Sail Date: December 2006
No problem getting on board. Well organized and quick. Our inside cabin was spacious and very comfortable, and was well kept up during the week. I would say the highlight of the trip was the food. We ate anytime dining, and usually ate ... Read More
No problem getting on board. Well organized and quick. Our inside cabin was spacious and very comfortable, and was well kept up during the week. I would say the highlight of the trip was the food. We ate anytime dining, and usually ate in the DaVinci room. We were very flexible, and rarely waited to be seated, to order, or to be fed. In general, the food was served hot and was very tasty, with something to please everyone, including fussy children (Caesar salad and fetuccini alfredo)!. We ate one evening in the buffet, and found it to be disappointing. Food not very hot and only so so in terms of taste, so we went back to the dining room. Breakfasts were quite nice, but again, food not always hot enough, and a bit of lack of variety for fruit. The syrup coffee machines didn't work half the time, and the coffee was very weak. My wife drinks club soda, with the soda card, and they weren't to interested in serving non-alcoholic drinks, or the soda fountain was down frequently. The ice cream bar (paying) was a big hit and was good value for money. I found the boat a bit impersonal, perhaps too many people. Friendly enough, but not terribly friendly. Movies Under The Stars was a disappointment. During the day, you can barely see anything (the screen is be very dark). The sound was loud, but did not bother me. At night, we never sat still to see a full movie, there was never any popcorn (?). I thing I would have preferred a real movie theatre indoors with the smell of popcorn. Our kids never really hooked up with the kid's club, and there was little interaction with the other families on board. Perhaps the boat is too big so you never see people more than once. We never went to any shows, saw some of the talent night and that was OK. Freddy, the shopping consultant was very funny and helpful. We had a problem with our luggage on the flight down through Atlanta with Delta airline. While it was not the fault of Princess, we found the employee of the purser's office who was supposed to co-ordinate with Delta to find our bag, less than helpful. On the final day, we found out that we were charged $200 for a long distance call (1-800) to Delta from our cabin. We contacted Delta. When we asked for that to be cancelled, we were told by a british accented Purser - it's not going to happen - the height of rudeness in my opinion. In the end they refunded half the cost. Overall, it was OK, food was good, and the ports of call were fun. Service was only OK, nothing exceptional. There was nothing really WOW or unforgettable about the Crown Princess, and I would thing twice before taking her again. Overall, it was OK, but we're probably looking at another line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Trip: Crown Princess 7 Night Eastern & Southern Caribbean (San Juan to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas). Embarkation date: Dec. 16 Stateroom: Balcony (R235), Riviera Deck Background: My wife and I decided to use ... Read More
Trip: Crown Princess 7 Night Eastern & Southern Caribbean (San Juan to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas). Embarkation date: Dec. 16 Stateroom: Balcony (R235), Riviera Deck Background: My wife and I decided to use our airline miles to take another cruise before the holidays. We're relatively young (mid-20s), but we've cruised about 5 times before and we were not expecting many surprises. This was our first (and probably last) Princess cruise, as we have mainly cruised Royal Caribbean and once with Norwegian. The ship's physical features: As you should know by this point, this ship is huge. The Crown is not the largest ship we've cruised on before, but it is close. My wife & I were initially attracted to this particular cruise because of the youth of the vessel, as well as the itinerary. We knew about the Crown's "listing" incident over the previous summer, but we weren't too concerned about a repeat occurrence. The ship is in excellent shape. We had a balcony stateroom with ample space and comfortable bedding. There was so much storage space that we had many empty shelves and cabinets. The bathroom was very tight, but bathrooms always are small on a cruise ship. My only complaint about our stateroom, and this is an extremely minor complaint, is the shower was very very small, and a detachable showerhead would have helped considerably. The layout of the ship seemed a bit odd at times: you can't get all the way through some decks because there's a dining room in the way, and we felt we were constantly trekking between the top deck and the Promenade deck (7). The split layout between the top and middle levels of the ship became a little annoying at times because the elevators were always jammed packed, stopped at every floor, and were sloooooow. But lots of room on the top decks for those who want to lay in the sun. The service: Unfortunately, this is the area where Princess is lacking, at least on the Crown Princess. The first day or so of our trip, we felt that this cruise was very similar to previous cruises on other lines. But soon the cracks in the service appeared. When it came to service, let me first say that our stateroom attendant did an excellent job. Sure, there were no "towel animals" or anything extraordinary, but he did a great job, worked hard, was unobtrusive, and was always friendly. I wish that I could say the same for meal service. The concept of "Anytime Dining" is a good one, but was poorly executed. Entrees were often overcooked, and the wait staff didn't seem to care. On several occasions, the waiter couldn't find our bottle of wine until halfway through dinner. Overall, very disappointing with the main dining rooms. The staff always seemed unhappy, and even allowed passengers to sit in the dining room, on formal night, with baseball hats on sideways. Not kidding. Sabatinis, the specialty restaurant with the cover, was excellent, however. The breakfast & lunch buffets were decent. The food quality was better than on most cruises, but Princess often made some stupid decisions made there. Often, a whole side of the buffet (and the corresponding tables) would be shut down and there was NEVER a place to sit inside--all 5 times we ate lunch there. To our disappointment there was NO midnight or chocolate buffet. The staff in general seemed unhappy. No one remembered our drink orders, despite having gone to the same bartenders for week. No one smiled. But when the cruise line builds in the tips as part of the cruise package, where's the motivation? Additionally, we felt nickel & dimed at times. Princess charges to use their front pools, for coffee, ice cream, and more. Disappointing. Fellow passengers: As for our fellow passengers, we really feel like Princess screwed us. Many of our fellow passengers were British, and were very nice. But because the ship was nowhere near full before sailing out of Puerto Rico, Princess advertised last-minute $200 per-person cruises in San Juan to fill the ship. No upgrades were offered to passengers paying higher fares, and Princess acted like we wouldn't find out they did this. And as a result, many of Princess's last-minute "guests" treated the trip as a food & booze cruise, the vast majority of whom didn't even leave the ship when in port. Drunken shouting down the hallway outside our room in Spanish at 3am was the norm. I can't speak to the entertainment, as I my wife and I never go to the shows because we generally find cruise ship shows hokey and uninteresting (I think this is a generational thing). We liked all the shore excursions and ports of call. Bottom Line: We would take another Princess Cruise, but ONLY if the deal was unbelievable. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
My husband and I cruised again on Princess -- this time with 8 other family members (5 of whom had never been on a cruise). We flew into San Juan the night before embarkation (booked our own air travel) for our Southern Caribbean Cruise ... Read More
My husband and I cruised again on Princess -- this time with 8 other family members (5 of whom had never been on a cruise). We flew into San Juan the night before embarkation (booked our own air travel) for our Southern Caribbean Cruise over Christmas. Its ports of call were St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. Despite heading to the Port in San Juan at 12:30 to embark (my FIL did not want to tour the City even though we didn't have to be on board until 9pm), it was an absolute breeze. From the time we checked our luggage to the time we were in our Stateroom (Caribe 434), it took only about 45 minutes....and that's including embarking (slowly) with two 80-year old passengers. The San Juan Port is considerably cleaner and more organized than the Fort Lauderdale Port, from where we've embarked previously. Our room was what we'd expected (we've always booked this category -- Oceanview Balcony, midship). The mattress egg crate which I'd ordered before our trip was not on the bed, but our Steward, Doru, was great our whole trip and made the change for us before the evening. Our bags arrived within a few hours and we were able to unpack early, which was nice. The only bad thing about the room was that on a few of the windier nights at sea, the sliding glass door creaked and banged terribly. We have no idea what it was and no one could figure it out. (It would only creak and bang in the middle of the night when it was really windy). At first we thought it was a lounge chair banging against the window...but, that was not it...It was annoying, but we survived...okay, *I* survived....DH is not as patient. ;-) Our first port was on St. Thomas. We had booked the Mini-Boat & Snorkel adventure. However, when we were getting ready to leave for the excursion, they asked if anyone was pregnant (I was 10 wks. along), and as a result, they wouldn't allow me to participate (the miniboat ride was too rough). I had researched all our excursions fully (for level of activity/risk/etc.) and consulted my physician about each of them before our trip. No where on any of the Princess documentation, or anything I'd found online, was there any such warning communicated to us (and no one from Princess knew). Fortunately, they did not argue with refunding our excursion fee. Instead, that day, we shopped through the downtown area. It was fine, but I probably would have chosen to spend my day doing something else, had I known. There were an infinite number of jewelry stores on the island. If you're looking for some deals, you could get them there, it seemed. The next port was St. Kitts (on Christmas Day). We booked the excursion, Kayaking the Southeast Peninsula. It was one of the short days on the island and we had to be back to the ship by 1:30. So, that was really all we were able to experience of the island. But, our bus tour guide was great! It took about 30 minutes to get from the Port to the starting point and he was really informative about the history of the island, the industry, agriculture, etc. The excursion was really wonderful, too. It was one of the more active ones available, but we had a few really non-athletic people with us who did fine on the 2.5 mile trip along the coastline. It was beautiful, too. After returning from the excursion, I had the Lime & Ginger Salt Scrub service in the Spa. I'd had it before, but I remember it being better. This was really quick (supposed to be 25 minutes), but it was definitely shorter than that. Our First Formal Night was that night and the ship was exquisitely decorated. We ate in the DaVinci Dining Room, had great service and our servers were a lot of fun. On Grenada, we did the Hike to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. That was DEFINITELY the most difficult excursion we did. DH and I did not bring hiking boots (gladly). Instead, we brought old cross-trainers that we did not care if we had to toss afterwards....which we did. It had rained several inches the day before, so the trails were really slick. Several times, we found ourselves more than ankle-deep in thick red mud. The scenery was gorgeous, though. The hike down was difficult because you really had to have a good sense of balance and be sure-footed. And, the hike back up was difficult because it was really steep. Plus, it was nearly 90 degrees that day. So, we drank most of our water (be sure you carry some!) On Bonaire, we laid low. We spent some of the late morning shopping in the cute little town, then we sat at an outdoor cafe and enjoyed some local fare. In the afternoon, we had massages in the Spa, which were pretty good, but not fantastic. Our favorite port was definitely Aruba. Because we got bounced from the snorkeling excursion on St. Thomas, we were able to get on the Catamaran & Snorkeling excursion in Aruba (since the catamaran was a smooth ride, that wasn't an issue for me). That was A LOT of fun! And, it was probably the best value, too. We stopped two places: a shipwreck and a coral reef, plus, it was open bar (okay, the value was for the OTHERS in our group ;-) ), and we also stopped at a beach, where we were given a full barbeque lunch. That night was our Second Formal Night. Our final day, was a full day at Sea. We got up early and had breakfast and found spots by the pool -- where we stayed until mid-afternoon. The ship was crowded, but not as bad as we had anticipated. We sat, however, under the MUTS screen -- which I do not remember as being so LOUD!!! It was really too loud, we thought. Our disembarkation was really easy. We left our bags out the night before, when we went to dinner. We had booked a Tour for the morning in San Juan, so we were able to disembark the ship early. That was nice. The tour was good and a perfect way to spend the extra time before our late-afternoon flight. Princess brought our luggage to the airport, so we didn't have to worry about it and we just claimed it when our Tour brought us directly there afterwards. We then checked our bags with our airline. It was all very simple. Overall, the trip was great. We actually liked the Caribbean Princess Ship a little better, though. The entertainment seemed to be better on that ship, than this one. We thought they'd really get some amazing entertainers, especially for the Holiday. The comedians were good, though. Our favorite was a guy named Sarge. We actually can't wait to see him when he comes to our City. We never got a chance to try Sabbatini's or the Crown Grill. Both were booked for the entire week. We did the Anytime Dining option, but ate every night at 6:15 pm (our reservation time...not exactly "anytime"), in either the DaVinci or the Michelangelo Dining Rooms. Our service was much better in the DaVinci. And, we were actually a little disappointed in the photography. They did not take pics at every port when you disembarked (like they usually do) they only took dinner pics two nights out of seven, and they only offered B&W photography one night, when they've offered it multiple times on previous itineraries. That's about it. It was a special treat to spend Christmas that way! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Crown Princess Southern Caribbean Cruise Dec. 9 - 16, 2006, Cabin BD335 ITINERARY: San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba. At St. Thomas and Grenada we did not dock in the main harbor so there was not much to see or ... Read More
Crown Princess Southern Caribbean Cruise Dec. 9 - 16, 2006, Cabin BD335 ITINERARY: San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba. At St. Thomas and Grenada we did not dock in the main harbor so there was not much to see or visit near the ship. The weather was perfect this time of year. PRE-CRUISE: We made our own flight arrangements and flew from Denver to San Juan via Miami on Dec. 8. A Princess representative greeted us near the baggage area and directed us to a waiting bus. We had signed up for the pre-cruise hotel package and were driven to the San Juan Marriott. This hotel is undergoing renovation. Our room had a nice balcony with a view of the ocean, but was quite small and had things in need of repair. For some unknown reason we were placed in a handicapped room. The hotel staff was very courteous. Overall, we felt the hotel was considerably overpriced. There was little available as far as dining at the hotel. My husband ordered food at the Chinese counter in the casino, but the counter people had considerable difficulty understanding English which made ordering problematic. EMBARKATION & CABIN: The transfer to the pier from the hotel went smoothly. We waited in the hotel lobby from noon to 1:00 with about 16 other people. At the last minute our pier had again been changed. We were to have left from the Pan American Pier, but on the day of embarkation we were pleased to see the van was taking us to the main pier adjacent to Old San Juan. I believe the previous long waits in the hot sun that people have experienced (including our son and his wife) have been at the Pan American Pier. Check-in went very smoothly, and we were up in our cabin 335, Baja Deck, within 55 minutes of arriving at the pier. The cabin was identical to a previous cabin we had had on the Star Princess. It was spotless and certainly roomy enough for two people with a large closet containing 3 dozen wooden hangars. The only difficulty was that the beds were in the wrong configuration. This was quickly remedied for us. We found that the safe in the room worked. The trick is to not leave the safe door open longer than a few moments. Close it immediately after inserting or removing your items or it will start beeping and create a problem. Also no alarm clock is provided in the cabins so be sure to bring your own or use the telephone wake-up service. SHIP: The ship is lovely and all the Christmas decorations were beautiful. I do feel though that having added 500 passengers to this size ship, they should have also increased the amount of public space. Instead, the space is somewhat smaller than the Grand class ships. This is partly due to the fact that the Sanctuary, which charges a fee for entry, now takes up part of what was previously public space. Also the area around the aft pool seems to have less room for deck chairs. There was the usual saving of deck chairs where one person would mark a whole group of chairs for his friends to use at their leisure. Note: If you think you will need help navigating around the ship, bring along a photocopy of its layout from the Princess website. All that is provided on the ship is a cross section card listing what is located on each deck level. This is not very helpful if you need to know how to get from one place to another, e.g. the fixed seating dining room can only be reached by using the rear elevator. DINING: We skipped the afternoon Horizon Court Buffet the first day because we knew we would then not be hungry for an early dinner. Our luggage was delivered outside our cabin door at 4 pm. At 5:30 we headed down to the Da Vinci dining room for dinner, since we had chosen Personal Choice dining. Our waiter was Greg from Hungary. He was an excellent and efficient waiter with his fellow waiter, Arman. We reserved table 480 for all the following evenings and were very pleased with the attentive service we received. I ordered room service breakfast each morning, and it was always delivered promptly. My husband preferred the Buffet breakfast. We always had lunch at the Buffet. If you choose carefully, the food there is quite adequate. The exception is the coffee. The coffee dispensers often just put out hot water with sometimes just a few seconds worth of brown fluid. I never could seem to get one cup entirely of coffee! The taste of this syrup coffee is dreadful, but this has been commented on many times in Cruise Critic already. The food at the dining room was excellent except for a couple of items. The Beef Wellington was not as good as on the Star and the Brandy Alexander pie was totally devoid of flavor. The lamb shanks and prime rib were particularly tasty. ENTERTAINMENT: The theater productions did not seem to be as good as those we had seen on the Star Princess and no programs were handed out as previously had been done. They should get rid of the comedians and do more production or musical shows in the theater. The 5th Element in the Explorer's Lounge isn't the best group in the world, but we thought the lead guitarist was good. We went to Club Fusion several nights. Why is it that Princess does not change its routines? The 50's night and 70's night, although entertaining, were exactly the same as we had seen two years ago. The passengers had to do Elvis and Tina Turner imitations. How about thinking up something new? The Skywalkers Nightclub had a rather disinterested DJ, but people were still enjoying themselves on the dance floor. Movies under the stars we could do without. The loud audio of the movies day and night can be tiresome. SERVICE: We found all crew members to be friendly and courteous to us. DISEMBARKATION: We waited in one of the lounges and were among the first to be called because we had signed up for a post-cruise tour. It was not a problem to locate our luggage. It is a good idea to mark your bags with distinctive tags so as to be able to spot them in the sea of black luggage. Our flight had been cancelled and replaced by a 6 pm flight. So rather than being stuck at the airport, which does not have nearly enough seating, we decided to take a tour to kill some time. We toured the Bicardi plant and San Cristobal. The tour driver had to be reminded that we were supposed to stop at San Cristobal. Apparently she had not checked her tour agenda. There are some magnificent views to be seen from the top of this old fort. Also we were a bit rushed on the tour. Although the tour reservation information specifically stated in bold type that it was only for people with flights leaving AFTER 4 pm, we had people on the tour bus with a 3 pm flight. SUMMARY: We enjoyed this cruise and would do it again if we had to do it over because it had the itinerary we were looking for. We do prefer the 2,600 passenger ships to a ship of this size. Next we are considering cruising to Hawaii or the Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
