Sail Date: July 2006
My Husband and I traveled on the Crown Princess on the 7/22/06 voyage with our 6 children and my sister. Our children are 16, 14, 13, 12 4, and 2. It was the third cruise for my husband and I and our children's 1st. We have been on ... Read More
My Husband and I traveled on the Crown Princess on the 7/22/06 voyage with our 6 children and my sister. Our children are 16, 14, 13, 12 4, and 2. It was the third cruise for my husband and I and our children's 1st. We have been on the Circle of the Caribbean on the Splendor of the Seas (11 nights) and The Jewel of the Seas (8 nights). We live in New York so getting to the port was about a 3 hour shuttle. The delay in the cruise did not cause us any problems because our shuttle company was so accommodating! We were however very sad about our two missed ports but decided to use the extra money to book another cruise...when life gives you lemons make lemonade mentality at work. I was afraid I was going to see damage and my kids 1st experience would somehow be tainted. This was a waste of my mental energy. The ship was truly beautiful, not a magnificent breathtaking kind but more of a quiet, intimate beauty. There are many nooks and crannies. I suppose if I was in poor health the layout may have been a bit tiresome because until you got the hang of it it seemed we hit a lot of dead ends. We were the people still checking the ship diagram for dummies on the last day. Oh well! Embarkation.... This was breeze! We arrived early 11ish and were in our clean room by noon. Or rooms were a bit small compared to a similar category on the Jewel, but still lovely and comfortable. We all loved the bedding. We then went off exploring. We made salon appointments, hair and nails, checked out the kids programing. This was a disappointment to me. My 12 year old was going to be separate from her older siblings and the staff stood firm. Oh well, they all decided they wouldn't be missing much and opted for trying activities with us and solo. I truly wish there had been more family activities. We tend to like to spend time together and the kids couldn't do the Jeopardy or Bee at Sea for example. I am not going to do a day to day itinerary here because I'm too lazy. I will however focus on our highlights. Food....The Horizon Buffet was a typical buffet a mix of yummy, good, boring and bland. All a matter of personal taste. I will say the fresh donuts with cream or jelly filling were awesome. They were moist and brought many childhood memories of mom's donuts. We ate breakfast there 5 out of 7 days and the main dining room twice. The main dining room was very good but we only went when the special of the day was intriguing because we are not huge breakfast eaters. The first 2 nights we ate in the Michelangelo dining room and the first waiter was okay. The second night the service was horrible. We asked for coffee 4 times. It took 30 minutes to get our entrees after our salads. The next 5 nights we had the pleasure of belong waited on by Thorn and Edward at the Da Vinci dining room. What an awesome team. They had all our drinks lined up and waiting, never had to ask for refills, made origami stuff for us all, magic for the kids, extra food and always a smile. My 4 year old ate 5 shrimp cocktail appetizers one night. He was in heaven! As for the quality of food, most was very good, some just okay and none excellent. The desserts were just good but that is because I live with chocoholics and The Love Boat got tiring by night 6. My husband and I tried Sabatini's one night and loved it. What a great idea all those appetizers, a nice pace, attentive service. The main course was a bit small but I didn't need any more food! The creme brulee was awesome! The Trident Grill was a happy lunch place for me because I love cheeseburgers and they were very tasty. My oldest son, the two youngest sons and I loved the pizza but the rest of the family thought it was too salty. I'd say try it you can always throw it out if you don't like it. The International Cafe was a happy spot for us cookie, shrimp, and chicken Waldorf lovers. Activities...My kids loved the dance classes and the clubs at night. I mean truly loved it! My 2 and 4 year old asked to dance everyday. They also enjoyed watching the adults trivia type games, swimming, hot tubing, mini golf and the MUTS. I did not find Muts to be too loud and at times it was too low. We all saw Sarge twice and my husband and I went a third time, we saw Motor City and a Swell Dance Party. They were entertaining not fabulous but very good. My teens all bought the same Sarge CD. He was at times truly side splitting. We also went to most of the live bands and enjoyed them all. The Piazza entertainers were unique and something to look forward to. Excursions...We did Stingray and snorkeling in Grand Turk. I am spoiled by Grand Cayman and Antigua so was not overly impressed but it was an awesome intro for those a bit nervous because there were only three sting rays and the snorkeling was calm and there were no big fish. My first time snorkeling in Hawaii was with a Moray Eel..a bit of ewww factor but... I'm digressing sorry. We then spent the rest of the time going between the beach and Margaritaville pool. This was relaxing and fun. Would I have been as impressed if I didn't have children...probably not but it was fun. In Bermuda we did the ultimate catamaran and snorkel. What an amazing crew. They were so friendly and informative. I actually retained her fish educational lecture as did my four oldest children. The actual snorkeling was just okay but only because I discovered I am a bit sensitive to Jelly fish bites...OUCH. Three of my six kids and my husband also got stung. This is not anyone's faulty just bad luck. This amazing crew let us stay on after the excursion and ferried us to Hamilton. How cool is that? We then shopped and had lunch at one of my favorite spots in Hamilton, The Pickled Onion. A couple of cabs were then hailed and was time sail away. Disembarking...This was truly a breeze. On RCI we felt crowded, stuck in one room. On the Crown any public area was fine to wait in. We played cards until our time which was about 9ish. A quick walk through customs and clear;y labeled luggage pick up and we were very sadly on our way. A beautiful ship, some beautiful seas, a couple of pretty ports of call..what more can you ask for? Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Embarkation for 7/2/06 voyage Smooth as silk! Red Hook dock workers deserved a 10! They were right on the ball. All our luggage arrived by the time the muster drill was over so we could change for dinner and hang everything up before we ... Read More
Embarkation for 7/2/06 voyage Smooth as silk! Red Hook dock workers deserved a 10! They were right on the ball. All our luggage arrived by the time the muster drill was over so we could change for dinner and hang everything up before we sailed. Sailing delayed due to a "fuel" problem which caused the Crown Princess to miss the first port in Grand Turk. All passengers received a $200 per person cabin credit to be spent on board during the voyage to make up for the lost port. Cabins Our balcony cabin (BD category) was sufficient for 2 adults. We hung everything up in the large open closet. Our cabin steward was from Romania and had some difficulty with the English language and stored the extra set of bedding under the beds using up space that could have nicely stored all of our luggage instead. Bathroom could have been bigger. AC was not working in cabin even after Engineer came. Plumber was able to give us more water pressure in the sink, but the shower pressure could have been better. Beds and bedding are very, very comfortable! No cabin noise from adjoining cabins or overhead cabins. Sprinklers have been installed on all balconies. Baja and Aloha balconies are covered but you could look down on the Caribe and Dolphin balconies which are only partially covered. Depending on how the ship is sailing you may have the sun on your balcony from the early morning and afternoon hours or in the late afternoon. Shore Excursions Since we had been to San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda we did not take any of the ships tours but did our own thing in each port. The general consensus  the time in the ports was too short! If you took a tour, your shopping or beach time was limited. Since we were in Bermuda on a Sunday, many of the shops in Hamilton were closed. We went to the Maritime Museum at the Dockyard and caught the Dolphin Quest show before heading up to the Commissioners House on the top. Then we spent some time at Snorkel Park before heading back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we went to the mall at the Royal Clock Tower for some shopping before returning to the ship. Public Rooms Considering that the ship holds 3,100 passengers, many of the public rooms are too small. The Princess Theatre  the largest room  only holds around 900 passengers. Smoking is allowed in all the public rooms except for the theatre even when daytime activities are held. As a result, the lecturer will have to compete with the noise from the bar in the Wheelhouse along with the noise of passengers passing by and bar patrons who are smoking. MUTS Movies under the stars  during the day it can be too hot to watch the movies. Many passengers will stay on deck 15 below and seek out a shady spot. Since the ship does not have a retractable dome, the movies still run rain or shine. Food We found the selection in the Horizon Court buffets for breakfast and lunch to be quite varied and good. However, orange juice and cranberry juice are only available at breakfast in glasses that are already poured out. Omelets of your choice can be ordered or you can select from the daily specials already made and waiting. The selection of fresh fruit is amazing  3 types of melon and grapes, strawberries, bananas, papaya, and a nice assortment of dried fruits. If there was one area that could be improved, it was the sandwiches. Only one choice per day was available and it was already made. Pizza was great as always. We had 2nd seating (traditional) in Botecelli and there was a large selection on the menus. Our first table assignment wait staff wasnt as efficient as our second table wait staff. Jose, our waiter, was like the Energizer Bunny. He never stopped moving! Our table liked to share appetizers and main courses. He made sure that everyone had something to eat no matter where we were in the meal unlike other tables that were served course by course. As a result, we were usually finished eating in over an hour and had time to visit the restroom or shop before the shows. It took other tables up to 2 hours to eat dinner! The quality and preparation of the food was good with adequate portions. If you wanted seconds or didnt like your first choice, it did not present a problem or a long wait. Shops The merchandise selection left much to be desired. Living in NY we have access to the best shopping. Princess clearly missed the mark on this one! Either the prices were too high -- $1,700 bracelets  or looked like craft projects gone wrong. There were only 3 formal tops available for sale. Again for a ship this size the shops should have had more merchandise for sale with a better selection of items. I have been on smaller ships with all price points and larger selections of merchandise. Even with our $200 per person credit the shops were not busy. Entertainment The first production show Destination Anywhere was spectacular in its settings and original words and music! However, the second production show Motor City wasnt as good. The first show was repeated the next night in the theatre. The space between the rows in the theatre is very close together almost as if you were on an airplane in economy. The International Crew show drew a big crowd. Most of the other shows featured comedians and were scheduled at 7 and 10:30PM and not held in the theatre but in the smaller lounges. Seating was not sufficient. For second seating dinner at 8:15PM this meant you needed to go before dinner or you didnt see a show that night. The finals of the Princess Pop Star drew a standing room only crowd and was held in the smaller Club Fusion. The CD and his staff never seemed to correctly estimate the passengers interest in assigning the right room. Overall Impressions I was disappointed. Even after attending the special dinner on 6/10 prior to the 7/2 sailing, I thought I was prepared for my cruise. The Piazza area is way too small and congested to be enjoyed properly. It is a nice idea to have various acts perform here but only a limited number of seats are available. Most passengers have to view the performances leaning over the rails. On deck 5, the lowest deck of the Piazza, you have Vines (wine bar), Future Cruise Sales, Internet Cafe, the artwork for the art auctions, the pastries and other food, a small stage for the performers. When the champagne waterfall was held, passengers were jammed onto the dance floor reduced in size by the setup for the waterfall and hanging off the 2 stairways and hanging over the rails on the other 2 floors. Meanwhile the shops were open along with the Passenger Service desk on deck 6 and Crooners bar. Way too many things all in a very small area! Only deck 7 has a lot of open space near the photographer since it is a cross over deck. The ship is very noisy due to the many open lounges and more than one thing going on in the same space at the same time. The traffic flow in the Horizon Court is very poor. Not all the elevators go to all parts of the ship causing much passenger frustration. It is a very big ship when you have to walk from the front to the back of it. There was always a long wait for elevators that arrived full. Something was missing  I just cant put my finger on it. Color scheme was soothing. Nothing was outstanding or spectacular. The crew and staff seemed surprised by the large number of families on board. Some families were assigned to 2 different dining rooms! Over 300 passengers were waitlisted for 2nd seating. However, there were many empty tables in Botecelli every night. Unless you pursued it with the Maitred you remained on the waitlist. There was little if any enforcement of the no shorts or jeans rule in the evening. Good mix of ages and everyone seemed to get along. Everyone we encountered  passengers and crew and staff  were polite and friendly. Lots of activities but not necessarily those that families could participate in since several of the game shows required you to be selected to compete. No arts and crafts since ceramics (additional charge) were offered as part of the scholarship at sea program. Again, only a limited number of passengers could participate. Many of the ceramics cracked when placed in the kiln and passengers were given refunds but nothing to show for their time and effort. Line dancing always drew a big crowd of all ages as did some of the trivia games. We had teams of 16 or more to allow everyone to participate. Sunday Mass was standing room only in the Adagio restaurant since there was no other room available. It wasnt the worst cruise I have been on, nor was it the best cruise. Princess still has a lot of things to iron out on the Crown Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
This was my fourth cruise, but my first with Princess. I have sailed with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. EMBARKATION- The embarkation process at Red Hook was a breeze, and perhaps the quickest and most efficient that I have ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise, but my first with Princess. I have sailed with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. EMBARKATION- The embarkation process at Red Hook was a breeze, and perhaps the quickest and most efficient that I have ever experienced. The process was very easy and we were on the ship in no time. STATEROOMS- When we first walked onto the ship we were greeted by crew members who were very welcoming. We went to our stateroom to be warmly greeted by our stateroom attendant Geoffrey. The indoor stateroom on this ship is slightly bigger with the addition of the little hallway to the right when walking into the room. Since we had 4 in the room, when the 2 bunk beds came down one bed was not able to see the television. The air condition took a long time to get the room cold. The shower seemed to be smaller than other ships. The water pressure is decent, and there is an easy temperature control for the water in the shower. The pillows are very comfortable. The first night we heard a horrible noise the entire night. It sounded like a whale was stuck in the hall and couldn't move. We complained and we were told it was the exhaust pipes, they fixed it and gave us a tray of chocolates. How noble. SERVICE- The cabin steward was excellent. As were the waiters Pachinai and Alex. The crew on the pool deck working the buffet and outside by the pools are very friendly and polite. Some workers in the shop stand there looking confused and dazed. They get annoyed if you ask questions. The workers at the International Cafe are rude. They get mad and bothered if you ask for more than one sandwich. Some people at pursers desk are nasty. Casino workers are rude and arrogant and think they work for the FBI. Crew was working very hard to maintain and keep ship clean. SHIP- The ship is very nice and clean. The decor is elegant and relaxed, not busy like Carnival ships. However the layout of the ship is very stupid. In order to get to the dining room, you need to go up a deck walk around go back down.. very confusing and causes inconvenience. The elevators are the slowest elevators in the world. You can never get one, and when you do they are full. There are 6 elevators in the middle of the ship. Only 4 were used. One day water was dripping down through one of the elevators, and much of an area on deck 11 was covered in water. The crew said it was the 2nd time this happened, because a roof pipe leaks. That same day, another elevator broke down, leaving 2 elevators for use in the middle of the ship. POOLS AND PUBLIC ROOMS- There are many pools on the ship. The 2 main pools are crowded, with one being located under the large screen that they show movies on, and the other where they play music and pool games. There is a swim against the current pool in the front of ship which was nice.. and some puddle of a pool in the back of the ship. Youth security did a good job of stopping kids from jumping all over the place. The doors that require you to push a button aren't automatic and don't sense when someone is there. Be careful as they are strong and tended to smash against people. FOOD- We had a problem with seating. We were a party of ten and they gave us a table of 6 and a table of 4. They claimed that they didn't have any tables of ten in Boticelli (Traditional Dining) and were going to throw us into the freestyle dining, which we don't like. We kept the table of 6 and 4, but we were lied to because Boticelli had several tables of ten. Portuguese maitre d' becomes your best friend on the last few days because he wants to get more tips. The food was very bad, and of poor quality. The buffet area had nothing appealing. Some things were good, but overall the taste of the food was inconsistent. The meat was hard and tasted like liver. The Fetttucine Alfredo is very good. The best food they have are the burgers, pizza and fries. The sandwiches at the International Cafe are also good. They have chocolate chip cookies which are good, but they had those for a day. When you ask for chocolate chip they workers growl at you and make faces. We often ordered chicken fingers as an appetizer at dinner because everything else was not good. Don't even bother ordering a desert because even the ice cream was horrible. By far the worst food I ever had on all the cruises I have been on. ENTERTAINMENT- The Cruise Director was quite boring. He would come out make an announcement and disappear. Assistant Cruise Director was just as obnoxious. The Princess theater is WAY TOO SMALL for the amount of people on board. People often complained about reserving seats. You need to get there about an hour before showtime to get a seat. The International Show was excellent. Bingo was very crowded and staff didn't care if there was still a long line to buy cards. They started regardless and would be annoyed. Not much nightlife since all they want you to do is gamble. Very cunning in some ways. Movies under the stars is a nice idea. They show movies during the day. The movies at night are the same ones that they show on tv in your stateroom. The popcorn they give out is freshly popped but still tastes 6 months old. It has no butter or salt. But they give you some old can of salt to toss into to give the popcorn some flavor. PORTS- Grand Turk is very nice. Go to Margaritaville. They have a nice pool, since beach is small. We didn't go to Puerto Rico due to Tropical Storm Chris, instead we went to La Romana, Dominican Republic which was beautiful. It rained in St. Thomas so we just shopped. Bermuda was gorgeous. We went to Horseshoe Bay, which was a beautiful beach. Overall- This wasn't a bad cruise but it wasn't amazing. The food and entertainment stink. Princess is sneaky and makes up stories to get you to spend money. Some crew friendly, others mean and nasty. Overall this cruise wasn't as great as expected. For a new ship some things are broken, such as elevators and leaky pipes. If the food and entertainment were better, the cruise would have been almost perfect, but these 2 things dragged it down a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Just got back from the Crown Princess cruise and was not happy. My expectations were extremely high and we were disappointed. First our cabin was a mini suite which we paid a lot of money for had no roof over balcony. We could not ... Read More
