14 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Europe - British Isles & Western

In all the years we have travelled this was the worst trip we’ve ever been on. We took the cruise with friends who recommended Princess . From our first contact with the cruise line I knew we had made a mistake. I tried getting ... Read More
In all the years we have travelled this was the worst trip we’ve ever been on. We took the cruise with friends who recommended Princess . From our first contact with the cruise line I knew we had made a mistake. I tried getting information on various aspects of the cruise and had some snotty woman in California slammed the phone down on me. We booked business class tickets through Princess direct from Toronto to London on British Airways. When they went on strike, after 10 days of phoning Princess daily, they rebooked us through Iceland on a cheaper flight and pocketed the difference. There were 3500 people on a ship that should have held no more than 2500. If you found a table at breakfast you were lucky. The food was mediocre at best. The beef stroganoff I had the last night was inedible. The speciality restaurants were better. The Crown Grill was okay but Sabatini’s restaurant was fine dining. We expected entertainment similar to Royal Caribbean. Other than a few dance bands there was nothing. They nickleled and dimed us to death. They charged $16 per person to shuttle you in ports. Because the proximity of the ports to the major centres you spent an inordinate amount of time in transit leaving little time to see the cities. Every venue on the ship had something special at a “nominal charge”. The best thing I did was buy the drink package as we got drinkable coffee at the speciality areas and bottled water and sofa throughout the cruise which was available at $2 each. If you do decide to do a Princess cruise at least one passenger should take the package. For us it was worth it’s weight in gold. Was there anything good-YES -the staff in the restaurants and bars were outstanding. They were wonderful and treated everyone as family- we absolutely adored them. The guest relations people couldn’t run a bath! No point in asking them for any assistance. The stock reply was “ I’ll need to ask my Manager”. So ask her or him!! “The Manager is not available right now”.. Needless to say this was a learning experience. The best day of the entire trip was the day we disembarked! We then spent 5 days at wonderful hotel in London! This was our one and only trip with Princess Cruise lines Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We where traveling with 3 other couples and had never been to Scotland or Ireland so this cruise made sense. Nice area to visit and to get out of the heat of southern FL. The highlights include, easy boarding and departing, staff being ... Read More
We where traveling with 3 other couples and had never been to Scotland or Ireland so this cruise made sense. Nice area to visit and to get out of the heat of southern FL. The highlights include, easy boarding and departing, staff being helpful most of the time. Clean room and a decent itinerary. Our Travel Agent went the extra mile in making our arrangements and helping with problems some of which we created. Island of Guernsey was a nice stop with great weather. Dublin was also great as was Scotland. If your into Scotch a must stop is the Scotch Malt Whisky Society where we tasted and learned about the “water of life” along with learning to play the bagpipes, great fun. We use a lot of Viator Tours and saved considerable money as compared to booking with the cruise line.. The Guinness Storehouse was packed with people but we all like a pint or two, while the Jameson Distillery tour was a great educational tour. Food on the cruise was marginally ok. In the main dining rooms most food was over cooked and dry and not seasoned. The buffet was not much better but the soup was good. On the other hand the Grillroom food was excellent but for a 29.00 up charge it should be Most if not all of the entertainment on board would have not made it through the 1st round of America's Got Talent they would have been XXXX out. Princess likes to nickel and dime you to death for everything. They got so cheap as not put our lemonade or Ice Tea at the beverage station. They use a paperless system which creates a cash less system on the ship, but makes it hard to check you bill at the end of cruise. We have done a fair amount of cruising and would choose anther cruise line for our next cruise this coming March Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Without the outstanding service of the Bar, Michelangelo wait staff and room service I would have rated this cruise as poor. I never saw the captain walking around the ship. Most officers never said a word. One of the chef's in the ... Read More
Without the outstanding service of the Bar, Michelangelo wait staff and room service I would have rated this cruise as poor. I never saw the captain walking around the ship. Most officers never said a word. One of the chef's in the 15th floor buffet was rude and harse on one occasion. My wife and I came of the ship because people with the flu were not restricted to their state rooms. Many of people on board walked off with the flu. I'm not sure why Princess stayed in Dublin for two days knowing all too well that stores only open between 11am and noon. We had it be bck onboard for 3pm. A waste of a day. I'm really not sure why other than legally we stopped at all in Lahavre because ALL the stores are closed on Monday's !!!!!!! A real of time and money. People taking the excurion to Paris did not stop at the Louvre. The bus ride was 3hrs each way. This was $ 276 CDN. Comments provided by friends we met on the cruise. ANY excursion Princess provided was offered by other tour operators for at least half the cost as Princess. Excursion prices are rediculously high. My recommendation is to do your home work. Also, go to the front desk and have your gratuities removed from your bill and provide the staff that were outstanding. Many staff members deserved a dollar from the overall pot. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had cruised with Princess before and enjoyed our previous cruises very much. Both cruises were on newer ships within the last two years. This was our 25th cruise so we are not new to cruising. We booked this cruise primarily for ... Read More
We had cruised with Princess before and enjoyed our previous cruises very much. Both cruises were on newer ships within the last two years. This was our 25th cruise so we are not new to cruising. We booked this cruise primarily for the interesting itinerary. Upon reviewing the ship before booking we observed it to be an older ship. We then researched to see when it was last refurbished. It had been refurbished within the year. Upon embarking ship we could see it was showing its age. It looked to be an older ship in need of being fully refurbished. Our cabin's carpet was dirty and looked shabby. The cabin very much showed its age. The food was average but did not compare to the food on the Royal and Regal Princess. The service was good with the exception of the Shore Excursion Desk. Some of the Excursions were way overpriced. ie: The Edinburgh on Your Own - charged $69.95 per person for a short ride to the center of Edinburgh. The South Queensferry Bus Service to Edinburgh on the other hand only charged 9 Pounds Roundtrip per person for the exact same service. What we paid for was not an excursion but a Shuttle bus ride to Edinburgh. This was published in the Princess Patter the night before - too late to cancel as Princess has a 48-hour cancellation policy. When this was brought to the attention of the Shore Excursion Desk they dismissed it that a lecture also gave the same information. Poor customer service. We will book future cruises on Princess but only on newer ships as the experience on older ships is less than desirable. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose cruise to visit places we had not been before. For most part enjoyed our trip but: Buffet - hot food was cold - cold food was warm - salad bar was good. Dining room meals good Shops - lots of booze, candy, jewelry, clothes, ... Read More