Just returned from the New Year's cruise. Booked a guaranteed balcony room at the BG rate on the Baja deck, and got upgraded to the BB category on the Riviera deck. Flight: Booked through Princess on American Airlines from Fort ... Read More
Just returned from the New Year's cruise. Booked a guaranteed balcony room at the BG rate on the Baja deck, and got upgraded to the BB category on the Riviera deck. Flight: Booked through Princess on American Airlines from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan. Unfortunately the flight was delayed 3 hours so we didn't get to see too much of San Juan. Claimed bags and met with Princess staff to board the bus to the ship. Embarkation: Arrived at port at 2:00 p.m. Waited in line only about 10 minutes and boarded the ship. There were escorts in the halls and the elevators to make sure you could find your room. On Board: Went to the room and met the cabin steward in the hall. His name was Manuel. Very cordial man who kept our room spotless, changing towels twice a day and making sure we had everything. We were traveling with my 80 year old parents who were next door so he opened the balcony partition so we could visit with each other via the balcony. He always had a smile on his face. Our room was tastefully decorated and adequate in size. Plenty of closet space and shelves, a stocked bathroom, and small shower that had a separate temperature control and plenty of pressure. The balcony had a table and 2 chairs. The public areas of this ship are spectacular. Marble and wood are everywhere. The decor is very tastefully done. Each lounge is comfortable and offers various entertainment from a single pianist to a full production. The Patisserie offers specialty coffees at a fee, but the pastries were free. Each day the food selection in the piazza would change and there were free offerings from shrimp salad, to sandwiches, to quiche, to antipasto type salads. All for free. We chose anytime dining which gave us the opportunity to eat when we were hungry instead of eating by the clock. Sometimes we sat by ourselves and other times we chose to eat at a bigger table with others. Most days we mixed it up between the dining room and the buffet. I'm a "foodie" and love to eat all types of cuisine. The service and food in the dining room was very good. There was a great variety of food which all came out fresh and hot. It's unbelievable how they can serve so many people so efficiently. We never felt rushed. The buffets had a great variety and if you went for dinner the theme was different each night ranging from German, to Seafood, to Caribbean, and Indonesian. Even the eggs on the breakfast buffet were good and freshly prepared. The iced tea tasted freshly brewed and the coffee was always very good. We made reservations at Sabatini's and celebrated my parent 80th birthday with a spectacular dinner. Our waiter, Germano, was truly professional yet was very warm and had a great sense of humor. My parents enjoyed speaking to him in Italian. The food was served in courses starting with focaccia bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. Then to a selection of cold appetizers, followed by hot appetizers. You don't get just one thing, they serve you all the appetizers offered so you can test them all. Then you choose a soup, a pasta, a main course, and finally dessert. It's a lot to eat but the evening is paced so you have plenty of time to enjoy the whole experience. Even though there is a $20 surcharge for this meal, it is well spent on what would cost you at least $75. in a restaurant. The entertainment on board was way beyond what I have seen on other ships. The productions were top notch, and the two comedians were very funny, having been on the tonight show numerous times. The flamenco guitarist was very entertaining and the pianist/singer in the Crooners Lounge was very good. So good they put in in the main lounge one night to accommodate all that wanted to hear him. He did songs from Billy Joel, to Elton John, to Phil Collins. The shopping on the ship was great. The prices were very reasonable on jewelry and liquor. One liter of Myers Rum for $7.95 was a better price than on the islands. Went to all the pools. Particularly enjoyed the adult pools at the spa and the aft of the ship. The Movies Under the Stars had a huge screen with good sound. Seemed to be popular day and night. Visited the spa and I suggest everyone treat themselves a truly relaxing massage. The islands were all nice with favorites being Antigua, St. Maarten, and St.Thomas. Booking excursions was quite easy. Just fill out a form and the tickets were delivered to your room overnight for the next port. All in all there was nothing lacking from this cruise. Princess truly takes care of its passengers with a courteous staff, great food and service, and a truly magnificent ship. Nothing was lacking. Far better than Carnival, NCL, Costa and others we had been on. Looking forward to my next cruise with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
It's been a fifth cruise for me and my wife, on a fourth cruise line. The overall impression was positive, especially considering value for the money. But there were some annoying glitches that do not allow me to rate it at the top. ... Read More
It's been a fifth cruise for me and my wife, on a fourth cruise line. The overall impression was positive, especially considering value for the money. But there were some annoying glitches that do not allow me to rate it at the top. Embarkation process was a disaster, the line winded from about 500 feet OUTSIDE the terminal, all the way to the ship. We've spent 2.5 hours from the time we arrived at the pier, to the time we stepped on board. Many passengers we've spoken to confirmed that this was their worst embarkation ever. Considering that this was lunch time, I advise future passengers to take some food / beverages with them. We were very grateful that the duty free liquor store in the terminal was having a liqueur - tasting event that cheered us up. The ship is new, well-designed, decently sized cabins are comfortable. There was something wrong with elevators: they were extremely slow. After waiting for two-three minutes some passengers lost patience and walked up or down. As a result call buttons remained presses, and the elevators stopped at almost every floor, making the ride even slower. It was a major disappointment, especially since this was a new ship, and it was so big (19 decks). For younger passengers this provided an extra opportunity to exercise, but for older passengers this should have been a major problem. Breakfast and lunch were very decent - three buffet restaurants had a very good selection of tasty food. One annoying thing was the absence of free beverages except coffee and iced tea. Juice was served only at breakfast, in tiny glasses. As a result many passengers had to take 4-5 of them, so there was always a shortage at the stand. There was plenty of juice in bars, but for sale. Dining was probably the best experience on the cruise. Fixed-time dining was unavailable at the time of our booking, so were were signed for the "free dining". Having experienced it on Norwegian cruise, we were a little concerned. However, during the first dinner we were offered to reserve a table at the same time for the remainder of our cruise. So we were served by the same team of waiters, and did not have to wait for a table. Those who did not make reservations, had to wait with beepers like in a popular shopping mall restaurant on Friday night. The waiting staff was EXTREMELY professional and courteous. The food was very good. This was perhaps the best dining that we've had on all our cruises. We have taken two snorkeling tours that were OK, but overpriced for the service provided. The first boat (Sea Cow on Bonnaire) did not have a restroom and we were told "boys to the left, girls to the right". The second boat had two restrooms, but both were not working and overflowing with smelly stuff. In conclusion, and with the above caveats, this was a good cruise, and we would recommend it to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
Here is my review of the Crown Princess 01/20/07-01/27/07. Our group consisted of my parents (16+ cruises, I think), my brother and his wife (2nd cruise), my sister (5th cruise) and her four year old (3rd cruise) and myself and my DH ... Read More
Here is my review of the Crown Princess 01/20/07-01/27/07. Our group consisted of my parents (16+ cruises, I think), my brother and his wife (2nd cruise), my sister (5th cruise) and her four year old (3rd cruise) and myself and my DH (7th cruise). First Princess cruise for all of us, except my parents. We all arrived in San Juan the previous day at various times and we all stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. Embarkation: We arrived at Pier #4 early, around 11:00 a.m. Had porters right there to take our luggage. We waited outside the Pier a short time, maybe about 15 minutes, before they opened the gates and let us in. The lines inside for check-in were relatively short at this time and we waited until about 11:40 until they started checking people in. The only slight glitch to the process was that after letting a dozen or so people through the security screener, myself and my DH were the last two through, they stopped boarding, and also stopped those of us that had already been screened. This lasted about 20-30 minutes. We were all on the ship by 12:30. The one thing I was disappointed with is that when we boarded, the photographers weren't out there yet. No embarkation photo (which is my favorite!), but that was probably our fault for arriving so early. I did see them out there later when we got off the ship for some shopping. I am not exactly sure what time the luggage arrived, but it wasn't much after 2:00. We found our cabins, ate lunch, explored a little bit and by the time we got back down to the cabin, all of the luggage was there. The Ship/Cabins: The ship is beautiful. I loved the size of it! My DH and I had an aft cabin on the Baja deck, B754. My parents were next door in B752, my brother and his wife were a couple doors down in B748 (an end cabin), and my sister and her four year old had a cabin on the Lido deck, L247. I loved the aft cabins. The cabins were all a decent size, there was plenty of room for storage with the large closet (and yes, I over packed)! The bathroom was pretty small, but I found plenty of storage room in there for all of the stuff I brought with. The bedding was very nice. I ordered the egg crate which was on the bed when we arrived, very nice. I also had our room steward bring a top sheet for our bed (they don't have them on). The balconies for these aft cabins were much larger than the other balconies for this category cabin, large enough for an aluminum table with 2 chairs and 2 lounge chairs. I believe these balconies are the same size as the balconies for the mini-suites and the balconies on the Caribe deck. My sister's cabin on the Lido deck was considerably smaller, only enough room for the aluminum table and 2 chairs. Cabin B754 was a little noisy as stated in some previous posts here. I believe the noise came from the air conditioning units. You could still carry on a conversation on the balcony, but it was noticeable and noisy in the cabin if you had the balcony door open. Cabin B752 had a vertical steel beam off to one side that took up a little bit of space. The noise was less noticeable on this balcony. Cabin B748 had a noticeably larger balcony then B754 and B752 and was quiet! If I were to book the Crown again, I'd definitely go with that cabin. Renewal of Vows Ceremony: My parents did the renewal of vows ceremony for their 40th anniversary. Princess did a very nice job with this. It was held the first formal night (Monday/St. Thomas) and there were seven other couples renewing vows that night. Captain Binetti did each ceremony separately and privately. He was very personable. Food: Horizon Court: We had lunch here every day. The food was very good and there was always a large selection of items to chose from. Cafe Caribe: We had before dinner snacks and late night snacks from here. Again the food was good. The late night buffet was a little more limited, but the salsa and guacamole were very good and they had it every night. Pizza/Trident Grill: I loved the pizza, excellent! I did not try the Trident Grill for hamburgers/hot dogs, but others in our party did and liked them. Dining Rooms: We had breakfast most mornings in the dining room. The food was good. They had a different special every morning. We had late seating for dinner in the Botticelli dining room. Everything I had was excellent and there seemed to be plenty to chose from on the menu. I didn't hear anybody in our party complain about their entree. I had the beef wellington one night and did not notice anything funny tasting about the beef. We ate at Sabatini's one night. The service there was excellent as was the food, just too much of it! It took about 2 hours for dinner. Room Service: The couple times we called, it took a long time to get through, but they delivered it very quickly. My sister used room service for breakfast every day and even ordered bacon and eggs (which isn't on the menu) and they brought it. Service: We also found the service to be wonderful. I was always greeted pleasantly in the hallway by any member of the staff I passed. Our dining room waiter and assistant waiter were wonderful as was our cabin steward! I had to go the Pursuer's desk a couple of times and they were very nice and accommodating. The only negative with the service that I would mention was in the bars and by the pool. Service seemed to be very slow. They were fast to take your drink order, but seemed to take a very long time getting the drink. Michelle, our cruise director, seemed to be very friendly and energetic as well. Ports: I did not partake in any of the shore excursions. I did get off the ship at each port however. My sister and I got off the ship in the afternoon and did a little shopping. Don't miss the Coach store, lots of great deals there! Did some shopping in St. Thomas. We docked at Crown Bay and took a cabin into the shopping area. I think the cab ride was $8.00 round trip and there were plenty around. A couple shops open at Crown Bay, nothing too exciting. Got off the ship in St. Kitts and looked around the shops right there at the Pier. They had some nice shops there. I did not like Grenada at all. The locals were very pushy and followed you around the stores/streets. They could skip this stop altogether. I loved Bonaire and Aruba! Both places were beautiful. Would go back in a heartbeat. Temperature: The temperature of the rooms on the ship were fine. It was the first cruise I was on that I didn't need a sweater in the dining rooms! Our cabin temperature was good, no complaints there. Safe: We only had one problem with our safe, it wouldn't open one night. Called passenger services and they came right up and fixed it. Nobody else in our party had a problem. Elevators: Never had a problem getting an elevator. They were a little slower on embarkation day and formal nights right around the dinner hour, but that was about it. Self Service Laundry: I used this two days and found it very convenient. I really didn't need to pack as much as I did! Disembarkation: This went as smoothly as embarkation, the best I've even seen actually. We had a 12:10 flight back to Minnesota so we were in the first group called at about 8:20 a.m. We were off the ship, had our luggage and were through customs by 8:40, very smooth! It was a very memorable and enjoyable trip. I loved the Crown Princess and would go again in a minute. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our second cruise and was a disappointment. Our first was on Holland America 7 years ago, and we felt that one was a better value although much more expensive. We chose the cruise based on the itinerary, bur our next cruise will ... Read More
