3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
My husband and I took the 28 day cruise on the Crown Princess to Hawaii, Samoa and Tahiti. Our room was a balcony on the 14th floor. This was our 13th cruise with Princess, so we were very familiar with the room, ship, dining rooms, etc. ... Read More
My husband and I took the 28 day cruise on the Crown Princess to Hawaii, Samoa and Tahiti. Our room was a balcony on the 14th floor. This was our 13th cruise with Princess, so we were very familiar with the room, ship, dining rooms, etc. etc. The room defnitely needed some TLC, especially the carpet, which was stained in quite a few places and the plumbing also needed attention. The food was the usual menu they have on all the Princess ships and was pretty much OK. The entertainment was very good and we went to the theatre every night. All in all it was a nice cruise (a bit long, but we knew that going in...just confirmed we would not want to take one that long again) On the last week of the cruise, their was a breakout of the Norovirus and at about 200 passengers became ill from it. My husband got it 2 days before disembarkation. He was violently ill with diarrhea and vomiting, all night long. We notified the medical dept and a nurse came to the cabin and gave him an injection for the vomiting about 3 hours after he first got sick. It did absolutely nothing and he was up and down every 20 minutes all night until about 5AM. Of course, I was so worried that I was going to get it too, but fortunately did not. When we got to port, Princess informed us that we should stay in our cabin until they contacted us. They indicated that all the people that were sick, WOULD BE THE FIRST TO DISEMBARK...NOT!!! A Princess attendant came to our cabin on the 14th floor and told us we needed to follow him to the 8th floor. There, they put us in a room that you could tell had already been cleaned for the next cruise. We were told to stay there until they said we could disembark. This was a 10AM. Eventually, they said we would be able to disembark around noon. Meanwhile, my sister and her husband who we were traveling with, had left the ship at 8am and we had a van scheduled to pick us all up, which we had to call and re-schedule. At this point, I would say there were about 15 couples...all of us being held against our wills and not allowed to disembark. Never did they inform us that now, WE WERE GOING TO BE THE LAST ONES OFF THE SHIP! One lady thought she heard an annoucement that we could leave and went down to get off and they sent her back. We felt like lepers!! We kept asking and just kept being told that we would be notified when we could get off. NEVER, DURING THIS TIME WERE WE OFFERED ANY FOOD, WATER OR ANYTHING ELSE!! FINALLY, AT ABOUT 2:15, we were told we could disembark! We picked up our stuff and just walked off the ship, through immigration, TO REALIZE THAT WE WERE THE VERY LAST PASSENGERS disembarking the ship! PRINCESS AND IMMIGRATION SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES for treating their guests in this manner! You probably saw the whole thing on the news, as it was quite a deal that there were so many sick people on the ship. We came to find out later, that the Crown Princess had 4 different cruises in a year where passengers had gotten the Norovirus, including the same cruise in April, 2014. Even though we are now Elite with Princess, we are seriously considering never cruising with them again, due to the being treated so poorly and as you can tell, very unhappy and insulted by the way we were treated! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
We are not new to cruising, we have sailed on over 35 cruises; this was one of the worst. PRINCESS “CROWN” - Balcony Cabin: R-710 on Deck 14 - Our Review of the October 18, 2014 a 28 day Cruise to Hawaii and South Sea Islands, ENDED UP ... Read More
We are not new to cruising, we have sailed on over 35 cruises; this was one of the worst. PRINCESS “CROWN” - Balcony Cabin: R-710 on Deck 14 - Our Review of the October 18, 2014 a 28 day Cruise to Hawaii and South Sea Islands, ENDED UP BEING 29 DAYS- a crew member’s medical emergency at sea. The Good the Bad, and the Ugly We booked this cruise to celebrate our 53rd Wedding Anniversary. We will start from the very positive ratings and go on to many poor and very poor ratings- OVERALL RATING OF CRUISE: MEDICORE AT BEST TO POOR- see quality: of food and cabin DISENBARKING Procedure – RATING – EXCELLENT- Fifteen minutes early! ENTERTAINMENT: RATING –OVERALL VERY GOOD - Overall the very best of entertainment was brought in at ports along the way, the best of any cruise we have ever taken. The cruise director himself could have done his own 30 minute or so show, he was very entertaining not only in the Princess theatre but in other shows. Our only negative comment would be about the singers of Princess as they do not enunciate their words. On the last show in the Princess Theatre even the ship’s personnel talent show singers were much better enunciating their words than the Princess singers. The only show we did not particularly enjoy was the Children Hulu show in Honolulu Hawaii; we would have much preferred an Adult Hula performance. While the children are somewhat cute, we expect something better than an elementary school performance. INTERNATIONAL CAFÉ- DECK #5: RATING- EXCELLENT - Has an Excellent staff of servers and in particular “Tetiana” very friendly and happy, a bundle of energy that went way beyond to serve you and with the best attitude we experienced on the ship. In particular, we enjoyed the Shrimp Salad, the Greek Salad, the Oatmeal and Chocolate chip cookies. Behind the counter the young black man with the big hat and the little girl with glasses and the hat were very helpful and charming as they worked to serve their customers with a wonderful attitude throughout their shifts. Whoever manages the International Café personnel could teach many of the servers on Deck 15 about what good attitude is all about and teach them to provide excellent service to Princess’s customers. BOTTICELLI DINING ROOM – RATING- POOR– 8 PM seating – Dining room approximately 50% empty. Our table of 8 consisted of two sisters and a brother, a single gentleman proud of the fact that he purchased your all the liquor you could drink for $50. per day, and a English couple and my wife and me. The first night we order the prime rib, medium rare it was tender but tasteless. The 2nd night we tried the Salmon, it was over cooked and dry. The 3rd night we tried the shanks, they were dry and over cooked. While the server (female) was efficient she was without any personality, not like the other tables in the area where the servers were in tune with their guest. It was like eating in the last booth in an empty diner late at night. While we checked the Botticelli Dining Room menu for their evening meal, nothing really sounded very good so we ate on Deck 15 or had a bite in the International Café. We then avoided the Botticelli Dining Room as it was not worth the effort to dress for dinner until the last formal night; and we did enjoy the Lobster tail and Beef Wellington; we ate in the dining room a total of four (4) dinners.’ The server was so efficient that evening that the meal was completed in 55 minutes flat; the waiter had only one table to take care of. On the final night of the cruise while we did not eat in the dining room, we brought an envelope for the Waiter and Ass’t Waiter (TIP); the assistant waiter was not around so we gave both envelopes to the Female waiter; while she said, “thank you;: the next thing she said abruptly was, “what is your room #?” I told her the envelope was a gift and I was not paying a bill. She repeated herself, “what is your room #?” I told her if she didn’t want the envelope, she could just give it back to me; and then she hurriedly walked away. HORIZON CAFÉ – Deck 15- RATING-MEDICORE AT BEST- We found the best meal of the day was at breakfast; with lunch being largely yesterday’s left overs made into some kind of a casserole. Consistently, the best item at lunch and dinner in the Horizon Café was the different soups. The gravies were always salty. We would recommend that prime rib, lobster tails. Escargot, and Beef Wellington and other main dishes that are occasionally offered in the dining rooms are also offered in the Horizon Café. The best deserts were the cookies, and once they had Apple Strudel that was excellent. Many times the cream based deserts were warm and therefore disgusting resulting in waste. The Horizon Café needs a refrigerated set up for stacks of dishes for salads and cold deserts as hot plates and bowls do not for cold salads and cream based deserts. During last week of the cruise, Norovirus in full bloom on the ship– Just a note- While having a late snack in the Horizon Café, we noticed when the serving lines were closed, and the sanitizing gel was locked up in the serving line area. I spoke to one of the supervisors and suggested that he speak to his boss and suggest leaving the sanitizing gel available for the guest. Rudely, he said there is a bathroom and pointed towards its location. I’m sure 95% of the guest by-pass the bathrooms on their way. Incidentally, the Captain asked passengers to avoid using the public bathrooms doing this outbreak of the Norovirus. However, if a sanitizing gel stand was made available when leaving the restaurant many would use it. Hamburger Stand on deck - Much improvement can be made for the pre- cooked hamburgers on deck that are tossed on the grill to be warmed up and put on a cold bun, YUCK. CROWN GRILL- RATING- STEAK WAS TOUGH- One evening to celebrate our 53rd wedding Anniversary we made a reservation; the Lobster was excellent; but the filet mignon was tough as a cheap sirloin. When I told the waiter, his reply was “sorry, but the Captain enjoyed his steak.” So much for our $50. at a specialty restaurant on “Crown” Princess.” OVERALL FOOD SUMMARY- RATING-- MEDICORE TO POOR -It appears that Princess is now cutting corners big tine on the kitchen BUDGET, cheaper grades of meat; with only Lobster served twice on a 28 day cruise; on all prior cruises it generally has been served once for every 7 days on a cruise along with escargot etc. Cheaper lunches, mainly made from left overs are being offered and food temperatures are generally Luke warm. Princess is now charging for Hot Chocolate. Princess no longer offers a Seafood Extravaganza’s , another thing of the past was Big time Brunches in the dining room and Chicken and Beef barbecue’s on deck normally provided on long cruises that are filled with many sea days. EMBARKING – RATING- POOR - The absolute worst experience ever in over 35 cruises. On October 18, 2014 at the Marriott Hotel we were told by a Princess Representative to be at the Los Angeles Airport “Delta” arrival by 10:30AM for transfer to the “Crown” Princess cruise ship. At 10:30AM we were with the Princess’s representative at the airport along with a large group waiting to be transferred to the ship. Later, we were told we would be taken by bus to the Radisson Hotel for coffee and sweet rolls where we were to sign up for the transfer to the ship and register for the boarding of the cruise; we stood in line for approximately 35 minutes, no chairs available for the handicapped. Then we waited and waited, until at 1:30PM, by then there were no Princess Representatives remaining to guide us to the bus, we finally found and boarded the bus to the cruise docks; and made good time to the cruise docks. But then there was a long line of buses at the cruise docks so we waited over an hour on the bus, we were the last bus exiting and there was no Princess Representative to guide us handicapped folks into the terminal with our carry-on luggage and canes. Once in the terminal, there was a sign posted “WAITING AREA FOR HANDICAPPED; we waited, then we were told we had to take the escalator and we said we could not use the escalator as we are handicapped and use a cane to steady ourselves with the carryon luggage. Then we were told to use the elevator to the 2nd floor and there would be wheel chairs waiting. Guess what, no wheel chairs waiting and no Princess Representative around. We waited; finally we were greeted by a gentlemen with a broken wheel chair. Then there were plenty of Princess Personnel around however no one seemed to know what to do; just a horrible mess. We were taken to get our cabin key and were required to show our passports for the 3rd time. We finally arrived at our cabin R-710 at 3:45pm just as the announcement to go to the required Ship’s Onboard Drill was being announced. It took us from 10:30am in the company of Princess Personnel’s direction until 3:45pm to arrive at our cabin R-710. This was absolutely the worst transfer in over 35 cruises that we have ever encountered on any cruise ship. Many of the Princess’s representatives were untrained and had no idea as to what they were supposed to do, so they stood around and talked amongst themselves. Cabin Steward – RATING- VERY POOR-- 1st day - October 18th pleasant and accommodating; at which time I told if you take good care of us, we will take very good care of you; and smiled and said he would take good care of us. On the first day, my wife called guest services and told them the carpet in the cabin was filthy and asked for it to be shampooed; someone came and shampooed the carpet with in thirty minutes. Beginning, from 2md day, October 19th through November 4, 2014 never smiled or greeted us, he was in another world. On the 5th day my wife called “Guest Services” inquiring when the sheets were supposed to be changed as she had noticed a hole in the sheet on the first day; they replied on the 3rd day. The seas were somewhat rough; we had removed Princess’s bottle of water and the cans of soda from the inside of the refrigerator and placed them on top of the refrigerator so we could keep our items in the refrigerator. During the night, the bottle of water and the cans of soda rolled off the top of the refrigerator and lodged themselves behind and at the side of the refrigerator. During the following days, we asked several times to remove these items that were lodged at the side and rear of the refrigerator as we did not want to be charged for them; however never did anything about it, subsequently we called “Guest Services” to resolve this matter. We told the light was out over the mirror and later the light over the bed was out, and ask him to have maintenance dept. replace them; he did nothing and we subsequently called “Guest Services to have the lights replaced. For about two weeks we asked to put extra soap and Kleenex in the cabin, it was about two weeks before he got the message; in the meantime we asked the lady nearby for items when needed. She was getting annoyed with  deficiencies. Often would not put the open Kleenex in its holder just leave them on the sink. The only toiletries in the head were a hand lotion that was seldom replaced. Does the absolute minimum as a Room Steward like a bad maid in a hotel. We would rate as the worst Cabin Steward we have ever had in over 35 cruises. Princess apparently has cut its toiletries to hand lotion; no shampoo or conditioners etc. Shampoo is now offered in a dispenser in the shower; no good for us. Kleenex offer by Princess is of a very poor quality. PLUMBING: We had to call for the plumber nine (9) times as the toilet would not flush and twice because the toilet was leaking and the water had gone over the lip in the bathroom and flooded onto our cabin floor; what a mess. CONDITION OF SHIP – it needs to go into dry dock and be thoroughly cleaned and updated; many plumbing issues on this ship exist, well-worn mattresses and carpet in cabins need to be replaced as well as the carpet in hallways. Seats in Princess Theatre are showing their wear. Chairs in clubs and all around the ship need to have their cushions replaced. The library needs to be remodeled and have more space. The ship needs a good size card playing room and should provide playing cards for free like they use to. The Internet Café needs to be relocated to a quieter location and the Internet Café manager, a real jerk needs to be replaced with someone who is more helpful and has a pleasant personality and does not act like a criminal attorney. He is no asset to your company and is often away during his stated position during posted business hours. He won’t bring Princess business and will chase away a lot of customers. MANAGEMENT IN MEDICAL EMERGENCY SITUTATION - RATING POOR –Training at the handling the problems of passengers needs to be addressed which were caused from a crew member’s medical emergency at sea. Management is Often untrained, Rude and demonstrates uncaring management on the Princess “Crown” existed. By now Princess must have received hundreds of letters on how poorly management of Crown Princess handled the effects of the one day delay in returning to Los Angles, about 3,000 passengers trying to adjust their airplane reservations, hotel reservations, people expecting to pick up passengers at the cruise dock, etc. Management could not have done a poorer job if they tried. At one point during the ship’s problem over several days while waiting in line by the purser’s desk on deck #6 to use the telephone, my wife asked a passing officer for his help, he was in full dress uniform (no mistake that he was an officer). My wife pointed out the deafening noise coming from the ongoing events on deck #5 below which was making it almost impossible to hear on the telephone. She pointed out that the conference room on deck #5 was empty and it was locked up today, but it was available yesterday; perhaps the conference room could be utilized today.” The officer threw up his hands in the air and said, “That’s not my problem” and walked swiftly away. Now that’s only one example of lacking quality management that we experienced! Our feelings now that the cruise is over and we are back home: We didn’t get a quality cruise for the reasons noted above. We didn’t get the 28 day cruise that we paid for; what we got was a 21 day cruise followed by 7 days beginning on November 9, 2014 of confusion to November 16, 2014 of rude uncaring management of Princess “Crown;” as a result of a crew member’s medical emergency. Previously, I was of the understanding of how well trained the management of Princess Cruises were trained to handle emergencies. From this experience, it points out just how poorly trained management is in handling the logistical problems of passengers that are caused from a ship emergency of this nature. Overall this Princess cruise left a sour taste in our mouth for Princess, previously we were a big cheerleader for Princess. It appears to us that Princess finances is not doing as well as it would like or they are pressing for larger returns. So it is doing what any other greedy business tries to do; a definite mistake; management trims the quality of its product in an attempt to raise the gross profit while trimming expenses by cutting labor expense to increase profits. A short time solution that will cause bigger problems in the near future as the loss of Princess seasoned travelers won’t be far behind. Since arriving home, in the past two weeks we have received numerous Princess marketing emails and several pieces of marketing via regular mail. As a result of this cruise, most likely we will not go with Princess any time in the foreseeable future, but instead spend our travel dollars on a River Cruise or a Land tour or perhaps just take a trip somewhere for a couple of weeks for our next several vacations utilizing recommended recent trips of our friends. We recommend to anyone planning a cruise to pass on Princess Cruises and look elsewhere; Princess is nothing like it used to be; now it’s a low grade cruise by comparison to its former self. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The Crown Princess needs to be reconditioned as it has been some time and it is clearly visible. The staff tries hard to maintain what they can but carpeting that is coming up and paint that is rusting through are clear indications that it ... Read More
The Crown Princess needs to be reconditioned as it has been some time and it is clearly visible. The staff tries hard to maintain what they can but carpeting that is coming up and paint that is rusting through are clear indications that it is not working. Embarkation and Debarkation were done very well and the crew and attendants were both very cordial and competent. The two specialty restaurants were not up to par. Sabatini's in particular did not merit the additional charge as the food was quite salty and for two of the dishes lukewarm at best. The Crown Grille was better but not that much different than dining in the Da Vinci restaurant. The buffet was done well as was the pizza and hamburger locations. Bar service was very well done and the shows were very good. My wife and I will probably look to Celebrity or Holland America for next years cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife, adult son and I cruised on the Crown Princess earlier this month on a 7-day "California Coastal" cruise from San Pedro to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ensenada. This is our eighth cruise on Princess and ... Read More
