Sail Date: September 2006
This was my eighth cruise, first one on Princess. Im partial to Celebrity after two excellent trips (15 and 10 days) with them. Embarkation  very quick. We arrived about 11:30 and were on the ship just after 12:00. Cabin  C437 (Cat ... Read More
This was my eighth cruise, first one on Princess. Im partial to Celebrity after two excellent trips (15 and 10 days) with them. Embarkation  very quick. We arrived about 11:30 and were on the ship just after 12:00. Cabin  C437 (Cat BA balcony); huge balcony  Should have used it more than we did. Regular size room  hate those small showers. Was disappointed when the cabin was a little dirty when we got on  last passenger left all of his hunting magazines in one of the cabinets and the were crumbs and a toothpick on the chair. Told the steward and he apologized. He was fine for the rest of the cruise. Location of the cabin could have been better  always seemed to be woken up by the stewards in the supply room across the hall at 7am; maybe Im just a light sleeper. Sabatinis  Excellent food and service. We had Sebastian from Romania serve us the first time so we requested him again a second time. Hes top notch and we rewarded him for it. He even took down our email addresses to add us to his buddy list. Crown Grill  Disappointing. Maybe it was not the place to go on the first night. Brazilian Lobster ($9 extra charge) was completely ammonia (ie. bad), filet mignon was the most tasteless weve ever had, lamb was just okay. Lobster charge was taken off the bill. Service was poor  an example, I dropped my steak knife and the waiter picked it up but never came back with a new one. At least dessert was excellent. Anytime Dining  First time for us and we loved the freedom of going whenever we wanted. All the wait staff was very good. Food tended to be good to very good. Only one night was really excellent. I wasnt impressed with the choices though  very few things that stood out. Buffets  Only adequate. Usually ate there for breakfast and a few lunches. Pizza  wow! Real pizza outside of NY. It was great. Cruise Staff  Best at sea. Everyone was personable, fun, energetic, and funny. They were just funny enough to not be over the top and they werent corny or slapstick. They really made the cruise memorable. Jacinta, one of the assistant CDs was the best of all. Always found time to stop and chat for a few minutes and not just how is the cruise going or come to the show tonight. I cant say enough about her. James Lay was the best CD Ive had in 8 cruises. He really knows what hes doing. Daniel was a great Bingo caller. Shows  Production shows were very good. Always a little cheesy, but not like a high school production, like Ive seen on other ships. A few comedians, but only Sarge stood out. He wasnt as funny as Id hoped but that may be because theres so much hype on these boards about him. Casino  I actually won at both the tables and slot machines. I just seemed to have a lot of luck there. Won enough to pay for the price of the cruise. Would have had more if I stayed away on the last day, but it was fun losing their money. Dealers were great; especially Gillian, Tatiyana, Laslo, and Ilyana. Spa  Had two massages by Mo. He did a great job and didnt try to sell me anything except to go back to my chiropractor because he noticed my legs werent even. Next time I wont pay extra for the thermal spa  only used it a couple times. Skywalkers Nightclub  Usual fare for a cruise ship nightclub. Some nights were crowded, some nights dead. Great music after 11. Crooners piano bar  Only so many times you can hear Billy Joel from the piano player. Lots of martinis on the menu but the waiters kept messing up our orders. Piazza  Love the layout. Didnt sit there as much as I wanted to; which is probably good or else I would have eaten dozens of the delicious cookies from the International Cafe. Internet cafe  Checked email only a few times and seemed to have lots of problems. I found it to be slow always. One time I typed a long email and before I could hit send, SIGNAL LOST and the computer rebooted. Another time, the computer locked up and wouldnt do anything except run up the minutes. It was late so no one was around to help out. Racked up an extra 20 minutes before it corrected itself. Told the night purser and all the charges were taken off for the session. Grand Turk  Quite a small island. Beautiful but not much to do. We went on the Kayak and beach snorkel tour. Kayak was interesting - very sedate. Honestly, theres nothing to see if you do go snorkeling on the beach they take you to. I dont think I even saw one fish. Margaritaville was hopping when we got back to the dock. Waited about 15 minutes just to get one overpriced margarita. Shopping was expensive at the dock. I saw cheap looking t-shirts that were marked $25! I almost fell over. Ocho Rios  Been there twice before. Went on the Trimaran tour that went to the Falls and to a nice beach for about 2 hours. Climbed the falls again even though Ive done it before. Still surprises me just how dangerous it really is but the tour guides dont discourage some people who really shouldnt do it. I skinned my knee and I heard some woman broke her ankle and was in an air cast the rest of the cruise. I would have rather taken the Catamaran instead  the Trimaran was very small. I like to stretch out on the front of a catamaran but that wasnt possible on the trimaran. Grand Cayman  Beautiful. Wish we had more time there and that it wasnt on a Sunday when most shops were closed. Took a boat trip to snorkel at the reef and then to Stingray sandbar. It was fun, but almost half of us were stung by jellyfish. It would have been nice if the tour guides told us that its jellyfish season. I was stung 5 times and some woman had a bad reaction and had to be taken off the boat to get medical attention. That part wasnt fun  pain went away by the next day. Port Canaveral  Just went to Coco Beach for a couple hours. Nothing exciting. Heard that the Space Center tour was too rushed and really not worth it. Disembarkation  Never a good time. We had car service picking us up and the driver was stuck in traffic forever trying to get into Red Hook. Problem is that its one road in and one road out. And the pick-up area is way too small for everyone to stand in with luggage  a riot waiting to happen. Good thing it wasnt raining. All in all, this was a very good cruise - a solid A-. If the itinerary was better and the food was as good as Ive had on Celebrity, I would have given it an A+. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
When I travel, I choose cruising. What I enjoy the most about it is the ability to unpack once and then go about your day. I am living on a floating hotel that takes me from one port to another. Go to a port for a few hours, explore and ... Read More
When I travel, I choose cruising. What I enjoy the most about it is the ability to unpack once and then go about your day. I am living on a floating hotel that takes me from one port to another. Go to a port for a few hours, explore and then leave. No commitment. Doing the long, extended stay, Club Med type vacations bore me to tears. Since 1993, I average about 2 cruises a year, more than that if the funds are there. In other words, I am a big fan of cruising. I wanted to go to Bermuda, but I did not want to do one of those 6/7 day cruises that just do Bermuda, I just wanted a simple day stop. With that in mind, I did research and discovered that only Princess has the one day Bermuda itinerary. I have never sailed Princess. Up until that point, I have only sailed with Carnival and RCCL. In the end, I have never been to Bermuda and for once, I just wanted to go to some place new. So I called my parent's travel agent and I booked my trip. Here are my evaluations The Embarkation: The best that I have ever encountered. After you get your cabin sign and sail card, there was no line to get onto the ship. Carnival and RCCL need to take lessons on how to get this done. The Crown Princess: It looks bigger on the outside than it does on the inside and it went downhill from there. The ship holds over 3000 passengers, but where do you put them? The main theatre only holds 900 people. If you wanted to get a seat, you have to show up about an hour before show time, other wise you will be standing. Even though there are signs that say, don't save seats, people did it anyway and that made things worse. Issues were the same for the pool areas and for the Movies Under the Stars. The buffet areas were tight and there was no way to get out of there without stepping or bumping into people. Being a short person, I have had numerous elbows jabbed at me on various parts of my body. Frankly, I should send Princess my medical bill for the bruises. You will wait an eternity for an elevator. Shopping areas are limited and you will get rude treatment at the inch of gold area. The exercise areas cannot accommodate the number of vacationers that want to try out a piece of equipment or take part in an exercise class to counter act the calories from the food. If you do not get there as soon and the gym opens, you will not get on a treadmill. Another thing that I found about the ship is the fact that the design was boring. For a brand new ship, there was no stand-out feature. Nothing about it made my jaw hit the floor or my eye go wide. The atrium was blah and dry. No imagination was used. The casino was small, but they did have a 2 cent slot machine. The layout of the ship did not flow. It was backwards and confusing. Repairs from the list were still visible up on the upper deck six weeks later. Cabins: More closet space than I had expected. Extra supplies, like razors, shaving cream, toothbrush, etc were not provided. Given the fact of the new Airport Regulations, you would think that Princess would have provided that for you. During the day, there was an ugly bedspread on your bed and at night, you had a white down comforter, but no sheets, or blanket. Personally, I like to have both the down comforter and the sheets. The walls are very thing. Heard the arguments that the next door neighbors were having and all of the music from downstairs. Shore excursions: For San Juan and St. Thomas, I just got off the ship and walked around. It was my 3rd time this year at both of those locations, so I have done everything that I wanted to do there. My main purpose for this trip was Bermuda. I could get through the crappy ship if I could go to Bermuda. Bermuda will make everything all worth it. One problem, there was no Bermuda. The Captain decided to take Bermuda away from all of the waiting passengers days before the scheduled port and another port will not replace it. Instead we got another lovely day at sea. I could go on, but the more I think about it, the madder I get. Entertainment: The shows were good and the comedians did try to make us laugh, but we were all too angry to laugh. Food: The pizza was the best that I have ever had on any ship. The soda card was pricey. If want to pay that high price, beware, they fill that container up with ice. You hardly get any soda. If you do get some soda, chances are it is watered down. You will get ripped off. It is better if you just buy the individual cans. Customer Service: There was none. Neither on the ship or post sailing coming from the corporate office. They will stretch the truth or lie to you to suit their own purposes. I wrote them explaining my dissatisfaction, and I got a insert-name-here form letter. It was a rather rude, 'we have your money now, too bad, so sad' form. No care at all. No customer service after the sale. All and all, I was not happy with the ship, nor with the customer service that I have encountered afterwards. They do not seem to realize that the only reason why they are in business is to serve the customer. It cost more money to get a brand new customer than to serve the ones that they have and they had forgotten about that. If you want to sail on a liner that cares about their passengers, Princess is not for you. After a lot of sailing, this was my worst cruise experience that I have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My husband and I are in our 50s. This was our 13th cruise but our first cruise on Princess. We usually cruise on Celebrity. EMBARKATION: Because this was our first Princess Cruise we were not eligible for any priority embarkation. We ... Read More
My husband and I are in our 50s. This was our 13th cruise but our first cruise on Princess. We usually cruise on Celebrity. EMBARKATION: Because this was our first Princess Cruise we were not eligible for any priority embarkation. We knew the ship was full because 2 days before the cruise Princess called us and told us the cruise was overbooked and could we go on a later cruise (at half price). Our plans were not that flexible so we couldn't change. Princess had advised us to try to arrive after 2 pm to avoid crowds. We arrived a little after 2. So did everyone else (or so it seemed). The line was tremendous. When we did get to the counter the embarkation was quick and efficient. FIRST DAY: When we got on the ship we went to our cabin. We had an inside cabin (another first). It was roomy and pleasant. We brought a clock so we could tell the time in the middle of the night. As soon as we got to our cabin we met our room attendant, Elizaldi. He was the best room attendant we have had on any cruise. One day, after we went to the beach, we left our shoes in the cabin covered in sand. Zaldi cleaned them! He was the greatest. Anyway, after depositing our overnight bags we went up to eat. It was a little after 3 pm. When we got to the buffet area the same 3000 people who were in line for embarkation were now in line for the buffet! Despite the huge crowd only one buffet area was open. The buffet areas are enclosed so it gets very crowded in there. The food itself is not laid out well. If you try to get a salad you're now out of line and no one will let you back in. By the time we got food it was time for the muster drill. We went back to our cabin and went to the drill. When we got back our bags had arrived and Zaldi had put them in the closet area for us! We headed back out to explore. The ship's lay out is confusing at least when you try to find the dining rooms. For example to get to our dining room on the 6th deck you need to cross over from the 7th deck and go down. You can't go from the forward area on the 6th deck to the aft area. FOOD: We had traditional, 2nd seating and a table for 2. This was a great choice. The tables for 2 are in a row and you get to know and socialize with your neighbors without feeling forced to if you want privacy. Our waitress, Roberta was wonderful. We chose traditional seating because we enjoy having a relationship with the wait staff. Roberta was worth it. We enjoyed her every night. The food in our dining room (Botticelli) was great! We usually cruise with Celebrity and were expecting the food to be a step down but it was excellent. Princess also has the best soups we have ever had on any cruise. I should also mention the assistant waiter who was charming and hard working. The assistant head waiter was phenomenal. He was all over the place, clearing dishes, pouring water, running out special orders and requests and generally doing anything he could to ensure everything went smoothly. We did go to the Crown Grill one night. We have gone to specialty restaurants on other cruises and have enjoyed the experience. The Crown Grill was a disappointment. The food was no better than in the main dining room and the service was not as good. The waiters were literally running. They all looked rushed and flustered. No one had time to explain anything on the menu. We would not recommend it. We did no go to Sabbatini's. The buffets continued to be a bit of a disappointment. For example, at breakfast there is no omelet station or waffle station like Celebrity. Everything was kind of lukewarm. We ended up eating most breakfasts and lunches in the dining room which was great. The service was wonderful and the food good. PHOTOS: People don't usually mention the photographers on a cruise but the Crown Princess must have the best ones in the fleet. The choice of backgrounds and styles and the quality of the photography was amazing. People were changing into special outfits just for pictures. We had our portraits done almost every night, not just formal nights. We purchased an embarrassing number of pictures. PUBLIC SPACES: We found two favorite spots-the Wheelhouse Bar and the Piazza. Every late afternoon we would sit in the Piazza and have a specialty coffee and fresh baked cookies while we listened to chamber music. It was wonderful. The staff there is great. Before dinner we would have a drink in the Wheelhouse mainly because we loved the waiters. They were funny, friendly and always acted happy to see us. The music was good and it was just a nice spot. The pools were fine. There were plenty of chairs and always a place to sit in the sun or shade. There are 2 adult pools plus the pool where all the activities are and the Movies under the Stars pool. There were not a lot of children on this cruise but the ones who were there seemed well behaved and entertained. I didn't use the hot tubs but there were plenty of them. Princess uses fresh water in the pools which is nice. Movies under the stars was entertaining. We only went to one night movie, The DaVinci Code. They did run out of chairs but that was the most popular movie on the cruise. They showed it a few nights later in one of the lounges. Football was also very popular. Football showed on the big screen on both Sundays and on Monday night. The baseball playoffs were not shown on the big screen but were available in your cabin. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: The best show on the cruise is the staff talent show. It is only on once and they do run out of chairs. Get there early. We didn't see the singers and dancers. The comedians were OK and got a lot of laughs with their tiltin Hilton jokes. I thought the hypnotist was terrible and that everyone was faking. It was disturbing. Other people liked it. The spelling bee was great. We didn't use the casino. I didn't understand the whole Sanctuary thing. $15 for half a day to sit in the shade in cushy chairs seemed pointless to me. We looked at it the first day. We heard from other cruisers that it seemed to be empty most of the cruise. PORTS: There were supposed to be 4 destinations Puerto Rico, Grand Turk, St. Thomas and Bermuda. Unfortunately, due to a low pressure system, we could not go to Bermuda. We were a little disappointed but soon the staff put together a whole list of activities and we enjoyed our extra at sea day. Grand Turk is very small. There is a beach there, some shops and Margaritaville. The population on Crown Princess is more than on this island. We went on the Stingray excursion. It was great. We had a quirky guide and he took us to an uninhabited island with crystal clear water. There were at least twenty stingrays. We fed them by hand. The snorkeling was good too. At St Thomas we took the excursion to the Northern side of the island. It was a good choice. We were taken on a tour of the island in an open bus and treated to gorgeous views. Then we went to a hotel beach for a couple of hours where we had full use of the facilities, a chair and a beach pretty much to ourselves. The day we docked at Puerto Rico we stayed on board. I had a spa day. They do try to sell their products but that's the same on any cruise. DISEMBARKATION: Not the worst, it is always difficult but it was handled OK. OVERALL IMPRESSION: We would recommend this cruise. We had a great time. The ship was a little big for us but it was fun. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
This is our second cruise with Princess and our ninth overall. We traveled with three other members of our family, two of whom are confined to wheel chairs. Overall, the cruise was a disappointment. As we look forward to our yearly ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Princess and our ninth overall. We traveled with three other members of our family, two of whom are confined to wheel chairs. Overall, the cruise was a disappointment. As we look forward to our yearly cruise with my sister and family. We arrived via car at Red Hook and parking and entry to the ship went wonderful. Out of the car in on the ship in less than half an hour. No adjoining rooms with doors on this ship which is a small bother when traveling with friends and children. My sister had a mini suite which was very nice and our bal room was a bit small but nice. Did not see our steward, but I'm sure he will show up. Wanted two robes and could not get the safe to work, and the sink did not hold any water. On day two after still not seeing the steward I called down and they sent up someone to fix things. The safe needed a second visit as the batteries kept falling out inside the safe. The steward saw us that night and said hello. I had spilled some coffee on the floor going out to the bal and it stayed like that the whole cruise. Our room was not made up one night and we were displeased with the room service. New ship very good traffic flow. Never seemed to be a lot of people. One problem is that the Main dinning room is on 6 aft and the handicapped seating for shows is on six forward. You can not walk aft to forward on six so you need to take the lift up to seven go forward than back down to six. After dinning this can take up to half to three quarters of an hour with wheel chairs. The shows were very good. Much better than our last on RC. Overall, food and service in the dinning room was sub par. We had at least one item misordered at each meal. On four or five nights a course did not not show up at all. I did not withhold tips for the service but I did think about it. I know the ship had a tip a few months ago but there were a lot of things that did not work or were broken. Auto doors on deck 15 (8 in all) nuts and bolts all around. The children's pool was never opened. Went to the Crown Grill one night ($25) and the food was outstanding but it served as a reminded of how good the food used to be on ships. Pizza was v. good but I dislike having to pay for ice cream and $39 for a soda card is a rip off. Movies under the stars v.nice but with all the outside music and sounds not a lot of places to just relax. All in all a good but disappointing cruise. Stayed on ship in San Juan. Bermuda, St Thomas, nice. (did some snorkeling and swimming). Turks very pretty but nothing there. Did not see any fish at all. The return was good but disembarking took hours. We arrived in port at 6:50 am and did not get off ship until after 12 noon. There was a shortage of Customs people. Not Princess' problem but they need to come up with better way of handling people. When long delays happen as you leave the ship, it's what your last memories are, and affects coming back, and I don't know if I will. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We sailed on the 9/03/2006 Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean cruise from New York. We arranged our own air on American Airlines from Charlotte, NC to New York on the day of sailing. We used the Princess transfers to get to the cruise ... Read More
We sailed on the 9/03/2006 Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean cruise from New York. We arranged our own air on American Airlines from Charlotte, NC to New York on the day of sailing. We used the Princess transfers to get to the cruise terminal. This worked well for us. We arrived at about 11:30 AM and were at the ship before 1:00 PM. The only holdup was on the interstate where a car had had a flat tire in the left lane and all traffic was slow in that area. Once at the cruise terminal we were quickly on board. We chose an obstructed view cabin which we were pleased with. We had two small areas where we were able to see the ocean. We like the cost savings of these cabins and are still able to check the weather through our window. As previously mentioned about all Grand Class ships, the bathrooms especially the shower are very small. There is a small step up into the bathroom which can be an issue for individuals with mobility issues. (I use a walker for balance problems but can manage small steps.) However I would like to see more "universal design" in all cruise ships so that regular cabins could be used by more cruisers and leave the accessible ones for those who must use wheelchairs. There is plenty of storage in the room and the bathroom. There are lots of hangers. The new mattresses are a GREAT improvement from those we had on the Caribbean Princess last year. The beds are still the skinny twins that when placed together make up into a queen size bed. The new duvets are a nice addition especially if you are a "cool natured" person. My husband loved them but I found them too warm for my taste. Our room steward, Joe from the Philippines was excellent. This is a large ship that holds a lot of people but we never found it crowded. Our preference in ships is of small to moderate size. (Our all time favorite cruise thus far was on the "old" Royal Princess in Europe.) We attempted to lower our expectations for this cruise since we were afraid we would be disappointed. We were not disappointed, in fact we were extremely pleased. At no time did we feel we were with 3000+ other cruisers. The areas where you did notice you were not on a small ship were in the Princess theater and around the main pools. This was not a problem for us as we got to the theater about 15 to 20 minutes before the shows we wanted to see and used the terrace, adult only, pool. We selected anytime dining. We used the dining room for dinner eating in both the DaVinci and Michelangelo rooms. We never waited for a table. We had different waiters each evening. All were personable and happy to make recommendations about what was "good" that evening. Some evenings we sat with others and some evenings we chose a table for two. At no time did we have to wait. We found the food to be very good. The waiters recommendations were excellent when we followed them. They were always ready to replace something if needed (not needed for us but one evening one tablemate did not like what they chose for their entree and it was replaced.) The international cafe is a wonderful addition to the ship. The shrimp salad is especially tasty and available for lunch every day. We also ate at both the specialty restaurants. The view toward the wake from Sabatini's made that meal even more special. The food was delicious and there was a lot of it. The cafe creme brulee was worth the price of the entire meal. The crown grill was our favorite of the special restaurants. We both had the filet which was cooked perfectly. We normally do not attend the production shows on cruises but made an exception for this cruises. We enjoyed all three shows, the singing and dancing were well executed. The costumes were beautiful. Our favorite for evening entertainment is comedy. This ship has enough show lounges that if this is what you like you can find something each evening. There are also a variety of music available that should fit almost anyone's taste from classical to rock. The only thing I did not hear was rap and for me that was not a problem. The addition of the piazza entertainment was especially nice. There was always something going on in this area. For our cruise we were scheduled to go to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Bermuda. On Grand Turk we selected the Stingray Snorkel. This was enjoyable. Although I have trouble walking I am a strong swimmer and enjoy "swimming with the fishes." My only problem on these types of excursions is getting back on the boat. This was not a problem on this excursion as the boat had a good long ladder that was easier to use than most. The boat also had a shallow draft which allowed it to closely approach the beach. The stingrays were calm and friendly and enjoyed being fed. The snorkel area had a moderate amount of fish but fairly drab coral. On San Juan we took the Camuy Caves and Arecibo Observatory tour. This was a full day tour rated as being for only the most physically fit (not me). I checked with the tour desk and was told that the caves were not accessible but that the observatory was. This was correct and I am glad I took the tour. Getting off the ship was the only problem. Everyone must go through customs in San Juan and the directions for individuals with disabilities were less than excellent. We were told to go to the seventh floor entrance to the Princess theater but the exit for customs was on the 6th floor. When our group headed down the steps and out the door we were left on the wrong floor. Although we had a hard time getting an elevator we did finally catch up with the group. I highly recommend this tour for people with an interest in science. In St. Thomas we took the power snorkel excursion to Turtle Cove. This was also an excellent excursion. We had never used a power snorkel before but the explanations were well done and we were quickly on our way. We saw four green turtles. The boat for this tour was a catamaran. We were in the open ocean so boarding was a little more difficult. Once I was one the second step I was able to scoot up the steps on my bottom. We were not able to stop in Bermuda due to hurricane Florence where we also had a snorkel trip planned. Princess quickly credited our account with the price of that tour as well as the port fees. We had no problem with this decision given our small dose of poor weather cruising. We were in 16 to 20 foot swells on the last day of the cruise. We suffered no ill effects although I had to be very careful walking as the ship bounced up and down in the waves. I had almost decided not to bring my walker but just use the cane on this trip. I now know that I will always bring the walker as we might run into poor weather and would not have been able to leave the cabin without it. In all respects this cruise exceeded our expectations. The disembarkation procedures went well. Our flight home did not leave New York until 4:45 PM (actually delayed until 5:23 PM). I would recommend to Princess that they offer tours of New York for those cruisers with late flights. We spent the day people watching and listening to cell calls that were none of our business. A post cruise tour would have been much appreciated. We arrived back in Charlotte about 7 PM and were home at 9:00 PM with all of our luggage. We were well pleased with our cruise and would book this ship and even this itinerary again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