This was our second cruise and was a disappointment. Our first was on Holland America 7 years ago, and we felt that one was a better value although much more expensive. We chose the cruise based on the itinerary, bur our next cruise will be chosen by cruise ship amenities and will probably cost a bit more, but we will enjoy it more too. Embarkation was not bad. We came later as they suggested and did not have long lines. The ship is huge and while cruising, sways alot even in calm water. It also groans constantly. We were on the 9th floor in a mini suite, and the noise was constant all night long. The hangers were rattling too. We are not convinced the ship is built right! The activities were many and our only two complaints were the loud volume on the movies under the sky all day at the pool, and the charge for the internet which was not disclosed in the literature and was very slow. Service was mediocre. We did not like the fact that a different person brings room service and expects a tip. We prefer when the steward brings the room service and we tip him well for the overall service. Also, the room steward was very nice but kept forgetting to replace towels, glasses, etc. We had to keep asking for things... We had 2 dinners in the Lido restaurants and many of the waiters almost were annoyed if you asked them for something. And they kept trying to remove plates while we were still eating. Not the best of service. We enjoyed our excursions and the ports. Plenty of choices and we have no complaints here. We were very happy with the itinerary. Stateroom was fine, a bit small for a mini-suite, but okay for 2 people. Verandah needed some shade though, and everyone above us looked down on us. Poor design. Dining was very mediocre. The traditional dining was a disappointment. Nothing special at all. Like a nice diner. Event the presentation was lacking. Not much in the way of vegetables either. And they charged a 15% surcharge on a bottle of wine. That's crazy--you are already paying for the wine. Add the surcharge in already!! Dinner at the Cafe Caribe was good on the bavarian bierfest day but the creole day had some weird items on it. Lunch was edible--We eat salad and the salad bar was okay if you added some meat and cheese. It would have been nice if they varied the selection of salad bar items and added some vinaigrettes to the huge cream dressing selection. We thought it was weird there were no special dessert buffets or ice carvings to impress us... We also did not like the fact that they charged for ice cream and called it a nominal fee--it was really full price. That's pretty disingenuous. Entertainment was okay--we liked the classical string quartet the best and they played everyday in the piazza. Disembarkation was interesting but not bad. We did not get priority after paying for a mini-suite and thought that was strange. No real perks to a mini-suite on this ship. Our overwhelming disappointments were the "nickel-and-diming" they did--just add 200 dollars to the fare and stop the nonsense already--and the constant groaning of the ship while in motion. We think the ship should qualify under the lemon law!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our second cruise with Princess, and a major disappointment. The ports were the main reason for the choice of this ship. Embarkation went fairly smooth. We were at the pier by 12:00 and on the ship by 1:00. The ship was ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess, and a major disappointment. The ports were the main reason for the choice of this ship. Embarkation went fairly smooth. We were at the pier by 12:00 and on the ship by 1:00. The ship was big--by the end of the cruise we finally knew where everything was. I personally thought there was alot of movement while on the ship. The sail to and from San Juan was terrible--coat hangers banging against the wall in the closet and constant creaking and groaning. We were on the 9th floor in a mini-suite. There were alot of activities--but like other people, I thought the volume of the movies was excessive--especially during the day. I also noticed many of the wait staff watching the movie--not serving people around the pool. They would quickly make a run around the pool--then hurry back to where they could watch whatever movie was playing. Which brings me to service. I thought the service was lacking on this ship in comparison to the Coral Princess I sailed on 3 years ago to Alaska. There were a few people that went above and beyond--but for the most part I thought most of the staff was rude--especially the Romanian men. I was also somewhat surprised by the additional 15% gratuity that was added on at all of the bars and International Cafe. I guess it doesn't matter if they give poor service--they will get their tip anyway. As for the food, I thought the food in the main dining room was horrible. We ate there the first night and that was it. We were constantly rushed, which I find annoying. I'm one of those people that likes to go out to dinner and relax--take my time. I don't like to be rushed. The soup was like mud--the steak was undercooked and cold--the baked potato was cold, and the salad tasted like it had been sitting out for 4 hours. We did eat at Vines a couple of nights for the sushi and a glass of wine--that was very nice and fresh. We also enjoyed the International Cafe--lot's of goodies throughout the day. After the first night, we decided to eat at the specialty restaurants for the rest of the cruise. The night that we ate at Sabatini's was interesting--there was alot of movement while at sea, so it made it somewhat hard to hold onto that glass of wine. The food was good--although the entree was lacking in taste. The rest of the nights we ate at the Crown Grill. I thought the food there was delicious, as well as the service being wonderful. Although, it's a shame that you have to pay "extra" to get good food on a cruise after the money you pay upfront. We enjoyed our mini-suite, although I didn't care for the balcony being totally uncovered. It's too bad they don't let you know that before booking the room. Unfortunately, I didn't find out about the cruise critic website until after I booked. The ports were wonderful--had a great time in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Maarten. We didn't book any excursions thru the ship--all were handled individually. I didn't care much for St. Thomas--too commercialized--nothing but shops and shops of jewelry. I guess if you're a big shopper that's a good thing. Disembarkation went fairly smooth--only had to wait one hour before having our color called, as we had an early flight. This was it for me--no more Princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
About two years ago, my fiance and I decided that we wanted to get married on the beach in St. Thomas. After days of research and evaluation, we decided to do it as part of a cruise on the Crown Princess. We selected an itinerary which had ... Read More
About two years ago, my fiance and I decided that we wanted to get married on the beach in St. Thomas. After days of research and evaluation, we decided to do it as part of a cruise on the Crown Princess. We selected an itinerary which had St. Thomas early in the cruise, and included several port days. We booked our cruise, then assisted our invited friends and family in booking theirs. We booked our group cruise directly with Princess. A down side was that some in our group encountered some difficulty along the way.. I had to make several calls on behalf of those sailing with us which made me question the possible value of a travel agent, however it was nothing major. We booked our wedding through Princess Weddings. All of the planning was done online or via telephone. We found their representatives to be attentive, professional, and felt they delivered tremendous service throughout. Now the good stuff... We arrived in San Juan a day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Comfort Inn. Not a 5-star accommodation by any means, but we loved the location and found the room adequate. We got some great late night local food at Latin Star, just down the street from the hotel. Anyway, after a run on the beach and some shopping, we were off to Pier 4 to see the Crown. We arrived at the pier around 12:00 and found porters ready to collect our tons of luggage. We entered the (very nice) terminal and were processed quickly. We then joined the line to board, complete with stop at the Duty Free shop for some libations. We were on board by 1:00. I thought a nice touch that I had never seen before on Princess were the crew members stationed in the elevators and on the various decks to assist you with finding your stateroom. Our room, D731 was nice but seemed smaller than our previous mini-suites. Waiting for us was a nice bottle of champagne and some chocolate strawberries courtesy of our wedding coordinator, Steffi who we would meet later that day. Steffi was great! She is such an asset to Princess! We set off to explore the ship and greet our friends and family. The ship is huge. It is also beautiful. The common areas like pools, the atrium, the casino are very clean, well decorated. The new additions like vines, the piazza, and adagio were some of our favorite parts of the ship. We especially liked Vines, the wine and sushi bar. The sushi ($1.00 per piece) was amazing, and there was a wide variety of wine available. The service was top notch. The piazza had an endless string of demonstrations, entertainers, musicians to keep you happy! We never felt crowded despite the ship sailing full. We kept waiting to feel the crunch of 3,000 other people, but never had trouble finding tables at the buffet or chairs by the pool. We used and enjoyed the spa as well. I had a massage on embarkation day to help relax from travel and to refresh the day prior to our wedding. My wife had her hair done the morning of the wedding. We and others from our group used the thermal suite often and we all enjoyed it. It is very relaxing!!! Other highlights included bingo (2 winners from our group) a great island night deck party, and the various trivia contests. Our aunt and uncle participated in and won the wedding game!! We had a table for 6 in anytime dining with a standing 6:30 reservation. We set up a schedule so we would get to have dinner with everyone who came along for our wedding. The food and service in the dining room was very good. Jose and Edward, our wait team delivered, keeping us full and happy, especially on lobster night. We tried both specialty restaurants. We liked the food in the Crown Grill, but the service was horrible. It took well over 3 hours to complete our meal. Sabatinis was good, however having dined there a few times now, we would probably not go again. The level of service was again impressive throughout the ship. You could not pass a crew member without them smiling and greeting you, you never had to wait for a drink, the room was always clean and ready for you. Day 2 was our wedding day. We were escorted by Steffi to the limo which took us to the courthouse in St. Thomas to obtain our wedding license first thing in the morning. We were met there by the representative from Princess Weddings and the court clerk. The paperwork took about 10 minutes. We were returned to the ship where I went to the gym and Kristin the Spa. Our group met at the gangway at 12:00 where we were all taken to the beach for the ceremony. When we arrived at the beach, we could not have been happier with what we saw. The location was perfect!! The decorations were even nicer than we imagined. We were introduced to the officiant and spent a few minutes with him before the ceremony. Again, everything was perfect. When you plan something like this completely over the phone and computer, you are left with a level of uncertainty. Will you get what you wanted? The resounding answer for us was that we got what we wanted and more. our expectations were totally exceeded. Following the ceremony, we had a champagne toast and seemingly hundreds of pictures. We returned to the ship, where the reception was planned for 3:00 in the Wheelhouse Bar. We had 2 hours open bar plus hot & cold appetizers for our guests. The food was excellent and the bar staff kept everyone well fed with drinks. Steffi arranged for Captain Binetti to drop by, he was very nice and took some pictures with us. The pianist was great and we were all impressed by the ice sculpture and fruit carvings!! I don't think anyone left the Wheelhouse hungry or thirsty. During the reception, Kristin and I were whisked away by Kerry for some great photos around the ship. The rest of the cruise was kind of a blur. We loved the snorkeling in Bonaire and found it to be a clean, fun, and colorful island. The variety of marine life right off every shore was unbelievable. We would like to visit again. Some from our group did land sailing, and said it is not to be missed. In aruba, we went to Palm beach, jet skied, had a nice lunch, visited a casino and lost, and did some shopping. In Grenada, as we always do we went to Grand Anse Beach. It truly is a beautiful beach, but I think the various vendors who CONSTANTLY approach you make it unbearable. We don't mind a few, but here it never stops. We loved our first time in Grenada, but each time since it has gotten progressively worse. Next time, we will not get off the ship in Grenada. St. Kitts was a short stop and all we did was some quick shopping. The last day was an at sea day, which gave us all some time to relax and enjoy many onboard activities. We celebrated a birthday for my cousin at adagio complete with a very nice cake which we ordered at Sabatini's. It was a nice ending to the trip. We had an early flight to St. Lucia for our honeymoon on disembarkation day, so we were first off the ship in the morning. The process was smooth and easy. Reflecting back after our week at Sandals in St. Lucia, we would have both rather stayed on the Crown for a back-to-back. We can not say enough good about the whole experience for us. Princess truly delivered an outstanding wedding and cruise. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. We would be happy to discuss it over and over!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
Overall Comments: We have previously done four other cruises the past 3 years on four different cruise lines, including one on the Star Princess. Cruised on the New Years week Classic Southern Caribbean. Arrived at SJU at 3:30pm. Took ... Read More
Overall Comments: We have previously done four other cruises the past 3 years on four different cruise lines, including one on the Star Princess. Cruised on the New Years week Classic Southern Caribbean. Arrived at SJU at 3:30pm. Took about 45 min to get luggage, and then had Princess transfer to ship, which took about another 30-45 min. Embarkation was quick since minimal waiting. Once onboard, CP staff were manning the elevators and hallways to guide passengers toward their staterooms, which I thought was a nice touch. As soon as we entered our stateroom, our room steward Cornell saw us and introduced himself, and gave us a brief orientation. We had inside stateroom on Aloha Deck. Room was very nice, plenty of storage space. The design of having the closet and bathroom as a separate space separated by a wall from the bedroom was great because it allowed a space to dress, and the bathroom had a sense of privacy. While bathroom very small and small shower, it worked and decreased the noise normally heard in the bedroom. Overall the ship is very pretty, with great carpet and tile coloring and lots of wood motif. We used late seating in traditional dining in the Botticelli DR. Our wait staff, Ariel and Jesse were friendly, and a pleasure to interact with. Always were treated courteously and enjoyed talking with them and getting the food recommendations for the night. Throughout the week, we experienced very nice staff in all the bars, lounges, etc. Even at the Pursers Desk, they responded with may I help you sir and your welcome. Never had a problem finding someone at the pools, lounges, bars to get a drink. At the Lido buffet and eating areas, rarely saw unclean tables. Usually they were asking to take my plate as soon as I was finished. The public bathrooms were all nicely kept clean, had plenty of toilets/urinals, and were fresh smelling compared to other ships. The ship rocking was no worse than any other cruise we have been on and also depended upon the seas. It certainly was not excessive or noisy. Food Comments: We thought the dinners in Botticelli DR were very good to excellent. Food was always hot, nicely prepared, and of good size proportions. The lobster, prime rib, beef wellington, chicken kiev, shrimp, veal chop, lamb, were some of our choices and were all great. We never had a bad entree. Soups, salads, and other appetizers were equally good. Caesar salad was always on the menu and very good too. The fruit sorbets were the best and the homemade ice creams as well. We made sure to sample them all. We did Bfast at Horizon Court and found multiple choices of eggs, meats, pastries, plus a multitude of other bfast items. Some items changed each morning, which was nice vs Carnival, which never changed their offerings. While melon fruit available, pineapple only at lunch/dinner. Different juices available for bfast, but not for lunch. Cafe Caribe also open for bfast, and never crowded, since most people went to the HC. We never had a crowd issue negotiating the HC, as others have mentioned. It was easy to check over what to get and allowed not having to wait in line for different items. The different stations in HC worked fine. And if it was too crowded, just go back to Cafe Caribe. Lunch at HC was good, but nothing special. Salads were always fresh. International Cafe had great pastries and donuts in the morning as well, plus variety of items throughout the day. Pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs available during day and night poolside. Pizza crust NY style. Entertainment Comments: Ship had a variety of entertainers in all the lounges. Went to one production show which was on par with other cruise lines. MUTS also great option for something to do. They did not seem to show a true late night movie, so we were usually doing something else or having dinner. Casino was large with lots of gaming tables, but probably could have more slots to fill in some space. Seemed like the Star Princess had more slots and variety. Slots were not paying out from what I could observe. We enjoyed going to the different bars/lounges to have drinks. The typical cruise games by the pool and bingo seemed to be low key, and not announced very much. Patters provided the info, but seemed to lack the excitement found on other ships. The pools were great. We focused on the rear adult pool area. While some non-adults ventured in, security eventually did make them leave. More problematic, when an adult brings their infant into the pool. Some people think that the "rules" do not apply to them. Pool chairs available, but may not be right next to the pool. Will not comment on the islands and excursions, other than to say that we enjoyed them all, and had no problems with the ship excursions. Overall excellent experience. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
About us: My husband and I (30-35 in age) were traveling with two other couples (24-30 in age) on the Crown Princess, January 6-13, 2007, sailing the Southern Caribbean Explorer itinerary. We were all from the Illinois and Wisconsin. This ... Read More
About us: My husband and I (30-35 in age) were traveling with two other couples (24-30 in age) on the Crown Princess, January 6-13, 2007, sailing the Southern Caribbean Explorer itinerary. We were all from the Illinois and Wisconsin. This was my and my husband's first cruise. One of the couples we were with had been on other cruises before and invited us to join them on this one. I enjoyed this cruise immensely and look forward to taking another cruise in the future. Next time we will probably have our young daughter with us, so that will influence our choice of ship and cruise line, whereas it didn't this time. San Juan/Embarkation: A note about January 6th in San Juan it is the Epiphany, or 3 Kings Day, which is a big holiday there, like Christmas is in the mainland U.S. What this means is that cheap airfares and hotel room deals are hard to come by during this time, so a lower price on a cruise either embarking or returning at this time is offset by the extra cost to get there or return home. We stayed for 2 nights before the cruise at the Caribe Hilton. It's one of the higher priced hotels in San Juan, but it is a resort with a private beach, nice pools, a spa, fitness room, play areas, game room, organized activities, a bar, several fancy restaurants, Starbucks, etc. Some of the rooms are fully remodeled and some are only partially remodeled. There is not much in the area around it; apparently the night life is in Old San Juan. Embarkation was very smooth. Pier 4 in Old San Juan is relatively new and clean. There was a liquor shop offering free samples of Bailey's and a perfume shop. Apparently you could take your purchases onto the ship without having to surrender them. (Princess was very lax about bringing alcohol on the ship, which we liked.) We arrived around 1:15 pm and waited in line behind about 30 people. The line seemed to move at a reasonable rate. They had different lines depending on which deck your stateroom in on, but they seemed equal in length. A note to future virgin cruisers: Complete your Passenger Immigration Form online at least one week in advance of embarkation. This will save a lot of time, because if you don't, you'll have to wait while someone types all of the information into a computer. We noticed quite a few people in this situation (luckily not ourselves). Our Stateroom: We were pleased with our room, a balcony stateroom on the Lido deck, port side (L310). We did not regret spending the extra money to get a balcony because it made the room seem bigger and brighter. The balcony we had was fully covered, which was a good thing in my opinion. The man next door played beautiful music on his guitar several times out on his balcony. We enjoyed breakfast on the balcony 3 times, by bringing food back from the buffet, which was on the same deck. We were very happy with our room steward Meralyn, who was very friendly and provided excellent service. We liked the location of our room very much because it was near the pools and food; it was an upgrade from our original room on the floor below. I was worried that it would be a noisy location, since it looked like it was across from the elevators on the website diagram and because it was near the pools. It was not noisy at all and was not across from the elevators. One minor drawback is that smokers congregated near that corner of the pool deck and so I had to walk through a cloud of smoke to get to the doors to the stateroom area. Our room was adequate in size for two people (not more), but we kept bumping into each other in the bathroom/closet area getting ready in the morning or for dinner. In the bathroom we were provided with bars of soap, shampoo, and conditioner, all from the Lotus spa. The shower looked small, but it didn't bother me when I used it. The water pressure in the shower was good, you could adjust the flow pattern of the shower head, and the knob had