400 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews

First Time Princess sailing view from a veteran cruiser: Crown Princess Review (Dec 17 -- 24) Background to this review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. ... Read More
First Time Princess sailing view from a veteran cruiser: Crown Princess Review (Dec 17 -- 24) Background to this review: With our children grown and no longer cruising with us, we began booking suites for the extra amenities offered. On this cruise, we booked a suite on Lido deck(deck 15 -- L106). This cruise was affected by an outbreak of the Norovirus on the previous cruise which impacted the embarkation process (will not comment on this) and I believe to some extent the level of service we received on our cruise. I tried to factor the effect of the Norovirus into my evaluation because the purpose of us taking this cruise was to evaluate Princess as a cruise line for future cruises. Overall Evaluation: (more detail comments appear below) - Crown is an elegant ship, well decorated for Christmas, clean, and relatively easy to navigate - Suite was comfortable but our location was problematic (see comments below) - Food quality was good, not great except for the Crown Grill which was exceptional - Dining room (Michelangelo, Da Vinci) menu variety not great, anytime dining reservation system is chaotic, and service level can vary greatly - International Cafe and Ice Cream and Pizza Bar (great pizza) were two of our favorite places - Entertainment variety was good and some of the special acts were exceptional, shows ordinary - Exercise room and spa were below expectation levels compared to other cruise lines - The staff was not as friendly and helpful on the Crown as other cruise lines. Of course there were exceptions. SUITE: DO NOT BOOK LIDO SUITES L106, L104 or cabins L104,L103,L102, and L101 unless you want to be awakened every morning at 7:00 by the sound of treadmills from the exercise room above. I booked suite L106 because the deck plans showed the Lotus Thermal Spa to be on deck 15 which looked easily accessible from our suite. However, the only access to the Thermal Spa is from deck 16 by going through the Lotus Spa and then back down. The deck plans also do not show the restricted view from the balcony of L106. Being in the front of the ship with a large curved balcony, I expected to have a good view of the front of the ship. This view was obstructed by the extended bridge and the top of the bridge. Therefore, this suite's view was nothing more than a good side balcony cabin. If you're a first time Princess Suite passenger, you better inquire about how to access the amenities offered because there is NO ONE to assist you such as a concierge or butler like on other cruise lines. This may have been the responsibility of the room steward on Princess but that was not clear to us. Nor was it helpful to receive inconsistent information from the front desk versus the printed material left daily in our room. One amenity that was useful to us was the COMPLIMENTARY internet service. The service on the ship, like any other, is slow so I spent over 500 minutes online. This would have been a $175+ charge if I had to pay for it. I did discover the speed is much faster early in the day rather than in the evening. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres are featured in Skywalker's lounge from 5:00 -- 7:00 pm for suite passengers and elite members on "selected evenings" according to a letter we received onboard. I inquired at the front desk for the definition of selected evenings and it was quite a task to discover it was any night except when the Captains Elite meeting occurred. Finally, I learned from a Princess Elite passenger that a "card" should have been placed in my room listing the evenings and the specialty drink of the day offered in Skywalker's lounge. All my problems would have been solved if the Front Desk knew of this card or the letter reference it. Priority tender tickets are a GREAT perk. The first day tendering to Princess Cay can be a chore with LONG waiting lines but if you are a suite passenger with priority tickets you are offered the seating on the next boat leaving from the ship. Go directly to the exit side of the Michelangelo staging area rather than getting in line or asking staff people because you may get different directions from various staff members. I finally just went directly to the dining exit area where people were leaving for the next boat when I found someone who actually knew how to direct me. ANYTIME DINING: We chose anytime dining because we enjoyed the flexibility it offers and had a great experience on NCL with this option. On Princess it was not as enjoyable because it wasn't as flexible as they advertise. Only the Michelangelo dining room is accessible entirely for anytime dining and Da Vinci after 7:30 pm. Michelangelo only allows a limited number of reservations for anytime dining and after that you are "invited" to wait on line to get in. Before making reservations, I always like to know the menu for the evening. The menu for the dining room is not easily accessible from your suite via interactive TV like other cruise lines and you have to actually visit the dining area to read the menu. If you decide the menu is OK for the evening, you better make your reservation EARLY or you will be told to come "wait in line". This is where ANYTIME DINING on the CROWN fails!!!! Heard MANY complaints from "ELITE" Princess cruisers about the lines and chaotic reservations system on the Crown. They tried to inform me that it was NOT this bad on other Princess Ships. I was not overly impressed with the menu in the dining areas. The food quality was acceptable but there was not a great variety of items I enjoy. Lunch in the dining room wasn't anything special. The buffets were just ordinary. Typical buffets. SPECIALITY DINING: Crown Grill a delight!!!! As a suite passenger we were offered breakfast daily in Sabatini's. The breakfast was good but the waiters were not overly friendly like the Crown Gill and the dining area. For that reason, we did not return to Sabatini's for dinner. However, the Crown Grill is totally different. The food is EXCEPTIONAL and the wait staff was very friendly and an absolute delight to experience. I don't know how anyone could complain about the menu, food quality or service in the Crown Grill. I do know people complain about the $25 up charge but I had the filet with "several" lobster tails and have NOTHING but complements for this dining venue. Don't miss the "fish and chips" in the Wheelhouse Bar at the pub lunch. INTERNATIONAL CAFe and PIZZA BAR: We opted for the beverage card when we arrived on the ship since we are not alcohol drinkers. For $49.00 you can upgrade to a the beverage card that allows you all the soda, fruit drinks (i.e. virgin pina coladas, strawberry daquires, etc) and milk shakes at the ice cream bar (delicious). The pizza bar was one of the MOST POPULAR places on the ship. Absolutely great "New York" style pizza. We would almost rather eat there some nights then the dining room!!! The other MOST POPULAR place on the ship was the International Cafe for deserts, sandwiches and salads 24 hours a day. We made many trips to this venue.....don't miss it. If you are a coffee drinker, one complaint with the Cafe is you have to pay for your regular or decaf coffee when the buffet lines are open. Just an inconvenience to walk to deck 15 for free coffee but have to pay on deck 7. Not very customer friendly!!!! EXERCISE ROOM AND LOTUS THERMAL SPA: This is one area of the ship I frequent often. The exercise room has the typical equipment but has ONLY TWO recumbent bicycles that are always in demand. This should tell Princess something if they are paying attention!!!!!!!! GET MORE RECUMBENT BIKES!!!! I really enjoy the Thermal Spas on the ships I cruise. Access to the Lotus Thermal Spa was one perk of being a suite passenger. The Thermal Spa has heated chairs and steam rooms accessible through the Spa area on deck 16. If you are not a suite passenger, there is a charge for access. There is a LACK of a nice relaxation area that I have enjoyed on other cruise lines. Areas that allow a view of the ocean, comfortable music, choice of various juices and flavored water, etc. This is missing on Princess. The locker room facility for the SPA is small and many lockers are visible from the hallway when the door is opened. Don't change in front of your locker if you're near the doorway!!!! The HOT TUBS outside the SPA area are more like heated pools....not very hot and not a lot of "jet" action. The one tub did NOT work the entire week we were on the ship. ENTERTAINMENT: This was hit or miss and a matter of opinion. A lot to choose among most nights, but not always great. The shows were OK but nothing spectacular but the comedians, especially Phil Tag, and the piano player (Kory Simon) were very entertaining. Of course, they may not be on the next cruise. Music and the gymnastic performer Li Liu entertained in the Piazza area by the International Cafe and were very entertaining. PORTS: Princess Cay was very relaxing. The beach area was nice with beach chairs available and access to a barbecue lunch. Curacao was a very colorful town with many unique shops on both sides of the inlet. Access to the shops on the other side of the inlet requires you walk over a pontoon bridge or take a ferry. When we were there another cruise ship was leaving and the pontoon bridge was not available. We took the ferry to the other side but I felt it was not worth the trip. In Aruba it rained the day we were there. Unusual but it did not damper our enthusiasm for shopping. We enjoyed our stay in Aruba and access the shopping area is a very easy walk. A nice change from other Caribbean islands is that we were not HASSLED or HUSTLED while walking from the ship to the shopping area. A very popular shop in Aruba was Dunkin Donuts. It seemed that many other passengers who love coffee seemed to agree that the coffee on the Crown Princess was NOT very good and we could not wait to purchase a decent cup of coffee. DISEMBARKATION: This turned out to be very quick and easy but as a first-time Princess cruiser trying to learn the night before what I needed to do in the morning was not so easy. As a suite passenger, I received information that I could go to the Club Fusion at 7:30 am for priority disembarkation. Since we were going to walk off with our luggage, the instruction sheet indicated we could only do that at 6:15 and 6:45 am. I went to the excursion desk to inquire if I could walk off at 8:00 after going to the Club Fusion lounge and they were not sure. I never got a definitive answer so I decided to do what was best for us..... visit Club Fusion and walk off with our luggage. As it turned out, disembarkation did not start on time and we went to Club Fusion for coffee and danish, walked off the ship with our luggage, cleared customs and were in a taxi within 30 minutes. NEXT CRUISE: I am still unsure about going back to Princess. We are scheduled in a suite on NCL very soon and from past experience have had excellent service and great accommodations as suite passengers. We also would like to evaluate Celebrity and Oceania cruises as alternative options. CRUISE CRITIC MEET AND GREET: I had worked with Princess to schedule our M&G meeting in the Wheelhouse Bar and Cruiselover57 (Laurie) did a fabulous job in organizing the meeting, the gift exchange, and printing name tags. This meeting allowed us to meet several new friends and arrange dinner and social gatherings together while on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We cruise often and were looking forward to being on Princess again. We will come back if they figure out how to deal with Norovirus. We drove down from the Orlando area with some friends we met on a cruise several years ago who had ... Read More
We cruise often and were looking forward to being on Princess again. We will come back if they figure out how to deal with Norovirus. We drove down from the Orlando area with some friends we met on a cruise several years ago who had flown into Orlando the night before and who would also be staying with us post cruise. We embarked mid-day and were on the ship in no time at all, we are Captain's Club Platinum and that might have made it a bit quicker. We dropped off our carryons at our rooms and headed to the Lido deck for Lunch. Cabins: We were in obstructed view outside cabin. A little worn and faded, but everything looked clean and tidy, tiny bathroom, good storage, (love the large open closet) The bed side tables were cheap and next to impossible to open without yanking on the drawers - My husband is 6'5" and thought they were locked shut - we finally asked our cabin Steward and he said to pull real hard. Kind of strange. Beds were very firm (hard). Linens were nice. Hair dryer was horrible. Good Cabin attendant. Dining: First day dining is always a mess, and the Horizon Court is worse than most. We only went there a few times and didn't really enjoy - especially when Norovirus was circulating (more Later). Dinning Room: We had opted for anytime dining and chose the DaVinci dining room. After an enjoyable first dinner, we asked the Maitre'd George, if we could come back each night around 8:15 to the same table and waiter and assistant waiter. He was wonderful and had our table ready the other nights we ate there (we were sure to tell them the nights we were to eat at Sabatini's and the Crowne Grill) Our waiters were excellent. The food was not pretentious, but well cooked,tasty, and less dressed than we have found on Celebrity for example. Princess let the vegetables stand on their own so to speak. We all enjoyed the less frou frou food (no weird veggie combos stuffed into things or oddly spiced). But the food was not bland, we found dinner very enjoyable, with nice choices (we would order a pasta selection for the table to share - always tasty. Sabatini's : Excellent food and experience Crowne Grill: Even Better. Both Specialty Restaurants were nice surprises Ports: We were there to relax, but did get off the ship at each stop to check email and shop. We have been to these ports several times and to stay, so we did not tour. We always enjoy Aruba. Entertainment: We passed on the the Productions shows, but enjoyed the Comedians on this cruise. Casino: This was not my favorite Casino - not because I lost, but because half allowed smoking most of the time, but the whole casino was smokey. Also, the slots are not well laid out. Some very cramped areas and corners. The Solstice class ships have better layout and better slot game selection. Noroviru: I was on the 1/28 Crown Princess cruise I and know it was a rough cruise for many who had to deal with Norovirus while on board. I was lucky during the cruise and left the ship early Saturday morning and arrived home to the Orlando area, around mid-day. By 4:00PM I was feeling weird, by 8:00PM diarrhea had started, and by 10:00 added throwing up to the mix. It lasted about 12 hours ( I just carried a big bowl around with me from bedroom to bathroom), and then added a fever of 100.5. About 24 hours of feeling miserable (wanting to die) and then 2 more days till I felt human again. My husband put me under quarantine and bedroom arrest, (we had house guests who had also cruised with us). So far the other 3 are Norovirus free, but they have another day or so of incubation. My heart goes out to those who went through what I did but in a cruise cabin - being in the comfort of my home was a definite advantage. I was very careful about hand washing etc while on the ship, but if I could guess I would say I was exposed when a gentleman on the elevator I was on got off the elevator with me and then started throwing up in the the elevator lobby.... or when a Lady who had Norovirus was at the front desk complaining about her bill the last night.... It would be interesting to see a count of the people who got Norovirus within a day or two of getting home. Also it would be nice to have a number for post-cruise to report post-cruise Norovirus. They did try to keep up with the virus and stopped and self service food and went from using salt shakers etc. to self serve packets etc. and encouraged use of hand sanitizers. We had some rough seas, and I think by the time they knew some of the cases were not just seasickness, the Norovirus was already spreading. I'm not sure how the room stewards managed their cleaning. It would have been nice if they had Wipes in the Casino to wipe off the machines like they do in the work out areas of gyms. Norovirus is tenacious - keep washing those hands and keep hydrated! I will continue to cruise,(Have 2 future cruises already booked) but will be diligent in trying to keep from getting ill. SO IF YOU START FEELING SICK WHILE CRUISING, STAY IN YOUR CABIN and DON'T EXPOSE THE REST OF THE SHIP, at least until you are sure it's not NOROVIRUS.... Disembarkation: We were walk-offs and it was well organized and easy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
After waiting for 6 hours while the CDC oversaw the complete sanitization of the Crown Princess we did not set sail until 10:30 PM. We were repeatedly warned about the virus on the previous voyage and reminded of the importance of hand ... Read More
After waiting for 6 hours while the CDC oversaw the complete sanitization of the Crown Princess we did not set sail until 10:30 PM. We were repeatedly warned about the virus on the previous voyage and reminded of the importance of hand washing and the hand sanitizers were at every turn onboard. You could not get a luncheon plate unless you sanitized your hands. Of course this was important for the health and safety of all on board and we carefully obliged. The first night someone actually vomited ON a passenger and ran away!! We were then told that we would NOT be stopping at Princess Cay because of the delay but were told that we would proceed to Curacao for a full days visit instead and given $50 credit for the change. We accepted this as a rarity and tried to make the best of it. We celebrated a birthday that night and by the next morning the birthday girl had diarrhea and was then quarantined in her room for the duration. Again trying to make the best of a bad situation, we lounged around the pool and waited to get to port to spend the day on the island. Two days out the captain tells us that we are turning around and not going into port because of the number of people who were sick with the virus. They were not totally honest in their evaluation since we late learned that the actual number was at least double, close to 400 people plus 80 crew members. Two days home, birthday girl still in quarantine and we were noticing that things were "shutting down" so to speak. Again probably a good idea since the virus was rampant. Arriving back at Lauderdale, we are put onshore to spread the virus on airplanes across America with the quote " we are not making representations as to the travel policies of the airlines" when questioning the wisdom of this decision. Yes we are getting our money back for the cruise and a future discount should we cruise within the next year on Princess. My concerns are about the poor decision to put us on the ship in the first place, to use the same crew which was obviously carrying the virus and would be preparing food etc. and the choice to remove us and put us on planes when we were possible carriers. We made the best of a bad situation, were careful and thankfully most of our group did not get sick but the time off, lost vacation time etc is irreplaceable for some and certainly a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was the third sailing of Crown Princess in the last 2 months that had a Norovirus outbreak. We were notified the night before we left that the previous cruise had had an outbreak and that our embarkation would be delayed so they ... Read More
