18 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews for Spring Break Cruises to Caribbean - Western

This was our 4th time cruising. We were excited to cruise with Princess mainly because we thought Princess is higher class than Carnival or Norwegian. I was wrong. In many ways, they were even worse. Perhaps my expectation was too ... Read More
This was our 4th time cruising. We were excited to cruise with Princess mainly because we thought Princess is higher class than Carnival or Norwegian. I was wrong. In many ways, they were even worse. Perhaps my expectation was too high. Their service was poor. Especially, the waiters and reception desk folks were pretty unfriendly. The food was mediocre at best and their room was pretty old and outdated. The ship was rusted and amenities were just old. This ship needs some refurb ASAP. We found their entertainment was not that great. The comedian was not funny, and magician was just not good. Singers were not great either. One thing I hate the most about Princess cruise is their strict policy on dress code. WTH? We cruise to relax and have fun, not to show off your clothes. I don' want to wear or pack formal clothes to the cruise. They do really enforce the dress code, so be aware. This applies to kids too. Crazy policy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This cruise was not a bad recovery from last year. Cruised Carnival last year for the LAST time. Wouldn't cruise Carnival again if they gave the tickets away. Got to the terminal at about 10:30 but didn't get on until after ... Read More
This cruise was not a bad recovery from last year. Cruised Carnival last year for the LAST time. Wouldn't cruise Carnival again if they gave the tickets away. Got to the terminal at about 10:30 but didn't get on until after noon. Longer wait than we are used to. We booked two interior rooms as always since we have little use for balconies. We were Aloha deck all the way forward. Other than ship movement it was a perfect location to shield us from noise we are very sensitive to. It was very quiet there. Liked the staterooms and overall look of the Crown Princess. It's in pretty good shape. THE BAD: As always you can probably find others to disagree but we hated the buffet food on the Crown Princess. We have never experienced great buffet food on a cruise ship but this stuff was garbage. Really, just a bunch of slop and items that don't even go well together. The most hated part of the buffet is the herded cattle type corral system they have. There is only one entrance to the buffet and they have someone manning the gate where you go in. The employees were way overbearing demanding you use the Purell machines before entering the buffet line. We believe in clean hands but it got so annoying I had to tell these people to back off. The buffet set up creates a big line and makes you take way too much food so you don't have to wait in a long line again just for seconds. If you want to dash in quickly for a small item, forget about it. My wife accidentally left her dish of sauce on the buffet line and tried to go back to get it by stepping in the exit. She was scolded and had to wait in line all over again. Hands down, the worst buffet system ever. Food on the Crown Princess in other locations was okay. Entertainment: We have walked out on so many hokey cruise shows. Usually it is the fly in entertainment we like the best. Not the case here. We loved the Crown Princess singers and dancers and didn't care for the fly ins. Ports: We love the ports traveled to. In fact we went to the same ports on a different cruise last year. Roatan: we used Roatan Island Tours Plus. Cardy Grant is a class act. Belize: we love going out to Caye Caulker to swim with the sharks and rays on the reef. Salvador Arce with Hicaco is a dear friend and simply the best. Cozumel: We went to Mr. Sanchos, shopping and to La Mission for lunch. Overall one of the best cruises for us. The weather was great and the Crown Princess staff was very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We are a family of five with three teenage kids ages 19, 15 and 11 and this was our third spring break cruise in a row. Our previous two cruises were on the Norwegian Star and Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, so we are gaining ... Read More
We are a family of five with three teenage kids ages 19, 15 and 11 and this was our third spring break cruise in a row. Our previous two cruises were on the Norwegian Star and Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, so we are gaining a pretty well rounded perspective and experience of what each cruise line has to offer. We enjoyed our previous two cruises and enjoyed this cruise on the Crown Princess as well. Each cruise line has strengths and weaknesses, and my review of the Crown Princess will be from that comparative perspective. Port of Galveston Getting to the port of Galveston from the Houston airport was unreasonably expensive and inconvenient. If I relied on the cruise line's own transfer, it would cost $37 per person each way, which for a family of 5 would cost me $370! I spent more time trying to find a cheaper transfer option than I did planning the cruise itself. Other cruisers have had success getting one-way car rentals to/from Galveston using Enterprise but that option was no longer available. I ended up finding a cheap car rental from Houston Hobby. We arrived two days before the cruise so a nine-day full size car rental with tax was only $188. I actually paid $50 to park my rental car for the week at Park N Cruise. With gas my total cost was about $250 round trip for 5 people. Plus we had the use of a car (we went to visit NASA and shopped at Wal-Mart for pre cruise items), and we were able to depart for the airport right after disembarking without waiting for a bus. It is silly that a weekly car rental plus parking and gas is cheaper than van service to/from Galveston and the Cruise lines need to figure out a cheaper way to get their passengers to the port. Adding hundreds of dollars for an airport transfer is ridiculous and I will never cruise out of Galveston again. Embarkation/Disembarkation Smooth and orderly on both ends. We were impressed how early we were allowed to our rooms. We boarded at about 1pm and our rooms were ready, bags arrived shortly thereafter. This was way earlier than we have experienced on other ships we've sailed. It was also a welcome change to do the muster drill while seated in the Club Fusion lounge rather standing in the hot sun like on other cruise lines. We used "express walk off" for disembarking and were out of customs by 8:00 am. The Ship The Crown Princess is a large, beautiful ship, and like NCL and RCL ships it is designed to appeal to many types of cruisers. As such, the four different pool areas each have their own vibe and appeal. At the front of the ship is the Sanctuary, a fee for entry adults only retreat with private cabanas and massages. The most forward main pool area is the party pool with live bands, sexy leg contests and other fun activities. The other main pool is quieter, and has multiple levels and the Movies Under the Stars screen, which plays movies and concerts even during the day, when it is almost impossible to see the screen in the bright sunlight. My favorite is a smaller pool at the aft of the ship, which is surrounded by balconies that enjoy a great view of the ocean beyond the stern. While Royal Caribbean ships emphasize sports (rock walls, wave simulators, mini golf) and Norwegian emphasizes entertainment (Blue Man Group, Legends of Rock, etc), Princess's signature item is the Movies Under the Stars. We really enjoyed the drive in movie like experience, however on some upper levels one must view the screen through Plexiglas railings. They provide some cozy blankets because it can get pretty chilly and windy at night. The Piazza was a nice area, but nowhere near as impressive as the interior promenade "avenues" on the RCL ships. I miss hanging out in a cafe watching people walk by on the RCL promenade. On the Crown it was often difficult to find a spot to see the performances held in the Piazza as the pretty spiral staircases don't make very good bleachers. Staterooms We booked three separate staterooms for our family of five. An aft Aloha deck 12 balcony (category BD) for us, and two side-by-side ocean view staterooms (no triple cabins were left) for the kids. We had mini suites on our previous cruises and the standard balcony stateroom was fine, basically a smaller version of what we were used to. The beds were very comfortable and the bathrooms and showers were small but efficient. The flat screen TV had a large selection of movies, TV shows and other programs. The mini fridge had ample room, as it fit the entire case of Coke Zero I brought aboard with room to spare. Our balcony was relatively small, but private. It's worth noting that the balconies on decks 9 or 10 extend out wide over the tops of the lifeboats so their views are not obstructed, but this leaves those balconies fully exposed to the decks above. I personally wouldn't like this lack of privacy, and actually saw some people from higher decks dropping ice cubes on the lower balconies. Not cool! Our cabin steward (Rodgie) was excellent. Very personable and kept the room neat and clean. There were no towel animals but I never cared for that gimmick anyways. The nightly chocolates were good enough for me. The ocean view rooms were the same as ours except for the good sized windows in place of the balcony. Ours were obstructed view but still had plenty of visibility over the tops of the lifeboats. Overall the rooms were fine with no issues. Dining Room We elected anytime dining and split our dinners between the DaVinci main dining room and the buffet. Overall we ranked the food on the Crown Princess as "hit or miss" with some items excellent, some good, and some not so good. The dining room menu was mostly very good with some glaring exceptions. For example, my wife ordered a prime rib and was served a cut that was two thirds fat. She should have sent it back or gotten another one but she's not that type. I wish I had taken a picture of it to send to Princess. We were also not impressed that margarine, not butter was served with the bread. There were many very good items though, especially the lobster tail, salmon, scallops and other seafood items. The beef wellington was very good too. The desserts were OK, but seemed to have a sweetness level lower than American palettes are accustomed. We noticed that the pastry chefs were Asian, and since we travel to Asia often, we have noticed that lower sugar desserts are common there. Service in the dining room was efficient, timely and polite. At the hour we usually ate (around 7:00 pm) the waiters were so busy there seemed to be no time for them to chat with the guests. They did a great job of getting our orders of multiple courses correct and brought them out promptly and hot. Props to the maitre d who went out of his way twice to find us a table earlier than the ATD guests were supposed to be admitted to the DaVinci DR. Buffet The buffet selections were smaller than on other ships, but the quality was pretty good. Some of the MDR selections were also offered in the dinner buffet. I liked that smoked salmon was offered each breakfast, however quiches were served cold! Very strange. The buffet layout and traffic pattern is the worst I've seen. There are three separate enclosed buffet areas in which you are forced to follow through a narrow, crowded line with a specific entrance and exit. There is little opportunity to "browse" the food selections since you are trapped in the buffet line. This design also makes returning for seconds problematic, as one has to cut in line to retrieve a specific item. Other Food The New York style pizza slices served on the pool deck are very good and quite popular. People are seen eating pizza slices all over the ship, including in the buffet and at MUTS. The burgers at the Trident grill were also excellent. The specialty coffees at the International Cafe were very good and reasonably priced, however for some reason regular coffee is not offered there. Regular coffee (which was also very good) was ONLY available at the buffet on deck 15. This is a major oversight since coffee lovers like us would appreciate access to regular coffee in more than one place on such a big ship. We always enjoyed regular coffees at the cafes on RCL and NCL. Princess needs to fix this. We all got soda cards, which at $36 pp I believe are cheaper than other lines. It was nice that the wait staff was usually OK with only one of us digging the card out of our pockets, and were usually prompt at bringing the sodas despite no additional tip. We have had problems being neglected before, especially on NCL. Entertainment I will start off by saying that our cruise director Kelvin Joy was the best we have had. He was very entertaining, had a great sense of humor and was a great master of ceremonies for many of the ships events. Kelvin just returned to the Crown for our cruise and relieved the previous CD whom wasn't getting very good comments from previous CC reviews I have read. Kelvin, Colin the assistant CD, and CJ the DJ hosted most of the events on the ship and were all very funny. The staff performs a skit at the end of the crew show that is hilarious and is a must see. The main theater shows were excellent, with great singing, dancing and costumes. While the song and dance numbers were enjoyable, they were all very short, only 30 to 40 minutes long in order to fit three shows in per night. The Crown may need to do three shows due to the smaller size of its theater, which we heard only fits about a third of the ships passengers. In spite of its size, we never had to wait for a seat in the theater and it filled to capacity only on the last night of the cruise. While the dancers changed themes each performance, and a couple comedians performed on some nights, there was a surprising lack of variety of performances offered on the Crown. Other ships have also had magicians, hypnotists, acrobats, parades, and even ice dancing. On Norwegian each theater show would be almost 2 hours and have a number of different acts. Princess settles for one short act. Good performances, but too short in my opinion. There was a running joke among the staff about the lack of people up in the Skywalker's Lounge (basically the ship's disco) and it turns out it was no joke. We went a couple times and never saw more than 6 or 8 people up there. The waiters there looked very bored and we actually felt sorry for them. Skywalker's is restricted to ages 18 and older and if they opened it up to all ages they would probably fill the place. I am sure the teenagers would love to dance there. There was an ultimate deck party one night that was pretty fun but not as well attended as one would expect. In fact, it amazed me how deserted the upper decks became at night. I would take some evening walks at about 11:00 pm and would often be the ONLY passenger on the pool decks while over 3000 others were below decks. Youth Programs Being spring break, there were hordes of kids on this cruise and we met many vacationing teachers as well. Our 15-year-old son registered with the teen center and basically used it as a meeting place to get acquainted with other teens. Once the cliques were established the teens wandered around the ship in groups and crowded stairwells in chat circles. The teen center stayed open until 2:00 am, which is too late in my opinion. Most parents want and need to know their kids are back in their staterooms by the time they go to bed, and don't like to search the ship for their teen late at night (one reason for some of my late night walks). We set our own curfews but it was hard to enforce while in "vacation mode" and with no working cell phones. It would be helpful if ship's security enforced a curfew for teens by midnight at least. Wayward teens appeared to be a problem for other parents as there was more than one middle of the night announcement over the ship's PA announcing a missing person. Overall Conclusion Overall we really enjoyed this cruise on the Crown Princess. We liked the ports of call a lot, but since the Crown has already departed for the Mediterranean for the summer, I will not bother reviewing shore excursions here. We liked the ship, the food was pretty good, the entertainment was good and the staff was friendly and helpful. There are certain things we liked more on NCL and RCL but we would still enjoy cruising on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from ... Read More