My wife, adult son and I cruised on the Crown Princess earlier this month on a 7-day "California Coastal" cruise from San Pedro to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ensenada. This is our eighth cruise on Princess and our 14th cruise overall. Other cruises have been on HAL (2), Carnival (1), and NCL (3). Embarkation was easy and I noticed that they didn't hold up the line getting on the ship by having everyone stop for pictures while still proceeding to the gangway. Instead, those who wanted embarkation pictures taken had them taken just inside the ship and off to one side. We don't have our pictures taken and this is an improvement to keep the line going. We had a aft-facing balcony cabin on the Dolphin deck (D735). We chose this cabin after reading some reviews advising that aft-facing cabins are better than side balconies. The balcony is bigger and it is nice having a different view and less wind. Also, this cabin only has a neighbor on one side so it is quiet. On the down side, I noticed a smell of sewage when I opened the door to the shelves that contain the safe. It was especially bad the first couple of days, but was only a problem when standing near it. The other negative of the aft cabins is the time and effort it takes to get to the front of the ship. It's like walking a block or so. I had read that the third person in our cabin would be on a roll-away bed. That didn't happen. I slept on the pull down bed. Those beds aren't bad, but I recommend asking the cabin steward to add an egg crate to make it more comfortable. Also, in this cabin, the ladder to the pull-down bed was difficult to place without blocking the path to the bathroom. Bottom line is, if money is anything of an issue, I won't pay extra for the aft-facing cabin in the future. A note about elevators and getting around on the larger ships -- avoid the midship elevators and walk the stairs if you're only going two or three flights up or down. By berthing in the back of the ship, we learned just how much faster those elevators arrive compared to the midship elevators. Same with the forward elevators. And, at least on Princess ships, the fancy windowed elevators located midship are controlled by a separate set of buttons than the main bank of elevators. Most everyone will push the buttons for both sets, then catch the first elevator that arrives. This results in many elevators stopping at floors with no one waiting to board. This slows everyone down. Food First, we're dieting, well, at least when we're not cruising, that is. But I wanted to get away from this cruise without gaining 5-7 pounds like I normally do. So, most days I just ate a big dinner and very little else. I only it the Horizon Court buffet once. The food was good, served at the right temperature, and with good variety. Dessert included a Bananas Foster that was made while you wait. Very good. Dining recommendation - if you're on Anytime Dining, make it a point to call the dining reservation people every day that you plan to eat in a main dining room. We like to eat dinner early on most days, and we like Anytime Dining flexibility. But long lines form several minutes before the dining rooms open. The separate line for those people with reservations will move much faster than the (longer) non-reservation line. Main dining room food was very good overall. Good variety, correct temps, and good portions. I don't know if the food gets worse as the evening gets later. But we were happy with the food quality. The food service has slowed down over the years. Expect a dinner to take 1.5 hours to finish with several minutes waiting between each part of the meal. Servers were friendly but appeared overworked. Passengers seemed louder than normal. This may be because the Crown dining rooms are larger than the Sapphire ones (Sapphire is larger and has more dining rooms.) About formal nights - we're anti-formal. Sorry, traditional cruisers, but we just don't dress up. Period. The cruise has two formal nights. We ate at the Horizon Court on one of them and ate at the Crown Grill on the other one. Note that the Crown Grill has no problem serving customers dressed in "resort casual" on formal nights and most diners took advantage of this. (The Crown Grill food was excellent and service was better than in the main dining room. $25 pp surcharge worth it once every cruise or two.) New food option - The Crab Shack. My wife always wanted to try Joe's Crab Shack. Well the Crown Princess Cafe Caribe turns into a crab shack a few nights each cruise. $20 pp surcharge gets you a huge amount of seafood. We had a Royal Steam Pot, including apps, soup, mussels, clams, a sausage, red potatoes, and several crab legs. Really liked the Manhattan clam chowder and the shrimp appetizers. We recommend giving the Crab Shack a try. Ultimate Kids Package - beverage package. For $8/day (incl tip), you can get unlimited soda, "mocktails" (or any virgin cocktail), and real ice cream milk shakes. Of course, this ruins my diet, but I really enjoy the mocktails and the strawberry milk shakes taste great! We get this and a coffee card ($29 + tip for 15 speciality coffees) on every cruise. Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) - the screen on the Crown Princess needs work. Many lights don't work and the movies are played in less than full-screen. A staff person walks around giving people bags of popcorn, but she never seems to get to everyone watching the movie. On other ships you can get popcorn at the ice cream stand, why not on the Crown? On the plus-side, the movies were nearly current. Recommendation - if the lounge seat is wet for MUTS, just turn it over. Normally, the other side will be dry. Production shows, comedy, etc. - get there at least 15 minutes early! Seats fill up quickly and they announce that no seats can be reserved. People argue with each other over the seats. That said, we saw one production show (Blame It On The Boogie), one comedian (Wayne Cotter) and a mentalist. They were all very good, but the shows are a little short (45 minutes). Wayne Cotter didn't tell one joke about life on a cruise ship. That is a plus! Oh, and the Cruise Director (forget the name) sang a medley of Tom Jones songs. Sorry, I really like Tom Jones and this guy just didn't make it. Disembarkation - was easy. It took about 30 minutes of waiting in the lounge followed by another 30 minutes of line waiting to get to the Customs and Border Protection agent. Several porters were available to help get our luggage to our car, which was parked in the lot close to the ship. I'm not commenting on the itinerary, just the ship. The Sapphire Princess is my favorite ship. Unfortunately, it has been repositioned to Japan. The Crown Princess took it's place on the west coast. The Crown is smaller and doesn't have some of the perks that the Sapphire does. The Crown's Thermal Suite, the International Cafe, and the pool areas are all smaller than the Sapphire. The Crown doesn't have Alfredo's Pizza that the Sapphire does (Alfredos serves fresh made pizza with better quality ingredients, with no surcharge). If found the staff on the Crown to be friendly and helpful, especially when I approached them with a smile. The ship was clean and well maintained overall. I'll miss the Sapphire, but I'll still cruise on the Crown. Oh, and the diet - I gained two pounds onboard. Not bad... A final note about fellow passengers. Normally I don't mind how people dress. It doesn't bother me that some people bend/brake the dining room rules. But this cruise had one man who had a political tee-shirt he wore every day while he set himself up for hours in the middle of plaza deck piazza area. He might as well have worn a billboard. This, and another man who spoke very loudly in the dining room about how America should nuke west Africa in order to get rid of ebola (he was serious!) really bothered me. It used to be customary to leave religion and politics aside when you cruise. Is this custom changing? Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We have not been on a large ship cruise in several years. We have done several river cruises which are intimate and provide a very different experience. As we had to be in the LA area visiting friends and family, this seemed like a good ... Read More
We have not been on a large ship cruise in several years. We have done several river cruises which are intimate and provide a very different experience. As we had to be in the LA area visiting friends and family, this seemed like a good way to spend some extra time and see some California spots we had not been to before. We were able to board earlier then anticipated which gave us time to unpack, enjoy lunch and not be hurried before the Muster drill and dinner. The ship is in very good shape. Our room was what we expected for a balcony suite at the aft of the Aloha deck. We decided to do the "anytime" dining which really isn't anytime. The have two lines for dinner, one for with reservations and one without. We usually ate at 7.30 pm and both lines were seated quickly. Except for the first night, service was very good, the food was well prepared with ample variety. My wife has a problem with lactose and she was well looked after. She really enjoyed the special desserts they made for her. Most mornings we also did breakfast in the dining room. Its much more leisurely and you get to talk to some real interesting people if you share a table. But stay away from breakfast in the dining room on the last day of when everyone is disembarking. The line is long and they are short staffed because days off and the additional duties of getting the ship ready for the next cruise. Entertainment was good to very good. We only had one day by the pool because of the changing weather. Since last we cruised we noticed there much less discussion or encouragement about the gratuities. I guess most passengers elect just to have added to their account. The other change was the lack of prodding to complete surveys. I don't know why this is, but it was a chore we do not miss. We are a very active mid 60's couple and partake of the gym or the exercise classes most days. Most of the crowd was probably 75+ plus but they are vibrant and had many interesting life experiences to talk about. All in all Princess did a nice job. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
I have cruised more than 25 times, and by far this was the worst cruise I have experienced. I will however, start the the good. Food in the dining room was very, very good. Service IN THE DINNING ROOM was also very good. Now the the ... Read More
I have cruised more than 25 times, and by far this was the worst cruise I have experienced. I will however, start the the good. Food in the dining room was very, very good. Service IN THE DINNING ROOM was also very good. Now the the bad. This ship had many NEW crew who had no idea what they were doing. Our cabin steward had way too many rooms to clean, and ours was never thoroughly cleaned. Often the surfaces were left untouched by him and dirty glasses and dishes were not removed. The results of this may have been at least part of the cause of the Noro virus that became prevalent on the ship during the last week of the cruise (My wife and I were unaffected by the virus, thankfully). Buffet food was not labeled properly, tasted generic, and severely lacking variety. After trying the Buffet a few times we resorted to room service, which had a limited menu, but the food was of a much higher quality and tasted very good. Also forget the grill at the pool.....food always tasted burnt....they never cleaned the grill regularly so everything had burt food stuck to it. Lines, lines everywhere.....way too many people for the services available. Disorganization everywhere. Front desk always gave you a smile and did nothing....only way we got results was to seek out an officer and explain the problem, and mention the front desk was already contacted with no results. Internet....I totally understand about SLOW internet....for the first week it worked as normal ... slow ...but eventually you got your e mail downloaded or got into the website needed and finished business....Then after we left Hawaii things went downhill fast.....for the last 7 days of the cruise, I was NEVER able to get in websites, usually took 20 + minutes to download a couple of e mails if at all. We left the ship giving up about 500 minutes that were useless.....Not cheap either. The gym had very limited equipment, with the exception of treadmills....lots of them, but half you could not use before 9 AM....it would disturb the cabins below.....the wait time for some of the equipment was as much as 40 minutes, and of course depended on how many were lined up and waiting. The other issue was there were no sign up sheets, so there were often problems with who was waiting first etc...we finally went to the head officer in charge of the dept. and explained the problem and a sign up sheet was finally implemented. Of course that did not change the wait times but did eliminate the discourse at the gym. That took about 10 days. Also the Gym does not open until 7:00 AM So it is our opinion that Princess cruise lines perhaps does not have it together enough, so we will look elsewhere for cruise deals.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
I've taken 17 cruises and decided to take a longer vacation with my favorite cruise line Princess! Mostly wonderful sunshine and calm seas for the entire trip. Ship moved well through the waters. Visited Hawaii Somoan Apia, PagoPago ... Read More
I've taken 17 cruises and decided to take a longer vacation with my favorite cruise line Princess! Mostly wonderful sunshine and calm seas for the entire trip. Ship moved well through the waters. Visited Hawaii Somoan Apia, PagoPago and Tahiti. Quite the adventure. Was very happy with my cabin as obst ocean view was a glorious view port side. embarkation was effortless since our plane was delayed and a close departure ensued. We selected anytime dining and found our choices of table mates varied as cruisers were from many diversified countries. Food selection was basic food always tastey but not up to Princess as far as Ohed or ahed!! Service quite slow .Everyone friendly and courteous. Felt like home after just a short time. Our ports were mostly tenured and not run efficiently. Time was short so this was important to me. Always found ship clean and tidy. entertainment was every night with new entertainers taken when they could. Cruise director stood in for a wonderful rendition of Fiddler on the Roof !! Cruise enthusiasm was great on such a long voyage until Noravirus appeared. Deflated the spirit. Found 10 sea days not long as everyone found their own space on the ship. The islands are memorable since Naturalist was inspiring and motivating. Quodos to her!! This was a bucket list cruise Glad I shared this adventure with my travelmate and husband. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
Background Info: My husband and I are both 32. This was our 7th cruise and 7th unique itinerary, our 3rd cruise with our daughter who is 3, our 2nd cruise we’ve taken with other family members, and our 1st cruise with Princess Cruises. ... Read More
Background Info: My husband and I are both 32. This was our 7th cruise and 7th unique itinerary, our 3rd cruise with our daughter who is 3, our 2nd cruise we’ve taken with other family members, and our 1st cruise with Princess Cruises. Our others have been 3x Carnival, 2x Disney, and 1x NCL. I am a travel agent that specializes in Disney and Cruises, so I do a lot of research prior to traveling. We love cruising and wish we could sail all ships and itineraries. We are slowly working our way around the world by sea! We’d like to try out other destinations on their own, but the value of a cruise gets us every time. Travel to Embarkation Port: We currently live in San Diego, so we are able to easily drive to the Los Angeles World Cruise Center. This time, we did Disneyland the day before our cruise. Being it was Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, on Friday nights they host Mickey’s Halloween Party, a special ticketed event. We thought this would be a good opportunity to try that out and see how our daughter would like Disneyland. So, we drove up to Anaheim the night before the cruise, partied, and stayed the night near Disneyland. Hotel Info: We stayed at the Best Western Plus Pavilions, just outside of the Disneyland Resort. This hotel is one of very few that has free parking and we only spent $120 for 1 night. I found this to be a good value, for the area. In comparison, Disneyland parking is $17 per day. With our special event ticket, we did get free parking at Disneyland, but the parking structure was at least a mile from the hotel. The hotel was nice enough. It compared well, on the interior, to another Best Western Plus that we stayed at this summer. The exterior looks like a normal roadside Best Western or other inn/motel. There is no breakfast advertised, but they did have apples and bananas in the afternoon when we checked in and yogurt in the morning when we checked out. We didn’t use the hotel for much other than sleep and a shower. One thing to note is that the A/C wasn’t running in the room when we dropped off our luggage. Normally you probably don’t need it and when we entered it felt cool, despite it being an abnormal 100F degrees that day. Unfortunately, by the time we returned to the room that night, it had gotten a little warm and humid in the room. We were exhausted from our evening at Disneyland that it almost didn’t matter, but we turned on the A/C and slept relatively comfortably that night. In the morning we showered. They had ‘upgraded’ soaps, so they say, but they seemed pretty normal and in really tiny bottles. There was enough for us to use for 1 day, so it fit our needs. There was a hair dryer, an instant coffee maker with a few small coffee and tea packets to choose from, a cooler type of mini-fridge, and a nice TV with local HD digital cable which included various Disney channels ( a nice touch for a preschooler). Cruise Review: Embarkation: Los Angeles World Cruise Center in San Pedro…  We drove ourselves and parked at the pier. Had we stayed in a hotel in San Pedro the night before, we could have gotten free parking at a hotel. I had done the math and it wasn’t really worth it to drive to San Pedro after a long evening at Disneyland. My normal plan is to arrive at the pier around 10:30, good thing we did! When we arrive at the pier, we wanted to drop our checked luggage with the porters. To do this we had to circle the entire parking lot, which included driving past a decommissioned battleship which for some reason slowed down traffic, the berth for Norwegian Sun which also slowed down traffic, large delivery trucks who didn’t seem to know where they were going and slowed down traffic, and finally we got to berth 93 which is right next to the entrance of the pier, where the Crown Princess awaited our arrival. This trip felt like an eternity! We dropped our bags with the porter and our carryon with our family who had taken the shuttle from their pre-cruise hotel (Doubletree San Pedro). They were able to schedule their shuttle to the pier for quite early. I’m not sure of the official start time but they picked 10:15 or 10:30. Knowing that the Doubletree has early options, I feel comfortable with staying there for future LA departures. Anyhow, we tried to escape the baggage drop and get into the parking lot, only to have a crossing guard halt our path for an eternity while he let everyone walk across. The parking lot wasn’t full at all, maybe this is why they have ‘cheap’ parking? $12 a night for parking at the pier, or anywhere in LA, is not bad! Miami, is up to $20 a day, and I think Port Canaveral was up to $15 a day. Long Beach, around 10 mins away, is $17 a day! In Florida, you can find cheaper offsite lots that are safe to use. In LA and Long Beach, you aren’t quite as lucky and have to either stay at a hotel with parking or fork out the $$ to the port authority. We parked, loaded our daughter into the stroller, grabbed our remaining carryon bags. When we got to the crosswalk… the guy wasn’t paying attention and we had to fend for ourselves to cross. Oh the irony! Then there was check-in. For one, it seemed weird that you could enter the cruise building and check-in to the ship before you even go through security. Now that I think back, we were able to check-in at Long Beach before we went through security. In Florida, it seems the other way around. The security is probably all for show anyway, right?! Then there were all these ladies working the port. Oy! First they were all very eager