This was the third sailing of Crown Princess in the last 2 months that had a Norovirus outbreak. We were notified the night before we left that the previous cruise had had an outbreak and that our embarkation would be delayed so they could disinfect the ship. We were under Code Red (No self service) for the entire cruise due to the previous week's outbreak. Embarkation: We were taken to the Convention Center to wait while the ship was being cleaned. We were able to check in right away, but then had to wait 5 hours to embark. They were only offering free water, sodas, coffee, and tea. Princess supplied no food so you had to use the food vendors and pay for alcoholic drinks. The drinks free drinks ran out around 5:00 and most of the vendors ran out of food around 5:15. We finally got on the ship around 7:30 and left Ft. Lauderdale dock at 10:30. Cabin: This was the cleanest cabin we have had on any cruise to date (thanks to the ship's deep clean). Mid ship Mini-Suite with balcony (D515). Our steward Jonathan was the best. Very attentive and rarely seen and very cordial. Our only complaint was the the pillows were flat. They need to do a pillow refresh. Dining: Horizon Court was the same as other Princess ships. Poor layout and very congested and disorganized. We have learned to avoid the peak dining times on Princess, so that helped. Food was fairly good in the Horizon. We had AnyTime dining and ate in the Michelangelo Main dining room. The food was good, not great and the menu selections were strange at best and not very creative or varied. The dining room staff was pretty good and attentive. The last night we ate at Crown Grill and had a fabulous meal. Everything was prepared/presented well, delicious, and the service was great. We also had a couple of lunches in the International Cafe in the Piazza. This was okay with the desserts being the highlight. Unfortunately there are not enough tables in this area. The entire dining experience was muted on this cruise due to being under Code Red. Ship Overall: The Crown is a beautiful ship and overall the ship looked great. It is a well appointed and has good public spaces. This cruise was fully booked (2 less than total capacity) and you could tell. Long lines and lots of people. Fortunately, we had great weather so the population was split inside and out. We had no issues finding deck chairs as we prefer the sun decks over the being around the pool. The Movie Under the Stars screen is active ALL DAY and you can hear it just about all over the ship (outside). This is a bit distracting. Service: The crew were all very nice, helpful, and good natured. As usual, the bar staff was the best and really impressed us with remembering our names. The Cruise Director was elusive and the only time we saw her was on the morning TV show. Never saw the Captain either. Ports/Excursions: We had no stops on this cruise. Due to our late departure from Ft. Lauderdale, the Princess Cay stop was cancelled. We started heading directly for Curacao and this was supposed to be a two day sail arriving on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning I got up and looked out and noticed we had turned around. At 8:00 AM the Captain came on and said that the Curacao and Aruba stops had been cancelled and we were hading back to Ft. Lauderdale due to the increase in Norovirus cases and that all passengers would get a full refund. So we had a free 4 day cruise to nowhere. Disembarkation: We were back in FLL on Thursday morning and off the ship by 9:00. Princess had rearranged our flights home and transferred us to MIA and we were home by 4:00 on Thursday. Opinion: The first Norovius outbreak on this ship was in December 2011. The Crown should have been docked and not allowed to leave port again until the source of the virus was isolated. This is negligence in our opinion and if they had done this it would have prevented the next two outbreaks in January and February. Fortunately in our case, Princess did the right thing and refunded our cruise fares. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. ... Read More
When booking a suite, one expects a bit of first class treatment. Princess makes a lot of promises, but the delivery of services is less than expected. You have to ask for all the little extras on Princess, NCL justs delivers them all. First of all, the Crown Princess is beautiful as was the suite. Unfortunately, this ship is very unstable and tends to pitch and roll with even the smallest waves. Of all my cruises, this ship was the worst. If you tend toward motion sickness, please avoid this ship. The staffing seemed very light. Many of the restaurants were very short handed. I agree with many of the other reviewers: the staff is very stuffy and walk around like zombies half the time. Many seemed like they would rather be anywhere else but working on a cruise ship. I hate to profile but much of the staff is from Eastern Europe and quite unfriendly. Pool areas are extremely crowded during days at sea. Unlike on cruise lines, Princess crew does not go around and keep things in order. The decks are a mess of wet towels, garbage and deck chairs. Again, it seems like the ship is short staffed. The Crown Grill steak house ($25 up charge) is nice but the meat is tough and chewy. Deserts are pretty, yet bland. My biggest criticism is how bland the food is throughout the ship. It looks nice, but has no flavor. except for the French Onion soup which was incredible. The Italian restaurant, Sabatini's, does not fare much better. ($20 up charge).Bland and very slow service. The maitre de (Pedro) is downright rude and treats the staff - and guests - poorly until the last day of the cruise when then the "rate our service" cards are displayed on the podium. Let's take a look at the suite amenities and what was delivered. -Luxury mattresses [very comfortable] -Fluffy duvets in place of blankets [ more flat than fluffy] -Luggage protector on bed at embarkation [every cabin gets it] -Luxury bathrobes [very stiff, needs fabric softener badly] -Luxury towels [they look nice but very rough] -Pillow menu [requested pillows never appeared] -Massage shower heads [broken] -Luxury bathroom amenities (shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, bath gel, plus new lip balm, gel eye mask, bath salts and loofah mitts) ["luxury"? not really] -Facial mist (choice of scents) [zilch] -Complimentary slippers [very small] -Fresh flower arrangement [ very nice and looked great the entire trip] -Complimentary mini-bar - one-time set up [nice!] -Combined DVD/CD Players [ broken] -DVD Library [no one seemed to know about this amenity] -Complimentary Princess tote bag [very cheap] -Umbrella for use during the cruise [zilch] -Expedited embarkation process [nice to walk past 800 people standing in the other line] -Preferred Anytime DiningSM reservations [yes, you can make a reservation, but NO the table is never available and wait time can be up to an hour] -Personal shore excursion reservations [zilch] -Complimentary laundry and dry cleaning service -Complimentary shoe polishing service [zilch] -Welcome glass of champagne at embarkation [zilch] -Extended room service menu (extended breakfast, lunch, dinner offering) [no one on the ship knew anything about an extended menu for suites] -In-suite afternoon tea service [never happened] -Passenger's choice of deluxe canap?s, delivered daily [delivered once] -Complimentary internet access in onboard Internet Cafes [we got free wireless] -Private portrait sitting [do not confuse this with receiving a free photo] -Complimentary use of the thermal suite in the Lotus Spa [zilch] Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We chose this cruise because we had been on the Crown Princess before and wanted to do the Curacao/Aruba itinerary because we figured the water would be warmer there in February than further north in the Caribbean. Boy were we wrong. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had been on the Crown Princess before and wanted to do the Curacao/Aruba itinerary because we figured the water would be warmer there in February than further north in the Caribbean. Boy were we wrong. We made our own arrangements to get to Fort Lauderdale and traveled by independent taxi to the ship. Unlike other ports, the ride from Fort Lauderdale airport to the port is just a short ride so no need to wait for a bus to fill up when an inexpensive taxi ride will get you there faster and cheaper than the transfers. The first problem we encountered was that there was a delay in boarding. We were given a number and told to walk around if we would like and to return at 3:00 p.m. By this time since we had been up since 3:00 a.m., we were starving so we ended up going for the walk and had lunch, which turned out to be quite expensive. After lunch we called the Princess emergency "Day of Travel" number and we were advised that boarding would begin at 1:00 p.m. so we decided to walk back to the port and our group was called shortly after we arrived. We boarded and were directed to our mini-suite. The room was very clean and we met our room steward and gave him our requests which he took care of immediately. This time around the refrigerator was bare (only 4 sodas and a bottle of water). We never received a bucket of ice the entire time and we never bothered to ask. Princess does not automatically put fruit in the room every day like they used to. You now have to make a request daily on a form. The only day we requested the fruit they delivered rotten fruit which we promptly tossed in the garbage and never requested any more. The room stewards are definitely fewer in number with more rooms to clean so they are clearly overwhelmed. The ship is still beautiful, although a little worn, but the pool area was disgusting during the day with a lot of cups and trash which is never cleaned until at night. I think I saw two pool attendants the entire trip. Beach towels are no longer available at the pool but are provided in the room upon arrival. Anytime dining was a total disaster. The greeter and the head waiters at the daVinci dining room entrance were the rudest I have ever encountered. I don't see the point in anytime dining if you have to make reservations or take a beeper and wait for an hour. We were so fed up that we went to the Boticelli dining room and changed to assigned seating. The maitre'd Neville was very gracious and accommodating and we were fine after that. Our waiter Valentin and his assistant Nelson were awesome. They made sure everything was perfect. They were a perfect team and did a wonderful job and the food was quite good. Entertainment was mediocre and the Cruise Director Lisa and her assistant were very bland. Not much stimulation from either of them. We tried to visit the casino on non-smoking nights but smokers might well have been there as the smoke is embedded in that area and it stinks no matter what. Disembarkation went quite smoothly and we were off the ship quite early and in an orderly manner. I love Fort Lauderdale as they line up the luggage by color code unlike Miami where it comes out on a carousel and, if it gets backed up, your wait can possibly be two hours or more. At this point it is doubtful if I will ever sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I enjoyed my obstructed view cabin as it was not really obstructed. I could see out just fine and loved the natural light. My cabin stewart was wonderful and after we sorted out my need for ice all was well. Good things: Lots of ... Read More
I enjoyed my obstructed view cabin as it was not really obstructed. I could see out just fine and loved the natural light. My cabin stewart was wonderful and after we sorted out my need for ice all was well. Good things: Lots of swimming pools, large and small. Plenty of chairs, chair hogs were out and about too!! Good shade if you needed it. First day embarkation went smoothly, nice luncheon on the lido deck. Loved the itinerary although I was so tired that I missed their private island. So so things: size of buffet areas. First day we had salt n pepper shakers on table. after that it was packets only. Buffet areas are small, and very disorganized. You had to double back to get salad, or dessert, and were always handed hot plates. They do not use trays on Princess. The dishes are way too big and tend to add to your putting too much on the plate. Many times I ended up just getting a small plate and still had plenty of food. The eggs tasted like instant, very gritty and gross. One day however for breakfast was a cranberry hash that was good. Things that were not so great: Their tea in the dining room. What a disappointment. No organization, shoving dessert in your face before you could manage a tea sandwich. And the most disappointing item was the scones. Hard as a rock and no raspberry, just strawberry. Yuk. They do a "Pub Lunch" on sea days.. ok so Fried shrimp and fries.. yea. so? They had fried shrimp later in the week that was just as good without a line up. Terrible things: The coffee.. OM Goodness.. can we say yukkk. I cannot remember having such a nasty cup on a ship before. I then learned that in order to get fresh brewed coffee one has to "purchase" it for $2.00 plus tip. WHAT?!!?? Excuse me but I have paid a goodly price to be on this ship and now you make me pay for a decent cup of coffee? Not me, and not again. Best things about the ship, a lovely dinner in their steakhouse, good crew. I picked this for the "itinerary" and a change to try a singles group. Ok, so we are all consenting adults, but it is not my thing. I do not need events planned for me as I am used to travelling alone and enjoy my own company. I tend to meet more folks using cruise critic than on a singles group. My next trip it will be back to Celebrity for me. Thanks for reading. K Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Embarkation was fairly lengthy due to the inadequate facilities in Ft. Lauderdale. Once you got past initial security it was pretty well organized but that long wait just to enter the facility was an unorganized mess. Once on board ... Read More
Embarkation was fairly lengthy due to the inadequate facilities in Ft. Lauderdale. Once you got past initial security it was pretty well organized but that long wait just to enter the facility was an unorganized mess. Once on board staterooms were ready to occupy and a nice sail away party on deck was held. It was apparent the ship was not at capacity as no venues during the entire cruise were crowded. Our dining room experience was always excellent, the food was excellent as well as the service. The Horizon buffet on the other hand was poor except for the breakfast meal. Bland, unappealing food, and odd selections through out the entire cruise, we only ate breakfast there as the lunch buffet was nasty. All things were normal until day 3 when the NOROVIRUS hit! Once that happended service went down the tubes. Since you could no longer self serve at the buffets, get your own drinks etc, they had to pull service staff do accomplish these things and overall service suffered. We were never told how many people came down with the virus but the sanitation restrictions lasted for the entire rest of the cruise. We had seen the news reports of this ship returning to port early in previous months due to outbreaks of the virus, apparently they still do not have things under control on this ship. It would make more sense to extend basic sanitation practices early in the cruise to prevent the spread of the virus, especially by those whom may bring it on board, but in this ships case all measure seem to be reactions to the outbreak rather than prevention up front. Their medical staff need to seriously review their practices on this ship and make recommendations to improve sanitation to avoid future outbreaks. It was odd that the first 3 days of the cruise the hand sanitizers were not available at entrances to the main dining rooms and there were many instances of cross contamination observed. After the virus hit that all changed of course. We were never told how many virus cases there were but after one person in our party was hit hard by the flu we learned it was in the hundreds. Once you report an illness of course you are immedately quarantined to your cabin for a minimum of 48 hours and cannot leave. One couple in our group had a debarkation tour scheduled in Rome but the night before debarking in Rome a deck supervisor came to their room and told the couple they would be personally escorted off the ship with their luggage early in the morning and would not be allowed on the debark excursion since one of them had reported mild symptoms that could be the norovirus. That makes sense, but the couple had no transportation from the port to Rome ( which is a 1.5 hour drive). Visits to the purser desk were unsuccessful in resolving the issue or making other arrangements and they could also not get the pursers desk to refund the over $300 cost of the excursion because the excursion desk wasnt open and would also not be open on the next day when debarking in Rome, they lost that money. After arriving early in Rome, staff members knocked on their door at 7am and the couple was told to gather all belongings as they were being escorted off the ship, even though their scheduled departure was 8;30am. We caught up with them later and learned they were basically kicked off the ship and dumped at the dock with no assistance offered from the staff. As they were an older couple with disabilities, we assisted them in transportation to Rome by changing our shuttle vehicle to allow space for 2 more people, otherwise this couple would have spent over 200 Euros for a taxi to room. The staff basically treated them like dogs, and this was a couple that has cruised with Princess over 12 times, and now swears they will never cruise with princess again. Entertain was ok, not great. The ship was nicely appointed and the 1 hour total loss of power that set the ship adrift in the middle of the Atlantic turned out to be some alleged generator problem, but obviously that is not a good thing and hopefully Princess will address this serious issue. We have no plans to cruise with Princess in the future, based primarily on their inadequate abilities to address norovirus issues. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My friend and I booked our first cruise with Princess because we had heard good reports about them. All started well but then we were informed by other passengers that the trip to Rhodes had been cancelled, no information from Princess. ... Read More
My friend and I booked our first cruise with Princess because we had heard good reports about them. All started well but then we were informed by other passengers that the trip to Rhodes had been cancelled, no information from Princess. Rhodes and Santorini were the two most important islands which made us book this trip. The trip to Santorini was a total waste of $55 dollars, my advice to future passengers on this cruise is do your own thing, you will see far more of the island, we saw nothing. You are more than encouraged to buy a 'coffee card', if you want what they call speciality coffees you have to pay for them, the card costs $33 and then you can get a cappacino or latte, great. The food in the main restaurants was excellent but there are two restaurants on board that have a cover charge if you use them, one of $25 and one $20. At the end of the cruise we were supposed to have a tour of Rome with time for lunch and shopping before going to the airport, this did not happen we were taken to the airport at 10 a.m. for our flight out at 17.20 p.m. 7 hours to wait with luggage in the airport, NOT GOOD PRINCESS. I have written twice to the company about these items but they have not had the decency to even write and say they are looking into our concerns. TWO PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT BE TAKING ANOTHER PRINCESS CRUISE. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My family, consisting of a mom,dad and 2 teenagers 17 and 15. We left for Venice, which was wonderful, boarded the ship which was such an easy process. No one was there I am guessing that since the boat was in port for 2 days and could ... Read More
