad, sister, BIL, niece (11) and nephew (5). Mom, Dad and I are Elite and my sister achieved the status by the end of the second week. We sailed for two weeks, 12/17 and 12/24. This was my 27th and 28th cruise on Princess and 5th and 6th on the Crown. This was our first experience sailing at Christmas. Flying to Fort Lauderdale We live in San Diego and drove to Los Angeles so we could take a non-stop flight to Fort Lauderdale. We spent Thursday night, 12/15 at the Embassy Suites South at LAX. It is convenient to the airport and we parked two cars at the hotel for the 2+ weeks. The hotel takes you to the airport and picks you up. There are many hotels at LAX that provide this service. I would never stay at this Embassy again. It really needs to be re-furbished and the rooms are tired and outdated. We took a Virgin America flight and it was very nice. The hardest part was check-in at LAX. That was a MESS!! But the flight was great. The in flight entertainment is so nice because each seat has their own screen. It makes a 5+ hour flight so much nicer! Pre-cruise hotel We spent Friday night, 12/16 at the Renaissance by the pier. The rooms are great and I would definitely stay here again. It is across the street from Walgreens and we were able to do some last minute shopping the night before the cruise. Our room rate included breakfast. The food was good but the restaurant is very small and we had to wait awhile to eat. The lobby was a madhouse with everyone leaving for ships. We took a shuttle to the ship. It was very convenient but we paid $35 to take us the ½ mile to the pier! That was an expensive ride but we would have needed at least two taxis so we decided to go for the convenience. Embarkation The previous sailing had Norovirus outbreaks so boarding was delayed. My Mom had booked the Bon Voyage Experience for her close friend and her husband but unfortunately it was cancelled. Mom was disappointed but we would rather board a ship that had been disinfected. We took our time getting to the pier and arrived around 2. Check-in was at the convention center directly across from the pier. We arrived when a bunch of other folks did so there were some lines. Once we checked in, we were asked to take a seat in the bleachers. Princess had brought in lots of chairs and there were tons of folks sitting around waiting for the boarding announcement. At 2:30 the announcement was made that in-transit and Elite passengers could board. Well Princess did not control the crowd and tons of folks starting running to the pier! Many of the crowd were first time cruisers and it was a bit scary for us because my folks are elderly and my Dad walks with a cane. I was concerned that someone was going to knock him down. Not a great start! So it was chaos during embarkation. We did bring wine onboard. Hulagirl was nice enough to give me some wine boxes they had used to bring wine to Fort Lauderdale. They didn't need the boxes anymore because they had one of the Winecheck carry on containers. So we were able to pack 8 bottles of wine. We placed luggage tags on the boxes along with cases of water and we gave them to the pier porters. Everything arrived just fine! We also had some wine in our carry-ons. Absolutely no problem!! This is one of things I LOVE about Princess. I understand most cruise lines either limit the wine or completely disallow it. Cabins My folks were in a suite and had the same cabin for both weeks. My sister, BIL and nephew and my niece and I had adjoining balcony cabins during the first week and moved to insides for the second week to save some money. We were all on Riviera deck. I will never book on this deck again. Every morning we heard the deck attendants moving and dropping chairs. Sometimes it was as early as 6:30am. And the night of the deck parties was extremely noisy. It sounded like there was a herd of elephants jumping up and down over our cabins. It was especially bad the second week. The party continued until 12:15am. We had gone to bed because we had an early excursion in Belize and had to be on a tender around 7am. I am not sure why Princess planned the deck party for a night prior to a 7am port call. It would have made more sense to plan it for a night prior to a 9am port call. I did end up calling down to Passenger Services a few times during the 2 weeks to ask them to have the deck attendants be more careful moving furniture. Passenger Services was very nice and even called me to find out if the noise had decreased. But unfortunately they really didn't do anything about the problem. We had booked Riviera deck because that is where the mid-ship suites are located. Because of the noise issues, I do wonder why Princess put the suites on this deck. On some of the older ships, the suites are on Caribe deck. That is so much nicer because there aren't any noise issues and the balconies are much deeper. The Riviera deck balconies are very narrow and the furniture on the balcony is a bit cramped. Princess all I can say is who did that deck planning!?!? LOL! The cabins are in good shape. Mom and Dad's bed in the suite was very nice. It was a pillow top mattress. But the rest of us had those old hard mattresses. I understand that Princess is slowly replacing these old worn out mattresses. I can't wait! Room Steward We all had Dax Supan from the Philippines. What a nice young man! He was very attentive and always had a smile on his face. He made some towel animals that the kids loved. And every night he made sure that Mom and Dad had wine glasses and ice. On turn around day, Dax told us to place all of our stuff that was in drawers and on shelves in our suitcases and to leave all of our clothes hanging in the closet. He moved everything to our new cabins for us. That really helped us since we had to get off the ship for immigration and there was no way we had time to move everything ourselves prior to disembarking. Overall Dax really took good care of us. Dining Room Staff We started the two weeks at late traditional dining but decided that we wanted to eat a little bit earlier since late seating was at 8:15. We talked to Neville Saldana the Maitre D' and he was very accommodating. Neville is by far the best Maitre D' I have had the pleasure of sailing with. He was very visible and very interested in making sure everyone was having a great dining experience. He moved us to the DaVinci dining room where we had a standing 7:30 reservation at table 488. This dining room in used for the 5:30 early seating and then opens for anytime dining at 7:30. The only challenge we faced was trying to enter the dining when the doors open. Almost every night there was a large group of folks lined up and we had to navigate our way through the crowd. We had the dining room team of Melinda Ambrusics and Elena Andonova. OMG they were ABSOLUTELY the BEST team I have ever experienced!! They are very attentive, sweet and caring. They were always right there when water or wine glasses were empty. They knew the drink orders and the drinks were always waiting for us when we arrived. They spoiled the kids by even cutting their meat and making them feel very special. Melinda and Elena are both quiet and never disturbed our meals. I HIGHLY recommend anyone that is sailing on the Crown to request their station. You will not be sorry! And if you do sit with them, be sure to tell them that Jamie said hello! Alternative restaurants and food in main dining room Our travel agent gave us vouchers to use for Sabatini's. We had decided we only wanted to do one formal night each week so decided to go to Sabatini's on the first formal night of week one. Overall I was not impressed at all and did not care for the food. I had the new chicken dish and found the sauce was overwhelming. Everyone agreed with me and I don't think we will return to Sabatini's on future cruises. The second week we went to Crown Grill on the second formal night. It was very good but wow it is a lot of food!! My steak was OK -- not fabulous but better than the dining room. But the sides -- yum! Especially the corn casserole. And that black and blue onion soup -- WOW!! We do like Crown Grill and normally visit this alternative restaurant at least once during our cruise. I thought the food in the main dining room was pretty good. Some nights the menu was STRANGE!! Caribbean night we all looked at the menu and ended up ordering pasta or something from the "always available" menu. My favorite part of the menu is always the pasta. The pastas on Princess Ships are WONDERFUL!! And Neville ordered macaroni and cheese for us many of the nights. Now I could eat that every night as my entrée -- it is that good! Christmas decorations and activities The ship was beautiful!! When we boarded on 12/17 we were so impressed by the Piazza. There were garlands hanging from all of the rails and a large tree on deck 5. But on 12/24 it got better!!! They brought in gingerbread houses, a sleigh and additional decorations. It was so nice. There were other trees all over the ship including a live tree in a bucket on one of the upper decks. During the first week there were Christmas carols playing all over the ship, including a stateroom channel that showed a fireplace while carols were playing. But it was during the second week that the activities kicked into high gear. Since Christmas Eve was turn around day, the staff was trying to fit in all of the activities while folks were settling in. The staff sang Christmas carols in the Piazza while it "snowed"..........I was impressed!!! But for some reason Lisa Ball did not read "Twas the night before Christmas" for the kids. Not sure what happened. Midnight mass was celebrated in the Princess Theater. I planned to go but was just too tired to make it. On Christmas morning, my niece and I took my nephew's Santa gifts up to Adaigo and placed them under the tree. We had stayed in our Christmas pajamas and were wearing our Santa hats!!! I had recommended we go up there because the bar is always quiet in the morning and we could tell my nephew that Santa came to the ship. I guess Santa needed a drink so that is why he left the presents in a bar!!! LOL! The Head Waiter from Sabatini's saw us and brought over some orange juice and coffee! He knows me because Dad and I go to breakfast there every almost every morning since Dad is a suite passenger (Mom is not a breakfast person and I am the lucky replacement for Mom!!). As we were opening gifts people started arriving for trivia so we stayed. We didn't win but had fun. After trivia, my sister and BIL took the kids to the Piazza. Santa was there and the kids could go sit on this lap. Each child was given a stuffed animal. Very nice touch! In the afternoon there was a Christmas show in the Princess Theater. Somehow we all missed it! I was bummed when I saw it on the Reflections video. It looked fun. But we did make it to the gingerbread house contest. What a blast!!! There were about 30 teams. We were in Club Fusion and each team had a station with a boxed kit. On "GO" we opened our kit and began the decorating process. We had about 45 minutes to complete our house. They had pre-made icing that we could use so we didn't have to mix our own. We brought extra candy with us and I must admit our house was the best!! Overall it was a lot of fun. That night was a formal night and the ship was very festive. There was a special menu in the dining room and there were actual lit candles on every table. Overall Christmas on board was very special and I would not hesitate to do it again. Even given that there were 800+ kids on each week's sailing. The kids were well behaved and did not cause any problems. Ports We have finally learned to not use the ship excursions!! We now booked independently and pay less for what typically is a better excursion with more amenities. Here goes........... Week 1 -- Curacao and Aruba Curacao My sister, BIL and kids walked off the ship and hired someone to take them to the Hato Caves and the distillery. I forget how much they paid but they really enjoyed their time ashore. Mom and I walked to over the floating bridge but it was open (meaning you could not cross the river) so we had to take a ferry. It was very crowded with both tourists and locals and we found that the locals were not very friendly. We walked around downtown for maybe 30 minutes and went back to the ship. Aruba It POURED!! This is my second time to Aruba and the second time it poured!! My sister had booked the Jolly Roger pirate ship independently. We still had a great time even though it rained. They took us to two snorkeling sites that had wrecks below. And we enjoyed the rope swing. We had all the rum punch we could drink and lunch (just OK). And there was another boat out with us that had the folks that booked via Princess. They paid more and did not get lunch!! Week 2 -- Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel Grand Cayman My sister and niece booked a Stingray City tour through Captain Marvin. They loved it. And there were only 9 people on the boat because an RCCL ship was 4 hours late to port (they picked up some refugees) and those folks didn't make the tour. Mom and I once again walked around and did some shopping. We had a bite to eat at Breezes. I bought my favorite Tortuga Rum Punch prior to re-boarding the ship!! That is the best punch in the entire world! Roatan The whole family took a Victor Bodden tour. My sister, BIL, niece and nephew went horseback riding. It was strange because our guide pulled the van over to the side of a road where the horses were standing. No