to point you into the right direction, which was mostly nice. But there was this one lady who was rather demeaning about it all. I enquired to find out if Elite level passengers have a special check-in, she asked to see my papers and declared that I did not have ‘preferred’ markings on my boarding pass and should proceed with the rest of the masses. OK lady. When we finally checked in I did receive my Elite card, for being a fully certified travel agent, so that’s what matters. After I had the card in hand, I got plenty of special attention. Getting the card, was a whole experience in itself. One, apparently we made things difficult for the lady checking us in. We didn’t bring our full passport book, we only brought our card. The only foreign port we were visiting was Ensenada, which is a few hours drive away from our house. So, it seemed to us, the risk of losing our passport book infinitely outweighed our likelihood of needing it. Two, this lady is either new or has never entered data on a computer before in her life! The ‘fancy’ scanners for passports couldn’t scan our cards. Yay technology! Then, because our daughter is 3 and we weren’t going to need to fly internationally with her, she didn’t have a passport book either, just a birth certificate. So, this lady had to manually enter all the dates from our documents. She must have needed glasses or something because part way through, when she had to enter my husband’s info a second time because it didn’t save… she declared, that’s weird, they have your birthdays listed as the same date! This is after she said her son and I have the same birthday in AUGUST, the date she now mentioned was in OCTOBER. I was like “um, I think that is the expiration date”. “Oh I see now, yes it is”. D’oh! 100’s of people must have checked in, in the time it took us to. We probably could have been in group 1 to board, but we ended up with group 2/3. Actually, once I had my Elite card, I could have entered with the rest of the loyalty members with priority boarding, but we were happy enough with group 2 and wanted to stay with our family. Either way it didn’t matter much, because boarding didn’t start until Noon! I was somewhat surprised by this, as other cruises seem to start with the special groups no later than 11:45am. The PA system in the building was horrendous. The announcer would come on and you could only catch a few words he said. Between a few of us we could match up our words enough to get an educated guess at what he was telling us. When the group numbers started, that was very clear, as people started moving in large herds. The photo process was interesting. Not sure if it is a Princess thing, or just the way this port building was laid out. We didn’t get a photo taken until we traversed toward the gangway. The security team would scan your card and take your photo with a handheld scanning/photo taking device. It was very efficient, since all they need for your card is a headshot. The group photos were taken, onboard the ship as soon as you stepped inside on deck 7, after they scan you onboard. Most of our grief was due to the lovely city of Los Angeles and it’s Port Authority. It’s surprising that they don’t have a parking garage at the port. Having a garage would open up more space for traveling lanes around the berths. Having to circle the whole port to get to your ships berth is quite annoying. The other big issue was check-in. We are giving the lady the benefit of doubt; we must have been the first people with passport cards to cross her path. We use them every cruise, and have never had an issue. The start time for boarding, wasn’t that late, and can be excused because Princess Cruises tries to uphold the policy that all staterooms are ready at time of boarding. All other cruises we have taken, it is 1:30PM or later that rooms are ready. Embarkation Grade: 3-4, a bonus point is awarded for having our room ready to drop our carry-on bags and stroller! Dining: We didn’t partake in any of the specialty dining at Crown Grill, Sabatini’s, or the Crab Shack. However, the crab shack did pique the interest of my husband and he’d probably try it next time. It was offered at least 2 nights of the cruise, up in the buffet area. They closed off a portion of the buffet and used the seating there. We tried the gelato at the International café for $1.50. It wasn’t as good or creamy as some gelato we’ve had before, but it was still tasty and they gave us 2 small scoops of 3 flavors, 6 scoops total. We often did the buffet for breakfast, which was typical breakfast foods, nothing to complain about, except maybe the eggs, which I’m sure are that weird egg mixture in a carton. For that reason, we did eat in the dining room for breakfast 2 mornings to get my real egg fix. A cruise is not complete until I get Eggs Benedict, which wasn’t on the menu but they will make it if you order it. For lunch, on sea days, we did the buffet because they had a themed buffet back in café Caribe, which seemed to be the only place you could get any kind of ethnic foods. When we were in port, we had lunch while we were out exploring. Next time, I‘m going to pay more attention to the themes listed for the buffet at dinner and try those out, as we really did enjoy what they had to offer. The foods were all fresh and kept warm. I also noticed the food was all served from French looking cast iron cookware, I do believe that helps keep the food warm without drying it out under heat lamps. On the last full day, when we went swimming after Ensenada, I finally got to try the pizza on the pool deck. It was good and I would like to try some of their other specialty flavors, they only serve 3 types of pizza a day, 2 of which are standard flavors: Margherita and Pepperoni. It was definitely better than other cruise line pizza we’ve had and it was served as a full 16”+ pizza, rather than smaller personal sized pizzas. I think I saw that they had 3 full pizza ovens, so I would guess they can keep up with the demand. In the mornings, when we didn’t feel like the dining room or buffet, we’d try out the International Café. We didn’t have enough days to try it out for lunch. Unfortunately, the times we were there in the morning, all they had was pastry. So we got donuts, two of the mornings. They were good, but not quite as good as a fresh donut from a bakery. On future cruises, I would like to eat brunch/lunch here and try the egg sandwiches. I am assuming they make them later in the morning? Or maybe one has to ask about getting one? Either way, I never saw them at the times I was eating at the IC nor did I see any signage saying they’d make one. I know I know, I should have asked! But one does reach a point, on a cruise, where more food choices are not necessary! I do at least. So, that leaves us with the dining room. At dinner, since we were on with a group of 7, I was somewhat coerced a few nights to go to the dining room, when all I wanted was a slice of pizza. I did manage to skip dinner two nights. The first was San Francisco, as we didn’t return until almost 9PM and the second was on the last night.. .when I finally reached the point in which I physically was so full I couldn’t eat any more! I had zero hunger for almost 24 hours. Haha! OK, so the dining room was fabulous. I only had 1 meal that was not so great: the “short ribs”. Every time I’ve had short ribs, they have been amazing… this time they tasted a lot like pot roast! The only appetizer I didn’t care for was the spring rolls… they had no flavor. No garlic or ginger, just slimy cabbage. I did try some other items that were good and very different from my every day palate. The first night, I tried an app called ‘Red Snapper Mojito” which was like a ceviche served in a small martini glass. It was very fresh and similar to eating Sushi, but it was cut into tiny pieces and marinated in a lime juice mixture. Another night, I tried a chilled goat cheese soup. I can’t remember everything I tried, but here are a few of the entrees that were good: Fried Chicken.. yep I did it and it was good! It was offered as a “home style favorite”. I also tried their famous Fettuccini Alfredo which is made with homemade fresh pasta.. .yummy! I also tried a vegetarian dish which was a cheese and leek tart, I think. I ordered a Kalua Pork dish as back up. Actually, it was the other way around. I got the tarts as back up because I was wary about luau style pig, it can be pretty fatty. Both were really good so, joke was on us and we ate more than we should have. Our Executive chef was from Italy, so one night there were many Italian inspired dishes on a menu designed by the chef. I had the fresh gnocchi in red sauce a try and it was fabulous. Oh the desserts! One of the best parts of cruising because we rarely treat ourselves to rich desserts. I ordered soufflé one night.. I don’t know why I do this, but I do it on every cruise and I really don’t care for them… maybe I think that the next person that makes one will “WOW” me. Aside from that, I loved everything I got. A few of the nights they served our desserts and then also offered us Petit Fours… omg… why more food?! The best dessert of all was part of their new ‘Chocolate Journey’. I thought this was rolling out to the fleet next year, but we were lucky and it had already started on our ship. The night I took my journey was a chocolate hazelnut stack thing. It was AMAZING. If you’ve ever tried a French style chocolate with a hazelnut and chocolate filling.. it tastes just like that! If I ever have to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it might be that dessert. The second chocolate journey night, I was much too full from our afternoon snack in San Diego to eat all my dinner, the thought of dessert made me a little ill, but it sounded delicious as well. Dining Grade: 4-5. Food was all very good quality, we just want more variety. Service: Our room steward was good. He didn’t do anything spectacular but he did a great job at getting our room put together. Even if we left early for a quick breakfast, our room was always done up by the time we returned. He was speedy and sneaky, as most time I didn’t even see him in the hallway, yet still our rooms would be done! He even made our daughter a couple of towel animals, which others did not receive and we figured they must be a feature for more family friendly cruise lines. We didn’t have many requests, but whenever we did he was very quick to fulfill them. On a few occasions we had the pleasure of utilizing the bar staff. One time was during the Captain’s Circle get together, where the drinks were free, but the service was still great. We ordered a few cocktails, not on the trays going around, that night and they all came out quickly. The other times we used the bar was during several Happy Hours on board. I don’t see this often, but for 1 hour here or there, they would run a Buy One Get One free happy hour! On our sailing it was 3PM each day, and it got pretty crazy in there. We highly recommend the 24K Gold Margarita. Both times, my husband and I shared 1 order, and it came out as quickly as you’d expect, for such a crazy promotion. We only had to visit guest services twice. The first time, I was asking about the Treasure Hunt booklets on the first day and the guy had to go hunt for them?? The second time, was the last morning, when we noticed a charge from the dining room that we didn’t think we had made. Turns out we didn’t make it, but our family in another cabin did. So we got that switched over after a long debate with the nice woman at guest services. Thankfully she was able to point out what had happened to us and we were all eventually able to understand the situation. We all booked the cruise during a time when a free bottle of champagne was offered. When I used our voucher it was the same Champagne as what was offered, so it didn’t appear on our bill, as it was fully comp’d. The next two cabins traveling with us selected a different, lesser priced bottle of sparkling wine, so they were credited the amount of the original bottle and then charged for the bottle(s) they ordered. In the end, everyone’s wines were free, so yay for Princess! The first night or two, our dining staff seemed very busy and rushed and we didn’t get our dessert until 15 minutes before the next dinner was to start! The first night, we barely made it to the show. The second night we actually missed the one show I wanted see, boo! The next nights were much smoother and our orders went in more quickly. They were very nice and often offered to bring more food than we could ever eat. Be careful mentioning that you are deciding between two entrees! It is very likely that both will show up. :) I do feel like, when a young child is present, that they should put a higher rush on getting their food out. One evening, our daughter fell asleep before her food could get there. Some nights it was quick and others her food was slow to arrive. As always the servers in the dining room are also out and about during the day. We saw our assistant server several times in the buffet, getting drinks for everyone. Service grade: 4 Public Areas: Princess Cruises has beautiful ships. The overall theme of the ship is Italian inspired with nautical touches. There is marble and a Tuscan stone look throughout. The lounges and bars have a classic look with dark wood throughout. The Piazza is central to the ship and is where the service desks, shopping, café, and is where 2 of the main dining rooms are located. The art gallery, library, a few of the lounges/bars, and the casino also have access from the Piazza area. Most of the ‘action’ on the ship is on deck 7 and in the Piazza. The stores on board were filled with very nice things, but were not filled with many things I was interested in buying on a cruise ship. Good for the pocketbook, I suppose! There are 3 dining rooms and I believe we visited all 3 for various reasons. They all looked very similar. Our assigned dining room was Botticelli. It was on deck 6, aft, and the only way to access it was from deck 7 aft. That was slightly annoying, as everyone had to use the same set of stairs or elevators at dinner time. A small plus for this dining room, is there were bathrooms located within the dining room behind the front desk! This was great to have when our daughter decided to drink a gallon of milk and water during dinner and had to use the bathroom 3 times. The buffet on the Lido deck has two areas. My husband and I utilized the Café Caribe in the back more than Horizon Court. This was partially due to Café Caribe being a little less busy because it is all the way AFT. The other reasons, I will cover in the dining section of the review. We did use the ship pools at one point. We went in the pool near the Movie Under the Stars screen which is the Calypso pool. It was the afternoon of the Ensenada port day, and it was nearly empty for the whole time we were there. The pools were very deep and had a short wall surrounding the pools, with an area for overflow of water. I found this nice because it keeps small kids from running straight to a pool and jumping in. The pool was a little chilly, but it was also a warm day, near 80F degrees. The main theater was a little small for the amount of people that seemed to want to use it for the shows at night. But, I do appreciate there not being giant support poles blocking to view of the second level seats! That is one of our biggest complaints from other cruises we have taken. The seats were comfortable and there are hidden trays in the arm of the seat. The lounge that had many of those support poles, had many tv screens installed around the whole lounge, to broadcast what is being done on stage and to show the BINGO screen during games of that nature. The library had many books and a few games to play. The future cruise sales desk had some computers with information on how to book a cruise, there were also puzzles stacked in the corner. They also had a limited supply of mini-brochures. So, if you are interested in shopping a new itinerary to book onboard, I suggest you go there early. The internet café was filled with empty seats. One, internet is slow at sea, and two the Crown Princess is one of a few of their ships that is/has WiFi installed throughout! I wasn’t aware when we boarded, but quickly learned of this feature. You can use your computer, phone, tablet, etc to access the ships intranet. On there you will find operating hours and a list of most activities. We found that some activities didn’t make it onto the internet Patter, so it’s best to double check between both. But, it is nice to not HAVE to carry around your daily Patter with you. Public Areas Grade: 4-5 Entertainment: We saw a few of the main entertainment shows and performers. Unfortunately, we missed all 3 of the main production shows. We were able to see the comedian and also the comedic acrobat twice. We enjoyed both quite a bit. The singers I heard throughout the ship were good. I especially liked this mariachi style trio that performed in the Piazza. Our cruise director and his staff were both funny and entertaining. We enjoyed all the activities they put on for us. In fact, the Cruise Director, Billy Hygate, did a song routine before the comedian put on his set, one night. It made me wish I went to other shows, to see if he did anything else that was entertaining. On the last night, the cruise entertainment staff and crew put on a talent show and it was very funny. A few crew members come out and sing songs and in between the CD staff do little skits that are pretty funny. I hope this show varies ship to ship as it is one of the more unique events we saw on board. As I mentioned we saw the acrobatic guy twice. He was both funny and did balance/strength tricks. The first show of his that we saw was in the Piazza, which was a teaser for his full show in the lounge a few nights later. Both were very good, the manner in which he did his jokes was very entertaining. The stand-up comedian performed in the welcome show and then later on in the big theater. Some of his jokes were the same in both shows, which was disappointing. He was funny, but in a stereotypical kind of way. I didn’t get to see the hypnotist in either the Piazza or the theater/lounge. Entertainment: Hard to judge, but I will give it a 3-4 based on what we saw. Activities/Enrichment: As I mentioned elsewhere, the Cruise Director and his staff were great. We enjoyed their personalities, when we had a chance to see them. In the mornings, I would sometimes watch the Wake Show, to see what was going on and what the different staff members had to say about their particular part of the ship. It was mildly entertaining, and better than doing the ‘nothing’ that occurs between 6AM and 9AM. The show repeats every 60mins or so. If you watch continuously for long enough, you will see it all. There were quite a few events that I wanted to attend, like trivia, Zumba, Movies Under the Stars, Spa Raffle, Arts & Crafts, Casino demonstrations, art auctions, Captain’s Champagne waterfall, group games like Pictionary, Navigation and other seminars. But the timing was almost always not in our favor. We were either out on a port adventure of our own for the day, or the kids club was closed and we didn’t want to drag our 3 year old to an event, or it conflicted with something like dinner! This all helped us realize that anytime dining is the way to go on most ships. As much as we like dining together, in the future, Disney Cruise Line may be the only cruise line we do assigned dining, ever again!! A few of the events that we did get to and I can recommend are the Navigation @ Sea seminar…. If you like history and learning about how cruise or other ships function, this is for you! I didn’t get to stay for the whole thing, because… the kids club closed at 5 and the seminar ran longer than that, and it was my turn to go pick up our daughter. We also saw the Culinary Demonstration. Sit in the front for the best aromas! We thought this would just be a good ‘live’ cooking show type of demo, where we might learn a thing or two about making a dish. What we didn’t know was how funny it would end up being, I highly recommend checking this out. We did make it to ONE whole trivia game, and I liked it a lot, the trivia was actually a bit challenging and had a good variety. We also went to one BINGO game… snore! It was all electronic, done on a tablet type of computer. There were plenty of other activities that weren’t as interesting to us, like dancing classes. The classes ranged from ballroom type dance to country line dancing and tap dance. There was music playing all over the ship. There were piano players, a house band, and a mariachi trio. Never did I hear loud or obnoxious singing or music, so that was nice! We didn’t make it to Karaoke because it always started close to 11PM. Activities/Enrichment Grade: 4-5, lots of choices, just wish I had more time! Fitness/Recreation: I started the cruise with good intentions. The first morning after setting sail, I woke up