My family, consisting of a mom,dad and 2 teenagers 17 and 15. We left for Venice, which was wonderful, boarded the ship which was such an easy process. No one was there I am guessing that since the boat was in port for 2 days and could board on either gave people a lot of time to come as they please. The rooms ( we opted for 2 cabins at the last minute and they were about 20 doors away C534 and C734), were ready, I believe we boarded about 5:00 the day before sailing. The Rooms were comfy and the balcony was huge on deck 10 only, about double the size, so if size matters for the balcony go for deck 10. We could see the other balconies both up and down and after a few nites on the ship began to realize how much bigger deck 10 was. all in all the ship was ok, no way to compare to Freedom of the seas or Disney Ships. The ship was bland, the crew never was rude or anything but you never got the feeling they were happy just going through the motions and counting the days off till they see their family... kinda sad really. The people on the ship were an older crowd and it felt like a ghost ship after 8 or 9 o'clock, the boat was empty of adults. The entertainment was really bad and after the 3rd night of hoping something good would come, we gave up and never went back. The common areas were nice although there was a really funky smell always around the explores lounge. The games were locked up in the library and nobody was there at night when you wanted to play for some entertainment, why would you lock up the games?? We ended up buying a deck of cards because those were locked up too. I had an issue about a credit that should have appeared as an on board credit that never did. I went to customer service 3 times and they said the 1st 2 never even made notes about the situation at all, I said finally that I was going to call Visa and have them handle it and deny payment till I receive my credit which prompted a customer service agent to come to my room and go over the paperwork. Still she could do nothing and is now in Visa hands... still waiting. Horrible customer service on the phone as well all very sure no problem and what i am sure are blank stares.There was a fire on board, I think the 3rd day in, they told us someone left a curling iron on by the curtain and it went up in flames. All the safety procedures kicked in and all was good in about 2 hours. In the mean time you didnt know and we had to find our kids which was a little crazy. Do yourself an favor and make a meeting place with youre family before this happens so youre not all running around looking for each other.also I didnt have a problem with our cabins being so far apart but then i Realized our muster stations were different. I stayed with my daughter in 1 cabin and my husband stayed with my son, but still in a real emergency I would want to be together. Everything turned out ok and they cleared out the smoke and smell. The people were relocated from the cabin and all was well. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Young, blonde, energetic, Hungarian head waiter Kitty + her assistant Batman were the spark plugs that got this event engine up, running & eventually hilarious, not to be missed fine dining! Nothing on this ship tops this time of the ... Read More
Young, blonde, energetic, Hungarian head waiter Kitty + her assistant Batman were the spark plugs that got this event engine up, running & eventually hilarious, not to be missed fine dining! Nothing on this ship tops this time of the day. Next best feature were the workers - dedicated to serving, smiles, always making everything seem sunny - how refreshing! Better dance floors & clientele than Carnival's Conquest but entertainment was just OK. Serious Sounds judged the best for dancing but needs more music tuned for ballroom, fewer fast beats. All the bars judged good, Explorers the best but still needs a bit more searching for orders from those seated. Water is $3.50/large container, bars/dining can serve tap water for free BUT will not fill your bottles ?!?!?!?!? Another "for sale" hitch added to your $11.50/day "tips" hole in the pocket. Foot Traffic is horrible, made worse by walkers/wheelchairs, exacerbated by photo shoots and photo displays, then let's march some sales on tables out there = butt-butt traffic moving real slow. The Captain seems to drive this boat like there were no dance floors to consider, only to arrive early into a Galveston fog that delayed going home 8 hours. In fact, with no weather channel, we were dependent on his daily forecasts = always wrong. 8 hours delay due to fog after being told firmly to be out of cabins by 8am, dining closing shortly thereafter. Some smart enough to keep their rooms took naps & even got unprecedented room service (not announced); others stormed the dining areas anyway and got steak lunches (not announced). Word came (not announced) that a cash bar (with few one dollar bills) was open near the pizza place serving as well. What WAS announced were movies (rent for $1 at home), daycare, etc. Gambling - win going out, lose bigger coming back, suspicious bad luck stories .. Tips: After using your carry on bottle, simply order 1/2 bottle from room service (have to be present to sign for it - ugh). Tip well on first drink @ bars, following orders will be very satisfying. Galveston: Find another port - ANY port! Jan 2010 - bathroom frozen after looong lines Jan 2013 - 8 hour fog delay (really?) wide entry, turn left - simple Always get a porter for your bags - saves time, backache & luggage - they find your room going in and the van/bus going out pronto. $2/bag seems cheap for the stress relief. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was our first Princess cruise and perhaps our last. There was nothing noteworthy that would make us choose this line again. We booked through United because their last minute prices were better than booking directly through the cruise ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise and perhaps our last. There was nothing noteworthy that would make us choose this line again. We booked through United because their last minute prices were better than booking directly through the cruise line (this has never happened to me before). We did only book 10 days before the cruise and chose an obstructed view guarantee ( our room had what I considered an unobstructed view at the end of the lifeboats so that was one pleasant surprise). We only had to drive from Houston so I had no transfer. The embarkation lines were not too bad and moved fairly fast so no complaints there. We booked this cruise because of price and itinerary --after many Caribbean cruises from Galveston we wanted to see the Mayan ruins and didn't want to go back to Jamaica or Cayman again so this cruise had the best ports. Our room was kept very clean and our room steward was very pleasant but there always seemed to be something we needed-- soap on the first day and once the two bars were used they were only replaced by one more not two. The ice bucket was never even there. The ship was the largest we have sailed. The thing I disliked about the ship was the confusing layout. Getting from point A to B always seemed to be a trial with dining rooms blocking the way. I suppose this is for crowd control but aggravating on many occasions. Now the food-- as remarked by other reviewers LACKING! I am not hard to please as my motto is if I don't have to cook it or clean it up I don't complain. But that being said we found the dining room selections lacking in type of selections--usually more European type weird-- and everything seemed tasteless. I am not a salt-a-holic but season something! I had the southern fried chicken one night and it was 3 tiny hacked pieces of tasteless, greasy chicken with no resemblance to real fried chicken. My husband o[ted for the meatloaf and found it spongy and tasteless. The desserts selections we about the same every night with only one or two changes each night--these were also nothing special. One night we checked the menu and found nothing to our liking and opted for the buffet which was also disappointing and tasteless. There were few vegetable choices for both lunch and dinner and the salad bar type stuff got boring. The best food was the pizza and hamburger bars that we ate at upon a later return from the excursions. We only attended 2 shows--same old stuff--but to be fair we rarely attend shows on other cruise lines either. We did enjoy the movies at sea but found to see the evening shows some dinner plans had to work perfectly. One night we planned to watch the movie but found the deck chairs to be very wet from the sea mist so there were no comfortable places to sit and watch. The first run movies in the staterooms were enjoyable as an alternative. The shore excursions were booked off the ship and we were quite pleases with them, and this after all was why we were going on this cruise. In Belize we went to see Altun Ha. Our guide was wonderful and very informative and the ruins were amazing. The same with Tulum. Our guide was a wealth of knowledge and made us truly appreciate this remarkable place. Five stars for this part of the cruise. Would we ever choose Princess over Royal Caribbean or Norwegian--highly doubtful-- over Carnival maybe. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We had high hopes for our Princess cruise. It did not take very long for them to start screwing it up. Our first purchase was the soda package. I love Diet Sprite and that is what I remarked to the seller. I do not drink caffeine. The ... Read More
We had high hopes for our Princess cruise. It did not take very long for them to start screwing it up. Our first purchase was the soda package. I love Diet Sprite and that is what I remarked to the seller. I do not drink caffeine. The sticker they put on my card was the Sprite sticker. I go to a bar to get a Diet Sprite and I am informed that Diet Sprite is not in the soda package. I will have to pay full price for diet sprit....Then why did I get sold a package I have no use for? At that point the Customer service desk hit an all time low. Condescending, Smug, rude, uppity, and mean. This was still early on the first night. After having to go through hell, I got a refund. The welcome aboard show was the worst excuse of a show that I have ever witnessed. There was no show. It was one big giant sales pitch of crap to spend your money on. There was no show. The ships entertainment shows were short. Barely thirty minutes. The entertainment brought on board were jugglers you would hire for a childrens birthday party. Lame. The trivia games were few and far between and crowded. People were desperate for activities that did not revolve around music. Our fun was the Movies Under The Stars. After 40 cruises, this one was one I will not do again. The food was very European. I was never in my life so sick and tired of seeing Pork everyday. One day we were greeted by a whole pig laying out looking like a sunburned baby. Then they start slicing it from the butt and I decided pizza would be a better choice. I did not hate the food, nor did I like it. My room steward was a bright spot. Very Kind. Everything was great. The Cruise director is probably a very nice person, but she is not funny. The entertainment on the Crown Princess was really amateurish. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Let me begin by saying that I am now a fan of cruising and will cruise again in the future, but will most definitely cruise on different lines / ships until I find one that exceeds my expectations. With that said, the Crown Princess did ... Read More
Let me begin by saying that I am now a fan of cruising and will cruise again in the future, but will most definitely cruise on different lines / ships until I find one that exceeds my expectations. With that said, the Crown Princess did not meet my expectations in some areas (based on pre-cruise marketing materials and information directly from Princess, and the on-board experience) and exceeded my expectations in other areas. Embarkation: Exciting process for my first cruise and walking onto the ship for the first time was wonderful. Princess greets you with a smile! When first arriving, read the signs carefully, especially the very small ones that are hung in difficult to find locations. If you do not, you will most likely end up lugging your luggage to your own stateroom or lugging it back down the stairs to find the drop off. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the staff, but be prepared for the staff member to not know the answer. Staff have been assigned specific duties and may not know all the duties, so may not be able to answer your question. (Please ask nicely - they are there to help you and make your journey special - I noticed so many passengers treat the staff negatively - their work is important and passengers are not superior to staff.) Embarkation was efficient and Princess knows how to move passengers quickly. Room: Choosing a mini-suite was a financial challenge, but I am very thankful that I did. In this area, the room exceeded expectations. The bed was comfortable, lots of counter space and storage areas, two televisions, spacious closet space, large bath, desk, couch, chair, table, perfect space for 7 nights. Maybe a smaller room would have been just as nice, so I hope I haven't spoiled myself for future cruises. If money is not an issue, choosing a mini-suite is the way to go. It is perfect for two people and it was nice to return to at the end of the day. Having a large bathtub/shower may have been worth the extra dollars. Not sure if the smaller rooms have a refrigerator in the room, but this was a nice amenity. On the other hand, I spoke with another passenger that cruises often and always books the cheapest room because she does not spend much time in the room and still receives all of the same activities/dining as mini-suite passengers. A shout out to our Cabin Steward - he was attentive, always had a greeting and smile, and promptly provided when asked. The balcony - a wonderful amenity and used often. The blue mat was prickly, so wear your shoes/slippers on the balcony, but thankful for the relaxing experiences / views from our balcony. Dining: This was the most disappointing aspect of my cruise on Crown Princess. The literature, the marketing materials, and reviews all led me to believe that the food and experience would be something special, even 5 star quality. That was certainly not the case. The food lacked in overall quality, taste and presentation. One night I ordered a Pear-Stilton Salad and what I received was, picture this, a white salad plate with small pieces of chopped canned pear and small scraps of Stilton strewn about the plate with a few pecans for color. It was at the most maybe 1 piece of canned pear and 1/2 ounce of Stilton. It was a joke - literally laugh out loud plating - that I took a photo and may post. If you like cheese though you will always have the opportunity to eat a square of Cheddar or Edam as it was served at every buffet meal. I saw asparagus once on the entire cruise and then I only received 3 small stalks (which were overcooked). Never saw a bit of crab, but did have lobster one night - just a small tail, but at least it was served. As for the steak don't expect it to be a good cut or cooked properly. The staff of the Horizon Court Buffet were always helpful, but the Horizon Court Buffet is not open 24 hours, so if you think you will have a buffet open to you around the clock this is not true. However, you can get cookies, pre-mixed meat or seafood salads (chicken, tuna or other) or paninis (don't bother) 24 hours in the "International Cafe." One night the Horizon Court Buffet was closed, so all passengers were directed to the Cafe Caribe. We were not to happy having to wait in a long buffet line. No explanation was provided - this may have helped - many passengers were "disgruntled." Our party chose the "Anytime Dining" option and we appreciated the opportunity to eat when we wanted. We enjoyed the "Bier-fest" themed night - the food for this special evening was delicious. Lotus Spa: If you are a spa person - lower your expectations. The spa is co-ed, lacks solitude / quiet, and is truly an "up-sell" experience. If you order a 50 minute facial, expect 20 minutes of discussion (skin type, product sales) and only 30 minutes of mediocre facial work. I cancelled my massage because the facial was so disappointing. I also did the Go Smile teeth whitening process and purchased the up sell. I would suggest skipping this experience and save the $400 for something that is more meaningful. If you can get the spa to give you a DIY (Do it Yourself) body scrub, the Orange Vanilla was spectacular. I took it back to my room and enjoyed a hot shower and the scrub. Get two if they will give it to you. If you are a sensitive, large woman/man, be prepared to hear spa staff openly talk about how "soft" most passengers are. It was certainly something I did not expect to hear, or appreciate, and was quite offended. TIP: The spa robe was nice, so I would suggest getting a robe from the Spa to use in your cabin (just remember to return the robe to the spa on your last day.) Excursions: We enjoyed all of the excursions. The literature was different from the experience, but that was ok - we were on an excursion, in a foreign county, experiencing something different and so went with the flow and enjoyed it all. Our tour guides were all fantastic. Our next trip to Cozumel we plan to not do any excursions, but simply enjoy walking around, shopping and eating local cuisine. The excursions were a bit overpriced for what you receive, but it was an easy way to see the countries and not have to research on our own. Activities: Bingo: four games, expensive, crowded and predictable. If you have the "free bingo card" coupon - expect to purchase the most expensive pack to get your one free card. Daubers for $1.50 make a great souvenir - as they have a picture of the Crown Princess on it. Casino: Fun entertainment - don't expect to win anything and you will enjoy the entertainment; electronic poker table was interesting; loved the Caribbean stud and open face blackjack. All of the dealers were professional and friendly. Games: Always something to do - trivia, tv game shows like games etc. Fun - cruise staff very bubbly and make the experience enjoyable. Don't forget to check out the small putt putt course. Movies Under the Stars: I was looking forward to this activity the most and found myself highly disappointed - I guess I set my expectations way to high on this. The pre-cruise email from princess stating the movies that would be shown during our cruise was incorrect - we never saw any of the movies promised, but they did show "Breakfast at Tiffany's." If you like soda, popcorn and candy while you watch a movie, bring your own soda and candy (you can purchase candy in the giftshop) or get some cookies from the international cafe. A small bag of popcorn will be provided if you ask. The screen is big and the lounge chairs comfortable. We had no problems hearing the movie either. Get there early if you want to sit next to your loved one. Try not to sit behind/near the hot tub or you will get sprays of water often. Unfortunately for us during one evening movie, the ship staff decided to do something with the sewage, so we were subjected to some pretty awful odors. Not sure what that was about and hope if doesn't happen to you. Entertainment: Spectacular! Don't miss the crew show - lots of fun! The Princess Theater was spacious. Arrive at least 15 minutes early to get a seat or 25 minutes early if you like a certain spot to sit. Suggestion: Move to the middle of a row so that others can fill in and not have empty seats. Don't leave a single seat between you and the party beside you - sit in the chair next to your fellow passenger - it is polite and leave more seating room for those that arrive one minute before show time. Enjoy this part of the cruise - we did and Princess does this right. Disembarkation: Easy process. We packed the night before and were ready to go in the morning. We chose the Easy Walk-Off process and it was easy. We left the ship and 7:30am and were in our car on and the road by 9:00. Again, Princess has highly structured/efficient people moving process that works. Follow the instructions and your experience will be smooth. TIP: Get a copy of your account statement the night before. The line can get long, so if you see a short line at customer service desk - jump in the line. I feel very blessed for this opportunity and I thankful for the vacation. I am now a cruiser and will cruise again. Will I choose Princess again - maybe. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I am half of an "older couple," but active. Usually we cruise Celebrity and have cruised Carnival 2 or 3 times for specific reasons (Country Music Cruise). We had heard good things about Princess; found a week-long cruise for a ... Read More
