400 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews

Crown Princess Nov. 7 - 14 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly This was my second cruise on a Princess ship this year. The first cruise on the Caribbean Princess was an average cruise experience, so I wanted to give Princess a second ... Read More
Crown Princess Nov. 7 - 14 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly This was my second cruise on a Princess ship this year. The first cruise on the Caribbean Princess was an average cruise experience, so I wanted to give Princess a second chance. I booked this trip with a friend from Calgary. It was a week without hubbies & kids. My friend had only sailed on HAL, and I have sailed on HAL, NCL, Carnival & Princess. I live in Ottawa, ON We met up in Fort Lauderdale, and stayed at the Courtyard Marriot Fort Lauderdale Beach. Great location, nice hotel - even nicer that we got upgraded to a top floor ocean view room. We got to the ship around noon on Saturday, with a fairly easy embarkation process. Once on board we headed to the Da Vinci dining room for lunch. No buffets for us! After lunch we headed to our mini-suite to check it out. Our cabin steward, Edwill, was in the hall and stopped by to say hi. Overall, he was a helpful fellow with a very dry sense of humor. We had terrific service from him all week. Now about the rest of the cruise.... The Good: The mini-suite cabin D402 was spacious enough, but the dEcor was boring Princess beige (fire the designer already!). We asked Edwill to remove the ugly bedspreads for the week - he was more than pleased to tuck them away! The bathroom was a little smaller than you would get on a regular cabin on other lines, but a huge step up from the teeny tiny shower on our balcony cabin on the CB. This was a big plus. I like the open closet space as well. The uncovered balcony was nice that it was large, and was great to be perched over the ocean. I brought a beach umbrella with us so we could sit out if it was too hot. For the price we paid for a mini-suite guarantee (just over $800pp) we were glad we got a mid ship cabin, which is very convenient. We paid only $70pp extra to get the mini-suite vs. a balcony - it was worth it to pay the extra to get a tub. It was the cheapest deal for that week compared to everything else leaving from Miami or Fort Lauderdale for the cabin type. Most of the service was good in the dining rooms, with a few exceptions. The maitre d' (two different gentlemen) in the Da Vinci dining room (we ended up there the most for some reason!) were very good in understanding we did not want to sit with others (we don't play well with others hehehe). For some reason, the hostess, Ivana, thought it was some sort of joke to greet us with 'sharing with others as usual' every time we saw her - that joke got old fast. We didn't bother too much with the entertainment as neither of us are into production shows, so no comment there. We went to the casino a few times, left a few dollars here and there, but it was all in fun. We spent more time by the Terrace pool as it is the 'quiet' adults only pool. I liked the fact there was no 'shopping cart handle' on this ship, so the area wasn't shaded as on the CB. The bartenders by the Terrace pool were great - especially the ever smiling Sawat. Princess Cays: we had a fun day swimming, reading and walking around. It was very crowded, but there were quiet places to be found. We had a nothing special lunch, but met up with some ladies who were doing the girl's week thing as well, and had lots of laughs. We met up with them several times during the week. We had a long chat with a fellow who marveled at the fact that people paid $199 for a private cabana. I must admit, we thought it a bit surprising too. The cabanas are tiny little sheds. I guess they bring you food (included) and drinks (at a cost) and a couple of loungers, but it just seems a little pricey. They are colourful though. Grand Cayman: we booked stingray city with Captain Bryan (I have been with them before) around 10am. We got out to the stringray area about 10:30am, it was quite busy. I know those on ship sponsored tours would have had hundreds of more people there on the earlier excursions. If you can do an afternoon at stingray city, that is if your ship is leaving at 6pm, I would recommend it as it would be quieter. We did two snorkeling stops, but the water was very choppy. Afterwards we went into a couple of shops and wandered around. Roatan, Honduras: this was the most interesting stop of the trip. We had our very own private "Guns & Grenades" tour of Roatan. We lucked out in getting our driver, Parson, to take us on an unvarnished look at Roatan. The first main stop was to the new Carnival pier that is nearly finished. It is massive, and it has a ski lift to take people from the pier to an area with restaurants & a beach. I guess they get enough people who are just too friggin' lazy to walk 500 meters. This may or may not be good for Roatan, as some people will not bother to see the real island and spend money in a very poor country. A shame for them. We told him we are not interested in the touristy places like the Iguana farm and the monkey place. So instead, he took us to "spooky channel" which is absolutely spectacular. Too bad it was raining as it would have been wonderful to snorkel in that area. I know this has always been a major area for divers. He then took us through the roughest area in Roatan, where apparently the police will only go in swat team. This barrio is the area where they have had civil unrest in the past few months (yes things actually happened in Roatan, not only the mainland). Apparently people lit tires on fire to block roads and grenades were hurled at the police station. This barrio is not the place to be on a Saturday night, unless you like machete fights to go with your beer and politics. Since we are interested in the people, politics and economics of an area, Parson was very happy to give a slightly different tour than many others receive. He took us to the shrimp processing plant, which is the main employer on the island. Laura and I were visibly shocked when the security guard let us in the shrimp plant grounds that he had a pump action shot gun. As Canadians we found it truly shocking. Parson explained that the guard had to protect himself as he would be beaten, or shot by those who would want to get on the grounds to steal equipment. He pointed out some fellow who was a 'bad guy' who had had his leg blown off by police. The bad guy learned his lesson and now is a carpenter. We were horrified to see the mayor of Roatan's home (his private residence) which is about 15,000 sq ft sitting on more than an acre (I am a realtor, so I could go on and on about this place lol), where as 200m down the road there are people living in corrugated tin shacks. The difference between rich and poor is startling. Parson took us to Half Moon Bay for lunch, and my friend got to eat some conch fritters. It was a pretty rustic place, but the food was good and the local beer, salva vida, was cold. It was an excellent day. Cozumel: took a cab to Chankanaab Park. Lounged around, drank wonderful frothy drinks, swam and wandered. It was a fantastic day. Even the scary clowns at Senor Frogs didn't put a damper on it!! The Bad: What happened to MUTS? It was football under the stars. One of the reasons we booked Princess was to enjoy some movies in the evening while out on deck. Three nights of football and one concert. MUTS is a dud. That sucked. The food for the most part was average to poor. I had hoped it would have been an improvement over the CB, but that was not the case. For some strange reason Princess is obsessed with asparagus. Don't get me wrong, I love asparagus, but just about every meal - enough already! Service levels in the specialty restaurants were inconsistent and need work. Our evening at the Crown Grill was nice, but should have been spectacular. Things like not removing extra place settings at all during our meal. There were two of us at a booth for four. Standard rudimentary stuff that should be addressed by the most junior of wait staff. My friend ordered lobster tails. The waiter came out with a huge plate. He then tried to put some on my plate, much to my horror (if I want something I will ask for it!). After he gave them to my friend, he dumped the asparagus from the lobster plate on our asparagus at the table. Yuck. That's all I want - lobster contaminated asparagus. All of it got wasted. Our evening at Sabatini's did not start well. We had called the day before to increase our reservation from two to three. It was not put in the book at Sabatini's. The maitre d' was rude, surly and argued that we could not have possibly called. He said it was so inconvenient and he would "try" to fit us in (the place was virtually empty). They reluctantly got us a table, and we proceeded to wait for our friend. However, after 15 minutes she didn't show - which will be mentioned in the next section - the ugly - as she was in a huge line up. The wait staff sniped and yelled at each other for various things - very inappropriate. I mentioned to the server, Gabriela that I do not eat seafood of any sort and to please leave it off the plate. I then got an appetizer with sardines. I said to her that I had asked for no seafood, and she proceed to argue with me that fish was not seafood!! She argued with her back to me half way down the restaurant. Holy smokes! Things could have been worse, a group of people who only spoke Portuguese came in and no one would serve them. The senior waiter kept yelling for Gabriela (yes, yelling) and at another poor fella with the unfortunate name of Despot. Senior guy wanted Gabriela to serve these folks, she said she didn't speak Portuguese, find someone else. Finally, someone was found who spoke Portuguese and the group was served. Oh, and the food was not memorable. We sent back the flavourless soup. I didn't complain about my over done chicken, I was too busy watching the crazy floorshow. Oh yes, and Sabatini's had many empty tables for the whole evening. The Ugly: There were certainly some staffing issues that were not handled well by senior staff. Just as an FYI, I entertain a lot. I am out in high end restaurants on a routine basis. My friend does as well. My standards are quite high, so I don't expect too much on a cruise ship. However, there were some bad incidents that cannot go unmentioned. During tea, I had asked for butter for my scone. Not too much out of the ordinary you would think. The response I got was "the galley is closed. It opens at 5." I was a little gobsmacked. The maitre d' asked a few minutes later how things were. My friend told him what had happened. He then proceeded to grill us on who did it, what did she look like, would we point her out. I said I didn't know, as she was behind me. He then yelled at one hapless server (loud enough for us to hear across the room). She then came over, visibly shaken and asked what she had done to us. I told her it was not her (she was in a black suit, and rude girl was in green) and tried to calm her down a bit. On the way out we pointed spoke the fellow and told him that it was not this woman and it was not right to chastise her in public. Absolutely shocking. This is not the first or second time I have seem senior staff yelling (yes, yelling) at staffers in public on Princess ships. The incident was on our last night. We had received a notice to say the purser's desk couldn't process our credit card in USD (which is the cheapest way to pay BTW), even it was on a USD account (this was for the Canadians, Brits and other non US citizens with a non US address). We had to go down in person to have them process the card manually. Funny that this problem with this sort of thing only happens on Princess. Funny too that they will conveniently charge us a mere 3% fee and a "favourable" exchange rate. Skimming off the top is the real reason, but I won't go into that right now. When we went to the purser's desk after dinner, there was a HUGE line. All Canadians, Brits and non US citizens who were in the line were extremely angry. The staff was rude and dismissive. We stood in the line for two hours. I spoke with the assistant supervisor (not a senior staffer or officer to be found) Julianne, who was completely useless, and told her there were people in the line for hours. It was hot, stuffy and it was difficult for some seniors to stand for such a long time. I told her they should at least pass out water and find chairs for those who needed them. Of course, nothing was done because the staff was terrible. I also told her that since this was a Princess problem that they should waive the 'mere' 3% fee and charge at the daily exchange rate not their "favorable" rate (which could in fact be months out of date). She said she wouldn't do anything, since she had no authority. This incident completely soured us (and hundreds of others) for the trip. It seems that Princess uses this scam to make up a revenue shortfall. It is shameful that the front desk staff treated us in such a poor manner. Disgraceful. My friend and I had a great vacation, off the ship. On the ship, it was ok, but there are too many issues to ignore. The senior staff really did a poor job on this cruise and they should be ashamed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We're experienced cruisers -- this was our 8th trip in the Caribbean -- it was also our most disappointing yet most relaxing. The trip was a disappointment because the weather didn't cooperate and we found the ship-board service ... Read More
