Sail Date: January 2006
Embarkation was very easy. Although our advised check in wasn’t until 3pm we arrived at 11.30am without a problem. The queue was long but with so many staff working at the check in desks we were at front and collecting our cruise cards ... Read More
Embarkation was very easy. Although our advised check in wasn’t until 3pm we arrived at 11.30am without a problem. The queue was long but with so many staff working at the check in desks we were at front and collecting our cruise cards within 15 minutes. To my surprise we didn’t even have to wait in the lounge we walked straight onto the ship!Cabins were ready so we dropped off our hand luggage and headed to the Da Vinci restaurant on deck 6 for a three course lunch with waiter service. We hate the buffet on embarkation day so the fact that Princess have a main dining room open straightaway is a real treat. We purchased a coffee card (which can be shared as it has a limited number of punches for tea and coffee, plus unlimited filter coffee) and two UKP drinks packages (which gives unlimited hot chocolate, milkshakes, mocktails, frozen drinks, juices and sodas). After lunch we headed back to our cabin and most of our luggage had already been delivered. Our cabin was an outside cabin on deck 5 which was a superb location as it was only five metres away from the International café and Piazza.Our steward provided us with extra hangers and as the wardrobe had no doors it was surprising how many clothes we were able to hang up. Above the hanging space there was a shelf where the life jackets were located but there was still ample space for storage. In addition, there were two bedside tables with a storage space and two drawers, the vanity table had two shelves in a cupboard on the right and by the wardrobe there were shelves on the side wall from floor to ceiling which was also the location of the combination safe. The fridge was located to the left of the vanity unit and was large enough for the ice bucket, a box of wine and a bottle of fizz. There were two US sockets and we brought a four bar extension lead for all our electrical equipment. The children slept in bunks above our beds which were lowered at night when the beds were turned down and then put away in the morning when the room was made up. The bathroom was tiny. The shower had a shower curtain and there was not a lot of space so dropping the soap ended up being quite tricky! Large towels, hand towels, flannels and pool towels were provided. There were also bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion provided plus many bars of soap. The bathroom had three little shelves on the left so there was room for all our toiletries despite the small size.After unpacking we collected treasure hunt cards and had fun exploring the ship and getting stamps at each named location. This was an excellent way of getting to know the ship and we had great fun. We also filled in the spa raffle cards and after our muster drill we headed up on deck for the sail away party. The live band were really good and to encourage people to dance they gave out raffle tickets for every song for people who were dancing which was a great idea. Then they drew cards from the treasure hunt. The prizes were very varied from dinner for two at Sabatini’s (specialty Italian restaurant) to a glass of Martini. Next was the sail away raffle and having danced every dance we had loads of tickets. I won a bottle of fizz and our son won a Princess drinks bottle. We then went off to the Spa raffle and I won $150 Spa voucher!The Crown is a beautiful ship and we had a fabulous time from the moment that we stepped on board. The Art Gallery just outside our cabin was quite extensive and had a good variety of art which would appeal to most tastes. The International Café was open 24 hours a day and served a variety of complementary pastries, salads, sandwiches and cakes depending on the time of the day. It also sold ice cream for $1.50 for three scoops on a glass plate. This was also the location for specialty teas and coffees. On the opposite side of the Piazza was Vines the wine and sushi bar. We did a Champagne tasting on the last night at Vines which was really enjoyable even though they did serve a Californian fizz as one of the Champagnes and our host was relying on notes rather than her own knowledge. The Piazza was the location for a variety of entertainment including the Champagne waterfall on the first formal night, the balloon drop on the second formal night, a string quartet, singers and a body balancing act. Deck 5 was also the location for the Internet café and future cruise sales. The future cruise sale rep was not available for the majority of our cruise but there was a drop box for future deposits and on board credit.The Passenger Services desk on deck 6 was always well manned. There were also two self serve machines for print outs of your on board account. In addition there were machines for foreign exchange currency. The shore excursions department was next to Passenger Services. There was a drop box for excursions (just outside the Casino) for passengers who wanted to book or cancel shore excursions when the desk was closed. Deck 6 (and 7) is the location of the Princess Theatre which had three shows a night so unlike some cruise ships we’ve been on we were always able to get a seat. The entertainment was generally good. The singers and dancers were excellent and the comedy impressionist Gary T Thompson was hilarious on his first show but the comedian on the first night was terrible and the second show by the Gary didn’t live up to the first.Deck 7 was the Promenade deck and a good deck to walk from aft to forward indoors as not all decks are accessible from one end of the ship to the other. Similarly deck 15, the Lido deck, was handy when heading from the Spa forward on deck 16 to the kids’ club aft on deck 16.The pools on deck 15 were heated and the children were surprised just how warm they were. There were also two additional adult only pools. Forward at the Spa next to the Sanctuary and aft at the back of Café Caribe. There was a large movie screen above one of the pools which showed films daily.There were self-service Laundromats available on decks 5, 8-14 which although not needed on our 7 day cruise would have been a extremely valuable on a longer cruise and Princess is the only American cruise line that we have found this service.The food on the Crown was outstanding. We loved lunch in the main dining room and were disappointed that it was not open on port days. As anytime diners we had the choice of eating in either the Michelangelo Restaurant or Da Vinci restaurant so if there was a queue at one we just went to the other. As we were cruising in Europe the busiest time was 7-30 to 8-30 with early diners able to walk in without a queue no problem. They did have a pager system so if you wanted a table for 2 and not share but there wasn’t a table available you could take a pager and enjoy a drink in the Piazza while waiting. The Botticelli restaurant (aft deck 6) was fixed dining only. Children are able to order from the main menu or the children's menu or a combination of the two. They are also able to get complementary chocolate milk and fruit juice with the evening meal. Our children's favourite breakfast was smoked salmon and bagel, lunch was pizza and favourite dinner was medallions of beef. My highlights included egg Benedict (served on request even when not on the menu), fettucini Alfredo, lobster, Beef Wellington and all the wonderful fish dishes. If you are like me and find that your two favourite main courses appear on the same evening have the lobster as a fish course and then the beef as the main!Our dining highlight was Chef’s Table which I can’t recommend enough. We were treated like VIPs for the entire evening, given the guided tour in the working galley on deck 6 with the Maitre D before savouring amazing canapés with Champagne each one made by the executive chef himself. We were then led down to Michelangelo restaurant for a gastronomic extravaganza all accompanied by fine wines, candle light (yes real candles) and great company. The main course was flambéed in the restaurant before our eyes which was really spectacular. The evening ended with a rose and group photo for the ladies and a Princess recipe book for the gents.There were two specialty restaurants open in the evening, the Crown Grill for steaks and lobster and Sabatini’s for Italian cuisine. Although we didn’t eat at either we met so many people who raved about the Crown Grill.All food we found on deck 15 was complementary including hamburgers, hotdogs and fries at the Trident Grill , the Pizzeria made fresh pizzas in visible ovens which were huge so a slice of pizza barely fitted on the plate. Both eateries were by the pool and extremely popular with swimmers and sunbathers on deck. This was also the location for the complementary ice cream bar served in either a cone or a tub from 11am to 11pm.Inside, Horizon Court buffet served a very limited lunch which did not meet our expectations of Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. This was probably why the International Café was so popular on deck 5 as the salads and pastries always looked so tempting. Café Caribe at the back of Horizon Court was a bit of a non event with only continental breakfast served there from 5am-10am.The staff on Princess were extremely conscientious and friendly. The waitstaff were always attentive but never rushed us, the drinks staff were alert to a nearly empty glasses which meant we never had to go without a drink at dinner while we waited for another. The daytime staff were equally superb at their jobs. We played Win, Lose or Draw (that’s Pictionary to you and me), did a couple of quizzes, played and won champagne hoopla, played the golf chipping challenge, watched a film in the theatre, took part in flashmob and attended the Champagne art auction. We were lucky that there was always going on we were spoilt for choice and never made it to the mini golf course, Casino, the bingo, the aerobics studio or gym.Our children both went to Shockwaves, the kids’ club for 8-12 year olds. They were able to sign themselves in and out at sea, but needed us to sign them in and out when in port. They both had a great time and came home with t-shirts, hand made jewellery and a decorated picture frame. Our daughter especially loved making things while our son enjoyed the playing games and the competitions. Unlike most cruise lines the children were not given a muster bracelet. Equally we were not given child life jackets from our steward despite asking. When we mentioned it to one of the officers she was absolutely horrified and we got the impression that our steward wouldn’t make the same mistake again.We had intended to take the Princess excursion to Bordeaux but our son wasn’t feeling well that morning. I went to the Shore Excursion desk to find out whether we would be able to get any money back and they were fantastic and told us that it was understandable that people get ill especially as it was very rough that night and gave us a full refund without penalty on return of our tickets. I was so impressed as this was superb customer service by Princess.Disembarkation was easy and hassle free. We put our suitcases out the night before and walked off with our hand luggage easily finding our suitcases in the baggage collection hall. A couple of days prior to disembarkation we were asked what time we would like to get off and got our requested time. All passengers are given coloured and numbered labels for cases to indicate disembarkation time and then the luggage in stored in coloured and numbered zones so need to panic at the thought of 3000 passengers trying to find their suitcases at the same time !Our ports of call were La Coruna, Bilbao (free shuttle provided), Le Verdon (free shuttle to Soulac sur Mer or excursions to Bordeaux) and Guernsey which was a tender port. All ports were very easy to do DIY and walk around. The tides were causing issues with the gangways and at times one of the gangways was closed for repositioning. Wheelchair users were warned that they may not be able to disembark at Guernsey but we saw several getting back on the tenders with wheel chair assistants at the ready.We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and walked off the ship desperate to book another one. Princess is certainly a quality cruise company and their staff made every effort to ensure that we all had an amazing time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
First off let me start by saying this is an incredible cruise and ship!!! We went on the 23rd of June one sailing after the inaugural sailing and it was brand new. Before you go make sure to stay in NYC a couple days. We stayed at the ... Read More
First off let me start by saying this is an incredible cruise and ship!!! We went on the 23rd of June one sailing after the inaugural sailing and it was brand new. Before you go make sure to stay in NYC a couple days. We stayed at the Marriott Marquis for 2 nights. This was a great hotel very modern. We had a view of Times Square and Carnivals port in Manhattan. While there we went to American Museum of Natural History, CNN studio tour, and saw a Broadway show. We saw Mamma Mia it exceeded expectations and in all was fabulous. After this we headed to our ship. Embarkation was smooth and went quickly. The sooner you get there the quicker. When we stepped aboard we realized its beauty. We had been on the Caribbean Princess before so we knew the ship. Once aboard we went to our room it was on deck 10 with a balcony it was very nice. Our steward Leopold was good but forgot to do a few things daily. Afterward we explored and of course ate at the Windjammer cafe and Trident grill. That night we went to eat in the Botticelli dinning room we had Jose and Daniel as our waiters. They were great Jose was everywhere getting all our meals drinks and working with other tables. Daniel was hilarious with his Indian voice and was a hard worker too. Our dinner partners were good and funny. Fun to be with. The dinner was pork I think which was good but a tad bit old. That night we saw Ralph Harris he was okay nothing great compared to the others. After that we headed back to our room and slept. This was just the first day and the next days Ill break down into sections. Ports of call---- BERMUDA- Was beautiful and very wealthy. Our glass bottom kayak tour was cancelled so we took a ferry to Hamilton and went to Elbow Beach. Before this we tried mopeds -- it didn't turn out good for us and some people were hospitalized because of them. Elbow Beach was beautiful very few people and pink sand accompanied by clear water. It was great. GRAND TURK- We went snorkeling and this was brilliant -- we snorkeled at two different stops. Although 20 feet from the ship is a beach with a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville with a huge pool and walk up bar. The four us were the last ones on at this port. SAN JUAN-We went to the rainforest and walked some trails. Before this we waited an hour to get off the boat cause we left the country and people had to check I.D. The tour was great and very pretty. We drove through the country for about 40 minutes to get there and it is very poor of course. ST. THOMAS-We took a cab to Sapphire Beach that was nice and lacked the locals trying to sell things to us, which was really good. There we saw some of the crew at the beach. This beach was quiet clean and really nice. Afterward we shopped a bit and walked back to the boat. The production shows were awesome especially destination anywhere. There was also the international crew show it was great the cruise staff sang a song and the cruise director James Lay came out with a dress on and about five crew members sang. This was standing room only before the show the crowd threw around balloons for some odd reason. The entertainment is awesome and the best on any cruise line. Plus the put people in the atrium (piazza) to perform and their one archipelago group spank that was incredible. Rooms- Clean with comfy beds and pretty spacious. The balcony is a great place to sit and chill and is good to have. Public rooms-Many lounges to sit in and are beautifully decorated. They put comedians in lounges and other entertainers in them and dot just use the theater. Activities- We played bingo a lot and didnt win anything. We hung out by the pool watched the world cup and many movies. We did a lot of things that we found in the Princess Patter to do and believe me there are plenty of things to do. You must go to Movies Under the Stars cause we saw Titanic and it was a great experience. All in all this was an incredible cruise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
Cabin:Dolphin Deck Class - Minisuite with balcony Despite some issues, the Crown Princess is a big, fabulous ship and we had a great time and shall return. I would characterize the overall experience as traveling on a modern marvel with ... Read More
Cabin:Dolphin Deck Class - Minisuite with balcony Despite some issues, the Crown Princess is a big, fabulous ship and we had a great time and shall return. I would characterize the overall experience as traveling on a modern marvel with a Titanic-like aura, with many luxury hotel amenities, beautiful piazza, but with some interesting design flaws, and uneven service this was only the crew's second time out which was mostly in need of tuning. The crew has not yet mastered handling these crowds at key times. We were a party of six, our second, but the others had lots of cruise experience. The best comparison in terms of equipment/amenities within class (what we expected) is with the Holland America Zuiderdam  with the same mini-suite accommodations, HA was 10% cheaper (ordered same time in advance) and had somewhat better room amenities. Those comparing to large Carnival ships found the Crown Princess better in most ways but at a premium. We all hope that the Crown Princess can sort out the deficiencies noted below, which must be dealt with if it wishes to stay competitive with other high-end big cruises. One complaint is that there were too many people complaining about almost everything  too picky. . Physically, the ship itself is fabulous  all shiny, clean and new, with the best deck layouts and flow. Elevators  cannot take the traffic at dinner-time, and especially when the ship is shooting pictures. Several breakdowns and stalls and two that were creaky, which freaked out the occupants. Many were in X and R modes (taken out of service) when most needed. Worse, unlike most ships of this size, you cannot reach all the important lower floors on all the elevators and sometimes you feel like you are changing trains at Jamaica with a long walk between tracks. Internet  a universally shared opinion of embarrassing for a new ship of its class and certainly the worst anyone had experienced on a modern ship in the past two years. This included WIFI or their equipment. I mean, we're not talking a bunch of streaming kids here, but a 50+ crowd who just wanted their email. All charges were refunded. The three level piazza is really well done in marble, wood and metal.The Ship was always clean and orderly and the public bathrooms were beautifully appointed and always clean.. Dining Anytime Dining worked very well for us (although we locked in, just for the asking, a table by a window for the remainder of the trip ); others that went from room to room reported that it went well for them. Michelangelo was our nightly choice and the dining room food was better than our first cruise. Very attentive service and a great Maitre´D. Our waiter (Catalin) and his helper (Chukimon) were a great team. Always a good featured meat and fish choice. Salads and desserts were very good. Great fettucini. I would recommend skipping the premium restaurants - The Crown Grill  a classic steak restaurant - all appetizers and seafood entrees very good, but the non-prime steak was a mediocre ¾ grey-ish porterhouse (and not 22oz) that was cooked anywhere from rare to well and tough  quite a shock for an extra $25. Cooked too slowly (you can watch them) over a warm grill covered by a pan  not a good sign - and - Sabatinni's  a lavish, multi course affair where the food was ok with exceptional and friendly very-Italian service; still not worth it. Buffet While not as good as HA, I liked the buffet and was always able to concoct a sensible selection of heathy things and treats. The room(s) were big enough to literally get lost in. Hearty breakfast selection with all the normal stuff. Lunch varied - Seafood (especially fish), soups, pasta and veal dishes were always excellent. Generally a good selection, but not as diverse as Holland America. There was always a good featured meat and fish choice. Sushi, Asian, Mexican and pasta bars (rotated by day) were very good. No free fruit juice or lemonade.Avoid steak, torneados, and filet mignon; rib roast is better. Salads were awful - all salad dressings lacked imagination and had that Marie's Blue Cheese sweet mayonnaise base which was especially not welcomed in the Caesar and ranch dressings; found none that I liked. Fast food was ok - nothing memorable; very disappointing hot dogs (were supposed to be Nathan's - no way.) Pizza and burgers were good, Adagio was the best bar (quiet and elegant with terrific music), but all the bars were very good. Stateroom - Our mini-suite stateroom on the Dolphin deck was exactly as described - spacious and laid out very well, and very nicely appointed, and since it was brand new - no stains. As we live less than a mile from the embarkation point, we over-packed (6 bags) and just filled the walk-in closet. Good roomy bathroom but no make up mirror. No DVD player but two TVs. Room service, complimentary fruit, mini bar were fine. The sitting area was away from the bed and this allowed me to watch late night TV without bothering my wife. Entertainment and on-board activities were mixed. I missed the printed daily news summary that I was used to each morning on HA. There was plenty to do on board. The Bridge class and games were my favorite and just excellent  this program may take time to grow but was greatly appreciated on at sea days and we had excellent bridge directors  Ann and Bob. Did not have this on prior cruises. Started out slow but ended up with three or four tables  learned a lot. Wine tasting  excellent both times. Shows  Really need work. On the last cruise we went to the show every night  we lost interest after the second night. And not enough seats. Orchestra was the best part. Mediocre programming compared to other cruises and way below that for HA. A bunch of white people singing Motown did not sit well with the over-50 crowd  the cast couldn't pull it off. Casino  seemed very small and overcrowded for a ship this size  our last ship had almost 50% less folks and had more tables and slots. You should never have to wait for a slot machine. Smoking was not under control or segregated. Sun deck and pools  hung out in the aft adult pool very comfortable and quiet, but all reports were very good  lots of space. Movie under the stars a nice amenity. Live music  Adagio and Piazza music were excellent. Sore point  unlike many ships, there was no real piano bar that folks could sit around and sing along. Very sensible smoking policy with good isolation (other than casino); bars sell loose packs. Cigar Bar was excellent and well appreciated by a regular crowd of 10 men. Duty Free Shop  worst we have ever seen  can't even get a large bag of chips? Poor liquor selection. Cannot buy a carton of cigarettes for use on board (another first). However, this was more than offset with a liberal policy of bringing duty free alcohol and cigarettes on board and drinking it did not have to check them in at the gangway at each port. Ports of call - didn't really interest me and even stayed on board for St Thomas. Tortola was fun for a day trip. Loved old San Juan. Took no fours. I had the misfortune of passing a kidney stone ever early on Saturday morning and was in the worst pain. The ship's nurse retrieved Dr Salmon from her morning shower who gently examined me straight away in the very modern and well-equipped medical center  better than most out patient facilities. Not really much to be done about me but ease the pain. Very luckily the stone passed an hour later. Cost me 80$, including the Vicodin. Favorite moments; Leaving NY was simply the best; lounging in our minisuite and balcony; Adagio for cocktails; Stern deck outside Adagio, especially for smokers  usually empty at night and plenty of lounges in the day; dinner with our party, Cigar lounge; walking the promenade deck after dinner; San Juan is the best port of call; returning through New York Harbor at dawn. Worst moments - Disembarkation at San Juan  the fact that you have clear immigration here, an American port, is nothing short of ridiculous, as was the approach to ease the pain taken by Princess staff. You are given a time slot but you can also go earlier if you like and guess what, everyone did. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
This was our first time on Princess and other than a few annoyances...all I can say is EXCELLENT. The following is a breakdown of our experience. Embarkation: We arrived at Pier 12 around 10:15 AM and were standing at check-in by 10:30. ... Read More