stable at all. The horses looked a bit worn but they all had a great time. While they were riding, the guide took Mom, Dad and I to Half Moon Bay. It was OK -- nothing special. The pier area is wonderful. It was built by Carnival. When we returned, all of the girls did some shopping and ended the day at Fat Tuesday's. In retrospect I wish we had just gone to the Mahogany Bay beach. It is right next to the ship and looked nice. Hulagirl and her family went there and really enjoyed it. Next time! Belize My sister, niece, nephew and I went cave tubing and zip lining with Major Tom. Once again we booked independently and paid less and lunch was included. We paid $89.50 for all of that! Tom met us at the pier and we had a small group of 10. We got to the zip lining and tubing place prior to the big buses from the ships (there were two NCL ships there with us). That saved us from waiting in long lines for zip lining. I highly recommend Major Tom. He personally joined us on the tour and told us a lot about Belize. It was a great tour. Cozumel My sister, BIL, niece and nephew went to the beach. Mom, Dad and I did some shopping and went to Pancho's Backyard. Yum!!! Great margaritas and food. We were docked downtown and went to the one near the ferry terminal. I highly recommend Pancho's! There were 7 ships in port that day include the "Behemoth of the Seas", aka Oasis of the Seas. So there were at least 20K+ passengers roaming the town. It was busy! Entertainment We had seen all of the shows. I am ready for some of the new shows that are now on other Princess ships. We did go to "What a Swell Party" the first week and "Motor City" the second week. I enjoyed both. On the second week we had a GREAT comedian, Phil Tag. I highly recommend him if you have a chance to see him. Very funny! James Michael was on-board too. He was good too but Phil was funnier to me. Most nights we had dinner and just hung around. We did watch some of the football games on MUTS. That was fun! Most traveled passenger lunches Yes lunches!! I was invited both weeks and these meals were a huge highlight for me. The first week I took my Dad and we sat with a very nice family from Quebec. Our host was Jo-Ann the future cruise consultant. Each guest gets a picture with Captain Nash. The food was out of this world!! Dad had halibut and he said it was the best meal he has ever had onboard. I had the rack of lamb. The second week I took Mom. Hulagirl also went with her family and requested that we sit together. We had a blast sitting with them!! The Chief Engineer and his wife sat with us and we learned about many aspects of the ship's operation. The food was decadent! Mom and I both had the filet with stilton cheese. And the appetizer was a yummy pasta dish. Dessert was a sinfully rich chocolate cake. And I forgot to mention that they pour nice wine! Thank you Princess for spoiling me and my parents!!! Challenges The cruises were great but there were a few challenges. A few I already mentioned.....noise, mattresses. But our biggest challenges came during the second week. My folks and I are elite passengers. And my parents were in a suite. As elite passengers we were entitled to one mini-bar setup each week. And my parents were entitled to a second set-up each week since they were in a suite. We are wine drinkers so we take Princess up on the option to switch the mini-bar for a bottle of wine. The first week my folks only got one set-up. They didn't know you have to ASK for the second one.....HUH!?!? Is Princess hoping people either don't know about the second one or forget to ask??? So the second week my Dad went Passenger Services to ensure they got 2 set-ups for the second week and the missing set-up from the previous sailing. And we had decided we didn't want our normal chardonnay but instead wanted to order bottles of Riesling. Well we were HASSLED!!! It took many phones calls to passenger services and room service to try to resolve both the request for the suite second set-up and the request for a different and CHEAPER wine. You would have thought we were asking for the moon. First off, the majority of the folks we talked to had no idea that an elite passenger in a suite is entitled to 2 set-ups. We were repeatedly told that was not true and that our request would be escalated to guest relations. I was so frustrated that I finally packaged up my entire mini-bar set-up and took it to a head waiter in the dining room at dinner to ask for a bottle of Riesling. And the head waiter in the dining room had no idea you could exchange the set-up for wine! We finally got it resolved by talking to Neville the Maitre D' and we got all the set-ups and the Riesling! I suggest that Princess advertise that you can exchange the set-up for any bottle of wine up to a certain price point. Wouldn't that be easier? And it would allow passengers to select the wine they enjoy! There was one incident that I want to mention that happened when we tried to board a tender in Belize. As an elite passenger, I am allowed to go directly to the tenders when I am ready to go ashore. We had to be on one of the first tenders since we had an early excursion and as we boarded we joined one of the ship's tour groups. A nasty young man questioned whether we were on the tour. I told him that we could go ashore when we wanted and showed him my black elite card. My sister heard him make a smart remark about "who do they think they are". Well I thought it was a dead issue until that same young man saw me in Cozumel and proceeded to hassle me. I was at Pancho's Backyard and as I was trying to leave the restaurant he came up behind me and shoved me as I was trying to negotiate a long line of customers waiting for their tables. Thankfully my folks were in the restroom and not in his path. This guy and his GRANDMOTHER (who claimed she was also elite?!?) continued to hassle me to the point where I was afraid it would continue to escalate. Many in their party (including grandma) were very drunk so I can only assume he was too. But wow -- what a jerk!! The only reason I mention this is that maybe Princess could inform people that elite passengers are able to join tenders whenever they want. That might prevent situations like I experienced. Elite passengers -- beware! Other ship personnel Lisa Ball was the cruise director. She is nice and I did see her quite a bit talking with passengers. The rest of the cruise staff was OK -- nothing memorable. The passenger services desk was great. It is nice that they have finally trained the staff to understand customer service. Marko and James were especially nice! Marko even sent me chocolate covered strawberries as an apology for the cabin noise issues. Now that is a wow to me! Other miscellaneous thoughts We did deal with two weeks of Noro-virus. Thankfully no one in our group got sick. But it was all around us. The people across the hall from my niece and me and the people next door to Mom and Dad were infected. It was amazing to watch the staff wear masks into their staterooms and then take everything out of the stateroom in red bio-hazard bags. Overall it was just a minor inconvenience in the delayed boarding times (both weeks) and in the dining areas because you could not serve yourself any food. We had rough seas the first week. We were eating in Sabatini's' (deck 16 aft) when the ship hit a major swell. Wine glasses and dishes went flying!! That was a first for me. Later that same night Captain Nash told us that we were going to experience even rougher seas and it was the first time he has seen a gale storm warning in the Caribbean in 20 years! Mother Nature was kind to us and luckily the seas never got worse. I was amazed at the number of people who complained about the Captains warning and felt he was deliberatly scaring people. Really?! Would it have been better to not tell people and potentially have objects flying around cabins and people getting hurt? We are on the ocean and the seas don't always cooperate. And that is not the fault of Princess. I think Princess and Captain Nash did a GREAT job of preparing us for what could have been a tough night. Disembarkation Disembarkation was painless (with the exception that we did not want to go home!!). We had breakfast in the dining room and went to the Platinum/Elite/Suite lounge. Since we were staying overnight in Fort Lauderdale we were one of the last groups to disembark. We spent the night at the Hilton Marina. Nice hotel but I prefer the Renaissance. The best part of the Hilton was that it was close to the water taxi which we took to Las Olas that night. The next day we had an 8:30am flight on American back to LAX. We were regretting that time since the previous night was New Year's Ever!! In the end it was so sad to leave the fabulous Crown Princess and I wish I was still onboard!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We flew into Fll on December 23rd and stayed at the Fairfield Inn. We knew that the Crown was suffering from the NORO Virus and would delay embarkation while they disinfected the ship. My husband, my daughter and my 15 year old grandson ... Read More
We flew into Fll on December 23rd and stayed at the Fairfield Inn. We knew that the Crown was suffering from the NORO Virus and would delay embarkation while they disinfected the ship. My husband, my daughter and my 15 year old grandson had a leisurely breakfast and sat out by the pool until about 12:15 when we took the shuttle to the port. We arrive around 1:15, went to the head of the line (we are Platinum) and walked right up to the check in counter. We waited about 5 minutes until they called our number and boarded quickly. We were slightly hungry by that time and since we were on a lower level went straight to the International Cafe where we partook of chicken salad and gelato - yummy. We took our time before checking out our balcony cabins. We had a beautiful sail away view right from our staterooms on the Lido Deck. Had never stayed on the Lido before but really enjoyed it. The weather in FLL was the best we have encountered. Christmas Eve we went to the Princess Theater and enjoyed a short program and met Lisa Ball, CD, again! Midnight services were held for those that wanted to attend I wanted to but unfortunately I was in bed asleep! We enjoyed the band elements and got to talk to Marlon Webster (Malo) on several nights - a friendly energetic guy! His music added a lot to the carribean atmosphere. We also got to know Laura of Chile who worked the International Cafe and Coffee Bar area. Nice and friendly. All the staff was working extra hours and disinfecting constantly. I liked the restroom doors (public) propped open so you didn't have to touch them going in and out. We only went to Horizon Court twice and though there wasn't a lot of food out, it was plenty. The food servers were in front of every station and were gloved. We never touched the silverware, plates, food, etc. Everything was handed to us. That was okay with me. We enjoyed dinner in Michangelo in the evening. Christmas Day was special for the children with Santa visiting and all the children receiving gifts. The only thing we didn't enjoy that we have in the past was the karaoke. In the past we heard good to great singers. This time Princess should have had a GONG to hit!! Our weather was wonderful everyday and the seas were calm. We ziplined in Honduras with Victor Bodden and had a great time. It took a little courage to make the first step off the platform but after a couple times we were okay. The monkeys and macaws are fun to see and play with. The beach at the port was small but nice and the restaurants (open air) had a lunch special of jerk chicken, rice and beans which was very tasty. In Grand Cayman we were the only ship in that day and it was quiet and uncrowded. Nice. We had lunch by the ocean in an open air restaurant called Breezes. We stayed aboard at Belize and Cozumel. Been to Cozumel before and don't care for the armed military everywhere. Anyway, it was great to relax by the uncrowded pool those days. We really have to commend Princess for all their hard work trying to keep the ship sterile and contend with sooo many passengers. The staff was all so friendly and nice even though they were overworked. It wasn't until Thursday that we went from Code Red to Code Yellow. On Saturday the ship was back to Code Green for the New Years Eve passengers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We arrived in FLL a day early to stay @ the Ramada a mile and a half from the pier. It's a good value, has a continental breakfast and free shuttle service. On Crown Princess we had a balcony on Baja (Deck 11) -â€" very ... Read More