Just returned this past weekend from a great week aboard the Crown Princess. We have previously done this itinerary from Galveston but I could not remember too much about it so we decided to give it a go since it was a change of pace from the eastern cruises we typically do in the winter. We arrived in Galveston the day before and used Super Shuttle for our transportation from Hobby airport. I spent a lot of time looking at different options and this seemed the most reasonable. We were a group of 4 adults and chose to book a private SUV at $35 per person. When we arrived there was a slight snafu, I received a voicemail from the company and they told me that it looked as though our flight was now arriving at 10pm instead of 10am. Not sure where they got that from so I called them back and it ended up being their mistake. Now the problem was that because they thought we were delayed they did not have a driver available to take us. I was not very happy and a bit testy from traveling since 3am and after a bit of a back and forth they had the super shuttle van take us by ourselves to Galveston for the same price. The van was perfectly fine and the driver was very nice. We stayed at the Hotel Galvez which we all thought was very nice. I really love historical hotels and the location was right on the beach with great views from the rooms. I only wish it had been warm enough to actually hang out on the beach, it was pretty chilly. There were restaurants within walking distance and a town car that would take you into town and pick you back up for no cost. It was really easy to call them and get picked up when we were ready to go back to the hotel. My husband was excited to stay at the Galvez since it is said to be haunted, he even called months in advance to request the "haunted room". To his disappoint nothing out of the ordinary happened during our stay. The rooms are clean and slightly updated but very small which we expected since the hotel is so old. Our rooms were fine for 2 adults but if we were looking to get 3 or 4 in a room it would be very tight. Check in is at 4pm but we arrived by 12pm and only had to wait about 30 minutes for our room to be ready and the others in our party could check in right away which was really nice. If you stay at the Galvez they do have a complimentary shuttle to the pier but you need to make sure you sign up right away as it does fill up quickly. We ended up getting in the 12pm slot and it worked out great. When we arrived at the pier there was really no wait at all. Dropped our bags off and were on board within about 20 minutes. I thought the check in was very organized, we have preferred check in but the rest of our group without boarded very shortly after us and were very complimentary of the whole process. Once on board we dropped our things off at the room and headed up to the buffet for lunch. The weather in Galveston was sunny but cool so since we would not be hitting the pool we ended up getting back off the ship and walked around the historical strand which is right across from the pier. We made it back on board just in time the muster drill and then we were off! Dining I have to say that we thought the food was very good on this cruise but we were not overly thrilled with the selections on the new menus. Maybe it was because some of our old favorites were missing but I had a harder time choosing something in the MDR at night because not a lot seemed to appeal to me. I did enjoy all of my food, except for what they were calling a filet in the MDR, it tasted almost gamey to me both times I tried it. I always love the fettuccine and we had that as a third main dish to share every night. Loved the ice creams and sorbet selection each night and usually added a scoop to whatever dessert I had. We went to Sabatini's on our first night and Crown grill on our last night and both were excellent and definitely our favorite meals for the week. These are so worth the extra cost! We love to start and end our trips in the specialty restaurants. Afternoon tea was really nice (this was the first time I have gone), a good selection of sandwiches, cookies and pastry. I thought there was supposed to be live music but the occasions we were there is was just music over the speaker system. All in all a very nice experience in the afternoon when there was not a lot going on. We tried to make it to pub lunch but both times the line was HUGE and we didn't feel like waiting an hour plus so we have yet to give that a try. Enjoyed lunches in the MDR and the buffet and found both to have really nice selections during this time. Wish they had more available late night, the cafe caribe was open until midnight but it just seemed to have old left over looking options from dinner that night and nothing great for a little late night snack. Pizza always works though, very yummy. Entertainment We love to do Movies Under the Stars and enjoyed the movies even though most we have already seen. They played Bourne Legacy, Pitch Perfect, Robot and Frank and Premium Rush. My only issue was that the first and last night they replayed the same movie which usually does not happen. The comedians on board were a lot of fun and we enjoyed seeing Lincoln and Argo in the Princess Theater. We didn't attend any of the other shows as they don't usually interest us. We also enjoyed the entertainment in the Piazza throughout the day and evening when we were waiting around for this and that. Ports Belize- We did a princess excursion, the river cruise, Altun Ha ruins and lunch. I really enjoyed this tour but the rest of the group I was with did not. Their biggest complaint was that the river cruise portion was way too long for the type of boat they put you in. I can agree with that, the boat was small and had everyone facing inwards so you always had to turn or stand up to see anything they were pointing out. We did see a lot of wildlife which was great but it did drag on a bit. The lunch was nothing special, you pull up to a building on the side of the river (they called it a resort, I'm not sure why). There was a food line inside for chicken, rice and salad and a soda. It was ok, and by that time we were starving. It's not a lot of food but enough to hold you over until the tour is over. I thought the ruins were wonderful but it was so hot and no shade to be had so definitely wear a hat or bring your sunscreen! We got to climb up some of the structures and get some great pictures but you need to be very careful as the steps can be steep and very uneven. Roatan- This was my first time at this port and we knew it would basically be a beach day. I was expecting something like Princess Cays but I was pleasantly surprised. Mahogany bay was a very nice beach and the water was wonderful! We had a lot of fun and really loved the chair lift that you could take to get to the beach, its $2 cheaper to get the tickets on board the ship. Next time I would love to head out to one of the other beaches and see more of the island. A very pretty port. Cozumel- We had planned to head to one of the beach clubs for the day but the weather was cloudy and it rained off and on most of the day. We took it as a nice break from the sun and decided to walk around town and do a little shopping. We also stopped at Pancho's backyard for lunch which was decent but nothing to write home about. Sea Days- We had three on this cruise since one of our ports got canceled shortly after we booked. I don't love sea days, I find them to be a little boring but I tried to get to some new things and keep busy. We loved the Thermal Suite and used it every afternoon, I don't think it's worth the price they charge but we still tend to purchase the weeks pass. I did feel like there were a lot more people than usual just walking in without having the pass which was annoying since we actually paid for it. People were also just really sloppy leaving towels all over the floor and on the loungers after they left. Our final sea day was cold and rainy, a bust weather wise. This was my only issue with leaving from Galveston, it's not very warm this time of year so your first and last days can be iffy weather wise. We still found a lot to do but it was a little disappointing. Just some other things... This was the first time for us that there was a kiosk near the purser's desk where you could print out your statement without having to wait in line, that was really nice. I did actually find a mistake, a bottle of wine was charged to us in error. The staff at the desk were very helpful and cleared up the charge right away. I thought all of the staff was wonderful and always very helpful. One of the members of our party got a horrible sunburn (her own fault for not wearing any sunscreen) and the buffet staff could see how uncomfortable she was and told her to put plain yogurt on her burns, they even brought her a bunch to put in her cabin fridge. Good to know for the future. We were in cabin R737 and loved our room steward Romel. This is always our favorite location when we do not get a balcony room; we are steps from the aft pool which is really nice. All in all this was a great cruise; I really enjoyed the itinerary and look forward to sailing on the Crown again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Hi, my husband and I are both in our low 30's and upper 20's respectively and are teachers. My husbands school/afterschool schedule keeps him so busy, we rarely get to vacation together so this was a first since our honeymoon.I ... Read More
Hi, my husband and I are both in our low 30's and upper 20's respectively and are teachers. My husbands school/afterschool schedule keeps him so busy, we rarely get to vacation together so this was a first since our honeymoon.I had originally planned to just copy and paste my travel journal into this space, but then as I was re-reading it I decided that you all dont REALLY want to read about when I sat on the promenade, when and what I ate, and how many times I actually napped... Besides, that document was six pages long!! Yikes, I guess I was a little long winded about my naps... :)I first sailed with Princess on October 31, 2010 on the Ruby--Eastern Caribbean. Although we missed Grand Turk due to Hurricane Tomas (thats another story for another day) I came home INSISTING that Jim (DH) and I had to go on a cruise together. And so, as it is my role/duty/obligation as the wife and woman in his life, the pestering began.... Once booked I was ecstatic and begin reading up on the excursions and booked us on the Pirate Ship Encounter for Grand Cayman, a hike for Roatan, Coba Ruins for Cozumel and snorkelling for Princess Cays. Each week as we got closer to the cruise Jim decided he didnt want to do the Pirate Ship, all the excursions (save my hike) and quietly (ha) kept my disappointment to myself! ;)Okay... back to the stuff that matters... Due to the SKYROCKETING airfare prices and poor selection in times offered through sites such as expedia etc, we booked our airfare through Princess. I was pleasantly surprised that their fares were equivalent, if not a hair cheaper, than what was offered through online sources. Jim, the constant worry wart, was thrilled that princess would get us to the next port if something were to happen to our flight.Upon arrival at Fort Lauderdale on Saturday morning we were greeted by uniformed Princess reps who were there to direct us to the bus which would take us to the ship. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard decided to do an inspection on the ship which "apparently" held up our ability to get on the bus... As the delay continued for over an hour the reps became more and more irritable....When we were finally transferred to the cruise port, we waited in line outside for no more than five minutes and inside we waited for no more than two minutes before being issued our cards and directed towards the gangways. I keep reminding myself I need to be brief...Ship:The ship was beautiful, much like the Ruby, our room was great and our luggage arrived about an hour or two after we boarded. (2-3 pm) We did have a minor issue with our safe not working (after our things were in it) but both times when we called the front desk someone was there to fix it and after the second attempt, all was well.People:We met up with other cruise critic folks (desiro, shawley23, mysticfalcon, and vtlibrarian to name a few) at the Outrigger for sail away and had a marvelous time. In fact, several of us kept running into eachother on the ship and ended up spending quite a bit of time together which was great. Excursions: We ended up taking a cab to 7 mile beach (thanks to Adam, DH of desiro, for the suggestion) first thing in the morning. It cost each of us $5 US and we were able to do as we pleased. After about two hours we started to walk back to the ship...i do not recommend this to ANYONE.... again, another story for another day.We missed Roatan due to high winds so I missed my hike...At Cozumel we had cancelled our Coba Ruins excursion and were waitlisted for Playa Maya Beach Break with Lunch... At the last minute my husband checked with the shore excursion desk and switched us to the Pasion Island Beach with Lunch. Apparently this is the beach where the Corona commercials are filmed... either way it was a fabulous day. Soft sandy beaches, ergonomic lounges perfectly situated underneath some palm trees, and all the food and drink one could want. After the excursion we enjoyed some more drinks with a few other couples from the cruise at Fat Tuesdays... got ourselves some really remarkable balloon hats and headed back to the ship.At Princess Cay, we were able to hang out with a Belgian couple from our section at dinner; Kirby and I on the beach and Sijn and Jim in the water. Dining:Our waiter had to be the fastest most efficient man on the boat. He literally ran from the galley with our food, hardly allowing the junior waiter to do anything but pour water and wine. The food was wonderful, as always, I am quite impressed with the quality and quantity those galleys are able to turn out on a daily basis. Most days Jim and I ate our breakfast in the Piazza, breakfast sandwiches and yogurt from the international cafe. However, we did get buffet breakfast once or twice and enjoyed that out at the Terrace Pool. The Pub lunch at the Wheelhouse Bar was good as was the lunch offered in the dining room.Disembarkation:We were held up with disembarkation, I am guessing it was to keep the customs lines from getting more ridiculous than they already were... but after an additionally half hour or so in the Casino, we were allowed to disembark.Okay so I hope this isnt ridiculously long and I hope I havent forgotten to talk about anything major... but please feel free to leave questions! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
It has been several years since my family and I have taken a cruise vacation. We have traveled on NCL (3), Carnival (1), Princess (2) and I sailed on the Dolphin II back in the 80s. My husband (when we are in Canada and several states) and ... Read More
It has been several years since my family and I have taken a cruise vacation. We have traveled on NCL (3), Carnival (1), Princess (2) and I sailed on the Dolphin II back in the 80s. My husband (when we are in Canada and several states) and I are in our 40s and our 2 boys are 10 and 12 years old.We live in Minnesota and flew to West Palm Beach (PBI) the day before embarkation. I'm a bargain shopper and I discovered that the flights to PBI were $130 less per person than flights to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. We rented a car with Avis. We stayed at the Hilton Suites Boca Raton and the rate was $109 and included cooked to order breakfast. It was close to shopping and restaurants. The hotel was okay for a day or two, but I probably wouldn't want to stay there longer.It is finally embarkation day and we are all very excited, especially the boys. We were up early, so we decided just to head out to Port Everglades. It was about a 25 minute drive from Boca Raton to Ft. Lauderdale. We returned the rental car to the Ft. Lauderdale airport and expected a shuttle to take us to the port. An agent informed me that Avis didn't provide a shuttle to the port. I know I have used one in the past, but I wasn't going to let a $15 taxi ride ruin my day.We arrived at the port at 1015 am just as they opened the doors for the waiting area - we were in group 1. My boys waited more patiently than I expected and we happily boarded the ship at 1145am. I took the boys and our carry on bags to the room, while my husband went to the Sanctuary to get our seats for the week. Sorry to those of you that arrived after us, we got the last 2 spaces - one in the sun and one in the shade (exactly what we wanted).In the past, we have stayed in family or balcony staterooms; however, this time we tried an inside cabin to see if we could handle it. Our room was Dolphin 511 and it was very cozy (yes, I mean small). There was enough space for us to change, sleep and it provided a place if one of the boys needed some down time. I was worried about the room smelling like smoke, but it did not. I did not notice any smoking odors in the hallways either. We were able to save money on the cabin, so we had more to spend on activities and the Sanctuary.We got the Ultimate Kids Package for the kids - it was $7 per day plus tax. We got the soda card - don't remember the exact price but under $5 per day. Power hour drink specials were from 4-7pm on port days. Pina Coladas, Singapore Slings, Strawberry Daiquiris and some of the beers were $2.99.The ship was very nice and well maintained. The staff members were pleasant and friendly. I finally managed to navigate around the ship by day 6, but I still had to look out at the ocean to determine if I was headed forward or aft. The husband pointed out to me that in the stateroom hallways the blue carpeting with blue trim was starboard and the blue carpeting with red trim was port. This was very helpful information since I had to look for a sign or odd/even numbers to know if I was on the port side or starboard side.There was an unpleasant sewage odor most of the trip. I noticed it while we were still in port and I just assumed it was a smell coming from the port area. Nope. It remained the entire trip. It was most noticeable in the pool areas. I hope that is remedied soon.The ship felt really crowded. Maybe it is because I wanted to be places when everyone else wanted to be there too. There were many children on the ship - most of them very well behaved. My boys attended the kids program, Shockwaves and they enjoyed their time there. My 10 year old enjoyed it most, he would rather be there than anywhere else on ship. He was also quite fond of table tennis. My 12 year old enjoyed it as well - he is about 1 month from being 13 and was disappointed he wasn't able to join the teen activities. On sea days the boys went to Shockwaves 3 times a day and shore days they went after dinner most evenings. I asked my 10 year old if he liked the kids program on Carnival or Princess better - he prefers Princess (although he wishes they had waterslides).We had traditional early seating in the Botticelli dining room. We sat at a table for 8 and our dining companions also had 2 children. We had a really nice time and our kids got along very well. My boys were more adventurous with their menu selections and tried more new things than I expected. It was definitely a fun experience. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very accommodating and the food was enjoyable. We went to breakfast in the dining room 1 time, but with the boys anxious to get the day started, Horizon Court worked out best. The choices in the HC were fine, but it was almost the same thing every day. For lunch it was pizza, burgers, international cafe or Horizon Court. I'm not a big pizza fan, but I love thin crust pizza and the pizza on the Crown was great.The problem with early seating for dinner - after we picked up the kids from Shockwaves at 10pm - we found ourselves in Horizon Court or Cafe Caribe having a 2nd dinner.We tried the Crown Grill one time and that dining experience took longer than we expected. We had almost a 45 minute wait from appetizers/salads until main course. I had steak and my husband had veal. It was good, but it really wasn't worth the wait or the extra expense. Honestly, the steak I had in the Botticelli dining room on day 6 was better. However, I had the best dessert of the entire trip at the Crown Grill. I had the molten chocolate, fudge something with ice cream. Made my day.We didn't get a chance to see the entire ship or do everything we wanted to do. There was an LGBT gathering every day at 515pm, we were unable to attend - getting 4 people ready for 6pm dinner takes quite a while. We attended 2 shows in the Princess Theater (Destination Anywhere and Motown) and wished we hadn't. We saw Ray Coussins in one of the lounges and he was quite entertaining. We went to MUTS one night to see The Tourist. The seat saving going on there was ridiculous.Sanctuary. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Did I use it as much as I would have liked? No. Would I book it again? Yes.Grand Cayman. I booked a trip with Stingray Sailing. We were in one of the first tender groups and were on the island about 745am. We met Captain Chip and headed to his Catamaran about 815am. There were 30 people on this trip, but it didn't seem crowded. He and his family (Buster and Michelle) are very personable and knowledgeable. My boys were uncomfortable around the stingrays. Eventually, with encouragement from Chip, my 12 year old fed and interacted with the Stingrays. The Catamaran can go to places on the sand bar that are shallow, so we were able to avoid the majority of the crowds. There was also a stop for snorkeling along the reef. The water was pretty rough that day, so it was difficult for my kids to snorkel there. Captain Chip put up the sails on the return trip and had complementary water and fruit and he also beverages for sale. Nice trip, I highly recommend Stingray Sailing.Roatan. I booked the Fantasy Island trip through Island Marketing (about $100 cheaper than through Princess). Roatan did not look like it did when I visited in 1997 - Mahogany Bay reminded me of an amusement park. Our driver was Sovony, she was waiting for us out of the complex and up the hill. She gave us information about the island on our way to the resort. The trip included snorkeling and kayaking. We were able to pick out our place on the beach (the other larger tours that came had to sit in certain areas). We had a nice section of beach all to ourselves. The beach was nice and it was a calm protected bay area. I wouldn't want to stay at this resort, but it was great for the day. The snorkeling was okay, we saw many conchs. It was possible to snorkel out to the reef, but there was boat and seaplane traffic - so it was a little dangerous. There were 3 kayaks and my 10 year old spent most of his time in one of them. There were large iguanas and a monkey on the island. The monkey was quite fond of my 10 year old and played with him for a while. Sovony waited for us and took us back to the ship when we were ready. When we returned to Mahogany Bay, we did a little shopping and stopped at Fat Tuesdays before returning to the ship.Cozumel. I booked Nachi Cocom through Island Marketing. We took our time getting ready and going to breakfast. We grabbed a taxi at 930am and headed to the resort. The taxi was $15 each way and took about 15 minutes. The resort was very nice - there was a pool and a large stretch of beach. It looked like they were about at maximum capacity, but there was still plenty of room and did not seem crowded. I tried a few of the drinks, like the mamasita (tasty), but then just went with Corona and Dos Equis. There were quite a few kids, so my little darlings had others to play with. My 10 year old played in the sand, building castles and collecting shells, while my oldest rented snorkel gear ($17) and spent his time face down in the water. Not great snorkeling there, but he didn't mind. I didn't care for the food, but I'm a fairly picky eater - my kids didn't care for it either. We stayed until about 230pm and a taxi was ready to take us back.Princess Cays. I didn't have anything planned for this day - just a beach day. We didn't rush to get a tender. We had a nice breakfast then packed the beach bag. The place is very nice. The place is also very crowded. We found some chairs, one in the sun and one in the shade. My 10 year old played in the sand and my 12 year old was face down in the water looking at fish. The snorkeling area was okay. The buffet lines were long the entire time it was open. I waited in line with my 12 year old for 45 minutes so he could get food. We decided to head back at 130pm to avoid the long lines for the tender ride back. I don't think the beach day was worth the hassle of the tender ride and the crowds. I think next time I'll stay on the ship.Customs was a little weird - even though one Customs Form was required per family, we had to complete 2 forms. I put the kids on my form and my husband went through solo. My kids were bothered that we all couldn't go through customs together (so was I). We had to explain, once again, that the U.S. government does not recognize our family. It doesn't change the fact that we are a family, just a reminder that things still need to change.It was a great vacation. The weather was perfect with sunny days and high temperatures of about 80 degrees. It was a nice change from the snowy, cold winter we had. And yes, as a matter of fact, I did buy future cruise credits so I can start planning my trip for next Spring Break! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Nice cruise, people were pretty friendly. Only ran across a few rude staff especially when waiting to tender. My biggest complaint was to see that that substitute sugar in the yellow packet is nutrasweet instead of splenda. The blue packet ... Read More
Nice cruise, people were pretty friendly. Only ran across a few rude staff especially when waiting to tender. My biggest complaint was to see that that substitute sugar in the yellow packet is nutrasweet instead of splenda. The blue packet looked like equal but it was nutrasweet too. The coffee is bad enough but then to put nutrasweet in it every day !! Yuck. I did find some splenda in the Crown Grill. 50 dollars extra for the cover charge but i did take a few splenda ( I confess) . Gary was our sweet waiter!!The Internet cafe was a joke ! It was so slow and most times impossible to log on. The manager was very nice about it but I'm sure glad I didn't have to do anything on line. I did lose my email account which I had for 20 years. It crashed onboard and all is lost. Everything. Aol can't retrieve it. So beware. They do rent ipads now. So if the server works it would be fun. We have taken 10 cruises on Princess and have #11 planned for August to the Holyland. As far as the ship: It certainly needs to be updated. Floors, walls, elevator doors, rugs show age. Room service was very quick and timely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We have been to S Carribean with HAL once, and this W Carribean with Princess is our second cruise. I traveled with my teenage son from Maryland. We stayed in the Crown Plaza at Port Everglades the night before the cruise which was very ... Read More