I am half of an "older couple," but active. Usually we cruise Celebrity and have cruised Carnival 2 or 3 times for specific reasons (Country Music Cruise). We had heard good things about Princess; found a week-long cruise for a good price, and invited another couple to join us on the trip. Our stops were Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. That trip was supposed to have had a fourth port (the Maya Riviera), but there were too many ships stopping at the port. So, that port never actually showed on the itinerary. What we experienced was that because there were SO MANY ships stopping at the remaining ports, often those ports of call were somewhat overloaded with cruise tourists. We booked too late to get a choice of evening dining times; so often had a bit of a wait to get the mediocre meal (I'm attempting to be generous with my judgment of the food). "In a nutshell," the food was overcooked and under-seasoned. For example, I asked for my steak to be VERY RARE ("cold on the inside, please"). It came back medium. The waiter got me another huge chunk of meat to replace it... medium. My friend loves Eggs Benedict: the yolks were completely dry... like a hard-boiled egg (only with some sort of packaged topping). One night I ordered a Thai dish... completely BLAND! (When we asked for some "chili sauce" and they brought us Tabasco!) Another time we ate at the British pub (forgot its name).... Neither the Steak and Kidney pie nor the Fish-n-Chips were at all authentic (soggy and without flavor). The overall feeling of the ship was crowded: not enough seating around the pools; $15 or $20/day if you wanted to have access to the "Sanctuary" (a quiet pool). At mealtime, the buffets were always crowded, with many food choices, but the food there was also poorly seasoned. Cabin: the attendant was slow to respond; nothing special done to our cabins as on other cruise lines (like the little wash cloths made into bunnies or elephants). Had to be asked for ice; no automatic pitcher of ice water kept in the cabin. (In fact, I'm not sure I recall having had a pitcher in the room... only an ice bucket that was kept in the fridge). I did not find the entertainment particularly entertaining. The best night - in my opinion - was the one in which the crew performed. Toward the end of the cruise, the entertainment line-up changed: the "old" singers and dancers left the ship; a "new" entourage boarded. The new group had pretty costumes. Period. I have NEVER been critical of a cruise. If this cruise is typical of Princess Lines, I cannot understand how they got their reputation. From my memory of cruising Carnival, the Crown Princess had worse food... but fewer kids onboard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We cruised before on the Ruby 2 years ago. This time we were with our "kids" to celebrate my daughter graduation from HS. She is 18 and my son 21. They has a inside room across hall from us. We had a balcony room A618. We stayed ... Read More
We cruised before on the Ruby 2 years ago. This time we were with our "kids" to celebrate my daughter graduation from HS. She is 18 and my son 21. They has a inside room across hall from us. We had a balcony room A618. We stayed 2 night before cruise at the Galveston Hampton Inn. Nice view of Wal-Mart (LOL it is what it is) and the ocean . Nicely decorated room and hotel. Our room, 518 nice but smelled like something died in the wall, phew! Embarkation was good. Got there about 1100 and were on just after 1200; Waited for about an hour. Right off the bat we noted the age of the passengers. My kids thought they were the youngest on board. They weren't but pretty close with ourselves running right behind them. It felt like you walked in a "retirement home". I never saw more scooters, walkers, oxygen tanks in one spot in my life. Our neighbor, 60 yrs old himself mentioned to me the over whelming age of the passengers. We estimated 70-80% being over 60 and well over 60. Those under 50-30 10%. We took this cruise as it fit our schedule and price. Entertainment: Good. The comedians excellent and the shows we thought. MUTS did not show many movies and had large gaps of time just showing scenic nature shots of Alaska. The pool side band played maybe 2-3 times a day for about a half hour. The cruise out party nothing other than drinks. The Pools: of 4 hot tubs around the two main pools 1-2 were closed much of the cruise. Rarely were they all open. Disappointed and not acceptable to me. The pools were cold most of the time as well. For a ship coming out of Galveston with weather already cool, common gives of something not so frigid. The Food/Dinning; Poor to OK. Very bland or over salted; The dining room food seems to have deteriorated. They featured nightly "home style cooking". They had meatloaf one night as an item or a turkey dinner. If I wanted that I would have stayed home. For what is supposed to be a higher end cruise line and in comparison to before the food in the dining room and the buffet were OK at best. I'm not that fussy but I expected better. Ports Visited: Roatan -- excellent. Belize City -- what a dump. Four ships in anchor off with tenders required, which we like actually, but the port is small and crowed. If you're not doing an excursion don't bother. I don't know why Princess even goes there. Phew! Cozumel. Excellent port. Took excursion on speed boat twister to private island called Paradise. Lunch provided, open bar, wild & fast but save ride 2 $84 each. Lot of fun. Galveston, wish we had more time there. However for a cruise location and if your looking for warm weather and only have 7 days to cram that in like us before heading back up north at least 1-2 days are in cooler weather cruise day wise, FYI so you really get about 4-5 days in hot weather. Next cruise for us will be back out of FLL or MIA. The ship: as cruised Ruby before we knew what we were getting; even so still can't help but feel for a "big" ship how small it is and how little it has to offer in public spaces. Very chopped up. Small dining rooms. Smoking: Despite no smoking in staterooms and balcony we had 1 near us either below or beside who smoked on his balcony. Despite complaints never seemed to go away. The Piazza Atrium, was constantly filled with the smell of smoke coming out of the casino. Wasn't like that on the Ruby. This pretty much ruined the piazza and go to feel for the employees who have breathe that in every day. So next cruise for us will be in sometime in the future. We are going to try Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or even Carnival. At least Carnival I hear has some sort of ambiance of fun I'm told. It was still a nice cruise just not a "higher end" cruise that it should have been. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We booked this cruise about 13 months in advance when there were 4 port stops. A few months after booking they removed Costa Maya as a port without ever giving a good reason. Regardless it was the only time that worked for the friends we ... Read More
We booked this cruise about 13 months in advance when there were 4 port stops. A few months after booking they removed Costa Maya as a port without ever giving a good reason. Regardless it was the only time that worked for the friends we went with so the reservation stayed. Boarding was easy enough. We probably showed up around noon and the lines weren't long at all considering it was Spring Break. The ship itself is pretty similar to the past 2 ships we've cruised on if not a bit smaller. I don't think the piazza was as nice as our RC ship. We had an interior room and it was small in typical cruise ship fashion. We moved around a night stand, table and our bed to open up some space. Some positives of Princess: Movies Under the Stars: Blankets and comfortable chair pads. Popcorn, cookies and milk. Awesome experience and good movie selection Grill: Hamburgers, Bratworst, hotdogs, chicken, fries. Everything I tried there was good. Pizza: Awesome. Best of any cruise I've been on. They have about 4 huge ovens to keep Pizza coming nonstop until 11pm. NY style slices. Only downside here was that many speciality pizzas they had listed ingredients which were never put on the pizza. Wine Policy: Ability to bring on about 5 bottles of wine free of charge despite their new policy saved us a lot of money. Entertainment: Great shows(classics and productions), trivia, contests. Dan the deputy cruise director blew our cruise director our of the water in terms of presentation/entertainment skills. Ultimate Drinks and More package: Excellent deal. The chocobannana smoothie/shake was my personal favorite. Very good price and the bartenders will often give a drink(coke) plus a smoothie from 1 card so no real need to buy 2. Downsides: We went to the Horizon buffet for lunch a couple times and found the selection was quite large but the quality not so great. That would prove to be the theme for Horizon throughout the cruise. Lots of food but none of it tastes very good(except for breakfast). In fact, food overall on this cruise proved to be a huge disappointment. The main dining room(MDR) has a Homestyle selection each night. I'd avoid it. In fact one night the "Homestyle" offering was fried chicken and french fries. Seemed better fitted for the grill or Horizons. On both Carnival and Royal Caribbean the always available menu had a NY strip. On Princess no such offering. Our room steward was good. She kept our towels replaced, our room cleaned and she even put our patters on our bed instead of outside our door like most others had them. The only downside was that she never talked to us much and never addressed me by my name when I would greet her. She would just say "good morning" and smile. This was a departure from our last cruise on RC where the steward would regularly engage us and ask us about our day. Dining room service was absolutely terrible. The waiter never talked, could barely explain the menu and the assistant waiter would often disappear for 15-20 minutes at a time leaving our drinks empty. At no point did they pickup on the fact that our table ordered the same drinks each night. We had to request them each night. Our table was continually one of the last to finish even if we showed up early. Bar drinks: mixed terribly. Tend to be on the weak side. Some places had old menus with old prices and different recipes for the same drink or different offering all together. This lead to me getting a different drink than I expected and at different prices a couple times. The overlying theme with Princess was that overall things were good but nothing really stood out as being so good that it deserves a special mention. Certainly not the same as our Royal Caribbean cruise where just about every staff member we regularly encountered recieved a special mention. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We set sail out of Galveston on March 23rd, 2013. We flew into Houston and took the shuttle bus down to Galveston, The Princess Crew met us at the airport and everything was very simple getting on the bus. We then set off to Galveston ... Read More
We set sail out of Galveston on March 23rd, 2013. We flew into Houston and took the shuttle bus down to Galveston, The Princess Crew met us at the airport and everything was very simple getting on the bus. We then set off to Galveston which is about an hour away. Very good ride down to Galveston. We got to Galveston in plenty of time so we had lunch on the pier. The food was very good there. We then embarked onto the Crown Princess. The lines were long but not unexpected. The check in process went really well. We set sail that evening and were shocked to learn that the Set Sail Drinks would be billed to our room and they were not that great. Would never do that again. We then went to dinner that evening. As you have probably already read, the meals on this ship are mediocre at best. The menu is not that great. We have had way better meals on the 3 other cruise lines that we have been on. The meals did not get any better as the cruise went on and the buffet was substandard at best. The entertainment bands by the pool were good but not what I expected. I expected music that would put me in the mood for the Carribean...not put me to sleep. It was really good sleepy time music. We arrived in Honduras on Tuesday. We had a great time doing the snorkeling trip at the ship wreck that we booked through the cruise line. This was an excellent place to see Iguana and monkeys as well. The second port was Belize. We booked the Zipline/Cave Tubing on our own as the ship was already booked for this. We were a bit worried about doing this but it turned out great. Both were fun and the cave tubing was beautiful. I would highly recommend this. The 3rd port was Cozumel. We also booked our own excursion going deep sea fishing. This too was excellent. I would highly recommend booking your own trip unless it is an all day trip. You can save a lot of money booking it on your own. We saved over $500.0 doing it on our own. About 1/2 of the crew on the Princess Ship acted like they did not even want to be there. This was a bit disturbing as all of the other cruises that I have been on were extremely friendly and went out of there way to make your trip pleasant. Not on this ship. I spoke with a number of cruisers on this ship and they will not sail on Princess anymore. There were some that the only ships that they did cruise on was Princess. I am one of the ones that won't be on this cruise line anymore. It was a beautiful ship but the crew and the food were not good enough for another trip. I hope this helps someone else out. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This cruise was not a bad recovery from last year. Cruised Carnival last year for the LAST time. Wouldn't cruise Carnival again if they gave the tickets away. Got to the terminal at about 10:30 but didn't get on until after ... Read More
This cruise was not a bad recovery from last year. Cruised Carnival last year for the LAST time. Wouldn't cruise Carnival again if they gave the tickets away. Got to the terminal at about 10:30 but didn't get on until after noon. Longer wait than we are used to. We booked two interior rooms as always since we have little use for balconies. We were Aloha deck all the way forward. Other than ship movement it was a perfect location to shield us from noise we are very sensitive to. It was very quiet there. Liked the staterooms and overall look of the Crown Princess. It's in pretty good shape. THE BAD: As always you can probably find others to disagree but we hated the buffet food on the Crown Princess. We have never experienced great buffet food on a cruise ship but this stuff was garbage. Really, just a bunch of slop and items that don't even go well together. The most hated part of the buffet is the herded cattle type corral system they have. There is only one entrance to the buffet and they have someone manning the gate where you go in. The employees were way overbearing demanding you use the Purell machines before entering the buffet line. We believe in clean hands but it got so annoying I had to tell these people to back off. The buffet set up creates a big line and makes you take way too much food so you don't have to wait in a long line again just for seconds. If you want to dash in quickly for a small item, forget about it. My wife accidentally left her dish of sauce on the buffet line and tried to go back to get it by stepping in the exit. She was scolded and had to wait in line all over again. Hands down, the worst buffet system ever. Food on the Crown Princess in other locations was okay. Entertainment: We have walked out on so many hokey cruise shows. Usually it is the fly in entertainment we like the best. Not the case here. We loved the Crown Princess singers and dancers and didn't care for the fly ins. Ports: We love the ports traveled to. In fact we went to the same ports on a different cruise last year. Roatan: we used Roatan Island Tours Plus. Cardy Grant is a class act. Belize: we love going out to Caye Caulker to swim with the sharks and rays on the reef. Salvador Arce with Hicaco is a dear friend and simply the best. Cozumel: We went to Mr. Sanchos, shopping and to La Mission for lunch. Overall one of the best cruises for us. The weather was great and the Crown Princess staff was very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I have only been on 3 cruises before with MSC and Star Cruises so I only have my experiences to compare with Princess. I booked an outside cabin for myself, my wife and my 16 month old son, and a Balcony cabin for my in laws who were ... Read More