early, so I decided to get my exercise clothes on and find a spot to run or go to the gym. First, I went to the spa and fitness area and found out nothing opens there until 7am. What?! On other cruises the gym at least opens at 6am! So, I had to go hunt for the running track. It must be the best kept secret on board. There is a deck called ‘sports deck’. It must be there right? Nope. That’s where the youth centers and adults only areas are located. So I go up one more, to the ‘sky deck’, this must be it! Nope, that’s where the night club is located. I go up one more… to deck 19. Finally, I find the jogging track, mini golf, and basketball court. This area is nearly invisible to anyone looking or not looking for it and I believe only 1 out of 4 elevators goes this high. It is out of sight out of mind, I guess. I ran two miles that morning, which was 32 laps. The track was quite short and not terribly wide, especially when an older lady decided it was her right to do her power walk straight down the middle of the track! I had to carefully maneuver my way around her each time I needed to pass. This is the only day I ended up going there. Too bad too because I had meant to go back and try the 9 hole mini golf. The golf, however, looked hard; there were no bricks or other barrier type material to keep the balls on each hole! Since the gym didn’t open7, which was also when the rest of my family was up, I didn’t return to use any of its facilities either. It looked nice, when we took the tour! I didn’t go without exercise this trip. 4/4 of our port days were spent walking all over the place. I think in San Francisco we walked nearly 10 miles! There were fitness classes and Zumba demonstrations, almost daily, but the Zumba was at 9… directly after breakfast. They idea of trying to workout/dance after eating eggs benedict was less than appealing. Next time I will try harder to get to the Zumba class, as I’ve been curious to see what it’s all about! The lack of accessibility of the fitness knocks its grade down a bit. Fitness/Recreation Grade: 3 Kids Clubs: Our daughter loved the Pelican club and couldn’t wait to go back each day. She probably would have rather stayed in there all night than come to bed and stayed in there for entire port days rather than get dragged around by us! We happened to see that there was a count of 30 children between the ages of 3-8, that were on board the ship with her. That is a pretty good sized number, so whenever we dropped her off at the club, there were always at least a handful of other kids there. The pelican room was a good size room and they had plenty of activities ready for them. They played games, did arts/crafts, sang songs, watched movies, built with legos, and had regular play time as well. There was an outdoor area as well, but I’m not sure if they used it. At the start of the cruise we got 1 large printout of the week’s activities. In the past we had seen that each day had its own Princess Pelican Patter. It was nice to get a basic layout of the week ahead, so we could plan our days to the schedule our daughter was given for activities. There were 3 mandatory pick up times each sea day. Noon, 5PM, and 10PM. We have no problem picking our child up and eating meals with her, but this was a bit of an inconvenience. 5PM was 30 minutes before our assigned dinner time and the club didn’t open again until 6PM. So, we had to drag her to dinner with us and when she got bored, someone would have to run her up to the kids club, in the middle of our meal. On port days, you were supposed to book your time in the club by the night before. We only did this on the day we were in Ensenada and it worked out well. Kids Club Rating: 5.5 from our daughter, 4.0 for us. Prices/Rates: Tips and onboard expenses aside, the price of our cruise was less than $100 per person per night. We also got $50 OBC and a bottle of $60 champagne per cabin to enjoy on board! For an inside cabin, I might like to pay a bit less than what we paid, but it was still a great deal for the product we received. Price grade: 4 Cabin: We had an interior cabin A717, Aloha, Deck 12, Category ID. We were 1 cabin away from the AFT elevators. We selected this cabin location to be ‘near’ the kids club, which was AFT on deck 17. We were also 2 decks lower than the LIDO deck where the buffet was located, for easy access to drinks and food in the early morning. We also needed a cabin that had room for 4 and also had similar cabins next door, for our family that was traveling with us. Given the limited choices we had, this was the best pick. The location of the cabin to the elevator bank and stairs was perfect. The location to the spots on the ship we spent most of our time was a bit of a walk. We took stairs when we could, but there were times, with the stroller for instance, that using an elevator would be more efficient, but the waits at peak dining times were bad, due to our closeness to the buffet. The noises from the area in our direct vicinity were minimal. The noises from the thrusters, early in the morning when we arrive at port, or leave in the evening were quite loud. Lucky for me, I tend to get up early, even on vacation. We had some early starts to our port days and the unexpected wakeup call helped in those situations. Our daughter slept through the vibration every time. It wasn’t that loud or disturbing, but just enough to wake you gently if you were in that stage of a sleep cycle. The layout of the room was fantastic. Looking at the floor plan, I was worried that it would feel cramped. Our daughter is only 3, so she doesn’t take up too much space and her bed was only down from the time after dinner through breakfast the next morning. Our luggage fit easily beneath ONE of the twin beds and we found a spot to prop up the stroller in the closet. Speaking of the closet, it is great! I thought I might be bothered by the lack of doors and openly ‘messy’ look of seeing hangers and clothes all the time, but the openness greatly outweighed the messiness. There was room for twice as many clothes as we brought to hang up. We could have used more hangers, and meant to ask for more, but we didn’t run into our steward in time for it to be worthwhile. He was ninja sneaky the first few days of the cruise. Then there is the bathroom. It can always be bigger on a cruise ship, but I don’t have many complaints. I felt the layout was nice. I am smaller than most, so I could comfortable move about. All three of us were inside the room brushing our teeth one night, so that alone is impressive. The shower did seem smaller than some, but I think one always thinks that when they see their shower on a cruise. :) The hair dryer leaves something to be desired, but did in fact dry my hair. It takes a while to get going, but once it reached full heat, it seemed to dry quickly. The air temperature in the room was nice and the control on the wall appeared to work well for what we wanted. The TV, we didn’t use it too much. We mostly caught a movie in the morning while getting ready for the day and at night after picking our daughter up from the kids club. There is a double plug at the desk, in which we could really only use 1 at a time, due to the size of the phone charger adapters. We managed to reach behind the TV and plug in our second phone. We had a double charger, but only one device would charge at a time, they probably have a way to limit the amps going to each outlet. The cleanliness of the room was great, I didn’t notice any areas that were in need of great repair. Though, one of the drawers on a nightstand didn’t work. We had 3 others to use and lots of other shelves and storage spots to stick all our random pieces. To help organize a little, I did bring an over the door organizer to hang on the bathroom door, it worked great for the items I use more frequently. Cabin Grade: 4/5, 5 for an interior cabin. Disembarkation: Being a local, we would normally do self-assist disembarkation and leave the ship ASAP to start the drive home. One: We had a 3 year old and a stroller to contend with, so while we probably could have managed a self-assist, it was easier to have Princess take the bags off for us. We would have picked the earliest time, but Two: we had family that wanted to take the 9am exit because their shuttle wasn’t until close to 10am. We all ended up with 9:15am, which was good except we had to wait to get off with everyone else. Luckily we found a spot in the International Café to sit. We were supposed to be in Club Fusion, deck 7 AFT, but we had some matters to attend to at guest services and people wanted to use their coffee card punches. All the while, the line for US Customs was getting longer and longer! Boy have we been spoiled in the past! It was what it was, but it was a good reminder for us, that it is worth it to take an earlier departure! The wait wasn’t horrendous and the view down the side of the ship was entertaining for the time we had to wait in line. Turns out the luggage is transferred to/from the ship using this forklift/crane type of machinery, with nets underneath to catch bags that might fall into the water. *Gulp!* I wonder how long they had done this without nets in place before the first bags were lost!! I may have been better off not seeing that. Disembarkation grade: 3. I would have liked an announcement over the PA about when groups could get off the ship. Other Observances: There was a high level of older clientele onboard. I think this is generated by the time of year (October, kids in school) and the itinerary (mainly US coastal cities). I also realize this is not a ‘family’ branded cruise line, so it’s not like we expected there to be a ton of younger folks. We also don’t frequent late night events onboard, so it didn’t bother us much at all. But, I do think this attributed to the high usage of the elevators and possibly the somewhat subdued nature of the programming and crowding at the 8PM show time. The portrait photographers were only out for what felt like limited time. The earliest they would start shooting was 5PM and our dinner was at 5:30. Some nights they didn’t start until 6PM. So, if we wanted photos with our daughter we had to rush, on specific nights, to get ready before dinner started. Also, certain backdrops, like the white background, were only available on formal nights. I think they did this to promote their photo studio, in which you could get black and white portraits done, with no sitting fee, but you had to make an appointment. We got a few regular portraits that came out well, which was a nice and easy way to chronical our family for 2014. The negatives that we experienced on this cruise were not deal breakers in the slightest. We had a good time and got to visit cities that we have not been able to before. We would gladly sail Princess again and I look forward to trying more adventurous itineraries and different ships. Value: Given what we paid vs what we experienced, this cruise was a great value. For less than $100pp per night, we got fantastic food, our daughter had a blast in the kids club, and we got to visit wonderful California ports, even if one of them is where we currently call home. My daughter and I usually go to the San Diego Zoo during the week, so my husband doesn’t get to go as often, so it was a nice treat for him and for our family that has never been to this Zoo. Value Grade: 4   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Executive Summary: My wife and I believe that any cruise is a good cruise. However, this being our 23rd Princess cruise we would rank it about number 20. We did the identical itinerary in October 2012 aboard the Sapphire and that is the ... Read More
Executive Summary: My wife and I believe that any cruise is a good cruise. However, this being our 23rd Princess cruise we would rank it about number 20. We did the identical itinerary in October 2012 aboard the Sapphire and that is the ship and cruise that we compare all others to. During this voyage we encountered two unusual problems, a medical emergency requiring a diversion to an unplanned port, Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands which resulted in an additional day at sea and an outbreak of Norovirus which required great effort by the crew to contain the spread of the virus. The Captain and crew did an exceptional job in keeping passengers informed of the progress in solving these problems and the Company and ship provided all the assistance they could in offering facilities and assistance to help passengers alter their onward plans in addition to offering to cover the costs for changing flight arrangements. We found Captain Justin Lawes to be the most visible, approachable and most communicative Captain we have ever had. The weather on this cruise was not as pleasant as that in 2012 but we only had one day in Bora Bora where the heavy rain and low ceiling and rough water resulted in the cancellation of our planned tour. One of the deciding factors in our choice of Princess is the outstanding friendliness and courtesy and efficiency of the cabin and dining staff. They did not disappoint on this cruise. As I have pointed out about other cruises there is no standard as to how or when the spas are available. For us this was a major disappointment on this cruise. We found the deck maintenance below standard and we thought that some of the entertainers were not as capable as those we have seen in the past. Although the cruise did not meet our expectations we will certainly cruise with Princess again. Detailed description: Because we were flying using “points” we were forced to use a circuitous route via Newark. We left Ottawa aboard a United Airlines flight at 0615 on Thursday morning the 16th connecting in New York for onward flight to Los Angles. The Ottawa flight was on time and uneventful but departure from Newark was delayed 1 hour 16 because the Captain was delayed arriving on another flight. To finish off the flight when we arrived in LAX no gate was available so we waited a further 15 minutes on the ramp. The flights were smooth and uneventful. However, flying United in Economy class is not something to look forward to. Finally off the aircraft we proceeded to collect our bags which arrived at the carousel quite quickly. We then proceeded outside to find the Super Shuttle boarding area. We checked in with the agent, using individual online tickets to save $3.00 each rather than $3.00 for a double booking. After about a 20 minute wait our shuttle arrived. Despite having only two other passengers we proceeded directly for San Pedro arriving about one hour later after dropping off two other passengers. Our destination was the Crowne Plaza, a hotel frequently mentioned in Cruise Critic submissions. We had booked this hotel using a Priceline “bid” about eleven months earlier and obtained the room for about 65% off the going online rate ($76/night). We had a very warm, friendly and efficient check-in. We were quite impressed with the room and its amenities. It was large, comfortable, with a big flat-screen TV and in a quiet area overlooking the large and very inviting outdoor pool and spa area. We were disappointed that there was no in-room safe or refrigerator. The HVAC system was noisy but fortunately we were able to leave it off for the night. We were disappointed at the lack of in-room information about nearby points of interest. There is no mention of the USS Iowa battleship memorial moored only three blocks away, nor about the free trolley or the antique streetcar. Pity they aren’t promoting the local area. The next morning we discovered a machine in the lobby that offered electronic info about the area. It’s a little out of the way near the Bell Captain station and only one person can use it at a time. I still prefer pamphlets. The Crowne Plaza offers ½ hourly shuttle service to the port beginning at 10:30 but you can’t pre-book a specific time. We’re told it’s first come first serve without tickets/numbers being given out. We’re visualizing a crowd scene where everyone is trying to squeeze onto the same bus. We’ll see how it goes. We walked up 7th street to Gaffey St., about 5 blocks, and discovered a CVS pharmacy which carried all the supplies we were looking for. Coming from the East it was surprising to find a store that carried BWS. CVS prices were cheaper than the nearby Vista liquors on Caffey St. We went for dinner at the Green Onion Mexican Restaurant across the street on 6th street and Palos Verdes. We were warmly greeted and very impressed with the décor of the restaurant. We were promptly visited by our waiter and soon had some beer and complementary chips and salsa. My wife ordered the chicken tostada with cheese enchilada and black beans and rice ($8.50) while I ordered the shrimp flores ($15.95) which came with a cup of albondigas soup, a hearty, chunky, vegetable and meat ball soup. These dishes were very generous and were outstanding. This turned out to be the best Mexican restaurant experience we have had. The next morning we went to the Grinder restaurant for breakfast. It’s located on S. Harbor Blvd. next to the Sunrise Hotel and in front of the Fishing Industry Memorial. This is an American style restaurant, something like a Denny’s but more intimate, serving all meals and is about three blocks away. Nice atmosphere including patio, good breakfast and excellent and pleasant service. We recommend it. We spent the rest of the day exploring the S.S. Lane Victory, a WW11 naval auxiliary and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum all within walking distance. Late in the afternoon we joined other CC members to do the San Pedro Brewing Company tour and dinner. Good turnout and a nice start to the cruise. We opted instead to have dinner at the Whale & Ale a nearby pub about two blocks west on 7th street. Great choice. Advertized as having the best fish & chips and I wouldn’t argue the point. Great pub full of locals and a pianist to boot. Excellent atmosphere and food. Day One: We took the hotel shuttle at about 10:45, seems the half hour schedule was abandoned, and we were aboard at 12:30. Very efficient check-in, security and boarding made easier as “Elite” category guests. Very nice Elite lounge with complimentary coffee and pastries. Unfortunately, it’s now 5:00 PM and we still don’t have our luggage. Most of our bags arrived promptly but the last one did not appear until after seven. Our departure was delayed a few minutes in order to get all the luggage aboard. We enjoyed cruising past the Iowa and the riverside restaurants during our exit of San Pedro harbour. This port is undergoing a major effort at renewal and revitalization. We’re very pleased with the cabin (B748). It has an oversize balcony for this category of cabin that is totally private with the exception of the ships rear facing cameras, I hope they are rear facing or someone will be getting an eyeful! All is good! We love our cabin and our steward, Sayan, has met all our requests and certainly is on top of things. We went to the Michelangelo dining room for Dinner. We had the good fortune to meet Robert, a Headwaiter we have had in the past. He was able to meet our request for a table for two adjacent to a window (212). Our waiters, Tan and Alona, provided us with the exact service we enjoy. I had the thick cut roast beef which was outstanding. Leaving the dining room we spoke with Robert and made a request for a standing reservation for table 212 for the entire voyage. Following dinner we visited the Wheelhouse bar to take advantage of its 2 for 1 Happy Hour promotion (10 to 11PM). Day Two: We awoke to a cool and heavily overcast day but by 9:30 we have scattered cloud and it is nice and warm. We are getting full sun on our balcony. We have a Carnival ship nearby on our portside sailing a parallel course. We attended an astronomy lecture in the morning given by Dr. Gary Kramer about the death of stars. The Captain made an announcement that late this evening and early tomorrow morning we would be getting into 20 foot swells and 40 knot winds. He advised us to secure things before going to bed. This will be the first time in all our cruising to have such high seas. I’m anxious to see how the ship performs. Rest of day spent wondering around and killing time reading and just chilling out. At 7 PM we attended a performance by Mike Wilson an Impressionist and comedian. Overall not a bad show. When we went to dinner we were very happy to learn that Robert had arranged for us to again have table 212. I think we now have a standing reservation. Had a great dinner again with Tan and Alona our waiters. We joined two other couples after dinner in the Club Fusion to play a game of Majority Rules. Good time then off to our cabin about 11:00 PM. Day Three: A little warmer today (70f) with a hint of sun. Some swell but not near the height predicted nor are the winds very strong. Guess we avoided the depression. Managed to get our deck walk completed this AM. Meeting with the with the Cruise Critic roll call group at 11 