Sail Date: October 2006
I don't care what label they slapped on this ship, its a Carnival cruise ship so don't be fooled. 1) SERVICE - the pits, the staff was miserable which made the passengers miserable. The staff to passenger ratio is about 10 to 1 ... Read More
I don't care what label they slapped on this ship, its a Carnival cruise ship so don't be fooled. 1) SERVICE - the pits, the staff was miserable which made the passengers miserable. The staff to passenger ratio is about 10 to 1 and they treated the passengers as a nuisance. Soda card - if you buy it, forget it; you'll never see another staff member again. 2) Food - was not edible most days, the buffet was preferable to the dinning room. If you ate in the pay restaurants, food was not bad. The ship line does not provide trays in the buffet area. So, if you have a child with you and no food tray, you have to choose, utensils or your kid's hand because you're going to have to let go of one. The only drinks provided for free are coffee/tea and water. If you're traveling with children, juice may or may not be included depending on which staff member you get and what kind of day that person is having. 3) Condition of The Ship - the ship has not been fully repaired since the tip-over. Glass panes as still shattered on the upper deck. 4) Children Services - the kiddie pool, mis-designed since the inspection, has never opened and will not open until the ship is dry-docked, in a couple of years. 5) ADA Issues - all the doors leading to the outer decks, pool areas, etc., are very heavy and manual. The doors are attached to a mechanism designed to make them automatic/handicap compliant. Since the doors are all too heavy for the mechanisms, the mechanisms have burned out and no doors can be opened by a handicapped person and or with great difficulty. The ship is not ADA compliant. A staff member advised me that they are not obligated to follow ADA Rules, they are not American. 6) What your expectations are - if you're looking to be pampered, treated like a guest or just feel welcome - this is not the cruise to be on. If you are looking to be nickel and dimed, looking to loose weight on a cruise, looking to save money at port because your docking 15 miles away from civilization - this is your cruise! This is only MY opinion. I suggest that each person form their own opinion based on their own experience. We personally found many unhappy people on this cruise from different walks of life and different age groups. It was a terrible way to waste 9 days of our life. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
CROWN PRINCESS REVIEW OCTOBER 18-27, 2006 Overall impression - AWESOME cruise. Cruising from Red Hook was so easy & painless, cannot wait to do it again. EMBARKATION: fastest ever. Within 5 minutes I was on the ship. No line for ... Read More
CROWN PRINCESS REVIEW OCTOBER 18-27, 2006 Overall impression - AWESOME cruise. Cruising from Red Hook was so easy & painless, cannot wait to do it again. EMBARKATION: fastest ever. Within 5 minutes I was on the ship. No line for Elite. There was a line for other pax when we arrived, seemed to move quickly. Luggage arrived promptly. SHIP : The Crown is a beauty. For as large as she is you never felt crowded. Many cozy, intimate areas. The ship was clean - no smells that I noticed. Crew very attentive and friendly. I had many friends onboard working & was treated like one of the Princess family. I used both the stairs & elevators. I did hear other pax complain about the slowness of the elevators. My impression that Sanctuary did not get used much at all. Too much shade for me personally. But, it is a lovely area. CABIN: I had an AFT inside cabin on Riviera Deck. Quite comfortable & roomy for me as a single. Loved the location off the Terrace Pool. Noise was minimal. The new pillows & bed linens are comfy & lush. My first experience with an eggcrate mattress - loved it. I faxed in my request and it was on my bed when I arrived. Did find it kept the 2 twin beds together nicely. My cabin steward Sak was excellent. DINING: Generoso Mazzone is one of the finest Maitre Ds in the fleet. I am proud to call him my friend. He greets return pax with a warm welcome, providing royal treatment. I chose Alternative Dining and was in the Michelangelo Dining Room with Godwin. He selected a perfect table for us, which we had a standing 8:30 reservation. Our waiter & Jr. waiter - both George - from Romania, were phenomenal. From Day 1 we hit it off with them. Every night we had specially prepared items served to us by Chris our HW (thanks to Generoso). The new menu design had us confused at first. We dined in Sabatini (on Italian Night) to celebrate a birthday. We were not disappointed. The have made some subtle changes to how they serve the courses, but, the food remains excellent. The staff were comedians along with their excellent service. We had a very special meal. Godwin arranged a beautiful & delicious birthday cake. Breakfast was always in Horizon Court. Never any problems with lines or food. Tried both the Trident Grill and Prego Pizzeria for lunch - excellent food & service. Found myself skipping many lunches this cruise. PORTS OF CALL: Having been to these ports before I was not crazed to book tours, just relax & enjoy. Having 4 sea days was fabulous (much needed after our port intensive Greek Isles cruise) GRAND TURK: Beautiful sunny day. Did not venture downtown. Instead stayed near the pier area. Our 1st Margaritaville. There is a decent beach within walking distance. Free chair use, umbrellas available for rent. Seemed like some of the shops with in the area were not yet opened. But, was able to make my needed purchases. OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA: Another lovely sunny, hot day. We all did different activities. Bamboo Beach Day - relaxing, good food, nice beach area. Dunns River Falls - at least once you have to visit/climb the falls. Lovely. For me, I ventured out to Island Village. 2nd Margaritaville. Got my Blue Mountain Coffee & jerk sauces. Met up with my band friends & spent the afternoon sipping Corona & Red Stripe. GRAND CAYMAN: Our only tender port. Another beautiful hot/sunny day. Major shopping day. We waited to avoid the early morning rush for tenders. By 10am no lines at all. 3rd Margaritaville. We did get hit with a brief thunderstorm upon leaving Cayman, followed by a colorful rainbow. PORT CANAVERAL: Hot/sunny day spent onboard. I was surprised how many pax did stay onboard. Non-US citizens did have to go thru US Immigration Inspection today. ENTERTAINMENT: Within our group of 5 we all did attend many onboard events. The production shows & Sarge among new cruiser favorites. I found my favorite spot this cruise to be Crooners. This was our before & after dinner cocktail stop. Singer Brett Cave was stellar. We bonded with our Crooner Boys (Pavlin, Cristian, Bo, Dragos, Rafael) immediately. Every night was fun-filled. Soon enough we had regulars join us. Poolside Melodies with Robert Smith & Epithani always excellent. I was sad to see Robert leave early in Port Canaveral. Both Robert & Brett did shows in Explorers that were super excellent. We did venture up to Skywalkers (after closing Crooners) for late night dancing. My suitcases too heavy to try Express Walk-Off. Although many did use this option. DISEMBARKATION: Again, a painless, easy process. My suitcases too heavy to try Express Walk-Off. Although many did use this option. We were called to disembark approx. 9:30am. Fast moving line for US Customs. Found our luggage without any problem. Being home by 11:30am was an absolute pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
This was our 9th cruise & our third and possibly last on Princess. The direct flight from the UK to San Juan was good & we went straight from the airport & straight on the ship. Embarkation was good, we were on the ship in 30 ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise & our third and possibly last on Princess. The direct flight from the UK to San Juan was good & we went straight from the airport & straight on the ship. Embarkation was good, we were on the ship in 30 mins. State room was small!. We were near the forward elevators & when you arrive at your chosen floor, say Lido, the elevator lobby opened out onto a corridor of more staterooms. You have to walk down another corridor to reach the open Lido deck area. The ship just did not flow. Two very nice pools on Lido but VERY noisy. Big screen pool area had sound on all day long, unlike Sea princess, where you had your own personal earpiece receiver to listen if you wanted. Other pool area had various bands, all playing music far to loud. Shows were poor and still far to loud. The juggler in particular was pathetic and people were leaving in droves. The food in Horizon court was sometimes warm, never hot but sometimes warm. we were a party of nine and we liked to have fixed late dining, our cruise was booked 13 months in front and we were still on the wait list for late dining. The maitr'd sorted it out on our second night. The food for our evening meal, especially meat, was only just warm. we brought this to the attention of our waiter at least 5 times in fourteen nights. Princess have a long way to go to beat Celebrity & Royal Caribbean for service. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Well I have to say that we really needed this get away after a very difficult year. We decided as usual to depart a day prior to the cruise. We left Chicago the day after Thanksgiving and flew down to San Juan on American Airlines, flight ... Read More
Well I have to say that we really needed this get away after a very difficult year. We decided as usual to depart a day prior to the cruise. We left Chicago the day after Thanksgiving and flew down to San Juan on American Airlines, flight left on time and arrived on time. We of course were delayed waiting for our luggage which was unloaded after a flight that arrived after ours did. Oh well, such is life! Got our bags an queued up for a taxi to the Sheraton Old San Juan and off we went! Of course it was lightly raining as it always seems to be when we fly to San Juan! I handed the taxi slip to my husband and got in line to check in. The girl checking us in was new and said we didn't have a reservation, even after I showed her the confirmation. Long story short, they found us 2 rooms and honored the price. Unfortunately, while that was happening the cab driver increased the price for us by an additional $10 from the quote on the paper, not a great start to the trip but I was NOT going to let that get to us. We were told we were getting a city view room but when I opened the shutters we looked out into the parking garage across from us. It was only one night and would be dark soon anyway so off we went for dinner. My husband is disabled so we asked the bellman for a local restaurant close by. We were send up 3 flights of stairs to the street above us because the food was exceptional. Ok, long story short again, it was horrible. Waited 30 minutes between drink order and food order. Waited 55 minutes for appetizer and then another 45 minutes for main entrees due to short staff in kitchen. Ordered 2nd drinks for the happy hour special but charged full price on bill, response was the usual oh sorry didn't understand what you wanted". After a $150 bill for 5 people we left and went back to hotel to lick our wounds. Not the best day. I took my Mom (74) with for a walk down the waterfront and found a restaurant less than a block from the hotel that we were not told about with no steps. Saturday morning came and I couldn't wait to go up and check out the pool and the ship, it was so nice to get up early when the city is quiet and see the Crown sitting there just waiting for us!! The pool there is small but adequate. Went with my 17 year old son for a walk to satisfy his craving for a fast food breakfast and walked up to the fort and then hit the BK and a drug store for some last minute items (bottled water, ginger ale, etc.) and then back to the hotel to pack up and go down around noonish to board the ship. Because of the heat and humidity I was concerned about long lines for my husband so I went up to one of the women at the security point and she called for a wheelchair for my husband, while my kids and Mom stayed in line for fairness to other people in line. The nice part was that by the time they brought a chair the rest of the family was already caught up with us and we all checked in together still. Obviously I'm pleased with the speed of checkin even with long lines. We chose to skip the pre-boarding pictures as they never work for us and we breezed through security and boarded the ship. We knew that the scooter rental for my husband would come later so we opted for the usual slow walk for the buffet lunch and then spa tour etc. Kids abandoned us as soon as we dropped items in our cabins. Mini-Suites: We had a wheelchair accessible MS on Dolphin deck and were pleased with most of the layout. Our cabin steward was wonderful and took care of all our requests immediately. We loved the new bedding on the ship as well. Once the scooter came we made the muster drill and then off to the shopping talk where another family member sitting next to me won a Movado watch! I'm still holding that against her! We had main dining with 3 tables for our group. I have to say that of all the many sailings we've been on, these waiters were the best we've ever had. The food all week was fantastic and I went home raving about the French Onion Soup that they served! My mouth still waters thinking about it! I'll try to keep this shorter now. The ship was in good shape but due to some bad weather a few weeks before there was still some shattered panes that needed to be replaced but all elevators were working. I'm not a fan of the dining room elevators having someone who CAN'T take the stairs and some nights it took 20 minutes to wait for an elevator for him to get in with his scooter. I hope that anyone who reads this review keeps this in mind. Please, if you CAN walk up a flight of stairs after dinner, please do so in order to free up the elevators for those who can't. Those elevators are the only way for disabled passengers to get out of that area. Ok, for the important part, the complaints! We had many favorite spots and no bad reviews from me! Also, we found many places that were quiet at night once we had enough of the more noisy areas. The Promenade was also a highlight for us. I had already been on the inaugural cruise in June so I was aware of the entertainment that appears there and we did spend quite a bit of time there during the week. My husband loved the cookies too! And a few times we stopped there for sandwiches at lunch too. I just love this ship! Ports: St. Thomas-well, I do not like the new terminal. At all. We were there when NO shops were open at all. No where to go unless you cab your way there. And try to find a cab that takes scooters? My husband stayed on the ship while we went into town shopping. If I go back on Princess again, I'm not sure what we'll do. They need to think about this further and make many changes. St. Kitts: We did the tour off the ship to Turtle Beach. Nice tour, the bus is colorful (to say the least) but the driver and guide were wonderful! We arrived at Turtle Beach and were a bit disappointed at how rocky it was and small. We had a soda there and my Husband started to feel ill so we asked where to catch a cab, our guides had been sticking close to us and found a driver, helped us to the car, and wished us well. They were genuinely concerned for us and I felt so good about the people of this island due to our treatment that whole day. When we got back to the pier the security guard there went herself to the ship and got a wheelchair and pushed him back to the ship even though I said I could manage, she wanted to help. Loved this island. The only exception were some of the vendors in the souvenir shop at the pier. Grenada: We opted due to the rain to just take the scooter and walk about the island. We met up with a young and very tall man named David who walked us around and gave us a guided tour of the downtown area. I gladly paid him the small fee for this and recommend him to anyone who wants just a safe walk around and shopping guide. I would have loved to do an island tour if the weather had been better. NOTE: Make sure that you buy ONLY sealed spices. I recommend going to the shore talk for this port as well. Bonaire: WOO HOO! I've found my favorite island!! Scooter friendly and all! Very clean, very friendly! Nice small beach right by the pier too. We shopped when we first got there and then kids and I took the Sea Cow snorkeling in the afternoon. We made the right move here! The people that run this boat were great and even watched to make sure the kids knew how to snorkel and stayed close. Now my kids are 17 and 20 but I think because it was Mom and the kids they kind of stuck close to us. I love this island and would go back for a week in a heartbeat! Aruba: In all fairness, this was not the best day to be in port. The people were friendly but there was picketing (local dispute over taxes) that day as well as construction on the main highway that caused some problems for us. After a bit of a transportation problem we decided to walk it around town and then back to the ship for some sunbathing, swimming, and family bonding. Well, I said I'd try to keep it short and I see I failed yet again. As a final statement I guess I'd rate this one of our top cruises and would do this exact same itinerary again on this ship. I'd recommend it to anyone! Hope this review helped someone!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
CROWN PRINCESS - A GREAT PRINCESS Hello! we are a family of 5 and we have traveled 39 times on cruise. we traveled with another 4 families that have more kids than us, when we go to the travel agency to find a cruise for all we see 3 ... Read More