As an introduction, we have been on a number of cruises with multiple cruise lines. Each has its distinct advantages and some disadvantages. Nothing is perfect! However, we have enjoyed every cruise and are addicted to cruising. ... Read More
As an introduction, we have been on a number of cruises with multiple cruise lines. Each has its distinct advantages and some disadvantages. Nothing is perfect! However, we have enjoyed every cruise and are addicted to cruising. Approximately six weeks before the cruise, we booked the Crown Princess back to back...18 days total, 1st to the Eastern Caribbean and then to the Western. We live in Pinehurst, NC and flew to NY for two nights. We stayed at the Regency Hotel in NYC, booked at a special rate and had a wonderful time. Embarkation on the Princess took us all of fifteen minutes. We arrived early via car service and was on board before noon. Our mini-suite on Dolphin Deck was great. Plenty of room, wonderful bedding, large bathroom with tub, great cabin steward and of course a marvelous balcony. Some complain that the balcony's on Dolphin are uncovered but we seldom saw people from above. Also, our cabin was at the very back of the ship. We have even booked the same cabin number on the Sapphire for Dec. '07, but more about that later. We booked this cruise because (1) new ship; (2) easy; and (3) because we cancelled a 19 night cruise in Dec. from Singapore to Sydney. We just decided that being gone for 30 days was too much. The Crown is a magnificent ship with all amenities first rate. Food was very good. We had anytime dining and it worked out well. I sought out a Maitre 'D, Godwin and arranged a table in the Michelangelo dining room large enough for 4 persons but only for my wife and I (unless we chose to bring others to dinner with us...which we did on one occasion). We had the same wait staff every night and excellent service. I would call Godwin each evening and let him know if we were coming to dinner, what time and whether we were bringing another couple. Our waiter gave us his recommendations and when we could not decide he would bring a portion of more than one appetizer, entree, desert etc. Our table was a corner table away from most noise. We did eat at Sabatini's one night and although most rave about it, we found it to be too long of an experience and too much food. On the other hand we ate at the Crown Grill twice. The second time with the comedian, Sarge, with whom we became very friendly. We email back and forth and he is now at home in Florida. He is an outstanding entertainer. Although, we enjoyed the Crown Grill, it is not necessary to eat at the alternative restaurants. The food in the dining room is quite good. The buffet is a buffet....lot's of quantity if you are in to that. I did enjoy breakfast both at the buffet and in the dining room. The ship has something for everyone. Our most favorite place (we went there most every day)was the Sanctuary. The chaise's were plush and elegant, service great and most of all quiet. We would read and sleep. We just figured the cost was the price for pampering. For the first time on a cruise we did not get spa treatments. The ports on this cruise are mediocre, but we knew that going in. We did not care. We did have a good time in San Juan, Ocho Rios (where we rented a driver)and St. Thomas, where we also visited the island of St. John. All in all we had a great time. We have stayed in some of the best resorts in the world. Yet we find cruising to be a great value, and an easy way to travel. Yet, some people come on with either unrealistic expectations or just like to complain. The ship held over 3,000 passengers and some 1100 or more crew members. Going through the kitchen and meeting the Princess Corporate Chef was a highlight. Preparing meals for that many people with the quality offered is in itself a great feat. We enjoyed entertainment, and if you did not like an act, there were plenty of other venues. We never felt crowded on the ship. We did dress formal for three of the four formal nights (we were on for 18 nights, because we had formal wear, but it is not necessary. All it a photo op. I am told that the photography department takes in over $500,000 per cruise. We do not take pictures! Some people complained about some of the extra charges, but the fact is the base fare of these cruises; that is the per diem cost that includes meals, lodging, entertainment and different ports is very low. The cruise line makes their money on the extras. A great time. We booked the Sapphire Princess for Dec. 4, 2007 - Beijing to Bangkok (16 nights) and booked the same D728 cabin. We liked its location. We are already looking forward to visiting SE Asia. Come aboard. Accept that it is not always perfect and do not have unreasonable expectations. The crew are tireless workers and delightful people if you let them be. Special kudos go out to Genovese, head of hotel services including food, Godwin, our Maitre 'D, Byranna, our head waiter, his assistant (forgot his name, Darush, our cabin steward, the entire staff at the Sanctuary (most from Thailand)and everyone we dealt with at the passenger service desk. It is because of these people that our trip lived up to our expectations. Good job....Princess. From Sharon and Michael Busch P.S. Disembarkation was the quickest we have ever experienced. We were off the ship by 9:15 AM, had our luggage waiting via color luggage tags and in our car to LaGuardia by 9:30AM. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My husband and I are sampling all the "mass market" lines. The Crown was our first Princess cruise. We picked it because it was a new ship and had a lot of sea days (We're in it for the ship board experience. Cruising is no ... Read More
My husband and I are sampling all the "mass market" lines. The Crown was our first Princess cruise. We picked it because it was a new ship and had a lot of sea days (We're in it for the ship board experience. Cruising is no way to experience another country, no matter how small.). We had a great time. We always have a great time as long as we're together. However, we'll only do Princess again if an itinerary attracts us. This cruise did not set Princess apart. The Ship: While the Crown is a beautiful ship, the public areas show a lot of bad human engineering. Start with the ship layout. It is full of dead ends. The only public decks that go from one end to the other are 7 and 15. You often have to go up a floor and then down again later to get where you want to go on a single deck. The only interior space with a good forward-facing view is the gym. All the treadmills are lined up facing the ocean - each one with a TV screen mounted at eye level. What a waste of view! The buffet has food stations but is so tightly designed there is no room for people to move about at random. The result is chaos. The main theater is far too small. The pools have inadequate deck space for the number of people on board; even with little evidence of chair hogs there was seldom an open chaise. While this is the largest ship we've been on, the elevators are the smallest and seem poorly programmed. A lot of things just aren't right design-wise in the public areas. On the other hand, the layout of our balcony stateroom was great. We much preferred having the seating area adjacent to the balcony. We actually used it! The closet placement created a private dressing area. We loved the generous supply of wooden hangers. The bath was also well organized, though the shower was so small I don't see how more robust passengers could use it. The bedding had a bottom sheet and a duvet. The fluffy duvet was quite toasty -- too toasty for us. Only after our wonderful room steward added a top sheet to our bed could we really sleep, with the duvet neatly placed on a chair. The Service: There were a few bad apples on the cruise director's staff who thought it entertaining to make jokes at the expense of passengers. We were never the target, but it really burned me up. That was the biggest complaint on my comment card. Otherwise, the service on this ship was the best we've experienced. We're pretty low maintenance -- no room service, no special requests (except for that top sheet) -- so we never missed not having interaction with our room steward on previous cruises. This guy was always around and smiling. And our wait staff in the dining room was the perfect balance of efficiency and friendliness. Bartenders remembered what I ordered before and always smiled. The Entertainment: The production stages shows were nicely produced, with better than usual talent. The Motor City show was disturbing, however. It was odd enough having an almost entirely white cast singing all those r&b hits. However, at one point they brought out a bunch of large puppets that looked like black caricatures. That moved the show into offensive. There were several comics on our cruise and all of them were quite good. The house band was exceptional. The small entertainment in the Piazza were a nice addition. The audience participation games were very poor -- a combination of poor sound and hosts that were rather rude to contestants. The Food: We had some of the worst and some of the best meals on this cruise. A dinner order of Moroccan Vegetarian Stew was basically a plate of chick peas sloshed with a thin and tasteless tomato sauce. Absolutely terrible. However, on another evening we were served veal chops to die for. Food is such a subjective thing. We heard guests at the same table complain about salt on their food - one said too much and the other said too little. Except for breakfast, we always ate in a dining room, so no real opinion on the food in the Horizon Court buffet. We eyeballed Cafe Caribe most nights but it never looked appealing enough to draw us in. The Ports: Grand Turk: Trust me on this -- book a water-based excursion, stay on the ship, or just go to Margaritaville. We know Grand Turk well. It's small, sleepy, utterly boring. But the surrounding reefs are amazing. Dive if you can (we've spent two weeks there doing just that). We did the Ultimate Snorkel this trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. St. Thomas: We'd never seen any of St. Thomas beyond Charlotte Amalia and didn't care for that. This time we took a cab to Coki Beach and were completely wow'd. Unbelievably beautiful and awesome snorkeling. Don't be put off by the ramshackled look of the place when the taxi drops you off, just walk right past the various buildings to the glorious beach. And, it's not even supposed to be the nicest beach on St. Thomas! San Juan and Bermuda: Didn't visit either. Bermuda was really hot and we knew we would be back in November. Hurricane Florence went to Bermuda instead of us. Those things happen. This was our third cruise (all in one year) and third line. We already tried Carnival (Miracle) and Royal Caribbean (Brilliance of the Seas). Next up is Holland America (Ryndam). You might want to check our other reviews to see how our sampling is going. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We are a family of four and this was our first cruise with Princess. We loved the layout of the minisuite. It felt like a 2 room suite, and we prefer it to the junior suites of other cruise lines. We enjoyed the daily fresh fruit, the ... Read More
We are a family of four and this was our first cruise with Princess. We loved the layout of the minisuite. It felt like a 2 room suite, and we prefer it to the junior suites of other cruise lines. We enjoyed the daily fresh fruit, the larger bath with full tub, the 2 flat screen tvs, the complimentary champagne and cookies, the robes, the comfortable bedding, and most of all the balcony! (There is nothing like waking up early and opening the slider to the sun rising over a different landscape each morning...or taking a much needed nap on the balcony in the late afternoon to the lull of the waves...or looking at the moon and the stars and feeling the mystery of the black ocean surrounding you at night). We also enjoyed the privacy of the balconies of Emerald deck. We had plenty of sun, but the cover overhead worked really well when it was extremely hot and sunny, when raining, or when we wanted to relax out there in bathrobes in the early morning. We had an aft cabin and could look out at the side or rear of the ship. We occasionally heard some muffled music late at night but were not at all bothered by it and never slept better. We would highly recommend the Emerald minis for a family of 4. The ship is beautiful. The Piazza was the highlight with its' beautiful decor, bakery scents, classical sounds, and wandering performers. The 2 main pool areas always had chairs available on one of the decks. It was nice to be able to choose between movies,or music by the pool. You never had to go far for a snack of pizza, chicken sandwiches, or burgers and fries. The frozen drinks were more like desserts, and addicting even for nondrinkers. Movies under the stars is a great concept, but better enjoyed by adults in the evening. Arrive early for popular flicks. The blankets, candy and popcorn make it feel like a drive-in theater. Dinners were amazing some nights, and just good on others. Service throughout the ship was excellent. The entertainment was good to very good. We liked this itinerary, with the exception of Puerto Rico. We were unimpressed with the beach resort area of Isla Verde. Graffiti was visible even by the Ritz Carlton Resort. We still enjoyed swimming in the warm, turquoise water, and the kids found coconuts they cracked open and ate from. Grand Turk's beach was beautiful with the ship as an enormous backdrop. The pool area here was immense, with both rowdy and quiet areas to choose from. Maegan's Bay in St. Thomas is picturesque. The snorkeling isn't bad from the beach here if you go out along the edges. Bermuda was missed due to 7-12 foot seas, but there was plenty to do on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My wife and I recently returned home from our 9/12 cruise onboard the magnificent Crown Princess. This was our very first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to, but here's my review. Embarkation It took less than 45 minutes from ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned home from our 9/12 cruise onboard the magnificent Crown Princess. This was our very first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to, but here's my review. Embarkation It took less than 45 minutes from our arrival at the Brooklyn cruise terminal to board the ship. Very efficient! Room We booked a standard room with balcony on the Aloha deck (A401) the room was tastefully decorated and spacious enough for 2 people. The balcony was great! I spent several afternoons sitting with my wife listening to the waves, very relaxing! The shower was a little small, but I managed! Ship The Crown Princess is absolutely breathtaking! She truly is a magnificent ship. The Piazza is very impressive, the lounges are nice and the outdoor pool/deck areas are always clean. We never really had problems finding a lounge chair, although the ones right by the pools tend to fill up fast. Staff The staff onboard the Crown was very friendly and helpful. The waiters were professional and our room steward Jorge, was excellent. Every time we saw him, he would ask us if we needed anything. He always kept our room clean and tidy. He even replaced our towels with fresh ones twice a day! The ship was kept very clean by the staff. The public washrooms were always spotless! One night I woke up at 3am and decided to go for a walk on the top decks to look at a distant thunderstorm and get a little fresh air. The cleaning staff was busy pressure washing the decks, tables, lounge chairs etc & apparently they do this every night! Overall, the staff always made us feel as if we were VIP guests onboard the Crown. Entertainment We saw Sarge 3 times and we laughed like crazy at his shows. He really is hilarious! We also saw 'Destination Anywhere'. It was a little cheesy at times but overall quite good. The staff talent show was also quite funny! We both thought cruise director James did a great job! Movies under the stars We loved it! My wife and I watched several movies during the day (with free earphones provided) while relaxing in the sun and also watched Mission Impossible 3 one night. It was great! Food First of all, I gained 10 lbs! The buffet food was good, although a little bland at times. The breakfast was yummy, lots of things to choose from. (Eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit, cereal, yogurt, pancakes, French toast, bagels, smoked salmon etc...) We usually ate lunch at the buffet or at the international cafe. The pizza was OK but the cheeseburgers were awesome! At night we would dress up and dine in either the DaVinci or Michelangelo dining rooms. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. When I would order the steak or fillet mignon medium rare, it was always perfectly cooked. We ate lobster tails, crab legs, rack of lamb etc. The food really exceeded our expectations. The fresh baked cookies are exactly as everyone has already mentioned: delicious! Activities Lots to do on this ship; We played some ping-pong, painted ceramic coasters, went swimming in the Lotus Spa pool (adults only). Worked out in the gym, played some bingo, watched movies outside by the pool. We never felt bored. Ports Grand Turk Although I have never cruised before, I have traveled to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Florida keys. Governor's Beach is the nicest beach I've ever seen, the sand was powdery white and soft, and the water was so clean and warm. We stayed in the ocean for nearly 3 hours! The taxi ride from the pier to the beach is about 5-10 minutes and cost us $5 per person (one way) There's nothing really to do on Grand Turk besides go to the beach and shop at the duty free shop near the pier. margarita isn't really our 'thing' so my wife and I skipped it. Ocho Rios We did the green grotto caves and Dunn's River falls. We boarded our bus and headed off to the caves while our guide explained the history of Jamaica and pointed out landmarks and highlights along the way. The caves were great and our cave guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. I had no idea we'd see bats in the cave, but they were everywhere! Luckily, my wife and I are animal lovers so we didn't mind the bats, but many people on the tour were a little freaked out!! We then took the bus to Dunn's river Falls. After a brief safety talk, we joined hands and started the 600 foot climb to the top. It was a little challenging at times but we managed without too much trouble. The falls are very pretty and we had a great time! If you decide to climb the falls make sure to bring a pair of rubber soled water shoes since the rocks are very slippery. After the falls you must walk through a market of local vendors. These vendors tend to be aggressive but a simple "No thanks, not interested" should be enough for them to leave you alone. Grand Cayman What a beautiful island! We did the sea world explorer semi sub. We saw all kinds of tropical fish, stingrays and even jellyfish. We also saw 2 shipwrecks among the coral reef. We also managed to do a little souvenir shopping. We bought some delicious rum cakes, sea shells and other small gift for friends/family. Before heading back to the ship, my wife and I had some lunch at a restaurant (I forget the name) overlooking the bay. We tried the conch fritters and the jerk chicken sandwich for authentic Caribbean flavor and both were very spicy and delicious! Port Canaveral My wife and I visited the Kennedy Space Center. We both found it very interesting and awe-inspiring. The tour bus brought us to the rocket garden we then watched a 3-D IMAX movie. The bus then took us to the vehicle assembly building (VAB) and the launch pads. We were then dropped off at the exhibition hall and walked under a Saturn V rocket - WOW, it's massive! We both touched the moon rock and bought some souvenirs at the gift shop. Overall, a pleasant experience. Debarkation We chose the Express Walk Off option, which means you carry off your own luggage. It was a breeze, we were called off the ship at 8:30 am and we were standing in the pick up area in Brooklyn at 8:40am. Overall My wife and I had a great time on our cruise. We had good weather, the ship was beautiful, the staff was excellent and the food was yummy! I would definitely recommend a cruise on the Crown Princess to anyone. We really had an amazing cruise; it was a near perfect vacation! Highlights: -Beautiful ship -Professional staff -Good food -Nice room with balcony -Great destinations -Fun Activities, never felt bored -Movies under the stars -2 formal nights with Champagne waterfall Things I would have changed: -Photographers can get a little annoying and $20 for one print is way too expensive. -Casino is very smokey. I recently quit smoking and I love to play blackjack, but I couldn't stay in the casino for fear of breaking down and having a cigarette. Maybe they could build 2 smaller casinos; one for smokers and the other one non-smoking. Conclusion My wife and I kept a positive attitude throughout the trip and went on this cruise with realistic expectations. No trip can be perfect, but we feel it was as close to a perfect vacation as one can ask for. We both agree that our Princess cruise exceeded our expectations and can't wait to sail with Princess again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We arrived at the Brooklyn terminal around 2:00 and embarkation was a breeze. We were lucky for a beautiful fall day. While in port, go to the back of Deck 16. There youll have a vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall St. in front of you. ... Read More
We arrived at the Brooklyn terminal around 2:00 and embarkation was a breeze. We were lucky for a beautiful fall day. While in port, go to the back of Deck 16. There youll have a vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall St. in front of you. Nice place for a drink. When leaving New York we followed the advice of a previous Cruise Critic and went to the very front of the Lido deck. There, after going through two sets of doors, you can access the deck overlooking the bow of the ship. Its a great spot to get a picture of the Statue of Liberty. If you have a choice, get a cabin on the starboard side of the ship. In New York, Bermuda and leaving Grand Turk it was the better side to be on. We had a mini-suite for the first time in our 5 cruises with Princess. As a plus the bathroom had a full tub and was much larger. This alone was worth the price to upgrade. The stateroom itself had a few extra feet of space, and two TVs. The balcony was actually smaller than those found one deck up on Caribe. If you plan to spend a lot of time on your balcony, Id recommend an Oceanview Double on Caribe instead of upgrading to a mini-suite on Dolphin. The best thing about our cabin was the bed. It was the most comfortable Ive ever been in. Everything on the ship still looks brand new, and there was no evidence of the tilt accident from July. Maintenance crews were visible painting and varnishing, but were not in the way. One surprise was that while in San Juan, a crew replaced our balcony dividers. The Star Princess had a major fire and plastic balcony dividers were to blame. Princess has the most plastic dividers of any fleet. To their credit they are going to great expense to replace the dividers with aluminum to fix the problem. It was a slight inconvenience, but we were informed well in advance and the job was done professionally. It was a hot, humid day for a hard job, but the crew did a great job. The only other maintenance issue was the loss of the main generator for several minutes. The whole ship went dark, which surprised me. Emergency lights, and the backup generator were somewhat slow to come on. But everything got fixed and there were no further problems. One other thing. They cant get the clocks on deck to work, so dont depend on them. I have a picture showing one clock ten minutes fast and the other ten minutes slow. We like anytime dining, which gives greater flexibility to see evening entertainment or a late return to the ship. Most nights we arrived around 7:30 and had no more than a 15 minute wait. Both the DaVinci and Michelangelo dining room serve anytime dining. After eating in both, Id go to Michelangelo on deck 5. It seemed less crowded. Also the hostess, (cant remember her name) was the most pleasant crew member we encountered. It may be an unfair statement, but there seems to be a higher percentage of Asian wait staff on the Crown compared to other Princess ships weve sailed. Ive concluded European waiters offer better service and have a better sense of humor. Not a bad experience, but weve had better. The food was quite good, though the Princess menu doesnt seem to change much. We ate at Horizon Court one night because we wanted to see a Movie Under the Stars. That buffet was also good. Entertainment was a little disappointing. Other Cruise Critics raved about comedian Sarge, but I was not overly impressed. It seems every comedian on a cruise ship has to make light of the small showers and sucking toilets. Gets to be an old joke after awhile. The MUTS selection was also disappointing, though if you can find one you like, its a great way to see a movie. The Cruise Director Omar looked new to the position and was just OK. The Assistant Director had much more personality. She also gave the ballroom dancing lessons and was quite a good teacher. We rented scooters in Bermuda from Oleander who has a location right at the West End pier. Go online before you sail and you can save $5.00. Be warned that a $30.00 insurance charge is in the fine print. A scooter gives you great freedom to explore. The best beaches were on the southern side of the island. Plan on an excursion on Grand Turk. There is not much to do at the dock. We did a kayak and snorkeling trip which worked out nicely. The days at sea are a nice change of pace. If you want to get away from the crowds, the sun deck near the front of the ship on the Sports deck always had space. Princess is pushing The Sanctuary as a $15.00 per half day option. I just dont get it. I didnt see more than 6 people use the space. Ill be interested to see if Princess continues this option. One other nice place to avoid the crowds for an evening drink is the Adagio lounge. Their specialty is martinis and they offer a large selection of tasty olives to accompany the drinks. I cant overstate how much we enjoyed this lounge. There were several wonderful musicians for entertainment. Adagio is on Deck 16 all the way aft. Many people just dont venture that far, so it was never busy, but well worth the walk. On a ship with 3400 passengers, it is surprising how many quite places can be found if you are willing to look around. When arriving back in New York, do yourself a favor and wake up early to see the morning sunrise over the city. I went to the front of the Promenade deck. It was just beautiful. Disembarkation did not go well, though the blame goes to US customs. Due to 6 cruise ships arriving in New York on the same day, only 5 custom agents were available to clear 3400 passengers. It went on forever. And getting a taxi was difficult. We should have used a Princess arranged transfer. Those folks got to disembark much earlier. Overall a great cruise. Im guessing in the summer there are many kids which if you have children would make for a fun time. Our September trip was more adult oriented which was just fine for us. Cruises remain the best travel value and we look forward to another cruise on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