I have only been on 3 cruises before with MSC and Star Cruises so I only have my experiences to compare with Princess. I booked an outside cabin for myself, my wife and my 16 month old son, and a Balcony cabin for my in laws who were travelling with us. We have just come back from an 11 day canary cruise on the Crown Princess. The food was the great during lunch and dinner, with a great deal of choice and exceptional desserts, the food in the mornings was pretty much the same everyday but that is a minor niggle that can be overlooked given the quality of fare for the rest of the day. The food was definitely better than anything I have experienced in my previous cruises. The cabin was of a decent size although the shower cubicle was tiny which is in line with my previous experience, however the balcony cabin was smaller in comparison to the cabin I had on the MSC Splendida which had a sofa and coffee table, but that is a newer and bigger ship so it is perhaps a unfair comparison. The cabin steward was both friendly and cheerful and greeted me by first name everytime he saw me with a smile on his face, he kept the cabin neat and tidy. Waiters were also similarly friendly and couldn't be faulted, however I would advise avoiding having dinner 7-8 if you are on anytime dining as they can't cope with the sheer volume of people and the one night we did it, we didn't get our starters until nearly 1 hour after sitting down. My only criticisms are regarding the inflexibility of the loyalty scheme, mis-billing, mis-selling and funny coloured water. Due to the timing of my in laws holiday from China, plus the locations that they wished to travel to, I had to book this cruise and a subsequent cruise on the emerald princess back to back. Because I paid for both cruises in full instead of waiting to finish one cruise and paying a deposit while on board, I missed out on a discount on the second cruise and on board credit for the second cruise. I understand the policy and procedures, but I am disappointed that I have nothing to reward my loyalty when surely it would be better for princess for me to buy a second cruise without having competed the first one. The future cruise consultant and the captains circle consultant weren't really that interested and their responses boiled down to - book another one. During our cruise my wife got a copy of our bill and checked it to see how much we had spent and noticed a transaction for $27 that she didn't recognise, this is something that I wouldn't have picked up on as I generally assume that these things are done right. Apparently someone on of the shops actually charged it to our cabin by mistake, and if my wife hadn't picked up on it, we would have paid for someone else's purchase. A couple of our fellow passengers mentioned this as well, so I suggest keeping all your receipts and carefully checking your bill. Mis-selling - my father in law is from China and he wanted a watch that would change between UK and China time easily. The sales consultant told my wife and father in law that the Citizen watch he was recommending did exactly that, and also could switch to Denmark time easily (the starting point of his next cruise). So they bought the watch for $310 and as the transaction was being finalised I was told by the consultant the same information (I had to change a nappy for my son so I wasn't present at the start of the process). However, after looking at the manual it turns out Chi and Den on the watch face stood for Chicago and Denver and not China and Denmark as explained. When I returned to the shop another sales consultant told me that there is no return policy due to links being removed and the best they could do was an exchange. We went back later with the watch and the person who sold us the watch initially was present so we spoke to him and he claimed that he told us it was American cities and London only on the watch face, and not China and Denmark. Having pointed out that was not what he told us originally we asked to speak to his manager. After a few more attempts at excuses, met with the reply of "I want to speak with your manage" he relented and returned the item. The worst thing though was the brownish water available for most of the cruise, I need hot water for formula milk for my son, so everyday became a game of let's find a hot water pump that doesn't dispense brownish water. I raised the issue with waiters who seemed to think it was normal, and also with passenger services who assured me that they would look into it. The problem lasted all the way to the end of the 11 day cruise without being fixed - disgusting service to go with disgusting water. Lastly there are too many days at sea during the start of the cruise, which normally wouldn't bother me except the lack of activities and relatively poor quality of shows. We had a lot of not so funny 'comedians' and also not so funny 'comedians' who do music. Overall I doubt I will be cruising with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Sadly disappointed with the ship, bit of a letdown if truth be known, it very tired and all needs updating. the food was ok, not good or bad but ok, choice in horizon court/cafe caribe was very very limited,the service was good in bits ... Read More
Sadly disappointed with the ship, bit of a letdown if truth be known, it very tired and all needs updating. the food was ok, not good or bad but ok, choice in horizon court/cafe caribe was very very limited,the service was good in bits poor in others, the tannoy always seemed to be apologising for something or other didn't like the pushy sell sell attitude of the bar/shop staff, pleased with ports of call apart from Le Verdon (what a dump) it’s too far from Bordeaux , unfortunately Princess are overrated,overpriced and over complicatedif i had the choice between princess and another cruise line i would only go with princess if heavily discounted, princess are a good budget cruise line, not what they claim to beits all very beige Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We went from Southampton the day before the new ship was named. We were in a different terminal and it was very crowded, but we went straight to our cabin and after a bit of lunch our cases were in the cabin.However, as we saw there was ... Read More
We went from Southampton the day before the new ship was named. We were in a different terminal and it was very crowded, but we went straight to our cabin and after a bit of lunch our cases were in the cabin.However, as we saw there was chaos outside the terminal with a traffic jam of coaches and cars. Apparently, the coaches stayed in the service station for some while. It was a rough crossing over the Bay of Biscay, but we were soon in Cadiz. Which is a lovely little town. We had breakfast in the cabin lunch in the "madhouse" called the Horizon Court and dinner in MDR Botticellis(fixed dining). The food was ok but the waiters were not so good, did not help you to your chair would not serve a desert without ice cream, or cheese dumpling. In the case of the ice cream, it was scraped off by them and lots was left on the plate When I asked for the pears with no cheese dumpling and was told no and he walked away, not what I expect from any cruise line after 30 odd cruises. The theatre was always packed despite 3 shows a night. Going from the theatre was quite dangerously packed with people as people were queing to get into the next show and it left a narrow footway, then the shops had tables outside with their inch of gold or what have you. The other side of the Atrium had Crooners Bar it was popular and packed so you could not walk through. It was the usual scramble for sun beds there just seemed to be too many people there and it was not children as there were only 7 on board. The ship seemed to be a "training ship" as there were a lot of new personnel some of whom were homesick after 9 days! A lot of East European staff, mostly new who were trying to learn. Apparently the experienced staff went to the new Royal Princess ship. The ports of call were good it was very hot, so we were glad we chose a boat trip in Venice to the Morano Glass and the lace making islands. In Malta we turned right from ship and got the lift 1 euro up zero comming down, it is in the town just through a little garden. In Corfu they now have a bus that is 1 1/2 euro to town. As you get off the free port shuttle. Gibraltar there were mini buses but we walked a slow stroll its not too far. Koper is a neat small town and Dubrovnik we didn't go to as we have been before. There were 3 large ships in so it was packed in the town apparently and most uncomfortable. We strolled around the harbor. The entertainment was ok A guy called Walker was an excellent impressionist the main show people were good the blond girl less so. There were also a band called The Speakers who were excellent, the 2 singers really complement each other they were on the grand last year. This year they had a different soundman who reduced the sound of the drummer who used to drown out the singers. There seem to be too many people in too small a space on Crown. There is a lot of wasted space empty rooms whilst others are packed to capacity. The MDR and the Fusions cabaret bar are very dimly lit. I would not pay full price to go on Crown again I may go if there was a last minute "bargain". Grand did the almost the same Mediterranean cruise last year and it was far more relaxing and far less crowded. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I’ve cruised 40 times, on 13 different cruise lines. I’m an Elite level member of the Princess Captain’s Circle loyalty club. The 14-night “Baltic Heritage” cruise on the “Crown Princess” was a ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I’ve cruised 40 times, on 13 different cruise lines. I’m an Elite level member of the Princess Captain’s Circle loyalty club. The 14-night “Baltic Heritage” cruise on the “Crown Princess” was a lifetime wish, taking me to all the places my ancestors came from. TRAVEL TO EMBARKATION PORT: I flew on Icelandair from Boston, MA to London Heathrow airport, and had superb service and convenience with Icelandair. I had an overnight stop each way, in Keflavik, Iceland for an amazingly low “economy comfort” fare, and it was not an inconvenience since I had the time and had always wanted to see Iceland anyway. Icelandair often upgrades passengers to seating in their Saga Class (business class) section, and I enjoyed this on three of the four flights I had booked with them for this trip. Hotel Berg in Keflavik is a great bed and breakfast close to the Keflavik airport, and offers complimentary airport transport. I had a very comfortable stay at Hotel Berg both times through Iceland on my trip. I used iChauffeur’s elegant service between my hotel at London Heathrow and the embarkation port of Southampton, England. I had a private car and chauffeur of top professional standards, and felt like royalty on my journey. I visited Windsor Castle and Winchester Cathedral on the way to Southampton, both well worth seeing. I also saw a brief glimpse of Windsor Great Park and Ascot Racecourse, and had a quick, inexpensive lunch at a Subway shop in a village near Ascot. Look for “crisps” for potato chips! Also remember to look right first before crossing the street, as traffic moves opposite the USA pattern. EMBARKATION PORT HOTEL: My overnight stay at the Holiday Inn Southampton was not the greatest. The hotel is tired, worn out, and I suggest reading the reviews about this property on the TripAdvisor.com site. The cheerful, really good and nice staff definitely made up for the bad state of the room and building, however, and the food was amazingly good. The view from my upper floor window was spectacular, overlooking all the cruise ship piers and part of the city. There is an 800 year old pub about a 10 minute walk from the hotel, and I had a traditional English fish and chips dinner there – worth it for the kindly landlord’s welcome and good food, plus the atmosphere and building’s décor. The hotel staff gladly reserves a private cab for guests needing a ride to their cruise ship – just ask them. My driver was very professional and the car was clean and new – it took about 5 minutes to get to the ship and was very inexpensive. I would not recommend this hotel if you are seeking a luxury experience, but for great staff, close proximity to the piers, and within easy walking distance of the fascinating historic old town center of Southampton, most of us can put up with anything for a night. EMBARKATION: There was a huge, cheerful mob in the too-small terminal at Southampton. The cruise terminals at this historic port were built when ships were much smaller, and they simply don’t have the room or ability to process the large passenger volume of today’s big ships. The line to check in went out the door and stretched for a very long distance. Apparently nobody used the requested staggered check-in times, as it looked like at least 1000 people were there at noon. There were no visible signs for expedited check-in for Suite/Elite guests. After waiting in line with some very sociable and pleasant guests (nobody is really crabby when checking in for a cruise anyway, and it wasn’t raining!) for about 25 minutes, a uniformed Princess staff person appeared and asked for Suite and Elite guests to follow her for expedited check-in. The people in line behind me weren’t Suite or Elite, but came along anyway to “give it a try”. Even with the special check-in venue for Suite and Elite passengers, it was terribly slow, as well as processing through the very strict security, and it took about 50 minutes to finally get on the ship. It normally takes me about 10 minutes in the United States. SHIP INFORMATION: The “Crown Princess” was built in 2006, and is 113,561 gross tons. There are 19 decks on this 952 foot long ship. Normal passenger count is 3,062 but my sailing was booked to full capacity, with nearly 3,600 passengers. Cabins range from insides to luxury suites. There are the usual amenities found in ships of this era and class with Princess. Multiple restaurants and places to eat, internet café, theater, shops, pools, sun decks, fitness center, medical center, central atrium “Plaza”, shore excursion desk, passenger services desk with priority line for top Captain’s Circle guests, disco, and various lounges and bars. The promenade deck goes all the way around the ship, but requires going up one deck and then down again to keep going at the bow. International crew, who all appear to be multilingual. Princess now has weight requirements for baggage, similar to the airlines – read the fine print in your passage contract. The veteran captain on the “Crown Princess” made a few brief appearances at various times and functions. He was extremely well spoken, and was at his best when he made his announcements of varying kinds from the bridge. He had a wonderful dry sense of humor, and very elegant diction. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to hear him, as the ship PA system was not very clear nor turned up loud enough to hear if there was any conversation going on. Annoucements were often at noon, and in the very noisy dining room or Horizon Court buffet areas, nobody could hear the captain. When money-making announcements for the ship, such as times for art auctions, were made, however, the sound level was blasting. Princess has cut back on public announcements in the corridors, fortunately, but they still sound like carnival barkers hawking some kind of for-payment services of various kinds. There was also a lot of paper advertising in the cabins for spa services, art auctions, and other activities around the ship. The “Princess Patter” is the daily newsletter with all the needed ship information, but it arrived later at night than I remembered from earlier cruises, and it was hard to plan something from it when it arrived late in the evening at an hour that most of the tired passengers were either sleeping or going to bed. The ship is starting to show her age since the last time I sailed on the “Crown” a few years ago. There were dents and rust visible. Maintenance and cleaning standards were not what they used to be. I saw holes in the carpets, and there was one spot of what looked like jam on a carpeted stair tread near the buffet restaurant which remained there the entire 14 days of the cruise. My cabin had undusted corners. It felt like the crew staffing had been cut back – I did not see as many people out and about around the ship polishing, vacuuming, and cleaning as I remember from several years ago. The cabin service staff may have been cut back, as well – to save time, the cabin staff on several decks I visited left their service carts parked in the very narrow hallways most of the time, as well as leaving linen carts lined up on the stairway landings, which made getting through there inconvenient. It was also not very sanitary to have clean linens out and uncovered with so many people using the stairwells and hallways, with a lot of passengers coughing and sneezing. There were two laundry rooms on most of the passenger decks, but they only have two washers and two dryers each. All the laundry products were at least $2, if not more, and the vending machines for these products take American quarters only or ship’s tokens. There was a utility sink, ironing boards and irons in each room, and a chair or two. Very hot, tight quarters, but surprisingly also a social center with some good conversation. Laundry rooms were well used on this longer cruise, and it was often hard to find a free washer or dryer, especially on sea days. Beware the dryers – even the lowest setting is so warm that it caused shrinkage on some of my clothing. Upper-tier loyalty club members with Princess get free cleaning service, but not laundry apparently, and also can get free shoeshine service. Princess begins brainwashing its guests early in the cruise, by using the word “excellent” in all their announcements. They are trolling for the top ratings on their passenger surveys, and it’s an insult to experienced cruisers who know what is excellent and what is not. Princess has a strict nonsmoking policy throughout most of the ship, including its balconies. There are smoking areas, however, and the smoke seemed to filter throughout the public areas of the ship at times in the evening, especially around the casino and shops. The “Movies Under the Stars” venue had some people attending, but it was very cool and windy on the open decks most of the time. I did not go to the movies, but the people at my table enjoyed it while covered with blankets, and with good popcorn. STATEROOM: My original stateroom was aft on deck 11, an outside double with balcony. I normally book midships, but booked late this time and was on a wait-list for a balcony cabin. King-size bed made from two twins locked together, a small glass table, fabric chair, desk and chair, and two nightstands. Mini-fridge with complimentary liquor, water, and soda (for Elite level guest). Bathrobe provided. Upgraded toiletries in the small bathroom, which had everything I needed. Towels were very tired and were mainly scratchy rags. Flat-screen TV with good on-board variety and local programming, with local programs when reception permitted. Telephone and good lighting. The balcony was small, but adequate. There were two corroded metal chairs with nylon material forming the back and seat, and both were soiled. There was also a small metal table. Balconies on the upper decks have a complete “roof” or overhang from the deck above, which I prefer as it gives shelter from the sun, and when I want to enjoy the balcony no matter what the weather. The balcony wall in the cabin is nearly entirely all glass, and the view is always great! Good curtains blocked about 99% of any light when wishing to sleep. Keycard entry for the room. Full-length mirror near the quite spacious closet, which had good wooden hangars. There is a safe in the room in a shelved storage unit near the closet. The room appeared clean, but there were stains on the chairs, soiled places on the carpeting, and the light-colored wood furniture had some chips, nicks, and dents in it. More drawer space would have been nice. Princess doesn’t have single occupancy fares, so I was charged double for my cabin. The two nights I was in this cabin, I never heard a sound from outside. Good water pressure in the shower. There was a really bad vibration noticeable the minute I entered the cabin, and it was so uncomfortable and annoying that I asked for someone to check the cabin. It was checked both at the dock, and after sailing, and the maintenance officer told me it was the wind and ocean movement. Definitely not true when tied to the pier! I have a Coast Guard rating, and know an engine malfunction when I feel it, and told the officer, who obviously did not believe me, that it was something malfunctioning with the propulsion system and/or propeller shaft or the propeller. After the first night of being shaken very badly by the vibration, I asked the passenger service crew to find another cabin