24 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Caribbean - Western

We have been on 22 cruises on various lines, 9 on Princess; Princess being our obvious favorite and it always comes down to the entertainment. Princess is best for an active older crowd but not ready for Holland. The evenings are always ... Read More
We have been on 22 cruises on various lines, 9 on Princess; Princess being our obvious favorite and it always comes down to the entertainment. Princess is best for an active older crowd but not ready for Holland. The evenings are always packed with things to do to the point you get frustrated cause you can't fit it all in. But, it sure beats going back to the room after the show and watching tv. We can do that at home for free. The entertainment on this ship was the best even for Princess. They had a magician Michael Misko who was actually more of a comedian. And then there was the comedian Joe Yannetty. It was a toss up who was funnier but if you like to laugh - DO NOT miss their shows. The magician was also in the Liars Club - not to be missed either. Don't waste any time when a show is in the Explorer's Lounge as the seats fill up quickly. They also had the usual game shows, trivia & bingo. The first seating in the Princess Theatre fills up but we discovered there were always seat at the later show. The production shows were also excellent. After the "Blame it on the Boogie" show, the entertainers go up to the deck party and continue. I know alot of people skip the deck party - don't. They have changed it and they bring in the "Love Boat" theme to the party - very touching and fun. We were both even lucky in the casino. We don't hang out at the bars. We went on this ship when it was new and while it needs some refurbishments, it didn't affect us at all. It was clean and all the personnel were pleasant and friendly. Service was very good. The size of this ship is perfect. While my husband likes the pool, I prefer the games. The only thing I'll say about the pool is I noticed both pools only have ladders to get in and out. The only complaint would be the mattress. It obviously needed replacing and an eggcrate didn't help much. Our steward Russell tried. Our room was always clean and he was quick at filling requests. He introduced himself as soon as we came in. The embarkation and disembarkation were incredibly quick and easy. We're platinum and that might have helped with embarkation. Our room was ready. We didn't do any excursions as we had been to these ports before. Costa Maya has a very long pier and everyone walked. It could be a problem for some. Costa Maya and Cozumel both had too many ships and passengers in port. I won't say much about the food except it was good and service was excellent tho steak was tough. We ate at Sabatini's one night - save your money - the dining room was better. Ice cream is ice milk but they sell gelato. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
With the exception of port wait times, which were the fault of US Customs, not Princess, our cruise couldn't get much more perfect. This was our first cruise - and now I am hooked for life. We did the Vow Renewal Deluxe Package and it ... Read More
With the exception of port wait times, which were the fault of US Customs, not Princess, our cruise couldn't get much more perfect. This was our first cruise - and now I am hooked for life. We did the Vow Renewal Deluxe Package and it was incredible. The staff on board was absolutely amazing. We just returned and I'm dying to go another cruise already. The two ports were great fun; particularly enjoyed the Puerto Plata tour at Amber Cove and the Horseback Ride & Swim at Grand Turk. Grand Turk is a fantastic port - great beach right at the dock and live Caribbean music as well as good shopping. Puerto Plata is colorful and colonial, could not give my camera a break! Live entertainment on board was fairly good - that was one area they could have possibly done better. Crown Grill did not live up to my expectations, but the main dining room was better than I expected. All in all, however, this cruise experience was thrilling and I would give the Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean cruise my absolute highest recommendation to anyone. The ship is beautiful, customer service was great, and the ports were breathtaking! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Love Princess Cruise Line. Have cruise many times. Was not crazy about the Galveston, TX Port, however. We have always cruised out of Porto Rico or Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Galveston was not convenient. Our plane was delayed due to snow, rental ... Read More
Love Princess Cruise Line. Have cruise many times. Was not crazy about the Galveston, TX Port, however. We have always cruised out of Porto Rico or Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Galveston was not convenient. Our plane was delayed due to snow, rental car place was closed when we arrived in Houston, took a crappy (not Princess sponsored because we flew in the day before) shuttle to Galveston to spend the night before. Next time, we'll return to Florida to cruise out again. Staff in Galveston, TX were outstanding and very, very helpful, however. Fast, courteous and polite. Hubs and I thoroughly enjoyed cruise. We did not care for the "Party on the Deck" Caribbean theme they did one night. It was all line dancing. . . .maybe this was due to the port we left out of being in Galveston, TX!?! Any who, folks who don't line dance could not join in, this is not the age of the crowd to line-dance. Maybe Jazz Music, MoTown Music would go over better with this age group, or something to slow dance to. Most were just observers for 10 minutes and then left. Maybe 20 people line-dancing and they were the ship's performers! I'll take my movies under the stars instead :) We even sat out in the rain one night and watched our movie. Service was great as ever, people, staff friendly and we thoroughly enjoyed our time. Loved the entertainment, piano guy, guitar players, comedians, theatre, Marriage Game (Co-Cruise Director, Dan, was hysterical leading this segment), Trivia, afternoon Tea was my special delight of the day. . .being English heritage. etc. The "Destination" show should be axed, however. 70's performance was outstanding. Got a coffee card and this was my favorite thing this trip. Gotta love my freshly made coffee drinks. The ONLY complaint I have, besides the line-dancing, party on the deck attempt, was there was a smell on the ship of sewage. We were on Caribe, 10th floor. After the 3rd day we smelled it and others were complaining as well. We did call and let them know. It disappeared for one day and then returned. Not a nice smell to be filtering down the hall and considering the Triumph fiasco the week before we cruised. . . we all in our area made mention of that! We did not, however, have the smell inside our room, perhaps because we had a balcony and had the door open frequently??? Taking our 19 year old and 26 year old with us in December to cruise again. Maybe they will like the line-dancing :) Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Young, blonde, energetic, Hungarian head waiter Kitty + her assistant Batman were the spark plugs that got this event engine up, running & eventually hilarious, not to be missed fine dining! Nothing on this ship tops this time of the ... Read More
Young, blonde, energetic, Hungarian head waiter Kitty + her assistant Batman were the spark plugs that got this event engine up, running & eventually hilarious, not to be missed fine dining! Nothing on this ship tops this time of the day. Next best feature were the workers - dedicated to serving, smiles, always making everything seem sunny - how refreshing! Better dance floors & clientele than Carnival's Conquest but entertainment was just OK. Serious Sounds judged the best for dancing but needs more music tuned for ballroom, fewer fast beats. All the bars judged good, Explorers the best but still needs a bit more searching for orders from those seated. Water is $3.50/large container, bars/dining can serve tap water for free BUT will not fill your bottles ?!?!?!?!? Another "for sale" hitch added to your $11.50/day "tips" hole in the pocket. Foot Traffic is horrible, made worse by walkers/wheelchairs, exacerbated by photo shoots and photo displays, then let's march some sales on tables out there = butt-butt traffic moving real slow. The Captain seems to drive this boat like there were no dance floors to consider, only to arrive early into a Galveston fog that delayed going home 8 hours. In fact, with no weather channel, we were dependent on his daily forecasts = always wrong. 8 hours delay due to fog after being told firmly to be out of cabins by 8am, dining closing shortly thereafter. Some smart enough to keep their rooms took naps & even got unprecedented room service (not announced); others stormed the dining areas anyway and got steak lunches (not announced). Word came (not announced) that a cash bar (with few one dollar bills) was open near the pizza place serving as well. What WAS announced were movies (rent for $1 at home), daycare, etc. Gambling - win going out, lose bigger coming back, suspicious bad luck stories .. Tips: After using your carry on bottle, simply order 1/2 bottle from room service (have to be present to sign for it - ugh). Tip well on first drink @ bars, following orders will be very satisfying. Galveston: Find another port - ANY port! Jan 2010 - bathroom frozen after looong lines Jan 2013 - 8 hour fog delay (really?) wide entry, turn left - simple Always get a porter for your bags - saves time, backache & luggage - they find your room going in and the van/bus going out pronto. $2/bag seems cheap for the stress relief. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We had high hopes for our Princess cruise. It did not take very long for them to start screwing it up. Our first purchase was the soda package. I love Diet Sprite and that is what I remarked to the seller. I do not drink caffeine. The ... Read More
We had high hopes for our Princess cruise. It did not take very long for them to start screwing it up. Our first purchase was the soda package. I love Diet Sprite and that is what I remarked to the seller. I do not drink caffeine. The sticker they put on my card was the Sprite sticker. I go to a bar to get a Diet Sprite and I am informed that Diet Sprite is not in the soda package. I will have to pay full price for diet sprit....Then why did I get sold a package I have no use for? At that point the Customer service desk hit an all time low. Condescending, Smug, rude, uppity, and mean. This was still early on the first night. After having to go through hell, I got a refund. The welcome aboard show was the worst excuse of a show that I have ever witnessed. There was no show. It was one big giant sales pitch of crap to spend your money on. There was no show. The ships entertainment shows were short. Barely thirty minutes. The entertainment brought on board were jugglers you would hire for a childrens birthday party. Lame. The trivia games were few and far between and crowded. People were desperate for activities that did not revolve around music. Our fun was the Movies Under The Stars. After 40 cruises, this one was one I will not do again. The food was very European. I was never in my life so sick and tired of seeing Pork everyday. One day we were greeted by a whole pig laying out looking like a sunburned baby. Then they start slicing it from the butt and I decided pizza would be a better choice. I did not hate the food, nor did I like it. My room steward was a bright spot. Very Kind. Everything was great. The Cruise director is probably a very nice person, but she is not funny. The entertainment on the Crown Princess was really amateurish. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I will discuss the cruise from the Princess Transfer in Houston, TX. We were met by a Cruise Rep at the airport and were treated like VIP's. We had a driver and a private car deliver us to the Galves Hotel in Galveston. The check ... Read More
I will discuss the cruise from the Princess Transfer in Houston, TX. We were met by a Cruise Rep at the airport and were treated like VIP's. We had a driver and a private car deliver us to the Galves Hotel in Galveston. The check in was smooth and the room unremarkable. The next day we were scheduled for the transfer to the ship and although it was running behind the gal running the show did an excellent job of getting caught up and us to the ship. Once at the ship I turned over my luggage to a porter in excellent condition and once it reached my room one of the suit cases was destroyed. Whether it was the porter or the ships personnel they were acting as Princess agents and this should have never happened. The check in was remarkably smooth and well organized. We arrived in our room shortly thereafter the luggage showed. The room was well laid out but with no room to spare. Our room steward was excellent and made sure that the room was in order all day. The bathroom had the feel of an RV bathroom (all in one concept) but seemed to work ok for us. We were at the rear of the ship so we felt all of the engine vibrations even though we were on the 12th floor. Dining was ok. We ate breakfast in the Horizon dining room most days except the last one where we ate at the Bertolli dining room. They initially delivered the wrong order to me and after I broke open the egg they realized the mistake they brought the proper order to me and then I am sure they gave the plate they just took from me to the guy next to me. I say this because of the way I broke open the egg. The dining for dinner was not what I had expected. Everyone was working hard but it was not the experience we had on Carnival. Princess is supposed to be the premium line and the company's lower line made Princess look really bad. I don't recommend the meat loaf or hamburger from the dining room. It had the consistency of a sponge. The staff was good about bringing out something more to our liking though. I really enjoyed the company at the table and do like this part of the experience. The entertainment was fine except that the shows in the theatre were very short and the experience always felt like something was missing. I would like to have been able to see the entire show, they worked hard and I feel they deserved it. The other venues were great, especially these three gentlemen in the lounge. They seemed to be able to carry off any type of music. The predominate type of music was from the 60's, and 70's. There were no rowdy people on the boat and this was a welcome relief. There were numerous pools and the middle pool seemed to be where the few kids hung out at. I felt sorry for them as this cruise was not for them. It was an old people cruise (of which I fit in). All in all it was what we were looking for the most part a quiet week away from home. The debark procedure was an absolute mess and needs working on. We had a 4 pm flight and I felt sorry for those with earlier flights. Feel free to email me with any questions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My husband and I went on the Crown Princess for our 5th Anniversary. We have always traveled with Carnival in the past and was hoping for an experience with less children. I was pleasantly surprised to find out there were less than 30 ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Crown Princess for our 5th Anniversary. We have always traveled with Carnival in the past and was hoping for an experience with less children. I was pleasantly surprised to find out there were less than 30 children onboard the ship and it was at full capacity. Embarkation was a nice and calm experience and I never once felt like we were being herded like cattle and I must say the easiest disembarkation yet. The International Cafe was a great place to sit and have a light snack, cocktails, or coffee throughout the day and had small segments of live entertainment throughout the day. The chicken salad is a must try!!!! The dining on the ship for the most part was pleasant and tasty. The fish and chips from the wheelhouse bar was excellent and the food in the dining room was well prepared and had a good variety. The buffet was not my favorite. The milk and juice in the morning was brought by the waitstaff instead of self serve and was always at room temperature. I got ice for the juice but do not prefer ice in my morning milk. The other complaint that I have regarding the buffet is that the food never really seemed hot and was luke warm (even the soup)at best. The ship was well appointed with all types of activities from flash mob and line dancing to pop choir and bingo. The pool was never overcrowded and the staff was extremely friendly and would remember your name and always ask how you were doing. Our room was nice for an inside stateroom, we always get an inside room because we are rarely in our rooms while on the ship. Nice closet and storage space. The toilet would leak water after having been flushed but I kept a towel on the floor and the amount of water was very minimal. This cruise was really nice and we had a great time and totally enjoyed the "middle aged" crowd that was nice, well mannered, and pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Hi, my husband and I are both in our low 30's and upper 20's respectively and are teachers. My husbands school/afterschool schedule keeps him so busy, we rarely get to vacation together so this was a first since our honeymoon.I ... Read More