This was our first time on Princess and other than a few annoyances...all I can say is EXCELLENT. The following is a breakdown of our experience. Embarkation: We arrived at Pier 12 around 10:15 AM and were standing at check-in by 10:30. We were assigned group 3 and were on board and in our staterooms by 11:45. All in all, this was the most efficient and well organized check-in and embarkation in 11 cruises. The Brooklyn terminal is clean and comfortable (although possibly a bit cold for some...some areas are like a wind-tunnel). Staterooms: -We booked two adjoining mini-suites on Dolphin Deck (D221 and D219). We have sailed in a mini-suite before on Norwegian Sun and another couple on a mini-suite on the s/s Norway. Overall, the decor was understated, but classy, with earth tones of tans, greens and medium-toned wood. The bed was comfortable (maybe a bit on the hard side) and space, both for moving about and storage was excellent. -I was a bit concerned with the exposed balcony, but we ended up loving it as we could sit out and read (and get a tan) for half the day and have shade for the other half. We did open the division between the two which worked out wonderfully. -Our stateroom stewardess, Cristina, was excellent. The room was always clean and she worked exceptionally quickly. We were always greeted by name when we met in the hallway. -One complaint that I have about the stateroom is the bathroom. We found the bathroom to be a bit small, although it did have a bathtub. The bathroom in the Sun's mini-suite felt larger and better designed. In addition, I am 6'2" and the shower head is set up for someone that is no taller than 5'6". Be prepared to squat if you're taller than that. Interior Public Areas: -I found the ship to be beautifully decorated. The atrium is particularly attractive with warm wood tones, marble, granite and tile. The lounges were all comfortable, and again, decorated attractively. -My personal favorites were the Piazza, Explorers, and the Wheelhouse. -The Princess Theater, although providing great sightlines, was probably one of, if not the worst, big-ship theater I have ever sat in. It is far too small for the size of the ship. In addition, my 290 pound body had a very difficult time fitting in the seats comfortable (that could be my fault though...). Finally, the room was ALWAYS warm. Outside Areas: -The deck areas of the ship are well designed and nicely outfitted. I found that I could always get into one of the pools or hot tubs without being overwhelmed with people. I particularly found the small pool and hot tub next to the small children's slide/pool in the rear of the ship to be quite empty every day. -I can't really comment on the availability of deck chairs, as we had that wonderful balcony. It did seem, that if you tried, you could find one. -MUTS...We did not watch a movie on MUTS, but I must say that it is an interesting concept. If their was something we were interested in watching, we would have used it. I was initially a bit concerned with reports of the loud noise, but realistically, it is only heard in the MUTS pool area. Dining Rooms: We chose anytime dining and never had to wait more than five minutes for a seat. We found the waitstaff, with one exception, to be excellent. Two in our party had purchased the soda package and our sodas were always refilled in the dining rooms without having to ask. The food was EXCELLENT. I would rate it a step above NCL and two steps above RCI. I loved the variety on the menu and the many, many "always available" options. Some of our personal favorites were the Fettucine Alfredo, ALL soups, and ALL beef offerings and the Princess Love Boat Dream. Only one of our party is a seafood eater, so no comment here. The dining room food really was that good. Buffets: I did not like the selection of the buffets or the quality of the food for either breakfast or lunch. I won't get into specifics because I'm such a picky eater but I always found a way to make up for the lack of a quality buffet. In addition, I did not like the fact that a juice, like lemonade, was not provided at lunch. Other Casual Dining Venues: -The Pizza was by far the BEST pizza I have had on a ship. Incredibly tasty. In fact, it was better than any pizza here in Northern NJ. I already miss it. -International Cafe...Surprisingly underused. I loved this place. I went here immediately following any meal to get those unbelievable cookies and anything else that was available. The Gelato was good and reasonably priced at only $1.50 for three large scoops. Eat here...OFTEN...you'll be glad you did. Entertainment: -This is the one area where I feel Princess lags behind the competition. I found Destination Anywhere boring. I actually fell asleep. Motown was terrible. Not one voice that resembled anything as excellent as the Motown sound. What a swell party was the best effort of the three, but still not as good as the worst seen on NCL. -The guest performers were good. Nothing special, but enjoyable. -Sarge was excellent. Do not miss him. -And now a note about James Lay. All I will write here is what I wrote on my comment card at the end of the trip. "James Lay is one of, if not the worst cruise directors I have ever sailed with. An audio recording would serve more of a purpose." He is incredibly boring, not funny, and says the exact same thing every time he makes an announcement over the PA or opens a show. Ports: The ports on our itinerary consisted of Grand Turk, Casa de Campo, DR (replacement of San Juan due to Tropical Storm Chris), St. Thomas and West End, Bermuda. I only got off the ship in two of these ports. *Grand Turk--My wife loves to dive and this is where she chose to dive. She thought that the diving was as good if not better than her experience in Grand Cayman. She loved it. As I could stay on the ship and never get off, I decided to sleep in and enjoy the quiet ship. The island looks quite deserted although the beach and pool look quite nice. I almost wish I was not as lazy so I could have enjoyed the water. *Casa de Campo--Because of the late decision to change to Casa de Campo, no tours from the ship were available. There were two places to go according the the literature...a shopping village/marina and a castle/home complex above the river. Although the scenery looked lush, we decided not to pay the $7pp taxi fee and again enjoyed the quiet ship. *St. Thomas--There is a shopping village right outside of the terminal area. We did not shop here. We took the taxi ($4 pp) to town (about 10 minutes, no more) and walked around. We made the typical souvenir and liquor purchases and returned to the ship via taxi. We have been to St. Thomas many times before and felt no need to stay. If the weather was better, we would have taken the taxi to the beach, but it was pretty crummy out. *West End--This was our 4th time to Bermuda and irrespective of only being able to dock at West End, Bermuda is our FAVORITE port we have ever been to and I find it very difficult to imagine any port topping Bermuda. If you would like to shop, take the water taxi from West End to Hamilton ($4). My mother and wife always likes to stop in the Irish Linen Shop and Triminghams (which to her horror, has apparently gone out of business). My father and I enjoy A.S. Cooper men's store and the English Sport Shop. If you are looking for artwork at a reasonable price, stop by Carole Holding's shop on Front Street. Walking around the dockyard is worth it. There are some nice shops including Davisons which is good for cheap T-shirts or souvenirs. If you don't mind the heat, my final recommendation would be Bermuda Glassblowers at the dockyards. Disembarkation: -One word...A DISASTER. I don't know where to begin, so I'll just make a list. *The bags are placed so close together in the terminal that you can barely walk. *There are almost no porters to help you with your luggage. You are not told this initially, so you get off the ship, find you luggage (if you can) and then are told to walk to the other side of the terminal to get a cart. Now I don't mind getting my own luggage, but come on, let me know this ahead of time. *One of our bags (tagged with White 3) was placed with Gold 1. We looked for 45 minutes. When we finally found it, it was in a fenced off area. One of the workers was standing near it and I asked her to check the name, and sure enough, it was ours. She proceeded to bring it to me but was stopped by one of the terminal bosses (it appeared who began to yell at her for helping me. I tried to explain what was happening to him, but during my first sentence, he cut me off but telling me I couldn't get it and he turned his back on me and walked away. At this point, I became irate and he threatened to bring homeland security over, which I told him to go ahead and do. At this point, the woman who I think runs the terminal (she made announcements on embarkation, etc to board came over and told him to give me the back. At this point he did apologize. *There were only 7 customs agents working when there are 16 available stations for them to be working at. This caused great delays. All in all, it took 1.5 hours between when we left the ship and when we finally left the terminal. Not a great way to end the trip. Regardless, I was thrilled with the Princess experience and now rate her as probably my favorite line along with NCL. I would love to see Princess bring another of their ships to the east coast as I hate to fly and vacation during the summer (I teach.) Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
We were on the modified 7/22-7/29/06 sailing of the Crown Princess sailing (NY, Day at Sea, Day at Sea, Grand Turk, Day at Sea, Bermuda, Day at Sea, NY) We are 40 (me) and 39 (DH). We left our home in Central Jersey at 10:40 a.m. and ... Read More
We were on the modified 7/22-7/29/06 sailing of the Crown Princess sailing (NY, Day at Sea, Day at Sea, Grand Turk, Day at Sea, Bermuda, Day at Sea, NY) We are 40 (me) and 39 (DH). We left our home in Central Jersey at 10:40 a.m. and were at the terminal before 11:30 a.m. The baggage handlers came right over to take our bags, we filled out the Norvo virus form, stood in line for maybe two minutes before going up to the counter. There were many check-in stations with specific areas for the Platinum and Elite members and those with mobility problems. We showed our paperwork and signed the credit card forms and had our room keys made within minutes. It was 11:40 and we were walking towards the ship. After stopping to take the boarding photo we were on board. We stopped to buy our soda cards as soon as we boarded (they had an area setup near the elevators). We deposited our carry on bags in our room shortly before noon. Embarkation was definitely much smoother since there was no debarkation that morning. After checking out our room, D-503, a mini-suite located midship on the starboard side, it was off to explore the ship. One of the first stops we made was to book the Crown Grill for that evening since it was a perk for booking through American Express Platinum Travel. The food in the buffet was not too bad for buffet food. (We are not big on buffets but the food (especially the carved turkey) was quite tasty. The weather was inclement and it rained on and off all afternoon. We headed back to our room after a while to discover our bags were there. The bag that had all our clothes on hangers was soaked from the rain. We met our wonderful cabin steward, Ricky, who brought us our glasses of champagne. Ricky did a phenomenal job all week keeping our room spotless and supplied with ice when I hurt my foot later in the week (more later). The room has a huge closet (lots of hangers) and a mirrored storage area with seven shelves. The safe is located in the storage area. There were also a few drawers for storage and open shelves by the two TVs. The two LCD TVs were nice in the room but sometimes you turned on the other TV with the remote. There was still some visible damage from the incident: a broken balcony divider being replaced, two elevators out of service all week, and a number of broken display cases in a gift shop. The carpeting in the buffet area had shrunk from being wet and had a musty smell. We had quite a gathering of fellow Cruise Critic members on board. We had a get together in Skywalker's our first day at sea with quite a large turn out. It was great to see everyone during the week throughout the ship. Felt like I was running into old friends all week long. We hit some rough seas the first and last day at sea. The seas were so rough the first night at sea that they cancelled the scheduled show for that evening. The last day I was almost tossed into the side of the Horizon pool. The rest of the days at sea were very nice and smooth. The staff was very professional and took care of our every need. Our soda cards were greeted with smiles all week long. The barstaff in the casino were very attentive. The casino dealers were personable and made small talk all week long. The public areas were sparkling clean and well maintained. The atrium seating area is a nice change of pace to relax and people watch. Entertainment: Sarge, the comedian, had his show two nights in a row. Make sure you take the time to see him before he leaves at the end of the year. The other comedian/impersonator was not as funny as Sarge. Those were the only two shows we seen. The entertainment in the Atrium was entertaining during the day and a great way to pass the time. Le Monte is a magician who is funny and an overall great guy (we met him in the casino). The food on the ship ranged from good to excellent with two items that were poor. I am an extremely picky eater (no red meat and only white meat chicken). We thought the soup choices could have been broader and the appetizers were too fancy for our tastes. We ate lots of shrimp cocktail appetizers. The desserts were excellent. The lobster was wonderful. DH really enjoyed the sirloin and beef tenderloin from the always available menu. The chicken from there was excellent too. I was disappointed with two items we had for lunch. I had the broccoli and potato pancake and it was very dry. Another day I had the chicken tacos and they were inedible. They contained an entire jalapeno pepper (seeds and all) in very large pieces mixed throughout. I was also a bit let down by the Greek Salad at the International Cafe as it did not fit my idea for a Greek Salad (I do work for Greeks in the food service industry so I am a bit spoiled with their salad). We had table 84, early seating in the Botticelli Dining Room. It was a table for two which was a surprise since we requested a table for eight. The arrangement worked out well since the two couples around us were nice. Our servers were Arpi and Daczo from Hungary. They were great. We ordered Cokes the first night and we were served it each night after that within two minutes after being seated. The Crown Grill has excellent food and the service was impeccable. We ate here our first evening and had the place all to ourselves until dessert. DH had a steak and I had the garlic grilled lobster tail (Extra $9 charge). I cannot say enough about the food and service. Perfect from start to finish. Grand Turk is an absolutely beautiful port. We were there from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. which was a big change from our original itinerary (1 p.m. - 6 p.m.) DH booked the Salt Water Flats fishing tour. He loved it. Two of them went on each boat. They originally went for bonefish but they were not running and moved to another location. I went to Margaritaville and sat at the edge of the glorious pool for a few hours. After getting cleaned up we headed back to Margaritaville for lunch. Service was a bit slow but the atmosphere was great and food was yummy. There are a few places to shop but more are being built. I can't wait to go back in about a year to see the progress. Bermuda is enchanting. We docked at West End and took a ship's tour to the aquarium and Crystal Caves. Our tour got off to a late start due to the ferry leaving late. Our driver got us extra time at the aquarium so we were not rushed. Nice grounds around there to walk around and some scenic views that are postcard perfect. The Crystal Caves are beautiful. They were discovered over 100 years ago by kids playing. They continue to grow by the water that drips down. The driver explained a lot of Bermuda history to us and answered any questions we had. After a leisurely lunch at a café and some shopping we took the ferry back over to West End. Disembarkation in New York took quite a while. They called by color and we were four from the end. We got off the ship after 10:30. We found our easily found our luggage and cleared customs quickly and were on our way. We were home about 11:45 a.m. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
My Husband and I traveled on the Crown Princess on the 7/22/06 voyage with our 6 children and my sister. Our children are 16, 14, 13, 12 4, and 2. It was the third cruise for my husband and I and our children's 1st. We have been on ... Read More
My Husband and I traveled on the Crown Princess on the 7/22/06 voyage with our 6 children and my sister. Our children are 16, 14, 13, 12 4, and 2. It was the third cruise for my husband and I and our children's 1st. We have been on the Circle of the Caribbean on the Splendor of the Seas (11 nights) and The Jewel of the Seas (8 nights). We live in New York so getting to the port was about a 3 hour shuttle. The delay in the cruise did not cause us any problems because our shuttle company was so accommodating! We were however very sad about our two missed ports but decided to use the extra money to book another cruise...when life gives you lemons make lemonade mentality at work. I was afraid I was going to see damage and my kids 1st experience would somehow be tainted. This was a waste of my mental energy. The ship was truly beautiful, not a magnificent breathtaking kind but more of a quiet, intimate beauty. There are many nooks and crannies. I suppose if I was in poor health the layout may have been a bit tiresome because until you got the hang of it it seemed we hit a lot of dead ends. We were the people still checking the ship diagram for dummies on the last day. Oh well! Embarkation.... This was breeze! We arrived early 11ish and were in our clean room by noon. Or rooms were a bit small compared to a similar category on the Jewel, but still lovely and comfortable. We all loved the bedding. We then went off exploring. We made salon appointments, hair and nails, checked out the kids programing. This was a disappointment to me. My 12 year old was going to be separate from her older siblings and the staff stood firm. Oh well, they all decided they wouldn't be missing much and opted for trying activities with us and solo. I truly wish there had been more family activities. We tend to like to spend time together and the kids couldn't do the Jeopardy or Bee at Sea for example. I am not going to do a day to day itinerary here because I'm too lazy. I will however focus on our highlights. Food....The Horizon Buffet was a typical buffet a mix of yummy, good, boring and bland. All a matter of personal taste. I will say the fresh donuts with cream or jelly filling were awesome. They were moist and yeasty...it brought many childhood memories of mom's donuts. We ate breakfast there 5 out of 7 days and the main dining room twice. The main dining room was very good but we only went when the special of the day was intriguing because we are not huge breakfast eaters. The first 2 nights we ate in the Michelangelo dining room and the first waiter was okay. The second night the service was horrible. We asked for coffee 4 times. It took 30 minutes to get our entrees after our salads. The next 5 nights we had the pleasure of belong waited on by Thorn and Edward at the Da Vinci dining room. What an awesome team. They had all our drinks lined up and waiting, never had to ask for refills, made origami stuff for us all, magic for the kids, extra food and always a smile. My 4 year old ate 5 shrimp cocktail appetizers one night. He was in heaven! As for the quality of food, most was very good, some just okay and none excellent. The desserts were just good but that is because I live with chocoholics and The Love Boat got tiring by night 6. My husband and I tried Sabatini's one night and loved it. What a great idea all those appetizers, a nice pace, attentive service. The main course was a bit small but I didn't need any more food! The creme brulee was awesome! The Trident Grill was a happy lunch place for me because I love cheeseburgers and they were very tasty. My oldest son, the two youngest sons and I loved the pizza but the rest of the family thought it was too salty. I'd say try it you can always throw it out if you don't like it. The International Cafe was a happy spot for us cookie, shrimp, and chicken Waldorf lovers. Activities...My kids loved the dance classes and the clubs at night. I mean truly loved it! My 2 and 4 year old asked to dance everyday. They also enjoyed watching the adults trivia type games, swimming, hot tubing, mini golf and the MUTS. I did not find Muts to be too loud and at times it was too low. We all saw Sarge twice and my husband and I went a third time, we saw Motor City and a Swell Dance Party. They were entertaining not fabulous but very good. My teens all bought the same Sarge CD. He was at times truly side splitting. We also went to most of the live bands and enjoyed them all. The Piazza entertainers were unique and something to look forward to. Excursions...We did Stingray and snorkeling in Grand Turk. I am spoiled by Grand Cayman and Antigua so was not overly impressed but it was an awesome intro for those a bit nervous because there were only three sting rays and the snorkeling was calm and there were no big fish. My first time snorkeling in Hawaii was with a Moray Eel..a bit of ewww factor but... I'm digressing sorry. We then spent the rest of the time going between the beach and Margaritaville pool. This was relaxing and fun. Would I have been as impressed if I didn't have children...probably not but it was fun. In Bermuda we did the ultimate catamaran and snorkel. What an amazing crew. They were so friendly and informative. I actually retained her fish educational lecture as did my four oldest children. The actual snorkeling was just okay but only because I discovered I am a bit sensitive to Jelly fish bites...OUCH. Three of my six kids and my husband also got stung. This is not anyone's faulty just bad luck. This amazing crew let us stay on after the excursion and ferried us to Hamilton. How cool is that? We then shopped and had lunch at one of my favorite spots in Hamilton, The Pickled Onion. A couple of cabs were then hailed and was time sail away. Disembarking...This was truly a breeze. On RCI we felt crowded, stuck in one room. On the Crown any public area was fine to wait in. We played cards until our time which was about 9ish. A quick walk through customs and clear;y labeled luggage pick up and we were very sadly on our way. A beautiful ship, some beautiful seas, a couple of pretty ports of call..what more can you ask for? Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Crown Princess July 29 - Aug. 7, 2006 Eastern Caribbean Myself and my wife (both 50) and two teenage boys (18 and 13) Previous Cruises 03 Carnival Victory to Canada 04 Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean 05 QM2 - Independence ... Read More