for me, and somehow they did, due to one couple missing the ship. The new cabin was identical to my original cabin, but at midship on the same deck, and in the same tired condition. There was black mold in the soap dish recess in the shower stall, which I had to call housekeeping about. The almost jackhammer-intensity vibration was still noticeable even at midships, but not as bad as farther aft. Other people had commented on this as well. The mattresses in both cabins were so worn out they were not comfortable. I flipped both mattresses to see if it improved things, but it did not make much difference. The four pillows on the beds were so worn out they felt like dogs had chewed on them – small lumpy pieces of pillow stuffing were easily felt through the pillowcases. I asked for and received newer pillows, but they were still very flat, soft, and tired. Bed linens were otherwise very smooth and clean, and there is a comforter in a duvet cover instead of a blanket. Towels were once again badly worn and scratchy. When I changed cabins, the helpful steward asked if I wanted my min-fridge contents of all that free liquor, soda, and water moved with me. I don’t drink, and just asked for some bottled water. In a short time, two stewards in white coats appeared with a big tray loaded with an entire case of bottled water – a real blessing on this long cruise with so many shore excursions. They had big smiles, and quickly loaded my mini-fridge with the bottled water, which was a perfect size to easily carry. As far as the cabin vibration problem, it continued until nearly the end of the cruise, when the ship was detained part of one day in one of the Scandinavian ports for repairs. The captain made an announcement about this, saying it was a problem with a propulsion system. So much for the officer telling me it was the wind and ocean movement. DINING: There are three main dining rooms on the ship, the Horizon Court two-section buffet restaurant, a smaller buffet eatery, pizza, ice cream, wine venue, specialty pastries, hamburgers, and for-pay “premium” places to dine, as well as room service and some snacks available in the gift shops. Bottled water was for sale near the exits and lines for shore excursions. The menus hadn’t changed since my last Princess cruises for the past few years. I did notice, however, that the “light” or “heart-healthy” options had been removed. Sadly, the once rich and delicious fettuccini Alfredo, a famous Princess dining item, now has a rather bland and watery sauce. Vegetarian options were marked on the restaurant menus. I ate dinner in a traditional dining room with early seating, and had lunch and breakfast at the buffet. The first two nights in one of the dining rooms were terrible – sullen, silent waitress who could barely communicate in English, and dreadful food. I eat mainly fish, and the fish was undercooked, cold, greasy, and rubbery. It appears that Carnival, who owns Princess, is trying to cut corners and save money fleet and brand-wide, and it’s most apparent in the dining venues. In years past, there was a waiter, assistant waiter, and busboy for perhaps four medium-sized tables at most. Now it’s a waiter and a helper, for what appeared to be six or seven large tables. It took on average 45 minutes to even get an order placed and to see the first course. This was all over the dining room. I changed dining rooms after two nights, and the food was marginally better – but the service appallingly slow still, despite a veteran waitress and capable helper. Just too many people for too few staff, and probably the same in the kitchen. I was shocked to see as main entrée items things like macaroni and cheese, meat loaf, and spaghetti. Perhaps Princess/Carnival is catering more to what people enjoy eating at home, rather than providing a chance to try something more upscale and different. What used to be common cruise ship menu items are now only found on the for-pay restaurant menus. Some of the combinations of entrees on other nights were horrific combinations of what had to be leftovers, as none of it made sense, and the ingredients did not compliment each other or provide a good flavor. Deserts were varied, but again very atypical and unusual, and many people just resorted to ice cream, which is not what you pay for on a cruse. The overworked helpers were apparently forced to intrude on their diners, who are a captive audience at the table, and try to sell overpriced odd blends of after-dinner drinks and peculiar enhanced coffees, and all at my table for eight felt sorry for our nice helper. The service was gracious and experienced, just far too slow, and often took over two hours to get through a dinner. It was also very difficult to get water glasses refilled. The slow service made most of the early seating people late for shows or other evening plans. The buffet in the Horizon Court never opened on time, and desperately needed to use both sides. They had breakfast run right up to the start of lunch on one side, and then opened the other side for lunch, and should have cut breakfast off a bit earlier to allow double usage of the food lines and seating for the huge lunch time crowds. Hot buffet items were rarely even warm, and often cold, to the point that I asked the manager to have a chef check the foods with his food thermometer. When he did, he quickly removed the cold items, and probably prevented an epidemic of food-borne illness. This trend continued the entire cruise. The variety at the buffet was enormous, with typical American food items, as well as items favored by many international cultures, and it was a good chance to try foods not found at home. I personally love Princess’ Indian food items, and there was something new every day, as well as good Asian and British food items – just not always kept at the proper serving temperatures. The hot breakfast items such as pancakes, French toast, and waffles were usually held far too long and were cool and rubbery or just plain tough by the time I got them. The plates in the Horizon Court supply were hot when they should have been cold, probably right out of the dishwasher. The very hot plates melted some of the cold deserts, and ruined the salads. Chilled plates would have been far nicer and more appropriate. The oval plates for hot foods were usually cold. Princess continues its tradition of having medium-sized oval plastic plates to put an entire meal on, unless you have six hands to carry an additional desert or salad bowl or plate, or another plate for bread or something else. Seating was at a premium all the time, unless you were the first one in line, and it was hopeless to park one plate of food at a table and go back for more. Either the waiters cleared the table in your absence, or the lines were so long it was a waste of time. Beverage service was OK at the tables for water, juice, etc., but took a long time to get soft drinks. The canned soft drinks mostly seemed to have come from someplace where the lettering was not English or readable, and they always tasted strange to me, despite being Coke brand. Again, there was not enough staff when things got busy, but they did try to keep the tables cleared, cleaned and ready for the next guest. There was a Purell dispenser at the entrance to the buffet, and a smiling greeter at the entrance, but nobody enforced washing hands with the Purell. On Cunard someone politely dispenses the hand sanitizer into your hands before allowing you through the buffet lines, and people complied nicely, and stayed healthier. Serving tongs and tools for the buffet foods were used, and then fell back into the foods on the buffet line – they need to find a better and more sanitary way to dispense the foods. Bread and rolls always seemed stale and hard, and there was very little variety in the baked goods. There were some gluten-free and sugar-free items. No matter where food was served on the ship, the silverware was peculiar. There was a very large tablespoon or serving spoon, a knife, and a very small desert-sized fork wrapped up in the napkins in the buffet, or at the table in the dining room. Apparently these was supposed to be all-purpose utensils no matter what was eaten, and guests were supposed to eat their desert with the same utensils they used for the main course. There were smaller spoons available at the buffets, but it was a hassle to find and get them, and leaving the table before finishing one’s food resulted in the table being cleared while I was gone. Dining room utensils were changed with the courses, but the utensils were distributed according to European use, not what those in the USA are accustomed to. Good chance to try something new and different, perhaps, but it took some getting used to. Fish served were varieties which used to be used for bait, or called bottom feeders or junk fish. There was lobster tail served just one night. The tired Baked Alaska parade took place one night, and was very poorly timed, and just held up the slow dining service even more, with soggy Baked Alaska served unless one really insisted that they wanted something else for desert. This event turns nice dinners into a circus atmosphere, and it wasn’t really appropriate with this rather older crowd of experienced passengers. There were various theme nights, but not much was done differently other than attempts at regional cuisine and different waiter uniforms. On Italian night, some specialty dish was prepared with so much overload of garlic that the heavy odor was nauseating and lingered forever in the dining room. On long tour days I had dinner in the buffet, which other than serving myself, was actually much nicer. It was faster, quieter, and I had far more variety, and there were nicer table settings at dinner time. I did not go to any other dining venues on this cruise. ACTIVITIES: There was something for everybody, from dawn until late at night. Gamblers, art auction fans, fitness fanatics, music lovers, readers, and everything in between had plenty to keep them busy. My favorite activity was Zumba dance class, held four times during this cruise with a dynamic Brazilian dancer as instructor. However, this was a port-intensive cruise, and most people spent the day ashore touring, and came back very tired after getting up at dawn for the tours most of the time. Sea days were a welcome break to try to sleep in and just relax on balconies or elsewhere. There was above-normal warmth, sunshine, and gorgeous dry weather almost the entire cruise, and the open decks and pools were very popular. Sea days featured “sidewalk bargain sales” from the shops, which made the shoppers happy. Shops had good variety, with the usual slightly inflated shipboard pricing. Timing of some of the activities was not good. Princess seemed to save the premium activity times for their money-makers, like the art auctions, infomercial-type lectures for spa services, and shore excursions. The very interesting port lectures and enrichment lectures always seemed to be at lunch time, or just when most people were getting ready for dinner, or had not yet returned from late tours. There were some good fitness activities, but it would take a really dedicated person to be on deck before 7 AM for jogging, Yoga, or other fitness type activity. Most if not all the fitness activities appeared to be scheduled first thing in the morning. This is a cruise, not boot camp, and a later time would have made these activities much more enjoyable for a lot of us. The ship photography team was everywhere, tirelessly, endlessly. Photos were very expensive. Some of the photos taken at the gangways used embarrassingly corny and amateurish props and costumed crew members. I did not have any pictures taken. Photo gallery staff were extremely helpful and friendly with camera advice and issues. PROBLEMS: An issue which nearly caused a mutiny on this cruise was the internet service. The majority of the passengers owned and used wireless devices constantly. After a few days, and with allowance for the slow and sometimes intermittent internet service at sea, I kept getting messages about the service having too many users and to try later. Reception was OK in the cabin, and not much better in the internet café, when the internet was available. Repeated calls to the internet café manager got a polite response about there not being some kind of part on the ship to allow more users, and that it had been ordered and would take a week to arrive and be installed. It took more than a week, and frustrated thousands of people who needed to be in touch with family, or do work while on vacation. The internet service was also very expensive and it was easy to spend a fortune just waiting for the service to connect, or to send and receive simple email messages. Princess should have been aware of the exploding demand for wireless internet access on their ships years ago, and done something proactively, rather than annoy and frustrate their guests with lack of service. To his credit, the young male internet café manager was always gracious and calm, no matter what level of frustration he was dealing with, and he did give credit to me for a wasted 30 minutes when there was a connectivity issue. Elite members do get some free minutes for internet, but free or not, nobody wants to see the minutes wasted. Another really serious issue during the cruise was the failure of huge sections of each deck’s toilet systems. I had this problem with both my cabins for the first three days of the cruise, intermittently, but others had it worse with no usable toilets and had to use the public restrooms. The smell of sewage was definitely noticeable throughout parts of the cabin decks. This could have quickly resulted in serious health issues had it gone on much longer. Once the toilet problems were fixed, I had no cold water for half a day – a very annoying and inconvenient situation when it happened right after a Zumba class and I needed to shower before lunch. This was eventually fixed, but it took time. On the last day of the cruise, my safe locking system failed, and it took a few hours for a crewman to repair the door and put the safe back together. This was the last day, and a much-needed sea day for some rest before dealing with end of cruise packing, and not the time to have to babysit equipment repairs in my cabin. SERVICE: Other than the slow dining room service, I had the best cabin steward service I’ve had in years. Quick, polite, cheerful, and very timely and efficient. The rest of the service was the usual mix of enthused newcomers to the ship’s crew, rarely, and then those who were just doing their job, and then the sad mix at the bottom of people who did not like their jobs, or had been on the ship far too long without a break. The front desk passenger services people were enviably multilingual, but his could also make communication a problem, and some of the young crew had rather hot tempers when things were not going well. The young lady who helped me change cabins was the picture of Asian grace and courtesy, and I was very fortunate with her wonderful service throughout the voyage. There were a lot of rather grim, tense crew visible, including officers, and I did not see very many smiles on this trip. The crew who used to say hello and smile whenever they saw passengers now just ignore people. Perhaps the fact of tips being automatically added to cruise bills is responsible for this, although tips can be adjusted up or down if the passenger wishes. The good staff did a wonderful job, but some of their fellow workers need a reminder course in passenger service – or possibly need a vacation. Shore excursion desk staff did a great job trying to make everybody happy with so many tours which were sold out. This group did their best to get people what they wanted, and to adjust schedules and provide information. ENTERTAINMENT: What I saw of the several production shows was so bad I left after five minutes. The shows are dated, old, and tired, and the performers tried, but were not together when dancing, or able to sing on key most of the time. Seating was terrible, as most people seemed to attend the first show, and unless you were there an hour early, seats were gone very quickly. Younger people did not have the courtesy to offer seats to the obviously elderly or special needs people, either. The string trio who played classical music at intervals in the Plaza sounded very amateurish, and were never together. I was too tired to investigate anything else with the shows, which were not things I enjoyed anyway. There were the usual magicians, illusionists, mind-readers, comedians, and I heard mixed reviews about all of these. The lounge singers and entertainers had small crowds, but again, I did not personally stay to listen. With the intense port schedule on this cruise, people were generally too tired to enjoy much night life, especially with the late dinner hours. Some of the Plaza dancers or other show people looked like second-rate vaudeville acts. The best entertainment in my case was watching people, socializing with others, and meeting people of various nationalities and cultures. I treasure sharing a big table with an Indian family in the buffet at dinner one night. There were a lot of passengers from many British Commonwealth and independent countries on this cruise and all were delightful ambassadors for their countries and cultures. The scenery when coming into port every day was great entertainment, as well as just watching the sea from my balcony, or walking the open decks and enjoying the ocean and fresh sea breezes. The guilt-free naps on the balcony, falling asleep to the sound of the sea, were priceless. Sunsets and sunrises were all different, and all gorgeous – free entertainment at my convenience, there for the taking of photos and pure visual enjoyment. PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS: This cruise was round-trip from Southampton, England, a port with many things to explore. Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Poland were countries visited. The highlight of the cruise was the two full days in port, overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. Most of the ports could be walked to and through from the ship pier, with the exception of Belgium and Poland. Russia had its own very strict visitor and visa policies, and tours were the only way to see this incredible port city unless one had a tourist visa allowing independent travel, with the city itself being some distance away from the ship’s pier. There were taxis and some type of shuttle vans outside the passenger terminal. The cruise terminal is brand new, with restrooms and lots of shops with nice English-speaking people working in them. It’s a small area, but great shopping. The immigration stations are the first thing seen inside the cruise terminal, with deadly serious officials checking passports and visas, and then letting people pass through into the more welcoming outer terminal.. Returning to re-board the ship, passengers go through modified airport-level security before passing through into the passport control booths and then onto their ships. There is a small stretch of open dockside area between the ship and the cruise terminal, but the entire terminal area is security fenced and guarded. This cruise port area can take up to six ships, supposedly, with separate buildings and nice landscaping. Tour guides and buses meet guests in front, or as the guests exit the immigration section door. There was a good variety of tours for every interest and physical condition, and some tours were in languages other than English – and tours also were available for those with mobility special needs or guests wishing more adventurous or physical experiences. Tours ranged from a few hours to all day, and were on foot, by bus, small boats, and other modalities, and in all price ranges. Tours can be reserved on the cruise line website ahead of time at home, or booked on the ship. Book early to avoid sold out tours! There was a drop box on the ship for forms requesting or cancelling tours, a big time-saver. If you love medieval cities, cathedrals, cobblestone streets, picturesque villages, stunningly beautiful palaces, cultural traditions, and old waterfront cities, this is the cruise for you! I took a half-day tour of Bruges, Belgium, and it was loaded with sights. The guide was very good and the canal boat tour included was lovely. As with all the cities visited, there was a lot of walking on cobblestones and uneven old streets, and the hiking boots I brought were one of my most useful items. The guide walked a bit too fast for really seeing things in detail, however, and it was hard to take photos. Also hard to hear the very good commentary due to enormous masses of tourists. This was the case in some of the other ports as well, as this is the tourist season there. The smell of the famous chocolate was in the air, and the beautiful lace of the region was displayed in many shops. I also took a half-day tour of Stockholm with a sunny, cheerful and well-spoken guide, and enjoyed hearing about the historic sights I was seeing. Fast paced again, but still able to stop and photograph things. Another half-day bus tour in Copenhagen was very good, with walking and some riding in the bus combined. Plenty of time to see most of the sights, but would have enjoyed more time in the old port part of town. Most of the tours I enjoyed allowed for an hour or so of free time to explore and shop independently. Stores ranged from tiny kiosks or hole in the wall shops to multistory department stores with famous high-end and world-recognized brand names. The crown jewel of the Baltic region has to be St. Petersburg, and two days in port is barely enough to see part of the sights. The ship’s tours were all-day marathons, and some of the most durable passengers booked additional evening tours for cultural programs or sightseeing. They probably got three hours of sleep, but had memories for a lifetime. I used the services of TJ Tours, and had a private guide with his own car just for myself. It was worth the considerable expense, as I saw what I wanted to at my own pace. Mikhail the guide was superb, and knows Russian history. His English was very good, and we were able to discuss history, politics, and life in general like family. He was able to get priority entrance for me into all the sights. I did not visit the Hermitage Museum, however, as I have seen enough photos of what is in there to feel like I’ve seen it – and from what others on the ship reported, it was jammed with humanity, and hot and stuffy, and they couldn’t linger to see the many famous pictures, if they were able to see them at all over the crowds. I had a very special and meaningful private visit to the legendary Vaganova Ballet Academy’s historic museum, which thrilled me as a former ballet dancer. I also enjoyed a visit to St. Petersburg’s oldest fire station, which was a treat as I now work in emergency services. I saw everything I had on my list, over two days with Mikhail, and it was the best tour I’ve ever had at any port. TJ Tours is easy to work with via email, and they communicate adequately in English and promptly. It was nourishment for my soul to visit the places my ancestors came from, and to see people who looked like me. It satisfied a lifetime longing to see where my family came from, and I felt very much at home in all the ports visited. Apparently I blended in well enough that in nearly every port, other tourists would approach me and ask me in careful English if I spoke English, and could I give them directions! I enjoyed exploring on my own, at my own pace, and took thousands of photographs. It was fun to see ordinary sights as well as the historic ones, such as stores and shops and schools. I saw Kellogg’s cornflakes in a small store in Keflavik, and the same cosmetic brands common in the USA in all the stores. Dogs are permitted in some stores in the ports visited, and it was amazing to see how well they coped with escalators. Goods and services are very expensive in the Baltic and Scandinavian region, and people pay high taxes there, and receive enhanced social benefit from these taxes throughout their lives. Some cities had very good bus and tram systems, and subways. A family friend lives in Helsinki, and was kind enough to guide me around her city for hours, both on foot and on trams, with great information on all the sights. Princess used to have very good port maps for independent exploring, and they still provide a fact sheet for each port. Their maps, however, are very basic, and not very good. The ship’s library has some good tour books, and they were very popular with people making notes for independent touring throughout the cruise. Pocket-sized guidebooks with maps could come in handy here, if you can bring them from home without going over your baggage allowance. The ship probably could do more for its independent travelers, but of course their main intent is to make money from selling their tours. The tour buses I was on were without fail all new, clean, and carefully driven. The bus driver for the Bruges tour in Belgium gave his passengers small chocolates. Tour scheduling was somewhat inconvenient, but perhaps had to take into consideration arrival times, tides, bus availability, or other factors. Some of the best tours began mid-morning, and ran past a normal lunch time, and did not offer a meal during the tour. Other tours were very long and got back to the ship minutes before the cut-off time to board. For early-sitting diners, there was no time to clean up before dinner. Anytime dining probably solved this problem for some, but there were always long lines of people trying to get into the anytime dining room sections. Some of the early-morning tours left practically as soon as the ship docked, necessitating a dawn breakfast, and did not get back to the ship until long after lunch time. Anybody needing to eat on a schedule or for medical reasons had to do some creative planning and eating to survive. Some ports don’t allow foodstuffs off the cruise ships, so it was difficult to take snacks. Overall, the tours were great for the most part, and so was independent touring. It all depends on your own personal preference. Unless you’ve studied your history and know all the facts, or been to the ports before, having a guide explain things was invaluable to get the most of the sights and places. DISEMBARKATION: There were several options available. These included express walk-off service for those who could manage their own luggage the entire time almost as soon as the ship was cleared, very early in the morning, as well as traditional “leave the bag in the hall at bedtime for collection” style, with debarkation at set times according to deck location. Captain’s Circle high-level members had priority disembarkation and a private waiting lounge, very nice. I used the express walk-off service, but there was some confusion or mix-up with the ship’s personnel, and they cleared one group off early – and never announced the second group, which I had signed up for. I went to the assigned meeting place at the proper time, only to be told rather sharply that all the walk-off people had left an hour ago, and just to go and get off the ship. If you do plan on using the express service, be prepared for long waits for elevators if you need them, and many people did because of the length of the cruise requiring more clothes and thus large bags. It was a bit hectic and crowded leaving the ship, but the small old cruise terminal I entered had some truly lovely, helpful, and calm staff on hand to provide directions. I had a private car and driver, and was directed to a special waiting area inside part of the terminal to wait in comfort. SUMMARY: This port-intensive cruise is not a relaxed luxury experience. If you are looking for days of relaxing around the swimming pool and lots of sea days, you are on the wrong ship. I used the ship for a floating hotel, and that’s what it was good for on this particular trip. No unpacking more than once, no worries about housekeeping or cooking, and every day you wake up someplace new and marvelous. I did not go for the nightlife, and did not feel that I had missed anything. It has a good fitness center if you enjoy workouts and have the energy after so much touring. I never went to the Spa, as there wasn’t time. By the end of full days of touring, and often walking 10 miles over cobblestones, it was great just to clean up, get fed, and do something quietly for an hour or two and then collapse into bed. I love to sleep on a ship at sea, and despite the worn mattresses and the vibration which never let up entirely, I had some very good rest. This cruise had a lot of couples averaging in age from late 50s to early 70s. There were about a dozen children on board of varying ages, and the older ones appeared lost and bored most of the time when they were visible. Lots of opportunities for talking with interesting people from all over the world. The ship felt and looked tired, and did not seem to have the style and class Princess used to deliver reliably. The ports and itinerary were the main feature on this cruise, not the ship, cuisine or amenities. Most people toured most or all of every day in every port, and we were all glad to see the sights and then return to the ship to recharge for the next day’s adventures. The weather was extraordinarily good for the region, and I was so grateful to enjoy the blue skies, sunshine, and balmy temperatures which were above average on some days. There was a bit of fog at sea now and again, and some mist leaving England, but otherwise the entire trip was travel-brochure perfect with the weather. Only the last day, at sea, was there a weather event when a cold front passed through the region, and it brought very high winds and moderate seas. The wind was strong enough to pressurize my balcony door, and it could not be opened. There was noticeable motion all day on the ship, which made the Zumba class even more fun and active. One lurched gently into the person next to them during the class as the ship moved, and I met some nice people that way! I feel that for the amount of ports and sea days provided, it was good value for the money (despite paying double for single occupancy). I would cruise with Princess again, and have a Nordic cruise planned for next year – but I also have realistic expectations about the current version of Princess now that Carnival Corporation has bought the Princess brand.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Crown Princess 26th September 2013 First let me put our cards on the table , this was very much a tester cruise to see if it was worth the extra money to travel on a larger ship. Embarkation ....... 11.30am hand keys over to parking ... Read More
Crown Princess 26th September 2013 First let me put our cards on the table , this was very much a tester cruise to see if it was worth the extra money to travel on a larger ship. Embarkation ....... 11.30am hand keys over to parking attendant . 1.30 step on board ship , I could have flown to Majorca from Bournemouth in the same time, and had a nice little jaunt around the med. Cabin A433 was excellent , our first balcony cabin well worth paying for , the décor of the rest of the vessel could best be summed up as American Gothic meets tarts boudoir. Taste is a very personal thing ,suffice to say that those of you with a minimalist aesthetic might want to stay home. Now comes the tricky bit , what happens when three thousand people get up a little later the next day and stroll down to breakfast at 9 am to be confronted by queues up the stairs. Not a lot is the answer , 40 minutes wait ,followed by the maître'd telling us to get up earlier. The ports of call on this cruise were hardly the biggest draw , Rotterdam , and Guernsey . Tours to Amsterdam were $99 to $ 400 dollars each. We caught the train and spent 57 euros return for the two of us. Guernsey was a tender port which took one hour ten minutes from joining the queue in the piazza to setting foot on land. It was forty minutes on the return . The captains formal night was a pleasant enough evening , although I was shocked by the menu . The main chefs suggestion turned out to be pork chop, it was very nice but where was the beef , lobster etc ? Having said that the standard of the food was good across the venues where it was available. The shows yet again reflect the change in taste over the years. The magician and comedian who did the first two nights would have been far better suited to a smaller venue than the main theatre. The proper show when it did materialise on formal night , was 35 minutes long , very showy ,very short. To sum up I would say that this vessel would suit large family groups who want to holiday together , but do very different things. You will need to be very British and very stoic as queueing is the name of the game . It reminds me very much of the satellite TV debate , just because you have two hundred channels it doesn't mean any more than three are worth watching . It's the same with these massive ships , must you have mini golf , and half a dozen pools ? Or would you rather get in and out of port pronto and meet some interesting people your liable to see again. Your choice Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
The Crown Princess was the fourth version of the original Grand Class ships, with various modifications, notably another balcony deck, thereby increasing the passenger capacity by 500 from 2600 to 3100. She was the first of the ... Read More
The Crown Princess was the fourth version of the original Grand Class ships, with various modifications, notably another balcony deck, thereby increasing the passenger capacity by 500 from 2600 to 3100. She was the first of the "Crown” class ships, debuting in 2006, and has two sister ships, which followed, the Emerald and the Ruby. Considering she is in relative terms, a new ship, her design was not well planned. Despite having to accommodate a greater number of passengers, she has no more amenities, and this leads to overcrowding in many venues, both inside and on outside decks, with long waiting times, particularly for "anytime dining”. There were several occasions when some of the elevators were not operational, and some passengers had to walk up 15 decks, while others who were unable to walk, were extremely frustrated at the long wait for any elevator. All balcony cabins, except for the top two decks, are also only semi private, and can be overlooked by those above. Most of the above cannot now be remedied as that is the way the ship was built. However there are a great number of areas that could be improved or altered. We over-nighted at the Premier Inn at Southampton airport from where we had a 20 minute journey to the QE 2 Terminal, arriving at 11.30. We drove into the embarkation shed where we dropped off our large cases. We then drove to the short stay carpark, literally across the road where we were met by a Parking For Cruises rep. The handover was dealt with efficiently and we returned to the embarkation shed with our hand cases. We had preferred boarding which meant we were shown to the first available check in desk ahead of the main queue and and didn’t have any wait at all to go through the check-in process. We were also given a boarding card which enabled us to embark Crown Princess as soon as the process began at 12 noon. It is helpful to know these Grand Class ships because only the top couple of decks have enclosed balconies, the lower ones are exposed to full view from above, which is why we chose this particular cabin on Lido Deck . As 255 was ready for us we dropped off our hand cases before commencing our familiarisation tour of the ship. Having done this we sat on the aft open deck 15 basking in the warm Southampton sunshine. After the mandatory safety drill we returned to our cabin to find our two cases had arrived - thankfully - as we had already sailed, and we then proceeded to unpack. Cabins All cabins are relatively moderate in size, and there is not much drawer space and for cruises longer than a week, would pose a problem. The bathrooms are tiny, although there is adequate open shelf space. The showers have only fixed showerheads, which is now very outdated, and not very user friendly. The cabins have two electrical sockets on the dressing table both of which are only 110 volts, but one is rendered useless, due to the proximity to the other, and it is therefore not possible to use the second plug socket simultaneously. As this ship is heavily marketed in Europe, it is unacceptable to only offer American electrical connectivity. The hairdryer also on the dressing table, has now migrated from the bathroom, but is still of poor quality, and is fixed to the wall. The towels are of differing quality, but all, both hand and bath towels are far too small. It is also surprising that unless you are either a suite or an elite passenger, you are not given shower gel, yet body lotion is provided to all cabins, why not? One also has to request bathrobes and fruit. We were exceedingly fortunate that we had a very good cabin steward who kept everything in excellent condition,and gave a very efficient, professional and friendly service despite having sixteen other cabins. Dining Having opted for "anytime dining”, after finishing our unpacking, we went to the Da Vinci restaurant, which is one of two designated for Anytime Dining. Arriving at about 7.30, there was a queue of about a dozen passengers waiting to be seated. and a degree of disorganisation concerning table numbers. After about five minutes standing in the middle of the restaurant with four other passengers, we were shown to a table which was wrongly numbered. Apparently the system appears to be, that should you wish to share a table, your wait is considerably shorter than if you do not. You can reserve a table for the evening by calling the reservation line. There are four lines only which open at 8.00 am and there are only a fixed number of tables in each dining room which can be booked. This percentage varies between 15 and 50 per cent, depending on who you speak to. Once this number has been reached, bookings are no longer accepted and you have to go and wait your turn in line when you want to dine. So much for anytime dining! The second night we were even luckier and were presented with a pager and told to go away and wait until it buzzed! This was about 10-15 minutes later. Food in the dining room was satisfactory, and all the waiters were helpful and attentive and tried to please, but the service was appalling with 45 minutes the regular wait between the entrée and the main courses. Passengers opting for anytime dining were at a disadvantage, as one of the "anytime” dining restaurants had to accommodate the overspill of fixed seating, and therefore there was always a wait for a table, regardless of the time of arrival. This is totally unacceptable, exacerbated by the fact that due to the extra 500 passengers, on this "Grand” class ship, fixed seating dining cannot be accommodated in the allotted restaurant and therefore the "overspill” is put into one of the "anytime” dining restaurants, thereby causing an intolerable wait This applied to all meals, although to a lesser extent for breakfast and lunch. Dining room service breakfast was always only provided in the Botticelli. This is the least accessible of the three dining rooms because you have to go to the rear bank of elevators, so anyone in the forward section of