Hi, my husband and I are both in our low 30's and upper 20's respectively and are teachers. My husbands school/afterschool schedule keeps him so busy, we rarely get to vacation together so this was a first since our honeymoon.I had originally planned to just copy and paste my travel journal into this space, but then as I was re-reading it I decided that you all dont REALLY want to read about when I sat on the promenade, when and what I ate, and how many times I actually napped... Besides, that document was six pages long!! Yikes, I guess I was a little long winded about my naps... :)I first sailed with Princess on October 31, 2010 on the Ruby--Eastern Caribbean. Although we missed Grand Turk due to Hurricane Tomas (thats another story for another day) I came home INSISTING that Jim (DH) and I had to go on a cruise together. And so, as it is my role/duty/obligation as the wife and woman in his life, the pestering began.... Once booked I was ecstatic and begin reading up on the excursions and booked us on the Pirate Ship Encounter for Grand Cayman, a hike for Roatan, Coba Ruins for Cozumel and snorkelling for Princess Cays. Each week as we got closer to the cruise Jim decided he didnt want to do the Pirate Ship, all the excursions (save my hike) and quietly (ha) kept my disappointment to myself! ;)Okay... back to the stuff that matters... Due to the SKYROCKETING airfare prices and poor selection in times offered through sites such as expedia etc, we booked our airfare through Princess. I was pleasantly surprised that their fares were equivalent, if not a hair cheaper, than what was offered through online sources. Jim, the constant worry wart, was thrilled that princess would get us to the next port if something were to happen to our flight.Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale on Saturday morning we were greeted by uniformed Princess reps who were there to direct us to the bus which would take us to the ship. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard decided to do an inspection on the ship which "apparently" held up our ability to get on the bus... As the delay continued for over an hour the reps became more and more irritable....When we were finally transferred to the cruise port, we waited in line outside for no more than five minutes and inside we waited for no more than two minutes before being issued our cards and directed towards the gangways. I keep reminding myself I need to be brief...Ship:The ship was beautiful, much like the Ruby, our room was great and our luggage arrived about an hour or two after we boarded. (2-3 pm) We did have a minor issue with our safe not working (after our things were in it) but both times when we called the front desk someone was there to fix it and after the second attempt, all was well.People:We met up with other cruise critic folks (desiro, shawley23, mysticfalcon, and vtlibrarian to name a few) at the Outrigger for sail away and had a marvelous time. In fact, several of us kept running into eachother on the ship and ended up spending quite a bit of time together which was great. Excursions: We ended up taking a cab to 7 mile beach (thanks to Adam, DH of desiro, for the suggestion) first thing in the morning. It cost each of us $5 US and we were able to do as we pleased. After about two hours we started to walk back to the ship...i do not recommend this to ANYONE.... again, another story for another day.We missed Roatan due to high winds so I missed my hike...At Cozumel we had cancelled our Coba Ruins excursion and were waitlisted for Playa Maya Beach Break with Lunch... At the last minute my husband checked with the shore excursion desk and switched us to the Pasion Island Beach with Lunch. Apparently this is the beach where the Corona commercials are filmed... either way it was a fabulous day. Soft sandy beaches, ergonomic lounges perfectly situated underneath some palm trees, and all the food and drink one could want. After the excursion we enjoyed some more drinks with a few other couples from the cruise at Fat Tuesdays... got ourselves some really remarkable balloon hats and headed back to the ship.At Princess Cay, we were able to hang out with a Belgian couple from our section at dinner; Kirby and I on the beach and Sijn and Jim in the water. Dining:Our waiter had to be the fastest most efficient man on the boat. He literally ran from the galley with our food, hardly allowing the junior waiter to do anything but pour water and wine. The food was wonderful, as always, I am quite impressed with the quality and quantity those galleys are able to turn out on a daily basis. Most days Jim and I ate our breakfast in the Piazza, breakfast sandwiches and yogurt from the international cafe. However, we did get buffet breakfast once or twice and enjoyed that out at the Terrace Pool. The Pub lunch at the Wheelhouse Bar was good as was the lunch offered in the dining room.Disembarkation:We were held up with disembarkation, I am guessing it was to keep the customs lines from getting more ridiculous than they already were... but after an additionally half hour or so in the Casino, we were allowed to disembark.Okay so I hope this isnt ridiculously long and I hope I havent forgotten to talk about anything major... but please feel free to leave questions! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We were married the Friday night before we left and took a red-eye to Port Everglades. We arrived at 9:15 in the morning and expected to get onto a transfer purchased through Princess and head off to the port. Well, we waited in the ... Read More
We were married the Friday night before we left and took a red-eye to Port Everglades. We arrived at 9:15 in the morning and expected to get onto a transfer purchased through Princess and head off to the port. Well, we waited in the airport until the first transfer was leaving at 11:15am. Once at the port after a 10 minute ride we were through the check in lines in about 30 minutes and on our way to our cabin by 12:30. We had lunch and took a nap before going to the muster drill. The rest of the day we explored the ship and went to our late seating dinner.We opted for a balcony cabin, mid ship and were very pleased with the location and overall cabin. The cabin was B437 which is on the Baja deck 11 and is mid ship right by the elevators. We did not notice any noise from the elevators and were happy to have a short walk to go anywhere. The bed was not the most comfortable bed we ever slept in, but the ship and the shore excursions were enough to wear us out that it did not matter. During our first couple of days we found there to be lots to do on the ship. Our first day at sea was very nice. We relaxed by the pool and watched some of the fun games they had going on. There were LOTS of open deck chairs, but they were not the chairs right by the pool. Yes, there were LOTS of saved chairs everywhere, but nowhere near the amount of "chair hogging" I expected. After a few drinks, and a lot of sun and fun it was back to the room to find more to do. Our first stop was Grand Cayman and the waters were so clear. We did an excursion through Fatfish Adventures and it was AMAZING! We rode a jet ski through some mangroves, out to stingray city, and to a snorkeling area. The water was pretty rough for our ride, but it made it more fun for us to be able to jump the waves. Feeding the stingrays scared my wife a little, but she eventually held one. Our next stop, the beautiful island of Roatan. It was interesting to see this massive ship inch through this narrow channel backwards to get to the dock. Here we booked a zipline and beach excursion through Island Marketing, who we later found out is basically a travel agency who books excursions through South Shore Zipline. Ziplining through the jungle canopy and 100-200 feet above ravines is so much fun. After ziplining it was off to West Bay beach. They took us to Fosters Resort where, thanks to cruise critic, we applied our bug spray to avoid the sand fleas. As we were spraying it on a gentleman walking by said "Very smart", then turned around to show us about 100 bites on his back. He said that they are only near Fosters and the other resorts actually spray every night. Thankfully we continued our day at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world bite free! Next stop was Cozumel where we did the Royal Dolphin Swim. Having a dolphin give you a dorsal fin ride is a once in a lifetime experience that was worth it. We booked the excursion through Princess even though it was about $130 cheaper to book it through Chankanaab. Chankanaab will ask you what cruise line you are on if you try to book through them because they are not allowed to privately book anyone from Princess or Carnival. I suppose you could lie and get away with it, but it was not worth the risk to us because we really wanted to do this. After the dolphin swim we stayed at the beach here for a couple hours. The beach is very nice with snorkeling and even a fresh water pool. Our next day at sea was mostly the same as the last, cocktails, sun, only this time we had chairs right by the pool. We watched an ice carving demonstration, some guys racing boats made of various items found around the ship, ate, ate, drank, drank, and then played miniature golf.Princess cays was a nice beach to just relax on a day before going home. They have a barbeque for all the passengers from 11:30-1:30 and they mean 1:30. They were closing up the line as about 10-15 people walked up including us and said we could not go in because according to the Princess employee, and I quote, "It is exactly 1:30 and we have to go back on the ship". Shame on me for not bringing a watch to the beach, but really, exactly 1:30 and we couldn't go in? Anyway, we didn't care as much as some others did as they started to argue with the guy. We just went back to our beach chairs and caught some more sun. After a light breakfast and coffee at the International Cafe disembarkation was a breeze. They had us meet at 8:15 and we were at our gate at the airport by 9:15.FOODThe food on Princess was as advertised, very good, and everywhere. We ate at the Crown Grill one night, and Sabatini's another. Both were very good-bring your appetite for Sabatinis! The food at the International Cafe was good. It is mostly small things for breakfast and desserts, but all were very good. The pizza is amazing and we tried to eat it as often as possible, but there is only so much food one can eat. SERVICEOur cabin steward Ferdinand was great and our room was always taken care of. Our wait staff in the main dining room, Catalina and Donja were excellent, and gave above and beyond service. One area I thought lacked good service was the staff at some of the bars and international cafe. For example, while we were sitting watching a comedy show, a lady came up and said her martini did not taste right. The guy looked at her, and said "Whats wrong with it"? She said it tasted like sour milk-yuck. He took it, made a new one and handed it to her and turned around. I would repeatedly see bar staff serve people without saying a word and heaven forbid someone should put in a special request. At the international cafe, we would order blended coffee drinks with the liquid sugar. Out of our 13 coffees we got the sugar 7 times, and two or three of those times we had to remind them to put it in. The other four times, we just weren't paying attention. Anyway, before we booked our cruise, we were sold by friends that Princess had the best food and service. I would agree that Princess had great food, and some great service, but overall I give the service a 6 of 10. EntertainmentAs I said before, we found plenty of things to do. We saw comedian Cary Long who was very funny, in fact much funnier than the other comedian on board. Movies under the stars was a very nice way to end some nights. The wife and I played bingo and won! The Princess dancers and singers were just average to us, but we are not really into musicals. Another disappointment to us was the music. Out by the pool, we expected the Caribbean band to sing Caribbean music, not Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Even when the band wasn't playing(they only played an hour a day) the music was boring. We really enjoyed the culinary show with Chef Giuseppe and Maitre D Neville. They were actually really funny and the galley tour was very interesting. Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise(impossible not to) and plan to cruise again sometime. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My wife and I just got back from a march break Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Crown Princess. We have sailed with Princess before (Star Princess), and the 2 ships are almost identical, and overall, I can highly recommend Princess; it ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from a march break Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Crown Princess. We have sailed with Princess before (Star Princess), and the 2 ships are almost identical, and overall, I can highly recommend Princess; it was another amazing vacation. Here is a quick breakdown:Transportation to Port Everglades: We had a rental car and came from Miami. We dropped it off at the Miami Road location in Fort Lauderdale because they offer a free shuttle to the port. The airport drop-off location does not. Keep that in mind. The shuttle also picked us up after the cruise and took us to the car rental location, which was great. Just be sure to ask the attendants at the port where the shuttle pick up is. We had no problems, but a couple we met waited 2 1/2 hours because the shuttle didn't stop in front of where their ship docked.Ship Info: I'm sure that there are flashier ships, but I thought the Crown Princess was great. Beautiful piazza, lots of great bars, pools, and things to do. You can't go wrong.Activities & Entertainment: Lots of things to do. We had seen a lot of the shows before on the previous cruise, so we watched more movies (great under the stars), did trivia challenges, etc.Service: The service was great. We didn't run into anyone who provided even mediocre service. Like Celebrity, we find that Princess excels in this category.Port and Shore Excursions: I'll write more detailed port reviews, but I'll say here that we really liked Roatan, and you can't go wrong booking with Victor Bodden Tours. Grand Cayman also had some cool highlights, and Cozumel and Princess Cays were relaxing beach breaks for us.Dining: This is one of the highlights of the cruise, as always. The food in the dining room was great every night, and there were a few dishes that were truly exceptional. I can't imagine anyone could find fault with the food. Nobody that we talked to on the ship had anything bad to say.Summary: Overall, another great experience on Princess and I can highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My husband and I recently spent a week on the Crown in the Western Caribbean and I thought I'd share my view of the trip. We are an early 50's couple; it was my 4th cruise and my husband's first; previously I cruised with my ... Read More
My husband and I recently spent a week on the Crown in the Western Caribbean and I thought I'd share my view of the trip. We are an early 50's couple; it was my 4th cruise and my husband's first; previously I cruised with my sister, because my husband thought he would not like cruising. Since we live in the northeast we went to FLL the day before the cruise; we stayed at the Riverview Hotel downtown on Los Olas Boulevard. People bid to get rooms near the beach and cruise port, and initially I thought I'd like to be near the beach so that we could go there on the morning before the cruise. I got the room at a great price through a Priceline bid and was very glad I ended up downtown because it was cool on Saturday AM, so I would not have gone to the beach anyway. The upside was that we had a great meal right next door at the Cheesecake Factory, which was great because we got to the hotel a little late (almost 8:30 PM) so we didn't have to go in search of a meal. We have a Cheesecake Factory where we live and it's not where I would typically eat (I prefer small, local restaurants) and I was pleasantly surprised. In the morning I got a walk in on the boulevard and found a nice coffee shop for espresso and breakfast rolls. The hotel staff was fun and upbeat and we enjoyed them very much. On Saturday AM we got a cab from the hotel to the cruise port, and we had the driver take us to Total Wine, where I made a mad dash through the store getting a couple of bottles of wine and some beer to carry on. When we got to the port about 1 PM we got right onboard; it took about 10 minutes total to drop our bags with the Princess dock staff, fill out the medical clearance form, go to the check in desk and present our boarding documents and credit card, get our cruise cards, and board the ship. If there is one thing Princess does well it's embarkation and disembarkation at the beginning and end of the cruise (not so much at the tender ports, but more on that later). We had an aft balcony cabin on Caribe deck and this was the best cabin I have ever had. It was large and there was a suite to our right and no cabin to our left, so we had a view in two directions off the balcony. Even on our most rough periods on the ocean I didn't find this location challenging in terms of upsetting my stomach; there was a hum from the engines that we found pleasant. Since everyone comments on the beds I'll say we found it very comfortable and we sleep on a futon mattress at home; I thought the sheets felt like a high thread count soft cotton that were great at the end of the day or for a couple of lovely afternoon naps. I went to the sail away party to get the drink special (yummy mango and rum) and listen to the band for a bit; my husband and I sat on our balcony together for the actual sailing and enjoyed watching the port disappear and the sun going down over Fort Lauderdale. We were on our way! We had dinner in the buffet which was fine, but not memorable and went to the Welcome Aboard show, which was an overview of the entertainment of the week to come. We are not big on the production shows and this show served to convince us not to go to those events throughout the week (although the house band is quite good in all its incarnations), but we did enjoy the portion by comedian Miguel Washington and made a point to see him later in the week. We spent some time wandering the ship; I had been on the Caribbean Princess before and the two ships are similar, so it didn't take me long to get oriented, but it took my husband several days to feel like he knew the ship well. We went to sleep pretty early, but spent some time additional balcony time before we went to bed. Sunday was a sea day, and we went to the buffet for breakfast. I love the muesli cereal and ate a portion almost every morning; I wish I could get mine to have that creamy yet grainy texture plus crunchy (previously dried) fruit. We ate on the deck behind Cafe Caribe and it was sunny, but cool; this trip made me realize that other than Mexico, the Western Caribbean itineraries are too cool for me at this time of year. The first day is a straight run down the Atlantic around Cuba to Grand Cayman and of course it was sunny, but I needed a light jacket to enjoy the deck. We had a Cruise Critic gathering in the Adagio Bar, where we were provided with a location to meet only; guests purchased drinks of their choice. We did have a lovely surprise in the form of a drop in by Captain Nick Nash, who was very personable and happy to allow his picture to be captured. He mentioned that he used to get an invitation to CC gatherings aboard ship, but that he only happened upon our occasion while making the rounds of his vessel. I have arranged CC parties before and recall one occasion in which I took the time to send notes to