Crown Princess July 29 - Aug. 7, 2006 Eastern Caribbean Myself and my wife (both 50) and two teenage boys (18 and 13) Previous Cruises 03 Carnival Victory to Canada 04 Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean 05 QM2 - Independence Day weekend Cruise 05 Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda 06 NCL Spirit- one night cruise to nowhere Embarkation A We left our home in Jersey City at 10:10 A.M. went though the Holland Tunnel and he Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, followed the blue signs for the terminal and arrived there to plenty of parking at 10:35 A.M. In fact the parking lot was only half full when we sailed. We checked our luggage, went through security and check in, got a map of the ship and waited for boarding. At 11:30 boarding started. The boarding picture was taken with no background and people in line behind you. Once on board there were plenty of staff to help. The elevators were manned throughout embarkation with crew directing your way. Very nice. Stopped at or stateroom and headed to the Horizon Court for lunch. When we returned to the stateroom our luggage had already arrived. We did not take the offered tour of the ship. Stateroom B+ The nicest room weve had on a cruise but one flaw makes me grade it below an A. We had originally booked an ocean view quad because no balconies were available but our TA called just before final payment was due and gave us the news that there was a balcony available if we wanted it.... and, of course, we did. What a great room and large balcony. We were on Caribe deck 10 room C530. The balconies on this deck are about a third larger than other decks and are half exposed and half covered. Deck 9 balconies are fully exposed with no cover. those above deck 10 are smaller, but covered. The balconies, regardless of size have two aluminum chairs, a large aluminum table and a small aluminum table (footstool height. There are also two mesh nylon reclining seats. One of the things that stood out in the cabin was the setup... more like a hotel than a ship. The beds had been put together to make a king and the storage and bathroom areas were separated from the sleeping area by a wall. The three level corner TV stand had a 19 inch TV on top with front audio video inputs so you can check your digital pictures and videos, a shelf for drinks in the middle and a fridge in an enclosed compartment on the bottom with only the ice bucket in it so you could feel free to make good use of it. Ice was restocked twice a day. The night stands had two small drawers and a shelf. There was a large mirror at the head of the bed and a tasteful painting on the wall across from the foot of the bead. The desk which was next to the bed also had some storage space. The hair dryer was attached to the wall above the desk in a corner by the balcony door... as far from the bathroom as it could be. Two beds dropped down from the ceiling for our teens. All the beds had comfortable duvets and fluffy comfortable pillows. There was one major design flaw. When the bed closest to the balcony comes down from the ceiling it blocks the AC vent from circulating air to it. After 2 hot sleepless nights my 18 year old told our steward to leave the bed in the ceiling and slept on the floor on a duvet. The steward said he fully understood that we were not the first to request this. So for 7 nights my son slept (very comfortably) on the floor. This allowed air to circulate better throughout the room and made my 13 year old, who was in the other upper, jealous... he wanted to sleep on the floor too! But he was fine in the upper bed by the wall. The bathroom was typical of ship bathrooms. The shower had good water pressure and a retractable clothes line. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners are sample size in a shell shaped bowl on the sink. Our steward brought all of us robes (you do need to request them - we asked for two but he brought 4). There were also 8 pool towels in the room. One nice touch was a form that was on our bed the first evening that allowed us to select how much fruit we wanted for the cruise. You fill out how many bananas, oranges, apples and pears you want. They are then placed in your room and replenished throughout the cruise. Muster A Painless in a lounge. Actually entertaining while waiting for the demonstration of life jackets. Done only in English (as were all announcements) which surprised us considering all the nationalities in the New York area. Food/Dining Service B+ The best food Ive had on a cruise. We ate in the Michelangelo dining room. We had anytime dining but all but one night ate at the same table, same time, same servers because we liked them so much. The first night we were seated randomly with another couple and by coincidence they had the same last name as ours!! On the second night we were seated as a family at our own table. We requested it again the next night and after that they remembered and sat us automatically at the same location. Although we had anytime dining we made it traditional by eating at close to the same time each night at the same table. this was great because we had the benefits of traditional and the flexibility of time. OK, about the food. It was excellent. Plenty of good choices at dinner. Try the fettucinni alfredo as your pasta course. It is offered every night along with another alternative that is different each night. Dont miss the veal ravioli when it is offered. The first nights feature is prime rib ( or you could go to the all seafood buffet in Cafe Caribe on deck 15). There is a lobster night and a king crab night in the dining room. The crab legs are cut in half so you can just pull the meat out with a fork. The seared scallops are also excellent. If you ever order a steak or prime rib, order one half step lower than youd like it. For example. if you want medium, order medium rare. The leg of lamb was the best Ive ever had... anywhere!! as was the rack of lamb. Stay away from the dry swordfish. I hedged my bets that night by ordering a steak with it for surf and turf and was glad I did. Desserts were just OK. We prefer ice cream (in the dining room it is Haggen Daz). You can choose your flavor and toppings. There was also a nice sorbet, different each night, made on the ship. Our waiter. Ricky, wanted us to try things, so wed order our ice cream and hed bring it along with 2 or 3 other desserts. one night my 18 year old asked about one of the chocolate desserts and received three different chocolate desserts along with his chocolate ice cream. You can get coffee, tea or herbal tea. Each night Alexis remembered my wife liked Bigelow orange spice tea and brought her a pot of it. The empty coffee and tea cups are pre warmed. Alex ,18, had a soda card. Matthew, 13, is not a soda drinker and ordered milk each night. My wife and I prefer water. The service was such that our glasses never got to below half full before being refilled. Also with regards to service, utensils are brought as courses are served so you get only what you need. Makes more sense than on the Voyager of the Seas where you have more utensils than you know what to do with. There is also a basket of rolls and bread stick on the table. A very important note: the dining room is cold. Bring a jacket or sweater. Cafe Caribe, a buffet at the back of the ship had a different themed meal each night and is nicely set up with linen placemats and napkins. As good as the dining room was at night, it was useless to us at lunch; too many fancy meals that my kids wont order. So we ate at the Horizon court. This buffet, on the Lido deck, had a strange layout but a great selection of food every day. Fish cooked here was always very good. You could also get iced tea. At busy times it may be difficult to get a seat. There were plenty of crew cleaning and helping to find seats and deliver drinks. Pizza and grilled foods (burgers, bratwurst, chicken) were available near the pools as was a street vendor type hot dog stand. Breakfast was good at either place. There was a set breakfast menu in the dining room and several daily selections. We ate in the dining room on sea days and the Horizon Court on port days. The Horizon Court had a bigger variety and wonderful french toast. Omelets were premade as were eggs over easy. Be careful. The plates are hot! Plain scrambled were always available as well as scrambled with meat or salmon, the ingredients different each day. There was also plenty of fresh fruit. Cereals were mostly for the adult palate. The only kids cereal was Frosted Flakes. The dining room had oatmeal but no Cream of wheat or grits, which were offered on the Voyager. There was an afternoon, white glove service tea with sandwiches. And the International Cafe where warm cookies, sandwiches, salads and cheeses were always available at no charge 24 hours a day. There are two formal nights. We did not use the alternative dining. I had lost 12 pounds prior to the cruise and gained three of them back during the cruise. I had allowed myself four so I felt pretty good about it. Entertainment/Activities A Best shows Ive seen on a cruise. Motor City, a Motown show is similar on most ships but this was the best executed. Destination Anywhere was also very good. What a Swell Party is a new show that was absolutely the best Ive ever seen on a cruise ship. Cole Porter music and dancing. dont miss this one! Also plan to take the backstage tour on the last day at sea. You wont believe what the dancers dresses weigh!! The first comedian, Sarge, was hilarious, doing a routine on the tipping incident and muster drill. The farewell comedian, Rick Star, was awful... just not funny at all with old old material We also had Steve Baner, a comic hypnotist, who was absolutely hilarious. If he is on your cruise do not miss him. Each day in the Piazza atrium there were various shows from jugglers to towel animal demonstrations. That was unusual since Princess does not do towel animals! Also there were game shows daily in Club Fusion. We had fun at The Price is Almost Right and Princess Jeopardy. There were also very well attended dancing classes with a different ballroom dance each day. I was amazed at how many activities there were to choose from each day. Lots of fun. Also, do not miss the cooking demonstration in the Princess theater or the galley tour that follows. The demonstration is very entertaining and the tour is interesting. There is no midnight buffet, but there is decorated food on the galley tour. MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) Not so great during the day but nice at night. We really enjoyed this. The pool is cleared and the lounge chairs get special covers. Blankets and popcorn are provided... a nice concept. Titanic is no longer shown :-) There was only a problem one night when the DVD got stuck two thirds of the way through the movie and could not be fixed (Fun With Dick and Jane). Fortunately they ran the movie all day the next day on the televisions so we could see the end of it. The mini golf, which is really just a putting green was lame with no rails to keep the balls from rolling around the entire course. All white balls so it wasnt easy to see which player had which ball. We gave up after 3 holes. A small stone wall surrounded the golf course and there were no drains so if there was a rainstorm at night the course became a wading pool and a sponge. . The scholarship at sea program offered various courses and lectures. Most were $25, some were free. There are two ping pong tables. Kid's Program A+ My 13 year old had a blast and spent most of his time at Remix, the teens area. There are many scheduled activities or it can just be a place to hang out. There were also some activities for those those 18-21. Alex avoided those and spent most of his time playing paddle ball or basketball on the woefully inadequate, hidden behind the smokestack sports deck. He won the basketball shootout contest on 4 of the 5 days he participated. His only complaint was that the sports deck was locked up tight by 10 PM With both kids occupied my wife and I had plenty of time to lounge and read on the promenade or our balcony Ports/Itinerary B+ Grand Turk: We took the hop on/hop off tour. it has only 3 stops but gives a good overview of the island, If you take this one make sure you get off at one end of town and walk to the other end along the shore. It is a quaint town with a 1950s look (except for he FedEx truck). The people are new to tourism, extremely friendly, and want to be seen as welcoming. Other than that there is not much on the island. many people chose to shop or go to the beach by the ship. While there, the Elation came in making an itinerary change due to Tropical Storm Chris. That was the first we heard of it. The weather was partly sunny, mid 80s. La Romana, Dominican Republic: a last minute change because of Chris and a first time stop for any Princess ship so no excursions were offered. Princess was able to arrange shuttle buses to town and have local tour guides at the pier. Princess did print a shopping guide with little preparation time. So with little guidance we took the shuttle into LaRomana, a poor town with many shops and some pressure to buy but not near as bad as Ocho Rios. Another shuttle went to Casa de Campo nearby which had million dollar homes, a beautiful beach and a modern mall. The port was surrounded by barbed wire with guards with sawed off shot guns posted along the fence. In town, the police also had shotguns. We were glad to get back to the ship, disappointed at missing San Juan. Weather was sunny and hot. St. Thomas: had to go through US immigration at this port but it was well organized. Immigration officials were in Club Fusion. Each deck was given a time period to report there with passport. We were in and out in 2 minutes. As you left the club you were given a landing card that allowed you to get off the ship any time without waiting for full clearance. Once everyone was cleared you could come and go without the card. We took the CasCay eco-tour of an uninhabited island and did snorkeling. A good choice. There was much talk by the locals that if Cuba ever opens up people will stop coming to St. Thomas. Weather was cloudy with a few showers. Bermuda: Ah yes, Bermuda, our favorite stop and one of the reasons we took this cruise. A 9 AM to 5 PM stop. We lost a half hour while two Bermudans on the cruise were located and summoned to immigration to clear the ship. It was a Saturday so ferry service was limited (hourly and no service to St. George) so we took a bus to Hamilton, walked around a while, saw a beautiful lily tree in Victoria Park and took a ferry back to the ship. After lunch went to Snorkel Park beach within walking distance from the ship... a wonderful day. If you are going to be there Sunday be aware that most stores will be closed. Excursions here may be worthwhile if you have a Saturday or Sunday stop. Weather was sunny in the mid to upper 80s. Note that you will need your sea pass and photo ID to reboard at most ports. My cell phone (Verizon Wireless) worked (roaming) in all ports Itll be interesting to see how much those calls cost. The Ship B Very nicely decorated ship with comfortable lounges and lots to do. You can basically get anywhere front to back from the Promenade deck 7 or Lido deck 15. The promenade is narrow and there is no shuffle board. We liked to walk around the promenade several times each morning for exercise. For those who like to sit on the promenade there are cushioned chairs that recline but no lounge chairs. There ae also small wood tables that make great footstools. Smoking is permitted on the starboard side. The aft of the ship from deck 15 up is difficult to navigate and I was still getting lost back there on the last day of the cruise. The shops are nothing special and dont even carry postcards or Christmas ornaments. We make our own buying two magnets and placing them back to back with a ribbon between them to hang from the tree. There are 4 main pools, two for families and two for adults only. We liked the adults only spa pool at the front of the ship just below the over-hyped Sanctuary. This pool also had a lap pool function that many enjoyed. we found ourselves drawn there every afternoon. There were also a couple of kids pools in the kids program area. The Calypso Pool (MUTS) closes at 5:30 P.M. All other pools close at midnight. Not a big deal. Many on this cruise were asleep early. Pools on Princess do not use saltwater. Amen! The internet cafe was small but worked well.. It was very busy the night of the itinerary change because of the storm. The sanctuary looks wonderful but I saw no reason to use it at $15 per half day. The fee is working too well. It never looked busy. We do not gamble or drink so I cannot comment on the casino or bars. We also did not use the spa but did use the well equipped gym. Let me pass on a secret. You can stand on top of the bridge (where the bridge extends like wings but you need to know how to get there. On Lido deck 15 forward go through the hallway of staterooms on the starboard side. At the front of the ship do not turn but go through an unmarked door (there is an exit sign pointing to the port side. You will then be in a short hallway that leads to a second door that will take you outside on top of the bridge. this is a great place to be whenever entering or leaving a port. The black box data recorder, which is really orange and not a box is also located there. There is no deck 13 so ask someone in the elevator to press the button for it and watch their reaction. Someone previously wrote that the ship shimmied and indeed it did when the seas were moderate and we were traveling south. No nice roll or rocking; more like a car with a wobbly tire. The rest of the time was smooth as can be whether the seas were slight or moderate. The balcony dividers sometimes creak as did the aft elevators, The other elevators seemed slow, but we were on a cruise and never in a hurry. The only damage we noticed from the tipping incident was a missing lamp on the staircase railing in the Piazza. The base was there, but the wiring and glass were missing. Otherwise the ship looked great. Ive read several reviews of this cruise where people sait that they felt a slight list and my wife mentioned it a couple of times during the last day but I never felt it. Service A++ Cant say enough about the Princess crew members. They were wonderful, extra friendly, seemed genuine, and went out of their way to make sure the cruise was special. We were very impressed! On the last day you are given a four page summary of the captains log as a souvenir. Disembarking C- If you can carry your own luggage you can get off as soon as the ship clears immigration. You must register to do this several days before arriving back in Brooklyn. We decided we had too much luggage and disembarked the traditional way, waiting for our color coded luggage tag to be called. If you do this you need to put all your luggage, except for one bag which can be put out by midnight, out before dinner on the last night. Breakfast is available at the Horizon court or in the dining room until 9 A.M. You must be out of your stateroom by 8 A.M. We docked at 7:15 A.M., were cleared by immigration by 7:45. Disembarkation was s l o w and we sat on the promenade deck reading until our color was called at 11 A.M. There were still six other tag colors after ours. Princess apologized for the slowness which was caused by congestion in the terminal.. Once off the ship we found our luggage and were off to the parking lot. Parking costs $164 for a 9 day cruise and can be paid by cash or credit card. You can pay at a machine before you get into your car or at the gate. The gate area only takes credit cards and Id recommend that route. The machines that took cash had long lines as people had trouble getting the machine to recognize wrinkled bills. Overall (personal opinion): My favorite cruise so far but not my favorite ship. The Voyager of the Seas is a nicer ship and better thought out. Now if I could just get this Princess crew on the Voyager of the Seas all would be perfect. Two pages of pictures available at http://web.mac.com/pekrause/iWeb/Site/Crown%20Princess%2006.html Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Now that I have returned home, took a nice long shower in a normal-sized tub,and visited my chiropractor I would like to give my impressions of my Crown Princess experience. First, I want to praise the crew and the passengers both with and ... Read More
Now that I have returned home, took a nice long shower in a normal-sized tub,and visited my chiropractor I would like to give my impressions of my Crown Princess experience. First, I want to praise the crew and the passengers both with and with out medical training for working together to make sure everyone was okay. Many of the passengers knocked on cabin doors to make sure everyone was all right or to find out if they needed medical attention. When the need arose everybody worked as a team. The Crown is a beautiful ship, not glitzy but elegant. All the entertainment, shops and service restaurants are located on decks 5,6 and 7. The layout of the ship was good and convenient. There was good traffic flow. Due to the newness of the ship, many of the staff / crew were not familiar with the layout and amenities of the ship. The two production shows we saw were good. We also enjoyed the piano player in the Crooners Bar (along with 52 types of Martinis) as well as the one in Adagio. The country night was very disappointing,and the disco was ok. The entertainment around the pool was limited. The best entertainment we found was the Movies Under the Stars around one of the main pools. You could watch movies all day, while swimming. In the evening they covered the lounges, put out blankets and served popcorn. It was great fun to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show under the stars at midnight. Make sure you get to the pools early. Many people were hogging the better chair locations and then disappeared for hours. Some even took chairs in two locations and never used the chairs at all. Even though there was a 30 minute limit regarding unused chairs, it was not enforced. Children, for the most part, were well behaved and controlled by their parents. There are several pools and hot tubs around the ship. Santuary, which is a child free area charges $15:00 for each half day or around 4 hours. The food both in the dining room and the buffets were excellent. We also found that the dining staff were extremely friendly and accommodating. We did not eat in the two premium restaurants, Sabbitini's (Fine Italian)or Crown Grill (steaks and chops). We were thoroughly satisfied with the anytime dining in the Da Vinci and Michelangelo Dining Rooms. The charges in the premium restaurants ranged from $20.00 to $25.00 with an extra $7.00 if you want lobster. There was a wine and sushi bar (Vines). The sushi was limited in what was pre-made so you could not be sure how long it was sitting out. There was a $1.00 a piece charge. The international cafe served great cookies, sandwiches and certain desserts free of charge. There was a charge for gelato, ice cream and coffee/tea, unless you had it with dinner or during the buffet. Pizza was made fresh and tasted great. They had a grill that made fresh hot dogs(ok) and hamburgers(overcooked and tasted like hockey pucks). We took a cabin with a Balcony for the 1st time after 10 previous cruises. We were was very satisfied with the cabin. The exception was the shower. Who ever designed the shower should be shot, it was so tiny, that you had to be a contortionist or very creative to get clean. It was surprising that a cabin with so many comforts and amenities should have such a poorly designed shower. Excursions: We took the semisub/snorkeling in Grand Turk. Forget about it. Go have a drink and a Cheeseburger in Paradise at Margaritaville and have it while sitting in the pool. Ocho Rios, even though the excursion was poorly organized, the Dolphin Encounter/Dunns Falls are not to be missed. Just be careful of all the pushy locals and the drug pushers. Two teens from our cruise, got busted. At Grand Cayman don't miss the turtle farm and stingray swim. It was great hands on experience. All in all, other than an exciting end to the cruise, charging for some things that should have been included and little inconveniences here and there, it was a most enjoyable trip. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Here it is. My Tilted Ship Review. The tilted part will be at the end, so dont expect it earlier. I will not highlight every detail, because it would take DAYS to read. Overall. Until the tilting this was, hands down, one of the best ... Read More
Here it is. My Tilted Ship Review. The tilted part will be at the end, so dont expect it earlier. I will not highlight every detail, because it would take DAYS to read. Overall. Until the tilting this was, hands down, one of the best cruises I have ever had. Just outstanding in every single way, in large part due to the company I was with. The ship was stunning in every way. Background: My friend from Cruise Critic planned a trip for her family. Her children are 18 and 20 and did not want to spend their summer with mom, when they could have their friends hanging around so she brought me along! A chance to leave my darling husband, two toddlers and the older two boys for nine days? How fast can I sign up? Im a writer, so can work anywhere. I figured I could make this a working vacation. Note to self, 5,000 words in seven days does not work make. Next time leave the work at home and just have fun. 7/10: Flew down to Philly and met my roommate in real life for the very first time. Felt a little odd, but Ive been posting to Carols stuff for years and felt like I knew her already. We are both funny and flexible travelers who dont put up with malarkey. In other words, good traveling companions. We had a lovely dinner with my Ironman training partner, Rhonda and I went to bed early. This was going to be a theme for the cruise for me. 7/11:N Woke up at the hind-end crack of dawn. Another theme for me. I dont sleep well on vacation. I get the feeling I am missing something good and cant sleep. An Ambien helps. Showered and transferred my luggage tags to the luggage. This is my first stupid, Nancy-ism. I left my cruise documents in Carols house! Its not a problem, but I felt like a moron. We drove to a hotel where we boarded a shuttle bus for Brooklyns Red Hook Pier. We wended our way around Eastern Pennsylvania for a couple hours picking up other folks, who just happened to be Cruise Critic Members in part! Delightful to chat with them on our way. I was the only non easterner so people enjoyed pointing out the sights to me and telling me where we were. I still need to dig out a map and figure it all out. We arrived at the Verazanno Narrows Bridge about 10:50 or so and proceeded to the pier. The day was hazy so the Statue of Liberty was a tad hard to make out, but then THERE SHE WAS! I was moved to tears looking at her. Stunning and a real sense of& I just cannot explain came over me. We got to the terminal about 11:15 or so and dealt with my lack of documents easily. This was the easiest, most together boarding I have ever experienced. Two minutes and I was through security and up at the counter. The ladies there were nice and efficient. I waited to meet, rude New Yorkers and it was in vain. I consistently had the stereotype destroyed all cruise! Delightful people. Not harsh or rude or demanding in any way. The boarding began by a number they handed you at noon. We were in the third group and were boarding the ship by 12:15 in the afternoon. Carol and I went right to the cabin, which was clean and neat and ready to go. Our robes were not there, but this was not a surprise. They were delivered later. I know I have the timeline wrong here, so bare with me. At some point we met Vicente, our steward. He is outstanding. He consistently remembered our extra towels and the gigantic bucket o ice we requested. Delightful too. I called home and gloated a bit, then headed toward the food. Now the days run together and if I try to do it by day, until the last day, it will be wrong. Individual reviews to follow. The Food: Overall I am going to give a nod to RCI here. The food was very good, but RCI is just a shade better. This is a subjective area, so hear me out. I was disappointed by the Horizon Court. Please NOTE: the different areas have different food. If you dont see an area you like please proceed to another at any meal BUT breakfast (when all are the same). The food is good and the