temperature numbers on it (in Celsius) so you could remember where to set it. The shelves in the bathroom and closet were very handy. The safe worked fine until my husband accidentally pushed a button twice and unwittingly changed the combination. I would have liked there to have been a clock provided and the bedspread looked like something from an old Holiday Inn and didn't match the elegance of the rest of the ship. I did notice a creaking noise coming from the sliding glass door one night, but usually we were pretty tired so we probably slept though it the other nights. The hangers in the closet had to be pushed together to keep them quiet when the seas were choppy and the ship rocked around. Dining: We ate breakfast at the Horizon Court Buffet everyday because it was convenient and fast. We also had lunch there a couple times or at the adjoining Caribe Buffet. My opinion of these buffets is that they like almost all other buffets I've been to, some items are good and some items are not. I found notably disappointing: not fresh or raw sushi (lunch in the Caribe Buffet on the sea day) and very salty crab legs (dinner in the Horizon Court Buffet the first night). There was not a lot of change in the breakfast offerings on the buffet from day to day. The coffee in the buffet varied from just right to too concentrated (and syrupy) to too weak. We thought the freshly cooked pizza, hamburgers and fries by the pools on the Lido deck were excellent and had these for lunch or a snack quite often. Our dinners were in the Michelangelo dining room, which is for anytime dining. There's only one dining room, Botticelli, for traditional dining and it only holds about 360 people (quite large yes, but there are over 3000 passengers). Even though we made our cruise reservations in May, we were on the waiting list for the second seating (#5 out of over 200). In order for us all to sit together we made a standing reservation at the Michelangelo dining room at 8:30 pm. People who did not have a reservation at this dining room sometimes had to wait in line, but it was never very long when we were there. Our first waiter was adequate, but we did not like the drink steward at all (they are paired in teams). She showed her displeasure (using either facial expressions or the tone of her voice) that we did not order premium beverages (i.e. alcohol), which is very unprofessional. We asked to be moved to a different table and were very pleased with our very animated waiter, Jorge, and our drink steward, Joao, both from Portugal. Jorge told us that he had been working on ships since he was 14 (he's about 40 now), and he didn't like it when he tried a land job when his children were young. It's nice to know that he was working on the ship because he truly liked it. Most of the food in the Michelangelo dining room was very good, but occasionally I would get something I didn't like; no big deal, I would just order something else, or sometimes we would order a couple extras to begin with. I was impressed with the offerings of lobster tail, crab legs, caviar, prime rib, and tiramisu. We were able to special order delicious crème brulEe, with the permission of head waiter Rui, also from Portugal. He was also very happy and entertaining to talk to. Entertainment: 1. Princess Theatre: My husband saw the production show Destination Anywhere and thought it was excellent. He also saw the juggler and thought he was OK. The cooking demonstration by the head chef on the sea day was very entertaining. The galley tour that followed was just OK. 2. MUTS: They offered lounge chair covers, blankets, and popcorn on some nights and not others, using weak excuses when they didn't. Of course the nights without were the two nights we did go to see the movie, so we were irked. Also, the view from some of the lounge chairs is partially obstructed by a railing, and my husband had to clean the glass beneath it. I didn't find it too loud at night, but I thought it was way too loud during the day. Also, the MUTS screen overlooks a pool that is designated a family pool, but they played PG-13 movies during the day when kids were out there. 3. Skywalkers Nightclub: The Patter advertised a non-stop dance party from 10 pm to midnight with DJ E Motion. We showed up at 10:45 pm. The place was almost empty and the music being played was awful and not dance music. We stayed but saw many people peek in and leave. Then we hunted down the DJ who was not at the DJ booth. He said that he had to play retro stuff for the older people. Lame excuse. I don't think he was aware that he was supposed to be playing non-stop dance music, and I don't think he knows was dance music is. We requested a #1 hit song and he was unsure of the artist. 4. Crooners: We were not impressed with the piano players at Crooners. Lotus spa: I pre-scheduled a one hour Swedish massage online for the Monday of the cruise. It was wonderful. Even better, there was a folder with coupons in our stateroom that gave me 15% off a spa treatment on a sea day. Beware of getting a tour of the spa, especially on the day of embarkation. We agreed to this because we wanted to see the fitness center, and we ended up listening to at least three heavy sales pitches (one for teeth whitening, of all things). This is the only time that I thought Princess took it too far in trying to sell me something. The Rest of the Ship: The ship was beautiful! The layout was not that confusing to me, as others have complained. Sometimes the hallways had bends in them, but they run from front to back on all decks below deck 16 except one. The decks above deck 16 are outside, so its easy to know where you are on those. As I mentioned only one inside deck (Fiesta deck 6) had an area, the Botticelli dining room, that was disconnected from the rest of the deck, so you had to go up or down to get to the rest of the Fiesta deck. I got into that situation when I took the rear elevator down to deck 6 wanting to get to the Piazza. The elevators were all working as far as I could tell. The store that sold sundries ran out of sunblock halfway through the cruise and didn't seem to have a lot of other things like medicines, so make sure to bring extra of this stuff. The public restroom stalls were remarkably large, with at least 3-4 feet between the edge of the open stall door and the front of the toilet. They were also always very clean and a record of cleanings was kept on the walls. Also, there were signs reminding us to wash our hands for 20 seconds in all of the public bathrooms. In addition, there were numerous hand sanitizer stations especially by the buffets and by the gangways. I counted that there were 6 pools: 1 for children, 1 for teens, 2 for families, and 2 for adults. The adult pools were where we hung out and they didn't seem to be too crowded, but the one in the front of the ship by the sanctuary only had 9 deck chairs by it. The hot tubs (I counted 7 of them, one for teens the rest for adults) tended to be crowded and it seemed like at least one was shut down for most of the cruise. Blue and white striped pool towels were only provided by the stateroom stewards and not anywhere by the pools, so we had to keep asking for extra towels. The pictures that the Princess staff photographers took on the gangways and on formal nights were displayed in a special photo gallery. Our friends went down around 10:30 pm of the final night and got a better deal (buy 3 get 1 free) than they were offering that morning when I was there (buy 5 get 1 free). The mixed drinks on this ship, such as mai tais and martinis, were only $6.50, and the well drinks (7&7 for example) were only $4.50, which is less than most places in downtown Chicago would charge. However, the prices on the bottles of wine in the dining room seemed at little high. Overall I did not feel nickel-and-dimed (I feared that I would). Although I do think the ice cream by the pizza place should have been free, but that probably kept me from gaining some weight, so I'm not upset. The shipped rocked with the waves more than we expected good thing we brought motion sickness pills! Fellow Passengers: The majority of people were Americans like us, but there was a large cross-section of people and age groups, but it did seem that on average people were a little older than us. There were quite a few large, multi-generation family groups. I heard there were about 140 children on board. There were 308 British passengers who flew in on a flight chartered by Princess. Not surprisingly, there were also quite a few Spanish speaking passengers, who I assumed were from Puerto Rico. I also saw a table of people speaking Russian and 2 different couples speaking French. Everyone was well behaved. We only noticed two people on separate occasions who didn't dress appropriately, and one was very old and was probably confused (wore panties instead of bikini bottoms!) Ports of Call: 1. St. Thomas: We enjoyed a tour of the island with independent local tour guide Sunny Liston. We spent about 1 hour shopping in the downtown area. There were dozens of fine jewelry stores and watch stores, not cheap stuff, but supposedly good deals. Many shops had people out on the street trying to get customers to go inside the stores. Unfortunately, we were not at all interested in buying fine jewelry or watches and found the constant invitations to go inside stores a little annoying. Later we found out that you could get free beer or wine inside these stores if you asked. Also, the streets in this area were crowded and congested, which was also not my idea of a great time. There was also a flea market in the same area where there were fake designer purses, t-shirts, cheap souvenir trinkets, and fashion jewelry. Spent 2 hours at Sapphire beach. There are hotels along this beach, so it is nice and well kept. There are amenities such as showers to rinse off in, bathrooms, equipment to rent for snorkeling or water sports, a restaurant, a gift shop, and chairs to rent. Most important to us, there were no annoying local vendors. The water was clear, but there were some rocks (not too bad though). We enjoyed feeding a duck family too! 2. St. Kitts: Our only shore excursion through Princess was the Mountain Biking and Beach tour. This tour was run by Art, the owner of the only bicycle shop on the island. (If you're wondering, we used Trek bikes.) He was very personable and gave us a good history and tour of the island. Unfortunately I was too out of shape for the many uphill portions of this ride and got a lot of rides in Art's pick-up truck. I would only recommend this tour to people who work out or train at least 3 times a week, because it is a challenging ride (Art is proud of this, by the way!). Art and his assistants, Dennis, Matrix, and Royston provided us with bottled water along the way and at the beach, gave us fruit and guava juice. We spent 45 minutes at Frigate Bay beach. The water was clear and there were a lot of shells. We even saw a crab in the sand! Only two local vendors came along and the beach was almost empty. After riding back to the ship area, Art gave us a local beer, Caribe Lager. Overall, this island was very beautiful. 3. Grenada: My least favorite port. We took a water taxi ($3/person each way) to Grand Anse Beach. The second the water taxi pulled up to the beach, we were surrounded by very aggressive local vendors. Two of them followed us down the beach even though we had said we were not interested in what they were offering. We just kept walking farther down the beach until they gave up. After we chose a spot, more vendors came by at least one every five minutes. Some didn't seem to like it when we said no, even though we were always polite. They would bother us if we were in the water. Needless to say, this is not what I came on vacation for. The water was clear and there were very few rocks. Water sports and just about every other amenity was available for a price from the vendors. I would like to bring attention to an incident I witnessed after getting off the water taxi, when it brought us back to the ship area. A woman who was with us in the taxi, slipped somehow as she was attempting to step off the boat onto the dock. She was dangling above the water, the top of her head at the same height as the dock. The two water taxi guys each had one of her arms, but they were scrawny and could not pull her up (she was very heavy). Meanwhile, the water was choppy and the water taxi boat was swinging back and forth, threatening to smash against her. Luckily, one of the passengers who had gotten off before her was a former volunteer firefighter, and strong. He ran down and helped pull her onto the dock. The woman was OK, but shaken a little. So, to everyone reading this: please be very careful getting on and off these small boats at the dock. It is more dangerous than it looks. Also, another thing about Grenada Princess offered a Water Tubing shore excursion. We signed up online very early, but were waitlisted. We found out on the ship that all of the spots for this tour were booked the very first day online!! And the waitlist was 2 pages long! The people at the tour desk told my friend that there were other independent operators who offered river tubing in Grenada, but we did not explore that option. 4. Bonaire: The content island. There was no welcome center here, like there was at the previous 3 islands, just a small booth. We started walking in the direction of some beaches, hoping to find a nice beach and somewhere to rent snorkel equipment. We arrived at the Plaza Resort Bonaire after about 15 minutes. We purchased a day pass for their beach and facilities ($15/person, $20 if you wanted a chair) and rented snorkel equipment ($10/person). The snorkeling was fantastic!! Lots of beautiful fish!!! We even saw an octopus and my husband spotted an eel!! The water was clear, but there was no sand underneath it, just rocks and coral. I highly recommend snorkeling at Bonaire! There are probably better locations on the island, if you do your research ahead of time (which we didn't). Bring an underwater camera and waterproof SPF 50 sunblock for your back. After we were done, we walked to the downtown area, which was quaint and uncrowded. We were never approached by a vendor, or person trying to get us into a store. It seems that the people of Bonaire are content to let the tourists come to them, even though it is evident that they do not necessarily enjoy a high standard of living. By the way, Princess offered a Day at the Beach shore excursion for $99/person. I heard that they went to the Plaza Resort Bonaire the same place we ended up at. Clearly, we saved a lot of money doing it independently, even though it was unplanned on our part. 5. Aruba: Took at public bus for $2/person round trip to Eagle Beach. Our friends had done some research and said that this beach was ranked in the top 10 worldwide by a travel magazine. It certainly was beautiful, very sandy and soft. The water was not as crystal clear as the other beaches we visited, but the waves were gentler. There were two places to rent wave runners. We had fun on them ($57 for one person for 40 minutes; they accepted credit cards). One part of the beach had a lot of weeds that shed burrs, which we discovered by stepping on them, ouch. Also, it was very windy that day and it blew the sand around a lot and into our faces. There was a small snack cart and a van offering haircuts, but no bathrooms or showers, at least that we could see. No aggressive local vendors at all on the beach. The downtown area had lots of shops offering a wide variety of items. Disembarkation: Disembarkation seemed to start promptly and go smoothly. We had to be out of the staterooms by 8:15am. We headed to the buffet to eat breakfast and wait for out color and number combo to be called. The people with early flights were called first, followed by the people with shore excursions in San Juan. Then they started with the upper most staterooms and worked their way down, calling those with Princess Transfers (chartered buses to the airport) before those without. The line for settling accounts was very long that morning and we were glad we had done it the day before. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
There have been some great reviews posted on the Crown so far, so I am a bit reluctant to add another; however I know that I couldn't get enough of them before I left so here is my 2 cents worth. We boarded in San Juan on Saturday ... Read More
There have been some great reviews posted on the Crown so far, so I am a bit reluctant to add another; however I know that I couldn't get enough of them before I left so here is my 2 cents worth. We boarded in San Juan on Saturday around 2 pm at Pier #4. Embarkation went smooth but it did take about 1 hour total as the lines were fairly long. If I were doing it again I would board later in the day. Others in our group boarded around 3:30 pm and it only took a total of 15 minutes. We went right to our room where some of our luggage was already waiting for us. The rest of our luggage came in another 30 minutes, so we were able to completely unpack and go on a self guided ship tour. I would highly recommend taking some time to walk around at the beginning of the week with map in hand learning where everything is. This seemed to save us lots of time and headaches over the course of the week. We also served as unofficial "guides" to the rest of our party for the first several days until they became more familiar with the ship. The golf simulator is open for free trials on the first day so we hit a few balls and even played a little basketball. (There were very few people out and about so there were no crowds.) We were absolutely wowed at the size and beauty of the ship. It is truly amazing to look at. We were very pleased with our room, a balcony stateroom on the Riviera deck. No noise, private balcony, plenty of storage room under the bed and in the closets and cupboards. The shower is great with good temperature control and a good shower head. I did have one issue with our safe and had to call our steward for help. I think the secret to the safe is not to leave it open for more than 30 seconds or so. If you open and close it right away it seems to work fine. Some reviews have mentioned inadequate A/C in the room. I like cool rooms and the A/C was adequate for me. I did leave it on the lowest setting the entire time to keep it cool. My wife only changed it on me one time. Our cabin steward was Nimit and he did a fantastic job. He seemed to know our schedule better than we did as our room was always well taken care of. I absolutely loved having a balcony and spent a lot of time out there at all times of the day. I took some great sunrise and sunset pictures from our balcony. We were on the Port side which was fine; however our friends on the Starboard side seemed to have better views in most of the ports. (Not a big deal to me though) One of the most relaxing things for me on the entire cruise was sitting on my balcony at night as the ship rolled through the Caribbean. We even had a full moon for a couple of nights which was great. Food: Overall we loved the food. There were plenty of choices each night at dinner. I didn't love everything that was served but that's normal to me. The New York steak was fantastic and is always available. Our 2nd formal night was lobster and beef wellington, they were both excellent! The pizza is very good up on deck, the buffet was good and the burger grill was just what was needed at times. Our service overall in the dining room was very good but because we chose anytime dining, I don't think the service is as good as traditional dining. If service is as important to you as the food, traditional dining is probably better for you. We were in a group of 8 people and never had to wait for tables for breakfast or dinner. I really enjoyed anytime dining and would do it again. We did have one server who was extremely overwhelmed one night and he was all business and not very accommodating. He was the exception though as everyone else was very good. I was very impressed with the service of everyone on the ship. I thought that they went out of there way to greet everyone with a smile and a hello. Ports: The ports of call were fantastic. We were on the classic southern which is Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Marten, and St. Thomas. My favorite activity of the week was sailing on the Silver Moon II in Barbados. The weather was perfect with plenty of wind for sailing. We snorkeled, swam, sunned and had a great lunch of flying fish, pasta salad, coleslaw and warm banana bread. The crew of 3 was great and there were only 16 passengers on board. We had a great time and I would do it again tomorrow if only I could. In St. Lucia we went on Herod's Tour of the island. He was very knowledgeable and gracious. We saw some great villages, the active volcano, shopped and ended up on a beautiful beach lying in the sun and snorkeling. Antigua: We hired a local taxi driver and worked out a price for an island tour and for his services for the day. His name was Bernie and he sang songs to us and told us all about the island. We paid him $30.00 per person and he stayed with us from 9:30 am until 4:30pm. We went to Nelson's dockyard, some great lookouts on the island and then to another great beach for snorkeling and lounging. St. Marten: This is where I would definitely save the bulk of the souvenir shopping for. They had the best prices of any of the islands that we went to. We also paid $30.00 for a local snorkeling tour that took us over to a shipwreck in a powerboat. There were only 4 of us total on the boat plus the guide. It was a quick trip, but had some great snorkeling and good personal attention from the guide. We also spent the afternoon on the beach. Some in our party toured the island in a taxi; others went on the sailing regatta and loved it also. St. Thomas: We hired another local taxi driver for the day who took us all around the island, shopping, and to Sapphire beach for 3 hours which was another beautiful beach. It wasn't crowded and we bought lounge chairs for 7.00 each. Entertainment: Our group really enjoyed the entertainment, my favorite was the Friday night comedian (forgot his name) and the Motown show. We saw a few minutes of the juggling comedian who was talented but a bit over the top for me. We tried to go to the lounge for the newly wed game but it was standing room only, so go a bit early if you want a seat. The other shows usually had plenty of seating. One thing I was quite skeptical about before the cruise was the "big ship, small feel" marketing that I have read about. I expected long lines and waits the entire week. After the cruise I can honestly say I am a believer. I don't know where 3100 people can disappear to, but they sure seemed to. Other than the newly wed game, there was not one event, movie, show, meal, or activity that we couldn't get into or had to wait for. Even the dreaded lounge chairs that I have read about were always available when we were there. 2 separate nights we sat on the aft of the ship, one level up from the pool and had the entire pool area to ourselves. There wasn't another passenger anywhere around us. We ate in the dining room at different times between 6 and 8:30 and never had to wait for a table. If the deck 6 dining room was crowded we would go to deck 5 and get right in. (Deck 5 seemed to be much less crowded overall) Even the gym which had quite a few people around 8am always had machines available. Our entire group commented about the small ship feel and how impressive it was. We enjoyed MUTS although the one night we went out to watch the main feature it rained on us and sent everyone running. Disembarkation: This was fantastic; we didn't even wait in line at all until it was time to get a taxi to the airport. (10 minutes) We walked right through the lines for passport info and right off of the ship when our color was called. We were so impressed with just about everything we did and encountered on the Crown. If I didn't have kids and a job I would have signed up for the back to back in a heartbeat. I think this ship and this itinerary will be hard to beat in our future traveling. On a scale of 1-10, we gave it a resounding 10! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
We are in our 40-50's and been on 46+ cruises.....from NY Boarding at San Juan's pier 4 was a breeze and we were onboard by 1pm Our cabin was comfortable but not well cleaned. On arrival we found various debris and dirt on the ... Read More
We are in our 40-50's and been on 46+ cruises.....from NY Boarding at San Juan's pier 4 was a breeze and we were onboard by 1pm Our cabin was comfortable but not well cleaned. On arrival we found various debris and dirt on the carpets and under the bed. Our cabin steward was friendly and did his best to keep us in ice and fresh towels. The ship is beautiful and very similar to the Caribbean Princess. Upon walking around we were surprise at how many broken window had simply been taped over with plastic sheeting. There were at least 10 large glass panels in the Lido and upper decks that should have been repaired after 8 months! In addition 2 hot tubs were broken and never put in service during our 7 day run. The food in the Horizon/Caribbean cafe was fair....not great....but there was always something we liked. The dining room(any time dining)was efficient and we never had to wait. The food was hot and delivered promptly. We never felt rushed ....but it never took very long either. The food was occasionally good! Sabatini's was a good meal and I would recommend it. Our biggest complaint was with Princess Corporate, and the "superbowl" party. This was to have been held in MUTS, but to everyone's surprise, Princess had sold all the best seating on three levels to a "private party" AKA "Interstate Building Materials Corp. for 25 dollars per hour per person......which left the other 2,950 passengers to find a seat around the pool which left hundreds of passengers with no where to go! This was a slap in the face to all the "ordinary " passengers who had were denied access to the superbowl party. In addition we tried to make reservations for the Crown Grill And Sabatini's thru princess before the cruise , but were told that this was not possible, and had to be done on board. Although we were among the first to board, we found that "Interstate" had booked Sabitinni's thru Princess and had the entire restaurant for most of 2 nights. Shame on you Princess you really got a lot of your Elite and Gold cruisers pissed off big time. AS always Princess provides the most and best entertainment of the cruise industry....you wont be bored All in all it was a pleasant week but if you ever cruised on Princess 4,5 or more years ago, you will sadly see that it has come down a long way baby! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
This was our honeymoon cruise departing San Juan on 2/10/07. We're 50 & 46. We've cruised previously with Royal Caribbean twice and Carnival once but our travel agent suggested Princess this time. We've loved RCI but are ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise departing San Juan on 2/10/07. We're 50 & 46. We've cruised previously with Royal Caribbean twice and Carnival once but our travel agent suggested Princess this time. We've loved RCI but are trying others just to determine which fits us best. We used the cruise line transfer from airport to ship and that went very smoothly. Arrived at port at approximately 2:30 and got right on the ship; no lines. We were impressed how they made everyone boarding clean their hands with a squirt of antibacterial gel to avoid a major illness while cruising (this was also evident at the entrance to every dining room & buffet throughout the cruise... a very good idea). We went right to our cabin to change into shorts or a swimsuit. We always pack a casual bag for the change but I normally do not include dinner clothes; those come in the checked baggage. Well, our bags did not arrive until after 8:30pm so I was forced to wear my little swim skirt to dinner as a regular skirt paired with a little tank top! Note to self: pack dinner clothes in that carry on! We specifically booked a cabin on Caribe deck: the balconies are twice as large as on all other decks and are partially covered. You have plenty of room to sun yourself if you choose or stay in the shade on your chaise and read a book. Loved it!! The cabin was average but well laid out. Carpets were stained but the rest was very clean. Our steward, David, was not very visible but kept our room immaculate and brought us robes when we found we had none. Whenever we needed him we called on the phone and he quickly appeared. We did anytime dining: food was average and service slow. Nothing unacceptable but it could have been better. Room service was quick even if the choices were limited. I can't rave about anything except Sabatini's. It is well worth the $20 per person charge. You order your entree and dessert only; then they bring you small portions of everything on the menu. This is excellent food and, with 3 servers, excellent service. It takes about 2 hours. I would highly recommend this to all. One caveat: eat lightly through the day because it is so much food you can barely eat your dessert!! Our itinerary took us to Barbados, St.Lucia, Antigua, St.Maarten & St Thomas. We took the catamaran to the Pitons on St. Lucia and that was wonderful (I got seasick but that wasn't their fault). On Antigua we took the island tour w/beach break: tour wasn't much to see except Shirley Heights and the beach was very nice; not worth $84 each. Our best time was on St Maarten with the Segways on the boardwalk. Excellent instructor and tons of fun once you got the hang of it. Lotus Spa: being it was our honeymoon I booked the Ritual Bath and Couples Massage. Well, they advised they didn't have a couples bath on the ship (even though I booked it through the website for this ship) but they did have a Razul (a mud room). Both the couples massage and mud room were wonderful!!! Our masseuse's were wonderful and spent about an hour with us. After the couples massage up on deck in the Sanctuary in a private canopy (all very private and you modestly covered at all points), they take to you the Razul. It is a small bathroom suite with a private steam room and shower. They give you bowls of different things to use on your bodies and instructions on how to use each (nothing naughty). Then they leave you alone for an hour. The massage and Razul was the most relaxing, sensual and funny experience for both of us (you have green goop all over you at one point and you just have to laugh). My husband actually said "whatever you paid for this, it was worth every penny". I would recommend it to all, but it does have a hefty price tag($326/couple). We were so relaxed we could barely move!!! The ship is beautiful and very classy. Even the hallways to the cabins had woods and brass. I have nothing but raves for the public rooms. We caught one show at the Princess Theatre that started like all cheesy cruise shows but when they got to the 3rd number things really got great: costumes, choreography (the London scene had a very dark theme but was great), and the singing. We caught one comedian in the Wheelhouse Bar and he was average. We were always too tired to catch other shows. We would certainly book with Princess again based on this voyage. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
This was our sixth cruise, second on Princess, and first on the Crown Princess. We were traveling with our long time cruise buddies that we met on our very first cruise back in 1995. This was our third cruise with them. We're 40 years ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, second on Princess, and first on the Crown Princess. We were traveling with our long time cruise buddies that we met on our very first cruise back in 1995. This was our third cruise with them. We're 40 years old and we were not traveling with our children...thank goodness. I booked the cruise directly through Princess and their prices were very competitive with the on-line travel agencies. We booked our own air travel but did purchase transfers to and from the ship through Princess. I had some issues with not being able to update the Cruise Personalizer on their web-site with the correct immigration information. I had to call and then fax the info to them. One issue that we had was that my wife's passport was to expire within six months after the cruise and it's Princess policy to have passports valid for six months after the cruise. They informed us that we just had to bring her birth certificate and our Marriage License for verification. It was never a problem. We were never asked for anything more than her passport. Embarkation: We flew in to SJ at about 2:15 and were greeted by Princess personnel at the airport. Within ten minutes we were on the bus headed to Pier 4. There was no line whatsoever and we were on the ship by 3PM (after a brief stop for free samples at the Duty Free kiosks). Cabin: We were booked in a mini-suite on the Emerald deck (deck 8). We had the furthest aft cabin on that deck so we had the added balcony space provided by the ship's lines aft of the life boats. The cabin was great...our favorite by far. It was very efficiently laid out and had ample room for us and our friends (who had the next door cabin). The bed was very comfortable and there was plenty of storage for all of our things. Even the bathtub/shower was easy to use for a tall person like me (6'2"). Dining: I highly recommend Sabatini's...well worth the surcharge. The food was awesome but be careful. You only order your main dish and dessert, they bring you some of EVERYTHING ELSE on the menu. Bring your appetite. I had the veal and it was perfectly done and huge. You can skip the midnight Horizon Court after that meal. The main dining room was also good. We love the anytime dining option and never had to wait. I know that some had to wait because they wanted a specific size table. If you're willing to share a table with fellow cruisers, then you won't wait. The food was very good but the portions seemed a little smaller than the last time we were on Princess (Dawn in '99). Also, they were charging for after dinner specialty coffees. I think it was $2.00 for a cappuccino. The food in Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe was fine but the Horizon Court is poorly designed. There is no real flow for the people to follow. It seemed like a free-for-all the first couple days until we and our fellow passengers figured it out. The pizza and hamburger stands were adequate but not nearly as good as the ones on Celebrity Mercury. The condiment selection at the burger stand was disappointing...just the basics. We did not do the Crown Grill. Service: Excellent. Our room steward, Rojelio (Roger) was always helpful and we were never disappointed with his efforts. We ordered room service a few times and had no issues with it. The staff seemed very friendly and helpful although I did hear of some instances where this was not the case but we did not experience any of that. I think that some may expect more but I'm the type of person that appreciates the staff at a distance rather than in your face constantly trying to be my best friend. Entertainment: We didn't see any of the production shows but caught two of the Comedians. Sarge was pretty funny but his act sort of deteriorated when it became musically oriented. The other guy that we saw in Explorer's Lounge wasn't very funny but he was a talented magician. I don't remember his name but I think he called himself "The Kid." We did enter and win the marriage game in Explorer's Lounge one night. We were the couple married between 10 and 15 years. There were newlyweds and a couple that had been married 25 or so years. We all got the same prize, though. Public Rooms: This ship is huge! We had no problems navigating, though, once we figured out that you had to go forward to the Atrium on deck 7 before going down any further. We liked Crooner's and the International Cafe. My biggest disappointment was in not getting an opportunity to try Vines. I heard only raves about it. They had Martini demonstrations and a variety of activities going on through the day. The pool areas were great, lots of available space, except for the aft pool behind the Outrigger. We did not do the Sanctuary although it did look beautiful but we never really saw anyone in there so I can't comment on it or any of the spa services. The ship is very beautifully decorated. The only thing that I noticed was that were several huge panes of glass that were shattered but just taped over and not replaced (I presume from the hard over episode). One complaint that I and a lot of others had was that during the Super Bowl, Princess had apparently reserved a majority of the choice seating for some private party, forcing the rest of us to scramble for a decent view of the game. Islands/Excursions: We did no pre- or post-stay in SJ. We rented a car in St. Thomas with our pals and went to Mountaintop for the best Banana daiquiri in the world (true) and some great views of Magen's Bay. We then drove down to the beach and only got charged the locals rate ($1/person vice $3 for tourists). We spent the afternoon there and returned to the ship. Renting a car is a great idea if you have some specific things you want to see. In St. Kitts, we had booked an excursion but the weather was iffy and Princess offered to refund the cost of our excursion which we accepted as did most people who had booked that excursion. We did some sightseeing there near the pier and returned to the ship early. In Grenada, we did the River Tubing excursion. Absolutely top-notch. Happy, if you're out there, you were definitely a show stopper. In Bonaire, we rented a car again and were able to see the whole island in a day, no problem. There aren't many sandy beaches there but if you are a diving/snorkeling nut, Bonaire is the place for you. We did the Helmet Dive/Passport to Paradise in Aruba. Again, top-notch! You have to book that one very early as there is very limited space available. Fitness: My wife likes to walk the Promenade for her daily exercise (while I sleep in) but she did encounter slow moving passengers and some ship maintenance that detoured her several times. She had to go up to the gym and finish on a treadmill once which she said was a little difficult to use, but nothing that she couldn't overcome. Fellow Passengers: My guess is that the average age is around fifty. We encountered no problems with any of the passengers and enjoyed the company of everyone that we dined with. There didn't seem to be many children aboard at all. The pools seemed to be occupied almost exclusively by adults. Debarkation: No problems with Princess at all. The Immigration people were extremely slow, though. We had a later flight out of SJ so we were some of the last people off the ship. We were very comfortable during our wait. Conclusion: I highly recommend this Ship, Line, and Itinerary. We had a fabulous time and would definitely sail with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Crown Princess 2/24/07-3/3/07 Classic Southern Caribbean It is a long way from San Jose, California to San Juan so we flew in a day early and arrived at SJU at about 10:45pm. We made our own air arrangements with AA at pretty good rates. ... Read More
Crown Princess 2/24/07-3/3/07 Classic Southern Caribbean It is a long way from San Jose, California to San Juan so we flew in a day early and arrived at SJU at about 10:45pm. We made our own air arrangements with AA at pretty good rates. Taxis in SJU are easy. There's a small orange booth outside baggage claim. Tell them where you are headed and they will write down a fixed price that you can give the driver. Then you wait in line for the actual taxi. We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan so the taxi was $28 for 2, 4 bags including tip. By the way, everyone in San Juan speaks excellent English. Language is a non-issue. We are Starwood Preferred Guests and booked the hotel using starpoints. We were upgraded to a suite. I have no idea why. My only regret is that we stayed less than a day so didn't get to really enjoy it. The room was clean and looked recently renovated, new furniture etc. In the morning our French balcony opened to a beautiful view of the harbor and the cruise ships. The Sheraton is a 5 minute walk to Pier 4 where the Crown is docked. I would definitely recommend this hotel to others for convenience and location. We spent Saturday morning walking around Old San Juan. I really like this area. We walked to the big fort on the point and spent an hour and a half there. Then we walked around the little narrow streets looking into shops and checking restaurant menus. I could easily spend a couple of days in this area just eating and shopping. Lots of nice things here, but because it was our first day we didn't actually buy anything. We had checked out of the Sheraton and had our bags stored with the bell captain before our walk. One observation I'll make about the hotel is that there are not enough elevators. It took 20 minutes to get one and we had to take it up to the top floor and then ride it down to the lobby. The lobby was kind of a zoo also between cruise people checking out and new cruise people just off the ships checking in. Only 2 ships were in port so I can't imagine what it's like with a full dock. Bottom line, give yourself plenty of time to get downstairs and check out. We did and while we were surprised at the activity we were not stressed about it. We walked to the Crown about 2pm. Like I said it's about 5 minutes if you're ambulatory otherwise take a cab. It's probably about as far to the dock from the Sheraton as from the dock entrance to the embarkation building, but at least you can check your luggage before that. Lines were pretty long but moved quickly. We stopped in the duty free store for some refreshments. San Juan calls itself a "hassle free" port and Princess has about the loosest alcohol policy of any cruise line I've heard of. Most cruise lines at least make you check your alcohol. All you have to do with Princess is put it out of sight in your carry on bag. No questions asked. We bought some soda and a very nice bottle of aged Bacardi. We were on board about 2:45. Our cabin was C217 inside forward on the Caribe deck 10. I'm not crazy about inside cabins, but we got a really good price for this cruise so we made do. Princess cabins are small compared to Carnival which seems strange considering their positioning in the cruise line tier. I would not want to put more than 2 people in this cabin whereas Carnival cabins can comfortable accommodate 3 or 4. That said, since it was only DH and I it really wasn't a problem. The little dressing area that separates the bedroom and the bath is a godsend. Everything is very functional, even the bath which seems tiny but works extremely well. Our cabin steward was Pan and he did a great job. The cabin was cleaned twice a day with chocolates on the pillows at night and ice in the bucket continuously. We gave him a little extra at the end of the cruise for all his attention. The Crown Princess is huge. Our cruise was full so about 3100 pax were onboard. But we never waited for anything! There were no lines in port, no lines at dinner, no problem getting seats in the theater. What a pleasant surprise! The ship is beautiful and immaculate. My favorite places were Skywalker's during the day when it's empty, Explorer's Lounge, Club Fusion and the International Cafe. The Crown's Caribbean itineraries are very port intensive so I didn't get to spend as much time on the ship as I'd like to so I'm sure I missed a lot of great places. The Crown would be a great ship to sail on itineraries with lots of sea days because it's very roomy with lots of places to see and things to do. I wish I had spent time in the Sanctuary. I saw it on the first day but never got to go back. We liked going up to Skywalker's with a book, reading and watching all the sea and dock activity, very relaxing. Explorer's and Club Fusion have a really nice small club feel that I like a lot. The first night in Explorer's we saw a very good Latin show with Juan Carlos Munoz, fabulous guitar. We didn't discover the International Cafe until the last day. Brewed coffee is only $1 and the pastries, salads and Panini sandwiches were excellent, some of the best food on the ship. We spent 3 hours in the late morning and afternoon sitting, reading, drinking coffee and eating. This is the best kept secret on the ship. We spent almost no time on deck by the pools. Too many bad bodies and smokers out there and that's just not my thing. By the way, there were almost no children on this cruise. I'm sure the timing was not good for school holidays. We used the internet cafe every couple of days just to check email. The rates are $.50/minute with no packages of any kind offered. It takes up to 5 minutes to connect to yahoo email. It's very expensive. Just checking email, not cleaning it up, no net surfing, cost us $40 for the week. We saw several shows in the main theater. The production shows, Motor City and Destination Anywhere, were very very good. I was extremely impressed with the staging and talent of the performers. These very probably the best production shows I've seen at sea even compared to some of the Vegas shows. The comedian and the headline singer were okay nothing to rave about. The Caribbean band Voltz was very good. I thought the singer in the Wheelhouse was awful but the place was packed. Go figure. We attended the sailaway party out of San Juan but other than that we didn't participate in the deck parties. The food on the Crown ranged from good to excellent. Again, because our itinerary was very port intensive we did not eat a lot of breakfasts or lunches on board. Given the time I would have eaten more of those meals in the dining room. The buffets were basic. You won't starve but there was nothing really extraordinary either. The seafood buffet on the first night was the best. The Cafe Caribe when it was open was usually better than the Horizon Court. My husband liked the pizza but I didn't like it so much. There's some spice that they use that I don't care for, but I don't know what it was. Dinner in the dining room was always good to excellent. We had anytime dining which I love. We ate between 7:00 and 8:00pm and never waited. We were always asked if we wanted to share or have a table by ourselves. We did about half share and half alone. When we shared we were always placed with other couples, not groups. I enjoyed talking to others about hometowns and activities. I agree with those who said Princess food is seafood heavy, but we love seafood so that worked great for us. The lobster was very good. I did have prime rib one night and rack of lamb another and both were also very good. One night we went to Sabatini's and that was easily the highlight of our dining experience. Absolutely fabulous! The restaurant itself is as beautiful as any I've been to on land. As I mentioned above we really loved the International Cafe. Next time I would do breakfast and lunch here on sea days rather than the buffet. The only food complaint I have is the coffee. It's horrible! It verges on being a deal breaker for sailing Princess again. I don't care about lattes and mochas, but I need my brewed coffee in the morning and this stuff does not do it. The International Cafe coffee is good and for $1 I might settle for it the next time. Our first port was Barbados after our only sea day. We arranged an independent tour with Glory Tours, Best of Barbados. It was supposed to include snorkeling but our guide, Ricky, said it was too windy to snorkel. Disappointing, but you can't control the weather. There were only 8 of us on the tour that went to the Orchid garden, the wildlife reserve and all over the island. We had lunch at a local place with very good fried flying fish. I liked this tour a lot. We had never been to Barbados and this gave us a good overview of the island. Next time I'd like to try that turtle snorkeling that we missed. The next day was St. Lucia. Again we booked an independent all day tour with Cosol. Cosol actually had 3 vans that day. Our driver/guide was Yellowbird, Cosol's brother. There were only 8 in his van. The cool thing about this tour is that while there is a lot of driving, it's broken up by stops for food tasting and sight seeing. So even though lunch is not formally included, we got to sample so many goodies that we didn't need lunch. We got to try local bananas and raw coconut, Johnny cakes and fish cakes with banana ketchup and fresh baked bread. We saw the waterfall and orchids, the volcano, the towns and villages and the pitons. Probably the highlight for me was a stop at Jalousie resort to swim at the beach between the pitons. Very refreshing. On to Antigua and Eli's Eco Tour. Our tours just kept getting better and better. There were about 30 pax on this catamaran. The head guide was a young man named Francis who grew up in Antigua. The tour basically goes to all his boyhood haunts that he's quite proud to show off. He also provides a lot of history about the sites we pass along the way. What's nice about this tour in addition to the personal touch is that it's more than just snorkel and booze. The first stop is Bird Island where you get to climb to the top for a 360 degree view of the islands. Next stop is Hell's gate separating the Caribbean from the Atlantic. The climb to the top is a little tricky, wear good shoes, the rocks are sharp (Francis did it barefoot). Then we stopped for lunch and snorkeling near a reef with lots of fish. On St. Martin we booked a ship excursion to experience a simulated American's Cup 12 meter yacht race. This excursion can only be booked through the ship and is very popular. We had 4 yachts-worth of pax. This is quite a unique opportunity and an active tour. Everyone is assigned a job, but you can choose how active you want to be. Some people are grinders, some handle the winches, and some are cheerleaders or bartenders. I was a timekeeper. DH was a rear-stay grinder. There are scary moments particularly when the ship is on an extreme tack and you realize that the crew is clueless. Overall it's very exhilarating especially when a small squall came through in the middle of our race (we won BTW). This was only a half day excursion so we took an afternoon island tour. Pretty low key after the morning's excitement but since we'd never been to St. Martin we wanted to see more of the island. I loved Marigot where we got to stop and shop for about an hour. I could easily spend a week just on St. Martin sometime. We had scheduled a tour of St. Thomas with Sonny Liston on our last cruise day. We overslept and missed the whole thing. You cannot tell day from night in those inside cabins. Sonny emailed me after we got back wondering what happened. I offered to pay him for the noshow but he wouldn't take it. That gets points in my book and we'll certainly book with him again the next time we're in St. Thomas. It did give us a chance to see more of the ship. It was fun sitting up in Skywalker's at 4:30 when everyone was supposed to be on board watching all the late cruisers with their loads of shopping bags running for the dock. People were still boarding at 4:45pm. We had an 11:40am flight on disembarkation day so we had checked in with customer service to get early luggage tags. We were in group Orange 1, the first to be called at 8:15am. By the way, this itinerary goes through immigration in St. Thomas so you only have to go through customs in San Juan. It was a piece of cake. We got off, found our luggage, caught a cab and were at the airport at 9:00am. Our return flight was uneventful except we were missing a piece of luggage in San Jose. It came the next day and AA delivered it to us at home. All in all a great cruise and I will definitely sail with Princess again even if I have to take my own coffee maker :-). Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
This was our third cruise together as a family of four (Veendam 2/05 to Western Caribbean, Radiance of the Seas 7/01 to Alaska). My wife and I are in our mid-late 40s, daughter is 16, son is 10. We did the Presidents' Week sailing to ... Read More
This was our third cruise together as a family of four (Veendam 2/05 to Western Caribbean, Radiance of the Seas 7/01 to Alaska). My wife and I are in our mid-late 40s, daughter is 16, son is 10. We did the Presidents' Week sailing to the Southern Caribbean. EMBARKATION: We arrived at San Juan International Airport on Friday evening and stayed overnight at the Marriott Courtyard San Juan Miramar. Especially during the winter months, when weather in the northern United States can be problematic, we make it a routine to arrive the day before embarkation, to lessen the stress and equilibrate. It was an inexpensive cab ride from the airport to the hotel, where unfortunately, only smoking rooms were available, despite our request for a Non-Smoking room, which had been booked on Expedia and paid-in-full eleven months prior! Although Princess stated that passengers could board the ship beginning at 1PM, we arrived at the pier by 12:30PM, and within 15 minutes, were already on-board (our paperwork was done via internet in January). Among the paperwork to complete was a form asking whether any member of the party had experienced vomiting and diarrhea in the preceding 48 hours, presumably to minimize the risk that a norovirus would sneak on-board. We then proceeded to our mid-ship balcony cabin on the Caribe level(Deck #10). Our luggage was delivered by mid-afternoon. SHIP: The ship is quite large, with some idiosyncrasies, as outlined in previous posts. Even though the ship was at full occupancy, we never did get the feel that it was particularly crowded. There were areas that were underutilized, and beach chairs were generally plentiful, as long as one wasn't married to having to be sitting at a particular pool. The room size was sufficient, and the Caribe balconies were bigger than the other decks', half-covered (in case of inclement weather and for privacy sake, a real plus). There was ample storage space, and the open closet must have had at least thirty hangers. Bathroom was a bit tight; anyone with a 40+ inch waistline may have to do some nifty footwork to squeeze into the space between the toilet, the sink, and the shower. In our quad cabin, there was the queen bed for us, then two beds that dropped down from the ceiling above our bed. With these two "ceiling beds" deployed, one could not watch TV from bed. And, we probably each had a few "minor concussions" when these beds were deployed (steward readied the beds while we were at dinner). Next time, we'd either do two rooms (connecting via balcony), or we get the Balcony room and our kids get an Inside across the hall!! DINING: We were booked in Anytime Dining, and we were glad that we did. Basically, there are three sit-down restaurants: Botticelli for fixed seating (Early or Late), and choice of DaVinci or Michelangelo for Anytime. All three dining rooms and menus were identical. The "fixed seating" crowd could still eat at an Anytime venue, but the Anytime people generally could not eat in Botticelli (unless the maitre'd "blessed you"). On only one occasion the entire week did we have to wait more than two minutes for a table; we generally ate around 7:15-7:45PM, and on the one evening when there was a wait, we were given a pager and it buzzed us within 15-20 minutes---not unreasonable at all. Some times, we were asked if we were willing to share a table with others, and we were, so that may have helped cut down on any waits. Formal nights were Monday and Thursday. The Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe had the mundane buffets that were of decent, not spectacular, quality. At all of the above venues, the desserts generally looked better than they tasted, with the exception of the cookies, which were delicious. We preferred using the sit-down restaurant for breakfast and lunch, too, to provide "portion control" to better watch our burgeoning waistlines! We did not agree with the prior raves about the NY-style pizza (we are pizza snobs from New York), especially the cheese, which melted in a way that smacked of something artificial. The Trident Grill served hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and fries, but we preferred the grilled chicken breast (forget the generic "hamburger bun" on which everything was served!). The best-kept secret, by far, was the International Cafe, where various up-scale desserts and salads/paninis were available gratis until 4:30PM (most people thought the food there was for a charge---NOT!!); from 4:30-11PM, they had great-looking tapas for a nominal fee. In the dessert window were chocolate (white, milk, or dark)-covered strawberries for $1, delectable-appearing candy apples for $3, and chocolate fondues for $5. Just before closing each night, they distributed the strawberries gratis to passengers in the atrium. We ate with a group of ten other adults at Sabatini's, where the service was impeccable, and the leisurely meal lasted nearly three hours---well-worth the $20/person up-charge, although my halibut dish was a bit overcooked. Soda card was $3.95/day + 15% gratuity---unbelievable that people are willing to spend that kind of money for that many empty calories!! We didn't do the "coffee card" either; the coffee at all venues was weak and syrupy, so for you caffeine addicts, maybe this would be a good deal. The Princess Champagne Waterfall and the March of the Baked Alaska were not to be missed! PORTS OF CALL: The ship docked in St. Thomas, St. Kitt's, Grenada, Bonaire, and Aruba. We booked no excursions through Princess, and did far better on our own (by our calculations, we saved 50-75% by grabbing taxis and doing identical things as the ship's pricey excursions!). No tenders. St. Thomas--We took a $4 taxi ride into town, where we did some window-shopping, but didn't buy anything. Every minute, a different cab/bus driver would ask if we wanted to take an Island Tour or be taken to a beach. We had already been warned that Megan's Bay was always crowded and the water was murky, so we opted for Coqui Beach, where there were no more than a few hundred people. Snorkel equipment was readily available and there were beautiful clown fish, rainbow fish (among others) to marvel at---the cab driver who drove us there was told to pick us up at 3PM, and she arrived 15 minutes early, and waited for us. Great day. St. Kitt's--We walked off the ship into town. My kids were immediately enamored of a native holding a baby monkey in a diaper. The man came over to us, held the monkey on each of our shoulders and then on our heads, allowed us to take some photos, and then proclaimed "$5 per person". We didn't want to argue, and from then on, turned away any and all attempts from natives who wanted to give us "something for nothing." At least we had a good laugh. No bargains there, and if I had to do it again, I never would have ventured off the ship that day. Grenada--We were in port for only five hours. We arranged for a tour, during which we saw the waterfalls (cliff-diving) and a short talk about the various spices native there. Next time, we'd stay on the ship. Bonaire--Our best day. A taxi took our party of 22 (we travelled with a few families) to a secluded beach by the airport, where we had an absolutely wonderful day, in still water in which you could walk hundreds of yards without the water reaching above your waist. We rented a mini parasail and everyone had a blast. Aruba--We had contemplated honeymooning there twenty years prior, went to St. Maarten instead, so we looked forward to this day. For $10 for our entire family, we took a taxi to Palm Beach and lounged by the Hyatt (all beaches are public). We did tubing (the four of us were dragged behind a speedboat for 15-20 minutes), and my neck and lumbar spine will never be the same! There were ample facilities available. although we were told That Eagle Beach was nicer, there were few facilities there, so we opted for Palm Beach. A good day, but not as good as on Bonaire, where others raved about the snorkeling. {Note that as a surprise, I pre-purchased the $140 Anniversary Package, which included two long-stem roses, a bottle of Moet Champagne with two complimentary glasses, a plate of chocolate covered strawberries the first night in our cabin, a card from the Captain, and a framed 8 x 10 formal photo. This was a nice treat for us.} ENTERTAINMENT: The cruise director, Tim Donovan, was well-polished and pleasant enough. Best act was Sarge, the comedian. The other comedians and the magician were unimpressive; we did not spend time in the casino, or watching any of the music acts. The three staged productions were better than on Holland America, comparable to Royal Caribbean. MUTS had various movies and concerts on the big screen in the pool area; the immediate vicinity was a bit loud for us, but amazingly, out of that relatively small area, we couldn't hear the din. Sanctuary looked very nice and restful, $10/half-day, but we never took advantage. DISEMBARKATION: Since we had a 12:30PM flight back to New York, we were among the first off the boat. Disembarkation began at 8:15AM, and we were off the boat by 9AM, through customs within 15-20 minutes, and at the airport before 10AM. The airport was increasingly busy, woefully understaffed, and the lines through security were long---I would not risk taking a flight before noon on disembarkation day! There were not enough seats by the gates, and the food available there seemed so unappetizing, even moreso in contrast to what we had experienced on the Crown Princess. In summary, we had a wonderful time, but we would have preferred more than just a single "At Sea" day. I would stay on the ship at both St. Kitts & Grenada to take advantage of all that this wonderful ship has to offer. That being said, I think that we would probably opt to give Royal Caribbean another try before doing another Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
This was our fourth cruise (2 previous with Carnival and 1 with Norwegian). Distinct differences on each cruise line, but I'll attempt to stay focused on the Crown Princess. I am 35, as is my wife. Embarkation We landed at San ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise (2 previous with Carnival and 1 with Norwegian). Distinct differences on each cruise line, but I'll attempt to stay focused on the Crown Princess. I am 35, as is my wife. Embarkation We landed at San Juan International at about 13:30 at which time luggage and golf clubs were promptly collected and headed out to locate a cab. We opted to arrange our own transportation from the airport to the pier (to beat the crowds at the pier). We arrived at Pier 4 to find there was no one in line. We presented our documentation (which was done on the net ahead of time) and was on the ship by 14:30. We were greeted by the Princess crew, and as with other crews, they were very courteous and helpful. We then proceed to our cabin on the Lido deck (L253) where we were greeted by our cabin steward. Throughout the cruise, he was very helpful and always kept our cabin clean and stocked with the necessities. Ship Unlike the Carnival ships, Princess doesn't try to dazzle you with flashy lights and bright colors. Princess uses more wood and subdued tones creating a more upscale and classy, opulent environment - well done. The layout, like any ship takes some time to get used to but all in all, done well. The casino was large, but smoky (typical casino). There was always somewhere for everyone. The Piazza (main atrium) was laid out nicely - deck 5 looking up to deck 8). On 5, there was the International Cafe that had a large variety of cheeses and calamari, shrimp, as well as their famous cookies. The cookies were so good, in fact that I had to have them every night before bed. Never got a chance to sample their international flavored coffees, but was told they were leaps and bounds above the standard coffee they served about the ship. The Princess Theatre was the main venue for shows, although they only had 2 broadway-style shows (on the formal nights) - Sarge was the comedian and was hilarious! Crooners Lounge for the quiet evenings, Club Fusion for dancing, and the Wheelhouse bar for smaller shows such as the comedy, and the art auction. All very nice and well laid out rooms. The pool area (Lido deck) was never really that crowded, even on the day at sea. There are numerous areas with pools and hot tubs where you could relax. Most people didn't know about the aft section on the Lido deck that also had a pool area - was always fairly quiet. Movie Under the Stars (MUTS) was simply fantastic. The sound system they were employed was an even mix between lows, midrange, highs and a sub-woofer that would shake the decks. Very well thought out sound system. Even in the bright sun, it was never a problem seeing the screen. Dining We originally had the early seating, but prior to embarkation, changed to anytime because of the previous experience on Norwegian with their Freestyle Dining). This proved to be the way to go - not having to come off from shore and head right to diner. There was something for everyone and every pallet on this ship. The two main dining rooms were Michelangelo and Davinci. There was Sabatini's (Italian) and the Crown Grill (Steakhouse) which we did not have a chance to try, but was told they were well worth the $25pp surcharge. Cafe Carib and Horizons where the two buffet restaurants which again, had a decent mix of dishes for everyone (ranging from roast beef, pork, sushi, chicken, and local dishes from the ports of call). If there was something you desired that was not on the menu, arrangements could be made. On the first day, my wife and I returned from St. Thomas and entered the Davinci dining room. My wife ordered, and I had a craving for a steak. The waiter informed me that it wasn't on the menu until diner, but he'd see what he can do. Dion, the head waiter approached and said this wouldn't be a problem, but it would be 15-20 minutes, and if I didn't mind waiting. No problem. It arrived, cooked to perfection. From that point on, Dion would see me coming down the hall and always have the steak, cooked medium rare within 15 minutes. So, yes, the staff will go out of their way to please their guests. Hats off to you, Dion. Ports of Call St. Thomas - This is the place to purchase alcohol. It's a duty free country, so you can purchase items at a drastically lower cost than at home. Furthermore, items are available that you can't purchase at home. Local beer - Black Beard Ale. I like my local beer, so at each port, I had to source out the local brews. Beaches are something to see in St. Thomas, as are the docks with various yachts coming in. St. Kitts - Very flat, not much to see. My wife and I opted to play golf at The Royal St. Kitts. Very nice course, well kept. At $175pp including transportation, it's your typical price to pay golf in the Caribbean. Afterwards, we had a chance to browse the terminal for typical souvenirs Grenada - The Spice Island - One of my favorite ports. We browsed the markets and then returned to drop off our items. Upon returning to shore for the second time, we met up with a local named "Jazzy Jeff" who was our tour guide for the day. (I highly recommend him and he's friendly, and knowledgeable. Come out of the terminal and yell for Jazzy Jeff or Number 1. He'll find you.) He heard my wife and I talking and said to me that I seemed friendly enough for him to approach. He took us up to the fort, the police station, the caves, up to the top of the mountains where we could see the pier where we docked. We also waked through town , saw the churches that were damaged by the hurricane. Having a personal guide was the way to go. Local Beer - Carib. We drank plenty of this throughout our tour. Pay close attention when ordering drinks or food. They'll tell you the price in Caribbean Dollars which is higher - 2 Carib and a Coke was $10. Jazzy Jeff said give her $4 USD. Had he not been with me, $10 USD. Bonaire - Population is 15,000 people, however, the flamingos outnumber the locals, or so they said. We met 2 other couples at the base of the pier in a minivan who also wanted to see the flamingos, so off we went. After seeing the salt production (really something to see) we encountered 4 flamingos. Yes, 4. That's all we saw. This was the flamingo sanctuary... they must have flown to a different island because we circled the entire island and only encountered 4. Local beer - Carib. Aruba - Beaches and more beaches. Could have played golf but on our third trip to Aruba we were yet to spend serious time on the beach. We took a cab from the pier to Palm Beach (mid point of the island) and started to walk back towards to ship. We walked for about 3 hours, drinking lots of their local beer - Belashi. Aruba is a great place for snorkeling - we saw star fish, parrot fish, among others. Day at Sea - with 3100 passengers, you think you'd feel crowed. On the contrary. As mentioned before, there are plenty of venues one can visit on the ship to "get away" from the crowds. It was my wife's birthday on the day of disembarkation, so I suggested she visit the Sanctuary (Spa) for a treatment. She loved it and said it was well worth the $$. Movie Under the Stars were running all day long, martini demonstrations in the Piazza, Vine's Winebar was open, and The International Cafe had their famous cookies out (which probably contributed to my weight gain on the cruise). Disembarkation Organized. Colored tags were distributed the night before and you were to wait until your respective tags were called. Two hours and we were off. They had CNN on all of the televisions as well as the large screens in the Princess Theatre. Made the time pass quickly. Overall Impression of Princess Aside from the flash, Princess does have a great business that caters to the "Something for everyone" theory. On this particular sailing, there were a number of "older" passengers, which I was told is not usually the case this time of year. The crew is very helpful and always pleasant. We had our doubts that this wasn't going to be a good cruise from all of the negativity on this site. My conclusion was that people are FAR too picky on the little things. You're on vacation - make the best of it. Honestly, my wife and I had nothing to complain about. The service was excellent, food was good with a variety of choice, accommodations were more than adequate and company even better. We met numerous couples about the ship that we conversed with throughout the week that made the vacation even more enjoyable. We'd cruise Princess again, but not before sailing with other cruise lines. We figure that we're young enough to experience different lines, then narrow it down to a few in the years to come. I think RCCL is next. Until next time... Vijay and Sheri Doobay Markham, Ontario, Canada doob@rogers.com Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
About us: We are a married couple in our 40's. Have been on one previous cruise -- Celebrity Constellation. We chose this cruise primarily because of our interest in seeing St. Kitts/Nevis, Bonaire and Grenada. Embarkation: We ... Read More
About us: We are a married couple in our 40's. Have been on one previous cruise -- Celebrity Constellation. We chose this cruise primarily because of our interest in seeing St. Kitts/Nevis, Bonaire and Grenada. Embarkation: We arrived in San Juan the day before and stayed at Marriott Courtyard Isla Verde. Very close to airport and about a $25 cab ride to Pier 4. While the beach was beautiful and the property nice, it was literally across the street from the runways at SJU! Quite surreal listening to the constant roar of jets taking off and landing. Next time, we plan to stay closer to the pier in Old San Juan area (although I'll miss the beach)! We arrived about 12:30 pm and it didn't take long to get on the boat -- about half an hour. It was a treat to have time to relax by the pool in the afternoon before dinner. The Ship: Was impressive. Beautifully detailed mosaic tile, wood, marble, and italian feel. I was stunned by the artistic detail displayed throughout the ship. The replications of Da Vinci and Michelangelo paintings in their respective dining rooms were fun to view while dining. I found the Explorers Lounge to be gorgeous. I have to say, though, that I kept hitting dead ends and walking up and down endless flights of stairs to get from bow to stern of the ship. It made for great exercise, but I probably would have been better off sitting down for 30 minutes and truly studying the map! Even the Promenade required a walk up and down a flight of stairs to make it fully around the ship. I'm a pool lounger and, thanks to Cruise Critic Reviewers, made a beeline to what were recommended as the less crowded pools at the fore and aft, but discovered that the aft pool (can't remember the name) was a smokers area (not my thing) and the pool near the spa had only about 15 chairs surrounding and were easily secured by 7:30 am by the same passengers (every day I spun by the area to see if it would free up, but no luck). Maybe Princess can implement a "pool chair lottery" on sea days to give us all a chance?! Kidding!:-) The Sanctuary was a nice alternative, but booked up quickly on sea days. The 2 main pools were packed with people saving the premium lounges with cushions every day. So, my advice for you pool goers would be to buck up and arrive very early in morning if you want a nice, comfortable seat. As an alternative to the pool scene, we ended up purchasing a week's pass to the Thermal Spa and hung out there every day. It had an aromatherapy steam, heated beds and Kohler showers with jets flying every which way. It was truly relaxing and we loved hanging out there after returning to the boat from our daily activities at port. It was never very crowded and often we had the place to ourselves. I also managed to burn lots of $$ at the Lotus Spa as I decided to try out Acupuncture. I visited Dr. Chang 3 times during the trip and it did seem to help about as well as a deep tissue massage. In fact, Dr. Chang followed up the acupuncture session with some good old-fashioned rub-downs and stretching to help with my stiff neck and headaches. Dining: Loved the flexible choice dining schedule (another key reason why we chose Princess) and ate about 4 nights in either Da Vinci or Michelangelo dining rooms. Never had to wait for a table, but we were open to sharing. Also had dinner in Crown Steakhouse for $25 pp cost one evening. It was fine, but I have to say the steak wasn't the highest quality. It was a nice evening, though, and enjoyed the atmosphere and our bottle of Brunello. My husband was over the top about the sushi at The Vines and we also loved to stop by the International Cafe for some sweets or tapas in the afternoon. Also loved their chocolate covered doughnuts in the morning. Thought the pizza was tasteless and it bugged me that we had to travel to the buffets to get water or pay almost $3 for the bottled variety offered throughout the ship. It also bugged me that they designed the water/coffee area of the buffet very awkwardly -- and made me wonder if it was done on purpose to dissuade people from the free stuff. It was quite a tight space. Breakfast in the dining room was our favorite choice, and we usually visited the buffet at lunch for a salad, but didn't care for much else there. Entertainment: We didn't see much as we weren't very good at keeping on schedule. We managed to watch "The Queen" at the Explorer Lounge and a concert at MUTS. For many of the other events, we would arrive too late to get a seat. Also, since we're not crazy about cigarette smoke, we didn't hang out too long at the lounges at night and preferred to get fresh air on deck or on our balcony. Cabin: Which brings me to our cabin -- which I've forgotten to mention until now. We were in a mini-suite and found the room to be very comfortable, clean and, again, with beautiful details. Everything was well thought out with plenty of storage and about 30 wooden hangers that accommodated all our clothing. The bathroom was large enough, but had to stoop to use the shower. Our room attendant, Marius, was perfect and reflected the type of service you'd receive at the finest hotel. He always seemed to know when we'd come and go and provided everything we needed with little fuss. I have to compare this to Celebrity -- we also had a mini suite with butler -- and the constant knocking on the door drove us crazy. They were always knocking and offering up a canape or a piece of fruit or something when it really wasn't needed. It was great to have the privacy without the butler. Overall Atmosphere: The ship was full and I felt it was very crowded. There truly was a mix of people from all over the world (many from Britain), lots of extended families, young and old. I don't think I will book on a big cruise ship again as I want to be able to relax and not have to fight crowds. Overall, the service was great. The staff was friendly and seemed happy to be working for Princess. Quick Port Rundown: St. Thomas -- didn't get off the boat. Took it easy for the day. St. Kitts -- while we love the island, decided to take the Nevis Sail Away trip and were glad we did. Top notch operation and saw cuddlefish while snorkeling! Grenada -- I was so excited to see the Spice Island. We walked around the town and bought lots of stuff from an artists' cooperative. Our cabin smelled heavenly the rest of the trip from the spices we purchased. Bonaire -- Loved, loved, loved it. The snorkeling on Klein Island was the best I've seen in 15 years. We plan to come back and spend a week here sometime. WARNING: excursions book up very early and it can be tough to get to get a cab to the beach if you aren't off the boat first as this tiny island get overwhelmed by the Crown. Aruba -- another great day of snorkeling which included the wreck. Debarkation: Went smoothly, however, we were quite literally the last off the boat. Had to vacate our rooms at 8:15 and were able to disembark at 11:15 -- exactly 3 hours later. Glad I had a good book! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
My boyfriend & I just got back from our Southern Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess. This is my 2nd cruise, his 1st. The dates were 2/24/07 thru 3/3/07. We stayed in San Juan PR for 2 nights prior to the cruise at the Hampton Inn ... Read More
My boyfriend & I just got back from our Southern Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess. This is my 2nd cruise, his 1st. The dates were 2/24/07 thru 3/3/07. We stayed in San Juan PR for 2 nights prior to the cruise at the Hampton Inn in Isla Verde. Loved the hotel for the price. Isla Verde beach was very nice. Arrival- We did not have to wait very long at all to board the ship. We were out of the sun prior to the 1:00 boarding time. Embarkation was quick & easy. They let u stop in a duty free store & stock up on alcohol and let u bring it right to your cabin. No one said a word about bringing alcohol on board. Our first impression of the ship was that is is HUGE & beautiful. Cabin- Our cabin was sufficient. We had a balcony on the Baja deck. Our balcony was covered. We could see down onto the other balconies but ours was not visible the decks above. The cabin was decorated nicely and had everything we needed. As others have said the bathroom/shower was really small (and I'm only 5'3). My boyfriend is 6'0 & 205lbs, it had to be very tight for him. The balcony is definitely worth the extra $$$. It seemed like we had more room & it was nice to see each port every morning and the sunrises & sunsets. Food- We thought the dining room food was good to great. Some meals were exceptional, some just ok. Never bad though. We also liked the grill out by the pool. The pizza,fries, burgers, hotdogs were all good. The ice cream (with fee-$1.50) was one of the best soft serve ice creams I ever had. Worth the fee. We used the dining rooms also for breakfast & it was always very good. The one area of food that we thought was below average to almost inedible was the buffet (Cafe caribe/ Horizon Court). Our 1st day on the ship we ate lunch at the buffet and it was good (roast turkey. After that night the food went downhill and the choices were weird. We went to German Bierfest night and every single item tasted of all Vinegar, including things that shouldn't have. Strange... I went out and had a burger instead. I never really ate anything from the international cafe. Just bought a nominal fee flavored coffee & would tell u not to bother wasting your money. I thought the coffee in the dining rooms was fine, not syrupy as some people have said. I guess everyone likes different things. One thing is for sure, you will not be hungry. Many choices and plenty of good food. Service- We thought the service was exceptional. We only had 2 slight issues the whole time. Once was at the dining room one night. Our waiter never came back to take dessert orders from us or the other tables near us. We all wound up leaving. We waited about 20-25 minutes. We never had another bad experience though with any dining rooms or food/drink service. Room service was unbelievably quick. The only other area lacking was the casino. Some of the Roulette tables had some really unfriendly,miserable girls working them. They would roll their eyes, ignore you,etc. We did not let that put a damper on our trip though. Most employees were very eager to help, smile, and bring u what u needed. They work very hard. Ports of call- We went to San Juan PR, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Maarten,& St Thomas. They were all beautiful. We probably like St Thomas the least just because we chose to do the skyride and probably didn't get to see enough of the Island. San Juan- We visited Old San Juan, the fort,etc. It was nice to see once but I wouldn't waste time doing it again. It was very, very hot that day. We also visited Isla Verde Beach which was very nice. It's probably a 15 minute cab ride from the pier. Barbados- We went to Malibu Beach. It was a "Red Flag" day, meaning u could not swim in the Ocean but people did anyway. The waves were fun to watch. The ocean color at Malibu beach was absolutely gorgeous. Pale Turquoise. Barbados was very dirty & most businesses during the ride to the beach. St Lucia- This is a beautiful Island. We took an all day tour of the Pitons,Marigot Bay, waterfall, botanical gardens/sulfur springs,& Volcano. Lots of stops to take pictures along the way. We also had lunch overlooking the Pitons. What a beautiful site. It was a long day but worth seeing. St Lucia's water looked like a deep blue. Antigua- We did a 2 person speed boat excursion in Antigua. We enjoyed it immensely. Lots of fun. We went out to a little island called "Big Bird Island" and climbed to the top for great photos. Antigua's water was Emerald green. Very beautiful. Different from anywhere else I've seen. St Maarten- This was probably the favorite of all our stops. Just breath taking. The island, water, beach, everything was just absolutely beautiful. The best & cheapest shopping by far. St Thomas- We couldn't tell u much about this island. We did the skyride which was a complete rip off. The view was nice though. Their water there seems very pretty. All in all we really enjoyed ourselves & would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Back a couple of weeks from the Southern Caribbean on the Crown. Overall the nicest itinerary around the continental US, IMHO. Just my wife and I, late 40's-early 50's and 17 year old daughter--probably our last Spring Break ... Read More
Back a couple of weeks from the Southern Caribbean on the Crown. Overall the nicest itinerary around the continental US, IMHO. Just my wife and I, late 40's-early 50's and 17 year old daughter--probably our last Spring Break together before she's off doing her own thing (God help us). One of the best parts of the cruise was the 2 days we spent in San Juan prior to departure. I was pleasantly surprised by old San Juan--thought it would be more like the Mexican ports (which I found to be pretty junky behind glitzy facades) but it was truly more Caribbean and very historic, in (mostly) very good condition. Easily walkable, and truly fabulous restaurants--try The Parrot Club and Aquaviva, you'll be impressed. Stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan, right across from the Bay, within sight of and 2 blocks from the cruise ship pier. Our room was on the corner facing the water and the pier, with a Juliet balcony--very nice. The Westerdam was at the dock when we arrived, and I was reminded what beautiful ships the HAL Vista class are. Saturday morning we got our first view of the Crown Princess--geez, what a behemoth, and to be charitable, not so much a looker. Truly looked like a sideways office building. At about noon (embarkation started at 12:30) we walked our bags over to the pier ourselves (an error on my part--I had underestimated how heavy our non-rolling pullmans were and I had both of them, leaving me with little feeling in my shoulders the next day). Were 3rd in line at our check in station, which took all of 5 minutes (fill out whatever you can in advance), boarded by 12:50, and in a first in our cruising history, went right to our stateroom! Bags didn't come for a couple of hours, but we had a place to drop our carryons and start exploring. Nice work, Princess--have no idea how they turn over the cabins that fast. Now to the ship in general. Looks aside, until you got to the latter 1/4 of the ship the layout was quite logical and pleasing. Decor was neutral and nautical without being cheesy, and the lounges (couldn't believe how many there were) were very attractive. The aft section of the ship, as noted, must have fallen off the designer's desk, however, because the whole week was an exercise of "you can't get here from here"--dead ends, stairways going to outside decks from which the interior was only accessible from one side of the ship, which side wasn't accessible from the other side; outside access from Skywalker's Night Club, the doors for which locked automatically so you couldn't get back in without going down a deck and back up the elevator; a golf deck that we found the first day and only subsequently relocated by accident, etc. We mostly stayed forward. I counted at least 4 pools (none of which we actually went in, but seemed to do a good business), one of which was right in front of the new giant ship gimmick "Movies Under the Stars" (MUTS). This is a 30 foot screen, visible day and night, with a very loud sound system that is nonetheless (fortunately) audible only in the area surrounding the Calypso Reef pool. Nice for the kids, I guess, and they did have some good and pretty recent movies showing at night. The stateroom (a mini-suite) was nicely set up for the three of us. Being a little deeper and wider than a standard room we weren't bumping into each other all the time, and the head compartment was roomy with a full size tub. The closet was right outside the head and was truly huge, with a zillion hangers and plenty of adjacent shelves. The bed was pretty comfortable but, oddly, a bit short--I'm 6'4", and my feet hung over the end a little--and the bedding was strange in that there is no separate sheet or blanket, just a sort of sheet-wrapped blanket that didn't allow you to adjust your temperature level with the bedding. The balcony was nicely sized, with two comfortable reclining chairs and a bistro sized table and 2 chairs. Being on the Dolphin deck, our balcony was out to the full beam of the ship and looked straight down into the water, while the balconies above were set in some and looked down on us. Great for getting sun, but not so great for privacy. Now to the food--we didn't eat in either of the premium restaurants on the ship, although we heard they were good. Overall, B to B+, but not quite as good as on HAL. The only marginal dinner we had in the restaurant was on Caribbean night--although I like Caribbean food a lot, this was...not the best. Waiter Richael was good with suggestions, and Headwaiter Antonio was very helpful also, bringing us special non-menu appetizers on several occasions. Nice, varied choices for breakfast and lunch, although the fare offered in the two aft buffets was similar but different--if you originally filled your plate from the forward buffet (Horizon Court) and carried it outside in back to eat, being able to reload with the same items from the Cafe Caribe (aft) was kind of a crapshoot. The homemade ice cream in the dining room was outstanding, particularly the rum raisin. The daily pizza outside between the two pools was first rate as well, and giant slices. Good ports can't make up for a crappy ship, but they can make a cruise on a good ship great, and that was the case here. Barbados: Did a Land Rover tour of the island; crashed through a cane field and a pretty remote jungle, passing by some incredible scenery on the Atlantic side in so doing. A great trip and a good introduction to a pretty diverse island. St. Lucia: Kayak trip to Pigeon Island. The brochure doesn't describe this trip well--there is kayak time (which I enjoyed better than my wife and daughter--they were very good at paddling in a circle, but straight...not so much), beach time, snorkel time, and a great walk up to Fort Rodney at the top of a hill, from which you can see a lot of the island. Antigua: The highlight of the trip--circumnavigation of the island on the power catamaran "Excellence", with a snorkel/beach stop and fresh grilled fish or chicken lunch. An amazingly beautiful place, with over 300 beaches, mountains, sea cliffs, and stunning marinas and yachts. Hands down the place I would go back to for a separate trip. St. Maarten/Martin: Rather disappointing overall, perhaps because my expectations were high. You'd think they would clean up the main roadway access from the cruise ship docks to the town, since that's the first exposure for many thousands of people to the island, but it's junky and unappealing. The drive to the butterfly farm (cool) and Orient Beach (nice, but one "beach club" after another made it too commercial, with too many semi/fully naked people who shouldn't have been) continued the theme. The preceding 3 islands had definite areas of poverty, but conveyed a sense of pride of the inhabitants that even though they didn't have much they were going to keep it as well as they could. Not so here-garbage-strewn yards and general sloppiness abounded. Man has not been kind to what otherwise would be a beautiful island. Downtown Philipsburg is kind of amazing in that jewelry store are as prevalent as t-shirt shops in other touristy areas. If you're shopping for jewelry or watches, however, this would be nirvana. St. Thomas: Although rainy when we were there, I liked this better than I thought I would, perhaps because of low expectations. Relatively low key, naturally pretty, and more Miami-with-mountains (understandably) than the others. Would like to have seen more of it, but we were inexplicably docked in the Crown Bay area, not the main cruise ship piers in Havensight (inexplicably because I understand that Havensight has room for 3 or 4 ships and there was only one there on the day we were--maybe the Crown was too big), which was pretty remote. Overall a wonderful time. In retrospect the Crown was a good choice for our daughter since she was by herself, as there were many more teens than on our previous cruise on HAL. If it were just my wife and I, however, I think we'd go back to Holland America--not that Princess didn't do a fine job, but I think the overall HAL chemistry and smaller ships is more our taste. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
WOW, what an experience. Arrival at port easy,process of luggage and check-in all in less than 20 minutes. As we walked in we realized we were boarding a magnificent ship. Travelled with my 16 year old son. Teen Center schedule kept him so ... Read More
WOW, what an experience. Arrival at port easy,process of luggage and check-in all in less than 20 minutes. As we walked in we realized we were boarding a magnificent ship. Travelled with my 16 year old son. Teen Center schedule kept him so busy that hardly saw him. He was thrilled with all activities they had for them and all new friends he was making. Movies under the Stars...my favorite place. Daily activities were great for those who wanted to be kept busy. For those of us who were looking for tranquility and peace we had the ADULT pool at the very end of the ship and The sanctuary...the name says it all. Had a swedish massage at The Spa, fabulous The service in my cabin was magnificent. Our stateroom steward Maricel kept an eye on every need anyone could imagine. We had an "Obstructed View" outside cabin/double. The view we had, it was obstructed very little. Lot's of closet space and shelves for clothing and luggage;refrigerator, TV, room service and most important beds were very comfortable, included duvet cover. Overall it was a good size room. I will be back to this ship very soon without hesitation!! :) Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Background Info: We were on the 3/3/07 sailing from San Juan. We are a couple in our late 20s who do not have children. We sailed with another couple in their late 50s. This was our very first cruise. Hotel Info: We arrived in San Juan ... Read More
Background Info: We were on the 3/3/07 sailing from San Juan. We are a couple in our late 20s who do not have children. We sailed with another couple in their late 50s. This was our very first cruise. Hotel Info: We arrived in San Juan on 2/28 so that we could have a couple of days to see Puerto Rico. We stayed at the Wind Chimes Inn and it was just lovely! A beautiful and comfortable inn near the Condado/Ocean Park area. However, they do require a minimum of 3 nights stay for all guests, so this may not be the best place for cruisers. We had a great time in Puerto Rico pre-cruise as we went deep sea fishing and took a trip to the El Yunque Rainforest and Bio-Bay in Fajardo. Ship Info: As we've never been up close to a cruise ship before, we were quite overwhelmed! The Crown Princess is a large and lovely vessel, and every detail radiates elegance. When we first boarded, we entered the beautiful Piazza area, and rode up the glass elevators to our balcony stateroom, where we were immediately met by our room steward, Ariel. Ariel was an absolute gem- extremely attentive and willing to do all he could to make us comfortable. Our luggage arrived an hour after we got to our state room and Ariel was happy to provide us with additional hangers for our clothes. Public Areas of the Ship: The ship has so much to offer! I spent a lot of time at the Neptune's Reef and Pool, and I loved the atmosphere- very relaxing! I didn't spend much time at the aft pool for adults only, as it was very smoky. I did not attempt to find a hard-to-comeby lounge chair at the spa pool. I spent a little bit of time at the MUTS pool, but there were way too many kids there making way too much noise. We spent quite a bit of time in the Piazza area at the various lounges, as smoking was only allowed at a handful of these. We also had fun in Gatsby's casino, where the friendly dealers did their best to explain Craps to us (we still don't get it!). Activities: The activity staff was just great and kept us laughing! They provided many different activities to participate in and we had a wonderful time. Service: Exceptional beyond our expectations! All of our requests were met with a smile. The staff was just wonderful every where we went! Stateroom: Balcony room on Aloha deck, starboard side. Our room was beautiful and plenty big for the two of us. We loved the balcony and had our coffee there every morning. The only negative was that our first night at sea we heard loud banging coming from our balcony. It turned out to be one of the dividers separating our balcony from the next stateroom's balcony. It had come unlocked in the middle of the night and was swinging fierily, banging the balcony furniture about. The next day we had it fixed. It must be a common issue, however, because we heard the same noise coming from other decks and balconies. Dining: Room service was great, as were the buffets most of the time. We typically had dinner in one of the 2 dining rooms, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table. The service was wonderful, but I found the dining room food to be hit or miss- thank goodness for the buffet! I just loved the Trident grill near the Neptune pool, as their hamburgers were delicious. We ate at the Crown Grill on the last night and had a wonderful time, although I have tasted better steak. But it was a fun way to end our cruise. Entertainment- the 2 production shows (Motown and Cole Porter) were very lively and enjoyable. The comedian/magician we saw was entertaining and surprisingly funny. Shore Excursions: As this was our first cruise, we booked all of our excursions with Princess. Here is a rundown… St. Thomas- We went on the St. John Trunk Bay Beach and Snorkel trip. It was well organized and we had a lot of fun. However, I wish we would have been able to stay at St. John a bit longer, as we only ended up having about an hour there. But the beach there is beautiful and we saw a lot of fish when we snorkeled. St. Kitts- We rode on the little train that travels on the old tracks used for sugar cane farming. The hot, overcrowded tour bus to the train itself was the only downside. Once we were on the train we relaxed, listened to our guide, and enjoyed the complimentary drinks. St. Kitts is a beautiful island with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Grenada- We did the New Waves discover SCUBA trip for non-certified divers. The instructors made sure that we felt very comfortable with our SCUBA gear in the swimming pool before we headed into the open water. If you have ever thought that SCUBA diving might be for you, we HIGHLY suggest this type of excursion. Bonaire- We went on the Dutch Sailing Ship, and as it was relaxing, there wasn’t much to it. We just kind of sailed around in circles for 3 hours. While complimentary food and drinks were provided, we were hoping to listen to a guide to learn about the island. This did not happen so we were stuck on a small boat with nothing much to do. Aruba- A very different place than what we’d envisioned. Very sparse and desert-like with lots of cacti! We went on the land rovers and had a good time- our guide was wonderful! We saw the land bridge, ruins, and even visited the ostrich farm. It was pretty interesting! San Juan- Since our flight was not til 4pm, we decided to book a tour through Princess when we returned to San Juan. We went to the fort and Bacardi Distillery. Interesting and a much better way to spend the day than sitting around the airport! Disembarkation- smooth and quick. No complaints. In summary, we thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Crown Princess and we would do it all again in a minute. A note to all of those cruisers out there hoping to take booze on board the ship- we bought alcohol in several ports and were allowed to take it right up to our stateroom. We fully expected cruise personnel to take it from use, so we didn't even attempt to hide it. They just let us bring it on board! Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This was my first cruise (my partner's third), sailing March 31st 2007. I'm a Primary School teacher, so have to travel during the easter holidays. Living in Yorkshire, England meant we departed for our cruise during the ... Read More
This was my first cruise (my partner's third), sailing March 31st 2007. I'm a Primary School teacher, so have to travel during the easter holidays. Living in Yorkshire, England meant we departed for our cruise during the afternoon of Friday 30th March 2007. We flew British Airways from Manchester to Gatwick and stayed overnight at the Sofitel Hotel at the north terminal. We departed the following morning with Thomsonfly from Gatwick South for an 8 hour flight. It certainly didn't seem long, but I was rather stiff when we headed for immigration, which was not a good experience. We were one of the last to be 'processed' and it took over an hour to be finger printed and photographed. Check-in at the port was swift and our luggage arrived some hours later (having retrieved it from outside another cabin). If I hadn't gone looking for it, we would not have found it. Strange, as both tags clearly showed E104! The size of the ship was overwhelming at first. With over 3,000 passengers I thought it would get crowded - it never did! It was very easy to find your way around and there was plenty to do. Loved the 'Princess Patter' - thought that was very cute! We chose 'traditional dining'. We were placed with two other couples who were completely out of our age range (we were 28 and 30 years old at the time). They were much older. One couple only sat with us for one night! The buffet restaurants were very good. An easy way to get fat! There was also a pizza parlour, burger bar and ice cream parlour - all serving excellent food. For an extra payment you could go to Sabatini's or Crown Grill. We chose Sabatini's. Oh, god, they brought out so much food! Never again but a good experience. We did a mixture of Princess excursions and some of our own. The best were through Princess. At least you always knew you'd be back on ship in time! Best excursion was St. Lucia land and sea tour. However one American did spoil it by getting plastered (drunk) before we'd even started the land tour! The entertainment could have been better, although Sarge was good. There were a couple of other comedians on board too. It was the first time I had encountered Americans. There were only about 600 Brits, the rest American / Canadians. Enough said! The amenities on board were okay. I didn't feel comfortable in the spa. Felt out of place. Many in there were health freaks and stared alot if someone dared enter that normally wouldn't. The hairdressing service is good. The lady who put my hair up on the last formal night was very pleasant to talk to. The pool was dominated by American kids during the first week, not so much the second. As kids are, everyone else is invisible. But glad to see many enjoyed themselves. We booked this year (2008) holiday 24 hours after getting back from the Crown Princess. We're travelling on the Sea Princess on March 22nd 2008, embarking at Montego Bay. Again we booked an inside cabin on plaza deck, but excellent value. What else do you need when you go for the sun and sight-seeing? Hope to see some of you there! Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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