a number of the staff the day before (the party was on a second full day with more time to get notes out) and we had a very nice turn-out including Captain Nash, some of the purser's and Cruise Director's staff and a senior chef. Certainly there was a member of the ship's staff who arranged for our party's location and she may have actually let Captain Nash know that we were meeting. It was fun to meet people that I'd been talking to for weeks, and to then see some of them throughout the ship as the week progressed. I had a massage planned for the afternoon, and my husband enjoyed the balcony and found his way to the first of many art auctions while I got the massage and spent some time in the hot tub and spa pool. This was our first formal night, and we enjoyed dressing up for dinner; I haven't seen my husband in a tux in a long while! We had dinner in the DaVinci dining room (anytime dining) and the place was in chaos getting people seated. We were given a buzzer and told the wait was about 30 minutes; after about 40 minutes wandering the art gallery we went back to the dining room because we had not been recalled yet. We found couples who had signed in behind us being seated when we arrived, and expected to be seated with them as we had volunteered to be seated with others. We were not asked to join the group however, and when the headwaiter returned to his station my husband questioned him; we were asked to step aside for a couple of minutes while he consulted his seating chart, then we were led to a table for two. His assistant for the evening, a young woman, seemed to be quite distraught over the wait people were experiencing, and the headwaiter admonished her for not following his direction; I thought he was a little bit harsh as she was clearly learning the role, but they both seemed stressed by the situation. I have read that recently Princess has allowed people who have chosen traditional dining to go to their assigned dining time or to drop in on the anytime dining if they missed or chose not to go to their assigned time (and therefore assigned dining room). IF this is true, then one can imagine how this stresses the ability to seat the anytime diners within the capacity of the room; in my opinion (again if this is being allowed and is causing the problem) then Princess should not allow fixed dining time passengers to eat in the anytime dining room, but should send them to the buffet. They were tracking our room number when we signed in, so I wondered if they were checking anytime dining room use by passengers who were supposed to be eating at a fixed time in the Michelangelo Dining room. This was one of only 3 nights that we ate in the main dining room; the other two were a night when the menu appealed to us and the second formal night. The rest of the time we went to the buffet, because we felt that a consequence of over demand of the dining room was that we were rushed through our meal. I want to linger over each course for a few minutes and enjoy the company of newly met passengers, but felt that overly aggressive table service was intended to move us along. One benefit of the buffet was the ability to go back and forth and serve our own courses at the pace we desired and in the evening the tables in the buffet dining rooms were dressed with cloths and utensils so it was pleasant. We began a strategy of finding a bigger table than we needed and inviting others to join us; this resulted in some very pleasant and unhurried meals. One other comment about the food in general; I believe that overall the quality of food that I have experienced over 4 Princess cruises since 2006 has declined. I found much of it to be unimaginative, found fewer ethnic options, and thought much of it was very salty (I don't avoid salt to any great degree at home, but I salt food to taste at the table and don't use much while I cook). In my previous experience one could ask for something like escargot every night if they wished and although one might not get it the first night, once the waiter had the heads up for your desire you could have it every night for the rest of the cruise if you asked. Requests such as these were met with a pretty blunt no we can't do that, not the previous attitude of do anything one could to make the passenger happy. Between the level of service, the beauty of the food's presentation and creative options in the dining room on past cruises I would have always gone to the dining room; this time I felt that the buffet was an equal and often better option. We didn't choose to eat in the specialty dining rooms; we are not steak house kind of people and my husband thinks that we cook Italian quite well ourselves, so Sabatini's didn't appeal to him. I have eaten there on a previous cruise and enjoyed the tastes, but felt it was too much (very delicious) food. Before I close my discussion of the food, let me say that I recognize several things: first, that I am eating in a situation where food is being mass produced for a large number of people and second, that food quality is a very subjective assessment. Most diners around us seemed very happy with their meals, and you may be too. We were happy at every meal to have so many options, to be served, and not have to clean up! That said, I am basing my assessment on previous Princess cruises, two on this size ship, and I felt there was a decline in quality based on my own experience. Between this and the rushed service, we have decided to try another cruise line for our next cruise, before I decide that I am going to become a lifer on Princess. On Monday we were in Grand Cayman; on a previous trip there I went on a very nice snorkel and kayak excursion. This time we went on the pirate boat excursion; it was silly (nicely appealing to the kids on board). I would have preferred to have some actual information imparted about the pirating history in the region mixed with the silliness (which got better over rum punch), and I would have been happier if we'd been taken somewhere to swim that was actually also a good place to snorkel. I had my gear with me, but we were only a short distance from the ship in an area too deep to see much in the way of sea life. Afterward we did a little shopping to find my husband some swim trunks, and then went back to the ship for tea, which was lovely as always. If you haven't discovered the daily tea, it's a great way to have a decent afternoon snack after an excursion without over-eating too close to dinner time. On this evening we went to see comic Miguel Washington; he and my husband got into a bit of banter which we thought quite funny. We enjoyed his performance very much and afterward we retired to our balcony with a bottle of champagne that my husband won at an art auction; it was Valentine's Day and we had a lovely evening under the stars. On Tuesday we docked at Roatan; unfortunately most of the excursions had been cancelled due to 36 hours of rain which had washed out many roads. We were supposed to go to an area of mangroves to kayak and snorkel and I was very disappointed to have our tour cancelled as I had never been to Roatan before and it was a factor in my decision to take this particular cruise. Unfortunately no one can control the weather or its resultant issues; I didn't try to book any other excursions so I can't comment in whether or not they were able to accommodate people into other trips. Roatan has the requisite shopping area at the dock, but there is a real effort to mix big chains (Diamonds International, Del Sol, and etcetera) with shops owned by local people. I bought a beautiful pottery vase and my husband bought a few local items as well. We then walked to the beach (not a far distance and a pretty walk with lots of sensitive plant and flowers along the way) and sat on the dock for a couple of hours. We chatted with a couple who work on the ship; they pointed out to us that the water was very muddy from the rain, and that usually they are able to sit on the dock and see a variety of fish. We returned to the ship early and had lunch; after that I went to have a workout in the gym and hubby enjoyed the balcony. After dinner we went to watch "The Social Network" movie at MUTS, then went to the "Have You Seen It?" trivia game. This was enjoyable, but we were in over our heads; with many teams having up to 10 people it was easier for them to come up with the answers than the two of us and after the game we retired to our stateroom. On Wednesday we docked in Cozumel; for the two of us this was our most enjoyable day. We took an excursion booked through the ship with "Sun and Fun Tours;" our guide was a young man named Miguel, who was absolutely delightful! We went to a group shop full of work by local artisans, then to Tulum for a tour that was too short and to a beach in the afternoon for a swim. Our guide was clearly knowledgeable about Mayan history, as well as other cultures such as Native Americans, Incans, and Egyptians and how their cultures compared to one another. He was also clearly very proud of his Hispanic culture, and as disappointed as we are that his country is generally unsafe for tourists at this time in its history. When I do feel safe there I will enquire about Sun & Fun Tours and request this young man as our guide-he was that fabulous! We knew the tour would be too short, as all the ship's tours are; this is only a "taste" of a country and culture, and in my opinion one must approach cruise travel that way or otherwise be frequently disappointed. We spent several hours in the afternoon at Playa Paridiso, a beautiful beach with minimal waves, and a reef not far offshore. There were boats willing to take one to the reef for an opportunity to snorkel, but we didn't have enough time. We had a lovely swim and lunch was provided; if you wanted an alcohol drink it was available from vendors walking the beach. If you take this tour and have a problem with seasickness, go prepared for the ferry ride between Cozumel and mainland Mexico, which made me a bit green in the AM; on the way back I took a seat outside which was much better. In case you don't know it, being outdoors in a breeze and/or looking at the horizon can both help if you have a bout of seasickness, but best is a dose of anti-nausea medication before you depart. This evening after dinner we went to see comedian Tony Daro; he was also very funny and despite his banter with Miguel Washington, my husband actually thought that this comedian was slightly funnier. We are not both late-nighters, I tend to be up later than my husband at home, but in general we didn't stay up late on the ship. We so enjoyed our balcony that we frequently went there after a show (9:30-10 PM-ish) and had a drink on the balcony under the stars; we had beer and wine in the cabin and our delightful stewardess was happy to provide us with appropriate glasses daily. Thursday was a sea day, and our second formal night. During this day we spent time at the art auction and I worked out and used the spa facilities. We went to tea and the afternoon trivia challenge, and had a lovely dinner in the dining room with four delightful folks we met that evening. We went to try to play the newlywed, not-so-newlywed game, but apparently you had to go sign in and appeal to the CD staff to be allowed to play. They chose 3 couples, one who were relatively newlywed (less than 2 years), another couple who'd been married about 7-8 years and a couple who'd been married a long time (40+ years) to play. Although the game was quite funny, I was very disappointed that the questions were the same ones that I'd heard the last time I'd watched the game being played 2 or 3 years ago. If my husband and I could have played we might have done well because I could have told him what to expect. Seriously, is the CD (who led the game at both of my viewings) or whoever planned the game so unimaginative that they could not come up with a new set of questions once a year? It was a cute game, but not as fun as it would have been with new questions for those who'd seen the game before. We were back on our balcony enjoying the breezes and sky by 11 PM. Friday was our day at Princess Cay; the first bump in the day was the overhead announcement that there was an hour-plus wait for a tender to shore. My advice if you hear this is to go to the assigned location to pick up your tender tickets; you must go with your entire group together to get them. After receiving your tickets go have breakfast and by the time you get back you might be close to your assigned tender time. We made the mistake of going to breakfast when we heard the announcement then went to the assigned dining room assuming that the lines would have cleared. Unfortunately we got tickets but were told that our wait was going to be 45 minutes; we went back to our room for about 40 minutes and when we went back we got right into line because they had just called our group. Based on observation I would guess that if you returned after your tender group had been called then you'd be allowed to get into line, but I can't be certain of that. If you are very concerned about that I would ask if they will allow you to get in line when you return if you group has already been called, or if they will make you get new tickets. As a result of the long lines we didn't get to the island until about 11:00; when we got there we walked the area's boardwalk and found a spot in chairs on the beach and fairly close to the buffet. I went into the water with my own snorkel gear and saw a lot of great fish and coral, but unfortunately there were a lot of people in the small snorkel area and they were kicking up a lot of sand. This greatly diminished my visibility at intervals and since this was my only good snorkel opportunity this trip I was disappointed. I came out of the water for the two of us to get lunch; it was a pleasant but routine experience of salads, barbecued meats and vegetables, and desserts. My favorite part was the fruit salad, which had a lot of watermelon and mango. After lunch I had planned to go to the other snorkel area where I thought there might be fewer swimmers, however it began to rain. My husband took shelter with his iPod, and I wandered through the shops. By the time that the rain cleared it was a little after 2 PM, and the ship's staff was planning on our last tender leaving the island at 3 PM, so I felt it was unwise to go into the water again. The line to the tender was very long and we sat on a bench as the sun returned and listened to the music and watched until the line diminished. Once we got into it we were on a tender within 10 minutes and back to the ship in another 10-15 minutes. I had heard a lot about how wonderful Princess Key is and had actually been scheduled to go there on two previous cruises, but had gotten there neither time because the weather prevented tender use. Having been there now I would be inclined not to go there again as I felt there was nothing special about it and I would have been just as happy on the ship, but it wasn't an unpleasant day. I thought it strange that the island's bars closed at least 1-1 ½ hours before the last tender given the potential income from drink sales, because this caused people to get in line (which may have been the point); we weren't drinking, but when the bars closed the tender lines became very long immediately. I think leaving them open longer might have helped to smooth the flow into the tender lines. Another comment about the tender situation; there was passenger-driven discussion on the island suggesting that the reason for the slow transport to the island in the morning had to do with the ability to get only a few tenders into the small dockage area with a tide that was low. Many people were angry and frustrated with the long wait for a tender to get to the island; I certainly would have preferred to have gone at 9:30 AM when I was ready rather than wait so long. Like the dining room situation I think that Princess misses opportunities to improve customer satisfaction; information helps people to understand the reasons for waiting and what is being done to resolve it. IF it were true that the low tide and limitations of the dock area prevented the flow of tenders then telling us that and what was being done to improve the situation would have gone a long way to assuage the anger in the dining room at being asked to wait so long. All I saw that morning was a lot of chaos (like the dining room on the first formal night) and a lot of angry people without any effort to provide information to the customers. As a nurse practitioner in the emergency room I know full well the impact of making rounds to each of my patients once an hour to give them an update: they feel as though people care about their needs and their wait time, and want them to feel included. If Princess used this customer model I would have been a much happier passenger. We had a lovely final dinner after packing for departure and when we returned to the cabin after our meal our luggage had already disappeared from the hallway. Went spent a delightful last evening on our balcony. On Saturday morning we had breakfast at the buffet. We then waited at the international cafe and got one last cappuccino on our coffee cards. This was well worth the expense to have great coffee; you could order a specialty coffee in the buffet and the wait staff would retrieve it from the International Cafe, except on the morning of our departure. When it was time to leave we went into the dining room and got into the line for our disembarkation group as it was called. We got into the building where our luggage was in an area by color groups and had only minimal difficulty find our suitcases. We passed quickly through customs and were directed outside to a bus that would take us to the airport. FYI, if you need to use a restroom as you are getting off the ship do so before you disembark; the bus had a restroom but it was not to be used and when we got to the airport we were asked to stay on the full bus while they unloaded the luggage. In frustration I finally got off the bus and walked a long way to find one within the airport-so don't make my mistake, LOL! Overall we had a great vacation and there were many things to be enjoyed; we came home having purchased a few paintings at the art auctions and these will be lasting and cherished items from our vacation. My husband had a great enough time that he can't wait to cruise again, and we are staring to investigate a trip in February of next year. I hope that this review will be helpful to you and I am happy to answer any questions you may have if I am able. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