Chose cruise to visit places we had not been before. For most part enjoyed our trip but: Buffet - hot food was cold - cold food was warm - salad bar was good. Dining room meals good Shops - lots of booze, candy, jewelry, clothes, souvenirs, etc. - first night someone asked for halls candy for sore throat - not available - week later heard same question and same response. Entertainment was good. Excursions very expensive and not accurately described. Travel time for excursions did not leave enough time to actually see what you went to see. Ship breakdowns frustrating, onboard construction and refurbishing interfered with trip. Captain kept us informed of problems but $100.00 rebate was a joke. Missing Guernsey was a highlight for us and we missed it because of ship breakdown and bad weather. Appreciate safety concern BUT. Understand Guernsey is quite often missed as it is to rough for Tenders so why continue to include it as a stop? Noticed immediately upon getting on ship a lot of people with terrible deep cough, some wearing masks. We took all precautions to wash hands regularly and avoid sick people BUT on Thursday June 13 we started with sore throat and by Saturday the cough. Where able to do Edinburgh but glad Sunday was sea day. 18 Hour travel time home on Monday was horrendous. Emergency Room Tuesday morning - we both have pneumonia and still recovering three weeks later. How many other people from this Cruise are experiencing the Will never travel with Princess ever again and will not recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose our first Princess Cruise because we were celebrating my husband’s retirement - and we always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland. We arrived in London 5 days early and visited the major tourist attractions. A Princess bus ... Read More
We chose our first Princess Cruise because we were celebrating my husband’s retirement - and we always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland. We arrived in London 5 days early and visited the major tourist attractions. A Princess bus picked us up at Victoria Station and drove us to Southampton. Embarkation was very organized. We had to wait awhile, but chairs were provided and we were called in groups, so not too much standing in line. Our balcony stateroom was located on Deck 15 forward. It was clean and nice, and we loved the location. Our room steward was efficient, for the most part. We only saw him on check-in day. We asked that ice be provided each day, and he took good care of us for most of the cruise. However, the last few days, he took the ice bucket away and never brought ice again. There was an awful smell in one section our hallway, that never went away. It smelled like the carpet might have molded. We had to walk through that area coming and going to our room. It was disgusting. The people on this cruise were almost entirely quite old. We are 60ish - and were some of the youngest. I did see a couple of teenagers - who were probably bored to tears. This meant a lot of canes and scooters and slow walkers. They held up lines and elevators, and much patience was required on excursions as they took forever to load and unload buses. Many were very rude as well - cutting in line and ignoring instructions. The excursions were good, for the most part. We enjoyed the places we visited. Often, however, our play time was cut short - we would gather in a designated area on the ship and wait for our group to be called - then follow the leader up and down stairs to get off the ship and to our tour busses. Alternatively, we would follow that procedure to get on tenders - nightmare! There were not enough tenders, which meant long waits to get ashore and load the busses. All of this meant that the excursions sometimes got a late start - and we had very little time to shop or see anything on our own. If I had it to do over, I would definitely explore booking excursions through local companies - rather than Princess. We could have been off the ship earlier, had more time on shore, and saved money. The food was okay - but the choices were limited and became quite boring. If you want steak, visit the premium steak house onboard - do not order steak in the main dining room. I tried it twice and was thoroughly disappointed both times. The steaks were tough, tasteless, and full of gristle. I do highly recommend the creme brûlée, however. Room Service is still free - some cruise lines are charging a fee. But, the menu is extremely limited. Nothing memorable about the food at all. Entertainment on the ship was just boring. They definitely played to the older crowd - big band music, bingo, crafting get togethers, boring stage shows. I looked forward to the outdoor movies on deck. However, it was too cold on deck in the evenings and you couldn’t clearly see the screen during the day. We spent most of our ship time resting, watching tv, and eating. There wasn’t much else interesting to do. Staff was mostly efficient, but not too friendly. Unlike other cruises I’ve been on, the staff did not seem to enjoy their jobs, and were not particularly interested in the cruisers. They did their jobs, but gave nothing extra. Disembarkation was very smooth and quick. We had breakfast, met at our assigned location, and were quickly off the ship. The luggage was organized, and we met our driver in very short order. Overall, we enjoyed our trip because of the wonderful people in England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. We saw wonderful buildings and exhibits. I’ve always loved cruising, but this particular ship, with its boring entertainment, ho-hum staff, and limited food selection, was nothing special. I need to add - we were hot the entire time we were onboard. We lowered the temperature in our room as much as possible, but had to open our balcony door for cool air. All of the public rooms were hot, and we sweated through every meal. For that reason alone, I would not repeat this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather ... Read More
Whilst we've had good experiences on former Princess cruises, we've never been on a Crown-class ship. We selected the cruise entirely for the itinerary & we loved all the ports visited but I'm afraid we were rather disappointed with the ship & its services (except for the dining rooms that had great waiters as always). 1. The first day tendering was horrendous, waited more than 2 hours to get on a tender boat cutting our time on shore & we didn't get to see much. But what made it worse was the constant blaming on others by the Crown staff - "we don't operate the tender boat; we have no say etc etc" Then in the evening the cruise director said "at 6 am there were no one & what can we do when 2000 people showed up all at once at 9 ? Hope you know what to do on our next tender port " Although she said it half jokingly but it left a really sour note with us !! Wouldn't they had anticipated it ? Couldn't they at least made passengers feel better by talking to us nicely ? 2. The cabin rooms: showing aging signs everywhere. Wood stains on the balcony were chipped & faded; shower curtain stained & smelly; no luggage mat to pack or unpack. 3. Went on 1 ship's excursion only & again the organization was terrible. We were told to wait at one area but it really was another. We were herded around & we paid almost $200 each for the experience! Its such poor management & unfriendly customer handling, you would think they had never done excursions before! 4. Entertainment was so-so except for the great final performance by the ship's ensemble. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first cruise with Princess having completed 18 other cruises with P&O, Celebrity, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and MSC. We had been somewhat seduced by the hype, the advertising and former passengers feedback plus the fact that ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Princess having completed 18 other cruises with P&O, Celebrity, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and MSC. We had been somewhat seduced by the hype, the advertising and former passengers feedback plus the fact that it visited, amongst others, Guernsey and Bordeaux (more later). We had never been to Guernsey and have relatives in France whom we had arranged to meet in Bordeaux. Unfortunately, the ship had been delayed by 2/3 hours returning to Southampton, so when we arrived at 11.45 we were very unceremoniously turned away at the dock gates and told to come back in about an hour - so that all the did-embarking passengers could leave the port. No obvious, practical contingency plan. It was 15.00 when we actually got into the terminal building. Then there was the inevitable wait to queue to go through security before joining the ship at about 16.00. There had been an explanatory text, apparently, which we didn't see until on board Crown Princess. All this queueing - little did we know - was a fore taste of things to come. We had an inside cabin - sorry, stateroom is so pretentious - A237. This was excellent! Clean, roomy, comfortable, well maintained and quiet. Superb service from attendant, Glen. We had opted for freedom/my time dining or whatever Princess call it. If you wanted a table for two, without having to queue, you apparently needed to be there when the tables were being set up for 17.30 start. We always went for dinner around 18.00 and never once had a table for two. Sharing a table worked well and we met some really interesting fellow guests. Except for the last night. Two moaning couples, an unfocussed Rumanian waitress and the "March of the Baked Alaskas". Surely this has had its day. The food in the Michael Angelo dining room was always of a very high quality with good portions and plenty of choice. The actual restaurant is low and dark and we found totally lacking in atmosphere - no "buzz" at all The theatre entertainment was very hit and miss. A really good comedy magician and an incredible Robbie Williams tribute act. The rest of the shows we assigned to pretentious twaddle. Show lounges were well used and always good value. Drinks, excursions, photographs and WiFi were, unsurprisingly, expensive. We had breakfast in the Horizon Court and providing you were there before, say, 07.30, there was always plenty of seating. Loads of choice with well prepared and presented breakfast fare of a very acceptable quality. Loads of attentive staff on hand to help and get drinks .Wouldn't have fancied an evening up there though. All pools and poolside areas were busy and well ordered. Only saw one potential flare-up regarding sun-beds. Don't ever let me hear any Brit criticising any other nationality for "reserving" sunbeds. There are plenty of notices around the pool. Why don't the ship's staff enforce them. And where did all these school aged kids turn up from? The "fast food" outlets around the deck are a really good idea. (Shhh, don't tell anyone about the adult only area at the back of the ship!) The 24hr International Café on Deck 5 is an absolute must! Didn't use any of the speciality restaurants. Guernsey: did our own thing. For £1 you can get a service bus that goes all around the island, so you get a good overview. St Peter Port is beautiful. Queueing to get back on ship had to be seen to be believed. Too few tenders I we guess. Bordeaux: They should add $200 to the price of the cruise if you want to go to Bordeaux. It's a 2 hour coach journey each way from Le Verdon. This leaves about 3 hours in the city. Bibao: 2nd visit. This time we went into the Guggenheim. That's an hour of my life I'll never get back! Brilliant building - inside and out - but the "art work" was so pretentious. It wasn't just us. You could tell by the number of audio aids that were left abandoned and the looks and comments of the paying public. The piece de resistance of this trip was moving the pick up point for the shuttle bus. Great confusion and the mother and father of all queues - Princess have really got this off to a fine art. La Coruna: It rained, Shops were dry. Plenty of quiet seating around the ship. Stylish lounges etc. The entertainment staff certainly go the extra mile - especially Lydia and Cruise Director. The farewell event in the central atrium was a huge success and enjoyed by all. They got disembarkation right! Enjoyable cruise and we would definitely go with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Recently back from cruise round Britain on Crown Princess. This is my (lengthy) review. SHIP Very BIG of course. At first I thought I would not like it, but it grew on me! Although I was still going the wrong way after 12 days ... Read More
Recently back from cruise round Britain on Crown Princess. This is my (lengthy) review. SHIP Very BIG of course. At first I thought I would not like it, but it grew on me! Although I was still going the wrong way after 12 days on board! ENTERTAINMENT/SPORT Very good variety. A big theatre, with excellent shows. It was never full (except on the night in Glasgow when a Scottish group came and did a Scottish show, pipes, drums, singing and dancing) so you could easily get a seat even if you were a bit late. There were two shows a night at 8.15 and 10.15pm. There were some excellent singers and a really funny comic who used to write for Benny Hill and did a lecture on him, as well as the resident show team. The show on the penultimate night was spectacular. There were also various shows in the myriad of bars. There was a huge casino. Also a jogging track, putting course (bit too windy for that!) and 3 swimming pools (one adult only) plus a children's area with their own pool. I didn't use the Lotus Spa, as I learnt my lesson on Jewel of the Seas - far too expensive AND they try to sell you lotions and potions and expect a tip. Save that sort of thing for Thomson or Fred Olsen ships - much cheaper! EVENTS There were 4 art auctions if that is your thing (not mine) and live port lectures which were then run on a continuous loop on the cabin TV. There was, of course, being a Princess ship, "movies under stars" Bit cold going round Britain, but tartan rugs were supplied! And many people were using them! CABINS (Staterooms!!) We were on deck 5 and the cabins were not really very big, and it was not helped by the upper beds which you bumped your shoulder on when you got out of bed, even though they were folded away. So beware if you chose #P241 as it is not marked on the plan in the brochure as a 4 berth. Still, it was adequate and had plenty of coat hangers. Smallish shower room, but spotlessly clean. There were supplies of shampoo and conditioner and also body lotion and soap, but strangely enough no shower gel. The hair dryer is, sensibly, in the cabin and not the shower room and pretty powerful. There is only a USA style socket in the cabin, plus a shaver plug in the bathroom. There is plenty of room under the bed for cases. It was not worth having a balcony for going round the British Isles, but we have booked a balcony for out next trip on her in the Caribbean. TV only showed CNN, no BBC News 24, plus some films and usual ship video cam. Chocolates on the bed each evening, but no towel animals! DINING We had booked second sitting, but after 3 nights sitting on our own on a table for 6, we decided to change to "Anytime dining" Sometimes we went to the dining room and sometimes we went to the buffet. Both were good, although I liked the buffet as you could sit by the window, watching the sunsets and you could eat as little or as much as you wanted. PORTS OF CALL A word of warning, most of the trips had been booked online before we got on the ship. My link to the excursion brochure did not work on the email they sent me, so it is worth contacting Princess and getting them to send you a copy by email, and booking before you go if you really want any particular trip. Our ports of call were:- ST PETER PORT - GUERNSEY - We had already done the Island tour on a previous cruise, so we explored the port, very pretty and lots of shopping (even an M&S where I bought jeans for OH as he had not brought any with him!!) The Island - Triptour is recommended, though, if it is you first visit. HOLYHEAD - all trips booked, so we took the shuttle bus and got a taxi to Beaumaris Castle and came back via Llanfair.......whatever! It was great, the driver was wonderful and full of local knowledge and it worked out £25 cheaper than going on the trip and obviously if you can share with another couple it works out even cheaper. DUBLIN - Shuttle bus to town and then went round on the Red Hoho bus. I was a bit disappointed with Dublin, it seemed a bit "run down" but I know they are having financial difficulties. BELFAST - Loved it! Free shuttle bus put on by the city council, lots of tourist information and we went round on the local open top bus - Allen's Tours. It was excellent - there was a live guide and he took us to the Harland and Wolff shipyards where the Titanic was built, Stormont, Crumlin Road, Shankill Road etc as