AM. Want to meet up with the couples we hope to climb Diamond Head with. Looks like we have four couples planning to do the climb. Afternoon too cool and cloudy for sunning. Day Four: Still cool and overcast this morning. Sea state about 3 to 4 and about a 4 meter swell. Other than a little pitching hardly any ship motion. Despite the notice that the treadmills over the cabins would not open until 9:00 AM all signs were removed when we arrived at 8:50 AM. Very annoyed that 7 of the treadmills were marked as out of service. This and it’s only day four! Sayan had our room made up by 8:30 this morning. Couldn't ask for more from this Steward. Good day generally. We saw an instrumentalist, Craig Richard, for the seven o'clock show then followed with a good dinner back at table 212. Came back to the room and decided to catch the movie at MUTS and enjoy a spa tub. We were nicely settled into the tub when a crewman came along to close it. It was about 10:15 but he stated that all the tubs were supposed to be closed at 9:30. Not a happy camper. Day Five: Partially overcast but warn. Sea state about 2 and mostly sunny. Got our exercise in early. Prepared a letter for the President of the company with copy to the Hotel Manager complaining about the hours of the tubs and poor maintenance of the treadmills. Will be interesting to see if I get a response. Most of the day spent enjoying our balcony. We intend to go to the Elite lounge again for cocktails then catch the seven o’clock show of the comedian Jim Colliton. On this cruise the Elite Lounge is being held in Club Fusion because of the large number of Platinum and Elite guests. Day Six: Woke up this morning to at last see land as we approached our anchorage of Hilo on the big island Hawaii. We hope to get ashore to see some sights and maybe get some supplies. Once ashore we did a little walkabout. Not too impressed but did visit the Pacific Tsunami museum and the discovery museum. Both worthwhile visits. Used the bus to get to and from town at a cost of $1.00 / person each way for seniors. Day Seven: We got up at 6:00 AM to watch the approach into Honolulu. It was very beautiful to see Diamond Head and the very narrow entrance into Pearl Harbour. Plan for today is to climb Diamond Head this morning then hit Waikiki Beach area this afternoon. We met up with three other couples at Explorers lounge at 7: 00 AM to climb Diamond Head. We left the ship about 7:40 and walked out of the port area to catch a bus. We stumbled across a taxi area that they claimed would take us to DH for about $22. Their advantage was that they could get us about a mile closer to the park than a bus. They could not accommodate eight passengers so we decided to take two cabs. Meter actually came up to about $30 per cab plus tip. Happy we took the cab because we got to do the climb before all the tour groups arrived. A challenging climb for those of our age but we found it worthwhile. We walked back to the bus stop in front of the park entrance. We learned that if we walked a little further to the West, in front of the University, there was a stop that offered more frequent service to Waikiki. We got the #19 and got off in Waikiki area and walked all the way to the Ala Moana centre taking a bus from there back to the ship. Back aboard about 2:00 PM and dead tired. We were back aboard for dinner then we enjoyed a great deck party prior to and during departure. This was our second night-time departure and it was wonderful to see the city of Honolulu all lit up as we sailed away to the beat and rhythms of a great band. The entertainment staff really got the passengers involved. Day Eight: This morning finds us in Nawiliwili Bay on the island of Kauai. This is a very small and interesting port. Free shuttles are provided to Hilo Haddies, Wall Mart, K Mart and the two nearby malls. The “tram” shuttle takes you to the mall where Mariachi’s is located. Free wifi is offered at the mall office where you can arrange a longer island tour. A relatively small port area but a very large Marriot hotel and golf complex located nearby. The hotel is on one of the nicest accessible beaches on the island and the beach is accessible to everyone. We did our usual walkabout and found a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Mariachi’s located on an upper level of Harbour Mall complex. This restaurant offered great prices on food and beer and free Wifi. Show your ship ID and get Happy Hour drinks all day long. Didn’t eat too much but the platters that we saw were very appealing. Set sail at 5:00PM. We enjoyed the singing of tonight’s featured performer Sonia Selbie. We finished the night with a hot tub session under the stars but were again asked to vacate at 10:00 PM. Day Nine: This morning we approached our anchorage of Lahaina on the island of Maui. We hope to get ashore to see some sights and maybe get some supplies. Once ashore we did a little walkabout. We were amazed at the number of art galleries and the welcome and information we were given just browsing around. We took the bus to the Whaler’s village complex where we visited the Whaler’s Museum. This museum is dedicated to the whaling industry. This complex is about a 15 minute bus ride form Lahaina on Kaanapali Beach. The Lahaina bus stop is about two blocks in from the beach/dock at the Wharf Cinema Centre. The fare is $2 each way or $4 for an all day pass. Pass holders are given priority boarding so buy an all day pass to avoid the boarding hassle on the return trip. Although small the museum is well worth a visit. Admission is $3 per person or $2 for seniors. There are excellent displays of the life of the whalers, their tools and their ships. Although all exhibits are clearly marked and explained you also have the option of taking a self guided tour and using a handheld device and entering the exhibit number you can hear an explanation in four languages. Take the opportunity to learn about these courageous seamen who usually went out on four year voyages in search of their prey. Upon returning to Lahaina we walked along front street and enjoyed a couple of beers and a Baja fish taco at Captain Jacks. This is a restaurant located upstairs one block from the port and across from the Banyon tree. Happy Hour begins at 2:00 PM and the 16oz beers are $4. The Baja fish taco at $5 was excellent. Sitting by the open air gallery with the pleasant breeze and cold beer was a great way to watch the world go by below. We were back aboard about 3:00 PM. This evening is a busy one for entertainment. At 6:15 in Explorers Lounge we watched Fred Becker & Bobbie, his wife. This was a magic and comedy act that was very entertaining. He got some audience participation but despite having some problems with his “subjects” and a problematical sound system he used these challenges to thoroughly entertain his audience. Highly recommended act. At 7:00 pm we went to the theatre to catch Carl Andrews a “mental comedy” act. This act included some remarkable feats but in my opinion was not as entertaining or polished as the earlier act. Good show none the less. We have our usual dinner at 8:00 PM at table 212. Robert has arranged to have a “special” spicy main course for us. After our appetizer we are presented with a delicious shrimp curry accompanied with rice, papadums and nan bread. The curry is one of the best I have ever enjoyed. After dinner it’s too late for a hot tub, they are still closing at 10:00PM, so we just return to the cabin and enjoy our balcony. Day Ten: Did an early deck walk then breakfast. Day is starting out cloudy sea state about 3 to 4 with occasional light showers. Easy day and really enjoying the rear deck facilities. Looking forward to dinner tonight as we have booked Sabotini’s. Tonight is one of the Formal nights in addition to having the Captain’s cocktail party for Captain’s Circle members. This function was held in the Fusion lounge. We met up with two of the wait staff that have looked after us in the past and we soon had our favourite cocktail in our hands. We left the party to go to Sabotini’s. Wonderful dinner in a beautiful but largely vacant room. Great service and attention from the chef Francisco. We were presented with two additional courses by the Chef. Way too many calories but a great night. Day eleven: Woke up to low overcast and lumpy seas today. Walked the upper deck and had about a 40 mph wind across the bow. Going to an Outlet sale event at 10:00 AM. Bought a light jacket for Louise at half price. Rum tasting at 3:00 PM. Good dinner again back at table 212. Thick cut slab of roast beef. Day Twelve: Morning is sunny and warm. Another two sea days before we arrive in Apia. Still have not seen any sea life although we were told whales were possible. Met today with Mr. Johannes DeVilliers, the DPS, to question the hours of the hot tubs/spas. He de-fused my frustration by stating that he had left a phone message yesterday stating that the aft spa would now close at 11:00 PM. We’re looking forward to testing out that new policy tonight. At 1:00 PM we enjoyed the crossing the equator ceremony where pollywogs become shellbacks. Lots of good sports and fun for all the onlookers. WiFi service is unavailable on the balcony using the new HP two in one tablet although the Nexus seven does get two bars. Enjoyed the magic of Fred & Bobbie again in Explorers followed by an early dinner in our usual section. Excellent Thai cooked red snapper. Quickly came back to cabin to change and go up and use the hot tub on this gorgeous night. Arrived at the tub at 10:05 to find the tub again closed. Not a happy camper. Returned to our cabin, called the Purser’s desk and supposedly talked to the duty officer, Alexa, at 10:32 to complain then onto the balcony for a good shot of rum. Day Thirtheen: Cloudy, overcast with an early morning shower. Wrote a letter to Mr. DeVilliers again. See what transpires this time. This has become one big frustration. Not the voyage we anticipated. Received a call at 1800 hours from Mr. DeVilliers with apologies and statements of mis-communications between departments. Assures me spa will be open tonight and that duty officer will check. Enjoyed Elite lounge again followed by a game of General Knowledge trivia which our team won then good dinner. Arrived at spa at 9:55 and yes it was open. Unfortunately, it was not heated so water temperature was about equal to body temperature. After about five minutes we gave up and returned to room. I returned to spa at 10:50 and met Alexa, the duty officer, and I had her confirm the situation. I am now ready to throw in the towel on this matter. I intend to pursue it with Head Office and postings on the Internet when we return. Day Fourteen: Today we arrived in Apia, Western Samoa at 7:30 AM, earlier than expected because we had a medical emergency aboard and we have been travelling faster than planned in order to transfer these two patients ashore. A large group of local dancers and musicians greeted us with a dockside performance. Nice little town adjacent to the harbour. Shuttle service into town with drop off at the cultural centre was available for $2 US/person. We found a special hotel called Aggie Grey’s about half way round the harbour. This is a very old hotel recently renovated. There is a great deal of history associated with this building. Take time to enter and go to the rear where there is a wonderful garden Terrace. Local beers were 6.50 Tala about US$3.00 for a small bottle and 13 Tala for a large. Well drinks at 12 Tala and water (350ml) 2.50 Tala, just over US$1. During happy hour cocktails are 10 Tala. The preceding statement about Aggie Grey’s is a repeat of comments we made two years ago. Shortly after our visit in 2012 the area was hit by a typhoon and Aggie Grey’s was severally damaged. It is now undergoing a total renovation and addition of a new four story wing. Also new since our last visit is the Catholic cathedral. This is an incredible building to rival many in Europe. Don’t miss the chance to visit. The ceiling is a mastercraft of hand carved wood. There is an incredible painted cupola and beautiful stained glass windows. During our return to the ship we stopped by “The Edge” bar and restaurant. This is a wonderful port side restaurant in a complex of several establishments in this complex. If you arrive by cruise ship it’s an easy walk from the dock, perhaps 400 – 500 yards. The restaurant has a few tables inside but the attraction is to sit on the deck over the water and enjoy the breeze and the small fish below. There are three local Samoan beers on tap as well as a variety of bottles. A mug of local beer is five “Tala” about $2.25US. The symbol for “Tala” is the same as US or Canadian dollars ($) so don’t be deceived. WiFI is available for 20 Tala for 2 hours. We did not purchase this service so can’t comment on the speed. If you use a credit card there is a 3.5% surcharge. We didn't try any food but the restaurant seems popular with the locals and we received a warm welcome. Great place to enjoy the Samoan atmosphere. Of note this is the first bar/restaurant I have been to where there was a plate of free condoms in each of the restrooms. Interesting! Right at dockside the Samoans have set up numerous stalls to sell all the local artifacts and handicrafts. Nearly all you could want was right at hand without having to go to town. We returned about 1:00PM and as we entered the cabin the phone was ringing. Alexa from the Purser’s office wanted to offer a dinner in the Crown Grill and a bottle of wine. I asked about a “hot” tub but she wouldn't commit to that. We returned to “The Edge” for happy hour. We enjoyed 2 draft beers, 2 bottled beers and 2 Mojitos for a total of 26 Tala. Good time enjoying a number of Samoans having a good time after looking after cruise passengers all day. Not much going on this evening. We are going to dine at the Horizon Court for the first time. We set sail for Pago Pago at 7:00PM shortly before sunset. Prior to dinner I went up to the hot tub to check conditions. By coincidence Alexa also appeared. We were both pleased that the tub was “hot”. Delighted! Enjoyed our first dinner in the HC. Great selection of dishes, very friendly staff and we were able to find a relatively quiet corner. Good experience. After dinner we changed and arrived at the tub at 9:50PM. Enjoyed our first evening under the stars and a half moon. Outstanding! Day Fifteen: We’re at the half way point. We've arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa at 7:00 AM . Day is overcast, some showers and windy. Strong crosswind makes it difficult to tie up. Saturday still as we have again crossed the International Date Line. Beautiful little hurricane hole. Not much here but we didn't do any tours. By turning left out of the port and walking less than 1000 feet there is a wonderful little hotel/restaurant and beach called Sadie’s by the Sea. Great place to stop. Enjoyed $4.00 mugs of beer on their delightful outdoor terrace. Their gift shop had the only decent liquor display so we bought a litre of rum and transferred it to our plastic bottle which we had no trouble boarding. Sadie’s also has their own little beach which you can use for $5 a day. Immediately beyond Sadie’s there is a very active public beach. If you turn right out of the port and walk about ¾ of a mile you will discover Tutuila Store which has a wide selection of fabrics at very reasonable prices. We are supposed to have a musical send off at 5.00PM. Had a wonderful sailaway for this marvellous little harbour. Dined at our usual table. Went up to the tub just before ten. Windy, overcast with a little rain but the tub was hot and we had it to ourselves. Returned to the cabin about 10:30 and had a nightcap on our balcony. Day Sixteen: Early awake again. Overcast with winds about 30 knots. Sea state 4 to 5. We are straight into the wind so we have a wind across the deck of over 50 mph. The Captain advised that he has reduced speed in order to improve passenger comfort so we are now running about 3 hours late for Bora Bora. May make up time tomorrow. . Formal night tonight. Enjoyed another good meal then watched “Want to be a Millionaire” Princess game. Still rainy, windy and closed decks so retired to our balcony about 10:30PM. We’re heading east again so setting time one hour forward tonight. Day Seventeen: Overcast and light chop this morning. Another sea day. Winds have died a little and sun begins to appear about noon. Having a pub lunch, afternoon game, show at seven, Flamico Express and dinner with new friends at eight. Flamenco Express is a duo that performs several dance routines to Flamenco music. Good show. Enjoyed our dinner with Gary and Sheryl from Vancouver. Played a new game where you try to decipher a phrase from a scramble of words. Good fun in the Explorers lounge. Will be in Moorea tomorrow and we’re looking forward to our whale and porpoise watching tour. Day Eighteen: Arrived at the entrance of our anchorage area in Moorea at about 8:30 about one hour late because of the winds during our crossing from Pago Pago. Stayed on ship for the morning but enjoyed the Spinner Dolphin, whale watching tour provided by Dr. Michael Poole. This was conducted in a large roofed boat with a very educational briefing by Dr. Poole of the years of research he has conducted on dolphin and other species. We spotted many dolphin, saw some spins then travelled to a shallow lagoon area where we stopped and were given the opportunity to swim and interact with rays and black tipped sharks. Wonderful experience. This was a tour offered by the ship at $129. Returned to the ship about 4:30PM. Quiet night tonight entertainment wise. We enjoyed our usual dinner then spent 45 minutes in the hot tub with some rain. Good fun none the less. Day Nineteen: Arrived at Bora Bora anchorage about 7:00 AM. Very narrow entrance to a wonderful harbour overlooked by a 2500 foot volcanic peak. Another day of cloud and drizzle. Took a tender about 10:00 to visit port area. Bought a set of black pearl earrings for Louise. Found a little grocery store and replenished some supplies. We have a lagoon tour planned for 1:30 but we have had a series of heavy showers since we returned at about 11:30. Don’t think this will be much fun. Went to the dock for 1:30 and by mutual agreement of the operator and guests the tour was cancelled. We returned to the ship to enjoy our balcony in a misty and cloudy afternoon. Saw an instrument show featuring an Australian banjo player and violinist then followed with dinner and thirty five minutes in the tub under a full moon. The Captain announced earlier that we had extended our stay in Papaeete until 2:00PM Friday. Day Twenty: Arrived in Papeete at about 7:30 to a beautiful sunny day, the first in many days. We are stern in and adjacent to a park and entertainment area. We met Sally, a relative, in late morning and enjoyed lunch and part of the afternoon at her home just outside the city and with a view to nearby Moorea. On our return we stopped in at a nearby brasserie called 3 Brasseurs. We’ve come over 10,000 miles to stumble across the same micro-brewery we have at home. They make at least four house brews. We enjoyed the “Blanche”, white beer (650 XPF about $7). Prices somewhat higher than in Canada. A good place near the harbour to enjoy a brew and people watch. At 7:00 PM we enjoyed a fabulous Tahitian show put on in the theatre by a troupe of about 20 dancers and musicians called “O Tahiti E” folkloric show.. This show was the highlight of our trip so far. After the show we enjoyed dinner followed by a walk through the adjacent park area which was alive with people enjoying the offerings of the many “roulettes” (food trucks) with their wide diversity of offerings. Day Twenty one: Woke up to a delightful day here in Papeete. The Captain advised us late last night that our departure was being delayed until 4:30 today because we are awaiting arrival of a ship from New Zealand with important provisions for us. We will take advantage of the extra time to walk the harbour promenade later this morning. We walked the length of the pedestrian harbour-side walkway to the stadium, about a mile. Construction is in progress to improve this walkway and include a new marina. Project expected to be completed in 2015. On our return we walked on the opposite side and about half way back we discovered the Robert Wan Pearl shop and Pearl Museum, claimed to be the largest pearl museum in the world. The museum is free and was a wonderful discovery. There were displays of ancient pearls, how they were discovered and used. There are displays of royal clothing and headdresses of the past and then displays of current cultivation. This is certainly a place to wander in, discover and learn some history and marvel at the beauty of the various pearls. This was the most spectacular departure we have ever had. The shore was lined with locals all waving us off. The welcome and friendliness of the Tahitians will be a lifelong memory. We caught the seven o’clock