It's a long review, if you want to skip to the end I did a little summary for those of you who don't want to read the whole thing. Pre-Cruise Hotel We stayed at the Cambria Suites Fort Lauderdale. We had booked a ... Read More
It's a long review, if you want to skip to the end I did a little summary for those of you who don't want to read the whole thing. Pre-Cruise Hotel We stayed at the Cambria Suites Fort Lauderdale. We had booked a king suite for $150/night. The room was very nice; it had a separate sitting area with a second tv. The bathroom was beautiful with a nice big shower. There were a few patches on the wall that you could only notice cause the paint didn't quiet match. Other then that everything was nice and clean. They do have a nice little restaurant on site which offers room service. They also offer a breakfast buffet for $8. It looked really good but was too much for me so I just had a bagel. They offer free airport shuttle and cruise port shuttle. You book the cruise port shuttle when you check in. Embarkation Embarkation was a breeze. We had the 10:00 shuttle which left a little before 10, we were at the port by 10:10. Doors opened at 10:30 and we were in the first group. Check in started about 11:30. We were on the ship and in our room by 11:50. The MDR was open but we didn't eat there. My DH wanted me to show him around before eating. We decided to eat at the buffet and went there around 1:00. It was a total madhouse. It was very crowded and I wound up grabbing a few things and getting out of there. I would recommend bypassing the horizon court buffet and going to the Cafe Caribe buffet at the back of the ship. We went there a couple times for breakfast and it was a much smaller line. I wish I had know about it on embarkation day. After lunch we walked around the ship some more and spent some time sitting on the balcony. Our suitcases showed up one at a time and I got them unpacked and organized as they came. Our last suitcase didn't arrive until 5:30. I'm glad it arrived then cause I didn't have any shoes or hair supplies to get ready for dinner. We had the early seating at 6:00. I found this time worked much better for me then the late dining I had on the last cruise. After dinner we went to karaoke and then walked around the ship a bit more. We went to the buffet right before closing to get a snack. They had lobster claws, shrimp and mussels so I'm assuming it was the seafood buffet some people ask about. Day 2 - Sea Day We woke up at nine and went for breakfast in the buffet. I didn't really enjoy it so we opted for room service a couple times after that. I went to the cruise critic meet and mingle at 10:00. Thanks to the Weebles for organizing everything. We did a gift exchange at the meet and greet and everyone seemed to have a great time. Captain Nick Nash showed up to our M&M and we all thought it was great. He is a very personable captain and is very funny as well. He said the company does watch Cruise Critic and gives them a run down on what is being said on the board. After the M&M I went to the $10 sale. I did get a watch but wasn't interested in most of the other items. Since I didn't enjoy the buffet on embarkation day we decided to try the MDR for lunch. I really enjoyed it and it wasn't nearly as long as dinner in the MDR. After lunch we went for a short swim, took a walk around the sun deck and relaxed on our balcony. We got ready for formal night early and went to get pictures done. We had lots of pictures taken and then went to dinner. After dinner we went to see "Destination Anywhere". I did enjoy it but I thought some parts were pretty cheesy, namely the moon skit and the Vegas skit. I did really enjoy the London skit and the Africa skit though. After the show we saw the comedian Troy Thirdgill. He was very funny, my stomach hurt from laughing so much. We didn't go to the buffet but I was told the next day that they had crab legs. I love crab legs so I'm sorry I missed that one. Day 3 - Grand Cayman Woke up to room service at 9:00. We had breakfast on the balcony and then went to get a tender. We got to the Michelangelo dining room around 10 and only had to wait about 5 - 10 mins for the tender. We had the submarine excursion booked here but decided to cancel it. A friend of mine told me it wasn't that great and my DH was not crazy about it anyway. We decided to just go shopping instead. Most of the stores were jewellery stores and I had no interest in that. We went to a few souvenir shops and just walked around for a bit. We walked to the dock and got right on a tender with no waiting. When we got back to the ship we ate lunch in the MDR again. This time we ate alone and got one of the 2 tops that were only a foot apart. It was a little weird cause the other couple were really close. After lunch we went for a long swim in the spa pool. There wasn't many people there since a lot of people were still in port. After swimming we went to the International Cafe and had a snack. We relaxed on our balcony and then for ready for dinner. Our waiters were very friendly most of the time but I didn't like a comment he made at dinner. I had tried an appetizer the night before and didn't like it so I sent it back. Tonight at dinner I ordered an entrEe I should have liked but I didn't. When I told him I didn't like it he told me that when I was ordering tomorrow he was going to tell me if I would like it and suggest something different for me. It made me a little mad, I like trying new things on a cruise and was hesitant to try something new after that. I had sent things back on my last cruise and nothing was ever said to me. I don't think sending two things back in unreasonable. I could understand if I was sending stuff back every night, which I was not. After dinner we went to the Family Feud Show. It started off a little slow but got much better after the first teams. I really wanted to participate but my DH wasn't up for it. After family feud we went back to the cabin and sat on the balcony for a while before the Ultimate Deck Party. I enjoyed the deck party. They had the dancers up for about 10 minutes and then they got everyone to join in. We stayed for about 30 mins and then went back to the cabin. Day 4 - Roatan We woke up to a beautiful view of Roatan from the balcony. We had room service delivered but the sun was way to hot to eat on the balcony. After we ate we got off the ship. It was about 10:00 and our excursion was leaving at 11:45 so we had some time to explore the port. Mahogany Bay is a beautiful port. We took the chair lift to the beach and back. It was a really nice ride and I got some beautiful pictures. The chair lift was $12 pp. I thought it was a little expensive but it was fun. We didn't stop at the beach but it looked like a beautiful beach. I would love to visit there again. We did a little shopping and found a nice store that sold t-shirts for $5.99. I don't remember the name of it but it was to the left of the fountain and across from Del Sol. It's not that hard to find it and they sold kids sizes as well. I was able to get a size 2 for my nephew which I couldn't find anywhere else. Our excursion was the Gumbalimba Preservation Park. We took and air conditioned bus. It took us 45 mins to get there. The driver was great and stopped a couple times for us to get pictures. There was lots of walking involved and it was about an hour and a half tour. They warned us about the monkeys and advised us not to bring bags with us cause they can open zippers. They conveniently had lockers there for us to rent at $3 a locker. We walked around a man made replica of a pirates cave and walked across a suspension bridge. It was a little scary but cool as well. We got to have a parrot put on our shoulder. They take lots of pictures and you can buy your pictures at the end for $10 pp. The parrot pulled the knob off the top of an older mans baseball cap and the button off of another mans shirt. It was kind of funny that they didn't warn us about the parrots since the monkeys didn't take anything from us but the parrots did. We then went to the Monkey area and had our pictures taken with a monkey on our shoulder. At the end of the tour you could stay and visit the beach. At your leisure you could take a bus back to ship. We took the first bus back and they took us through the town which was only a 30 min ride. After dinner we went to see "What a Swell Party". It was advertised as a tongue in cheek look at the Cole Porter Era. I'm sure it was a good show but it was not really my thing. After the show we went to the 50's & 60's dance party for a bit. They were having a hula hoop competition that was fun to watch. We left there and listened to the band playing in the wheelhouse bar. I can't remember the name of it but they were really good. Day 5 - Cozumel We had an early excursion at 7:45. We grabbed a quick bite in the buffet and left the ship around 7:15. Our excursion was the ATV and beach tour. We finally left the port at 8:00 after waiting 15 mins for two people who were late to the meeting point. We took a bus to the ranch, it didn't have A/C but it had lots of fans and it was pretty cool inside. When we got to the ranch we watched a 5 min video on safety, put on our bandana's and helmets and we were off. They take you in two groups, the faster ones at the front and slower or newbies at the back. It was about a 45 - 60 min ride over very bumpy terrain. We made a stop about half way through at a Mayan ruin. It looked like a big pike of rocks but it was a nice break. They supplied water to everyone and first aid to me. I wound up with two blisters on my hand from the handles. I would definitely recommend driving gloves for people not used to ATV'ing. After I already had the blisters one of the guides gave me his gloves which I thought was very nice. After the tour you could purchase the pictures they took of us. There was one at the begging and one of us on the ATV's. We paid $20 for two pictures but it was worth it. We boarded the bus and they took us to a really nice beach bar where we were served a complimentary lunch buffet and gave about 2 hours to relax and enjoy the beach. The bar was called Punta Marina (I hope I'm spelling that right). They had lots of shaded chairs, about 8 hammocks hanging in the shade and an area for massages. I took some pictures and spent some time in the hammocks. I like them so much I had to buy one from the store in front. Our guide told us we would be back to the boat by 12:30 but due to a late start and a late return of the bus we didn't get back until 1:30. We stopped at the duty free store and headed back to the ship. We went for a swim in the spa pool which was very very warm. It felt more like bath water. We watched sail away from our balcony and then went to dinner. After dinner we went to see Las Vegas Hypnotist Kellie Karl. It was a pretty funny show. There were a few people that were goofing around and I wish she had of removed them from the stage. It would have made the show much better. I did see a man that was part of the show and asked him if he was really hypnotized and he said no, he was just good at playing along. It was funny regardless. After the show we went to "Have you seen it movie trivia." The crew act out scenes from a movie and you need to identify the movie and answer a trivia question. It was much harder then I thought it would be. Day 6 - At sea I had the Ultimate Ships Tour this day and met up with 4 other people from Cruise Critic. It was nice to know someone on the tour since my DH didn't want to participate in the your with me. Our first stop was in the Princess Theatre where we watched a couple minutes of lights and got to hear the backstage cues that you don't normally hear. They then took us up on stage and showed us what it looked like when all the lights were on and explained to us about the lifts and props they use. It was very rocky that day and I had trouble standing still on the stage. It definitely gave me new respect for the dancers. I have no idea how they can dance when the ship is moving like that. They took us down into the dancers' dressing room which was pretty small. From there we went to the mooring station at the front of the ship. It was interesting to see the huge ropes they anchor the ship with. He explained that the anchor chain was what held the ship in place as opposed to just the anchor. I can't remember the numbers but the chain is much heavier then the anchor itself. Next on the tour was the galley where we got to meet the chef. He talked about the food that was served and how many staff they have. We had a non-alcoholic drink and some chocolate covered strawberries. They showed us the bakery which smelled wonderful and told us they bake bread 3 times a day. They then took us down to where the food and alcohol was stored. It was pretty interesting to see the crew areas of the ship. From there we went to the laundry on deck 2. It was a little weird knowing we were under the water line. I wondered why they would take us to the laundry and didn't think it would be interesting. I was wrong, besides the bridge it was the most interesting part of the tour. They only wash and dry the towels, everything else is washed and put through this huge machine that dries, presses and folds it all at once. It's very interesting to watch. They also have a towel folding machine for when they are dry. At the end of that tour we were in a big storage room with all the clean linen. I noticed a pallet of laundry with a "For Donation" sign on it. I asked about it and was told that Princess donates all the bed sheets, pillows and duvet covers they can no longer us to the people of Roatan. They also donate deck chairs they no longer need. I had seen a bunch of deck chairs with laundry on them when we were leaving Roatan and wondered what it was all about. I was very happy to hear about the donations. From there we went to the print shop, photo lab and engine control room. They were interesting to see but nothing spectacular. We also went to the medical center and I was impressed with all the things they have. The doctor explained that they can perform surgery onboard if they needed. They also have a morgue on board if needed. As this point or tour was running late and our next stop was the bridge. We got to meet Captain Nash and he talked to us for about 30 mins. He showed us all the gadgets used to navigate the ship and showed us the wheel that they can use manually if they need to. I was very surprised at how small it was. It was much smaller then a car steering wheel. Captain Nash was very friendly and personable. He answered all our questions and seemed happy to do it. We got our picture taken and headed out to Adagio for champagne, or pop for those of us who don't drink. Our guide Alicia sat and talked to us for a while, she answered all our questions about the crew and life on the ship. I would have loved to talk to her more but I was cutting it close for our second formal dinner. After dinner we went to see the show Motor City, it was pretty good. My DH really enjoyed the music. We left there and went to the Newlywed, Not so Newlywed show. It was funny to watch and a definite must see. We then went to see comedian Cory ???. He was funny but not as funny as Troy Thirdgill. Day 7 - Princess Cays We went down to get a tender around 11. It took us about 20 mins to get a tender and we were on shore just after 11:30. We went to the BBQ buffet and had a bite to eat. We talked around the beach for a while and then my DH went back to the ship while I rented a sea board. I thought it would be nice since I can't snorkel without my glasses. I found the yellow sea board to be vey tippy and I got nervous. I didn't wind up seeing any fish and took the board back early. I then took a tender back to the ship. I started packing but then decided to go to the last Bingo. After bingo I only had time enough to get ready for dinner and left my packing until after dinner. That was a big mistake. I was running around like crazy after dinner trying to pack. The ship was really rocking that night and I wound up sea sick from all the movement. We had planned on catching the last show but I took some gravol and went to bed. Disembarkation We were in the second group to disembark without carrying our luggage. We met in the casino at 8:00, grabbed our luggage and took the princess transfer to the airport. We were there about 8:45 (I think anyway) Our flight was supposed to be 11:00 but it was changed to 11:25. Even without the change it would have been no problem. We were through security and waiting at the gate in no time at all. I wouldn't recommend walking off with your luggage unless you only have one bag each. When you get off you will have to take an escalator and they stand at the top and tell you that you need to keep one hand on the rail. We had too much luggage for that. We opted for the transfer cause when we arrived at the port there was a long line of people waiting for cabs. There was no line up for cabs when we got off so you could easily take a cab. It would probably be faster since we had to wait for all the luggage to be loaded and then unloaded onto the bus. Sorry for the long review but I've never written one of these before and didn't want to miss anything. In summary we had a great trip and my DH is now hooked on cruising. The staff was fantastic. The only problem we had was with our waiter one night as mentioned and with a bit of a rude waitress in Club Fusion on two nights. I would defiantly recommend a balcony; I don't think I will ever get my DH to book an inside. He really enjoyed the quiet of our own balcony. We really enjoyed the warm cookies everyday at the IC around 3:30 and the chicken salad is a definite must try. My favorite port was Roatan and I would love to visit there again. The Ultimate Ships tour was excellent and I would definitely reccomend it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
January 29, 2011 Western Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess Background: This was our ninth cruise overall and the sixth in the past 20 months. The five previous recent cruises have been on Celebrity (3) and HAL (2). We are a ... Read More