service very good, but not stellar in any way. Its a Las Vegas style buffet and more along the lines of Luxor and Mandalay Bay than Bellagio. Most people would be pleased with it. Im a foodie so you get that perspective. International Cafe: People have been griping about the charge there. I found VERY few things charged (ice cream) and there is a list. Its dead in the middle, but in general things in the middle round case and the Ice Cream case are charged items. Everything else is included and very good. They have Strawberry Shortcake Torte thats TO DIE FOR! Thank God they only served it one day or I would have gained weight and not lost it. Excellent sandwiches there too. I did not have sushi in the wine bar (additional charge), but was told, by several passengers, it was outstanding. Dining Rooms: I am going to lump them together. They are all excellent and the service level is consistently high. A couple nights we got so-so servers. Good, but missing that special something you cruise for. Most of the time the servers were engaging, smart, funny and matched our needs for more or less attention and time in the dining room to perfection. I prefer breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room. When traveling with my family I always do that. This time I was with others, so bowed to their wishes (and they to mine as well). The food. Memorable nights food wise, included the second formal night (the last night of our abbreviate cruise). I detest lobster onboard a ship, normally. This lobster was outstanding, both in presentation and taste. I cannot complain one bit. The Beef Wellington was delicious. Ive looked online for the menus to trip my memory, but cannot find them. Rats! Most nights I had fruit for dessert and it was outstanding. Just fresh and ripe, presented beautifully. Afternoon Tea: It was outstanding. Do not miss this at all. Lovely music, delightful waiters, white gloves. Stateroom: Lovely. Not enough drawer space for me, but the closet was HUGE! I will never again sail without a balcony. I had one for the very first time and it was wonderful. We had the AFT C752 on the Caribe deck. WONDERFUL! The Entertainment/Activities: The entertainment was delightful. The Cruise Directors friendly and engaging, remembering my name (I did win a Semi Final Round for Princess Pop Star. Was not able to attend the finals because of the, tilt.). The first and third night Comedian, Richard Harris, was very funny with no blue notes. The production show did lack some of the flashy sets RCI is famous for, but that would have detracted from the singers and dancers, who were great. There was a singer I was not so fond of, but most of my party loved her, so I will not mention it again. I am going to chalk that up to me alone. Trivia contests and poolside games were a hoot. Someone told me that they dont have, Those type of games on Princess, go to Carnival with what I thought was a disdaining sniff. That person was wrong, they sure do! If you want to avoid them avoid the Neptune Pool. Princess Pop Star: I won! The second night I tried. There were no finals because of the abrupt end to the cruise. MUTS: Too loud, too loud, too loud. Overall I do not like MUTS. Some LOVE it. I think its quite a distraction during the day. Chair Hogging: Well I thought Id seen it all on a cruise, but no. Even jaded little ole me was shocked. One group had a stuffed Rhinoceros named Charlotte (we played trivia with them) who got her own lounge chair by the pool. Another man had a bikinid blow up doll that got her own lounge chair, right by the pool. I worked out several mornings at six am and the loungers were already mostly full of crap. I was horrified. The cake was taken by a family of stuffed bears holding chairs, complete with drinks and books to read. I wanted to hurl the lot of them overboard. Nickel and Diming I read a lot of complaints about it and was prepared ahead of time. I did NOT feel dunned for money at every turn. I was careful about the things I selected. There was a lot of ice cream available for free at lunch and dinner in the dining room so no need to buy it elsewhere. I thought the prices were right in line with other cruise lines. Ports: Grand Turk: Small and unspoiled. There is not a lot to do there if youre a shopper. If you like to hit lovely beaches or snorkel, or better yet dive, then this is your place. Margaritaville is nice for some people, with a swim up bar in the pool. We did the clear bottom kayaking and the snorkel. Gorgeous reef structure right off the beach. Rocky bottoms so wear water shoes. Cant say enough good about the clear bottom kayak. Ocho Rios: As always some bozos were arrested in Ocho for buying drugs. Just dont do it. We went with Peat Taylor and despite the shock of a flat tire (fixed in no time) it was wonderful. Did the Dunns River Falls climb. Its a nice thing to do and I loved it. I was not hassled, but I must have an off-putting look. Others in our party were. Still no one came back hating Jamaica from my group. The difference? They took my advice and booked a tour. DO NOT just wander in Jamaica. This is not the US and one of the poorest islands. Its lush and gorgeous and NOT for everyone. Grand Cayman: Are we back in the US? I see Pizza Hut. Sigh. I hate that. Must we Americanize everywhere we go? We went with Captain Marvin. Some people in our party thought there were too many people on the boat, that is until they saw the other boats at Sting-ray City! They really pack em in. We did the half day tour that included snorkeling in Coral Gardens and the edge of the wall. I saw what looked like a black tipped shark and a moray eel peeking out of a crack in the rocks (I detest eels). Saw many sting-rays, until we got to Stingray City. So superb! Just heaven on earth to be with these creatures in the water, almost a hundred of them. I draw the line at smooching on a sting-ray, but my roommate had no compunction about it and macked on hers twice! Back to Georgetown and we shopped for ten minutes, before heading back to the ship. Our tender had an engine go out, so it was an interesting journey back. Turns out this was foreshadowing! Port Canaveral: The Space Center. What can I say? It was one of those, Proud to be an American moments that leaves you breathless. I did think they herded us like sheep (bah) and was not happy with that, but we had little time there. Everyone needs to see it once. The Thing with the Tilt and the Screaming: Lots of people have read my account. Dont know what more to say. Crew? Outstanding. Perfect? No, but they kept us informed. My little group of people hung out and consoled one another. CNN called me. YES CALLED MY CELL looking for video. Sharks. Even if I had it, Debbie, at, Anderson Cooper 360 as not going to get it. I found her insincere and snarky. I did grant local interviews, but its over. Was it terrifying? Yes, absolutely. Did I think I was going to die? Yes, yes I did. Thank god my husband and children were together at home, because if I had been hit by that TV I would not be here and they would have a wonderful parent to love them. Am I okay? You betcha. Still not sleeping, but I suspect that many of us are not. This too shall pass. To the man on the Caribe deck asking me how much I thought he could get in a lawsuit, five minutes after it happened, shame on you! To the lady crewmember in the suit asking me if anyone was missing from our party. Thank you. I hope your wrist is okay. To do your job in such pain and try to brush people off so you could help others -- What a wonderful and dedicated young woman. I wish I caught your name. To the members of Cruise Critic who are Doctors and Nurses and I personally know went to help in the dining room with triage, you are my heroes. To the staff that got no rest and cleaned up THEN served us a lobster dinner. Bless you! To the passengers who put on their formalwear and decided to look good in the face of adversity. You made me smile on a bad day. To the people who offered me cell phones and a shoulder and smiled while they were scared to reassure others. Wow. What an honor to have met you. This was a bad end to a lovely cruise, but I booked her again for next year and I am taking the family. Id just like to thank anyone and everyone who made this one of the best cruises of my life until the last day and then who shone like diamonds when the chips were down. I am a dedicated Princess sailor now. Yes, I will still sail RCI, but Princess youve won my heart. Does this sound all. Ra-Ra for Princess? Maybe it does. Still, the food was good, the entertainment excellent and except for one bad Cosmo (someone needs to re-train a bartender) I really cant complain. The last day was atypical so I will not dwell. Quick Note about the Casino. Some have complained it was too small. For what? Vegas? It was plenty large for me and yes, I gamble. Fitness and Recreation: I worked out a lot. The swim against the current pool is great. You do need to be a strong swimmer though. I do triathlons and 20 minutes tired me out. Had problems finding a treadmill most days. A little patience fixed that though. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
This was a very nice cruise. We flew into LaGuardia and were taken by bus to Red Hook. Everything went smoothly in that respect, but we had to wait in long lines to check in. We ended up leaving late because of a fuel problem. We missed ... Read More
This was a very nice cruise. We flew into LaGuardia and were taken by bus to Red Hook. Everything went smoothly in that respect, but we had to wait in long lines to check in. We ended up leaving late because of a fuel problem. We missed our first port, but were each given a $200. shipboard credit. The captain and crew kept everyone informed about what was happening. We felt good about that as we have been on other cruises when something has happened and we were kept in the dark. The captain was very personable as was the rest of the crew. We had traditional seating in the dining room for dinner which we enjoyed immensely. It was nice having the same wait staff every night who knew how to please us. The food served was very good. Lines at the buffet were confusing and seemed unorganized. Entertainment left a lot to be desired. The production shows were not as good as on other ships. We did enjoy Sammy in the Adagio Lounge. Other lounges were crowded and/or smoke-filled. We liked the Movies Under the Stars and the dance lessons that were offered. Our cabin was quite nice with plenty of storage space. The deck was spacious. Our cabin steward was very friendly and helpful. The ship itself is very pretty and elegant looking. Our biggest "complaint", if you could call it that, would be that it is just too large. This was our 18th cruise and we prefer the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Crown Princess 07/02/06 - 07/11/06 Eastern Caribbean itinerary NYC (Red Hook) Brooklyn pier departure Travelers: Marshal (46), Patti (45), our daughter Sarah (17/18), and Marshal's mom Elaine (69) from Pittsburgh, PA area Cruise ... Read More
Crown Princess 07/02/06 - 07/11/06 Eastern Caribbean itinerary NYC (Red Hook) Brooklyn pier departure Travelers: Marshal (46), Patti (45), our daughter Sarah (17/18), and Marshal's mom Elaine (69) from Pittsburgh, PA area Cruise history (Marshal and Patti): Celebrity: Horizon ('96), Century ('98), Mercury ('99), Infinity ('02), Constellation ('04) RCCL: Grandeur of the Seas ('01-also Sarah), Explorer of the Seas ('05) NCL: Sun ('02-also Sarah and Elaine) HAL: Zuiderdam ('03 and '05) Princess: Grand ('03-also Sarah), Golden ('04) Itinerary: Day 1  Depart NYC 5:00pm (but not really) Day 2  at sea Day 3  at sea Day 4  Grand Turk 7:00am-2:00pm (but not really) Day 5  San Juan, Puerto Rico 9:00am-6:00pm Day 6  St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 7:00am-3:00pm Day 7  at sea Day 8  Bermuda (West End/Dockyards) 9:00am-5:00pm Day 9  at sea Day 10  Arrive NYC 7:15am Cabin Info: We had 2 cabins on Aloha deck 12  Category BD (balcony) cabin A243 for Elaine and Sarah who were both celebrating birthdays on the cruise, and Category JJ (inside) cabin A245 for Marshal and Patti. Arrival and embarkation info: Our alarm rang at 3:50am on departure day (after going to bed around 12:45am!) and we loaded up the car and drove from Pittsburgh to Mercer (about an hour north) to pick up Elaine. We then drove straight across PA on I-80 to NYC and arrived at the Red Hook Pier in Brooklyn at 12:35pm. We handed our luggage over to the baggage handlers and joined the line to enter the terminal at about 12:45pm. The line was much longer than it first seemed, as it wound into the terminal and snaked back out before getting to the part of the terminal where we needed to enter. Marshal parked the car and joined us in line. (We were able to park quite close to the terminal.) It took us 1.5 hours to get from the end of the line to our cabin, which didn't surprise me as we had arrived at the peak of the crowds. We skipped the embarkation photo (who wants a photo of someone who has only had 3 hours of sleep and has been riding in the car for the past 8 hours??) and the cruise card photo was taken at the entrance to the ship. Getting through the check-in process seemed to take a while, even though we had filled out all of the forms online ahead of time. The Cabins: Our inside cabin seemed much smaller than other ships that we've been on. Perhaps we're just not used to having an inside cabin  the only other one we had was on the NCL Sun, but I don't remember it being this small. Our kids were in an inside on the Grand and I don't think that cabin was this small either. Upon entering the cabin, we were in a short hall. Off to the left was an alcove  as you turned and entered the alcove the bathroom door was on your left and a tall, narrow cupboard with a door was straight ahead. On your right is the area for hanging clothes, with a shelf above and shoe space below. This area does not have a door on it. The tall cupboard contained the safe and (I think) 4 other shelves. These shelves were deep and held a lot. We quickly found out that anyone coming out of the bathroom needs to be careful opening the door in case the other person is standing at the tall cupboard where the safe is  the bathroom door will hit the person if the door is opened all the way. Past this alcove where the bathroom and closet are you practically run into a small round table. There really isn't space enough in the inside cabin for this table, but we sure used it for a lot! Beyond this table is the bed with a nightstand on each side (each nightstand has 2 drawers and a shelf). To the left of the round table is a desk/make-up area with a chair, the TV, the refrigerator and another storage cupboard with 2 shelves. There are also many mirrors in the room  one over the desk, a large one behind the bed, one in the short hallway near the cabin door (full length  very nice to have) and one in the bathroom. Lighting in the room is much better than I remember it being on some other ships. We didn't have trouble seeing to get clothes out of the closet and there is a nice set of lights over the desk to use for makeup. The hair dryer is also in this area, but I brought my own as I have long hair and the cabin dryers are not powerful enough for me. The bathroom is tiny  a shower with a curved opening is to the right as you enter the bathroom, then the commode at an angle, and the sink/mirror is on your left. There are shelves on one side above the sink to hold your toiletries. The only thing that can be plugged in the bathroom outlet is a razor (or a nightlight). Hair dryers and curling irons must be plugged in near the desk. The water coming out of the sink faucet in our cabin wasn't much more than a trickle at the beginning of the cruise  by the end, it seemed like it had increased a bit, but still wasn't a full stream of water like it should have been. Water pressure in the shower was great and there is a separate control for the water temperature so you can figure out how hot you like it and set it for that temperature every time. Marshal liked the inside cabin because it was very dark and he slept more soundly, but I really missed the balcony we usually have. Sarah and Elaine were across the hall in A243 and it was a very similar setup to ours, except a mirror image. I actually never looked at their bathroom, but I assume it was the same size as ours (and they didn't have the problem with the sink faucet like we had). The twin beds in their room were along the right wall so that they had access to the balcony and the desk area was beyond the beds on the same wall while the TV and refrigerator were opposite these on the left wall. They had 2 chairs in their cabin and more room to move around. Their balcony was fully covered and had a small table and 2 small silver chairs on it. My mother-in-law was having problems with her sciatic nerve and had trouble sitting in any of the chairs in her cabin or on the balcony. When Sarah and Elaine had their balcony door open, there was a horrible noise in the cabin  Sarah said that when she pushed up on the area over the balcony door the noise lessened, so I don't know if it is a structural defect or what. I'm sure the bugs will all be worked out eventually! The Ship: This wasn't our favorite ship as far as the way it is laid out. It is an absolutely gorgeous ship, but the things that we love on a ship were missing. We like to sit on lounge chairs in the shade and this ship has very few of those available (there are a gazillion lounge chairs in the sun, but not much shade to be found, even to move a chair to). There are a few near each of the 2 center pools, but those always disappeared very quickly. They seemed to be taken by sun lovers and then the people who saved them would sit out in the sun by the pool all day long and the chair would remain virtually empty all day long except for towels and books. The only day we were able to get a couple of lounge chairs was the day it was pouring rain. People had saved the chairs with their towels, as usual, but after the rain soaked everything the deck hands removed them. Many days the Princess Patter contained this statement: "As a courtesy to your fellow passengers, there will be no reservation of Deck Loungers. Personal items and towels left unattended for 30 minutes will be removed. The claim desk for removed items is located midship on Lido Deck 15 Port side." However, this was not enforced. When Marshal asked a deck hand about it, the deck hand told him they couldn't do anything about it. Marshal spoke to someone at the Service Desk about the problem and the person told him it wasn't a problem  that the deck hands remove things after 30 minutes. He even showed Marshal where that policy was printed in the Patter and didn't understand that it doesn't do any good if it's not enforced. Oh, well& The other area on a ship where we can usually find lounge chairs in the shade is the Promenade deck. On the Crown, there are no lounge chairs there, only straight-back chairs (although the backs do recline) without anyplace to put your feet up. People were taking 2 chairs and sitting on one and putting their feet up on another one in order to have the effect of a lounge chair in the shade. I joined them a couple of days when I got tired of sitting in the hard plastic chairs on the pool deck, but with everyone using 2 chairs the chairs are in short supply on the Promenade deck. Ok  I'll get off my lounge-chairs-in-the-shade soapbox now. I know we can't be the only ones who need/want to be in the shade though, so I thought I'd better explain the situation on the Crown. The Passengers and the Pools: As we expected the majority of the passengers were from the NYC/NJ area. The age range ran the gamut from babies to 80+ year olds and I'm guessing that the median age was somewhere in the 40's. We had 500 kids/teens on board our cruise. I didn't notice any kids running wild, but the noise level near the pools was certainly high (not sure it was only the kids making the noise though). There are Youth Security personnel wandering the ship in yellow shirts and they seemed to do a good job keeping the kids out of the adults only pools (which are the aft pool and the swim-against-the-current pool). They didn't, however, make the kids get out of the hot tubs at the 2 center pools, even though there were signs at each hot tub indicating they were for Adults Only. Pools were very crowded on sea days. Sarah and I wanted to swim in the current pool one day, but Marshal said it was so full of adults just standing in the water that there wouldn't have been room to swim. We did swim there a couple of days though, and it was fun. There are only about 10-12 lounge chairs near this pool, mostly in the sun (depending on time of day and which way the ship is headed, loungers on one side might be in the shade). The Sanctuary is above this pool and looks awesome, but we didn't spend the $15/half day to sit there. The Entertainment: Most of the bars/lounges where shows are held are on deck 7, the Promenade deck. Club Fusion is aft, then the Explorer's Lounge, Crooners Bar, Wheelhouse Bar and the Princess Theater. If you are interested in going to the 8:30 shows, you need to get there early to get a seat. The shows that were in the Explorers Lounge, in particular, filled up quickly and the seats in the back do not offer a good view of the stage area. They had an entertainer who performed upside-down a lot, and I couldn't see anything that he was doing from where I was sitting. We went to most of the shows in the Princess Theater and several in the Explorers Lounge. Here are the shows that were on our cruise: Sunday  Princess Theater: Welcome Aboard Showtime (comedian Steve Morris) --- Steve started out slowly, but was very funny by the end of the show. Monday  Princess Theater: Production Show "Destination Anywhere"; Explorer's Lounge: Comedy Showtime (Comedy Impressionist Mark Verselli) --- We went to see Destination Anywhere  it was very well done. We didn't see the impressionist. Tuesday  Princess Theater: Production Show "Destination Anywhere", Comedy Showtime (Steve Morris); Explorer's Lounge: Variety Showtime (Steve Patient) --- Steve Patient put on an awesome juggling/comedy show. Later in the week, Steve taught a juggling class in the Piazza and Sarah learned how to juggle. Wednesday  Princess Theater: Celebrity Showtime (Glenn Smith); Explorer's Lounge: Variety Showtime (Magic of Eric Bedard and Physical Comedy of Uber Rossi) --- We weren't impressed by either of the shows in Explorer's Lounge. The magician didn't seem to really do much magic and Uber Rossi was upside down a lot and couldn't be seen by anyone who wasn't in the first 2 rows of the lounge. We didn't go to hear Glenn Smith, the "dynamic entertainer" from Las Vegas. Thursday  Princess Theater: Comedy Showtime (Steven Scott); Tropical Island Night deck party at Neptune's Pool --- I'm having trouble remembering which comedian this was  sorry! We stopped by the Tropical Deck Party, but didn't stick around very long. Friday  Princess Theater: Gala Showtime (Annette Wardell  opera singer), International Crew Show; Explorer's Lounge: Maurizio in Concert --- Annette Wardell was an awesome singer and put on a wonderful performance (and I'm not a huge opera fan). The crew show is not to be missed. We didn't go to hear Maurizio. Saturday  Princess Theater: Motor City production show; Explorer's Lounge: Variety Showtime (Bob Arno) --- We didn't care for the Motor City show. In our opinion, it was not up to the level of the other production show, but some of the people near me seemed to really like it. Bob Arno is the "World's Only Legal Pickpocket" and was very funny and informative. Sunday  Princess Theater: Celebrity Showtime with Antonio Salci in Concert; Explorer's Lounge: Comedy Showtime (Kenny Byrd) --- We didn't attend the concert so I can't comment on it. Kenny Byrd ("Ventriloquist with a Twist") was hilarious and is not to be missed if he is on your cruise. Monday  Princess Theater: Farewell Showtime (Comedy & Characters of Ralph Harris) --- This guy was hilarious! In addition to the entertainers, there were many options to choose from if you wanted to listen to music or dance or participate in games. Each day there was a schedule of entertainment in the Piazza. There were jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers, body balancers, towel folding demonstrations, chocolate demonstrations, etc. Sarah liked to stop by and see what was happening there throughout the day. The Food: Well, if you are someone who likes French toast or pancakes in the buffet in the morning you'll probably be disappointed. The French toast looked and tasted like it was deep-fried instead of cooked on a griddle. In our opinion it was not edible. The pancakes were not much better. We ended up going to the dining room for breakfast everyday, something we've never done on any other ship. There were fried eggs (over easy) in the buffet, kept warm under heat lamps, which were tasty and the sugar doughnuts were good. There were no "kid-friendly" cereals in the buffet  the only ones we saw were "bland and boring" according to my daughter. She was interested in Froot Loops or Frosted Flakes or Rice Krispies or something similar and they had Corn Flakes and Shredded Wheat instead. There was a larger selection of cereal in the dining room (Rice Krispies, Grape Nuts, Raisin Bran). I'm a fairly picky eater, as is Sarah, so we tended to eat pizza, or hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch. Marshal and Elaine sometimes ate at the buffet and other times ate pizza or burgers. Marshal kept hoping to find some Mexican food on the buffet for lunch, but never found any. From what I've read, he may have needed to look in the Café Caribe to find the Mexican food. We signed up for anytime dining and ate all our dinners