CROWN PRINCESS - A GREAT PRINCESS Hello! we are a family of 5 and we have traveled 39 times on cruise. we traveled with another 4 families that have more kids than us, when we go to the travel agency to find a cruise for all we see 3 cruises that look very nice but the crown princess looks huge, cool, fun and we want to explore a new cruise you know the inaugural season was on 2006. Embarkation- it was smooth the embarkation but we are on the captain circle so we know how princess work. when we were inside the ship we can't believe that they put workers in all the floors to guide you to your room. Ship- as we know it's a MEGA-HUGE ship that have more public rooms that other princess ships we have go on, its a great ship and its very organized, you never feel crowd there was nice places as the sanctuary, Piazza and the horizon court a nice place to EAT and EAT and more EAT. The pools are excellent i love the back pool and the sanctuary one. Food- the princess its not famous for serve the best food but the crown its a great innovation in food i get 5 pounds more i eat and eat but it was great.The crown have many dinning rooms but i eat just one time the formal night and i don't remember the name i know that it was on the 6 floor but have to go up then down again. Cabins- All of us have different cabins i have Ocean View others have balcony and others have interiors but just one with suite. all of them we very familiars in colors and decors but in size it wasn't but all of them were very spacious and comfortable i love my window and i love my bathroom. Entertainment- the crown have the best dancers,comedians and magicians in the cruise line they make a great performance a great job and that was entertainment you never get bored and have great things to do like ping pong, MUTS that is a great hit, golf, tennis, basketball and ceramics etc. Kids Club- My kids love that place i have one of 10 one of 8 and one of 6 they were on different clubs but all of the days they make cool things. Gym- i just go 3 days but i like very much the tv in the machines it was a great idea Just adults area- I LOVE IT the spa i get 2 massages cuz i love them it was a little expensive but a great expense Ports of call- San Juan- i live there so i don't have to talk about it St.Thomas- a great island great aquarium and great stores St.Kitts- i stay on the ship cuz i have go on other cruises Grenada- that day i get down but just in the port cuz it was very hot that day Bonaire- that was a great island i love it i love the beach the stores and the XX beers that they serve Aruba- i stay again on the ship in the morning but like the 12 i get down to get a bag on BEBE and buy cheese that day we was with other 2 cruises at sea- i stay on the room and eat but my kids that day stay on the cruise with my wife disembarkation- it was very faster cuz we were going to have an airplane cuz we were going to Disney the that week.but it was smooth to the other my families summary- A great Cruise a great experience and a great princess. we will travel once again in princess but in the emerald princess in 2007. HAPPY CRUISING!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
I'll try to make this brief and hit all the major points, not sure how successful I'll be but here goes... EMBARKATION - We had Princess transfers, what a joke! We will never do that again! Checked on taxi costs while waiting ... Read More
I'll try to make this brief and hit all the major points, not sure how successful I'll be but here goes... EMBARKATION - We had Princess transfers, what a joke! We will never do that again! Checked on taxi costs while waiting to board the plane in San Juan to come home. I was told that for 2 people from Airport to Port is $20.00 - $25.00 and there were people who were getting Taxis very quickly and avoided the long lines of people that we had to wait in. When we got to the Port around 2:00, we had to stand in line about 15 minutes outside and then inside they had chairs for us to sit in....wasn't too bad. But, after talking with people who had gotten there around 11 a.m. to 1 or 1:30 they had to stand in line in the sun for 1-2 hours before even getting into the building. I guess we were lucky!!! SHIP - Crown Princess is, without a doubt, a beautiful ship. Very elegant and when looking outside on deck 16 at night was incredible! We never felt crowded even though it was a sold out ship! The dining rooms were very plain. The other public spaces exactly like the Golden. The area around the main pool was done very well, however and MUTS volume was never an issue. I think they must have had a lot of complaints and have changed this because even during the day, we never found it a problem!! PORTS OF CALL - Below is our opinion of this itinerary! 1. ST LUCIA - This is a beautiful island. We did The Best of St. Lucia Princess Excursion and it was a FANTASTIC ONE. This is the only Princess excursion we did but St. Lucia is truly a beautiful island. Very poor and the people are very friendly! Not at all in your face but lots of smiles and helpful....incredibly beautiful island! 2. BARBADOS - We went to Blue Monkey Beach on our own. This is where the "Swim with the turtles" tours go to and it was a very nice beach. We swam with the turtles right off the beach.....and didn't have to pay anything! 3. ANTIGUA - We strive to find beaches that are not so crowded and loud...that is a difficult task but we went to Castaway Beach and it was good. The water was very cloudy, not the clear we are used to in the Caribbean. The beach was very nice and not a whole lot of people. 4. ST. MAARTIN-St. MAARTIN - This was the biggest disappointment as far as the Ports of Call. Now, if you like the shopping thing, everyone we talked to said this was the place to be. As far as the beauty of the island itself?...well, the French side was ok, the dutch side looked like a run down Panama City Beach....not impressed. My DH took the water taxi from the ship to the downtown area and he said that was very nice and that the downtown area was very pretty. Lots of traffic jams all over the island however, so, if you go on your own anywhere, give yourself lots of time to make it back to the ship! 5. St Thomas... - We've been here many times but have never gone over to St. John before this trip. We did St. John so here goes.... 5 (a) ST JOHN - We will ALWAYS go back to St. John! We found Cinnamon Beach....I don't even know where to start. Large beach, maybe 50-60 people was all that was there!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Good snorkeling right off the beach.....clear, perfect water.....wonderful views.....I could go on and on, but you get the picture! ROOM - We were not happy with the balcony cabin size AT ALL! We were on the Aloha Deck - 742, port side. It was very small, only one comfortable chair and the bathroom shower is a JOKE!!! For a woman, trying to shave your legs in the shower you had to be very imaginative and find ways to do it without falling on your butt outside the shower. Our room steward was very good, but a little over worked. You could just tell that he was exhausted most of the time but kept going like the little energizer bunny! We tipped him well and he was very appreciative. I'm sorry but I could never remember how to pronounce his name or I would tell you what it was. We discovered that we don't like Aft...too much vibration and we didn't like the last cabin jutted out and blocked our view completely to the left. This was a disappointment! There was ample storage space in the cabin however and we had plenty of shelf, closet, nooks and crannies to put stuff in. Balcony size was normal and the Aloha deck is covered completely which we were happy with. Table and two chairs on the balcony were mesh like material and comfortable enough. COFFEE - Wasn't as bad as the Golden's coffee....still that stuff, whatever it is, that is supposed to taste like coffee. It is more like sludgy, motor oil but I just used my Folgers Singles and avoided it all together. This will be one of the main reasons we may not cruise Princess again. I mean, come on, concentrated coffee???? ENTERTAINMENT - This ship was our second Princess cruise, our first on the Golden in 04. One of the reasons we decided to book with Princess again was because the Entertainment...this includes the entertainment in the Princess Theatre, lounges, parties, etc. was excellent! The Crown Princess really fell short here!!! We heard so many complaints from most of the people we talked to and just heard talking to other passengers about! I felt like I was on a cheap Carnival cruise when it came to the Princess Theatre. Sets were very cheap looking if non-existent and the shows were not even as good as a Six Flags or community theatre. Crooners had an excellent piano player and showman, the wheelhouse bar was just ok, and I love the atmosphere in there but the entertainment here was lacking as well. The group Epithany was mediocre as the main singer was SO BAD. The keyboard player, a woman, was very good however! FOOD - Ok, I know that this is a VERY subjective thing, but here goes our (my DH and I) opinion. It was NOT GOOD. From the buffet to the dining rooms! It's not that anything was bad really, its just that it was all pretty tasteless. The choices in the buffet were not very good and again, we heard MANY, MANY people complaining about this. We ate more burgers and hot dogs, which were good because the other food was...well, see above! The dining room service was just ok, except for the last night and we had two that were exceptional. We are not at all hard to please when it comes to food, we just like to eat! So, this cruise was not up to the same standards we found on the Golden two years ago. The deserts were so beautiful and tasteless! We would go up and look at them, and they looked so perfect but had no taste! The cookies that everyone has raved about were never fresh and you could break a tooth on them. This was a major disappointment! I kept reading about the cookies in the International Cafe, and thought, well I won't take any sweets with us on this cruise, since we will have those wonderful chocolate chip cookies....we only smelled them cooking one time and we were in the piazza many times throughout the day. Even when we smelled them cooking that one time, we rushed over to get our fresh cookies and were told that they would put out the fresh ones when the old ones had been eaten CREW - The crew for the most part, were very hardworking, pleasant, friendly and helpful. We had no complaints here AT ALL!!!! SAFES - They have to do something about this! Our safe started giving us trouble on the first day, the first time. We called 2 times and finally they sent some lady down to have a look and to get it opened for us. She proceeded to tell us that her job was to go around all over the ship and educate the passengers how to operate the safes.....huh??? Then she said that the "problem" was with the operation of them, not the safes themselves....ok, so explain how we operate them properly. She said that you had to 1. not allow them to stay open long...."put your things in them as quickly as possible, and close the safe immediately." 2. if you don't do #1 in a few minutes the safe will start to take off one number at a time of the code that you put in it. This means that you "Might" have to put 3 numbers of your code in instead of the 4 number you programmed into it." 3. She said, "If you don't do numbers 1 and 2 properly, you will not be able to use the safe. We contacted the manufacturers and they said that nothing is wrong with the safes, it is just that our passengers do not know how to use them properly" So, we did what she said and the results are this...if you can't put your things in and out within about 20-30 seconds, the safe will show an error! We had to strategically hide our things each day, which was a pain, and I believe this is an area they desperately need to look into FIXING! DISEMBARKATION - Didn't see a problem here at all! Went fast and appeared to be efficient. The only problem we had was that the flight time that was printed on our eticket in our cruise documents was 45 minutes later than what the actual flight time was. This could have been a major problem if we weren't the kind of people that are early everywhere we go! SAN JUAN AIRPORT - ON MY GOSH, this is such a ridiculous airport! I won't even try to explain all the things wrong here, but if you've been there, you know!! We talked to people who had Princess Air as we did that had been waiting for 4-6 hours at this VERY CROWDED, no place to sit down airport! Enough said about that! P.S. Please forgive any misspellings throughout this review! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
This was my first cruise.  My daughter was married on the ship by the captain. I never was so pampered in my life. I felt like royalty. The staff/crew could not do enough to convince me that I will cruise again. The service was ... Read More
This was my first cruise.  My daughter was married on the ship by the captain. I never was so pampered in my life. I felt like royalty. The staff/crew could not do enough to convince me that I will cruise again. The service was excellent/superb. They were All at my service. I could not imagine how everything was so organized from boarding to disembarkment,from the tours, to all of the daily activities. The food was extraordinary. The pizza,home baked breads,and specialities were much more than i expected. When they told me, that i was going to eat, i never thought of the dinning experiences that i encountered. Juan Carlos out of San Juan was so good i wished i could see him a second time.Our days and nights were filled with laughter and memories. I never knew i could do karaoke.It was great. The ports were ok, but i was satisfied just sitting on my balcony and engaging in all the ships activities. Everything on this cruise was perfect. I have nothing negative to say. If something was wrong with the service the staff made sure they corrected it immediately. they were really committed to their passengers. I smiled all the time. And in two years I will cruise again. thank you crown princess for a memory that will last a life time. I must say that the CROWN Princess out did themselves when they built this ship. I could go on and on about this cruise and than it will turn into a documentary!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Crown Princess, November 11 - 18, 2006, Southern Caribbean DH and I are both 38, no kids. This was our 4th cruise, our second with Princess. This was a great itinerary and the Crown Princess is a beautiful ship. We thoroughly enjoyed the ... Read More
Crown Princess, November 11 - 18, 2006, Southern Caribbean DH and I are both 38, no kids. This was our 4th cruise, our second with Princess. This was a great itinerary and the Crown Princess is a beautiful ship. We thoroughly enjoyed the week. Embarkation: We flew into San Juan on Friday and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Condado. The HI Express offers a clean room in a nice area, but not much more. The rooms and bathrooms are very small and spartan. However, it was quiet and was fine for a one night stay. We took a cab the Pan Am Pier, arriving around 11:30 AM on Saturday. There was a short line at this time, and after standing outside for only a few minutes, we were let into an area with rows of chairs to sit in. Around 12:15, the check-in area opened and we were on the ship shortly thereafter. Definitely the best embarkation experience out of all our cruises. Note: The duty free liquor store is directly across from the check-in area. Just place your purchases in your carry on bag and walk on the ship no questions asked. The Ship: The ship is very similar to the Caribbean Princess, which we sailed last year and liked, so there were few surprises. We found the ship's dEcor to be very elegant. Both the International Cafe and the Wine and Seafood bar stand out as excellent new features on the Crown. While we did notice some vibration in the rear of the ship, we hardly felt the motion of the ship at all, but the seas were very calm and the weather was generally very good. Our Cabin: Since this was a port intensive cruise, we decided try an inside cabin and use the savings on excursions. After balcony or outside cabins in the past, we were a bit worried about how we would like a windowless room. For the most part we were happy with our decision. It might have been a problem if there were more sea days, but the reality is that we just were not in the cabin much and it worked just fine for us. The cabin was laid out very well, was very quiet and very conducive to afternoon naps! Our only complaint with the cabin is the small shower and all too friendly shower curtain! Food: This is a very subjective area as everyone has different tastes. DH and I are not big meat eaters and while we generally don't care for chain restaurants, we are not accustomed to five star cuisine. With those parameters in mind, here are some thoughts on the Crowns Princess's food offerings. With the exception of breakfast in the Horizon Couet, DH and I found the food to be quite good on this cruise. We had late seating dinner in the Botecelli dining room and always were able to find something we liked on the menu. Not everything was exceptional, but nothing was horrible and many items were very tasty. Most days, we opted for lunch in the dining room over Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe. However, the days we ate buffet style I was pleasantly surprised. Great variety and good quality buffet food. We also really enjoyed the thin crust pizza some of the best pizza we've ever had! Vines, the wine and seafood bar, was a real treat. My husband enjoyed the sushi (well worth the $3 charge) and I enjoyed the flights of wine, which gave me a chance to sample some wines that were new to me. We had cookies almost every afternoon from the International Cafe (very good!) and enjoyed its fresh croissants, pastries and doughnuts for breakfast. Entertainment: We didn't take in either of the production shows they just didn't appeal to us. We enjoyed Sarge the comedian, but were a little surprised about his lack of political correctness. The juggler/comedian was surprisingly good. We did a MUTS movie one evening. The movie (You, Me and Dupree) wasn't all that good, but it is a nice venue on warm and calm evenings. We didn't set foot in the casino, and didn't really take advantage of many of the planned activities, since this was such a port-intensive cruise. Service: Here's the only area where the Crown Princess failed to dazzle. The service was not bad, but we just didn't experience anything above and beyond adequate. Dining room service was usually OK, but there were several evenings when waited quite a long time between courses. Our cabin steward kept the room very clean and also kept our ice bucket full, so we have no complaints there. However, most of the crew looked like they needed some time off. I know all cruise ship crews work long hours, but I don't recall so many worn-out expressions on past cruises. On our first Royal Caribbean Cruise in 2004, we felt like most of the crew was genuinely interested in making sure we had the best vacation ever just didn't get that feeling from Princess. Ports: St. Thomas - This was our third time in St. Thomas. After much deliberation, we decided on the Turtle Cove Sail and Snorkel excursion offered by Princess. This was a great choice! Leaving right from the Crown Bay dock, we sailed to Turtle Cove on the Dancing Dolphin Catamaran. We snorkeled for about an hour and a half, seeing several sea turtles and a few stingrays, then enjoyed a leisurely sail back to the ship. The crew took great care