We're experienced cruisers -- this was our 8th trip in the Caribbean -- it was also our most disappointing yet most relaxing. The trip was a disappointment because the weather didn't cooperate and we found the ship-board service somewhat lacking! We had more rain than sun, and the roughest seas we've ever experienced. We've been told by the ship's captain that the locals call these the "Christmas Winds." It's the first we've heard of them, even though we've spent 2 other Christmas's at Sea -- perhaps the Eastern Caribbean isn't impacted as much as the Western. Our first stop was to be Grand Cayman on Monday, December 21st. We woke early as we enjoy watching the sun come up over the island. We had coffee delivered to our room, and stepped out on our balcony to enjoy the early morning. Much to our chagrin, the skies weren't clear and the waters weren't calm. We watched the surf churn, and with our binoculars could see waves crashing on the sea wall. It wasn't long before Captain Nash announced that we would be unable to tender into Cayman. This was one of the greatest disappointments of our trip. We had planned to visit with some friends in Grand Cayman and had specific stores we wanted to shop at (Bernard K Passman being #1). Since we'd be having an unplanned day at sea, we were told they'd be re-doing the Princess Patter schedule for the day. Unfortunately, we didn't find too many changes. It seemed to us that there should be some better planning for cancelled ports. With the weather less than cooperative, we found ourselves relaxing in our cabin and watching movies on television and wandering the shops on the ship. Unfortunately, there wasn't that much on board shopping to do! The second port-of-call was Roatan, Honduras - the day started out sunny, and we were hoping for the best. We'll pass on future cruises that hit this port. The location is brand new, and unless you sign up for a tour or have a sunny day to spend at the beach, there's not much of anything to do. Only a couple of stores are open and a Fat Tuesday bar. It's not even as large as Princess Cay. Since it was raining before noon, we didn't have the benefit of a sunny day at the beach. It was back on the ship. We did take advantage of the at-port reduced rates at the spa. We highly recommend the hot rocks massage -- it is wonderful and ever so relaxing! The third port-of-call was Cozumel. We've been here a number of times, and usually enjoy the beaches. It's a great place to snorkel. We wondered around the shopping area (since we weren't able to shop in Grand Cayman) and had lunch at one of the open area restaurants before heading back to the ship. We'd planned to change and go out to the beach. Once on the ship we changed our minds as we didn't want to deal with the hassle of taking another cab back to "civilization" and the clouds were once again rolling in. Christmas Eve Day was at Sea, and we didn't have an awful lot of sun. The open deck areas were full when weather permitted. but I think most people were getting tired of spending time on the ship and the rain and the rocking and rolling of the ship. We did enjoy a delicious lobster and prawn dinner along with a bottle of champagne for dinner. Christmas Day was on the island, Princess Cay. We tendered in after breakfast and decided to take a walk to the main part of the island. We'd been to Princess Cay before, and thought we'd see the local sites and visit the local "straw market" past the private island gates. We purchased a few souvenirs and took a 30 minute walk to no where. When we turned around to see how far we'd gone - a big black cloud had engulfed the area. By the time we reached the tender dock, the clouds have opened up and the surf was up. It was a rocky ride back to the ship. General comments: Overall, the food on the ship was good - the soups were all excellent! Our cabin steward did a superb job keeping our room in order. We chose the traditional dining because we like to build a rapport with our waiters - although they were good, they were not as outgoing or helpful as we've had on other ships. Other servers have told us about the evenings entertainment, what was coming the next day, tidbits about the ship, etc. We didn't really get any of that this time around. I believe the automatic tipping process has resulted in an expectation which has reduced the effort of some. I don't feel they go the extra mile -- rather they do what's required. I also believe that Princess has "cut corners" in this economy. While we paid more for this cruise than previous, we had a smaller room with less service. We were also surprised to see the evening entertainment repeated during the trip. The Christmas show was a rerun of what we'd seen on a prior Christmas cruise -- right down to the set! We'll be thinking twice about whether or not to sail on Princess -- there are many other options out there. On the bright side, we missed cold, miserable weather back home -- a bad day on a cruise is still better than a day at home. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My wife and I sailed out of Fort Lauderdale on December 12th on the Crown Princess for a 7 day cruise. This was our 2nd cruise our first being in on the Independence of the Sea. First off we didn't expect the Crown Princess to be as ... Read More
My wife and I sailed out of Fort Lauderdale on December 12th on the Crown Princess for a 7 day cruise. This was our 2nd cruise our first being in on the Independence of the Sea. First off we didn't expect the Crown Princess to be as nice as the Independence, but I suppose we were both very spoiled by our Independence experience. The Crown Princess is supposed to be a 2006 ship but it felt like a real jalopy compared to the Independence. This ship had more shaking, buzzing, and rattling than my 1984 Dodge D50 pickup. Our stateroom was an interior near the back of the ship on deck 10. The mirrors and fixtures attached to the walls crackled and popped as the ship vibrated. While this didn't bother me at all my wife who is very noise sensitive chose to wear earplugs because of it, in order to sleep. Fortunately the bed acted as a shock absorber (the bed was very firm) and was able to deaden some of the bumping. The last two days of the trip the ship rocked so badly we were woken up several times during the night, weather was bad but I have seen worse. On the last day we met up with some other passengers who got seasick from the shaking of the ship, the night before. As I write this it's been over 24 hours since getting of this ship and I am still a little dizzy. The rattles were not just in the stateroom. Laying on the loungers on the terrace pool deck, the floor shook the loungers so badly that when I talked it was like I was talking through a electric fan. Ditto for the buffet dining rooms. My wife and I are vegans, which we expected to be an obstacle. While there are some vegetarian options, most are saturated in cream and butter. The popular greasy fried meat, and cheese dishes that most people like still seemed fairly substandard. We were pretty much relegated to the salad bar, which was fair, not much selection, It didn't matter much to most people since it went relatively untouched, as there wasn't any space left on the plates piled with sorry looking pizza and such. Bottom line the buffet was a disappointment. Furthermore there are some other peculiarities in the buffet that baffle me. During breakfast and lunch (cannot verify dinner) you couldn't get your own tableware. The serving staff seemed already very busy busing tables and getting people drinks. You would get to the table and there were no utensils to eat with. sometimes you would have to wait quite a long time for the server to bring you a set. Oddly the after dinner buffet had all the knives and forks at the front of the line with the plates. Same story for napkins. Just the cloth one with the utensils. Ketchup mysteriously absent from the buffet at lunch when French fries were being served. Some server had to run all the way to the burger bar to fill up a dish with ketchup. All I kept thinking was who the heck organized this mess? The main dining room was a different story, this was the ship's saving grace. Day one they were pretty unprepared to deal with vegans (even though they had a heads up), but they recovered nicely making the proper adjustments to the following nights meals. Service in the main dining room was top notch, presentation was good, very friendly staff, accommodating, and many dishes were excellent. Entertainment was hit or miss. Not much to chose from, the theater is undersized for the amount of passengers, so getting seats 30-40 mins prior to curtain was necessary. Most nights has a 1 hour dance musical production. These were decent and for what they are I thought they were pretty good. After 2 of these they get a little old, and we stopped going all together. There was a comic magician who I enjoyed very much. There was another comic who most of the seniors enjoyed but I found sort of stale. There was supposed to be a Cirque troop but it ended up just being a mime couple, who just did a couple 15 minute bits, very underwhelming. There was a hypnotist show too which was also very underwhelming. The undercard entertainment revolved around some bar room style trivia and karaoke. The Gym--this place looks decent at first glance until you actually start working out. Ventilation is poor for a gym. Here's the funniest part, the ceilings are low, so low in fact that when I was on the elliptical machine I would actually bang my head into the ceiling tiles, which were metal, I am about 6' tall so hardly a giant. Working on resistance exercises was ok. Only warm water came out of the drinking fountains, which seemed to be the norm. Warm water was all that would come out of the faucets in our room too. Up to the pools. Starting at the front of the ship is the basic pool. Only 1 of the hot tubs was heated. There was a band there that I didn't like and I couldn't drown out with my MP3 player so we didn't end up there often. The middle pool has a big TV screen over the pool. This was used to play football games very loud. I saw a few people covering their ears with their hands, at that time. Above there is a nicely shaded and quiet area they call the sanctuary, which seemed like it would be a nice area to stay but, it was off limits unless you paid $20 per person per day (which is completely absent from any literature or website info) to lay in a lounger there. When I was there it was completely empty. Finally there is the Terrace Pool in the back of the ship. This was our favorite pool area, it was relatively quiet. Had a nice view out the aft of the ship. Seating here was scarce, and shade was even more so. This area was serviced by a bar and was right off of the buffet so it was easy to get a little snack while you are out there (for us fruits). First stop was Grand Cayman, The day was hot, we caught a cab to cemetery reef which was pretty far away from the port. We had our own snorkeling stuff so no rentals were needed. The beach was pretty secluded so it was quiet. Cab ride was $12 + tip. Some nice vacationers who had rented a car gave us a ride back to the port, otherwise we would have been taking a risk to try to hail a cab back from this location. Snorkeling was good, though some inclement weather earlier left the water a little murkier than normal, we still had a good time at this port. Grand Cayman is very clean and very safe feeling. Prices are higher here but tolerable. Second stop was Roatan, Honduras. This is a great port, sort of. Actually the port is awful. Right out of the port gates you are swarmed with peddlers and cabbies, and beggars from all directions. This area is dirty and crowded, it's poor and it looks poor. Cab rides to decent beaches are not cheap here and we ended up renting a scooter. This was my first scooter rental. I had lots of sportbike experience so the scooter was easy to pick up. I was initially a little scared about renting the scooter as the guy wanted one of the sea passes as collateral. However we still had our IDs so I figured worst case we could finagle our way back on board. The scooter was $50 but we talked the guy down to $40 for the day. The scooter was in fair condition, the helmets didn't fit right but the thing ran all day long without any major problems, the brakes were crap but we didn't have any accidents either. The scooter was a blast and we enjoyed it much more than a cab. we were able to go to Tabyana beach which was spectacular. The snorkeling was superb right off the shore. We had a great time. then we rode around The Island a little on the scooter to explore a little more. we returned to the port, the guy gave us back our sea pass without a hassle and everything worked out just fine. Next day we went to Cozumel. This is small island with not much going on near the port so again we tried to measure up our options and if you could probably guess we ended up with another scooter. $40 was the price up front. This scooter was in better condition with a basket (which was nice to put our backpack in), and far superior brakes. This island was very busy near the port but became a very leisurely ride after about 7 miles. then it's a big 46mile loop around the island. We visited the ruins San Gerbasio, which were ok, $7 per person, it was self guided and the grounds were decent, if you didn't go here you didn't miss much. The back side of the island has some good surf, the waves were frequent with about a 4' peak. Water was very clear, there were many beach clubs on the back side of the island. As we completed our circle we ended south of the port. There was a beach club called the Money Bar at Dzul Ha beach. Here was some great reefs near the shore. Fish were abundant and we were pleasantly surprised with the number of conveniences nearby like bathrooms and lockers. Next day was Princess Cays in the Bahamas. I figured this would be like RC's Labadee, and I was right. This is a Princess only island with limited activities. The snorkeling was not as good as our other stops but was superior to Labadee. Weather was supposed to be bad that day, so the last tender back was moved up to 2pm. It ended up being just fine. The tender ride was pretty shaky but there was no rain and wind was mild. That night the boat rocked so much I practically fell out of the bed. The next day was a sea day, it seemed ok weather-wize, sunny and warm. It was back to the terrace pool for taking in the nice day with some peace and quiet. Hit one show and called it early. Another roller coaster night and we arrive at Fort Lauderdale. Disembarkation was amazingly fast. We had signed up for the early disembarkation which our group was scheduled for 7:15. we were off the ship and in the cab by 7:35. Overall we had a good time thanks to some great ports and very friendly crew. But it hardy knocked my socks off. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Crown Princess... A mixed bag. We started our trip by heading from South Carolina to Fort Lauderdale where we booked a room at Springhill suites. We paid $140 for two queen beds and a pull out sofa bed. This was a tremendous deal since ... Read More