We arrived in FLL a day early to stay @ the Ramada a mile and a half from the pier. It's a good value, has a continental breakfast and free shuttle service. On Crown Princess we had a balcony on Baja (Deck 11) -â€" very comfortable and a few steps from elevators and the Lido buffets. Shrimp: While some ships are skimping on shrimp, the Crown Princess had an abundance of shrimp or shrimp dishes. On the first evening, the buffet @ Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe had a mound at least 1 foot high and 2 foot in diameter of large shrimp that should have had a sign that read "We bet you can't eat all this..". WHEW! I gave up after about 15 shrimp. There were also meals with shrimp on skewers, shrimp salad and HUGE shrimp with the lobster dinner. Strawberries: I haven't seen strawberries like this on a cruise in quite a while. These HUGE beauties were available every morning on the buffet line. We never went to the MDR so I'm not sure what the availability there was. I have to admit to snapping up a bowl full after breakfast and taking them back to the cabin. Lobster: For some folks, the lobster dinner is the height of decadence. Once again, Princess delivered with a wonderful lobster dinner (lobster flanked by 2 king size prawns -â€" each was almost the size of the lobster tail) and to our delight our "anytime dining" experience was enhanced by a table for two. Classy for sure. Cabin service: Janice our steward was very, very good and took care of every request (although we're not that demanding). We gave her a $40 tip to reward the good service. Elite Lounge: This was the gathering place for Platinum, Elite and suite occupants and was held in the Skywalker Lounge between 5:00 and 7:00 PM. There is a different drink special every day ($3.99 + gratuity) and a table of snacks with something special every day. The final day contained shrimp cocktail (shrimp again?). Something different to do at a low cost. Other entertainment: Movies Under The Stars was enjoyable at night esp w/ the warm temperature. Aruba shore excursion: For newbies to Aruba, a good shore excursion might be the combo Catamaran and bus trip (Scenic cruise, Lighthouse & Rock Formations) The itinerary is catamaran and then bus or reversed depending on what else is going on. The bus visits the California lighthouse (called that b/c the SS California ran ashore there), the rock formations and Alto Vista chapel that was built by some religiously inclined person. Curacao shore excursion: For snorkelers (and would-be snorkelers), this might be a good choice (Sunken Tugboat). There is a bus ride thru Curacao to a snorkel site and a then a swim to the sunken tugboat that does require some swimming ability. The wreck is in about 15-20 feet of water with quite a few species of fish present as well as soft and hard coral. For the advanced snorkeler this might be ho-hum experience but for the novice, this is probably a good time. There are bathroom facilities (somewhat primitive but functional) at the site with lounge chairs and beverages available. Embarkation and debarkation: Orderly and relatively painless. Shuttle service: Shuttle service to the hotel from airport and from the hotel to the ship was free and provided by the Ramada Inn where we stayed. Shuttle from the pier to the airport at cruise end was supplied by KSA Tours for $10 per person and was set up at the Ramada when we checked in. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having sailed with P&O cruises for many years we chose Princess Crown Princess purely because of time constraints. If more time had been available to us we would have cruised with P&O , but as a transatlantic cruise from ... Read More
Having sailed with P&O cruises for many years we chose Princess Crown Princess purely because of time constraints. If more time had been available to us we would have cruised with P&O , but as a transatlantic cruise from Southampton to our chosen destinations would have incurred an additional 10 days we chose Princess . Initially we were very sceptical about our choice but overall I would say we were very pleased with Crown Princess and the overall operations of PRINCESS. The similarities are very evident on board so I will try and highlight what we saw as the main differences and perhaps expel some of my previous concerns between the two company's. Firstly, we travelled to Quebec as part of the brochure package which was originally shown as flying to Quebec and boarding there. Six weeks after booking, our confirmation showed that we were in fact booked to fly to Montreal and then be transferred by coach to Quebec. When querying this both with our Travel Agent and directly with Princess's neither seemed to know why this had changed or how long the coach journey would take. On privately investigating this, I discovered it to be a 3hr coach trip. I also requested that we needed to pay for an upgrade on our return flight from New York as we were purchasing Princess "extended "stay option. Unfortunately I did not feel that the Princess staff handling the request were as efficient as those at P&O When arriving in Quebec after a long flight and long coach journey in the dark , the welcome was not exactly overwhelming. The staff not sure if they were Princess's or the Port Authority were very abrupt and obviously wanted to go home. There was no P&O courtesy of "we hope you have a lovely cruise and if there is anything you need on board just ask" . We were just told to follow the directions onto the ship after going through endless paperwork at the embarkation desk despite completing and confirming everything on line before hand. Our cases took over 3 hrs to get to our cabin 2:00 am next morning) which bearing in mind we were the last passengers to arrive was a little disappointing. Once under way the next day things got a lot better. We found the ship to be very friendly and a very similar layout to the VENTURA and AZURA. The function rooms are a little dark but do create a very relaxing atmosphere. Probably because of the time of the year there was a lack of children on board which does have an impact good or bad. We had requested a table for 2 and unlike sometimes on P&O we had no trouble with our request. In fact for some reason the 2nd sitting for dinner was always half empty and so there were always tables for two and 6 always available and this was on traditional dining option. The waiters were extremely courteous and attentive and the Maitre De in our restaurant an Italian gentlemen was a delight. In respect of the restaurants and the food on board, I would say, surprisingly the portions were smaller than P&O but more than adequate. There was definitely a smaller selection of food in the buffet area than P&O and bearing in mind unlike P&O where each day you have the choice of formal lunch in the restaurant or buffet lunch, apart from the one sea day no formal lunch restaurants opened. Also a surprise was the fact that the formal dining room only has the minimal table settings laid out - soup spoons , desert spoons etc are only laid in between each course if needed. Maybe setting a table for dinner with all the condiments is a British thing but none the less it does make a nicer appearance at the table when entering the restaurants. One advantage of Princess over P&O is that they have retained the additional plain options on the evening menu , something that we missed last year on P&O. In respect of drinks these are certainly more expensive on Princess. The basic cost of drinks start of higher, and then when the 15% service charge is also added ( This is in addition to your end of cruise tips) drinks are very expensive (Bacardi and coke, whisky and coke Total $12.The entertainment was probably the same standard as P&O, the normal theatre shows , comedian, singer etc. The Atrium had various musicians playing which was very pleasant and the trio's were excellent in the bars - better than recently experienced with P&O. We thought on tender days the disembarkation for non tours passengers seemed to be very slick, previous experiences on ships with 3,000 passengers has been very slow but Princess have this sorted, hardly any time was lost - despite weather conditions causing early delays all went well and we did not feel that because we had not purchased a trip we weren't left on board for ages. We did purchase two tours which included a lunch on each occasion.- $140 each person each trip) Whilst the tours were good we were a little disappointed with the lunches. In the past we have experienced select restaurants with waiter service (just like being aboard) but on these two occasions the food was buffet and were accommodated in large conference rooms so that a far greater number could attend. Not sure this was value for money , however the tours were well organised and well curated. The port lecturers were televised but appeared to be a curator just reading directly from notes. This was not as professional or as well organised as P&O and the tours desks lines with queries was horrendous. Cabins are of similar standard to P&O very well maintained and cabin stewards very attentive. On P&O you can expect room service and kettles in cabins, however due to safety issues kettles are not provided so we just ordered tea each morning from room service as we had already paid for on board gratuities. Not quiet sure why kettles are seen as a risk as electric hairdryers are fitted on the walls (which could be left on - dangling in cabins) and there are irons in the launderettes. Laundrettes on Princess are not free . You will need to pay $2 for a washing machine and $2 for a tumble dryer again this is free on P&O. My husband however was very pleased that Ice creams are available all day on the deck for free. Something that P&O had as one of its traditions but has sadly relinquished on. Overall I found that Princess were more accommodating to customer needs than P&O have become over recent years, staff are exceedingly friendly and everything is very well organised. I would certainly have no reservations on travelling with Princess again but if travelling from Southampton on our next cruise and we had to choose between Princess or P&O, I would have to say we would go with P&O , only because of the extra charges and cost of things on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We had a 39 day cruise around the British Isle, across the Atlantic by way of Iceland, Greenland, New York and up into Quebec City during August and September 2011. There were many good things I liked and equaly as many things I ... Read More
We had a 39 day cruise around the British Isle, across the Atlantic by way of Iceland, Greenland, New York and up into Quebec City during August and September 2011. There were many good things I liked and equaly as many things I didn't like. We had our grand daughter with us and she was enrolled in the kids program and it was fantastic. The crew that worked in it were excellent.!! The crew in general were exceptional, very polite,helpful and went out of their way to help the passengers and make the excursion more enjoyable. The Captain was a real person person, a very nice pleasent man who worked hard to make the passengers as comfortable as was possible under all conditions. The negative things were mostly with food selection and preparation and the entertainment. As for the food, the fish was always overcooked and rather blah. The selection of vegetables did not vary much and the red meats were really quite tastless. To get a real meal we enjoyed the Steak House a few times.There always seemed to me to have a way to many pasta dishes. To me pasta is pasta no matter what you call it or how you dress it up. As for the entertainment, it was not high class. If you've seen the Princess singers and dancers once , thats enough. The bands in the different bars were great but their repertoire was limited. The one thing that made swimming rather uncomfortable was that both pools were exposed to the weather- no cover in cold weather. The washers and dryers are JUNK and are not at all efficient and should be replaced. The above opinions are only mine and are based on about 8 other Princess ships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Grand Cayman, Cozumel and their own beach resort - Honduras was missed as weather too rough to dock. All three ports just a tourist nightmare...we felt we were in an Airport Duty Free Mall. No charm and all geared for tourists. Had ... Read More
Grand Cayman, Cozumel and their own beach resort - Honduras was missed as weather too rough to dock. All three ports just a tourist nightmare...we felt we were in an Airport Duty Free Mall. No charm and all geared for tourists. Had we known we would never have gone. Had Pricness been more forthright in their decriptions we would have realised it did not suit us! Yes the water was reasonably nice albeit extremely crowded everywhere, but one does not need to travel 7 days to get a nice 2 hour swim. The onboard pricess shopping guru leacturing in the princess must have been on commission as she was selling the duty free shops as if there was nothing better in the world...and trust me there is! We walked out pretty disgusted at the high activity sales pitch. The ship OK but getting old. Service oh-hum with staff not as good as other princess cruises we went on other than the Maitre D and the Head Chef who were stand-outs. In other deparpments like the sommelier - they were selling the heck out of their wine tastings and then giving pretty ordinary and cheap wines, with the sommelier actually getting quite a bit of his lecture wrong. Dissapointing and waste of time...why do things at all if badly? This was really the story of all the ship other vthan the Dining and kitchen area...the staff were harried, not overly knowleadgeable and missing depth of service. Ie the Spa had dirty glasses all over, was not overly clean and had more showers not working than actually working! The room (in our case the best level of mini-suite) was basically dirty and needing repair accross a lot of areas. Also the steward albeit polite was not attentive at all. Story of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Made it out of JFK smoothly, despite NY's snow. Princess transfers at airport were fast and easy, and embarkation was just about effortless. We stopped by the cabin to drop off hand luggage, then had lunch at the Lido level ... Read More