Just got back from the Crown Princess cruise and was not happy. My expectations were extremely high and we were disappointed. First our cabin was a mini suite which we paid a lot of money for had no roof over balcony. We could not believe it. We called down and they really did not want to hear about it. Next we go looking for the ice cream machines and found there were none you had to pay for the ice cream. Except from 3:30 to 4:30 you can get tutti fruitty ice cream (huge disappointment for our kids). Next we go to play golf and discovered there was broken glass from speakers on the holes and every time you played the ball rolled onto the next green. It was the worst 9 holes course we have seen. Entertainment was lacking and not enough space to seat everyone. You had to go 30 minutes early to see show and it was over in 45 minutes. The drinks were so bad they should fire the beverage manager. I highly recommend buying your own bottle and get the soda card for free tonic--absolutely no alcohol in mixed drinks. I also tried pina colada and no rum even though they said there was. The ship was a pretty ship but no grand entrance (3-story atrium). The ship rocked every night (could not believe the rocking and would question if this ship should be checked out further). I saw water from adult pool dumping out and people being pushed back and forth. We were on 4 other cruises never experienced the rocking. No animals made in our stateroom at night. Found food on our balcony thrown over on to it. I felt they were always looking for ways to charge you more money, (drinks small, medium or large) spa treatments (want to sell you things -- cookbook for sale in dining room). Getting off was very disorganized. We love Royal and will be going back to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
We embarked on the August 7th, 2006 sailing, since it was only the second sailing after the "tipping," incident, the five of us were just a little bit nervous! The ship was gorgeous, but being frequent sailors on the Celebrity ... Read More
We embarked on the August 7th, 2006 sailing, since it was only the second sailing after the "tipping," incident, the five of us were just a little bit nervous! The ship was gorgeous, but being frequent sailors on the Celebrity ships, we were surprised that when we embarked. No one met us to show us to our rooms. We asked some staff who was standing around how to get to our room, and they seemed to reluctantly point us in the direction of the elevators to our room. Our room was a minisuite, and it was extremely nice, with a full bathtub (surprise!). We went up to the Horizon Court for lunch, and again many wait staff standing around, and trying not to help too much. The Horizon Court is very chaotic, especially at breakfast, and after our first morning, we tried to eat breakfast in the Da Vinci Dining room where the service is noticeably better. The strangest thing I have seen on any ship is that the Crown has a "quiet lounging area in the front of the ship called the "sanctuary," and it is for adults only, but they charge you $15.00 for a half day just to sit up there! This is a definite turn-off to me, and Princess should think of another way to handle this area without charging for it !! Due to the chair hogging on the lower decks on sea days as mentioned by other Cruise Critics before, one might be tempted to pay for the sanctuary! But we were finally able to find some chair space on the 1st floor about half way through the cruise. Although the ship was very clean, and we liked having the option of sometimes two shows a night, my main complaint on this ship is that there was just too much nickle and dining us after paying a hefty sum for the five of us to sail on this ship. The other two people in my party had an inside cabin on the Aloha Deck, and it was extremely small. As all Princess ships do, they deduct $10.00 a day in discretionary charges for the wait staff, which you can adjust if you wish. My main contention here is that the wait staff is very apathetic when responding to the needs of the passengers,as compared to the Celebrity ships we have sailed on. It may be that they already know their tip is already built in to the system, or it may be because the staff is all new, or maybe such a short time has elapsed since the "tipping incident", and the staff is already a little burnt out. But, we did notice some of the same lapses in service on the Grand Princess five years ago. Also, in the International Cafe, there are some charges for the food, like gelato, and the petite fours. In the Vines Cafe, I am told there was a charge for the sushi. On the Infinity, (Celebrity again) last year in Alaska, there was a Sushi Buffet every night at PM for all that wanted it. The Crown did have other pluses, however, a very nice camp for the children, with a cake baking class on one of the sea days, and a Ceramics-at-Sea program for both adults and children!!!! The Tropical Buffet Night near the poolside to me wasn't much of a Tropical Night!! We hardly saw any Tropical fruit circulated that evening on the decks. The waiter went around with small trays of food that were empty every time they came to our side of the ship!!!It seemed every venue on the ship including this was to sell large amounts of alcoholic beverages to all, because drinks were in large supply at this event, while the food was in very short supply!!! Well, now to mention the ports. For Turks and Caicos, don't bother booking any excursions. We booked the one for Governor's Beach, and a tram took us about 1/4 mile from the ship for $32.00pp when the same beach was right as you came off the pier for nothing!! Other people I have met on the ship said the same about the other excursions. There is really nothing but a very run-down town in Grand Turk. The main attraction here is Margaritaville, and it is walking distance right off the ship. Many of the young and old again came here to imbibe and swim in their large pool. Many I met on the ship have said that this island in 10-20 years this may be the next Cancun !! I have nothing against drinking, but after this trip, many I observed had to give their livers a long rest after this vacation !! The rest of the ports were pretty standard, with the St Thomas taxi drivers charging $9.00 pp plus entrance fee to Megan's Bay that was swarming with people from three ships docked that day. Due to the rough seas on the return trip from Bermuda, I missed part of the final night. Our waiter in the Botticelli Dining Room all but ignored us the final night, and gave us the last pickings of the Baked Alaska!! We are not sure if this is routine for the Princess lines. We didn't remove any of the discretionary charges, thinking this would offend our waiters, but now in retrospect, we think we should have removed some, and given it in cash on the final night of the cruise. At least on Celebrity lines, the staff is all very friendly up until the close of the last night, because that is when they get their tips, and it according to the service that they have rendered. I am not sure if we would sail this line again, given the shortcomings of the service. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
We've been regular Princess customers (this was our 5th Princess cruise) and have taken 9 cruises in total. Previously, we traveled to Alaska, Panama Canal and other Caribbean destinations with Princess. We love all the Princess ... Read More
We've been regular Princess customers (this was our 5th Princess cruise) and have taken 9 cruises in total. Previously, we traveled to Alaska, Panama Canal and other Caribbean destinations with Princess. We love all the Princess ships we've traveled on, and feel that they are a cut above NCL and Celebrity. This ship was no exception. It was absolutely beautiful, especially the Atrium area. The ship was quite expensive and you could tell from the fine appointments, cut marble, tile mosaics and overall grandness of the space. Our cabin was a mini-suite with balcony and it was spacious. My mother had the mini suite next door, so we opened the spacer between the two balconies to make one large outdoor space. The linens on the bed were high quality, as were the pillows and fluffy cover. The towels were rough, which might not be to everyone's liking. Our cabin steward was careful and our room was always kept in good order. Overall, we were somewhat disappointed with the cruise on many levels, but especially the food. Firstly, the food was definitely not up to the usual Princess quality. The buffets served unappetizing foods, congealed sauces and the like. The quality just wasn't there - salads were iceberg lettuce, that kind of thing. While the food in the dining room was better, there was a big problem with oversalting, and the service in Michelangelo was terrible. We were left to find our own table almost every night and we often sat down to tables that weren't set. I lost weight on this cruise, if that tells you anything. Poolside, the pizza was always fresh and delicious with different varieties daily, and the hot dogs and hamburgers were pretty good too. There was a coffee bar in the Atrium that served excellent cappuccino, but you had to pay for that. If you bought a coffee card, you paid a nominal amount per cup and weren't bothered signing for each one. When the Horizon buffet closed, the little cafe in the Atrium served sandwiches, fruit, and other light snacks. They had fresh cookies 24/7 which were excellent, and in the morning the cafe served warm donuts, croissants and rolls. While I'm saying how mediocre the food was, I should say that the bakers supplied travelers with superior baked goods, from rolls to desserts. Enough about this. While the ports of call were good ones, I find that Princess ships are usually the last ones in port and the first ones out, giving you little time to do anything. They also seem to dock at ports furthest away from the actual towns. (This may be a result of the size of their new ships.) We were especially disappointed in arriving in Bermuda on a Sunday, when nothing at all was open. It was the beach or nothing. We were in Grand Turk for only 5 hours and it was such a beautiful place. On a more positive note, we took our open water dive certification class and that was a blast, though very hard work for a vacation. We dove in Grand Turk and St. Thomas which boast clear waters and coral gardens. Grand Turk has a 7,000 foot shelf that we hovered above and looked down into deep blue endlessness. There was a problem with sewage smell on this ship. When we embarked in NY the smell was right in our cabin corridor. It seemed to rove the ship, though. We never had a problem after the first day, but when walking around, we sometimes caught an unpleasant whiff. Our 6 year old son enjoyed the kids club and camp hours were extensive. They were always open on port days and also at night from 7-10pm. My son loved it. Though there were tons of older kids on the ship, they never seemed to congregate outside the teen center as I have seen on other cruise lines. We've taken a cruise each year since my 6 year old was born, and I think we're ready to give it a rest. While, I liked this cruise and was sorry to leave the ship, I didn't love it the way I usually do, and certainly think it was below Princess' usual standards. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My husband and I are sampling all the "mass market" lines. The Crown was our first Princess cruise. We picked it because it was a new ship and had a lot of sea days (We're in it for the ship board experience. Cruising is no ... Read More
My husband and I are sampling all the "mass market" lines. The Crown was our first Princess cruise. We picked it because it was a new ship and had a lot of sea days (We're in it for the ship board experience. Cruising is no way to experience another country, no matter how small.). We had a great time. We always have a great time as long as we're together. However, we'll only do Princess again if an itinerary attracts us. This cruise did not set Princess apart. The Ship: While the Crown is a beautiful ship, the public areas show a lot of bad human engineering. Start with the ship layout. It is full of dead ends. The only public decks that go from one end to the other are 7 and 15. You often have to go up a floor and then down again later to get where you want to go on a single deck. The only interior space with a good forward-facing view is the gym. All the treadmills are lined up facing the ocean - each one with a TV screen mounted at eye level. What a waste of view! The buffet has food stations but is so tightly designed there is no room for people to move about at random. The result is chaos. The main theater is far too small. The pools have inadequate deck space for the number of people on board; even with little evidence of chair hogs there was seldom an open chaise. While this is the largest ship we've been on, the elevators are the smallest and seem poorly programmed. A lot of things just aren't right design-wise in the public areas. On the other hand, the layout of our balcony stateroom was great. We much preferred having the seating area adjacent to the balcony. We actually used it! The closet placement created a private dressing area. We loved the generous supply of wooden hangers. The bath was also well organized, though the shower was so small I don't see how more robust passengers could use it. The bedding had a bottom sheet and a duvet. The fluffy duvet was quite toasty -- too toasty for us. Only after our wonderful room steward added a top sheet to our bed could we really sleep, with the duvet neatly placed on a chair. The Service: There were a few bad apples on the cruise director's staff who thought it entertaining to make jokes at the expense of passengers. We were never the target, but it really burned me up. That was the biggest complaint on my comment card. Otherwise, the service on this ship was the best we've experienced. We're pretty low maintenance -- no room service, no special requests (except for that top sheet) -- so we never missed not having interaction with our room steward on previous cruises. This guy was always around and smiling. And our wait staff in the dining room was the perfect balance of efficiency and friendliness. Bartenders remembered what I ordered before and always smiled. The Entertainment: The production stages shows were nicely produced, with better than usual talent. The Motor City show was disturbing, however. It was odd enough having an almost entirely white cast singing all those r&b hits. However, at one point they brought out a bunch of large puppets that looked like black caricatures. That moved the show into offensive. There were several comics on our cruise and all of them were quite good. The house band was exceptional. The small entertainment in the Piazza were a nice addition. The audience participation games were very poor -- a combination of poor sound and hosts that were rather rude to contestants. The Food: We had some of the worst and some of the best meals on this cruise. A dinner order of Moroccan Vegetarian Stew was basically a plate of chick peas sloshed with a thin and tasteless tomato sauce. Absolutely terrible. However, on another evening we were served veal chops to die for. Food is such a subjective thing. We heard guests at the same table complain about salt on their food - one said too much and the other said too little. Except for breakfast, we always ate in a dining room, so no real opinion on the food in the Horizon Court buffet. We eyeballed Cafe Caribe most nights but it never looked appealing enough to draw us in. The Ports: Grand Turk: Trust me on this -- book a water-based excursion, stay on the ship, or just go to Margaritaville. We know Grand Turk well. It's small, sleepy, utterly boring. But the surrounding reefs are amazing. Dive if you can (we've spent two weeks there doing just that). We did the Ultimate Snorkel this trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. St. Thomas: We'd never seen any of St. Thomas beyond Charlotte Amalia and didn't care for that. This time we took a cab to Coki Beach and were completely wow'd. Unbelievably beautiful and awesome snorkeling. Don't be put off by the ramshackled look of the place when the taxi drops you off, just walk right past the various buildings to the glorious beach. And, it's not even supposed to be the nicest beach on St. Thomas! San Juan and Bermuda: Didn't visit either. Bermuda was really hot and we knew we would be back in November. Hurricane Florence went to Bermuda instead of us. Those things happen. This was our third cruise (all in one year) and third line. We already tried Carnival (Miracle) and Royal Caribbean (Brilliance of the Seas). Next up is Holland America (Ryndam). You might want to check our other reviews to see how our sampling is going. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Overall, we were a little disappointed with our third Princess cruise - mostly with Princess's new approach (a la Carnival) toward their customers. Embarkation was pleasant and efficient, considering the size of the ship. We noticed a ... Read More