We have been to S Carribean with HAL once, and this W Carribean with Princess is our second cruise. I traveled with my teenage son from Maryland. We stayed in the Crown Plaza at Port Everglades the night before the cruise which was very convenient. The hotel rate was reasonable and the shuttle from the airport and to the port was convenient and cheap. We booked a post cruise tour of Fort Lauderdale with a new service that Gray Lines just introduced in that area. It is a combination of pax transfer, luggage transfer by Bags to Go, and the Water Taxi tour. It went very smoothly, and costs less than taking taxi or hotel shuttles, etc. The water taxi drops you off at lunch places, and shows the millionaire row with their yachts. Beats waiting at the airport which has no entertainment.The embarkation was pretty good and fast. We arrived at 12:45PM even though Princess asked specifically to not show up before 1PM. The line was not that long. The longest wait was in the gangway where people have to put their cruise card in the reader and take a quick picture for security purposes. Next time we will get there at 2PM when there was no line at all. The disembarkation was even faster. Just walk down and leave. Most people want to leave before 8AM or walk their own luggage. I don't know how the line was at 8AM. We just followed the ship's schedule and left at 9:30. The slowest part is the U.S. Immigration, about 15 minutes. Nothing Princess can do about that.As expected for this Spring Break cruise, there were lots of kids and teachers on board. Lots of teenagers too, which my son enjoyed every evening from 11PM to 1AM. I don't know what they do since I am not allowed in that area. I guess I don't want to know. But the activities are monitored by staff, so I guess it is better than leaving them loose in a mall.We started eating at assigned seats at a table for two. By the third evening we were bored, and moved to the anytime seating sharing a table for 8. Waiting was not an issue as we like early dinner at 6PM. We never went to the buffet because we simply prefer a more relaxed meal, chat, and have good service. Even though it takes longer. But what is the rush? The name of the dishes are more impressive than their substance. And they are pretty small, which is just fine. Let me put this way: no one stays hungry in a cruise, OK! I found the hamburger and pizza weak, not as good as McDonald and PizzaHut. That tells you that this is not a fancy cruise, but a value cruise. Food in general is done on a budget, unless you go to a specialty restaurant. Let's just say that I prefer Legal Seafood or Cheesecake Factory. But we still enjoyed every meal, especially the service.The shows were OK, but I think that HAL has better shows. I thought the hipnosis show was a little wacky. I am a skeptic, so I don't believe in hipnosis, at least not this way. But it was entertaining. The adult karoake was pretty impressive. We got some real talents here. Dang, some of these folks are TV material.Now let me go into the port reviews. Let me start with the last port: Princess Cays since its not available in the pull down menu. We found it to be way too crowded. They should allow pax to roam the island instead of confining everyone to such a small area. The barbeque was low quality and the buffet lines were slow. There are always a few pax staring at the potato salad or the hot dogs as if they are making up their minds whether to buy a house. The tendering to and from the island was very slow. They need to figure out something more efficient. They said the last tender back to the ship was 3:15PM. By 2:45 the line was so long that we just went back to the beach because we knew that there is no way they could be done by 3:15. We napped at the lounge chairs and finally got back to the ship around 4:00. The snorkeling right at the shack where they rent snorkeling gear is pretty good. I even found a lobster there. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We picked the Crown Princess Western Caribbean 7 day cruise because it seemed like there would be something for everyone in our party, 4 teens, 2 middle aged parents and grandma. It was perfect! Two of our teens loved the teen club, my 17 ... Read More
We picked the Crown Princess Western Caribbean 7 day cruise because it seemed like there would be something for everyone in our party, 4 teens, 2 middle aged parents and grandma. It was perfect! Two of our teens loved the teen club, my 17 year old was a bit 'in between' too young for the night club (they are very strict about the 18 year old requirement) and a bit old for the teen club.The entertainment was dated. The best act was the hypnotist. Enjoyed breaking even playing blackjack in the casino. Dining service was fantastic! Food was fine, but too bad you can't get fresh fish at sea! The desserts were a stand out. We did anytime dining in the Davinci. We enjoyed being served instead of dealing with the buffet, like we did at lunch. I usually ate a vegie burger and fries, from the poolside grill.The band 'Temperature' was good, but one or two days of them would have been fine. Everytime we turned around they were playing at the pool or at one of the clubs. Princess definitely needs to update their entertainment.But there's so much to do, it didn't matter that much. We would highly recommend the Crown Princess. Service was great! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
WHY I TOOK THIS CRUISE...I had a future cruise which I purchased on the Crown TA from London - NYC in September 2010. This cruise was for relation only, I had no intention to take shore excursions. PRE-CRUISE FROM 3/31 - 4/1Why the ... Read More
WHY I TOOK THIS CRUISE...I had a future cruise which I purchased on the Crown TA from London - NYC in September 2010. This cruise was for relation only, I had no intention to take shore excursions. PRE-CRUISE FROM 3/31 - 4/1Why the Holiday Inn Cruiseport...I don't like to rent a car and have found this Holiday Inn both convenient to the cruise port and within walking distance of several malls, restaurants not to mention a Walgreens and several supermarkets for those last minute purchases. The rooms come also come with a mini refrigerator and microwave. The hotel is several blocks away from the Fort Lauderdale Sun Trolley that takes you downtown for $.50. I do not think any hotel is the best if that is what you are looking for. Perks...I was lucky this cruise with the perks I got for 100 shares of CCL stock and my DD214 military. This cruise cost me cabin, insurance, air fare, hotel and tips. Everything else was courtesy of Princess; 10.50 tip per day, a shirt I bought, spa treatment, pictures, dvd's, and coke drinks. The 3rd and last week I had a credit of $360; Passenger Services said I either had to use it or lose it as Princess would not roll-over the balance to another cruise nor give me a refund.Embarkation...I took the 11:30am bus, there was a line when I got to the terminal, yet we moved quickly and would have been speedier had I followed directions. There were about 3 check-ins for each deck, the elite and platinum having their own check-ins.Formal Night...For me this consists of a tie, shirt, jacket, and slacks. It appears that the older crowd goes for dress up while the younger crowd for casual. Although I agree with the older crowd the work involved in dressing is not worth it. I wore a tuxedo once and do not feel the extra weight justifies the use. Besides, you can rent one from the ship.Entertainment...No question about it, the performers are talented but as one person I met at lunch put it "they do not compare to a Broadway Performance". However you get what you pay for. On the April 2-9 & 16-23 cruises there were about 800 kids each with younger adults while the April 9-16 cruise had about 200 kids and the adult age being older. A standing ovation on the 2nd cruise was given at all performances. Safe (Personal) inside Cabin...There was a safe in the cabin to store your valuables. You feel naked walking around the decks without your keys, wallet, passport, etc. As for the combination, I kept a copy of it on my laptop and forget I had it there the one time I needed it.SPA (see perks above)..I used the spa (see Perks above). This is always fun. It was scheduled for 8am and I thought I would be the only one there. Was I mistaken; this Spa thing is quite a business. I chose to take the message au-natural; why make it easier for them. When the message was finished the fun began. She told me that Sauna and the Steam Room will help me with my arthritis then tried to sell me this expensive stuff that that I would never use but I should get two anyway. I probably should have stopped her but this was part of the message treatment. Sanctuary..If it were possible to reserve this in advance I would have in a heartbeat. Several people in the Cruise Critic Roll Call mentioned they would take the Sanctuary as they were teachers or came into contact with school kids. I went to the Sanctuary on the 2nd day of my cruise and was told the Sanctuary is booked for the week (at $109) but for $20 for half a day I would have to come back in the morning or afternoon. This gave me time to think: was I really going to use this?Grand Cayman - tender...At the terminal there are private tours available in case you do not have one planned. At Margaritaville in The Island Plaza on the waterfront on Harbour Drive, take a right as you exit the pier, there is free Wi-Fi; I was told maybe the whole building is Wi-Fi. There also is a man who makes cigars; you can smoke them onboard but cannot bring any back to the states. Quite a few people smell the cigars for whatever reason I do not know; to me a cigar is to smoke not smell however I do not smoke? When I went ashore on the third week I noticed that at Cayside Galleries - Souvenir World (about a block from Margaritaville) there was free internet with a purchase.Isle of Roatan Honduras - docked...At the Meet and Greet Captain Nick Nash said the docking here was tricky; the wind must be from the East and sea conditions must be just right. We docked here the first week. The second week the wind was too strong at 8am but we managed to dock around 10am. The third week we did not make this port due to the weather. Private tours are available onshore for last minute cruisers. About the only thing here is the beach although there are other activities. At East Wind Electronics near the terminal there was high speed internet available - $5 for 15 minutes. The dock was within walking distance of the beach and the chair lifts; one can either walk to the beach or take the chair lift for a price (about $10).Cozumel - docked...Many private tours are available on the pier. After getting off the ship you take a right and immediately walk into a duty free shop. After exiting the shop there are various other shops one of which is called Cafe Punta del Cielo. Here Wi-Fi is available free, you provide the computer. Beverages are about $5 or less; best to get there early as the place is crowded and there are few seats. It is 3 miles to downtown; you can either take a $4 taxi or walk. To get back on the ship be sure to bring a picture id or passport with you. Princess told us but the other ports required showing your key card only. This port not only checks passports but also your cabin key. The Myan ruins tour takes about 8 hours; rather interesting but stressful. There is not much to the pier area and from what I hear not much to the city either.Princess Cays - docked..This is Princess Cruise Line's private beach; I did not go ashore here on any of the three cruises.Sabatini's (Authentic Italian Cuisine)..I did not eat here but was told the price was worth it; the only complaint being (if you call it that) they give you too much food.Crown Grill..I do not like specialty restaurants as I travel alone, it is difficult to get someone to eat with you and I do not like eating solo. However, I heard from various people that the food was good and worth the price.International Cafe..People say that the coffee is good here but I could not tell you as my taste buds burned out long ago. There are two things you should get; one is a coke card which comes in two versions and is valid for other drinks besides coke. The versions being kids and adults or cheap $49 and expensive $55; however to these prices is added a 15% gratuity. I chose the kids for it was cheaper and something I would use (however had I not had a credit to use I would not have purchased it). The other is the coffee card. This does not have an expiration date; is more or less valid for life and can be used on other Princess ships. You get about 15 punches for cafe au late etc. Your basic coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are free so that is what I chose. At the other end of the International Cafe are desserts, salads, and sandwiches. It is not a bad place to meet people either.Cafe Caribe & Horizon Court..These are the restaurants that do not require you to dress up and food is available 24/7. The 2nd night of the cruise I awoke at 1pm and did something I would never do at home and that is eat. At that hour the Horizon Court carries a limited menu but it solves the purpose. Michealangelo Dining Room ...For the April 2, 9, and 16 cruises this was used for anytime or traditional dining. Da Vinci Dining Room ...This was for anytime or traditional dining for all cruises as above. I had most of my meals here mainly because you are seated with other people and why serve yourself when you can be waited on as this service is included.Bars, Clubs, and Lounges...Various events are held here; other than that I did not visit these places as I do not drink or smoke.Movies Under The Stars..Shown here are various movies; the problem being that seats were not available as it was quite crowded on all three cruises due to it being school vacation. Week three was perhaps the worse as the kids (kids to me) were older (high school and collegeate).Cabin...The cabin was large enough but one complaint the bathroom was small