show of Michael Minor a ventriloquist and vocalist. He had a good routine using four characters and his singing and impressions were very talented. Tonight we dined at the “Crab Shack” for the first time. This turned out to be a fun and outstanding experience. We had the shrimp and hush puppy appetizer followed by the shrimp and crab legs. This main course was outstanding. Although I finished mine, Louise only completed the legs and took the excellent shrimp for lunch tomorrow. We’re happy we didn't also order the soup. We followed dinner with our usual hot tub. Overall a wonderful evening. Day Twenty Two – We are off on our Pacific crossing of over 3500 nautical miles over better than 7 days. Today dawned cloudy but warm with a few showers about and light seas. The sun came out after noon and it very hot on the balcony. This should be the routine until we get to LA. I won’t report unless there is something of particular interest. Saw two shows tonight, David Aiken “The Checkerboard Guy”, a juggler and comedian and Doug Funk a Toronto improv comedian. Funk had very good audience participation. Both provided very good entertainment. During dinner, about 9:00 we were advised by the Captain that we had a medical emergency and that we were diverting to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands to transfer the patient. He could not confirm the delay. Day Twenty Three - Hot and sunny southbound. The Captain informed s at about 9:00 AM that we would arrive at Nuku Hiva at about 2:00 PM and that there would be a tender transfer of the patient. We arrived at the port about 2:10 and had retrieved our tender by 2:50 PM. Very slick operation. Advised we are running about a day late and that our new ETA for LA is about 9:00 AM Sunday the 16th. Tonight were catching a show by Ric Steel who highlights the songs of Roy Orbison, Jonny Cash and the Beatles. Good entertainer and we look forward o his performance in the Explorers Lounge later in the week. We follow the show with dinner and a tub. Fabulous evening. Day Twenty Four – Lots doing today. Started off with Remembrance Day service presided over by Captain. Theatre full. Very impressive service. Still no update about our arrival. Have succeeded in changing our hotel reservation in LA but cannot complete flight change on AC site. Have wasted over 1 ½ hours of internet time without results. Keep getting time out or page fault. Have sent message asking my brother to try on my behalf. Shortly after 1200 the Captain announced that ETA was 0900 16 Nov if weather holds. Further promised to update at 1630 regarding travel arrangements. At 1630 Captain announced that patient had been operated on in Papeete and was recovering. Stated that Princess Air passengers were being re-scheduled and others must do own bookings. He stated that free phone and internet would be provided and that claims for additional air charges should be submitted to Princess. Received message from Gerry that our flights were re-booked. We’re elated and celebrating with a glass of wine! Enjoyed another show by Ric Steel followed by dinner. Tried to use the hot tub but it was again closed. Not happy! Day Twenty Five – Woke up to a warm but overcast day. Sea state about 3 and winds less than 20. Last night we again crossed the equator and are making good time for LA going at better than 22 knots. We intend to see Doug Funk, the comedian this evening before dinner in the Crown Grill. There are extensive line-ups at several locations on deck seven where people are trying to change their flight arrangements. Ship has set up different locations for different airlines and each has an open line direct to airline booking centre. No need to make individual calls. Although never very good, since leaving Papeete the Wifi service has been almost non-existent. This persists until we arrive in LA. The Crown's Wifi has been the worst we have ever experienced. Captain advised us today that we have numerous cases of Norovirus aboard and many extra sanitary precautions have been imposed. Spa tub on deck 17 aft remained closed all day and evening for no apparent reason. We went to Crown Grill for dinner at 8:00 PM. Nice quiet atmosphere with very few diners. Good appetizers. Louise ordered Sea Bass & shrimp and I ordered 8 oz filet with lobster tail plus vegetables for main courses. Beautiful, delicious sea bass and perfectly cooked filet. However, lobster tail and all vegetables were barely warm. A disappointing dinner experience overall. Would only go back if we specifically wanted a quiet night. Wish they would offer an upsell to a premium steak in the MDR. We had a much more enjoyable experience at the Crab Shack. Day Twenty Six – Cloudy and windy this morning. Spa tub still closed. Went by the spa about 10:30 to find it open. Later talked to a deck attendant who stated it had been closed because of poor water quality. Closed over 36 hours to adjust quality? There are probably less than 300 gals of water. Why not simply empty and re-start. We’re starting to think about packing. The crew show is on in the theatre this evening. Crew show was a sell out and we enjoyed it. Day Twenty Seven - Cloudy and cool today. Don’t do much. Captain hosted an end of cruise cocktail party at 7:00 PM this evening. We don’t recall ever having one of these before. He gave a speech thanking everyone for their consideration and compassion regarding the deviation in course and congratulated everyone on their efforts to contain the Norovirus. He stated that we were now down to less than 50 cases from a high of over 90. We see Michael Minor again for a very entertaining show followed by dinner. We decide to forgo the spa tonight and visit the Happy Hour in the Wheelhouse Lounge and enjoy some easy listening. Day Twenty Eight - Last day dawns bright and a little cool with smooth seas again. Enjoy an afternoon spa under MUTS then cocktails, a show at seven by Ric Steel which turned out to be the best show of the trip. Finale was a musical number with the CD and all of the stars we have had aboard since Papeete. Followed this with dinner and then retired to the cabin for a nightcap. Day Twenty Nine – We’re alongside by 7:15. We hope to start disembarking by 9:00 and our time off is scheduled for shortly after 11:00. We’ll see how cooperative Customs and CDC are today. Clearance comes early and as disembarkation progresses our time off becomes earlier. We actually disembark about 10:30, speed through the non- US immigration/customs, easily find are bags and are out looking for Super Shuttle within 15 minutes. Perhaps the smoothest dis-embarkation ever. We have a smooth drive to our hotel, the Hilton, after a stop at the airport. Enjoy our stay at the Hilton and a wonderful meal at a nearby Mexican restaurant then the following afternoon we have an uneventful return flight to Ottawa via Air Canada.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a ... Read More
My wife and I went on a ten day Princes Cruise on the Crown Princess to the Mexican Rivera. We departed from Los Angeles. Our first stop was San Diego where we walked the old town area. It was a nice quiet easy day. Cabo we took a snorkeling excursion which was uneventful but the boat ride and scenery to and from the area was worth the excursion. La Paz we docked about two miles away, we boarded busses that took us to the small town. It was fun walking around this town, fun shops and the people were very friendly. Loreto was a beautiful small town like you would see off the beaten path, loved it. It was an easy walk from the ship exploring the quaint town. The high school children preformed at the town square in their traditional garb, what a delight. Puerto Vallarta is a large town but each to walk in. We did the zip line which was quite a site. When we returned to LA we decided that this was such a great cruise we will defiantly take it again. The Crown Princess is a great ship with very friendly staff, good food and the night entertainment can't be beat. We would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
The disclaimers first: I have only done three cruises so I'm not a seasoned traveler and my first cruise was on Crystal Cruises and I have found nothing to compare yet. I left Tucson driving early to spend a few days in California ... Read More
The disclaimers first: I have only done three cruises so I'm not a seasoned traveler and my first cruise was on Crystal Cruises and I have found nothing to compare yet. I left Tucson driving early to spend a few days in California before my cruise and was about half way to LA when a got and email telling me that my cruise was being shortened be a day and now would not leave until the Sunday after the original departure time. They made sure to tell me in the email that I couldn't cancel and that I had no recourse against them. By the time we got to LA we had another email telling us that the departure was moved out another four hours. We learned that the original lost day was due to a crew member illness and the additional four hours was due to norovirus on the ship and because they had to disinfect the ship twice. We didn't get all of our luggage until we had already spent a night. And the bag we didn't get had our medications in it. We were told several times that our only option was to wait for the bag. We had several experiences with employees telling us this was their first trip on the ship and wondered why. An employee finally told us that they had to replace a number of employes on the ship due to norovirus. About the third day we had an announcement that there was norovirus on the ship. The Captain finally announced that a number of people had asked how many cases were on the ship (Well Duh! Really?) so he disclosed that, at the time, there 39 cases including five staff members. We frequently had cold food at the venue we dined at most often. We had constant concerns about norovirus and limited our exposure to the public. It seemed that the activities on ship either cost the passenger money or didn't cost the cruise line much. When you are constantly concerned about norovirus (we are both old people) you can't really enjoy your trip. The trip was ruined. I suppose a seasoned traveler would say don't buy travel insurance but our travel agent suggested buying, not the coverage from the cruise line, because "it wasn't much good", and buy something called "Travel Guard". We bought what they call a "Gold Policy" and I can't imagine it being more useless! Princess gave us a pathetic credit for the disasters which included a 20% discount on a future cruise which we will never use. The insurance company (AIG) said that because the cruise line compensated us for the losses they would only pay the expenses for food and lodging for the lost day. Never mind that the cruise line gave us something of no value, AIG decided it was suitable. I paid $186 for the travel insurance and they gave me $199 - $13 more than I paid them. I like my travel agent but I wont use her again for recommending useless insurance. I think I am through cruising (thank you Princess) unless I decide to save a little longer and go back to Crystal Cruises. This was a horrible experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
I had an obstructed ocean view room on the Emerald Level (8), but was upgraded to an obstructed room on Plaza level (5) on the payment deadline date. I was not happy going down three level and being so close to the public areas. Since the ... Read More
I had an obstructed ocean view room on the Emerald Level (8), but was upgraded to an obstructed room on Plaza level (5) on the payment deadline date. I was not happy going down three level and being so close to the public areas. Since the ship was booked solid I was moved a few cabins in but still on level 5. One week before embarkation, I was upgraded again to a Premium Balcony room on Caribe Level (10), which we enjoyed for breakfasts and evening wine. The ship has 18 level but you stick to a few. 5 to 7 indoors. 15 to 18 outdoors, the buffet, kids area, spa/fitness and Sabatini Restaurant. Pools There are 4 pools 2 on deck 15 mid ship, and 1 in the back. The mid ship ones are the crowded ones. A quieter lap pool (swim across the current) is accessible via the spa. I was told it uses salt water, but I swear that someone throws buckets of ice in that one too. I would have loved to use it had it been warmer. All pools have two whirl pools. Teens have a separate whirl pool in their area. Restaurants - Dining Areas There are three dining areas. Botticelli in the back, and Michael Angelo (5) and Da Vinci (6) on the piazza over each other. Michael Angelo is for Any Time Dining and the other two are for set times. I don't know why anyone would choose any time dining as even if you have a set time you can do any time dining. I like set time because I don't like to wait in line during busy times. Da Vinci is open for Breakfast and Lunch but expect a line. It takes 15 minutes to get in, but you can expect a line at the Buffet two. Restaurants - Level 15 Near the pool areas there is pizza, and a grill. The grill offer burgers (beef, chicken, veggie), hot dogs and fries. next to the pizza they offer ice cream. The buffet is also on this level. There are 4 parts to the buffet. 2 in front (Horizon Court) and 2 in the back (Cafe Caribe). You will mostly use the one in the front, but pay attention to the one in the back because that is where they do the specialty buffets. If you like Asian food that is where you will find it when they offer it (Terayaki Chicken and Sushi - no Chinese :( ). Asian food at Horizon is also available: porridge and condiments for breakfast, and a dish in the evenings. Afternoon snack can be found at the Horizon court (guacamole and Salsa in my trip down the Mexican Riviera. If you wake up at 5 you can get a continental breakfast 5 to 6 am to Cafe Caribe. These options did no thrill me. The food was OK, but not great. Breakfast got to be same old same old every morning even with selections of pastries, scrambled eggs, build your omelet, waffles, pan cakes, french toast fruits etc.... So, I would grab a few things for breakfast and surprise my wife with Breakfast in bed after the first day. For dinner they always had a roast that they would carve, and there were nights with shrimp dishes. I saw curry once but since I did not go to the buffet often there may have been more. Restaurants - Fee There are 3 Fee options ($20 to $25). Crown Grill which is a steakhouse. In 2008 that was a steakhouse but you could get a New York Steak in the dining room. All the dining rooms offer now are steak medallions, so this is your fare for steak except for the night they offer New York Steak in the dining room. The staff told me this is a great improvement over the original steakhouse concept it also looks more upscale. The staff highly recommend it. Sabatini is option 2. Italian food. They also use Sabatini for breakfast for folks in Suites (not mini suite). I opted not to do that as the dining room menu is mostly Italian in style. Option 3 is a crab feed in Cafe Caribe. Restaurants - Alternative Vines Wine Bar (5) offers small plate food (tapas) with wine orders - don't expect Spanish tapas. For $10 you can try three wines, so if you like wine this works out. International Cafe (5) offers panini sandwiches, pot pies, quiche, deserts, gelato and pastries. The quality here is better than Level 15. If you like espresso, I would recommend the coffee card starting day 1. Wheel Barrow Bar offer Fish an d Chips on a certain day (I did not do it) Wine Tasting I attended 4 wine tasting events. Dining Room 6 expensive wines ($25), Dining Room 6 cheap wines ($10), and 2 at Vines (3 wines each). Foe $10 you can try three wines at vines but without anyone guiding you through it. These are some of the greatest deals you will get if you like wine Bars There are several Bars on the ship. They all serve alcohol. 3 near the pools and several off the piazza. Spa and Fitness The fitness center is in the front of the ship (16) they have Star Track tread mills, free weights, a smith machine, and other machines. It is crowded on day one but all the amateurs drop out after that. This is not a full gym but they have a lot covered for both serious and amateur jocks. The spa includes treatment rooms for massage and a salon. Do not expect to see the ocean while in a treatment. After the treatments they always push product on you. Don't be shy to say no. I enjoyed my massage, which was a deep one. Service Staff Th staff was excellent. My steward cleaned my room as soon as I left so I always would come back to a clean room in the morning and a refreshed room in the evening. The dining room staff were great especially the Mere D's Antonio, Robert, Flaviou, and Alfredo. I have seen these people up at 5:00 am and working through dinner service at 10 pm, but always happy and if you talk to them they are very interesting. Flaviou would always stop for a quick chat at my table - loved it. During the Wine tastings in the dining room. Antonio took the lead, Alfredo covered the white wines, and Robert covered the red wines - they spent half the time making fun of each other making the environment very relaxed and fun. Monica the Vines Bar Manager was fun to talk with as she guided you through the Vines wine tasting. Really nice. Other staff were very attentive. My experience was good but I did meet a couple that never saw their steward, and had a bag lost that they had to track down in the piazza where all the lost bags were. My recommendation is to laminate the paper tags you print and put tape over the staples so that your tags don' fall off. Photos: They take pictures on formal nights and do a good job, so we bought many pictures, Casual pictures are $20, and professional backdrop pictures (8x10) are $25 or 4 for $80. They may suggest Platinum B&W studio pictures. While the experience was fun prepare for a sticker shock priced o $500 at least. We stuck to the standard (non studio) pictures. Plague Ship Our ship had an outbreak of Norovirus on the prior cruise from Tahiti (18 day cruise). The newspapers called it the Plague Ship because the same ship had an outbreak in April 2014. The outbreak impacted 180 of 4,000 people on board (small statistically but sucks if that were you), so the ship was on high alert with disinfections, announcements about washing your hands, using your cabin rest room, using the alcohol gels, avoiding hand rails, and using staff to fill plates in the buffet area - common sense stuff when in a confined space. 43 people got infected on our cruise. An article I read says the incidence of norovirus is lower in ships than on land, but on a ship it gets noticed. Well, all it takes is one person to bring it on board from land. I did not feel restricted even with the high alert. Delay Our cruise was delayed 1.5 days and we were refunded 20% of our cost because a crew member got appendicitis in mid ocean and they had to divert the ship. I am glad I could have helped someone by sucking it up, but am disappointed that they removed Porto Vallarta from the itinerary instead of Mazatlan. Some people complained about embarkation, but I had no issues, and enjoyed a dinner in the dining room when I boarded the ship.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
Even though our cruise was delayed for 6 hours because of the norovirus cleaning, it was still a very nice cruise trip. The parking lot was just next to the port and it made parking very easy. They have free shuttle to drive you to the ... Read More
Even though our cruise was delayed for 6 hours because of the norovirus cleaning, it was still a very nice cruise trip. The parking lot was just next to the port and it made parking very easy. They have free shuttle to drive you to the entrance and the boarding process was quite smooth. Crew on the ship were all polite and friendly. Food is good, all rooms were clean. Youth program was also good since my daughter loved joining their activities. We didn't join the shore excursions offered by the cruise but finding local tours was not difficult. They could be fairly reasonable too. Puerto Vallarta was a very nice place with very beautiful beaches. We might go back to visit this place again. Cruise trips are fun and we;re planning for the next one already. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
Hello, I am normally not a complainer as I do understand things can go wrong here and there however....the problems just never stopped. I'm going to list below some of the problems we had last week on our cruise. 1) In the buffet ... Read More