in the Michelangelo dining room. We tended to head to dinner between 6:30 and 7:00pm and never had to wait for a table. We asked for Dan and Mihai's table every night and they were an awesome wait team. We had the best service! They quickly learned what we liked and went out of their way to get us what we wanted. Sarah asked for a plate of raw carrot sticks the first night and they would ask every night if she wanted them again. We tended to like the white rolls best and they always had extra white rolls for us. Marshal and Sarah never ran out of iced tea and Coke, and every time I took a sip of water, one of them appeared to refill my glass! If you have the good fortune to be at their table, tell them we said hello& The food in the dining room for dinner was quite good. Dan would tell us every night which were the best dishes to order, so that may have been part of the reason that we had very few meals that we didn't like. On the second formal night we were unable to get a seat in their area. We hadn't made reservations because we hadn't needed to up until then. We ended up at another server's station (a grumpy Portuguese waiter whose country had just lost the soccer game!). I ordered Beef Wellington that night and was disappointed in it (Dan wasn't there to recommend the good stuff!). The Fettuccine Alfredo was delicious and I often ordered a small portion to eat before my main course. Marshal tried several different pasta dishes as sides before his main course and he loved most of them. The chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven that are at the International Café are awesome! I highly recommend them! The ice cream bar, Scoops, was very reasonable priced. I guess there was free ice cream sometimes in the buffet? I never saw any, but I didn't look very hard either. Activities: There are many things to do during the day, ranging from ceramics to mini golf to basketball to dance lessons to quizzes and puzzles and the list goes on and on. Sarah and I painted ceramics one day and that was fun. There is an extra charge for the ceramics. We painted them on the first sea day, but didn't get them back until the last evening and they were warm so they must have just fired them. One of Sarah's coasters had gotten some paint dripped on it from someone else's item and it had a couple of other marks on it that weren't there when we painted them. They do warn you not to get any paint on the ridge that sticks up on the bottom of your piece, as it will stick to the kiln and your piece will break when it's fired. The Ports: NYC: Well, by now most of you probably know that our cruise was delayed due to a problem with the fuel. We didn't leave NYC until almost 1:00am. The captain came on the speaker (even in the cabins) at about 12:40am to let everyone know that the fuel was loaded, the ship was about to leave, and that we would miss Grand Turk and be compensated $200. per person because of it. I'm not real sure why he had to tell us this when he did  we had gone to bed a couple of hours earlier (we still hadn't caught up on the sleep we missed the previous night and were exhausted after our long drive). I can understand that he didn't want people to get upset if they didn't know we were leaving and missed the sailaway, but for those of us that were sleeping it was not fun. I had really been looking forward to sailing out of the NY Harbor, but just couldn't stay awake when we were delayed. The compensation was unexpected and we're grateful that they gave it to us. I would rather have seen the sailaway and gone to Grand Turk, but now we have a good reason to cruise out of NYC again! We've been on other cruises that have missed ports of call and not been given anything for it. Our total bill ended up being something like $82.00 for 4 of us, so the extra $800.00 came in handy! San Juan: Sarah and I took a Princess excursion and went horseback riding near the rainforest. It was lots of fun! The scenery was beautiful and we were in and out under the trees so we weren't out in the hot sun the whole time. Our only complaint was that they took 40 of us out on the trail at the same time. The horses did not respond well to the reins; they seemed to be trained to respond to the whistles and "noises" made by our guides. When they whistled at them, the horses would speed up and trot for a couple of minutes. The paths were narrow  only wide enough in most places for 2-3 horses to be side by side. With so many in the group, other horses were constantly running us into when they decided they wanted to move ahead in the pack. I lost track of the number of times that my legs were smashed by other horses. And, even though the minimum age was listed as 12, there were quite a few younger kids who didn't even try to steer their horses away from other people, which made things more difficult. We let Princess know that 40 horses in the group was twice as many as what there should have been  I hope they take heed and fix this. I ended up with bruises on the inside of both of my calves. Marshal took his mom around Old San Juan. They took a cab up to the fort and then wandered back down through some of the shops to the ship. St. Thomas: This was a shopping day for us. We spent the morning downtown and Sarah and I took a few minutes to hunt down a cache near the ship (http://www.geocaching.com/ in case you don't know what I'm talking about). Bermuda: This was our favorite stop. We really didn't get to see much of Bermuda as we stayed right in the Dockyard area, but we took the Segway tour of the Dockyards and had an absolute blast! Sarah and I have wanted to try riding on a Segway ever since we first heard about them and when we found out there were tours in Bermuda, Marshal called and made arrangements to go (http://www.bermuda.com/activities/segwaytours/). Calling wasn't necessary as the yellow double-decker bus that Robert runs his business out of is easy to find as you get off the ship. He was even on the pier on his Segway, drumming up business, when we got off the ship. Robert was an excellent tour guide and was very knowledgeable about the area, as he grew up in Bermuda. He took us into the Maritime Museum and around the Dockyard area and gave us a great history lesson. The best part was riding on the Segway though! And now we have a good reason to go back to Bermuda so we can see the rest of the island! Disembarkation: We arrived back in NYC around 4:15am. I happened to wake up and decided to turn on the TV to the Princess cam to see where we were. I watched us approach a bridge (Verrazano?) and watched for about 30 minutes. I wish I'd been awake enough to go up on deck and watch the whole approach. The Crown Princess offers passengers the chance to sign up for Express Walk-Off Disembarkation. You need to register for this ahead of time, but if you sign up, you are the first ones off the ship. You must carry your own luggage though. You don't put your luggage out in the hall like you normally would on the last night of the cruise. You keep it all in your cabin and when your color number is called the following morning you make your way down to the exit with your luggage and you're off! The hardest part of this system is trying to get an elevator to put your luggage on. Every elevator that stopped on our deck was already full of people and luggage. We finally got on one that was going up and then rode it all the way to the top and back down. The lines of people trying to get off the ship were huge  lots of people must have opted for the Express Walk-off. There appear to be a few bugs in the system, but we were off the ship and on our way out of the parking lot by about 8:25am (our number was called about 7:50). The parking cost $164 and we paid with our Visa card as we drove out of the parking lot. If you are someone who keeps his credit card in a wallet in your hip pocket and your credit card is bent, it will get stuck in the machine. Try to use a card that is nice and flat. Overall impression: The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship! I don't know that we'll book this ship again, however, as the lack of lounge chairs in the shade is something that was a problem for us  we go on cruises to sit in lounge chairs and read and we want to be comfortable. We are more likely to book one of the ships that have a covered pool where there is plenty of shade. There is always something going on and it is easy to stay entertained. If you're a sun lover, then the Crown Princess is for you! Enjoy! Patti Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Embarkation for 7/2/06 voyage Smooth as silk! Red Hook dock workers deserved a 10! They were right on the ball. All our luggage arrived by the time the muster drill was over so we could change for dinner and hang everything up before we ... Read More
Embarkation for 7/2/06 voyage Smooth as silk! Red Hook dock workers deserved a 10! They were right on the ball. All our luggage arrived by the time the muster drill was over so we could change for dinner and hang everything up before we sailed. Sailing delayed due to a "fuel" problem which caused the Crown Princess to miss the first port in Grand Turk. All passengers received a $200 per person cabin credit to be spent on board during the voyage to make up for the lost port. Cabins Our balcony cabin (BD category) was sufficient for 2 adults. We hung everything up in the large open closet. Our cabin steward was from Romania and had some difficulty with the English language and stored the extra set of bedding under the beds using up space that could have nicely stored all of our luggage instead. Bathroom could have been bigger. AC was not working in cabin even after Engineer came. Plumber was able to give us more water pressure in the sink, but the shower pressure could have been better. Beds and bedding are very, very comfortable! No cabin noise from adjoining cabins or overhead cabins. Sprinklers have been installed on all balconies. Baja and Aloha balconies are covered but you could look down on the Caribe and Dolphin balconies which are only partially covered. Depending on how the ship is sailing you may have the sun on your balcony from the early morning and afternoon hours or in the late afternoon. Shore Excursions Since we had been to San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda we did not take any of the ships tours but did our own thing in each port. The general consensus  the time in the ports was too short! If you took a tour, your shopping or beach time was limited. Since we were in Bermuda on a Sunday, many of the shops in Hamilton were closed. We went to the Maritime Museum at the Dockyard and caught the Dolphin Quest show before heading up to the Commissioners House on the top. Then we spent some time at Snorkel Park before heading back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we went to the mall at the Royal Clock Tower for some shopping before returning to the ship. Public Rooms Considering that the ship holds 3,100 passengers, many of the public rooms are too small. The Princess Theatre  the largest room  only holds around 900 passengers. Smoking is allowed in all the public rooms except for the theatre even when daytime activities are held. As a result, the lecturer will have to compete with the noise from the bar in the Wheelhouse along with the noise of passengers passing by and bar patrons who are smoking. MUTS Movies under the stars  during the day it can be too hot to watch the movies. Many passengers will stay on deck 15 below and seek out a shady spot. Since the ship does not have a retractable dome, the movies still run rain or shine. Food We found the selection in the Horizon Court buffets for breakfast and lunch to be quite varied and good. However, orange juice and cranberry juice are only available at breakfast in glasses that are already poured out. Omelets of your choice can be ordered or you can select from the daily specials already made and waiting. The selection of fresh fruit is amazing  3 types of melon and grapes, strawberries, bananas, papaya, and a nice assortment of dried fruits. If there was one area that could be improved, it was the sandwiches. Only one choice per day was available and it was already made. Pizza was great as always. We had 2nd seating (traditional) in Botecelli and there was a large selection on the menus. Our first table assignment wait staff wasnt as efficient as our second table wait staff. Jose, our waiter, was like the Energizer Bunny. He never stopped moving! Our table liked to share appetizers and main courses. He made sure that everyone had something to eat no matter where we were in the meal unlike other tables that were served course by course. As a result, we were usually finished eating in over an hour and had time to visit the restroom or shop before the shows. It took other tables up to 2 hours to eat dinner! The quality and preparation of the food was good with adequate portions. If you wanted seconds or didnt like your first choice, it did not present a problem or a long wait. Shops The merchandise selection left much to be desired. Living in NY we have access to the best shopping. Princess clearly missed the mark on this one! Either the prices were too high -- $1,700 bracelets  or looked like craft projects gone wrong. There were only 3 formal tops available for sale. Again for a ship this size the shops should have had more merchandise for sale with a better selection of items. I have been on smaller ships with all price points and larger selections of merchandise. Even with our $200 per person credit the shops were not busy. Entertainment The first production show Destination Anywhere was spectacular in its settings and original words and music! However, the second production show Motor City wasnt as good. The first show was repeated the next night in the theatre. The space between the rows in the theatre is very close together almost as if you were on an airplane in economy. The International Crew show drew a big crowd. Most of the other shows featured comedians and were scheduled at 7 and 10:30PM and not held in the theatre but in the smaller lounges. Seating was not sufficient. For second seating dinner at 8:15PM this meant you needed to go before dinner or you didnt see a show that night. The finals of the Princess Pop Star drew a standing room only crowd and was held in the smaller Club Fusion. The CD and his staff never seemed to correctly estimate the passengers interest in assigning the right room. Overall Impressions I was disappointed. Even after attending the special dinner on 6/10 prior to the 7/2 sailing, I thought I was prepared for my cruise. The Piazza area is way too small and congested to be enjoyed properly. It is a nice idea to have various acts perform here but only a limited number of seats are available. Most passengers have to view the performances leaning over the rails. On deck 5, the lowest deck of the Piazza, you have Vines (wine bar), Future Cruise Sales, Internet Cafe, the artwork for the art auctions, the pastries and other food, a small stage for the performers. When the champagne waterfall was held, passengers were jammed onto the dance floor reduced in size by the setup for the waterfall and hanging off the 2 stairways and hanging over the rails on the other 2 floors. Meanwhile the shops were open along with the Passenger Service desk on deck 6 and Crooners bar. Way too many things all in a very small area! Only deck 7 has a lot of open space near the photographer since it is a cross over deck. The ship is very noisy due to the many open lounges and more than one thing going on in the same space at the same time. The traffic flow in the Horizon Court is very poor. Not all the elevators go to all parts of the ship causing much passenger frustration. It is a very big ship when you have to walk from the front to the back of it. There was always a long wait for elevators that arrived full. Something was missing  I just cant put my finger on it. Color scheme was soothing. Nothing was outstanding or spectacular. The crew and staff seemed surprised by the large number of families on board. Some families were assigned to 2 different dining rooms! Over 300 passengers were waitlisted for 2nd seating. However, there were many empty tables in Botecelli every night. Unless you pursued it with the Maitred you remained on the waitlist. There was little if any enforcement of the no shorts or jeans rule in the evening. Good mix of ages and everyone seemed to get along. Everyone we encountered  passengers and crew and staff  were polite and friendly. Lots of activities but not necessarily those that families could participate in since several of the game shows required you to be selected to compete. No arts and crafts since ceramics (additional charge) were offered as part of the scholarship at sea program. Again, only a limited number of passengers could participate. Many of the ceramics cracked when placed in the kiln and passengers were given refunds but nothing to show for their time and effort. Line dancing always drew a big crowd of all ages as did some of the trivia games. We had teams of 16 or more to allow everyone to participate. Sunday Mass was standing room only in the Adagio restaurant since there was no other room available. It wasnt the worst cruise I have been on, nor was it the best cruise. Princess still has a lot of things to iron out on the Crown Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
This was my fourth cruise, but my first with Princess. I have sailed with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. EMBARKATION- The embarkation process at Red Hook was a breeze, and perhaps the quickest and most efficient that I have ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise, but my first with Princess. I have sailed with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. EMBARKATION- The embarkation process at Red Hook was a breeze, and perhaps the quickest and most efficient that I have ever experienced. The process was very easy and we were on the ship in no time. STATEROOMS- When we first walked onto the ship we were greeted by crew members who were very welcoming. We went to our stateroom to be warmly greeted by our stateroom attendant Geoffrey. The indoor stateroom on this ship is slightly bigger with the addition of the little hallway to the right when walking into the room. Since we had 4 in the room, when the 2 bunk beds came down one bed was not able to see the television. The air condition took a long time to get the room cold. The shower seemed to be smaller than other ships. The water pressure is decent, and there is an easy temperature control for the water in the shower. The pillows are very comfortable. The first night we heard a horrible noise the entire night. It sounded like a whale was stuck in the hall and couldn't move. We complained and we were told it was the exhaust pipes, they fixed it and gave us a tray of chocolates. How noble. SERVICE- The cabin steward was excellent. As were the waiters Pachinai and Alex. The crew on the pool deck working the buffet and outside by the pools are very friendly and polite. Some workers in the shop stand there looking confused and dazed. They get annoyed if you ask questions. The workers at the International Cafe are rude. They get mad and bothered if you ask for more than one sandwich. Some people at pursers desk are nasty. Casino workers are rude and arrogant and think they work for the FBI. Crew was working very hard to maintain and keep ship clean. SHIP- The ship is very nice and clean. The decor is elegant and relaxed, not busy like Carnival ships. However the layout of the ship is very stupid. In order to get to the dining room, you need to go up a deck walk around go back down.. very confusing and causes inconvenience. The elevators are the slowest elevators in the world. You can never get one, and when you do they are full. There are 6 elevators in the middle of the ship. Only 4 were used. One day water was dripping down through one of the elevators, and much of an area on deck 11 was covered in water. The crew said it was the 2nd time this happened, because a roof pipe leaks. That same day, another elevator broke down, leaving 2 elevators for use in the middle of the ship. POOLS AND PUBLIC ROOMS- There are many pools on the ship. The 2 main pools are crowded, with one being located under the large screen that they show movies on, and the other where they play music and pool games. There is a swim against the current pool in the front of ship which was nice.. and some puddle of a pool in the back of the ship. Youth security did a good job of stopping kids from jumping all over the place. The doors that require you to push a button aren't automatic and don't sense when someone is there. Be careful as they are strong and tended to smash against people. FOOD- We had a problem with seating. We were a party of ten and they gave us a table of 6 and a table of 4. They claimed that they didn't have any tables of ten in Boticelli (Traditional Dining) and were going to throw us into the freestyle dining, which we don't like. We kept the table of 6 and 4, but we were lied to because Boticelli had several tables of ten. Portuguese maitre d' becomes your best friend on the last few days because he wants to get more tips. The food was very bad, and of poor quality. The buffet area had nothing appealing. Some things were good, but overall the taste of the food was inconsistent. The meat was hard and tasted like liver. The Fetttucine Alfredo is very good. The best food they have are the burgers, pizza and fries. The sandwiches at the International Cafe are also good. They have chocolate chip cookies which are good, but they had those for a day. When you ask for chocolate chip they workers growl at you and make faces. We often ordered chicken fingers as an appetizer at dinner because everything else was not good. Don't even bother ordering a desert because even the ice cream was horrible. By far the worst food I ever had on all the cruises I have been on. ENTERTAINMENT- The Cruise Director was quite boring. He would come out make an announcement and disappear. Assistant Cruise Director was just as obnoxious. The Princess theater is WAY TOO SMALL for the amount of people on board. People often complained about reserving seats. You need to get there about an hour before showtime to get a seat. The International Show was excellent. Bingo was very crowded and staff didn't care if there was still a long line to buy cards. They started regardless and would be annoyed. Not much nightlife since all they want you to do is gamble. Very cunning in some ways. Movies under the stars is a nice idea. They show movies during the day. The movies at night are the same ones that they show on tv in your stateroom. The popcorn they give out is freshly popped but still tastes 6 months old. It has no butter or salt. But they give you some old can of salt to toss into to give the popcorn some flavor. PORTS- Grand Turk is very nice. Go to Margaritaville. They have a nice pool, since beach is small. We didn't go to Puerto Rico due to Tropical Storm Chris, instead we went to La Romana, Dominican Republic which was beautiful. It rained in St. Thomas so we just shopped. Bermuda was gorgeous. We went to Horseshoe Bay, which was a beautiful beach. Overall- This wasn't a bad cruise but it wasn't amazing. The food and entertainment stink. Princess is sneaky and makes up stories to get you to spend money. Some crew friendly, others mean and nasty. Overall this cruise wasn't as great as expected. For a new ship some things are broken, such as elevators and leaky pipes. If the food and entertainment were better, the cruise would have been almost perfect, but these 2 things dragged it down a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
The headline here is that Crown Princess is a beautiful ship, incredible in every detail, but there are many kinks to be worked out after the recent listing incident. We departed on July 29 from the brand spanking new Brooklyn Cruise ... Read More
The headline here is that Crown Princess is a beautiful ship, incredible in every detail, but there are many kinks to be worked out after the recent listing incident. We departed on July 29 from the brand spanking new Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Wow! What a great experience for us. We live in Manhattan, so it was literally 45 minutes from our door to our cabin. The facility is modern, and embarkation was a breeze! Amazing. We will look to New York cruises more often now. There is still some visible damage to the CP after the near disaster of several weeks ago. Some shattered window panels on the pool deck still not replaced, and several cabins still uninhabitable (pool water rushed in). Upon boarding we asked a crew member "How was it?" referring to the listing incident. They turned white as a ghost (not a reassuring sign). We also learned that the ship listed about 30 degrees, not the 15 we had read in news reports. Just a few more degrees and the ship would have capsized. OK, back to our cruise. Several elevators were also still out of service, which made wait times intolerable. Cabin: Excellent. Food: Over the top excellent. We had the best food on this cruise, and we have sailed many times. Staff: a little surly, not as friendly as past Princess cruises. But they warmed up over the week, Still stinging from their near death experience no doubt. Good: The Sanctuary, Gym (no fees for classes!), cuisine, and dining room staff Not so Good: Plumbing issues, LIFTS that well, don't Still, a great cruise. Why we will continue to sail with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Just got back from the Crown Princess cruise and was not happy. My expectations were extremely high and we were disappointed. First our cabin was a mini suite which we paid a lot of money for had no roof over balcony. We could not ... Read More