well as the town centre. My favourite city, I think and would love to go back and do some shopping! And also to see the Titanic Centre which opens next year. GLASGOW, FROM GREENOCK - Don't get a taxi, get the train to Glasgow. You can walk via the shopping centre or get a taxi to the station. The train fare is £6 each return and a very nice clean quiet train ride awaits you. Tip - sit on the left of the train as that is where the scenery is. We took the Hoho bus round Glasgow and again it was very good. You can get it just outside the railway station. KIRKWALL, ORKNEYS - loved it! We managed to book a ship's trip for this and took a scenic drive to Stones of Stenness, Scapa Flow and the Italian chapel. The guide is an ex-teacher who moved to Orkney when he retired and he was very informative. Kirkwall, itself is very picturesque and St Magnus Cathedral well worth a visit. EDINBURGH FROM SOUTH QUEENSFERRY - we were anchored near the Forth railway bridge - it is quite a spectacular structure. We got the tender boat to the port and were offered a shuttle bus for £10 each return to Edinburgh. This seems quite expensive, but it is quite a distance. There is also a train, but not sure how far the station is, but it might be a cheaper option. Again, we took the Red Hoho bus and as it was raining we had to sit inside, so didn't really get the best out of it. Also, because the Festival was on, it was difficult to see the city properly, so would like to go back there again for a few days. To be honest there is too much to see in a day. INVERGORDON - We were quite tired by the time we got to Invergordon, and I was incubating a horrible cold! - so we stayed in Invergorden instead of going to Inverness. It is not a very big place, but the people were so friendly. We went to visit the church and were given free tea and cakes, then we visited a small workshop, where a lady had made all sorts of pictures illustrating various poems which she explained to us. I bought some shoes in the small shopping centre, walked down to the end of the town, where there was a fete and boats racing for the RNLI, then went back to the ship for lunch and sat on the deck in lovely sunshine! We then had a day at sea, which was wonderfully sunny and warm, before we arrived at Le Havre. LE HAVRE - why we went to Le Havre on a trip round Great Britain, I don't really know! I suppose it was so people could visit Paris. Well if you want to spend 3 hours each way on a coach to spend 4 and half hours in Paris - go for it! We spent 4 and a half DAYS there some years ago and I'm sure we didn't see half of it. We decided to explre Le Havre. We got the shuttle bus, thinking it was going to the city, but no, it just took us out of the port gates and stopped at the next dock! We then had to walk back to the town, which was virtually where we had come from! Everything was closed as it was a Bank Holiday, so we met up with another couple off the ship, had a coffee and walked back to the ship, where we spent the afternoon, sunbathing. The shuttle bus had cost us $24, so I went to the desk and asked for a refund for the return journey, which they grudgingly gave, saying that the bus couldn't go into town as it was bank holiday - what?? We arrived back in Southampton to a lovely drizzly day and drove home. Anyway, all in all it was a great cruise and we are looking forward to going on the Crown Princess again in the Caribbean, when hopefully we can use the putting course and do a bit more sun bathing! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My wife and I consider ourselves seasoned cruisers (4 cruises this year alone). We flew from Newark New Jersey to London Heathrow on Continental Airlines, on their morning flight, getting us in at 9:30pm London time. This allowed us to get ... Read More
My wife and I consider ourselves seasoned cruisers (4 cruises this year alone). We flew from Newark New Jersey to London Heathrow on Continental Airlines, on their morning flight, getting us in at 9:30pm London time. This allowed us to get our first night in a bed rather than an airline seat, even though Continental upgraded us to first class. We awoke rested and ready for the cruise. We had a room at the Hilton Hotel Heathrow Airport, which is located at terminal 4, for easy access. The room came with breakfast. The car service, Silver Fleet, which we got on line, picked us up at 10:30am the next day, on time and we were at the cruise terminal in Southampton, UK by 12:30pm. We were on the ship within fifteen minutes of arriving at the terminal. Very easy, painless and the staff couldn't be more helpful. Cabin: We decided to take a veranda room at the very back of the ship. I love sitting outside, watching the wake of the ship and or the full panoramic view when we leave. We usually book a mini-suite. The room was on the small side for us. Mainly, my wife. I loved it. It was quiet and until this coming January, being a cigar smoker, sat outside with a drink and watched the world go by. The room was spotless and the attendant was terrific. Beds were a little on the narrow side, but with this cruise your not in the cabin that much. Dining: We chose anytime. But as we always do, we were in the Crown Grill 4 times. Food was very good as was the service. We were in Sabbatini's 4 times. It is the best Italian food on the high seas. The maitre'd was extremely helpful and definitely sets the tone for the restaurant. We eat out alot in New York and I can assure you, these specialty restaurants are well worth going to. What my wife and do is, go to a different restaurant each night, so we never get bored. We went to Da Vinci restaurant the rest of the time. Again the maitre'd was great. We enjoy a table for two. All the restaurants accomodated us at the times we wanted. Most importantly the food was excellent. I purchased a coffee card for the week. It gives you entree to better coffee and a variety. I chose to get the egg sandwich and the coffee to go cup in the morning. The egg sandwich is made fresh and is great. You can get rolls and muffins. Again super service. One day at sea the weather wasn't great, so I decided to watch Movies Under the Stars. The staff got me a blanket, they went to the hamburger stand and fixed me lunch. That kind of service has to be mentioned. This extreme kindness and a true want to give us a great time on their vessel came out at every department. Disembarkation: In a word, we were off the ship by 8:30am. We were in a taxi and at our hotel within 10 minutes. This was a great trip and exceeded our every expectations. Ports: Guernsey was beautiful. We hired a car service and were able to see all the high points on the island. If you are looking for great place for lunch. Le Nautique. Cobh: We loved Kinsale and shouldn't be missed. The Blarney business is for people who like that sort of thing. Cobh shouldn't be missed. Liverpool: As a huge Beatles fan, the day was heaven for us. It was one of the highlights of the tours. Dublin: Too short a stay in the city to do much of anything except to see the Guinness factory and take a tour of the city. Normandy: It was a special day and done well through the cruise ship tour department. I divided the tours between the ship and a company out of Long Island called Lynott tours. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This first section is about the travel and the ship. Discussion of ports will follow. WHO WE ARE: I (Carol) took this trip with my mother (Barbara), my sister (Barbie) and Barbie's husband Eddie. PRE-CRUISE: Our ... Read More