Hello, I am normally not a complainer as I do understand things can go wrong here and there however....the problems just never stopped. I'm going to list below some of the problems we had last week on our cruise. 1) In the buffet when we asked for hot water we got a cup of yellow water. We showed someone and they brought us new cups. Again, the water was yellow (you think he would have checked it out first, (I have a picture). When we commented he said, "Thats how hot water looks". 2) We were never told that the rooms only get cleaned if we put the signs in the door. Thats fine but perhaps we should have been told that. Dirty glasses weren't taken out unless we asked. New ones were not replaced unless we asked. When the soap bar was used up it wasn't replaced until I asked. 3) Toilets didn't work one morning. 4) Toilets overflowed in another area of the ship. 5) There were two fires on the ship. 6) While in Cabo another tender crashed into our tender. No one said a word. Not sorry, not all is ok no holes or anything. Not even a, "is everyone ok". Sad! This of course got everyone talking about how bad this ship was. We didn't hear one positive comment. 7) Three nights in a row we had a gas/hydraulic fluid smell in our rooms. We called about it and we were told, "oh yes its routine". what that means I have no idea. We had to leave our hall doors open and go out on the balcony (in the cold) for two hours). We also had to leave the balcony door open all night (for two of the three). I ended up on the morning after the third night with a migraine (thanks). 8) In the buffet we had to ask for something to drink but then on one EVER came back to ask if we wanted more. 9) Room service is a HUGE joke. We tried and tried so many times and we were on hold for over 30 minutes, we got, "timed out" several times and had to call back. when I said something I was told that, "its a holiday cruise so the kids are all ordering room service". Ok I call BS. We always cruise on holidays because I am a teacher and we NEVER have had this problem. 10) Anytime Dining-this is the biggest joke ever.. Because we signed up late for the cruise you guys told us we HAD to do anytime. The first day was a wash because of boarding the ship so late and the life raft drill. Sun. I went down to the dining hall after breakfast to make my reservations and was told you only do it via phone. I went up to the room and was put on hold for 25 minutes... too late no more reservations. I was told my options were to go to the buffet, pay extra in a speciality restaurant, or wait until after nine but that I most likely wouldn't get in (six people are too many to reserve for). Mon. no room so we paid for the Grill. Tues. after being on hold 40 minutes , no room. Again I was told what my options were. Wed. two of us waited on the line for over 30 minutes and... what a shock... nothing. I was a little miffed by now so I went down to the desk. Wow, imagine my surprise when Guilia was able to make us some reservations for 7:30. Thurs. AGAIN, 40 minutes later, no room!! This was NOT going to happen on Thanksgiving. I HAD to march downstairs AGAIN and she was able to get us in at 7:30 ( huh 7:30 each time, seems a little strange to me). Fri. FINALLY after 30 minutes... NO PROBLEM. Now in each of the THREE cases above there was plenty of open tables (yes even on Thanksgiving). Here's another problem, we had to pay tips for all of the dining staff like everyone else on the ship however we were denied access to the dining hall four nights and paid EXTRA just so we wouldn't have to eat in the buffet again (doesn't seem so fair).   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
While researching cruises, I noticed that many reviews that are less than positive are overcome by a litany of responses attempting to defend the line and/or ship. I'm not sure what it is about cruising culture, but people don't ... Read More
While researching cruises, I noticed that many reviews that are less than positive are overcome by a litany of responses attempting to defend the line and/or ship. I'm not sure what it is about cruising culture, but people don't like to hear bad things about their beloved cruise lines. After the experience that I had, I feel compelled to come here and share my experience. About two weeks before we left, I came across an article titled "Month-Long Poop Cruise Finally Docks, Promptly Picks Up New Victims" (http://gawker.com/month-long-poop-cruise-finally-docks-promptly-picks-up-1659472459) This would be our ship, the Crown Princess. I kind of chuckled about that, knowing that I wouldn't normally go on such a cruise, but we had a decent sized group going and it was for Thanksgiving. We also had non-refundable airline tickets. We pressed on. I had, at first, considered writing a lengthy review, but then it would go unread. With that, I'm instead opting to share some general points about my experience: 1. The staff was miserable - They were burned out, overworked and bitter. The majority of them were rude and not helpful. After spending all of their rare free time over the past six weeks battling Norovirus, it's hard to blame them, but then I paid for a different experience. None of them were from the U.S. and many had trouble with English. I do not have a positive impression about any of the staff. 2. The food was terrible - I'm being completely honest when I say that the Walnut Creek, CA Kaiser Hospital serves food an order of magnitude better than anything on this ship. The Crown Grill was decent, but everything else was just crap. I get that a lot of people with limited dining experience enjoy the food, as will those trying to stuff as many cheap calories into their faces as possible, but it's not for me. 3. Drinks were bad - If you could get a drink, it wasn't good. Most of what we got was sugary and sweet. I ordered a Sidecar as a test and, sure enough, it was water. I asked the bartender about it and he named sweet and sour as one of the ingredients. I told him that sweet and sour has no place in a Sidecar and he argued with me. They clearly don't know how to tend bar. Wine lists were anemic, at best, and indicative of the class of patrons being served. 4. Elevators were awful - 5+ minute wait for elevators only to be met by a sardine can stuffed with people. Kids made it worse toward the end by calling every elevator on every floor and pushing every button in the elevator. This effectively shut down service. 5. No room service - It was impossible to reach room service at any point during our 7 day cruise. My children were in isolation and that was their primary source of sustenance. Not good. 6. Norovirus - My children contracted Norovirus and the ship's lack of response was disgusting. There was massive contamination and I couldn't get anyone to come help. This definitely had an affect on other passengers. Out of eight people in our group, five us us became infected despite bleach wiping absolutely everything several times per day and carrying hand sanitizer in our pockets. We probably went through a quart of hand sanitizer. No one is cleaner than our family. 7. No Sleep - Forget about sleep. Between the two fire alarms and the blabber mouth captain, there was little opportunity for uninterrupted sleep. Never again. Like I said, I know that a lot of you love to cruise and think that the experience is amazing. I disagree, and that's my opinion. Apart from the bitter crew, the food stood out as just being awful. I have never been served worse food and, having been in the military, that's saying a lot. In summary, you couldn't get me on another cruise for any amount of money.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
My wife and I arrived early for departure only to find that we would not be allowed to board for 6 hours because the ship needed to be disinfected. We received a free ride to downtown Long Beach, so for 6 hours we ate and drank on our own ... Read More
My wife and I arrived early for departure only to find that we would not be allowed to board for 6 hours because the ship needed to be disinfected. We received a free ride to downtown Long Beach, so for 6 hours we ate and drank on our own dime. When it was time to board buses for the return to the ship we were yelled at by a Princess employee named Nick (a person who has no reason to be around paying passengers). Once we got into the terminal it took Princess another hour and a half to get us on board. Roughly 7 and half hours after our scheduled boarding time. I can honestly say that out of the 6 Princess cruises we have taken, this was far and away the worst. I am of the understanding that this crew had been at sea for 28 days and then had to disinfect the ship, but there was no excuse for the overall performance of the crew. My wife saw crew members yelling at each other in front of passengers. Crew members walked past trash on the floors such as plates, glasses and pieces of paper. I am not saying that Princess is horrible because as I said we have taken 6 cruises on Princess and I should compliment those individuals who went out of their way. A young lady named Emily who worked in Long Beach and helped get people on board the buses to return to the ship in the beginning (She made Nick rather irrelevant and in fact made passengers laugh). I would also thank the Art Team, Aiste Butrue, Jana Babouder-Matta and Georg Straub. These individuals were all very professional. The rest of the crew that comes in contact with passengers I would give them a "D" grade. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
There is almost always going to be something that happens on a cruise ship that won't meet your expectations but it takes a great effort on a cruise lines part to make sure they fail to do so in each and every possible area. So much ... Read More
There is almost always going to be something that happens on a cruise ship that won't meet your expectations but it takes a great effort on a cruise lines part to make sure they fail to do so in each and every possible area. So much so that I'm not sure I'll ever have the opportunity (thankfully) to experience this again. I'm sure it wasn't because they charged significantly more for a "holiday" voyage, but more that they must have felt compelled to reward many of their employees with time off over this very same period. So, what did we get by having mostly new, inexperienced people around the ship? I'm sure this is something you want to know about because it makes you appreciate how qualified an experienced server is in relation to this bunch. Mass confusion in the dining room. How often do you get the pleasure of seeing the head waiter and section heads busing and putting tablecloths out? If you said "every time", you'd be right! Zero - The number of times there was butter available at the same time you received your toast or dinner rolls. It was still zero if you did not explicitly ask for it. I'm going out on a limb to say that when training all these new people, they incorrectly assumed everyone knows that butter and/or jam is usually a good idea when people order certain foods. Cruise director, what cruise director? I guess if you have director in your title you can direct the rest of your staff to attend all those events so you don't have to bother attending everything. This was my first time seeing the assistant cruise director hosting every single event, even one's that have historically been taken care of by the cruise director. If you had started reading this review and thought to yourself, "I bet she's going to say the cruise director took his own vacation from passengers", you'd be right again. Cabins - If you were wondering how many days a stain can sit unattended on the front of a side table, I'll confess the only thing I can offer up is seven as that's the number of days I saw it. I'd venture a guess the dust on the second and top shelf in the bathroom has been there for a lot longer. Guess that's why I'm not too surprised they haven't been able to eradicate noro yet. I did not complain to guest relations about him because I wanted to save that action for something truly worthy. Despite my putting the thermostat down as far as it would go, it was always warm in my cabin. In fact, it was pretty warm on the entire ship. Maybe dry dock repairs will fix that for the next group. Buffet - It was great to see them serving the food for you. Makes a change from the last time I was on a princess ship when I saw someone reach over to a slice of pizza and pick off the pepperoni while leaving the slice where it was. Downside to this was that if you arrived at a station and was unsure what you wanted you'd be responsible for holding up the line. I only went when it was less crowded so did not have that pleasure, but there were plenty of others. Returning to the dining room, since there are no bar stewards or sommelier's don't be surprised when you ask your assistant waiter if they can recommend a wine that the response you get is "yes". They are much too "rushed" to really be able to give more than that one word answer but even if they did, they are very new and may have not been taught anything other than white is white and red is red. It is the lack of a bar steward that leads to a huge backlog of servers who are no doubt standing around waiting their turn in the bar line to get your drinks. Very likely the reason why, the minute you get your food the next time you'll see the waiter/assistant is when they are taking your plate away with one hand and handing you the dessert menu with the other because they want you OUT of the dining room as fast as possible. That's Princesses way of rewarding you with 5:30 dining because seven months out there wasn't a way to find room for three women at a larger table at any other time. The head waiter - If you send your food back as I did one night (the last night as a matter of fact we ate in the dining room) and he/she is forced to bring you hot food, don't expect they'll have salt, pepper or butter handy, they've probably only been trained to "carry" the new food over to you. Very likely too, that by the time your assistant waiter comes back from getting drinks for another table and the waiter emerges from somewhere else that your food has gone cold again. Entertainment - It did just that, entertain us. I guess it doesn't cost them anything to recycle the same questions during the marriage show, but hearing it with a sometimes hard to understand accent was entertainment in and of itself. Bar staff - One in particular was downright nasty. If you've been on crown princess you could probably guess who I'm referring to. If you were going to guess what they would show at movies under the stars on New Year's eve would the yule log be at the top of your list or would you have thought maybe they'd show something more entertaining like the NYC ball drop? Or maybe another time zone's ball drop? Well, if you said the yule log is your ultimate form of entertainment right up until the countdown, you're really on top of things. I should add the service in the dining room for afternoon tea was good and when you got a scone they did offer you jam and whipped cream (probably because they had one server who walked around with that). The things that were good - The mini panini's at the international cafe! Just delectible. Pork and avocado, cuban one's were the best. The sandwiches at afternoon tea were yummy as well. Even though I had an obstructed view cabin, it wasn't bad. Since it was rather warm in my cabin any time I wanted to relax and read I would choose to do that somewhere else on the ship. While the view in skywalkers is nice it sure reeks of stale smoke. Saving the best for last. Naturally when you tell anyone in the service industry that you have a flight and offer them the proof of it, they will make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time. Not princess though, they will hold you hostage and tell you point blank you can't leave until the 2000+ other self debarkation passengers get off, even if it means you'll miss your flight. These people will even lie to you, maybe it's because this was their first time on a cruise ship just like the dining staff? While they thought there were only 1,200 of them, the jokes on us as everyone got in line to get off, even if these people had nowhere to go. I'm sure at least 500 people who were walking off with their own luggage wore the same thing every day as they didn't have a single piece of luggage with them! Despite their attempts to make us miss our flights, we were able to get on the bus along with anyone who wanted to go because they didn't care if people had a transfer or not. You could probably save your money and gamble that they will have a group of new people reading from comment cards so they know to ask you which terminal at LAX you are going to and won't know to ask you for your transfers. I was all prepared to put down a deposit for a future cruise but there isn't an OBC I could possibly get that would make me want the corporate office to reward the Crown Princess for what I had to deal with. I will sail again but it will not be on Princess. Maybe the come back new is come back with a new realization that Princess took a lot of my money and delivered a really awful experience. Thankfully was on the ship with good friends and we were able to have an amazing time despite the attempts of the cruise line to wreck it. Oh and I'm not surprised in the least they have failed to eradicate Noro, but I hope that for those who cruise on them while it's still present that you don't have to hear about other passengers bathroom habits while eating lunch. In case you were wondering there were at least half a dozen servers in our dining room who admitted to being on the ship three or less weeks. One even said when I said "we asked for two teas", "Sorry ma'am this is my first time on a ship".   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We go on this cruise every year as we enjoy the Christmas festivities and ports. This was the first time on Crown, the ship famous for the noro virus outbreaks but we continued as planned even when we saw ships were switched. We find ... Read More
We go on this cruise every year as we enjoy the Christmas festivities and ports. This was the first time on Crown, the ship famous for the noro virus outbreaks but we continued as planned even when we saw ships were switched. We find checking in to always go quick, but it's too bad they segregate "platinum" from 'elite" princess repeat guests and again ,2nd year, we were put in an uncomfortable crowded area to wait while a handful of elite were in an almost empty more comfortable waiting lounge. We agree with other reviewer regarding problems with this ship really rocking. First time ever ever we had a cabin that creaked and had so many noises any nights were useless to try to sleep through. We noticed the loud creaking sound allover the ship especially on the ends. Maybe this ship was not built as good as Sapphire or as sound proofed, or it was our bad luck to have a noisy loud cabin. And when we entered our cabin a handle was missing for the refrigerator and a mis matched replacement knob was on a drawer, over all tacky. We should not be allowed to enter cabins until they have been looked over first. On a positive note the room steward we had was one of the best in many years of cruising we have ever had. Everything we asked for was immediately provided. We found the ship really chilly in most areas, with 90% of restroom facilities out of order, faucets out of order, soap dispensers not dispensing and the ones working dispensed little little droplets of soap. So we wonder about the ship's noro virus precautions when lack of working facilities and soap dispensers most definitely must contribute to the enabling of the virus. It was annoying. Overall the ship appeared clean. We had confirmed 2nd seating and were basically ignored by the supposed head waitress and assistant for up to 1/2 hour after being seated and through out meals. The waitress seemed rushed with too many tables and just gave us a menu after a long wait, no greeting, walked away only to return later later with zero suggestions. We had to practically yell out to the assistant for water. The food was terrible (we were in Boticelli). We tried 3 different times and then went to the specialty restaurants and even Horizon buffet . The specialty restaurants were very good, we thought the Italian the better one with better service and food. We love all the ports but Cabo is way too short, Mazatlan should have less time. For Cabo you have to get up so early for the excursions its ridiculous. If the ship scheduled better we'd not have had to rush. Getting on a rocky tender at 8 am not my idea of a vacation. The shows were the normal cruise ones, but we really like the Christmas events though out the week, just makes the holiday trip really nice. I mentioned all those negatives but over all we were so happy to be able to go and just enjoy cruising, but those were just things we noticed or experienced that have not happened on other trips. We loved the captain who even came tour meet and greet. His announcements were understandable and clear. The staff overall was great, attentive, and polite. The week ended too soon. Disembarkation was organized and fast. Probably because it had been announced there were about 30 noro virus outbreaks and they probably needed to really clean before the next cruise. We will go again and hope this ship improves as we love Christmas cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We chose this cruise having had a very good experience on a previous Princess voyage. Boy were we disappointed. If I wanted a low end cruise, I would have sailed on Carnival. One of the positives was the embarkation which was smoothe and ... Read More