January 29, 2011 Western Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess Background: This was our ninth cruise overall and the sixth in the past 20 months. The five previous recent cruises have been on Celebrity (3) and HAL (2). We are a couple in our early 50's traveling with another couple of about the same age. I am a customer service manager by profession and therefore lapses in serving us (the customer) really annoy me. Conversely, I am as quick to praise excellent service. This review is in the form of a log, with a few random thoughts thrown in as I tried to keep it up during the cruise. If you just want the summary, scroll down to the end. Embarkation: We stayed the night before the cruise at the Homewood Suites in Dania beach. The room was very nice but breakfast a disappointment. Crowded and the hot food was cold. A quick cab ride brought us to the port about 10:20 AM. Luggage was immediately taken and we were whisked through security. It appears we were about the 45th or so to arrive who were not "Elite" as they sat us in rows. We were in boarding group one. Processing began at about 11:45 and within 5 minutes we were on board. Initial reactions to the Crown are that it is a beautiful ship. We are very impressed with the artwork and overall appearance of the ship. Our friends we were traveling with were in boarding group 2 but were on board within 5 minutes after we were. Upon boarding a string quintet was playing in the Piazza, we would see them many times throughout the cruise and always enjoyed their performance. After some cabin photos of our cabin A311, a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck (#12), we began to explore the ship. We had determined on cruise critic and it was confirmed in the welcome aboard Princess Patter that one of the dining rooms was open for an embarkation lunch. The Patter listed the times as 12:00 - 1:30 and we arrived at the DiVinci dining room about 1:00 PM. The person at the door tried to discourage us by saying that they had many back-to-back guests and they were reserving the DiVinci for those guests. After seeing our reluctance to retreat to the lido buffet, they welcomed us in. We are very glad we persisted as this was by far the best embarkation lunch we have enjoyed on any of our 9 cruises to date, and a promising start to this, our first Princess cruise. After lunch we wandered the ship some more and discovered the International Cafe. We also met our cabin steward and obtained a coffee card. The muster drill was the usual thing - Princess makes you bring your life jackets and only put them on at the end of the drill. After the muster our cruise critic group had arranged an informal sail away meet and greet and the aft bar. This was very well attended and this week the Crown was one of the earlier ships out of Port Everglades so we really enjoyed watching many other cruise ships follow in our wake. We were surprised that the beverage prices seemed as high as or higher than we have recently witnessed on Celebrity. We have fixed 6:00 PM seating and although had requested a table for 4 were seated at a table for 6. Our other dining companions are a very pleasant older couple. After the fabulous lunch perhaps our expectations were raised too high as dinner was not of the same caliber. I asked for an end cut of the Prime Rib and in 9 cruises this was the first time I have ever sent a dinner plate back to the galley as the meat was so tough to be inedible. Without my bringing it up, I heard the same comment from at least four others during the cruise (about this same Prime Rib, same dinner). It was quickly replaced with the Filet Medallions and they were adequate. The assistant waiter apparently has the job to up sell beverages and wine. There are no sommeliers in the dining room, a change from our experience on Celebrity and HAL. There is no dessert presentation (a tray with samples of each dessert) and we found that to be greatly missed. It's just not the same ordering off a menu and needing to ask "What is this exactly?" all the time. We found a great band in the Wheelhouse bar and were able to get in a dance. During our dance, however, someone cleared away my wife's special (alcoholic and expensive) coffee of the day and my Patter. We notified a waitress who replaced the coffee mixture (but the original came from the International cafe so it was not the same) and the Patter. We attended the welcome aboard show and found the 15 minutes of real entertainment in the 45 minutes show to be quite good. The other 30 minutes we could do without. What we did not know at the time is this was the only show where the Orchestra played live music which the singers and dancers performed to. The rest of the week the shows were essentially "Karaoke." After the show, we found our way up to the lido deck to check out the ten o'clock "Movie under the stars." The movie was not real good but the unique (to us) experience was fun. Popcorn, pizza, and ice cream were all nearby. The next morning we found out that the buffet had a seafood feast featuring rock crab claws, which had not been advertised. That would have been much better than the dinner we had! Sunday was a sea day. We began by getting good coffee at the international cafe (this will be a standard routine) as the standard coffee in the buffet or the dining rooms is as bad as you read on cruise critic. We then went to the buffet for breakfast. I ordered a ham omelet and it was okay. I also took some French toast, waffles, assorted fruit, and 2 slices of bacon. The French toast and waffles were mediocre, not warm, and rather hard. The fruit was good, and the bacon was extremely fatty. Next time we will try the dining room. After breakfast we headed to the adult pool by the spa. It was still early so no trouble getting loungers and we enjoyed the heated freshwater pool a great deal. One of the hot tubs was too hot, the other was nice. There were one or two other couples there with us early. Next we went for more good coffee, ran into our friends, and walked the promenade deck. We browsed through some of the shops and then retreated to our cabin to enjoy our verandah. Our cabin steward came to open our two bottles of wine and we enjoyed some wine on the balcony. At noon our cruise critic meet and greet was up in Skywalker's, not an easy place to find! About 50 of us finally did locate it though, and a good time was had by all. No officer or ship's representative attended. I found this bewildering as we had over 100 on our roll call list so expecting a 50% turnout, usually when 50 "Connected" people are meeting the ship's staff would want to welcome them. Today a "Pub lunch" was offered in the Wheelhouse bar. I went with my friend to enjoy adequate fish and chips. The ladies went to the international cafe for healthy salads, and brought them up to the Wheelhouse to sit with us. All four of us decided to go to that same pool. Now of course, no loungers were available. We noticed a couple packing up to leave and after asking they confirmed they were so we got two in the shade (I need shade). The ladies found two in the sun up on the sports deck so all were happy. Later in the afternoon we took advantage of the tea service in the DiVinci dining room. That had a live keyboard player who came over to our table and asked if we had any requests. This was a very impressive touch. Tonight is the first formal night. We attended our dinner and quite frankly have never been so disappointed in a meal on a cruise. As we entered the dining room we overheard someone saying there were Lobster claws on the buffet. I asked our waiter if we could possibly be brought some Lobster claws as none of the menu appetizers were appealing, and he said that was not possible, with a lame explanation that others could see and would ask for the same thing! Well - yeah - who wouldn't want them? I don't remember what our party ordered, but after leaving the 2 hour dinner all four of us agreed to go up to the Lido to see what was available on the buffet. Sure enough, the buffet did have Lobster claws, pre-cracked, with drawn butter available, and they were delicious. We sampled various other items from the buffet, and spoke with one of the buffet dining room managers who informed us that they would again feature Lobster claws on the second formal night. Lest I forget, for dessert in the dining room I ordered a "Make your own Sundae" and it was brought out to me wrong two times. I can understand one error, but two in a row? My customer service training is that if a customer gives you a chance to "Make an error right," triple check it before making the second delivery! Monday brought us to Grand Cayman. The four of us enjoyed a reasonably quick and good dining room breakfast and obtained tender tickets about 45 minutes after the all-clear. There was no wait and we were able to go directly to our tender. We took the public bus to Cemetery Beach and enjoyed the beach and snorkeling there. Took the bus back to Georgetown and after walking around a little and seeing Margaritaville, decided we had enough and headed back to the ship. We arrived back at the ship just in time to snag 4 shady loungers by the pool and MUTS. We got lunch from the buffet and the pool grille. I think the food at the pool grille is better as I ordered a hamburger cooked to order. We didn't really watch, but heard the soundtrack from Sherlock Holmes while we relaxed. We also enjoyed the pool and hot tub, not a bad way to spend an afternoon. After previewing the dining room menu, we all agreed to do the buffet. This allowed us to participate in some other activities including a DJ "Ballroom dance" session. We followed dancing by dinner at the buffet which was okay. After dinner we went to the Wheelhouse bar where we first took advantage of the after 8 PM "Power hours" for $2.99 drinks. The band is quite good and we were able to get in a few dances. This night there was late night (10:15 is late for us!) ballroom dancing to the orchestra. They are excellent and we stayed as long as we could. Our travel mates participated in the "Super deck party" held the same evening and had a very nice time. During the evening the CD announced that due to expected wind conditions our arrival at Roatan was being moved up to 8:30 AM, and departure would also be moved up. We hoped the 26 people signed up through CC would remember our contingency plans for a time change. Tuesday we woke early in order to be at the DiVinci when they opened at 7:30. This morning we had two wonderful, happy waiters (The "Double AA" team) who made breakfast a pleasure. During breakfast however the Captain came on and announced that after conferring with the local Pilot, a decision was made that docking in Roatan was too risky due to force 7 winds and we would bypass the port. The beautiful sunny skies teased us as we now proceeded at a snail's pace towards Wednesday's call in Cozumel. This was a great disappointment as Roatan was the primary port we wanted to visit on this cruise, having not been there before. We quickly finished our breakfast and taking all our gear with us went to the lido in search of shady chairs. None could be found that were not already "Reserved" in the shade. On a hunch, I checked the spa pool and found three loungers as yet unoccupied. I put down our gear and spoke with a friendly neighbor that I just needed to get things from my room and would be right back (We were back in 5 minutes). We enjoyed the pool during the morning and then a revised Patter schedule was published. The ladies went to a Zumba class while the men went to a movie in the theater. We enjoyed lunch in the DiVinci, met the ladies at the International cafe for coffee, and relaxed away the afternoon watching a second movie on this "Extra" sea day. A few notes at this point, not quite half-way through the cruise. The Crown is a beautiful ship, in some ways one of the nicest decorated we have sailed on. There are 14 passenger lifts. I am finding the lifts very annoying. Being on deck 12, we take the stairs to go to the Lido (deck 15) or Sun (deck 16). Going down to decks 5, 6, or 7, however, is 5 - 7 flights. It can take up to 5 minutes for a lift to show, as most often at least one lift from each bank of lifts is out of service. When you finally get one, they stop at every deck. We have been on ships with half to two-thirds the passenger count of the Crown that have 12 lifts. If we were unable to use the stairs at all (as some of the passengers are) then waiting for lifts would truly be a great inconvenience. Tuesday evening was dinner in the dining room and our waiter is starting to show some signs of personality. Dinner was okay but at least it moved along. We danced a few in the Wheelhouse and proceeded to the Princess theater for the show at 8:05. 25 minutes before show time and the only open seats were some folding chairs added to the ends of a few of the front rows. Once the lights went out the show was so compelling that I was falling asleep, despite the uncomfortable chair! Wednesday we again woke early as we arrived in Cozumel at 7:00 AM. Enjoyed breakfast in the dining room when they opened at 7:30 and went to Chankanaab Park. We enjoyed the beach and snorkeling at Chankanaab. Returned to the ship at about 12:30 for a quick shower, quick lunch from the buffet and pool grille, (buffet choices seemed very limited) and headed downtown for the afternoon. Back onboard about 3:45 and being quite exhausted from the day feel asleep in the coolness of the cabin. Awoke to find we had missed our dinner time! Our travel mates had the same affliction. About 6:50 we went to the DiVinci dining room and explained we had missed our dinner and they were kind enough to seat us. Kudos to the dining room manager as they did not need to allow us in. We learned that tonight was the "Chef's dinner" with a limited menu however there was also a secondary menu one could obtain. Dinner was okay, but again just adequate. We told our waiter we wanted to make the 8:30 comedy show in the Explorers lounge and he got us through dinner by 8:00. We headed straight to the Explorers to find it was standing room only with not a seat to be found. On this I have to give Princess an "F" for ship planning. The public rooms and theater are simply too small for the number of passengers on board. It is silly to need to arrive 45 minutes or longer before a show to get any kind of seat, when the show length is 40 minutes. This is not our idea of a relaxing cruise vacation. Thursday was a sea day headed towards Princess Cay. We slept in, wandered the ship in the late morning and ran into one of our traveling friends in Skywalkers, where we were drinking our International Cafe coffee before trying the "Princess links" mini-golf. The International cafe is one of the best things on the ship. Most of the staff there are very happy and always serve with a smile (there was one exception, a rude young woman who made it clear to everyone that this was her last week on the ship and she can't wait to get off). Vince is a showman at heart and likes to make the coffee a production; he is fun and always ready to please. The pastries at the cafe are also usually very good. After finishing our coffee we played mini-golf. The wind made it a challenge and often seemed to affect the play. However, this was something different and it was not crowded there on deck 19! Other than the cafe, we had skipped breakfast so we headed to the DiVinci for lunch. Seeing nothing that interesting on the menu two of us ordered the burger. The burgers are rather tasty however they contain a lot of salt. I asked if I could have one without added salt and the waiter explained they are partially prepared ahead of time so to custom make one would take more than 35 minutes. Salt it is. We were seated at a table for 8 and when the entrees were served found one of our table mates had a fried seafood combination of fish, scallops, and shrimp. We swear we didn't see that on the menu (it was there but called something completely different). The waiter was good enough to bring us one of those entrees to share. It was quite good and certainly better than the last few dinners! During our lunch, our traveling friends DW had an experience that regretfully seems to characterize the customer service (or lack of it) component of this cruise. She is an avid table tennis player, and the ship hosted a mixed pair's tournament. She was paired with an 84 year old gentleman who had been playing the game for 60 years. The young woman on the cruise director's staff began by stating "These are the rules" and when questioned as they were not the normal rules of the game, threw an attitude and said "This is my game and these are my rules and if you don't like it you can just leave." Anyway, they won their first match, lost their second, and were paired to play a final match with another couple. During the break the staffer went to the pool grille and brought back a chicken sandwich which she proceeded to eat in front of the playing passengers. We've certainly never experienced this before - cruise staff eating while they are supposed to be working? Apparently she really didn't want to be working as when our team was discussing with their next opponent how they would play she accused them of breaking her rules, told them they forfeited the game, and gave the medals to the other couple. Three repeated complaints and follow ups with the front desk brought three repeated promises that Sam, the CD, would contact them. They never heard from Sam. The staffer involved should be made to "Walk the plank." That afternoon, we watched a movie in the theater as no deck chairs were to be found anywhere. This is our ninth cruise and before this cruise we have never watched a movie on a ship; there is always so much to do! Princess does not enforce its unoccupied deck chair policy and people go to the deck at 6 AM, "Claim" deck chairs, and do not release them until late afternoon. This was the second formal night and our dining room servers are becoming more personable. Actually, the assistant waiter has been great all week. He is also the greeter at the DiVinci for breakfast and lunch and always has a good word to say and a warm smile. We remembered him especially at the end of the cruise; this is also his last week on board. The lobster tonight was okay, but drawn butter was served by the wait staff and no cups were made available. After dinner we enjoyed some dancing in the Explorers (dinner was faster tonight and we got there 50 minutes before the comedy show) and the ship's orchestra is very enjoyable. The comedian was okay. After the show, we went up to the buffet for lobster claws. The claws are some work as they were not completely split; however, they seem to taste better than the dining room lobster tails. Drawn butter was available in small cups in the buffet (so why not in the dining room?). Next we went to get changed and tried to watch MUTS as it was showing "Wall street" which we wanted to see. This was the late show and no one came around with blankets. We stayed about an hour but found that it was difficult to hear the dialog. We thought it was because we sat on the side but one of our traveling friends sat immediately in the center and had the same experience. It was quite windy and he conjectured that the wind was affecting the sound. In any case, we became chilled and called it a night. Friday is Princess Cay day! We met for breakfast at 9:00 as the ship was anchoring. We obtained our tender tickets at 9:40 and were on the island at 10:30. I thought it took a long time first to get on the tender and second the tender bopped around a while in the ocean waiting for a spot they could tie up. On Princess Cay we found another ship's employee who needs to walk the plank. There are several large signs "Welcome to Princess Cay." These are not copyrighted backdrops like they use on the ship for their formal portraits; this is a SIGN. A ship's photographer was anchored directly in front of this sign. He had no current passengers looking for him to take their photo. When asked to step aside so we could take a photo, he refused and said "Not while I am here." What is with these Princess employees? They are either really really good or really really bad. This is our ninth cruise but first "Private island" experience. We really enjoyed the Cay. I did a lot of snorkeling. No large fish but the area is shallow and there were hundreds of fish hidden among the rocks and coral. The lunch served on the island, even though the food came from the ship, seemed to be better than on the ship. Everything is very conveniently located and we wished it was a longer stop. Last tender was 3:00 so we arrived in a very long line to board a tender back to the ship at 2:00. 