This first section is about the travel and the ship. Discussion of ports will follow. WHO WE ARE: I (Carol) took this trip with my mother (Barbara), my sister (Barbie) and Barbie's husband Eddie. PRE-CRUISE: Our trip began with a United flight from Jacksonville to Washington DC, then on to London (Heathrow). The trip was smooth and the time passed well enough. The hardest part of the trip was the long, long walk from the arrival gate to the customs area. I believe we walked more in Heathrow than any of the ports we visited. We took the Hoppa bus to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express on Sipson. We thought our agent had already paid for the transport, but couldn't find tickets, so bought them on the bus--4.5 pounds each. We later discovered that you can buy the passes inside the terminal (and hotel) and save about 50p per ticket. Our hotel was fine. It had been a year since our first trip to England and I had forgotten a couple of differences from US hotels. We thought our door card didn't work because we put it in arrows first. Turns out that is backward. Also, you can't work the lights inside of the room until you put your key card in a special slot beside the door. A breakfast buffet was included with our reservation. It was a good, typical English breakfast. For an American who has never been, you'll see pork and beans, several kinds of sausages, "bacon" which looks more like ham pieces. They had little containers of Marmite. I'd read enough books set in England that reference this, so had to try it. I put it on toast like I would jelly. I don't know if that's what it's intended for, but to me Marmite tastes like burnt toast. We saw some men having breakfast who looked like a rock band--men in their 50's and 60's with long hair. So, nosy as I am, I spoke to one later and it turns out I was right. They were the band Uriah Heep! Even I had heard of them. (BTW, I listened to some of their songs on YouTube after I came home, and they were really nice.) We took the Hoppa back to the airport to meet the Princess reps. They were easy to find and took care of loading our luggage onto the bus for transport to Southampton. It was a rainy day and took a bit longer than normal, but otherwise was an uneventful trip. The driver was actually someone who generally worked in the office, but Southampton had 6 ships in port that day, so personnel were rounded up from everywhere to drive buses. THE SHIP: Embarkation on the Crown Princess was relatively fast and easy. My mother was a Platinum Member of the Captain's Circle club, but the line for all other passengers was actually shorter and so we were directed there. After registering our credit cards, we received our ship's cards and headed on to the next spot where they had to take our pictures for the card. After that, as always, they had photographers set up to take embarkation photos. We just politely demurred and skipped that. We entered the ship on Deck 5, Plaza Deck. We had to wait our turn for the crowded elevators, but eventually made it up to our cabin on Baja (deck 11). We had a category JJ, inside cabin. It was nicer than I expected because of the arrangement. It's hard to describe, so please look at a drawing of the layout, but basically, the closet and bathroom are off to the side from the entryway. From the beds, you cannot see either. We were pretty hot by this point, and there was no ice in our ice chest which was kept in the refrigerator. The cabin steward was in the hall and he assured me he'd fill up the ice daily, but they didn't usually have ice waiting upon embarkation. However, no problem, he got the ice for me immediately. He was a great steward--we never came back to an unmade room. We then went up to the Horizon Court for lunch. More about food later. The nice thing about the Crown is that servers are everywhere to help you find a table, carry your tray and get your drink. We then explored a bit and rested until it was time for the safety drill. Fortunately, they hold their drills inside, so you could go to a lounge and sit rather than lining up on the promenade deck. We met in the Explorers Lounge. Our "presiding authority" was the Assistant Cruise Director. He was very fun, with sort of a dry sense of humor. Throughout the cruise, we would sometimes choose our activities based on whether or not he was the one to be running them. Our Roll Call group was to meet on deck shortly after the Life Boat drill. It was still raining so I assumed no one would show. I was wrong; apparently they had a great get together. I did meet up with them at our next schedule Meet and Greet. We had a large group, and it was fun to meet so many people. We had early seating for dinner in the Botticelli Dining Room. The dining room was very nice. Although it is large, it is divided in such a way that you feel like there are only 5 or 6 tables nearby. Our waitress was Alexandra from Mesopotamia. She was very good--exactly what I like. She was very professional and yet was somewhat friendly. The assistant waiter was Laszlo from Hungary. He also did a great job, and he cut up with us some. That was fun. The ship itself was beautiful. It was always gleaming! The marble/granite floors were gorgeous around the Piazza. Frequently there was a small musical group performing in the Piazza and we enjoyed just listening to them. At other times they had some jugglers. These were 2 men that trained performers for Circ de Soleil. It was a good act, but it seemed to be the same act every time I saw them perform. FOOD: The food was pretty much the same thing that I see on other cruises. The only difference is that they now offer a "home-style" entree on each dinner--meatloaf, fried chicken, etc. I do have to say a word about my FAVORITE foods. First, we always love the bread sticks! Second, several nights into the cruise I ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo as an appetizer (it's always available). It was AMAZING. After that, at least one of our group ordered it every night. A couple of nights we ordered the larger size as our entree. One of the reasons our next cruise is on Princess is just for this dish! Besides the Horizon Court and the Dining Room, there are other places to eat on the ship gratis. The International Cafe has some salads, sandwiches, quiche, and light desserts all at no additional charge. They do have a charge, however, if you want the specialty tea, coffee, or gelato. In Crooners bar you can request an olive tray, which they'll serve with your drink. As a non-drinker, they said they'd be happy to serve it with only an order for water. The tray has about 8 olives, each with a different filling--anchovy, garlic, almond, jalapeno... Yum! Vines also serves tapas and sushi with a drink order. However, since we had early dinner, it never fit into our schedule. Late at night you can go all the way to the back of the ship, behind the Horizon Court, to Cafe Caribe. They have a small buffet, but they also have table service so that you can have a steak. Our favorite thing was to get chips and guacamole just before bed. We did not go to the specialty dining venues--Sabatini's or the Crown Grill, so cannot comment on them. STAFF: I believe that the crew on this ship were the friendliest that I've ever sailed with. It wasn't that they did so much more, but just that they ALWAYS said hello and seemed sincere about doing so. There was only one exception, which you'll read about in a minute. I only needed to talk to someone at the purser's desk once or twice and received fine service there. ACTIVITIES: The evening entertainment was good. I didn't go to all of the shows because this was a port-intensive cruise and I didn't stay up as late as usual. I did go to the hypnotist show (David Knight) and participated. It was fun. The cruise staff had some trivia games and morning Sudoku and trivia sheets to pick up in the Library, but I don't remember there being a lot of scheduled activities. Well, with exceptions--there were several art auctions, spa lectures (LOSE INCHES!) and talks about the great jewelry buys onboard. As with other ships these days, it seems like a lot of the activities are just ways to try to separate you from your money. I shouldn't complain, because if these are successful and make some passengers happy, then they have their place. Plus, if it helps to keep the base price of my cruise down... There were several movies each day, either on MUTS, in the Explorers Lounge or on the in-cabin TV. INTERNET: OK, now we talk about something negative. Many days the Internet wouldn't work at all. When it did work, it was SLOOOOOWWWWW. There was a man who ran the Internet Cafe. I never dealt with the man myself, but some of my family did and they had nothing nice to say about him. Other people on my roll call also mentioned him. According to reports, he had a bad attitude and didn't know what he was doing. CASINO: I only plat slot machines and I must say that I had a lot of fun in there. I play the penny machines, usually playing all lines with just one penny per line. So, I'm not a big gambler. I prefer the machines with the fun bonus games and had some good luck on several. On Jackpot Party I won $50 on one spin. Later I played one about Little Green Men family reunion and won $60. But the best was the