the ship has at least a ten minute walk. Particularly at breakfast, there was also long waits for the elevators. Why do they not serve breakfast in one of the amidship dining rooms? Norovirus We were also horrified to find there was an absence of hand sanitisers at any of the restaurant entrances. Princess seemingly have dispensed with these apart from in the Horizon Court buffet, and you are expected to go to the toilets outside the restaurant to wash your hands. Needless to say we saw no one follow suit. Quite frankly the Crown deserves to have Novovirus on board if this is their cavalier attitude to hygiene. Revenue Generation On the first night at dinner, at the end of food service, a coffee trolley was presented and we were invited to choose a speciality coffee. This was yet another example of many we had already had since embarkation, of a revenue generation opportunity by Princess, but where no mention was made of the cost. We had to ask if regular coffee was still free, as this had not been offered by our waiter. Having ascertained it was and ordering ours, others on our table followed suit. Earlier in the day whilst talking to two other passengers, we were interrupted by a waiter, who was.touting for the wine tasting. He began his pitch by saying it was our lucky day because he was signing up passengers for the wine tasting. It was fortunate because we realised there would be a charge and opted out, and once the other couple realised that it would cost them $25 each, they quickly declined!! We also think the constant "do you want any drinks from the bar” intrusive and very annoying. Even the sail-away drinks offered on deck as we left Southampton, carried a price tag, and many passengers did not realise until they had already taken their drinks. On the first morning at sea, we went to the 11o'clock gathering of Cruise Critic in Skywalkers which was very well attended with around 50+ passengers, and several officers including the Hotel General Manager and Cruise Director. Embarkation/Disembarkation Princess’s embarkation and disembarkation organisation is as good as it always has been, and knocks spots of cruise lines with far less passengers to accommodate, such as Oceania, and the operation was slick and efficient. Shows Dinner on the second night was again slow, despite being on a table with only three of us, and over two hours later, having eaten only three courses which were unmemorable, we were too late to see the show. This had started at 9.30, the curtain was drawn and they would not let us in. As all evening meals were very protracted and occupied several hours, we never managed to actually catch any of the "Showtime”. Ships Facilities The menus for room service breakfast are mediocre. The options do not offer a wide choice, and indeed the only hot dish is what appears to be a bacon and egg muffin with ketchup, the latter being an optional extra! Unfortunately despite the clement weather, we were unable to swim in the Neptune Pool as this was roped off for several days, apparently this was due to a leak The gym has a good range of exercise equipment, as one would expect with a ship of this size, and fortunately despite the fullness of the ship, was not utilised very much, so there was not a long wait to use the equipment. Shore excursions Shore excursions were costly, understandable, when visiting the most expensive Scandinavian country, but more expensive than identical shorexs offered by Celebrity Cruises in these ports. Nevertheless, the two we booked were well organised and enjoyable. However the port lecturer Lyndon Jolley, who on his own admission is a failed civil engineer, to my mind is also a failed port lecturer. Undoubtedly he had been to the ports which we were visiting, and gave some information about what to see and do etc, but the cardinal sin is to mispronounce the place names. Passengers expect that they will be told the correct pronunciation of the town that they are going to see, and it is also an insult to the host town to mispronounce its name. He repeatedly referred to the port as FLÅM, when in fact it should be "FLOM”. It is wrong of Princess to employ a supposed "expert” when he/or she is not. Although, unfortunately Princess has never been known for the calibre of her port lecturers Princess seemingly do not seem to attach much importance to place name pronounciation, as the Cruise Director herself in conversation with us, about the port of Geiranger which we had just left, rhymed it with danger! . With videoing being so commonplace, why do they have to show poor quality slides to illustrate their talks? In view of the need to maximise revenue, it is in their interest to present the ports in the best possible light!. Ports BERGEN On the night before arrival in Bergen, the Captain had said there would be "a slight wind" in fact it was a force 8 on the Beaufort scale, and there was a good deal of movement. One lady had remarked that she had never known a ship to creak as much as the Crown, and several passengers were very unwell, and were glad to arrive in port. We docked at 10.00 am, after breakfast which was another slow affair. The weather was overcast with low cloud and a drizzle, typically Bergen weather. Our American friend was meeting someone in town and we left the ship together. Because of the size of the Crown we were docked in the container port but fortunately Princess had laid on a free shuttle bus to the centre of the town. Alighting at the park with the fountain, we walked to the fish market and the base of the Floien cable car, where we left our American friend with her Norwegian pilot. We walked back down the hill to the fish market, which is now very much more tourist orientated, with less fresh pieces of wet fish sold, and more plated food for the tourist to eat on the hoof, although there were long trestle tables to sit at should you wish. The standard of the fish was impressive and looked very fresh with several recognisable species. The exception to this was pieces of very dark flesh which we were told was whale meat. Needless to say prices were exorbitant and the salmon for example, was 200NK which is about £22 per kilo. There were also several large tanks with huge crabs swimming around as well as lobsters, crayfish and sea trout and one particularly huge catfish. There is also a large indoor market selling similar merchandise to those outside, with equally expensive, but the freshest of fish. Enquiring of one guy the name of a certain fish we were surprised to find that he was an Italian from Milan who had been living in Bergen for six months as there was no work at home! Asked if he spoke Norwegian he said no - English, and he had taught his fellow workers Italian! Apparently this is quite common throughout Norway, not only in Bergen, and indeed we were to meet a whole crowd of Spanish waiters at our lunch stop at Hornindal enroute to Geiranger. By now the sun had come out and we walked a little further along the jetty wall opposite the Bryggen for videoing. Retracing our steps past the fish market we walked round the other side of the Vagen. This is the old wharf with houses which date back to the Hanseatic era, all made of wood,and now occupied with expensive shops. There have been many projects over the last ten to fifteen years to restore these houses to their original state using the old materials and tools. With the weather improving we returned to the park, and before getting on the shuttle bus back to the port, we sat by the fountain in the sun. We sailed at 6.00 pm, the same time as the Aida Sul, who being smaller was berthed nearer town. However size counted and we steamed ahead of her. Ate in Da Vinci's and again we had to wait. Dinner is becoming a marathon taking over two hours, for three courses! HELLESYLT Arrival was 8.00 am, and room service breakfast was ordered for 7.00-7.30 and arrived promptly two minutes before our 7.00am wake up call. Our booked shorex mustered in the Princess Theatre at 8.30am and on leaving the ship by tender, we had a short walk along the path to reach the coaches. Only those on the shorex were allowed to go ashore, so the majority of passengers sailed down to Geiranger, however the tender operation was very well organised by Tony, the Chief Security Officer. Our guide was Heide, a German originally from Hanover, but who had lived in Norway for over 31 years, married to a Norwegian. Apart from "guiding" she was not only a vetenarian, but also rented land and kept sheep a horse, donkey and chickens. She was a very good guide with a good command of the English language. Driving past the nine mile Stryn Lake we then stopped for coffee at a Best Western hotel, the Raftevolds at Hornindal and were served coffee and a beautiful piece of chocolate cake. We then continued our drive from Hjelle, up the single track road at the start of the old Strynefjell mountain road to the Buldrefoss waterfall followed by lunch. This was a small glass of prawn cocktail followed by poached salmon, boiled potatoes and some cauliflower, carrots and broccoli, the latter of which was not well cooked as usual! It was here that all the waiters were Spanish! After lunch we drove to Mount Dalsnibba, via a toll road, with 13 hairpin bends, newly tarmacked which we had no doubt paid for in the price for the shorex, as the charge for buses was over £100! This was a great deal better than the original road I had used in 1959 which was a poor surface, with no Armco. The coaches then were not automatic and the driver had to manoeuvre forwards and backwards to get round the bends, overhanging the edge of the road, in so doing! Now it is a doddle in comparison. Arriving at the top, the views down into the Geiranger fjord were spectacular as well as the Tystig Glacier, and not only Crown, but also Celebrity Eclipse and P &O Adonia were visible. Apparently as the Eclipse comes every cruise, they have priority and moor against a pontoon from where the passengers can walk off the ship, whereas both us and Adonia had a very short tender to the shore. The final stop was Flydalsjuvet from where the foregoing were more visible. We continued down into Geiranger fjord to round off our day trip. Poor Heide very nearly missed the last ferry back to Hellesylt which would mean she would be stranded in Geiranger. Luckily the driver of the coach let her off by the side of the ferry and she had to run to make it, which she did by the skin of her teeth; and as she got on, the ro-ro doors closed behind her. Poor soul she had not waited to collect any tips which might have been forthcoming. The day had been glorious and we were blessed with very warm sunshine and many people including us wore short sleeved tops. OLDEN Breakfast in Botticelli with the usual wait! We docked at around 8.00am. Like Hellesylt, Geiranger and Flam to come, Olden is a hamlet, not even a village with really nothing of itself worthy of note. The lakeside offered walking opportunities along the road which carried very little traffic, but this was not for us. With no shore trip booked we decided to see what was on offer shoreside, although we had hoped to get to see the glacier, we were aware the prices could be high. We found three different options. A miniature train went along the lake, for 150NOK. This went at half hourly intervals. Another option was the Glacier Express, an open topped double-decker bus, three and half hours for 250NOK, which does not go to the Briksdal Glacier. The third option was a coach ride to the bottom of the Briksdal Glacier, from where you had the choice of walking for 45 minutes each way to get to the top, or take the troll car for an extra charge. The coach ride which took only half a hour was 350NOK and the little troll ride, in a jeep type buggy holding 9 plus the driver was an extra 190NOK, payable on arrival at the glacier. Despite the expense, we decided to do this, but unfortunately the next coach available wasn't until 1.00pm, so we returned to the ship and sat on the balcony in the sun. TIP - if you want to do this trip, get off the ship as soon as possible and go to the building on the quay and book. You will then get the widest pick of departure times. This is not a public bus, as implied elsewhere, but runs just for cruise ship passengers. You cannot mix and match bus times and must return on your allotted time slot. In view of the walk entailed to get off the ship we left well in time to get the 1pm coach. Several other passengers were sitting waiting, but not all for our trip - some were doing the open top bus. Pretty much on time the coach arrived, when suddenly a horde of about 9 men and women pushed us out of the way in order to get on the coach first, presumably to get the best seats. We later found out they were Russians, off our ship Ironically the bus driver spoke Russian and indeed could well have originated from there, in view of the number of non Norwegian workers we encountered. The consequence of above, saw us sitting virtually at the back of the coach, but fortunately the journey time was a little under 30 minutes, the driver drove faster than any others, we had experienced so far. The trip ran along the valley and by the lake, before ascending the narrow mountain road until we came to a quick halt at the base of the Briksdal Glacier, where there is a shop and cafe There was only a short wait before we got on the 9 seater buggy, with 7 of the aforesaid Russians, most of whom spoke no English at all, for the 10 minutes ride up nearer to the glacier. We were dropped off at what was a small staging post, complete with toilet facilities, and from here it was shank's pony, another 15 minute walk to the very base of the Glacier. Whilst the path was reasonably wide, there were a great deal of loose stones, so it was quite treacherous in places and with a few steep bits. However we persevered, and finally reached the edge of the glacier. Surprisingly, probably because of all the exertion of walking, it was very warm and sheltered despite being only yards from the glacier. Sad to say that it is receding at a great rate of knots, and there are markers alongside the track stating what year it was at that point. Scientists predict that it will have disappeared in a couple of decades. It was in fact slightly disappointing as it didn't stretch down as far to the lake as seen in picture postcards. Nevertheless it is still a sight worth seeing. As always, walking back to the buggies was quicker than it appeared on the outward journey, and we returned back to town, the same way we had gone. With only a cursory glance at the shops, we got back on board. Once again we had been so fortunate as the weather had been kind and the sun was warm. FLÅM Our luck ran out today as we docked at this famous little village with the famous railway, as the heavens opened and it poured. Our group went by coach, whilst others took the train first. The rain eased slightly as we drove through a relatively new tunnel which is one of Norway’s longest, to Gudvagen and on through the Naeroy Vallley, climbing up one of Norway’s steepest roads to Stalheim and its hotel. The view from the hotels terrace over the majestic valley Nærøydalen is quite breathtaking. Here we stopped for a coffee and a piece of cake, and managed to dodge the rain to take photographs from the terrace, with the clouds and mist swirling around it made the scene very ethereal. After a short stop we drove down the other side of a very steep road and were grateful for the skills of the experienced Norwegian coach driver. From here we continued to Voss and the Fleischers Hotel, equally as old as the Stalheim, and as well appointed, to a very good lunch with a great variety of both cold and hot dishes available. After lunch we left to board the train, the platform being only a few feet from the hotel, where thankfully the rain had stopped and we stood on the platform waiting for the train to take us from Voss to Myrdal. From here we changed for the famous Flamsbanen, travelling the 12 mile, 3000 feet drop to sea level and the very picturesque little town nestling at the end of the Sognefjord. The train stops by request at tiny stations and also a viewing platform for the 280 foot Kjosfossen Waterfall, where passengers are allowed to alight to take pictures. The journey time takes about an hour and we soon arrived back at our departure point, and returned to the ship via a very large "shopping” opportunity of which many passengers availed themselves. Retailers give you customs forms when making significant purchases of goods, and at our last port, Stavanger, Norwegian customs officers came on board to refund local sales taxes. Sailing just before 6 pm, as all passengers were onboard, we slowly manoeuvred our way down the fjords, not reaching the open sea until after midnight. STAVANGER Our final port was the 3rd largest city in Norway, Stavanger, situated on the extreme south west coast. Since the 1960’s when oil and gas exploration started here, it is now the world’s third largest oil exporter, and its affluence is obvious and indeed it is considered one of the most expensive cities in Norway, even above Oslo.. There are many sightseeing attractions, both in the city and on the fjords, visiting the famous Pulpit Rock situated only a short distance away, .is one which appeals to many. As I had lived for some months on a naval island only a few minutes from Stavanger, it was lovely to revisit old haunts and see how the passage of time had changed the city. One of the sad aspects was to find that the large quayside fish market which once was a very thriving affair, had long since disappeared, to be replaced by a very small indoor market. It was even more disappointing to learn that Norway now has a very large farmed salmon industry, with only a small percentage of salmon caught that is truly wild. This is a very depressing state of affairs particularly as Norway was originally the bastions of beautiful fresh wild salmon. Unfortunately with only a half day stay in this lovely city, it was time to return to the long line of fellow passengers waiting to board the ship to commence our passage to our last port of call " Southampton. Whilst we were sailing officially on Crown Princess, it became obvious as the days passed that the ship should have been named the SS Maresca. Fabrizio Maresca was the Captain but despite receiving several invitations to cocktail parties, including the most travelled passenger, he never showed up, hence the "Seldom Seen” Maresca!! One passenger even considered it an affront when the host of a party didn’t turn up to greet his guests and thought it was very rude! In view of the itinerary one could understand that in the waters in which we travelled, it was necessary to have a master on the bridge, but surely there was no necessity to have two, as the Staff Captain was also conspicuous by his absence, and in fact neither were ever seen around the ship. In conclusion, we thoroughly enjoyed the ports visited but we cannot say the same about the cruise experience. It was all too much of a hassle. This is particularly sad as I have been cruising since 1964, and with over 500 days at sea with Princess, I feel I have some experience of cruising. Admittedly we were aware of the size of the ship before booking, but did not expect all the ramifications which this entailed, and feel my days with Princess could be numbered, unless the Ocean and the Pacific Princess offer some different and interesting itineraries in the future. Princess have several "strap lines” " "consummate host”, "escape completely”. In view of the size of the ship, perhaps they should start using "The Long March” to express what is involved in getting anywhere on board. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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