in that it did not have enough storage space; the shower was fine for my height. I compared this to the oceanview cabin on the Nieuw Amsterdam I had in January; the balcony cabin on the Crown Princess was smaller. My cabin steward was Ramil; he did a good job all three weeks; (would like to offer him a job as my chauffeur).?...Internet and Cell Phone: There is a sign telling you that Satellite connection is slower than DSL and they are not kidding; it is faster watching paint dry (no doubt more interesting also). I used the internet once as I got 150 free minutes being a platinum member and sent a message to the cruise critic forum; it took me 25 minutes to do this. Thu 3/31/11: Boston - Fort Lauderdale...The taxi from condo to the airport was $20. Then Jet Blue flight 449 A320 nonstop from Boston to FLL; it was not bumpy despite the bad weather along the East Coast but then again we were flying about 34,000 ft. Holiday Inn picked me up near the terminal and after checking in I went to Marina Deli for lunch: a $9.70 tuna fish salad with potato salad. Next to Office Depot for a 32GB flash drive; then to the Dollar Tree Store for some thank you cards for the meet & greet and Wool Wash for my underwear. For supper I went to the Siam House around the corner from the hotel; I have often wanted to try his restaurant, tried it this time, and won't go back. I had the roast duck with rice and Chinese broccoli; (I put the broccoli aside as I do not eat broccoli). Next I walked to Walgreens for some last minute things; also it was exercise after supper.Fri 4/1/11: Fort Lauderdale..Breakfast then back to the room to get ready for the day. There was a power outage for about 5 minutes at the hotel last night, no explanation given. Lunch was at the Tropical Cafe on Cordova then to Publix supermarket. On weekends you can catch the Sun trolley that stops at Publix. Supper was at Joe's Cafe on Cordova, the street that leads to Publix supermarkets. I had chopped beefsteak and New England clam chowder but the chowder at Legal Seafood's in Boston is much better.Sat 4/2/11: FLL - Grand Cayman - smart casual...I had the free hotel breakfast then took Ace bus from the hotel to the cruise terminal; later it occurred to me that the driver never asked for the $8 (and I was not about to remind him - the hotel never asked for it either). At the terminal I looked at my watch saw it was 11:42 and the next time I was in my room unpacking and it was 1:41pm. The muster drill was held in the Wheelhouse Bar; I sat doing a crossword. The important thing is that I showed up and had my key card validated as being present. We saw a super tanker and the HAL Eurodam leave. Captain Nash said that after the Zuiderdam & Oasis of the Seas left we would leave. We departed about 5:30pm. Supper guests this week were Sherri, Bill, Betty, Jackie, Neil and newlyweds Andy and Jennifer. For supper @ 5:30pm I had lobster pate, prime rib, baked potato, coffee and chocolate cake. The entertainment tonight was Welcome Aboard Showtime in the Princess Theater. It was well done and Cruise Director Ron Goodman did a good job. Comedian Cary Long was great; he has performed on the Tonight show. I turned in early, early for me that is; asked in the afternoon that my queen size bed be made into twins and I felt like I was going to fall off the bed. Before turning in I looked at the various tours that were left in my cabin; just looked... Sun 4/3/11: Sea Day - formal ...I woke about 1am and felt like taking a little walk, this is something I would not do at home. I looked in the Princess Patter for a restaurant that was open at midnight and none was displayed. So I called Passenger Services and was told that Horizon Buffet is open 24 hours. Thus I trotted up to Horizons & had a midnight snack if you will. Breakfast and lunch was at Da Vinci on Deck 6. The Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was held at 10am in Skywalker's; sort of disappointed that we did not have coffee or tea but no one complained. About 20 people showed up. Captain Nick Nash came with the invite letter I sent him & he might have been disappointed as he joking expected 100 people. One thing he pointed out was that to Grand Cayman there are 2 routes; the fast & the marriage. We are taking the marriage as there was a marriage planned and we have to be 12 miles out. He also said that Roatan is a tricky port and one cannot always maneuver the ship into that port. For lunch I had the soup and Philly steak minus the bread. I did it again; in the Princess Patter yesterday it stated that if you want a robe for the cruise just ask, so I asked Ramil for a robe and slippers. The slippers I received last night, the robe today; ask and ye shall receive (playing dumb doesn't hurt either). The show tonight "Destination Anywhere" was on the Crown from London to NYC but the crew was different. Tonight before the show Cruise Director Ron Goodman said that Captain Nash is leaving to Captain the Emerald Princess. At Movies Under Stars I saw ½ hr of True Grit; seen it on TV so didn't stay long; this was a take-off on the western True Grit starring John Wayne and you just can't beat John Wayne, it was more of an insult.Mon 4/4/11: Grand Cayman - smart casual ..Wake-up call service rang the telephone at 5am; after getting up I set it for 7:30am then went back to sleep. For breakfast I had steak and eggs which was delicious (probably because I was hungry) after which I took the tender ashore. Back at Da Vinci for lunch I sat at a table with 2 couples, both checked in to the cruise critic roll call but did not attend yesterday's Meet and Greet. After lunch I went to Movies Under the Stars and saw "Tron: Legacy"; I could not make sense out of it so went to the 2pm movie in the Explorers Lounge of "RED" with Bruce Willis & Morgan Freeman. Usually if these two gentlemen are in a movie you get a wonderful performance and this movie was no exception. After supper I went to the Explorers Lounge to get a decent seat for the 8:45 performance of comedian Cary Long; he was great, the audience loved him. I went to the Casino and looked at a $.01 slot machine. A lady was walking away saying she put $10 in the machine and lost, so I took a gamble, put $10 in and within minutes won $19.70 or nearly doubling my money. Then I played a machine the Princess Casino People call "the Pusher or Spin & Win". As money was in the pot, apparently left by the previous player, I played that machine winning and losing but it did not cost me anything. Several elderly ladies came by so I let them have the remaining quarters and the machine; it was not my money to begin with.Tue 4/5/11: Isle of Roatan- smart casual ..Woke up at 5am for medication then again at 7:30; breakfast and lunch were both at the Da Vinci Dining Room. A couple from NY at the table, they have been married 50 years, said that it was too hot outside. After lunch I went outside and browsed the various shops mainly just to get some exercise. For supper I had leg of lamb which was a mistake; meat on a bone and it was difficult to cut. The meat was not tender and I know what not to have. Showtime in the Princess Theater was hypnotist Kellie Karl and she was fine; what made her act less enjoyable was the loudspeaker background music. She spoke on the microphone and most of what she said I could not hear. There was the international show at 11pm, also in the Princess theater, which was a riot. Prior to the show the Assistant Cruise Director let loose many balloons which kept the audience busy as balloons were being batted everywhere and some even exploded. In addition to that there was music that I enjoyed and the Assistant Cruise Director and several of her people moved to the music of YMCA. I've never seen movement like this to that song. Wed 4/6/11: Cozumel - smart casual..We arrived here at 7am along with 3 Carnival ships and 1 Disney ship. Breakfast was normal; at lunch a couple I had lunch with said this weather was abnormal. They had gone ashore and said it was unusually hot for this time of year as they had been here before. After lunch I went ashore, visited the nearby stores, then returned to the ship; a combination of the heat and I really did not want to buy anything plus there was not much to be seen in the area, also the ship was air conditioned. Tonight in the Princess Theater piano entertainer Glenn Smith; I have come to the conclusion that the performers are talented but the theater background noise does not help them at all. The music is just too loud. I question the acoustics in the cruise theater. Also I saw comedian Dan Grueter in the Explorer's Lounge; he was very good, did not have theater background noise to drown him out and used audience participation. I ended up at Horizon Buffet for a midnight snack. We turn our clocks ahead one hour tonight.Thu 4/7/11: Sea Day - formal ..I had breakfast as usual then an interesting lunch with 2 couples. One was in the grocery business from Ohio, the other in the teaching field from Michigan, and another individual in the trucking business from Oregon. It was an interesting conversation covering welfare to a comparison between working adults and kids to trucks with GPS. Then I went to Future Cruise and booked a cruise from London round trip to Ft Lauderdale in October 2012; booked a guarantee BG room that may turn into an upgrade. .Fri 4/8/11: Princess Cays - smart casual ..Breakfast; after lunch I saw Morning Glory and was just killing time. At 2pm I saw Bernadtte Varizi the Captains Circle Membership Hostess to straighten out my membership. She said that for next week I would be Platinum, but if the new card still says Gold to go to Passenger Services and have a new card made. I did not go ashore. Earlier Passenger Services told me that I had a $148.50 credit for this cruise so I decided to take the Sanctuary for a week at $109 but the stewards told me to come back tomorrow. This gave me time to think; bad for them but good for me. For supper tonight I had steak, as did most of the table, which was a mistake; should have had Salmon instead. Tonight was Baked Alaska night. I went to the Princess Theater to see Ray Coussins, a former pianist for Frank Sinatra, and his tribute to Frank Sinatra. At Movies Under the Stars I saw Little Fockers; funny but not as good as the first one. Sat 4/9/11: FLL - Grand Cayman ..Breakfast, and then back to the cabin to finish the diary for the first week. The group of transit passengers, those travelling on the next voyage, met at Vines, got off the ship, went through customs, and then reboarded the ship. I had lunch and met Papermaker from the roll call. Passengers in transit are only required to take the mandatory muster once, so I took a nap instead only to be awaked by the loudspeaker. In the afternoon I purchased a soda card for $57 including tip; it figures to about $8 per day. Supper was at a table for 4 people even though I requested a table for six; I had the same as 4/2/11 then went to Passenger Services and got a Platinum card. It is not easy; I argued with the Princess rep on the phone back in Boston, argued with Passenger services on the Crown Princess, it was like "not my job", they seem to really make you work. Then I saw the movie RED two times. What I learned to do is wash my underwear at 5pm so it is ready by 5am the next day; this gave me more time in the evening.Sun 4/10/11: Sea Day - formal ..Breakfast with 3 couples and the talk ended up political, but was very interesting; started to eat about 8am, next time I looked at my watch it was 9:30am. I was going to ask that my seat for the evening be changed but decided otherwise. At the Meet & Greet about 40 people showed up, the most of any Meet and Greet I have organized. Again no beverages or pastries; no Officers showed up either. Lunch was with 2 couples; a mother, father, and daughter, son in-law and also one female whose husband died recently; she loved to talk and boast about her son, she booked this cruise at the last minute because of family problems - she doesn't get along with her daughter in-law. I had chicken broth, mixed grill, and fruit tart. Last night for supper I was seated at a table for 4 by mistake. Tonight it was corrected. My other guests were Sue and George, John and Jackie and myself. I had a delicious steak for supper then the production of "Motor City" in the Princess Theater. The audience gave the dancer's a standing ovation; this shows the difference between this week's audience and last week's. Last week we had many children and this week we have few children plus the ship appears not to be sold out. Later the Liars Club followed by Comedian Dan Grueter whose show was similar to last week's performance but was still funny. Mon 4/11/11: Grand Cayman - smart casual ..I had breakfast with a couple from the Meet & Greet and a couple from FL. The table was by a window and I noticed the RCCL Navigator of the Seas anchored as well as Carnival's Inspiration. Then I went to Passenger Services and noticed that I will have a credit of $200 by the end of the week. The credit is non refundable so I either have to use it or lose it; that's a tough decision for someone that does not expect to buy anything on board or take a tour. This morning I went ashore to Grand Cayman; gave me the afternoon to get a tan and enjoy the ship's air-conditioning. But the temperature did not feel as bad today as it did last week. I visited Margaritaville and the Island Plaza. Lunch with 5 people, no couples, we talked about different cruise lines, sports, weather, and food. After lunch instead of getting a tan I worked on pictures taken; took me about 2 hours; now I am caught up to date. The Patter, the daily list of events, had few activities that I was interested in. I saw the movie Burlesque at Movies Under the Starts then took part is The Ultimate Deck Party followed by a midnight snack.Tue 4/12/11: Roatan - smart casual ..We were having breakfast when the Captain announced that due to the strong Easterly winds landing at the pier would have to be delayed; we ended up docking by 10am. After breakfast I visited the future cruise consultant who told me that the Star Princess (cruise of 2012) is being renovated. Then I went to Movies Under the Stars to see "An Affair to Remember". About noon I had lunch with two couples; one of the women agreed that women over-pack saying the most she takes is a small suitcase. Then I went ashore, came back to Movies Under the Stars saw "James Brown Live in Berlin" and the start of "Tangled". Supper with John and Jackie as Sue and