camping game--the bonus brings up a bear (sort of like Yogi) and he keeps going around the screen turning the icons into wilds. On one bonus round I won $114. It all eventually went back to the casino, but these wins helped me to play longer, so it was good. Inverness Scotland was our next port. It is not listed in the drop-down menu for this review. We docked at Invergordon. Not having made prior plans, my mom and I just walked off the ship and talked to a man across the street. He worked with the taxi drivers to arrange last minute tours. We found some other people who had the same idea as us, and so we went together. I don't remember our price, but considered it reasonable. I did note that they had some of the same tours as the ship offered, but much less expensive. Our driver took us through the countryside. We stopped in Dingwall and looked around the old Beauly Priory. The driver was very informative and pointed out sites of interest and took us to some out of the way charming places. He did drive us by Urquhart Castle and let us stop for pictures, but we didn't go in. I'm sure we could have, but no one wanted to do this. We then drove along by Loch Ness and got some beautiful pictures. I had no idea it was so pretty. He even stopped at a place so that we could all walk down to the water and put our feet in, if we wanted to. I did! My mom didn't want to try to walk down the dirt path, so the driver took a cup and filled it with water so that my mom could say she had put her finger in Loch Ness. What a nice guy he was. We stopped briefly at the Nessie tourist center also. Driving back we went through Inverness, which is a small city. The River Ness runs through it. Again, another beautiful place. Wish I could stay there longer. Back in Invergordon I spent some time walking around the one main street. Many of the buildings have murals painted on them. I walked into a little grocery store and got a package of crumpets and a package of cookies for 1.5 pounds. Something a little different--some people on our tour talked about Fish Pedicures. Apparently these little fish eat the dead skin off of your feet. Invergordon had a shop which had just opened, so I went and had the "pedicure." It was a fun experience. My feet were smoother, but it wouldn't replace a traditional pedicure. Unfortunately, the shop closed after just a couple of weeks because the fish kept dying. I did see ads for another Fishy Feet place there, so maybe that one is still in business. Finally, there was a school band standing by the street playing music. It consisted of drums and bagpipes. The kids looked anywhere in age from middle to high school and they played very well. They even played on the pier as the ship cast off! Townspeople stood on the pier and waved us off. It was a special experience for me. The next port was Glasgow. Again, it is not available on the drop-down menu. I loved our day in Glasgow. I took another private tour which Terri had arranged. Our driver, Robert Jack, met the 7 of us right on time. He was dressed in the full kilt outfit. I never realized a man could look so manly in a skirt! We drove through Glasgow on our way to the little town of Airth. The road construction had recently been finished and so Robert made great time. Because of that, he took us first to see the Falkirk Wheel. It is a different way of connecting two bodies of water which are at different altitudes. Unlike the Panama Canal locks, the Falkirk Wheel picks up the boat and all the water it is sitting in and rotates it up to the higher body of water, where it then exits the wheel. We then continued on to Airth. We were there on the 4th Saturday in July which is when they have their annual Highland Games. Entrance fee was 5 pounds. We saw the Highland dancers, starting with the youngest group called the Babies. Those little girls would go onstage and do just a couple of steps for the judges. As the girls got older they performed more elaborate routines. It was so fun to watch. There was also a bagpipe contest. Each player would stand on a small makeshift stage and walk back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...... playing music. It wasn't the tunes that we recognize. In fact, it was pretty boring. But, this competition isn't for the benefit of the audience, but to rate the players. There were also many foot and bike races. The best part though was to see all of the men who were competing in the traditional Scottish games. They all had their kilts on. We saw several things like the javelin, the shot put, etc. There was a caber toss but we had to leave before it began. In addition, they did have a parade around the field with a bagpipe band. I really enjoyed this part of the day--we were just with the local people enjoying an annual tradition. After leaving the games, we stopped at the Airth Castle just to see the views. While there, we heard a bagpipe start playing. As we watched, a wedding party came down the hill, led by the bagpiper. It appeared just to be the bride and her family. The groom and the guests must have already been inside the building. They went to the door of the castle where the music continued a few more minutes, before they all disappeared inside. Finally, we went to the William Wallace Monument (think Braveheart). An actor presented a little one man show and talked to us as if he was one of the men to follow and fight with Wallace. He had an excellent presentation. Again, we took a few minutes to appreciate the view, then we hurried back to Robert for the drive back to the ship. It was a full day, but we made it back in time. Cork, Ireland was our next stop. Actually, the ship docks in Cobh. As soon as you step off the ship, you are in the train station. The train runs every half hour to Cork. A round-trip ticket was about 7 Euros and the trip takes about 20 minutes. All 4 of us bought tickets. No one collected our tickets, which led to a little problem later. Once we got to Cork and got out of the station, we realized we'd have to walk 10-15 minutes into the center of town. My mom didn't want to do that so decided to just get back on the train and head to the ship. Eddie went back with her. Before they left, my mom gave me the rest of her Euros in hopes that I could spend them in town and could then repay her in US$. Barbie and I took off for town. Some of the prettiest pictures I got were of the flowers just growing on the stone walls. In town, we walked into a shopping area. There were lots of food stalls selling everything from meat to cheese to fudge to breads... Very interesting, especially the long thin thing that I think was an oxtail! We then wandered around outside and got some more great pictures. On the way back to the train, Barbie realized she still had Eddie's train ticket. Yikes! We wondered if we'd find Eddie waiting for us at the station, but no, he was gone. When we got on the platform for the train to return to Cobh, a ticket collector came by and finally took the tickets we'd been holding onto all day. Back on the ship we heard their story. Eddie discovered he didn't have his ticket when the porter came for it. So, my mom and he went back into the station to see about buying a one-way ticket for him. That wasn't a problem, although the cost was 4.65 Euros. Eddie had no cash, so my mom was going to take care of it. Remember what I said at the start of this story??? It was at this point that Mom realized she had given me all of her Euros. When Mom explained the problem to the ticket agent, the lady just laughed. (I might have too.) She then said mom could use her credit card; however, there was a minimum credit card purchase. So Mom ended up having extra Euros after all! One thing we did learn because of this is that if you are leaving cash tips for your steward or wait staff, you can leave it in dollars, Euros, or pounds. So, guess where the extra Euros went... Our final port was Guernsey. Oh, what a beautiful island this is! We tendered in to this port early in the morning. Again I was booked on a private tour with people from my roll call. We did the "Potato Peel Pie Society Tour." It took in the major locations mentioned in the book. We started at the German Occupation Museum. History buffs would enjoy this, but I didn't really care to look at all the guns and stuff. The one thing I did find interesting was a diary kept by a woman on the island during WWII. It was opened to a page with this