Just got back from the Crown Princess cruise and was not happy. My expectations were extremely high and we were disappointed. First our cabin was a mini suite which we paid a lot of money for had no roof over balcony. We could not believe it. We called down and they really did not want to hear about it. Next we go looking for the ice cream machines and found there were none you had to pay for the ice cream. Except from 3:30 to 4:30 you can get tutti fruitty ice cream (huge disappointment for our kids). Next we go to play golf and discovered there was broken glass from speakers on the holes and every time you played the ball rolled onto the next green. It was the worst 9 holes course we have seen. Entertainment was lacking and not enough space to seat everyone. You had to go 30 minutes early to see show and it was over in 45 minutes. The drinks were so bad they should fire the beverage manager. I highly recommend buying your own bottle and get the soda card for free tonic--absolutely no alcohol in mixed drinks. I also tried pina colada and no rum even though they said there was. The ship was a pretty ship but no grand entrance (3-story atrium). The ship rocked every night (could not believe the rocking and would question if this ship should be checked out further). I saw water from adult pool dumping out and people being pushed back and forth. We were on 4 other cruises never experienced the rocking. No animals made in our stateroom at night. Found food on our balcony thrown over on to it. I felt they were always looking for ways to charge you more money, (drinks small, medium or large) spa treatments (want to sell you things -- cookbook for sale in dining room). Getting off was very disorganized. We love Royal and will be going back to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
We embarked on the August 7th, 2006 sailing, since it was only the second sailing after the "tipping," incident, the five of us were just a little bit nervous! The ship was gorgeous, but being frequent sailors on the Celebrity ... Read More
We embarked on the August 7th, 2006 sailing, since it was only the second sailing after the "tipping," incident, the five of us were just a little bit nervous! The ship was gorgeous, but being frequent sailors on the Celebrity ships, we were surprised that when we embarked. No one met us to show us to our rooms. We asked some staff who was standing around how to get to our room, and they seemed to reluctantly point us in the direction of the elevators to our room. Our room was a minisuite, and it was extremely nice, with a full bathtub (surprise!). We went up to the Horizon Court for lunch, and again many wait staff standing around, and trying not to help too much. The Horizon Court is very chaotic, especially at breakfast, and after our first morning, we tried to eat breakfast in the Da Vinci Dining room where the service is noticeably better. The strangest thing I have seen on any ship is that the Crown has a "quiet lounging area in the front of the ship called the "sanctuary," and it is for adults only, but they charge you $15.00 for a half day just to sit up there! This is a definite turn-off to me, and Princess should think of another way to handle this area without charging for it !! Due to the chair hogging on the lower decks on sea days as mentioned by other Cruise Critics before, one might be tempted to pay for the sanctuary! But we were finally able to find some chair space on the 1st floor about half way through the cruise. Although the ship was very clean, and we liked having the option of sometimes two shows a night, my main complaint on this ship is that there was just too much nickle and dining us after paying a hefty sum for the five of us to sail on this ship. The other two people in my party had an inside cabin on the Aloha Deck, and it was extremely small. As all Princess ships do, they deduct $10.00 a day in discretionary charges for the wait staff, which you can adjust if you wish. My main contention here is that the wait staff is very apathetic when responding to the needs of the passengers,as compared to the Celebrity ships we have sailed on. It may be that they already know their tip is already built in to the system, or it may be because the staff is all new, or maybe such a short time has elapsed since the "tipping incident", and the staff is already a little burnt out. But, we did notice some of the same lapses in service on the Grand Princess five years ago. Also, in the International Cafe, there are some charges for the food, like gelato, and the petite fours. In the Vines Cafe, I am told there was a charge for the sushi. On the Infinity, (Celebrity again) last year in Alaska, there was a Sushi Buffet every night at PM for all that wanted it. The Crown did have other pluses, however, a very nice camp for the children, with a cake baking class on one of the sea days, and a Ceramics-at-Sea program for both adults and children!!!! The Tropical Buffet Night near the poolside to me wasn't much of a Tropical Night!! We hardly saw any Tropical fruit circulated that evening on the decks. The waiter went around with small trays of food that were empty every time they came to our side of the ship!!!It seemed every venue on the ship including this was to sell large amounts of alcoholic beverages to all, because drinks were in large supply at this event, while the food was in very short supply!!! Well, now to mention the ports. For Turks and Caicos, don't bother booking any excursions. We booked the one for Governor's Beach, and a tram took us about 1/4 mile from the ship for $32.00pp when the same beach was right as you came off the pier for nothing!! Other people I have met on the ship said the same about the other excursions. There is really nothing but a very run-down town in Grand Turk. The main attraction here is Margaritaville, and it is walking distance right off the ship. Many of the young and old again came here to imbibe and swim in their large pool. Many I met on the ship have said that this island in 10-20 years this may be the next Cancun !! I have nothing against drinking, but after this trip, many I observed had to give their livers a long rest after this vacation !! The rest of the ports were pretty standard, with the St Thomas taxi drivers charging $9.00 pp plus entrance fee to Megan's Bay that was swarming with people from three ships docked that day. Due to the rough seas on the return trip from Bermuda, I missed part of the final night. Our waiter in the Botticelli Dining Room all but ignored us the final night, and gave us the last pickings of the Baked Alaska!! We are not sure if this is routine for the Princess lines. We didn't remove any of the discretionary charges, thinking this would offend our waiters, but now in retrospect, we think we should have removed some, and given it in cash on the final night of the cruise. At least on Celebrity lines, the staff is all very friendly up until the close of the last night, because that is when they get their tips, and it according to the service that they have rendered. I am not sure if we would sail this line again, given the shortcomings of the service. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
My family and I had a wonderful time on this beautiful ship. DH and I are 50 and this is our 25th cruise. DS is 7 and this is his 8th cruise (if you were on board, he was the kid mentioned on the Morning Show!) We are elite level cruisers ... Read More
My family and I had a wonderful time on this beautiful ship. DH and I are 50 and this is our 25th cruise. DS is 7 and this is his 8th cruise (if you were on board, he was the kid mentioned on the Morning Show!) We are elite level cruisers on Princess. (17 cruises) We drove to the ship from CT. If you are driving please leave extra time! There were so many delays due to traffic and construction! We arrived at 3:10. We walked right up to a check in window and right onto the ship. I am glad that we didn't come on the early side. I was told that although the check in was quick at 11:30, no one was allowed on until 12:30-1 pm. Parking was a breeze. Not even half the lot was full even at that late time. We pulled up and a porter took our bags and we parked and walked back in 2 minutes. On the way home, we paid in the terminal so we were able to drive right out. It cost $162. We were in D220 in a mini suite. First I was a little put off that we did not meet our cabin steward until the next night. But, she turned out to be great. Her name is Gina and she was out for a couple of days with a bad back. But, she was very attentive. She even made my son 2 wonderful towel animals for his birthday. I did ask for these and she had no problem doing them for us. We loved our minisuite. The bedding is wonderful and very comfy. We had air conditioning problems the first night, but the engineer came promptly. The room was never cold, but it was comfortable. You have to make sure the door is shut for it to work properly though. Mostly I did not mind the open balcony. I liked being open to the stars. Although we were in view of everyone above us! And, it could not be used in the rain. but, it was a nice large size. It was never too hot out there. We started in Anytime Dining but were switched in time for the 3rd night to early traditional. I think there is a real difference in the attention you are given by the waitstaff if you have traditional vs anytime. Unless you make a point of reserving your own waiter in Anytime, the wait staff does not get to know you and your preferences. We had a wonderful team. Nikko and Johnathan were fabulous waiters and after the first night knew what we liked. And, it was nice to get to know them too! Food: We are not food snobs, but we do like good food! We usually make allowances that cruise food is NOT fine dining. It is very nice dining but for 3,000 people! I have to say that in 25 cruises, the food in the DINING ROOM was probably consistently the WORST FOOD I have ever eaten on a cruise ship on any line! It was all extremely salty and did not taste good to me. Mostly it looked pretty, but the red snapper fingers looked like a plate of eels and was rubbery. One bite and I couldn't eat any more! Even the crab legs tasted like they had been dunked in salt and the lobster was rubbery. I usually have 2-3 plates of lobster on the 2nd formal and I barely made my way through one! The starters were passable though and some were good. Desserts were delicious. I love the Love Boat Dream and also the souffles. One nigh tin anytime, the waiter served me a FLAT souffle which tasted awful. I sent it back and the new one was very tasty. Breakfast was good in the dining room. the one lunch I had there was terrible though. For breakfast, you can order crunchy french toast or eggs benedict either the evening before or wait 20 minutes for them in the morning. They were also able to make a special order of chocolate chip pancakes for my son. But, the food I ate everywhere else was wonderful! We fully enjoyed our 2 dinners in Cafe Caribe. The Provencale night and the Indonesian Rijstaffel were both excellent. The pizza and the grill were yummy too. Sabatini's was fabulous (the lobster there was perfect!) I loved the International cafe. The marinated shrimp, the paninis and the spinach and mushroom salad were fabulous! And, the COOKIES!!! They no longer serve them piping hot because someone got burned. But sometimes you would get one that was a little warm. Cool they are very good cookies. Warm, they are amazing! One of the workers gave me some hot ones from the back after I begged and they were the best cookies I have ever eaten! They put the chocolate chip cookies out at 11. If you go there at 10:45, and ask politely someone might bring them to you to from the back (when they are still warm!) Sabatini's was just lovely. The food was perfect there! We had Valentin as our waiter. And, we had our dessert in Adagio. I loved the drinks menu in Adagio too. We loved the acts in the Piazza area. A great new Princess innovation! All of the demos were here too. Always something going on here and we loved it. Especially the first two days of the trip that were rainy! Entertainment: Sarge was hilarious! He was very funny and his life story is very inspirational. I know he is having a one man show in Lincoln Center as part of a comedy series and he will be in a movie too. Here's one of his jokes about the ship "the Crown Princess is the first in the fleet where there are no gratuities needed. The ship already tips for you!" Uber Rossi did amazing physical comedy (although his jokes fell short) We enjoyed Kenny Cabral the juggler and also The Cool Magic Dude in both the atrium area and at their shows. Kenny Byrd is a great ventriloquist although I thought his jokes to be a little off color for a family show. There were a few other people we did not get to see. I was so glad to see the level of entertainment on Princess ships raised for this voyage. No octogenarian harmonica players! All the entertainers were very enjoyable! Production shows: the singers and dancers are incredibly talented and worked their hearts out. I was glad to see the dancers were more mature than usual (meaning they did not look like they were 16!) the singers were great! Very high energy from everyone on stage! I did not love "What a Swell Party" though. That was the one with the Cole Porter songs. I liked Motor City. They had everyone singing along. They did a great job with Destination Anywhere. (Although for me no show has ever been as good as Mystique -the one with the Chinese acrobats!) Don't bother buying the Savvy Traveler on board the ship. These are not big shopping ports. The "freebies" are pretty junky. i had a book from my last cruise and there wasn't much to get in these ports. On the Dawn last year they gave a spa discount with the book, but not on the Crown. The stores on the ship sold the same old stuff. The Crown shirts were poor quality for tee shirts. I prefer to find a nice deck chair away from the crowds and read my book. I never had a problem finding a nice place to sit. The chair hogs congregate around the pool area. We tried the ballroom dancing once and it was a lot of fun. Very well attended. They have the Ceramics at Sea set up in a nice area on Deck 15 between the 2 pools. It was very popular. I had been looking forward to scrapbook classes but I was told they ran out of supplies after the 2nd cruise. We LOVED Movies Under the Stars. I didn't see anything during the day. If you did, you could purchase a headset for $2.50. It is yours for the entire cruise (and I have heard you can keep it for your next cruise too) Some day time movies had subtitles too. At night, MUTS is transformed. They put covers on the deck chairs and give you a cozy blanket. There is free popcorn and the buffet, pizza and grill are all close by and of course the bar is open. The sound was good and it was such a fun and relaxing thing to do! We had a couples massage in a cabana in the Sanctuary. It was heavenly. You can sit in the Sanctuary for an hour after at no charge. I also went back to the Sanctuary for an afternoon. I paid the $15 without complaint. It was worth it to me. It was very quiet, the seats are very comfortable and the service was excellent. You can get several menu items up there that are not available elsewhere also. My son spent a lot of time in the Pelicans room (ages 3-7) He had a great time. Always something to do. Lots of children on board and they were all very well behaved. The hours of the kids club are 9-12, 2-5 and 7-10. After 10 you can pay for babysitting ($5 an hour) There were 2 kids dinners while we were on board. Port days the center was open 9-5, by appointment. The older group were the shockwaves (8-12) and the teens were Off Limits. I felt the staff in the kids room was very professional and they took very good care of the children. My son had his 7th birthday on board. The staff made a nice fuss over him. He loved it. The staff on this ship is excellent. A little excitement on our trip: A false Man Overboard report was called in. They spent 2 hours searching the water. All activities on board were ceased and everyone had to go back to their cabins for a roll call. Luckily, no one was missing. The prankster was caught and he and his family were off the ship the next day. A comment on the "Brownie" video. I didn't even know it happened until I read about it on CC. Here's what we did in the ports: Grand Turk: Nice sunny weather. We were going to take a cab to a beach. But, once we saw the nice beach right there at the pier we stayed. We swam in the Margarita pool too. Being there at Margaritaville almost felt like it was a private island stop (where you had to pay if you wanted food!) There were a few stalls of Island type merchandise, a few jewelry stores and a duty free store. We had to be on board at 1:30 so it was too short of a day! Ocho Rios: We used Trevor Hudlin for a private tour. He had a family emergency, so he said a substitute (we knew this in advance) A very nice gentleman. We shared out tour with another family from CC. We went tubing. It was so much fun! And, we were there before the crowds. I highly recommend this activity. He then took us to the Wassi pottery factory. It was interesting. We got a pottery demo. My son was allowed to make his own little pot on the wheel. We also went to the Taj Mahal shopping area which I didn't care for and for a scenic ride. WE WERE NEVER SOLICITED TO BUY DRUGS or bothered in any way by people looking for tips. Warning! The reports from past cruisers is really true. People buy drugs and then the officials know exactly who purchased it. A teenager was pulled out of the line and he had drugs on him. Clearly he was pointed out. He was arrested and he had to stay overnight. Supposedly he was having a hearing the next day and was going to fly home. I heard from a friend of his that his family did NOT leave the ship. He was 19 and they continued on their cruise and left him there to take care of things himself! The teen who told me this also said he knew of one other person who was pulled out of line but did not know if he was arrested and was off the ship. It really looks like a scam where the drug dealers tell the officials who has bought from them! Grand Cayman: We did the catamaran with Capt Bryan to the stingrays and then 2 snorkel stops. We loved it (even though it rained on the way back) I highly recommend this independent tour! It was reasonably priced and there were only 20 of us onboard. A note to all: Write your name on your waterproof camera! mine got mixed up with someone else's and I don't know if I came off with the right one! I have to get it developed later today. Port Canaveral: We went on the Kennedy Space Center tour. It was quick and we would have liked more time but it is sufficient to get a good overview. Here are some tips! Get up just a few minutes earlier and get in the first 2 rows in the meeting area (Princess theater) This will put you in the front of the line. We were the very first people through customs (the computers weren't even on yet) and we were on the first bus to the space center. We had a wonderful guide on the bus. BTW, make sure you don't have any nail files or knives because they will be confiscated! We got to KSC first and had time to look at the exhibits before we went into the IMAX movie (and early show just for our group) In the IMAX, sit all the way to the right so you are first out and do not have a long wait for the buses that take you all around the center and around the launch pads. Then, you will be the first to the exhibit center and will have much more time there to look around! It was a pricey tour, but we had no crowds and I am glad we went! Disembarkation: We had a later color. Since we drove we were in no hurry. We had breakfast in the Davinci on the later side. When we did get off, it was quick and easy. You can wait in a line and either get a blue cart that you can take yourself or an orange cart with a porter. You can prepay the parking before you leave the terminal. Driving out of the terminal area was the longest part! Overall, we loved the cruise! I prefer a smaller ship though. Everyone on board was wonderful, but in my opinion the level of service and the amenities are even better on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Hi well we are back a week or so from the new Crown Princess a 9 day Caribbean cruise out of Brooklyn NY. First off the new Brooklyn pier is so much better then the piers in the city ! Getting on and off is so easy now .If your coming from ... Read More
Hi well we are back a week or so from the new Crown Princess a 9 day Caribbean cruise out of Brooklyn NY. First off the new Brooklyn pier is so much better then the piers in the city ! Getting on and off is so easy now .If your coming from the city ,the best way to get there is take the Brooklyn bridge to Atlantic ave .Make a right on Atlantic ave. and just follow the signs to the pier it is very easy and fast way to get there. We were booked on the july 2nd cruise .but had to cancel it do to illness in the family .And rebooked it for the 25th of august cruise.It work out better for us in the long run .On the july 2nd cruise is the one where they put the fuel in the wrong tank,so the ship didn't go out until 2:30 am.So they missed i think the best port of the cruise Grand Turk. We myself wife and 2 boys 14 & 15 left our house in NJ just after rush our on friday the 25th the first day of the cruise at 9:50am and was in our cabin just after 10:30 am .We got our bags at around 12pm..We then went up check out the ship .The lounges seem much the same as on the Grand Princess .The pool areas are i think the best .On the Crown there are 4 of them 2 for adults and the 2 in the center of the ship is for everyone .One they use for movies under the stars .Witch i happen to think ia a great new idea ! Our Cabin We had cabin E102 all the way forward .We never book one that far forward .But it was the only outside quad cabin left and we wanted this date . You did feel more movement in this cabin then you would in one in mid ship.The cabin it self was very roomy .But the shower was real small !!Our cabin steward was great The food This was our 6th time on Princess and 63rd over all cruise .We had anytime dinning .But wanted 2nd seating .But didn't"t get it because we booked late .Anytime dinning was good . We only had dinner in those dinning rooms 4 time on this cruise .We use our cruise like resorts now being that we go alot ! Meaning we only use the anytime on seas days and one formal night !! The food we had in the anytime dinning rooms are good to very good .We don"t want big dinners every night now ,and we like the fact of not rushing for dinner .On the other nights we eat at the Horizon court .That's where you could have breakfast and lunch but. You can also have dinner there .We did the other 5 nights .The dinner there were hit or miss .Some nights the dinners we great other nights the food we very blend . But we never had a bad meal .You could always find something good to have .One thing more the Horizon court is not as good as it use to be .it's on par with RCCI"s Windjammer cafe now .good not great .The Pizza was the best we have had on a cruise ship in some time GREAT !! The shows The shows for the week were very good .The main show room seems a little small .But it isn't"t .The Crown Princess has one more deck of cabins then the Grand Princess dose .So more people .We did see more lines but it wasn't"t that bad . The ports for the week were Bermuda San Juan St Thomass and Grand Turk .and 4 seas days Been to all the ports many times but not Grand Turk witch we like the best.The hurricane didn't"t get in the way of our cruise .It was a little choppy the last day back to Brooklyn .But the weather the hole week long couldn't"t have been any better. All and all we had a great time on the Crown and would do it again .But we had our 2 boys with us 14 & 15 .Princess is not a great cruise for young teens .Unlike Carnival and RCCI is .We could see them with they friend getting board .Not much for them to do on this ship .But younger kids it looks like would have a great time .Princess is still a more laid back cruise like always .Good for familys with young kids not young teens . I think the food still good has slip some since Carnival took over .We were on the Carnival Miracle last august and the food seem so much better then on this cruise .I think Carnival is spending more money on the Carnival brand then on the other cruise lines in the Carnival family of cruise lines .We also saw it on HAL to on the Zuiderdam !! don't get me wrong the food is good ,just not as good as it use to be .Well thats it we are booked to go on the Empress of the seas in Feb 26th doing a 11 day Southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan great ports .and then in august 21th a 2 day cruise on the Regal Empress to Nassau a reunion cruise with friends .And latter that week we will be on the brand new Liberty of the seas out of Miami doing the W.Caribbean .In 08 we are going to do the Tahitian Princess doing the south Pacific . Ken G.........> Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Cruise Review  Crown Princess  August 16, 2006 Have spent the last week recovering from a couple of injuries I sustained while climbing the water falls at Dunns River. Hope some of the information in this review will be helpful to ... Read More