George were no shows. Tonight was Italian night; John and Jackie had the eggplants appetizer which looked good. I had veal again, had it last week, and must remember to have something else next week. Then to the Production Show of "Destination Anywhere"; before the show I talked to a couple who said they tried Carnival once and did not like it. Then they gave it two more tries and still the same; the last time was a two week trip to the Panama Canal and the ship they were on was used for Hurricane Katrina. Carnival said they spent about a million dollars renovating but the couple found too many flaws. The audience gave the show a standing ovation again. After that I went to the Explorers Lounge to see the end of "Alphabet Trivia" and the show "Classical Concert" with the Venice Cafe Quintet.Wed 4/13/11: Cozumel - smart casual ..Breakfast with two couples, one of which I had breakfast with yesterday; conversation ended up with overweight people. The ship may hold more than 3000 people, but I am amazed at how many faces are familiar and the same faces at the table I am sitting at. Then I went to the Internet Cafe to write to the Cruise Critic Roll Call for 4/16/11; connection is so slow it's faster watching paint dry. I eventually went ashore, did not take any tours, just looked around the pier area and purchased a T-Shirt. In port with us were Carnival, and Celebrity. Lunch then saw the "Social Network"; supper was chef's night, nothing to write home about. I went to the Explorer's Lounge and heard Gordon and the Orchestra as well as Comedian Cary Long then went to the Princess Theater for Hypnotist Kellie Karl and the International Crew Show.Thu 4/14/11: Sea Day - Formal Night ..Breakfast then to Movies Under the Stars to see Tangled followed by lunch. I did not eat all for I had requested Princess to have a Masons Get Together; this was at 1pm in the Adagio Bar - they were very accommodating; however nobody showed up. For supper I had 2 escargots, 2 lobsters which was filling. Following that was the Production Show in the Princess Theater of "What a Swell Party; the audience gave them a standing ovation again. Then I went to the Newlywed Game Show followed by Movies Under the Stars and Morning Glory. Fri 4/15/11: Princess Cays - Smart Casual ..Breakfast then I went to Future Cruise Sales and changed my cabin to an obstructed view as I most likely might be upgraded. After lunch went to Movies Under Stars and saw Morning Glory and Inception. Supper then in the Princess Theater A Tribute to Frank Sinatra starring Ray Coussins; the show was different from last week and the audience gave him a standing ovation. Then Little Fockers at Movies Under the Stars, back to my stateroom. Me thinks I am going to have trouble with Princess in the future regarding my Platinum and Elite memberships. Sat 4/16/11: Fll - Grand Cayman - smart casual ..Breakfast then to front desk to mail a postcard, back to cabin to work; there are clothes I took that I haven't even worn. I showed up at Vines as instructed, the four of us left the ship, went through customs, then boarded the ship again; about ½ - 1 hour of inconvenience but Princess must show a zero count per customs law (so I am told). I had a rather big lunch, big for me as I dine at 5:30pm. I watched several movies at Movies Under the Stars. Supper was at table 442 this week with a family of 3 from CA (Frank, Bobbie, Jason) and a family of 3 from NY via Russia (Alex, Iring, Lilia; extremely interesting. After supper we went to Showtime in the Princess Theater with the Crown Princess Singers and Dancers and comedian Cary Long. Then to the spa where I made an appointment for tomorrow at 8am for a message. Next Movies Under the Stars and the movie RED followed by a snack in Horizons Grill.Sun 4/17/11: Sea Day - formal ..I got up at 6:45am to get ready for the day and my spa appointment at 8am. To my surprise, the spa was quite crowded; I thought I'd be the only one there but it seems that people do get up early. It seems the spa makes a killing on cruises. Then I made my way to Skywalkers and the M&G. About 10 people showed up; the small number probably because of the nice weather. Hotel General Manager Melania showed up and said that after this week she is going home for two months. Now about the spa; I went to Passenger Services last night a saw that I had a credit balance for this trip of $365, so either I use it or lose it. Of that $56 goes for the soda card I purchased, $140 for the spa, $63 for tips per day; all this will leave me about $88 credit for the trip. Supper then to the Explorers Lounge for comedian Cary Long followed by the Liars Club; next to Movies Under The Stars and True Grit.Mon 4/18/11: Grand Cayman - smart casual ..Breakfast then went took the tender ashore to Grand Cayman and walked to Bayshore Mall. Last week I had lunch with someone who said the Museum was on a side street when it really is on Harbour Drive. Island Plaza has more to offer than Bayshore Mall, but the Mall is adjacent to Grand Cayman's Hard Rock Cafe. Back on the ship I had lunch then saw Yogi Bear in Movies Under the Stars. After supper I went to the Explorers Lounge and saw comedian Cary Long then the Yes/No Game Show followed by the Kings Speech in the Princess Theater.Tue 4/19/11: Roatan - smart casual ..During breakfast the Captain announced that weather conditions were unsafe to land at Roatan and the forecast is for the weather to worsen, so we are heading for our next stop of Cozumel. After lunch I spent the whole afternoon at Movies Under the Stars. I went to supper then Showtime with hypnotist Kellie Karl in the Princess Theater followed by The International Crew Show. I gambled $10 and am not sure if I have money to spend or not, anyway it is not mine, Princess is paying for it; I still have a credit balance.Wed 4/20/11: Cozumel - smart casual ..Breakfast then to deck 17; we docked with the Carnival Legend, Carnival Ecstasy all at Mahogny Bay Pier. Disney Cruise Lines and NCL dock downtown; the cab fare from Mahogney Bay to downtown is $4; it is a 3 mile walk, paved, and you pass various shops and hotels. On Adagio, which is an outdoor bar, I got in a chat with a woman who said that the walk to town is 3 miles and is not bad considering you pass many shops and hotels. This gave me an idea to walk to town but I never made it. I walked by Sabatini's and Adagio and for $20 I can eat here; this will reduce my credit balance and Princess will pay for it, the bad part is that I will eat alone. I had lunch with a bridge player and ended up escorting her to the game area and playing chess. After supper I saw comedian Troy Thirdgill whom the audience liked but I did not think he was that great. This was followed by Majority Rules Trivia where a question is asked and the most popular answer wins. After that I saw the Tourist at Movies Under the Stars then spent $10 in the Casino.Thu 4/21/11: Sea Day - formal ..Breakfast then to Movies Under the Stars and Tangled followed by lunch. In the Princess Patter, the daily menu of events, I saw listed at 1pm "Masons Get Together"; no one showed up last week so I was not in any hurry to get there this week. I went to the Adagio Bar on deck 16 aft and was surprised to see 3 Masons talking. We chatted for about 2 hours; it was good but 3 of us were from the states and 1 was from Canada; it would have been more interesting if other nations were there. After supper I went to Club Fusion for the 80's Music Trivia with CJ the DJ and succeeded in getting zero correct; following that was The Newlywed, Not So Newlywed Game Show and this is always funny no matter which cruise ship it is on. I then purchased a DVD from the photo shop as I still have a credit balance. Today I began packing and will continue it tomorrow and Saturday; I plan to leave the ship about 10am as I will spend a few days in Ft Lauderdale.Fri 4/22/11: Princess Cays - smart casual .. After breakfast I went back to my cabin and packed for about 2 hours. I met a single lady outside the Explorers Lounge who also had a Nook; she taught me some tricks on how to use it and suggested I take the free Barnes & Noble class. Lunch then I went to Movies Under the Stars and saw Inception which I gave 2 stars and read my Nook instead. Next I went to supper then spent time in Club Fusion reading my Nook, seeing the shows Bollywood followed by Make A Deal or Not; next was The Quest. Following that I went to Movies Under the Stars and saw Little Fockers. The problem I had at supper, watches were being sold for $20; I still had a credit of $30. But the watch I had was fine and had two alarms while the ones being sold only have one alarm, besides they are bigger. Sat 4/23/11: Fort Lauderdale.....Breakfast then to the cabin to finish packing and for some strange reason the baggage feels heavier than when I left home. I called the hotel and requested a pickup at terminal 2 but they told me they do not pick up at the terminal. So I took a $10 taxi to the hotel; if I could have walked it I would have. Most of the day I spent working on email, and deleting most of it; I had lunch at the nearby Harbor Cafe and supper at Kelly's Landing, also in the neighborhood.Sun 4/24/11: Fort Lauderdale..Breakfast then checked into Jet Blue for my Boarding Pass next back to my room and worked on the laptop until the maid requested to make up the room when I went outside. I had lunch at Five Guys Burger that was in a local mall but the Publix supermarket was closed. Surprisingly many shops on this Easter Sunday were open; this is far different than in Massachusetts. Supper at Bravo Italiano Restorante right across the street; back at my hotel room I prepared for a 5:30am tomorrow shuttle from the hotel to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
Sail Date March 2011
Embark was the best we've encountered. On the ship and straight to our room in less than an hour. Luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Spent the afternoon having lunch at the buffet and exploring the ship but was disappointed with the ... Read More
Embark was the best we've encountered. On the ship and straight to our room in less than an hour. Luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Spent the afternoon having lunch at the buffet and exploring the ship but was disappointed with the music on board especially when the first tune the band plays is desperado and we're headed to the Carib. In fact, never heard any Carib. music all week long on the ship. Highlight of the cruise had to be the day at Roatan. Best beach of the week, Carib. music, good food and spent some time with some of the crew who apparently had some time off. Fun day. Disappointed in Princess Cays. Not nearly as good as Half Moon Cay. Rocky beach and not enuf chairs. Picnic was poorly organized and food was mediocore at best. Carnival knows how to do this best. Princess needs to start enforcing their rules on the ship. Signs say no jumping or diving in the pool but it goes on all day and I observed several older cruisers who would not go in the water because of this and actually got up and left the area after complaining and nothing was done about it. Signs also say no reserving deck chairs but it starts as early as 7 AM. One person brings 5 towels and books and puts them on five chairs that never get used til11 or 12noon. Lots of people waking around looking for seats. Same thing on MUTS. Promenade deck was being used by Joggers which caused many folks not to stay on the deck. Basketball court and Mini-golf were a disaster. BB court was falling apart, there were days when there was 4 balls at the BB court and all not inflated. Our room B323 was well maintained but very small compared to what we have been used to with Carnival. Steaward did a good job except he forgot shower towels one day and seemed to rush us out around 8AM on Saturday AM. Food was as good as we've experienced on other ships and the wait staff was excellant. We were on the 6PM dining and got to know our waiters which made for an enjoyable meal. Most of the staff on the rest of the ship were very friendly and the service throughout was excellant. We were disappointed in the entertainment. The shows did not seem to be up to the same level as other shows we've seen and the Cruise Director was one of the worst we've encountered. I felt like he was in a hurry to get off the stage like maybe he didn't want to be there and wasn't that funny. To summarize....The Crown is a beautiful ship, service is outstanding, Crew is very friendly but we are headed back to Carnival for a week of fun. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Since I am a teacher I can only cruise during certain times of the year. For the past five years I have cruised during spring break and was able to enjoy my "adult time." However, this cruise was far from relaxing. Let's ... Read More
Since I am a teacher I can only cruise during certain times of the year. For the past five years I have cruised during spring break and was able to enjoy my "adult time." However, this cruise was far from relaxing. Let's start with the fact that there were over 900 kids on board. I don't have any kids of my own and I AM a teacher- but this was ridiculous! Most of the 900 kids were probably between the ages of 13-19 with absolutely nothing to do but sit around and cause havoc. Apparently they did not know where the teen deck was or did not want to go. Kids were running up and down the halls at 2 am...kids were in the pool late at night, running around the top deck..unsupervised. I suppose that their parents did not enforce a curfew- they probably figured "how can they get in trouble? They are on a cruise." Well I couldn't enjoy a "Movie Under the Stars" thanks to them. They were loud and annoying. They would run all over the ship and practically knock into you. One group even took a picture of a family of three from the family's photo that was in the photo gallery and were laughing hysterically...I heard something about "please send me that photo." If you were a family of three and you were on this ship, hopefully your pic is not floating on the Internet somewhere. Princess really needs to do something about kids and their behavior, since their parents obviously do nothing. Perhaps a curfew would work? I'm not saying it was all kids- there were some very polite kids on board who obviously know how to behave in public. The captain- Nick Nash- would not leave Roatan due to high winds so we missed Cozumel, which was the port we wanted to go to. Since we missed Cozumel no new entertainment could board the ship so we were left with a movie on the big screen or a movie in the theatre. I do enjoy the Movies Under the Stars and we watched Michael Jackson's "This is It" and "Sherlock Holmes." They also played Avatar. The food was sub par- except for the Crown Grille. If you go on Princess make sure you pay the extra $25.00 to go to this restaurant. The fillet Mignon was wonderful and the Smores dessert was TO DIE FOR! The breakfast and lunch buffets left much to be desired. Cheeseburgers, pizza, and ice cream poolside were great. Sushi bar and International Cafe were also excellent. Our waiters in the dining room were very attentive! The ship was clean and well maintenanced- oh except for the leak on disembarkment day on my deck which left the middle elevators not working and everyone on that deck with no running water! Customs check out was a joke- the lines were incredibly long and we waited forever! The highlight of the cruise was the zip line in Roatan- if you ever go to Roatan make sure you go on this! $40 dollars well spent! Grand Caymen was nice as we were the only ship but it was Easter Monday and most stores were closed! Overall I would cruise with Princess again- I really enjoy Caribbean Princess when I went two years ago. However a spring break cruise might be out of the question! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