entry. I don't know the month, but it was Tuesday, the 3rd. Besides mentioning rations, she wrote, "An Organ and Vocal recital at Church this evening. I sang a duet with Joyce Browing who sang very flat and spoilt the whole thing." I got a laugh out of that. We then went to the Little Chapel which was built by a man in honor and remembrance of Lourdes. It was beautiful. I'd recommend you google it for some neat pictures. Following that, we went to the Cliff Walk. All I can say is, WOW! There was some fog over the ocean and it softened the whole scene as we stood on top of the cliffs and looked down to the water. It was almost like being in an emotional movie scene--it evoked strong feelings. I didn't want to leave. However, we did have to move on, and went back to a place for a snack. I had a scone and clotted cream, with some jelly on top. I didn't know what clotted cream was, but it was as good as I'd heard. It's a thick cream, almost the consistency of soft butter. It's slightly sweet. Oh my, it was good! Our last stop was the German Underground Hospital, left over from WWII. It was dark and dank. I would have hated to had to stay there! We got there the week after they had a contest on the island for the nicest yards. There were flowers growing all over. I've never seen so many colors of hydrangeas. As we drove around, we just got to enjoy the beauty of the island. Our driver pointed out little homemade stands beside the road. People would put out their extra produce or eggs and put a sign up telling the price. People who wanted some would just put the money in the jar or coin box. The honor system works well there because the people are honest. To move there, you have to be approved by a committee of residents and they're really careful about who they let move in. I would love to go back and stay awhile, if they'd have me :). DEBARKATION: I hate it!!! Well, that's not the fault of the cruise line, it's simply that all cruises must end eventually. The procedure was actually very smooth. We found our bags relatively easily, and Customs was a breeze. We found the right bus to return us to Heathrow. Once at the airport, we waited, and waited and waited. Our flight left late in the afternoon. At Heathrow, they don't tell you the gate number until about an hour before your flight leaves. That means everyone waits in a big central location. That in itself wasn't bad, but when you finally got your gate assignment, you had to hurry to get to the gate on time. This was especially difficult because we had to secure a wheelchair for a member of our party. By the time we got to our gate, it was almost time to board the plane. OTHER GENERAL SHIP COMMENTS: Other than coming out of shows, the ship rarely felt crowded. Many times it felt deserted. I stayed onboard while we were at a port one day and that was so nice. I found that the Wheelhouse Bar is a nice place to sit and read (or recline and read if you prefer). I would go on this ship again with no hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Overall, with three exceptions, my wife and I had an enjoyable experience aboard the Crown Princess. (1) There was a clear lack of capacity for most popular shore excursions, many of which were sold out weeks before the cruise ... Read More
Overall, with three exceptions, my wife and I had an enjoyable experience aboard the Crown Princess. (1) There was a clear lack of capacity for most popular shore excursions, many of which were sold out weeks before the cruise began. One would have thought Princess could anticipate the number of passenger during the peak Summer period and plan accordingly. For those who plan a cruise around the assumption that they will be able to visit certain sites, the lack of capacity for shore excursions for which no alternative exists (for example, to Normandy and Paris from La Havre), raises questions about Princess' ethical and legal obligations to deliver what passengers pay for and expect. (2) I understand that Internet access via satellite may be intermittent at times based on the position of the ship. But to continuously receive the message of too many subscribers logged in suggests a different problem that represents a shortcoming within the ship's and Princess' power to control and correct. The lack of reasonable (if not continuous) Internet access created unanticipated work-related difficulties for me and caused unneeded problems during what was supposed to be primarily a vacation. If not fixed, this should give pause to anyone who requires onboard semi-regular Internet access. (3) Lack of news among onboard TV options. Found it ironic that on cruise to British Isles, there was no BB or SkyNews offered. Only news option was CNN International, which has deteriorated into irrelevancy. Most of the time, had to rely on the headlines at the bottom of the CNN screen for any world news. This was especially troublesome since cruise was a few days after tragic terror attacks in Norway. Crown Princess had just been in Norway the week before and was returning there on its next cruise. Security throughout Europe had been stepped up in the aftermath of the Norway tragedy. It would have been nice to have had more real time access to news than that offered by CNN. St. Peter Port (Guernsey, England) - Arrived by tender. There's a heavily promoted Underground Hospital and Tunnel complex dating from the Nazi occupation that you can visit. But you have to take a bus to reach it or sign up for a Princess excursion (which was sold out). We discovered a similar site within 25 minutes walking distance. It's called the La Valette Underground Military Museum. Stop at the Tourist Information Center in St. Peter Port for directions after you tender in. We also took #7 (you can take #7 or #7A) bus from the central bus station for scenic views around the island. It's a 90 minute ride at a cost of just one pound. Greenock (Glasgow, Scotland) - We skipped Glasgow, a long distance from the port. Instead, we took two bus tours (to Gourock and Port Glasgow), offered for free by the Inverclyde Tourist Group. ITG is a volunteer group that seeks to promote the nearby port town of Inverclyde to cruise ship passengers (http://www.inverclydetouristgroup.co.uk/). ITG volunteers greet you in the port as you arrive ashore and offer commentary on the tours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Lovely cruise, but oh so cold! My wife of 40 plus years has steadfastly refused to contemplate any holidays north of Cardiff since I married her, but the temptation of a cruise around the British Isles was too much for her to ... Read More
Lovely cruise, but oh so cold! My wife of 40 plus years has steadfastly refused to contemplate any holidays north of Cardiff since I married her, but the temptation of a cruise around the British Isles was too much for her to refuse. Embarking in Southampton, we discovered we had been upgraded to a balcony cabin. Sitting on the balcony during the he sail away in the 25 degree sunshine was very pleasant indeed. However, that was the last occasion we went out on the balcony. Temperatures the following day had dropped a good 10 degrees, and went down steadily the further north we headed. The Crown Princess, like all cruisers in cool temperatures was transformed from a cosy lounge into a draughty fridge. Are there any cruise ships that stay warm in cold places? So, it was on with the woolly jumpers and knee length socks whilst aboard, and another layer or two with gloves, scarf and winter hat when on shore excursions. Scotland was lovely as were the Shetlands. Iceland was as rugged and as cold as ever, but still very interesting. Dublin and Ireland was as marvellous as ever. The floating theme park called Britain still has a lot to offer cruisers. The food on board was good, as were the drinks but set at high end U.S. restaurant prices. The shore excursions were way over-priced. My wife is now a very contented bunny having proved that south is way to go when holidaying, and any thoughts of Alaska or Antarctica have now been abandoned. Overall, a pleasant 'cruisers cruise', but I am pleased I did not pay extra for a balcony. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
DH and I (late 50's) booked this cruise over a year in advance - which is apparently too much time for me as I crept us up from an inside cabin to oceanview finally ending in a balcony We had an absolutely wonderful time! I know ... Read More
DH and I (late 50's) booked this cruise over a year in advance - which is apparently too much time for me as I crept us up from an inside cabin to oceanview finally ending in a balcony We had an absolutely wonderful time! I know there is already a lot of discussion regarding the norovirus outbreak, so I am going to stick to the ship and ports.PrecruiseWe flew in from Phoenix on Delta arriving early in the morning. We stayed at the Park Plaza Riverside (on the Thames) which was booked at a terrific Hotwire rate. All we had to do was cross the bridge and we were in the thick of things in Westminster. The only glitch was that immigration took 2 hours and our driver gave up on us appearing. Another driver kindly called the hotel for ours to return. On Sunday morning, we took the very comfortable National Express coach from Victoria Station to Southampton. Then it was a 5 minute cab ride to the ship. We arrived at around 1:30 and were onboard in less than 15 minutes. Although we used the platinum express checkin, there wasn't much line at any counter at that time. We met up with many of the 180+ people from our roll call at sailaway for a little "preparty". What a great group!ShipWe were in Caribe 303. This cabin is HA, but had been release to open booking just prior to the cruise. It is almost the perfect cabin - right near the elevators and laundry room. It is oversized due to being HA and the balcony is quite large. We were very comfortable throughout the trip.Much has been said about the International Cafe - and it is just as great as people report. The location of the coffee bar and the cafe make the Piazza area a bustling place during the day. I think it was genius on the planner's part. I looked forward to a latte and a warm cookie every day when we returned from port. The food items, both meal and desserts, were terrific. The only charge was for 3 scoops of gelato ($1.50). The girls in their "cookies and milk" aprons walking around serving to people in the Piazza were adorable.I didn't spend time in many areas of the ship on this cruise as we had so many port days. I thought the ship was pretty in a classic kind of Princess style. I rarely note the cruise director, but on this trip I felt that Ron Goodman's friendly graciousness added to the trip. We saw a Canadian comedian - DH liked him, I thought so-so. We had fun playing trivia on those days we were back in time, but one of the assistant staff seemed a little harsh. It's only a game, after all. We saw one of the big shows and thought it was good. We ate in the MDR (anytime dining), the buffet and Crown Grill. The food in the Crown Grill was terrific. I usually don't splurge on specialty dining but I thought DH would enjoy a great steak...all 22 oz. of it! We and another terrific couple from the roll call ate together in the MDR. We began requesting Salvador's station as he spoiled us to death. He and the head waiter brought us several extra dinner items to enjoy - we felt like rock stars! Not sure what we did to deserve such service, but it was appreciated. The buffet was the same as we have experienced on most ships (with the exception of Oceania which has a superb buffet). We had no complaints.PortsGuensey - what a charming little island! More French than English really. After tendering, we walked to Castle Cornet. If you are there at noon, you can watch the firing of the cannon. Unfortunately, DH spent so much time in the fort's museums, I didn't make it to the German Occupation Museum or the Underground Hospital. I opted instead for a bus trip around the island and was honored to have the opportunity to chat with one of the people who as a child was evacuated during the war. It was like having the book come to life! Shame on Princess for charging $129 for what cost about 5 GBP. Just hop on the 7 or 7A bus for a pound - or take the #4 to the Occupation Museum and Hospital. I never would have met that wonderful woman on the ship tour!Cobh - I was excited to visit as my grandmother emigrated from this port. I really enjoy lovely little port towns, as opposed to big city ports. I had hoped to go on a tour of Spike Island, but it was not yet open. We were fortunate to join roll call members on the ecoach tour (which at $19 Euro cost 1/4 of the Princess excursion to the exact same places) After driving through Cork, we visited Blarney Castle. Since our tour arrived early the lines to kiss the Blarney Stone were short compared to an hour later. The Blarney Woolen Mill has many nice items. Then we went on to Kinsale - another nice little town, but not the craft area I had read it was.Dublin - I can't say enough about how much fun we had on the Dublin City Bike tour. For $24 euro we had a four hour bike tour throughout the city. If I can do this ride - anybody can. Liam and Keegan are so knowledgable and friendly, they bring the city and its history to life. Liverpool - we walked over to Albert Dock and spent time in the Maritime and Slavery Museums. We had hoped to do the River explorer boat to Albert Dock and the u-boat, but since we parked in their space, the boat was cancelled that day. Once again, Princess sold expensive tours to places that were right at or near the pier. Although the dock area was extremely windy that day and I was afraid he would be blown over, I was stopped to chat with an elderly gentleman who told me of his war experience. Another priceless opportunity. For shoppers, Liverpool has an enormous pedestrian shopping area a few blocks from the pier.Belfast - Arthur from Urban Adventures Limited arranged a black cab tour of both parts of the divided city followed by an awesome lunch at the John Hewitt Pub and then a walking tour with him of the city center...and only $50 GBP!! There was no additional charge for the bomb scare that made everyone about two hours late returning to the ship. The city provides a free shuttle to downtown Belfast.Greenock/Glasgow - we shared a 45 minute cab ride to Glasgow and then rode the HOHO. The cathedral/St. Mungo religious museum/Lord's Provandship area was the highlight of the visit. The People's museum was worth sitting in the beautiful glass conservatory and eating banoffee (apparently banana and toffee) sponge cake - yum! I would only take the other loop if interested in the University of Glasgow or when the museum and tall ship opens that direction.Invergordon/Inverness - We loved the beauty of the Scottish Highlands! We again shared the cab in to meet our bus to the Jacobite boat tour. This is a very comfortable boat ride to a castle and an interesting museum on the Loch Ness monster tales. I booked the tour online at a bargain price.South Queensferry/Edinburgh - I have two BIG tips for this port. DO NOT pay Princess $69 for the ride into Edinburgh - just turn left instead of right and hop on the "other" shuttle for $10 GBP RT. (Princess won't tell of this option). And be sure to buy the Edinburgh Castle admission tickets in advance online. You will sail pass the long lines waiting to buy. The Castle takes quite a bit of time. Then we headed down the Royal Mile to Holyrood, browsing in shops along the way. We were disappointed that Charles and Camilla were in residence so there was no Holyrood tour that day. This is a very long walking day, so be prepared with comfortable shoes!Le Have/Normandy - We joined two other couples for a private D-Day area tour with Eric Le Doux-Turnbull. What an amazing memory for dates - times - places this man has!! After visiting St Mere Eglise, we had a take away lunch like only the French can do for 5.5 Euro. Then we were off to Utah and Omaha beaches as well as Ponte du Hoc. Eric tells the story like he was actually there. Because D-day was coming up, there were many costumed reenacters in town which I felt added to the atmosphere. The thousands of crosses in the American Cemetery can't help but move your soul. Ironically, today Omaha Beach is a lovely, happy place for families to spend the day.Sadly, they did make us get off the ship! I was green with envy at those walking down the dock to board the Cunard ship for the crossing home. Our driver had us back to Heathrow in about 90 minutes. Except for the "making us get off" thing - we have no complaints about this cruise and applaud the staff for their efforts in keeping the virus under control. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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