Crown Princess... A mixed bag. We started our trip by heading from South Carolina to Fort Lauderdale where we booked a room at Springhill suites. We paid $140 for two queen beds and a pull out sofa bed. This was a tremendous deal since we were allowed to park our car there for the entire week in a gated in parking lot. The hotel offers a free shuttle to the pier which was very prompt. If you want for $8 a person you can prebook a shuttle pickup to take you from the pier to the hotel. These shuttles were very prompt and one showed up at the pier every five minutes.Try Carciones's pizza while staying there. We got two large one topping pizzas with 12 garlic rolls and a two liter for about $20. We arrived at the port around 11am. We were issued a color ticket which they would call out when it was time to check in. We got on the boat around noon. My wife and I rushed to a phone so we could book the Chef's Table for my eldest son and his wife. At first they told me I had to meet with the Maitre D' to book it but I believe the person I talked to did not know what they were talking about. I called again and got through to better informed person who put my name on the list for this option. If you are a foodie or a gourmand you should try this option but book as soon as you hit the boat since spaces are limited and they fill fast. I heard they had twenty people on the waiting list. We thought the dining room would be open but that was not the case so we hit the buffet. It was fair, nothing outstanding. Usual carving stations with a mix of food choices. The wings were good. My Eldest booked the Sanctuary for the entire week which I would not recommend anyone doing mainly because it was pretty much empty the week we cruised so really you can book day by day without worrying about not getting a space. They did enjoy the sanctuary so if you are looking for a quiet escape on the cruise it's not a bad deal. He also booked the spa for the week which included steam room, sauna , and thermal chairs for the week. On the downside the thermal chairs didn't have a nice view to enjoy like most ships and there was no piped in music or aromatherapy. There was also a general lack of privacy. One day in the obviously two person steam bath a cruiser barged in on my son and his wife making them squish in together. We got a good deal on a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck. The cabin was ok. They had a walk in closet layout was good for space. The room had the usual ammenities such as a flat screen tv and a safe for valuables. There was however a problem with the plumbing on the Aloha deck grid which affected alot of passengers. We got up to take a shower our first day out and we had a choice of two temperatures. Hot or scalding hot. I called to the front desk to get the shower fixed. A maintenace guy came out to try to fix the shower. The next day we had a choice of two temperatures. Ice cold to slightly cool. Called again. Next day all cold. Called again (now pretty ticked off.) We were asked "What, do you want it hot again?'. We replyed no we just want a shower that works. You could never adjust the temperature the entire cruise. There were a large numbers of complaints about this. All in all I have never seen a more inept maintenance staff and have never dealt with such a discourtious front desk staff. You may not want to pay extra for a balcony since your balcony is everyone elses balcony. There is absolutely no sound baffling on the balconies. If anyone in a ten balcony radius is on their balcony talking it's like they are right next to you. The problem stems from the fact that the dividers do not go floor to ceiling so sound tends to drift in from other's balconies. This makes it hard to just relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean. The Ship. The ship was laid out nicely and was one of the more beautifully adorned ships we had been on. Nice marble and brass fixtures. Italian art in all the public areas. Nice looking bars with dark hard wood. A pretty ship through and through. The pool was laid out nicely and there never seemed a shortage of chairs. We purchased two "lounge hats" a product profiled by cruise critic. It slides over the top of your lounge chair and holds your towel in place. They all basically say "reserved" which is kind of humorous. It was really nice to not have to fight with my towel to keep it on the chair. It held the towel snuggly to the lounge and was well worth the $8 we paid for it. I would highly recommend checking out this product. The hot tubs were Ok but could have been a bit hotter and with more powerful jets. If you want a little privacy try the hot tub in the Sanctuary at night. There was hardly anyone there. Movies under the stars was cool. We saw "Night at the Museum 2". There were blankets available and staff brought around pizza and popcorn. We tried to watch "Star Trek" another night but the weather did not cooperate. The food. We ate most meals in the dining room. The food was good over all. Some stuff was really good other items only fair. We went with anytime dining which was never a problem. One note is you can't make a reservation for 7pm-8pm since this is when everything is changing over in the dining rooms. You can go to the dining room and wait if you want to eat around that time. We ate at 6:30 most nights and never had an issue getting a table. The international cafe cannot be missed. You will be in love with it once you discover it's bounty.They do a signature quiche every day which my wife said were yummy. There are always a wide variety or pastries in the morning (try the raspberrry filled donut...yum) and great desserts as well (try the "cup of joy" a rich chocolate pudding...also yum). They always have fresh cookies and a soup of the day. I had two premieum coffees, a latte and a mocha, both were well made and can be ordered to drink there or to go. My youngest and his friend tried Vines sushi (which is free) several times and said it was very good. They do a different sushi selection each day. We never tried the Tapas which are also free but I heard they were not all that. Poolside grill has good burgers and fries but the brats were a bit dissappointing. The big thing is the pizza. I have been on twelve cruises and this was the best pizza I have ever had on cruise ship bar none. I would pay for this pizza at a restaurant. They give you big New York style slices with yummy cheese, a tasty sauce and perfect crust. It is melt in your mouth! They always have cheese and pepperoni and a third pizza of the day. You will be missing out if you don't try this place immediately. The Crown grill should not be missed either. We booked it two nights since my eldest was doing the chef's table one night. The first night we sat in front of the kitchen to watch them cook. My youngest and his friend are big Food Network fans and enjoyed watching all the kitchen action going on. The only problem is the live lobsters were staring right at us. Sorry about your friends fellas. I would recommend the lobster cake starter. I have had a lot of crab cakes but this lobster cake beat them hands down. It has just the right level of crispiness with a little bit of spice to give it a kick. You have to get the Black and Blue soup. I am an onion soup nut and this was by far the best onion soup I have every had. I helped my wife and son finish theirs after I finished mine. I could live on this stuff. The Roquefort cheese on the top was perfectly chewy and the favor of the soup was rich and savory. I got the filet both nights and it was cooked to perfection both nights. They ask you to cut your steak just to make sure it is they way you want it. It comes with a delicious sauce for dipping. They will also bring you as many 4 oz lobster tails as you can handle so I don't understand the need to pay for lobster. They anticipate the need for a lot of lobster tails as we noticed them delivering plates filled with them from the kitchen. No room for dessert night one, went to room and slipped into a food coma right after. The next night we ate with both boys and got a normal table. The waiter decided to serve us our sides family style with a sampling of each on in it's own dish. I really like the garlic fries and the scalloped potatoes. The loaded baked potatoes were just so so. We made it to dessert this night and I tried the sampler which gave a good little taste of everything. The chocolate sensation was a favorite as was the seven layer smores. It was my eldest's birthday and they brought him a chocolate mousse and sung him happy birthday which was very nice. All in all it was a perfect dining experience. Delicious food, attentive friendly staff in a great atmosphere. Entertainment Missed most of the shows and acts. The pool band "the temperature" were good a provided the usual sea day fare. They piped in music otherwise which was nice. The had a few groups perfrom in the atrium but we didn't hang around for these. Grand Cayman Stayed on the boat and enjoyed the pool to ourselves. I heard that tendering went well since we were the only ship anchored there. If you are in Grand Cayman for the first time I recommend going to Stingray city. You don't need to book through the boat since there are tons of tours available online and right off the boat. Roatan Honduras We went with the Victor Bodden beach bus to West Bay beach and stayed at the Mayan Princess resort. The tour was $20 per person there and back and well worth the price. We had an excellent driver from Bodden tours named Hanno Ebanks. He was friendly, knowledgable, and willing to help out in any way he could. We arrived at the Mayan Princess resort which uses the term resort loosely. First, to get to the resort you drive down a pot hole infested dirt road through a not very picturesque part of town. You pay $10 a head to get in which included use of the facilities and use of the resort lounge chairs. There are no pool floats or towels available. The beach is overrun with hawkers. Now I have dealt with hawkers in the past and for the most part a simple "no thanks" is enough to suffice. This place is loaded with hawkers both children and adults. " No I do not want a necklace, no I do not want a watch, no I do not want sunglasses, no I do not want some maghogony pottery, no i do not want a necklace, Hey didn't I just talk to you 3 minutes ago?" They will walk back and forth and repeatedly approach you as if you changed your mind from the time you talked to them two minutes ago. The beach was small and crowded and loaded with sand fleas. If you do decided to do the Mayan princess here is what you do. 1) Get there early, they will run out of chairs fast. 2) Drag your chair from the beach area to the fresh water pool. The pool area is very nice and no hawkers are allowed there. There are no chairs set up by the pool so go to the beach and grab you a lounger and bring it back. 3) Order a nice cold beer. The beer prices are very good and the waitstaff was very friendly. We paid less than $2 a beer (11 beers were $18). 4) Relax. Hanno was johnny on the spot to pick us up and even stopped at a local store so we could pick up some booze on the way back. He even escorted us into the store to insure our safety. If you go Victor Bodden go with Hanno, he is a good man and he will not disappoint you. Cozumel My boys went to Tullum for a shore excursion. They enjoyed the ruins, the iguanas, and the spectacular views. They said it was hot but they had a good time. My wife and I stayed onboard and decided to do a little Christmas shopping. Here I learned a valuable lesson. If you are travelling outisde the country contact your bank to let them know! We tried to make several purchases only to have both our credit and debit cards declined. We were freaked out. We went back to the boat and called the bank to find out what was going on. They had put a lock on our account since it was accessed in Mexico.We had to give them permission to so we could use our cards accordingly. So if you ever go out of the U.S. contact your bank.! The problem was cleared up quickly and we went back to finish our shopping. Debarkation We chose to walk off ourselves and were issued a 7:30 am meeting time. First we removed the auto tipping since we believe this is a bad practice and we chose to tip with cash ourselves. We had some issues trying to pay for our son's Chef's table. What should have been a simple transfer from one account to another turned into standing in long lines and having to charge the amount to our credit card. We gathered in the Michaelangelo dining room with hundreds of others waiting to debark. There was no real order to this chaos as people squeezed themselves while toting their luggage through lots of table and chairs. They called all the self debarkers at the same time which created a huge throng of people all moving to the same exit. They told us if we did not have the appropriate debarking color card we would be "dealt with accordingly" which I am still trying to figure out what "dealt with accordingly" means. Would we have to walk the plank? Maybe receive 30 lashes? We got off the boat about 8am and met with our transfer back which was right on time. Overall All cruises have their ups and downs.This is a beautiful ship. We really had high hopes for this ship but all in all the negative aspects of this cruise really have turned us off Princess. The horizon court was very overcrowded and never offered anything worth while. No dedicated food stations such as a sandwich station or pasta station. The food was subpar and the milk was served luke warm. The hotel staff were inhospitable and rude. The maintenance staff were inept and incompetent. Nonworking showers and no ability to adjust the room temperature. Poor selection on the stateroom TVs . Room service with horrible food and orders screwed up repeatedly. If Princess wants repeat cruisers they need to step it up a notch. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This is our third Princess Cruise and we noticed considerably, how the attitude of the staff and service has dramatically dropped. We read reviews before booking our Christmas Cruise and dismissed critics that noted poor food as we had not ... Read More
This is our third Princess Cruise and we noticed considerably, how the attitude of the staff and service has dramatically dropped. We read reviews before booking our Christmas Cruise and dismissed critics that noted poor food as we had not experienced this previously. The level of service and quality of food is a corner that Princess seems to be cutting. Fish on the menu was very poor, over cooked, dry. Nothing was said when we were leaving plates of food uneaten. This has not been the case on Princess in the past, if something was not eaten on other trips, some concern was shown and other choices offered. Our plates were whisked away with no questions asked. The Maitre'd overseeing the dining room had an arrogant attitude and was very condescending when we asked him to change our table to one that was clearly not being used. Our waiter had given us the table number to request, we were told that he shouldn't have given us that information and that he would be in trouble for that!.... What!!! Great Service!!! We also heard him arguing with another passenger regarding her table selection. We chose to book a table at the Crown Room for a better meal, we were messed around by the reservation people at the restaurant and told we could only get a table at 9:30PM. On reflection of the late time, we decided to cancel and called from our room to reschedule for another day. We were told that they were booked, the reservationist was quite rude. Every time we walked by the restaurant there were many table empty of guests. We decided to pop in at 7:30 on a day that was supposedly booked and were seated immediately. The meal and service was fantastic, please note the restaurant was only a third full and subsequent nights not more than half full. Our room was serviced twice daily and our steward was working hard, although, he seemed very tired and burned out. We did use the spa and gym. The spa was over the top expensive for the experience and somewhat dirty in the common areas. The ship as a whole seems to be getting tired. To sum it up. We feel the $4,000 that we spent on this trip would be better spent on another liner. Our next vacation will be a Resort or back to Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
New Year Celebration was fun, but other than that.......so so on this ship. The rooms were kept clean and comfortable and the staff were courteous. The food was very salty and undercooked on more than one occasion. We had to ... Read More
New Year Celebration was fun, but other than that.......so so on this ship. The rooms were kept clean and comfortable and the staff were courteous. The food was very salty and undercooked on more than one occasion. We had to return ours (which they were fine with) but what a waste of time, not to mention not getting what we now had our palate set on. THE ENTERTAINMENT SIMPLY PUT...TANKED! They had a great comedian (Carl) and another one, however they did the exact same show for a few nights so that was disappointing. Not to mention that you don't know it will be the same show, so you go early to get a seat --YES, there is not enough room for everybody who wants to see the show in the small lounge they use--and then after waiting for 40 minutes you hear the exact show you heard a night previous. Lucky Carl improvised much of his show- so that was good for us. The comedy shows are PG13 in the guide, however children as young as 7, 8, 9 etc.years old are permitted to attend and even in the very front row! The cruise director and his assistant see the children there, but use a blind eye. The comedian brings the kids up on stage to basically tell the audience there are kids present and therefore his show will be adjusted! Just not fare. Most cruises have a late "R" rated comedy show but not this ship. In fact, at midnight the entire ship seems to go to bed! We were in one of the bars listening and dancing to a great live band called Rhapsody. At midnight with a full house and people having a great time, the band must leave the stage! Just wrong! Many chanted for an encore and we did get one song! The lounge that does go past midnight is a DJ with many of the younger crowd who all seem to be smokers.....so not quite an enjoyable place to be. For us in our 50's the entertainment was just not there! The shows catered to the people in their 70's- which I must say was a large part of the passenger load. So when they went to bed at 11 pm, so it seemed did the live bands etc. The casino is a smoking environment (except one night) so that too is a stinky -pardon the pun- place to be as well. If you want to lay out on the deck, you will need to get there by 9:30am or you will not get a lounge chair...there are simply not enough to go around. Plus they are not monitored in any way....so they may have a towel on them for the entire day but never used, as clearly those people found a "better" place and did not return to remove their towels placed to save the spot. All in all for a cheap get a way with no expectations this would be ok. But if you are looking for a fun time with a night life.....not on this ship! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
It has been my experience that Princess cruises are generally more expensive than other contemporary cruise lines and therefore I expected a higher standard. On the plus side Princess check in was a breeze, leaving the ship was not so ... Read More
It has been my experience that Princess cruises are generally more expensive than other contemporary cruise lines and therefore I expected a higher standard. On the plus side Princess check in was a breeze, leaving the ship was not so pleasant. When we found our room it had not been quite ready. I first noticed that the bed looked very lumpy and not the usual smooth and taunt sheets that I expected. The balcony partition was open to the next room. The 1 house coat looked like it had been worn. A few hours later when I found the room steward I asked him into the room to show him all my concerns. He locked the balcony partition and told me that he replaced the housecoat that morning. Maybe I should have told him to throw it out in the garbage and bring a new one. I found the toiletries in the bathroom substandard. The first day we had 1 shampoo, 1 lotion and 2 bars of soap. Day 2 we had another shampoo and another bar of soap. Finally on day 3 the conditioner showed up. These might be dumb complaints but even on Carnival you get a basket of various toiletries just as you would in a 5 star hotel. The meals on the ship were OK. I was surprised at the wine list though. There was a lot of North American wine but not a lot of selection from elsewhere. I did like the silverware. The place settings were plain and not unlike what I find at Home Sense. The one thing that was most enjoyable was the entertainment. I have very strong opinions when it comes to entertainment because I worked in the entertainment business and the stage productions were by far the best that I had seen on any ship. As far as shore excursions go find your own off the ship. Would I cruise Princess again, yes, but when it comes down to it most ships are very similar. What makes or breaks a cruise is the staff and how accommodating they are to you. It is always nice to be friendly with the room steward and wait staff. The staff on the Crown were not as friendly as what I am used to. They will easily be forgotten. And so will this cruise Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Princess is cutting corners. Pretty deeply as I noticed at breakfast. No boxes of imported, specialty teas, just Liptons. No omelet stations, no specialty breakfast items. Even peanut butter was kept under lock and key. To increase or at ... Read More
Princess is cutting corners. Pretty deeply as I noticed at breakfast. No boxes of imported, specialty teas, just Liptons. No omelet stations, no specialty breakfast items. Even peanut butter was kept under lock and key. To increase or at least stabilize revenues, Princess offers a myriad of upscale options, at a cost. Hate crowds by the pool- try the Sanctuary private sun lounge for $20 a day. Tired of your table mates or the dull entree choices for dinner, spend an extra $50 for two and remember what good food tastes like. Sticker shocked, but still eager for upscaling - you can purchase 'gourmet' coffee and ice cream. FOOD- Do not miss Vines for sushi or the International Cafe for pastries and quiches. No doubt these delicious venues will probably be surcharged soon, as being an upscale experience. The buffets (other than walking distance from the pool, I could discern no difference between Horizons and Caribe)are lacking in every detail- decor, service and above all, taste. The food reminded me of a college dining hall, with odd, mystery meats, weary salads and treacly desserts. There are no carving stations, pasta stations or speciality sections, just lots of indistinguisable heaps of food. The formal dining rooms do try to put on a better show, but the food is really not very good, going more for size than savoring. My first night I ordered beef tenderloin, received two hearty pieces and wished for just one, more tender one. The salads and soups were very bland. Our server(s)( they changed mid week )were like the food -adequate. Pleasant, but not very inspired. The Crown and Sabatinis were a return to 'old' style cruising, where the food was artfully prepared, presented and served. I would definitely recommend at least one dinner at either venue to have a lasting memory. The Wheelhouse on sea days has a nice pub style menu- the portions are small (especially the Ploughmans' plate) but manna compared to the buffet. The pizza on deck is surprisingly good too. Do try and do at least one afternoon tea. The tea was bracing and hot, the scones, sweets and finger sandwiches very good. It is a nice respite from the endless noise masquerading as music from the pool areas. PUBLIC AREAS- The three story piazza is absolutely stunning, with out being overdone, just very elegant. One of my loveliest experiences was listening to classical music in the 'courtyard' sipping wine from Vines. The restaurants and bars are well designed and comfortable. The Adagio bar reminds of the Ritz. Great martinis and pianist - a sweet spot before dinner or after. Club Fusion, Explorers and the Wheelhouse are also nicely done and complement the entertainment venues. Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) great fun- popcorn, blankets and a big screen under the stars. We saw the Superbowl there - what an experience ( though compared to an earlier cruise lacked a special party buffet and beer specials, with half time activities). POOLS/SUNNING- Four pools and five hot tubs, three stories of lounge chairs. The 2 main pools have the most people and activity. I loved the lotus pool, it was never crowded and felt very private ( I'm sure some people assumed it was part of the Sanctuary pay package). The hot tubs were maddening- like tea kettles on hot days and lukewarm on the cool days. CABIN- Like the dining room, adequate, but not exceptional. The decor and furnishing seemed really rather tired. I did like the very large closet area. The balcony was small and noisy- the partitions go only 3/4 of the way up and you can hear your neighbors stirring the ice in their glasses. I didn't spend as much time as I imagined there because of the lack of privacy and noise. SHOPPING- 2 stories of nothing. The usual suspects - perfume, liquor and jewelry, which can be had for far less on shore. Overpriced, sportswear with the ship logo and not much else. Most ships have special sale days, the Princess didn't other than a rag tag sale in one of the dining rooms with piles of t-shirts in heaps. ENTERTAINMENT- The house bands were good. The 2 comedians were MUCH better than expected. Classical music was a nice change. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Service was good and ship was adequately staffed. Food was at best mediocre. Up scale dinning options were very disappointing and not worth the money. We asked around and found one fellow who claimed the Crown Grill was as good of a Steak ... Read More
Service was good and ship was adequately staffed. Food was at best mediocre. Up scale dinning options were very disappointing and not worth the money. We asked around and found one fellow who claimed the Crown Grill was as good of a Steak House and Ruth's Chris Steak House and it was more like Golden Coral or Ponderosa. Sabatini's was a real disappointment as well, you only get to pick your entree while all the other offering are "pushed" at you. Style of dinning was not enjoyable. Food all tasted the same as though there was was one seasoning they predominantly used in all dishes. We love spicy flavorful foods and in-particularly love good Italian but this was not it. RCCL's Italian offering beat PCL hands down. Rooms were just like every other boat I have been on; no complaint. Ship is not particularly kid friendly in that the pool for the little kids is far removed from the pool for the 8 yr old type kids, thus either the little ones had to sit by and watch the older ones "swim" or the older ones had to sit back and watch the little ones "splash". Princess used to have a reputation for being a step above RCCL or Carnival but alas the economy must be forcing them to cut corners in most areas except staffing. As stated earlier the boat was well staffed and the service was good with one exception; see below. There is a seafood wine bar on the 5th deck that opens at 4pm and offers sushi and assorted cheeses. Nice place. However, there is but ONE food preparer and he was the slowest most deliberate person I have ever seen in action. In this case the word "action" is a oxymoron. He was so slow and deliberate that you would have though he was handling nitroglycerin. I was 5th in line and it took me an hour to get a plate of sushi and a plate of cheese for a table of three!!!! He had no eye contact with customers, no verbal interface, nothing!!!! By the time I got our "little $58.00 snack" I was ready to jump over the counter and strangle him. They had one helper who stated she was not "classified to touch food" and she spent all her time apologizing for the debacle. Last but not least, 2 of our party of 8 got off the boat with severe case of diarrhea that is still haunting us in the worst way 6 days later. Both of us had to go to the doctor in an attempt to get cured lest we vanish from the face of the earth. D526, D528, D530 All mini suites All OK Wish there was a room divider (curtain or wall) between sleeping section and sitting section so one could open door to balcony or watch TV w/o disturbing the one still in bed. Closet area was immediately adjacent to bathroom and this was a cluster $#%&)%@ when one was getting cloths from closet and another was going into our out of the bathroom and there was so little room. If you weren't cautious you would get bonked by the bathroom door. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my ... Read More
Our first day on board started with immediate problems. This was the 4th Princess Cruise for my husband and myself but the first cruise for my children and granchildren. My son, his wife and thier twins were put into a room for 3 when my husband and I booked and paid for a room for 4. The names on the booking manifest clearly showed 4 cruisers for a room for 4. When questioned, the purser told us that this was the way it was to be. They had no more rooms to offer despite the mistake. My children and grand kids stayed in a room designed for 3 with a roll away bed for my grandson with Cerebral Palsy. The room was a liability and a fire trap. There was no room to get out of beds but rather to crawl over each other!!!! When I spoke to Princess upon my arrival home, I was essentially told that a room with a roll away constitutes a room for 4! This is rubbish and I know it it is not correct. My daughter was taken ill last minute and was unable to come on the cruise, It was too late to get a refund. I boarded the ship and told them that I was requesting the use of her room for our disposal since we had paid for it. I was given a key. An hour later, the key was de programed and the room taken from us. The purser told us that the room belonged to Princess even tho I had paid for it. They were going to upgrade another passenger on MY DIME. This is reprehensible!! I have sailed 4 times with Princess and this was by far the worst. Our room stewart forgot bath mats and gave me a robe that was clearly stained with what looked like blood. We never saw him to make requests and had to leave notes. Our waiters got our food orders wrong. On disembarcation day in port, the hot water was turned off and no one could shower. The poolside music was not Caribbean and did not fit the theme of the cruise. They allowed the constant breaking of the ships rules. People were putting their towels on chaises to reserve and then walked off to return later. No reserving was to be allowed. We sailed into Roatan into a port that Carnival/Princess built and operated. Any money spent at this port goes into the coffers of Carnival/Princess. When they could not or would not sail out that evening due some breeze issues or so say they, we were forced to spend the night there, making us bypass Cozumel. Cozumel was to be the highlight of our trip. Upon my return home, I relayed this issue and told Princess that they consciously set this situation up to fail. This was NOT the first time this had happened. I made a point of telling them that tendering in was the resolve. I was told that tendering was not/is not an option due to some farce of a safety issue. The tendering would be far safer then the scenario of a squeezing a large ship into a bottle. My complaints were all listed in a letter to Princess upon my return home. I received a call over 4 weeks later from a young CSR who responded to my complaints in a rather well scripted manner. This scenario was the result of a well versed young lady prompted and practiced to feed me a line of Princess rhetoric. I truly did NOT expect this from Princess. I honestly thought that there would be some kind of restitution while not big, just something. I now have my travel agent working on trying to get this sorted out. Until and unless Princess does right by us, there will be no future cruises with Princess. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean and honestly.....they should have been the line that I was building credits with all along! Very Disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
With about a dozen cruises behind us, hopefully a reasonably balanced perspective...but we're inclined to agree with several other reviewers, this particular Princess Cruise (4/03/2010 Western Caribbean) was the worst we've ... Read More
With about a dozen cruises behind us, hopefully a reasonably balanced perspective...but we're inclined to agree with several other reviewers, this particular Princess Cruise (4/03/2010 Western Caribbean) was the worst we've experienced to date. Having taken our first cruise 25 years ago, we continue to be left with the impression that the pressures of the industry (and a growing client base who has never had the opportunity to expect more ) are witnessing the slow erosion of the overall cruise experience on the major lines. We're still fairly positive on this style of vacation, but when you start to look at the accumulating list of issues , one wonders if there is value in illuminating them. New and experienced cruisers should expect (and get ) more...and if we don't let the industry know what we expect, the erosion seems likely to continue. This particular voyage was a case study in opportunities for improvement: (1) If you're going to have smoking rules, enforce them. Smoke filled hallways. Platinum/Elite daily cocktail hour avoided because the room it was set up in was so smoky. Crew and passengers smoking at will on open decks, often without regard for other guests who were downwind of them. (It is interesting that there are smoking stations on the promenade deck which are positioned at the front of the ship so that everything drifts rearward when in motion). We saw crew members huddled around them , obviously trying to obey the rules, and having their good intentions defeated by poorly thought out positioning of the smoking station. Certainly it is awkward to have to approach a guest and ask them to respect the rules, but leaving it to passengers to step up to that is worse, and unless the marketing demographics show that smokers are (and are likely to continue to be) the majority client, it is short sighted management. I'm not on a crusade against people who smoke, but when they don't realize the impact they are having on the rest of the guests, the crew should step up to that. (2) Cozumel missed because ship could not navigate narrow channel in Roatan harbor due to moderate winds. Tough to figure this one. Why would Princess accept a port design that subjects them to this problem (it is apparently not the first time) . Another ship blocked into port because the Crown could not leave, causing them to miss their next port as well (imagine what they were thinking when told that a 4 year old ship in front of them didn't have the thruster power or navigational controls to sail out of port under conditions which most passengers on deck would have described as a pleasant breeze ). Anybody considered tendering if this is a common problem, and ship selection and channel engineering are not options? There was some understandable speculation among passengers that this event was more about congestion in Cozumel (8 ships next day), and a desire to preserve the stop at Princess Cays (where Princess has a captive audience, and greater profit potential). Commentary from Captain: Sorry, but we don't control the weather. Captain: How about answering the harder questions your largely well educated clientele are asking themselves? (3) Disembarkation: 700 passengers trying to use "Express Walk-Off" out of ~3000, many with baggage that clearly did not meet the requirements of the program. Mid ship elevators down due to water line break. People stacking up in hallways and stairwells. No line control or logistics. 4 Mini-buses apparently commandeered from port authority to shuttle hundreds of passengers to the other side of the port for their cars because the Crown had departed from a different terminal. People standing in line in traffic to try and catch buses, creating a safety hazard. There were a dozen larger Princess buses sitting in the area, presumably allocated to paid transfers or other shore destinations...and most appeared to be under utilized. (4) Water Line Break: Morning of disembarkation. No water for showers, toilets, or even general sink hygiene for Aloha deck. No announcement to passengers (I feel bad for folks who were mid-shower). No contingency plan (how about opening up the Spa rest-rooms/showers early...thought of that but found the place locked up tight) or even giving people some other guidance. Definitely had the feel of "Well, you are all leaving anyway, so whatever". Yes...bad things do sometimes happen...but Princess: what was your PLAN? If you can figure out that people appreciate a wet face cloth handed to them when re-boarding after a port call, perhaps you can come up with a back-up plan for this kind of a fiasco. (5) Entertainment: Granted, this was probably impacted by the missed port in Cozumel (where entertainers often join a cruise), but with the exception of the production show and a comedian...the theory seemed to be "put a cheerleader on stage and see if you can get the passengers to entertain themselves". One had the impression that the "International Crew" show was originally something kept under glass in case of emergency, and now is an opportunity for cost control. To be fair, some of the performers were talented, but some of it was very hackneyed, and some material was inappropriate for a general audience. One bright spot was a balloon volleying event where theatre guests cooperated in keeping hundreds of balloons aloft while waiting for the show to start. Hard to tell if that was planned or not, but it actually upstaged the show, and had kids of all ages chuckling. (6) Promenade: "A leisurely walk in a public place", at least according to Webster's Not anymore....as the running deck space get squeezed out to make room for more deck chairs, the promenade deck is starting to look like the NYC marathon. Nothing wrong with exercise, but having a thundering herd of sweaty runners passing continuously in front of you, or being subject to evil glares if you have the audacity to slow them down by attempting to take a leisurely stroll on this deck kind of detracts from the experience. Forget about reading, or (heaven forbid) dozing off to the sound of the water. Somewhere in the rules it used to say "Walkers Welcome...even Power Walkers"...but now we seem to have Triathelete Cruisers... Perhaps some encouragement from the staff to take advantage of the fitness center treadmills or the upper deck where the track is designed for this would be appreciated by a larger majority who just want to take in the views. Enough...a sense of humor helps...in all things. If you are a like minded cruiser, cast your vote with the cruise lines...maybe they will listen. If you are a cruise line employee reading these boards for insight...perhaps you'll find something here worth considering. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Things To Appreciate about Princess: (1) They build ships that still look like ships (A public announcement commented as we left port that the "Monstrosity of the Seas" could be seen on the Port Side, attempting to squeeze out ... Read More
Things To Appreciate about Princess: (1) They build ships that still look like ships (A public announcement commented as we left port that the "Monstrosity of the Seas" could be seen on the Port Side, attempting to squeeze out of the Ft Lauderdale Harbor). (2) Afternoon Tea: Classiest Act Onboard....the only bad part is the risk of filling up on scones , and not being hungry for dinner. (3) Cookie Man : If you have seen him, and are not smiling even now as I mention him....find him on your next Crown Princess visit. (4) The Pool Deck: An absolute passenger magnet on sunny sea days. Frees up the rest of the ship for those who prefer a quieter corner, or who burn easily. (5) They only charge for Excursions when you Board, rather than months ahead like some other lines. (6) They hand out frozen washcloths as you re-board or tender back to ship. Amusing...and fun to watch people figure out how best to use them. (7) Production Shows - When they are "On"....they're worth the wait for a good seat. (8) Promenade Deck - Grab a Chair and wait to see a collision or near miss between someone on their cell phone and a runner. Better than NASCAR. (9) They don't always hit the mark with the food, but they cheerfully change out your choice in the MDR, and if you can't find at least one thing you like at the buffet, or in the International Cafe...you should look for something you can't identify...and try it..... (10) If you smile and say hello to even the lowliest crew member...they will return the favor. (11) Even if you're not that into wildlife (outside the bars)...brave the crowds and kiss a stingray in Cayman. (12) Roatan has the second largest barrier reef on the planet after Australia....one way or the other...see it. (13) You can turn off your cell phone, your laptop, the TV....and watch the iridescent green propeller wake disappear in the ocean behind the ship, or the stars roll by at night in a dimly lit area of the deck, and feel appropriately insignificant ...as we should ...being brief visitors on this planet. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our first cruise in more than 20 years, and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. Missing Cozumel was a huge deal for us, we really wanted to see Mayan ruins - it was the largest factor in choosing this ship/itinerary. I felt ... Read More
This was our first cruise in more than 20 years, and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. Missing Cozumel was a huge deal for us, we really wanted to see Mayan ruins - it was the largest factor in choosing this ship/itinerary. I felt sorry for the crew, they worked so hard but many people were really angry and upset. I never heard an explanation as to why we couldn't just arrive late in Cozumel and skip Princess Cay? Roatan was just a (bad) beach stop when the Cabana we'd rented was giving to Carnival passengers before we arrived. And Princess Cay was nice, but the end of the day was crazy with everyone having to stand in line forever to get on tenders. I was not impressed by the food, it was okay in the Da Vinci and the service was good but I would have liked better, fresher food on the buffet for some quicker meals. Very glad I got the coffee card, the coffee was often out at the buffet. I liked the MUTS, and some of the trivia games, and enjoyed the (pricey!) spa. I was upset to realize the theater show was PG-13 as I sat there with my children, we had to get up and walk out. The comic was good and we were very sorry we missed seeing the 2nd one, I guess he was to have boarded in Cozumel? The whole week's entertainment was thrown off, so we missed things and were generally unsatisfied with the shows. The last morning the water was cut off without warning while I was half done with my shower. And then were were hassled by Homeland Security about our lack of passports after we'd been assured by Princess that we didn't need them, the birth certificates would be fine. Sure, they were "fine" but the homeland security guy said our names would now be on the warning list and if we went again without them we could have to pay fines. I don't think I'm generally a crank or that I have lofty expectations, but I'm really happy we got a significant discount on the cruise (and nice cabin upgrades, we'd paid for BF and got BB) because I felt the value was much less than what I expected. We're not likely to cruise again anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Embark was the best we've encountered. On the ship and straight to our room in less than an hour. Luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Spent the afternoon having lunch at the buffet and exploring the ship but was disappointed with the ... Read More
Embark was the best we've encountered. On the ship and straight to our room in less than an hour. Luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Spent the afternoon having lunch at the buffet and exploring the ship but was disappointed with the music on board especially when the first tune the band plays is desperado and we're headed to the Carib. In fact, never heard any Carib. music all week long on the ship. Highlight of the cruise had to be the day at Roatan. Best beach of the week, Carib. music, good food and spent some time with some of the crew who apparently had some time off. Fun day. Disappointed in Princess Cays. Not nearly as good as Half Moon Cay. Rocky beach and not enuf chairs. Picnic was poorly organized and food was mediocore at best. Carnival knows how to do this best. Princess needs to start enforcing their rules on the ship. Signs say no jumping or diving in the pool but it goes on all day and I observed several older cruisers who would not go in the water because of this and actually got up and left the area after complaining and nothing was done about it. Signs also say no reserving deck chairs but it starts as early as 7 AM. One person brings 5 towels and books and puts them on five chairs that never get used til11 or 12noon. Lots of people waking around looking for seats. Same thing on MUTS. Promenade deck was being used by Joggers which caused many folks not to stay on the deck. Basketball court and Mini-golf were a disaster. BB court was falling apart, there were days when there was 4 balls at the BB court and all not inflated. Our room B323 was well maintained but very small compared to what we have been used to with Carnival. Steaward did a good job except he forgot shower towels one day and seemed to rush us out around 8AM on Saturday AM. Food was as good as we've experienced on other ships and the wait staff was excellant. We were on the 6PM dining and got to know our waiters which made for an enjoyable meal. Most of the staff on the rest of the ship were very friendly and the service throughout was excellant. We were disappointed in the entertainment. The shows did not seem to be up to the same level as other shows we've seen and the Cruise Director was one of the worst we've encountered. I felt like he was in a hurry to get off the stage like maybe he didn't want to be there and wasn't that funny. To summarize....The Crown is a beautiful ship, service is outstanding, Crew is very friendly but we are headed back to Carnival for a week of fun. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our worst cruise to date. Being a platinum member of Princess I expect better. A completely different experience then our November cruise on the Crown. [[The] Captain is new to the Crown and from what I gathered the crew is not ... Read More
This was our worst cruise to date. Being a platinum member of Princess I expect better. A completely different experience then our November cruise on the Crown. [[The] Captain is new to the Crown and from what I gathered the crew is not very fond of him. He can come on the ship's intercom and crack joke after joke however he needs to do a better job at running the ship. Where do I start: Nine hundred kids running amok all hours of the day and night. Running down the hallways and on the outside decks very late at night with no supervision from ship staff at all!!! Deck chairs on sea days, maybe at 7:30am but nothing left later in the day. We are anytime diners. After boarding we went to the Botticelli dinning room to make a reservation for Sat. evening. We were told by an extremely rude hostess, we could not do this in person and would have to call. There was a house phone two feet from her podium. We picked up the phone, were put on hold for ten minutes (while watching her do nothing) and when we finally got through she laughed as though it was some kind of a joke. Entertainment was by far the worst we have experienced on a Princess ship. One comedian for an hour during the entire week. One hypnotist show, the singers and dancers and that was it. This was all due to captain's decision that it was too windy to leave Roatan for Cozumel. So we spent the night in Roatan, never made Cozumel,had an extra sea day and had no new entertainment. Why spend over sixty million dollars to build Mahogany Bay in Roatan and leave such a narrow channel that ships cannot leave when winds exceed 25 knots. The new Carnival Dream was docked behind us and they could not get out so they also spent the night docked in Roatan. Lots of angry people on board after being informed we would not go to Cozumel however this issue was never addressed by the captain. Food was typical Princess fare. We went to the Crown Grill for Easter diner and that was great!! To make matters worse, there was a major leak on the ship when we docked back in Ft Lauderdale. All mid ship elevators were down and they turned off all the water on Aloha deck. They never bothered to inform passengers that the water would be turned off. Disembarkation was the worst. Too many color groups called at once therefore long lines at customs. The night before the cruise I called Princess after reading on the Port Everglades web site that the Crown would be docked a berth 21 instead of the usual berth 2. I was informed this was an error and we would be at berth 2. Upon arrival the crown was indeed at berth 21. However, at the end of the cruise the Crown went to berth 2 so all the folks that parked their cars in the mid port parking were now far away from their cars. I'm glad I wasn't one of them. They apparently were shuttled to their cars. Will I cruise Princess again, yes. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We said to wonderful ports on this cruise, and I have to say that this is what saved the trip. The ship went all around stopping in ports in Guernsey, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and a final day in Paris. We chose to book an inside ... Read More
We said to wonderful ports on this cruise, and I have to say that this is what saved the trip. The ship went all around stopping in ports in Guernsey, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and a final day in Paris. We chose to book an inside cabin to save money and to spend our money on the ports and excursions. This was a good idea, as we didn't spend much time in the room anyway. The ports were fantastic - and although expensive the excursions we went on were good - with really knowledgeable and fun tour guides. I have to say that the cabin was fine, and our room steward was wonderful. We ate in the dining rooms, and at the buffet. The food was okay, but nothing to write home about. We were disappointed in the service, we had to constantly ask for our drinks to be refilled, or to get water or ice tea or coffee. Often we had to go get our own - but they were really good about picking up the finished plates! There's way too much up-selling going on - it seemed like everywhere we went they were trying to sell us something else. We were on the Aloha deck (which as deck 12). It was easy to get up to the deck with the pools and the buffet, (deck 15), and down to the decks with the shops (deck 7). We ended up going up and down the stairs because the elevators were very slow, and almost always were packed full. Getting on board was easy, and the transfers back to the airport efficient. They handled the multitudes of people pretty well - we had to wait for the tenders to get to shore, and had to line up for the buses for the excursions. The entertainment was pretty good - the people that they brought on board were far superior to the bigger show productions. We loved the juggler, singer and violinist. We also enjoyed some of the local talent that were brought on board in the afternoons - it added to the flavor of the ports. All in all, it was a nice vacation, but quite expensive with the excursions. I also think we'll go with a smaller ship next time, and probably will hesitate before we take another Princess Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Background: 20th cruise, first time on Princess, married couple Cruise: British Isles June 2010, 9 ports, 12 days, Princess transfer from Heathrow to ship appeared purposely slow. Through customs with luggage by 9:30 but did not get to ... Read More
Background: 20th cruise, first time on Princess, married couple Cruise: British Isles June 2010, 9 ports, 12 days, Princess transfer from Heathrow to ship appeared purposely slow. Through customs with luggage by 9:30 but did not get to the ship till almost 1 pm. Embarkation was very fast due to the on-line preregistration. Luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Spent the afternoon having lunch at the buffet and exploring the ship. Our room, E516, was well maintained but very small compared to what we have been used to with Holland America. The room was a quad with 2 drop down bunks for the just the two of us. We had to stoop over to get out of bed to avoid getting hit in the head. The beds were quite hard even with an extra foam pad. Steward did a good job maintaining the room. We had paid for an E level flexible room, which we understood was E or better. We found out that passengers buying tickets just before sailing were given significantly better rooms and paid a fraction of what we paid. We felt we should have been upgraded not the late comers. Dining room food was definitely not as good as other ships. Choices included meat loaf, pot roast, dry tom turkey, grisly NY strip steaks, very tiny lobster tails and several types of heavily breaded scallops, fish and chicken (hard to tell the difference). Fish did not taste fresh and veal scaloppini was very tough - both went back to the kitchen. Even deserts were very plain. The apple pie was more like apple sauce between soggy dough. The wait staff was excellent. We were on "anytime dining" and enjoyed the flexibility of dining at our leisure, usually later in the evening. We were encouraged to try the two specialty dining rooms, Italian +$20 and a steak house +$25 but never did, nor did anyone else, as they were almost empty every night of the cruise. The staff on the rest of the ship were very friendly and the service throughout was excellent. The dining surprise of the cruise was the buffet. On several evenings after reading the dining room menu we compared it to the buffet choices and found the buffet offering additional items and we could request larger or smaller portions at our discretion. For example, on the 1st night the buffet offered unlimited crab claws - this was never offered in the dining room. Also, the buffet featured specialty deserts like Banana's Foster, Peach Melba and Cherries Jubilee. None of these offered in the "anytime" dining rooms. Princess appears to be steering its guests to the buffet to reduce labor costs. We were disappointed in the entertainment. The shows were not up to the same level as other shows we've seen. The comedians each had one routine that they performed over multiple days. Other "shows" were the various lounge bands performing on stage the music they had been playing all week in the lounges. The "Movies under the Stars" and TV sports all day by the pool is a great idea for a warm weather cruise. But the British coast was far too cold to enjoy pool side activities. Holland America's retractable roof would have been a great feature on this ship. The late night disco featured good music but as this was an early port each morning and more mature crowd it was usually very dull. The dance floor itself was sticky and grooved, thus hard to dance upon. The ports, 9 of them in England, Scotland, Ireland and France, were the highlight of the trip. The ship offered many inclusive shore excursions at exorbitant prices. We found that prearranged private tours and shuttles into the cities to use the HOHO (hop on hop off) busses was far more efficient, economical and pleasurable. Edinburgh was our favorite historic port, Honfleur a great artist community, Blarney Castle a tourist trap - but you still have to go once to kiss the stone and we just missed Nessy at Loc Ness. Liverpool is building tourist attractions on its Beatles reputation. Likewise Belfast is building on its "Troubles" conflict and Glasgow can thank Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" for making Sterling Castle a must see. Disembarkation was the fastest we have ever seen. Early departures started at 6:30 am and last departures were at 8:45 am. To summarize....The Crown Princess is a big ship, maybe too big. Service is outstanding, Crew is very friendly, Ports were excellent for prior cruisers, Food and Entertainment were very disappointing so we are headed back to Holland America or Crystal for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
First let me say that this was a "last minute" cruise for us. We had booked another cruise (Northern Europe) but PCL offered a last minute deal for us to give up our cabin which we couldn't refuse! So, a lot of "running ... Read More
First let me say that this was a "last minute" cruise for us. We had booked another cruise (Northern Europe) but PCL offered a last minute deal for us to give up our cabin which we couldn't refuse! So, a lot of "running around" to get to know the ports right quick! I will attempt to be as fair as possble. I have sailed three times with PCL the rest with Carnival. In comparing the Europe experience between CCL and PCL, CCL wins hand down (Freedom August 2007) I will attempt to make this review painless for you so I will just type/review as I recall. Spa - did not use Jogging track - it's truly a joke. You have to walk 16 times around the very small area where people are playng golf to complete one mile. We decided to go to Promenade Deck 7. Though u really can't jog - it was great! Ship itself - OK - nothig spetacular. Entertainment - due to its port intensiveness - we did not do much regarding this - mostly did the Movies under the Sun for Tina Turner's concert and Iron Man II - However, audio not the greatest. :( Additional entertainment - nice violinist who played throughout the cruise - a few jugglers and a contortionist (?) not sure if that is what it was but she was pretty neat Food - OMGosh! This was an experience. A bad one! :( DaVinci one nite and it was enough. The waiter goofed up three orders in a row. Ours - the couple next to us and the couple next to them. Food was mediocre to say the least. I understand about taste buds; choices; etc. etc. but... trust me, if you are cruising for the food, stay home! This was truly awful. The soups were the only things that were actually good. Food was too bland; not sure if they thought because of the age group (average 55 oldest around 80) but I heard many a senior complain that this food was "awful"! However, the Internatinal Cafe on Deck 5 was more then accomodating. They offered much better sandwiches; deserts (all free) except for a few items like specialty coffees; etc.. Gelato - 3 scoops for $1.50 this is unbelievably delicious!! It tasted better then the Gelato we had in Rome. My husband went back several times. I did also :) Much of curry was served; mexican two lunch buffets; still nothing to brag about. Compared to the meals served on the Carnival Freedom during our Med/Greek Isles cruise; there is no comparison. Or let's just say CCL was truly serving up the best tasting and varied food at sea compared to PCL's Crown. :( Cabin - Very nice. Our steward Damakor - Outstanding!!! Very sweet; non-instrusive; always there when we needed him. The walk-in closest was a very nice touch. Balcony as always, small but nice. Nice touch with the TV guide for the entire cruise along with the flat-screen TV and of course the Fridge. People who cruised - As I mentioned - average 55 to 80. Some teens; a few younger ones. Some couples in their 30's and 40's - Overall everyone seemed very nice. We met different groups of people while waiting in line for attractions such as the Blarney Stone - Hi Lettie - hi Mr. Photographer! :) and continued to enjoy passing them at different occassions on the ship. Staff - This was the best - They all seemed to sincerely want to help you. They went out of their way to acknowledge us at all times. The Pursers' were outstanding. Never saw huge lines; this is a good sign :) Valeria - from Argentina was very sweet; seemed a bit serious at first but it is mostly the "professional" in her. The staff at the International Cafe was also outstanding. All in all, we enjoyed the cruise and the cruisers around us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We spent a day in London prior to sailing, and were booked at the Crowne Plaza St. James with many other Crown Princess passengers. It was a convenient location with Westminster and Buckingham Palace within easy walking distance, and St. ... Read More
We spent a day in London prior to sailing, and were booked at the Crowne Plaza St. James with many other Crown Princess passengers. It was a convenient location with Westminster and Buckingham Palace within easy walking distance, and St. Paul's a convenient distance on bus #11. Princess was supposed to have agents available at the hotel, but none was around during the time given to us. Embarkation went smoothly considering the number (3100) passengers handled. Service was very good throughout the trip. Meals were average. We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet and dinner in the Michelangelo restaurant, open seating. Entertainment ranged from fairly good to awful; overall it was above average but not as good as on previous cruises. The Crown Princess singers and dancers were talented and energetic, and there was a very popular singer comedian from Wales that filled the audience. There was a magician who was good, but I had seen his card trick show on a cruise two years ago. There was also some local talent in two Scottish ports that were okay, and a horrible comedian from Switzerland whose idea of fun was to embarrass audience members rather than entertaining them. We (and others) left after five minutes. Peters Port, Guernsey: This was a pleasant surprise. After being tendered ashore, we decided to do a walking tour on a beautiful day. The best stop we had was the local church where we learned a lot about the Nazi occupation and how the two populations have reconciled over the years. Overall it was a pleasant day. Cobn/Cork: We took a train from the dock (about a two minute walk) to Cork. In Cork we took a combination tour of Cork and Blarney Castle by bus. The Cork tour did nothing for us, and Blarney Castle was overrated. The castle is a shell of its former self, and the grounds are only average. There was a 90 minute wait to kiss the Blarney Stone and share oral flora with millions of other visitors, which we declined to do. Actually the best part of the day was walking around Cobn and enjoying the beautiful day and a little ale in a pub. Dublin: We took the shuttle ($12 round trip each) to the city, fairly close to Trinity College. We had a short wait to see the Book of Kells and Library; the sooner you get there, the shorter the wait. We then proceeded to Dublin Palace and St. Patrick's Cathedral. All three sites were well worth the visit. We would have liked more time, but the ship had to sail early due to a tide problem. Although it was cloudy, it was another day without rain. Liverpool: I walked around the port area. Liverpool is a clean city with nice buildings and a modern shopping area, but not much to see. This was more like a day at sea than a sightseeing stop. Belfast: We took the ship's Giant's Causeway tour. The weather was spectacular. It was a nice trip through the Irish countryside and resort areas. The Causeway includes some unique geological formations and walking pathways. There's also a shuttle available for the trek from the visitor center. The guide was good except for his numerous stories about the McKool myth rather than the geology of the area. This would probably be a lousy trip on a rainy day. We did not get into the city at all. Greenock/Glasgow: The people of Greenock are very helpful and would very much like you to stay rather than visit Glasgow. They even offer free tours of the area. We took a train to Glasgow and did a Ho-Ho tour for 5GBP each. Nothing we saw did anything for us, so we returned to Greenock. Upon departure, we were entertained by a pipe band. Thank you, Greenock! Invergordon: We took the ship's tour to Dunrobin Castle. It was a good tour, as we had plenty of time to tour the castle and gardens. Again we were blessed with excellent weather. At departure, we again were fortunate to be entertained by a local pipe band. Thank you! Edinburgh: We got on the tender at 9:15 and didn't get ashore until 10:00, because the dock at South Queensferry could handle only one tender at a time. We took the advice of the ship's port lecturer and decided to take the train into Edinburgh. He told us that the train station was right there at the dock, when it was actually about a 20 minute walk over some rather steep terrain. There was also a shuttle company at the pier that was offering round trip service for 10GPB. We ended up with the public bus service which, thanks to some very helpful local folks, gave us a nice round trip to the city for 3GBP each. Edinburgh is jammed with entertainers and vendors in August. We went first to the castle and spent about three hours there. We then proceeded down the Royal Mile to St. Giles Cathedral, which has some great displays of stained glass. We passed on the Tattoo, which was long sold out. Other passengers who used the ship's tour said it was a great show, but with some problems. One was that the seats were very cramped for tall people, and the other was that they had to depart at 17:30 and didn't return until 2:00 for a 90 minute show. Also when they got back, they had to stand in a heavy rain waiting for the very slow tender service. Le Havre: We took the tour of Normandy on another spectacular day. It's one of those that will stick with you or the rest of your life. My only complaint is that the tour stopped at a lunch in a converted farmhouse and spent about 90 minutes there. I would have much preferred a stop at Subway and more time at the sites. Disembarkation went smoothly, although this was the first cruise that offered a five hour time frame to correct all the errors in assignment of departure times. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We can recommend most of the stops (Dublin, Belfast, Invergordon, Edinburgh, Normandy) but this may be our first and last cruise with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I have attempted to make this user friendly for our readers. *Disembarkment was smooth out of Southampton. Very well organized. *The Crown was a beautiful ship. I was extremely pleased to see Captain Nash make an appearance at our Roll ... Read More
I have attempted to make this user friendly for our readers. *Disembarkment was smooth out of Southampton. Very well organized. *The Crown was a beautiful ship. I was extremely pleased to see Captain Nash make an appearance at our Roll Call M&G. It was very thoughtful. My biggest complaint is the public areas and overall seating in the theater and Horizon Court. Every performance or meal it was a fight to find a seat. Forget getting a sandwich at the lovely International Cafe because you were not going to be able to find a seat to sit down and enjoy it. Due to the weather the outdoor spaces are not usable forcing everyone inside. Every venue is crowded. *We had an inside cabin. It was clean and well kept during the voyage. *Food was average at best. I can remember sailing with Princess years ago when there were speciality dishes created at your table each night. Waiters would encourage nay I say demand that you try every dish on the menu. If they thought you were the least bit disappointed in a dish they were bringing you something else Appetizers were sitting around the Piazza each evening before dinner. This is certainly not the Princess of today. Serving sizes get smaller each year. Unless you have crusied in the past, you would never know that more than one item can be ordered. It's a well kept secret these days. *International Cafe was very pleasant. I enjoyed the sandwiches and salads. A little more variety would have been nice. *Fitness Center was fine. I know that many were very upset that it did not open until 7:00 am. There was typically a mad dash for the treadmills. Many could not be used until 9:00 am because of the cabins below. The two managers were the most unfriendly I have ever encountered on a ship. I spent no less than 3 hrs a day every day on-board in the gym and never received a good morning. However, the equipment was good and I enjoyed the view. Overall I was satisfied although opening earlier would have been a great help. *Port Calls were a major disappointment. The main reason for choosing this cruise was for the port of calls in Belfast and Iceland. Due to weather conditions both ports were aborted. I can't explain how disappointed we were. All the saving and planning to see these places were lost. I have been on cruises where we missed ports before but never the major attractions. Everyone was very upset. Apparently, this is not uncommon. We found out that in 2009 that group missed four of the six ports. The weather improved and we were able to do some scenic cruising outside of Greenland which was beautiful. Also the weather was good for our port call in Greenland and St. John's. I enjoyed both stops. *Shows were average. The usual you find on board; comedians, hypnotist, etc. Only problem as stated before was lack of seating. MUTS is a total waste on this cruise due to the weather. Overall, the cruise was nice. I did enjoy Greenland and St. John's. I would not recommend this cruise to others unless they were more interested in relaxation than sightseeing. Missing the ports really spoiled the trip for me. Also, the nickel and diming is getting unbearable. Every time you turn around there is a new charge for something. The mark up on alcohol and tours is becoming outrageous. It seems that with each cruise the special things that set Princess apart are becoming fewer and fewer. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Having cruised approximately ten times on various other lines I would rate this one 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. Expecting Princess to be exceptional, we were disappointed. We heard complaints from many other passengers who had cruised ... Read More
Having cruised approximately ten times on various other lines I would rate this one 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. Expecting Princess to be exceptional, we were disappointed. We heard complaints from many other passengers who had cruised Princess before and said it didn't used to be this way. We especially did not like the configuration of the ship. Other cruises have a comfortable lounge from which you can relax and see the view. Princess has used any potential for a lounge for additional money makers. The best view on the bough is taken by a large, expensive spa and gym. (It should be a lounge) and the stern with a $10 a person charge called the Sanctuary. It was always empty and a turnoff to many passengers we talked to. There were few outside areas with shade and view so we were grateful for our balcony. The theater is too small so shows were repeated and still could not accommodate 3,600 passengers. The large TV outside which should suck up a large number of passengers served no purpose when the temperature turned to 48 degrees, specifically the day at sea which was the only marginal weather we had. We spent a lot of it in our cabin since every inch inside was overcrowded. This ship should stay in the Caribbean for sun worshipers. The tour desk always had a line and was only open 8:00 to 10:00. Getting information from anyone was almost impossible. The buffet food was less than exceptional, however the dining rooms were better. The change in itinerary, canceling Bar Harbor, turned a lot off. One day we tendered was an hour or longer wait to get a tender. It didn't seen they had enough tenders for 3,600 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
* Background Information Only cruised once before (Feb. 2010) in the Celebrity Solstice. * Ship Info Crown Princess is only 4 years old but obviously 4 years in "sea time" are like 8 or 12 years in "land ... Read More
* Background Information Only cruised once before (Feb. 2010) in the Celebrity Solstice. * Ship Info Crown Princess is only 4 years old but obviously 4 years in "sea time" are like 8 or 12 years in "land time"... The ship is beginning to lack in some areas. Age begins to show. * Activities Plenty of choices. Better than Celebrity in this area only! * Service Good, but does not compare with the Solstice. * Port & Shore Excursions Good and bad experiences. 7 mile beach in Grand Cayman was very satisfactory as was also the Tabyana beach tour in Roatan. The Tulum ruins tour in Cozumel lacked in three areas: =Tour schedule was dictated by local company and was not up to par. Stopped for shopping at an authentic "tourist trap"... =AC in the bus was insufficient. =Misleading brochure advertised time for shopping or sightseeing in "city" (?) and there was never time for that which was the reason I picked this tour as I wanted to get to visit Playa del Carmen. * Summary Disappointed. Not planning to use Princess again. * Stateroom Shows age. Very small. Plenty of closet space. * Dining Food not up to Solstice standards, Sabatini and Crown Grill overrated... * Children's Clubs n/a * Entertainment Plenty of choices. To me this is the only area where Crown Princess beats Solstice hands down. Needless to say Princess is a better choice for younger crowds (under 40) or party animals... * Disembarkation Very poor crowd control (in all areas). Lacking greatly. Missing Port of Call: Princess Cays in Eleuthera Island, The Bahamas. Ship tenders need to be used, bad! I picked this ship precisely to be able to visit a private beach/island. Ship tenders are slow and uncomfortable. Long lines to get to the tenders due to poor crowd management. First and last private beach I will be visiting, unless there is a dock like in Mahogany Bay, Roatan. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was my 51st cruise (and 19th on Princess). Through the years I have witnessed significant declines in quality on all of the lines but with the global economy in the shape that it is, I have tried to keep an open mind. However, I found ... Read More
This was my 51st cruise (and 19th on Princess). Through the years I have witnessed significant declines in quality on all of the lines but with the global economy in the shape that it is, I have tried to keep an open mind. However, I found this cruise sufficiently disappointing that it would make me think twice about booking it again...regardless of the price. Although the ship is only 4.5 years old numerous public toilets and elevators were constantly out of order, the large number of kids on for the Holidays I'm sure didn't help. Also, the room we had was near the lifeboats/tenders and with three tender ports (we combined this cruise with the previous week's 5-day cruise) it was very noisy in the early morning hours. The food was perhaps the worse part of the trip. The salad greens throughout the ship were wilted and served room temperature, gross! The seafood was flavorless. The beef, well, they switched to shoulder cuts which to me really isn't "steak." Although the meat was not tough, the shoulder cuts (like flat iron) have more of a grain to the meat that makes it feel (and cut) different and it certainly tastes different. To be truthful, I think I would rather have the shoe leather sirloin they serve on Royal Caribbean. We went to Sabatini's for my mom's 65th birthday. The lobster tasted like they had dumped an entire shaker of salt on it. I complained to the waiter who then told the head waiter. Supposedly, he investigated and came back and said there was no salt on it and something along the lines of we were too stupid to know any better. I reported him to the Purser's desk and later in the cruise got feedback. It turns out he admitted to telling us off as though he should be praised. They did take disciplinary action against him and sent us chocolate covered strawberries and champagne to the stateroom. But still...her birthday was ruined! The weather was wonderful, but all of the ports were just so-so. We were in Grand Cayman on a Sunday and more than half of the town was closed. You would think they could schedule better. In summary, carefully consider all of your options before picking this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
For a first-time cruiser, I had high hopes for this new adventure on the Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, with ports in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and the Bahamas (Princess Cays). Unfortunately, the all mighty drive for corporate ... Read More
For a first-time cruiser, I had high hopes for this new adventure on the Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, with ports in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and the Bahamas (Princess Cays). Unfortunately, the all mighty drive for corporate dollars and some crew members' poor attitudes cast a shadow over an otherwise enjoyable week upon the seas. First, I'll comment on the brighter side of this cruise. Embarkation/disembarkation were expedient and well organized. Interior stateroom was roomy, comfortable and well-equipped. Room steward was extra friendly and seemed to always be close by, if needed. 8:15 dining room options each night were good, yet not memorable. Food on Princess Cays was easily accesible and seemed to be perfect for beach fare (jerk chicken!). Now, for the not-so-positives. I purchased a $29 "soft drink card" for the week but was let down when I realized that this meant only soda options and not any other non-alcoholic drinks (OJ, tomato juice, etc.). In addition, the "soft drink card" was not accepted on Princess-owned Princess Cays. None of this was explained to me when I purchased the card, which would have been nice. I experienced four (4) instances of crew members with unacceptable behavior (bad attitude) towards myself or members of my party. What happened to the customer is #1? Clearly Princess doesn't adhere to this time-tested concept. On Princess Cays, our last port for the week, our entire group was harassed when we chose beach chairs that were in the $30-only group of beach chairs! The lounge chairs we chose had sun shades or "clamshells" attached to some of the chairs, but not all. So let me get this straight: it's a Princess-owned island and you CHARGE ME FOR A LOUNGE CHAIR? The explanation was that the "clamshells" were for rental and therefore, so were the chairs in that area, regardless if you wanted shade or not (which we didn't). The "free" chair area was a considerable walk to the other end of Princess Cays. How convenient. Needless to say, we didn't pay for the un-used "clamshells" and eventually, the beach staff went away. Ultimately, our group had a good time aboard Crown Princess but personally speaking, I wasn't impressed enough to cruise with Princess again. Maybe I'm just not a "cruiser" or perhaps, Princess needs to focus less on profits and more on the overall satisfaction of their customers. Just one man's opinion! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was my first time on Princess, but will probably be my last from Ft. Lauderdale. Since it was a five day cruise, I brought everything on board, so my stuff didn't get wet. Yet, it took an hour to get from the booth to show I.D. ... Read More
This was my first time on Princess, but will probably be my last from Ft. Lauderdale. Since it was a five day cruise, I brought everything on board, so my stuff didn't get wet. Yet, it took an hour to get from the booth to show I.D. to the terminal. It was raining very heavily at this point. Did not get on board the ship till after 3pm which was the latest I have ever boarded. Really impressed by the PIazza and the tile. The ship didn't seem as big as it realy was. We get to our room and it was nice and not cramped. Ample amount of closet space and our balcony did not have a view from above. But could see down below on other people's balconies. The first day at sea was the Cruise Critic meeting and many people did not show up. But it was still nice to chat with other people. In Grand Turk, rented a golf cart and drove around the island. Never driven one before, so at first I had to learn it fast. But it wasn't too difficult. It was neat seeing all of the roaming animals of horses, goats, donkeys. Went over to Princess Cays late in the afternoon. I wandered around alone and walked past the gate. It was nice to get away from the crowds and a few were intoxicated and loud. Enjoyed Movie Under the Stars and the free ice cream. My throat felt a bit sore, so the ice cream really helped. Service was okay, dining room crew for dinner weren't overly friendly or personal in the main dining rooms. ON NCL, we never had to make reservations for and the screens around the ship showed which ones were full. Much prefer NCL for dining, seems they have more restaurants to choose from. The last morning the room attendant told me we were supposed to be out of the room at 8am, but we didn't have to meet in the lounge till after 9, so I felt he was a little rude. People next door left and he was smiling and happy with them. Finally, our color was called and we walked off. But then, we had to get on a bus to go over to terminal 2 and had to wait for the driver to officially let us off. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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