My honey and I just returned last night from our Crown Princess Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays. What a wonderful experience. This was my first time but my honey is an experiences cruiser. He ... Read More
My honey and I just returned last night from our Crown Princess Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays. What a wonderful experience. This was my first time but my honey is an experiences cruiser. He knew much and that was our advantage. Being a Platinum member, gives you perks on Princess like a speedy check in. The staff was very helpful at embarkation and of course, the pictures started right away! Princess is a paperless cashless world so you use your cruise card for very purchase. It can be overwhelming so save you receipts and check at the end when you get your final bill. You can buy everything on the Crown- Lancone makeup, Clinique, perfume, lots of high end cosmetics,Cute Princess clothes, jewelry was outrageously costly. Some things at the end of the cruise go on sale. I am not into tshirts so it was no big deal for me. If you are not experienced cruisers, get ready for the photo shoots at every port, dinner,every night! They display them near the Explorers lounge and you can see the progression. Hint: Find yours and start to add the newest one behind them. Then on the last day when you are considering buying them, you won't spend extra time searching. Our room was immaculate. My Platinum guy choose Lido( deck 15) as that was closest to the Horizon and Caribe. Very easy... The food there was good as were the hamburgs, hot dogs and ice cream. Every day as we left there was a info sheet of interesting ship facts near the door. We made reservations at Da Vincis every night for 6:30 so we just whizzed past the line every night.We ate with each other. If we were later, we could have eaten with others. We shared tables at breakfast and some folks were very nice but others were not our style so I was glad we made that choice. My first reaction was how morbidly obese so many were or how fit. Some were so sloppy or impeccable- no middle ground. If I could change anything about room location, I would have smokers close together. The room next to us were smokers and when we were on the balcony, the wind blew their smoke. We had fruit delivered everyday in the afternoon and borrowed the Princess bathrobes to use. Getting the unlimited soda sticker was a good deal $34.21. We also got the specialty coffee card for latte, cappuchino, etc. You can also get one for wine, beer. Entertainment was great fun. We saw the Cole Porter review, Adam the juggler,Erick the hypnotist, Troy and Rollin Moore-2 fanatastic comediens and our favorite of all, Bert Stratton at Crooners. We saw him every night he played and bought his CD. Wish now we got the DVD. What an amazing talent. David Letterman, Jim Carrey with a beautiful voice and an all around nice guy. We will follow him on Princess for sure. Chexk him out on you tube. You will not be disappointed. Lots of trivia games.We won Princess Millionaire and got Princess goodies and a bottle of champagne. We went to the library to get books to read poolside and there was a trivia sheet everyday. There are all sorts of board games to borrow from chess to scrabble to jenga. make sure you read all the schedules upon boarding and then check your daily Princess Pater for updates. On the TV in your room every morning is the Wake Show starring the cruise directors. We went to the pool by the Sanctuary. The prices were very high at the spa and I was disappointed. I had hoped for a couples massage but not for $350. Using the pool watching the Movies was fun,too, by the bars. We also went to Movies under the stars too but fell asleep! The movie repeats on TV the next day, too. The waitstaff was wonderful- everywhere! Check the drink prices. Some are cheaper at certain times. We booked our excursions before sailing and that was cheaper. We also wanted to make sure we got the ones we wanted. At Grand Cayman we did Reef, Rays and Rum Point- NOT TO BE MISSED. This is NOT the one with the catamaran. We had a fabulous lunch at Rum Point,jerk chicken and fish was amazing. The snorkeling was a first for me and fun.Beautiful. The guides Chris and Moses from Watersports were a hoot. We kissed a sting ray, had a sting ray massage( not for $350!).No unemployement is Grand Cayman- gorgeous place. At Roatan we booked clear kayaking but it was a bit overcast so not much to see. Weather cleared for snorkeling. The bus drive took us through the town. Many pockets of true poverty- homes like Haiti. Folks spent time with that silly Hell tour. They traveled a lng time to get a tshirt that says I've been to hell. At Cozumel we went to Chakunab-lovely calm beautful park -we booked from home the dolphin royal encounter( the top one) at dolphindiscovery.com We saved $175 doing it ourselves. Lots of fun. We bought the DVD and pictures. We knew we would even before we did it. We had a blast. I was disappointed in the Cozumel shopping. I do better on ebay. I had an embroidered Mexican dress as a beach cover up which was nicer than anything I saw.Ron Jon surf shop is there. Folks got fairly tanked up at Fat Tuesdays there and at the Roatan location. Cabs are unionized at Grand Cayman and Cozumel- not Roatan.Prices were reasonable. One pinhead from Carnival jumped into the water at Cozumel and we had to wait to set sail. Mexican police arrested him- we heard this was the second time during the cruise he jumped in at a port. Princess Cays was great- we rented a clamshell. Did the reservation with Princess from home. Lots of cool watertoys to rent but be careful as they are by the hour. Gorgeous fish. Served a Princess lunch there- it's their island. Gift shops nothing to write home about. Formal nights were very nice. Pictures again! It was wonderful dressing up snd people looked like bums if they didn't. The least the chubbies could do was not walk in the piazza whilst the rest of us glammed up. The balloon drop and dancing was so much fun! We danced the conga in the piazza, slow danced in the piano bar- I want to go back! We got an invitation to meet Captain Nash as my honey was Platinum and it was lovely having drinks and hor d'euves served with white gloves. We also had fun at Tropical night.Folks wore the flower shirts and tropical looks. Our last diner was fun with the Baked Alaska parade. Da Vincis was great. I never felt the need to spend extra money for the Crown Grill and Sabatinis. The menu at DaVincis was fine for me. You can eat appetizers as main courses, too. Disembarking was generaly easy. Bags had to be outside the room between 6-10 pm Friday night. I might have packed a little each night after wearing next time. We thought we'd use the Platinum check out but the time flew. We cannot wait to go on our next Princess cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Background: Third Spring Break Cruise in a row to the Caribbean for my wife and I. Previously cruised on the Crown Princess in 2008 and on the Caribbean Princess in 2009. Pre-Embarkation: We traveled to Fort Lauderdale via the Cruise ... Read More
Background: Third Spring Break Cruise in a row to the Caribbean for my wife and I. Previously cruised on the Crown Princess in 2008 and on the Caribbean Princess in 2009. Pre-Embarkation: We traveled to Fort Lauderdale via the Cruise Connection Bus Service from Clearwater. We arranged this service at a discount through Princess and were very satisfied with all aspects including timeliness, cleanliness, and comfort. This was a large tourist type bus with a restroom and movie screens. We stopped in Fort Myers for a break at a local McDonald's. Embarkation: We arrived at Port Everglades Pier around 12:15 P.M. and within a half hour were on the ship. We had about a ten minute wait outside the terminal and about a ten minute wait in chairs inside before we were called for check-in. I would rate the overall procedure as excellent. Ship: We had previously been on the Crown Princess out of San Juan and found it to once again be in great shape. We enjoy the layout of the ship with activities centered around Decks 5-7 and 15-17. Stateroom: Our cabin was on the Emerald Deck 8 center ship. The room was a obstructed view outside cabin. When looking out our window the view was partially blocked by a lifeboat. We had a similar cabin two years ago on the Crown and the only noticeable difference was a flat screen television. We did have some noise problems from the Explorer's Lounge which was directly below us. When any bands were playing you definitely could hear the bass sounds. It was fine at all other times. Dining: We signed up for anytime dining and divided our time between Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe and the table service restaurants. We also ate at the International Cafe, Hamburger Grill and Pizza Grill. We also went to the Wheel House Bar for English Pub Lunch on one of the sea days and did afternoon tea at the DaVinci Dining Room. On this cruise dined in the main dining rooms on formal night. In comparing the food quality over the last three years we thought that the buffets have gone down in quality while the main dining rooms seemed to be better this year. The International Cafe and both the Hamburger and Pizza Grills continue to be very good. One thing we found very interesting was that the prawns on the last formal night were much better that the lobster tails. Service: We received good service from our cabin steward. I asked for ice to be kept in the bucket in the refrigerator at all times and it was throughout the whole cruise. Each night you received turn down service with chocolates left on the bed. Our room was always clean. The only complaint I had was that for the first time since we began cruising they ran out of pool towels. Clean towels have always been put in the cabin at the end of the day. One night we were told that no more pool towels were available and that we would have to get our own around the pools. When we tried, it took about five people to find any towels. Dining room service was the best we've had on our three cruises. Entertainment: This is where things start going downhill from our past cruises. We enjoy taking in as much of the shipboard entertainment as possible. In past years we have never had a problem with finding something to see in the evenings. This year many shows were repeated. While we would find one show to go to, in the past we have always been able to go to two or three different things each night. Princess has obviously cut back in this area. There were three production shows, one hypnotist, and two comedians that we saw. The three shows were Motor City, What a Swell Party, and Destination Anywhere. Hypnotist was Joshua Seth. Comedians were Rollin Jay Moore and Troy Thirdgill. We did enjoy them all but wish there was more entertainment in the lounges besides house bands and Bert Stratton. Bert is good once but you can't go see him every night. Itinerary: This was our least favorite of the three Caribbean routes we have taken. The four Western Ports were not as enjoyable as the Southern Ports we have traveled to before. The long winter had a major effect on this route and even though we stopped at all four ports, water temperatures in general were much cooler that what we experienced before. What is more remarkable is that the crew said our week was the best weather week since Thanksgiving! The Crown has missed ports numerous times through the season. Ports: See the Ports Review Section. Princess Cays was a disappointment with cold water, too many people, and not enough loungers. Disembarkation: We had signed up for the Cruise Connection bus back to Clearwater. We got off of the ship last along with the few back to back cruisers. We left at about 10 AM, picked up our luggage in the terminal, went through customs, and were able to load right onto our bus. Again, as with Embarkation the whole procedure was very efficient and we would give it an excellent rating. In summary, we did enjoy the Crown and this cruise but in no way did it compare to our last two spring break experiences. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We sailed March 13-20 on the Western Caribbean route with a group of 3 couples in three BB cabins on Caribe deck. We had 3, 60 year-olds, a 49er and two college students in tow. I am the 49er and this was my 4th Princess cruise and 6th ... Read More