Made it out of JFK smoothly, despite NY's snow. Princess transfers at airport were fast and easy, and embarkation was just about effortless. We stopped by the cabin to drop off hand luggage, then had lunch at the Lido level buffet that first day, one of the few times we ate there. Luggage arrived in afternoon and meanwhile we explored the ship. As an ice-breaker, the crew had handed out cards for a raffle to be held at sailaway. To enter, you needed to visit and get check-offs from different venues on board. It seemed like a good way to familiarize passengers with the ship. Ship seemed very large at first, but eventually became almost homey as we figured out the layout. The public venues were mainly on levels 5 through 7 and above level 15. Our cabin was on level 5 (Plaza) aft which was very convenient, and we were never disturbed by noise from either the theater (on 6 and 7) or any of the music in the public or gathering areas on 5, 6, and 7. (On the other hand, we were at the very front of the ship and did at times hear what sounded like navigational noises from ship machinery, but not enough to make me regret the cabin choice.) Cabin had twin beds with a table between, a desk/dressing table area, and then a separate closet area by the bathroom. The cabin -- and the ship in general -- seemed faultlessly clean. Our porter serviced our room at least twice a day, and gave us fresh towels every day (or maybe even more often), even though we didn't ask for them. In the public areas, the moment one put down a dirty plate or finished a drink, the table was cleared. Passing through the Plaza late one night, we saw that some cushion covers had been removed for cleaning, and there were frequently people vacuuming the carpeted areas. Bathrooms through the ship seemed spotless. We mainly breakfasted and often lunched at the International Cafe at the Plaza level, just down the hall from our room. Breakfast generally consisted of croissants, muffins, pastries, muesli, or an egg/cheese/ham breakfast sandwich. Starting at lunchtime, there was quiche there each day, as well as vegetable and other salads, shrimp, and basic sandwiches, as well as really delicious ice cream/gelato and fresh-baked cookies. Food there was free except for the ice cream, for which there was a nominal charge. We picked anytime dining, and ate most of our dinners in one of the main sit-down dining rooms. Dining room food was very good, and it was often hard to decide what to get. The dining room staff was very accommodating and friendly. Everyone seemed intent on pleasing. One night we ate at the Crown Grill, which had a $25 up charge. I enjoyed the food and atmosphere there a lot, but we ate there only for variety rather than because of any lack in the other food operations. Occasionally, we had pizza or ice cream from the pool side area on 15. Never made it to the burger grill on that same level. A nice afternoon tea was served every day, though we only went once. One of the highlights of our cruise was participation in the Chef's Table dinner, which we had read about here. We called to put in our names for that as soon as we boarded, and two mornings later found a letter under our door inviting us to meet with the Maitre D' to discuss our interest in participating. That meeting essentially addressed whether we had any food allergies that would affect the menu. A day later, we were thrilled to learn that we were invited to the Chef's Table, which turned out to be an 11 course extravaganza, starting with a galley tour, champagne and appetizers in the kitchen, and a multi-course meal at an extravagantly appointed table. The meal featured a beef carpaccio napolean, lobster risotto, a three-meat course featuring beef, pork and veal flamed at table-side, a pallette clearing bloody-mary sorbet, and then a really delicious stilton mousse with port wine reduction, followed by cointreau mousse on a blown sugar plate with three dimensional cookie adornment -- as well as a plate of handmade chocolates that was decorated with a gorgeous blown sugar dolphin. The women at the table received roses and a copy of the Princess cookbook too. We started with white wine (wasn't paying attention to what), then red, then homemade limoncello, and finally a sweet dessert white. Every penny of the $75/person up charge was worth it. We only hit four of our five port destinations, missing Princess Cay because the waters were too choppy for tender on January 6 when we were due to stop there. Because that wasn't a port that I had been intent on visiting, I didn't miss the stop, and enjoyed the extra sea day instead. We did stop at Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Thomas, and I enjoyed them all. Rain forest aerial tram on Dominica was enjoyable, but not remotely worth the $99 excursion cost. The rain forest may be home to 170 types of birds, but I don't think we saw more than 5 birds total, if that. Driving on Dominica roads is almost a thrill-seeking activity itself. Hairpin turns, steep drop offs and few guard rails. On Barbados, the Taste of Barbados and Scenic Drive was also fine, but not worth its $79 price-tag. Didn't see that many of the picturesque sites, and lunch at the Sunbury Plantation was tasty but not luxurious. There was a fair amount of waiting around -- including when the bus broke down afterwards and a replacement had to be sent. On Antigua, we did the Antiguan Island Highlights tour ($59) but probably should have done the Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Heights tour ($49) instead. The difference was that the former also had a stop at a site to watch a not-particularly-gripping multi-media presentation about the island's history. The tour of Nelson's Dockyard -- given by a Park Service docent, not by the excursion company -- was disappointingly short and general. One of the highlights of the museum there is that it has Admiral Horatio Nelson's own telescope as well as wood from the HMS Victory. In response to a direct question, the guide said that she didn't think the telescope was at the museum -- wrong. The Views of St. Thomas excursion ($39) was the most cost-effective of our excursions, even though our particular guide told us very little, explaining that he was a last minute sub for the regular guide who had to babysit that morning. But the sights were lovely, and we enjoyed the ride up the gondola to Paradise Point with its vantage over the city and port. The tour also stopped at the Botanical Gardens. The driver offered to drop us off downtown by the shopping area, and we took him up on that invitation. If you want to shop for jewelry in particular, this is the port to do it. I lost count of how many jewelry stores there were. We went to the shows almost every night and enjoyed them all. It seems that experienced cruisers may be irked by reappearances of shows they had seen before, but everything was new to us and we were impressed by the singing, dancing and staging/sets of the production shows (Motor City, Destination Anywhere and a couple of others). The magician did a great show at the Explorer's lounge and we are still puzzling over how he did some of the tricks. It's helpful to get to the Explorer's venue at least 15 minutes before show-time, because there are limited seats and they fill up early. We also enjoyed the piano music at one of the bars in the evening. Movies Under the Stars was a bit less successful because seats were often at a premium and the screen was hard to see from some angles and the soundtrack often hard to hear. And of course, if it was cold or windy or too sunny, that made it less pleasant to stay put for the duration of the movie. Saw a couple of movies in the theater too. Enjoyed the various trivia contests and other game-type activities, especially the Newlywed and Not-So-Newlywed game. Daily puzzlers at the library were also fun. Also a lot of fun was a "cook-off" between the Executive Chef and the Maitre D'. The former demonstrated some really delicious looking dishes and the latter was over-the-top goofy. New Year's was fun out by the pool on the Lido deck. Lively music, a nice vibe, confetti, and champagne (although you had to buy your own). There was a balloon drop inside for those who didn't want to brave the elements. Most of the shows and many of the activities were introduced by the Cruise Director Ron Goodman and the Deputy Cruise Director Stuart Mac. They were warm, and funny and had a great rapport with each other. They genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs and the passengers and added a lot to the cruise. Disembarkation was easy. Labels were distributed to cabins identifying which disembarkation group each person was in (which seemed to depend on flight time, and other factors. We were asked to put our main bags in the hallway outside our cabin around dinner time the night before disembarkation with our group's labels, and we reclaimed them the following morning at the ship terminal. Overall, we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I had always heard that Princess was a premier cruise line, but what we experienced on our Christmas cruise was nothing short of bottom of the line. We were one of the 113 cabins that had their LUGGAGE DELIVERED TO THE CABIN SOAKING WET! ... Read More
I had always heard that Princess was a premier cruise line, but what we experienced on our Christmas cruise was nothing short of bottom of the line. We were one of the 113 cabins that had their LUGGAGE DELIVERED TO THE CABIN SOAKING WET! Everything in our luggage was wet or damp and my formal silk dress was ruined! The cabin steward was slow to respond to our calls about the situation and after 3 calls to Passenger Services, he arrived to stand with his mouth open offering no advice or help. No one from passenger service or corporate ever contacted us about making amends! During the trip every call to Passenger Services took at least 6 rings before someone answered if anyone answered at all! Two of the 5 nights we ate in the dining room we had to get up from our table and hunt down our waitstaff as they would disappear during the meal. In addition to these huge problems, there were other small things that made their lack of customer service glaringly obvious: from the port security check to get on the ship took over an hour. The Princess employee checking in passengers was extremely slow and they held everyone up for id photos before boarding, but they only had 2 cameras for over 3000 passengers! The staff at the counter service areas, like the coffee bar, were rude and often would not say one word during serving us. Maybe a "Can I help you?" or a "Thank you"? Nope, just frowning. The food was average, the kids programs were nothing special, the elevators were slow and the pools were small, but I wouldn't have thought twice about things like this if only the customer service was there. It's the main feature I look for in any vacation. Next time I will use my money on a disney cruise where I have always found the employee to be stellar and the service to be top notch. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Our family of four decided to take a Christmas cruise. We went a down a day ahead of time and spent the night at the Embassy Suites. Transportation was available from there for seven dollars a person. Check out time was noon, and by the ... Read More
Our family of four decided to take a Christmas cruise. We went a down a day ahead of time and spent the night at the Embassy Suites. Transportation was available from there for seven dollars a person. Check out time was noon, and by the time we left and arrived at the ship, they were already allowing embarkations. I was last on the Crown in March 2007 and I was pleasantly surprised that the ship was looking as good as new. Despite being one of the first ones on board, our bags were ones of the last ones delivered. If I had not seen them personally put on board I would have gotten a little worried. Our room steward, Ryan, was excellent. He went over the Muster drill information, then directed us to the luncheon buffet. There was time after lunch to reacquaint ourselves to the ship, then the mandatory Muster drill, and then we set sail. Our week had to be rearranged a bit as I think they realized that most stores would be closed if we were in port on Christmas. So the first place we went to was Princess Cays. I actually like it better than I thought I would. We rented a couple of clam shells and they were located to the right of the tender dock. It was a nice sandy beach. They had a lunch serving line and a bathroom located right there and we were spoiled as the lunch lines were quite short. The sandy beach extended quite a ways and was not crowded. If you walked around the bend, you could not be seen by any of the other beach goers. As I found out as I rounded that corner, there were a few couples who were taking advantage of that seclusion. I figured it was time to turn around and check out the other end of the beach. As we walked north and crossed the pier area, the beach became much more crowded. I was amazed at how long the lunch lines were. Nothing was stopping these people from coming to the south lunch area. There were shops on this side, and you could walk off of Princess property and check out the shopping booths there too. As you walked down past the bungalows, the beach became less sandy and more rocky. By the time you got to the Sanctuary bungalows, the beach was all rocky. They said the last tender would be leaving the island at 4 pm. I saw them still bringing people over at 4:50 pm. The second day was spent at sea, steaming towards Cayman Islands. The ship was all decked out in Christmas decorations. There were crew carolers in the Piazza. Even Captain Proctor participated. Christmas Day, Santa arrived and set up court in the Piazza. There were presents for everyone 17 years and younger. Santa had two female elves helping him. More than one father was wishing they could sit on the elves lap. Christmas evening was the first formal night. There were picture taking opportunities galore. Ten 8X10 with one 16X24 and the digital disk package price was $289. Cayman Islands still do not have a deep water port which requires you to be tendered in. the ship uses its tenders, and they send some larger ones from shore, so the process goes faster. The dock area has changed from 20 years ago. Many hotels have different names now. We took the Turtle Farm/Hell/Sting Ray City trip. It was fine. Many stores were not open since it was Sunday and the day after Christmas. The next day, we arrived at Mahogany Bay, Roatan Island, Honduras. Everything there is relatively new. Quite fresh and clean. Do not use the telephones there though. I did and found out the call would have cost less if I had stayed on ship. My wife and younger son went to swim with the dolphins and I and my older son decided to go out and negotiate a tour around the island with one of the taxi drivers. We did and the charges for both of us was 20 dollars a piece for about a 4 hour tour.. Our final port day was in Cozumel. We did the Mayan/East Beaches tour. Our tour guide was Mike. The tour was long and he was full of information. Definitely worth the price. Dining. We were assigned the late seating in the Botticelli dining room at the rear of the ship. They do not open the doors until after 8:15 pm and there is no place to wait for all the people unless you enjoy standing on stairs in rough seas. I only saw the actual Maitre d'Hotel once in the rear dining room the entire week. We had roast turkey on the menu twice for dinner. I was kind of surprised by that. Having that much turkey on board meant that the Horizon Court was serving turkey coquettes, turkey Manhattan's, turkey soup, and turkey sandwiches for the entire week. Our waiter and assistant waiter did not get along well and one night got into an actual argument with each other. I think our service suffered due to the lack of teamwork. If you like lobster, do not miss the sail away buffet on the first day. The lobster claws were superb. The shells were so thin, you did not need crackers. you just ripped them open and got to the meat. I don't even particularly like lobster as I figure any food I have to work at to eat probably isn't worth my time. If all lobster was like this though, I could learn to like it real quick like. We did the Chef's Table thing. It was kind of interesting in that they have to meet with you and decide, I guess, if you are worthy of the experience. My wife must have impressed them, as they let us do it. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was the best meal I have ever had and probably always will be. A lot of flaming stuff, the waiters and waitresses were superb and must have been especially picked. Even the next day, other waiters were asking how we enjoyed the experience. It was expensive, but I would do it again given the chance. Debarkation: We did the EZ Check thing. For 20 dollars a person, they would check your bags through to your home destination. You left them outside your door and never saw them again until you got to your home airport baggage claim. It worked exactly like they said it would. The only strange thing was is that they gave you your first boarding pass, but if you had any connecting flights you still had to go to the a counter or kiosk and get the rest of your boarding passes. Still it worked amazingly well and I would definitely use that service again! We flew Southwest, so we did not have to pay any baggage charges. I don't know how it would work for the airlines that charge a bag fee. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
New Year Celebration was fun, but other than that.......so so on this ship. The rooms were kept clean and comfortable and the staff were courteous. The food was very salty and undercooked on more than one occasion. We had to ... Read More
New Year Celebration was fun, but other than that.......so so on this ship. The rooms were kept clean and comfortable and the staff were courteous. The food was very salty and undercooked on more than one occasion. We had to return ours (which they were fine with) but what a waste of time, not to mention not getting what we now had our palate set on. THE ENTERTAINMENT SIMPLY PUT...TANKED! They had a great comedian (Carl) and another one, however they did the exact same show for a few nights so that was disappointing. Not to mention that you don't know it will be the same show, so you go early to get a seat --YES, there is not enough room for everybody who wants to see the show in the small lounge they use--and then after waiting for 40 minutes you hear the exact show you heard a night previous. Lucky Carl improvised much of his show- so that was good for us. The comedy shows are PG13 in the guide, however children as young as 7, 8, 9 etc.years old are permitted to attend and even in the very front row! The cruise director and his assistant see the children there, but use a blind eye. The comedian brings the kids up on stage to basically tell the audience there are kids present and therefore his show will be adjusted! Just not fare. Most cruises have a late "R" rated comedy show but not this ship. In fact, at midnight the entire ship seems to go to bed! We were in one of the bars listening and dancing to a great live band called Rhapsody. At midnight with a full house and people having a great time, the band must leave the stage! Just wrong! Many chanted for an encore and we did get one song! The lounge that does go past midnight is a DJ with many of the younger crowd who all seem to be smokers.....so not quite an enjoyable place to be. For us in our 50's the entertainment was just not there! The shows catered to the people in their 70's- which I must say was a large part of the passenger load. So when they went to bed at 11 pm, so it seemed did the live bands etc. The casino is a smoking environment (except one night) so that too is a stinky -pardon the pun- place to be as well. If you want to lay out on the deck, you will need to get there by 9:30am or you will not get a lounge chair...there are simply not enough to go around. Plus they are not monitored in any way....so they may have a towel on them for the entire day but never used, as clearly those people found a "better" place and did not return to remove their towels placed to save the spot. All in all for a cheap get a way with no expectations this would be ok. But if you are looking for a fun time with a night life.....not on this ship! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This is our third Princess Cruise and we noticed considerably, how the attitude of the staff and service has dramatically dropped. We read reviews before booking our Christmas Cruise and dismissed critics that noted poor food as we had not ... Read More
This is our third Princess Cruise and we noticed considerably, how the attitude of the staff and service has dramatically dropped. We read reviews before booking our Christmas Cruise and dismissed critics that noted poor food as we had not experienced this previously. The level of service and quality of food is a corner that Princess seems to be cutting. Fish on the menu was very poor, over cooked, dry. Nothing was said when we were leaving plates of food uneaten. This has not been the case on Princess in the past, if something was not eaten on other trips, some concern was shown and other choices offered. Our plates were whisked away with no questions asked. The Maitre'd overseeing the dining room had an arrogant attitude and was very condescending when we asked him to change our table to one that was clearly not being used. Our waiter had given us the table number to request, we were told that he shouldn't have given us that information and that he would be in trouble for that!.... What!!! Great Service!!! We also heard him arguing with another passenger regarding her table selection. We chose to book a table at the Crown Room for a better meal, we were messed around by the reservation people at the restaurant and told we could only get a table at 9:30PM. On reflection of the late time, we decided to cancel and called from our room to reschedule for another day. We were told that they were booked, the reservationist was quite rude. Every time we walked by the restaurant there were many table empty of guests. We decided to pop in at 7:30 on a day that was supposedly booked and were seated immediately. The meal and service was fantastic, please note the restaurant was only a third full and subsequent nights not more than half full. Our room was serviced twice daily and our steward was working hard, although, he seemed very tired and burned out. We did use the spa and gym. The spa was over the top expensive for the experience and somewhat dirty in the common areas. The ship as a whole seems to be getting tired. To sum it up. We feel the $4,000 that we spent on this trip would be better spent on another liner. Our next vacation will be a Resort or back to Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Just returned from a New Year's Eve cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Crown Princess. I traveled with my fiancee and her 13-year-old daughter. We had a mini suite on the Dolphin Deck. It was my second cruise and the first for the ... Read More
Just returned from a New Year's Eve cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Crown Princess. I traveled with my fiancee and her 13-year-old daughter. We had a mini suite on the Dolphin Deck. It was my second cruise and the first for the girls. I don't have the experience of many reviewers on CC with multiple cruises but I have stayed at many resorts and nice hotels over the years so I have some concept of what to expect for my vacation dollar. I can report that my two first time cruisers loved their vacation and a finicky 13 year old was ready to sign up for another cruise vacation onboard. The cabin was fine. Anyone who's ever stayed at a nice resort knows the room is usually not the draw to any particular property. It's the public areas, the general ambiance and the scenery. That is certainly true with the cabin we had. It was perfectly comfortable for three but nothing special. While I appreciated the extra space in the mini-suite, I didn't care for the totally exposed balcony. The bathroom was smallish but manageable. The ceiling in the tub/shower was very low (I'm about 5'10"). I recommend bringing a power strip if you have electronics that will require recharging. Our cabin steward, Albert, was excellent and very responsive to our requests. He always had a smile on his face and was eager to serve us in any way he could. Overall, the food was good. There were some things that were excellent and others that weren't so good. I found the food in the dining rooms better that the food in the buffets. We chose anytime dining and ate most of our dinners in one of the main dining rooms. We felt there was plenty of variety and the quality was good. One night my fiancee didn't feel well (gale force winds buffeting the ship) so her daughter and I ate in the buffet. It was pretty good. The food in the Crown Grill was excellent. We felt it was worth the up-charge. In our opinion, the service was best in the MDRs. Breakfasts in the buffet or MDR were just average. I was hoping for a better selection of fresh fruit. The coffee in the buffet was awful (if you can even call it that). My fiancee felt the bread and rolls in the buffet were not as good as they should have been (not fresh). In my opinion, the prepared to order omelets/eggs were about the only good thing to eat in the buffet. We purchased the coffee card and used it daily for fresh brewed coffee and coffee drinks on Deck 5. For us it was well worth the money. We particularly liked the International Cafe (coffee drinks/nibbles/good salads) and Vines (wine bar with sushi/tapas) on Deck 5. We also enjoyed the afternoon tea (the tea and scones were delicious). The pizza and burger grill on Deck 15 were both good (excellent fries). The ice cream and gelato got the teenager stamp of approval. The entertainment was good (not great). We saw a comedian who was pretty funny. You could tell he was struggling to keep his show PG-13. We enjoyed the Motown revue. The house band (Phoenix Rising) was pretty good. We liked the band Temperature a lot (outstanding range...Reggae/Calypso to country). There was a comedian/magician that the 13 year old liked but her mom and I were not impressed. I got to watch some football games under the stars which was enjoyable. The movie selections on board were basically fairly recent DVD releases (Julie & Julia, The Hangover, Star Trek). Grand Cayman and Cozumel are established cruise destinations. They are capable of handling the influx of multiple cruise ships smoothly. They were both enjoyable ports of call. Roatan is a relatively new stop on cruise itineraries. The island is very depressed with poor infrastructure (i.e.- roads). The poverty is out there for anyone to see who leaves the comfort of Carnival's new pier compound (Mahogany Bay). We did venture out on a private tour with Victor Bodden that was basically a glorified taxi ride. We did the extreme zip line that was very fun. Seeing how less fortunate people exist was a good lesson for a 13 year old who sometimes loses sight of how good we have it in the US. We were unable to visit Princess Cays as the seas were too rough for tendering. Our overall impressions of the Crown Princess were positive. We enjoyed the shipboard experience. The crew was extremely friendly and eager to please. We had a happy and occupied 13 year old that made for two relaxed and happy adults. As our cruise took place over Christmas break, the boat was sold out with over 500 kids on board. All things considered, Princess did an admirable job dealing with the throngs during the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was our 3rd Princess cruise and our first Christmas Cruise. Our family are "seasoned" cruisers and believers that the best vacation is a CRUISE. This was our 9th cruise others on NCL, RCL, Celebrity and Premier. We flew into ... Read More
This was our 3rd Princess cruise and our first Christmas Cruise. Our family are "seasoned" cruisers and believers that the best vacation is a CRUISE. This was our 9th cruise others on NCL, RCL, Celebrity and Premier. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale just missing the snow that hit the northeast. We were very greatful to have made it on schedule especially after finding out about the 5 passengers that had to fly to Grand Cayman because they missed the boat! Embarking was simple, probably the easiest ever. Passing the annoying photo people we entered the atrium and saw Santa, who was a really "nice one" and the decorations. We so looked forward to Christmas on a cruise. we expected lots of decorations. We were a bit dissapointed. Most of the decor was centered in this area. A tree here and there and some nice garland on the banister. There was a Christmas pick on our cabin door but that was quickly stolen by someone the first night. Our cabin, a balcony room was just as we had expected. In fact, everything about the ship was as if you were on another Princess. They all look relatively the same. But that's OK. Our cabin steward was nice but we didn't see much of hime. In the past I remember seeing them more. They were stranging not around...alot. Especially on the last day. We couldn't find him. Our daughter, 16, joined the teen club and had a ball. She met some really nice families and is keeping in touch with them. Thanks to all the Canadians! We had so many on our cruise! The Food- Well it's the same cruise food. I think it's getting worst. The ethnic food is really strange. There seemed to be lots of ethnic food and they mixed everything up at the buffets. You had to circle the buffet to get an idea of what meal you were going to put together. I think the quality of the food on the buffet is not as good as the restaurants, especially the premium restaurants. I don't think that you should HAVE to go to the premium restaurants for better food and service. The two dining room (we ate there twice) were OK. Not as good as in the past. Mostly a service issue. Most of the staff didn't seem happy. Maybe they were homesick...but I really don't want to see that. I think the breakfast buffet is the best. Pizza always seemed available but it will never compare to NY/NJ pizza. The grill was especially busy, guess everyone was freaked by the strange food at the buffets. The Entertainment was OK. We enjoyed the comics the best. Carlos Oscar(we saw two different shows) and James Michael. We played trivia and watched Princess Pop Star, lined danced and Kareoke. All were what we expected and fun. The shows were a bit disappointing since we had seen two of them on out last cruise almost three yeasr ago! Princess should would on that. We still enjoyed them. Days at sea seemed long since all the outdoor games and event were either canceled or it was not nice enoght to be out to watch them. Princess should have more plans in place when you are cooped up at sea. We found ourselves a bit bored this time around but with all the rain and clouds I guess this will happen. Wish there was more shopping! Our last port on Christmas day was Princess Cays. We have been here before and wanted to do the Eleuthera tour. Princess Cays is just about sun and water and if the weather does not cooperate don't bother getting off the ship. We opted to bail on our excursion since the waters seemed more rough than Grand Cayman and we would have to be tossled around in the tender. It was a beautiful, sunny day until about noon when the clouds rolled in and the rain started. so glad we did not have to get on the tender in that. We watched the tenders come back with soaked passengers while we made gingerbread houses in the Atrium. Lost three hundred dollars from our excursion but we were dry and not seasick and it was Christmas! So this cruise was a bit disappointing for a few reasons. We will not travel away from home on Christmas again. As bad as it is at home with family it just didn't feel like Christmas on The Crown. We will still cruise again even with the weather problems. You will never get the perfect vacation weather wise. We will look at other lines. Sorry Princess, we really didn't feel that special this time around. Next time we'll have to check out NCL or maybe even Carnival! Oh, by the way, RCL went to the eastern Carb the same week and they had sun and hot weather all week! Go figure! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We arrived in Ft. Launderdale on Christmas Afternoon and took a cab ($14) to our hotel (Embassy Suites)near Pt. Everglades. It was a nice hotel, albeit a bit run down, but clean and the staff was polite. They had a buffet for Christmas, ... Read More
We arrived in Ft. Launderdale on Christmas Afternoon and took a cab ($14) to our hotel (Embassy Suites)near Pt. Everglades. It was a nice hotel, albeit a bit run down, but clean and the staff was polite. They had a buffet for Christmas, but there were several places open withing walking distance, so we did take a walk for lunch and dinner and enjoyed the sunny warm day! The next day, we took the hotel shuttle to port, it was already to go so we just hopped on and left. We got to the port at 11 am and there was what seemed a long line, but it disapated quickly and soon we were inside and sitting down. We had a small wait maybe 20 min,but checked in and went right inside the ship. We were able to drop our luggage in our cabin right away and then went to lunch in the Windjammer. Lunch was very good, it fact that first day, was the best food we saw all during the cruise in the windjammer except for the midnight buffet on New Year's Eve. Our cabin was nice, a bit worn, but had a large balcony, we were mid ship forward right by the forward elevators, it was very convenient for us. We did My Time Dining for the very first time and loved it! It was very convenient, we were able to eat and leave and not wait while other tables were served, that was very pleasant. The shows that we saw were good in the evening. We enjoyed the cooking show one morning in the theater, it was informative and funny! The comendian Marino was great we saw him in the Explorer's Lounge on New Year's Eve. We're waiting to see his new TV show this spring. Disembarktion went without a hitch, we missed deadline for the valet luggage service, and were worried, but we had no problems and sailed right through the lines and off the ship. We took the Everglades Airboat Excursion due to a mid afternoon flight. It would have really been fun, if it hadn't been so cold (a record 35) and in summer clothes!!!! It was the longest and coldest 30 minute boat ride we ever had! One afternoon, hubby was tired and just wanted to chill in the cabin. So I left and went to the Gem Show/Talk in the WheelHouse Lounge. I stayed for the drawing afterwards, and luckily they drew my ticket number. I won the Mexican Fire Opal! I was really surprised, that was first time I had ever won anything!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was our 5th cruise on Princess, first on the Crown, and out first over Christmas cruise. We had sailed over Thanksgiving before so felt we knew a little bit of what to expect. We live in Florida so embarkation was just 3 hours down ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on Princess, first on the Crown, and out first over Christmas cruise. We had sailed over Thanksgiving before so felt we knew a little bit of what to expect. We live in Florida so embarkation was just 3 hours down the turnpike and parking the car at Port Everglades. FYI parking is up to $15 per day now. No big deal, we were through the terminal in no time. Very efficient. If you haven't parked there before drive through the drop off area first and leave your luggage then go park. Makes things much easier. The ship was totally decked out for Christmas. Extensively and tastefully done. We were concerned about the trip not being "Christmasy" enough...but that was not an issue. Santa was there for pictures and Carolers sang as we came on board. Very Nice. I figure that many reading this have done Princess before so I thought I would focus on holiday things that might be different or stuff we saw or experienced or learned for the first time. The Holiday: First there were a ton of families on board and I heard there were over 500 kids. Christmas was well represented. The had Carolers, and Christmas cookies at the international cafe. The had Christmas trivia (I won) :), holiday religious services, and a special production show(featuring the singers and dancers doing Christmas songs). They had holiday themed backdrops for formal pictures. They played Christmas movies on the in cabin channel and Movies under the stars. They even had a channel in the cabin with the "Yule Log" so you could have Christmas music playing in your room. The Gingerbread house building contest was a blast to watch and those who participated seemed to have a great time. The even read the "Night before Christmas" in the atrium and made it "snow"! Our concerns about it not being "Christmasy" enough were definitely put to rest. Other stuff: The rest of the cruise was what we always experience on Princess. Good food. Good Service, and a well maintained and clean ship. We did have dinner at the Crown Grill and it was fantastic. Quick tip...ask for the fillet encrusted with blue cheese...its not on the menu but they will do it, and it was awesome. Also you can order anything on the menu that you want in any combination. I got the fillet AND the lobster tail. Also don't miss the Smore dessert thing, I forgot the actual name but I loved it. We chose anytime dining which we like but had the longest wait times for a table for 2 that we ever had. About 20 minutes each night...No worries, lots of big families on board. But I do think this system of allowing for reservations in the anytime dining room is weird. As soon as people make reservations its no longer "anytime". Id like to see them use one dining room for reservations and keep one truly "anytime" The food in the dining room was very good. Up to par with what we have come to expect. Strangely, they did not have the crab legs any night, but did have lobster/beef wellington night on Christmas eve. (I got both :)) The horizon court and Cafe Caribe were both very good. We liked the Seafood buffet on the very first night...the cold crab claws were very good. On Christmas day we chose to eat in Cafe Caribe and it was very good. Although this was the last night of the cruise and we growing tired of stuffing ourselves I had one more round in me and the carved turkey and trimmings were awesome. (although they didn't have stuffing which I thought was odd.) We were also surprised as friends of ours sent us the Champagne balcony breakfast...it was very nice. It would be nicer if they let you select some of the items. For instance my wife wont eat the smoked salmon so it was kind of a waste. oh and lastly on food, don't miss the pub lunch at the wheelhouse on sea days...very good fish and chips. Ports: We skipped Grand Cayman due to weather...a little disappointed but no big deal really. In Roatan we docked at Mahogany bay, which is new shopping village and beach area. It wasn't overly impressive but clean and safe. We didn't do anything in Roatan as my wife wasn't feeling well and weather wasn't great. Cozumel: We've been many times but this was the best ever. First it was the only really nice sunny day we had...and good thing as we booked a private beach excursion at Nachi Cocom. If you want a quite beach day, all inclusive...this is the place to go. I had read a million great reviews of it here on CC and let me add my voice to the choir...terrific. Princess Cay was Christmas day and the weather was less than perfect and we had been so we skipped it this time. Normally we go and do enjoy it. Sorry so long, hopefully my review will help some on here as others reviews helped me. Happy Holidays Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Crown Princess Caribbean - Dec 12-19, 2009 We were on the December 12 -19th sailing of the Crown Princess for a 7 day Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale. We had sailed on the Crown in February 2008 on a 14 day Caribbean B2B but what ... Read More
Crown Princess Caribbean - Dec 12-19, 2009 We were on the December 12 -19th sailing of the Crown Princess for a 7 day Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale. We had sailed on the Crown in February 2008 on a 14 day Caribbean B2B but what attracted us to this itinerary was four new locations not visited and a very attractive price. We booked in July and looked forward to the December departure. We were pleased to be accompanied by two friends who were on their first cruise. Not taking any chances with winter weather, we left Halifax on Dec 11th and had no problems reaching Florida on an Air Canada flight via Toronto. We had chosen the Comfort Inn near Sawgrass Mills for an overnight which gave us an opportunity to do some pre-cruise and Christmas shopping. We rented a car at the Hollywood airport and were at our Hotel by 2:30 p.m. Off to Sawgrass until 7:00 p.m., then dinner at Cheddars which was a block from the Comfort Inn. After a complimentary breakfast on Saturday we re-packed the car and made our way to the beach at Lauderdale-by-the Sea for a stroll and to enjoy the quiet ambiance of this quaint area just north of Lauderdale Beach. The town square was nicely decorated for Christmas. We visited a few shops before heading to Port Everglades at noon to drop off our luggage. There were five ships including RCL's Oasis of the Seas departing that day. Traffic was heavy but we managed to rid ourselves of the luggage not to be seen again until we arrived in our cabin. We made a quick trip back to the Airport to return the car intending to take a shuttle back to Everglades. We were disappointed to learn that Avis didn't provide a shuttle to Everglades so we hopped a cab ($20 for 4) and were at the Crown in less than fifteen minutes. The weather was quite nice (partly sunny and low 80's) through most of the day. As afternoon progressed, the skies began to get increasingly cloudy. The embarkation was very quick and smooth. In all of fifteen minutes, we were in the Piazza of the Crown. Of course, the first thing we noticed was the decorative and festive Christmas dEcor. Even before heading to our room on Baja, we decided to head to Horizon/Caribe for lunch and embark on a walk to re-familiarize ourselves with the Ship. It's amazing how much you forget from cruise to cruise. We met our room steward, Edgar, who worked with quiet efficiency throughout the cruise. We unpacked. I tried to make a connection for a Chef's Table reservation but no luck. The call for the muster drill came and off to the Wheelhouse Bar we went. Upon returning to the cabin, back to the telephone and this time we managed to get our name on the Chef's Table reservation list. Never having done a Chef's Table but having read so much about it, it was a goal to be part of this experience on this cruise. We no sooner arrived on Deck 15 for the Sail Away, the Captain made an announcement that festivities were being moved inside because of heavy wind and rain. We were sailing away in darkness anyway, so we were not too disappointed. After a bit more ship exploration, a visit to the Sail Away Buffet in Horizon, we were off to the DaVinci Dining Room for our first dinner. Prime rib and pork luau were two of the main choices. The Princess Theatre beckoned at 10:15 pm for the first show with magician James Michael. There was a pleasant surprise on getting back to our Cabin. The mailbox contained a note that we had been chosen to be interviewed tomorrow at noon for the Chef's Table. Day 2 - Sunday - At Sea Each day started with a visit to the International Cafe on Deck 5 for a brewed coffee. I had purchased a coffee card on last years cruise on the Coral. Princess recognizes the punches not used on the card for future cruises. I enjoyed at least two large coffees each morning on the Cruise, used up two punches for specialty coffees and have five more punches for a future cruise. Not a bad deal at all. Cruise Critic Friends www.cruisecritic.com http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1004584 We joined the Crown December 12 Western thread in late July. A group of forty or more participants had become cyber friends by the time sailing day rolled around. We were a diverse group ranging in age from 30's - 70's from US, Canada, Germany and Wales. We had agreed to meet on the first sea day for a chat and some participated in a gift exchange. Sissy, our MC and organizer had printed badges and arranged for the Captain to drop by. In many ways, these meetings are like getting reacquainted with old friends. Captain Fortezze arrived at 11:45 a.m. He made some welcoming comments, answered questions and posed for pictures. The hour sped by too quickly but already we had become cruise friends for the next six days and hopefully some for the future. About thirty of a potential fifty CC friends made the gathering. We had to leave at noon to make our Chef's Table Interview. The interview was conducted by the maitre d'hotel. He informed us that there would be two Chef's Tables on this cruise and we were in line for the second one. Our friends and travel companions from Nova Scotia were also selected and we were informed we would be joining six other folks on Wednesday evening. I found out later that Marlene & Shannon, tow other CC friends made the first chef's table. Our first lunch was in the dining room and table mates included Ken from Vancouver, Mike from Chicago and the same couple from Knoxville, Tennessee we had met at muster drill. We have had so many pleasant dining experiences with folks from all over the world. There is an interesting thread here on the message boards where many dining room horror stories are told. Some of our fellow cc'ers do have some rather unpleasant table mates we've learned. It would be interesting to know if cruisers are trending away from "traditional dining" and doing anytime dining now. Many cruisers seldom come to the main dining room and prefer a "buffet experience". To each his/her own. Tonight is the first of two formal nights for this cruise. We had pictures taken prior to Dinner at 8 in DaVinci. Halibut and twin tenderloins were our main choices this evening. A wonderful couple from New Jersey were our table mates. "What a Swell Party" in the Princess Theatre followed dinner. Day 3 - Monday - Grand Cayman: Monday was a sunny day for arrival at 7:00 a.m. at Georgetown. If you wish to go ashore you must tender here. We arrived on shore at 9:30 a.m. Not having any planned excursions, we simply walked out to the Main Street and made contact with Edgar Brown Tours for a two hour excursion for $10 pp. We were in a very comfortable small bus with about 12 others. We toured the capital, visited the Rum Factory for rum samples and cake, the dolphins, a place called HELL, a beach walk for 15 minutes and delivered back near the terminal by 1:00 p.m. After lunch and drinks at Margaritaville, some shopping, we caught a tender back to the Ship at 3:00 p.m. A stop at the International Cafe for the famous plate of three different gelatos hit the spot. There are at least seven different gelatos to choose from. Three scoops are only $1.50. What a way to cool off after a hot day on a Caribbean island! Mama Mia (the movie) was playing on the Deck 15 while the ship sailed away. Dinner choices in the DaVinci were turbot, shrimp diavolo and slow cooked roast beef and gravy (this is part of the new Princess Menu which features a different comfort food each day). Much to our surprise, two of our table mates this evening were two fellow cruise critics who hadn't made the initial Sunday gathering. We recognized each other immediately proving once again what a small world we live in. Day 4 - Tuesday- Roatan, Honduras: Clocks went back an hour today so we welcomed the extra hour of sleep. The Crown was supposed to dock at Mahogany Bay, the new cruise terminal but didn't. It was another day to tender. In hindsight, we would not have seen the Downtown area had we not tendered. Poverty is rampant here and in full view to experience. Always one of the saddest aspects of visiting and experiencing local culture, the sights you see and information you receive on local life makes one most thankful for one's life opportunities. We hooked up with a local tour operator for $20 pp. There were 10 of us in a van. On the ride to Parrot Bay Resort, Percy our driver, told us of the local culture, his family and local personalities. We relaxed for two hours at a very quiet, private beach. Admission, chairs, a drink, and shade were included in our tour. Lunch (fresh fish & chips) on the beach was tasty and very reasonable. We were back on the Crown at 3:00 p.m. Reservations tonight were in the Crown Grill. One of two alternate dining choices for $25 a person, this is an experience not to be missed. I'm sure there were at least ten courses in all. Scallops and fois gras, shrimp bisque, onion soup, giant prawns, an array of veggies, filet mignon, ribeye, New York striploin, lobster tails, and a multitude of desserts. Wow! We brought our own white and red wine to accompany the meal. Cecilly was our waitress. She was great and even enjoyed a taste of our wine. We have been to Sabatini's on other cruises but I prefer the Crown Grill. There is still that rack of lamb I have not tried. The Deck Party planned for tonight was brought inside because of rain. Day 5 - Wednesday - Cozumel: Finally we would dock (International Pier) after tendering for the previous two stops. Cozumel would have eight ships in port today. Three from Carnival, the Aida, Disney Magic, RCL Independence and Norwegian Dawn. Cruisers were evident everywhere. The first folks we met when we arrived ashore was a couple we recognized from our neighbourhood who were on the Carnival. The terminal had lots of shopping, attractions and picture opportunities. We found a taxi for 6 of us ($5 pp) which brought us to Paradise Beach. There was no extra charge for chairs and shade on the beach. It was crowded and you were expected to buy drinks and have food from the bar. We shared a bucket of five cold beer. Lots to do and great water temps. We stayed for two hours and caught a taxi from the beach to the downtown for $10 pp. Did some shopping and found an internet cafe before getting a taxi back to the International Terminal. For the amount of time we had, shopping was every bit as good at the International Terminal as it was downtown. We had been warned to eat very sparingly today because we would be doing the Chef's Table tonight at 7:00 p.m. Reflecting on last night at the Crown, we really had no need for much food anyway. I'm not sure if other cruise lines have an equivalent of the Chef's Table but I'm positive the experience could not be any better. There are a number of very good postings on this site about this experience. There is one review that is a classic. It captured every small detail, and flavour in a humorous but informative presentation. I have posted a link to it at the end of my review. Every Chef's Table has the same format and essentially is the same menu so it is tried and true. You meet at the International Cafe for a short gathering before being led through the Main Dining Room in uniform to the delight and astonishment of fellow diners. Once in the Kitchen you can watch meal prep, ask questions of the maitre d'Hotel and Executive Chef who are with you for the whole evening. Mssrs. Ferat and Pollara were delightful hosts. While in the kitchen, you are taken to a special area for canapEs and champagne (blue crab margarita, a pate with apple chutney, mini pizzettes with goat cheese and roasted new potatoes with sour cream and caviar). The Captain and other senior staff also joined us for champagne. Can you blame them! We then lost our uniforms and were taken to a corner of the DaVinci Dining Room to a large table of ten set with a huge floral centerpiece, wine crystal, china breadsticks and menus. A specially selected white and red wine flowed freely throughout the meal. Brandy and ice wine followed dessert. The first course was a lobster and asparagus risotto followed by a raspberry-lemon sorbet drenched with a flavored vodka. Roasted veal shank and veal tenderloin carved tableside with lobster tails was the main course. This was accompanied by a tray of vegetables. Baked camembert with pine nuts and port reduction and walnut bread was served. This was followed by a dessert tray of chocolates and berries. Not to be outdone, there was a second dessert course of an iced amaretto parfait, vanilla plume and brandy snap tuile served in a bowl of well words cannot describe this presentation so we'll leave the surprise ending! There was more but you do get the idea. We were then pictured as couples with our hosts and then as a group, each couple was given the Princess Cookbook (which was autographed) and the other a long stemmed rose. Needless to say, we closed the dining room that evening. We also lost an hour on the clock. Day 6 - Thursday - At Sea: On Thursday morning we noticed there had been heavy rain and wind overnight, however we awoke to sunshine, 80 plus and sun most of the day. Had a relaxing day in the sun, broken at noon for the English pub menu in the Wheelhouse Bar. This is new and a popular feature. I think it might be available on sea days only. We had to wait until past 1:00 pm to get in. English-style fish and chips, a ploughman's pie, bangers and mash are three of four selections. Served casually with beer available, I recommend you do this at least once on the cruise This was our second formal night of the cruise. Lobster, king prawns, Cornish game hen, New York Strip were a few menu choices. After Dinner we enjoyed comedian Carlos Oscar in Princess Theatre and visited the Casino. Day 7 - Friday - Princess Cays: We had never visited Princess Cays (Bahamas) before and would have been sorely disappointed to have missed this stop. High winds often prevent a stop here and today was no different. It was past 9:00 a.m. before the Captain determined he would allow tenders ashore. We were the first passengers (behind crew) to step foot on the beach. It was a rough tender ashore but the destination was worth it. We had our pick of chairs/location on the beach. Less than one third of the passengers came ashore that day. The day can be as busy or as relaxing as you wish. We chose to stay close to our chairs on the beach, enjoy a sumptuous buffet at noon and have a few beach strolls. Staff come ashore with food including salads, ribs, hotdogs, burgers, fresh fruit. We wore our "Santa" hats on the beach to add to the festive atmosphere and get some great souvenir Christmas pictures. A storm was predicted and moving in on us so the Captain decided to call us back to the ship for 2:00 pm rather than 3:30 p.m. We managed to get a final hour of sun on Deck 15 before it was time to go pack our luggage. Dinner (Landfall Theme) in DaVinci that evening featured the traditional Tom Turkey, NY Strip, barramundi and other goodies. We enjoyed the company of a couple from Boca, Florida. During dinner there was a most spectacular display of lighting that is not often seen. High winds and rain whipped the ship most of the night. What a way to remember a most delightful Crown cruise. Other notes: The disembarkation went very smoothly. Princess has a dining room breakfast service which is a nice touch for the final day. We were off the Crown by 9:30 am and at the Airport by taxi 15 minutes later. Check-in was quick and our flight to Halifax via Montreal was on time and uneventful. Many other cruisers were caught in a northeaster snow storm and flights to New York/Washington and other points were cancelled. Some of our cruise critic friends didn't get back home until Tuesday. This was our first cruise in a month other than February/March. We lucked in with great weather for traveling and on the cruise. We had not been at any of the destinations before. We find a 10 day cruise to be a good length but in this case (Christmas season) the seven day itinerary was perfect. Cruises are great vacation travel value. Looking forward to a Mediterranean cruise next. Here's the link to the Chef's table Review by Theora (Feb 22/09) and posted on March 27, 2009 - It's a great read. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=956179&page=4 Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Crown Princess November 21-28, 2009 Captain: Marco Fortezze Cruise Director: Ron Goodman Maitre d'hôtel: Jean-Francois Ferat Executive Chef: Giuseppe Pollara Our journey started early on Saturday morning from Charlotte to Fort ... Read More
Crown Princess November 21-28, 2009 Captain: Marco Fortezze Cruise Director: Ron Goodman Maitre d'hôtel: Jean-Francois Ferat Executive Chef: Giuseppe Pollara Our journey started early on Saturday morning from Charlotte to Fort Lauderdale. We arrived on time in FLL around 10:00. We grabbed a taxi and headed to the ship. We got there around 10:30, filled out the health form, got our group number and waited. The embarkation process started around noon and since we were in group 2 we were on board shortly after. We found our cabin, grabbed some lunch and then explored the ship a little. We had initially requested first seating, but were given Anytime since first was full. We did meet with the Maitre d' and we were able to change to first seating. As it turned out, our table mates were not that great so we went back to Anytime. Cruise Critic Meet and Greet At 2:00 we headed up to Skywalker's for our Roll Call meet and greet. We had quite a few people show up and we met Marlene and Steve (nanapapa23) and Marianne and Bob (bmdlover). We found out we were all going to Nachi Cocum in Cozumel so we decided to share a cab. The Ship The Crown is very beautiful and clean. The dEcor is not any particular style, but is elegant. All public areas, lounges, and passage ways were always clean. Nothing looked "old or worn". Restrooms were all very clean. Our Cabin We had a balcony cabin on Rivera Deck, 611. Our cabin was nice, our beds were put together to make a queen size and it was very comfortable. Our balcony was a nice size and had two chairs and a small round table. The shower is quite a bit smaller than the showers on Carnival and it took some getting used to. I checked out the showers in the spa, but they weren't much bigger so I opted to use the one in the cabin. Towels are a little rough. I had requested the egg crate mattress and feather pillows before we left and they were already on the bed. Our Cabin Steward, Samuel, was wonderful! When we met him I asked for a top sheet under the comforter and extra towels. When we came back from dinner, we had them! Our only complaint is that the cabin temp stayed between 75-80 degrees, which made sleeping difficult. We bring a small fan because all ships have decreased the air flow to cabins, but it was so hot we had to get another fan from housekeeping, after much complaining. Our cabin was very close to the adult pool and the Outrigger Bar so we used that pool most times. We just had to walk to the end of the hallway and out the door and there we were. There was a boy in the pool on the first day, but after that I didn't see anymore kids in it. There are several pools around the ship which is nice. We found the pool from the spa which is under the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is very nice and relaxing. It's an area above the Spa Deck and is covered. Has very nice lounge chairs and very quiet. It costs $10 for a half day. Entertainment There were two comedians, Rollin' Jay Moore and Phil Tag. Both were funny, but Phil Tag was a lot funnier than Jay Moore. They also had a hypnotist, Michelle Van Ree, who was pretty good. The first night they had her in the Explorer's Lounge which was way too small for her act. The lounge was full and people were sitting in the aisles and on the floor all the way up to the stage. It was quite a safety hazard. The bar waiters couldn't walk through and at one point, because the stage is so small, Michelle was walking to the edge and teenage boy sitting on the floor at the stage stood up at the same time and she almost fell over him. The last day they had her give a 4:00 performance in the Princess Theatre which is where she should have been the first two times. It was a much better performance. Another act was Lianna Hay who did an act with hula hoops...very good. I don't remember ever being able to things with my hula hoops that she could do! The production shows were What a Swell Party, Destination Anywhere, and Motor City. We saw the first two and they were okay; we missed Motor City because we wanted to see Phil Tag's first performance which was at the same time. They did have the production shows on two different days so you still see it if you missed it the first time around, which I thought was nice. These shows were also not your typical cruise shows like the Broadway medleys and '60s or '70s shows, which was a nice change. They also had an International Crew Show which we enjoyed. They had some of the crew from around the ship, a bartender, a bar waiter, the Captain's Circle Hostess, and others who sang, played the drums, etc. all of them were very good. The Food The food selection in the dining rooms was not very good in our opinion. Breakfast was not very good and one morning my scrambled eggs were burned. How do you burn scrambled eggs! After that we ate our breakfasts in the buffet. Lunch selection in the dining room was not up to what we were used to either, so back to the buffet for that. The two buffets served different items so you had a great selection to choose from. The only problem with the buffets is the way they are laid out...it gets very confusing as to which side to start from and it gets very congested at times. Thanksgiving Day was our second formal night and although a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner was on the menu, it was also lobster tail night. As much as I wanted turkey for Thanksgiving, I really wanted lobster so that's what I got. It was a small lobster and came with prawn. I ordered two lobster tails and that was enough. It was very good. I don't particularly like desserts on the ships, but the soufflEs are good as well as the crème brulee. I had a sorbet two different nights and they were both good. The prime rib was very good, and I got the broiled chicken breast one night which was also good. While in Cozumel, we and our new Cruise Critic friends decided that we would have a "family" Thanksgiving dinner together, so we all met at the International Cafe around 7:00 and shared Thanksgiving dinner together at DaVinci's Restaurant -- another great thing about Anytime dining. We really enjoyed our dinner and time with them. We never got around to the grill for hamburgers or hot dogs or the pizza, but those items looked good. We did get ice cream a couple of times and it is next to the pizza near the pool. Grand Cayman Our first port was Grand Cayman and we didn't leave the ship this day because we have been there several times and have done everything there is to do. It was a beautiful day, however, and we enjoyed the quite and having the pool to ourselves. Roatan, Honduras Roatan was our second port and we've been here a couple of other times, too, but this time we went to Mayan Princess. We were able to get a taxi for $20 per person round trip and then it costs $10pp for a day pass. This place is gorgeous! We got there very early and since it took a while for others to begin showing up, we pretty much had the pools to ourselves for a while. For your $10 you have use of all the pools, the showers, restrooms and the beach. Food and drinks are not included. We swam around in the pools most of the day and just enjoyed the calming beauty of the place. We had asked our driver to pick us up around 1:00 which worked out perfectly since that's when everyone began coming in and the quiet and calmness was gone. Cozumel, Mexico We and our new found friends, Marlene & Steve, and Marianne & Bob, met right after we docked and grabbed a cab to Nachi Cocum. We had the best time. We were among some of the first there and got chairs and umbrellas along the beach to begin. Just at the horizon was a very dark sky and we knew the storm was heading our way. We hung out on the bead a while and then gradually we all ended up in the pool and hot tub. We had all brought our things into the dining area just before the storm hit. And I do mean storm. That was one of the worst storms I've seen a long time. Very strong winds blew the rain into the dining area and the staff at Nachi Cocum herded us all into a room and gave us dry towels and water to drink. Once it began to slack off a little, we went back to the dining area and the staff began bringing out guacamole, salsa, and chips - and of course all the drinks we could handle! We ordered lunch and more drinks and we had a wonderful time with our new friends. I couldn't think of a better way to wait out a storm. I'm just sorry for all those whose first time it was there because Nachi Cocum can be so much fun when the sun is out. It's a beautiful place and usually a very relaxing day. There were quite a few kids there and they eventually ended up the small hot tub despite the sign that reads "Adults Only" in both Spanish and English. Nevertheless, we had a great time with our friends and the staff did a great job of making it enjoyable. Princess Cays I had been looking forward to Princess Cays since the last time we were supposed to stop there; Hurricane Wilma rearranged our itinerary and we missed this island. Well, I guess it' just not meant for us to see it, because this time the winds were at 25-30 knots and the water was too rough for us to tender. So we had an extra sea day that was too windy to lay around the pool. We hung out for a while and decided to begin our packing. Good thing...the zipper on our large suitcase was broken! Oh my gosh, I frantically started trying to get everything into our two carry-ons and trying to decide what could be left behind when Mike had a great idea. I always lock the luggage with cable ties and fortunately had some with us. He punched holes in the edge of the bottom and the edge of the top of the suitcase and threaded the cable times through. They held up through the ship's handlers and the airport handlers so cable ties make great redneck locks for your suitcase! Disembarkation This process was one of the easiest we've had in 20 cruises. You were given a location to meet on the last day, for example, we were to meet in the Wheelhouse Bar at 8:30. There were other colors and numbers there, too, and when our color and number were called a staff person walked our group down to the exit. We were off very easily and all the luggage was grouped together by color and number and very easy to find. We got a cab and headed to the airport and were there by 10:30. Our flight back to Charlotte left at 1:00 so we had some time at the airport. Our flight was a tad early and we had a smooth flight home and got in about 10 minutes early. All in all this was a great cruise. We loved the ports and the ship; and our new CC friends! Read Less
Sail Date November 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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