During the Memorial Day Weekend the decision was made to go on a cruise. My wife and I had never been on a cruise but had heard wonderful stories from relatives who had been. My brother in law and wife had strongly recommended Princess ... Read More
During the Memorial Day Weekend the decision was made to go on a cruise. My wife and I had never been on a cruise but had heard wonderful stories from relatives who had been. My brother in law and wife had strongly recommended Princess Cruises, so after 3 days of studying everything there was to know about cruises, We decided on the Crown Princess. We left our home in NJ about 11am and arrived at the terminal at 12:15pm. Everything about embarkation was totally organized and well laid out. We drove to the ship,dropped off our luggage and parked our car (cost $164) and entered the terminal building. We were on the ship by 12:45pm. We proceeded to our room which was very nice, small but comfortable and well laid out. We were sharing the room with our two teenage children. We went to have lunch and took a tour of the ship. Later in the day we met our steward a terrific guy nicknamed Zaldi and then watched the ship leave port. The kids enjoyed the teen activities and made several Internet friends during their stay. They felt the counselors were very helpful and enjoyed the different activities that were arranged. We decided to book excursions for St.Thomas and West Bermuda. We tried booking excursions in Grand Turk but were shutout and just decided to take a taxi to town. ($5 per person for a 10 min. ride) We weren't really impressed, so after a short walk in town, we came back to the pier. We thought about going to Margaritaville, but decided we could have hamburgers for free on board and save the $12 burgers outside the ship. In St. Thomas we went on a ferry and bus tour of St. John. It was about 4-1/2 hrs and was very nice and well run. We never got to Bermuda because of bad weather conditions (hurricane) but, the ship refunded the charges for that excursion. The staff was wonderful, our waiter Radu and Guillermo were excellent. All of the staff was great except for a busboy in the Crown Grill who asked us what type of water we wanted with dinner. When we didn't want Pellagrino and were happy with tap water (the same water served in all the other dining rooms) he rolled his eyes and walked away. Thankfully, the waiter scowled at him and things settled down. The food was average the first four days, the breakfast buffets included a large selection of items, but it seems because of the large quantities of food produced at one time that quality sometimes slips. The French Toast was crispy, like a stale cookie. The pancakes were also crispy, and tasted like they had been there since June. We generally ordered the continental breakfast in our room, since we are not big breakfast eaters and also because of the poor quality of some of the items on the buffet. The fresh fruit was excellent, and the coffee was good according to my wife. Lunch was adequate. The buffets had different themes everyday for lunch and dinner. A few days for lunch they had a oriental theme, the sushi tasted like the stuff in supermarkets, cold and stiff. On the other hand the Vino bar had excellent sushi at a dollar a piece. Dinners were ok the first four days but there was not much selection for picky teens. My daughter had the standard pasta specialty Fettucine Alfredo, but found it lacking in flavor and cream. I enjoyed the appys and some of the soups, but the filet mignon tasted processed. The last five days the food seemed to improve with the lobster tails, lamb and king crab legs. It was very impressive having the waiters removing the shell from the lobster meat. Our soda and drinks were always refilled without asking. Deserts were good. the kids loved the Princess loveboat desert. They had seconds every dinner. The pizza bar was very good and the trident grill was ok as long as the hamburgers weren't sitting around getting dryed out. The biggest complaint about the food was the night we reserved a table at the Crown Grill. $25 extra per person and an extra $9 if you wanted the 12oz Brazilian Lobster Tails or a whole broiled or steamed lobster. I had the whole lobster. It was tasty and well cooked as was the side dishes. On the other hand the lobster tails were awful. They had absolutely No flavor. They tasted like they had been sitting in a pail of water for days. My son also order a Kansas City cut steak. It was so overseasoned with garlic, it was not edible. Most of the food in the Crown Grill was so overseasoned with garlic you would think they were trying to hide something. Finally the deserts were average, I had a chocolate souffle that tasted of cheap chocolate and lard. I took several trips to the casino and participated in a few tournaments (blackjack and slots). The library was adequate and had a selection of games and books. An enjoyable evening was spent at the movies in the stars. It was very well laid out with comfortable beach chairs and blankets, and they even supplied popcorn. The entertainment was good at times, and very good at other times. Sarge was a comedian, who put on three shows, the first two being very funny, the last was boring. Of course that was the night of rough seas, and I think Sarge might have been a little green. We caught two other comedians at the lounges who were very good. The musicals were ok, but I wouldn't go to a theatre to see them. The bands in the theatre and in the clubs were very good. The cruise director is boring and annoying. Always repeating himself, and no imagination. We participated in the soda cards(about $40 each with surcharges). We had to drink alot of soda to make it worthwhile, but it was convenient. Finally, disembarkment in one word "TERRIBLE". You are given the choice of express checkout, which means carrying all your bags down the stairs (you can forget about getting an elevator the first or last day). The first day we walked up 6 flights to have lunch. You have to be out of your room at 8am on the final day and wait in a lounge. The first hour was standing, the last two was sitting. Yes it took 3 hours to leave the ship. Overall, I would say for the price we had a great time. We spent about $5,000 for 4 people for 9 days. The ship was beautiful, the staff was great, the food was average, the entertainment good. The excursions good, the activities were ok, the fitness center beautiful and the miniature golf was a joke. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
Since this board has been very useful, I wanted to provide on trip report about experience on the Crown Princess, 9/30/06 (Eastern Caribbean). As background, I am a solo traveler in my forties and this was my 32nd cruise (9th on Princess, ... Read More
Since this board has been very useful, I wanted to provide on trip report about experience on the Crown Princess, 9/30/06 (Eastern Caribbean). As background, I am a solo traveler in my forties and this was my 32nd cruise (9th on Princess, the balance mostly on Cunard, Celebrity, & Holland America with a few on Crystal & NCL.) I dont like huge ships, but the price was so low and no flights were needed, that I decided to go anyway. Embarkation: Drove from Connecticut to the cruise terminal in Brooklyn, NY. Parking is provided adjacent to the actual terminal in a fenced lot. Cost is $18 per day (including tax). HUGE line inside the terminal waiting to check-in, but as a platinum member I had priority check-in so was able to bypass the line and got the fast-track onto the ship. Cabin: I booked an inside cabin on Deck 11, forward. Smaller than interior cabins on other ships but fine for one person. Large, open closet area (about 6 ft) with plenty of hangers, but not nearly enough shelves/drawers. Mini-fridge, TV (contrary to the brochure, not flat-screen, but fine). Good lighting in the cabin area for reading, putting on make up, etc. Cabins now feature premium bedding  basically a duvet & nice sheets. The cabin was warmish so the duvet was often too hot (cabin steward remade the bed with a top sheet so I could flip the duvet on & off); several other people mentioned the same issue, so it wasnt unique to my cabin. Bathroom was small (shower only) but that's what I expect. It was dark in the bathroom  the bulbs were yellowish. Steward service was good  friendly but not obtrusive. Passengers: With 3000 passengers, the ship was nearly full. Probably 95% Americans and average age was probably 50. Only about two dozen kids. It appears that Princess is now targeting a different demographic which doesnt appeal to me. The majority of the passengers were under 40, tattooed, pierced and loud. They didnt seem to be well-traveled, werent particularly courteous (pushing past people, talking during shows, snapping fingers at the waiters, cursing, shouting outside their cabins, etc.) Any central areas (such as the Neptune & Calypso pools, the piazza atrium and the buffet lines) were crowded, loud, and hectic. Everyone is entitled to enjoy their vacation but their approach had nothing in common with mine and I quickly discovered the quieter spots on board  Terrace pool, Adagio, Sanctuary, etc. and dined at off-peak hours. The other people who I met in these areas were also disappointed at the change in the passenger make up and the consensus seemed to be that they wouldnt be sailing on Princess again (Celebrity & Holland America were the lines people mentioned instead). Meals: I chose traditional style dining, second seating in the Botticelli dining room. Since I travel solo, I like having an assigned table where the whole table can get to know each other and catch up on our days activities at night. Although the traditional seating option was filled up when I boarded, the maitre d was able to add me to a table with two couples and another solo traveler. Nice people (one couple was on Princess for the first time and the others were platinum members). Service was good (interestingly, no wine sommeliers or stewards on this ship; instead, the waiter provided suggestions. Im not a wine drinker, but the other couples are fairly knowledgeable and were amused that his suggestions were based on the nationality of the food&if it was Italian night, he suggested they order an Italian wine  no specifics as to type of wine or vineyard, just pick something Italian). Head waiter provided several special appetizers to his tables  cantaloupe & ham, parmesan & ham, escargots. Overall, dining room food was sub-standard. I dont expect gourmet food on a ship, but this was below average. The menu was very limited and the food was routinely bland. Appetizers and desserts were low points; side dishes were unimaginative (sliced carrots, green beans & mashed potatoes were regularly featured); entrees were not varied and the quality was poor  veal cordon bleu was tough and salty; rib eye steak was dry and gristly; chicken breast was OK but no flavor; pork was dry & tough. The lobster tails were large and good, although the melted butter was some kind of butter substitute. The buffets (breakfast, lunch & dinner) were awful. Breakfast: No omelet station, no waffle station, no egg station. Instead, one type of omelet was precooked and stacked on a hot tray; same for the pancakes  a huge platter of pancakes on a hot tray with another platter wrapped in plastic wrap behind, waiting to go on the hot tray. Fried eggs were pre-cooked and placed on rows of plates on the hot trays. Fresh cantaloupe had obviously been cut & stored hours  if not days  ago since it was dry and had a white film on top. Lunch: meals were lukewarm (e.g. veal stew); chili had marble-sized balls of fat & gristle; Chinese & Mexican day entrees were lukewarm, bland and dry; canned fruit was readily available (peaches, pears and good old Del Monte fruit cocktail); no sandwich station or even platters of cold cuts to make your own sandwiches  instead one pre-made sandwich was available each day&.sitting on trays, either drying up or getting soggy; desserts included vats of Jello  jello molds and straight jello; only two flavors of cookies  oatmeal & choc chip. The buffet food was Dennys quality  Im not looking for a 4star restaurant, but something equivalent to a buffet at a Marriott hotel would have been an improvement. I ended up having pizza for lunch a few days from the pool-side pizzeria and that was the best. Entertainment: Three production shows, one of which (Destination Anywhere) was spectacular. All the dancers were exceptionally high quality  on my other cruises, Ive gotten used to so-so dancers but this troupe was very good. Two comedians who didnt appeal to me  one had lots of farting jokes and the other one had material about gays, black vs. white women & farting. The audience was so unimpressed with him that he had to ask if the microphone was turned on&. A hypnotist, magician, and a variety show. Each lounge had live music, movies were available (under the stars and in a lounge), Karaoke, American idol, dance contests, etc. Team trivia twice a day was a hit  about 30 people each time. Pool Olympics & various pool sports. Public areas: Ship is physically in great shape since its so new. Lounges are fine, but dark. Too bad there arent more windows to see the water on the four sea days. The Starwalkers nightclub was great  high up, at the aft end of the ship, offered great views during the day & was empty. Pools: as others mentioned, people were reserving deck chairs at 8:00 am. Very annoying. Husbands sitting there surrounded by four empty chairs, each with one book or a hat on it, while the wives were having breakfast. The most peaceful spot was the Terrace pool, which is an adults only; small pool with no diving allowed. In summary, I got a good price on this cruise so enjoyed the sun & relaxation but will not be cruising on Princess again. The food was so bad and the clientele was not appealing to me. Luckily, Celebrity & HAL have plenty of ships and itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
I will start off by saying I am a travel agent so when I cruise I look for the good, the bad, and the ugly so I better know how to serve my clients when I am looking for the right cruise ship for them. On this particular sailing I had 4 ... Read More
I will start off by saying I am a travel agent so when I cruise I look for the good, the bad, and the ugly so I better know how to serve my clients when I am looking for the right cruise ship for them. On this particular sailing I had 4 other cabins with me so some of my comments here came from others that were sailing with me. Embarkation: I have mixed feelings about how this actually went. I think for the normal no problem passenger that is not in any way handicapped or needs special assistance this went very smooth. I myself had no problems and I would have been able to walk right on the ship when my number was called. The glitch comes with the fact that I had two people traveling with me that had both rented electric scooters due to mobility issues. This became a nightmare. The people at the cruise port had no idea what we needed to do to pick up the scooter that was suppose to be waiting outside. My clients were given specific instructions via the company, which I would never recommend to pick up their scooters at the gangway over by security. We asked several different workers and not one person had a clue where we needed to go. This in itself became a very frustrating process. We were finally able to locate someone that was able to get the information after about 2 hours of trying. Most of us managed to get on the ship then at approx 230pm. We were there at 11 if that paints the picture. However due to problems with the scooter one of my clients rented (not a fault of the cruise line, a fault of scoot-a-round) she didn't get on until right before last call. This was not a great way to start her cruise. After all those hassles were done we tried to get our cruise in full swing. Public Rooms: I think this ship is beautiful. I didn't get the wow factor I like to feel when I enter the main area of the ship but she is very elegant in design. I thought the layout was a little choppy but all in all I found most of the public rooms very appealing. The two areas I felt needed major improvement were the lack of seating in the buffet areas and the worst main show room I have ever seen. There are not even enough seats for half of the people sailing. I don't know whom thought that would work but it certainly does not. If you wanted to get a decent seat with people you were sailing with you had to arrive very early to do that. It was always standing room only with people sitting on the steps etc. I think this is a major flaw in this ship and it became frustrating night after night worrying about finding seats. The entertainment staff will actually take seats from you for others to sit in if your husband or wife is in the restroom and that seat is open. I heard more passengers then not complaining about this every single night. I sailed on the Caribbean Princess her first year out and never found this to be an issue on this ship. They should have kept that design and seating. Another area that I felt they really changed was MUTS (movies under the stars). This is such a great concept that it was one of the reasons I chose this ship. My husband and I sailed the first year the Caribbean Princess was out. They gave you a list of movies that were playing and you actually received movie tickets in your stateroom. The area was closed off and the seats were all cushioned with blankets before the movies started in the evening. You arrived for your show and presented your tickets. It felt like a real treat to go on the ship and enjoy this. On the Crown they only cover some of the seats&no movie tickets are used and you just walk up and sit down. I think that removed some of the charm of MUTS. I wish they would do it the way they did when this gimmick first started because it was really a nice touch. Cabins: We had a balcony cabin and found it to be great in size. The bathroom was a little smaller then most we have been in but I love the concept of the walk-in style closet. I thought the balcony furniture was very uncomfortable but we dealt with it. I had two in my group that had a balcony handicapped and also an inside handicapped and their rooms were plenty big enough to maneuver in a scooter. Fitness and Spa: I did not personally use the gym or spa services. Two in my party did and really enjoyed them. They did state they felt the prices were a little higher then on some ships but that they felt the services they received were very professional. The Sanctuary area was pretty much empty during our sailing. I feel this space does not warrant the 15-dollar half-day fee they charge. If they lower the fee it might be put to good use. The one area we did attempt to use was the miniature golf or putting area. This was a joke. There are no barriers so the balls roll all over the place from one hole to another. Several people attempted to play but got frustrated because of this and just picked up their balls like we did and called it quits. Dining and Staff: Well I must say my group had mixed reviews. I can tell you that the cookies got an A+ from everyone, as did the pizza that is offered. The ice cream was not a huge hit with anybody in our group. I did not like the fact that the buffet was not open 24 hours like offered on the Caribbean Princess. The International Cafe was nice but the food never changed from day to day. It was pretty much always the same offerings with maybe a different type of quiche. The buffet areas offered the typical buffet food. I found it to be a little boring. I thought the hamburger and hotdog grill offered pretty good food. Now for the dining room service and food. We started in the traditional dining room for early seating but because I added a couple late in the season we got our table switched and ended up in the anytime dining room but for a set time. Our staff was wonderful and very accommodating with the handicapped people in our party. The food got mixed reviews. I personally found it to be quite good and enjoyed most of what I ordered. If you didn't enjoy something or wanted more our wait staff made sure you got it. They made our dinner what it was and we enjoyed going each night. The Princess Love boat Dream was always a huge hit. I think that is a favorite dessert of mine. No one in my group tried the alternative dining so I can't comment on that. Entertainment: Overall I thought the entertainment was just OK. Nothing really stood out. The shows were so-so but then again I don't expect Broadway. I think part of the problem with the shows at night is by the time you get your seats you are so frustrated over the lack there of that it is almost not worth going. We did also take in some of the dance classes, 50's night, Princess Idol etc and found them to be entertaining. Bingo was expensive and you even have to buy a bingo marker&.they don't use the punch out cards which I found just another way to make money. The ship was pretty much asleep by 1AM. Not much going on after that time. Our group had an age range from 22-70 and both felt that they didn't offer enough choices on this sailing to keep them from being bored. I also felt that from all the ships I sailed this one was pretty boring as well. I would like to see more things being offered in all areas of the ship. The plus to the entertainment was the cruise staff. Omar was our CD and he and his staff were fantastic. They were more involved and guest interactive that I have seen on any other ship I have sailed. My hats off to the cruise staff for doing such a wonderful job on this ship. Service: A+ in all areas. I felt the buffet, cabin, cruise, deck staff was just fantastic and I must give them the credit they deserve. This is certainly a strong point on this ship. I don't think you could have asked for a more attentive crew then we had. Ports of Call: Our first port of call was Grand Turk. They were not kidding when they say nothing is there. I actually liked it that way. We got off the ship and went to the beach on the right side of the pier. It was not crowded at all. It was a little rocky and I would recommend water shoes. The snorkeling was fair but the beach shell collecting was amazing. There are a few little shops but nothing major. Margarittaville was fun for a quick stop before heading back to the ship. I am sure over the next few years they will build this area up so I am glad I got to see it before that happens. I would not have to go back to this port but I certainly would not rule out a cruise because it stopped here. Another port of call was San Juan. We took a taxi over to a beach but found it to be very boring. Much like you would see in FL. So we played in the water for a few. Grabbed a few rays and headed back to Old San Juan. We went back on the ship for lunch and then headed back out to do some sightseeing and shopping. There is a free shuttle that will take you to the fort on top of the hill. This place is amazing. We were fortunate while we were at the very top for a storm to roll in over the water. Because of this we saw several waterspouts, which made our day. After watching them for a long time we then walked into the shopping district and bought a few bags from the Coach and DB outlet. You know how ladies are with their shopping. After we finished shopping we grabbed that free shuttle back to the ship. There is a fantastic duty free shop right at the port&they give plenty of free liquor samples&my husband loved that. The last port of call we actually made it to was St. Thomas. I have some issues with this port because Princess has signed on for Crown Bay and there is nothing there at this point. I am so used to Havensight that this was a real let down for me. We took a taxi for 20pp, which was round trip and headed over to Coki Beach. This was my 3rd visit to the island but first to this beach. We all love to snorkel and let me tell you this was some of the best we have done both walk in and by boat. I would go back tomorrow if I could. We spent the majority of our day there. There are a few local vendors there selling things and you can get munchies and beer and also rent snorkel equipment. This beach is right next to Coral World, which we were going to do, but we enjoyed the snorkeling so much we didn't want to stop. Our taxi that dropped us off then took us to Charlotte Amalie (sp) where we had about an hour to shop and we bought a couple pieces of jewelry. After that she took us back to the ship. All in all it was a very enjoyable day. Unfortunately due to weather conditions we were not able to go to Bermuda. This was a huge disappointment but nothing we can blame the cruise line for. My daughter and son-in-law got engaged last year on a ship in Bermuda and this was their honeymoon sailing so it was more disappointing for them to miss this beautiful port. Value: I would say this was a great value for the money we paid. We got a great rate and I would sail this same thing again if the price were right. Overall: If I am being honest this was not my favorite cruise or ship. I thought it had some major flaws in design and flow and that some of the food areas were lacking. I also felt the entertainment as far as the main shows needed improvement. However on the upside a cruise is what you make it and we took what we had and made it work. Was it my best cruise ever? Not by a long shot but it was not my worst either. I was with a great group of people and we did enjoy each day we had. Would I recommend this ship? Probably because everyone expects different things when they are on a ship. I would tell my clients about the showroom issue to make them aware of it, but besides that this ship would be fine for somebody looking to take a cruise. We all have different views and opinions and I think being an agent I tend to view things from a different view then the normal passenger. On that note I had a client that just came off this ship the day we got on and sent me flowers when I got home because they had the best cruise ever. They loved the ship, service and overall experience they had so it can't be that bad. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My 2 sisters and I just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess. We range in age from mid 40s through late 50s. We haven't stopped talking about what a fabulous experience we had! The only experiences that we ... Read More
My 2 sisters and I just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess. We range in age from mid 40s through late 50s. We haven't stopped talking about what a fabulous experience we had! The only experiences that we had that were less than stellar were during embarkation and disembarkation and with so many on board perhaps that is to be expected. The ship was immaculate in all areas. The staff was consistently helpful above and beyond the call of duty. My sisters and I have all worked in customer service related industries and we really appreciate great service when we encounter it. The food was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, especially the International Crew Talent Show and the Cooking Demonstration and Galley Tour. Some particular high points of the trip for us were the following: THE SANCTUARY: We strongly recommend this area of the ship to anyone who is looking for pampering and relaxation. The area has its own adults-only pool adjacent to the spa. The staff provided us with MP3 players and headphones so we could totally tune out any outside noise and distractions. They regularly appeared with ice cold cloths and iced citrus water and there was a menu of spa type cuisine as well as hot dogs and hamburgers available at no additional charge. To us it was very well worth the $15/half day fee. The way we looked at it was that it was the equivalent cost of a shore excursion and it enhanced our "at sea" experience. INTERNATIONAL CAFE (THE PIAZZA): Cappuccino, Espresso, Latte, Wine, Tapas, Gelato, live entertainment, all in one comfortable setting, who could ask for more. A nice little get away on board. SABATINI'S: Well worth the $20 fee. An outstanding dining experience! DA VINCI DINING ROOM: Our wait staff (Eugen & Valentin) were just incredible. They were personable, knowledgeable about every menu and the service that they provided was beyond excellent. We had two balcony staterooms connected by a door in the balcony partitions. The rooms were immaculate and our steward Manuel anticipated and fulfilled our every need. Being able to share a vacation of this length was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the 3 of us and we want to thank the Crown Princess crew for making it exceed all of our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
I. Background Information. We are a couple in our mid-30's. We have both traveled on 3 previous cruises with 3 different cruise line carriers, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian, so we do have something to compare with on this ... Read More
I. Background Information. We are a couple in our mid-30's. We have both traveled on 3 previous cruises with 3 different cruise line carriers, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian, so we do have something to compare with on this cruise to be evaluated right here. Crown Princess, though, was our first Princess cruise. From past cruising experience, I have now yearned for the largest, newest ships that carry the bells and whistles. My emphasis in what I look for when cruising is for fine dining and spectacular entertainment with a wide array of activities from which to choose, when on the ship. So these are some of my focal points. We have taken previous cruises throughout Hawaii, the Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, & Eastern Caribbean. Now with this Princess cruise, this marks our 4th cruise this time going through the North Atlantic shipping lanes on the Crown Princess. II. Hotel Information. We chose to book a hotel reservation for just ONE night before the cruise in the New York City area. I'd have liked to spent a few days before or after the cruise in New York. However, it seems that New York City has become so expensive to stay in, that it makes it ridiculously impossible to stay anywhere in Manhattan as you'll pay $250 to $350 per night for a decent hotel room with a private bathroom to be in the center part of the hub of New York City. My advice to the reader is to stay in the outskirts such as Newark or nearby JFK airport as we did to avoid the exorbitant hotel costs. One such place as the one we stayed was the Days Inn at the JFK airport, in the town of Jamaica, New York. This hotel is a 4-5 story hotel which cost $80 per night for 2 people, plus tax brought it to $96 total for 2 people. The hotel is about 2-3 years old at the time of this writing which is October 22, 2006. There is a free continental breakfast serving a number of muffins, pastry treats, coffee, orange juice, cereal, milk, and bagels. The fly in the ointment and caveat to watch for, is the area it is surrounded by and a major weakness is that there is no restaurant at the hotel, and none nearby. The Holiday Inn Express is located at a stone's throw right next door to it. Plan on ordering for room delivery instead of walking or driving as there is no restaurant nearby. Don't try taking chances on foot. Although we were successful in going on foot, and finding a fried chicken slop shop, greasy spoon retrospect, I would not chance it by doing that again. You'll be just fine as long as you don't venture out on the streets by foot. Even by car you'll be okay. The staff at this hotel was accommodating and professional. I will recommend this hotel and would stay there again. This hotel would not be good for those who require godzilla-sized rooms, though. The rooms are incredibly small, but the bathrooms are lovely and gorgeous, well-appointed with marbled tile everywhere from floor to the walls and modern amenities in the room/bathroom. The bathrooms looked too good to be true for a Days Inn! III. Traveling to the SeaPort/Pier of Embarkation The Brooklyn, New York/ Red Hook seaport is a new one for New York City. Getting there from your JFK airport area should cost about $40 per taxi ride, (October 2006 rate). We had 5 of us with 7 pieces of luggage and had a minivan take us for $45. However the cabbie and his company tried to stick it to us for $70. I put up a lot of resistance, getting hot around the collar, as we were quoted the night before that it would be $45. In the end, $45 is what we settled on as the cabbie gave up and swallowed the quote we were given. Coming from the Red Hook Brooklyn Pier back to LaGuardia's airport, the cost was EXACTLY $29.30. It is metered from the seaport to LaGuardia, but is flat-rated from the seaport to JFK airport. So there. That's your rates for October 2006. Upon arriving at the pier where the ship is docked, I couldn't help but notice the piling-up of cars by the curbside, and we were early too, arriving at 11 AM. Boarding of the ship was about 12 noon. However, even in spite of these cars, mostly cabs and limousines, a good management system expedited the traffic flow well, in arriving at the dock. However, it's a different story when leaving as a mass exodus of folks leave all at once. IV. Ship Information. This ship, Crown Princess, was the newest and among one of the largest in the Princess fleet at the time of this writing, (October 2006). We embarked on a 9-day Caribbean cruise and Bermuda/North Atlantic cruise on October 9, 2006. Its gross tonnage is 112,894 tons, length is 951 feet, passenger capacity is 3,150, cruising speed is 22.5 kts and entered into regular service in June 2006. The crew capacity is 1,200. There are elevators located forward, mid-ship, and aft. Not all elevators service the same deck. For instance, the aft elevators went as high as deck 19, but the mid-ship elevators only go to deck 15, the Lido deck. This makes for some confusion as it's not the same, so you'll need to take note of being mindful as to which lifts take you to which deck. It will be a wise idea to study the layout of the ship very well before boarding. It can take a person a couple days or even 3 days to fully learn well your bearings without getting loused up as to which side you are heading, port & starboard &/or aft & forward. The gangway is located on deck 4. However, when embarking and disembarking it is deck 7, the promenade deck that you'll be using at the Red Hook pier in Brooklyn, New York. V. Stateroom. With a new ship as the Crown Princess, does come a new re-design of the interior staterooms over the other ships I had been on with other cruise lines. The short entrance hallway inside the entrance door is no longer cluttered with swinging closet doors. Instead the closet space is open, has no doors to the closet, and faces downwind opposite from the lavatory. The bedroom area was large enough for us and the 2 mirrors at the desk and behind the bed were a nice touch to make for a larger look to the room than it actually is. This was a clever design. The bathroom is still, as usual, a very tight, cramped and inadequate space that is allotted to the guest passengers. Upon sitting on the commode, my knees and face were practically upon the sink, since I am a tall individual 6' 2". This is okay, I thought, if you're expecting it to come out of both ends, since my mouth was upon the sink while on the commode, but otherwise is an unusually cramped design, as all interior stateroom cabin bathrooms are. The shower stall is also very tightly cramped. This time the shower spicket is NOT removable. This means you must squat if you are over 6 feet tall, to get under the shower head. Very obese people will have difficulty fitting in the bathroom's shower stall in the interior stateroom is my prediction. There is a small refrigerator that is equipped in the stateroom and is hidden behind one of the closet doors next to the desk in the stateroom. It's not advertised and does not scream out at you, so you must look for it. There were a goodly amount of wooden hangers provided on the closet shelf with only one closet shelf for hanging clothes. Each stateroom cabin has a safe. However, I had a problem with the use of mine so I ignored it and stored things in my suitcase for which I had a lock to my suitcase instead. There are no bathtubs in the interior stateroom. Balcony staterooms on the Dolphin deck did have a tub. The telephone inside the cabin stateroom does have an option to set your own wake-up calls. The automated menu for setting wake-up calls was not clear, and could pose some trouble for those people that don't understand the system. The air conditioning in the stateroom cabin is weak. There is a crate covering the air vent, restricting the rate of cool air that comes from the ceiling. For those requiring a very cold stateroom, well, it's just not going to happen on this go-around. There are sodas supplied in each stateroom for purchase. Cost is $1.50 (October 2006 pricing), and 1 liter water will cost you $3.34, (October 2006) pricing. The stateroom steward attendant will re-supply the soda and water as you deplete the supplies and visits your stateroom twice daily. No tipping is required as the Princess cruiseline automatically sticks you with a $10 per person per day fee for all the services of the ship that include the stateroom service, dining services, maitre' D, head waiter & assistant waiter. So don't worry about having to tip any more. You can opt to have the $10 per person per day fee removed if you'd rather tip directly by way of envelopes at the end of the cruise. Any discretionary tipping done by envelopes is to be done the last day or two BEFORE the END of the cruise in one lump sum, to the persons of your choice. Shower pressure and water pressure in the bathroom was excellent for a cruise ship, I thought. The toilet was unpluggable and has such enormous suction! Soap and shampoo are both provided FREE of cost. There is laundry service available onboard your Crown Princess cruise ship. There is full-serve and self-serve options available. Self serve will cost a $1.00 per load to wash and $1.00 per load to dry. There are also ironing boards, 2 of them, in the laundry room on my Dolphin deck toward the aft. There is also powered detergent sold in the laundry room. Full service to wash a shirt is expensive as in $4.00 per shirt. It costs additional to have the laundry dry cleaned or pressed. Your best bet to do laundry is while in a port or near the middle of the cruise. Don't wait until the end of the cruise while at sea, because you will wait painfully for a washer and dryer. There were only 2 washers and 2 dryers on my port side in the aft. Another hint is that specials in pricing aboard the ship show up when the ship is docked at port, so you can often find discounts in the Lotus Spa being offered on a day in port. Remember these guys don't make money when the ship is docked at a port, so they need to perform some incentive to keep guests on the ship. One such way is by offering discounts while it's docked at the pier. As for the bedding, these are newer beds, (October 2006 writing), and as such there is some springs in the mattresses. They're not the 4-6 inch foam mattress that were used years ago on the older ships. I found the mattress to be extra firm, with a hard bounce. It was not a pillowy, hammock mattress. This was the first ship of the 4 ships I've been on that did not have the traditional overlaying sheets and cover blankets. Instead, all you get is a comforter pull-up and that's it. I prefer the traditional overlaying sheets and cover blankets instead. There is seemingly more drawer space and storage space relative to other ships I've been on, but don't get overly excited, as it's still not your bedroom at home by any stretch of the imagination. My advice to the reader is to PACK LIGHTLY!! If you don't really need to pack certain clothes, then don't do it. Chances are you may find that you've brought too much for the drawers to accommodate and then you hem and haw over the inadequate storage space when you arrive. Another VERY IMPORTANT word of advice I'll pass on, is to clear the shower drain NIGHTLY from any long hair that collects over the top of the drain. This will absolutely help in poor drainage situations and will help you to avoid disappointment from a shower drain that overflows. Ours did not overflow, but on my last cruise the drain did overflow, so go easy and watch for clogged hair and keep the drain clear of hair. VI. Dining. Dining on a cruise ship is one of the focal point areas that I look forward to. On this Crown Princess, dining was indeed a highlight, IN THE MAIN FORMAL DINING ROOMS, and I believe I'll rate it near the tops, again relative in comparison to the other 3 cruises I had been on. This is strictly speaking about the main formal dining rooms that I am writing about here, and NOT the slop shop, run-of-the-mill buffet lines. The nice aspect of this Princess ship is that the food is not too fancy to where it becomes exotic and unliking, as was the case in my first cruise with a different cruise line. Of the different categories of food, as in beef, chicken, lamb, seafood, & turkey, I believe the greatest strength on this Crown Princess sailing was its seafood. It was always fresh and abundant, having been found on most menus daily. Here, they do not skimp at all on seafood. If you just look for it, you'll find it every day of the cruise, in different forms and varieties from clams, to mussels, to shrimp, to crab legs, to lobster, to scallops. This is a seafood lover's dream for sure. The lamb and prime rib were excellent quality even right up to the last night of the cruise when I had the prime rib, or equivalent. There were at least 3 different nights where I saw the filet mignon available. The first night it was thin and served not quite the way it's supposed to be as in the thick cut. However, later in the cruise, it was the known traditional thick cut and of high quality as you'd expect it to be. There was a night of Lobster tails served towards the end of the cruise on one of the last sea nights in the formal dining rooms. These were excellent, better really than the Crown Grill, I thought, and so did a couple others in our group as well. There were also a couple nights of getting Snow Crab legs, once in the buffet in the Horizon Court on the first night, served cold. I felt that these were too salty. On another night the Snow Crab legs were served again in the main formal dining rooms, conveniently split for you, and served warm. The Shrimp was awesome, everywhere, every place....and I mean large Shrimp too! If there was ever a weak spot in the food, I'd have to put it in the category of side dishes, as I felt there could have been more pizzazz infused to the vegetables, to ramp them up a bit. Some melons also were too underripe, (cantaloupe), and watermelon was lacking in flavor. Some of the steaks were chewy and required a work-out exercise of the jaw. Desserts --- Again, I'd rank this area at the tops as well, when it comes to desserts. Desserts on the Crown Princess, overall, I felt were top-notch, and first class outstanding. This is speaking of the formal dining rooms and not the slop-shop buffets. Further enhancing the desserts was the supplemental International Cafe' which served a variety of cakes on the lower deck of the Plaza level, where your themed Piazza atrium and main staircase lays. This is a hot spot not to be missed! They're also serving warm, baked oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate chip cookies. Although I did not know of any midnight chocolate buffet as was observed on many other cruiselines, you didn't need one here as there's plenty of desserts with chocolate bountiful in many aspects of the desserts in the formal dining rooms. The presentation of the desserts was artistic quite often. Since I'm neither a chocolate or fudge lover nor a custard lover either, this ruled out some desserts for me. My partner was constantly getting a variety of cakes from the International Cafe' for which there is no extra charge for any of the cake slices they served. She loved them all!! Gelatos are served there for an extra cost, but the panini sandwiches are all free. You must try the chicken sandwich, which I absolutely loved, as it is a seasoned chicken sandwich, and not just a plain chicken sandwich. It had to be the best sandwich I had onboard was that chicken sandwich, because of its wonderful blend of seasonings. ....And I live in the seasoning capital of the south...New Orleans!! I always ask them to heat-up the sandwich though, as it's served cold otherwise. Okay, what about the pizza and burgers up on Lido deck 15 of the Trident Grill?? I did try out both the pizza and the hamburgers. The hamburgers are just spectacular!! You've gotta get up there and do it at least once! Big, thick, meaty burgers, nicely dressed every time, served hot off the cooking area were satisfying, very appetizing and memorable. In stark contrast, though, I felt that the pizza was pretty disappointing, too thin, being onion-skin thick and droopy & poor ingredients, too. It was a sad story in the pizza department for the Crown Princess and this area needs improvement are my feelings on that end. Advice here --->> Go to the main, formal dining rooms for the best quality of food, especially for dinner and lunch. I just loved the beautiful peach tablecloths in the formal dining rooms that appeared during the morning hours. The color accentuated a nice elegant touch of class. Avoid the Horizon Court buffets, whenever possible, as it is ALWAYS a MAD HOUSE up there, with not enough seating, is what I've heard from other buddies. I got up extra early for a couple tour excursions, when I had to go there, so I had first choice when having to go to the Horizon Court, since I didn't have the time to sit and wait on the formal dining room servers. My worst meal during the entire cruise was the first lunch meal on the day of embarkation in the Horizon Court buffet. The buffet serves run-of-the-mill cafeteria food. Though you will get in and out faster with the buffet lines, than you will with the formal dining rooms, you will take a cut in quality of food in the buffet, as I found that out on the first luncheon of the day of embarkation. Average time to get in and out of the formal dining rooms depends on the size of your table. The larger the table, the longer it takes. You can be at a large table of 10-12 people for as long as 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours if they're big eaters and big gabbers. Or if you're just a table of 2, then you'll be in and out of the dining room in as little as 30 to 45 minutes, if you eat quick and small portions. So budget your time accordingly to maximize all the activities on the ship that are offered in your Princess Patter, the ship's listing of daily planning activities. After all, a very long dinner that goes into overtime can cause you to miss a show or two, much less let alone a movie or some other activity. It happens to us every time we cruise. A word about the Crown Grill. This was the first time I'd ever decided to up the ante and try out what's often referred to as a "Specialty Restaurant", in this case named the "Crown Grill" which requires a commanding cover charge fee. So I figured to give it a go on the newest and largest ship in the Princess fleet. Well, the summary of it is, I was disappointed in doing so. It turns out that the food in the Crown Grill really is NO better than the food in the main dining room. In fact, as I mentioned briefly above, the lobster in the formal dining rooms tasted juicier than in the Crown Grill, and was bigger in the formal dining room. After woofing down my 6th lobster tail, I felt I was beginning to get my money's worth. I topped it out at 10 lobster tails. Now, here's the key to the Crown Grill. It was a $25 admittance fee. If you wanted a 1 1/2 to 2 pound Maine full lobster, you then need to pay an additional $9 for each one on top of the $25 admittance fee, (cover charge). You can choose the live lobster of your choice in the tank in an undisclosed location, they never mentioned to us. Or you can alternatively choose a 12 oz. Brazilian lobster tail, but you must also pay an additional $9 on top of the $25 admittance fee. Finally the third option, if you're into the lobster bit is to go with the regular 4 oz. lobster tails at no additional charge, either grilled with roasted garlic or broiled with lemon. I tried both. I also had a filet mignon steak as well. We ordered a few appetizers, too, none of which were memorable, nor writing home about. I felt that the Crown Grill restaurant was merely nothing else but a pap: it's overplayed hype. I expect even better quality of food in a specialty restaurant, with probably even better service. Nope. The quality was still the same as in the main formal dining room and so too was the service. So, lesson learned is that I will not be doing specialty restaurants again, as it is a waste of money. VII. Activities. You will find activities chocked full of action packed things to do while on board. However, you must follow your Princess Patter guide to the listing of activities closely. The Patter is not well laid out on its timeline by the way time lines go. For instance, the time line of events during the day separates itself from, activities held in the bars, lounges or theatres, such as Princess Theatre and Club Fusion/Explorer's Lounge from the rest of the time line that is printed, so it's a bit annoying by the way the Patter is constructed & laid out. A true time line will list ALL activities together without separation. Anyone that has an old Patter will see and understand that it's not well laid out at all. However, once you come to follow its annoying layout, then you will truly find that there is a boatload of activities from which to choose. There is no reason why anyone should be in their cabin stateroom at all, other than to sleep in, or to make a change of clothes. Yeah, there's THAT many activities to choose from. It ranges from the more sedate activities such as the Movies Under the Stars on the top decks to the whacky, wild pool games held in the Neptune's pool. Or alternatively, you can choose to attend a computer class workshop, or take part in Bingo, or even the Price is Right game show, that they re-create with an audience. Hot tubs are available but are jammed with people, except near the aft of the ship. The Movies Under the Stars is the hallmark of the Princess cruise line and there continues to be popular demand for it & its shows. The big screen runs shows all day and through the night up until around midnight or shortly thereafter. They even held an NFL football game on the outdoor big screen up on the pool deck, and suntanning decks. Indoor movies were hosted in the Club Fusion lounge down below the upper decks. They have the usual spa, which is named the Lotus Spa, which is a full treatment and wide array of services to choose from for ultimate massaging and pampering, which comes at a hefty price for which the fees need massaging themselves! In the sports department, there is opportunity to play some basketball on deck 19, a mini-golf putting area, or jogging in the usual fitness area, inside or outside, on the top-most decks. We could go on and on about activities, but instead it's suffice to say that there's plenty to see and do, and good opportunities to participate in them. I was a judge in one of the pool games. I wanted to be a participant but got there too late, casually gabbing around on my way up to the pool. The Sanctuary, an adults-only area in the forward part of the ship is a quiet area to meditate with yoga-like tunes that play on, though there is no yoga held there though. Yoga sessions are held in the indoor fitness room down below. The fee to use the Sanctuary is still $15 per half day to keep a lid on crowd control, as was a preliminary problem with its inaugural maiden voyage. In the Sanctuary, there are extra puffy lounge chairs set amidst an artificial terrace of trees, plants, and astroturf. Sector screens installed above, partially obscures the sun from beating down, but the entire area is still open-air to the elements. While relaxing there, a menu of smoothies is offered for a fee, and some light food dishes are offered for free after you pay a nominal fee for a service charge. You may also opt for a massage for which you must pay for, inside one of two tents there in the Sanctuary. Just below the Sanctuary is a deck where the Buddha statue sits among another adults-only small pool area. There's no fee to use the adults-only pool. The Calypso Reef pool was situated right beneath the Movies Under the Stars. The Neptune pool gets rather deep at 7 ft 6 inches, and I found it difficult to sustain pool volleyball, but hey, I managed a long 45 minute game of 6 on 6 pool volleyball by leaping from the sides of the deep end. In other areas, I attended and participated in the champagne waterfall that was built and poured upon one night. This was an interesting experience, and got many pictures of this venue with good music played and the cruise director staff was in full swing on this one, going well past midnight. I can even recall a tour of the galley which was a very popular turn-out of guests on the ship to the tour. Kitchen & cooking demonstrations were offered onboard the ship, typically in the Piazza, the ship's themed Italian atrium, at the foot of the main staircase steps. Also taking place in the Piazza are a few street performer acts. One does magic, the other does a juggling act. I didn't get to see the juggling act, but I understand from others it was entertaining and full of energy. I did see one of the magic acts, but I was disappointed. Even sitting up close, it was difficult to see his card tricks. The rest of the audience didn't seem overwhelmed either. I suspect a different choice of magical acts should be in order for a better crowd-pleasing audience, as this one didn't make the grade, from what I see. I will address the evening entertainment, or after-dinner shows of the Princess Theatre in the sub-section titled "Entertainment" down below. VIII. Service. I've got some mixed feelings about this gray area. Service was typically decent, but not spectacular. This is the first cruise where I felt more like a number than a person. I guess this is what happens on the larger ships. I was pleased with the efficiency with the "anytime dining". I was much concerned that service would take a big hit in the anytime dining since it's not the same server throughout the cruise, which otherwise comes to learn what it is you want each night, but it was in fact satisfactory, better really than I had expected in terms of receiving food in a timely manner. As usual, when it came to the drinks, the assistants were a bit tardy and behind the eight ball on getting the beverages as in milk and chocolate milk. This has been the same on other cruise lines too, though. Many was the time where I noticed the staff putting themselves before the guest, and I just wasn't sure if the staff really wanted to be working on the ship. I kind of get the feeling that several staff members acted as though they were doing a favor for us, rather than with the energetic desire to please. This crew seemed to lack enthusiasm and spirit. At least a few times, crew members cut in front of me, rather than allowing me the right of way, when walking through the public areas and hallways, on several occasions. This prompted a point to ponder, and made me feel as though they owned the ship. So this was disconcerting in that sense. I didn't let it bother me during the cruise, though, but it's still something noticeable I recall after the cruise finished that was disturbing. This is not applicable to the cruise director's staff. This is only applicable to the service staff, as in the folks whom you tip -- dining wait staff, room stewards, deck attendants, etc. The room steward goofed a few times in not providing adequate supplies. Also the guests in our cabin stateroom on the previous cruise before us, left a horrible smell of body odor and the room steward was unable to expunge the odor and he was not even equipped with air freshener. This is the first time that I think the dining staff actually finishes ahead of the room steward on this go-around with this particular cruise. It's usually the other way around. The cruise director's staff tried hard to please and entertain by attempting to be comical and they deserve credit for trying so hard and being so consistent from day to day, without any let-downs. I think the cruise director himself, Omar, should have had as much energy as his staff did. But with Princess catering to older crowds, I think it explains why the cruise directors are not as hyped-up in behavior. With me still being a younger person, I appreciate the ramped-up "la-la" cruise directors. Service at the purser's desk or guest relations desk was standard, and as usual, there's plenty of times when they did not pick up the telephone due to understaffing of a ship that seats nearly 3,100 berths. I did not find all the purser's desk staff to be accommodating to requests. Some staff were better than others and more willing to cooperate, such as removing an erroneous charge or two that was tacked on to my billing account. Here's a warning to the reader. The purser's desk or guest relations desk will be filled with a long line toward the last sea day of your cruise. The wait can be 30 minutes or longer. Therefore it is best that YOU check-in periodically during the cruise, as in the middle of the cruise, to ask for an inquiry printout of charges to your charged account, so's that you can settle those disputes before the last day rather than letting the billing disputes pile-up at the last day. Service at the Crown Grill restaurant: It started off really great, as we were the first ones in at 6 PM. Then as it filled up with other folks, we lost the personal service touch connection with our server. He had too many others to tend to, and the great service we started with began to take a hit. Well, it was not major. But it was about the same kind of service we got in the formal, main dining rooms in which there are about 4 different tables assigned to a server. Generally there are 2 small tables and then 2 medium-sized tables assigned bringing the total to 4. IX. Entertainment. Alright, I am ONLY using this section to describe the entertainment quality for the after-dinner shows, featured in the Princess Theatre. Since I'm not a lush, I cannot comment on bar entertainment or lounge entertainment, as I'm never found in either one of those places. The first few shows in the Princess theatre which included a comedian or two AND a production show of singers and dancers were all absolutely OUTSTANDING and FANTASTIC and I'd put it up to any other show production. I especially enjoyed very much the show production named, "Destination Anywhere". I thought it was quite creative in design, presentation, and expressed itself very well with dynamite costumes and good music. I give that particular show an A+, for the cruiseline on the Crown Princess. It had a strong ending to it too. The "Motor City" show which came a few nights later was not as superb as the "Destination Anywhere" show, but it still fell within the reasonable bounds of good taste. A couple of fine black comedians rounded out my top 3 comedians, with the other third one being a white guy who appeared on the Jay Leno show some time ago. The very first black comedian was pretty good. Then, later on during the cruise, Tony Tillman, I think was one of the black comedian entertainers who I thought was the absolute best. He was best because he had it all----it was a one-man band act. I felt he really established a strong connection with the audience which makes him a success. He played the role as an actor, a comedian, a singer, and a dancer, all grouped into one. He was THAT outstanding and that good!!! He's a keeper. Princess ought to do everything in their power to keep him! I'm a hard grader and I rarely give a standing ovation, but this was a rare moment in which I did. I could hear it in the roar of the crowd who was with me on this one. He made a connection with the audience that few can do. He's not a young man either; he's a good bit older. He came out gleaming with energy, bursting with smiles, and really looked like he enjoyed what he was doing. Those who thoroughly enjoy their job are usually pretty darn good at doing the job they do! Finally he did a farewell tribute to Sammy Davis Jr. at the end of his show. It was classy and finished off with charming style, his entire show. A job very well done, I must say!!! Good job on his fine work. Once we got past St. Thomas, the nighttime shows in the Princess Theatre began to tank (go down) in quality. It was noticeable. They had an international crew show, which was amateur entertainment put on by the crew of the ship. Then there was a show skit put on by the cruise director's staff. While there was some graphically, perverted sexual jokes contained therein, the rest of it was mostly meaningless, reminiscent of an untalented high school show production that has little substance. But it was creative in design, though, nonetheless and others may find it amusing or otherwise entertaining, if a laugh is what they desire out of it, rather than true talent. One of the last comedians who appeared twice, back-to-back nights in the Princess Theatre was absolutely the worst. There were people getting up and leaving during the 830 PM show is what I heard. I went to the early show at 7 PM. The 7 PM crowd was a bit more forgiving as I saw only one or two couples get up and leave, but this guy was bad. He was not funny; he was goofy. There's a difference. We missed getting a better comedian since our cruise did not stop in Bermuda as it was scheduled to in order to pick up probably a better comedian. (Well, I don't see how the next comedian could be any worse). I would have liked to see more variety in the Princess Theatre for the after-dinner shows. They really were locked onto 2 breeds of shows: #1.) production shows and #2.) comedians. The shows toggled back and forth between these two types of shows, comedians and production shows. Production shows means singers and dancers. I would like to see more variety such as full-scale stage shows of juggling and Cirque du Soleil contortionist types of shows. Contortionists shows I find most amazing, but it just did not happen on this cruise. The juggling acts by the street performers in the Piazza are small-scale, short-lived with little turn-out. So I dock Princess for not incorporating more VARIETY in its nighttime, after-dinner shows. Also there's not enough space in the Piazza atrium to host enough people for the skits and gatherings that is required. X. Shore excursions. --- Grand Turk --- The first ship-sponsored tour excursion we did was the New Waves Ultimate Snorkeling Adventure at Grand Turk. At a cost of $49 per person, I think it is reasonably priced to go out to 2 different snorkeling sites on a power boat, with all snorkeling equipment generously provided for use at no extra cost. A goodly amount of time was provided at both sites. I brought with me my underwater camera to capture images of the different kinds of coral rock including brain coral, leaf coral, tubepipe coral, and occasional fish which became more prevalent and pronounced at the 2nd site we stopped at. You have to have the willingness and strength to swim out to the coral which is about 100 ft away from where the boat throws anchor. The boat throws anchor in a sandy spot below the boat. It cannot dump you right over the scenic coral because dropping anchor over coral damages the coral and ruins the reef. You are given a vest for which you can inflate, a mask, snorkel tube, and fins. So's all you need to do is kick with the fins that are provided. Be sure to bring sun cream as you'll be hurting without it. The water can be shallow in some spots above the reef, and you must take care as not to stand up nor touch or kick any of the coral as you will damage it. Some coral can severely cut you too, so be mindful not to come into contact with the coral reef rocks of any kind. I felt the 2nd site we stopped at was better. There were more fish and different species of fish with blue/black, blue/yellow, and poka-dotted redfishes. There were even camouflaged fish blending in with the color of the coral. The leaf coral was purple and believe to have gotten some good photo shots. So there's more marine life at the 2nd stop and the coral was equally as good as the first site we stopped at. No lunch is provided. There are shady spots on the boat as well as open spots. When seas are rough be sure to take dramamine or bonine BEFORE getting onto the boat, as you could get motion sickness & can even hurl, (blow chunk), if you don't take some motion sickness relief an hour BEFORE getting on the small craft boat. I felt a bit queasy in my stomach, too, when the boat was sitting stationary idle waiting for everyone to board to go to the next site. My recommendation in Grand Turk is to take a water tour of some sort. Enjoy the reefs. Either take a scuba or snuba or snorkeling tour, or a catamaran rather than a land tour. There is nothing, absolutely nothing to see on land in Grand Turk. Carnival cruise lines basically owns the dock and Margaritaville. Some folks like Margaritaville which is a short walk from the pier. It's basically a pool hang-out place where you drink either beer or hard liquor and spend money in the shops. They have dancing and doing the conga, with more pool side games. It's all the same things you can basically do on the ship as what Margaritaville is, so don't waste your time there, and take advantage of nature's resources by visiting the underwater world in Grand Turk. There is a free beach right there on the dock side of where the ship is parked, so you need not pay for a beach excursion over to Governor's beach. The beach is right there next to the ship. It's practically a stone's throw away from the ship. --- San Juan, Puerto Rico --- I've been to San Juan twice in 6 months now. Both times it has been to different parts of the El Yunke Rainforest. This time I took the horseback riding tour along the foothills of the scenic El Yunke Rainforest. This was a decent tour. I first thought and expected that we would just have a horse walking tour the entire way, as I've been told these tours are sedated and slow. However, to my pleasant surprise we trotted several times; trotted, but not galloped. It was a nice stretch of country. I don't think, that the tour was priced well though. I think it is overpriced by much to much at $98 per person. It should be more like half that, but the very long bus drive, I think ramped up the cost. We had a chance to stop and go into a river after getting off the horse for an intermission break. It sure would have been great if Princess cruise lines told us to bring our swimsuits and that there'd be a chance to go in for a swim into the rushing river, but it was not announced by Princess cruise lines. The tour operators were willing to please and patient too. They took pictures at anytime and anywhere we requested. These tour operators provided better service than even some of the ship's service crew on board! The horses were small. With me being 6' 2", I felt I dwarfed my horse, and that was one of the larger horses in the crop. A few of them were fiesty and kicked around some on the trail. One even stood up on his hind legs and did a 360 turnabout, misbehaving'. It didn't bother me any since it wasn't my horse. The horses are trained to do what the other horses around them do, usually in a generalized statement. They follow each other, generally at the same pace. I recommend to the reader that your back be in good condition with no weaknesses or ailing back problems if you're deciding to do this particular horseback riding tour. Your general health should be in good condition and unlike what the tour description reads, this is not a smooth riding horse ride. There are rough moments when trotting, particularly if you're not adept at moving with the motion of the horse. But for me and my partner, trotting was the funniest part of it, since we are not skilled with horseback riding at all. Notice: do NOT put an elderly person on this horseback riding tour, as I do not recommend it for the elderly. Elderly meaning anyone over 60. In other areas--->> Old San Juan, if you're going to do a walking tour is very doable on foot. One of the old forts is within walking distance for most folks below the age of 60. The other fort on the northeast tip is much further away and is doable by only those who have good physical health and generally the younger crowd who has lots of energy in them, as it's quite some distance to get to that other fort. There are hills in Old San Juan's streets with lots of brick roads. If you've ever been to the French Quarter in New Orleans, this is very reminiscent of the architecture and style of the buildings in the French Quarter in New Orleans. There are plenty of shops and restaurants serving up Spanish and Puerto Rican food. We especially liked the Churrascos served in the Old San Juan Sheraton Hotel right near the dockside. She particularly likes finding places that serve Amarillo's, very sweet, fried plantains, served hot. So do I. There is an entrance fee to both of the forts, whichever ones you decide to take a closer look inside. You can tour the outside of the forts and get outside pictures, but to get inside the forts, requires an entrance fee, somewhere around $5 to $10, I believe. --- St. Thomas --- This is one of the U. S. Virgin Islands. It is a hilly island. I chose to do the skyride to Paradise Point. I thought it was a bit costly. Here's a rare moment in which the cruise line actually charges LESS, yes, LESS than if you bought the ticket on your own. On your own the ticket up and back from Paradise Point if you buy it at the ticket counter costs $18 for an adult. Princess charges only $15. How about that? If you are big into taking pictures of the lagoon, harbor, cruise ships from above, and hilly scenery, then it's probably worth doing this 4 minute skyride tour. But if you are not into taking pictures and don't care to take pictures of this island, then it's not worth the money spent. My hunch is that lots of folks do take it. Hence, the cost is overinflated, I think to keep a lid on crowd control. It is a really, really nice view from the top. Majestic pictures can be taken. Someone touring from Colorado would laugh and simply call these hills. However if you've lived all your life in Florida, then you'd call these mountains. It's a relative term. There are now 2 docking sites in St. Thomas. The original docking site for the cruise ships is Havensight where all the hustle and bustle of shopping is at. The newest seaport is now Crown Bay or Crown Point. At the time of this writing which is October 22, 2006, this is a spin-up pier and the pier is in its infancy with basically no shopping nearby, but some are in the process of being constructed. It'll take you $4 to $5 to catch a taxi shuttle to go to Havensight from the new pier and another $4 to $5 to come back, (October 2006 pricing rates). There are plenty of shuttles all around the area. This is a pleasant little island here in St. Thomas. There's plenty of opportunities to shop at the Havensight shopping district or in downtown Charlotte/Amalie. You can also find many water sport activities being offered in one of the diving shop outlets I visited in Havensight. Parasailing cost is $69, and this was NOT a ship-sponsored tour. It included an 8 - 12 minute ride of parasailing at 600 ft. into the air. It is an exhilarating rush of fun. Pricing in shops is pretty good, too. I found some good deals on apparel. --- Bermuda --- Does Bermuda really exist?? For the 2nd or 3rd time in a row, this cruise ship Crown Princess has MISSED Bermuda. They're telling me that it is a narrow channel that the ship must enter and the reef nearby is very shallow. Therefore the ship is very sensitive to winds and seas governing its entrance into the 14 mile stretch of channel that it must approach from the northeast to make it to West End. The captain was too insecure about taking the ship into Bermuda for what he blamed it on the winds being too strong. The captain of the ship was overexaggerating the current winds and forecast winds in a "c.y.a." call that was made, but I will go as far as to say that Princess cruise lines could have and most certainly **SHOULD** have taken measures and steps to avoid the cancellation of Bermuda: They could have used tenders. The seas were only 4 - 5 feet. The skies were mostly sunny, no squalls, no showers, no tropical storms, no hurricanes either. They could have used tenders to get us there to Bermuda, and they could have used tugboats to guide our ship into the channel, much the same way that tugboats were used to guide Freedom of the Seas out of the Aker Finnyards last winter with the chunks of glaciers there in those pictures I saw a year ago. Here in Bermuda there were only 15 kts of wind the entire day. It is irrational to expect less than 15 kts of wind in the open Atlantic Ocean to bring the Crown Princess into Bermuda. If you're not regularly going to make it into Bermuda, then take it off the port of call listing. This has happened repeatedly, missing Bermuda. Realizing this does not discuss the shore excursion of Bermuda, but there is no tour excursion to discuss since we were unable to make a port of call there. However, the readers of Cruise Critic users need to know that there's a good chance of not seeing Bermuda from the Crown Princess. The bottom line is this: Do NOT consider taking this cruise JUST FOR BERMUDA. This ship, since it is a large ship, has missed Bermuda on several occasions. Knowing that the weather was better than what the captain stated, AND the fact that Princess should have taken steps such as tenders to get us to Bermuda or tugboats to guide it in, is leaving me with a bad close to the cruise, since the weather really was good. I have to dock points off from Princess and this affects my overall rating of this cruise. Points will be taken off accordingly at the end. Missing Bermuda is a tragedy in and of itself. The weather was fine and Princess made a bad call because of a captain that was insecure with his abilities, is what I speculate. I believe there's more to it than just the weather as to why we missed that port of call in Bermuda, and it's all speculation. XI. Children's Clubs. As with all other ships I've been on, yes there is a place for children on this ship. There is a specially designed kiddie pool near the aft of the ship which is adjacent to the children's playtime area hangout. It is on one of the upper decks at the aft of the ship. There is also an inside playland for them to tinker around too. I know nothing of this club since I have no children and knew of no children who participated. This is an October sailing, and as such, nearly all children are in school at the time of this sailing. XII. Disembarkation. We were on Dolphin deck so this meant we were among the last 1/4 of the guests to leave the ship. This was fine with me. It meant I got to sleep in later. I got up around 8 to 815 AM when the ship arrived at 7 AM. I grabbed a bite to eat at the breakfast buffet as it was the only place open for eating up until 9 AM. We got off the ship around 1030 AM. They said we were part of the Gold colored group due to get off between 930 AM and 10 AM, but instead they ran behind in getting us off about 30 minutes later. We stayed in our cabin staterooms until we could stay no longer as the room stewards kicked us out and told us we had to wait in one of the public area rooms near the atrium's Piazza. The reason for getting exiled from our stateroom is that the room stewards must prepare and ready the room for the next crop of guests boarding the ship in just as little as 3 hours from the time we get off! Yeah! It's that quick the turnaround time. There's no chance for the room stewards to catch their breath, so they need every minute that counts. Leaving the Red Hook, Brooklyn Pier was a much different story than embarking. It was slower and congested. We got charged by the cabbie for the time it took in long one-lane traffic pulling away from the seaport. We used the YELLOW cabs that pulled up to the pier, as they are the cheapest. Insist on only the yellow cabs, if you're looking to save some dollars. Otherwise, limousines are available too as well as luxury Lincolns at a rate of about $70 to either airport. Waiting in line to get out of the seaport in one-lane traffic with the yellow cab tacked on an additional $3-$5. Still, for a rate of $29.30 to go from the seaport to LaGuardia airport for 5 people, and 7 pieces of luggage, it's the best deal in town, in an otherwise very pricey city....Hey this is New York!! Whatsa matta?? XIII. Summary. This cruise had all the ear-markings of being among the highest ranked cruises I had been on for the past 4 I have taken, but because of the captain's ineptitude call to miss Bermuda and willfully choosing to skip Bermuda in the absence of any bad weather, has simmered my rating and toned it down on this particular cruise. It's a crying shame because we didn't have to skip Bermuda, as said by way of using tenders or tugboats, even in the shadow of his inability, in lieu of missing it altogether. The layout of the ship's deck plans I found to be most confusing, hard to keep up with, and the elevators did not all reach up to the same decks, adding to the confusion. Just about the last several days of the cruise when I about had the ship's layout confirmed, our cruise was coming to an end. The elevators did not take as long as some others' claimed in earlier cruises. I found elevators to be quite timely really. I did not feel crowded on this ship. The only severe waiting times I encountered was re-boarding the ship at Grand Turk in the long lines there to get back on and one of the formal nights had a waiting time to get into the anytime formal dining room. Then again, I suspect this was not a completely full ship either. Dinner service and most importantly food quality was a definite highlight. Princess excels in the seafood category, offering generous, fresh portions and great variety daily. In some cases you don't have to go finding it. It'll come to you! This is a definite strong point beating the others in food quality. The same goes for desserts. Again Princess excels in this category as well. This was the most consistent rock-solid category was quality of food and desserts, and mind you, I'm a hard grader. Entertainment was fantastic during several of the after-dinner shows, but as said, near the end, in the last few shows, the quality tanked with a couple skunks appearing at the end requiring the need to wear nose clips to the last few shows, because of a poor comedian twice in a row, bringing down the rating some. So entertainment ran hot and cold, with lack of consistency. Interior cabins, (which I had), are beginning to see a revolutionary design change in the configuration and placement of closets and storage space which is a move in a better direction, so a good plus is there. Bathrooms continue to be tightly cramped and that comes out being a minus. Service on the ship was standardly decent, but not spectacular. The crew did just what they needed to in order to get by. No one went above the call of duty to please, was my recollection. They were adequate, but nothing more. The attitude was neither negative nor positive, just neutral. I've seen occasionally better service elsewhere, in a peppy, more cheered environment. Activities on board the ship were a-plenty and bubbling at the seams, as there was so much offered to see, experience, and participate in. There were 2 formal nights on this 9 day cruise, with plenty of formal pictures taken and casual pictures offered too. I only skimmed the tip of the many activities because there was so much. Most of the greatest, appealing attractions occur between the hours of 5 PM to about Midnight. So you have to pick and choose one activity over all the others, even though you'd like to see them all at the same time. This strategy is done to prevent overcrowding at any ONE of the many entertainment venues is what the cruise director, Omar told me inside the Wheelhouse Bar during one of the last nights of the cruise. In arriving at the final rating of this cruise, I really should have docked it down to a 3 1/2 star rating because of the missed port of call to Bermuda, but cruise critic doesn't allow for half-stars. Consequently, 3 1/2 rounds up to a 4 star ranking, the highest I've given, and I'm being overly generous here because I've weighted heavy emphasis on the dining quality of food and the activities aboard the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Crown Princess Review Back to Back Oct 27-Nov 11, 2006 New York - San Juan This was my 3rd and 4th cruise with Princess. I have also been on 4 Carnival and 3 NCL cruises. I am a farmer and scrimp and save all year for a cruise. I am in ... Read More
Crown Princess Review Back to Back Oct 27-Nov 11, 2006 New York - San Juan This was my 3rd and 4th cruise with Princess. I have also been on 4 Carnival and 3 NCL cruises. I am a farmer and scrimp and save all year for a cruise. I am in my early forties and I took my disabled 69-year-old mom. My mom is disabled from a stroke and can not walk. She gets around with an electric scooter. We booked a handicapped cabin. The door to get in the cabin is wider so she could drive her scooter in the room. We talked to many people who were disabled and needed handicapped cabins but they were all booked. They mainly needed the wider doors so they could get their mobility devices in their cabins. Some of these disabled pax went to the pursers desk asking if they would check to see if some of the people in the handicapped cabins were not in need. In other words able bodied. The pursers desk refused to check. They told them all the handicapped cabins were booked. period. I know for a fact that there were able bodied people booked in some of the handicapped cabins. Some of the ship is not accessible to wheelchairs or scooters. The spa and very aft pool has stairs so they are impossible to use. This was too bad because these were the quiet pools. We had to use the two central pools. One was loud because of MUTS and the other had wild pool games. There are a few automatic doors, which my mom loved. The remainder of the doors were manual and were very heavy to open. It was impossible for mom to open the door and drive thru the door at the same time. This was fine when I was with her as I opened all the doors for her. My mom relied on kind passersby to open them for her when she was alone. We went into LGA one day early, just in case. If you are reading this, please always go in a day early if at all possible. You always think it won't happen to you. We arrived in ORD to find out our flight to LGA had been cancelled. We waited in ORD for 8 1/2 hours standing by for any flight to LGA. We finally got on a flight at 8:30pm we arrived into LGA at 1:30am. We would have missed the cruise if we had not gone in a day early. We had a great night at the Pan American hotel. The staff there was so nice and the room was great. The next morning the staff at the hotel got us cab to take us to the pier. It happened to be a gypsy cab. The driver spoke very little English and drove us to Red hook in Brooklyn. He couldn't find the ship. He took us to a barge ship. We could see the Crown Princess but the driver couldn't get us there. I finally saw a sign that said cruise terminal. I told the taxi driver that way and pointed to the sign. Apparently he doesn't take advice from back seat drivers. I was wondering if we were going to make it to the ship by the time it sailed. It was now 2pm. The driver finally spotted other taxis and followed them to the Crown Princess. Suddenly the $35 we had agreed on at the hotel rose to $40. I shouldn't have given it to him but I didn't know any better and gave him the $40 he requested. We got there around 2pm and we just breezed thru embarkation. It took us a max of 10 minutes and most of that time was walking to get on the ship. The ship was beautiful and everything just gleamed inside like it had just been polished. We found our way to the room with no problem. We were in an inside cabin on the Lido deck. Great location, close to everything. We loved our cabin even though it was inside. We decided to save money and be able to cruise for two weeks in an inside instead of one week in a balcony. ;-) The cabin was very nice with plenty of closet space. Our beds had the nice new duvets everyone is talking about. The pillows were wonderful and we each got two. The beds were a little hard in my opinion but we slept fine. We didn't go to the dining room on the first night as we were looking forward to the seafood buffet. Crab, Lobster claws and shrimp, all you can eat. We gorged ourselves. Food -the food in the dining room was always great. Great selections. I always ordered seafood, since I just don't get enough of it here in Kansas. Shrimp, Crab legs, Lobster, crawfish, and scallops...I had them all. I never had a bad meal. We always dined in the Da Vinci Dining room. We had personal choice dining. However, we liked our table, fellow cruisers and waiters so much we decided to all meet at the same table every night at the same time. So the first leg of the cruise we felt like we had traditional dining. On the second leg we did personal choice. We always requested to sit with others and met wonderfully nice people each and every night. Some waiters were great some weren't. It was hit and miss. The Grill served hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. It was nice to quickly grab something by the pool. Pizza was passable. Several times we got burnt pizza. The bottom crust was black and tasted was inedible. Even when the pizza wasn't burnt it was just so-so. After 1am the pizza and grill closes and their is nothing to eat except room service and a small offering of a few small cold sandwiches, a few cold salads and a few desserts in the International cafe on deck 5. The Caribe cafe on deck 15 was not open 24 hours like we heard it would be. It closed at 11pm. The Caribe cafe served different nationalities of food every evening for dinner. One night would be German and the next Italian etc. We loved the first 3 days at sea. After all the flying and running around it was so nice to sleep late and do what ever we wanted whenever we wanted. The second day out of New York we had rough seas. Thankfully, we don't get seasick. We found it fun and exciting. There were alot of seasick people. We saw quite a few people in the buffet holding napkins up to their mouths. It was gross. Please, if you are prone to seasickness don't come to the buffet, in consideration of others. We took advantage of the continental breakfast room service cards most mornings. This consisted of cold cereals, pastries and juices etc. The coffee was never warm or hot. We were lucky if it was lukewarm. Room service was wonderful if you ordered something cold. If you order anything hot it will arrive cold. Hot sandwiches and French fries were always cold. Again coffee was lukewarm at best. Don't forget to tip for room service. Room service is not included in the automatic tipping. We always tipped $2.00. Entertainment-some shows were great others were not. Sarge was great!!! Not only is he a great comedian but also a singer and a talented pianist. The show room was always standing room only on Sarge nights. He said he would be doing a one-man show opening in New York in January so I don't how much longer he will be doing cruises. We had another great comedian on the second week. His name was Rodney Johnson and he was also very funny. The dancers and singers in the production show were wonderful. So talented. We enjoyed the Motown show. The other two production shows weren't the greatest. The dancers and singers were always great but the shows were the problem. Who every made those shows should be fired. The assorted jugglers, comedians and acrobatics were poor. It wasn't even worth going to shows those nights unless you are very bored. Room stewardess-We had Merilynn from the Philippines. She was a real sweetheart. Just a doll of a girl who kept our room clean and made our beds. She found our nightgowns under our pillows after the first night and after that we always had our nightgowns put on our beds in different shapes every night. We loved visiting with her and finding out about her life. One night she even came in our cabin while we were dressing for formal night and helped us choose what dresses to wear. She was getting married in June and her and her husband were going to continue to work on cruise ships together and save money until they can return to the Philippines and open a business. I wish them both the best of luck. Princess told us before the cruise that we would be docking at Pier 4 in downtown old San Juan. However, I found out from cruise critic we would be docking at Pan American pier. Princess never did tell us or many other fellow cruisers of this change. Pan American pier is terrible. There is nothing around there and it is not a pretty area. Had to take a taxi to get anywhere. We didn't dock at Havensight in St Thomas. Instead we docked at the Crown Bay pier around 4 miles from town. It is in an industrial area. There is nothing there. The pier stores are built but they are empty and none of them are opened yet. To get to town you have to take a safari taxi at $4.50 per person. Then you have to wait until the whole taxi is full before they will leave. We did not like this pier at all and neither did anyone else we talked to. We made it to all our ports of call. We enjoyed Dominica and St Lucia the most. They are the most beautiful islands. The pier in Dominica is very dangerous in my opinion with many cranes loading and unloading big cargo containers right in front of you and big fork lifts driving around you etc. We felt so bad for a little stray dog at the port that we saw from the ship at the end of the day. It was so thin and looked so lonely. If anyone that reads this goes to Dominica and is a dog lover, please take some food and feed it to this little dog. My pet peeve of cruising is late arrivers from ports of call. The ship tells you to be back on board at 5:30pm so we can leave at 6pm. People are strolling down the dock at 6:00pm like they don't have a care in the world. That is so inconsiderate of other cruisers. At one port the gangway was in and we were almost ready to leave when a cruiser ran up to the ship. They had to put the gangway back out to get him on board. It took them a long time to get the gangway out again. Served him right. I got a flu in the middle of our cruise. Just a sore throat and cough. I was scared to go to the ship doctor because I thought I might get quarantined. Finally I went to the doctor because I felt so horrible. The nurses were all so nice. I received excellent care from the doctor. He advised me it was just a virus that would have to run its course. He gave me Tylenol, cough syrup and an antibiotic. The total cost of the visit including the medication cost $110.00. I didn't think that was bad. I think I would have paid just as much back in the USA. The doctor didn't mention anything about the Q word. Thankfully, this sickness didn't affect my stomach so I fed, fed, fed and fed my fever. ;-) Additional charges-I found alot of additional charges, more than the last time I cruised Princess. I don't drink soda so I had no need for a soda card. Fresh brewed coffee is additional and available on deck 5. Espresso and Cappuccino are also additional. You can purchase a coffee card. I heard hot chocolate was free in the dining room thru someone on cruise critic, however, they now charge for it. I did order it but found it to be watery and hardly lukewarm. The only thing to drink in the buffet is water, ice tea, coffee or tea. I really missed not having lemonade or some fruit juice. The anytime ice cream by the pizza bar is additional. You can purchase an ice cream card. Candy is available and again it is additional. The sanctuary is a quiet place for adults only but is additional at $15 per person. These additional charges on Princess are getting ridiculous. After a soda card, a coffee card, and an ice cream card. The cost of your cruise just went up $100. I prefer the cruise lines that don't nickel and dime you to death. We took in a movie at MUTS. The movies during the day are loud and annoying. No relaxing by that pool during the day. However, at night it was great. Nice loungers, with blankets in case you get cool. Omar, the cruise director, told us about MUTS at one of the shows. He told us how there would be ushers, popcorn and candy. He really made it sound good. So one night we went. We never saw any ushers. There was no popcorn available that night (I don't know why) and if you wanted candy you had to go and purchase it. We enjoyed the TV shown on this cruise. Usually the TV channels on cruises are very few. However, we got quite a few channels. We enjoyed CNN and alot of new movies we had not seen from theaters a few months ago. We liked the navigation channel, that showed us where we were, times and temperatures etc. If there wasn't any good shows that night we enjoyed going back to our cabin, taking in a movie and ordering cold room service. There is free ice cream on the closed side of the buffet from around 3pm to 4pm everyday. Sometimes it was 3:30pm to 4:30pm. We didn't make it very often as we were often doing something else but we made it a few times. This is not posted anywhere in the Princess Patters. I would have never known about it if I didn't read about it on cruise critic. I don't know why they choose to hide it. The ice cream was great but some of the flavors were unheard of. There will be four different flavors each day. One day one of the flavors was Cantaloupe. I kid you not. It was delicious..... I loved it and wished they had offered it again. Transition day-this was a mess. There were around 30 of us who were in transit (back to back) passengers. Thankfully, we had the same cabin on both legs of the trip so we didn't have to pack and move. We choose to sleep till 9am and went to hunt out breakfast at 9:30am. Everything was closed. The dining room, all buffets, the grill, the pizza place, and room service were all closed. We couldn't find anything to eat. I called the purser's desk to ask for some advice. They told me I would have to wait till 12:30pm when the buffet would open again. Mom and me went back to our cabin and breakfasted on our remaining chocolates from several nights before. We were trapped all morning on a ship where everything was closed. Everything on the ship stops for disembarkation. At 12:30pm all in transit passengers were told to go to a dining room to meet. We were led in a herd by a crewmember down and waited in line to clear customs and then we were all led back on board. Moo! The crewmember took off up the stairs not telling us where we were going. My mom cant walk and her scooter cant do stairs!!! So we had to wait on an elevator but we didn't know what deck to go to. We stopped at each deck up. We depended on other pax who were kind enough to wait on us. The crewmember couldn't have cared less. After an hour in line to go thru customs. We finally got back on board after 1:30pm. We went directly to lunch in the buffet. We were starved. I can't believe Princess would treat back to back passengers like this. We really disliked this day. The next few days weren't too fun for me since I was sick. I slept alot. We repeated some ports on the second leg and those days we decided to just stay on board. I still managed to enjoy myself somewhat on the second cruise. Disembarkation-I had a 12:25pm flight. Make sure to take proof of your return flight time if you have an early flight. Your tickets or flight itinerary. The ship will not let you off unless you have proof. I was told by the purser's desk that there was no way was I getting off early unless I had proof. Thankfully, I found my flight itinerary in my cabin. (I thought I had thrown it away) It took me 4 trips to the purser to finally get appropriately colored luggage tags. First they told me to come back the next morning, then they told me they had to check with a supervisor and come back later. Then again I was told a phone message would advise me in our cabin in the afternoon. After no message or contact I again went down to the pursers desk to wait in line. Finally, 4th time lucky, they gave me the correct colored luggage tags. We had to be out of our rooms by 8am. Princess told us someone would be checking colors so not to try to go down to deck 7 to disembark early. They said that you would be denied and sent back to wait. We did not go down until our color was called. We heard many cheaters whispering in line about how they shouldn't be in line because their color wasn't called yet. However, we found no one checking to make sure you were the correct color. Our color was called at 8:30am but there was a long line and we finally walked off the ship at 9am. After standing in line to get off the ship, finding your luggage, going thru customs, and getting a taxi. It can take a long while to get to the airport. We got to the airport a little after 10am. The San Juan airport was an absolute zoo. We had to wait for 40 minutes to just check in for our flight. Then the security line was out the door. I just couldn't believe how long the line was. They were not making exceptions for people with early flights in the security line. We waited in this line for 1 hour. Some people missed their flight just waiting in the security line. We made our flight.........just. I just hate to think of what would have happened, if we were later getting off the ship, if there was a line at customs or if a piece of our luggage went missing. I am sure in that case we would have missed our flight. Never again will I book a flight before 2pm in San Juan. Just too stressful. We really enjoyed our cruise. We are just thrilled to have our beds made, someone else to cook for us and at the same time being taken to wonderful ports of call. We had a wonderful vacation. The bad thing is now that we have done a back to back, I don't think I will ever be able to do a 7-day again. Just too short. ;-) Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We traveled to Redhook Cruise Terminal, Brooklyn, N.Y. by car from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The trip was easy due to the directions I attained from the Redhook Port site on line and maps I printed from Google maps. We traveled and ... Read More
We traveled to Redhook Cruise Terminal, Brooklyn, N.Y. by car from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The trip was easy due to the directions I attained from the Redhook Port site on line and maps I printed from Google maps. We traveled and cruised with another couple from our neighborhood;they were on their fourth cruise;we were on our second. All of us had cruised only with Royal Caribbean before booking this cruise on the Crown Princess. I will be making some comparisons between the two cruise lines during this review. We arrived at the terminal about 11:45 and there was some congestion due to people disembarking and embarkation passengers arriving at the same time. True to New York style the stretch limos were lined up everywhere. I pulled up to the drop off and before I could get out of my vehicle a porter had the back of my SUV open and was unloading our luggage . I quickly drove to the convenient terminal parking lot and rejoined my companions within five minutes. Embarkation was truly a breeze. We had preregistered on line so it took maybe five minutes to get to the security check point, do our pre-boarding picture, and receive our sea passes/room keys. Princess gets major points for the embarkation process over Royal Caribbean. Much quicker much easier. We dropped off our carry ons at our state rooms, which were ready. We had booked balconies as well as adjoining rooms with our cruise companions. We were on the starboard side of the ship and this proved to be perfect to view the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. It was a beautiful day and the view from our balcony while anchored in the harbor was worth the extra cost of a balcony stateroom. We definitely enjoyed our balcony during the entire cruise. I can't say enough about the views from our balcony while sitting in the harbor. Governors Island was in plain view as well as the Staten Island Ferry. Next we went to the Horizon Court buffet for lunch. Seating was not a problem because of our early arrival - it would prove to be a problem on several different occasions. We always found a table but had to search through both buffets and just outside on deck on some occasions. The buffet stations were too close together for passengers to maneuver around each other when busy. The food was abundant and the variety was excellent. The buffet stations were set by different categories - fruits, breads, pastries, desserts, vegetables, meat entries, etc. The Caribe buffet had different theme nights throughout the cruise as well as cloth napkins and table service at dinner - very nice. However, I have to give Royal Caribbean the points for the buffet service. The pastries were not fresh made on Princess, more of the frozen Sam's Club variety. The omelets were pre-cooked and there was not fresh carved meat at breakfast as there was on Royal Caribbean. The food was not bad or inadequate on Princess it's just that Royal Caribbean was a notch above on taste and freshness. We ate breakfast almost everyday and lunch on several days at the buffets. The International Cafe was a delightful spot for pastry and coffee - very good and always fresh made. I became briefly acquainted with pastry chef Antonio and must give him major points for his pastries. He also made the pool side pizza. This pizza was the best I have ever had - I'm really going to miss it. This area was busy all the time. Major points to Princess for its pool side pizza, burgers, hot dogs, sausage, and grilled chicken. Royal Caribbean really fell short in this area, especially with their less than frozen quality pizza. Antonio should open a pizza parlor anywhere in the U.S. and become a successful entrepreneur! Onto the dining room food service. We did the conventional seating at dinner every night so I cannot comment on the anytime dining. We had the early seating and I think if I had it to do over I would choose the later seating or anytime dining because of the interference our seating had with the various entertainment. Our food servers were excellent - hats off to Emil and Elena from Romania for their hard work and absolute professionalism. The dining room food ran from good to excellent - I had some very, very good entrees and some not so good. This of course is a very individual opinion. The presentation was creative and very beautiful. I personally believe Princess excelled in presentation. However, all of us agreed that Royal Caribbean gets the points on dining room food taste and satisfaction. This is not to say that Princess' food was in any way tasteless or unsatisfactory - we just thought Royal Caribbean was better. We also missed the big three story dining room on Royal Caribbean and it's spectacular decor. We realize that Princess could not do the anytime dining with one large dining room Princess offered afternoon tea with white glove service. I was very impressed with this service. Excellent cookies, pastries, scones, and tea. I did not try the small sandwiches. I recommend that you attend afternoon tea. Our stateroom was adequate with plenty of storage. I found the bathroom barely adequate in size and the shower small for my large size. The bed was very restful and the linens adequate. Our room steward was beyond excellent taking care of our every need and keeping our room well maintained, very clean, and orderly. Major points to Benjamin on the Aloha deck. I would like to say that all the staff on the Crown Princess, down to the last man/woman, were friendly, helpful, and accommodating. How anyone can complain about them is beyond me. All service was excellent. The entertainment on board the Crown Princess was good to very good. There were four different comedians on this trip, three out of four were good , one falling short on delivery and impersonations. The Crown Princess dancers were top quality-I was truly impressed. The lounge acts and bands were good, especially the band True To Life. The four members of this group were absolutely professional musicians. The cruise director and his staff were hard working and entertaining. Major points to assistant cruise director Lisa Ball for her dance classes and instructions. I would like to see her demonstrate the various dances with a professional partner during the classes - I believe it would inspire and give the passengers a clearer understanding of the dance steps. The activities aboard the Crown Princess were many. There was bingo, lectures, computer classes, ceramics at sea, a galley demonstration and tour, a bridge tour, all kinds of pool side activities, art auctions, shopping, the casino, and much more. There were five sea days this trip and we could never do it all. We enjoyed the ports of call. We took a cab at Grand Turk to the center of the island for two dollars each, rented snorkeling gear for ten dollars, (half day) walked right off the beach, the coral was beautiful, the fish plentiful - I saw an octopus, the water was warm and very clear. At San Juan we walked down two piers, caught a ferry for fifty cents, went to the other side of the harbor, caught a cab for four dollars each, went to the Bacardi factory, took the free tour which was very enjoyable and informative, caught the four dollar cab back to the fifty cent ferry to the other side of the harbor. We walked down to the information center right on the pier, shopped at the street vendors and was told by one vendor to catch the free trolley to loop Old San Juan. We could get on and off as we pleased, just catch the next one, very easy. Walked around the old forts and walked back to the ship through the shopping district, a nice day. At St. Thomas we got off the ship took a four dollar each cab to the main shopping district, caught a ten dollar each ferry to St Johns. We enjoyed our visit on St. John but we didn't have much time because we had to be back to the ship at 2:30. We shopped and relaxed on the little square the back to the ferry and St. Thomas. Our last port of call was suppose to be Bermuda, but increasing winds and the harbor pilots recommendation kept us from landing. Evidently the passage through the coral reef is very narrow for such a large ship. We were disappointed but safety first. I understood that the Crown missed this port the last three times do to wind. In summary we really enjoyed our cruise and would do it again. The staff and service on Princess was not lacking at all. I can't believe some people complain. The drink servers and photographers were not pushy at all. Points to Princess for this. Only the soda cards were pushed hard the first day. There were not enough fruit carvings and ice sculptures but the fresh flower arrangements were very nice. The decoration of the ship was very good with wall murals, tile murals, beautiful tile and hardwood inlays on the floors, very rich hardwood paneling and moldings in the public areas. The lounges and bars were stunning.. Points to Princess for the beautiful decor of the Crown Princess. We loved our cruise - thank you! Disembarkation was orderly and easy. Princess lets you sit in the public areas, lounges, bars, and theater, they also enforce the color disembarkation code times which keeps congestion down in the terminal baggage claim area. Points to Princess for its disembarkation process. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
My wife and I are experience cruisers, having been on approximately 21 ships. This was are sixth cruise with Princess. Ships are like people, they all have personalities and the Crown Princess was no exception. This was an 8-day ... Read More
My wife and I are experience cruisers, having been on approximately 21 ships. This was are sixth cruise with Princess. Ships are like people, they all have personalities and the Crown Princess was no exception. This was an 8-day repositioning cruise out of Brooklyn N.Y. and ending in Puerto Rico. We live in CT and decided to have our daughter drive us to the pier. The two and half-hour trip had us arriving at the pier around 1:00 p.m.. However, due to the traffic and unfamiliarity of NYC, we arrived at the our destination 20 minutes before ship departure. If anyone is thinking of driving to NY from surrounding states, give yourself plenty of time. Even New York's finest don't know where the new Brooklyn Pier is located. My first impression of the Crown Princess's dEcor was uninspiring. However, as I discovered the public rooms on board, it became apparent that the majority of the ship was beautifully appointed and decorated in good taste. The "Piazza", the three level atrium, is the center point of all ship's activities, especially during the evening hours. It is the center of the ship where all passenger traffic passes through. It's a very large atrium with access to several restaurants, cafe bar (great cappuccino coffee), casino and mini mall. Evening during dinner hours, entertainment can be seen and heard in the Piazza. If you enjoy dinner music or classical string quartet, this is the place to see and be seen. Also it's a great place to enjoy a pre-meal spirit. The food on the Crown Princess had its ups and downs; however, I was mostly impressed with the on-board buffets., a first for us. Don't miss the first and last night seafood buffet. Both had Maine Lobster and Alaska King Crab, not to mention shrimp cocktail and several different prepared clam selections. This was the first ship I 've been on that did not serve Langostino for their lobster selection. What a treat! Also I am a lover of fruit. The fruit selection and quality was sweet and always ripped. Now to the main dinning room, I was disappointed on several of my entrees during the cruise. Having been on five other Princess ships, I have not disappointed with the quality of the entrEes. Overall the dining room food was good but not inspiring. The service was mostly good. We choose to dine "anytime dinning". I can only recall one night that I felt the service was below par. I highly recommend anytime dinning to individuals who likes to meet people and don't like keeping to a strict eating schedule. We never waited more then one to two minutes for a table. One other disappointment that was subtle but noticeable was the main dinning room tables settings.It lacked the usual multiple plates and glass setting one is accustomed to seeing on the tables of the ship's restaurants. I suspect that Princess has determined that multiple plates, glasses and silverware settings takes time to set up and remove.. This might seem insignificant to some but to me, the dinning experience on board a cruise ship is an experience unique to cruises and should not be tinkered with in any significant way. Now, the big difference from this ship to other Princess ships is the outside theater, located on deck 15 mid ship pool (one of six pools). It's a very large LCD screen, about half the width of the ship, that has Dolby Stereo sound. The TV screen continuously plays throughout the cruise. On Monday nights, passengers can be seen watching Monday night football under the stars. On other evenings, first run and rated films (Pirates of the Caribbean) can be seen with complimentary popcorn. On chilly nights , blankets are available upon request. This is not for everyone but intriguing for the movie aficionados. My wife was regularly lured by the movies, while we took our daily strolls on the decks throughout the day. Lastly, I am a firm believer that one goes on a ship for its personality not ship's destinations. What I mean is the islands, (i.e.) Dominica and St. Kitts were fabulous destination but not the main reason for going on the Crown Princess. This ten month old ship sold itself to us. Having said that, we have been to both of these island on past cruises. I highly recommend the "Sari-Sari Falls" in Dominica if you are seeking adventure and are a serious hiker. We entered the rain forest and hiked four thousand feet above sea level. If you are not physically fit, I do not recommend this excursion. This hike takes you approx. three (3) mile into the rain- forest, up very steep slippery terrain and requires wading through streams waist deep. Your reward will be a two hundred foot waterfall that will blow you away (no pone intended). We took a dip in the deep lagoon below the waterfall. Don't forget to bring your bathing suit! Lastly, people read these reviews to determine if they want to vacation on a particular ship. I hope this review helps. After all is said and done, my over-all view of this ship was fun and memorable. I highly recommend this ship to anyone who wants to experience a large ship with well tuned, unique on board activities . Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Overall, we were a little disappointed with our third Princess cruise - mostly with Princess's new approach (a la Carnival) toward their customers. Embarkation was pleasant and efficient, considering the size of the ship. We noticed a ... Read More
Overall, we were a little disappointed with our third Princess cruise - mostly with Princess's new approach (a la Carnival) toward their customers. Embarkation was pleasant and efficient, considering the size of the ship. We noticed a lot of folks from the prior cruise were disembarking rather late, so we had to wait a bit longer than expected to leave the waiting area and begin the boarding process. Everything went very smoothly, though. From the moment you board, people hawk soda cards at every turn the entire day. And so began the pushy marketing. The ship - very nice, but - as others have mentioned - nothing really jumped out at you. I was surprised to find that the MUTS was actually enjoyable - watched a movie and a football game (don't get me started on the fact that the eagerly-anticipated Eagles/Saints game was unavailable. People were clamoring for it, but we were given some line about a problem with the satellite reception for that station. Maybe they just didn't pay for the rights to air that game). I agree with some of the other reviews about the layout of the ship's decks. Some elevators didn't go to the upper decks; you had to exit the elevator, walk to the back of the ship, and take another elevator. Better signage might have helped somewhat. The pools and hot tubs were nice, and there was almost always an available spot in either - the main area's hot tubs were often filled to capacity, but if you wandered around the ship, you could always find an available spot. Princess's staterooms are usually on the small side, and the Crown is no exception; Royal Caribbean's cabins are generally larger. There was adequate closet space, but very little storage in the cabin area itself - just a few small drawers. The bathroom was small but functional. The shower was extremely small - I don't know how "large" folks manage in there! They neglected to provide a reasonable amount of space for bath products in there, too. Our safe repeatedly malfunctioned; we had to have Security visit numerous times to assist us with it. This was our first time on the Aloha deck, and we got to look down on the partially exposed balconies below us for a change. The balcony was small but cozy. Be forewarned - once you have a balcony stateroom, it's the only way you'll want to cruise. One of the best additions on the Crown - and a personal favorite - was the Wine and Sushi bar. The staffers there were wonderful - friendly, helpful, and attentive - and the selection of wines and freshly made sushi were just right. I spent some time there almost daily. The sushi was fresh and expertly prepared. Our cabin attendant was simply wonderful, as they have always been on Princess. She really went the extra mile. Most of these people work terribly hard to please you, and spend as long as eight months away from their families in the process. They usually deserve something extra (above the pre-paid service charge for staff) at the end of the cruise for all of their effort. While Princess did a good job overall on cleaning up the ship after the rolling incident, there was still some evidence of the damage; on the upper decks, some glass wind guards were still broken. Otherwise, she looked relatively good. One thing that "steamed" me: I discovered that the steam room had also been damaged during the rolling incident. The entire front of the room was missing; it had been shattered. After observing the ridiculously designed glass doors on the nearby shower stalls, I understood how the damage occurred. Did the designers simply forget that ships are capable of rocking? On even a relatively smooth day, the shower doors kept swinging open and closed by themselves - the tiny magnetic latch was not strong enough to hold them closed. This was not what upset me, though! Another passenger had asked to use the other steam room (which I believe was in the spa treatment area itself), and he was told that he could - if he was willing to pay for a spa treatment in order to gain access to it! Preposterous, and insulting! You'll see a repeating theme here: squeeze more money out of your customers wherever possible. If they were unable to repair the "free" steam room for weeks, then they should have allowed passengers to use the remaining steam room in the meantime. This is called taking care of your customers. As another reviewer stated, it's more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Princess apparently is too cocky to care about that now. This was generally the rule, not the exception, when it came to the treatment received from many of the staffers we encountered. Let me qualify this by saying that the bartenders, cabin stewards, and most of the restaurant staff were terrific. It was more the upper echelon of the crew, such as the Customer Service and Pursers Desk staff, etc., who seemed to be unaware that their job was to assist the passengers (a.k.a. customers). They could barely be bothered, it seemed. There was some misinformation aboard, too. One example: the 24-hour pizza stand. At one point, when we found it closed just after 1:00 am, we were told that it was only open until 1:00. The next night, it was closed long before 1:00 am again. We observed this three times. The pizza was fairly good, for the record, as were the hamburgers and chicken they managed to keep available most of the day. The fact that the ship was again unable to make port in Bermuda (I think it happened at least four weeks in a row, counting the week we were on board) was very frustrating. Since it had happened several times already, you would think that they would either have planned another stop as a backup, or arranged for tenders to take people ashore. Or maybe they could have just let us stay at the prior port another night. This wouldn't have been terrible, since our port visits tended to be on the short side (5 or 6 hours) to begin with. No, we just cruised along at low throttle for another day of "spend your money at the bars, casino, stores, and spas, please" - for many who took this cruise primarily to visit Bermuda, it was an outrage. I was disappointed with missing the chance to see the island for the first time, but more upset with the way it was handled by Princess. Yes, cruise lines are struggling to offer the best pricing for the cruise itself, but this new approach of nickel-and-diming you to death for everything once you get on board is getting out of control. I won't list all of the annoying charges they levy now; other write-ups have addressed this already. Now, if only the cruise lines would address it better. Most people would rather pay more up front, and not be surprised and annoyed later by these charges. Considering the number of at-sea days, there were not enough onboard activities. Many people seemed to feel that the overall attitude of Princess was, "While you're on board the ship, spend some more cash." The wait staff swarmed the pool areas relentlessly, asking you if you needed another drink. It was convenient to rarely have to walk to the bar, but it bordered on harassment the way they kept at it. Just another way Princess gently encourages you to ring up more charges to your account, I suppose. Food onboard ranged from acceptable to good, with the occasional unpalatable. We ate at both Sabatini's and the Crown Grille, paying the extra fee for the privilege. The food was certainly better than the regular ship fare, but whether it was worth the price is debatable. I preferred the experience at the Crown Grille to Sabatini's, personally, though the staff at Sabatini's was very entertaining. In fairness, we've dined at Sabatini's several times before on other ships. The premium restaurants are a nice change of pace, and something different to try. I'm sure you can find reviews going into much more detail, so I'll leave it at that. The entertainment was just fair overall. One comedian was fantastic, and the next was so awful, you felt sorry for him. The production shows were enjoyable, but - as others have mentioned - the theater is far too small to accommodate the percentage of people who might want to see a given show. Disembarkation - Not terribly organized. It took us a very long time to get off the ship. Getting on an elevator bordered on impossible. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast, with 3000+ passengers onboard. It wasn't a pleasant experience. Excursions: We did two Princess-sponsored excursions. I would not recommend the drive tour of the rain forest in Puerto Rico. An hour each way in a small bus with fixed windows, then only three or four brief stops to actually get to see anything. There were much better tours available, I heard later. The trip I would recommend highly was the Sea Blaster snorkel trip in St. Thomas. Great boat, fantastic crew, and they take you to some nice snorkeling locations. As a bonus, they pick you up just a few hundred yards from the ship, which is very convenient. And, after snorkeling is done, they serve their delicious homemade rum punch. There's also another snorkeling trip I'd recommend, called Captain Nautica. They use large rigid inflatables to zip you to 3 different locations, and they also have a terrific crew. In closing, unless I see people beginning to document positive changes in the way Princess is doing business, I believe I will be cruising with a different line in the future. For those of you who have never been on a Princess cruise before, you may still find it a great experience. It's just not as good as it was in the past. The Carnival influence has taken them down a notch; hopefully they'll reverse that. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We are 67 and 55 and were on the Crown Oct 18 - 27 and are still suffering PCD! The ship is beautiful, the staff extremely friendly and overall the trip was fantastic! Embarkation and Room: We arrived via van a little after noon with 6 ... Read More
We are 67 and 55 and were on the Crown Oct 18 - 27 and are still suffering PCD! The ship is beautiful, the staff extremely friendly and overall the trip was fantastic! Embarkation and Room: We arrived via van a little after noon with 6 friends, embarkation was a breeze and we were in our rooms in under a half hour. First order of business was to reserve the Ultimate Balcony Dinner for our anniversary on Saturday. With that done, it was off to the buffet for a bite to eat. We went back to our room (C752) to meet our room steward Vicente so we could request an egg crate for our bed and just relax on our aft balcony. The room is a Cat BB and had plenty of room and storage for two people. The balcony was completely covered and we enjoyed relaxing and listening to the wake. Vicente was an excellent steward and took wonderful care of us. And we did give him a challenge with frequent before dinner wine gatherings, the UBD and doing the balcony breakfast for 5 one morning! We were sure to give him extra tips for all of his wonderful service. Dining: We had anytime dining and since we all did our own thing during the day, our group of 8 decided to have dinner together most evenings, we made a standing reservation for 8pm with Nicolae and Adrian as our wait staff. They are an excellent team, very professional and very friendly. Sergio the head waiter took extra special care of us and offered us a number of special treats during the week. I caught a cold the next to last day of the cruise, and Nicolae brought me extra soup and Adrian brought me lemon tea in an effort to help me feel better. DH and I prefer breakfast in the dining room over the buffet. We had excellent service every morning except for once, guess not everyone is perfect. I didn't do lunch most days, but would get a late afternoon snack at the International Cafe on deck 5. I usually had one of their great pannini's (tuna, mozzarella with proscutto and mozzarella with tomato and basil) with a glass of wine. They also had shrimp, mushroom salad, quiche and a number of other items at no charge. I never got to try the gelate or other desserts, but they did look great. DH usually hit the Horizon court since he hung out at the pool. Activities: We met our cc group in Skywalker's on the first sea day and had a great turnout and get together. It was fun to see familiar faces all during the cruise. Based upon the raves, we were sure to catch Sarge and he lived up to his billing. Didn't see the other production shows as DH and I prefer the casino. Just wish the casino had better ventilation. As an ex-smoker I was able to tolerate the smoke, but some of our group avoided the casino because of it. It's the only area of the ship that I feel needs improvement. I enjoyed trivia, spelling bee, jeopardy and was part of a pathetic team at the scavenger hunt. I also enjoyed my hot stone massage at the spa. Ports: Grand Turk - We went to the beach at the pier. There was a strong undertow that day making getting out of the water a bit difficult. Thankfully lots of friendly folks around to lend a hand. Definitely need water shoes as there are lots of coral and rocks in the water. Ocho Rios - We went swimming with the Dolphins. We had done this 3 years ago and they have since changed the routine. It was great but definitely better the first time around. We also did a little bit of shopping. We found that the liquor prices were better in Grand Turk. Grand Cayman - DH went to the seven mile beach with some friends and I and another friend walked downtown and did a bit of gift shopping. Port Canaveral - We didn't get off the ship since it was a short stop. Also, this was the day my cold started so was happy to kick back and do nothing. All in all it was a great cruise with a good mix of port and sea days. Even though the ship was full, it never felt crowded. We did put down deposits for two future cruises. Just have to decide where and when. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Crown Princess Cruise Oct 18 - Oct 27, 2006 Brooklyn-Gr.Turk-Ocho Rios-Gr.Cayman-Port Canaveral Background - Married, retired, 50's, cruising since 1984, cruise two or three times a year, various lines. Usually cruise with good ... Read More
Crown Princess Cruise Oct 18 - Oct 27, 2006 Brooklyn-Gr.Turk-Ocho Rios-Gr.Cayman-Port Canaveral Background - Married, retired, 50's, cruising since 1984, cruise two or three times a year, various lines. Usually cruise with good friends in tow. Couple traveling with us 40's working couple who we originally met on 1992 cruise of Celebrity Zenith. They were married during that cruise and we had pleasure of standing up for them. We cruise at least once per year with them since. Have sailed Carnival, Celebrity, NCL, Royal Viking, Princess, RCCL all multiple times. EMBARKATION: Upon entry to the pier area itself it becomes obvious that the embarkation area is much more expansive than the Manhattan pier simply because they have lots of room to spread it out. We were greeted by multiple drop off lanes unlike Manhattan's single one. Dropping luggage off with porters the long term parking was within a couple hundred feet. Unlike Manhattan where payment is required upon entry, Brooklyn parking is done by receiving a ticket and then self parking. Payment is made upon your return. Pay your ticket before getting car to exit! Next we entered a spacious terminal where we passed through airport type security. Yes they noted both my laptop and a bottle ( Chivas Regal ) in my carryon. I was asked to open my bag for inspection, more for the bottle I am sure. Having anticipated that only wine was allowed to be carried on I sneakily gift wrapped my sole bottle of scotch and declared it to be wine. I was allowed to pass without disturbing the gift wrap but that could be a hit and miss proposition. Since Princess offers 3.75 mil bottles of some alcohol too be purchased for in cabin use at a reasonable price ( see web page ) that might be acceptable instead of the sneak aboard method. A personal choice. I note that this is the first time any security screening has ever stopped me for a bottle so rumors of more stringent booze checking that I have read about would seem accurate. Next we passed to ticket line and were handed a paper to sign swearing that we were of good health, not coughing or suffering from diarrhea and the like. That strikes me as strange since who, having paid, traveled, and anticipated their cruise, is going to own up to being ill knowing that they might be barred from boarding the ship? Being of current good health we signed the form, of course I would have signed it if I was dying. So like I said, what's the sense? Processing was quick and line moved well. Before you knew it we were posing for our onboard photo and walking up the gangway. CABIN: Both couples had selected Mini-Suites Cat AB on Dolphin Deck side by side, D624 and D626. It was spacious with plenty of closet space and hangars, plenty of shelving and a decent sized bathroom with a tub. The balcony was large enough to accommodate two lounge back type chairs, two metal chairs and a table. Having friends next door we elected to have our cabin steward open the door between balconies allowing them to adjoin. Within the area of shelves was an electronic safe. The cabin also had a small refrigerator that worked very well. There were no complaints concerning the cabin but the wall safe operated differently than prior ones we have seen. A simple operation, press enter and a 4 digit code you devise and enter again to program. Where it differed was that when left open for more than a moment of so it starts to emit an annoying chirping. This is to remind you that it is open, but also geared to deprogram after s fairly short span of time. Our travel mates also had problems with it not opening on command. Similar problems were noted with others as well requiring a ships staff member to come and open the safe. Response to such a request is quick and I would bet because this happens a lot. That was the only problem noted. Our Cabin Steward, Lawrence, was fantastic. Greeted us early on arrival and handled every request without hesitation. He made it a point to greet us by name everyday and to ask us if there was anything he could do to make our cruise more enjoyable. He wasn't into towels animals and being a frequent cruiser I can live with that. He was into great service and again being very congenial. You could ask no more from a steward. SHIP: Not much you can say bout the ship other than she is gorgeous. We were all very impressed with all the areas though it takes some getting used to finding your way around. If you are in the Bottichelli dining room ( traditional dining ) this is located aft Deck 6. However, you can only get to it via the aft staircase on Deck 7. So if you were mid-ship on 6 you would have to climb up a deck, walk aft, and then descend a deck. The Explorers Lounge which serves as a second show lounge as well had a great night club type feel to it. Plenty of bars and lounges all pretty much with some sort of music of entertainment in the evening. The main lobby or Piazza contains the coffee bar and others with shops on higher decks. There is often a piano player in residence or street acts happening, magician, acrobatic act and so forth. We were happy enough with the show quality and variety. One of the comedians, a rather large gentleman called Sarge was highlight of the cruise. A black/Jew ( self described ) is a very funny comedian and also a talented singer/musician. He has been favorably noted in several reviews and we certainly concur, he was great. Pool area's divided up but were comfortable and for most part well fitted with seating. This was the first time I saw the huge screen ( MUTS  Movies Under The Stars ) and it was actually kind of astonishing. Can't say we ever spent a lot of time watching it yet I enjoyed the times I did. It does make that pool area pretty noisy however. Seeking peace and quiet we generally proceeded to the adjacent pool. The fact that the next area contained the excellent pizza stand and also the great hamburger stand didn't hurt either. My wife's favorite pool location was the small aft pool area for a nice more intimate quiet pool spot. There is limited seating there though. The much spoke of new concept Sanctuary area for which you must pay for by half day segments, well honestly I didn't even go see it. There were plenty of comfortable locations to spend some relaxing time in so paying a fee to have a separate experience seemed a total waste to me. The bottom line for us was that the ship itself provides just about anything you could look for in a resort/ship experience. DINING: We choose traditional dining with an assigned time and table. We had a great waiter in Dan and assistant waiter in Michael at table 118 Bottichelli dining room. You could not have asked for better service and congeniality. Bar and wine service is provided by the assistant waiter, normally something I am unhappy with in that it often interferes with service. In this case either Michael was one fast dude or he had a hidden bar around the corner. He was prompt with everything be it wine or a cocktail, yet water was still refilled quickly and course arrived promptly and so forth. The Head Waiter passed by daily and spent much time ensuring our needs were being met. The dining experience was superb! Food was excellent and Princess also has always available items like steak and pasta on the menu as well should a particular evening fare not be of your taste. It is our habit to request a cheese and fruit tray at our table at the start of dinner. After making the request it was provided each evening unasked for and the head waiter asked us if there was any particular cheeses we liked and provided same. Although we were at a table of eight there were but the four of us. The other two couples never showed during the cruise ( a shame since we enjoy meeting other cruisers ) though our waiter assured us that there were people assigned to the table. Maybe they saw us and ran? More likely they decided to use personal choice dining. The beauty of Princess over NCL is that you at least have an option between the two. Princess seems to be able to maintain the  do it your way attitude for the passenger which is great and is found less and less on board ships lately. Room service was prompt and accurate and menu was better than many found on ships lately. We generally only use room service for coffee, Danish and the like in morning and a pot of tea and cookies in afternoon. However I was surprised to see that you could order a cheeseburger from room service if desired. There was a wait at times in afternoon to get room service on the phone but once they answered the delivery was fast. I did find it unusual that room service presents you a check like paper to sign ( no charge for room service of course ). I would guess that some tracking check and balance system for them. There is also a space for a gratuity where you sign. We customarily hand the server $2 on delivery anyway so continued with our normal mode instead of writing in a tip. Service was always provided with a pleasant greeting and pleasant attitude. Buffet area, I found that to be as satisfactory as any I have seen. A little confusing as most are with little islands of salads or desserts that cause people to wander a bit and bump into each other. Plates were large and plentiful, food was varied enough and desserts decadent enough to please me. Fruits were plentiful for those that like to eat healthier than I. Seating usually available without tremendous difficulty and outside pool area has tables and chairs as well for those that prefer eating outside. The Pizza is excellent for non-NY shipboard pizza. Heard many people comment about how good it was. Burger and fries also very good but I found hotdogs to be more of knockwurst type tube. My personal taste run more towards a nice slim dog but what the heck, can't have everything. The ice cream stand is next to the pizza stand, I will mention that in my nickel and dime section. CASINO: Some different things here hadn't seen before. They have .01 cent and .02 cent machines, .25/.50 cent machines and $1 / $2 machine and $5/$10 machines. Some machine can be changed between denominations so have to pay attention to the initial setting when you sit. In example a dollar machine can be played for 1 dollar or two dollar a credit setting in addition to number of credits played. These machines have been seen more and more in casinos on land lately. What is really new, I have never seen it on land or sea, is the ability to collect your credits on your room key card. Also get more wagering cash right at machine via cabin key. Also collect points and receive instant $10 credit at machine for every 1000 points. I played 9000 points plus so received $90 cash during week for play. Okay here is how it works. Your cabin key/boarding pass/onboard credit card is now also your gaming card. Besides accumulating points for play like land casinos it also allows for transfer of monies machine to machine. The first time you place card in a slot machines game card slot you are prompted for your birth date. Entering date of birth date correctly the next step prompts you to establish a 4 digit pin number. So now you put say a twenty into the slot machine and play. Maybe you hit or lose but you decide after some play to go to another machine. You can either cash out normally and coins drop OR you can transfer your remaining credits directly onto your card. Move to next machine and transfer credits in desired amount to new machine for play. For the most part this works well, however, there can be glitches. On one occasion I was transferring $98 back to the card when the computer server apparently glitched for a moment. No money on machine or card. That can give rise to a moment of hyper ventilating. Casino staff responded to my machine and could tell that the amount in question was $98 and completed the transfer to my card. I was told that this does happen from time to time when the server goes down or is overtaxed, usually towards the end of the cruise. Finally yet another ability of using card in machines is to get money credited to card for further gambler from onboard credit account. This could be a problem for someone with a gambling habit, makes it a little too easy, never have to leave machine to get more money. NOTE there is also a 3 percent charge on these onboard account transactions. No charge for the transfer of amounts from or to machines. This is all something I have never seen before either on land or sea casino. Machines appeared tighter than even usual for ships. I can't say that there were no hits but can say very limited. NICKLE & DIME department: I am now in a habit of looking at how much the N&D is utilized on each ship since onboard revenue became the big things on ships. Ice cream, not only the Haagen Daas but also the machine soft and extra for each topping. No more punch out bingo cards, now use marker, price $1. Embarkation photo $29.95, no I am not kidding! No where do they have sign with prices for photos either now, let it be a surprise Bingo grand prize limited $2,500 no longer based on amount of play. Normally you would expect a ship with this many passengers to have final bingo of upward 3 to 4 grand. BARGAIN: Coffee card if you are a big brewed coffee drinker. You get card, unlimited regular brewed coffee and something like 11 lattes or espresso. Instant still free at buffet of course. You may email any questions to please put Crown Review in subject since I delete many thinking they are spam. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
On this cruise we booked 4 people in a cabin. My wife and I are in our late 30's and our two teenage sons are 13 and 14. This is our 4th cruise. We've been on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival before this one. The ... Read More
On this cruise we booked 4 people in a cabin. My wife and I are in our late 30's and our two teenage sons are 13 and 14. This is our 4th cruise. We've been on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival before this one. The embarkation at Brooklyn was very fast and efficient. We misjudged the traffic and got to the terminal a little early (10am). There is a very nice waiting room and boarding started about 11:45am or so. At the end of the trip we had express walk-off where you carry ALL your luggage off the ship and we were called at 8am to get off. They really have their things together at the Brooklyn terminal Our stateroom was a little tad warm but fine otherwise. There are only two plugs by the vanity so if you want to plug things in by your bed or anywhere else, bring an extension cord. We did and it was very helpful. Food  This is going to be the longest section. We had 5 sea days. Since eating is a major portion of the day it needed to be done right. We have a lot of comments. Here we go. We had anytime dining. Most of the time, you can just walk into the DR when you want and get seated right away except for formal nights. On the 1st formal night we arrived at 7:30 and there was a 1 hr wait! I tried to make reservations for the remaining nights but the Head waiter only offered 6 and 8:30. Why bother? We took our chances and walked in every other night without reservation and got the table/waiters we wanted. The dining room food was good. We thought the menu was pretty boring but we always found at least one thing to order. I agree with previous reviewers, the steaks in the main dining rooms had a strange gamey (some say liver) flavor. The lamb choices were the best lamb I EVER had. Fantastic. The soups were generally very good. Surprising, for the amount of people the kitchen was cooking for, the pastas were very good and cooked perfectly. We ate in the Crown Grille and the food was better than the dinning room. Was it better than Morton's or Ruth Chris? No, but does it have to be? It was good food with a good diverse menu. I wish the main Dining room was this kind of menu. The room definitely had a restaurant kind of feeling versus the catering hall style of the main DR. Much quieter. Sabatinis was the best meal we had all week. This is a must attend. You sit down and though they hand you a menu with appetizers, soups and pastas; you only have to order you main course. Everything else (all the hot and cold appetizers, both pastas and the soup) comes automatically. The waiter comes around with platters of food and he portions out the food on to your plate. All of the food was good. A wonderful experience. Horizon/Caribe buffets - If you like Golden Corral, Hometown Buffet, Sizzler or Shoneys, then this buffet is for you. If you are not the type of person who would go to places like that, then you (like us) will have thought that the food in the buffets was the WORST we've had in the 4 cruises we've been on. Just unappetizing drek. Most of the time we would check out the buffet, shake our heads at the slop they put out, and went to get pizza instead. The layout of the buffet is setup up like islands. This eliminated long buffet lines. Maybe there were no lines because the food stunk? The pizza/burgers were good. There were open until 1am. We went to the afternoon tea which was skippable. I guess I was expecting some interesting sandwiches but its just tea and the same thing you can get at the buffet. The International Cafe had good cheesecake, cookies and quiche. I missed the hot croissants. Otherwise, it was the same marinated mushrooms, chicken w/cashews, cold panini sandwiches and olive salad for all 9 days. No variety. We had cappuccino one day and it was good. Sushi in the Vines was a nice experience. I had the 3 sushi for $3 and the 3 wine sampler for $7.95. A very nice time! The Ship The ship was obviously new, shiny and clean. I though there was some wasted space on the ship. The whole hallway by the Wheelhouse Bar was underused. In the hallway outside the bar, there we some tables set up for shopping information and a Captains Circle table. There must be a better place for these administrative-like needs. The bar itself was empty at night. Unless you were walking to/fro the theater, this hallway was empty. Also, between the piazza and the back of the ship, deck 7 only had Club Fusion and the Explorers Lounge. There is only one Promenade. So why use up 1/3 of the space with a photo gallery? Move the photo gallery to where the Wheelhouse bar is. This whole space could be used for something more upbeat or festive. The Adagio bar was nice but subdued and low-key. Crooners was in the piazza and had a nice woman singing at a piano. At night, the festive fun stuff was in Club Fusion, the Explores Lounge or the Princes Theater. That's it. Late night fun (after 11pm) can be had dancing at the Skywalkers dance club. The casino had low $3 limits the first night. There were two poker tables but the poker tables were not always going. If enough people sat down, they would send a dealer over. I saw mostly 3/6 games going. Movies Under The Stars was a great idea. Football shown Sunday afternoon (local feed out of Los Angeles) and of course Sunday and Monday night football. DaVinci code shown one night had most chairs taken. Very popular. Other nights, no one there. I guess it depends what's showing. The princess theater is a little small but you can generally get a seat if you show up around 15-20 minutes before showtime. The International Crew show is the exception. Since there is only one performance of this show, you must get there 30 minutes before showtime if not earlier. That was the one show that I saw all the seats gone by 10 minutes before the show started. The pool areas had plenty of chairs. There was NEVER a time where there wasn't a chair available. Maybe not poolside, but on the upper decks, there were chairs. Big laundry room with 5-6 irons/ironing boards. Entertainment The cooking show/galley tours was amusing but if you tend to sleep in (10am start time), you can skip this. The galley tour was really just a 2 minutes walk through. Production shows very well done. 3 comedians this trip. Champagne waterfall was a very festive time. Our teenage boys liked the teen center. Since school was in session or the fact this is Princess and not Carnival , there were only about 15 teenagers on board. They had a good time. Overall - Leaving out of NY has its advantages/disadvantages. Obviously if you live in the tri-state area, saving on airfare is key. However, it does take a LONG time to get to the Caribbean. There are at least 4 sea days. Our ship missed Bermuda due to weather so make that 5 out of 9 sea days. That is a lot of time to enjoy the ship. We had a good cruise. We probably won't leave out of NY again no matter what cruise line. As far a Princess goes, the ship/staff were very good and we had a good time, but the food was not good and given a choice, we would probably not do Princess again. We will do Carnival or Royal Caribbean if the kids come with us or maybe Costa Cruise if we go without kids. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
If this ship was my car, I'd bring it back to the dealer. What a bummer. Princess was the first cruiseline I used a few years ago, pre-Carnival, and the incredible service, atmosphere & food were the benchmarks for all my cruising ... Read More
If this ship was my car, I'd bring it back to the dealer. What a bummer. Princess was the first cruiseline I used a few years ago, pre-Carnival, and the incredible service, atmosphere & food were the benchmarks for all my cruising since, though I hadn't rebooked Princess til now. Embarkation itself was easy, though the drive to Brooklyn is a little sketchy. The minisuite was smaller than the one I had on the Grand Princess, and thanks to notes from past posters,I switched my room & was not open to the elements. In the suite itself, drawers would not open, the safe needed to be pried open with a knife, and the tub never drained. Our sheets were not changed for 4 days(my sister had gotten chocolate on hers, so we counted. The bathrobes were never changed regardless of how much coffee was spilled on them. Much has been written about the poor design of the ship, so I will just concur on that, but what drove me nuts was the dropped ceilings in the piazza area that obscured the elevator signals. Formal night dinner was a big bust. On the grand princess, our italian headwater & waiter created a culinary dining experience nightly, here we were rushed through dinner by a group of Malaysian waiters who were hard to understand, totally forgot our order, generally made us feel like a nuisance because we didn't order wine. We didn't go back, used the buffets the other nites. We are not big eaters, but I do like my food hot, and that was rare. Also, who thought German nite & Indian nite were good ideas? Bratwurst on a boat. The store was always almost sold out of pepto & imodium. Pizza was good though, as were the fruit tarts & cookies. Bummer no free lemonade like on RC, I don't drink soda, but had gotten a coffee card (thanks again CC posters for the tip). We did have a couple of drinks by the pool, 1 with 1 without alcohol, both separated almost immediately, and were undrinkable. Signed up for the Thermal suite in the spa ($130 for 2), It was nice when everything was working . The first day, 2 of the 8 weren't, I spoke to manager, and things were a bit better the next day, but some were never up to par. Also, found out after I paid that the ladies locker has a sauna & steamroom, so I really could have saved the money. Massage was nice, and not too pushy to sell products, but maybe because right up front I told them I could buy the products at the Elemis spa here at Mohegan Sun in CT using my points, so don't bother. The staff on this boat seem depressed. Shows were high school level, except for the French juggler, who couldn't even rise to that. MUTS was loud. This boat had the worst vibrations in the aft section I have ever experienced on a ship. Almost like a propeller was bent. And the superstructure made these really weird creaks. I felt like my cubicle was gonna pop out the side of the ship. I would get rid of Ocho Rios & Port Canaveral on this itinerary. Ocho Rios has gotten even more dirty & the natives more aggressive. We could only swim one at a time in Dunns Falls, so the other one could watch our belongings. Even with police patrolling I didn't feel too safe. An they should do Princess Cay instead of Port Canaveral, extend the tropical feel one more day. Course I won't get back to Princess Cay, because Princess just lost another customer. Disembarkation was the worst I've ever experienced. 2 porters for 3000 people. Enough said. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We cruised on the Crown Princess October 18-27th, 2006. Embarkation at the Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn was the easiest embarkation we've ever done. We arrived at 11:15, were quickly checked in and handed a ticket with a group ... Read More
We cruised on the Crown Princess October 18-27th, 2006. Embarkation at the Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn was the easiest embarkation we've ever done. We arrived at 11:15, were quickly checked in and handed a ticket with a group number. They began boarding groups by calling numbers at around 11:45; by 11:55 we were on board ship. We were on the Baja deck in cabin B219. It was certainly big enough for 2 people. There was plenty of storage in the roomy closet area - tons of wooden hangers. There were shelves in a storage alcove where the safe was located. Above the sink in the bathroom there were three very small shelves, and one long shelf under the sink. The night tables had two drawers and a cubby area, and the desk had a door that opened up to two shelves. The empty luggage fit easily under the bed. Our balcony was covered and looked down onto two levels of balcony below. Bad for them but good for any peeping toms out there! Underneath the shelf where the TV was there were sodas and bottled water, and the refrigerator was in the cabinet below. We always had a filled ice bucket and it stayed nice and cold. The ship is 110,000 tons, which is a large ship, yet it never really felt crowded. The week we went there were barely any kids on board, although there were a lot of elderly, many in wheelchairs and scooters. We walked rather than take elevators when we could, as there was always someone with a scooter in an elevator. We had the best service on this ship! Everyone from our cabin steward Roberto, to our waiter Miguel and his assistant Alex, and even our head waiter Antonio, were WONDERFUL. Our headwaiter brought me goodies a few times that week - once a delicious seafood risotto that was NOT on the menu, and once spaghetti and meatballs. All the food was delicious - when you ordered a steak cooked a certain way, you got it exactly as you asked for. There was an array of seafood that pleased me as I'm a seafood lover, yet enough other things for my husband who dislikes seafood. We never went hungry. The pizza on the ship is the best I've had in years. I'm originally from Brooklyn, and I have to tell you it was a joy to have real, Brooklyn pizza! Yum! The burgers and hot dogs were pretty good too. The entertainment was also some of the best we've ever seen on a ship. The production shows were great, Destination Anywhere is not to be missed. There was a wonderful comedian on board named Sarge - don't miss him! He's hysterical. Our first stop was Grand Turk. There's a beach at the end of the pier with free lounge chairs, and right behind there was Margaritaville. You could use the pool at Margaritaville for free also. The water at Grand Turk was some of the clearest I've ever seen, and the fact that I could snorkel and see tons of fish, even that near the ship, was awesome. This is a great stop, I wish we'd have been able to stay there longer. The next stop was Jamaica. Been there, done that, many times. Went to the beach near the port - we had to pay to get on and pay for the loungers. Next time we'll stay on the ship. Jamaica has never thrilled me. Grand Cayman was next. We've been there a number of times before, so we shopped and walked along the oceanfront. We ran across an area with tons of fish swimming right near the shore, and men at a table nearby cutting up the fish and selling filets. We questioned them and it turned out to be tarpon. They let us feed the tarpon with the excess pieces they were discarding. It was great. The last stop was Port Canaveral. We've also been there before, so we stayed on the ship and enjoyed ourselves watching MUTS (Movies Under The Stars). My husband really enjoyed watching football games on MUTS on Sunday and Monday night, and the World Series games, too. I enjoyed the Barry Manilow concert they showed one night after the baseball game too. In all, I would have to say that the ship, service, food and entertainment were outstanding, and it was one of the best cruises we've ever been on. That being said, we did have a few complaints: the layout of the ship. To get to the dining room in the back of deck six, you had to walk to the back of deck seven and walk down. You could not get there directly from deck six. I don't understand that design at all. The rest rooms were few and hard to find - there were some that were located in alcoves near doors that went out to the deck. If you didn't enter the alcove, you'd never know the bathrooms were there. They were also smaller than they should have been - the bathroom near the pool, dining room and theater only had 2 booths. For a ladies room, that equals long lines. Also, we found the beds very hard. The linens are beautiful, the pillows great, and the comforter a welcome change from the layers of sheets we always get tangled up in. But the bed was harder than we're used to or comfortable with. Otherwise, I would highly recommend the Crown Princess. We had a blast and will definitely sail her again. Sharon H. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Please enter your review. I just read a Cruise Critic Member Review on the Crown Princess by Cheryl. I couldn't say it better, but I have more to add. I, too am a big fan of cruising. We have traveled on several cruise lines, and I ... Read More
Please enter your review. I just read a Cruise Critic Member Review on the Crown Princess by Cheryl. I couldn't say it better, but I have more to add. I, too am a big fan of cruising. We have traveled on several cruise lines, and I have always rated Princess as one of my favorites. I am now an Elite member with 15 cruises. But if ever a cruise was a huge disappointment this one was. We had booked Crown Princess as well as a cruise on RCCL Freedom of the Seas almost a year ahead and looked forward to both. Both were Caribbean cruises we have taken many times, but the Freedom was so innovative, and we have never been to Bermuda, so the Princess would take us to some place new, and we could enjoy and compare two new ships. We did get to see Bermuda - from afar! But, like Cheryl, we never docked there. The captain said it was too windy to enter the channel, and another port would not replace it. We traveled in slow motion for two days to kill time returning to NYC. Ditto to Cheryl about the Crown Princess looking bigger on the outside than the inside. Our balcony stateroom was smaller than on the Freedom, and unlike the comfortable bed on the Freedom, the bed was unbelievably hard. Relatives in another balcony stateroom got an egg-crate mattress cover that seemed to help, but none were available when we asked. We used the comforter underneath and asked for blankets and sheets to cover. Our balcony looked out on other balconies, for two decks down. Not a lot of privacy for those below though the young people didn't seem to mind, and the topless one seemed to enjoy every bit of exposure. The narrow hallways were especially inconvenient for handicap in wheelchairs and scooters. The layout of the ship and the elevators was confusing, and nothing seemed outstanding about the looks of the ship. Not enough shows and way too many comedians filled out the entertainment. The main theatre was very crowded on show nights. Our plight began, however, before we arrived at the ship. We had booked directly with Princess, who did our air, transfers, and insurance. We have always felt more comfortable letting Princess set this all up for us. We flew into Newark, NJ for a forced overnight at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott Hotel. When we arrived at the airport baggage area, we expected to see the familiar Princess Cruises greeter with sign. We collected our luggage and searched for our greeter. We sat and waited for two hours. Never had this happened to us in all our years of cruising. Fortunately, we had our cell phone, so I called 1-800-Princess. After another hour of confusion, we were told that this had been going on all day there, and they could not locate any one to help us. We were to go hail a taxi to take us over to NY, and we would be reimbursed for the cost when we got on the ship. With a wild ride and $75 out of pocket, we arrived at the hotel. We had planned a nice evening but were too tired to do anything but go to bed. The next day we were transferred by bus to the ship. When we got there, we were told to identify our luggage. One piece was missing. We spent 30 minutes waiting in the sun and were finally told to go on board, and hopefully it would be located and sent to our room. We were by then at the end of huge lines, and even though I requested the preferred boarding line as shown on my documents, we were herded into one of the long waiting lines and told to stay there. Our embarkation was not smooth as was Cheryl's. When our luggage arrived, the one piece was still missing, but it did get to our cabin eventually, at which time we noticed all three pieces had been mishandled and smashed. We were fortunate that customer service had us fill out a form allowing the ship to try to fix them, and we got our luggage back the night before disembarkation in usable, if not the best, condition, for which we were grateful. The real ordeal began when we tried to collect the $75 from customer service. It took three days of standing in line at the counter and arguing for the money to be replaced. They didn't feel they should have to pay the toll fees or the tip for the taxi driver. Later they would only agree to credit our account. I finally insisted on $75 in cash, and after sheer determination won. By this time our vacation seemed in much too much turmoil. I, too, wrote corporate office to no avail. The letter I received reads: As we are certain you know from your many Princess sailings, transfers are operated by independent ground personnel contracted by Princess. Therefore, as stated in our Passage Contract, Princess cannot be held responsible for problems arising out of such arrangements So there is your customer service after the sail. I am still in shock. This is not the Princess care we have experienced before, but seems this will be the norm for doing business now and hereafter. Obviously they DON'T CARE! Buyers beware! Wanting to end with something positive, I must say we had lots of good seafood. Our waiters were excellent. They were fun and funny and did their jobs so well all 10 of us at our table could relax and enjoy that time of day. The Freedom of the Seas is a gorgeous ship, and at least one of our two cruises was a joy! Down with Princess and up with RCCL. 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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