25 minutes later we were on a tender. Upon arrival on board, we went to the spa pool and used the hot tub. No chairs were available (no surprise there) but we didn't need chairs. The farewell dinner was the best dinner all week. Finally a good menu selection of both entrees and desserts. Plus, a baked Alaska parade. I like the way Princess did the baked Alaska. Our waiter cut it up right on our table and served a large section to anyone who wanted some. We all went to the Wheelhouse for music and dancing. The band took a one hour break which we used to pack up, and then met one last time back at the Wheelhouse. We were not sure we would see each other in the morning so we said our goodbyes. Saturday morning we went to the DiVinci at 6:30, enjoyed breakfast at a table for two, and said farewell to our assistant dinner waiter who was working his last meal on board. We gave him a special goodbye and headed back for the last time to our cabin. We got our entire luggage together and noted that disembarkation had just begun. We had walk-off, "Express 5" disembarkation and snagged an upward elevator as all the downward ones were filled. We were off the ship before 8:00 AM and through immigration by 8:45. Princess seems to have embarkation and disembarkation down pat; the only delay was that immigration had only two customs officers on duty. While we were in line two others arrived, and once they had 4 the lines moved well. There is much said on the cruise critic boards about smoking. We found as long as we avoided the casino it was not an issue. Someone within a few balconies of us would occasionally have a cigarette, but it was never so bad that it caused us to retreat to our cabin, and my DW if quite sensitive to smoke. We found the comfort of the bed to be mediocre at best, and we generally like a firm mattress. In summary, I would grade Princess as follows: Activity schedule - B-, (however, cannot participate in things when you can't get in the room.) Customer Service - F Enforcing policy (deck chairs) - F Entertainment; main theater - D Entertainment; other - B+ Food - D Princess Cay - A- Public rooms - F (too small for the number of passengers on board) Ship's dEcor and maintenance - A Stateroom - B (Would be an A but the bed is not very comfortable) Overall - D+ Would we sail with Princess again? Not likely. We much prefer the food and service on Celebrity and HAL. On both of these lines, we can arrive at a show 5 minutes before show time and have never had trouble finding a seat. The dining room service on both is two steps above our Princess experience. We have never faced offensive ship employees on those lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Review - Crown Princess January 8-15, 2011 Itinerary: Ft. Lauderdale, Sea day, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, Sea Day, Princess Cay, Ft. Lauderdale This was our second cruise with Princess. Grand Cayman and Cozumel we'd ... Read More
Review - Crown Princess January 8-15, 2011 Itinerary: Ft. Lauderdale, Sea day, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, Sea Day, Princess Cay, Ft. Lauderdale This was our second cruise with Princess. Grand Cayman and Cozumel we'd visited before, but Roatan we hadn't. Princess Cay we've also visited before. The Ship - Crown Princess. It's beautiful. Some minor wear and tear but well maintained for all that. The Ports: Grand Cayman - We took the Reef and Wreck Snorkel tour and I was extremely disappointed. The reef was a minimum of 6-8 feet below us making for no close up viewing. It was pretty, but I didn't get any neat photos. The staff of the boat we were one were very funny though and we did enjoy them and the story of the wreck. Roatan - Extremely expensive, but GORGEOUS snorkeling. We ended up renting a car and driving to the West End for part of the day. We'd probably have been better off taking a ship tour there. The snorkeling however, made all of it worthwhile. We saw some gorgeous corals, and the usual mix of beautiful fish. The water was so very clear. Cozumel - I was disappointed here. The weather didn't cooperate and it was rainy which unless there's been a change of command from God to Princess Cruises, they are not at fault in this. We decided to walk about town. It was...ugly. Barkers in the street impeding progress and very aggressive about getting you into their shops. There were a couple I might have enjoyed browsing but was so turned off by the hard sell I didn't enter. We ended our day with a lovely little horse drawn carriage ride back to the port and spent the rest of the day amusing ourselves on board. Princess Cay - The weather was nice if cool. It was 68 degrees but the water was 77 degrees. Cool, but not cold. The benefit to the weather is that there were very few people in the water and the snorkeling was amazing! On Board Ship - The Horizon Court breakfast buffet was very so-so the first 2 days and then they seemed to get it together and the rest of the week was pretty good, although they never did get the hashed brown potatoes right. We chose anytime dining for dinner and our wait staff the first 2 days couldn't get anybody's order right. Once you got them straightened out with who was to get what the food was delicious. We finally found a staff that worked for us and from there out we enjoyed dinner tremendously. We like sitting with a group or near others and conversing with them. We met quite a few different people we enjoyed very much and saw around the ship and on excursions the rest of the week. The photographers were horrible. We posed for formal portraits the first sea day and one was marginally acceptable although we didn't buy it. Some of the candid shots on the gangplank and such were okay but I decided I take better photos overall than they did. The Casino - UGH. The penny slots were terrible. Very few with nice free spins or stacked wilds. There were more "traditional" slot games - bars, cherries, etc but I find those extremely boring. The payouts were pretty stingy too. There were very few games where you could actually play only 20 cents at time. You either played 40-60 cents, or you could only play a few lines. The Staff - I do have to say the staff on board were AWESOME. They never failed to greet you or at least smile, and if you sat down anywhere somebody showed up nearly instantly to see if you wanted or needed anything. Our Room Steward must have ESP or something. The man was truly amazing. If we needed something I swear he'd anticipated me and had it. He showed up just when we needed him, and otherwise we never saw him. He always had time to ask about our day if we passed in the hall. I miss him already. Shows - We saw one comedian - he either hit it or missed it entirely. Overall he was pretty good. We also saw the hypnotist show, which I enjoyed and my husband didn't believe. She didn't truly embarrass anybody and some of the things she had them do were really clever. Some of the entertainment in the Plaza was cute too - jugglers, staff demonstrations (the martini demonstration was just fun!) and musicians. There was something going on there most of the day. Other notes - The elevators remain my secret entertainment on board. If there are just one or two people in them you can have a really fun short conversation and nobody fails to speak. If they are crowded you can truly have fun. I once asked "Who's from the US?" and 4 or 5 people raised their hands. "Who is not?" And nobody moved. I was like Okay, the rest of you are from Mars or something, but obviously "not from around here." Try it next time you're cruising. Ask what they did that day or what was their favorite activity so far. You never know what response you might get. This trip I had occasion to visit the medical center - nothing serious, just an earache. The staff were fabulous. And funny. Got it resolved fairly quickly and was able to fly home pain free. (You really do not want to fly with an ear infection if you can avoid it!) I remain in awe of Princess's ability to move large numbers of people efficiently and with as little pain as possible. The day we visited Princess Cay however, one woman came down in the elevator in her little electric cart. The minute the doors opened she started yelling at the staff about how dare they close the 2nd tender embarkation and why wasn't the line moving (people were disembarking from the tender) and this was disgusting and she was going to complain LOUDLY. I think she's one that would have complained no matter what was going on to be honest. I know she didn't get on our tender so I suspect she didn't even intend to go over she just wanted to complain about something. I was rather embarrassed for her to be honest. Later I wished I had stood up to her and told her what an A$$ she was making of herself. Usually I have no problem speaking up in those situations. I admired the crew for keeping their composure by the simple expedient of mostly ignoring her after telling her they were moving things along as fast as they could. My husband took the Ultimate Ship Tour this cruise and is still talking about it. I'd have been bored to tears so I relaxed with my book and some short naps, and he went off and learned about the bridge, the water filtration, the engines, the laundry, the galleys (there are 9 on the Crown Princess) the print and photo shops, the theater, the sewage system, pretty much everything from top to bottom. He was supposed to visit the funnel too, but weather conditions didn't permit it. The 3 hour tour took nearly 4 and a bit. In summary - Overall a really awesome cruise with just a few bumps in it, mostly not Princess's fault. I'm definitely going back! If you wish to see my photos in a video format please feel free to do so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leXxNgrSX2Y Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
My finance and I went on the Crown for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise from Dec 4-Dec 11. Getting on was relatively painless and we were in our cabin by 1PM. Steward (Bong) was pleasant, not overbearing. The room was a decent size (gotta ... Read More
My finance and I went on the Crown for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise from Dec 4-Dec 11. Getting on was relatively painless and we were in our cabin by 1PM. Steward (Bong) was pleasant, not overbearing. The room was a decent size (gotta love the Caribe balconies!) and mid-ship was nice. Food-We did buffets except for one lunch at the Wheelhouse (amazingly fast service), 2 lunches in the MDR, one night at Sabatinni's and one night at the Crown Grill. All were good, but the Crown Grill was amazing! We each had 4 lobster tails and our waiter kept bringing out more and more food. It was an exercise in excess! Everything was so so good and that meal was the highlight of the cruise. Service-No one was rude and no one was over-the-top excellent. When we asked for assistance, we were given it. Activities-We did trivia and bingo on board and both were well-run and quite amusing. We did not go to any shows but caught the entertainment in the atrium which was very good. Ports-We skipped Princess Cays and enjoyed an empty ship. Grand Cayman was a shopping day and Roatan felt like a waste of time. Without excursions, you were left in a tiny shopping area that was sterilized to the point of being boring. We walked to the beach at Roatan (no need to take the chairlift, it's an easy walk), which was nice, but you got the feeling they even imported the sand to make it look "prettier". Not my choice for future cruises. Cozumel we did the Passion Island excursion. Other than feeling like we were in the boat for a LONG time getting there and back, it was very nice. The buffet there was decent and the service there was better than on the ship. Ship-There was some rocking and rolling at the end of the cruise, but nothing out of the ordinary. Other passengers were a mix of older, families (not too many small children) and people our age (30s/40s). Crown is good shape...their clean-up after a few rain storms was quite impressive! We were last on the Royal and would say there are plusses and minuses to both a large and small ship. This was a nice relaxing time and the only suggestions I would have for Princess are: earlier hours at Skywalkers and rethink Roatan. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was our first sailing with Princess; our first cruise was RCI. I enjoyed the trip and the total escape a cruise gives you. While I enjoyed the overall experience, I have a mixed review. The ship was great. I liked the layout ... Read More
This was our first sailing with Princess; our first cruise was RCI. I enjoyed the trip and the total escape a cruise gives you. While I enjoyed the overall experience, I have a mixed review. The ship was great. I liked the layout better than the mega ships of RCI. The Crown is a large ship and does take some time to get your bearings, but I felt small in ways - not crowded. I liked that there were various nooks and multiple entertainment venues. It meat you didn't have the majority of the ship ion the same place at the same time. There was plenty of seating near the pools and multiple pools to use. The movies under the stars at the one pool was nice - movies (and sporting events even) day and night. Rooms were standard cruise ship rooms. We splurged on a balcony. With the number of balconies on this ship, the cost was not that much more per person for the balcony. The extra space was nice especially if one person rises early or goes to bed late, it gave a place to go and read while the other one slept. Only problem was the hairdryer is terrible. Bring your own if you need one. I purchased the weekly pass for the spa's thermal suite. Absolutely loved it! Never crowded, but avoid it during the boot camp class in the fitness center. It becomes noisy and hard to relax. A bonus as a spa customer, you can use the showers in the spa which are much larger than the ones is the stateroom. We ate in the dinning room 3 times during our trip - 2 formal nights, one casual. Part of the problem is we opted for the early seating (6:00) which does not allow much time to get ready for dinner after a day in port when you don't return until 5:00 and we like to watch the ship leave port. Food in the formal dinning room was good, but not spectacular. I had expected something a little more special from the dinning room. The soups were ALWAYS wonderful and this is from a salad person. Do yourself a favor, skip the salads (unremarkable) and go for the soups. Main entrees and deserts were hit and miss. Wait staff also tried to sell us others things every night we were there. A little obnoxious. Buffet meals were more what I expected out of a buffet and often mimicked the main dinning room meals, but not exactly. Food was good and it gave you the option to try different things in one setting. It also gave you the option of getting something different if you didn't like what you had the first time. (One night I tried 3 different deserts before I found something I liked) The only drawback to the buffets was they had long lines and were crowded during the dinner hour. There are three buffet locations - 2 in Horizon and 1 in Caribe. Every time we went there, only one of these options were ever open at a time and you had to check each place to find out which one was open. Pizza is great and became a late night ritual. Sabatinis is great - worth every penny. Just go VERY hungry and don't eat the bread - it will fill you up. Also think one area they can improved on is the entertainment. Comedians were not that great - material was not fresh, heard the jokes before. Stage productions were all musical numbers with older music and did not appeal to my age group (40s) or probably anyone younger. I can see my parents enjoying these shows. They need to add shows that appeal to a broader audience if they want to attract younger cruisers. Overall, I enjoyed myself, as did my husband. Would just like to see improvements in the lines and entertainment options if I sail with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We thought the food, service of the crew and excursions on the Crown were excellent. Of course there are areas to improve, since there are so many ships to sail going the same place. We had a mini suite on Emerald deck before and loved ... Read More
We thought the food, service of the crew and excursions on the Crown were excellent. Of course there are areas to improve, since there are so many ships to sail going the same place. We had a mini suite on Emerald deck before and loved it, due to late booking we ended up the a balcony on the Rivera deck which was very nice. The mattress needed to be upgraded and the AC at the lowest is at 72, so we always bring a fan. The big show numbers and the comedian in the Princess theater was boring. The costumes designs were the worst we have seen and the "Elvis" Las Vegas routine was almost comical in being so bad. I would suggest the movies on TV. Tendering to Cayman and the Princess Cays can be tedious. We were in line for over an hour coming back from the Cayman excursion to get back on the ship. The Princess Cays have a loud band playing outside the compound that competes with the band that Princess provides, which we loved. We had rented the blue shell beach chairs, but finally gave up, the noise. The local staff on the Cays are surly and just there for the paycheck. Fortunately, the ship food staff comes to the beach and does a great job. We had the early self walk off departure, so we showed up in the right place and no one made any announcements, the doors opened and chaos ensued as everyone tried to leave at once. Before there was someone in the lounge giving directions, so I assume someone just slept in and missed the early shift. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my ... Read More