Cruise Review  Crown Princess  August 16, 2006 Have spent the last week recovering from a couple of injuries I sustained while climbing the water falls at Dunns River. Hope some of the information in this review will be helpful to those cruising on the Crown Princess in the near future. I apologize for the length but I have to admit, I took a lot of notes during the cruise Embarkation and Disembarkation  We arrive at Red Hook at about 11:00 a.m. after flying in from DC. We checked in with no wait, and went to the common waiting area where we met my BIL and SIL. I believe we started boarding around 12:30 and we able to go right to the cabin  went to the Horizon Buffet for lunch and upon our return, our luggage was at the cabin and we unpacked. We selected Express Disembarkation (where you leave with your own luggage) and we stayed in our cabin on the balcony until 8:30 when our number was called. We were off the ship and through Customs (with no wait) by 9:00. We took a limo to LaGuardia and arrived there by 9:45. Cabin  we were in a mini suite with balcony - D209 next to my BIL and SIL  we requested the door between the balconies was opened, and this was a nice way to visit with one another. A couple of mornings we ordered room service on the balcony  it was delightful. Although the balcony was uncovered, we never had a problem with flying objects from above and even met some nice people on the balconies above us. Our room steward, Krys, was efficient and our cabin was serviced regularly throughout the day. He was very responsive if we needed anything. As for the cabin  entering the cabin, there was a walk-in closet with enough closet space and plenty of hangers to hang our clothes with room to spare, a shelf unit (where the safe was) with plenty of shelf space for clothing. The bathroom had a tub, which had more room than a cabin with a shower  the bathroom was compact, but a nice size. Adjacent to that was the bedroom  king size bed with two end tables with two drawers each, a mini refrigerator, TV and desk area  the hair dryer was housed above the desk (there was room under the beds to store suitcases). A seating area was past the bedroom, with a full sized couch (pull out sofa), table and chair and another flat screen TV (note-one remote for both TVs and occasionally when changing channels, the remote would turn on the other TV). We did notice that you could not check your shipboard account via the TV  something I missed from previous cruises. Next to the seating area was the balcony  two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, a bistro table and smaller table. I have to say the couch came in handy as I sustained a back injury and it was nice to lie on the couch and take the pressure off my back for a little while. The mattress on the bed was the nicest I've had on a cruise, and the linens were definitely more top of the line  both sheets and towels. We asked for extra pillows and our request was filled without delay. Dining Options  we tried for several months to select Traditional as we have enjoyed that on our past five cruises  however, we were unsuccessful getting off the wait list. As a result, we went to the Maitre'D immediately after boarding the ship and requested at dinner time of 8:15 p.m., same restaurant, same table, same waiter. We were assigned to the DaVinci Restaurant and our request was met. We enjoyed the fact that we could enter the restaurant in the With Reservation line and not have to wait while those in the Without a Reservation line were sometimes given a pager and told to return when they were notified a table was ready for them. We had the same wait staff every night, and although there were problems at times with some food orders, Alex and Sergio were very pleasant and we enjoyed our dinner time with them. As far as the food selection in the dining room  I have to say that I was a little disappointed  several nights there was but one entrEe that appealed to me (and I'm not a picky eater). The food I ate was quite good, but I was disappointed in the selection. The lobster was well prepared, the beef dishes I had were delicious, there was a fiery shrimp offering that was excellent. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants. The seafood buffet offered at the sail-a-way was unbelievable  king crag legs and lobster claws already cracked and waiting for to be eaten. Later in the week, a seafood buffet was offered in Cafe Caribe and we went there for an appetizer serving of crab legs, shrimp and lobster claws before our regular 8:15 dinner. I have to mention, when I ordered hot soups in Davinci  the temperature of the soup was very hot (a wonderful treat), not lukewarm as is the case in some restaurants. I ordered chilled fruit soups on a number of occasions, and they were also very good. Although I found something every night, the desserts were nothing to write home about  although I did enjoy the Love Boat chocolate dessert once (very rich) and there was a nice meringue custard dessert that was very light following a heavy beef meal. Others in our group enjoyed the souffles on a number of occasions. Horizon Buffet  nice selection of food, but the food display was very disorganized, the traffic flow was not well thought out and caused many bottlenecks. At breakfast, you could request specially prepared omelets, although that wasn't a well known fact. There were no trays  the plates were larger than normal, however, it did seem like you'd have to get your food, find a table, and then go to find a beverage. There was a coffee cart that was utilized throughout the eating area for refills, which was a nice touch, however, the coffee served on the majority of the ship is made from a syrup, and many people complained about the coffee. There was a place to find good coffee, listed under the International Cafe section. Sometimes there were no tables available in the Horizon Buffet area and we would wander to the Cafe Caribe or outside on deck  we could always find a place to sit. We did try the dining room for one breakfast  the selections were good and the blueberry pancakes were awesome. International Cafe  located on Deck 5 in the Piazza - specialty coffees, premium coffee, coffee drinks, hot chocolate, and teas were available for an additional charge  this is where the coffee card came in handy. $27.60 for 15 specialty coffees and unlimited brewed coffee  please note  there is a brewed coffee (not made from syrup) which you could get at the International Cafe for free anytime. There was also a premium Blue Mountain coffee available there for an additional charge. Once our party discovered the Blue Mountain coffee, two coffee cards were purchased. The coffee drinkers in our group all indicated the taste of the Blue Mountain coffee was far superior to anything they had on the ship (restaurants) and better than the free brewed coffee at the International Cafe. Not being a coffee drinker, I tried the hot chocolate once, but wasn't impressed and used my own packets I brought from home. There were free food offerings at the International Cafe as well  pastries in the morning, sandwiches and salads in the afternoon, various items in the evening  there were also specialty food offerings that were available for an additional charge. Our group used to go to the Cafe to get a to go cup of Blue Mountain coffee before heading off for breakfast. Remember to sample the chocolate chip cookies  made several times a day  and if you are lucky, you might get warm ones if you hit the cafe at the right time  they really are worth the calories. While at the cafe, throughout the day, various musical performances and demonstrations were offered in Piazza area. The classical quartet was fabulous as were the other performers  it was a nice place to read a book, listen to the music and enjoy a beverage. Entertainment  the three production shows were the best I've seen of any cruises I've been on. The singers and dancers were excellent  the lead singers had commanding voices and the dancers were very talented - as a mother of a former dancer, these performers were well trained and we were treated to some phenomenal dance combinations. There was a comedian, Sarge, who we saw on two occasions  he was a riot at both shows. I don't think I stopped laughing during his entire time on stage. I really appreciated that his act wasn't full of curse words  I've occasionally have left shows on other lines when the comic was using too much blue material. Looking forward to Sarge's national tour beginning in January 07. We saw a very talented ventriloquist (Kenny Bryd) and juggler (Randy Cabral)  both were entertaining, although they both could use a little work on their material  the ventriloquist was amazing as I never saw his mouth move as his manipulated his various characters. Singer Paul Emmanual had a wonderful voice and I wish I had seen his earlier show. Activities  there seemed to be a good mix of activities for all age groups. I attended several of the bridge lectures by Janis and David Waxman (being a novice, I picked up a lot of good information during these lectures). I was disappointed that so many of the Scholarship@Sea offerings included an additional fee  I would have loved to have taken some computer course, but wasn't willing to pay the $25 for something I can get at work for free. I understand the need for additional fees for pottery pieces with the Ceramics@Sea classes, and that seemed like a popular class. I was disappointed by the port lectures (historical-Dr. Annette Logan, not shopping) and left during the first one, never to return. On previous cruises on other lines, I've been very impressed with the subject matter and lecturer, but this one felt like a personal travelogue by the presenter. We did watch a couple of movies which were previously released that I had wanted to see but didn't get to the theater (Inside Man is excellent). MUTS is a great idea, however, the nights when movies I wanted to see were shown, there were other activities going on that I wanted to do, so I didn't utilize MUTS. Please note, during the day, you have a rent an earpiece for $2.50 (for the whole cruise) in order to hear the movies (though also presented in closed caption)  this is a good concept so as not to bother those passengers on the various decks and pool areas. At night, the audio was played for the movie offerings and the earpiece wasn't necessary  they even provide fresh popcorn while you're in your lounge chair watching the movie. Casino  my husband and BIL spent a lot of time in the casino playing black jack and Texas Hold Em  as a matter of fact, my husband came in 2nd in the first black jack tournament! That will get you a hat, beer cozy and can of beer, and a T-shirt (he would have preferred to win the $500 jackpot). Both of them commented that the casino was the largest they have seen on a cruise ship  and they both enjoyed that there were two tables available for Texas Hold Em. Ports of Call  Grand Turk  we booked a Princess excursion, Bike, Hike and Swim  although there was very little hiking on this tour  the guide was very informative with information about Grand Turk and although the tour indicated that you should be in good physical shape to participate (unfortunately I'm not), however, I was able to keep up with the rest of the group - the biking was on fairly level roadways  I'm not sure how much territory we covered  and we had a brief time for swimming  the water was crystal clear and you could see fish in the water  nice water temperature and refreshing after biking. I would recommend the tour. We went to a pool/beach area across from where the ship was docked. This was a huge pool, with swim up bar (although people complained about the price of the drinks). There is a shopping area near the pool for those who don't want to go swimming. Ocho Rios, Jamaica  we hired a private company, Barrett Adventures, for our stay in Jamaica  we made our own itinerary  Dunns River Falls, water tubing, an excursion to an authentic Jamaican restaurant, Wassi Pottery Factory and a brief visit to Taj Mahal shopping area to buy Blue Mountain coffee. We were off to the falls and arrived well before the busloads of cruise passengers arrived so it wasn't as crowded as in pictures I've seen. While climbing the falls, I fell on several occasions and sprained my ankle, got lots of bumps, scraps, and bruises, and fell and hurt my tail bone (not one else in our group sustained any injuries). Despite the injuries, I loved climbing the falls and would consider doing it again. Our tour guide, Carolyn Barrett (owner of the company), climbed the falls with us and took a lot of digital pictures of our group. We then went tubing in a nearby waterway  the water was cool (which was good for my ankle) with several small rapids. Note - we were told the rafting trip would last 45 minutes, but it was closer to 25 minutes  but it was enjoyable just the same. She then took us to find authentic Jamaican jerk chicken  about 30 minutes drive  at which time the rains began. I'm really glad we did the water activities early. The food was delicious  two orders of jerk chicken, festival (sweetened bread) and bammy (made from the casaba plant) all for $7.00  cokes were $1.00 each. The food was very good and interesting. During our drive to the Wassi Pottery factory, our guide provided a wonderful travelogue  lots of historical information and general information. We arrived at the pottery factory shortly after it had closed  Carolyn asked if they could open the shop up and the owner willingly agreed. The pottery is beautiful and we purchased some vases and plates. The pottery is very unique and if you arrive earlier in the day, you can see various pieces in production. Apparently the shop isn't normally opened on Sunday, but will open if a cruise ship is in port. We ended up at the Taj Mahal shopping center where our guide bargained in two shops to get better pricing on the Blue Mountain coffee  one shop refused to come down in price, and the other was very accommodating  our group bought 7 pounds of coffee as a result. We were back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. Check out her website  www.barrettadventures.com  a really accommodating tour guide. Grand Cayman  we were at Grand Cayman on an earlier cruise in April so we just took a taxi to 7 Mile Beach and stayed for a couple of hours before the weather turned threatening. The water is very clear, but there were more large rocks in the ocean than we experienced in April, and it too awhile to find a sandy spot to stand on  there was no undertow that day and I stayed in the water pretty much the entire time in the same spot. Back to Georgetown for some shopping, but did little of that as the weather became more and more threatening so we went back to the ship. As an aside, in April, we swam with the stingrays and really enjoyed that excursion. It's worth the price of the trip. Port Canaveral  did not leave the ship  have been to the space flight center before and would recommend the trip for those who haven't been. Tonight was a formal night, and we were invited to attend the Captain's Circle Party before dinner as we have traveled on Princess before. It amazed me  there were 3 cruisers who were recognized for the number of cruises they have taken  47, 31 and 24! Tonight was the champagne waterfall  this started at 11:30 p.m. and at 12:30 a.m. I gave up and went back to the cabin  but we enjoyed the dancing antics of our waiter, Alex, who is a real dancing machine. Galley Tour  some cruise lines have eliminated this tour, and I'm glad to see that Princess still permits it. It amazes me to see the size of the galley (one of many on the ship) and to see the amount of food that it takes to feed an army of 3100 passengers. The Executive Chef and Maitre'D provided an cooking demonstration before the tour, and they both were quite comical. Although there was no food production taking place during the tour, it was still interesting to see the various stations (and I have to admit, I'm glad there wasn't any food preparation taking place for food safety and sanitary reasons). Only one incident on board ship worthy of note  a false man overboard report. I'm not going to comment on who called the report in, but I must say the crew handled the event with utmost professionalism and the captain made sure to communicate with passengers on a regular basis. From start to finish, it probably lasted 2 hours  yes, we were at dinner when we were asked to return to our cabins, and we returned to our table once we were given the all clear. There were a couple of issues I noticed during this time which could be addressed by a root cause analysis from a risk management viewpoint, but we really appreciated the on-going communication from the captain and cruise director throughout the event. I know this post is long, but I tried to address some questions I've seen on Cruise Critic over the past several months. The ship is large, beautiful, and during our time on board, the seas were smooth with very little waves. IMHO, I still rate the food on Celebrity better than on Princess (presentation and taste). I think I will select Traditional seating whenever I book my next cruise. This is a large ship, and with 3100 passengers, we were able to find areas that we not too crowded  there's enough activity if you are on the go all the time, and yet many areas to find solace if you so choose. There were areas of the ship I never did find (but my exploring was not up to my usual as I was contending with some injuries which slowed me down a little). I loved the mini suite with balcony, and would definitely choose that again. As most places we go, there are some people who think they are the only ones on the ship, and forget that other people are standing in line waiting for something and they'd march to the front and expect to get service. For the most part, fellow passengers were friendly and considerate of each other. We all have our own opinions and experiences, which is evident on this message board. Please accept my dissertation for what it is  my own thoughts on our 9 days at sea. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
We bravely boarded the "Tilt-a-Whirl" otherwise known as the Crown Princess a scant 2 weeks after its little mishap. This brand new ship, twin to the Caribbean Princess, is beautiful and spacious. We always cruise in an aft ... Read More
We bravely boarded the "Tilt-a-Whirl" otherwise known as the Crown Princess a scant 2 weeks after its little mishap. This brand new ship, twin to the Caribbean Princess, is beautiful and spacious. We always cruise in an aft balcony room to enjoy the privacy, quiet, and hypnotizing wake that aft cabins provide. Also, the balconies are twice as deep as star and port side balconies for the same price. Our balcony, unfortunately, had a huge 3 foot wide metal support beam on it, as did 2 balconies on each aft deck. Therefore, for the same price as our neighbors, we dealt with a huge obstructed view whereas they did not. Totally unfair. Our agent assumed the obstructed view was a flagpole or something trivial. It was, however, hugely significant. Princess refuses to recategorize these rooms (they are BB) because of what they say is a larger balcony space. Not much good if you have to rearrange your furniture each time you use your balcony to move around your table, chairs, and loungers, depending on what your activity out there is. Maneuvering the furniture and my toes around this beam was truly treacherous. Leaving from this new Brooklyn port is fabulous. Very smooth embarkation. As expected, the waters were a bit choppier than leaving from a Florida port, especially coming home following Hurricane Ernesto up the easter seaboard. We were rocking and rolling and so were our tummies. The Captain made haste despite the swells and we dealt with it. New feature which this "foodie" absolutely loved was the Cafe Caribe in the aft of the Horizon Court. The Horizon Court was its usual fare but the Cafe Caribe featured a different Caribbean cuisine every evening starting at 5PM. Catch a bite there before your 8:30 P.M. dinner seating. It was fabulous. The other big hit is the International Cafe at the bottom of the Atrium. Offering up warm baked cookies at 3 A.M. was a big hit with my group. Service during our reserved seating was ok. I felt there were plenty crew in training. Ordered items went missing, beverages were not waiting for us as I am accustomed to, a little disorganized. Our cabin steward must have also been newer, as we received NO towel animals from this kind young man, even with a child in the room. Movies Under the Stars is a fantastic feature, although none of us were able to stay awake the 2 times we tried this cinema extravaganza. The lounge cushies and blankies were too comfortable. Not even fresh popped popcorn could keep us awake. Beware of the vent grates on the upper most deck near the satellite balls. My 11 year old tripped and fell onto it during our sailaway resulting in 3 stitches to his badly lacerated knee. The medical staff were stellar, even though I was presented with over $400 in medical bills and missed sailing under the Verrezzano Bridge! I truly felt this to be the ship's responsibility and the bills are in dispute. Let's see what happens. bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
From the EXQUISITE Crown Princess. EXQUISITE Crown Princess. Beautiful ship. Cabin was gorgeous and roomy. Plenty of closet and shelf space. This is the first time I could totally unpack and hang up my husband's and my clothing. ... Read More
From the EXQUISITE Crown Princess. EXQUISITE Crown Princess. Beautiful ship. Cabin was gorgeous and roomy. Plenty of closet and shelf space. This is the first time I could totally unpack and hang up my husband's and my clothing. AWESOME bedding. We did ask the cabin stewart for the eggcrate padding and he quickly added it to the bedding. Thanks Regie. The only downfall to the cabins (everyone was complaining) was the shower's size. You'll see what I mean. 20" TV in our cabin. DH loved that, not the channel selection though. Good and plenty movies just a limited amount of channels. As I said the ship is awesome and what a smooth ride. The crew were great (only a few could use some happy juice or something). But the majority were wonderful and aimed to please. Entertainment was alright. Robert Smith. was awesome at poolside and at Explorer's. Sarge was wonderful! We attended only two of the shows in the Princess Theater and they were good. We also enjoyed the Crew's International Show. Just wish the Cruise Director's Staff would allow more of the crew to perform. Only four crew members performed. But in all it was good. The bands that performed were also good. We went into the casino a couple of times and just for fun played a few slots. Like I said, just for fun. Dining: We mostly ate in Cafe Caribe. We did go to the dining rooms Michelangelo's and Davinci and they were good also. But the food in Cafe Caribe was wonderful, no waiting, we watched the sunset, lots of variety, eat at your own pace because you served yourself. If you found something you really enjoyed, just serve yourself a little more if you like. Wine and other drinks were offered by a evening dressed wait staff. It was great! We just enjoyed Cafe Caribe as a dinner option. Horizons and Cafe Caribe was also the choice for breakfast though it did get a little boring for my dh with the same choices day after day. (He's a picky eater.) But to me the choices were many and plentiful so don't be put off by that. Pizza was great, especially during MUTS. Trident Grills burger and fries were good. Especially the fries. Haven't had fries that good in a while. Make sure you have the cheesecake in the dining rooms. We would go down from Cafe Caribe (deck 15) to one of the dining rooms just to have the cheesecake for desert. It wasn't a problem at all. And we did have the chocolate chip cookies everyone raved about. They we're good! It was hard keeping dh away from them. Ports: Grand Turk What a beautiful day we had there. Hot and sunny. We didn't do an excursion. We just ventured out on our own. This island seems to be up and coming. Margaritaville was very nice. The swim up pool was a blast. The beach was nice, but rocky. I think it has potential in the future. Ocho Rios We've been to Jamaica many times so since it was a cloudy and very humid day we did some shopping, visited Margaritaville there and headed back to the ship where we could really enjoy this jewel. Grand Cayman We did an independent city tour. We stopped by the turtle farm and also visited the place called Hell. We were told that the snorkeling was great there but we don't snorkel. Port Canaveral Been here many times also so we didn't venture off the ship. Again a great day just taking our time enjoying all the ship has to offer, leisurely lunches, plenty of open lounges, hot tubs and pools. Crew was falling over themselves waiting on the passengers who stayed on the ship and there were quite a few. MUTS (Movies Under The Stars) We both loved it! We watched quite a few movies under the stars (even though one movie "Inside Man" was cut short( will tell you about it below). During the day the movies played without sound but they made available for $2.50 an small receiver with headphones that worked great. The decor of the ship is just awesome. There are still a few little minor quirks that need to be worked out. Tip: Bring air freshener for your bathrooms. ;-) Embarkation: Brooklyn Red Hook Cruise Terminal We live in NJ so we took the train over then took a cab to the cruise terminal. Princess may have a small problem and I reported this to one of the Princess employee's because in trying to catch a cab outside of Penn Station on 7th Ave, I remembered CC members posting to make sure the cab driver knows how to get to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Well we asked ten (10) cab drivers along with the man who assists you in getting a cab if they knew how to get there and they all said "No". Finally one cab driver stepped up and said he knew exactly where it was and gladly took us. He told us that all of the cab drivers know how to get there, they just don't want to go there. My husband and I were guessing that they didn't want to go at that hour (it was about 9:30 am) because it was so busy in midtown. But still this doesn't hold good for Princess. A Princess employee said she would definitely report it. (More below) Embarkation: We finally get to the cruise terminal and we see passengers who have just gotten off the Crown. Everything runs pretty smoothly at the new cruise terminal. Areas are cordoned off for everything whether you are dropping off, picking up, getting a car service or taxi. Very organized. We were dropped off by our taxi, fare was $25.00 including the bridge toll and because he was nice enough to step forward and bring us we tipped him $10.00. Got inside the terminal where Princess is located, we were early so they weren't signing anyone in yet. While we were waiting this is when I had the opportunity to speak to a Princess employee about our taxi situation. I loved the restrooms, they were unisex. So the men had to wait too. LOL Passengers started lining up, we went through security screening, they scanned all of the baggage you carried with you and then we got in line to be issued our sail and cruise cards, and whatever else they needed to get you signed in. (ex. your passport, etc.) We were given a number and shown an area to wait to board the ship. Nice big spacious area with 52" flat screen TV's to watch. The only thing is I would suggest everyone bring a sweater or jacket. As warm as it was the day we were leaving it was freezing in that area. The air conditioner was blowing so hard the ladies hair was being blown in all directions. After awhile we searched for a corner to get out of the draft. Other than that the cruise terminal was great. We all then boarded the Crown Princess when they called our number (we had number one, early birds). Disembarkation: We got all of our forms and instructions a day ahead of time so we filled out what we needed to and tagged our luggage accordingly. We were doing Express Disembarkation so we had navy tags with the number 3. At first we headed down to the Explorer's Lounge to await our number to be called. But in my husband's travels he found out that many of the Express passenger's waiting to get off were down on Deck 6 so we headed down there. Quite a few anxious passenger's waiting to get off but we all waited patiently. They let the Platinum passengers off first and then they started call the Express passengers by number. We went right through customs with no problem. Were directed to the taxi stand across the street to awaiting taxis. Plenty of security around and by 8:50 we were at Penn Station waiting for our train. Walked in the door at our house at 10:00 am. For us this was a wonderful cruise for our first time with Princess Cruises and we look forward to sailing with them again. Oh....yeah, while we were waiting for the ship to dock at the port, I spoke to a brand new ship's crew member. Said it was his first ship and sailing experience. He is from England and every time the ship comes into the NY Harbor he loves to be on deck watching the Statue Of Liberty as she goes by. Gives him a thrill every time. He also said that he sailed on the Crown Princess out of Italy! Wow, what an experience he said. He got to be involved in all of the celebrations. He is also going to sail out of Italy again when Crown Princesses sister ship "Emerald" sails out next March 2007. Looking forward to our next cruise on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Background information -- Were 57 and 53 and our children are 20 and 16. This was our seventh cruise and our first on Princess after 3 on NCL and 3 on Holland America. Were pretty low-key and love HAL, but HAL is no longer sailing in the ... Read More