of us, offering us water on the trip out, and an open bar (beer or rum punch referred to as painkillers) on the way back. St. Kitts - We did the St. Kitts Mountain Bike and Beach excursion. Not sure of the distance, but we rode for a total of about 2 1/2 hours. There were a few uphill portions that were challenging. The tour staff consisted of a lead bike person, a bike person in the rear, and our tour guide/bike shop owner Art, who followed us in a pick-up truck. Our tour included some people in excellent shape and people like me who managed to keep up with the group, but just barely! We never rode for more that 15 minutes without a break, which provided opportunities for Art to tell us about the history, culture and politics of the island. We enjoyed great views from Timothy Hill, and about an hour at Frigate Bay Beach where we swam and relaxed. After that, it was maybe a 20 minute ride back to the ship. The excursion ended with and ice cold Caribe beer. This was an excellent tour and I would highly recommend it! Grenada - This was our least favorite port. We did the New Waves Snorkel excursion, and were underwhelmed by the snorkeling sites. We had to be back on the ship by 2:30 PM, so that didn't leave us any time to do anything else. Given the short time we were in port, we probably would have been better off to just walk around St. Georges for a few hours. Bonaire - Another awesome day! We took the water taxi to the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire. Although there was no shade or facilities of any kind, the snorkeling was amazing here. We saw huge corals, many varieties of fish, a very odd looking eel and a hawksbill turtle. Aruba - Alas, this was the only day our plans were thwarted by rain. Although the rain ended by noon, skies continued to look threatening all day. All the ship's excursions were cancelled, so we just walked around Oranjestand. This is a very good place to shop, and seemed very clean and safe. Maybe we will make it to the beach here on a future cruise? Day at Sea - For our day at sea, we enjoyed mostly sunny skies and smooth seas. Today was the only day that we missed having a balcony. After sleeping in, we spent some time sitting on the Promenade deck and reading. As luck would have it, we were out on deck when a group of dolphins began playing in the ships wake. This was truly an amazing site! After lunch in the dining room, we just relaxed and watched movies. We also spent some time at the Spa Pool. Wish we had an extra day at sea tacked on at the beginning of the cruise. Disembarkation: Our tags (purple 3) were not called until 12:20 PM, and we were about half way down the list of colors to be called. I'm not sure why disembarkation took so long for this cruise, but we were expecting to be off a few hours earlier. Since our flight home wasn't until Sunday, we were going to spend the day in Old San Juan. However, buy the time we got to our hotel and had some lunch, it was well into the afternoon so we decided relax by the pool instead of sightseeing. Our room at the Radission Ambassador (booked through Priceline) was fairly nice and was a step up from the Holiday Inn Express. We would stay here again. We had lunch at a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Tijuana's, located right across the street from the Radission. Very good Mexican food. Conclusion: All in all, it was a great vacation. We loved this itinerary. Although getting to San Juan involves pricier, longer flights, it does allow you to access more exotic, less frequented islands. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
We arrived at the San Juan port at 2:25 on Nov. 4. Embarkation was a disaster. The line was out of the building, out to the street. We were told that due to problems with Customs when the ship arrived in the morning, embarkation had not ... Read More
We arrived at the San Juan port at 2:25 on Nov. 4. Embarkation was a disaster. The line was out of the building, out to the street. We were told that due to problems with Customs when the ship arrived in the morning, embarkation had not yet begun. People stood in the blazing sun with no cover over them. No water or drinks were provided. There was an empty soda machine. To top it, people that arrived via cab were dropped at the front and allowed to cut the line, until one passenger went to the Security Guards and complained. Then people who arrived were told to drop their luggage and go to the end of the line. Once we got into the pier building (which was not air conditioned and had no fans so it was also terribly hot) the process went smoother - we were lined up in rowed seating and rows were called in order to embark. You went to the deck you were assigned to and check in took 3 minutes if your had express check in. Then it was another 10 or so minutes to get through security. The entire process took 1 hour and 10 minutes. However, our disembarkation was quick, so I would think the problems on Nov. 4 were due to this being the first cruise out of San Juan and hopefully, it will not happen again. We had a balcony room on the Baja deck. We loved the room. The room was the largest of any ship we've been on. The balcony was comfortable for two chairs and a table. The bed was super comfortable - better than my bed at home. We had asked for a foam mattress topper, which we weren't given but didn't need at all. The bathroom was small as any cruise ship bathroom - I quickly learned to shave my legs before I got in, cause you can't do it while in there. The water was hot and plentiful and the water pressure was good. The room and bathroom were spotless. The t.v channel changer didn't work so well - we had to bang it to put the t.v. on and it came back on a few times after we turned it off and there was no sleep timer. It took awhile to get the safe thing down - we found that if you closed it gently and didn't bang it closed, we had no problems closing it. Our room steward was Alfredo and he was terrific - he would get ice if we asked quickly and extra towels and brought us a top sheet quickly, as the duvet was too warm for us. The ship is just beautiful. The ship is classy looking with beautiful wood, plenty of places to sit, and gorgeous marble tiling. We thought too many elevators were reserved for embarkation - if you didn't have a suitcase, you couldn't find an elevator to move around the ship. I was with my 75 and 77 year old parents, who just could not walk the stairs to see other areas of the ship. And I heard that some people had problems with the employees on the elevators being very impolite when they asked if they could take one of the reserved elevators, although I personally did not experience that. It seemed that some of the employees were stressed during embarkation. We did find a kind English girl who allowed my parents to get on one of the reserved elevators at about 5:30, saying that there were already 2700 people on board the ship and she didn't understand why they were still reserving so many elevators at that point. We had ordered gifts to be delivered to all of our clients who were traveling with us. One couple who had their room upgraded never received theirs and it took three trips over three days to passenger services before it was rectified. We also asked for robes on our cruise personalizer for all clients - no one got them unless they asked for them during the cruise from the room steward. The couple who had their room moved also received a delivery of flowers to their room for someone named Tammy for her birthday. They called passenger services to report the error and no one ever came for them and they felt that passenger services didn't really care. They went down to the passenger services desk as well and then went to the table where the flower service was located to try and ensure Tammy got her flowers. Even the flower desk didn't know who Tammy was or where the flowers needed to be delivered. We do hope Tammy got the flowers that someone paid for. Several of the people we traveled with asked about church services on Sunday. There were none. Passenger services told them that unless that had a volunteer on board who would hold the service, they had no religious services. These cruisers said this was the first cruise line that had no services onboard. ENTERTAINMENT - we felt the shows started out good and kind of went downhill as the cruise went on. We saw the Motown Review the first night and enjoyed it. We arrived at the theater at 8:00 and had no problem getting seats. The place didn't really start filling up until 8:15 or so. The next few nights, we went to the Explorers Lounge for the comedy shows. Get there early - we had a tougher time getting seats there than at the Princess theater. We found you needed to get there at least a half hour or more before the shows. The first nights, we enjoyed the comedians - Tony Daro was excellent the second night and Rodney Johnson the third. After that, we felt the comedians went downhill. One night the comedian showed a boring 10 minute video or himself with various Hollywood celebrities before he even came on. On Friday night, we went to the half filled Princess Theater for the final show. That was the first time I saw the cruise director, Omar, in person (saw plenty of him each morning on the Princess channel in the room.) The last night, the show was terrible. The house lights were left on when the comedian performed and as soon as the lights went out, half of the audience left - had the lights been extinguished, I am sure we would have seen the audience walk out during his show. We left when the lights went down as well and went to one of the lounges. We enjoyed the singers in the bars and we really enjoyed the theatrics in the Piazza during the day and night. There was a great a capella group, a funny juggler, a funny Italian comedian, a piano player. Don't pass these up - if you are in the area, stop and see what is going on. On the last formal night, there were more people watching the entertainment in the Piazza than almost anywhere else. We made a Dance Heads video one day - the grandkids are still laughing about their Grandma in a cartoon bikini! We did some dance lessons with Lisa, the Deputy Cruise Director who was always out on the ship - she was lovely. We felt that the formal portrait process was set up in areas during formal night that really were inconvenient to passengers trying to get around the Piazza. They were set up in between some of the elevator banks and in front of the restaurants. We had a few winners in the Casino in our group as well. On the third night of the cruise, two people sitting next to each other at two slot machines each won $250 within minutes of each other. Someone won at the slots on the second to last night and one player of Let It Ride won all his money back on the last night of the cruise. FOOD - we found the food to be only okay. My husband is a travel agent and we polled over 40 passengers while on the ship - only a handful enjoyed the food. the rest thought it was only okay or poor. Many of those who cruised on Princess before said that the food is much better on other ships and that the food was the worst on the Crown that they have encountered. On the first night, we ate at the buffet which featured shrimp, lobster claws and crab legs. It was fine. They did have excellent calamari!! The second night, we ate in the DaVinci dining room (as well at dinner Tuesday and Thursday). We arrived at 6:00 and there was no wait, we immediately were seated. The menus in the dining room are heavy on fish, which is a problem for people like me who just don't like fish. I had filet mignon and it was fine - it was a little well done - it seemed the filet was cut in half in order to cook it better and it looked like liver but tasted delicious. Two people had salmon and didn't care for it - they thought it tasted too fishy. I happen to love the cold fruit soups on cruises and ordered them each time we dined at the restaurants - they were okay, but very thin. Dessert was great and the appetizers were good. When we ate there on Tuesday, there were three fish meals on the menu, which totally turned me off - I had the steak that is available at all times, which was good. SOme of the items that our fellow travelers mentioned they liked on the dining room menus were the Fettucini Alfredo, some of the soups, and the steaks. After that, we decided to try the Cafe Caribe buffets - more on that later. I did eat there again on the last formal night because my parents wanted lobster, which they enjoyed. I again had steak that night. We also had breakfast there, which was the only place you could get oatmeal! We did enjoy breakfast - the eggs were cooked as you asked and hot, the pancakes were fresher and you got real toast that you didn't have to wait 10 minutes for to go through the one toaster in the buffet. The third night we ate in Sabatini's and the food was delicious. Our server was Joseph and he loved my Dad - kept calling him Mr. Calabria, as he was born in Italy. There was so much food, I skipped soup and just asked for a taste of the macaroni and ravioli, which were delicious. Two people at our table ordered the fish soup they had and did not enjoy it - they felt the soup tasted more like a fish sauce then a soup. The rest of the food was magnificent, especially dessert. We had our lunches and the remainder of our dinners in either the Horizon Cafe or Cafe Caribe (For dinner). I enjoyed the pannini and specialty sandwiches for lunch, the salads and fruit. One day, there was an Asian theme to the food, which I also enjoyed. But the rest of the meals, the menu was heavy on Caribbean flavoring and food choices, which many people aren't crazy about. By the end of the cruise, the group of 14 we were with finally figured out that there was a real lack of American food - plain meat and potatoes. Someone longed for turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes - you could get turkey scollopini and coconut mashed potatoes. We felt the Caribbean menu just went too far and would have preferred more American food. I found the hamburgers and pizza at the grill more to my taste. Many people we asked felt the same way. As many people have mentioned, the set up of the buffet is not the best. For instance, for breakfast, the single toaster that took a long time to toast a piece of bread was right in the middle of the hot food. It would have been better to put that on a back counter along with the ketchup, jellies and jams, etc. You had to go back in through people who were getting food to get to sauces, etc. On the last night, I saw that there was horseradish sauce at the entrance to the buffet, so I figured they must have beef somewhere and I was right - it was in the middle of the buffet. This was a slight inconvenience they should look to correct as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to arrange the food in a more efficient manner. The prime rib served was very good in the buffets. ISLANDS: First stop was Barbados. We did the 4 WD and Monkey Encounter. When we were ready to go, the last guy that got on our open truck told us he worked for the cruise ship (he was a deejay) and that Princess sends a ship employee on all excursions. That was a first for me on any cruise line and I think it was a good thing. The Monkey Encounter was awesome - monkeys ran right through and around your legs. It was a great encounter. There were other animals and the most tortoises I have ever seen. It was quite comical to see them lumber down the path in single file when the food was brought out. We then were taken on a tour to the East side of the island to see where the locals surf. Our driver took us to a high mountain top and drove partially down a dirt road. We asked her if she was taking us down what seemed like dirt on a cliff and she said she was indeed, this was the 4 WD part of the tour. I tried to tape it - all you can see as the truck went down the path is the camera being jostled and people screaming bloody murder. I really thought the truck was going to tip over, but we arrived safely on the other side. We spent a half hour on the beach (but were told not to go in the water) at a small souvenir table and small restaurant. Next stop was St. Lucia. We took the Best of St. Lucia by Land and Sea excursion. We had a lovely catamaran cruise to the Pitons and a swim of about an hour. We were accosted by several Island residents on canoes trying to sell us souvenirs off the canoes which was annoying. They were pretty persistent. We then were taken to a bus to drive to the volcano. Unfortunately, the bus drops you off near the mud baths and they then tell you to walk down a steep hill to a souvenirs stand. This was impossible for several elderly and handicapped people on our tour, but the tour guide kindly got a bus to come and pick us up and take us down. We then went to a plantation for lunch and a tour of the plantation. Food was very spicy. In fact, we were offered what we were told was Creole Chicken and my Dad swore it wasn't really chicken. He found the cook later and she told us it was the native chickens on the islands, which taste and look slightly different than the fat chickens we are used to in the U.S. Then we got on the bus and took it back to the ship. That was a long drive and took nearly an hour to get back to the ship. I would recommend a catamAran cruise only on this island, but we spoke to others who did the cat cruise only and they felt they only got a short amount of time in the water. Next stop was Antigua. Some of us were too tired to do any excursions and went into town for some shopping and then we went back to the ship. That was the first time I actually had time to go swimming on the ship. Next stop was St. Maarten. Several of the guys did the Bubba Bottom fishing tour - almost all of them caught fish. I stayed on the ship to enjoy swimming again and when they came back, we took the ferry to Phillipsburg to shop. We found that of all the Islands, St. Maarten was the cheapest. Forget about St. Thomas - the shops were twice as much at they were in St. Maarten. Absolute vodka was $6.99 a bottle and a carton of cigarettes was $10 and change here. We don't smoke or drink, but you could not beat those prices anywhere on any of the other islands. Last stop was St. Thomas. We took one of the open air taxi's at the dock into town in the a.m. I am not certain what the deal is with those - they would not take any money from us until we got outside the gates. They then stopped and collected $4.00 from each passenger. Make SURE you tell them you want to be let out near the P.O. - we spoke to people who were on the prior cruise and they didn't know to do that and were let off in a part of town that wasn't near the major shopping area. We stopped at a few stores and found the prices to be more than twice what we paid for items in St. Maarten. We took a regular cab back to the ship (make sure you tell the driver back to Crown Bay). In the afternoon, we did a ship excursion to St. John to swim at Trunk Bay. The beach was magnificent and the fish were plentiful. We had eight with us and we all felt that was our favorite excursion off the ship. We were also the last excursion back to the ship - the ship was waiting for us to leave. But it was the fastest we got an elevator coming back to the ship that day! Several of our group of 14 took cabs at each port to various beaches rather than do excursions through the ship. Their excursions probably cost half of what ours were going through the ship. They asked cabs to pick them up at certain times from the beaches, and the drivers did it on all islands. They were able to rent chairs and canopies or umbrellas at each beach. They did have a problem trying to get to St. John though - the cab they took from the ship wouldn't take them to the dock for the ferry to St. Johns - it dropped them in town and they had to get another cab to the dock. They then missed a ferry and had to wait another hour for the next one. By the time they got to a beach in St. John, they didn't have a lot of time to spend. That time they said they wished they had done the St. John's excursion with us. Disembarkation was fine. We were red 4 and our color was called at 9:15. Finding your bags in the terminal was a problem - they just put the bags in color order, not numbers, so you do have to hunt through all of the color to find your bag, but this is not any different than any other ship we've been on. We took a porter (who also helped find bags) and he took the Customs Forms for us - all we had to do was show our i.d. We took the Princess transfers to the airport. We were on a bus quickly, but had a bus driver was was very loud and continually beeped the horn trying to amuse us.Cabs ar plentiful and lined up in the road outside the pier if you'd prefer a cab. I rated the cruise 7 out of a 10. I loved the ship, the ports and excursions. The food and entertainment wasn't a deal breaker for me, I would not hesitate to recommend Princess to others. In fact, we have another Princess cruise booked for March of 2008. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
We have just returned from a 14 day back to back cruise (East and West Caribbean) on the Crown, sailing out of San Juan on 25th November. We flew with Thompson Fly, chartered from the UK by Princess and enjoyed a good comfortable flight ... Read More
We have just returned from a 14 day back to back cruise (East and West Caribbean) on the Crown, sailing out of San Juan on 25th November. We flew with Thompson Fly, chartered from the UK by Princess and enjoyed a good comfortable flight with a complimentary drink service. Embarkation was ok as we arrived around 6.30 pm so the priority boarding we had as Platinum members did not give any advantage at all. The Crown is a beautiful ship, if anything too big for our personal taste but at no time did we feel crowded. The first week we shared with plenty of folk from Puerto Rico who were only happy playing cards and dominoes. There English was poor but they were no bother at all. They crowded the walkway from pool to pool. The Piazza was a great area, very cool to enjoy the street type entertainment. The public announcements were too loud in some areas. I know it is important and necessary but hearing them repeated in English and Spanish at full volume was annoying. The Movies under the Stars is a great venue with free Popcorn. I agree with another critic that the volume was very loud - too much bass. The pools were wonderful and very clean. Sun lounger availability was never a problem. The Sanctuary looked a wonderful cool and peaceful place although we did not get round to using it. The excursions were expensive, but we already knew that so mainly did our own thing and the taxi marshals at most ports were very fair and helpful. We took a catamaran trip at St Lucia and the rum punch flowed as much as the rain that fell! A crowd of Americans got very drunk and jumped in the sea. The skipper of the Tango catamaran was totally irresponsible for serving them too much drink. It was disgraceful. The ports of call were great despite the rain we had on a few days! Service overall was on a par. We had breakfast in the Horizon Court which did get busy so you have to pick your time. Our party of 6 ate every evening in the Botticelli dining room. This seemed to lack atmosphere and the service is more relaxed than we are used to. However, our waiter Luis table 91 was perfection. I believe that there are too many places and choices to eat on the Crown. But that must in response to demand. I think there are at any time about 8 dining options! Traditional Afternoon Tea at 3.30pm should not be missed. Free Ice Cream in the Horizon Court (the side that looks closed)at 3.30 - 4.30 everyday was a little known fact also that we discovered. The Horizon court also hosted fantastic evening buffets; the Seafood buffet on the Saturday was spectacular! The Captain Andy Proctor was very visible, friendly and informative. The Cruise Director and his team also. Great production shows. Best act was the Elton John tribute guy - he was amazing. Brett Cave in Crooners was also a firm favorite. 5th Element were rubbish - time to go! The girl singer was very bad. Simon Cowell would have plenty to say about them - NOT! Disembarkation was smooth apart from the gangway area being crowded with people hanging around and queuing at the Pursers desk - poor design and crowd management. Again well done Princess we were taken to a fabulous Hotel Resort - The Westin Rio Mar to pass our time whilst waiting for our evening flight. A great place to relax and enjoy more hospitality. Overall we had a fabulous time. Thanks Princess for a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
My cruise...well...the islands were beautiful of course but just about everything Princess did was messed up. Starting with embarkment - 2 hours in line - 90 degrees - no shade - no water - it was very uncomfortable. They were some elderly ... Read More
My cruise...well...the islands were beautiful of course but just about everything Princess did was messed up. Starting with embarkment - 2 hours in line - 90 degrees - no shade - no water - it was very uncomfortable. They were some elderly people that they should have been concerned about but didn't seem to care. For myself, I was worried about getting fried to a crisp before the cruise even began as we had to pack our sunscreen in the stowed luggage so that was unavailable. Half of the elevators were not in use and with 3,000 passengers - ugh. The cabin was on the 7th deck and food was on the 15th which probably explains why I didn't gain but a few pounds - again, too much for the elder folks. The ship is designed in such a way that there were only 2 decks that you could go stem to stern so you had to go up to go down or down to go up - with few working elevators. The ship was poorly marked and as I am usually lost - no surprise I never knew where I was or how to get anywhere but many times I saw other "lost" people or heard "Where the heck are we?" The excursions we booked: the first one in Barbados was the Jolly Roger Pirate trip - that was a blast (which I had experienced on a previous cruise). The next day in St. Lucia was a 2 hour excursion ($82 pp) where you ride horses on the beach and go swimming. We got an hour because Princess told them we all only paid for the 1 hour trip - WRONG! When we complained (others from Princess had the same problem)- they really didn't care. We told them the 2 hour trip was being sold on the shore for $50 - same place and everything. This was Tuesday and it took them until Friday to send us a form letter, giving us a 25% refund which still was more than the shore price for the 2 hours but we only got the 1 hour. So we weren't happy about that so we canceled all other excursions and did them on our own. We did exactly what the excursion offered (chair rentals, drinks - whatever) and in each case ours was cheaper by far. Plus doing it on our own didn't limits us to only 2 hours on the beach - we typically stayed for 4 - 6 hours. The ship had no mid night buffet, no last night fancy buffet where the have the ice sculptures and food carvings, the entertainment was mediocre at best, and the food was barely passable at times. You had to pay for soda, ice cream and food at some places on the ship. To end the perfect cruise, disembarkment took us 3 hours and they never picked us up to take us back to the airport (the transfer we paid for). We called the 2 phone numbers on the transfer ticket - one was "no longer working" and the other just kept on ringing so we paid for a taxi. I'm sure I forgot some stuff but I think you get the idea. My next cruise will be back with Royal Caribbean - where I felt like royalty - not Princess where I sure did not feel like a princess!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
30+ cruise for the 40 something married couple. Have travelled on all the main line cruiselines. Have only cruised Caribbean and Mexico. Pros: 1. Ship is gorgeous and very clean. 2. Layout is very similar to other Princess ships, so ... Read More
30+ cruise for the 40 something married couple. Have travelled on all the main line cruiselines. Have only cruised Caribbean and Mexico. Pros: 1. Ship is gorgeous and very clean. 2. Layout is very similar to other Princess ships, so it's easy for repeat Princess passengers to find their way around. 3. Itinerary! WOW! Great islands! 4. Cabin, plenty of storage and room to move around. Enjoyed the balcony and the bathtub! 5. Full ship but didn't have trouble getting a deck chair. 6. Disembarkation was quick. 7. Pool bar service was plentiful. 8. Sanctuary cabana couples massage...excellent. 9. Casino handled the crowds pretty well. 10. Chocolate chip walnut cookies, Yumm! Cons: 1. Embarkation was a disaster (first embarkation from San Juan - hope this is a one time issue!) 2. Food - mediocre. 3. Entertainment - mediocre. 4. Elevators - some not working, the others stop at every floor even if no one is calling them? This wasn't the best Princess cruise I've been on, but I've been on a lot worse. Food was probably my biggest letdown. Shore excursions: Barbados: Golfing at Barbados Country Club...guys had a great time. Malibu Beach Break and Distillery Tour, interesting and a beautiful beach. St. Lucia: Redruit Beach - Very nice Antigua: Antigua Beach Break - Runaway Beach, nice St. Maarten: Orient Beach - are beautiful as ever St. Thomas: Megan's Bay - my favorite still. Crown Bay pier isn't operating completely yet, so there is no shopping nearby. San Juan: new pier used was obviously not prepared for the number of disembarking and embarking passengers on Day 1! UGH! Princess really didn't handle the long lines in the blazing sun very well either. Thought there was going to be a riot when people started cutting line! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Embarkation: We arrived around 12:15 and finally got on the ship at around 2:15 or 2:30. Embarkation didn't begin on time. The rumor was that there were two stowaways on the ship so they had to thoroughly check all areas of the ship ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived around 12:15 and finally got on the ship at around 2:15 or 2:30. Embarkation didn't begin on time. The rumor was that there were two stowaways on the ship so they had to thoroughly check all areas of the ship to make sure there weren't anymore. Anyway, other than the delay, embarkation was smooth. We got our bags around 6:00 that evening. Debarkation: Smooth. We got off the ship around 10 AM and were at the airport by 11:15. The only hold up were the TSA officers who were complete jerks, but that's not unexpected I guess. The San Juan airport wasn't nearly as crowded as the airport in Fort Lauderdale from our last cruise. The only catch is that you can't check in to your flight if it's more than four hours to departure, so we had to wait around in the ticketing area for a couple hours before we could check in. Beware that there are very few seats in the ticketing area so you may have to sit on the floor. There were seats to be had in the restaurant area, but they'll kick you out of there if you're not eating. The Ship: Very nice. We sailed the Caribbean Princess last year and I thought this ship while basically the same was a bit better laid. We had room C210 on both ships and the rooms were exactly the same between the two. We had anytime dining and never had to wait for a seat in the dining room--even on formal nights. We just showed up anywhere between 5:30 and 8:30 and were seated immediately. The food was good, though the beef dishes weren't all that great. They seemed to have a hard time cooking the beef the way it was ordered. Usually it was over cooked, so if you like Medium, I'd suggest going for Medium Rare. The buffets were decent for breakfast and lunch. We never ate there for dinner. Other's have said the buffet lines are poorly designed and I agree. During peak times it can be annoying as the buffet is laid out with islands so there's no single line you go through. If you want meat, it's one line, veggies, another line, etc. etc. We didn't get a soda card this time and found we didn't miss it. The iced tea worked pretty well for our caffeine fix. Mixed drinks were good, and you'll never have a problem finding or getting one. "Vwant a dreenk?" Also I must commend the Chef's and waiters for making our table of 6 a special order of Creme Broulee for the last night. This wasn't an item on the menu and when the wait staff found out we all wanted some, they arranged for the Chefs to prepare special for us. That was great. We were only 6 people out of 3,000 on the ship but they made a special dessert just for us. You can't beat that kind of service. Entertainment was good. We only went to the comedy shows since the broadway style shows aren't really our thing. Tony Daro was great. Lorenzo Clark was alright, but we had to endure a 10 minute video before his show where he pretty much bragged about all the people he knew and how great he was etc. etc. We almost walked out just based on this. The other comedians were pretty good and in the end we enjoyed all their shows. Note that since most of the shows were in Explorer's lounge, you need to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to get a seat. The one show we saw in the theater we had no problems getting a seat and it wasn't full. We took three excursions. In Barbados, we took the photo tour which was fantastic. We went to some of the non touristy parts of the island and we got some great pictures. They take you over to the Atlantic side, which is very different from the Caribbean side. This was probably our favorite tour. In St. Lucia we took a Catamaran cruise to the Pitons. Frankly, it was pretty boring. They give you almost no information about the island or it's history and they only stop for about 30 minutes for you to swim where guys immediately accost you on kayaks trying to sell you shells and trinkets. St. Lucia as a whole though was a nice island and we'd like to go back, just not on that particular tour. In St. Thomas, we took a Catamaran cruise to Honeymoon Beach (or is it Bay?) to snorkel and swim. This was a great tour. The Captain and his helpers were very nice and informative and gave us lots of good information on the way over. The snorkeling was awesome and we saw lots of different fishes, corals, sea urchins, octopus, eels, etc. We went shopping in Antigua and St. Maarten. No excursions for us at these two places and we didn't buy anything more than a few token souvenir items. In retrospect we wish we'd had more sea days. There was only one sea day on the first full day of the cruise then five straight port stops. That made for a pretty busy week and we kind of like the laid back days at sea. I think for our next cruise, we'll avoid the ones that have that may port calls back to back. In summary, we really enjoyed our Crown Princess cruise. The port stops made for a busy week, but fun was still had by all. We enjoyed the cruise so much that we put down a deposit on a future cruise but have yet to decide when and where. Likely the Mexican Riviera for a 10 or 11-day trip. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Cruised with 19 family and friends who have been on many cruises, I have been on 22. I was on the Grand Princess and this one is my second Princess cruise. The whole group found the experience enjoyable with the exception of the ... Read More
Cruised with 19 family and friends who have been on many cruises, I have been on 22. I was on the Grand Princess and this one is my second Princess cruise. The whole group found the experience enjoyable with the exception of the embarkation in San Juan. We had problems with boarding the ship, but that was stated in other reviews, so I won't bore you. The ship is designed poorly in my estimation for several reasons: First, there are three pools all with very deep water, 5' 3" to 7' 2". You could not stand up in the pool and have fun. There was very little activity around the pool. Also, the band hardly played, there was more piped in music. Secondly, the elevators were slow when they worked, and that made it difficult for handicapped people. We found ourselves walking up and down stairs, we had our cabins on the 14 floor. The outside doors were manual and hard to open. The buffet was designed poorly, there was always a crowd in the middle of the buffet, the lines did not flow. Our suite was under the pool deck and all day and night you could hear the movement upstairs, people walking and tables and chairs being moved. The acoustics are not good. If you pay that much for a suite, it should be located where it is quiet. The suite was small in comparison to other ships. There was no concierge service, so it really does not pay to get a suite on this ship. You get very little for your money. The food was decent, the crew was friendly and efficient, but the room and dining room stewards are overworked. I know that they have cut staff since being under the Carnival flag, but it really shows in the quality of the service. Also, prior to the cruise we found that they had placed our group on 3 separate tables in the Botticelli Dining Room and we requested 2 tables of 10. I called Princess and they told me that they do not have tables of 10. On the ship in our area in the dining room, there were tables of 10. It would have made it so much easier for us to seat our group. I would not recommend the Crown Princess to families because of the pools and activity around the ship. To be fair, it is a new ship and we were on the first cruise out of San Juan, so perhaps, they have to get advice from people like us to improve. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Background: There were two of us traveling both in our early 30's with no children. This was my first cruise ever and my DH's first time on Princess having cruised with RCI 3 times before. The main reason we chose the Crown ... Read More
Background: There were two of us traveling both in our early 30's with no children. This was my first cruise ever and my DH's first time on Princess having cruised with RCI 3 times before. The main reason we chose the Crown Princess was for the itinerary  five ports on a seven day cruise. San Juan Pre-Trip: We flew in to San Juan the day before embarkation and stayed at the Hotel Normandie. It markets itself as being in Old San Juan and it is at the very edge if at that. A cab ride is necessary to get to most places which was fine. The hotel overall was very nice  contemporary furnishings gave it a cool factor  plush, no, but comfortable before getting on the boat, yes. Embarkation: Official start time in our documents was 1:00 pm with the note to arrive at 2:00 or later to avoid the crowds. Even with all of our stalling, our excitement had us at Pier 4 right at 1:00. There was a small line waiting to get through the gates. We also found out after waiting for a few minutes that you need to drop your luggage off with the luggage porters first before getting into the line. A little confusing since we had not received luggage tags before the trip but we managed to figure it all out. After passing through the gates we moved through the line, were through security and on the boat in about 45 minutes. Overall Ship: This being my first time on a cruise ship, I was amazed it really was a very well done ship. Not overdone to the point of being kitchy, but very classic with high quality materials. As has been said a number of time in reviews, there never felt like there were 3,000 people on this ship. Due to the ship being chopped-up or just having a whole lot of smaller areas, you never really felt that crowded. This was different for my DH who is used to the much larger open spaces  especially the pool areas on RCI. It took a little time to figure out the ship's layout, but once we did, it was not too bad getting around. While we did use the stairs a majority of the time as added exercise, when we chose to use an elevator we never ran into that many problems. We did figure out that when you are in the center bank of elevators, not all of the elevators operate on the same call switch. In order to call all of the elevator banks you have to go around and push 3 sets  while this probably leads to elevators stopping and no one getting on (sorry), it is also the best way to get an elevator. Cabin: We had a balcony room on the port side toward the aft section of the ship. While the room was not overly large there was plenty of storage for all of our luggage. The bed was perfect for me but a little firm for my DH  a common complaint I often hear from him that I do not just attribute to the crown. The balcony was a great place to relax, read, snack, etc. Also, being on the port side on this itinerary allowed us great views of every island. There is nothing like getting up in the morning, stepping out to the balcony and looking at a tropical island. Our room was attended by Chya Pat who did a very good job. We too had issues with the safe that did not creep up until our last day on the boat - very odd but we dealt with it. Food: This is an area that can be summed up by great, good, and fair. We were never completely blown away by any of the meals but had some very good food considering meals being prepared for 3000 folks each time. For breakfast we joined the masses in the Caribe (more continental style) and Horizon Court. Each time we took our plates back through Caribe and out to the deck/pool/bar area at the rear of the ship. A nice touch to eat breakfast outside. The buffet areas are cramped and took some navigating and dancing with your fellow cruisers. For dinners we chose anytime dining. The first night was hectic as everyone chose to wait until after 8:00 pm muster to eat and we did have to wait 20 minutes (time enough for a drink) before our table in Michelangelo was ready. On our next night we chose DaVinci to compare and decided to make a standing 8:30 reservation each night there. Godwin, who ran the front of the house, was amazing and took care of us each evening putting just the two of us at a table that could fit four  it is nice to have a little extra room. We never went hungry at dinner and each night there was at least one fish, one chicken, two beef/pork, a vegetarian, and a pasta dish in addition to the standard alfredo, steak, chicken, and salmon that were on each night. Through the week, we had some very good meals and some just okay. On the second formal night we chose Sabatini's and royally stuffed ourselves on the 14 different items placed before us. The food quality was a small step up from the normal dining room and we were glad we used the stairs all week after eating there. Other areas where we grabbed food was the International Cafe  yes, the cookies are good; the pizza bar  great pizza; and vines sushi  a good value and good sushi. Bars: Over the week we found ourselves returning to the same haunts each night. First stop would be Vines for a flight or just glass of wine. While the wine list was pretty good, I would expect a few higher end wines to be offered here. The prices are in line with what I generally would expect, if not a couple of dollars less. We then found ourselves at the bar in the Explorer's Lounge. The bartender was amazing and took care of us each night trying out some new drinks on us which was nice. On our second formal night we also stopped by Adagio before dinner; a very sedate bar with some great choices. It was nice to have so many different choices for bars, each with a different feel/menu/etc. Whatever you were in the mood for, you could get. Entertainment: Unlike most cruisers, we only made it to one of the shows. We hit Destination Anywhere which was pretty good. Keeping it in perspective that this is not Broadway they did a great job. Wherever you went around the ship you could always hear live music and unfortunately sometimes we had to turn the other way because you can only stand so much 5th Element and Ruben Ruiz. While not our favorite, there was a large offering of Latin themed music on the ship as there was a large Spanish speaking population on board. MUTS is a neat concept and we took advantage of it multiple times and you have to love being able to watch football, both college and NFL was cruising through the Caribbean. Also, for once in my life I found a string of luck in a casino, while I walked away with a little extra money each night, I also had closes reeking of smoke. The price you pay I guess. Spa/Exercise: We used both the gym and the Lotus Spa Services. To our surprise, the gym was relatively busy each afternoon we went. They have the latest equipment with individual TVs for the cardio. However, having the latest equipment is not always the best  the new Precor machines cause some careful maneuvering to keep a person over 6'1" from banging their head on the ceiling. This lead to some disappointment in the gym. We also got massages in the Lotus Spa. There was a glitch in our appointment and we showed up about an hour and half early. Instead of sending us back they offered us full use of the thermal spa and facilities while we waiting  a nice recovery. Service: For the most part this was very good. As mentioned above, Godwin in DiVinci, provided excellent professional service but due to anytime dining you never really mesh with your wait staff like you do in traditional dining. Some of the waiters were very good while some we were glad not to have a second night. All of the bar staff we encountered was excellent. For the first half of the trip, the person manning the International Café food area was down right rude and put off if you did not order something that you had to pay for. Luckily, at mid trip he was replaced and we had great service when we stopped by for an afternoon snack. Unfortunate service was received at the Passenger Services desk. After leaving an underwater camera aboard a SCUBA ship in Aruba, we were told there was nothing they could really help us with. We were told to come back after we left port in 3 hours and maybe someone would have turned it in. At a minimum we were hoping for the phone number of the dive company. See below to see how through our leg work this was resolved. Ports of Call: St. Thomas  We went off on our own and had pre-arranged a sailing trip on Highpockets out of Red Hook. This was an amazing day. Kathleen (captain) and Billy (first-mate) did a great job. At a maximum, they only take 6 passengers and were on with only one other person. We sailed some, snorkeled some, ate some, and overall just had a great relaxing day of being taken care of. If you want to do something a little off the beaten trail I would recommend this. It is an all day trip so we did not have time to do any other exploring. St. Kitts  Probably our least favorite port of call. We struck out on our own and wandered through the town. If we go back here we will probably book an excursion. Grenada  One of our favorite ports of call. Like in St. Kitts, we struck out on our own but unlike St. Kitts, we found a great city with wonderful people. As one of the local shop keepers advised us  explore the city on your own and do not pay someone offering to take you through the city. Once we got away from the port we found many friendly faces and some very cool photo opportunities. We did make it into the spice market where as expected we were converged upon  we relaxed and had a great time bargaining and laughing with the ladies. Bonaire  We were most looking forward to this day for the SCUBA diving. We booked the trip through the ship and used Yellow Submarine Dive Shop. Wow is all there is to say about diving Bonaire. We were done in enough to walk around the port and enjoy some local libation. After rushing back to ship we were disappointed that 3 people were able to squeeze out more time then we did in Bonaire. Aruba  We booked another SCUBA trip through the ship and used Red Sail Sports. We dove two wreck sites and had another amazing day of diving. My DH left his dive camera on the dive boat (see above) and after no help from the purser's desk we stumbled upon the Red Sail Sports retail store in Havensight and within 30 minutes they made calls and the dive camera delivered to us from the other end of the island. We spent the rest of the time in Aruba, walking around the numerous stores and once again managed to enjoy some local brew. At Sea  One day of rest  there were 20-30 ft. seas that started soon after leaving Aruba which lead to some careful drink holding and skillful walking down stairs. We chose to hit the pools where we had no issues finding chairs (maybe the rough seas scared people away). Disembarkation -- Due to our late flight (3:45 pm) out of San Juan we knew we would be one of the last groups off the ship. We cleared out of the room by around 8:00 and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in DiVinci. You are allowed to wait in pretty much any of the public areas on decks 5, 6, and 7. While we saw people crowding many areas around Explorers Lounge and the stairs in the Piazza, we waited in the Princess Theater which was only about ¼ full. Our color/number was called at 10:45 and we were through customs, had our bags, and to the airport via taxi by 11:30. Very smooth process. Overall  In the end this was an amazing trip. Was it the best cruise experience ever? Even though I have nothing to compare it to, I felt there were some areas of service and food that were lacking. My DH could compare the cruise with RCI and found some areas better, some worse, but mainly just different. He felt this ship's average age was about 10-15 years older than the RCI crowd which is probably a result of itinerary and on time of year. Due to the older crowd he did not feel the vibe of constant activity like on RCI. For my point of view, it did not bother me too much. Bottom line - when on vacation you just have to remember to relax, enjoy yourself, you are on vacation. Will I sail with Princess again - most likely. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Crown Princess  November 11, 2006 About us- Mom & Dad, mid 30's, son 11 and daughter 9. We were joined by friends, also in their mid 30s with a son, 8. This was our 1st Princess cruise, 9th overall, cruising RCI (4 times), ... Read More
Crown Princess  November 11, 2006 About us- Mom & Dad, mid 30's, son 11 and daughter 9. We were joined by friends, also in their mid 30s with a son, 8. This was our 1st Princess cruise, 9th overall, cruising RCI (4 times), Disney (3 times), and Carnival (once) in the past. We choose Princess for this cruise because of the combination of new ship and a new itinerary several ports we have not had a chance to visit in the past. Embarkation/Disembarkation  Embarkation was quick and easy. The week prior to ours, which was the Crowns first cruise out of San Juan, we had heard the stories of how it took forever for passengers to get on. We decided to take our chances and went to the pier around 11:15 am, there were around 50 or so passengers waiting outside to get in at that point. Sometime close to noon they let us go in the building and by 12:30 we had our room cards, duty-free liquor and we were on the ship. Disembarkation was a disappointment though. I'm not a big fan of how Princess or RCI does this process and I don't know if it was the customs agents that slowed the process, but it was about 12:45 when we finally got to go, and there were still several color groups to be called after us. From 9:30  about 10:20am, they stopped calling any color groups to disembark. Not sure what the delays were, but this felt like a long process. If they are going to disembark by floors, they should let the last floors to disembark have the ability to stay in their staterooms a little longer. I still like Disney's system the best, just line up and leave when you are ready. I'm willing to bet that some of the passengers who embarked on 11/18 are not going to be as happy with the embarkation process as we were. We stayed in mini-suites on the Dolphin deck, D722 & D724. The stateroom layout worked very well for us. The large closet area next to the bathroom made for a nice dressing area while the kids were still sleeping. When the beds are down for the night, there is too much furniture in the room and you can't get to the balcony without climbing over a table or the sofa-bed. We asked for the table and chair to be removed and that layout worked much better. A definite plus over any other ship we've been on is the ability to open the dividers between balconies. We spent more time on our balcony with our friends than any cruise we've ever taken because of this. The room was a solid A+ with our group. The laundry room was right across the hall from us and came in handy. $1.00 per wash or dry, very nice clean facility with double entry doors so you could not hear or smell anything from the hallway. We had the anytime dining for this cruise. We were a little apprehensive as we have always done early dining in the past, but I think we all enjoyed going when we wanted. We also decided to skip formal nights altogether this cruise and enjoy the buffet a few nights. Twice we ate diner in the main dining room and it was fine both times. The first time however, our waiter seemed to rush us thru and we had very little interaction with him. The second time we had Stephen from Grenada and he was a great waiter. I think this is why we can't decide if we really like the anytime dining better than traditional. Since we didn't want to make a set reservation every night and we had different waiters each time, we did not have the opportunity to make a personal relationship with a waiter. On the other hand, going to eat when you are ready and not on the ships schedule is very convenient. Probably the only negative to the dining room is the menu itself every night. Choices seemed to be more limited in the dining room than on other lines. We also ate at the Crown Grill one night, this was very good and well worth the charge. The buffets were also very good, we always found something great to eat. The Caribe Cafe ended up being a second home to us as it was always less crowded. The pizza was a favorite of all of ours, probably the best cruise ship pizza we've ever had. On the other hand, the famed chocolate chip cookies didn't do anything for us, we couldn't ever get them warm and they were just ok. The macadamia nut cookies at the International Cafe were really good though. The ship layout is very different from other ships we've been on, and my personal taste probably leans more towards the wide open promenades of the Voyager class RCI ships. I never could get a feel for where I was and getting around seemed confusing. For us to go to the pools, we would take the aft elevators up to deck 15, but then we would have to walk thru the Horizon buffet with our pool towels while people were eating. Our running joke for the week was you cant get there from here. I'm still pretty sure that the only way to get to some parts of the ship is to jump off the front, swim underneath, avoid the props, catch the rear ladder and climb back on. This ship is full of intimate spaces and its easy to forget to check them all out to see which one is hopping every night. I think we did make it to all the bars to at least check them out, but I'm not sure. I really liked Adiago's with its Olive choices as a great before diner spot. We had researched the ship and the boards for quite awhile before taking this cruise and knew the layout would be like this, we just didn't know how we would like it until we experienced it. People watching on the large promenades and gathering in central locations like that is probably something our family would rather have next time. Princess does a good job of crowd control as we never felt like we were among 3000 passengers until disembarkation, lol. Service/Staff  Excellent, not sure there's much more to say about that. Our room steward was very good, he did a great job of keeping us loaded with ice and we appreciated that very much. Normally however, we do find a particular bartender that we enjoy and go back to every day. Not sure if its because of the number of choices for cocktails, or that we just had cocktails on our balcony more this cruise, but we never did find that one bartender to go back too. Coffee- This has been such a heated topic on the boards that it deserves its own section. We like coffee and were a little nervous about the bad syrup coffee that we decided to pack our own coffee maker. It was just a cheap $10 one from Wal-Mart that brewed straight to two thermal mugs. Small, light and not a pain to pack. We actually found the syrup coffee to be pretty good though. We ended up packing the coffee maker up on the last night and giving it to our cabin steward along with a bottle of rum and an extra cash tip. He seemed very grateful, so it was still worth bringing the coffee maker just to give it away. MUTS- Another heated debate on these boards, so I'll give it its own section as well. We liked it. At times I guess it could be loud, but most of the time during the days, I had a hard time hearing it over the pool noises. I was glad I had read about bringing a radio as I took my mp3/fm player to the pool and used it on 98.1 fm to hear the movies better during the day. I could not hear the movie sounds from other parts of the ship and it seemed like most families enjoyed this pool in the afternoons. Dress codes- Again, we decided to skip the formal nights as that meant a bunch more clothes and shoes for the four of us, but from wandering around the ship on formal nights, I will have to say I have never seen a more formal ship. It sure seemed like tuxes were more the norm than suits, but we did see a lot of nice suits and a few sport coats (with and without ties). There was also a lot of ballroom dancing on this ship, something I know nothing about, but the people that did participate all looked wonderful dancing in their formal gowns. At the buffet on formal nights, people from formal dress to tank tops joined us and we never felt out of place. It was a great option for us to stay casual all week and not worry about it. We also did see some jeans and dress shirts wandering around the dining rooms on formal night, as well as at the Crown Grill, which surprised us. Fitness Center- Right before we left, we had read reports stating that you have to make reservations to use the treadmills. The spa staff laughed at me when I called to ask about that, just show up whenever you want. The fitness center opened right at 7 or a touch later every day and there were a lot of people waiting when the doors opened. Most of the treadmills would be full first thing, but by 7:30 there was always a few open when we went by. Ports  St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Bonaire, and Aruba. St. Thomas is a favorite of ours. We went to Coki beach this time and have done Megans Bay before also. Megans is a prettier beach, but Coki has awesome snorkeling and we love Chef Leslies jerk sauce from his grill at that beach. The new Crown Pier will be nice when its done. I don't shop at the pier, so this didn't bother me at all. St. Kitts was new to us and we took a taxi to Turtle Beach. The cab was only $6.50 per person each way, but the beach was rocky and not very nice. We've never been hit up for massages so much in our lives as at Turtle Beach. We all would have picked something different if our hind sight was working better. Grenada was our 1 ship excursion, the river tube rafting. The excursion itself was excellent; we all really enjoyed it, even if the river part was a touch on the short side. Getting to and from the excursion was a different story, that's one crazy bus ride. Not being one for heights, taking a cab to 1910 feet above sea level on winding black top roads with huge drop offs scared the crap out of me. The views from the top were incredible, but again, that bus ride& We had no idea for Bonaire until right before we left, and our friends saw something about The Plaza resort. We walked, about 12 minutes from the pier to the resort and paid a $10 fee per guest to use the beach and pool. The snorkeling here was great as well. There are some nice coral formations here, and while the fish might not be as plentiful as Coki, we all agreed that we saw more variety and much larger fish in Bonaire. We also saw a really cool eel that was half aqua half purple. Aruba was a rain out. The night we left Bonaire, we went thru thunder storms all night and Aruba was basically flooded, all shore excursions cancelled. From past experience, Baby beach was great but it sounded like the roads were flooded and nobody could get there. We just wandered the shops and went back to the pool, the day cleared off and it was a decent pool day. Kid program  Our kids are pretty familiar with the programs from Disney/RCI and while they had fun on Princess, Princess comes in last in this one. My 11 year old felt that they didn't have enough board games or planned activities, just hang out and play on the playstations. Princess also saved me a ton of money by not putting in a real arcade. We plan on letting the kids spend so much each cruise in the arcade, kind of like an allowance. But Princess only has 4 video games in a small room, that was a disappointment to the kids. Also, on Princess if your kids want to stay past 10pm for the late night (babysitting) parties, you must sign up no later than 9pm. Not sure why that is, but we tried to let our kids sign in on a spur of the moment plan change one night at 10 and they couldn't. Like RCI and Disney, there is a $5 per hour per child charge for this service. Princess was very lax about bringing booze on board. They did have two guys sitting at the duty free  please be honest and give us your booze table, we wandered how they screwed up to get that job. I never saw them take anything and we watched boxes of booze walk right past them. We were at least discreet and kept it out of sight in our carry on. I like buying local beers from the islands that aren't for sale on the boat. I would think the cruise lines would all start stocking up on local beer from each port. In Aruba for instance, they could have a Polar and Balashi beer bucket of the day and sale local beers for profit. Our group liked to play the music trivia games at night the DJ Richard hosted. While they were fun, usually around 20 questions, it seemed like he flew threw them just to get it over with. Granted, there weren't too many groups playing, only 2 of us one night, we all thought he could have made it more of an event. The music trivia's lasted about 15 minutes most nights. We all thought that maybe he could give bonus points by having a member of each team come sing part of a song, or show some video clip questions, or dance along to a certain Michael Jackson dance video (like Thriller). Make the trivia into more of a hour long fun event, and get a few of us to let loose on the dance floor for points, just my thoughts on that matter though. Elevator Etiquette  This is nothing specific to Princess, just bugs the crap out of me. If you want to squeeze into the elevator, fine you are welcome to do so. However, when it stops on the next floor and people need off, move! So many people would just stand there and we basically have to push around them to get off, I think they were scared that if they got off, they wouldn't be able to get back on. Overall Observations  This was a great cruise, we had a great vacation. We had thought about booking another cruise with Princess while on board, but pretty early on we all agreed that we missed things from other lines. This is nothing against Princess, we would definitely cruise Princess again if the right itinerary came up, or on a Alaskan cruise in the next year or two, but for the Caribbean, which is all we've done so far, we would lean towards RCI or Celebrity. (Disney has just out priced themselves to be considered anymore, imho.) Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Cruise Nov.25 from san juan port. getting on was very good and since we did not have to be on board from 1 to 9 pm we came around 3 pm. The ship is very nice layout took a little to get around,but not bad. We have 20+ cruise so we have a ... Read More
Cruise Nov.25 from san juan port. getting on was very good and since we did not have to be on board from 1 to 9 pm we came around 3 pm. The ship is very nice layout took a little to get around,but not bad. We have 20+ cruise so we have a little idea on what to do. I'll start buy saying some of the people that took this cruise were lost as to how to act in public. i do not want to sound that i am better then them,please do not take it any way, but how i say this act out in front of other people and my wife and myself. I think, because there were more spanish people on board most things were set up for them to enjoy there time on board for all others well we felt left out at times. the big tv. was great,but the sound was to load and the db level was to high for small kids. pools were really great and clean. Some problems with teens were throwing each other in and caused a problem with the small kids trying to swim.Well enough of that. lets talk about the food. First nite we ate at the dinning room we were put into. services was good and quiet area,the food was ok and no problems. The next nite we ate at SEBASTIAN this were to go and eat have fun with your servers.Please ask for )Juan Carlos Fiore).He will give a great nite,good food and lots of laughter. We ate there two times and its well worth it. We came back on the last nite to thank him and give him a little more money for his time he spent with us. Go to the bar next to the rest.before you go end to eat. The next is the CROWN GRILL we were on going to due two nites,but did not go back to our dinning room after the mess on the next day we came back and everything was wrong. It was not the service ,but other problems that i will not go into. So we ate 3 times and had the best meals great services good wine . one note, the dress code is very lax in both rooms which makes me wonder why have them ???? On RCCL,Portofinos,Celebrity,Normandies restaurant. You come dressed jackets and etc. for some reason this did not happened on the Crown or Sabastians.i may be picking at items some people due not care. One place you should try is the VINES. We spent to much time to know there names and they had our wines all ready for us each nits before we ate.Real nice people great services a good places to just hang out.Did not due much of the nite time things this cruise sometimes it just the sane same.One singer that we did go to see was Brett Cave from England its a must see ,if he is on your cruise well that's it i hope everyone has a great cruise in the new year. we are doing the Freedom on apr.7th for a 12 day in Rome,Italy. (New ship) So have a good one, happy holidays to all. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our first...and, I am afraid to say, last cruise with Princess. We have been cruising for many years with Princess's sister company, P&O, based here in UK. This year we decided it was time for a change. Our flight from UK ... Read More
This was our first...and, I am afraid to say, last cruise with Princess. We have been cruising for many years with Princess's sister company, P&O, based here in UK. This year we decided it was time for a change. Our flight from UK to San Juan was without delays, no problems and were well looked after on the flight. A rather disappointing delay through San Juan airport immigration followed - and this was to be one of many queues for immigration processes throughout our cruise. It is one of the reasons in the future that we will not choose an US port of embarkation or have an American port on the itinerary. It is just too time wasting for the Brits to spend ones holiday. In future we shall continue to fly to Barbados for blissful, stressfree ..straight onto the coach and to the ship arrivals and departures - you really can't beat that, and it was something that maybe we had taken for granted previously. Anyway! On with the review! Our first impression of the ship? Looks enormous! Is enormous! BUT doesn't feel too big once you get inside. There are plenty of areas to go where one doesn't feel overwhelmed by the sheer size and numbers onboard. The only time you are reminded just how big it is, is when you take a look at this ship when on land!! We didn't experience any ports via tender as now Granada has a new port there were no more tendered docks. Our cabin was as we expected for an inside cabin - enough space for us and our things - as long as we were tidy (not easy...but one tries eh?!). Bathroom etc all fine. Brilliant cabin steward who introduced himself and the company very well. Very obliging and helpful and kept our cabin spotless. Now! this is a message for any BRITISH LADIES who may be travelling with their faithful GHD (or similar!) hair straighteners!! - THEY WILL NOT WORK - OK!!! - this was discovered to my HORROR on the first day, when plugging them into our trusty little adapter, they sort of flickered and went out.... not a good start for any evening, frizzy hair, moody wife and fed up hubby... Went to reception whereupon they kindly gave me another adapter, but realized that as some of our electrical items are no compatible....the second day in port was spent tracking down a pair of hair straighteners with an american plug. Sorry guys, if this bores you, but I know just how important something like this can be to us girls - am I right?! Food! - One of our delights on a cruise is to enjoy our food. This we didn't on the Crown. There was plenty of it...and after all we did manage to put on half a stone! - it wasn't of the luxury type and not what we have come to expect. Again from a Brit point of view...we like our veggies here in UK..and they were VERY sparse on the Crown, and I mean VERY. Salads etc fine at lunchtimes, but evening meals left a lot to be desired. Very much missed the tractional puddings/currys etc always to be found on P&O... Lots of incidents within the restaurant we weren't happy with. From having to eat our morning cereal with soup spoons (every day..) to teaspoons unceremoniously stuck up in tea cups..and waiters with a very bad command of basic English. This caused probs throughout for many and resulted in some peculiar incidents. including the morning when hubby tried to book a table for the evening (we were on anytime dining - again, a word...don't do it! - Everyone ends up usually wanting to eat at a similar time, they can't cope with it and it ends up like a glorified canteen arrangement to see who can get their table finished first...that's if you get to eat before the guy could not understand that we wished to book a table and thought we wanted to purchase a book! hmmmmm... Talking of food/drink etc - If Princess are supposed to welcome Brits they need to make sure they have staples in like....PIMMS! Pernod! and MARMITE!! none of these items could be found - or in some cases understood. We are also used to having our coffee as a separate course I do not like it swilled down with my dessert (if indeed I had chosen one of their revolting looking desserts in the first place). The have visited all the ports on the itinerary before, but chose some new independent tours. Would not wish to visit St Thomas or St Marten again due to the pathetic immigration process set aside for us Brits. Although for us here in UK, this cruise wasn't considered a "back-to-back" as we purchased the two week cruise with airfares all thrown in, but for a majority of pax they were either on the ship for just the first week or second week only. We should have been able to have jumped from P&O's loyalty scheme (The Portunus Club) where we are on their top Gold Level - but because in UK this cruise was considered just one cruise we have to wait until our next cruise with Princess before being an Elite pax. The worst day spent on this cruise was the day in the middle when the ship returned to San Juan. We had previously arranged an independent tour on this day. Only to discover that we were not allowed off the ship (unless on a Princess tour...funny that..) unless we have completed the they so cutely said. This involved us Brits having to wait until 11.30am, we were herded into a dining room, then marched off the ship all through immigration again...frisking, the works...only to then have our new cruise cards issued to us, then had to join the queue of new pax coming onboard!! incredible, quite incredible. By the time we had followed this queue, gone through the whole process of being "welcomed onboard" ..again... it was 3pm what a complete waste of a day. Also to add no bars or facilities were open for us "in Transit" pax. Disgusting, and this is one of the reasons why we not be including any American port or cruising with Princess again. There were of course good points...somewhere... Oh! yes, Adaggio's the bar was nice. But no Pimms or Pernod of course. I apologize if this revue is slightly on the negative side, but this is just a personal view. You will, like us no doubt want to make your minds up yourself. What we would say is... If you are very much a British type of passenger, think VERY carefully before cruising with Princess, as we found it very alien to what we are used to. We met with many lovely people from all parts of the world and this was obviously a good point to the cruise. I couldn't describe the ship as being what is referred to in the brochures as a "friendly ship" in general people kept themselves to themselves. The new idea of beaming in the Cruise Director from one office somewhere in the world is a good one, it must save thousands in salaries. I don't think you can beat the old fashioned cruise directors you get to say good morning/afternoon too around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
ABOUT US: We are a married couple in our mid-20's, traveling with a large group of extended family. My husband has been on multiple cruises on both Princess and Royal Caribbean. This was my first Princess cruise, but I have been on ... Read More
ABOUT US: We are a married couple in our mid-20's, traveling with a large group of extended family. My husband has been on multiple cruises on both Princess and Royal Caribbean. This was my first Princess cruise, but I have been on five cruises with RCI. EMBARKATION: We booked our ship transfers through Princess, and we were very impressed with the efficiency of the transfer process. We retrieved our luggage, then almost immediately boarded a bus and headed to the pier. We arrived in the late afternoon in San Juan, so there was no waiting at the port. It only took a couple of minutes, and we were on the ship! THE SHIP: Crown Princess is huge! There are four pools on the main deck, which we loved. One is the main pool-game type pool, one is the Movies Under the Stars pool, one is the adults-only spa pool that has a swim-against-the current feature for laps, and one is a small, adults-only pool all the way aft. Because there were so many areas for passengers to go, we never had any problem getting a lounge chair anywhere we wanted to be. The swim-against-the-current feature of the spa pool is really cool for anyone who enjoys lap-swimming. I want one at my house! The atrium is three decks high and has the shops, a coffee shop and cafe, the library, and the internet center. The atrium was smaller than what we're used to on RCI's radiance class, and it was pretty cramped for events like the Captain's party and the champagne fountain. The shops had a nice selection, and I enjoyed browsing them in the evenings. We used the internet center a couple of times, and never had a problem getting a computer. The library had a good variety of books available to check out, which was nice as I hadn't packed enough poolside reading. There were also board games in the library that were available anytime. We really liked this ship. The only negative is that the ship has a very confusing layout. On RCI ships, we've been able to get oriented very quickly, but on this ship, all of us were still a bit confused on the last night! The ship has so many nooks and crannies and different places for passengers to be that it's hard to figure them all out. Also, many of the public areas are only accessible from certain decks or elevators on the ship. For example, the traditional dining room is on deck 6, but you can't access it from anywhere on deck six, because it is behind the personal choice dining room. So, you have to go up to Deck 7 first. We had a lot of you can't get there from here moments. This didn't really bother us, though, because we liked the ship so much. DINING: By the main pool area, there is a pizzeria and a grill with hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken. The pizza and burgers were very good (didn't try the hot dogs or chicken), and I really liked eating outside by the pool. We did this pretty much every day for lunch, because we were not very impressed with the food at the buffet. There wasn't much selection at the buffet, and we didn't really like the food that was there. I can't comment on breakfasts, since we were never up that early :-). I think that the Windjammer cafe on the RCI ships is a better buffet, but the burgers and pizza on Princess are better. For dinner, we chose late-seating traditional dining, because we were a large group and wanted to sit together every night. Our waiter and assistant waiter were great, and the service was excellent. The food was decent, with a good selection and a number of items that were always available. They have a pretty good fettucine alfredo available every night, and they will put any sort of meat or seafood that they have into it if you ask (scallops alfredo, steak alfredo, etc.). And of course, if you don't like something, they will always bring you something else. ENTERTAINMENT: This was a New Year's cruise, and the New Year's party on the pool deck was a blast. There was a live band playing good music, everybody had streamers to throw at midnight, and the countdown was conducted on the Movies Under the Stars big screen. We didn't go to any of the production shows, but we did go see a comedian, who was just ok. We really liked the Princess Pop Star karaoke in one of the lounges. They have flat screens set up all around the lounge, and the words and video of the person singing show up on the flat screens. The contest and voting for the pop star was fun as well. We noticed that evenings on Princess seemed to be a bit more subdued than on RCI, but we had a big group so that didn't really affect us. One disappointment with the entertainment was that there were several things that we couldn't do (like the blackjack tournament and the marriage game show) because they were scheduled during our second seating dinner. I know that there is personal choice dining on this ship, but I really think things like that should be scheduled so that all passengers can attend. ISLANDS: We didn't do a whole lot on this trip because our main goal was to relax, but we did take two Princess-sponsored shore excursions: horseback riding in St. Lucia and the Golden Eagle sail and snorkel in St Maarten. Both of these were a lot of fun, and the Golden Eagle was by the far the best sail and snorkel cruise I have been on (and I've gone on a lot!). OVERALL: This was an incredible cruise, and we're already booked for next year! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our second cruise with Princess - 1st on Crown. Embarkation was great!!! Walked from the Sheraton in Old San Juan across the street to Pier 4. It was a surprise when we awoke and found the ship docked at Pier 4 as our information ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess - 1st on Crown. Embarkation was great!!! Walked from the Sheraton in Old San Juan across the street to Pier 4. It was a surprise when we awoke and found the ship docked at Pier 4 as our information was Pan American Pier. While waiting to embark city folk selling water - none provided by Princess. Indoor waiting facilities where very nice and accommodating. Chairs but certainly not enough for 3100 folks. The ship was sailing full. We entered on the 6th Deck - mid ships all elevators working and we went straight to stateroom - mini suite on Dolphin Deck - Port side this time. Lunch in the buffet which was the expected fair. Through out the cruise the food was cold - never where hot foods hot the only time was in the Crown Grill which we had paid a fee for service. Neither of the paid venues Crown Grill or Sabitini's was ever crowded!!! That is one thing about the designs of the Grand Class ships we never felt as if we where competing with 3100 other folks. Really a small world - we met someone on the ship from original home town who we had not seen in 20 years !!! Cabin and steward Ricardo where great !!! Very quite no noise from engines of others - mild movement - Dolphin is deck 9 and we where almost mid ships. The ship is beautiful - staff at times where very arrogant and made you feel as it was an obligation on their part to serve you anything !!!! Cleanliness and attention to handwashing to assist in prevention of the norovirus was great - although we did disinfect our own cabin and kept handsanitizer available at all times. Very disappointed in several of the islands and would never do this tour again - ST Kitts and Grenada Bonaire was beautiful and Aruba is a tourist mecca with the shops and casinos this is not what we where seeking. St Thomas and San Juan we have been to previously so did not do tours etc. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We just returned from a wonderful week aboard the Crown Princess. After arriving in San Juan, we had a very nice evening and night at the Radisson Hotel. We left early for the ship and arrived around noon at the terminal. Embarkation was ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful week aboard the Crown Princess. After arriving in San Juan, we had a very nice evening and night at the Radisson Hotel. We left early for the ship and arrived around noon at the terminal. Embarkation was very well organized and we were actually on the ship by 12:45! Just a tip for those looking to take a bit of their own booze on board, there is a duty free shop within the terminal (actually after you check in with Princess) and they allow you to take purchases to your state room. We booked a penthouse suite and put our six adult children in steerage (okay, interior rooms). All of the rooms were better than expected, and ours was just amazing. We used our suite every evening as our gathering spot before dinner and it worked our very nicely. We spent lots of time on our balcony, reading, watching dolphins, enjoying cocktails or coffee. My wife loved having a bathtub as well as a separate area for her makeup, etc. We found the extra bucks for the suite well worth it. The ship is just beautiful. After a day or so, most of us had our bearings and found it easy to find our way about. The upper deck has two pools and many choices for your deck chairs. Yes, it is loud near the movie screen, but there were lots of other areas to which one could retreat. The food was fabulous. My wife and I enjoyed breakfast in the dining room, but our kids told us the buffet breakfast was also very good. Lunches were lots of fun with many themes: seafood, Chinese, Mexican, Sushi, etc. as well as burgers, pizza, etc. And then there were the treats at the International Cafe. We thought we would try the upcharge dining facilities, but we were so pleased with the food and service in the dining room that we ate there every evening. The selections ranged from fairly ordinary to quite adventurous. In my family, we love to eat, so most of us would order two appetizers, salad, two entrees, and a couple of desserts. (We know how to do vacations). Our servers were terrific. We tried all of the bars and there were some of the most beautiful rooms on the ship. The sky bar at the aft end of the ship is a must see. The casino was also very nice. The fitness center was large and very nicely equipped with Precor machines. The entertainment ranged from top rate to cheesy. . .about what we expected. The comedians were the best. We got off at every stop. St. Thomas was a bit annoying because we docked so far from downtown, but it was convenient to get a $4 ride there. There were things to do right off the boat at the other islands. We like Bonaire and Aruba the best. Although we now live across the country, we are native American midwesterners. Our trip could not be ruined by an improper spoon for our afternoon tea, or overcooked oatmeal, or two calls to the steward to get a robe. And we have all been to the Caribbean so we didn't expect the snappy service we get at the Red Lobster in Grand Rapids. Anyway, we found that the respect and pleasantness that we offered the service providers was returned in full measure. On our last morning, we went to the breakfast buffet and drank coffee until our group was called. It was again well organized and without a hitch, and we were at the airport by about 10:30am. We loved the ship and would go again with no hesitation. Happy cruising to all! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
DH and I took our first cruise ever Dec 16 '06 - it was on the Crown Princess. We had planned this trip for 14 months (and became a Cruise Critic junkie during that time - got wonderful tips that made a huge difference in our ... Read More
DH and I took our first cruise ever Dec 16 '06 - it was on the Crown Princess. We had planned this trip for 14 months (and became a Cruise Critic junkie during that time - got wonderful tips that made a huge difference in our enjoyment of the trip, by the way) and could not have been more satisfied with the whole trip. I'd like to second everything she wrote. The Crown Princess is definitely a wonderful vacation experience. We arrived in San Juan at mid-day, the day before our cruise. We stayed at the El Convento, a bit pricey but SO charming and very convenient for strolling all about this colorful and historic part of the city. We definitely advise anyone who can, to take a pre-cruise day for unwinding from work-world stress. As we were coming from the Boston area, winter storms are a potential problem and having that extra day was our cushion against travel issues, but we had no delays - making for a delightful start to the best vacation we've ever taken. As our taxi brought us the short ride from our hotel to the pier on Saturday at about 3PM, we gasped as we turned a corner and started down a hill and there she was, so high on the water that the ship seemed like a monolith. Wow! We'd only seen pictures of cruise ships, so we were blown away at the sight of this incredible floating mansion. I know it sounds corny, but I actually got goose bumps. We waited in line for about 30 minutes, chatting with a Scottish couple who were on the second half of their B2B, then entered the area where we presented our documents and quickly found ourselves on the ship itself. The Crown Princess is elegant, tastefully designed and the Dolphin deck mini-suites are good-sized (I also liked the separate closet area, which had plenty of shelves and lots of hangars) with ample storage space for all the stuff I brought... and we arrived with 3 suitcases and 2 carry-ons. Okay, give me a break, it was my first cruise and I packed absolutely everything as I was afraid our luggage would get lost, so I had swimwear, casual wear, formal attire, underwear, shoes, etc. in each and every case... all our baggage arrived with us, so I really had much more than needed. But if anyone on our cruise needed anything from duct tape to sewing kit, travel steamer, flashlight, binoculars, medication and lotions (or potions) for any possible malady, I believe I had packed it! Speaking of medication, I'd recommend noting the correct dosage when taking seasick pills (for which I really had no need for at all). I downed two caplets after sailaway Saturday night from a package someone gave me back home (because I was afraid I might get seasick, as I sometimes get carsick) and basically slept away the first day, which luckily was a sea day (Sunday)! I later found out I should only have taken 1/2 a tablet. Luckily, I was able to rouse enough by 3PM to go to the Lotus spa for a Couple's Massage we had pre-booked. The massage therapists had a good laugh about my condition and one gave me a good "wake-up" massage while DH got the relaxing one! It was pretty vital that I got "with it", because DH had a big surprise in store. At 6PM, we were dressed in formal wear for what I thought was picture-taking time before the first formal dinner, when to my surprise he steered me to the chapel and announced we were renewing our wedding vows (33 yrs!) It was the highlight of our trip, with the ship's Captain personally leading our private ceremony. So the Love Boat lives on!!!! At our first port, Barbados, we did the Silvermoon Catamaran tour that so many on Cruise Critic have recommended and I would highly, highly (I mean that double) recommend it. It is completely worth the $100 per person. The small number of people (I think we had only 10 on our trip) made it low-key and relaxing, and it was a good environment to share conversation if you wanted--- DH and I made friends with another couple who were also on the Crown and we kept running into each other during the rest of the cruise and even had dinner together one evening when we all happened to arrive at anytime dining at the same time. The lunch served on the Silvermoon was so much better than I would have expected and even DH, who is a very fussy eater, was happy with the meal. I personally don't like banana bread but decided to give theirs a try and I wound up eating three pieces. It was home-made and warm from the oven and I am getting hunger pangs just thinking of it. The crew didn't just answer questions we asked, they seemed to really enjoy what they did for a living and were friendly, informative, and obviously interested to see that we were having a good time. The boat is immaculate and very well-kept. They have earned their reputation as THE tour not to miss in Barbados. St. Lucia (next port) was our favorite island. We had hired Herod (also recommended by many of you Cruise Critic writers) to take the two of us around the island for the day, but due to some scheduling issues, he found it necessary to have a friend of his, Junior, take us instead. Junior was the perfect tour guide and Herod called him several times that day on his cell phone to make sure we were having a good time. We teased Herod that Junior is going to be the new tour king of St Lucia, he is that good! We wanted to go ziplining in the rain forest, so we got the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the van talking about life in St. Lucia as we drove across the island. Junior was a very careful driver, the van and tires were in great shape (we'd heard horror stories of riding in taxis in St Lucia) so we were most fortunate to meet up with Herod & Junior. Now, about the zipline. As we are in our early 50s, and I work at a desk all day (and am afraid of heights), I was a little nervous about how I'd do jumping off a platform onto a skinny wire to my certain death, but honestly, it was a blast and I'd do it again in a minute. The word for St Lucia is lush... just a beautiful place. We had a lovely meal at a small road-side outdoor restaurant (Martha's) where we enjoyed home-cooked local foods and got the added benefit of petting her cat (we were missing our pets back home). We toured the volcano where we must have gotten the best guide ever for a local scenic site - she was so funny and had the whole crowd there in her hand... Princess should grab her up for entertainment director. We also got to go swimming at Jalousie Plantation and for a while were the only ones in this lagoon-like beach sheltered between the two Pitons. Incredible. Antigua had a lovely shopping district right at the dock where we had time to pick up a few gift items just before Eli's Eco Tour. I'd love to have had more time to actually explore Antigua-on-land, but the day was perfectly beautiful and we met people who were on our Cruise Critic roll call, which an added bonus. We had never snorkeled before Barbados, and although I just loved it, DH is not a fan. There was plenty to do on the Eco Tour if you are not into snorkeling, so both of us had a fantastic day. DH asked the skipper if they'd ever had anyone just swim away, as he wanted to warn them I was having so much fun snorkeling, I might be their first to refuse to get back in the boat. Learning about the Hawksbill Turtle project and the mangroves and some history of the island was very interesting. This was a very good tour for a family to enjoy together. St. Maarten was the only port where we actually shopped. I wanted to buy a watch for my trip souvenir and we found matching watches in the second store we went into. We didn't haggle over the price, as it was only $400 for both watches together and I didn't want to waste my day in stores when the weather was so perfect outside. We did the 12-meter Challenge (America's Cup retired racing boats) which was our only Princess-booked tour. Everyone (us included) had a great time and we almost won our race, until the halyard broke and the sail went flat during the last few hundred yards. The crew gave my DH the piece of rope that broke and he's mounted & framed it in his office along with the $10 picture we bought of the racing yacht. He'll be sorry to hear that Tortola is replacing St Maarten on the itinerary, as he'd like to do this excursion again some day. I guess that leads up to our conclusion that the cruise bug has bit and we are now planning our second "once in a lifetime" cruise. And it will definitely be on Princess. On our last port day, St Thomas... we had another Couple's massage in the Lotus Spa and stayed in the Sanctuary for the better part of the morning. It was a piece of heaven and the ship was so quiet with (just about) everyone off at the port. We actually did get off the ship around 1PM, saw that there was nothing (and I mean nothing) at the dock site and the cab fare for just the two of us roundtrip to Megan's Bay (or any other beach) seemed steep to pay as we'd only have about an hour to spend on the beach, so we just went back on the ship. This was a bit disappointing, as it was the only day I planned to just lay out on a beach for an afternoon, but I was surprised that the beaches were so far from where we docked. If I remember correctly, it was going to cost the two of us $28 total for a round-trip to Megan's Bay and even more to Sapphire Beach, which was the one I wanted to see. We heard quite a few people complain about St. Thomas as people returned to the ship, so our decision to just get back on the ship was a good one for us. If we went back there, I think we would book a Princess excursion to St John. We spent our afternoon taking a leisurely stroll of the ship, packing our bags and enjoying our balcony for a while, which left us free to enjoy our last evening on the ship while everyone else was stressed about fitting their gear into overstuffed bags before heading to bed. As you can see from our port-intensive trip, we had little time to actually enjoy all the ship had to offer. I usually read a book a week - I think I read one chapter, maybe. I never got into a pool until the last day when we went to the Sanctuary. We went in a hot tub once... the only one we could find with any room in it at the time (around 5-6PM) was on an upper deck near the bridge. If I remember, it was near a children's area and there were several Hispanic families with their babies in this hot tub. Although we don't speak Spanish and they didn't speak English, we had fun splashing with the toddlers and the parents were kind to let us coo over these adorable children. We did go to the Destinations Anywhere show (which we enjoyed) and happened to sit next to the gentleman who teaches all the computer classes on board. We didn't have time to take in a MUTS show, so we can't comment on the seating/popcorn, but we did try both the pizza and hamburgs/hotdogs/french fries and all met our complete satisfaction. We each bought a Coke card, but weren't on the ship enough to drink anything except at suppertime each night, so I wouldn't buy one again unless I planned to spend more time actually on the ship. We also brought Pepsi six-packs on-board with us for our room fridge, but we didn't even drink all those. We ate breakfast everyday but once in the Horizon Court and experienced no problems with lines or the set-up, though it can be a bit confusing the first time you go there. We ate in both the Michelangelo and DaVinci dining rooms and at Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. We definitely would do the Crown Grill again - if you have a chance to try their herb french fries, they are SO GOOD, and we really liked our waiter, Daniel, who talked to us about his family and about working for Princess. We are glad we tried Sabatini's but we wouldn't go again, not because of quality or service, it's just not our kind of restaurant. They serve umpteen small portions over 2-1/2 hrs (the restaurant was only about 1/4 full) and it probably would be more fun with a group of people, but that was too long for the just the two of us to sit for dinner even if we are best friends. The Sanctuary is definitely worth the price of admission, but we didn't have to pay extra as they give you an hour to stay after a massage. It was sprinkling off & on when we had our first one, so they let us add that hour to the hour we got with our second massage (that one came with our wedding renewal package), but I could easily go there for a half day each day and happily pay $10 each time. It is quiet and I definitely felt I was in the lap of luxury there. We used the Internet Cafe once. There was no line and it was easy and quick to use and I think my bill was under $3.00. I took a quick look at the library, but it has short hours and we were generally in port when it was open, but it looked well-stocked. We were happy with the on-ship stores and didn't find the prices exorbitant... I bought a nice-quality Crown Princess sweatshirt, my husband bought a T-shirt, and I got some perfume that we didn't see for less elsewhere (though I didn't do any heavy-duty shopping in any port) as well as a Princess beach towel (I live on the seacoast, so that will get plenty of use). Our room steward always spoke to us in the hallways when we met, he was friendly and told us about his family in the Philippines, he promptly brought anything we asked for and our room was always spotless. The staff at the customer service desk were professional and helpful and I only stood in line once (for about 10 minutes), otherwise I was just able to walk up and ask my question. From the excitement at boarding, experiencing our first sailaway (in a light rain- only Sat night and part of Sunday had less than perfect weather), waking up in the middle of the night to see lights as we passed an island and standing in my balcony to watch like I was the only person on the ship not asleep, strolling the deck after dinner hand-in-hand, oohing over the strawberry rhubarb ice cream our waiter recommended (that was worth the price of the trip!), seeing a beautiful rainbow arching over St Thomas, eating breakfast or reading on our sunny balcony, people watching on formal nights, yummy chocolate chip cookies from the International Cafe, playing "who can find our picture first" every evening as we looked for our ship photos amidst the racks & racks, watching DH gamble at blackjack (he made his $50 allowance last two nights!), to the romantic wedding renewal and the "I can't believe we're really here doing all this" - it was such a memorable and perfectly splendid cruise. So splendid that we booked a future cruise. We can't decide if we should take a different cruise or go to the same place so we can spend more time on the ship, not being tempted to "see everything" in every port. The only negative part of the trip was leaving, of course. And I forgot to count our bags and managed to leave one on the dock at San Juan. I faxed a report in the next day using a form on the Princess website and the bag was shipped to us arriving in perfect shape within 10 days or so. We thought the disembarkation was amazing. So many people off in such an organized manner. We did not use Princess transfers and had no trouble getting to/from the airport in San Juan. However, American Airlines check-in process is a chaotic zoo so I'd advise getting there early. Of course, this was 12/23 and it may have been the Xmas rush, but it was the worst airport experience I've ever had and I used to travel for business, so that's saying something. That, of course, had nothing to do with Princess. Princess provided us with a vacation experience we will treasure forever and we hope to repeat this again (and again...) Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Overall a great vacation. Fabulous ports with lots of different things to do. The majority of the ship's crew were excellent - by far better service than Carnival or Royal Caribbean. I went with my husband and another couple. We were ... Read More
Overall a great vacation. Fabulous ports with lots of different things to do. The majority of the ship's crew were excellent - by far better service than Carnival or Royal Caribbean. I went with my husband and another couple. We were on deck 14, inside cabin and it was big! I was anticipating a smaller room from what the reviews said, but the cabin was bigger than any other inside cabin I have been in on other ships. The ship is a bit chopped up, but I thought it was a good thing. You never know that the ship has thousands of people on it. And there are so many spots on the boat to choose from. The only complaints I could think of: the "band" performing when the ship was leaving port was not too good: sounded like karaoke. The boutique shop didn't have as many amenities as I would have liked. (like shampoo, razors, etc.) For the price we paid, this was an awesome vacation. The weather was great, the ports awesome, and the crew unbelievable. Dinner was always good. The Crown Grill was excellent (but the service a little slow) The late night buffet was the secret I wish I had found earlier. Full of fresh fruit that you never saw at breakfast. And at the end of the cruise, there was a seafood buffet. My husband and I overdosed on crab legs before we went to second seating dinner. The dinner choices were also very nice. We went to traditional second seating dinner as well as the crown grill and the anytime dining room. All were nice, staff very attentive. The hotel charge every day (i think 10US/pp) was very reasonable and convenient. I didn't have to spend the last night of the cruise fishing my purse for small bills to put in the tiny tip envelopes. If you are looking for something fun, a bit adventurous, then do this! The ports were not as commercialized (save for St. Maarten) and we saw some great sites. The only excursion we did was scuba in St. Thomas - one of the greatest times of my life. Way better than snorkeling. And worth the $100. The rest of the ports, you could take a $5 taxi to a beach. Once at the beach, you usually had to pay $5 for a lounge chair or an umbrella. Some beaches had expensive bar/grills, but we only stayed for a couple of hours. Best beach - Ffryes Beach in Antigua - totally isolated. There is a bar at the top of a hill where you can get local beer. But the beach is soft white sand with virtually no one there! Water was crystal clear. We bought the transfers from the airport for $30. On the way to the ship, we had just missed a bus, so we had to wait for like 45 minutes until the next one. But once we got to the terminal, we must have been on the boat in about 15 minutes. No lines at all. Alcohol - there was a duty free store right before ship security. We bought champagne (we were on new years cruise) and didn't have a problem. Our friends bought alcohol and didn't have a problem either. I read a lot about people doing this, but didn't want to take any chances. But the drinks on the ship weren't that unreasonable. I mean, hey, you are on a cruise. It ain't gonna be cheap. So suck it up and have the time of your life! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We sailed on the Crown Princess 12/16/06 our fourth cruise. Three with Princess and once with RCI . Our embarkation process went smoothly, although they could use some directional posters to inform of where to begin. We entered the ship at ... Read More
We sailed on the Crown Princess 12/16/06 our fourth cruise. Three with Princess and once with RCI . Our embarkation process went smoothly, although they could use some directional posters to inform of where to begin. We entered the ship at the Casino on deck six...we were routed through the casino to see our cabin. Since we were traveling with our children ages 11 and 14 we booked a minisuite. Our suite was forward on the starboard side of the ship. Although it was nice, the quarters are still cramped. We sailed previously on the Golden and with the designing of the Crown they eliminated some of the storage options and replaced them with a larger sofa. We found it difficult to keep things in order due to lack of storage spaces. We also would like to have more electrical outlets!! We really enjoyed our itinerary with the exception of Barbados where we were met on the beach by some very aggressive peddlers. They asked every 10 minutes if you had changed your mind...if you still said no they would verbally abuse you as a "Cheap tourist". There wasn't much time to relax there. Our next stop was St Lucia. We took the children on the Caribbean Pirates excursion booked thru the ship. It was fantastic! Our daughter was allowed to sail the boat back to port after our visit to Pigeon Island. The crew was very friendly, and the rum punch not too bad either! Our most enjoyable day was spent on Eli's ECO tour in Antigua. Our Captain Adam and his mates Tony and Treavor were all great. Treavor took our son snorkeling to see some extraordinary sights...through a cave, etc. He loved every minute spent on this tour. The onboard entertainment was overall OK. We really enjoyed Juan Carlos and his Traditional Latin entertainment, but there was a ventriloquist who needs to go! My 11 year old daughter stated midway through the show...:"this is really boring"!!! The cruise staff were all very helpful and fun. We especially enjoyed Fernando and Patrick. Also, our cabin steward Jose Troy did a great job keeping us supplied with dry towels and plenty of fresh fruit. We had anytime dining and our waitstaff (Hannes and Alex) in the Michelangelo dining room also were fun and exceptional at their jobs. We found the food delicious, hot and served with a smile...what else do you need?? We will definitely travel with Princess on the Crown again. Thanks for a job well done! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Our family of 4 has cruised on three lines so far, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. On Dec 23 2006 we sailed on the new Crown Princess out of San Juan on the southern Caribbean itinerary. For the first time my wife and I booked a ... Read More
Our family of 4 has cruised on three lines so far, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess. On Dec 23 2006 we sailed on the new Crown Princess out of San Juan on the southern Caribbean itinerary. For the first time my wife and I booked a suite, our 17 yr old and 20 yr old shared an adjacent balcony cabin on the Caribe deck facing aft. The suite was everything we had hoped for! Large and comfortable with a huge bathroom and tub/shower area that was smartly divided off from each other with three sets of doors. Spent lots of time before dinner lounging and gazing off the balcony we had. Our cabin steward was Raymond from the Philippines and he was outstanding. As for the ship, it was beautiful and logically laid out. The dining was great, no complaints except surprisingly we didn't care for the special charge Sabatinis at all. On other cruises we have tried the specialty restaurants and loved the service and dinners. Here, the room was less than about half filled at 730pm and we waited around 30 minutes between each course for our food...even though our waiter was constantly racing around the dining room on various frenzied distracting missions. Now I know this was supposed to be fine dining, but families with children (we ate with another family with kids) shouldn't have to sit for over three hours for dinner with dirty plates laying on a railing next to the table for lengthy periods without being cleared away. Overall a negative experience, one of only a few on the trip. I think surprisingly that they were understaffed in that dining room. The pools and movie screen were wonderful, especially fun to watch NFL football on the first weekend on a huge clear screen while relaxing in a lounge chair in the sun! I could not believe the great picture quality even in bright sunlight. I did spend one afternoon out of the sun sleeping in the adult only Sanctuary area. Well worth the 10 dollars per half day charge with free fruits and iced towels and iced waters with great thick mattresses on the recliner lounge chairs. There was a youth security team on board to help keep the teens orderly, but unlike our cruise over xmas time two years ago on the Adventure of the Seas on RCCL, this ship had no large groups of unruly kids roaming the ship at all hours. The casino and drinking age was 21 on board which probably helped, and my kids both enjoyed the teen club at the top of the ship which played great music till late and encouraged dancing among the teens. That club and all the lounges were well supervised and IDs checked. As for the dining overall, I gave the food an A-. Dinners in our Botticelli Dining room at the late seating were very good, much better than RCCL on our last cruise and just a shade under the Celebrity Infinity we sailed on several years ago. Our waiter and assistant were outstanding,which is a big part of the whole ship experience. We travelled with friends of our family so we had a table of 9 each nite that we reserved in the Botticelli room for late seating and they loved the experience too. The lunches buffets and grill food and pizza station were very good, our kids ate both places as we did.....plenty of drink waiters around but my only criticism was that the only free drinks were water, coffee and ice tea. Some ships have had free lemonade spigots at meals which would have been a nice touch. Our suite came with free bar set up of liquor and sodas at the start of the trip and fresh fruit and canapes whenever we wanted which was great. We ate all of our breakfasts in the Davinci dining room where you got served off a nice menu of items rather than the buffet room at pool level, this was always good and a great way to start the day. As for the itinerary, we liked St Thomas and the beaches and shopping. Grenada and St Kitts were not really worth exploring at all. I did check out the Marriott St Kitts to see how it compared to the Aruba Marriott property and was disappointed. Not as upscale and in an area with adjacent vacant old hotels and abandoned buildings. Definitely not a destination island in my opinion and that was the nicest hotel area! Anyway, we loved Aruba and Palm Beach it was too short a stop there though. Heres a tip. There is an area between the Marriott and the Holiday inn where there is a public strip of the beach not considered hotel property, its where the Moomba Grill is. They rent beach chairs there and very cheap...20 dollars for 8 chairs and there is food service there. Bonaire was a nice surprise, nice shopping and restaurant area and we found a public beach with nice amenities like outdoor showers, chairs and food and a bar. The last day was an at sea day and you need to get out early on deck to get chairs as everyone wants to be up there then at the pool levels. This was the only day it was really crowded up there though. All in all the bingo and comedian shows were great, we had Sarge the comedian twice on the cruise and he was well worth the time , very very talented and funny. The production shows were not worth the time however. One remark about the fitness center. It was very warm in the treadmill and machines areas! Would have been nice if the workouts had fans or better airconditioning blowing. Our family liked the ease of the embarkation and disembarkation, we stayed the nite before the cruise at the old san juan Sheraton right across the street from the ship at pier 4. We rolled our luggage right there 100 yards away! No cab needed. We would definitely cruise this ship again, it was luxurious with an upscale crowd and overall very good service and food.Thank you Princess. Jim Gutglass 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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