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my husband and I booked and paid for a room for 4. The names on the booking manifest clearly showed 4 cruisers for a room for 4. When questioned, the purser told us that this was the way it was to be. They had no more rooms to offer despite the mistake. My children and grand kids stayed in a room designed for 3 with a roll away bed for my grandson with Cerebral Palsy. The room was a liability and a fire trap. There was no room to get out of beds but rather to crawl over each other!!!! When I spoke to Princess upon my arrival home, I was essentially told that a room with a roll away constitutes a room for 4! This is rubbish and I know it it is not correct. My daughter was taken ill last minute and was unable to come on the cruise, It was too late to get a refund. I boarded the ship and told them that I was requesting the use of her room for our disposal since we had paid for it. I was given a key. An hour later, the key was de programed and the room taken from us. The purser told us that the room belonged to Princess even tho I had paid for it. They were going to upgrade another passenger on MY DIME. This is reprehensible!! I have sailed 4 times with Princess and this was by far the worst. Our room stewart forgot bath mats and gave me a robe that was clearly stained with what looked like blood. We never saw him to make requests and had to leave notes. Our waiters got our food orders wrong. On disembarcation day in port, the hot water was turned off and no one could shower. The poolside music was not Caribbean and did not fit the theme of the cruise. They allowed the constant breaking of the ships rules. People were putting their towels on chaises to reserve and then walked off to return later. No reserving was to be allowed. We sailed into Roatan into a port that Carnival/Princess built and operated. Any money spent at this port goes into the coffers of Carnival/Princess. When they could not or would not sail out that evening due some breeze issues or so say they, we were forced to spend the night there, making us bypass Cozumel. Cozumel was to be the highlight of our trip. Upon my return home, I relayed this issue and told Princess that they consciously set this situation up to fail. This was NOT the first time this had happened. I made a point of telling them that tendering in was the resolve. I was told that tendering was not/is not an option due to some farce of a safety issue. The tendering would be far safer then the scenario of a squeezing a large ship into a bottle. My complaints were all listed in a letter to Princess upon my return home. I received a call over 4 weeks later from a young CSR who responded to my complaints in a rather well scripted manner. This scenario was the result of a well versed young lady prompted and practiced to feed me a line of Princess rhetoric. I truly did NOT expect this from Princess. I honestly thought that there would be some kind of restitution while not big, just something. I now have my travel agent working on trying to get this sorted out. Until and unless Princess does right by us, there will be no future cruises with Princess. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean and honestly.....they should have been the line that I was building credits with all along! Very Disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
As a last minute booking, Princess offered an irresistible price. I put our cruise reservation on a 24 hour hold so I could nervously arrange a flight and hotel. We needed a hotel to fly in the day before since the flights seemed ... Read More
As a last minute booking, Princess offered an irresistible price. I put our cruise reservation on a 24 hour hold so I could nervously arrange a flight and hotel. We needed a hotel to fly in the day before since the flights seemed dangerously close to boarding time. The airport in Ft Lauderdale ended up very close to the cruise port. We might have been ok flying in the same day, but why risk it. I booked the Sheldon hotel which was ideally located on the boardwalk. Our taxi driver didn't know of the Sheldon but he typed in the address and off we went. He dropped us off at an alley entrance which gave us concern. Later we noticed the front entrance is completely boarded up due to renovation. There was also not a working elevator. Which would have been nice for the luggage we were carrying. We enjoyed our room mostly for its location right on the beach. But our room was also spacious with a large king size bed with very nice bedding. The Sheldon is obviously very old, but clean, and so worth the boardwalk locale. The port area had decent security. Entering the port in a taxi we had to show our ID's and boarding passes. We had such a short wait to board the ship it was almost confusing. We got there around 2pm and breezed right thru. The very friendly Princess staff gave us our cruise cards, took our pictures and sent us aboard where we quickly found the buffet. The Crown Princess was by far the easiest floor plan I've tried to remember. On previous cruises I've stumbled around for days trying to find my way. Our room was very close to the center elevators. I was concerned there could be noise from the elevators . But it was never noisey and very convenient to have the stairs or elevator right there. Our room steward was very good, never interrupting and always respectful of our privacy. There was chocolate on our pillows every night and Love Boat on our tv every morning, both of which I loved. I did very much miss the towel animals we had every evening on Royal Caribbean. I completely enjoyed our dining on board. The dining room wait staff never disappoints. We chose anytime seating, and we only waited one night. Even then we only waited 10 min. They matre'd even remembered us and frequently gave us the table we had previously enjoyed. We were surprised by the menus. They seemed to not have as appealing a menu as in the past. We were not disappointed by any food we ordered, but the selection wasn't there. We also enjoyed the sushi and salads in the atrium area. My favorite dining, other than the dining room, was a toss up between the excellent pub lunches served in the pub and room service. Excellent fish and chips in the pub. and room service at no charge, it doesn't get any better than that. Entertainment was very good as usual. I was very smitten with the movies under the stars. Its like a drive in, a fun "date night". Grand Cayman, Stingray city not to be missed. But we also enjoyed the town. We found a very nice snorkel area near the farmers market. There is a small restaurant on the water side of the road that rents snorkel gear for $5. Or use your own. Steps right into the water. Lots of fish, very enjoyable. Roatan, my favorite. We took a taxi-van for $20 each to Tabiyana beach. Our guide who stayed with us for the day, talked us into trying a zip line. He got us a very reasonable price ( $32 ea. )We had great time. Good guides. They took good care of us and carried our cameras getting good shots for us. I only regretted not having more time to snorkel once we got back to the beach. The water was perfect. Lots of fish to see. Cozumel. We booked an excursion to the Mayan ruins which was well worth it. The ferry to the mainland was not for the weak stomach. Take your dramamine early that day. Princess Cays was a sea shell lovers dream. The water was very,very cold in April. But the snorkeling area had a lot of fish to see. I braved it. The disembarkation was almost as easy as embarkation. Princess seems to know how to get it done. Not a sporty ship but a great time to be had by all. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
After reading a few mediocre reviews about Princess Cruises (food, entertainment, room size), I was very pleasantly surprised at how excellent the entire cruise experiences was. The Crown Princess was clean, beautiful and very stable. It ... Read More
After reading a few mediocre reviews about Princess Cruises (food, entertainment, room size), I was very pleasantly surprised at how excellent the entire cruise experiences was. The Crown Princess was clean, beautiful and very stable. It was the small touches that made it beautiful: the marble and tile in the lobby, the fabrics, etc. Sure, it had some wear and tear. But when you consider that 3,000 people trapse on and off every week, you realize how well kept the ship actually is. The crew went out of their way to be nice and friendly. The dining room food was excellent. The shows were fun and elaborate. The cruise made me realize that some of the negative reviews must be coming from negative people who would find fault with the Normandie. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at Pt. Everglades around 10:30, had to wait in a hot boarding area until about 11:45 AM. The upside is we were one of the very first people on board. The ship was empty. Nice. We were the very first couple to sign up for the Ultimate Ship's tour. Then went up to the Spa to get one of the few couples' passes to the Thermal Suite. We finally made it into the dining room for lunch. Again, only about a dozen people eating in the dining room. The lunch was excellent. Our standard size BA cabin high up on Lido Deck was much roomier than I expected. Not too many cabins up on Lido, which was nice. The bigger verandas down below us were exposed to the sun, but had no privacy. We booked a 'guarantee' balcony cabin, which is the lowest fare. And to our pleasant surprise we were upgraded 7 categories for the same price! (we booked directly through the Princess web site.) Our cabin steward was very friendly and always out and about. We tipped extra. The dining room food was excellent. Anytime dining was great. No trouble getting a table for two (we ate early-ish), but some of the tables for two are close together. The only flaw with the ship's food was the terrible, terrible food in the Buffet. But we only made that mistake once and from then on ate lunch in the dining room. The shows were fun. Hint: the seats in the lower part of the theater are much too close together. No foot room at all. However, the seats in the balcony area are roomier and have more leg room. Ports and tours: Grand Cayman - Swimming with dolphins and stingrays. Excellent and something we'll never forget. Roatan - clear kayaking and snorkeling was just OK. The snorkeling was excellent, but the clear kayaking was more like clear kayak racing with no time to observe the reef underneath us. Next time we'll just snorkel. The BIG turn off at Roatan was Mahogany Bay, a Carnival Corp. shopping center that is literally a tourist trap. The only way off the pier is through a gift shop, which empties into a series of more shops that looks like Downtown Disney. There is also a beach area, which we skipped because it looked like Princess Cays 2. Once we were driven past the gates (yes, Mahogany Bay is for ship passengers only - no locals allowed!) we got a chance to see the island, which is beautiful. To sum up, Roatan is beautiful, Mahogany Bay is a corporate turn off. Unfortunately there's no way to skip it. Cozumel - the tour of the Tulum ruins was breathtaking. Another unforgettable memory. Princess Cays - think Miami Beach and you get the idea. We walked around for a few minutes, saw 3,000 other passengers lying in lounge chairs then headed back to an empty ship that was ours to enjoy. Extras that were worth the extra $$: * Balcony dinner. Maybe the highlight of our cruise. Time it with sunset for some amazing pictures! The food was EXCELLENT: steak Diane and Heidsick Champagne. The waiter was very friendly. Took about two hours but we will never forget it. * Couples Rassoul Mud with unlimited access to the Thermal Baths. The small, private massage area is a great idea. It had a small steam closet and very nice oils, salt scrub and mud. Our skin glowed for a few days after this. The Thermal Baths were very relaxing. Hint: if the heated relaxation beds are all occupied, the tiled benches in one of the steam baths are also heated. This room is great for anyone with a bad back! * Ultimate Ship's Tour. Absolutely worth it if you love ships. At four hours it can get tiring, but at the end they serve champagne and canapes in the piano bar. A nice way to end the tour. * Sabatinis. The food was very good, but not the ten course extravaganza we read about. More like an antipasti with four or five varieties, a soup, a salad, main course and dessert. The decor is very nice, quiet and intimate with nice water fountains outside the windows. We ate here as we were leaving Ft. Lauderdale so it was empty. Very nice and very empty. * We enjoyed the Crown Grill the best. The Porterhouse steak was actually too big. The dessert sampler was excellent. Elegant decor with nice woods, marbles, and interesting paintings of Merlin and Camelot. * Coffee card. The extra cost coffees were excellent. One card per couple should be enough. We bought two cards and wound up with one card with no punches! * EZ check. Do it! An amazing convenience for only $20. At disembarkation we met at the casino at 8:30, flew through customs and were on the bus by 8:35. No kidding. At the Ft. Lauderdale airport we bypassed the HUGE line at the check in counter (think Oasis of the Seas!), flew through the security check (because all those people were still in line at check in) and were at our gate literally 5 minutes after getting off the shuttle bus! So all in all our cruise turned out to be a great experience. The extras were all worth it (except for the second coffee card.) The only negatives were the buffet food and Mahogany Bay. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Embarkation Getting on board the ship was swift and easy. We didn't encounter any lines and the people checking you in moved you right along. We got on the ship about 1:30ish but didn't have our bags delivered until after the ... Read More
Embarkation Getting on board the ship was swift and easy. We didn't encounter any lines and the people checking you in moved you right along. We got on the ship about 1:30ish but didn't have our bags delivered until after the muster drill which wasn't a problem. Being budget-conscious and having a desire to enjoy a few cocktails on our cruise, we did some research about bringing alcohol on board. We settled on packing a 1.75 L (handle) of vodka in one of our checked bags, a 12-pack of beer in a carry-on backpack, and about 8 bottles of wine in a cardboard box which we also carried on. We also put a luggage tag on a case of bottled water and two cases of soda all taped together. For good measure we gave the baggage handlers a decent tip, for what that is worth, and we had no issues whatsoever with any of it getting delivered to our room. It was well worth the planning, as it was nice to have a cold beer waiting for you in the room after a long day on the beach, and a cocktail or glass of wine while getting ready for dinner. Ship Overall first impression of the Crown Princess is understated elegance as opposed to the flashy, flamboyant and colorful decor of the Carnival Destiny. The state room was very comfortable, especially thanks to the balcony. The refrigerator was also a nice touch as it saved us from having to constantly fill an ice bucket to keep wine cool or having to fill cups of ice in order to drink soda. The expansive closet space and shelves were an added bonus. The bathroom was on the tiny side but adequate enough for what we needed. One downfall was the temperature. From the moment we entered the room it felt muggy so we set the thermostat to the coolest setting and it never really seemed to cool down. We spoke with other people who had the same problem and then a few more who had the opposite, their rooms were too cold. We concluded that it may have had to do with the side of the ship your room was on as those of us on the starboard side wished for cooler air and the port side needed warmer clothes. The Steward assigned to our room was Samuel and he was a joy! He was attentive, friendly, accommodating and humorous! Any time we saw him in the hall he would give us a bit of a jab about the amount of liquor we had. But he also made sure we had 2 wine glasses ready to go every night. Our room was on the 14th (Riviera) deck towards the back of the boat just down the hall from the Terrace (adults only) Pool which we frequented daily. Lounge chairs were limited at the terrace pool, especially on the days at sea but there were bar stools, tables and chairs that looked down into the pool that allowed for extra seating. The pool itself was great; clean and inviting. The other pool areas on the ship were less crowded, we never had an issue finding a lounge chair even on the days at sea, but were louder and allowed children. The mid ship pools also had entertainment, live bands, movies, games, etc. which were ok but we definitely preferred the relaxing atmosphere of the Terrace Pool. We utilized the fitness center 3 days on the ship. I had signed up for 2 yoga classes, both on the days at sea. There are two fitness instructors on board, Katie & (forget his name). Katie was the instructor who taught the yoga classes. Unfortunately I found the classes boring and less than challenging. About 20 people had signed up for the two classes and I would say about 15 attended the first day, some people even got up and left in the middle of the class. The 2nd day there were far less people in attendance, maybe 7? I don't know that it is necessarily the instructors fault as I'm sure she is required to cater to all age groups and fitness levels but if you're someone who is looking for a good work out these group classes are probably not the best bet. The fitness center itself was beautiful. Plenty of cardio and weight equipment. We received a tour of the entire spa on the first day and it was also impressive. If you're looking to pamper yourself be prepared to fork over quite a bit of $$$. It was worth taking the tour of the spa on the 1st day just to check it out. Dining Food was never a shortage on the cruise! We opted for a late seating (8:15) of the traditional dining which was held in the Boticelli Dining Room...the only dining room on board that offered this choice. The other two dining rooms, the DaVinci and the Michelangelo, were for "anytime" dining. We were assigned table #73 which originally was set for 10 people but one of the couples had to cancel the cruise at the last minute. So for the first few nights we were a table of 8. We were by several years the youngest couple at the table (we are in our late 20s/early 30s) but found our table mates to be kind, social and charismatic and thoroughly enjoyed their company. After the 3rd night one of the couples elected to switch their dining choice to the anytime dining so the remainder of the cruise was just the 6 of us. On our previous cruise with Carnival we had been paired at dinner with another couple that was about our same age and also from the Northeast (New York) whom we enjoyed spending time with each night. Although we did enjoy our table mates on this cruise, we were a little disappointed that Princess did not do as well with seating us with similarly aged couples. Our waiters were friendly and attentive. Leandro, the assistant waiter, didn't say much but poured our water and cleared our plates with a smile! Panya, the head waiter, was quite talkative. He gave us his recommendations on the appetizers and main dishes every evening and his recommendations were usually the best! He was very accommodating to any of our requests. The only slight downfall was at the end of our dinner he would be quite chatty offering his reviews of other ports and itineraries and going off on a tangent about his home land of Thailand. Overall the dining room experience was excellent. We utilized the room service continental breakfast option every morning so that we could eat a lighter fare and enjoy coffee and juice on our balcony rather than filling up our bellies at the buffet. It worked out great for us. On the last day we did go to the DaVinci dining room for the formal breakfast. There is an option to sit by yourselves but that would have typically resulted in a wait. We sat with 3 other people who were all friendly. The service was a bit on the slow side and the breakfast itself was tasty but not any better than what you can get at the buffet. We did eat at the buffet usually for lunch and/or a light snack before dinner and found that there was a lot of repetition in food choices and some things tasted as if they had been left out for too long. However, the buffet options were definitely an improvement to the options we had last year on Carnival. We did not partake in any of the private dining (Crown Grill or Sabatini's) or the smaller vendors (Vines, International Cafe) but did have lunch one day at the grill...burgers and chicken sandwiches which were decent but nothing to get excited about. The pizza was quite tasty though probably not as enticing for us Bostonians who are spoiled with delicious pies and have high expectations. The food at dinner was exceptional while the rest of the ships options were decent. Carnival for sure had better desserts! Entertainment Entertainment is not one of the enticing factors of going on a cruise for us. For me, I have zero desire to go to any Las Vegas style song and dance show or those that involve passenger participation. No thanks. We did however enjoy the piano bar on our Carnival cruise last year so thought that would be something we might check out this time around. Before we left we read on CC that Bert Stratton, pianist/comedian, was going to be on our cruise and people seemed to be generally ecstatic about his presence on the ship. This was reiterated to us by our table mates on the 2nd night. We checked out Bert (with an "e"!) that night in Crooners bar and got there at the tail end of a show. He definitely seemed talented and we decided to pay him a visit the next night as well, and the night after that, and the night after that haha. We attended pretty much all of Bert's shows with the exception of Thursday night when we attended the stand up comedian Troy Thirdgill's act. He was very entertaining and humorous though my only complaint would be that his crowd interaction at certain parts of his act prompted a few loud mouth individuals to interject on their own...one who was sitting right next to us. Quite annoying. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We just returned home today from our first experience with Princess Cruise Lines. Right from the moment we stepped out of the car to unload our bags in front of the terminal the port staff was extremely friendly and helpful. We were amazed ... Read More
We just returned home today from our first experience with Princess Cruise Lines. Right from the moment we stepped out of the car to unload our bags in front of the terminal the port staff was extremely friendly and helpful. We were amazed how quickly and efficiently we were processed and on board the ship despite a large number of passengers in line for embarkation. Our stateroom accommodations were very good. I called Princess in advance to confirm it's permissible to bring our own bottled water and soda on board which they acknowledged as long as it's not open so we stocked the refrigerator that is included in every stateroom. The cabin steward did a fantastic job of servicing our stateroom twice daily. We opted for the Anytime Dining which we will probably not do again. On previous cruises we established a repoirte with the same dining attendant that you don't get with this option. Also, you are subject to waiting for a table if you dine at peak times. The food was very good. There were very few items that we ordered that we didn't find to be delicious. The 24-hour pizza was outstanding. The ice cream that is available next to the pizza was somewhat disappointing as they only served it in cones with optional sprinkles. It appeared to be set up for Sundae toppings but I never saw that available. The burgers available on the Pool Deck were also very good. We ate breakfast/lunch each day (except for days on shore) in the Horizon Food Court which has an excellent buffet. The only inconvenience was finding an available table during peak times and the beverage service was sometimes slow at these meals. We like to drink Iced Tea with some of our meals and Orange Juice with breakfast but the only beverages we were offered was coffee or bar service, we had to ask for Iced Tea or Juice. It was as if those beverages were no-charge secrets. The Entertainment staff was incredible. They had a lot of fun doing their jobs which made it more fun for the passengers. The activities that we participated in (mostly in Club Fusion) were very well organized and a lot of fun. For the final Bingo session, they should have started selling the cards earlier in the day as the line got to be very long. We are accustomed to a variety of very entertaining shows in the theater every night which we had gotten on Royal Caribbean cruises but found some of the theater shows on the Crown Princess to be boring. One such show was played on two consecutive nights meaning that there were six shows instead of seven. The best shows were the opening night, closing night, and when they had outside entertainers (juggler, comedian, hypnotist). We sometimes could not enjoy our cabin's balcony due to people smoking on nearby balconies. It would be wise to isolate smoking balconies if possible. The Movies Under the Stars was fantastic except that the nights were a bit cold. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My wife and I booked for a 7 night St Valentine's cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. It was everything we hoped for and more. The staff on the Crown were engaging and I took the time to smile and say hello to just about any crew member I ... Read More
My wife and I booked for a 7 night St Valentine's cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. It was everything we hoped for and more. The staff on the Crown were engaging and I took the time to smile and say hello to just about any crew member I came across. The old say about honey versus vinegar certainly was true in this case. Getting on and off the cruise ship was a breeze. The only problem was at the end of the cruise when I did not want to leave the Crown. I was so relaxed. Meals were average to excellent. Trying to please over 3000 people is a no-win situation, but I think Princess does as good a job as any other cruise line. I read that some people were not impressed with the Horizon Court, no carving stations, no personal omelettes, etc. Not true. You could ask for an omelette and they made in the kitchen. There were roasts that could be cut to your desire, you just had to look. As far as peanut butter was concern, just ask and they brought it to you in a bowl. The only thing they didn't have for me in Horizon Court was black strap molasses for my pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I barely shed a tear as I poured syrup on my stack. Anytime dining was great, no problem making a reservation each day for that evening and the meals were delicious. My idea of surf and turf was a nicely done, rare, strip-loin and lobster tails. Soups were good, main courses were numerous and we often skipped deserts because our lily had been thoroughly gilded during the meal. We tried the Crown Grill one evening and for $50, we had a meal that might run you anywhere from $100 to $200 on shore. Again, I had my surf and turf with Maine lobster this time. Yummy! Only problem, we walked by the open kitchen just as a chef was dispatching said lobster with a large butcher knife between it's eyes, apparently a more humane method than boiling alive. Our activities on the ship could be as numerous and we could be as busy as the proverbial cat on a marble floor or the one handed paper hanger. We could also be a fast as a snail going uphill on a cold day in February. We would read the Princess Patter and say; "Pitter, patter, let's get at 'er" Loved the Movies under the stars, with real heavenly stars. It was at this activity that I experienced my only bad meal; air popped popcorn. Like eating cardboard. I could have gone to Horizon Court, made a nice snack tray and brought it out to our comfy loungers to watch the show. Next time! Ports of calls were as followed, Grand Cayman - Took public transit to 7 Mile Beach, $5 for two one way. Altogether lovely. Roatan - Showers chased us off the beach and onto the ship. The island looks nice so a return visit may be in order. Cozumel - rough surf kept us from snorkeling but we did enjoy the visit. Seems to have matured since our last visit in 1997. Princess Cay - great beach day. The southern part of the beach was quieter and the snorkeling was surprisingly decent. Lots of fish around the man-made beach and harbour. A few tips to cut down on the cost. I'll probably be banned from Princess for this. Bring your own booze onto the ship. You are allowed two bottles of wine, however, I put some Chivas and vodka in my checked luggage and it made it through to my room. I also had some small bottles of booze and some mix to make a drink for alongside the pool. As long as you are not walking the decks with your own rum bottle, you are not harassed. I took a nice drink to the dining room every night without any problem. I brought a 12 pack of soda onto the ship, got ice from the cabin steward and did not buy any soda on the ship. I also brought some nuts, cashews and peanuts, onto the boat because they do not serve then on board. At the end of the cruise, our cabin bill was less than $250 and that was with auto tips, a night at the Crown Grill and a large helping of the best gelato I've had in a long time. Allin all, a great time. Thanks to the people at Princess and to all of those naysayers out there writing negative blogs, chill-ax! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Embarkation was fairly quick and transitions between steps were short in duration.   One suggestion to the cruiser would be to check your cruise card for the proper dining assignment.  Ours was incorrect and caused some issues when we ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly quick and transitions between steps were short in duration.   One suggestion to the cruiser would be to check your cruise card for the proper dining assignment.  Ours was incorrect and caused some issues when we arrived for dinner.    The Crown Princess lives up to its name in terms of its design.  The public areas such as the lounges, main lobby area, theater, and restaurants had dEcor that was unique and upscale.   Dramatic lighting, generous use of wood accents, and ceilings with details combined to create an elegant atmosphere.   The room we choose was an inside stateroom on floor 12 towards the front of the ship.   There was definitely a sense of motion during the week-long voyage.   Fellow passengers agreed that there was more motion felt on this particular voyage then on other cruises taken.   The weather was calm as there were no rain or storms throughout the week but the ship's channel reported moderate seas at 4-7.5 feet.   Our last cruise was on a smaller ship through Royal Caribbean at the same time of year and there was little motion detected the entire voyage.   Neither of us was adversely affected by the motion, but some passengers reported feeling some nausea.   We chose an inside cabin because the total dark is such a plus for sleeping in.   The room had all the amenities one would expect in a hotel room such as a small refrigerator, hair dryer, ample closets, and storage.   The bathroom storage areas are a bit sparse for a week-long trip, but the shelves right outside the door of the bath were plentiful.   The flat screen TV was in a good location for watching from bed and the choice of movies was varied and current.   The TV also gave information about the voyage such as weather, route, expected arrival times in the ports and other useful information.     Dining is always an important feature on a cruise.   The choices in the dining room for dinner were varied in terms of offering a meat, fish, chicken, and a vegetarian entrEe.   The menu also had a selection of items which are standard fare items.  Offered every evening were filet of beef, baked chicken, fettuccini alfredo as well as a few other items.  Unless you have a culinary background or dine in 4 star restaurant routinely, some of the menu items may seem unfamiliar.   When questioned about the contents or preparation of menu items, the waiter seemed impatient and gave cursory responses.    (Tipping on this ship was automatically added to your cruise account which is different from other cruise lines.)    Princess offers dining options that include early seating, late seating and any time dining.   We chose the late seating but would choose any time dining next time.   There were restaurants which required a cover charge and offer different menus than the assigned dining rooms.  We dined in both the Crown and Sabatinis.  The menu selections were slightly more varied than in the assigned dining room but the quality of the meals seemed to be equal.  Sabatinis offered a little different experience because of the sampling of each appetizer item.   The waiter offered a taste of each appetizer menu item for both the hot and cold appetizers.   I would not spend the extra money next time to dine in one of these restaurants as far as quality of the meal and service were very comparable.      There were many activities scheduled all day long.   We chose to hang out by the pool and hot tub areas on the days at sea.   There were plenty of chairs near any one of the pools.  This was a favorable aspect compared to other ships.  On other cruises we have taken, the pool side chairs were not always accessible.   There is a spa like area with deck chairs that are cushioned for an extra daily fee.   We used the fitness center and found the machines and equipment comparable to our health club.  The fitness center was well used at the times we worked out.     There are also various classes (pilates, etc. ) for an extra fee.    I had a facial at the spa.  Bait and switch was my experience.   I reserved a specific type of facial and confirmed that upon my arrival at the desk and also confirmed it with the girl providing the service.   She asked some basic questions about my skin before we began and said would you like your skin to have even tones and reduce the lines.   Well of course.   When I got the bill, it was 2 times the price quoted for the service I reserved.   She never explained she was going to change the service which I had reserved.       The off-shore excursions were varied and there was no difficulty booking any of our choices, except for diving.   If you are a diver, book your diving excursions early in your planning process.   The cruise ships receive a percentage from the merchants that are recommended.   I would advise exploring beyond those shop recommendations to find shopping venues that are less like department stores and more like an island market.   Since my son is a huge Star War fan, we did go to see the Yoda Guy in St. Maarten.   (Very worthwhile and reasonable for a signed print.)   The Crown Princess seemed to have more "extra fee" items than other cruise ships we have taken.  There was a bit of a sales pitch atmosphere no matter what you were doing.   (Trying to get you to order cappuccino instead of coffee after dinner for example.)   We did buy the soft drink card for the week but are not sure if the $30.00 for each resulted in any savings.   The professional photos are well done and there is a variety of backgrounds.   Again, a little pricey at $25.00 per 8x10 picture, but not something you find time to do at home.    We loved the movies under the stars, which was the outdoor screen near one of the pools.   During the day there were concerts playing and it was a bit loud for just relaxing.   We looked forward to ending the afternoon at one of the other pool decks listening to live Caribbean music with an umbrella drink.   The nightly entertainment was good.   In the large theater, there was a musical production which had as elaborate of scenery changes as some Broadway shows I have seen.   Comics and magicians were good as well as the small musical ensembles in the lounges.        Overall, I would recommend this ship and itinerary.   The service, food, entertainment, public areas, and activities were excellent.   Each port visited had a little different flavor to give this vacation a caribbean blend.    The security procedures for re-boarding seemed effective and provided a sense of saftey.     The ship is well run and maintained so that travellers can focus on the business of vacationing.  Read Less
Sail Date March 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 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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