Background information -- Were 57 and 53 and our children are 20 and 16. This was our seventh cruise and our first on Princess after 3 on NCL and 3 on Holland America. Were pretty low-key and love HAL, but HAL is no longer sailing in the Caribbean in the summertime, so we thought wed try Princess. It has a great reputation, and we thought it would be fun to try a larger ship and anytime dining. Travel to port of embarkation -- We always like to arrive at the port city a day ahead of time, both to ease stress and give us an extra day of vacation. We drove to Manhattan the day before and treated ourselves to an Italian dinner and a Broadway show. We then drove to Red Hook the next morning, checking out at 10 a.m. Despite directions from both Cunard and Mapquest websites, we got lost (signage was very poor) but eventually got to the port by 11 a.m. There was plenty of parkingin fact, when we sailed, the lot was only half full. Check-in was smooth as silk, and then we waited comfortably in the terminal until boarding began shortly after noon. Our rooms were immediately available. Hotel info -- We stayed the night before at the Hampton Inn Manhattan Times Square North. It was very clean and comfortable, a short walk to restaurants and Broadway theaters, and offered a very nice complementary breakfast in the morning. Stateroom -- We stayed in Baja 246, a standard balcony room, and our children were right across the hall in Baja 248, a standard inside room. The Baja deck was a good locationmidway between decks 7 and 15, where most of the action is, so we were able to walk rather than take elevators. Our rooms were immaculate. In addition to beds, our rooms were furnished with two night tables with sizable storage space, a desk with some more storage space, a small cabinet that held a small refrigerator, a desk chair, a chair with arms, and a small round table. The staterooms were small (and the bathrooms miniscule) and the chairs and space not really conducive to relaxing. We had a long closet rod with plenty of hangers but just a few small shelves, so we hung as many clothes as possibleincluding T-shirtson hangers. Our balcony comfortably accommodated two chairs and a large round table, all in wire meshperfect for a relaxing room service breakfast. Ship info -- The Crown Princess is the most beautiful ship weve been on in seven cruises. Take a special note of the flooringthe carpets and tiles in the public areas are simply magnificent! Many of the public areas are finished in warm, light wood tones that add a real note of refined elegance. The Crown was more than twice as big as any ship wed ever cruised before, but it has so many public areas that it never felt crowded (except in the pool areas, which we avoided). We all agreed, however, that we like smaller ships better. We found it hard to remember where everything is located, and its quite a hike to get anywhere. I wore a pedometer on one day at sea, and I walked over seven miles! Just getting from our room at the forward end to the Caribe Cafe for an early morning cup of coffee was a quarter mile walk (taking the stairs rather than the elevator). For such a large ship, however, we were disappointed by the lack of quiet indoor spaces, shaded outdoor spaces, and a game room. We love to read and play board games on cruises, and we had a hard time finding comfortable spaces to do this. We were also disappointed that the outdoor promenade deck is so narrowit made brisk walking difficult. The new piazza area at the bottom of the atrium is a wonderful innovation! Princess keeps it hopping with fun demonstrations, street performers, and elegant live music. The International Cafe is open 24 hours and has wonderful food not available anywhere else on the ship, including donuts and pastries in the morning, and salads and sandwiches as lunchtime, and awesome fresh baked cookies most of the day. The Vines wine bar is also a nice innovation. Twice we treated ourselves to a pre-dinner flight of three wine samples, which was great fun. One disappointment here: the only complementary beverage available in the piazza area to go with all these great treats is watera cup of regular coffee costs $1. Dining -- A split decision here: I love to try all kinds of food, and I thought the food everywhere was great. I dont expect top-flight gourmet food from kitchens cranking out meals for over 3,000 people, and the food exceeded my expectationseverything I tried tasted delicious. I mostly had fish for dinner, and it was always perfectly prepared The rest of my family, however, prefers simple meat-and-potatoes type cooking and was frustrated by the lack of items to their liking, even in the Horizon Court/Caribe Cafe. The only chicken entree offered the entire week, for example, was plain roast chicken; the side dishes never included things like peas or plain mashed potatoes; and the soups never included basic comfort foods like ordinary chicken noodle or vegetable beef. Yes, there were always hamburgers and pizza available for lunch and always steak and plain roast chicken for dinner, but these got boring after a few days. And the steaks were our only dining disappointment: my husband and son like them medium-well, which the kitchen seems incapable of preparing. Every steak they ordered arrived well done if not leathery. They tried ordering medium but those arrived medium rare. We all agreed, however, that the desserts were awesomethe best weve ever had on a cruise -- beautiful and delicious! Activities -- We played Scattergories, went to the cooking show, saw the Price is Almost Right, and played in a couple of music trivia games (my husband won the '50s music trivia contest!). All were great funthe staff did a great job getting us all to laugh even when we scored a zero in Scattergoriesand we wish Princess had even more of these kinds of activities. We also went to a couple of the Scholarship@Sea lectures on old movies that were okay. While Movies Under the Sun/Stars is a great innovation and lots of fun, because kids are always around its pretty much limited to light family entertainment. My son saw "Capote" and "Good Night and Good Luck" in the Explorers Lounge, and we wish that more of these kinds of dramas were shown indoors during the day. Service -- The entire staff always greeted us cheerfully, and service was almost always prompt, courteous, and efficient. Some staff volunteered helpful information, such as explaining how Anytime Dining works. My major complaint with service is that Princess hides too many of its treasures under the proverbial bushel basket. The International Cafe and Horizon Court/Caribe Cafe have no menus posted, for example, and I couldnt get a floor plan of the ships decks, which would have been a great help navigating such a large ship. But the best/worst example of this is the free ice cream offered in the Horizon Court from 3:30-4:30 each day. There is no announcement of it in the Patter, and to get to it you must walk past a sign that says, This side closeduse other side!!! We were initially disappointed with the Anytime Dining staffwhile our waiters were professional, they were distant and seemed too busy to check if our food was too our liking. On our fourth night, however, we struck gold with Eugene and Valentin in the Michelangelo Dining Room, who were not only professional but warm and solicitous. We requested a table in their area every night for the rest of the cruise. Entertainment -- The entertainment on the Crown Princess was, overall, the best of any ship weve cruised! We ended up eating early just so we could see the shows in both the Princess Theater and the Explorers Lounge. We especially like what Princess calls variety entertainment: magicians, comedians, jugglers, and the like, and they were almost all great, especially comedians Rick Starr and Ross Bennett, juggler Randy Cabral, and pianist Glenn Smith. The best act by far, however, was hypnotist Steve Baynerwed never seen a hypnotist before and laughed until we cried! The one clunker was impressionist comedian Mark Verselli, who wasnt funny, didnt do good impressions, and had an amateurish delivery. Virtually no one laughed, and a lot of people walked out. The other entertainers were so good that we were wondering who hired this guy! Shore excursions -- We took only one shore excursion: the Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel from St. Thomas to St. John. It was absolute heavena beautiful boat ride and the best snorkeling weve seena coral reef teaming with all kinds of beautiful fish. In San Juan, we simply got off the boat and walked around Old San Juan for a bit, enjoying the old architecture. At Grand Turk, we took a taxi into town and simply walked around for an hour. It was fascinatingmaybe one of the last chances to see a Caribbean island before it gets covered with glitzy hotels. The taxi drivers looked on themselves as tour guides and gave us a fascinating drive and narration of the islands culture and politics. Bermuda was our favorite stop, however. We took a ferry over to Hamilton, walked around, ogled the businessmen in their Bermuda shorts and had lunch, then took a bus back that drove by all the beautiful beaches along the south coast. What an incredibly lovely island! We cant wait to go back there. Disembarkation -- We were told that disembarkation would begin around 7:45 and that the staff aimed to have everyone ashore by 9:30, so we got the kids up at 6:30, ate breakfast at 7:30&.and waited. And waited. And waited. Disembarkation didnt begin until 8:30, and our color (about midway through the list) wasnt called until 10:30. We were asked to vacate our rooms after breakfast and wait in the public areas on the Promenade deck, which meant that 3,000 people were all crammed onto one floor. It was a miserable experiencepeople sitting on stairs, teens sleeping on the floor in the hallways, lots of luggage from people using the express walk-off option, bathrooms crowded and dirty. It felt like steerage on the Titanic! And to rub salt in the wound, the International Café was baking fresh cookies for the next cruise and wouldnt give us any!!! It was a shame to end such a great cruise on a sour note. Summary -- While not perfect--no vacation is!--this was a wonderful vacation and a fun cruise for us. Any shortcomings were minor and didnt keep us from having a great time. We would definitely consider another Princess cruise, especially if they add an all-Bermuda itinerary! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Crown Princess August 8-16, 2006 EMBARKATION: Extremely easy. We decided to park without dropping off the luggage since we noticed dozens of luggage carts available in lot. From the parking lot, on the left hand side, walking towards the ... Read More
Crown Princess August 8-16, 2006 EMBARKATION: Extremely easy. We decided to park without dropping off the luggage since we noticed dozens of luggage carts available in lot. From the parking lot, on the left hand side, walking towards the terminal we asked one of the staff where we should drop off the luggage. He said he would take care of it. We were on the ship in less than 5 minutes since we pre-registered online and there were no lines. We went directly up to the Horizon Court for lunch. Right after we decided to go to our cabin. Our luggage was at our door. We were very surprised. FOOD: We always do the Personal Choice for convenience. On the first night we got lucky and had a fantastic waiter and his co-server in the DaVincis dining room. We decided to use them for the rest of our trip. We told the head Maitre d' that we wanted Frances every night at 6pm. Never had a problem. Our table 417 was always available. The menu is set to please just about everyone. From seafood, poultry, beef, vegetarian. Plus a variety of standbys. The French onion soup, lobster, prime ribs, king crab legs, avocado seafood appetizer, yogurt peach soup, and of course the Princess Love Boat dream and Trio Mousse desserts were exceptional. Horizon Courts breakfast was much to be desired. This is buffet food and thats to be expected. Fruits were always fresh and ripe. French toast and pancakes were a little crusty. Toast machine did not toast at all. We decided to have breakfast in the main dining room one day only to find out that it closes at 9:30 in the morning. So, on another day we were up early enough to go. We found out that its exactly the same food served in the Horizon Court. Nothing different. That was disappointing. Room service was extremely fast. Ordered coffee, sandwich and those fabulous cookies and within 10 minutes it was at my cabin. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment is exceptional. Shows are top notch. First night was the Welcome aboard Showtime starring the Crown Princess Dancers, singers, and band. Also performing that night was Sarge the comedian. Very funny. You have to go at least a half hour early, each night, to get a good seat. Well with it. All throughout the ship there is entertainment to meet everyones needs. In Explorers Lounge  Ballroom Blitz, Ventriloquist Kenny Byrd, Body Balancing & Acrobatics, Comedy Juggling Randy Cabral, and comedy show. In the Club Fusion had a wide variety of shows from Karaoke, dance party, 50s though the 80s Music Trivia, Name that Show tune, and Marriage Game show and of course Bingo. Service: Our cabin steward was very accommodating. I only had to ask once for an extra towel for my hair and every morning there would be extra towels. I also asked for one of the chairs to be removed since it was taking up space and we didnt use it. It was gone within minutes. It made a world of difference moving about the cabin. We were always greeted with a smile by the wait and bar staff. I have to say crew members really work hard to please their passengers. Cabin: The fluffy duvets covers were much to be desired. Did not cover feet and had to keep repositioning it, waking up several times over the night. The A/C was comfortable. Safe was impossible. While in the open stage it would continue to beep. One time it would not open at all and had to call for service. Needed to call three times to get someone up to service. Princess is aware of the problem and will be replacing them in the near future and will not be using this safe manufacturer on future ships. Sink water temperature found to be warm. Water never got cold. Turning off TV with remote was a little difficult because if you press the power button off it would turn on again. Had to press several times to turn off. The cabinet in which the Refrigerator is located is extremely warm. Had to keep the cabinet door open to get the refrigerator cold. Plenty of space for everything with room to spare. Ports: Grand Turk  took a $6 cab ride to Governors Beach. Chair rental $5. Shade under trees. Nice beach with a great view. Youre not looking at a Cruise ship while on the beach. Not great for snorkeling. San Juan $19.50 cab ride to Ritz Carlton in Isla Verde. The beach smelled like bad eggs, farts. Water cloudy. Not pleased with it at all. We were not allowed to rent chairs since we werent guests. We went by the pool area and lounged there. Beautiful pool  hotel. St Thomas  $9 cab ride to Coki Beach. Small beach. Chair rental $5. Excellent snorkeling area. The best we have seen. Bermuda - $8 round trip bus fare to Horseshoe Bay. Beautiful beach. Not much on snorkeling. $8.50 to rent beach chairs. Overall: The A/C throughout the ship was very comfortable. Did not need a sweater or cover-up, not like other ships we were on in which were always freezing. The ship is beautiful and easy to get around. The cruise was fantastic; we loved it and would really recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
We've been regular Princess customers (this was our 5th Princess cruise) and have taken 9 cruises in total. Previously, we traveled to Alaska, Panama Canal and other Caribbean destinations with Princess. We love all the Princess ... Read More
We've been regular Princess customers (this was our 5th Princess cruise) and have taken 9 cruises in total. Previously, we traveled to Alaska, Panama Canal and other Caribbean destinations with Princess. We love all the Princess ships we've traveled on, and feel that they are a cut above NCL and Celebrity. This ship was no exception. It was absolutely beautiful, especially the Atrium area. The ship was quite expensive and you could tell from the fine appointments, cut marble, tile mosaics and overall grandness of the space. Our cabin was a mini-suite with balcony and it was spacious. My mother had the mini suite next door, so we opened the spacer between the two balconies to make one large outdoor space. The linens on the bed were high quality, as were the pillows and fluffy cover. The towels were rough, which might not be to everyone's liking. Our cabin steward was careful and our room was always kept in good order. Overall, we were somewhat disappointed with the cruise on many levels, but especially the food. Firstly, the food was definitely not up to the usual Princess quality. The buffets served unappetizing foods, congealed sauces and the like. The quality just wasn't there - salads were iceberg lettuce, that kind of thing. While the food in the dining room was better, there was a big problem with oversalting, and the service in Michelangelo was terrible. We were left to find our own table almost every night and we often sat down to tables that weren't set. I lost weight on this cruise, if that tells you anything. Poolside, the pizza was always fresh and delicious with different varieties daily, and the hot dogs and hamburgers were pretty good too. There was a coffee bar in the Atrium that served excellent cappuccino, but you had to pay for that. If you bought a coffee card, you paid a nominal amount per cup and weren't bothered signing for each one. When the Horizon buffet closed, the little cafe in the Atrium served sandwiches, fruit, and other light snacks. They had fresh cookies 24/7 which were excellent, and in the morning the cafe served warm donuts, croissants and rolls. While I'm saying how mediocre the food was, I should say that the bakers supplied travelers with superior baked goods, from rolls to desserts. Enough about this. While the ports of call were good ones, I find that Princess ships are usually the last ones in port and the first ones out, giving you little time to do anything. They also seem to dock at ports furthest away from the actual towns. (This may be a result of the size of their new ships.) We were especially disappointed in arriving in Bermuda on a Sunday, when nothing at all was open. It was the beach or nothing. We were in Grand Turk for only 5 hours and it was such a beautiful place. On a more positive note, we took our open water dive certification class and that was a blast, though very hard work for a vacation. We dove in Grand Turk and St. Thomas which boast clear waters and coral gardens. Grand Turk has a 7,000 foot shelf that we hovered above and looked down into deep blue endlessness. There was a problem with sewage smell on this ship. When we embarked in NY the smell was right in our cabin corridor. It seemed to rove the ship, though. We never had a problem after the first day, but when walking around, we sometimes caught an unpleasant whiff. Our 6 year old son enjoyed the kids club and camp hours were extensive. They were always open on port days and also at night from 7-10pm. My son loved it. Though there were tons of older kids on the ship, they never seemed to congregate outside the teen center as I have seen on other cruise lines. We've taken a cruise each year since my 6 year old was born, and I think we're ready to give it a rest. While, I liked this cruise and was sorry to leave the ship, I didn't love it the way I usually do, and certainly think it was below Princess' usual standards. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
This was my first cruise and I LOVED it! We paid $900 each for a Balcony cabin on Riviera deck. The Brooklyn terminal was easy to get to, easy to navigate through, and easy to park at ($18 per day). The ship itself is gorgeous! Bright, ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I LOVED it! We paid $900 each for a Balcony cabin on Riviera deck. The Brooklyn terminal was easy to get to, easy to navigate through, and easy to park at ($18 per day). The ship itself is gorgeous! Bright, elegantly decorated, with tons of open spaces. The staff were personable and the service was fantastic. We felt as if we were at a five star resort! Movies Under the Stars was really cool. The staff come around with popcorn and blankets and you can watch first run movies and star gaze at the same time. The Terrace Pool is the hidden gem. Our room was right near the pool and we enjoyed beautiful views of the sea while avoiding the noise and chaos of the main pools. Every night after dinner, we'd relax in the hot tub located above the terrace pool. The other passengers were really nice and down to earth and was made up by honeymooners, empty nesters, and active seniors. Age was not a factor - everyone was friendly. I wouldn't recommend this cruise for singles in their 20s looking for a parry ship. Lots of partying, but not wild. The food was okay. The buffet got a little funky as the cruise went on but the dining rooms were nice. We had anytime dining. The poolside pizza was surprisingly good as was the Trident Grill. Crown Grill was great too, but $25 a person. It was worth it! There was no need to go on an excursion at Grand Turk - there's a nice beach and pool within walking distance. Everyone who walked up Dunn's Falls at Ocho Rios had a good time (very strenuous - you must be in good shape). At Grand Cayman, you MUST do the reef / sting ray snorkel. Fabulous! If I had to say something negative about the cruise, it would be that there was no clock in the room and the coffee cups were too small. Now I know to pack an alarm clock and my travel mug along with my bathing suit and suntan lotion! I LOVED this cruise - the ship - the staff - EVERYTHING!!! I give it a 5+++ stars! Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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