We sailed March 13-20 on the Western Caribbean route with a group of 3 couples in three BB cabins on Caribe deck. We had 3, 60 year-olds, a 49er and two college students in tow. I am the 49er and this was my 4th Princess cruise and 6th cruise overall. Pre-Cruise stay - We flew in the day before and stayed at the relatively new Crowne Plaza Cruise Port hotel. You can see the ships from the elevator and they have a shuttle from the airport and also to the cruise dock. The front desk was extremely pleasant, but the pillows on the beds were just too hard for good sleep. We had a very pleasant dinner in downtown Ft. Lauderdale at a French Bistro. Embarkation - Went to the Pier 2 at about 12:00 and were on board within 20 minutes. Baggage handlers were very efficient and pleasant. The wait time mostly consisted of the TSA screening. Check-in was quick with no waiting. Service - Princess was shining in the service category on this cruise. Our cabin steward was extremely efficient and granted all our requests - robes, wine glasses, ice, opening the balcony adjoining door, etc. Service in Horizon Court was the best of my 4 Princess cruises including one previous on the Crown. I could not believe how much the service in the buffet had improved. I have never had anyone bring us our drinks on any of the previous cruises. Dining room service was also great. Service at the specialty restaurants was also personal as well as above and beyond - good small talk, anticipation, handled the wine properly, etc. All the previous cruises I have had one or two issues with service, but I can say that this was all good. Room and Ship - I still love the layout of the Caribe balcony rooms. Large half covered balcony and great closet space for storage - even golf clubs easily. The ship is looking quite worn with rust showing and old carpets. The drapes in the room were filthy and emitted a bad odor from past cigarette smokers - I am not talking a small odor. We countered this effectively by leaving the balcony door open most of the time. It is time for a refurb on this ship. However, the bed was very comfortable and the temperature good. We had 2 cabins on starboard and one on port side - pick port side for Western Caribbean. Food - Good in dining rooms although I think they could spice things up just a little - more flavor and I defintely prefer the old menus to the new "homestyle selections" - sorry I can fix meatloaf and fajitas at home. The prime rib the first night was very good. The first formal night selections were extremely disappointing as they were not "special". The deserts were generally outstanding - the Love Boat dessert, chocolate souffle... Horizon Court buffet should be avoided. I can't find anything redeeming about watered down apple juice for breakfast or wrapped sandwiches at lunch. On the other extreme, Crown Grill was very good with atmosphere and service. Everyone who ordered steak was very pleased. The lamb, not so much. Sabatini's was fabulous and I highly recommend an evening here. Service and food were simply wonderful - you try every appetizer and pasta. you select a soup or salad and main entree. The pasta was to die for - kind of a comfort food gourmet style. As usual, pizza and grill on Lido were very good. The International Cafe is a definite alternative to the buffet for foodies. The Pub lunch at Wheelhouse is a good alternative to the buffet. I had the Fish and Chips which were very good, but kind of hard to eat at cocktail tables. Skip the pudding dessert unless you are a custard fan. Entertainment - Lisa was the cruise director. It was very nice to see that Princess had promoted staff and in addition had a female cruise director - thumbs up. I enjoyed all the audience participation games that were provided from trivia and jeopardy to bingo. The musical entertainment was so-so. I am at a point where I don't want any more 50s music which seemed quite prevalent on the ship. Temperature - the band was mediocre. The first comedian tried very hard and was enjoyable. The second, I think, Thurgill was hilarious. I loved his humor and felt is was the best show of the cruise. There were many dance opportunities for ballroom enthusiasts. Ports - Grand Cayman - we golfed through the ship which was great. Roatan -Victor Bodden tours - was a good day and comprehensive tour of island. The beach at Mahogany Bay is also very nice and next time I will look into the cabanas here which have a private beach front. Cozumel - we did the Playa Mia Beach Cookiing school with Luis for the second time - outstanding - do this excursion. We also went to the San Gervasio ruins in the afternoon and shopped on our own. I love Cozumel as they really understand the tourist industry. Princess Cays was cancelled due to wind - very disappointing especially as we passed two other ships making their stops. 3 sea days is too many for me. Passengers - All seemed respectful and friendly on the whole. I will say that the chair hogs were out in full force around the pools and it was bordering on silly. Get out at 7 or 8 am and throw your towels out or you won't see a pool all day. The Crown is still my favorite Princess ship and the Service was so good on this cruise, I can't say anything negative. The itinerary and condition of the ship were the real drawbacks, but I would do the Crown after refurb with a different itinerary again and I will. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We booked our cruise just one week ahead of departure, as we weren't sure if we could actually go or not. We had made our airline reservations well in advance, though, as flights from Ohio to Florida during Spring Break are ... Read More
We booked our cruise just one week ahead of departure, as we weren't sure if we could actually go or not. We had made our airline reservations well in advance, though, as flights from Ohio to Florida during Spring Break are impossible. We knew we would have several choices of cruise lines out of Ft. Lauderdale that date. We decided on our first choice, Princess, as they offered us a great deal for an inside cabin.....we spend as little time as possible in our cabin anyway, so why spend more for an outside room with a balcony that we're never going to use? I'd rather spend our money on drinks and excursions. The ports of call was also our first choice, as we wanted to swim with the stingrays in Grand Cayman. On the Crown Princess you will find a well-appointed ship and outstanding service. Crowds, too, as our ship held 3,200 passsengers that week, but that's what you should expect during Spring Break....a full ship. You just have to plan your time accordingly to avoid the crowds: eat early, and head for the shows early. There are never enough deck chairs in the prime spots for everyone when the ship is full, but we always found two together somewhere. We didn't mind getting away from the music by the pool....the live band was so loud that it wasn't enjoyable anyway. Too bad, because I love the live music everywhere. Our favorite spot was the adult pool on the back of the ship, with a bar right there. Of course there were the rude, or just ignorant, parents that brought their children, who swam until we told the pool attendants to ask them to leave. Happened every day!! The food is always plentiful, and most of it is very good. We always hit the Horizon Court buffet for breakfast and lunch, for the speed and variety, and we looked forward to a nice, relaxing dinner in the dining rooms, chatting with new friends. If you want to be picky about the food, you can always find something to complain about. But there is plenty of great food, too, so enjoy! The entertainment was great all week, with much variety. Wish we could have gambled a little, but the casino is still "Smoking", so you can't even breathe in there. Hope they change that rule before we cruise again next year. We will choose Princess again, as we know what to expect. If you're a negative person, you'll find things to complain about on any ship. So have a positive outlook and enjoy.....you're on a cruise, for crying out loud. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This is our 3rd Princess cruise having sailed on the Caribbean Princess twice before. We were given the Caribe deck Balcony room 318 on the starboard side. The ship berths in Ft. Lauderdale terminal #2 when the Ruby Princess is not in ... Read More
This is our 3rd Princess cruise having sailed on the Caribbean Princess twice before. We were given the Caribe deck Balcony room 318 on the starboard side. The ship berths in Ft. Lauderdale terminal #2 when the Ruby Princess is not in port. Some have asked why the ship is facing north one week then south the next.This is so they can paint & service the CP either port or starboard side in port. We Live in Vero Beach, Fl. so it is 112 mile drive to the port. We choose to park directly across from the ship terminal #2. I know the cost is $15 per 24 hours, but my vehicle is right where I left it and easy to get when we disembark. I do not have to contend with Auto Vandal issues after we return. Valet Parking in Ft. Lauderdale is very risky if you have a very nice vehicle. We arrived at the port at 10:30 am and dropped off our luggage to the porter with a $10 thank you. I asked that our bags be placed in the cart all on one side since my belongings were fragile. When the bags get offloaded they arrived to the room about muster drill time or sooner. We were asked to wait for the ship to be cleared for new passengers and that the new Captain was Captain Nick Nash. The check in was painless after the 45 minute wait. The local Princess staff were very helpful but we did have card group # 1. The Sailaway Photograph up the stairs & show your ID & cruise card one more time, across the ramp & onto the ship. The atrium welcome is warm & friendly. The staff escort took us up to Caribe Deck #10 where we entered our CABIN 318. Our steward named Amornsak happily greeted us & explained the room amenities to us in great detail. The standard queen configuration with the partial covered balcony was simply perfect. The room was very clean and thankfully did not smell of smoke. We ate on deck 5 @ the International Cafe for lunch. The usual salad faire was simply delicious and tasted fresh. We dined 2nd seating @ table 22 in the Botticelli Dining Room with waiters Manuel & Hugo. The great waiter service was much better than the presented food. We opted for the Sabatini & Crown Grill Experiences during the week. The Sabatini experience is just that, a deluge of mini Italian food items presented in courses. I would rate this good to excellent. The Crown Grill was simply off the chain & over the top in food presentation & quality. The red wine demi glace for the fillet Mignon was wonderful. The 2nd Chef is in charge & in the show kitchen during the dining hours. Our waiter Nuresh & assistant Milan treated us to every conceivable nuance in this fine dining experience. We enjoyed the full array of the menu during both of our dining visits here including the lobsters. ENTERTAINMENT: The ship's entertainment is simply a personal opinion. We love Bert Stratton and the new production show Destination Anywhere. The variety made something for everyone easy to find during the week. The SPA & SPA POOL AREA: We ulitize the Lotus Spa pool area and the free steam & sauna in the Lotus Spa restrooms. The swimming pool is very nice with the water pump lap machine creating a soothing current in the pool. We found that only 50 or so cruisers ever used this area which is located just below the Sanctuary Sundeck. In GRAND CAYMAN: We did a walkup excursion purchase at the Cruise Dock with Soto Cruises to Stingray City for $40 each. They were very professional and they treated us like family friends. This was really all the excursion we could have possibly wanted. The Soto Family simply pioneered the water sport- diving here in 1956 and we enjoyed our conversations with the son. The CD of our experience was a wonderful souvenir for us to bring home. We shopped in the mini mall behind "Margaritaville" and again found Maxine at the Blackbeard Rum Cake stand. Maxine remembered us from our last meeting in GC . Her store gives you a free large Blackbeard Rum Cake with every 2 liter rum purchase. These made great gifts back home for my wife's our employees. We found that the commercial pricing is simply the same from store to store. We shopped in 19 stores running into Princess Guru "Freddie" several times making her PR rounds. We were amazed that the Princess ship prices with the 10% discount was less than the GC stores asking prices. In ROATAN: The weather was cloudy,Humid, and misting rain most of the day. We opted to relax, enjoy Mahogany Bay and simply "chillout" on the beautiful scenic views. The new Mahogany Bay Resort Area is spectacular in appearance and very clean. The stores have the same fair as the other islands but in a new setting. The beach was simply perfect with food, drinks, clean bathrooms. Free lounge chairs, roaming security and spectacular ocean views. The ship backs Into the pier using GPS sending units on the narrow channel buoys. The island itself is beautiful but the economic issues of the locals makes the cruise ship tourist wearing the wrist band a begging target. We were relaxed and truly enjoyed the non begging inside Mahogany Bay. In COZUMEL: Puerta Maya Pier was a perfect backdrop for the arrival to Cozumel. They have a live web cam infront of the fountain & you can be seen by the internet friends as you wave hello at this point. We went to the Cozumel Tourist kiosk out at the Taxi entrance to get our free T shirt voucher for Chankanaab Park. We split the $10 Taxicab fare to Chankanaab with the Princess Oriental Medicine Dr. Scott R. Chankaaab cost $19 each for entrance but we get the 2 free T-shirts from the gift shop. The gardens, the beach, the dolphin swim encounter and the courteous service made this a truly wonderful experience. Imagine sitting under a beachside thatched hut, lounging out... eating nachos & fresh grouper fish tacos enjoying a no salt margarita with this $ million view. Well that is what we were doing between snorkeling the statues & reef rocks (gear rental cost @ San Miguel Dive Hut is $8). The Goodmark Jewelry store is family owned and we have purchased items at great prices here the last 4 times in Cozumel. Surprising to find that Dufrey liquor was less expensive in Roatan than Cozumel. The manager stated that the extra cost involved is from theby boat shipping to Cozumel. In PRINCESS CAYS: We simply did the beach side BBQ and swim. The rental prices here are very expensive ($24 for snorkel stuff). It appeared that a great time was had by all. The lifeguard named Jimmie under the red roof dock feeds the fish and there were literally hundreds waiting to eat. The Snorkeling at this dock yielded much attention. Overall the Crown Princess is a great venue for the best 7 days of your cruising vacation life. Like any other venue there will always be voids and under talented employees trying their best to bring about that "Cruise Experience". Our main goal was to simply relax & enjoy a wonderful 7 Days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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