Overall, we were a little disappointed with our third Princess cruise - mostly with Princess's new approach (a la Carnival) toward their customers. Embarkation was pleasant and efficient, considering the size of the ship. We noticed a lot of folks from the prior cruise were disembarking rather late, so we had to wait a bit longer than expected to leave the waiting area and begin the boarding process. Everything went very smoothly, though. From the moment you board, people hawk soda cards at every turn the entire day. And so began the pushy marketing. The ship - very nice, but - as others have mentioned - nothing really jumped out at you. I was surprised to find that the MUTS was actually enjoyable - watched a movie and a football game (don't get me started on the fact that the eagerly-anticipated Eagles/Saints game was unavailable. People were clamoring for it, but we were given some line about a problem with the satellite reception for that station. Maybe they just didn't pay for the rights to air that game). I agree with some of the other reviews about the layout of the ship's decks. Some elevators didn't go to the upper decks; you had to exit the elevator, walk to the back of the ship, and take another elevator. Better signage might have helped somewhat. The pools and hot tubs were nice, and there was almost always an available spot in either - the main area's hot tubs were often filled to capacity, but if you wandered around the ship, you could always find an available spot. Princess's staterooms are usually on the small side, and the Crown is no exception; Royal Caribbean's cabins are generally larger. There was adequate closet space, but very little storage in the cabin area itself - just a few small drawers. The bathroom was small but functional. The shower was extremely small - I don't know how "large" folks manage in there! They neglected to provide a reasonable amount of space for bath products in there, too. Our safe repeatedly malfunctioned; we had to have Security visit numerous times to assist us with it. This was our first time on the Aloha deck, and we got to look down on the partially exposed balconies below us for a change. The balcony was small but cozy. Be forewarned - once you have a balcony stateroom, it's the only way you'll want to cruise. One of the best additions on the Crown - and a personal favorite - was the Wine and Sushi bar. The staffers there were wonderful - friendly, helpful, and attentive - and the selection of wines and freshly made sushi were just right. I spent some time there almost daily. The sushi was fresh and expertly prepared. Our cabin attendant was simply wonderful, as they have always been on Princess. She really went the extra mile. Most of these people work terribly hard to please you, and spend as long as eight months away from their families in the process. They usually deserve something extra (above the pre-paid service charge for staff) at the end of the cruise for all of their effort. While Princess did a good job overall on cleaning up the ship after the rolling incident, there was still some evidence of the damage; on the upper decks, some glass wind guards were still broken. Otherwise, she looked relatively good. One thing that "steamed" me: I discovered that the steam room had also been damaged during the rolling incident. The entire front of the room was missing; it had been shattered. After observing the ridiculously designed glass doors on the nearby shower stalls, I understood how the damage occurred. Did the designers simply forget that ships are capable of rocking? On even a relatively smooth day, the shower doors kept swinging open and closed by themselves - the tiny magnetic latch was not strong enough to hold them closed. This was not what upset me, though! Another passenger had asked to use the other steam room (which I believe was in the spa treatment area itself), and he was told that he could - if he was willing to pay for a spa treatment in order to gain access to it! Preposterous, and insulting! You'll see a repeating theme here: squeeze more money out of your customers wherever possible. If they were unable to repair the "free" steam room for weeks, then they should have allowed passengers to use the remaining steam room in the meantime. This is called taking care of your customers. As another reviewer stated, it's more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Princess apparently is too cocky to care about that now. This was generally the rule, not the exception, when it came to the treatment received from many of the staffers we encountered. Let me qualify this by saying that the bartenders, cabin stewards, and most of the restaurant staff were terrific. It was more the upper echelon of the crew, such as the Customer Service and Pursers Desk staff, etc., who seemed to be unaware that their job was to assist the passengers (a.k.a. customers). They could barely be bothered, it seemed. There was some misinformation aboard, too. One example: the 24-hour pizza stand. At one point, when we found it closed just after 1:00 am, we were told that it was only open until 1:00. The next night, it was closed long before 1:00 am again. We observed this three times. The pizza was fairly good, for the record, as were the hamburgers and chicken they managed to keep available most of the day. The fact that the ship was again unable to make port in Bermuda (I think it happened at least four weeks in a row, counting the week we were on board) was very frustrating. Since it had happened several times already, you would think that they would either have planned another stop as a backup, or arranged for tenders to take people ashore. Or maybe they could have just let us stay at the prior port another night. This wouldn't have been terrible, since our port visits tended to be on the short side (5 or 6 hours) to begin with. No, we just cruised along at low throttle for another day of "spend your money at the bars, casino, stores, and spas, please" - for many who took this cruise primarily to visit Bermuda, it was an outrage. I was disappointed with missing the chance to see the island for the first time, but more upset with the way it was handled by Princess. Yes, cruise lines are struggling to offer the best pricing for the cruise itself, but this new approach of nickel-and-diming you to death for everything once you get on board is getting out of control. I won't list all of the annoying charges they levy now; other write-ups have addressed this already. Now, if only the cruise lines would address it better. Most people would rather pay more up front, and not be surprised and annoyed later by these charges. Considering the number of at-sea days, there were not enough onboard activities. Many people seemed to feel that the overall attitude of Princess was, "While you're on board the ship, spend some more cash." The wait staff swarmed the pool areas relentlessly, asking you if you needed another drink. It was convenient to rarely have to walk to the bar, but it bordered on harassment the way they kept at it. Just another way Princess gently encourages you to ring up more charges to your account, I suppose. Food onboard ranged from acceptable to good, with the occasional unpalatable. We ate at both Sabatini's and the Crown Grille, paying the extra fee for the privilege. The food was certainly better than the regular ship fare, but whether it was worth the price is debatable. I preferred the experience at the Crown Grille to Sabatini's, personally, though the staff at Sabatini's was very entertaining. In fairness, we've dined at Sabatini's several times before on other ships. The premium restaurants are a nice change of pace, and something different to try. I'm sure you can find reviews going into much more detail, so I'll leave it at that. The entertainment was just fair overall. One comedian was fantastic, and the next was so awful, you felt sorry for him. The production shows were enjoyable, but - as others have mentioned - the theater is far too small to accommodate the percentage of people who might want to see a given show. Disembarkation - Not terribly organized. It took us a very long time to get off the ship. Getting on an elevator bordered on impossible. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast, with 3000+ passengers onboard. It wasn't a pleasant experience. Excursions: We did two Princess-sponsored excursions. I would not recommend the drive tour of the rain forest in Puerto Rico. An hour each way in a small bus with fixed windows, then only three or four brief stops to actually get to see anything. There were much better tours available, I heard later. The trip I would recommend highly was the Sea Blaster snorkel trip in St. Thomas. Great boat, fantastic crew, and they take you to some nice snorkeling locations. As a bonus, they pick you up just a few hundred yards from the ship, which is very convenient. And, after snorkeling is done, they serve their delicious homemade rum punch. There's also another snorkeling trip I'd recommend, called Captain Nautica. They use large rigid inflatables to zip you to 3 different locations, and they also have a terrific crew. In closing, unless I see people beginning to document positive changes in the way Princess is doing business, I believe I will be cruising with a different line in the future. For those of you who have never been on a Princess cruise before, you may still find it a great experience. It's just not as good as it was in the past. The Carnival influence has taken them down a notch; hopefully they'll reverse that. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
I'll try to make this brief and hit all the major points, not sure how successful I'll be but here goes... EMBARKATION - We had Princess transfers, what a joke! We will never do that again! Checked on taxi costs while waiting ... Read More
I'll try to make this brief and hit all the major points, not sure how successful I'll be but here goes... EMBARKATION - We had Princess transfers, what a joke! We will never do that again! Checked on taxi costs while waiting to board the plane in San Juan to come home. I was told that for 2 people from Airport to Port is $20.00 - $25.00 and there were people who were getting Taxis very quickly and avoided the long lines of people that we had to wait in. When we got to the Port around 2:00, we had to stand in line about 15 minutes outside and then inside they had chairs for us to sit in....wasn't too bad. But, after talking with people who had gotten there around 11 a.m. to 1 or 1:30 they had to stand in line in the sun for 1-2 hours before even getting into the building. I guess we were lucky!!! SHIP - Crown Princess is, without a doubt, a beautiful ship. Very elegant and when looking outside on deck 16 at night was incredible! We never felt crowded even though it was a sold out ship! The dining rooms were very plain. The other public spaces exactly like the Golden. The area around the main pool was done very well, however and MUTS volume was never an issue. I think they must have had a lot of complaints and have changed this because even during the day, we never found it a problem!! PORTS OF CALL - Below is our opinion of this itinerary! 1. ST LUCIA - This is a beautiful island. We did The Best of St. Lucia Princess Excursion and it was a FANTASTIC ONE. This is the only Princess excursion we did but St. Lucia is truly a beautiful island. Very poor and the people are very friendly! Not at all in your face but lots of smiles and helpful....incredibly beautiful island! 2. BARBADOS - We went to Blue Monkey Beach on our own. This is where the "Swim with the turtles" tours go to and it was a very nice beach. We swam with the turtles right off the beach.....and didn't have to pay anything! 3. ANTIGUA - We strive to find beaches that are not so crowded and loud...that is a difficult task but we went to Castaway Beach and it was good. The water was very cloudy, not the clear we are used to in the Caribbean. The beach was very nice and not a whole lot of people. 4. ST. MAARTIN-St. MAARTIN - This was the biggest disappointment as far as the Ports of Call. Now, if you like the shopping thing, everyone we talked to said this was the place to be. As far as the beauty of the island itself?...well, the French side was ok, the dutch side looked like a run down Panama City Beach....not impressed. My DH took the water taxi from the ship to the downtown area and he said that was very nice and that the downtown area was very pretty. Lots of traffic jams all over the island however, so, if you go on your own anywhere, give yourself lots of time to make it back to the ship! 5. St Thomas... - We've been here many times but have never gone over to St. John before this trip. We did St. John so here goes.... 5 (a) ST JOHN - We will ALWAYS go back to St. John! We found Cinnamon Beach....I don't even know where to start. Large beach, maybe 50-60 people was all that was there!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Good snorkeling right off the beach.....clear, perfect water.....wonderful views.....I could go on and on, but you get the picture! ROOM - We were not happy with the balcony cabin size AT ALL! We were on the Aloha Deck - 742, port side. It was very small, only one comfortable chair and the bathroom shower is a JOKE!!! For a woman, trying to shave your legs in the shower you had to be very imaginative and find ways to do it without falling on your butt outside the shower. Our room steward was very good, but a little over worked. You could just tell that he was exhausted most of the time but kept going like the little energizer bunny! We tipped him well and he was very appreciative. I'm sorry but I could never remember how to pronounce his name or I would tell you what it was. We discovered that we don't like Aft...too much vibration and we didn't like the last cabin jutted out and blocked our view completely to the left. This was a disappointment! There was ample storage space in the cabin however and we had plenty of shelf, closet, nooks and crannies to put stuff in. Balcony size was normal and the Aloha deck is covered completely which we were happy with. Table and two chairs on the balcony were mesh like material and comfortable enough. COFFEE - Wasn't as bad as the Golden's coffee....still that stuff, whatever it is, that is supposed to taste like coffee. It is more like sludgy, motor oil but I just used my Folgers Singles and avoided it all together. This will be one of the main reasons we may not cruise Princess again. I mean, come on, concentrated coffee???? ENTERTAINMENT - This ship was our second Princess cruise, our first on the Golden in 04. One of the reasons we decided to book with Princess again was because the Entertainment...this includes the entertainment in the Princess Theatre, lounges, parties, etc. was excellent! The Crown Princess really fell short here!!! We heard so many complaints from most of the people we talked to and just heard talking to other passengers about! I felt like I was on a cheap Carnival cruise when it came to the Princess Theatre. Sets were very cheap looking if non-existent and the shows were not even as good as a Six Flags or community theatre. Crooners had an excellent piano player and showman, the wheelhouse bar was just ok, and I love the atmosphere in there but the entertainment here was lacking as well. The group Epithany was mediocre as the main singer was SO BAD. The keyboard player, a woman, was very good however! FOOD - Ok, I know that this is a VERY subjective thing, but here goes our (my DH and I) opinion. It was NOT GOOD. From the buffet to the dining rooms! It's not that anything was bad really, its just that it was all pretty tasteless. The choices in the buffet were not very good and again, we heard MANY, MANY people complaining about this. We ate more burgers and hot dogs, which were good because the other food was...well, see above! The dining room service was just ok, except for the last night and we had two that were exceptional. We are not at all hard to please when it comes to food, we just like to eat! So, this cruise was not up to the same standards we found on the Golden two years ago. The deserts were so beautiful and tasteless! We would go up and look at them, and they looked so perfect but had no taste! The cookies that everyone has raved about were never fresh and you could break a tooth on them. This was a major disappointment! I kept reading about the cookies in the International Cafe, and thought, well I won't take any sweets with us on this cruise, since we will have those wonderful chocolate chip cookies....we only smelled them cooking one time and we were in the piazza many times throughout the day. Even when we smelled them cooking that one time, we rushed over to get our fresh cookies and were told that they would put out the fresh ones when the old ones had been eaten CREW - The crew for the most part, were very hardworking, pleasant, friendly and helpful. We had no complaints here AT ALL!!!! SAFES - They have to do something about this! Our safe started giving us trouble on the first day, the first time. We called 2 times and finally they sent some lady down to have a look and to get it opened for us. She proceeded to tell us that her job was to go around all over the ship and educate the passengers how to operate the safes.....huh??? Then she said that the "problem" was with the operation of them, not the safes themselves....ok, so explain how we operate them properly. She said that you had to 1. not allow them to stay open long...."put your things in them as quickly as possible, and close the safe immediately." 2. if you don't do #1 in a few minutes the safe will start to take off one number at a time of the code that you put in it. This means that you "Might" have to put 3 numbers of your code in instead of the 4 number you programmed into it." 3. She said, "If you don't do numbers 1 and 2 properly, you will not be able to use the safe. We contacted the manufacturers and they said that nothing is wrong with the safes, it is just that our passengers do not know how to use them properly" So, we did what she said and the results are this...if you can't put your things in and out within about 20-30 seconds, the safe will show an error! We had to strategically hide our things each day, which was a pain, and I believe this is an area they desperately need to look into FIXING! DISEMBARKATION - Didn't see a problem here at all! Went fast and appeared to be efficient. The only problem we had was that the flight time that was printed on our eticket in our cruise documents was 45 minutes later than what the actual flight time was. This could have been a major problem if we weren't the kind of people that are early everywhere we go! SAN JUAN AIRPORT - ON MY GOSH, this is such a ridiculous airport! I won't even try to explain all the things wrong here, but if you've been there, you know!! We talked to people who had Princess Air as we did that had been waiting for 4-6 hours at this VERY CROWDED, no place to sit down airport! Enough said about that! P.S. Please forgive any misspellings throughout this review! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our second cruise with Princess - 1st on Crown. Embarkation was great!!! Walked from the Sheraton in Old San Juan across the street to Pier 4. It was a surprise when we awoke and found the ship docked at Pier 4 as our information ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess - 1st on Crown. Embarkation was great!!! Walked from the Sheraton in Old San Juan across the street to Pier 4. It was a surprise when we awoke and found the ship docked at Pier 4 as our information was Pan American Pier. While waiting to embark city folk selling water - none provided by Princess. Indoor waiting facilities where very nice and accommodating. Chairs but certainly not enough for 3100 folks. The ship was sailing full. We entered on the 6th Deck - mid ships all elevators working and we went straight to stateroom - mini suite on Dolphin Deck - Port side this time. Lunch in the buffet which was the expected fair. Through out the cruise the food was cold - never where hot foods hot the only time was in the Crown Grill which we had paid a fee for service. Neither of the paid venues Crown Grill or Sabitini's was ever crowded!!! That is one thing about the designs of the Grand Class ships we never felt as if we where competing with 3100 other folks. Really a small world - we met someone on the ship from original home town who we had not seen in 20 years !!! Cabin and steward Ricardo where great !!! Very quite no noise from engines of others - mild movement - Dolphin is deck 9 and we where almost mid ships. The ship is beautiful - staff at times where very arrogant and made you feel as it was an obligation on their part to serve you anything !!!! Cleanliness and attention to handwashing to assist in prevention of the norovirus was great - although we did disinfect our own cabin and kept handsanitizer available at all times. Very disappointed in several of the islands and would never do this tour again - ST Kitts and Grenada Bonaire was beautiful and Aruba is a tourist mecca with the shops and casinos this is not what we where seeking. St Thomas and San Juan we have been to previously so did not do tours etc. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Trip: Crown Princess 7 Night Eastern & Southern Caribbean (San Juan to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas). Embarkation date: Dec. 16 Stateroom: Balcony (R235), Riviera Deck Background: My wife and I decided to use ... Read More
Trip: Crown Princess 7 Night Eastern & Southern Caribbean (San Juan to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas). Embarkation date: Dec. 16 Stateroom: Balcony (R235), Riviera Deck Background: My wife and I decided to use our airline miles to take another cruise before the holidays. We're relatively young (mid-20s), but we've cruised about 5 times before and we were not expecting many surprises. This was our first (and probably last) Princess cruise, as we have mainly cruised Royal Caribbean and once with Norwegian. The ship's physical features: As you should know by this point, this ship is huge. The Crown is not the largest ship we've cruised on before, but it is close. My wife & I were initially attracted to this particular cruise because of the youth of the vessel, as well as the itinerary. We knew about the Crown's "listing" incident over the previous summer, but we weren't too concerned about a repeat occurrence. The ship is in excellent shape. We had a balcony stateroom with ample space and comfortable bedding. There was so much storage space that we had many empty shelves and cabinets. The bathroom was very tight, but bathrooms always are small on a cruise ship. My only complaint about our stateroom, and this is an extremely minor complaint, is the shower was very very small, and a detachable showerhead would have helped considerably. The layout of the ship seemed a bit odd at times: you can't get all the way through some decks because there's a dining room in the way, and we felt we were constantly trekking between the top deck and the Promenade deck (7). The split layout between the top and middle levels of the ship became a little annoying at times because the elevators were always jammed packed, stopped at every floor, and were sloooooow. But lots of room on the top decks for those who want to lay in the sun. The service: Unfortunately, this is the area where Princess is lacking, at least on the Crown Princess. The first day or so of our trip, we felt that this cruise was very similar to previous cruises on other lines. But soon the cracks in the service appeared. When it came to service, let me first say that our stateroom attendant did an excellent job. Sure, there were no "towel animals" or anything extraordinary, but he did a great job, worked hard, was unobtrusive, and was always friendly. I wish that I could say the same for meal service. The concept of "Anytime Dining" is a good one, but was poorly executed. Entrees were often overcooked, and the wait staff didn't seem to care. On several occasions, the waiter couldn't find our bottle of wine until halfway through dinner. Overall, very disappointing with the main dining rooms. The staff always seemed unhappy, and even allowed passengers to sit in the dining room, on formal night, with baseball hats on sideways. Not kidding. Sabatinis, the specialty restaurant with the cover, was excellent, however. The breakfast & lunch buffets were decent. The food quality was better than on most cruises, but Princess often made some stupid decisions made there. Often, a whole side of the buffet (and the corresponding tables) would be shut down and there was NEVER a place to sit inside--all 5 times we ate lunch there. To our disappointment there was NO midnight or chocolate buffet. The staff in general seemed unhappy. No one remembered our drink orders, despite having gone to the same bartenders for week. No one smiled. But when the cruise line builds in the tips as part of the cruise package, where's the motivation? Additionally, we felt nickel & dimed at times. Princess charges to use their front pools, for coffee, ice cream, and more. Disappointing. Fellow passengers: As for our fellow passengers, we really feel like Princess screwed us. Many of our fellow passengers were British, and were very nice. But because the ship was nowhere near full before sailing out of Puerto Rico, Princess advertised last-minute $200 per-person cruises in San Juan to fill the ship. No upgrades were offered to passengers paying higher fares, and Princess acted like we wouldn't find out they did this. And as a result, many of Princess's last-minute "guests" treated the trip as a food & booze cruise, the vast majority of whom didn't even leave the ship when in port. Drunken shouting down the hallway outside our room in Spanish at 3am was the norm. I can't speak to the entertainment, as I my wife and I never go to the shows because we generally find cruise ship shows hokey and uninteresting (I think this is a generational thing). We liked all the shore excursions and ports of call. Bottom Line: We would take another Princess Cruise, but ONLY if the deal was unbelievable. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our second cruise and was a disappointment. Our first was on Holland America 7 years ago, and we felt that one was a better value although much more expensive. We chose the cruise based on the itinerary, bur our next cruise will ... Read More
This was our second cruise and was a disappointment. Our first was on Holland America 7 years ago, and we felt that one was a better value although much more expensive. We chose the cruise based on the itinerary, bur our next cruise will be chosen by cruise ship amenities and will probably cost a bit more, but we will enjoy it more too. Embarkation was not bad. We came later as they suggested and did not have long lines. The ship is huge and while cruising, sways alot even in calm water. It also groans constantly. We were on the 9th floor in a mini suite, and the noise was constant all night long. The hangers were rattling too. We are not convinced the ship is built right! The activities were many and our only two complaints were the loud volume on the movies under the sky all day at the pool, and the charge for the internet which was not disclosed in the literature and was very slow. Service was mediocre. We did not like the fact that a different person brings room service and expects a tip. We prefer when the steward brings the room service and we tip him well for the overall service. Also, the room steward was very nice but kept forgetting to replace towels, glasses, etc. We had to keep asking for things... We had 2 dinners in the Lido restaurants and many of the waiters almost were annoyed if you asked them for something. And they kept trying to remove plates while we were still eating. Not the best of service. We enjoyed our excursions and the ports. Plenty of choices and we have no complaints here. We were very happy with the itinerary. Stateroom was fine, a bit small for a mini-suite, but okay for 2 people. Verandah needed some shade though, and everyone above us looked down on us. Poor design. Dining was very mediocre. The traditional dining was a disappointment. Nothing special at all. Like a nice diner. Event the presentation was lacking. Not much in the way of vegetables either. And they charged a 15% surcharge on a bottle of wine. That's crazy--you are already paying for the wine. Add the surcharge in already!! Dinner at the Cafe Caribe was good on the bavarian bierfest day but the creole day had some weird items on it. Lunch was edible--We eat salad and the salad bar was okay if you added some meat and cheese. It would have been nice if they varied the selection of salad bar items and added some vinaigrettes to the huge cream dressing selection. We thought it was weird there were no special dessert buffets or ice carvings to impress us... We also did not like the fact that they charged for ice cream and called it a nominal fee--it was really full price. That's pretty disingenuous. Entertainment was okay--we liked the classical string quartet the best and they played everyday in the piazza. Disembarkation was interesting but not bad. We did not get priority after paying for a mini-suite and thought that was strange. No real perks to a mini-suite on this ship. Our overwhelming disappointments were the "nickel-and-diming" they did--just add 200 dollars to the fare and stop the nonsense already--and the constant groaning of the ship while in motion. We think the ship should qualify under the lemon law!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This was my first cruise with Princess Cruises, and I was wondering how it would compare with the 3 previous cruises I had been on, all with Royal Caribbean. The embarkation from Pier 4 in Old San Juan went smoothly and everyone there knew ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Princess Cruises, and I was wondering how it would compare with the 3 previous cruises I had been on, all with Royal Caribbean. The embarkation from Pier 4 in Old San Juan went smoothly and everyone there knew their job in order to keep the passenger line moving along. I chose a stateroom with a balcony, as I've heard from other friends who've cruised as well that balconies are so much more enjoyable than just a large oceanview window....and they were absolutely right about that! The private balcony was used every night for a few hours around sunset and late at night. Wandering around from deck to deck was difficult in some instances as certain outdoor decks could only be accessed from one side of the ship, some elevator lobbies did not service all decks and therefore I had to go either midship, forward or aft to get to certain public rooms or outdoor pool areas. Decks 6 & 7 were the most difficult as these decks were where the main dining rooms were located and I had to go up to 8, or down to 5 to get around them to other public areas that were back on 6 & 7. The ship lacked a dedicated gameroom, which I've always found available onboard Royal Caribbean ships in the past. The ship's library had restricted hours which was unusual....on RC ships, passengers came and went to check out books as they pleased. There was an abundance of pools and jacuzzis on various decks, but as expected, they were always the first places to fill up and remained so for hours at a stretch. The fitness center was attached to an onboard spa which was heavily used by passengers and this made it difficult at times to use equipment in the fitness center at times which I would normally go to the gym at home....from 7 - 8 AM or from 5 - 7 PM. A few of the treadmills and elliptical machines had out of service signs on them for the entire length of the cruise,which didn't help matters. It was very annoying to try and find staff members to assist in problems with some of the equipment....never saw more than 2 male trainers in the gym at any time and they were usually holding a pilates class or some other group class. I wound up using the running track on an upper deck just to get away from the crowds and to be outside more. I had selected late seating for my dining option, but noticed when my documents arrived, that I had been given anytime seating instead which I tried but could not change! Unless I chose to go eat between 5:30 - 7PM or after 8:30PM, I wound up standing in line or being given a pager to use until my name was called, and the wait times averaged 30 minutes. Anytime dining is only an option for those who like the option of being somewhat flexible in eat times and in determining the size of table they wish to be seated at. The other person travelling with me ranged our table sizes from 4 up to 8 people over the course of the cruise. On evenings that we did the anytime dining rooms, we had minor mixups or delays in our dinner and drink orders, which were corrected immediately. On 2 evenings when wait times exceeded 30 minutes, we chose the buffet style dining and found the food to be of very nice quality and the waitstaff to be more attentive and available. There was a nice variety in the onboard entertainment that was listed in the daily newsletter, but we are not much for large musical shows, instead preferring comedians or gameshows involving passengers onboard. There are plenty of shopping and jewelry shows and art auctions which are staples onboard, but we passed on those as well. A nice feature onboard was something they called "movies under the stars", which involved showing first run movies on a huge outdoor plasma type screen that was mounted high up, forward of the funnel and overlooking the largest pool and deck area onboard. It could best be described as an updated theme on drive in movies....quite nice to sit outside with a drink in hand on a comfortably padded chaise lounger at 11PM watching Casino Royale, among the movie titles shown onboard. Service on board from various ship staff members was the real big weak spot for Princess. Problems that cropped regarding the usage of the safe in our stateroom, a washer in the onboard laundromat that wasn't working, questions about excursion information....anything that became a problem took an unusually long time to resolve and it seemed to be a bother for personnel to come and set things right. At one point, I had to speak to the person at the main purser's desk and the 2 staff members there were overwhelmed with taking calls from people then were barking orders into their 2 way radios to find out where crewmembers were who had been dispatched a some time earlier to handle a request. there never seemed to be enough people staffed at the front desk and long lines were the norm there. Breaking $100 and $50 bills into smaller denominations was frustrating as I was always told that they were out of $5's and $10's! Each main elevator bank on each level had courtesy phones and clocks, but a few of the clocks weren't even functioning and some of the phones had the index card denoting what to push for what department onboard, were missing, so you never knew what correct button to push. The ship was less than a year old, but some areas of the interior would have indicated otherwise....scuffed up walls, torn wallcoverings, many lightbulbs out in public areas, elevator floor tags missing inside from elevator cars were among the more noticed things. We booked 3 excursions through the ship and another 2 independently that we didn't see listed on the choices that Princess had listed. Barbados is where we did a hike and cave exploring expedition which was an incredibly amazing thing....because of the steep terrain and movements required and some safety gear worn, no backpacks or cameras were allowed, so the images in my mind will have to serve as my only record. St. Lucia is where we did a hike and zipline expedition through a rainforest area and afterwards, a lunch before we headed back to the ship. It's an island like Barbados where there are many varied things to do if you aren't interested in going to the beaches every single day! Antigua is a port that I would not choose to revisit....Princess offered only beach tours, snorkel and beach tours and a catamaran tour on the island. We stopped at a tourist stand at the port and saw brochures for another zipline tour and some parasailing, but the ladies at the stand said they weren't booking those and didn't seem to interested in pointing us to whoever would, they just kept pushing the different beaches on us. Also, we walked a few feet away from that stand to where some taxi drivers were gathered and they had brochures of 3 beaches that they all kept clamoring about and we asked about the fares to these beaches and they stated that for our group of 2, the fare would be $32 each way, which was the government rate, regardless of the beach we went to. About 2 blocks from them, we saw some other drivers with minibuses who would take as many as they could fill in their bus and take us to whatever beach we wanted to go to for $3 per head! Our trip to Runaway beach was a 15 minute bus ride and cost us $6 roundtrip!!! St. Maarten is a jewel of an island to visit, in my opinion! We visited Loterie Farm, a private wildlife and nature sanctuary, located on the french side of the island and participated in a hike through a dense rainforest area and up a steep mountain called Pic Paradis. That is the tallest point on the island and our group hiked up 900 feet of this 1,500 ft. mountain. Afterwards, there was a buffet style lunch of native dishes that was incredibly good! Loterie Farm was once many years ago a plantation for rum and sugar, relied upon slave labor and had an abundance of wildlife and plant species that other parts of the island didn't incredible expedition that I will certainly go back again and revisit for the hike and scenery alone!!! Spent a few hours in the afternoon on the beach in Philipsburg and some shopping afterwards. Last stop was St. Thomas, USVI which is another port that i can do without visiting again. The only exceptional part of that island chain is the island of St. John, with the national park there and the stunn ing terrain, scenery and beaches! We did a safari style ride around the island, stopping at Caneel Bay resort, Trunk Bay Beach and Cinnamon Bay campground. Also stopped that the ruins of the Annaberg Rum Mill, which is now part of the national park on the island. I am not really certain that I would sail on another Princess cruise after experiencing this one. I am used to the treatment and level of service that I've experienced from 3 RC cruises and while there were some amenities and offerings on the Crown Princess that I didn't find on any RC ship, it all came down to how the staff interacted with us and their ability to perform, their job! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Greetings, My wife and myself have taken many cruises before this one. Our embarkation point was San Juan, Pr. We booked our flight ourselves and saved a ton on money by doing this. We flew in acouple of days before and stayed at the ... Read More
Greetings, My wife and myself have taken many cruises before this one. Our embarkation point was San Juan, Pr. We booked our flight ourselves and saved a ton on money by doing this. We flew in acouple of days before and stayed at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. What a great place. On Saturday April 21 ( our sailing day) we arrived at the pier at 12:30 as our check out time was 12:00. Upon arrival by taxi ($16.00) we noticed a very long line of passengers all the way to the street. A very pushy porter offer to take ours 3 days to the baggage area and we said thanks and gave him our bags he was very adamant about receiving a tip, so we gave him $3.00 for the bags. We thought take he would have to take them all the way down to the building and drop them off but little did we know he took them 15 feet and dropped them off to a big bin that was hidden behind the pillars. I was so mad. I could have done that. Upon arriving at the first check point, we were asked for our tickets. I told the lady that we never got them for this was princess new way of doing things (electronic ticketing) she had to look up our names on some list and finally found them. After arriving at the next check point we were separated by which floor we were booked in that line was also long. So much for the precheck in on line. After 1 hour and 10 minutes of waiting we got to the check in counter. After getting our documents in order we preceded to wait in another line to go thru security and that took some time. Well after close to 2 hours later we finally got on board. We were directed to go to the elevator to the Aloha deck and to our room. After entering our room, boy was it small. I forgot to mention that we had my brother in law was with us and he was staying in our room he is 6'2". Nobody mention to use take the balcony was going to be small ( 2 chairs and a small table) and also that the bathroom was also small. I am 6'1" 220lb. and my wife is 5'7" about 160. well the bathroom was small did i mention the bathroom was really small. The standing joke was lather the walls and them just spin around. the shower head was stationery this made shaving your legs very difficult i was told. Well enough about that. the beds were not a luxurious as i was told to believe. the over head bunk that my brother in law choose to take was meant for a short person for his legs hung over the edge. After lunch we took a tour about the ship and noticed the lay out was very strange but we managed. With all the dining options we had a hard time deciding on were to eat and mostly eating at the buffet. We did enjoy the big screen movie screen outside and took advantage of that. We did not see any shows for our diner time was around 7 and the show started at 8;30 and 10;00. The on board shore excursions were very expensive so we opt to do our own thing by hiring a taxi. disembarkation was such a hassle also for we had a 1:00 flight and got a early tag to disembark which turned out to be 10:30 and was we were not the first ones out. the disembarkation started at 8:15. So much for getting that special privilege. Overall it was a decent cruise but we all was disappointed from all the reviews we had read stating how wonderful this cruise was. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was our 4th cruise: 2 on Celebrity, 1 on Holland America, now Princess Embarkation: long lines, arrived at pier at 2 pm; did not get on ship until after 3 pm. Food: Buffet is unimaginative, repetitive, small and okay. No trays - ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise: 2 on Celebrity, 1 on Holland America, now Princess Embarkation: long lines, arrived at pier at 2 pm; did not get on ship until after 3 pm. Food: Buffet is unimaginative, repetitive, small and okay. No trays - just large, hot plates so you it is difficult to get an entree and then a sailed bowl or fruit bowl, etc. that would be easier if you used a tray. No one helps you find a table. Food quality and taste is good. Dining Room: We ate breakfast and dinner in dining room. Service is uneven. Breakfast waiters seemed annoyed and abrupt for the most part. However, our dinner waiter and assistant were fun, expert, and pleasant. Cabin: We had outside cabin with balcony. Room was very nice, roomy. Lack of dresser drawers was remarkable. The shower is ridiculously small - Twiggy wouldn't fit comfortably in it. Our cabin steward made sure we had extra towels at all times. Cabin was also immaculate. Pool areas: We sat at the Calypso pool on the main deck. The Neptune pool has movies going all day and the noise level is unbearable. We were rarely approached by waiters for drink orders. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or if I'm insulted. Very crowded. BIGGEST COMPLAINT: NO TOWEL BIN. YOU GET 2 POOL TOWELS IN YOUR ROOM AND WHEN YOU GET THEM WET AT THE POOL, TOO BAD. NO EXTRAS IN SIGHT. I CONSIDER THIS A DEALBREAKER. The charge for ice cream at the pool is an insult on a cruise line of this reputation. Both the towel and ice cream items are cheap moves. Movies under the Stars: really good idea executed poorly - very hard to hear. Chaise covers, blankets & popcorn - very nice touches. Excursions - very poor - we went on 2, canceled the rest and went ourselves; cheaper and better that way. Staff on ship were argumentative regarding the problems we encountered on excursions (driver did not show up - beaches closed, etc. - not small complaints). Entertainment - we saw one show because they were not scheduled around dinner. For instance on the other cruises we were on, there would be an early show for the late diners, a late show for the early diners. On Princess they just had a show at a time - if you were eating dinner then, too bad. We missed the marriage game (a favorite on all our cruises) and others too. My husband won $40 in the Casino so I'll give that an A+. Spa Service - had a massage which I had been looking forward to for about 6 months. It was ok and the masseuse tried to sell me products the entire time and when I did not purchase anything, she was outwardly annoyed. This ship is extremely large and not laid out logically. Access to floors just end & to get to something beyond that point, you have to go up or down a floor, walk to another set of elevators, and then go back to the floor. Also, public bathrooms are far apart - a ship this size needs way more of them. At the pool, we had to walk through 2 pools and the buffet area to get to a bathroom. I know this sounds like a lot of complaints but because we had beautiful weather and were with wonderful friends, we had a great time. I would really think twice before taking another Princess cruise, though. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
My wife and I liked the itinerary that Princess offered for the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico and booked this cruise through them. This was our first cruise with princess but have cruised previously with Carnival. Embarkation ... Read More
My wife and I liked the itinerary that Princess offered for the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico and booked this cruise through them. This was our first cruise with princess but have cruised previously with Carnival. Embarkation took longer than expected, about 2 hours and moved slowly. We got on board around 2:00 pm and were hungary so we went to the Horizon buffet to eat. It looked wonderful King crab and lobster claws along with other dishes. Big disappointment, it was served cold and tasted less than palatable. The rest of the food I guess was ok. The dining room food was excellent though. The public areas were beautiful, the rooms small and the shower area was so small you could not extend your elbows out. No, cute animals made from towels and just OK service. We did not go to any of the entertainment shows on board, we missed them due to the poor communication on the ship, we were not informed of them, not on the TV or the Princess Patter news letter. All of the shows in there ended at 4:30. The Pursers office was VERY poorly ran. I placed $1200 cash down for my onboard account and was told I could get the un-used balance back in cash. Come the end of the cruise they refused and they stated they would only place the balance as a credit on one of my credit cards ($780). To date It has not shown up on my account and I have called princess three times since. I only gave them my credit card number so they could give my unused cash back. They used the card to place a $100 hold on my card without my knowledge or permission. I thought maybe they were missing a Robe or something and called Princess about this. Their answer was nothing was missing and this was standard practice. I had them remove it. Still no $780 credit to my account although I was promised it would be there two days ago. Oh and by the way, when I requested cash back and was told previously I could, their answer was we know you have a credit card so we can only credit your card with your surplus. Down the counter from me they gave a guy cash and when I protested, the answer was "they (other purser)shouldn't have done that" The Buffets were laid out poorly with two gates open, one on each end. Neither was marked entrance or exit so people were entering both ends and colliding in the middle of the buffet with people going in both directions at the food stands. The Ship was beautiful and the shore excursions were good. All in all we enjoyed Carnival much better and things went much smoother on Carnival. My wife flat out refuses to do another Princess cruise and believe it or not, we are not picky people. we were just looking for something at least comparable to Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
Allow me to preface this review with the disclaimer that in spite of my following commentary, we had an overall fine vacation on board the Crown Princess. However, Princess Cruises needs to take a very serious and close look at their ... Read More
Allow me to preface this review with the disclaimer that in spite of my following commentary, we had an overall fine vacation on board the Crown Princess. However, Princess Cruises needs to take a very serious and close look at their onboard management and staff training in many crucial areas. If not, an increasing passenger discontent will eventually hurt their bottom line and reputation. Although Red Hook in Brooklyn is a bit out of the way for anyone not originating in Brooklyn, I was truly amazed at how quickly we were processed through security and check in. We were handed a mandatory "Health" form to complete and were at the counter getting our room keys before we had barely finished checking off our replies. The Crown is truly a grand and beautiful lady. In spite of the "Milk Carton On It's Side" exterior, her interior is classy and well appointed. From the moment you step on board there is a feeling of elegance in her woods, carpeting and fixtures. She is warm, and welcoming. Be prepared at key times, such as arrival or departure into any port, to either wait a long time for packed elevators to come and go without room for more or to walk what feels like 20 stories in a high rise to get to your cabin. We were in a Category BC cabin R218 on Riviera Deck 14 (really deck 13, but there is no deck 13 on the ship). Clean and simple, with plenty of closet and shelf space. Our covered balcony was comfortable enough for two people with a small metal mesh table and two metal mesh chairs. Another Cruise Critic member's advice to use a towel for a more comfortable sit was most appreciated and right on the money. Sound does travel quite easily on the Balcony and we could often hear our neighbors conversation as if they were sitting with us on our own deck. Looking down you get a very clear view of the Coral and Dolphin deck balconies that were partially or fully exposed. Not much privacy down there at all, but their balcony space was large enough for two extra blue fabric chairs that looked a little more comfortable in addition to the mesh table and chairs. As many have written already, bathrobes were by request only. We also wanted a couple softer pillows, rather than the foam pillows and both requests were fulfilled the next day. Having to ask and wait was to be a trend on board this ship. It seems that many amenities and fine touches of service readily available on other ships are non-existent on Crown. If you have any simple requests beyond the bare basics, bring lots of patience while you wait or will have to go elsewhere to hunt down whatever it is it you may need. Be prepared for a staff that is predominantly indifferent or misinformed when asked questions. Some of the ship's staff are, indeed, helpful, friendly, efficient and worthy of high praise & thanks for their attentive service, but sadly such folks are the rare exception. This was our 22nd cruise over the past 20 years and I have sailed on many different ships from the small RCCL Sun Viking to NCL's Norway to the more elegant Holland America Noordam and Cunard's Queen Mary 2. I only mention this to explain that I have experienced a fair sampling of service over the years to make what I believe are educated and appropriate comparisons. Unlike the demise of cut back service on the Airlines where the main purpose of flying is to get from Point A to Point B, travel on a cruise ship IS our destination and our vacation. A cruise should not be a minimal discounted experience because a cruise line may be cutting costs and is understaffed. We all pay our hard earned money to be pampered and treated better than we would back home at our local Denny's or Ihop. By far the most frustrating experience on a daily basis was dealing with the Lido Deck buffet cafe. The first day at sea when I asked a waiter if they had cold cuts for lunch (none seen anywhere) I got an abrupt & surly "I don't know, what you see is all that we have". Every day several trips had to be made to different buffet sections because at any given time there was an incomplete selection of food, items had run out and were not replenished and/or items were removed or sections closed as you stood waiting. It was often over something ridiculously simple such as , let's say, a banana or box of a particular breakfast cereal. If there were none at Buffet station A, it then required a jaunt to the back of the ship to look at station B, if none there, try a third stop at Station C on the other side of the ship. If you asked the cafe staff for assistance they would just tell you there were none on board the ship, rather than go look. As has been corroborated by several other guests we talked with, it seems that you only get assistance if you push the point. You had to reach a certain level of clear frustration before most staff would make any effort to assist. Almost every other cruise line and ship has multiple beverage stations with coffee, iced tea, ice, glasses and mugs that also include an always available box with herbal and specialty teas, such as Earl Grey, Mint, Chamomile and so forth, as well as packets of hot chocolate, lemon, creamers, etc. On Crown there were the regular coffee/water/ice tea/ice facilities, but only Lipton Regular and Decaf tea. If you wanted a specialty tea you must ask and you must wait. If you wanted Ice Tea at the poolside Burger grill, you had to hike it back to Lido Cafe. No nearby Beverage stations. After midnight the drink stations were closed with no easy way to get a cup of coffee or tea if you were still up at that hour. You eventually get used to this more 'limited' service and simply begin to expect less, then it's not so bad. First time cruisers would still have an excellent time, not having anything to compare. But after finer service on other lines, so many of these little quirks will often seem a nuisance and waste of your time. Once you know the rules of the game and no longer anticipate the little touches and conveniences of other cruise lines you can play along, but in the beginning, it can be disappointing. Other meal options worked out well. We booked late and could only confirm "Anytime" dining. At key times the lines waiting for pagers were long. If you were lucky enough to figure out how to call first and book a reservation, you could still stand in another long line with no one coming by to seat you. We quickly had a group of eight and were then offered the same table each evening with an ongoing reservation. On subsequent nights we could walk right in and sit down. The Crown Grill was wonderful the first night at sea. Most people did not know of this "Pay Extra" restaurant and with so few patrons, the service was excellent as was the food. I had a filet that literally melted in my mouth. We brought our group of eight to the Grill a week later after sailing from Grand Turk and were most disappointed by the frantic service. Due to a "shipment" problem the much anticipated steamed Maine Lobsters were no longer available and a dining mate said that the alternate broiled Brazilian Lobster Tail was tough and chewy. Another guest at our table received a cold filet that must have been sitting too long before being served. We politely asked if they could just heat up the filet a touch. Over 20 minutes later (no one came to our table during this entire time) they finally brought an entirely new piece of meat, rather than just heat up the cold original. By this time everyone else had finished their meal and it was really too late. The manager did apologize and deducted the surcharge for both the missing meat and rubber lobster. We have noticed that the staff are very good at making sincere sounding apologies. One gets the feeling they must have lots of practice. The purser's desk staff were often poorly informed and openly indifferent. A Purser insisted that the wireless internet rate was 75 cents a minute when a conflicting message offered a discounted 50 cent rate. He said the only discount is if we buy a package and packages are not available if you use your own wireless laptop. This per minute difference could be quite costly. Like so many other times on board the Crown, once I pressed the point and the Purser realized I was not going to go away and ONLY after literally begging him to please call the IT department, he finally went to ask someone. He came back ten minutes later apologizing and saying that he was wrong and that indeed, wireless internet offers a discounted 50 cent rate. He then said he appreciated that I pushed him to ask, so now he knows. In the meantime, I had wasted 30-40 minutes of my vacation going back and forth with this guy trying to get a simple answer when he should have known this basic information. On another occasion I needed to use the Laundromat and called the Purser's desk to find out how much the Washer and Dryer were. I was told both machines were 50 cents each. I repeated back the 50 cents each as I did not want to walk to the opposite end of the ship with my dirty underwear without the right change. If the machines were more, I would have to have to make a separate trip for more coins. I grabbed my only two quarters for the washer, thinking that was sufficient. I'll get the clothes running, then get more change for the dryer. Of course, I get to the machines and they are $1.00 each, not 50 cents. The misinformation I received involved another trek to resolve a situation that could have been taken care of had the Purser answered questions correctly in the first place. There was even a change machine, had I known to bring a dollar. Nothing serious, of course, but still annoying to have to deal with unnecessarily. Other friends experience waiting in line to talk to a purser, just to have them answer the phone just as they walk up to the counter. Never an acknowledgement that they were are standing there or even a brief “I’ll be with you in a moment’. Basic customer service. In that instance the purser hung up the phone and walked away without even looking up. A few moments later he came back and it was a bothered “Yes?” without even looking at the guest. Another example of similar staff disregard was in the café when a tray of cookies was whisked away as I was about to make a selection. The café attendant completely ignored the fact that that I was standing there. Many times I had the feeling that we were little more than an intrusion and inconvenience to the staff and, if anything, we were often an annoyance that just got in the way of them doing their jobs. It is also inescapable that Princess hits you with all sorts of extra costs that I have never experienced in such a pervasive way on other lines. You pay extra for ice cream at the ice cream station, not just the elaborate Sundays, but for even a simple soft serve cone. At dinner in the dining room if you wish to have a cappuccino, you will pay extra. If you wanted some pastry or snacks in the atrium lounges you paid extra. The coveted “Sanctuary” seemed unnecessary as there were plenty of great places to sit in the shade away from the crowds without paying an extra $10 to $20. So many elements just seemed cheap, cut rate, or shoe string. Even some of the ports had us tied up at remote locations, such as departing from Brooklyn more out of the way for most than midtown Manhattan, to the Naval Dockyards in Bermuda, a 20-30 minute water taxi ride to either Hamilton or St. George, or the St. Thomas dock way out by the airport. A mimeographed copy of the ship board New York Times headline stories (an ‘in cabin’ standard on most ships) could not be removed from the library, but each day we would receive a ton of junk mail selling us discounted spa treatments or jewelry. I had a wonderful conversation with a couple who had sailed on the Crown Princess last fall and they noted a remarkable difference from their previous trip. They felt that the ship had fewer staff than before and that the level of service was significantly lower. If this is true and Princess management is cutting back, then this is affecting quality. If there is no difference in staffing ratios, then there is clearly a serious problem with the overall effort and care put forth by current crews. Either way there is room for much improvement. Disembarkation in Brooklyn was one of the most efficient and quick I think I have ever experienced and that made the process so much easier. Again, as I mentioned earlier, these points have not by any means ruined my vacation. The weather was great, the ship beautiful and the company we met most enjoyable. But is seems that Princess is cutting corners, going through some sort of staffing and/or training problem or just suffering from short sighted or poor management. There are other cruise lines such as RCCL, Celebrity, Holland America or Cunard (even if several are owned and operated by the same parent Carnival) with whom you can have a more effortless and better quality experience. If cruise costs and destinations are more or less similar for other lines and ships, it leaves me with the feeling that I no real incentive or desire to come back to Princess when other options are more inviting, professional and complete with all the subtle touches that make the difference between average and excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
Our group of 6 has many cruises under our belts, my third, brother's 17th, SIL's 15th, Dad's and Christine's 4th, friend's 14th. None of us had been on Princess before and had high expectations. Crown Princess is a ... Read More
Our group of 6 has many cruises under our belts, my third, brother's 17th, SIL's 15th, Dad's and Christine's 4th, friend's 14th. None of us had been on Princess before and had high expectations. Crown Princess is a beautiful ship, but by a long shot, is the worst laid out ship ever. On day 9, everything still looked the same. Not all elevators went to all floors, so much wasted space by the mazes. Many complaints were overheard onboard, it wasn't just us. The ship had lots of activities. I especially enjoyed live reggae by one of the pools, but IMHO, Movies Under the Stars was annoying. This was especially true when tanning between the two pools, movies all day long in one ear, reggae in the other. I quickly learned where to not be even though most of the chaises were in between the two pools. The special teenage pool and hot tub section was empty because the kids were all in the adult pool. We had some of the finest service ever with Marygay, our cabin steward. She was fabulous. Robinson and Garret in Crooner's, became our new best friends and were always ready for Papa Joe (Dad's new nickname) and the rest of us. Agnieske serving drinks by the pool was an absolute jewel. However, the Purser's staff, (other than Lawrence who fixed messes for us several times, and the Sr. Purser, Bobs, who contacted us to apologize for misunderstanding and sent us chocolate covered strawberries), seemed overly inefficient. Lines were always long to the Purser's desk and anything you needed to report, like A/C problems, wrong disembarkation tickets, required trips to the Purser's desk. In San Juan and St. Thomas we shopped and did no excursions. We swam with the stingrays in the Turks, or stingray as it turned out since there was only one for about 40 people to swim with, disappointing for the price of $80+. The tour guide said there were about 20 stingrays up until a couple of weeks ago when they stopped coming in, perhaps because they fed them little. We took the Crystal Caves tour in Bermuda and saw many of the celebrity houses because he had some extra time. This was very enjoyable. It was a good thing we planned a Bermuda excursion, because we were there on Sunday and no stores were open which Princess failed to warn us. The Lotus Spa was outstanding. I can't say enough about Lori, a great massage and no high pressure sales tactics. We had a balcony room and two junior suites, which compared to Explorer of the Seas equivalent last year, were much smaller. My balcony cabin was on the 14th floor and had almost no A/C. We slept with the balcony door open to catch a breeze. There were other areas of the ship that seemed really hot. Two of our safes only worked part of the time, had repairs multiple times. The bathroom door would slip open also. Dinners were very good. Our waiter never called us by name like on previous cruises. Breakfasts and lunches were good but the chopped up layout made it difficult to find what you were looking for. The dance show was so-so. The biggest conflict was at the Purser’s desk when we explained we had noon flights and would need to get off the ship as early as possible. We told him we did not want to carry our own luggage but were told we couldn't anyway because it was our fault "we couldn't read". Not the type of customer service I am accustomed to, especially when this was not even the question. We never wanted to carry our own luggage. His actions made us very angry. We can read, Tiago can’t listen. Later we went back and spoke with another Jr. Purser who told us we needed aqua tickets and provided us with the appropriate number. Luckily, I packed my last ticket and had to go get another. We had been given one of the last colors to disembark, our luggage had been picked up already and could not be reversed. Again, Lawrence came to the rescue giving us tickets to get off the ship so we could go down and wait for our luggage. This was a pretty serious error. I will give them an A on disembarkation. It was very smooth and fortunately our luggage was there. A rescue at sea with a stranded sailboat was exciting. Overall, I can say Princess did not live up to my expectations and I will probably not cruise Princess again because it is not a notch above, like I thought. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
This is the most honest review you'll ever read. And it was written on the boat, and sent to my friends via e-mail, so if I forgot to change the tense in some of the sentences, pardon me. Also pardon the typos, as it was originally ... Read More
This is the most honest review you'll ever read. And it was written on the boat, and sent to my friends via e-mail, so if I forgot to change the tense in some of the sentences, pardon me. Also pardon the typos, as it was originally written using expensive online minutes. ------------------ FIRST: This boat is HUGE. It is 18 stories tall, a city block wide and an avenue long. It holds about 3200 people. 3100 of them are white. 98 are black. 2 are "other." Guess which two? ;-) Getting on the boat was a breeze. If you arrive toward the latter end of the time frame. Take the luggage tags you get in the mail with you. And if you need meds or something, put it in your carry on, because our luggage took 5 hours to make it to our room. We had a mini-suite, which was lovely. 2 TVs in that room! There is a spacious balcony, where we had breakfast every day. There is plenty of room to place clothes on shelves and about 20 hangers. There is a little fridge, so I brought some cereal and soy milk with me. That said, I didn't know what to expect, and only having seen Love Boat as an example, I was expecting to be dining with the captain at his table while Ted McGinley fetches me some pinot noir. Well, to say the least, we did not dine with the captain, but in the buffet line. If you are vegetarian, you may be one of the licky few to LOSE weight on a cruise! Go to the Lotus Spa, and do a detoxification. They wrap your midsection in some seaweed stuff and mushy clay mixture. Then they put a few electric stims on you, and it contracts your muscles. Basically it pushes all the toxins in your body, into your kidkeys. Then after you use the bathroom, you have detoxed. I thought of course, it's a scam. But it's not!!! It's a European method, not American, which automatically gives it some spa cred. After the detox, it was much easier to eat what I wanted, without the side effects I was having for some time. Ok, to be honest, it's a natural way to solve any irritable bowel symptoms. I with America would try these solutions, rather than pumping us up with medications and wasting insurance money. This is not easily available in NY, because they have more "quick fixes for problems, like popping pills. But this is, while using the electric stims, sill more natural than anything else. Anyway, back to the issue of food. Yes, people PILE food onto their plates, SHOVEL it into their mouths, and get more food, which is promptly wasted. Almost everyone overeats, and eats unhealthy (read: 3 desserts per person). I couldn't believe the level of unheathiness and obesity. The American epidemic is obvious by one loko at the boat. In fact, any time we were on the elevator, people would comment, about themselves, and laugh as if it was a joke! THe elevators say "Maximum capacity 18 persons." Ok, I agree, that 15 is a more comfortable limit. But on any given elevator ride, only 9 people would fit. And one of them would invariabley say "How the hell are you supposed to fit 18 people in here? Some of us take up two spaces!" and the rest of the elevator laughs! People, this is not funny! Stop killing yourselves with ho-hos and other sugary foods! So enough of the mean stuff. On that note, I must say their fitness facility is state-of-the art, and amazing. It's at the front of the ship, so you can see the ocean, and are moving forward as you are on the treadmills (for the few who actually made it to gym) they have all the machines a regular gym has, and it's clean, and user-friendly (except the abductor machine is a little hard to adjust.) The gym is through the Lotus Spa. Don't be misled and think that it's only for people who use the Spa. The gym is free, and is for everyone, so go right ahead, and jump on that treadmill. There is also an adults-only pool, that is reachable through the Spa. It's near the Sanctuary, but is not actually part of Sanctuary, so you may use it free of charge. Ok, maybe some more mean stuff. They have tons of activities on the boat, much of which we didn't really feel like doing. We have basically sat by the pool, sit in the hot tub, sit on our balcony, which if you go on a cruise, get a balcony. I realized without that, we'd be bored. It's nice to sit there, have breakfast, and watch the water. But some of the cheesier activities, like "Join ALEX on deck 15, to play 'Jeopardy and win a prize" was too cheesy. And, what makes people want to get in a conga line and dance around the pool, is beyond me. Ok, just one more cheesy event before moving on to better stuff. There are two "formal" nights. The other days, you wear kakhis for dinner. On formal nights, men must wear suits, and women are requested to wear " floor-length ballgowns." I flatly refused, of course. I did wear a short dress. However, most women get all dolled up in their PROM dresses. I kid you not. They wear these aqua- or pink-colored floor-length dresses, put on their nicest costume jewelry, their black high heels bedazzled with rhinestones, and strut down to the dining hall. As we were getting dressed, we couldn't stop laughing, that we were actually doing that too! hehee. But they seat you with other people, so it's a chance to meet them and chat. Some people are on their 20th cruise! The dining room food is outstanding. They have a great vegetarian menu, with inventive, tasty dishes, that are not too heavy. And my hubby ate several meat dishes, all of which he liked. Ok, so the first stop was Bermuda. I didn't think we'd land there, because many customer reviews on said that they skipped Bermuda, due to "weather conditions." But, all the same people said that the cruise line rescued a fisherman at sea, "so it was worth it to have missed Bermuda." The conspiracy theorist in me immediately determined that Princess Cruises plants a fisherman en route to Bermuda, so they don' thave to waste money going there. However, that didn't happen to us. We were going to do a group activity with the excitable, overeager, panting-for-Photo-Ops crowd, but it was raining too much, that they cancelled it. Everyone else decided to wait out the rain, which stopped in a few hours. But it was a blessing in disguise, because we took a taxi to the other end of Bermuda, and got to see Crystal Caves. (No reservation needed. They have tours every half hour. The driver will know where it is. The cab costs about $40 but is worth it. To save money and time, you can also take a ferry to east end from the ship dock, which is only 10 minutes, and $4. THen a short cab ride to the Caves.) It is a cave of stalagmites and stalagtites. It is by far the coolest thing I've ever seen. You descend town a bunch of stairs, and see some really neat formations, and there is an underground river and other neat things. Plenty of photos ensued (with new digi camera) , to the point where the tour guide made a comment, no doubt directed at me, that "you will notice that photos turn out just as well WITHOUT the flash on your cameras." Hmpfh. Anyway, that was very neat indeed. Then we tried desperately to find anywhere to eat, but it was a national holiday, where they celebrate the freedom from slavery, and so everything was closed. Even the ONLY fast-food place they had, KFC, was closed. So we found a local bar (Casey's Bar), where they had some macaroni, and some other stuff, and ate there. it was a neat place, and there were these guys gambling over cards in the back, so it wasn't touristy, which made it even better. So we walked around a bit, but dind't shop. This was because everything was closed, which was good, or else, I may be out a few hundred dollars. We eventually took a ferry back to the ship, and got on the ship. Everyone was standing on their balconies, heckling the latecomers. There are always some morons who think they can take their own sweet time and he ship waits for them. Overall, it's a good time, and you can pick and choose your activities, but the cruise is filled with cheesy people, and events, which are easily avoided. Right now, I'm online in the lobby, where a pianist is playing the Titanic song. No, I'm not kidding. And prior to that was a 4-piece string quartet. Nice, but very Titanic. Maybe I'm just a jaded New Yorker, or plain obnoxious! It is a relaxing vacation, once you get over the melted cheese dripping on your head. Tonights' dining is "smart casual" hahaa. Don't worry, I gave disapproving stares to people who waste enough food to feed all the kids in the world who go hungry. :-(So in Puerto Rico, we went to the El Yunque rainforest. The cruise tours were all booked (blessing in disguise), so we went to the Sheraton and booked a tour from there. Not only was it HALF the price that we would have paid booking it through the cruise, but it was a small group of just 9 people, and they were a really fun bunch. It was a good hike, and a good workout. We went there expecting some sort of Brazilian rainforest, with macaws and toucans, and pythons. This is mostly vegetation and greenery, no animals. But it was still really nice. And on the way back, we stopped at a roadside stand for some local food, which sold for just $1 a plate! It was good, but almost ALL the food we ate in PR was fried. Then we had a few more hours to kill, so we walked around, window shopping. I didn't buy anything, since all the stores were full of the same things, and all of them were tourist traps, not relaly local merchandise, but cheap trinkets for people who just HAVE to have that napkin holder emblazoned with the words "Puerto Rico!" For the vegetarians, there is a great place a few blocks from the ship, called Cafe Berlin. However, we didn't eat there. We wanted to try something different and ate at a Latin-Indian restaurant. There, too, much of the food was fried. I ordered a spinach-cheese dish, and the cheese was so fried that I had to slice off the outsides to get at the softer cheese! But it tasted good. They have yummy plantain dishes too. The next day, we went to Virgin Islands, and went snorkeling. This time, we could not escape the cruise crowd. Oh well. So, they take us to this place called Turtle Cove. So named, because there are all of 5 turtles residing on the sea floor. We did this thing called Power Snorkeling. IT'S A SCAM. Basically, you get this device that you hold, and maneuver it to propel you through the water. That part was fine. But they only took us around the little snorkeling boat! One would think that with a motor device, you would go all sorts of places, but no, the scuba leader would say, in her cheeriest Disney-esque chipper voice, "Now come on over and follow me as we head on over THIS way, and let's see if we can find a STINGRAAAAYYY!!!" So we'd head on over, literally 100 feet, which doesn't really require the use of a power device, and check out the lone stingray, which immediately darts away upon hearing the power snorkels. After a while, I gave up on the device, and just swam around. Snorkeling in Caribbean is nice, the water is clear. But if anyone has snorkeled in Cancun, it's a huge difference. In Mexico, it's a big barrier reef, with sea life galore, and it's just like you see on TV. Here, it's some corals, and very little sea life in comparison. And the boat operator actually had the nerve to announce that the stuff you see on TV, is digitally enhanced, to produce those colors, due to the fact that water absorbs certain colors. NOT TRUE! Well, water does absorb colors, but the snorkeling in Cancun takes your breath away, without digital enhancement! Anyway, on our way back, they served some rum drinks. Can't remember the name of it, but I know it's what I drank for 4 (ok, 5) years of undergrad, and every sip I took reminded me of a drunken night on a dance floor. And would you believe it, it started to pour on our way back, and stopped just as we got off? An interesting tidbit, is the reason for the white sand on the bottom of the ocean there. Apparently, the Parrotfish nibbles on coral all day, and produces so much white poo, that it results in the white "sand." Think about that next time you're on the beach and want to build a sandcastle or get buried in the sand. ;-)So that was that, and the next day, we went to Turks/Caicos and we did a glass-bottom boat/snorkel. It literally has a glass bottom, where you can be dry and sit and look out the window, and you are 6 feet under water, so you see the sea life beneath the surface. It's neat, because we went past the 'dropoff' which is where the sea floor does a straight drop from 20 feet deep to 8000 feet deep! Then they let us snorkel a little, and the scene was the same. Same fish, different 'hood. But a word about Grand Turk. Princess Cruises practically owns one island of Turks. They developed it so they could dock there, and own it for 10 years, after which they "return" the island to the locals. Yeah, weird, I know. I'm sure after 10 years, they will tell the locals that they'll stop docking there unless they get half the profits. See, it's all planned out to rip off the locals and put more money in their pockets. Anyway, the place i's small, and the entire beach is about 1/4 mile from the ship, so if you go in the water, it's in full view of the behemoth boat. And, it's total Tourist center. The ONLY way to get to the beach is, yes, to walk through the Duty-Free store. I kid you not. After you do so, you must walk through Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Margaritaville is full of low-IQ beer guzzlers. Margaritaville, is the only place to eat in this area. Nowhere else is food available. And there is a huge pool there, just for cruise passengers. It is filled to the brim with 18-to-21-year old girls and college guys looking to hook up. They stand waist-deep in the water holding their tall plastic pink cups of beer and daquiris and other such drinkables. The girls drinks shots all day, and collect the test tubes that the shots come in, and stick them in their bikini bottoms, and walk around. The more shots you display, the cooler you are. I'm sure most of these troublemakers are here on the sly, and their families think they are babysitting the Parkers' children for the weekend. Ooooh, no. They are in spring break mode. I have never felt so old in my life. Never. ever. ever. It's a total MTV beach party! and they play drinking tunes quite loudly, and there is nowhere to escape! Even if you want to walk around the shopping area, it's all tourist shops, and ALL the profits from the purchases go to Princess Cruises, since they set up shop there in the first place! I was amazed at the number of people who were too dense to realize this, even after being told much of the information, and actually thought they got to see a new country! PEOPLE! WAKE UP! Sheesh, so after drinking a margarita (what else?) we headed back to the ship for two more days at sea, heading home. And the next day, was another "formal night." Good lord, as if the first one wasn't enough, there are TWO! I almost wore jeans in silent protest, but realized they wouldn't let us in the dining room unless we were appropriately dressed. And for those lovely ladies and gents who didn't bring any formal wear, you can rent a tuxedo on the boat, or purchase black silk shirts with sequins all over the shoulders, just like Liza Minelli. Buuuut, luckily, not as many people were as dressed up this time, I think they were too tired to bother. We avoided the buffet for dinner, since the dining room had much better food, on a menu that you could customize. The last day, we realized the menu was a total mishmash of leftovers. Not kidding. Every item, at least on the veg menu, was a "Vegetable terrine" or "Veggie medley" or "salad with mixed vegetables." They did a good job of using up all the leftover veggies, but it was painfully obvious, since the dishes didn't really go together that well, in the attempt to use up food. A dish of Eggplant, rice, avocado, and mango? I smell a conspiracy. But who cares, it tasted good. These last 2 days, we once again avoided the activities. Well, I did attend a cooking show, where the head chef and maitre'd prepare some foods in this huge theater they have on the ship, and tell you about how much food they make per day. About 10 to 15 tons PER DAY! There are 1100 staffers on the boat! And that was all. Getting off the boat was chaos, with a little bit of order. It was chaos, because a crowd such as this has no patience, and gets all "Maude, have you seen Clyde? And where are Tom and Nancy, and I haven't seen Kayla or the twins because we all have to stick together, and if we're separated, we might not find each other once we're off the boat, because who knows how long immigration will take, and someone has to watch our bags, and once they call us to disembark, it might take a while, because we have to find out where to go, yada yada yada" And wouldn't you know it, it was (and still is) pouring rain in NY as we get out. haha. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
My husband and I are seasoned cruises. This was our first Princess Cruise. We departed from Bklyn, NY. Getting to the terminal was a chore- much construction and heavy traffic. However once we arrived at the terminal we quickly boarded the ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned cruises. This was our first Princess Cruise. We departed from Bklyn, NY. Getting to the terminal was a chore- much construction and heavy traffic. However once we arrived at the terminal we quickly boarded the ship and within minutes were on the ship. The ship, compared to others, was plain- Art work appeared to be inexpensive prints- No "wow" factor as you get with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and Disney. Our cabin, a mini suite was very comfortable. However, the cabin staff didn't make the pretty nightly towel animals that we come to enjoy and appreciate. The lunch and breakfast buffets were small and didn't have nearly the choices that we expect of such a highly rated ship. I must however compliment the dining room staff. We decided to eat daily at the same time in the Michelangelo dining room and had no problem scheduling our "table" and time. The waiter and busboy were great. The food was just okay. The entertainment was top notch. The singer and staff at the Martini Bar were excellent. A lady piano player entertained us nightly. The shows in the main theater were also excellent. The deck around the pool was very crowded and the staff at the pool tried not to make eye contact and serve. I had to either go directly to the bars at the pool, or chase after a waiter. Normally we spend significant amounts of money purchasing jewelry from the ships stores- didn't spend any money on Princess- choices were poor and we found better options in St. Thomas. Since we truly love cruising- I do not believe that we will plan a Princess Cruise again. Even people who were previous Princess cruisers said they were very disappointed. If however, we learn that things have improved, perhaps then. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Overall, my husband and I had an enjoyable time on this cruise. However, Princess Cruise lines and the Crown Princess have several areas on which they need to improve if they want to keep customers. My husband has traveled on many cruises ... Read More
Overall, my husband and I had an enjoyable time on this cruise. However, Princess Cruise lines and the Crown Princess have several areas on which they need to improve if they want to keep customers. My husband has traveled on many cruises with his family over the past 10 years, so he is able to compare his experiences. The embarkation was very easy. It was much easier than I remember on a previous Princess cruise. When we arrived to our cabin, they had our names on our neighbor's door, yet our key worked on the door we were assigned. The stewardess allowed us access to our room and fixed the problem. We had a minisuite, which was roomy and well laid out. I loved having a large bathtub, and the shower water pressure was excellent. We were very disappointed that our balcony did not have a cover, but we knew this before we boarded. Although the decor looked very dated, we were very comfortable in our cabin. Within 30 minutes of arriving at port, I was already changed into my bathing suit and in the adult pool at the back of the ship. We were very pleased that all of the pools were fresh water, which made for an enjoyable swimming experience. The pools were very well maintained and very inviting. However, there were not enough lounge chairs under shade. As expected, all shaded chairs were taken before 9am, so it is difficult to sit out on the deck in the sun all day. After our dip, we spent the afternoon exploring. The ship is large and nicely decorated. I found it difficult to navigate and was not always sure where to go. We avoided the elevators (both to same time and to work off the buffet), but people seemed to be frustrated with waiting. All of the bars and dining rooms were comfortable and nicely decorated. The stores met our needs for both souvenirs and last minute toiletry items. I wish that they had a better magazine and book selection. Overall, the food on the ship was passable. The buffet had a variety, and we were always able to find something to eat. However, all of the dishes were very, very salty. There weren't enough lighter, healthier options. All of the salad dressings were cream based, even the "balsamic vinaigrette." Unless you wanted oil and vinegar, you had no other choice. I was disappointed in the fruit selections, and sometimes it was hit or miss with freshness. They always had cantaloupe and honey dew, and often watermelon. I was hoping for sliced oranges, grapefruit, guava, papaya, etc. The cookies were excellent, but we stayed away from the rest of the desserts on the buffet. The freshly baked bread was fantastic! The buffet lines were a little hectic, and there were days when I just couldn't find basic items. As we approached the end of the cruise, it appeared that people's patience was dwindling. We had hamburgers and fries on the deck, which were decent. I enjoyed the soft serve ice cream that was available every day. My husband and I live in Manhattan, and we found the prices of the extras, including: alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, ice cream, cappuccino, etc, to be very, very reasonable. I was pleased to pay around $6.00 for a Grey Goose and tonic ($11.00 in the city). So, I was happy to be able to have a few drinks and not feel guilty about the cost. The mimosas and strawberry daiquiris were very yummy. The deck bartenders were pleasant. The food in the dining rooms was decent. We had late seating, but we decided to do anytime seating and sit by ourselves. (We usually didn't get to the dining room before 8:45pm.) It was our 2nd anniversary, and my husband travels a lot of work, so we wanted to spend time together, as opposed to talking with other people every night. We found that dinner usually felt very rushed, as we were done in less than an hour. On one night, they were particularly busy, so we had to wait for a little while during dinner. We thought this was great, yet the staff kept apologizing. Often, they would give us our 1st course, and we could see our 2nd course waiting for us on the side. Before you put your fork down, they are bringing another course. The waiters were decent, but they didn't do anything to go above and beyond for you on any level. If I had been in a NYC restaurant, I would have been disappointed with the service. Overall, we found the food in the dining room to be decent, yet limited. Like the buffet, the food was very, very salty. I found the meat dishes (steak, prime rib, turkey) to be better than the vegetarian options. The lobster and king crab legs were decent. My husband enjoyed the various fish entrees. Sometimes, we enjoyed our meals, yet often we ate just to eat and weren't thrilled about anything. The shrimp cocktail was very sad. I felt bad for the tiny, limp shrimp on my plate. We heard some people absolutely rave about the food, and then there were some who were slightly disappointed. The desserts were decent, and the ice cream was always a safe pick. I think that we may be spoiled by living in Manhattan with so many excellent dining options. During the second night of the cruise, the boat was very, very rocky. I think that we were going through the tropical depression off the coast of the Carolinas. We didn't feel great, so we stayed in our cabin and ordered room service. The menu was extremely limited, and we were very disappointed. We wanted simple, bland food like pasta or chicken noodle soup. We had to order pizza and salad, which are not the best things for a rocky stomach. It is surprising because you figure that the people who are ordering room service are most likely not feeling well and just want some plain carbs. The food came very fast, so we were pleased about that. We found our cabin steward to be less than helpful and somewhat annoying. We entered our wedding anniversary (September 10) on the online Cruise Personalizer when we booked. On the second day, she placed Just Married balloons outside our cabin. I politely told her that we did not just get married and that we were celebrating our 2nd anniversary on the 10th. She told me flatly that she got the information from the computer. We had to take the balloons down ourselves the next day. Happy Anniversary balloons appeared the day after our anniversary. Just a little about no balloons, and we will call it even? There were times when dirty dishes weren't removed or the ice bucket didn't have fresh ice in it. It seemed like she never went to our balcony to take away used beach towels. I was pleased when she picked up on the fact that I use two towels, so that was nice. Overall, we were more annoyed by her presence than excited by it. We didn't go to any shows, but we heard that they were decent. There was always some live music going on some where in the evening, which people seemed to enjoy. It was nice to have lots of options for photography (although it was expensive) on both formal and non formal nights. There seemed to be lots of activities throughout the day as well. We enjoyed watching some of the pool games and played bingo twice. We enjoyed the casino, but we were disappointed with the automatic shufflers on the black jack tables. Overall, we did not find the general customer service feel of the ship to be that good. We became frustrated several times because people did not know when different places were open. Despite many attempts, we could never access the onboard dive shop because people kept giving us different times. People did not seem to have answers to pretty basic cruise service questions. The tour desk was decent. The library had very limited time frames, but we were pleased to be able to read some travel books about our ports of call. I think that some of the crew were new to the ship and itinerary. We enjoyed all of the ports of call. We went to Governor's Beach in Grand Turk and went snorkeling which was fun. The beach was nice, had bathrooms and showers, snorkel gear, etc. The water was very warm, crystal clear, and there were some nice snorkel spots just off the beach. We were disappointed that there weren't any food options there besides Margaritaville, which we skipped. In San Juan, we spent the day with friends who live there. Old San Juan was nice, but it was very very hot. In St. Thomas, we went to Coral World which is fun if you like to get up close and personal with fish (which we do). Coral World doesn't light a candle to aquariums in major cities, but we had such a good time there and the people were super nice. We didn't snorkel at Coki Beach (which is adjacent), but we heard that it was fantastic. We enjoyed Bermuda, yet the boat docks far away from Hamilton, which was very frustrating for people trying to get there. You had to take either a ferry which had limited service or the bus which took over an hour. We decided to stay by the ship to avoid the chaos and went snorkeling in the snorkel park. It wasn't as good as Governor's Beach, but we had a good time. There is also shopping there, basic tourist shops and a glass store. We had lunch at Beethoven's, which is in the shopping mall. We had an excellent, basic (bbq chicken wrap, salad, and soup) lunch. It was refreshing to have a light, non-salty lunch off of the cruise ship. Bermuda was expensive, but we expected that. Our most favorite part of the ship was the Sanctuary, located in the very front of the ship by the lotus spa. The Sanctuary is the most secluded outdoor area of the ship which is for people looking for rest and relaxation, as opposed to constant movies, pool games, music, etc., found at the two main pools. For $20 per person for the day ($10 for ½ day), you get a super comfy lounge chaise either in the sun or in the shade. The super nice, 4 person Sanctuary staff will move the chaise wherever you want, based upon the sun's position. You can leave the chaise for as long as you want to get food, take a break, etc., and you don't have to worry about anybody taking your spot. You paid for it; you own it. They play relaxing music and cater to your needs. You can order food from the lotus spa menu and drinks. Once we found this place, it was all over! We loved it and found it to be more than worth the cost. The Sanctuary does get booked, so it can add some stress if you really want to sit there. One day, it was booked, and we were devastated! On the last day of the cruise (at sea), we went to the Sanctuary at 6:45 am to get a seat when it opened at 8am. We were second in line (somebody got there at 6:40). By 8am, there was a decent line to get in. It was great to camp out there the rest of the last day of the cruise, soaking up the relaxation! Overall, we had an enjoyable time on this cruise with some limitations. Princess needs to improve its customer service and overall attitude of the crew in all areas. We saw very few smiles from the crew, and nobody seemed to take an extra step to please. If we cruise again, we would probably look into other cruise lines such as Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
We were two couples traveling together ages from 57 to 63. This was our first cruise on Princess. We have been on 4 previous cruises - Celebrity to Alaska, RCI to Caribbean two times, and HAL to the Mexican Riviera. I only saw about 6 ... Read More
We were two couples traveling together ages from 57 to 63. This was our first cruise on Princess. We have been on 4 previous cruises - Celebrity to Alaska, RCI to Caribbean two times, and HAL to the Mexican Riviera. I only saw about 6 children on this cruise, and we thought the average age seemed to be about 70. I was very impressed with the workers on the ship - everyone seemed helpful and tried their best to help you. We did not go to any of the shows in the theater. The casino was very busy every night and lots of smokers. There seemed to be only a few places on the ship that people were allowed to smoke so we were not bothered by the smoke. On our last HAL cruise, there seemed to be smoking in many more places. We flew into LaGuardia on Friday and took a cab to the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge for about $30. There were minivan cabs outside the airport so there was no problem with all of our luggage. I was worried about not being able to get all of our luggage into a cab, but they will get a mini van for you if you need one. I would stay at the Marriott again. We requested a quiet upper level room and paid $195 with taxes. After checking in to the hotel, we took the subway to Times Square. The subway station is a couple of blocks away. Ask at the desk at the hotel and they will give you good directions to the closest subway station. There is an attendant at the station who will answer your questions and tell you where to get off. We have used the subways in many cities and have been to New York several times. But this is easy even if you haven't taken subways before. There was a man on the subway who told us that there was a campaign in New York to be tourist friendly. He told us how many stops before we got off. We took a cab back to the hotel with a terrible driver so I would much rather ride the subway. We had tickets to MaMa Mia which we had purchased earlier on for $69 each. After the play, we had a mixture of hot appetizers at Carmines Restaurant just a short walk from the theater. The next morning we walked a couple of blocks to a diner for breakfast. Our friend got up early, took a walk and found the diner. About noon, we went downstairs and there was a car service outside - a towncar with a big trunk. He took us to the pier for $15. It is just a short ride to the boat from the Marriott. Boarding was quick and easy, and our rooms were ready when we got on the boat. I would not worry about making prior arrangements for transportation because it was very easy, and you can leave at your convenience. The room was nice, the bed was hard but comfortable with 4 pillows. There was a duvet covering a comforter, but no top sheet. We thought it was too hot, so we asked for a top sheet the next day. We kept the thermostat down as low as it would go most of the time, and the room was comfortable. I can see why there were complaints of a hot room in the Caribbean, but since it was cool outside the room temperature was fine. The bath is small as is the shower, but it was fine for us. I really liked the large closet to hang up your clothes. We had a balcony room on the Aloha deck at the front of the ship on the starboard side which turned out to be great since we could see the Statue of Liberty from our balcony in NY, and the cities at almost all the ports. The boat was very smooth the entire trip. Food -We had anytime dining which was a first for us. We have always had the traditional dining, but we really liked the anytime dining. We never had to wait for a table, and we thought that dining with a different group of people every night was interesting. We always sat at a table for 8 or 10 people. We ate about 7pm every night which was so much better that eating at 5:30 which is too early or 8:30 which is too late. We thought that the food was good. I am amazed at the complaints regarding the food considering that they are feeding 3000 people. Also consider the price that you are paying for cruising and eating 4 or 5 course dinners every night that would easily cost $100 or more at a restaurant. We ate prime rib two times, and it was great. We also had the salmon, scallops, ribeye steaks, and my friend raved about the veal chop. I usually have my steaks medium but have learned to ask for medium rare on cruises to get it medium. We also ate at Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. The Crown Gill was very good. The service was really good as were the steaks. I had a filet and a lobster tail and for dessert, he suggested we try one of everything. We did not really care for Sabatini's and would not do it again. It was too much food, and we did not think that it was that good. I do not think that we will do either again, the food was not that much better. If we did one of the specialty restaurants it would be because it did seem more upscale or more of a fine dining experience than eating in one of the dining rooms. There were not very many people eating at the special restaurants either night that we were there. The first couple of days we ate in the dining room for breakfast. We really do not care for buffets. However we tried the buffet for breakfast the third day and really liked it better than the dining room. We thought the breakfast buffets were really good and so many choices. We ate at the International Cafe for lunch on our last day. The chicken salad is wonderful as are the marinated mushrooms, mediterranean salad with tomatoes, olives and feta cheese, and panini sandwiches. There is no cost for the food, but the coffee is $1, and cappuccino is $2. The desserts are also great; we tried the carrot cake. My husband also had ice cream there one day - $1.50 for three big scoops of gelato. We never ate in the dining room for lunch since we were always off the boat at lunch. Dress - We thought that on this cruise the people did not dress up as much as they did on other ships. My husband took his tuxedo as did our friend. There were a few other men in a tuxedo, with others in suits and lots of sport coats. My husband said that next time he is just going to take his sports coat! Most of the women just had on nice dresses. On our last cruise in the spring on Holland America, there were lots of men wearing a tuxedo which is why my husband took his on the trip. I know that there is a lot of discussion about formal night, but I do think it is slowly becoming a thing of the past. I like to dress up, but I think most people don't want to have to take the clothes or don't have the really dressy clothes. We could travel with a carry on if we didn't have to take the clothes and shoes for formal night. I think on our first cruise in 2000, my husband wore a suit or sports coat to dinner every night. I just thought that it was less dressy on this ship. There were lots of bars with good music for dancing. We especially enjoyed the Crooners bar before dinner and the Wheelhouse Bar after dinner for dancing. We went to Vines for a wine tasting one evening before dinner. Ports - The first port was Newport and was that a DISASTER. The brochure said that we would be in Newport until 4 pm. However they announced that the last tender would leave shore at 1pm. We were ready to leave the ship at 9:15. We picked up our tender ticket and waited until 10:30 before we were called to get on the tender. We arrived in Newport about 11 am. We got on a trolley at the visitors information center. Actually, there were so many people in line to get on the trolleys, that they had a big bus pick us up for $1.50 and drive us around town. The bus driver tried to give us a narrated tour of the town which I thought was really nice. She was trying to do the best that she could. We got off at the Breakers, but there was a line to get in. and we knew that we would not have enough time to see it. We walked behind the mansion along the Cliff Walk for a short distance, got back on a trolley back to town and got in line at 12:30 to get back on the ship. We waited in line for 30 minutes, but you would not have believed the length of the line to get on the ship. It looked like it was a mile long behind us. We were back on the boat about 1:30, but we watched them bringing people on the tender for a couple of hours. I cannot imagine how long some people stood in line to get back on the ship. We met a lady on the trolley who told us that she had purchased a tour of the mansions and after waiting to tender for an hour, they told them that their tour was cancelled. So basically we spent almost 3 hours trying to get on and off the ship and 1.5 hours in Newport. All I can say is try to get off the boat as soon as you can and maybe they will fix the problem before you sail. Due the the apparent difficulty in tendering in Newport, a 3000 passenger ship may not make it a realistic port of call. But Newport is a beautiful city, and we are happy that we saw what we were able to see. It is a place that we would like to visit again. Thankfully there we no more problems at the other ports!! Boston - We had been to Boston several times before. We took a cab from the boat to Fanueil Hall. There we purchased tickets to ride the trolley on a narrated trip around the town. We did not get off the trolley, and I think that the trip was about 1 hour. Then we rode the subway to Fenway Park for a tour of the park. After Fenway, we took a cab and the driver suggested No Name Seafood when we asked him for a casual place for seafood. The seafood chowder was great, the food servings were huge. The food was fried and just OK. We went back to the ship and watched a movie outside on the deck. They had blankets to cover up with and came around with warm cookies and milk. Bar Harbor - This time the tendering was great. We went down to get our tender ticket and walked right on to the tender. We went on the Ollies Trollies tour of the town and Acadia National Park that lasted about and hour. Afterward we went to Stewman's Lobster Pound on Eden for lunch. We sat out on the deck. The weather was beautiful. We had lobster rolls and the Lobster experience which was a lobster, corn, red potato, clams and a piece of blueberry pie. We thought it was delicious. The lobster roll was about $13 and the lobster dinner was $33. Then we walked to see the church with the beautiful stained glass windows, shopped in town and returned to the ship - again no wait for the tender. Saint John, New Brunswick - When we left the ship, we checked on a tour which was $39 for 1.25 hours. We thought that was too much for 4 people ($176) so we asked about cabs. We were told that the cab drivers would take us on a tour for $45 per hour. We thought that was a much better deal. We got into a cab with a wonderful driver who was very knowledgeable about the town and the sites. He drove us all over town to the reversing falls and let us stop and take pictures everywhere. We then asked him if he could take us to Saint Martin. He drove us there where we ate at a small restaurant. We had lobster rolls, fish sandwiches and chowder. Then he drove us back to town and dropped us off at the city market for shopping. We had a wonderful day. We were with the driver about 4.5 hours. Halifax - Our friend did not feel well that day so we had a cab driver take us to the Citadel for the noon sounding of the cannon, we watched a film, and listened to a group play the bag pipes. Then we walked down to the harbor to Murphys on the water but there was a long wait. We then walked to Salty's for a beer and a snack. I would just eat at a smaller place on the water or at the food court next time. Then we walked to Alexander Keith's Brewery and on to Garrison's by the ship's pier to try their beers. We would like to have seen more of Halifax, but we were tired by this port. I would like to visit Halifax again. We had a really good time and felt that it was a good value for the money that we spent. The weather was wonderful all week. We would cruise Princess again. The only negative was just being on a ship with 3,000 other people occasionally was inconvenient. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Our biggest complaint: The food was, on the whole, BAD. Even in the extra-charge Crown Grill, bad. The petit filet I had in the Crown Grill was inedible. Lobster? A joke. Lobsters looked like crayfish. The ship was late to certain ports, ... Read More
Our biggest complaint: The food was, on the whole, BAD. Even in the extra-charge Crown Grill, bad. The petit filet I had in the Crown Grill was inedible. Lobster? A joke. Lobsters looked like crayfish. The ship was late to certain ports, cutting our shore time short. Long lines to tender back to the ship. Service overall was minimum quality; no smiles, no fun. Everytime we turned around, we were being harassed to purchase "extra" things. The nickle-dime approach. Not pleasant. The good news? Embarkation and debarkation went quickly and smoothly. Our tour guide in Newport was excellent (Doris Duke's Rough Point). Room service, Jove, was always cheerful and provided us with that "extra touch." (We ended up opting for room service over the bad dining room food!) Bottom line: Would we go again on the Crown Princess? No! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
First let me say that we had a wonderful cruise on the Crown! This was our first cruise on Princess, having only cruised on HAL, we did alot of comparing of the two lines. I have to say they are more different than we anticipated. ... Read More
First let me say that we had a wonderful cruise on the Crown! This was our first cruise on Princess, having only cruised on HAL, we did alot of comparing of the two lines. I have to say they are more different than we anticipated. Embarkation: Our cruise had quite a stressful start. We utilized the NE Motorcoach through Princess, we've done this before (with HAL) & it's easy & cheaper than driving into the city. Our paperwork from Princess stated our requested pick up location & time. My parents drove us to the park & ride and waited with us for the bus to arrive - it never came. I called Academy Motorcoach & spoke w/ the dispatcher who informed me that their manifest had us listed on a previous pick up and that the bus was already in NJ & that they could not turn around to pick us up. I phoned Princess & frantically explained the situation - they told us to drive ourselves & they would reimburse us for parking or get a taxi or whatever. My parents ended up driving us - none of us had any idea where we were going - I spent most of the time on the phone trying to get decent directions. So, needless to say embarkation was a breeze once we got there - nobody in the terminal but us and the employees! The ship is beautiful, we loved the layout & found it easy to navigate. The piazza area is great, always something going on. We had a balcony room on the Riviera deck, smaller than a standard balcony on HAL, but we had no problem with the size. Bathroom is very small, especially the shower! The closet area was nice & had plenty of room. Our room steward was OK - only saw him once (1st day) the entire trip. We thought the beds were very comfortable, nice & firm - not sure why everyone is always complaining about them. No problems with the AC, our safe malfunctioned once, phoned front desk & someone came up in a few minutes to re-set it. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS: FOOD: I know this is very subjective! We found the food tasted fine (most of it)just poor / odd selections. For example one nights' entrees were frog legs, veal, duck, and some fish. So, it was pick from the "always available" - we saw quite a few people eating chicken or steak. The buffet at dinner wasn't any better (we never ate there, just walked through) If you don't like the particular "theme" of the night or the main dining room entrees, you're out of luck! We had no problems with the layout of the buffet, you just pop in & pick up what you want - better than the long line style. Lunch at the buffet was as strange as dinner! We really missed the made to order deli sandwiches that HAL has daily. To me, lunch is a sandwich or salad, but again, the buffet choices were odd - lots of hot foods (more like dinner) pasta, mashed potatoes, fish, chicken, meatballs, etc.! Come on, all I want is a nice turkey sandwich with lettuce & mayo on a roll!! The coffee is absolutely horrible and so is the iced tea (brown water) I also want to know why you can get 1/2 grapefruit from room service but not at the buffet? Same with juice - only OJ & cranberry at buffet, but other varieties from room service. By the way, we are not "fussy" eaters and enjoy trying new things, just didn't care for the selections they offered. - drink of the day & martini of the day 6.75 - only 5.00 on HAL - casino was frequently crowded (at night) - kind of like the pool, it seems like people camp out for hours on end at both places! - A lot of smokers - pool area & casino were smokey (I smoke, so I am not bashing smokers!) - Pool/beach towels; HAL's system is much nicer, there are towels at the pool to use, when you're done you throw it in a bin. Same with at ports, if you want to take a towel they give you one as you get off the ship & then throw it in a bin when you return. Just easier than carrying your towel around all the time. - the majority of people adhered to the dress code - worst offenders were older men! A lot of women were really dressed nicely even on casual nights. - most of the tables for 2 in the anytime dining rooms are actually tables for 4 that they separate about 5" - we asked to be moved after sitting at one of these the first night. No, we are not antisocial, but if you want a table for 2 obviously it's because you don't feel like chit chatting with other people during dinner! I meet new people and have to make small talk daily for my job - don't want to do it on vacation!! - nightlife is much better than HAL, enjoyed the comedians, band & DJ - pool areas are way too crowded - they have so many loungers squished together you can hardly walk through. Also very loud (MUTS/band) We thought we'd enjoy the aft pool since it was at the end of the hall where our cabin was, but it was actually more claustrophobic than the others! We didn't get off the ship in San Juan & thought maybe we'd finally be able to maybe enjoy that pool, however the crew was varnishing all the wood around the pool - stayed for a while, but the smell of varnish was annoying. Seemed like an odd time to be performing this type of work; I know they have to do maintenance, but does it make sense to varnish the wood around a pool on a hot sunny afternoon? - Noted quite a few passengers lacking any class, tact, etc. Several times saw people (men) walking in indoor public areas with nothing on but swim trunks & flip flops. I'm not talking about the pool area, I'm talking about walking down the inside promenade towards the shops/piazza area! You can't even get into Walmart dressed like that! Also saw people sitting in chairs with their feet up on tables or on other chairs, again, I'm talking about "nice" interior furniture. Ports: Grand Turk - just enjoy getting off and walking to the far end of the beach and hanging out for the day. San Juan - stayed on the ship (not a big fan of puerto rico) St. Thomas - walked to Emerald Beach, nice quiet beach, back to dock, stopped at marina store to pick up some rum Bermuda - took bus to Horseshoe Bay, walked way to the left, had a private cove to ourselves Disembarkation: Wow, very annoying!!! Had to be out of cabin by 8:00AM, went to assigned lounge to wait for color & # to be called - that didn't occur until 10:30. Nothing like ending a vacation by sitting in a crowded room full of complaining people for 2 1/2 hours. Self embarkation seems to be the way to go - I'd rather be outside sitting on a curb! Like I said, we had a very good time, but I think HAL has spoiled/impressed us in so many ways that we'll always be comparing to them. I know some of the things I mentioned may seem trivial to some people, and no, nothing "ruined" our vacation. We just missed some elements that are prevalent on HAL, such as: EXCELLENT food EXCEPTIONAL staff/crew (always pleasant & accommodating) General ambience of passengers Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
First of all, let me preface this review with my cruise background, because my comments are based on expectations developed by my past cruise experiences with other cruise lines. My first cruise was with RCL from Barcelona, Spain on a 12 ... Read More
First of all, let me preface this review with my cruise background, because my comments are based on expectations developed by my past cruise experiences with other cruise lines. My first cruise was with RCL from Barcelona, Spain on a 12 day Splendour of the Seas cruise. It was in May of 1995. (only it's third cruise after launching). My Second cruise was a 7 day Eastern Carib on the Century in 1997 out of Fort Lauderdale. My third was a 7 day Western Carib on RCCL Radiance of the Sea out of Fort Lauderdale, and my Forth was a Southern Carib in 2005 on the Celebrity's Constellation from San Juan. Except for the Radiance where we had a starboard forward oceanview cabin, we had balcony accommodations. I must also state that I love the cruise ships I had sailed on. On all previous cruises tipping for service was the norm, and cruise personnel appeared to go out of their way to provide excellent service in expectation that they would be rewarded with tips at the end of each cruise. The Crown Princess was my first experience with "The HOTEL Charge". (Wherein you are charged $10.50 per day per passenger and that amount is reportedly disbursed to crew members for services provided.) In fairness to both Princess Cruise Lines, their crew members and the industry as a whole, it "appears" to me that this relatively new policy significantly reduces the level of service provided. My first two days aboard were nothing to brag about. I would liken service to a 2-3 star hotel. Food in the DaVinci Dinning room was unremarkable, (I had beef dishes--more about that later). By the third day we had decided that we would only eat in the buffet line area. At least one could sample various food items to find something that would please the pallet. And we frequently did. ("We" included my wife, Son 9, Daughter (in thirties) and myself.) We were later told by a crew member to stay away from the beef and the items on the menu that were listed as "always available". It appeared that "fresh" food was boarded in St Thomas, as meals after that improved in Freshness. The Corn and Green beans served in the dinning room prior to that appeared to be of the "Frozen" variety - certainly not suitable to be categorized as culinary delights. Childrens program appears to amount to Baby sitting where other cruises had programs and activities for involvement. I witnessed two occasions of crew members being demeaned by other crew members in verbal discussions and overheard loud discussions of negative passenger behavior by crew members coming from the central core area while walking down the corridor on the Bahia deck. Picky? - Maybe, but these little things added to my frustration with my perception of poor service and crew member attitudes. I went to the pursers desk on deck 6 and relayed all of the above "experiences" to one of the individuals on duty. He was patient, curteous and took notes. Later that day a noted from the dinning Maitre De with apologies and a bottle of Champagne appeared in out suite to my pleasant surprise. I should note that our cabin steward was exceptional (attentive-Courteous-pleasant-efficent) First time cruisers might find the shipboard experience acceptable, but those accustomed to what has become traditional cruise fare might wish to look elsewhere. BTW: Service appeared to improve after my complaint as if they had circulated my photo to all crew members to be on the lookout for me. (SMILE).. Also: pre cruise Princess air arrangements seemed out of touched with the reality of todays air travel system: I was initially booked on USAir from Philadelphia to Chicago O'Hare(?) with a change in planes before continuing on to San Juan for an evening arrival. (On a Saturday, in the winter, to arrive San Juan 3 hours before schedule cruise departure time) (Princess says they only need to schedule 2.5 hours leeway) I refused those arrangements and had to pay a fee to change to a Friday departure , an overnight hotel accommodation, to insure I'd be their prior to the ships scheduled departure. After a delay of an hour and a half to recover baggage, and an hour bus trip to the hotel (across the street from the cruise terminal) my decision to forego the Princess pray everything went on schedule deal seemed justified, even though I had to pay. Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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