1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Its vacation made better! The opputunites that arise are not some you would see often so its like the saying goes. Travel while You can as your money will always return! Its about the expierence and what it does for you. This how ever was ... Read More
Its vacation made better! The opputunites that arise are not some you would see often so its like the saying goes. Travel while You can as your money will always return! Its about the expierence and what it does for you. This how ever was my third cruise and again!! Some how! it was made even better then the first two but they were still amazing experiences and thats simply because princess strides for nothing but the best! My first ever cruise was this year as well so it just shows how life changing it can be or has been for Me anyways. The photos speak for them selves. It just goes to show any princess cruise is well worth every penny as no one else can provide such an unforgettable time! (Dolphins,Stingrays,Sea lions,) with nice calm relaxing travelling to the Caribbeans Islands and so much more! I thank you once again princess cruises! You are the Top Cruise Line in my books! Its something i will be able to share and remember for the rest of my Life. But that also means i will be back! N thats what counts the most! Providing such a great time that everyone want ones to keep coming back, heck id live on one of the ships if it was possible! In good Time I will be back! Last but not least I Highly recommend princess cruises if you never have before! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Always wanted to cross an ocean as an immigrant to Canada. This was our first cross Atlantic cruise, our first on Princess and the first ever cruise for my partner. The boat was very good. We had a great time on this trip. We were ... Read More
Always wanted to cross an ocean as an immigrant to Canada. This was our first cross Atlantic cruise, our first on Princess and the first ever cruise for my partner. The boat was very good. We had a great time on this trip. We were in Europe for 2 weeks before embarking visiting Paris and Rome each for a week. The staff was great. The restaurants were to our taste quite too similar. The food was good but the three anytime restaurants had a very similar decor and the menus sounded very similar. We preferred by far the steak house over the Italian restaurant for the pay a fee restaurants. We loved the cabin and the mattress and pillows were the most comfortable we ever slept on. Too bad the mattress is not sold in Canada. Our Stewart was fantastic. It was a pleasure to have Wilmer helping us. He did an amazing job. For activities, my partner would have loved more hands on activities like cooking class. I enjoyed the movie under the stars. The larger pool was a lot of fun especially with a little sea movement cresting some waves. We enjoy the coffee bar. I used an Internet package. It was great to be able to work from the middle of the Atlantic. If possible it would be great if the speed could be increased. At time it was painfully slow. Regarding the TV, we would have preferred for the movies at least an option to start the movies when we wanted like a Netflix style. A little more selection in movies and shows would be great on such a long cruise. We only used princess excursions at one harbor. We did our own at the others. We never looked really at the excursions offered. We were used to go on our own. Embarking was very easy and smooth. Disembarking was good too. Just slow with the us customs to clear. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
I have never been to the ABC islands before so this itinerary appealed to me. The Crown was heading to dry dock after my cruise and it's apparent that it is needed! Everything seemed dated. The Horizon Court food was lack luster and ... Read More
I have never been to the ABC islands before so this itinerary appealed to me. The Crown was heading to dry dock after my cruise and it's apparent that it is needed! Everything seemed dated. The Horizon Court food was lack luster and in need of revamping the selections. The burger I had at the Trident was bland, no taste, processed flat patty, and they didn't even melt the cheese on it, just threw it on at the end. The upset stuff really gets old very quickly onboard, pushing the jewelry and art constantly. I didn't find the shows too spectacular, they were alright. The bright spot was the comedian, he was funny. The MDR was great as always, fine wait stall. I prefer the seated dining. I drove to the port and parked there also. So there was no hotel review or much in the way of traveling. Embarkation was very quick and efficient and disembarkation was ahead of schedule which is rare, so that was very quick. I did a Princess tour on each island and with the exception of being left behind at one spot (Aruba), had no other problems. Seems they didn't do head counts!! But that is why I stick to the cruise tours, in case something goes wrong. I had a bacony on Baja, which I liked for the covered balcony and no one looking down on me! I traveled solo, so no children or significant other to report on! Now that I've seen these islands, I have no need to travel there again, none I would go back to. As I said, the cabin and the public areas need upgrades, which is now being done. I did make use of the spa and as usual everyone there was very accommodating. Princess is my cruiseline of choice so once refurbished, I will no doubt go on the Crown again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This review covers the 5-day and 8-day back-to-back voyages of the Crown Princess (January 7-20). We were able to book these dates for a last-minute booking (38 days out). Princess offered us a price we couldn't refuse, so off we ... Read More
This review covers the 5-day and 8-day back-to-back voyages of the Crown Princess (January 7-20). We were able to book these dates for a last-minute booking (38 days out). Princess offered us a price we couldn't refuse, so off we go. This was our 13th & 14th cruise respectively with Princess (20+ overall) so we know our way around the cruise world. Embarkation was as smooth as possible. We waited until the mass early morn crowd dissipates, and walked in about 1:30pm. Being platinum level, we were whisked through the preferred line and were onboard the ship within ten minutes. We chose an obstructed oceanview stateroom, since we would be outside 90% of the time aboard. Our room steward was excellent.....very personable, and took great care of us. The Crown Princess is a magnificent ship, slightly over 3000 passengers, well laid-out with lots of open space on top (4 pools), good traffic flow through most of the ship. Almost all activities occur on the 7th deck, which gives you access to all the lounges, theatre, and some shops. Gym and spa are at the front of the ship, which gives you 180-degree view forward behind glass walls. The buffet (Horizon Court) is at the back of the ship on deck 15, and has inside/outside tables available for great views. DINING: We stick with the late traditional dining venue (Botticelli room, deck 6 table for 2). Our wait staff was excellent, very friendly, knowledgeable of the food selections, and made our dining experience memorable. The food in this room was FANTASTIC.....in our opinion, one of the top 2 of our Princess experiences over the years. Portions were the perfect size, we ate everything that was on our plates. Desserts were well-presented. ENTERTAINMENT: Theater stage shows were great. You must watch ENCORE. Some serious talent there. The ship band was spot-on. Great costuming/lighting. Theater has good access/egress. Catch the party band STATIC.....high energy, very interactive with the passengers when they perform. Voice of the ocean was entertaining, as was marriage match game. PORTS: Visited Roatan, Cozemel, Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire. Beach days in Roatan and Aruba. Cozemel was a visit to Tuluum, which requires a ferry ride over to the mainland (Playa Del Carmen). Curacao was a walk-around visit, and we rode electric bicycles on a 25-mile tour of the island of Bonaire. We used off-ship venders (shoreexcursiongroup.com) for the land tours. Traveled about 5000 statute miles on this adventure. Point-of-information....you can now bring Cuban cigars back to the U.S. for personal consumption. We used city bus in Aruba (drastically cheaper than Taxi). OVERALL: There were no speedbumps on this cruise with Princess. We were treated like royalty. Crown is scheduled for dry-dock in a month or so, so the experience should get even better after that. This ship/schedule met our needs. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose the cruise for the itinery, which was great, although very tiring! But the ship was not so good, in need of refit, standards dropped, become very casual in fact. I think I was the only solo traveller, therefore no way of meeting ... Read More
I chose the cruise for the itinery, which was great, although very tiring! But the ship was not so good, in need of refit, standards dropped, become very casual in fact. I think I was the only solo traveller, therefore no way of meeting like minded people. Princess only put a get together for 'independent' travellers on at 9am, to go in port together, but I attended, but no one else, as people tended to have arranged tours. I did find on last day groups of ladies on the cruise, & some x 2 ladies , but travelling together. On a previous princess cruise it was not a problem. Not many Brits on the ship either. Food quality not as good, in fact it was better in the buffet. Entertainment was poor quality, no special artists, like you get with other cruise lines. I won't be going with princess again, I was very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose this cruise due to no solo supplement for the 7 night Canada New England Sept cruise! I was also on the Crown in June for Norway. It is an older ship and needs work. I was very disappointed regarding both the Lotus spa pool ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to no solo supplement for the 7 night Canada New England Sept cruise! I was also on the Crown in June for Norway. It is an older ship and needs work. I was very disappointed regarding both the Lotus spa pool and the Thermal Suite. On both of my cruises, the spa pool was closed numerous times supposedly for mechanical issues. I seemed to get different answers depending on which staff member I spoke to. Very disappointing! As for the Thermal suite, there was often people there that hadn't paid for the service. On one occasion, a couple came in in street clothes (jeans & running shoes) and proceeded to lay down on the thermal beds. It took about 10 minutes to get staff to remove the couple and then another 10 minutes to clean thermal beds. On 2 separate days when I went to use steam room, it was not working. Lady at front desk didn't seem to care! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
7 day cruise to Norway from Southampton, getting on and off the ship was very good, I also enjoyed the evening shows Magic to Do, the Disco Show, the variety show, Jo Little the comedian, and others too, all most entertaining! My cabin ... Read More
7 day cruise to Norway from Southampton, getting on and off the ship was very good, I also enjoyed the evening shows Magic to Do, the Disco Show, the variety show, Jo Little the comedian, and others too, all most entertaining! My cabin steward was excellent too. Though my cabin was very small, I was the only occupant, so it was fine. I would imagine 2 people staying in the cabin might be VERY uncomfortable! I did enjoy the ports too in Norway very much. This ship holds over 3000 passengers, and during the week of the cruise, most of them wandered around aimlessly in groups unsure of where they were going, seemingly always blocking entrances and exits to everywhere on the ship. I did learn out of the over 3000 passengers onboard, only about 700 were Americans. I discovered rude people with no consideration for others come from all over the world apparently. The ship is HUGE and it is a bit of a challenge figuring out where everything is. I ate dinner every night in the Botticelli Dining room. The menu was very limited, with one page remaining the same, and another page with different items, mostly all unhealthy choices with butter or cream, and rather bland and tasteless at the same time, too. My dining companions were all in agreement on how bland most everything was. There were NO healthy options on the menu, and also oddly, no choice of sides (potato, rice, vegetables, etc.) I wonder if this was to encourage people to pay extra for the specialty dining options. Also, after a waiter took my order one night, someone sat down in the empty seat next to me at the table. When the waiter brought over my food, he placed it in front of the passenger who sat down at the empty seat. Not sure what that was about. The dinner buffet on the Horizon deck was actually so much better-each night was a different theme, (Italian, Asian, Indian, etc) with SO much more variety to chose from, and so much tastier too!. I only know this because almost each night BEFORE dining in the dining room, I'd sample some of the buffet items about an hour before, first on deck well aware that the dining room dinners were VERY unsatisfying. Some of the dessert choices though were not bad, and did find some satisfying desserts. One more issue I feel needs to be mentioned here. One evening was the Captain's get together in the Piazza on one of the formal nights. A waiter came around with small bites to eat. I only spotted ONE waiter among the hundreds of passengers gathering in this area. After I sampled something from his tray, I approached him for more, he rudely told me "no" as others had not had any yet. Was the cost of these items coming out of his pocket? I don't think so. I feel that gathering should have been more prepared with more servers, and his behavior was totally unacceptable AND inappropriate. Probably just the ship cutting costs wherever it can, and overcharging for EVERYTHING on the ship that is NOT included. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
The Crown is an older ship and needs work! During 14 day cruise the spa pool was closed at least 4 times for 'maintenance' including our 1 sunny at sea day. Deck hands and other crew were all giving conflicting information as ... Read More
The Crown is an older ship and needs work! During 14 day cruise the spa pool was closed at least 4 times for 'maintenance' including our 1 sunny at sea day. Deck hands and other crew were all giving conflicting information as to what the issue was. This was more frustrating than the fact that the pool was closed. Get your story correct and tell us the truth! Carpets in several areas (indoors and outdoors) were ripped, frayed and in poor condition. Several railings were missing or in slow process of being replaced. Several bar stools overlooking aft pool were too lose and wobbly to sit on. Many of the staff don't seem as happy as on other ships. The service in the dining rooms was the worst I've experienced in all my cruising. They still haven't mastered anytime dining! I went on this cruise to Norway for the scenery and Midnight Sun which was all fantastic! The ports were all good. Disembarkment was a nightmare due to fact that there was only 1 gangway in use. That's probably an issue of Southampton and not Princess. Even though I was disappointed with condition of ship and service level, I still gave this cruise 4 stars because of the itinerary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
I have sailed at least six times over the past 20 years in the South Pacific and always found the conditions ideal for a relaxing 'disconnect' from all the distractions at home. I retired about 3 years ago so when I started ... Read More
I have sailed at least six times over the past 20 years in the South Pacific and always found the conditions ideal for a relaxing 'disconnect' from all the distractions at home. I retired about 3 years ago so when I started shopping for a new cruise this past fall the length and location of this particular cruise seemed perfect. Last minute discounts for new bookings was also very helpful since I was traveling alone. I have sailed on the Princess line on at least six previous times starting when we had young children with us in the early 90s. All of our experiences on this cruise line have been very positive. I like to describe it to others in car terms as the 'Fully Loaded Chevrolet'. The ship was in very good condition and the crew are all very nice. The on board entertainment was generally good. The outdoor movie theater was really wonderful for both movies and live sporting events (NFL games & World Series) but was TOO loud on occasion. The shore excursions were very well organised and interesting. I have come to the conclusion from past experience that the prices for these services have been raised so much that you can do much better by booking your own tours either in advance or immediately on shore when you arrive. I would estimate your savings in the 30 to 50% range. The food and service in the dining rooms was of Four Star quality which is the same from all my previous cruises on Princess. The one item that has definitely become a major profit center is ANY alcoholic beverage. I would estimate that the pricing is at least 30% over what you would pay for similar services on shore. So from the view of the AA this is a friendly atmosphere! Overall the experience on this LONG cruise was very good (20 sea days) and what made it exceptional were the variety of people from all walks of life who you could easily meet in the dining rooms on a random basis for breakfast, lunch & dinner! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a ... Read More
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a snorkeling excursion which was uneventful but the boat ride and scenery to and from the area was worth the excursion. La Paz we docked about two miles away, we boarded busses that took us to the small town. It was fun walking around this town, fun shops and the people were very friendly. Loreto was a beautiful small town like you would see off the beaten path, loved it. It was an easy walk from the ship exploring the quaint town. The high school children preformed at the town square in their traditional garb, what a delight. Puerto Vallarta is a large town but each to walk in. We did the zip line which was quite a site. When we returned to LA we decided that this was such a great cruise we will defiantly take it again. The Crown Princess is a great ship with very friendly staff, good food and the night entertainment can't be beat. We would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
I enjoyed my obstructed view cabin as it was not really obstructed. I could see out just fine and loved the natural light. My cabin stewart was wonderful and after we sorted out my need for ice all was well. Good things: Lots of ... Read More
I enjoyed my obstructed view cabin as it was not really obstructed. I could see out just fine and loved the natural light. My cabin stewart was wonderful and after we sorted out my need for ice all was well. Good things: Lots of swimming pools, large and small. Plenty of chairs, chair hogs were out and about too!! Good shade if you needed it. First day embarkation went smoothly, nice luncheon on the lido deck. Loved the itinerary although I was so tired that I missed their private island. So so things: size of buffet areas. First day we had salt n pepper shakers on table. after that it was packets only. Buffet areas are small, and very disorganized. You had to double back to get salad, or dessert, and were always handed hot plates. They do not use trays on Princess. The dishes are way too big and tend to add to your putting too much on the plate. Many times I ended up just getting a small plate and still had plenty of food. The eggs tasted like instant, very gritty and gross. One day however for breakfast was a cranberry hash that was good. Things that were not so great: Their tea in the dining room. What a disappointment. No organization, shoving dessert in your face before you could manage a tea sandwich. And the most disappointing item was the scones. Hard as a rock and no raspberry, just strawberry. Yuk. They do a "Pub Lunch" on sea days.. ok so Fried shrimp and fries.. yea. so? They had fried shrimp later in the week that was just as good without a line up. Terrible things: The coffee.. OM Goodness.. can we say yukkk. I cannot remember having such a nasty cup on a ship before. I then learned that in order to get fresh brewed coffee one has to "purchase" it for $2.00 plus tip. WHAT?!!?? Excuse me but I have paid a goodly price to be on this ship and now you make me pay for a decent cup of coffee? Not me, and not again. Best things about the ship, a lovely dinner in their steakhouse, good crew. I picked this for the "itinerary" and a change to try a singles group. Ok, so we are all consenting adults, but it is not my thing. I do not need events planned for me as I am used to travelling alone and enjoy my own company. I tend to meet more folks using cruise critic than on a singles group. My next trip it will be back to Celebrity for me. Thanks for reading. K Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Hey everyone! First and foremost, we had a great time on the cruise! We left out of Port Everglades, FL, went to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. The weather was perfect, seas calm, until we got to ... Read More
Hey everyone! First and foremost, we had a great time on the cruise! We left out of Port Everglades, FL, went to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. The weather was perfect, seas calm, until we got to Cozumel, it drizzled in the morning, but the sun came out later in the day and the seas were a little choppy, but nothing unbearable. The entire crew was very accommodating and friendly! Kudos to Allen in the DaVinci Dining Room, everyone at the excursions desk, Amanda, the Captains Circle Hostess, our Cabin Steward, ALL the bar staff, especially the guys on the ramps, helping you get on and off the ship and tenders(amazing!), and the Hostess at the DaVinci Dining Room(sorry I can't remember her name, she is from Mexico, though.) I have a few favorite ports: Tortola, Antigua and now Roatan! The Island isn't as commercialized as Grand Cayman, The Bahamas or St. Thomas, which is what I love! I have a scooter to get around, due to a broken knee, and there are some doors you can't get out onto the decks, due to the scooter being low to the ground, but there are designated doors that open automatically. If you have a walker, scooter, wheelchair, electric chair, etc. You definitely need a handicap cabin, the doors to the regular cabins won't work. C312 is right next door to the laundromat, which wasn't a problem at all. Only thing, when the carts are in the hallway, it can be a challenge to get around them, but the cabin stewards are always happy to move them out of the way when needed. Prior to booking a cruise with a disability or handicap, please make sure you check if they use tenders or docks when in Port. If they use tenders, per Se, in Roatan, they use their own tenders, so they let me take my scooter on the tender both ways. In Belize, they outsource tenders, so they didn't let me go on the tenders with my scooter, so make sure you double check before booking, just in case. And first thing on the ship, go straight to the excursions desk to see which tours would suit you best. We had to cancel the tour in Belize, because. there was nothing in the "easy" section to choose, and in Cozumel, we changed to a different tour, so we weren't able to see any of the ruins. If you get the DVDs at the end of the cruise, all the tours are included, so you don't miss anything. I have sailed 5 time prior, and 3 times on Princess...A couple things I noticed on this cruise: We chose Anytime Dining; the waiters didn't dance around like they usually do on other ships, usually one night out of the week. (I would not recommend Anytime dinning if you are younger than 40 years old, we are 33 and each night, we were sat with a big table of older people that like to one-up each other on how many grandchildren they have and how many cruises they have been on and train trips around the world-not that there is nothing wrong with any of that, we were just there to have a good time, not hear about their lives.) One night we were sat with a couple, the wife ordered EVERYTHING on the menu 3 times and we missed the last show in the Princess Theater because of her. If you can Choose a dining time, I highly recommend it, but if you don't mind taking hours to eat dinner and listening to people, Anytime Dining is for you. There were no carved ice sculptures; and NO midnight Buffet, although the buffets were open until midnight. This was the first cruise I have been on that that had happened...they did have a beautiful Champagne Waterfall in the Piazza on Formal Nights, maybe that replaced ice sculptures?! And no towel animals, like on Carnival-which was fine- a lot of people would expect it if they haven't cruise Princess! I do think Princess should include hard liquor, beer, wine, etc in a drink plan that people could purchase, instead of paying for each drink....it would be nice. I know Celebrity has several of those plans to choose from. You can purchase 2 soft drink plans, I think they started at $49/pp/wk-includes coffee, hot chocolate, soda, juice, milkshakes, etc, which is extra. I think when you book the cruise, it would be a nice option to add onto your cruise, so as soon as you board you don't get bombarded with people trying to sell you drink plans. The food was great, plenty of options for everyone, you can even ask for the children's menu if you don't see anything on the regular menu/vegetarian menu to your liking, which is nice, there is also the Buffets/Pizza/Ice cream/Burger Bars as back up. My Brother said the Seafood at dinner was amazing...so if you eat seafood, go for it! The Ice cream is so good and get the Dream Boat for Dessert! You will not be disappointed! The dining rooms are loud, so once everyone starts leaving it quiets down some. The entertainment was fantastic. We haven't been on a Princess Cruise in years, so we didn't see all the shows/acts/etc...everything was great! Lisa Ball was our Cruise Director, and she does her job well. She seems to be all over the place at the right times, if not herself, her Deputy Cruise Director, Stu and her Assistant Cruise Directors. We had fun on the tours, but please keep in mind, there were no "Handicap Accessible" transportation via the excursions, so if you can walk steps to get in and out of the vans/buses, the tours are for you, if not, I would make other arrangements. Grand Cayman-the sidewalks are not scooter/wheelchair friendly, just be careful. The tour bus was a mini-bus, not a motor coach, but had A/C! Roatan- TONS of walking(really long walk) from the ship through the port shops to the buses, and even if you want to go to the beach, so if would be great if you had a scooter, if you are older and can't walk long distances or if you are going on tours, you can take the scooter to the bus and the security guards will watch the scooter while you are on the tour, and will be there when you get back. The tour buses are little mini buses, not motor coaches, so it's a tight squeeze. They have A/C! Belize- As I said earlier, you can't bring scooters on the tenders, and the boat ride is about 25 min to Belize from the ship, there are stores right at the doc and a Fat Tuesday's right there, so if you can walk into the boat and walk a little, you can do what we did, took the tenders, went into the shops, bought souvenirs/beer, waited on line to go back on the tenders. We can say that we went to Belize. My brother walked outside the gates and said Belize City right there is scummy, within 5 steps he was offered a massage, tour, drugs, taxi, etc, so he turned around and came back. From what I understand anything outside of the City is beautiful, but we couldn't do a tour, so I can't say for sure. The ride is nice to and from, though! Cozumel- Great Tour-the tour guide had beer/soda/water waiting for us on board, then we went Tequila Tasting, then to a show, the show was a little hot and dark, so we kinda took a nap, because. of all the beer and tequila, but it was a fun tour! I was able to take my scooter and they put it in the compartments under the coach bus. And plenty of A/C to go around for all! Port Everglades- we had to fly in the night before and Stayed at Sleep Inn in Dania Beach-I've stayed here prior, and love the location bec. there's a Walgreen's in the parking lot and across the street-a Strip Mall with Publix Supermarket, a Chinese, Mexican and Italian Restaurants as well as a dollar store. There is free transportation to and from the Airport and Cruise-port, but we had to take a taxi bec. of the scooter, it was just easier. If you scooter comes apart like the GoGo I'm sure you can get on their free vans, but it's just a hassle sometimes. I did have to go to the infirmary because I had bronchitis the entire cruise, and the staff were great! If you are traveling with illnesses, make sure you fill out the paperwork on Princess.com and have your doctor fax it to Princess, bec. it helps the doctors a lot when have to go visit them. There are tons of pools on the ship, the Adults only pool is in the back of the ship, but there are steps to get down to it, there is a bar too, so it's nice not to have kids running around like maniacs, like at all the other pools. The shops are basic, clothes, trinkets, souvenirs, Duty Free, etc. Wait until the last few days of the cruise, things go on clearance, and will be cheaper to purchase at that time, they do have jewelry, purses, ties for $10/ea during that time. I bought two bangle bracelets at a nice discount! The Casino is a good size, and on certain nights they have no smoking, which is really nice for those of us that don't smoke. There are also designated areas on the ship for smoking....they even have "how to play" Activities throughout the cruise, for those of us that have no clue how to play games! It's a Cash Casino. The Photo Gallery- Photo's are $19.99/each and there are tons of opportunities to take portraits all over the ship. If you don't want to shell out $20/picture, just take your own, and kindly decline on photo's. They do have photo packages available for a reduced rate. I purchased the DVD Package, includes 2 DVDs from the events and each port/excursions and another DVD with still photo's that you can print/upload/set screen savers etc.-$39.99, so DO NOT purchase the stock photo's on board if you are getting these DVDs, you will save a boat load of money. There are tons of activities every day on ship for everyone....just make sure you make it out of dinner on time, or you will miss some of the late shows, like the one we missed. Don't miss the Shows in the Princess Theater--they were fantastic! The Comedian, Hypnotist, Pianist and Magician were great as was the International Crew Show! You will laugh! There are also little things going on in the Piazza throughout the day, like Hula Hoopist- Ashley Winn, don't miss her! And some of the dancers/singers perform throughout the cruise there, as well as the Choir, on the last day, performs, which is interesting. There is Bingo, Dancing Lessons, Art Workshops, exercise classes, trivia, etc. all day, as well. I didn't have anything done in the Spa/Salon, but the staff is friendly and the facilities look nice and clean. On the last two days they have specials, so be on the look out for those packages in the Princess Patter. We went to the first Art Auction, I wasn't impressed. The Guys running it only catered to the people that were actually going to shell out money for art, which irked us, because, I am an artist, and I would of bid on some things, but their attitudes turned me off. Princess has their own auction company, so it was a little different than on Carnival or our previous Princess Cruises...BUT there was free cheap champagne. There are nice decks that you can just sit and look out, that are nice and quiet. The TVs have The Wake Show with Lisa Ball & Stu, to tell you the goings on the next day/that day, and there are shopping channels, excursion channels, Movie Channels, Ship View Channel, Ship Stats Channel, which has the clock, so if you sleep with that on, you will catch a clock. We had to change time zones in every port, so It's a GREAT Idea to get a wake up call, because. the phone's clock that you can't see, automatically change, which is helpful. OR BRING YOUR OWN ALARM CLOCK! There isn't one in the cabins. The Wake Show explains Disembarkation, so you should be all set, and pay attention to your Princess Patters/mail at the door/on the beds/desks/etc....valuable information! I hope my review helps you understand the ship/cruise a little bit more than, coming from a 33 year old Single Female that has a scooter, other than the average person. (I know it was long, but I had to share!) If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me: iaminadaze@yahoo.com Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2011
Norwegian Fjords 7 Nights 28th July 2011 My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good, but I did not ... Read More
Norwegian Fjords 7 Nights 28th July 2011 My Mother and I are experienced cruisers and have sailed with Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Fred Olsen & Cunard. Pre-cruise information by email was good, but I did not like having to print my own luggage labels. I had to reinforce the paper with sticky back clear film, otherwise they would have pulled off too easily. However I understand you can ask your travel agent to do it for you, but whether they would have gone to this amount of trouble I am not sure. Also Princess do not provide any printed literature about excursions. In contrast, P&O still send a beautifully presented bound folder with all the information about your cruise, excursion information and ready printed luggage labels. We arrived at the Ocean Terminal in good time and after leaving our car with Cruise & Passenger Services we had a speedy check in (we had priority check in). Then it was through security and onto the ship. All our cases arrived within 30mins of arriving in the cabin. Our Cabins Mini Suites on Dolphin deck were excellent in every way, very spacious, pristine condition, large sitting area with three seat sofa and large 5sq Mtr balcony. There was a large walk in wardrobe area and the ensuite had bath with shower. Shelf space was good, but drawer space however was minimal. Our cabin steward arrived to introduce himself and he looked after us very efficiently throughout the whole cruise. After a freshen up it was off to the Horizon Court (Lido Cafe) for a drink and something to eat. The food here was very good indeed, we had our breakfasts and lunches here and our evening meals in the Cafe Caribe which is adjacent to the Horizon Court at the rear of the ship. The service in these areas is first class, with staff anxious to assist you at every turn, very useful for elderly or disabled passengers. Once seated they are constantly at your side to assist with more food or drinks. These waiters are in addition to the staff clearing the tables, who do so efficiently and on a constant basis. A wide range of hot & cold food is available, in the evening sometimes with a particular theme. For us the only thing missing at lunch time was cold meats such as Ham, Beef or Pork, but there was always cheese and a very varied choice of salad items. We never had to queue when eating in these areas. It is also worth mentioning that hand gel was actively insisted upon whenever anybody entered the cafe and was freely available in all areas throughout the ship. Another aspect of hygiene was that milk was dispensed in jugs and jam and butter was in bowls with tongs or spoons which removed the process of multiple fingers diving into bowls for small packs of butter, jam and UHT milk (which we experienced on P&O Oceana the following week - see our separate report of this cruise) We ate only twice in the dining room, so cannot really comment on the standard of service here. The menu's we felt were not to our taste, a little too European and on one of the occasions for us, under cooked and poorly presented. However the evening meals in the Cafe Caribe were very good with plenty of choice and excellent desserts. If you are on anytime dining, there can be long queues if you want to eat in the dining rooms, so it's best to book a table early in the day. The layout of the ship is good, very easy to get around, the elevators are fast and numerous. The Piazza (Atrium) which covers three decks is the central hub with an attractive Coffee Bar which has lovely pastries throughout the day including sandwiches at lunch time (all free with the purchased drinks). We did not book any tours on the short cruise so cannot comment on how efficiently these were organised, but had no trouble getting on or off the ship at the various ports. PORTS OF CALL BERGEN city has some attractive areas in the town, with a large central park area with fountain and bandstand. The main shopping areas have wide pedestrian areas, although on our visit the pavements seemed very dirty and there were a lot of buskers. The attractive port area (with the pretty coloured quay side buildings) was rather spoilt by the covered market stalls and food outlets. The small harbour has some major building work on the quay side at the moment so it's in a mess. GEIRANGER We did not get off the ship here as it was a tender port and mostly for people going on tours who would be meeting up with the ship later in the day at HELLESYLT. The scenic cruising of the fjord here was very pleasant. HELLESYLT Service call only for passengers returning to the ship from overland tours. OLDEN is a small village at one end of the Nordfjord which has a few useful shops. The old church in Olden (the one in the village) was built in 1759 on the site of a stave church dating from around 1300. It's pew doors and jambs are made from timbers of the old stave church. This is well worth a visit and is only a 15 minute walk from the ship. During the Summer a small motor driven train with passenger cars does a shuttle service up and down the main road leading into the village. STAVANGER our final port is of course very large, we were docked very close to the Cathedral which is worth a visit if time permits. At the time of our visit a certain air of sadness prevailed due to the numerous memorials left in memory of all the students who died in the recent shooting tragedy. We did not go to any of the shows or entertainments so cannot comment on these. The usual array of daytime activities were available on board, including shuffle board, quoits, putting & table tennis. Disembarkation was smooth and trouble free. Overall an enjoyable relaxing cruise on a well run ship, with excellent service, accommodation and food. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I will keep it short and sweet.First and foremost, I could not find the dining room the whole time I was aboard the ship. They have the funniest way of where to put the dining rooms. I had to figure on extra time just to make sure I ... Read More
I will keep it short and sweet.First and foremost, I could not find the dining room the whole time I was aboard the ship. They have the funniest way of where to put the dining rooms. I had to figure on extra time just to make sure I could get to the dining room.As a previous poster said, I had "Anytime Dining." That meant that you could go to the dining room "any time" between 5:30 and 9:30 or something. The first night was fine but then when it came for the first formal dinner, they asked if I had a reservation. Why should I need a reservation when I had "anytime dining?" Then, because I traveled by myself, I asked for a table for one. They didn't have one and sent me to here and yon to another dining room. Then they decided that I would eat there at 6:00 and at a specific table. Not a good start.I also agree that the dining staff left something to be desired. Because the first night I ordered a bottle of wine and they said they would keep it for the next night. So when I got to a table on the formal night, it took a long time to get my bottle of wine. I was so upset with the way I was treated I ate at the buffet dinner the next two nights. The food was marginal, at best. The food was way much better when I used to cruise 15 years ago.The tours I went on were to the beaches. I went to Cayman and Cozumel. I found a gem of a place on the beach "accidentally" I'm sure from the taxi guy. I asked to go to the Carlos & Charlies on the beach and he dropped me off at another beach club. It was great as there was no one there and it was nice and relaxing.Due to my experience, I am not going on Princess again. There has to be a cruise line with everything.Both embarkation and de-embarkation was a breeze. For a fee, Princess obtained my boarding passes for my flights and shipped my suitcase to the airport without me having to deal with it. Money well spent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2009
Background: I'm a 27 year old male who celebrated a birthday onboard who sailed with my mother who is in her upper 50's. This was my seventh Princess cruise and her fifth (she's now Platinum). Other lines we've both ... Read More
Background: I'm a 27 year old male who celebrated a birthday onboard who sailed with my mother who is in her upper 50's. This was my seventh Princess cruise and her fifth (she's now Platinum). Other lines we've both sailed together on include NCL and Carnival. Other lines I've sailed on alone are Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. With this said, some comparisons will be made between brands - particularly NCL - during this review. Now there are positives and sometimes negatives to any vacation - keep this in mind when reading the review. Overall the Crown Princess was just an ok experience. It didn't stand out and it's sad to see Princess become an average cruise line. Pre-Cruise Stay: Since Fort Lauderdale was having an art show going on, a lot of the hotels in the port area were extremely booked up so we stayed at the Days Inn Airport / Cruiseport on Broward Blvd by the highway. While the rooms are being renovated one room at a time while the hotel remains open and we were put into a renovated room, the hotel itself has a dated exterior and is in the middle of no where! The neighborhood it's in is very seedy with a set of projects just a block away (and a police station the next block after that down towards Las Olas Blvd). While you could walk about a mile to shops and dining at the Las Olas Blvd mall area, it isn't advisable. I wouldn't stay at this hotel again but if you are out for a bargain then you might want to give this place a shot (the price was too tempting not too given what other hotels were charging)! Embarkation: Went very smoothly. Being a platinum member I never stopped moving when I arrived. I got there just before noon and moved from giving the porters to the bag to a short line where I was identified for my status and whisked to another area and right on through security. At that time they started boarding and checking in! Within 15 minutes of arrival I was on the ship and in my cabin! Nice job Princess!! Cabin: We were in the very forward part of Caribe Deck in C101. The cabin was spacious as the other Grand class ships we've sailed on with Princess. The balcony is bigger on this deck and I thank Princess for the upgrade to this deck since we booked this cruise past the 90 day final payment period and were on as a guarantee. The cabin was clean upon arrival and our room steward Sushet was fantastic. Whenever we had a request, which was very rare outside of normal stateroom servicing, he took care of it right away. The cabin's balcony door was a different story though. It seems as though the exterior frame had suffered some damage. It was covered with duck tape to hold it in place. It was worth a chuckle but on the first sea day when the ship was moving along briskly and overnight, the door wouldn't stop whistling as much as you had it locked the whistling still returned. Finally had to call the Purser's office and had to wake up the maintenance guy at 2AM to come and figure out how the heck to make the thing stop whistling! A piece of plywood later rigged to hold the slider firmly shut and tada - no more noise! We used the piece of wood for the rest of the cruise after we were done on the balcony each night. Odd since the ship was in drydock two weeks prior I thought they might have tended to this problem. Either way it got fixed and off to dream land we went. As for the cabin bathrooms, I guess I got spoiled by NCL's shower system as Princess has a fixed shower nozzle that comes out of the wall at about 6 feet. It points downward and you can't get the shower head to move up at all. Consequently being 6 foot 4 inches tall this was a real pain in the butt to get my hair washed! The shower space isn't that big to contort yourself in such a manner as to getting your hair wet. With respect to this I think Princess could learn a little something from NCL's bathroom design which has a nozzle attached to a hose that you can remove to get all areas of your body cleaned. Public Rooms: In the dry dock two weeks prior the ship received new interior carpeting. Some of the carpeting was shedding but the new carpeting was quite refreshing since the passenger decks can get quite musty with all the sewage problems that occur from sailing to sailing. I'll take the fresh shedding carpet over the nasty sewage smell any day. Some of the chairs were re-upholstered as well in some areas. The ship looked fresh and as good as new. She didn't really show any wear or tear throughout. Some areas of rust on the Promenade Deck were being tended to by the deck crew and were largely scraped and repainted by the end of our sailing. All in all the ship was in fine working order. Entertainment: Due to the time of the year and the football championships Movies Under the Stars had two night's wasted with endless games being shown. This has become a real hidden treasure and a great alternative to the other ship entertainment such as endless comedians! Only one good movie was shown at night this trip which was Mamma Mia and the popularity of it was astonishing as people were dragging chairs from everywhere to watch it. I love that experience. Production shows were great. A show on Cole Porter was WAY before my generation and it was just before my moms. While this show wasn't enjoyable for me because I had no clue who the guy was, the set and costumes and overall work of the production staff was great. The Motown show was ok. It would have been better if one of the male vocalists could have kept his notes a little better. This was the only time any of the production staff seemed off in their performance. Destination Anywhere, the first major production, was the best of them all. This is not to be missed. Overall, nice work by the production team in the main theater entertainment. Daytime entertainment was the same as always with trivia to be had, pool games on sea days and gatherings for various groups ranging from alcoholics anonymous and red hat society to LGBT gatherings. Something new Princess is venturing into that NCL has been doing for quite some time is the Nintendo Wii. While I was the only person who showed up to play it, some new games I had never had before (Wii Fit) were fun and helped pass the day away (as opposed to lounging on deck). The Cruise Staff were very nice and very friendly. Big stand outs on the cruise staff were Elaine (such a darling), Kirstie and David. If you get to know these three people - even if sailing solo - you'll have a fantastic time! David got my mom up dancing and she had a blast. Other evening activities were also available. Every show lounge had some performance and dancing available. Quadri a quintet onboard was quite good. They had a special classical performance in the Explorer's Lounge during the middle of the cruise. Endless comedians were paraded around with the best one leaving the ship that week who participated in the variety show. The other comedians we skipped. We did take in the magician's show which was quite good. Now for the discos, DJ Tommy Boy who spun in Club Fusion was at least trying to play a fair mix of music. He had the music onboard that I like but couldn't really play it because the age / demographics were more towards the disco and Motown eras. Motown could be heard playing almost everywhere during the cruise from the Princess Theater to the pool deck. I like Motown but not that much! Rotate the music Princess! Skywalker's disco with DJ Artik was ok. He also had to play to the demographics which on this cruise skewed younger with a lot of 18-25 year olds. The music large centered on hip hop and R&B. Redundancy did pop up since it was the same Top 40 played every night pretty much. Skywalker's on this ship is much better designed than on previous Grand class ships (Star, Golden and Grand). Spa & Fitness Services: If you wanted to be pampered there were options for you! The Sanctuary was a very warm and inviting place and you could use it to escape from the hustle and bustle of the ship but it also seemed to be a bit over priced in some respects. I guess that is to limit the passengers who wish to use it to what it can accommodate. The fitness areas are comparable to other Grand class ships. A large workout area consisting largely of cardio equipment with a few resistance machines in the mix. I didn't really go to sea to workout and when I wanted to do cardio the Promenade Deck was a much better alternative and probably less likely to spread norovirus. Enrichment: Princess's Scholarship@Sea program was in full gear. From dance lessons, ceramic painting, photography lessons and teaching magic tricks, you had plenty of options to choose from if enrichment is your thing. Service: Let me start with all the positives because there are so many. The crew, staff and even Captain are what make a cruise enjoyable and there was barely a let down by anyone. I do have to send out special heartfelt thanks to Elaine on the Cruise Staff for hosting various events during the day that kept me very well entertained including Wii Hoola Hoop and the Friends of Dorothy gathering. She made sure I wasn't bored! Other cruise staff that I felt went above and beyond were Kirstie (from Australia) and David (from Canada - whose mom is on Cruise Critic too)! Stateroom service was excellent and provided by Sushet in the forward Starboard side of the Caribe Deck. We ate in the Michelangelo dining room each night of the cruise from start to finish. The hostess greeter, who later became the sanitizer lady, was extraordinary! She made sure we got a table of our choosing - usually a two seater and on my b-day celebration night she got me a window seat to boot. The dining room's maitre d' was also very nice. At the Purser's Desk the people were so very kind given all the stuff passengers throw at them! One lady from the Ukraine was so very nice and gave me a Princess Patter (second copy) each night when they were hot off the presses (at 8:30PM). She also helped to fix a problem on the folio that was minor and it was quick to fix. Some service issues were had at the shore excursion desk. This area seemed disorganized and we wouldn't have had to utilize their services had the Grand Turk tour we booked online not been cancelled or if we were given advanced warning of its cancellation so we could have rebooked something else online. The people there couldn't figure out how exactly to bill two folios in the same cabin as opposed to billing two tickets to one folio. This took more time than it really should have and I think the folks in this department could use a wee bit more training on the computer system. The only other gripe I had was with the International Cafe attendant. I had asked on Cruise Critic if it was possible to get a tea (chai) latte from this cafe. Several folks said it was possible. After trying several times the first two days I gave up because the server always had an excuse for standing there. First it was the machine caught fire from the previous cruise and it was out of order, then it was working but could only make regular caffeinated coffee lattes, then it was broken again and it wouldn't be fixed until after 3PM (at 11AM) and then he finally told me that they don't make chai lattes or any non-coffee beverages there unless I wanted to purchase small boxed teas for $1. This was very disappointing and he could have told me that at the start when I told him what I wanted the first time. He seemed very cocky and I wasn't impressed with his service at all. Dining: I left this for last because out of the entire cruise this was the most disappointing part of it all. The food was always good to order and cooked the way I liked when it came to steaks and various other meat dishes. The problem was in the selection. The food selection in the main dining room at dinner has been shuffled up something fierce with nothing exceptional standing out any more. Beef Wellington and lobster tails were served on the same night as they had been. The night of the Chef's dinner though none of the entrees were appealing and it was hard to find something to order. Some menu items to my astonishment were actually the SAME as what NCL serves! Escargot is long gone from the Princess menu and so isn't larger sections of meats such as the Filet Mignon. If you want any sizeable beef dish you have to go to the Crown Grill, their specialty restaurant. Before one night used to have Filet Mignon on it in the main dining room. Since Carnival took over several food changes have been made and while I could understand this being for cost cutting measures, why should I pay more to sail on Princess when they offer the SAME dishes (spring roll appetizers and strip steak are two immediately that come to mind) as NCL? The cold soups left something to be desired as well. NCL does a much better job. The buffet areas are typical for breakfast with the same selection you would find anywhere. The omelet station was never busy either which meant two minutes later you were on your way with the item you ordered. After the Norovirus outbreak spread more around the ship and sanitization stations were setup, the buffet moved a lot slower with the crew serving passengers. I didn't mind the wait but others were rudely impatient to the crew and it was completely unnecessary. Lunch time options in the buffet were ok. Nothing to scream at but poolside burgers and pizza seemed so much more popular. On days when the ship was at sea the line to get a burger or pizza was quite lengthy but it was well worth the wait for both. Princess has the best pizza at sea that I've tasted. Shore Excursions (Booked Through Princess): St. Maarten Ecoworld Tour. Who knew that St. Maarten had a zoo? I didn't and it was an ok visit to the zoo which allows you to get much closer to wildlife than you can in the United States. Our tour guide was informative and in-depth on her explanations of the origins of the animals (none are actually indigenous species to the island). The zoo gets its financial support largely from cruise ship tourists and I would recommend this tour as it also drives you all over the island with two scenic stops after going to the zoo. St. Thomas Walking Tour - OUTSTANDING - NOT TO BE MISSED! The owner of the company did a fantastic job giving us the legends and lore of St. Thomas and the surrounding islands. She's a history buff and she knew the islands in and out enough to give a great tour and she had a great personality even though she's been in the business for so long. She was so very enthused about her subject matter and it came out in her presentation. This tour was well worth the money! Grand Turk - The reason for why we booked this cruise with Princess was to experience this island. Unfortunately the only tour being offered on land at this time is the Hurricane Ike experience that doesn't require you to do swimming, snorkeling or diving. For $19 you get taken all over the island and shown what damage happened to the island, which was quite extensive. Some residents four months later don't have power and the island still needs construction done. Tarps are on roofs everywhere. The tour does stop at the Scenic Lighthouse for about 20 minutes. The tour is very cheap and it is worth it unless you like to just lay on the beach which this island is so small that there isn't much to see there anyway and it could really just be another private island beach day with more upscale shops available than on Princess Cays. Disembarkation: Again, another smooth flowing process from Princess. Since we booked a post-cruise excursion to Everglades National Park, we were the first ones off the ship after the people who walked-off with their luggage and thereby the warehouse was empty of people killing each other to get their luggage. It was very nice and by 9AM we were on our way to the National Park after arriving in the dining room for debarkation at 8AM. Very smoothly done again Princess! Overall: Did I think I got the value for my money - not really! I had spent about $300 more for this Princess cruise per person than I would have if I sailed with NCL. With the exception of daytime activities being more abundant on Princess than NCL, there really is no difference between the two brands with respect to food selection and service given. It's sad to see Princess go downhill so badly after the lecherous Carnival Corp sucked the good out of there. For a first time cruiser you'll have a blast on this ship as it does offer many options but you can find a similar product elsewhere for a cheaper price. Princess was the first cruise mom and I took and at the time both of us agreed it was the cruise line "where we belonged" and now it's become the cruise line we're going to "escape completely" from and go with Norwegian Cruise Line. As for the Noro-virus outbreak onboard from our sailing, this is the first time since I started cruising where it's been bad enough to have a nightly reminder about being sanitary. This particular sailing was full of people new to Princess. A stroll down the Caribe deck on the port side or starboard looking at the stateroom tags, you could tell just how many new people either to cruising or to Princess there were aboard. With this said, I think Princess could do a far better job preventing an outbreak onboard by practicing the same sanitization techniques that are implemented ALL the time on NCL. After the outbreak there were people stationed to force you to use sanitizer at the buffet. On NCL this is standard practice irregardless of an outbreak. When coming back from onshore, only after the outbreak did a hand sanitizer station get setup and were you made to use it before embarking the ship. This practice is standard procedure on NCL. I think Princess needs to re-evaluate its methods to contain an outbreak before it even begins but passengers could do more too such as washing their hands after the bathroom!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
10/12/08 Crown Princess Cruise My flight arrived in Ft. Lauderdale 10 minutes early (10:05am instead of 10:15am), much to my delight. Since I was seated in row 7, I was able to get off the plane quickly and reach carousel 4 before ... Read More
10/12/08 Crown Princess Cruise My flight arrived in Ft. Lauderdale 10 minutes early (10:05am instead of 10:15am), much to my delight. Since I was seated in row 7, I was able to get off the plane quickly and reach carousel 4 before our luggage appeared. I waited about 5 minutes for the belt to start moving and luggage to start passing by. It was probably another 5 minutes before my huge, red suitcase showed up. I grabbed it and headed outside to find Go Airport which I had reserved over the internet for my delivery to the port. The driver informed me that even though the port was close to the airport, he would have to deliver all the other people in the van before taking me to the port since non-cruisers were not allowed past the gates. He assured me it would only take about 20 minutes, so I happily agreed. Well, his 20 minutes actually turned out to be an hour and 5 minutes. I got in the van at 11:00am and I was delivered to the port at 12:05pm. Surprisingly, I wasn't the least bit irritated. It had been a long time since I had been in Ft. Lauderdale and I enjoyed seeing all the sights during my hour long 'tour'. I figured the $15 I spent on the van service was cheap for over an hour long tour of the city! As previously mentioned, I arrived at the port at 12:05pm. There was no line and I easily breezed through the few steps of embarkation and stepped on the ship at 12:15pm. Yes, 10 minutes is all it took and I was grinning from ear to ear. My first stop was my cabin. This was my first solo cruise and I couldn't wait to see where 'home' would be for the next 7 days. I was in E702, Empress Deck 8, ocean view cabin. I was thrilled to find a very comfortable cabin with a huge window. The beds were set up as a queen size, with a night stand on either side. There was also a desk and chair which could also be considered a dressing table. The hair dryer was attached to the wall in the corner above the desk. Since I brought my own hair dryer, I never used the one in the cabin but it looked like it might have been o.k. In the corner opposite the desk was the small cabinet that contained the refrigerator. Inside was the ice bucket, two bottles of water (one large, one small), a can of Coke, Diet Coke, and Dr. Pepper. I never touched any of the drinks but did use the ice daily. My cabin steward, Henry, was fabulous and my ice bucket was never empty. The location of my cabin was absolutely perfect for me. It was 3 cabins away from the aft elevators which took me almost every place I wanted to go. The only exception was when I wanted to go to the Princess Theatre or the Casino. Since those trips weren't frequent, I absolutely adored my cabin location. After my inspection of the cabin, and dropping off my very heavy backpack, I took the elevator up to deck 15, Lido, to grab some lunch. Two of the three buffet areas were open and there was absolutely NO wait for obtaining my lunch. I thought the selection of foods was really outstanding at the buffets throughout the week. It was also interesting to see that the selections at the 3 areas were never identical. The two buffets in Horizon Court had very similar items but the Cafe Caribe almost always had a totally different menu. I found myself eating in Cafe Caribe much more than Horizon Court. I found all the food at the buffets to exceed my expectations. I have read reviews where people complained and said the food was not even as good as Applebee's. I did not find this to be the case. The selections were huge and everything I ate was absolutely delicious. Nothing I had would have ever been found in a cafeteria. Over the years, I have eaten at many, many fine restaurants and most of the food on the Lido deck was every bit as good as what I've had in those restaurants. The exception to that statement was the hamburgers from the Trident Grill. They were just so-so and nothing to rave about. I've had much better hamburgers on other ships that I've sailed. Unfortunately, I never made it to the Pizza and Ice Cream Bar to sample the pizza so I can't comment on it. It looked and smelled good, and I had planned out sampling some late at night, after dinner. I just never made it back to the Lido deck to try it. After lunch, I went back to my cabin to decorate my door (yes, I'm one of 'those' people) and check on my luggage. My suitcase had arrived so I unpacked after decorating my door. Since my room was set up as a double, I had twice as many hangers as I needed. I decided to hang everything up, including my shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits. I still had leftover hangers. I put all my toiletries on the 4 shelves provided in the bathroom and stored my empty suitcase in the bottom of the closet next to the cabinet containing the safe. When I cruise with DH, we store the empty suitcases under the bed. However, since it was just me, there was plenty of floor space in the closet for the suitcase. By now, it was time to start thinking about Muster Drill. I grabbed my PFD (Personal Flotation Device), aka Life Preserver, and headed to my Muster Station. This is where I think Princess is superior to other lines, the way they handle Muster Drill. My station was the Crown Grill. Yep, I went down and sat in one of the booths, with my PFD sitting on the table. You listen to a recording telling you all the information you need in case of a real emergency. Then, at the end of the recording, the staff who are spread throughout the restaurant, demonstrate how to put on your PFD. After the demonstration, they ask everyone to stand up and put on theirs. You are then dismissed. It was definitely the easiest Muster Drill I've ever attended. Best of all, there is no sweat involved. After Muster Drill, I ran back up to the Lido deck to meet all the people in my group. It was wonderful to finally meet people I'd been talking to on the boards for the last 6 years or so. We were cruising as a Group and were supposed to all be seated together at dinner. Somehow, Princess had messed up our reservations and only half of the 19 people were seated together. There was not adequate time to fix the problem before early seating (6:00pm) so they arranged for us to have two tables next to each other in the Anytime Dining Room just for that evening. So for our first dinner, we all ate together in the Da Vinci Dining room. I must say, the service we received in the anytime dining room far exceeded our expectations. It was an absolutely delightful experience. I did see a stack of the 'dreaded' pagers so I now know for certain they do have waits for some of the cruisers assigned to anytime dining. I had planned on keeping a journal of the foods I ate so I could mention them in my review. Unfortunately, my laziness prohibited me from doing that. I can only say every meal I had was wonderful. I was not disappointed in anything I ordered the entire week. After dinner, I found myself extremely tired. I'd been up since 3:00am to make my early flight out of Boston. So, instead of going to the Welcome Aboard Show, I headed to my cabin for the evening. I have had nicer bedding on another cruise line, but it was certainly adequate and I must admit, I slept soundly the entire night. Monday - Princess Cay Monday morning, I woke up, dressed in my bathing suit and cover up, and headed to the Lido deck for breakfast. I love the fact that they open the buffet at 6:00am for those of us who are early risers. There was never a problem for me to find a table by the windows in the morning for breakfast. The selection of breakfast foods was huge. I can't imagine anyone wanting anything that wasn't provided. There was a variety of fresh fruits, cold meats, cold cereals, hot cereals, pastries, and hot items such as French toast, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelets, stewed apples, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and several other choices that I don't recall. After filling my plate and seating myself by the window, I began eating my wonderful selection of foods. The wait staff showed up almost immediately to ask if I'd like coffee. They go from table to table, filling coffee cups, or providing hot water for tea, as well as pouring ice water for anyone who wants it. If you forgot an item from the buffet, they'll even run and get it for you. The wait staff in the buffet were the best I've seen on any ship. I must remember to write a letter to Princess to compliment them. After breakfast, I waited for the rest of my group to ready themselves for the tender trip to Princess Cays. This was one of the times it came in handy to have a nice selection of books to read. I never sat idle. I simply read my book and sipped more coffee. Let me stop here to say, the coffee on the Crown was not the horrible mess that has been reported on these boards. Yes, I could tell it wasn't 'fresh brewed' but it did not taste bad. I drank a LOT of coffee and found it to be o.k. In fact, I can even say I enjoyed it. Back to my story, when my group was ready, we made our way down to the Explorer Lounge to pick up our 'tender tickets'. Here again, Princess has a very civilized process for tendering. You get a ticket and sit comfortably in the lounge, waiting for your number to be called. When your number is called, everyone stands and follows the 'guide' down to the tenders. You load and leave immediately. I'd say the entire process took less than 15 minutes and it certainly beat waiting in line. When we arrived at Princess Cay, part of our group was loaded on golf carts to ride over to the bungalow they had reserved for the day. Since I had not planned on staying on the Cay all day, I did not include myself in the use of the bungalow. Instead, I walked over to Davey Jones' Locker where I had read the best snorkeling was. I always travel with my own mask, fins & snorkel since I'm more comfortable with my own equipment. I found a table under one of the huge pavilions to leave my water shoes, beach towel and cover up and proceeded to the water with my gear. The beach was beautiful and there were many lounge chairs available for those who wanted them. They had all kinds of water equipment for rent as well. There were also plenty of trees for shade for those who didn't want to spend the entire day in the sun. I only wanted to snorkel so I didn't bother finding a lounge chair. While not exceptional, the snorkeling at Princess Cays is certainly acceptable. I saw many beautiful fish and had a terrific time during my two hours of snorkeling. When I got out of the water, they had begun serving lunch in one of the pavilions. They had hamburgers, hotdogs, bar-b-que chicken and ribs as well as a variety of salads and fresh fruits. The food looked wonderful but I wasn't really hungry yet so I made my way back across the island to the tenders to return to the ship. I understand from my friends in the bungalow, they had servers who brought the food to them from the pavilion so they did not have to leave the bungalow. They also had air conditioning which I know was appreciated. It was HOT on Princess Cay. Back at the ship, I spent the rest of the day in the Terrace Pool. Anytime I was on the ship, and the sun was shining, you could find me either in the Terrace Pool or on one of the loungers around the Terrace Pool. It was much quieter than the other pools since it was 'adults only'. The waitstaff and bartender at the Outrigger bar made sure no children utilized the Terrace Pool. I had planned on spending sea days in the Sanctuary but found the Terrace Pool so pleasant, I never made it to the Sanctuary. After several hours of relaxation at the pool, I made my way back to the cabin to get ready for dinner in the Botticelli Dining Room at our assigned table. Tuesday - Day at Sea As previously mentioned, when the sun is shining, and I'm not eating, I'm at the Terrace Pool. I spent the entire day at the pool. Since I'm an early riser, I was up at 6:00am and went to the Horizon Court for breakfast. The food was wonderful and the service was far superior to any I've had on any other ship at the buffet. By 7:00am, with coffee in hand, I made my way out to the pool, selected a lounger and plopped down for the morning. I alternated time reading, time in the pool and time napping until noon arrived. At that point, I abandoned my lounge chair and headed to the buffet for lunch. Let me stop here to say I witnessed many, many chair hogs. I HATE chair hogs but nothing was being done about them. There were signs up stating that a chair left empty more than 30 minutes would have items removed and placed in lost in found. However, that never happened while I was watching. Even though I could have run to the buffet, grabbed my food and come back to my lounger, I didn't want to associate myself with the chair hogs. So, I gathered all of my items and left. I was immediately accosted by someone asking if I was really leaving my chair. When I assured them I was, they immediately grabbed it. I sat inside in the cool air conditioning to enjoy my lovely lunch. Once finished, I went back outside to the pool area and sat in a chair in the shade for the remainder of the afternoon. Let me pause here and say during the early afternoon, the Captain announced that due to a hurricane, we would NOT be sailing to St. Thomas and St. Maarten. There were quite a few complainers around me but, since I sail for the ship and not the ports, I didn't care one bit about the change. We were heading directly to Grand Turk and then we would go to Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. While I hate Jamaica, I really didn't care about this change since I planned on staying on the ship and pretending it was another Sea Day. Around 4:00pm, I went back to the cabin for a shower and to dress for dinner. Around 5:00pm, I made my way down to the casino to make my obligatory contribution. I love the slot machines. I don't consider myself a gambler since any money I win just goes back in to the machine so I can play longer. To me, it's just a charge for entertainment. I love watching all the people around me while I'm playing. From the looks of those around me, I'm pretty sure I was the only one who didn't care if the machine gave me extra credits or not. Everyone else seemed anxious to win! After finally losing my daily allocation, I wondered the ship until it was time for early dinner. Rather than try to remember what I ate each night, I'll just say I had a nice variety of either steak, seafood or lamb each night of the cruise. Every item I ordered was absolutely delicious. The soups, appetizers and salads were also wonderful. I was not disappointed in any of the meals I received in the dining room. Tuesday was our first Formal Night and everyone I saw was appropriately dressed for dinner. There were about an equal number of tux as suits. All the ladies were very nicely dressed. After dinner, I headed back to my cabin to read my book until I fell asleep. Traveling with DH was really nice. He always wants to go to ALL of the shows which usually bore me. Then, whenever we were in the cabin, he wants to watch TV. Since I really hate TV, the one in my cabin was only turned on if I wanted to check the weather or watch one of the informational presentations by the cruise staff. Wednesday - Grand Turk Since I knew how devastated Grand Turk was from a previous hurricane, I really was anxious to visit this island. I had booked a ship's excursion for this day only. After a wonderful breakfast on the Lido deck, I got ready to leave the ship and join the excursion. I did the combined snorkel, swim the stingrays. It was a very short walk from our ship to the snorkel boat which was brand new. Almost all of the boats at Grand Turk were demolished during the hurricane so all the ones for the various excursions were brand new. I didn't actually count the people but I believe there were about 30 of us. The boat ride to the stingray location took us about 15 minutes. The guide pointed out many items of interest and gave us quite a bit of history of the island during our ride over. We could easily see lots of devastation which had not yet been repaired. One of the guides told us she still did not have electricity where she lived. I really felt badly for these people. The visit with the stingrays was exactly like what I had done on previous excursions but still fun. They did have a person videoing the entire excursion and since I wanted to help the economy in Grand Turk, I purchased one. It's supposed to come in about 3 weeks so I hope they got me on film when I kissed the stingray while holding it. After everyone had a change to hold one of the stingrays, and had a number of them swimming around our ankles, we all loaded back on the boat for the short trip to the reef where we would snorkel. I have to say, the snorkeling at Grand Turk was my least favorite of the three places I snorkeled on this cruise. It wasn't bad, it was just crowded. Having 30 people swimming over a reef gets really uncomfortable, especially when there were a number of people who were NOT great swimmers. I got rather tired of being kicked in the face or run over by people not watching where they were going. However, all in all, the excursion was fun and I did see a lot of beautiful fish. After 25 minutes of snorkeling, we were herded back to the boat for the ride back to the pier. At the pier, I decided to investigate the shops and the pool area. I am happy to report that over half of the stores are operational and the pool area shows no affects remaining from the hurricane. (I'm pretty sure it was Ike who devastated them but not positive) I made a few more purchases since I wanted to help their economy. The prices ranged from ridiculously over priced to quite reasonable. My suggestion is, don't purchase an item at the first store you enter. I found identical items at 3 different stores with 3 different prices. I purchased my items at the store that had a price about half of what the first store charged. I wanted to help the economy but I also wanted a bargain. Around 1:00pm, I returned to the ship and went directly to the Lido deck for lunch. Since I'd been in the sun all morning, I returned to my cabin after lunch for a shower and a nap. I didn't leave the cabin until it was time for dinner. After dinner, I went to the one and only show I attended during the week. It was an Illusionist who was absolutely outstanding. I have to refer to my Patters for his name. I do remember he was an Aussie and he selected one of our group to go on stage for one of his illusions. She was seated next to me and wasn't too thrilled about going up on stage. She has promised from now on, she'll employ my tactic of looking down at her lap and not acknowledging his presence in the aisle, trying to get her attention. After the show, I retired to my cabin for reading and sleep. Thursday - Ocho Rios O.K., here is my opinion and, to repeat, my opinion only. I hate Jamaica. It is a beautiful island but the people there are far too pushy and drugs to readily available. We did receive warnings in our Patters as well as over the ship's intercom system that Princess had a zero tolerance for drugs and that if you left the ship, you may be approached by persons trying to sell them to you. Anyone leaving the ship 'may' be subject to a strip search. Well, that just supported my feeling that Jamaica was not the place for me so I did not get off the ship. The sun was shining so I spent the day by the pool and enjoyed the peace and quiet. I know a large number of people did get off the ship to shop and sightsee but I really can't comment on any of that because I was on the ship. I heard that the people who went on ship's excursions were somewhat shielded from the islanders pushing drugs or hair braiding and they seemed to be happy with their day. Since this was our second formal night, I left the pool after lunch time to spend the afternoon in my cabin reading, napping and dressing for dinner. Friday - Grand Cayman Once again, this is a tender island so refer to Monday's description of the tender procedures. It was a very smooth process and there was almost no wait to tender to the island. Three of us had already decided we would not do a ship's excursion here but would find our own place to snorkel. For this day, we truly lucked out. We had read on the boards about Cheeseburger Reef which was behind Burger King and was only a short distance from the pier. We began our walk trying to find Burger King. After about a half of a mile walk, we still didn't see Burger King so we stopped in a store to ask directions. Well, that was the smartest thing we did the whole trip. The store was called Cayman Auto Rental but the rented many things besides cars; one of which was snorkel gear. When we asked about Cheeseburger Reef, they really didn't recognize that name but said Burger King was about another half mile down the road. However, they said if we just wanted to snorkel, we were welcome to snorkel behind their store. We agreed and had the time of our lives. They had a very nice wooden walkway from their parking lot down to the beach. Once there, we had about six feet before we were in the water. The reef behind the store was pristine and the fish were phenomenal. This was, by far, the best snorkeling we had during the entire cruise. There was only the 3 of us and the reef was huge. We spent two hours of pure joy snorkeling. The people in the store were so gracious, they even allowed us to store all our bags under one of the tables in the store so we didn't have to worry about our possessions being left on the beach. This truly was the highlight of the cruise. What a wonderful time we had in Grand Cayman. After snorkeling, we reclaimed our bags from the store and thanked the lady for her hospitality. We thought about shopping but were rather tired from our long swim and time in the sun, so we went back to the ship. We heard from lots of people who had been to the beach and/or shopping and everyone commented on how much they enjoyed Grand Cayman. It was truly a delightful stop. Our group had reserved dinner at the Crown Grill for Friday night and had been looking forward to it all week. Unfortunately, this was our only disappointment for the cruise. While the food certainly was good, none of us felt it was any better than what we had received in the dining room. It was tasty, but not exceptional. We had read about how outstanding they food would be but that was not our experience. In fact, those of us who ordered steak, thought it wasn't as good as the prime rib we were served in the dining room. We were all glad we had the experience of dining in the Crown Grill but we agreed we wouldn't waste the $25 per person again. It just did not stand out enough for our tastes. Saturday - Sea Day I really don't have much to report on Saturday since I did exactly what I had done on Tuesday's sea day. I will say, the Terrace pool was considerably more crowded on Saturday than it had been on Tuesday. I believe a lot of people had not found my little oasis by Tuesday but had by Saturday. Even though it was crowded, I still had a delightful time and got plenty of sun. After lunch, I took a little time to visit the ship's library and drop off a couple of paperback books that I had read and didn't feel like dragging back home. I hope future cruisers will enjoy them as much as I did. Saturday was a sad day since everyone was packing and preparing for debarkation the next morning. I noted at our final dinner in the traditional dining room, over half of the tables were empty. I know the food on the Lido deck was outstanding but I still wouldn't want to miss being served on our final night. The dining room was decorated very festively in red/white/blue with balloons on each table and the waitstaff in red/white/blue vests and bow ties. Even though it was a sad time, the dining room looked great!! I slipped extra tip money to our waiter and assistant waiter since they had done such an outstanding job during the week. After dinner, I went back to my cabin to finish packing and organize my paperwork for the trip home. I also took down my door decorations and completed my customs form for the next day. Sunday - Time to leave Since I had an early flight and was doing self debarkation, I got up at 6:00am so I could enjoy my final breakfast at the Horizon Court. After breakfast, I returned to my cabin and found my room steward, Henry, so I could give him an extra tip as well. He took outstanding care of me and deserved the extra money he received. I made a final check of my cabin to be sure I wasn't leaving anything behind and made my way down to the Da Vinci dining room to wait for the announcement that the ship had cleared immigration and self debarkation could begin. I believe the announcement came about 7:30am (if I remember correctly) and I was off the ship before 8:00am. After leaving the terminal I walked down to the area where the taxis were. One of the workers grabbed a taxi for me, put my luggage in the trunk and sent me on my way. By 8:15am, I was being delivered to the airport. I easily checked in for my 10:30am flight and sat at my gate, reading a book until we boarded the plane. It was a very easy flight, non-stop, back to Boston, where we landed at 2:00pm. My DH and two dogs were there to pick me up as soon as I retrieved my luggage. My first solo cruise was officially finished. A few random notes that don't really fit anywhere else. The Explorer Lounge has the best drinks. Order one of their frozen margaritas. They are all delicious and are huge. They are the best value on the ship. Honest. At the other bars, always ask for a large when you order drinks. The large are considerably bigger and only cost an extra dollar. They are a good value. Several people in our group bought the soda cards and found them to also be an excellent value. I don't drink much soda so I can't give you a first hand experience. However, I saw them being served many, many times out by the pool and also in the dining room. After the first night in the dining room, they never had to show their sticker or ask for soda again. The waiters brought them automatically every night. I had planned on purchasing a coffee card but after trying the coffee the first day, I realized what was served on the Lido deck was perfectly acceptable. I know many people complain about the coffee but I couldn't find any fault with it. Many people in our group went to the Purser's desk to ask for the free Princess cards they give out. I never play cards so I didn't bother. However, I saw theirs and they are really worth the trip down to the Purser's desk. Next Princess cruise, I'll be going down to ask for mine. The shopping on board was not outstanding. I've found a much better selection on other ships. Of course, the stores stayed packed with people buying what they had. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything to spend my money on. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
I am a female in my early 50s who often travels solo and this time was no different. I was in Ft Myers area for a wedding and decided it would be a good time to take my 12th cruise. I got a great single rate, about 150% instead of the ... Read More
I am a female in my early 50s who often travels solo and this time was no different. I was in Ft Myers area for a wedding and decided it would be a good time to take my 12th cruise. I got a great single rate, about 150% instead of the normal 200% that's normally paid to cruise alone. I've cruised with NCL Majesty, Norway, Sun, Sky 3X and (same ship) Pride of Aloha. With Carnival, I've cruised Destiny, Fantasy, Inspiration and prior to this cruise I was with Princess on the Golden. Most of my cruises have been to the Caribbean, tho I've also cruised full transit Panama Canal and Hawaii. That's my history, here's my review: I drove to the Ft Lauderdale airport via rental car from Ft Myers Beach, an easy 2 hour drive along Alligator Alley (I love my Garmin!). Turned in the National rental car and took their free shuttle to the pier. I timed this since I'd read how easy Princess' embarkation process is. The shuttle left the airport at 1:25 and I was in my cabin (!) by 2:10. The fastest embarkation I've ever had. Cabin - I was in P206, Plaza deck (deck 5) in an outside cabin. The cabin was about the same size as the outside cabin I had my last cruise (Jan 2008) on what was then, the Pride of Aloha - now the NCL Sky. A rather small cabin but fine for one or two people. Plenty of closet space, so you could hang everything. Not that much in drawer/shelf space, but, like I said you could hang everything. There was plenty of room for shoes, hats, etc. in the closet. A fridge in the cabin is great. My window was large - I can't imagine being without one. My cabin steward, Bong, from the Philippines was very efficient and unobtrusive. He brought me anything I wanted - feather pillows, a top sheet and a robe were very nice. He kept my ice bucket full and the cabin very clean. If he was in the hall working nearby, he walked me to my cabin and opened the door for me. He was always pleasant - you can't expect more than that! I went to the mandatory lifeboat drill, which with Princess is also handled quite nicely. Instead of lining up outside in the hot sun, wearing a life vest, Princess holds their drill in various rooms on the ship. Mine was in Gatsby's Casino. With that out of the way, I began exploring the ship. As others have noted, the layout is somewhat difficult and I'm terrible knowing up from down, port from starboard, forward from aft. There were very good maps at each stairwell indicating which way was forward and you could figure out the port and starboard from there. I'm embarrassed to say I got lost going to the Botticelli dining room on, I think, the fifth night. I didn't feel too badly, though since the people I ate dinner with got lost on the fourth night. :) A hint - to get there go to the Piazza on Deck 6, walk aft as far as Club Fusion and take the stairs down. I don't think there's any other way to get there. I'm not terribly observant either, and someone has since posted that there's a difference in the border on the carpet to indicate port and starboard...I never noticed this, but it will be a great help, if true, on my next cruise. Other than my difficulty keeping straight which way was which, I thought the ship was very pretty. It was different in that the hallways were not all just long, straight lines. The area leading into the Piazza from my cabin had an art gallery you could walk thru for a change of scenery. By early evening, the first night, I still had not received my large suitcase. I'd luckily packed one day's clothing in my carry-on, so I was ok. I mentioned to Bong that I hadn't received my case so he went in search of it. I don't know exactly when it got there, but when I started to leave to explore some more, the case was outside my door. I unpacked and noticed my suitcase was badly ripped. So bad, I'm not certain how all my things got to my cabin. At the suggestion of another passenger, the next day, I went to the customer service desk and told them nicely about my suitcase and asked if they could help me fix it enough that I wouldn't lose all my belongings when I disembarked. A very nice gentleman there told me to bring the case to them and they would have their upholsterer try to fix it free of charge! I did that and the case was returned in perfect condition two days later. I was very happy with the Purser's desk to say the least. I think it was on Tuesday (sea day) that I very suddenly got a cold...Really, one minute I was fine, the next I had a sore throat and everything that goes along with a cold. For that reason, I probably didn't do as much as I'd normally do during a cruise. Since I didn't keep a journal this time, I can't give a day by day description of what I did do, but here is a general overview of things I did at various times/days during the cruise: MUTS (Movies Under the Stars - Deck 16) - I watched Sex and the City. Didn't like the movie all that much, the TV version is much better written, but lying in a recliner on the deck of the ship (they hand out blankets in case you're chilled) was wonderful! I am NOT a big movie fan, but I can't imagine a better way to watch one. I'm not a popcorn or candy either, but I did see them getting those things ready. I assume there's an extra charge to partake in the goodies. International Cafe (Deck 5) - went there most days for my lunch. They have the same foods every day pretty much, but I fell in love with the shrimp salad. Basically a plate of shrimp with oil & garlic. I was trying not to gain too much weight this cruise and other than the oil, this was a really good lunch idea. It helped that my cabin was just down the hall, so I'd just walk there, get my plate of shrimp & take it back to the cabin for later. This dish was available from noon til about 5 pm. Crooners Martini Bar (Deck 7) - a Grey Goose martini on the ship is $8 (including tip), so I found this a great place to go every night before (& sometimes after) dinner. I normally sat at the bar, so got to talk quite a bit to the bartenders, Paul & Adi. Paul left the ship at the end of our cruise for a trip home and 3 months off. Both guys were great, got to know what I liked and I had fun talking to them. Princess Theatre (Decks 6 & 7) - I often am not motivated to go to the production shows when on a cruise, so I did not go to see any. I did attend the magician's show. The act was very good if you like that kind of thing. Really impossible to tell how he did his magic, that's for sure. Gatsby's Casino (Deck 6)- slots were VERY tight. I would normally spend a couple of hundred dollars and be there at some point every evening. This cruise, I think I might have spent a total of two hours in there. Decided I could put my $$ to better use. I did see one guy win $500 on the $1 slots and a woman win $400 on one of the penny slots, but other than that, nada. Explorer Lounge (Deck 7) - briefly watched the comedian (don't know his name) and he was pretty funny. That was the extent of my time there. Botticelli Dining Room (Deck 6) - Since I was travelling alone, I'd chosen traditional dining. In retrospect, this was a mistake. I assumed that I'd be seated with a large group and probably bond with at least one couple or at least have another group of people to say hi to. However, the first night, I was seated and waited and waited but NO ONE else arrived to my 8 person dining table - how embarrassing! It would have been nice for the maitre'd to see this and get me seated at one of the less than full tables, but no, I ate dinner by myself. When I was almost finished, a couple in their mid-60's ran in and apologized profusely. They'd gotten locked out of their cabin and had to wait for a technician to come let them in. They were very nice people and I enjoyed their company, but thru the week, none of the other people seated at our table showed up. Since I'd met other people on the ship, I really wish I'd left my options open to dine with others in the Anytime dining rooms or even in the Traditional dining room, when invited. I didn't feel like I could abandon my 2 tablemates to do this. If there'd been 6 or 8 people there, I would not have had a problem accepting invites to eat with others - I'd just let my normal tablemates know I wouldn't be joining them that night. Oh well, lesson learned. We did have 2 female waiters, one from the Ukraine and one from Poland. They were very sweet and attentive. I didn't think the food was really anything to rave about, but certainly good enough. Outrigger Bar and pool area (Deck 15) - good place to go for quiet relaxation in the sun. It's the adults only pool. It could get very crowded around the pool, but I was always able to at least find a seat up by the bar. I love the sun, so did at least a couple of hours every day lying on the pool deck, watching the pool games, etc. ...are you still with me? I know this is a long-winded view, but if you're like me, you want to know as much as possible before you go. If not, I won't be insulted if you don't read it all :) Princess Cays - took the tender to shore, found a recliner in the sun and relaxed, swam, went to the bar for drinks and music, had lunch. The normal stuff for a private island. All the drinks can be charged to your ship card, so you only need $$ for the vendors who have little huts along the beach if you decide to buy anything. Lunch is free and is basically grilled burgers, hot dogs & chicken with side dishes. Water is available at various places, so you don't have to buy it unless your prefer the bottled variety. St Maarten - booked the tour with Bernardstours. Bernard met me and a group of Crown cruisers at the pier @ 10:30. For $35 (+ tip) he took us on a tour of the island for about an hour and a half (?) in an air conditioned van with a cooler of soda, water, beer & rum punch. Next we went to Orient Beach for 2 hours. I chose to go to the Orient Club side (to the right of where the van was parked). If you're not familiar, that is the nude beach. I didn't do the nude thing, but there's good people watching there unless you're totally turned off by naked people...then you probably would want to go to the beach area to the left of the van parking. I prefer the nude side - fewer people and a great place to relax. Next, we had the choice to shop in the downtown for an hour or so and get a ride back or just shop til you're ready to go back and get your own ride - or just walk back to the ship - it's really not that tough if you don't mind the heat (I don't). However, I was very tired after the beers and beach, so I chose to go back to the ship (around 3:30). I highly recommend Bernard - for the price, it's a great time. St Thomas - my Princess tour was cancelled. I was scheduled for the full day catamaran sail and snorkel @ $129 pp. They didn't notify us until the evening before it was scheduled, making it difficult to figure out a different one to go on. I decided I'd been to St Thomas several times before and it's safe to just take one of the open air buses where you want to go. I thought I'd go shopping in downtown Charlotte Amalie and prepared accordingly. Once off the ship, I turned around, went back to my cabin and got my beach gear ready. I'd never actually been to Magen's Bay Beach so I decided to go there. Taxi ride was $9 pp (+tip) one-way. Entrance to the beach is $4 pp. This is the best way to get there IMO. I was able to get there by 10, a full hour to an hour and a half before the ship's tour people got there. I was also able to stay much longer...they left at 1, I chose to leave at 1:30, but could have stayed longer if I wanted to. If you go there, be prepared, drinks are pricey - I think I paid $8 for a painkiller (including tip), but you're pretty much a captive audience. The painkiller was good, I have to admit. Grand Turk - Almost everyone else went to Margaritaville, but I had no interest. My cold was really with me by then, so I just walked the beach, swam for a little while, shopped in the pier store and walked back to the ship. I was only out about 2 hours. Ok, so it sounds like I really did do a lot, but here are the things I missed and will probably do when I go again (yes, I'm booked again for the Crown on 1/25/09!): Will do Anytime dining and see how that works out. At least if I'm seated alone, it won't (hopefully) be at a table for 8. Check out Skywalkers. The nightclub could be fun, we'll see. Adagio Bar looked like a nice place for drinks with great views. Not sure how much you'd see at night and I don't think it opened too much before dark, but still a nice looking bar. Drag myself to at least one production show. I'm sure I wouldn't hate it, it's just not tops on my list of things to do. See the full show of the comedian(s). Check out Club Fusion...don't really know anything about that one, but passed it on the way to dinner every night. Check out the Wheelhouse Bar - I didn't get in there at all, so I should at least visit. Use the sauna and steam room. I'm not sure why I didn't get there. What would have been better for a cold than a nice, hot steam room? Next time to St Thomas, I plan to get to Sapphire Beach (& maybe Coki, too). In past visits, I've been to St John for snorkeling at Trunk Bay, done an island tour, shopped at Havensight, shopped downtown, so I'm now going to try to get to as many beaches as possible. St Maarten, I'm always happy to shop & go to Orient Beach...I'm sure there are other worthy beaches, I just like Orient, so why change? Obviously, since I'm booked again, I really enjoyed this cruise. I'm pretty easy to get along with, so maybe that's why I enjoyed myself so much. But I did feel I received some exceptional treatment from various employees of the Crown Princess and with only a few small glitches, it was a perfect cruise. Read Less
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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