We chose this cruise having had a very good experience on a previous Princess voyage. Boy were we disappointed. If I wanted a low end cruise, I would have sailed on Carnival. One of the positives was the embarkation which was smoothe and quick as opposed to the disembarkation process which was over an hour late, endangering our making our flight. The other positive was the entertainment which was first rate. Now for the negatives : 1. The crew is very poorly trained and lacks basic customer service skills and Is surly at times. 2. The ship is not well maintained and is in fact dirty in many of the common areas. 3. It is not possible to finish your dinner at the 8:15 seating and get to the 10:00 PM show on time. 4. Our cabin was not cleaned well. Several days into the cruise we found a Cheerio under the bed. 5. The surfaces in our head were not cleaned well. 6. The Captain "bragged" about the "small" number of norovirus cases. Only 50 at the end of the cruise. WHY WERE THERE ANY? This ship had significant outbreaks earlier in the year. Why was it not sanitized. 7. With all the warnings about hand washing the restrooms were frequently out of soap. 8. The telephone system did not work properly and people did not get messages. 9. Food was very mediocre. Only a couple of meals were very good. None outstanding Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We decided to do a family cruise over Christmas, and 10 of us booked 3 cabins. I had completed the online check-in, so getting boarding cards was fast & easy. The embarkation was fairly smooth, but we did have to wait a bit in a very ... Read More
We decided to do a family cruise over Christmas, and 10 of us booked 3 cabins. I had completed the online check-in, so getting boarding cards was fast & easy. The embarkation was fairly smooth, but we did have to wait a bit in a very large waiting area for our group number to be called. Our cabins were ready, but my and my wife's cabin was configured as 2 twins instead of a single. A quick word to the room attendant, and they reconfigured the room while we were out & about the ship. I've been on Royal Caribbean & Carnival, and I was somewhat disappointed with the buffet dining area - very badly laid out, making it congested and difficult to quickly get to items. Food was so-so, typical of buffet food you'd get in Vegas. The pizza, though, was excellent, and many, many slices were eaten during our trip. I chose to get a unlimited beverage card, and my wife got the soda card. It was a little spendy, but having 3 whole days at sea gave me plenty of opportunity to get my money's worth. The drinks and bartenders were all very friendly and quick, and they didn't skimp on alcohol choices. A lot of top shelf liquors are available and virtually all are included in the $10 limit. Grey Goose, Ketel 1, Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Glenfidditch, Glenlivet, Dewar's, Maker's Mark, Jack Daniels, and others were all available. Also nice to be able to use the drink card for espresso and other specialty coffees. I don't know if it was just due to the weather, or if the ship's stabilizers weren't working right, but the ship rocked a lot more than any other ship I've been on, especially bad on the final day. I don't suffer motion sickness, but my brother-in-law's family does, and they all had a bad final day. Even when the ocean looked calm, I could feel motion, which I never experienced on my Carnival & Royal cruises, even way back in 1991. One unfortunate incident was my middle daughter might have got a little sick (vomiting) on the second day (Monday), and when my wife went to the medical center to get something to settle her stomach they suspected she was infected by Norovirus, and restricted her to her cabin for 24 hours! Very unfortunate, since she couldn't join us in Puerta Vallarta the next day. Luckily she's 16 and had been zip lining before so she could stay onboard alone, and wasn't devastated. She was only sick for a few hours, and her sisters never got sick, so we suspect it was a bad hot dog, because that was the only thing she ate that no one else had. The captain did announce several times during the cruise there were suspected Noro cases on board, and buffet service was altered so the staff would give you your selections, you couldn't get food yourself. They were also very vigilant with making sure everyone used sanitizer before entering meal areas. We enjoyed Puerta Vallarta & Mazatlan, but felt the time at Cabo was just too short. Having to use tenders to go ashore didn't help because time was short as it was. We didn't book any excursions through Princess, but found excursions on shore at very good prices. Zip lining in PV was excellent, as was the ATV outing in Cabo. About 1/2 the price of the official excursions. We had 5 "kids" with us (12, 13, 16, 17, 19), and the middle ones enjoyed the 13-17 teen club quite a bit, especially the evening dances. My 12 year old never went into the kid's club, and the 17 year old also only went a couple times. Having the option for them to sign themselves in & out of the club was a big plus. One thing my kids missed was being able to go into the nightclub (21 & over only), and we also didn't go in there, but the one time we went by it was fairly deserted anyways. The service staff were excellent, friendly and accommodating. We were disappointed with the entertainment, very dated and not our taste. The Billy Joel impersonator was very good, but only if you like that sort of music. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
It is our first cruise, and while we had a good time my husband and me, we must say that it was almost impossible to forget the two thousand + passengers onboard. Acitivities on the boat were full or crowded, dining was always an issue ... Read More
It is our first cruise, and while we had a good time my husband and me, we must say that it was almost impossible to forget the two thousand + passengers onboard. Acitivities on the boat were full or crowded, dining was always an issue between 6 & 8pm. We were told by an employee that it was difficult to manage so many people, and that we had to make reservations by 8am sharp. Hum...so much for the relaxing atmosphere. Overall, the service was very friendly when provided by kind, humble staff. Yet, the Eastern staff (Ukrainian, serbians...)was not as friendly, and definitively not humble. Food was very good, but stay away from any "so called" French food. The chefs are not up to the task, beside very good quiches and fresh fruit tarts. As for the meals, mistakes were corrected, apologies stated, yet two of our evenings were spoiled, and no reparation was done! The room was very small, yet we spent a lot of time in it, as we do not like crowded places. We strongly recommand the "Zipline in the Jungle" in Puerto Vallarta. Soooo much fun!!!!!! Although their picture packages are very expensive compare to other excursions along the trip. Overall, a good experience, but not as relaxing as expected.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
My husband and I wanted to do something different for Christmas, like not spend time with our family this year and do our own thing!!! It was our second cruise we have ever been on. I am going to list the pros and cons. Pros: The pizza ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to do something different for Christmas, like not spend time with our family this year and do our own thing!!! It was our second cruise we have ever been on. I am going to list the pros and cons. Pros: The pizza was AWESOME!!! Always fresh, hot, thin crust, nice sized pieces, and there was always cheese and pepperoni available along with a special for the day. Great selection of alcohol under 10$ which was included in the all-inclusive beverage card. The bartenders did not skimp on the amount of booze in the drinks. Our stateroom attendant was great! She was very attentive, our room was always clean, and available to meet our requests/needs. Deck 7 was our favorite. It is an open deck and we would walk around the ship a lot. There were several places throughout the deck to sit, read, and relax. They had a British Lunch a few times during the week and the Fish and Chips were GREAT!!! The disembarkation was very well organized, smooth, and efficient. Recommend letting cruise line get you to where you need to go (for us LAX). We paid 20$/person to go to the Crab Shack and it was worth it!!! Delicious seafood and portions! For entertainment we enjoyed Movies under the stars, bingo, and the exec chef demonstration. We were GRATEFUL that they televised the NFL games on the big screen Sunday and Monday night. We appreciated that they hand sanitizer throughout the ship and at the entrances of food stations. Although we didn't have kids with us, It was a nice touch that they had Santa circle the boat on the tender on Christmas day for the kids. Overall, service was great and employees were friendly. CONS: Food in the Horizon Court buffet was so-so to below average. My husband had a piece of andouille sausage that he said tasted like throat spray.....and he eats everything! For a cruise in the Mexican Riviera we were surprised there wasn't more Mexican food? We wished our time in Cabo was all day instead of just 1pm... The tender took some time getting to and from the shore. The internet packages were overpriced so we opted to just quickly check our e-mails paying 80 cents per minute!! If you purchase the all exclusive beverage package you better drink! Doing the math, it equates to drinking $50/day whether it be booze, soda, specialty coffee, etc. We did make good use of getting large bottles of water which were $3.50 each. We expect it to be crowded when there is >4,000 people on a ship but...It seemed like there was never anywhere to sit for meals and there was always a long line when waiting to be seated for dinner (we were anytime dining). Overall we had a good time!!!   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We left the port of Los Angeles on Saturday December 27th and returned on Saturday January 3rd. We stopped at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. We (my wife and I) were accompanied by our daughter and granddaughter in the next ... Read More
We left the port of Los Angeles on Saturday December 27th and returned on Saturday January 3rd. We stopped at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. We (my wife and I) were accompanied by our daughter and granddaughter in the next cabin (E406). The first shock was the charge for Wi-Fi... it cost $73 for 2 hours! We also made the mistake of opting for "any time dining." It wasn't any time...we stood in line at 6:30 PM for 30 minutes to get a beeper/pager that got us a table at 8 PM. We took an optional shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta in a bus with non-functioning seat reclines, window tinting that thoroughly distorted the view and an air-conditioning system so noisy that you couldn't understand the guide's narration. The 5.5 hour tour included about 2.5 hours of bumpy bus ride, a tile store where the staff didn't seem to care, a stop at an Opal store, a stop at a cathedral where a Mass was in progress and you just got to stand in the back for a while and then a very late lunch stop at a tequila ranch. The lunch was low grade tacos. The ship was magnificent with a great theater, three topside pools and terrific staff. The New Year's Eve party was done very well and everyone had a good time. Embarkation was very well organized. Disembarkation not so much. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We live in California, and preferred the embarkation of LA and a 7 day cruise to Mexico. All went well on this cruise. I would conclude it was very enjoyable but not the best cruise we have done. For one, before departure, we read about ... Read More
We live in California, and preferred the embarkation of LA and a 7 day cruise to Mexico. All went well on this cruise. I would conclude it was very enjoyable but not the best cruise we have done. For one, before departure, we read about this ship having a outbreak of the norovirus affecting over ~300 passengers. During the cruise the captain informed us there were about 37 cases of such, and all the precautions taken by his crew. I guess this bit of information is worrisome, and we were lucky not to have been infected. The dining experience every night was the best. The waiters who waited on us, were superb. The ship offered other food options (other than one's assigned dining time and place), but those options were not very good--the Horizon Court buffet was so-so, hamburgers, hot dogs--skip it; and the for-fee-extra restaurants were not worth the extra money I heard. The dining staff from the head waiter to the chef each evening gave us a full meal to our hearts content--dessert every night--we ordered nearly every selection to sample. The entertainment was dated, nothing more recent or top 40 hits nor close to any Vegas-style shows really. The sports activities on Deck 19 were attracting many kids and teenagers, but Deck 19 is so small. For teenagers, I would conclude that this trip is not catering to their interests at all. The ports of call were the attractions for us to select this cruise. First stop is Puerto Vallarta, docked at 10am back by 5:30. My daughters went on the shore excursion for Zip Lining in the jungle (hour drive)--though fun, they were bit over 100 times by bugs and had to deal with the itchiness the rest of the cruise. Someone on the staff could have told us about bug spray. Mazatlan was good too, we went to a beach by El Cid El Moro hotel. That was nice. Cabo San Lucas was the next stop, but because there is no ship dock, the use of tenders to get on shore was quite time consuming. The ship docked at 7am, and back in line to tenders by 12:30pm. That is not enough time. I think we should have had more time on Cabo than the other two ports--and Cabo was on Christmas day. It is a very compact port, where you can go to the beaches very nearby or take a glass-bottom boat to Lover's Beach which is by the Arch (rock). Once there, you can walk on one side of the beach facing Sea of Cortez and the other facing the Pacific Ocean. We did this once we exited the tender ride and the many glass bottom boat owners offering us, a ride and tour. What a deal! Having not paid for any cruise ship arranged excursion at Cabo (lowest price was like $70 each person), the locals offered us a tour to the Arch rock, and drop off at Lover's beach for up to 2 hours, for $10/person. Of course, they start by asking for $25/person, and the lowest they go appears to be $10/each. The captain gave us a tourist explanation of the rock formations--really nice. Since it was only like 8am in the morning and cloudy, so our beach time was a bit chilly, when it was time to be picked up by the glass-bottom boat, the sun was fully shining and warmer, but it was time to head back to the tenders for the ride back to the ship--not so great timing. We still enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Chose this sailing with friends because we wanted to splurge on suites, embarkation port (ease of driving to San Pedro), and two new stops ( La Paz and Loreto). Platinum status gave us some very nice perks - lots of free internet, priority ... Read More
Chose this sailing with friends because we wanted to splurge on suites, embarkation port (ease of driving to San Pedro), and two new stops ( La Paz and Loreto). Platinum status gave us some very nice perks - lots of free internet, priority boarding. Suite status added in-room bar set-up, Sabatini's for breakfast, and 2 free specialty restaurant meals. All these were handled very well. We literally walked onto the ship 5 minutes after arriving at the terminal. The specialty meals were excellent, and the Sabatini's breakfast was a highlight - great service, great food and outstanding fresh coffee. The manager, Flaviu, runs a very professional operation, yet keeps the atmosphere friendly and fun. And Francesco serves the Mimisas and coffee with panache. I would sail on this ship again just for the Sabatini experience. Crown Grill was also excellent and I still dream of the chocolate dessert we had there. Food in the MDR was generally OK to good, if rather unimaginative and bland - everything could have benefitted from more seasoning (not just salt) and hot sauce. The first meal there was a big disappointment. Three of us ordered pan-fried sole and got dry, breaded fish (not sole) that was exactly like frozen breaded fish filets (was Mrs. Paul in the kitchen?) Some nights, it was difficult to put together a decent meal from the offerings - is a slice of pineapple really an appetizer? Bland Indian food - isn't that an oxymoron? Fortunately, the bread was always so good, I never left hungry. Service was actually pretty good, a little harried and disjointed at times (anytime dining has its drawbacks), but overall pleasant and efficient. One more point - we were in Mexico! Where was the Mexican food? (This is an on-going complaint with me on just about all cruises.) The Horizon Court is another story. Unappetizing, bland food at all meals. Everything over cooked and tasting of steam table. Staff know little about what they are serving. Poor organization and layout leads to bottlenecks and conflicts. Had breakfast there twice due to early excursions. Just try to get a toasted bagel while you get edged out by everyone else. (I was on a Princess Cruise a while back that had a separate area just outside of the breakfast buffet at which a staff were just serving toasted items and breakfast pastries - worked out well.) Pizza was good, if it was fresh out of the oven, ice cream bar was fun, Trident grill was as expected, and sometimes was the go-to for lunch, since it was quick. International Café was always justifiably busy - good coffee drinks and snacks/pastries. The suite (A750) was great as was the cabin steward (Cyrel) - it was roomy, well-organized, and spotless, and always serviced quickly. The entertainment was varied and good for the most part. They did 3 production shows, all of which I have seen multiple times, but they were well handled and the dancers were excellent. The disco themed show grated on me a little bit - it was corny and clichéd - but I really enjoyed the Cole Porter-era show - maybe just my music preference. Cruise director (Neil Rose) was good and I enjoyed his staff at their various endeavors - they seemed to have fun and it was infectious. And they did a bang-up job on the final night "If I Was Not Upon This Ship" tradition. The other entertainers (magician, comics, singer, ventriloquist) were entertaining and worth seeing. The lecturer (Bruce Yancil?) spoke about various aspects of cruise line history, and was interesting and well-prepared. I actually felt like I learned something. Excursions: Cabo - took the resort break. It was quite pleasant - just lying around near the pool, taking the occasional dip, meal and drink included and the staff really seemed to appreciate Princess's business. La Paz - nice bus trip with a city tour and beach break. Loreto - city tour in a small town center area - well handled and interesting. PV - no tour booked - would have taken a shuttle into town IF ONE WAS OFFERED! Just cab service. Other points - Pub Lunch was held 3 times - good Fish and Chips. Hate the sales tables dragged out into the Piazza (which is already too crowded.) They impede traffic, put disabled passengers at a disadvantage, and cheapen the experience. Surely there is under-utilized space elsewhere that could be turned into a daily sale destination. It could even be themed according to the cruise destination. Of course, if it wasn't for the Mariachi band and a few banners, we could have been anywhere. A little too much nickel-and-diming at the beginning - saying no for repeatedly offered packages get to be annoying. There were some younger passengers on the cruise, and they really helped pep up the experience by joining in the pool games and generally livening up the pool area without being loud or obnoxious. I actually enjoyed time by the pool much more on this ship than on most others - good weather helped. Disembarkation, for us suite/Platinum passengers was amazing. We opted for walk-off - we waited less than five minutes in our designated area and that was it. We were in our car 30 minutes before our schedule walk-off time. All in all, a nice cruise with a few areas for improvement. 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

Find a Crown Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise