Sail Date: January 2006
Embarkation was very easy. Although our advised check in wasn’t until 3pm we arrived at 11.30am without a problem. The queue was long but with so many staff working at the check in desks we were at front and collecting our cruise cards ... Read More
Embarkation was very easy. Although our advised check in wasn’t until 3pm we arrived at 11.30am without a problem. The queue was long but with so many staff working at the check in desks we were at front and collecting our cruise cards within 15 minutes. To my surprise we didn’t even have to wait in the lounge we walked straight onto the ship!Cabins were ready so we dropped off our hand luggage and headed to the Da Vinci restaurant on deck 6 for a three course lunch with waiter service. We hate the buffet on embarkation day so the fact that Princess have a main dining room open straightaway is a real treat. We purchased a coffee card (which can be shared as it has a limited number of punches for tea and coffee, plus unlimited filter coffee) and two UKP drinks packages (which gives unlimited hot chocolate, milkshakes, mocktails, frozen drinks, juices and sodas). After lunch we headed back to our cabin and most of our luggage had already been delivered. Our cabin was an outside cabin on deck 5 which was a superb location as it was only five metres away from the International café and Piazza.Our steward provided us with extra hangers and as the wardrobe had no doors it was surprising how many clothes we were able to hang up. Above the hanging space there was a shelf where the life jackets were located but there was still ample space for storage. In addition, there were two bedside tables with a storage space and two drawers, the vanity table had two shelves in a cupboard on the right and by the wardrobe there were shelves on the side wall from floor to ceiling which was also the location of the combination safe. The fridge was located to the left of the vanity unit and was large enough for the ice bucket, a box of wine and a bottle of fizz. There were two US sockets and we brought a four bar extension lead for all our electrical equipment. The children slept in bunks above our beds which were lowered at night when the beds were turned down and then put away in the morning when the room was made up. The bathroom was tiny. The shower had a shower curtain and there was not a lot of space so dropping the soap ended up being quite tricky! Large towels, hand towels, flannels and pool towels were provided. There were also bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion provided plus many bars of soap. The bathroom had three little shelves on the left so there was room for all our toiletries despite the small size.After unpacking we collected treasure hunt cards and had fun exploring the ship and getting stamps at each named location. This was an excellent way of getting to know the ship and we had great fun. We also filled in the spa raffle cards and after our muster drill we headed up on deck for the sail away party. The live band were really good and to encourage people to dance they gave out raffle tickets for every song for people who were dancing which was a great idea. Then they drew cards from the treasure hunt. The prizes were very varied from dinner for two at Sabatini’s (specialty Italian restaurant) to a glass of Martini. Next was the sail away raffle and having danced every dance we had loads of tickets. I won a bottle of fizz and our son won a Princess drinks bottle. We then went off to the Spa raffle and I won $150 Spa voucher!The Crown is a beautiful ship and we had a fabulous time from the moment that we stepped on board. The Art Gallery just outside our cabin was quite extensive and had a good variety of art which would appeal to most tastes. The International Café was open 24 hours a day and served a variety of complementary pastries, salads, sandwiches and cakes depending on the time of the day. It also sold ice cream for $1.50 for three scoops on a glass plate. This was also the location for specialty teas and coffees. On the opposite side of the Piazza was Vines the wine and sushi bar. We did a Champagne tasting on the last night at Vines which was really enjoyable even though they did serve a Californian fizz as one of the Champagnes and our host was relying on notes rather than her own knowledge. The Piazza was the location for a variety of entertainment including the Champagne waterfall on the first formal night, the balloon drop on the second formal night, a string quartet, singers and a body balancing act. Deck 5 was also the location for the Internet café and future cruise sales. The future cruise sale rep was not available for the majority of our cruise but there was a drop box for future deposits and on board credit.The Passenger Services desk on deck 6 was always well manned. There were also two self serve machines for print outs of your on board account. In addition there were machines for foreign exchange currency. The shore excursions department was next to Passenger Services. There was a drop box for excursions (just outside the Casino) for passengers who wanted to book or cancel shore excursions when the desk was closed. Deck 6 (and 7) is the location of the Princess Theatre which had three shows a night so unlike some cruise ships we’ve been on we were always able to get a seat. The entertainment was generally good. The singers and dancers were excellent and the comedy impressionist Gary T Thompson was hilarious on his first show but the comedian on the first night was terrible and the second show by the Gary didn’t live up to the first.Deck 7 was the Promenade deck and a good deck to walk from aft to forward indoors as not all decks are accessible from one end of the ship to the other. Similarly deck 15, the Lido deck, was handy when heading from the Spa forward on deck 16 to the kids’ club aft on deck 16.The pools on deck 15 were heated and the children were surprised just how warm they were. There were also two additional adult only pools. Forward at the Spa next to the Sanctuary and aft at the back of Café Caribe. There was a large movie screen above one of the pools which showed films daily.There were self-service Laundromats available on decks 5, 8-14 which although not needed on our 7 day cruise would have been a extremely valuable on a longer cruise and Princess is the only American cruise line that we have found this service.The food on the Crown was outstanding. We loved lunch in the main dining room and were disappointed that it was not open on port days. As anytime diners we had the choice of eating in either the Michelangelo Restaurant or Da Vinci restaurant so if there was a queue at one we just went to the other. As we were cruising in Europe the busiest time was 7-30 to 8-30 with early diners able to walk in without a queue no problem. They did have a pager system so if you wanted a table for 2 and not share but there wasn’t a table available you could take a pager and enjoy a drink in the Piazza while waiting. The Botticelli restaurant (aft deck 6) was fixed dining only. Children are able to order from the main menu or the children's menu or a combination of the two. They are also able to get complementary chocolate milk and fruit juice with the evening meal. Our children's favourite breakfast was smoked salmon and bagel, lunch was pizza and favourite dinner was medallions of beef. My highlights included egg Benedict (served on request even when not on the menu), fettucini Alfredo, lobster, Beef Wellington and all the wonderful fish dishes. If you are like me and find that your two favourite main courses appear on the same evening have the lobster as a fish course and then the beef as the main!Our dining highlight was Chef’s Table which I can’t recommend enough. We were treated like VIPs for the entire evening, given the guided tour in the working galley on deck 6 with the Maitre D before savouring amazing canapés with Champagne each one made by the executive chef himself. We were then led down to Michelangelo restaurant for a gastronomic extravaganza all accompanied by fine wines, candle light (yes real candles) and great company. The main course was flambéed in the restaurant before our eyes which was really spectacular. The evening ended with a rose and group photo for the ladies and a Princess recipe book for the gents.There were two specialty restaurants open in the evening, the Crown Grill for steaks and lobster and Sabatini’s for Italian cuisine. Although we didn’t eat at either we met so many people who raved about the Crown Grill.All food we found on deck 15 was complementary including hamburgers, hotdogs and fries at the Trident Grill , the Pizzeria made fresh pizzas in visible ovens which were huge so a slice of pizza barely fitted on the plate. Both eateries were by the pool and extremely popular with swimmers and sunbathers on deck. This was also the location for the complementary ice cream bar served in either a cone or a tub from 11am to 11pm.Inside, Horizon Court buffet served a very limited lunch which did not meet our expectations of Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. This was probably why the International Café was so popular on deck 5 as the salads and pastries always looked so tempting. Café Caribe at the back of Horizon Court was a bit of a non event with only continental breakfast served there from 5am-10am.The staff on Princess were extremely conscientious and friendly. The waitstaff were always attentive but never rushed us, the drinks staff were alert to a nearly empty glasses which meant we never had to go without a drink at dinner while we waited for another. The daytime staff were equally superb at their jobs. We played Win, Lose or Draw (that’s Pictionary to you and me), did a couple of quizzes, played and won champagne hoopla, played the golf chipping challenge, watched a film in the theatre, took part in flashmob and attended the Champagne art auction. We were lucky that there was always going on we were spoilt for choice and never made it to the mini golf course, Casino, the bingo, the aerobics studio or gym.Our children both went to Shockwaves, the kids’ club for 8-12 year olds. They were able to sign themselves in and out at sea, but needed us to sign them in and out when in port. They both had a great time and came home with t-shirts, hand made jewellery and a decorated picture frame. Our daughter especially loved making things while our son enjoyed the playing games and the competitions. Unlike most cruise lines the children were not given a muster bracelet. Equally we were not given child life jackets from our steward despite asking. When we mentioned it to one of the officers she was absolutely horrified and we got the impression that our steward wouldn’t make the same mistake again.We had intended to take the Princess excursion to Bordeaux but our son wasn’t feeling well that morning. I went to the Shore Excursion desk to find out whether we would be able to get any money back and they were fantastic and told us that it was understandable that people get ill especially as it was very rough that night and gave us a full refund without penalty on return of our tickets. I was so impressed as this was superb customer service by Princess.Disembarkation was easy and hassle free. We put our suitcases out the night before and walked off with our hand luggage easily finding our suitcases in the baggage collection hall. A couple of days prior to disembarkation we were asked what time we would like to get off and got our requested time. All passengers are given coloured and numbered labels for cases to indicate disembarkation time and then the luggage in stored in coloured and numbered zones so need to panic at the thought of 3000 passengers trying to find their suitcases at the same time !Our ports of call were La Coruna, Bilbao (free shuttle provided), Le Verdon (free shuttle to Soulac sur Mer or excursions to Bordeaux) and Guernsey which was a tender port. All ports were very easy to do DIY and walk around. The tides were causing issues with the gangways and at times one of the gangways was closed for repositioning. Wheelchair users were warned that they may not be able to disembark at Guernsey but we saw several getting back on the tenders with wheel chair assistants at the ready.We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and walked off the ship desperate to book another one. Princess is certainly a quality cruise company and their staff made every effort to ensure that we all had an amazing time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2006
First off let me start by saying this is an incredible cruise and ship!!! We went on the 23rd of June one sailing after the inaugural sailing and it was brand new. Before you go make sure to stay in NYC a couple days. We stayed at the ... Read More
First off let me start by saying this is an incredible cruise and ship!!! We went on the 23rd of June one sailing after the inaugural sailing and it was brand new. Before you go make sure to stay in NYC a couple days. We stayed at the Marriott Marquis for 2 nights. This was a great hotel very modern. We had a view of Times Square and Carnivals port in Manhattan. While there we went to American Museum of Natural History, CNN studio tour, and saw a Broadway show. We saw Mamma Mia it exceeded expectations and in all was fabulous. After this we headed to our ship. Embarkation was smooth and went quickly. The sooner you get there the quicker. When we stepped aboard we realized its beauty. We had been on the Caribbean Princess before so we knew the ship. Once aboard we went to our room it was on deck 10 with a balcony it was very nice. Our steward Leopold was good but forgot to do a few things daily. Afterward we explored and of course ate at the Windjammer cafe and Trident grill. That night we went to eat in the Botticelli dinning room we had Jose and Daniel as our waiters. They were great Jose was everywhere getting all our meals drinks and working with other tables. Daniel was hilarious with his Indian voice and was a hard worker too. Our dinner partners were good and funny. Fun to be with. The dinner was pork I think which was good but a tad bit old. That night we saw Ralph Harris he was okay nothing great compared to the others. After that we headed back to our room and slept. This was just the first day and the next days Ill break down into sections. Ports of call---- BERMUDA- Was beautiful and very wealthy. Our glass bottom kayak tour was cancelled so we took a ferry to Hamilton and went to Elbow Beach. Before this we tried mopeds -- it didn't turn out good for us and some people were hospitalized because of them. Elbow Beach was beautiful very few people and pink sand accompanied by clear water. It was great. GRAND TURK- We went snorkeling and this was brilliant -- we snorkeled at two different stops. Although 20 feet from the ship is a beach with a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville with a huge pool and walk up bar. The four us were the last ones on at this port. SAN JUAN-We went to the rainforest and walked some trails. Before this we waited an hour to get off the boat cause we left the country and people had to check I.D. The tour was great and very pretty. We drove through the country for about 40 minutes to get there and it is very poor of course. ST. THOMAS-We took a cab to Sapphire Beach that was nice and lacked the locals trying to sell things to us, which was really good. There we saw some of the crew at the beach. This beach was quiet clean and really nice. Afterward we shopped a bit and walked back to the boat. The production shows were awesome especially destination anywhere. There was also the international crew show it was great the cruise staff sang a song and the cruise director James Lay came out with a dress on and about five crew members sang. This was standing room only before the show the crowd threw around balloons for some odd reason. The entertainment is awesome and the best on any cruise line. Plus the put people in the atrium (piazza) to perform and their one archipelago group spank that was incredible. Rooms- Clean with comfy beds and pretty spacious. The balcony is a great place to sit and chill and is good to have. Public rooms-Many lounges to sit in and are beautifully decorated. They put comedians in lounges and other entertainers in them and dot just use the theater. Activities- We played bingo a lot and didnt win anything. We hung out by the pool watched the world cup and many movies. We did a lot of things that we found in the Princess Patter to do and believe me there are plenty of things to do. You must go to Movies Under the Stars cause we saw Titanic and it was a great experience. All in all this was an incredible cruise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
This was our first time on Princess and other than a few annoyances...all I can say is EXCELLENT. The following is a breakdown of our experience. Embarkation: We arrived at Pier 12 around 10:15 AM and were standing at check-in by 10:30. ... Read More
This was our first time on Princess and other than a few annoyances...all I can say is EXCELLENT. The following is a breakdown of our experience. Embarkation: We arrived at Pier 12 around 10:15 AM and were standing at check-in by 10:30. We were assigned group 3 and were on board and in our staterooms by 11:45. All in all, this was the most efficient and well organized check-in and embarkation in 11 cruises. The Brooklyn terminal is clean and comfortable (although possibly a bit cold for some...some areas are like a wind-tunnel). Staterooms: -We booked two adjoining mini-suites on Dolphin Deck (D221 and D219). We have sailed in a mini-suite before on Norwegian Sun and another couple on a mini-suite on the s/s Norway. Overall, the decor was understated, but classy, with earth tones of tans, greens and medium-toned wood. The bed was comfortable (maybe a bit on the hard side) and space, both for moving about and storage was excellent. -I was a bit concerned with the exposed balcony, but we ended up loving it as we could sit out and read (and get a tan) for half the day and have shade for the other half. We did open the division between the two which worked out wonderfully. -Our stateroom stewardess, Cristina, was excellent. The room was always clean and she worked exceptionally quickly. We were always greeted by name when we met in the hallway. -One complaint that I have about the stateroom is the bathroom. We found the bathroom to be a bit small, although it did have a bathtub. The bathroom in the Sun's mini-suite felt larger and better designed. In addition, I am 6'2" and the shower head is set up for someone that is no taller than 5'6". Be prepared to squat if you're taller than that. Interior Public Areas: -I found the ship to be beautifully decorated. The atrium is particularly attractive with warm wood tones, marble, granite and tile. The lounges were all comfortable, and again, decorated attractively. -My personal favorites were the Piazza, Explorers, and the Wheelhouse. -The Princess Theater, although providing great sightlines, was probably one of, if not the worst, big-ship theater I have ever sat in. It is far too small for the size of the ship. In addition, my 290 pound body had a very difficult time fitting in the seats comfortable (that could be my fault though...). Finally, the room was ALWAYS warm. Outside Areas: -The deck areas of the ship are well designed and nicely outfitted. I found that I could always get into one of the pools or hot tubs without being overwhelmed with people. I particularly found the small pool and hot tub next to the small children's slide/pool in the rear of the ship to be quite empty every day. -I can't really comment on the availability of deck chairs, as we had that wonderful balcony. It did seem, that if you tried, you could find one. -MUTS...We did not watch a movie on MUTS, but I must say that it is an interesting concept. If their was something we were interested in watching, we would have used it. I was initially a bit concerned with reports of the loud noise, but realistically, it is only heard in the MUTS pool area. Dining Rooms: We chose anytime dining and never had to wait more than five minutes for a seat. We found the waitstaff, with one exception, to be excellent. Two in our party had purchased the soda package and our sodas were always refilled in the dining rooms without having to ask. The food was EXCELLENT. I would rate it a step above NCL and two steps above RCI. I loved the variety on the menu and the many, many "always available" options. Some of our personal favorites were the Fettucine Alfredo, ALL soups, and ALL beef offerings and the Princess Love Boat Dream. Only one of our party is a seafood eater, so no comment here. The dining room food really was that good. Buffets: I did not like the selection of the buffets or the quality of the food for either breakfast or lunch. I won't get into specifics because I'm such a picky eater but I always found a way to make up for the lack of a quality buffet. In addition, I did not like the fact that a juice, like lemonade, was not provided at lunch. Other Casual Dining Venues: -The Pizza was by far the BEST pizza I have had on a ship. Incredibly tasty. In fact, it was better than any pizza here in Northern NJ. I already miss it. -International Cafe...Surprisingly underused. I loved this place. I went here immediately following any meal to get those unbelievable cookies and anything else that was available. The Gelato was good and reasonably priced at only $1.50 for three large scoops. Eat here...OFTEN...you'll be glad you did. Entertainment: -This is the one area where I feel Princess lags behind the competition. I found Destination Anywhere boring. I actually fell asleep. Motown was terrible. Not one voice that resembled anything as excellent as the Motown sound. What a swell party was the best effort of the three, but still not as good as the worst seen on NCL. -The guest performers were good. Nothing special, but enjoyable. -Sarge was excellent. Do not miss him. -And now a note about James Lay. All I will write here is what I wrote on my comment card at the end of the trip. "James Lay is one of, if not the worst cruise directors I have ever sailed with. An audio recording would serve more of a purpose." He is incredibly boring, not funny, and says the exact same thing every time he makes an announcement over the PA or opens a show. Ports: The ports on our itinerary consisted of Grand Turk, Casa de Campo, DR (replacement of San Juan due to Tropical Storm Chris), St. Thomas and West End, Bermuda. I only got off the ship in two of these ports. *Grand Turk--My wife loves to dive and this is where she chose to dive. She thought that the diving was as good if not better than her experience in Grand Cayman. She loved it. As I could stay on the ship and never get off, I decided to sleep in and enjoy the quiet ship. The island looks quite deserted although the beach and pool look quite nice. I almost wish I was not as lazy so I could have enjoyed the water. *Casa de Campo--Because of the late decision to change to Casa de Campo, no tours from the ship were available. There were two places to go according the the literature...a shopping village/marina and a castle/home complex above the river. Although the scenery looked lush, we decided not to pay the $7pp taxi fee and again enjoyed the quiet ship. *St. Thomas--There is a shopping village right outside of the terminal area. We did not shop here. We took the taxi ($4 pp) to town (about 10 minutes, no more) and walked around. We made the typical souvenir and liquor purchases and returned to the ship via taxi. We have been to St. Thomas many times before and felt no need to stay. If the weather was better, we would have taken the taxi to the beach, but it was pretty crummy out. *West End--This was our 4th time to Bermuda and irrespective of only being able to dock at West End, Bermuda is our FAVORITE port we have ever been to and I find it very difficult to imagine any port topping Bermuda. If you would like to shop, take the water taxi from West End to Hamilton ($4). My mother and wife always likes to stop in the Irish Linen Shop and Triminghams (which to her horror, has apparently gone out of business). My father and I enjoy A.S. Cooper men's store and the English Sport Shop. If you are looking for artwork at a reasonable price, stop by Carole Holding's shop on Front Street. Walking around the dockyard is worth it. There are some nice shops including Davisons which is good for cheap T-shirts or souvenirs. If you don't mind the heat, my final recommendation would be Bermuda Glassblowers at the dockyards. Disembarkation: -One word...A DISASTER. I don't know where to begin, so I'll just make a list. *The bags are placed so close together in the terminal that you can barely walk. *There are almost no porters to help you with your luggage. You are not told this initially, so you get off the ship, find you luggage (if you can) and then are told to walk to the other side of the terminal to get a cart. Now I don't mind getting my own luggage, but come on, let me know this ahead of time. *One of our bags (tagged with White 3) was placed with Gold 1. We looked for 45 minutes. When we finally found it, it was in a fenced off area. One of the workers was standing near it and I asked her to check the name, and sure enough, it was ours. She proceeded to bring it to me but was stopped by one of the terminal bosses (it appeared who began to yell at her for helping me. I tried to explain what was happening to him, but during my first sentence, he cut me off but telling me I couldn't get it and he turned his back on me and walked away. At this point, I became irate and he threatened to bring homeland security over, which I told him to go ahead and do. At this point, the woman who I think runs the terminal (she made announcements on embarkation, etc to board came over and told him to give me the back. At this point he did apologize. *There were only 7 customs agents working when there are 16 available stations for them to be working at. This caused great delays. All in all, it took 1.5 hours between when we left the ship and when we finally left the terminal. Not a great way to end the trip. Regardless, I was thrilled with the Princess experience and now rate her as probably my favorite line along with NCL. I would love to see Princess bring another of their ships to the east coast as I hate to fly and vacation during the summer (I teach.) Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
We were on the modified 7/22-7/29/06 sailing of the Crown Princess sailing (NY, Day at Sea, Day at Sea, Grand Turk, Day at Sea, Bermuda, Day at Sea, NY) We are 40 (me) and 39 (DH). We left our home in Central Jersey at 10:40 a.m. and ... Read More
We were on the modified 7/22-7/29/06 sailing of the Crown Princess sailing (NY, Day at Sea, Day at Sea, Grand Turk, Day at Sea, Bermuda, Day at Sea, NY) We are 40 (me) and 39 (DH). We left our home in Central Jersey at 10:40 a.m. and were at the terminal before 11:30 a.m. The baggage handlers came right over to take our bags, we filled out the Norvo virus form, stood in line for maybe two minutes before going up to the counter. There were many check-in stations with specific areas for the Platinum and Elite members and those with mobility problems. We showed our paperwork and signed the credit card forms and had our room keys made within minutes. It was 11:40 and we were walking towards the ship. After stopping to take the boarding photo we were on board. We stopped to buy our soda cards as soon as we boarded (they had an area setup near the elevators). We deposited our carry on bags in our room shortly before noon. Embarkation was definitely much smoother since there was no debarkation that morning. After checking out our room, D-503, a mini-suite located midship on the starboard side, it was off to explore the ship. One of the first stops we made was to book the Crown Grill for that evening since it was a perk for booking through American Express Platinum Travel. The food in the buffet was not too bad for buffet food. (We are not big on buffets but the food (especially the carved turkey) was quite tasty. The weather was inclement and it rained on and off all afternoon. We headed back to our room after a while to discover our bags were there. The bag that had all our clothes on hangers was soaked from the rain. We met our wonderful cabin steward, Ricky, who brought us our glasses of champagne. Ricky did a phenomenal job all week keeping our room spotless and supplied with ice when I hurt my foot later in the week (more later). The room has a huge closet (lots of hangers) and a mirrored storage area with seven shelves. The safe is located in the storage area. There were also a few drawers for storage and open shelves by the two TVs. The two LCD TVs were nice in the room but sometimes you turned on the other TV with the remote. There was still some visible damage from the incident: a broken balcony divider being replaced, two elevators out of service all week, and a number of broken display cases in a gift shop. The carpeting in the buffet area had shrunk from being wet and had a musty smell. We had quite a gathering of fellow Cruise Critic members on board. We had a get together in Skywalker's our first day at sea with quite a large turn out. It was great to see everyone during the week throughout the ship. Felt like I was running into old friends all week long. We hit some rough seas the first and last day at sea. The seas were so rough the first night at sea that they cancelled the scheduled show for that evening. The last day I was almost tossed into the side of the Horizon pool. The rest of the days at sea were very nice and smooth. The staff was very professional and took care of our every need. Our soda cards were greeted with smiles all week long. The barstaff in the casino were very attentive. The casino dealers were personable and made small talk all week long. The public areas were sparkling clean and well maintained. The atrium seating area is a nice change of pace to relax and people watch. Entertainment: Sarge, the comedian, had his show two nights in a row. Make sure you take the time to see him before he leaves at the end of the year. The other comedian/impersonator was not as funny as Sarge. Those were the only two shows we seen. The entertainment in the Atrium was entertaining during the day and a great way to pass the time. Le Monte is a magician who is funny and an overall great guy (we met him in the casino). The food on the ship ranged from good to excellent with two items that were poor. I am an extremely picky eater (no red meat and only white meat chicken). We thought the soup choices could have been broader and the appetizers were too fancy for our tastes. We ate lots of shrimp cocktail appetizers. The desserts were excellent. The lobster was wonderful. DH really enjoyed the sirloin and beef tenderloin from the always available menu. The chicken from there was excellent too. I was disappointed with two items we had for lunch. I had the broccoli and potato pancake and it was very dry. Another day I had the chicken tacos and they were inedible. They contained an entire jalapeno pepper (seeds and all) in very large pieces mixed throughout. I was also a bit let down by the Greek Salad at the International Cafe as it did not fit my idea for a Greek Salad (I do work for Greeks in the food service industry so I am a bit spoiled with their salad). We had table 84, early seating in the Botticelli Dining Room. It was a table for two which was a surprise since we requested a table for eight. The arrangement worked out well since the two couples around us were nice. Our servers were Arpi and Daczo from Hungary. They were great. We ordered Cokes the first night and we were served it each night after that within two minutes after being seated. The Crown Grill has excellent food and the service was impeccable. We ate here our first evening and had the place all to ourselves until dessert. DH had a steak and I had the garlic grilled lobster tail (Extra $9 charge). I cannot say enough about the food and service. Perfect from start to finish. Grand Turk is an absolutely beautiful port. We were there from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. which was a big change from our original itinerary (1 p.m. - 6 p.m.) DH booked the Salt Water Flats fishing tour. He loved it. Two of them went on each boat. They originally went for bonefish but they were not running and moved to another location. I went to Margaritaville and sat at the edge of the glorious pool for a few hours. After getting cleaned up we headed back to Margaritaville for lunch. Service was a bit slow but the atmosphere was great and food was yummy. There are a few places to shop but more are being built. I can't wait to go back in about a year to see the progress. Bermuda is enchanting. We docked at West End and took a ship's tour to the aquarium and Crystal Caves. Our tour got off to a late start due to the ferry leaving late. Our driver got us extra time at the aquarium so we were not rushed. Nice grounds around there to walk around and some scenic views that are postcard perfect. The Crystal Caves are beautiful. They were discovered over 100 years ago by kids playing. They continue to grow by the water that drips down. The driver explained a lot of Bermuda history to us and answered any questions we had. After a leisurely lunch at a café and some shopping we took the ferry back over to West End. Disembarkation in New York took quite a while. They called by color and we were four from the end. We got off the ship after 10:30. We found our easily found our luggage and cleared customs quickly and were on our way. We were home about 11:45 a.m. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Crown Princess July 29 - Aug. 7, 2006 Eastern Caribbean Myself and my wife (both 50) and two teenage boys (18 and 13) Previous Cruises 03 Carnival Victory to Canada 04 Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean 05 QM2 - Independence ... Read More
Crown Princess July 29 - Aug. 7, 2006 Eastern Caribbean Myself and my wife (both 50) and two teenage boys (18 and 13) Previous Cruises 03 Carnival Victory to Canada 04 Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean 05 QM2 - Independence Day weekend Cruise 05 Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda 06 NCL Spirit- one night cruise to nowhere Embarkation A We left our home in Jersey City at 10:10 A.M. went though the Holland Tunnel and he Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, followed the blue signs for the terminal and arrived there to plenty of parking at 10:35 A.M. In fact the parking lot was only half full when we sailed. We checked our luggage, went through security and check in, got a map of the ship and waited for boarding. At 11:30 boarding started. The boarding picture was taken with no background and people in line behind you. Once on board there were plenty of staff to help. The elevators were manned throughout embarkation with crew directing your way. Very nice. Stopped at or stateroom and headed to the Horizon Court for lunch. When we returned to the stateroom our luggage had already arrived. We did not take the offered tour of the ship. Stateroom B+ The nicest room weve had on a cruise but one flaw makes me grade it below an A. We had originally booked an ocean view quad because no balconies were available but our TA called just before final payment was due and gave us the news that there was a balcony available if we wanted it.... and, of course, we did. What a great room and large balcony. We were on Caribe deck 10 room C530. The balconies on this deck are about a third larger than other decks and are half exposed and half covered. Deck 9 balconies are fully exposed with no cover. those above deck 10 are smaller, but covered. The balconies, regardless of size have two aluminum chairs, a large aluminum table and a small aluminum table (footstool height. There are also two mesh nylon reclining seats. One of the things that stood out in the cabin was the setup... more like a hotel than a ship. The beds had been put together to make a king and the storage and bathroom areas were separated from the sleeping area by a wall. The three level corner TV stand had a 19 inch TV on top with front audio video inputs so you can check your digital pictures and videos, a shelf for drinks in the middle and a fridge in an enclosed compartment on the bottom with only the ice bucket in it so you could feel free to make good use of it. Ice was restocked twice a day. The night stands had two small drawers and a shelf. There was a large mirror at the head of the bed and a tasteful painting on the wall across from the foot of the bead. The desk which was next to the bed also had some storage space. The hair dryer was attached to the wall above the desk in a corner by the balcony door... as far from the bathroom as it could be. Two beds dropped down from the ceiling for our teens. All the beds had comfortable duvets and fluffy comfortable pillows. There was one major design flaw. When the bed closest to the balcony comes down from the ceiling it blocks the AC vent from circulating air to it. After 2 hot sleepless nights my 18 year old told our steward to leave the bed in the ceiling and slept on the floor on a duvet. The steward said he fully understood that we were not the first to request this. So for 7 nights my son slept (very comfortably) on the floor. This allowed air to circulate better throughout the room and made my 13 year old, who was in the other upper, jealous... he wanted to sleep on the floor too! But he was fine in the upper bed by the wall. The bathroom was typical of ship bathrooms. The shower had good water pressure and a retractable clothes line. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners are sample size in a shell shaped bowl on the sink. Our steward brought all of us robes (you do need to request them - we asked for two but he brought 4). There were also 8 pool towels in the room. One nice touch was a form that was on our bed the first evening that allowed us to select how much fruit we wanted for the cruise. You fill out how many bananas, oranges, apples and pears you want. They are then placed in your room and replenished throughout the cruise. Muster A Painless in a lounge. Actually entertaining while waiting for the demonstration of life jackets. Done only in English (as were all announcements) which surprised us considering all the nationalities in the New York area. Food/Dining Service B+ The best food Ive had on a cruise. We ate in the Michelangelo dining room. We had anytime dining but all but one night ate at the same table, same time, same servers because we liked them so much. The first night we were seated randomly with another couple and by coincidence they had the same last name as ours!! On the second night we were seated as a family at our own table. We requested it again the next night and after that they remembered and sat us automatically at the same location. Although we had anytime dining we made it traditional by eating at close to the same time each night at the same table. this was great because we had the benefits of traditional and the flexibility of time. OK, about the food. It was excellent. Plenty of good choices at dinner. Try the fettucinni alfredo as your pasta course. It is offered every night along with another alternative that is different each night. Dont miss the veal ravioli when it is offered. The first nights feature is prime rib ( or you could go to the all seafood buffet in Cafe Caribe on deck 15). There is a lobster night and a king crab night in the dining room. The crab legs are cut in half so you can just pull the meat out with a fork. The seared scallops are also excellent. If you ever order a steak or prime rib, order one half step lower than youd like it. For example. if you want medium, order medium rare. The leg of lamb was the best Ive ever had... anywhere!! as was the rack of lamb. Stay away from the dry swordfish. I hedged my bets that night by ordering a steak with it for surf and turf and was glad I did. Desserts were just OK. We prefer ice cream (in the dining room it is Haggen Daz). You can choose your flavor and toppings. There was also a nice sorbet, different each night, made on the ship. Our waiter. Ricky, wanted us to try things, so wed order our ice cream and hed bring it along with 2 or 3 other desserts. one night my 18 year old asked about one of the chocolate desserts and received three different chocolate desserts along with his chocolate ice cream. You can get coffee, tea or herbal tea. Each night Alexis remembered my wife liked Bigelow orange spice tea and brought her a pot of it. The empty coffee and tea cups are pre warmed. Alex ,18, had a soda card. Matthew, 13, is not a soda drinker and ordered milk each night. My wife and I prefer water. The service was such that our glasses never got to below half full before being refilled. Also with regards to service, utensils are brought as courses are served so you get only what you need. Makes more sense than on the Voyager of the Seas where you have more utensils than you know what to do with. There is also a basket of rolls and bread stick on the table. A very important note: the dining room is cold. Bring a jacket or sweater. Cafe Caribe, a buffet at the back of the ship had a different themed meal each night and is nicely set up with linen placemats and napkins. As good as the dining room was at night, it was useless to us at lunch; too many fancy meals that my kids wont order. So we ate at the Horizon court. This buffet, on the Lido deck, had a strange layout but a great selection of food every day. Fish cooked here was always very good. You could also get iced tea. At busy times it may be difficult to get a seat. There were plenty of crew cleaning and helping to find seats and deliver drinks. Pizza and grilled foods (burgers, bratwurst, chicken) were available near the pools as was a street vendor type hot dog stand. Breakfast was good at either place. There was a set breakfast menu in the dining room and several daily selections. We ate in the dining room on sea days and the Horizon Court on port days. The Horizon Court had a bigger variety and wonderful french toast. Omelets were premade as were eggs over easy. Be careful. The plates are hot! Plain scrambled were always available as well as scrambled with meat or salmon, the ingredients different each day. There was also plenty of fresh fruit. Cereals were mostly for the adult palate. The only kids cereal was Frosted Flakes. The dining room had oatmeal but no Cream of wheat or grits, which were offered on the Voyager. There was an afternoon, white glove service tea with sandwiches. And the International Cafe where warm cookies, sandwiches, salads and cheeses were always available at no charge 24 hours a day. There are two formal nights. We did not use the alternative dining. I had lost 12 pounds prior to the cruise and gained three of them back during the cruise. I had allowed myself four so I felt pretty good about it. Entertainment/Activities A Best shows Ive seen on a cruise. Motor City, a Motown show is similar on most ships but this was the best executed. Destination Anywhere was also very good. What a Swell Party is a new show that was absolutely the best Ive ever seen on a cruise ship. Cole Porter music and dancing. dont miss this one! Also plan to take the backstage tour on the last day at sea. You wont believe what the dancers dresses weigh!! The first comedian, Sarge, was hilarious, doing a routine on the tipping incident and muster drill. The farewell comedian, Rick Star, was awful... just not funny at all with old old material We also had Steve Baner, a comic hypnotist, who was absolutely hilarious. If he is on your cruise do not miss him. Each day in the Piazza atrium there were various shows from jugglers to towel animal demonstrations. That was unusual since Princess does not do towel animals! Also there were game shows daily in Club Fusion. We had fun at The Price is Almost Right and Princess Jeopardy. There were also very well attended dancing classes with a different ballroom dance each day. I was amazed at how many activities there were to choose from each day. Lots of fun. Also, do not miss the cooking demonstration in the Princess theater or the galley tour that follows. The demonstration is very entertaining and the tour is interesting. There is no midnight buffet, but there is decorated food on the galley tour. MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) Not so great during the day but nice at night. We really enjoyed this. The pool is cleared and the lounge chairs get special covers. Blankets and popcorn are provided... a nice concept. Titanic is no longer shown :-) There was only a problem one night when the DVD got stuck two thirds of the way through the movie and could not be fixed (Fun With Dick and Jane). Fortunately they ran the movie all day the next day on the televisions so we could see the end of it. The mini golf, which is really just a putting green was lame with no rails to keep the balls from rolling around the entire course. All white balls so it wasnt easy to see which player had which ball. We gave up after 3 holes. A small stone wall surrounded the golf course and there were no drains so if there was a rainstorm at night the course became a wading pool and a sponge. . The scholarship at sea program offered various courses and lectures. Most were $25, some were free. There are two ping pong tables. Kid's Program A+ My 13 year old had a blast and spent most of his time at Remix, the teens area. There are many scheduled activities or it can just be a place to hang out. There were also some activities for those those 18-21. Alex avoided those and spent most of his time playing paddle ball or basketball on the woefully inadequate, hidden behind the smokestack sports deck. He won the basketball shootout contest on 4 of the 5 days he participated. His only complaint was that the sports deck was locked up tight by 10 PM With both kids occupied my wife and I had plenty of time to lounge and read on the promenade or our balcony Ports/Itinerary B+ Grand Turk: We took the hop on/hop off tour. it has only 3 stops but gives a good overview of the island, If you take this one make sure you get off at one end of town and walk to the other end along the shore. It is a quaint town with a 1950s look (except for he FedEx truck). The people are new to tourism, extremely friendly, and want to be seen as welcoming. Other than that there is not much on the island. many people chose to shop or go to the beach by the ship. While there, the Elation came in making an itinerary change due to Tropical Storm Chris. That was the first we heard of it. The weather was partly sunny, mid 80s. La Romana, Dominican Republic: a last minute change because of Chris and a first time stop for any Princess ship so no excursions were offered. Princess was able to arrange shuttle buses to town and have local tour guides at the pier. Princess did print a shopping guide with little preparation time. So with little guidance we took the shuttle into LaRomana, a poor town with many shops and some pressure to buy but not near as bad as Ocho Rios. Another shuttle went to Casa de Campo nearby which had million dollar homes, a beautiful beach and a modern mall. The port was surrounded by barbed wire with guards with sawed off shot guns posted along the fence. In town, the police also had shotguns. We were glad to get back to the ship, disappointed at missing San Juan. Weather was sunny and hot. St. Thomas: had to go through US immigration at this port but it was well organized. Immigration officials were in Club Fusion. Each deck was given a time period to report there with passport. We were in and out in 2 minutes. As you left the club you were given a landing card that allowed you to get off the ship any time without waiting for full clearance. Once everyone was cleared you could come and go without the card. We took the CasCay eco-tour of an uninhabited island and did snorkeling. A good choice. There was much talk by the locals that if Cuba ever opens up people will stop coming to St. Thomas. Weather was cloudy with a few showers. Bermuda: Ah yes, Bermuda, our favorite stop and one of the reasons we took this cruise. A 9 AM to 5 PM stop. We lost a half hour while two Bermudans on the cruise were located and summoned to immigration to clear the ship. It was a Saturday so ferry service was limited (hourly and no service to St. George) so we took a bus to Hamilton, walked around a while, saw a beautiful lily tree in Victoria Park and took a ferry back to the ship. After lunch went to Snorkel Park beach within walking distance from the ship... a wonderful day. If you are going to be there Sunday be aware that most stores will be closed. Excursions here may be worthwhile if you have a Saturday or Sunday stop. Weather was sunny in the mid to upper 80s. Note that you will need your sea pass and photo ID to reboard at most ports. My cell phone (Verizon Wireless) worked (roaming) in all ports Itll be interesting to see how much those calls cost. The Ship B Very nicely decorated ship with comfortable lounges and lots to do. You can basically get anywhere front to back from the Promenade deck 7 or Lido deck 15. The promenade is narrow and there is no shuffle board. We liked to walk around the promenade several times each morning for exercise. For those who like to sit on the promenade there are cushioned chairs that recline but no lounge chairs. There ae also small wood tables that make great footstools. Smoking is permitted on the starboard side. The aft of the ship from deck 15 up is difficult to navigate and I was still getting lost back there on the last day of the cruise. The shops are nothing special and dont even carry postcards or Christmas ornaments. We make our own buying two magnets and placing them back to back with a ribbon between them to hang from the tree. There are 4 main pools, two for families and two for adults only. We liked the adults only spa pool at the front of the ship just below the over-hyped Sanctuary. This pool also had a lap pool function that many enjoyed. we found ourselves drawn there every afternoon. There were also a couple of kids pools in the kids program area. The Calypso Pool (MUTS) closes at 5:30 P.M. All other pools close at midnight. Not a big deal. Many on this cruise were asleep early. Pools on Princess do not use saltwater. Amen! The internet cafe was small but worked well.. It was very busy the night of the itinerary change because of the storm. The sanctuary looks wonderful but I saw no reason to use it at $15 per half day. The fee is working too well. It never looked busy. We do not gamble or drink so I cannot comment on the casino or bars. We also did not use the spa but did use the well equipped gym. Let me pass on a secret. You can stand on top of the bridge (where the bridge extends like wings but you need to know how to get there. On Lido deck 15 forward go through the hallway of staterooms on the starboard side. At the front of the ship do not turn but go through an unmarked door (there is an exit sign pointing to the port side. You will then be in a short hallway that leads to a second door that will take you outside on top of the bridge. this is a great place to be whenever entering or leaving a port. The black box data recorder, which is really orange and not a box is also located there. There is no deck 13 so ask someone in the elevator to press the button for it and watch their reaction. Someone previously wrote that the ship shimmied and indeed it did when the seas were moderate and we were traveling south. No nice roll or rocking; more like a car with a wobbly tire. The rest of the time was smooth as can be whether the seas were slight or moderate. The balcony dividers sometimes creak as did the aft elevators, The other elevators seemed slow, but we were on a cruise and never in a hurry. The only damage we noticed from the tipping incident was a missing lamp on the staircase railing in the Piazza. The base was there, but the wiring and glass were missing. Otherwise the ship looked great. Ive read several reviews of this cruise where people sait that they felt a slight list and my wife mentioned it a couple of times during the last day but I never felt it. Service A++ Cant say enough about the Princess crew members. They were wonderful, extra friendly, seemed genuine, and went out of their way to make sure the cruise was special. We were very impressed! On the last day you are given a four page summary of the captains log as a souvenir. Disembarking C- If you can carry your own luggage you can get off as soon as the ship clears immigration. You must register to do this several days before arriving back in Brooklyn. We decided we had too much luggage and disembarked the traditional way, waiting for our color coded luggage tag to be called. If you do this you need to put all your luggage, except for one bag which can be put out by midnight, out before dinner on the last night. Breakfast is available at the Horizon court or in the dining room until 9 A.M. You must be out of your stateroom by 8 A.M. We docked at 7:15 A.M., were cleared by immigration by 7:45. Disembarkation was s l o w and we sat on the promenade deck reading until our color was called at 11 A.M. There were still six other tag colors after ours. Princess apologized for the slowness which was caused by congestion in the terminal.. Once off the ship we found our luggage and were off to the parking lot. Parking costs $164 for a 9 day cruise and can be paid by cash or credit card. You can pay at a machine before you get into your car or at the gate. The gate area only takes credit cards and Id recommend that route. The machines that took cash had long lines as people had trouble getting the machine to recognize wrinkled bills. Overall (personal opinion): My favorite cruise so far but not my favorite ship. The Voyager of the Seas is a nicer ship and better thought out. Now if I could just get this Princess crew on the Voyager of the Seas all would be perfect. Two pages of pictures available at http://web.mac.com/pekrause/iWeb/Site/Crown%20Princess%2006.html Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Here it is. My Tilted Ship Review. The tilted part will be at the end, so dont expect it earlier. I will not highlight every detail, because it would take DAYS to read. Overall. Until the tilting this was, hands down, one of the best ... Read More
Here it is. My Tilted Ship Review. The tilted part will be at the end, so dont expect it earlier. I will not highlight every detail, because it would take DAYS to read. Overall. Until the tilting this was, hands down, one of the best cruises I have ever had. Just outstanding in every single way, in large part due to the company I was with. The ship was stunning in every way. Background: My friend from Cruise Critic planned a trip for her family. Her children are 18 and 20 and did not want to spend their summer with mom, when they could have their friends hanging around so she brought me along! A chance to leave my darling husband, two toddlers and the older two boys for nine days? How fast can I sign up? Im a writer, so can work anywhere. I figured I could make this a working vacation. Note to self, 5,000 words in seven days does not work make. Next time leave the work at home and just have fun. 7/10: Flew down to Philly and met my roommate in real life for the very first time. Felt a little odd, but Ive been posting to Carols stuff for years and felt like I knew her already. We are both funny and flexible travelers who dont put up with malarkey. In other words, good traveling companions. We had a lovely dinner with my Ironman training partner, Rhonda and I went to bed early. This was going to be a theme for the cruise for me. 7/11:N Woke up at the hind-end crack of dawn. Another theme for me. I dont sleep well on vacation. I get the feeling I am missing something good and cant sleep. An Ambien helps. Showered and transferred my luggage tags to the luggage. This is my first stupid, Nancy-ism. I left my cruise documents in Carols house! Its not a problem, but I felt like a moron. We drove to a hotel where we boarded a shuttle bus for Brooklyns Red Hook Pier. We wended our way around Eastern Pennsylvania for a couple hours picking up other folks, who just happened to be Cruise Critic Members in part! Delightful to chat with them on our way. I was the only non easterner so people enjoyed pointing out the sights to me and telling me where we were. I still need to dig out a map and figure it all out. We arrived at the Verazanno Narrows Bridge about 10:50 or so and proceeded to the pier. The day was hazy so the Statue of Liberty was a tad hard to make out, but then THERE SHE WAS! I was moved to tears looking at her. Stunning and a real sense of& I just cannot explain came over me. We got to the terminal about 11:15 or so and dealt with my lack of documents easily. This was the easiest, most together boarding I have ever experienced. Two minutes and I was through security and up at the counter. The ladies there were nice and efficient. I waited to meet, rude New Yorkers and it was in vain. I consistently had the stereotype destroyed all cruise! Delightful people. Not harsh or rude or demanding in any way. The boarding began by a number they handed you at noon. We were in the third group and were boarding the ship by 12:15 in the afternoon. Carol and I went right to the cabin, which was clean and neat and ready to go. Our robes were not there, but this was not a surprise. They were delivered later. I know I have the timeline wrong here, so bare with me. At some point we met Vicente, our steward. He is outstanding. He consistently remembered our extra towels and the gigantic bucket o ice we requested. Delightful too. I called home and gloated a bit, then headed toward the food. Now the days run together and if I try to do it by day, until the last day, it will be wrong. Individual reviews to follow. The Food: Overall I am going to give a nod to RCI here. The food was very good, but RCI is just a shade better. This is a subjective area, so hear me out. I was disappointed by the Horizon Court. Please NOTE: the different areas have different food. If you dont see an area you like please proceed to another at any meal BUT breakfast (when all are the same). The food is good and the service very good, but not stellar in any way. Its a Las Vegas style buffet and more along the lines of Luxor and Mandalay Bay than Bellagio. Most people would be pleased with it. Im a foodie so you get that perspective. International Cafe: People have been griping about the charge there. I found VERY few things charged (ice cream) and there is a list. Its dead in the middle, but in general things in the middle round case and the Ice Cream case are charged items. Everything else is included and very good. They have Strawberry Shortcake Torte thats TO DIE FOR! Thank God they only served it one day or I would have gained weight and not lost it. Excellent sandwiches there too. I did not have sushi in the wine bar (additional charge), but was told, by several passengers, it was outstanding. Dining Rooms: I am going to lump them together. They are all excellent and the service level is consistently high. A couple nights we got so-so servers. Good, but missing that special something you cruise for. Most of the time the servers were engaging, smart, funny and matched our needs for more or less attention and time in the dining room to perfection. I prefer breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room. When traveling with my family I always do that. This time I was with others, so bowed to their wishes (and they to mine as well). The food. Memorable nights food wise, included the second formal night (the last night of our abbreviate cruise). I detest lobster onboard a ship, normally. This lobster was outstanding, both in presentation and taste. I cannot complain one bit. The Beef Wellington was delicious. Ive looked online for the menus to trip my memory, but cannot find them. Rats! Most nights I had fruit for dessert and it was outstanding. Just fresh and ripe, presented beautifully. Afternoon Tea: It was outstanding. Do not miss this at all. Lovely music, delightful waiters, white gloves. Stateroom: Lovely. Not enough drawer space for me, but the closet was HUGE! I will never again sail without a balcony. I had one for the very first time and it was wonderful. We had the AFT C752 on the Caribe deck. WONDERFUL! The Entertainment/Activities: The entertainment was delightful. The Cruise Directors friendly and engaging, remembering my name (I did win a Semi Final Round for Princess Pop Star. Was not able to attend the finals because of the, tilt.). The first and third night Comedian, Richard Harris, was very funny with no blue notes. The production show did lack some of the flashy sets RCI is famous for, but that would have detracted from the singers and dancers, who were great. There was a singer I was not so fond of, but most of my party loved her, so I will not mention it again. I am going to chalk that up to me alone. Trivia contests and poolside games were a hoot. Someone told me that they dont have, Those type of games on Princess, go to Carnival with what I thought was a disdaining sniff. That person was wrong, they sure do! If you want to avoid them avoid the Neptune Pool. Princess Pop Star: I won! The second night I tried. There were no finals because of the abrupt end to the cruise. MUTS: Too loud, too loud, too loud. Overall I do not like MUTS. Some LOVE it. I think its quite a distraction during the day. Chair Hogging: Well I thought Id seen it all on a cruise, but no. Even jaded little ole me was shocked. One group had a stuffed Rhinoceros named Charlotte (we played trivia with them) who got her own lounge chair by the pool. Another man had a bikinid blow up doll that got her own lounge chair, right by the pool. I worked out several mornings at six am and the loungers were already mostly full of crap. I was horrified. The cake was taken by a family of stuffed bears holding chairs, complete with drinks and books to read. I wanted to hurl the lot of them overboard. Nickel and Diming I read a lot of complaints about it and was prepared ahead of time. I did NOT feel dunned for money at every turn. I was careful about the things I selected. There was a lot of ice cream available for free at lunch and dinner in the dining room so no need to buy it elsewhere. I thought the prices were right in line with other cruise lines. Ports: Grand Turk: Small and unspoiled. There is not a lot to do there if youre a shopper. If you like to hit lovely beaches or snorkel, or better yet dive, then this is your place. Margaritaville is nice for some people, with a swim up bar in the pool. We did the clear bottom kayaking and the snorkel. Gorgeous reef structure right off the beach. Rocky bottoms so wear water shoes. Cant say enough good about the clear bottom kayak. Ocho Rios: As always some bozos were arrested in Ocho for buying drugs. Just dont do it. We went with Peat Taylor and despite the shock of a flat tire (fixed in no time) it was wonderful. Did the Dunns River Falls climb. Its a nice thing to do and I loved it. I was not hassled, but I must have an off-putting look. Others in our party were. Still no one came back hating Jamaica from my group. The difference? They took my advice and booked a tour. DO NOT just wander in Jamaica. This is not the US and one of the poorest islands. Its lush and gorgeous and NOT for everyone. Grand Cayman: Are we back in the US? I see Pizza Hut. Sigh. I hate that. Must we Americanize everywhere we go? We went with Captain Marvin. Some people in our party thought there were too many people on the boat, that is until they saw the other boats at Sting-ray City! They really pack em in. We did the half day tour that included snorkeling in Coral Gardens and the edge of the wall. I saw what looked like a black tipped shark and a moray eel peeking out of a crack in the rocks (I detest eels). Saw many sting-rays, until we got to Stingray City. So superb! Just heaven on earth to be with these creatures in the water, almost a hundred of them. I draw the line at smooching on a sting-ray, but my roommate had no compunction about it and macked on hers twice! Back to Georgetown and we shopped for ten minutes, before heading back to the ship. Our tender had an engine go out, so it was an interesting journey back. Turns out this was foreshadowing! Port Canaveral: The Space Center. What can I say? It was one of those, Proud to be an American moments that leaves you breathless. I did think they herded us like sheep (bah) and was not happy with that, but we had little time there. Everyone needs to see it once. The Thing with the Tilt and the Screaming: Lots of people have read my account. Dont know what more to say. Crew? Outstanding. Perfect? No, but they kept us informed. My little group of people hung out and consoled one another. CNN called me. YES CALLED MY CELL looking for video. Sharks. Even if I had it, Debbie, at, Anderson Cooper 360 as not going to get it. I found her insincere and snarky. I did grant local interviews, but its over. Was it terrifying? Yes, absolutely. Did I think I was going to die? Yes, yes I did. Thank god my husband and children were together at home, because if I had been hit by that TV I would not be here and they would have a wonderful parent to love them. Am I okay? You betcha. Still not sleeping, but I suspect that many of us are not. This too shall pass. To the man on the Caribe deck asking me how much I thought he could get in a lawsuit, five minutes after it happened, shame on you! To the lady crewmember in the suit asking me if anyone was missing from our party. Thank you. I hope your wrist is okay. To do your job in such pain and try to brush people off so you could help others -- What a wonderful and dedicated young woman. I wish I caught your name. To the members of Cruise Critic who are Doctors and Nurses and I personally know went to help in the dining room with triage, you are my heroes. To the staff that got no rest and cleaned up THEN served us a lobster dinner. Bless you! To the passengers who put on their formalwear and decided to look good in the face of adversity. You made me smile on a bad day. To the people who offered me cell phones and a shoulder and smiled while they were scared to reassure others. Wow. What an honor to have met you. This was a bad end to a lovely cruise, but I booked her again for next year and I am taking the family. Id just like to thank anyone and everyone who made this one of the best cruises of my life until the last day and then who shone like diamonds when the chips were down. I am a dedicated Princess sailor now. Yes, I will still sail RCI, but Princess youve won my heart. Does this sound all. Ra-Ra for Princess? Maybe it does. Still, the food was good, the entertainment excellent and except for one bad Cosmo (someone needs to re-train a bartender) I really cant complain. The last day was atypical so I will not dwell. Quick Note about the Casino. Some have complained it was too small. For what? Vegas? It was plenty large for me and yes, I gamble. Fitness and Recreation: I worked out a lot. The swim against the current pool is great. You do need to be a strong swimmer though. I do triathlons and 20 minutes tired me out. Had problems finding a treadmill most days. A little patience fixed that though. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
This was a very nice cruise. We flew into LaGuardia and were taken by bus to Red Hook. Everything went smoothly in that respect, but we had to wait in long lines to check in. We ended up leaving late because of a fuel problem. We missed ... Read More
This was a very nice cruise. We flew into LaGuardia and were taken by bus to Red Hook. Everything went smoothly in that respect, but we had to wait in long lines to check in. We ended up leaving late because of a fuel problem. We missed our first port, but were each given a $200. shipboard credit. The captain and crew kept everyone informed about what was happening. We felt good about that as we have been on other cruises when something has happened and we were kept in the dark. The captain was very personable as was the rest of the crew. We had traditional seating in the dining room for dinner which we enjoyed immensely. It was nice having the same wait staff every night who knew how to please us. The food served was very good. Lines at the buffet were confusing and seemed unorganized. Entertainment left a lot to be desired. The production shows were not as good as on other ships. We did enjoy Sammy in the Adagio Lounge. Other lounges were crowded and/or smoke-filled. We liked the Movies Under the Stars and the dance lessons that were offered. Our cabin was quite nice with plenty of storage space. The deck was spacious. Our cabin steward was very friendly and helpful. The ship itself is very pretty and elegant looking. Our biggest "complaint", if you could call it that, would be that it is just too large. This was our 18th cruise and we prefer the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
My family and I had a wonderful time on this beautiful ship. DH and I are 50 and this is our 25th cruise. DS is 7 and this is his 8th cruise (if you were on board, he was the kid mentioned on the Morning Show!) We are elite level cruisers ... Read More
My family and I had a wonderful time on this beautiful ship. DH and I are 50 and this is our 25th cruise. DS is 7 and this is his 8th cruise (if you were on board, he was the kid mentioned on the Morning Show!) We are elite level cruisers on Princess. (17 cruises) We drove to the ship from CT. If you are driving please leave extra time! There were so many delays due to traffic and construction! We arrived at 3:10. We walked right up to a check in window and right onto the ship. I am glad that we didn't come on the early side. I was told that although the check in was quick at 11:30, no one was allowed on until 12:30-1 pm. Parking was a breeze. Not even half the lot was full even at that late time. We pulled up and a porter took our bags and we parked and walked back in 2 minutes. On the way home, we paid in the terminal so we were able to drive right out. It cost $162. We were in D220 in a mini suite. First I was a little put off that we did not meet our cabin steward until the next night. But, she turned out to be great. Her name is Gina and she was out for a couple of days with a bad back. But, she was very attentive. She even made my son 2 wonderful towel animals for his birthday. I did ask for these and she had no problem doing them for us. We loved our minisuite. The bedding is wonderful and very comfy. We had air conditioning problems the first night, but the engineer came promptly. The room was never cold, but it was comfortable. You have to make sure the door is shut for it to work properly though. Mostly I did not mind the open balcony. I liked being open to the stars. Although we were in view of everyone above us! And, it could not be used in the rain. but, it was a nice large size. It was never too hot out there. We started in Anytime Dining but were switched in time for the 3rd night to early traditional. I think there is a real difference in the attention you are given by the waitstaff if you have traditional vs anytime. Unless you make a point of reserving your own waiter in Anytime, the wait staff does not get to know you and your preferences. We had a wonderful team. Nikko and Johnathan were fabulous waiters and after the first night knew what we liked. And, it was nice to get to know them too! Food: We are not food snobs, but we do like good food! We usually make allowances that cruise food is NOT fine dining. It is very nice dining but for 3,000 people! I have to say that in 25 cruises, the food in the DINING ROOM was probably consistently the WORST FOOD I have ever eaten on a cruise ship on any line! It was all extremely salty and did not taste good to me. Mostly it looked pretty, but the red snapper fingers looked like a plate of eels and was rubbery. One bite and I couldn't eat any more! Even the crab legs tasted like they had been dunked in salt and the lobster was rubbery. I usually have 2-3 plates of lobster on the 2nd formal and I barely made my way through one! The starters were passable though and some were good. Desserts were delicious. I love the Love Boat Dream and also the souffles. One nigh tin anytime, the waiter served me a FLAT souffle which tasted awful. I sent it back and the new one was very tasty. Breakfast was good in the dining room. the one lunch I had there was terrible though. For breakfast, you can order crunchy french toast or eggs benedict either the evening before or wait 20 minutes for them in the morning. They were also able to make a special order of chocolate chip pancakes for my son. But, the food I ate everywhere else was wonderful! We fully enjoyed our 2 dinners in Cafe Caribe. The Provencale night and the Indonesian Rijstaffel were both excellent. The pizza and the grill were yummy too. Sabatini's was fabulous (the lobster there was perfect!) I loved the International cafe. The marinated shrimp, the paninis and the spinach and mushroom salad were fabulous! And, the COOKIES!!! They no longer serve them piping hot because someone got burned. But sometimes you would get one that was a little warm. Cool they are very good cookies. Warm, they are amazing! One of the workers gave me some hot ones from the back after I begged and they were the best cookies I have ever eaten! They put the chocolate chip cookies out at 11. If you go there at 10:45, and ask politely someone might bring them to you to from the back (when they are still warm!) Sabatini's was just lovely. The food was perfect there! We had Valentin as our waiter. And, we had our dessert in Adagio. I loved the drinks menu in Adagio too. We loved the acts in the Piazza area. A great new Princess innovation! All of the demos were here too. Always something going on here and we loved it. Especially the first two days of the trip that were rainy! Entertainment: Sarge was hilarious! He was very funny and his life story is very inspirational. I know he is having a one man show in Lincoln Center as part of a comedy series and he will be in a movie too. Here's one of his jokes about the ship "the Crown Princess is the first in the fleet where there are no gratuities needed. The ship already tips for you!" Uber Rossi did amazing physical comedy (although his jokes fell short) We enjoyed Kenny Cabral the juggler and also The Cool Magic Dude in both the atrium area and at their shows. Kenny Byrd is a great ventriloquist although I thought his jokes to be a little off color for a family show. There were a few other people we did not get to see. I was so glad to see the level of entertainment on Princess ships raised for this voyage. No octogenarian harmonica players! All the entertainers were very enjoyable! Production shows: the singers and dancers are incredibly talented and worked their hearts out. I was glad to see the dancers were more mature than usual (meaning they did not look like they were 16!) the singers were great! Very high energy from everyone on stage! I did not love "What a Swell Party" though. That was the one with the Cole Porter songs. I liked Motor City. They had everyone singing along. They did a great job with Destination Anywhere. (Although for me no show has ever been as good as Mystique -the one with the Chinese acrobats!) Don't bother buying the Savvy Traveler on board the ship. These are not big shopping ports. The "freebies" are pretty junky. i had a book from my last cruise and there wasn't much to get in these ports. On the Dawn last year they gave a spa discount with the book, but not on the Crown. The stores on the ship sold the same old stuff. The Crown shirts were poor quality for tee shirts. I prefer to find a nice deck chair away from the crowds and read my book. I never had a problem finding a nice place to sit. The chair hogs congregate around the pool area. We tried the ballroom dancing once and it was a lot of fun. Very well attended. They have the Ceramics at Sea set up in a nice area on Deck 15 between the 2 pools. It was very popular. I had been looking forward to scrapbook classes but I was told they ran out of supplies after the 2nd cruise. We LOVED Movies Under the Stars. I didn't see anything during the day. If you did, you could purchase a headset for $2.50. It is yours for the entire cruise (and I have heard you can keep it for your next cruise too) Some day time movies had subtitles too. At night, MUTS is transformed. They put covers on the deck chairs and give you a cozy blanket. There is free popcorn and the buffet, pizza and grill are all close by and of course the bar is open. The sound was good and it was such a fun and relaxing thing to do! We had a couples massage in a cabana in the Sanctuary. It was heavenly. You can sit in the Sanctuary for an hour after at no charge. I also went back to the Sanctuary for an afternoon. I paid the $15 without complaint. It was worth it to me. It was very quiet, the seats are very comfortable and the service was excellent. You can get several menu items up there that are not available elsewhere also. My son spent a lot of time in the Pelicans room (ages 3-7) He had a great time. Always something to do. Lots of children on board and they were all very well behaved. The hours of the kids club are 9-12, 2-5 and 7-10. After 10 you can pay for babysitting ($5 an hour) There were 2 kids dinners while we were on board. Port days the center was open 9-5, by appointment. The older group were the shockwaves (8-12) and the teens were Off Limits. I felt the staff in the kids room was very professional and they took very good care of the children. My son had his 7th birthday on board. The staff made a nice fuss over him. He loved it. The staff on this ship is excellent. A little excitement on our trip: A false Man Overboard report was called in. They spent 2 hours searching the water. All activities on board were ceased and everyone had to go back to their cabins for a roll call. Luckily, no one was missing. The prankster was caught and he and his family were off the ship the next day. A comment on the "Brownie" video. I didn't even know it happened until I read about it on CC. Here's what we did in the ports: Grand Turk: Nice sunny weather. We were going to take a cab to a beach. But, once we saw the nice beach right there at the pier we stayed. We swam in the Margarita pool too. Being there at Margaritaville almost felt like it was a private island stop (where you had to pay if you wanted food!) There were a few stalls of Island type merchandise, a few jewelry stores and a duty free store. We had to be on board at 1:30 so it was too short of a day! Ocho Rios: We used Trevor Hudlin for a private tour. He had a family emergency, so he said a substitute (we knew this in advance) A very nice gentleman. We shared out tour with another family from CC. We went tubing. It was so much fun! And, we were there before the crowds. I highly recommend this activity. He then took us to the Wassi pottery factory. It was interesting. We got a pottery demo. My son was allowed to make his own little pot on the wheel. We also went to the Taj Mahal shopping area which I didn't care for and for a scenic ride. WE WERE NEVER SOLICITED TO BUY DRUGS or bothered in any way by people looking for tips. Warning! The reports from past cruisers is really true. People buy drugs and then the officials know exactly who purchased it. A teenager was pulled out of the line and he had drugs on him. Clearly he was pointed out. He was arrested and he had to stay overnight. Supposedly he was having a hearing the next day and was going to fly home. I heard from a friend of his that his family did NOT leave the ship. He was 19 and they continued on their cruise and left him there to take care of things himself! The teen who told me this also said he knew of one other person who was pulled out of line but did not know if he was arrested and was off the ship. It really looks like a scam where the drug dealers tell the officials who has bought from them! Grand Cayman: We did the catamaran with Capt Bryan to the stingrays and then 2 snorkel stops. We loved it (even though it rained on the way back) I highly recommend this independent tour! It was reasonably priced and there were only 20 of us onboard. A note to all: Write your name on your waterproof camera! mine got mixed up with someone else's and I don't know if I came off with the right one! I have to get it developed later today. Port Canaveral: We went on the Kennedy Space Center tour. It was quick and we would have liked more time but it is sufficient to get a good overview. Here are some tips! Get up just a few minutes earlier and get in the first 2 rows in the meeting area (Princess theater) This will put you in the front of the line. We were the very first people through customs (the computers weren't even on yet) and we were on the first bus to the space center. We had a wonderful guide on the bus. BTW, make sure you don't have any nail files or knives because they will be confiscated! We got to KSC first and had time to look at the exhibits before we went into the IMAX movie (and early show just for our group) In the IMAX, sit all the way to the right so you are first out and do not have a long wait for the buses that take you all around the center and around the launch pads. Then, you will be the first to the exhibit center and will have much more time there to look around! It was a pricey tour, but we had no crowds and I am glad we went! Disembarkation: We had a later color. Since we drove we were in no hurry. We had breakfast in the Davinci on the later side. When we did get off, it was quick and easy. You can wait in a line and either get a blue cart that you can take yourself or an orange cart with a porter. You can prepay the parking before you leave the terminal. Driving out of the terminal area was the longest part! Overall, we loved the cruise! I prefer a smaller ship though. Everyone on board was wonderful, but in my opinion the level of service and the amenities are even better on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Hi well we are back a week or so from the new Crown Princess a 9 day Caribbean cruise out of Brooklyn NY. First off the new Brooklyn pier is so much better then the piers in the city ! Getting on and off is so easy now .If your coming from ... Read More
Hi well we are back a week or so from the new Crown Princess a 9 day Caribbean cruise out of Brooklyn NY. First off the new Brooklyn pier is so much better then the piers in the city ! Getting on and off is so easy now .If your coming from the city ,the best way to get there is take the Brooklyn bridge to Atlantic ave .Make a right on Atlantic ave. and just follow the signs to the pier it is very easy and fast way to get there. We were booked on the july 2nd cruise .but had to cancel it do to illness in the family .And rebooked it for the 25th of august cruise.It work out better for us in the long run .On the july 2nd cruise is the one where they put the fuel in the wrong tank,so the ship didn't go out until 2:30 am.So they missed i think the best port of the cruise Grand Turk. We myself wife and 2 boys 14 & 15 left our house in NJ just after rush our on friday the 25th the first day of the cruise at 9:50am and was in our cabin just after 10:30 am .We got our bags at around 12pm..We then went up check out the ship .The lounges seem much the same as on the Grand Princess .The pool areas are i think the best .On the Crown there are 4 of them 2 for adults and the 2 in the center of the ship is for everyone .One they use for movies under the stars .Witch i happen to think ia a great new idea ! Our Cabin We had cabin E102 all the way forward .We never book one that far forward .But it was the only outside quad cabin left and we wanted this date . You did feel more movement in this cabin then you would in one in mid ship.The cabin it self was very roomy .But the shower was real small !!Our cabin steward was great The food This was our 6th time on Princess and 63rd over all cruise .We had anytime dinning .But wanted 2nd seating .But didn't"t get it because we booked late .Anytime dinning was good . We only had dinner in those dinning rooms 4 time on this cruise .We use our cruise like resorts now being that we go alot ! Meaning we only use the anytime on seas days and one formal night !! The food we had in the anytime dinning rooms are good to very good .We don"t want big dinners every night now ,and we like the fact of not rushing for dinner .On the other nights we eat at the Horizon court .That's where you could have breakfast and lunch but. You can also have dinner there .We did the other 5 nights .The dinner there were hit or miss .Some nights the dinners we great other nights the food we very blend . But we never had a bad meal .You could always find something good to have .One thing more the Horizon court is not as good as it use to be .it's on par with RCCI"s Windjammer cafe now .good not great .The Pizza was the best we have had on a cruise ship in some time GREAT !! The shows The shows for the week were very good .The main show room seems a little small .But it isn't"t .The Crown Princess has one more deck of cabins then the Grand Princess dose .So more people .We did see more lines but it wasn't"t that bad . The ports for the week were Bermuda San Juan St Thomass and Grand Turk .and 4 seas days Been to all the ports many times but not Grand Turk witch we like the best.The hurricane didn't"t get in the way of our cruise .It was a little choppy the last day back to Brooklyn .But the weather the hole week long couldn't"t have been any better. All and all we had a great time on the Crown and would do it again .But we had our 2 boys with us 14 & 15 .Princess is not a great cruise for young teens .Unlike Carnival and RCCI is .We could see them with they friend getting board .Not much for them to do on this ship .But younger kids it looks like would have a great time .Princess is still a more laid back cruise like always .Good for familys with young kids not young teens . I think the food still good has slip some since Carnival took over .We were on the Carnival Miracle last august and the food seem so much better then on this cruise .I think Carnival is spending more money on the Carnival brand then on the other cruise lines in the Carnival family of cruise lines .We also saw it on HAL to on the Zuiderdam !! don't get me wrong the food is good ,just not as good as it use to be .Well thats it we are booked to go on the Empress of the seas in Feb 26th doing a 11 day Southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan great ports .and then in august 21th a 2 day cruise on the Regal Empress to Nassau a reunion cruise with friends .And latter that week we will be on the brand new Liberty of the seas out of Miami doing the W.Caribbean .In 08 we are going to do the Tahitian Princess doing the south Pacific . Ken G.........> Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Cruise Review  Crown Princess  August 16, 2006 Have spent the last week recovering from a couple of injuries I sustained while climbing the water falls at Dunns River. Hope some of the information in this review will be helpful to ... Read More
Cruise Review  Crown Princess  August 16, 2006 Have spent the last week recovering from a couple of injuries I sustained while climbing the water falls at Dunns River. Hope some of the information in this review will be helpful to those cruising on the Crown Princess in the near future. I apologize for the length but I have to admit, I took a lot of notes during the cruise Embarkation and Disembarkation  We arrive at Red Hook at about 11:00 a.m. after flying in from DC. We checked in with no wait, and went to the common waiting area where we met my BIL and SIL. I believe we started boarding around 12:30 and we able to go right to the cabin  went to the Horizon Buffet for lunch and upon our return, our luggage was at the cabin and we unpacked. We selected Express Disembarkation (where you leave with your own luggage) and we stayed in our cabin on the balcony until 8:30 when our number was called. We were off the ship and through Customs (with no wait) by 9:00. We took a limo to LaGuardia and arrived there by 9:45. Cabin  we were in a mini suite with balcony - D209 next to my BIL and SIL  we requested the door between the balconies was opened, and this was a nice way to visit with one another. A couple of mornings we ordered room service on the balcony  it was delightful. Although the balcony was uncovered, we never had a problem with flying objects from above and even met some nice people on the balconies above us. Our room steward, Krys, was efficient and our cabin was serviced regularly throughout the day. He was very responsive if we needed anything. As for the cabin  entering the cabin, there was a walk-in closet with enough closet space and plenty of hangers to hang our clothes with room to spare, a shelf unit (where the safe was) with plenty of shelf space for clothing. The bathroom had a tub, which had more room than a cabin with a shower  the bathroom was compact, but a nice size. Adjacent to that was the bedroom  king size bed with two end tables with two drawers each, a mini refrigerator, TV and desk area  the hair dryer was housed above the desk (there was room under the beds to store suitcases). A seating area was past the bedroom, with a full sized couch (pull out sofa), table and chair and another flat screen TV (note-one remote for both TVs and occasionally when changing channels, the remote would turn on the other TV). We did notice that you could not check your shipboard account via the TV  something I missed from previous cruises. Next to the seating area was the balcony  two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, a bistro table and smaller table. I have to say the couch came in handy as I sustained a back injury and it was nice to lie on the couch and take the pressure off my back for a little while. The mattress on the bed was the nicest I've had on a cruise, and the linens were definitely more top of the line  both sheets and towels. We asked for extra pillows and our request was filled without delay. Dining Options  we tried for several months to select Traditional as we have enjoyed that on our past five cruises  however, we were unsuccessful getting off the wait list. As a result, we went to the Maitre'D immediately after boarding the ship and requested at dinner time of 8:15 p.m., same restaurant, same table, same waiter. We were assigned to the DaVinci Restaurant and our request was met. We enjoyed the fact that we could enter the restaurant in the With Reservation line and not have to wait while those in the Without a Reservation line were sometimes given a pager and told to return when they were notified a table was ready for them. We had the same wait staff every night, and although there were problems at times with some food orders, Alex and Sergio were very pleasant and we enjoyed our dinner time with them. As far as the food selection in the dining room  I have to say that I was a little disappointed  several nights there was but one entrEe that appealed to me (and I'm not a picky eater). The food I ate was quite good, but I was disappointed in the selection. The lobster was well prepared, the beef dishes I had were delicious, there was a fiery shrimp offering that was excellent. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants. The seafood buffet offered at the sail-a-way was unbelievable  king crag legs and lobster claws already cracked and waiting for to be eaten. Later in the week, a seafood buffet was offered in Cafe Caribe and we went there for an appetizer serving of crab legs, shrimp and lobster claws before our regular 8:15 dinner. I have to mention, when I ordered hot soups in Davinci  the temperature of the soup was very hot (a wonderful treat), not lukewarm as is the case in some restaurants. I ordered chilled fruit soups on a number of occasions, and they were also very good. Although I found something every night, the desserts were nothing to write home about  although I did enjoy the Love Boat chocolate dessert once (very rich) and there was a nice meringue custard dessert that was very light following a heavy beef meal. Others in our group enjoyed the souffles on a number of occasions. Horizon Buffet  nice selection of food, but the food display was very disorganized, the traffic flow was not well thought out and caused many bottlenecks. At breakfast, you could request specially prepared omelets, although that wasn't a well known fact. There were no trays  the plates were larger than normal, however, it did seem like you'd have to get your food, find a table, and then go to find a beverage. There was a coffee cart that was utilized throughout the eating area for refills, which was a nice touch, however, the coffee served on the majority of the ship is made from a syrup, and many people complained about the coffee. There was a place to find good coffee, listed under the International Cafe section. Sometimes there were no tables available in the Horizon Buffet area and we would wander to the Cafe Caribe or outside on deck  we could always find a place to sit. We did try the dining room for one breakfast  the selections were good and the blueberry pancakes were awesome. International Cafe  located on Deck 5 in the Piazza - specialty coffees, premium coffee, coffee drinks, hot chocolate, and teas were available for an additional charge  this is where the coffee card came in handy. $27.60 for 15 specialty coffees and unlimited brewed coffee  please note  there is a brewed coffee (not made from syrup) which you could get at the International Cafe for free anytime. There was also a premium Blue Mountain coffee available there for an additional charge. Once our party discovered the Blue Mountain coffee, two coffee cards were purchased. The coffee drinkers in our group all indicated the taste of the Blue Mountain coffee was far superior to anything they had on the ship (restaurants) and better than the free brewed coffee at the International Cafe. Not being a coffee drinker, I tried the hot chocolate once, but wasn't impressed and used my own packets I brought from home. There were free food offerings at the International Cafe as well  pastries in the morning, sandwiches and salads in the afternoon, various items in the evening  there were also specialty food offerings that were available for an additional charge. Our group used to go to the Cafe to get a to go cup of Blue Mountain coffee before heading off for breakfast. Remember to sample the chocolate chip cookies  made several times a day  and if you are lucky, you might get warm ones if you hit the cafe at the right time  they really are worth the calories. While at the cafe, throughout the day, various musical performances and demonstrations were offered in Piazza area. The classical quartet was fabulous as were the other performers  it was a nice place to read a book, listen to the music and enjoy a beverage. Entertainment  the three production shows were the best I've seen of any cruises I've been on. The singers and dancers were excellent  the lead singers had commanding voices and the dancers were very talented - as a mother of a former dancer, these performers were well trained and we were treated to some phenomenal dance combinations. There was a comedian, Sarge, who we saw on two occasions  he was a riot at both shows. I don't think I stopped laughing during his entire time on stage. I really appreciated that his act wasn't full of curse words  I've occasionally have left shows on other lines when the comic was using too much blue material. Looking forward to Sarge's national tour beginning in January 07. We saw a very talented ventriloquist (Kenny Bryd) and juggler (Randy Cabral)  both were entertaining, although they both could use a little work on their material  the ventriloquist was amazing as I never saw his mouth move as his manipulated his various characters. Singer Paul Emmanual had a wonderful voice and I wish I had seen his earlier show. Activities  there seemed to be a good mix of activities for all age groups. I attended several of the bridge lectures by Janis and David Waxman (being a novice, I picked up a lot of good information during these lectures). I was disappointed that so many of the Scholarship@Sea offerings included an additional fee  I would have loved to have taken some computer course, but wasn't willing to pay the $25 for something I can get at work for free. I understand the need for additional fees for pottery pieces with the Ceramics@Sea classes, and that seemed like a popular class. I was disappointed by the port lectures (historical-Dr. Annette Logan, not shopping) and left during the first one, never to return. On previous cruises on other lines, I've been very impressed with the subject matter and lecturer, but this one felt like a personal travelogue by the presenter. We did watch a couple of movies which were previously released that I had wanted to see but didn't get to the theater (Inside Man is excellent). MUTS is a great idea, however, the nights when movies I wanted to see were shown, there were other activities going on that I wanted to do, so I didn't utilize MUTS. Please note, during the day, you have a rent an earpiece for $2.50 (for the whole cruise) in order to hear the movies (though also presented in closed caption)  this is a good concept so as not to bother those passengers on the various decks and pool areas. At night, the audio was played for the movie offerings and the earpiece wasn't necessary  they even provide fresh popcorn while you're in your lounge chair watching the movie. Casino  my husband and BIL spent a lot of time in the casino playing black jack and Texas Hold Em  as a matter of fact, my husband came in 2nd in the first black jack tournament! That will get you a hat, beer cozy and can of beer, and a T-shirt (he would have preferred to win the $500 jackpot). Both of them commented that the casino was the largest they have seen on a cruise ship  and they both enjoyed that there were two tables available for Texas Hold Em. Ports of Call  Grand Turk  we booked a Princess excursion, Bike, Hike and Swim  although there was very little hiking on this tour  the guide was very informative with information about Grand Turk and although the tour indicated that you should be in good physical shape to participate (unfortunately I'm not), however, I was able to keep up with the rest of the group - the biking was on fairly level roadways  I'm not sure how much territory we covered  and we had a brief time for swimming  the water was crystal clear and you could see fish in the water  nice water temperature and refreshing after biking. I would recommend the tour. We went to a pool/beach area across from where the ship was docked. This was a huge pool, with swim up bar (although people complained about the price of the drinks). There is a shopping area near the pool for those who don't want to go swimming. Ocho Rios, Jamaica  we hired a private company, Barrett Adventures, for our stay in Jamaica  we made our own itinerary  Dunns River Falls, water tubing, an excursion to an authentic Jamaican restaurant, Wassi Pottery Factory and a brief visit to Taj Mahal shopping area to buy Blue Mountain coffee. We were off to the falls and arrived well before the busloads of cruise passengers arrived so it wasn't as crowded as in pictures I've seen. While climbing the falls, I fell on several occasions and sprained my ankle, got lots of bumps, scraps, and bruises, and fell and hurt my tail bone (not one else in our group sustained any injuries). Despite the injuries, I loved climbing the falls and would consider doing it again. Our tour guide, Carolyn Barrett (owner of the company), climbed the falls with us and took a lot of digital pictures of our group. We then went tubing in a nearby waterway  the water was cool (which was good for my ankle) with several small rapids. Note - we were told the rafting trip would last 45 minutes, but it was closer to 25 minutes  but it was enjoyable just the same. She then took us to find authentic Jamaican jerk chicken  about 30 minutes drive  at which time the rains began. I'm really glad we did the water activities early. The food was delicious  two orders of jerk chicken, festival (sweetened bread) and bammy (made from the casaba plant) all for $7.00  cokes were $1.00 each. The food was very good and interesting. During our drive to the Wassi Pottery factory, our guide provided a wonderful travelogue  lots of historical information and general information. We arrived at the pottery factory shortly after it had closed  Carolyn asked if they could open the shop up and the owner willingly agreed. The pottery is beautiful and we purchased some vases and plates. The pottery is very unique and if you arrive earlier in the day, you can see various pieces in production. Apparently the shop isn't normally opened on Sunday, but will open if a cruise ship is in port. We ended up at the Taj Mahal shopping center where our guide bargained in two shops to get better pricing on the Blue Mountain coffee  one shop refused to come down in price, and the other was very accommodating  our group bought 7 pounds of coffee as a result. We were back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. Check out her website  www.barrettadventures.com  a really accommodating tour guide. Grand Cayman  we were at Grand Cayman on an earlier cruise in April so we just took a taxi to 7 Mile Beach and stayed for a couple of hours before the weather turned threatening. The water is very clear, but there were more large rocks in the ocean than we experienced in April, and it too awhile to find a sandy spot to stand on  there was no undertow that day and I stayed in the water pretty much the entire time in the same spot. Back to Georgetown for some shopping, but did little of that as the weather became more and more threatening so we went back to the ship. As an aside, in April, we swam with the stingrays and really enjoyed that excursion. It's worth the price of the trip. Port Canaveral  did not leave the ship  have been to the space flight center before and would recommend the trip for those who haven't been. Tonight was a formal night, and we were invited to attend the Captain's Circle Party before dinner as we have traveled on Princess before. It amazed me  there were 3 cruisers who were recognized for the number of cruises they have taken  47, 31 and 24! Tonight was the champagne waterfall  this started at 11:30 p.m. and at 12:30 a.m. I gave up and went back to the cabin  but we enjoyed the dancing antics of our waiter, Alex, who is a real dancing machine. Galley Tour  some cruise lines have eliminated this tour, and I'm glad to see that Princess still permits it. It amazes me to see the size of the galley (one of many on the ship) and to see the amount of food that it takes to feed an army of 3100 passengers. The Executive Chef and Maitre'D provided an cooking demonstration before the tour, and they both were quite comical. Although there was no food production taking place during the tour, it was still interesting to see the various stations (and I have to admit, I'm glad there wasn't any food preparation taking place for food safety and sanitary reasons). Only one incident on board ship worthy of note  a false man overboard report. I'm not going to comment on who called the report in, but I must say the crew handled the event with utmost professionalism and the captain made sure to communicate with passengers on a regular basis. From start to finish, it probably lasted 2 hours  yes, we were at dinner when we were asked to return to our cabins, and we returned to our table once we were given the all clear. There were a couple of issues I noticed during this time which could be addressed by a root cause analysis from a risk management viewpoint, but we really appreciated the on-going communication from the captain and cruise director throughout the event. I know this post is long, but I tried to address some questions I've seen on Cruise Critic over the past several months. The ship is large, beautiful, and during our time on board, the seas were smooth with very little waves. IMHO, I still rate the food on Celebrity better than on Princess (presentation and taste). I think I will select Traditional seating whenever I book my next cruise. This is a large ship, and with 3100 passengers, we were able to find areas that we not too crowded  there's enough activity if you are on the go all the time, and yet many areas to find solace if you so choose. There were areas of the ship I never did find (but my exploring was not up to my usual as I was contending with some injuries which slowed me down a little). I loved the mini suite with balcony, and would definitely choose that again. As most places we go, there are some people who think they are the only ones on the ship, and forget that other people are standing in line waiting for something and they'd march to the front and expect to get service. For the most part, fellow passengers were friendly and considerate of each other. We all have our own opinions and experiences, which is evident on this message board. Please accept my dissertation for what it is  my own thoughts on our 9 days at sea. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
We bravely boarded the "Tilt-a-Whirl" otherwise known as the Crown Princess a scant 2 weeks after its little mishap. This brand new ship, twin to the Caribbean Princess, is beautiful and spacious. We always cruise in an aft ... Read More
We bravely boarded the "Tilt-a-Whirl" otherwise known as the Crown Princess a scant 2 weeks after its little mishap. This brand new ship, twin to the Caribbean Princess, is beautiful and spacious. We always cruise in an aft balcony room to enjoy the privacy, quiet, and hypnotizing wake that aft cabins provide. Also, the balconies are twice as deep as star and port side balconies for the same price. Our balcony, unfortunately, had a huge 3 foot wide metal support beam on it, as did 2 balconies on each aft deck. Therefore, for the same price as our neighbors, we dealt with a huge obstructed view whereas they did not. Totally unfair. Our agent assumed the obstructed view was a flagpole or something trivial. It was, however, hugely significant. Princess refuses to recategorize these rooms (they are BB) because of what they say is a larger balcony space. Not much good if you have to rearrange your furniture each time you use your balcony to move around your table, chairs, and loungers, depending on what your activity out there is. Maneuvering the furniture and my toes around this beam was truly treacherous. Leaving from this new Brooklyn port is fabulous. Very smooth embarkation. As expected, the waters were a bit choppier than leaving from a Florida port, especially coming home following Hurricane Ernesto up the easter seaboard. We were rocking and rolling and so were our tummies. The Captain made haste despite the swells and we dealt with it. New feature which this "foodie" absolutely loved was the Cafe Caribe in the aft of the Horizon Court. The Horizon Court was its usual fare but the Cafe Caribe featured a different Caribbean cuisine every evening starting at 5PM. Catch a bite there before your 8:30 P.M. dinner seating. It was fabulous. The other big hit is the International Cafe at the bottom of the Atrium. Offering up warm baked cookies at 3 A.M. was a big hit with my group. Service during our reserved seating was ok. I felt there were plenty crew in training. Ordered items went missing, beverages were not waiting for us as I am accustomed to, a little disorganized. Our cabin steward must have also been newer, as we received NO towel animals from this kind young man, even with a child in the room. Movies Under the Stars is a fantastic feature, although none of us were able to stay awake the 2 times we tried this cinema extravaganza. The lounge cushies and blankies were too comfortable. Not even fresh popped popcorn could keep us awake. Beware of the vent grates on the upper most deck near the satellite balls. My 11 year old tripped and fell onto it during our sailaway resulting in 3 stitches to his badly lacerated knee. The medical staff were stellar, even though I was presented with over $400 in medical bills and missed sailing under the Verrezzano Bridge! I truly felt this to be the ship's responsibility and the bills are in dispute. Let's see what happens. bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2006
Crown Princess August 8-16, 2006 EMBARKATION: Extremely easy. We decided to park without dropping off the luggage since we noticed dozens of luggage carts available in lot. From the parking lot, on the left hand side, walking towards the ... Read More
Crown Princess August 8-16, 2006 EMBARKATION: Extremely easy. We decided to park without dropping off the luggage since we noticed dozens of luggage carts available in lot. From the parking lot, on the left hand side, walking towards the terminal we asked one of the staff where we should drop off the luggage. He said he would take care of it. We were on the ship in less than 5 minutes since we pre-registered online and there were no lines. We went directly up to the Horizon Court for lunch. Right after we decided to go to our cabin. Our luggage was at our door. We were very surprised. FOOD: We always do the Personal Choice for convenience. On the first night we got lucky and had a fantastic waiter and his co-server in the DaVincis dining room. We decided to use them for the rest of our trip. We told the head Maitre d' that we wanted Frances every night at 6pm. Never had a problem. Our table 417 was always available. The menu is set to please just about everyone. From seafood, poultry, beef, vegetarian. Plus a variety of standbys. The French onion soup, lobster, prime ribs, king crab legs, avocado seafood appetizer, yogurt peach soup, and of course the Princess Love Boat dream and Trio Mousse desserts were exceptional. Horizon Courts breakfast was much to be desired. This is buffet food and thats to be expected. Fruits were always fresh and ripe. French toast and pancakes were a little crusty. Toast machine did not toast at all. We decided to have breakfast in the main dining room one day only to find out that it closes at 9:30 in the morning. So, on another day we were up early enough to go. We found out that its exactly the same food served in the Horizon Court. Nothing different. That was disappointing. Room service was extremely fast. Ordered coffee, sandwich and those fabulous cookies and within 10 minutes it was at my cabin. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment is exceptional. Shows are top notch. First night was the Welcome aboard Showtime starring the Crown Princess Dancers, singers, and band. Also performing that night was Sarge the comedian. Very funny. You have to go at least a half hour early, each night, to get a good seat. Well with it. All throughout the ship there is entertainment to meet everyones needs. In Explorers Lounge  Ballroom Blitz, Ventriloquist Kenny Byrd, Body Balancing & Acrobatics, Comedy Juggling Randy Cabral, and comedy show. In the Club Fusion had a wide variety of shows from Karaoke, dance party, 50s though the 80s Music Trivia, Name that Show tune, and Marriage Game show and of course Bingo. Service: Our cabin steward was very accommodating. I only had to ask once for an extra towel for my hair and every morning there would be extra towels. I also asked for one of the chairs to be removed since it was taking up space and we didnt use it. It was gone within minutes. It made a world of difference moving about the cabin. We were always greeted with a smile by the wait and bar staff. I have to say crew members really work hard to please their passengers. Cabin: The fluffy duvets covers were much to be desired. Did not cover feet and had to keep repositioning it, waking up several times over the night. The A/C was comfortable. Safe was impossible. While in the open stage it would continue to beep. One time it would not open at all and had to call for service. Needed to call three times to get someone up to service. Princess is aware of the problem and will be replacing them in the near future and will not be using this safe manufacturer on future ships. Sink water temperature found to be warm. Water never got cold. Turning off TV with remote was a little difficult because if you press the power button off it would turn on again. Had to press several times to turn off. The cabinet in which the Refrigerator is located is extremely warm. Had to keep the cabinet door open to get the refrigerator cold. Plenty of space for everything with room to spare. Ports: Grand Turk  took a $6 cab ride to Governors Beach. Chair rental $5. Shade under trees. Nice beach with a great view. Youre not looking at a Cruise ship while on the beach. Not great for snorkeling. San Juan $19.50 cab ride to Ritz Carlton in Isla Verde. The beach smelled like bad eggs, farts. Water cloudy. Not pleased with it at all. We were not allowed to rent chairs since we werent guests. We went by the pool area and lounged there. Beautiful pool  hotel. St Thomas  $9 cab ride to Coki Beach. Small beach. Chair rental $5. Excellent snorkeling area. The best we have seen. Bermuda - $8 round trip bus fare to Horseshoe Bay. Beautiful beach. Not much on snorkeling. $8.50 to rent beach chairs. Overall: The A/C throughout the ship was very comfortable. Did not need a sweater or cover-up, not like other ships we were on in which were always freezing. The ship is beautiful and easy to get around. The cruise was fantastic; we loved it and would really recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
This was my first cruise and I LOVED it! We paid $900 each for a Balcony cabin on Riviera deck. The Brooklyn terminal was easy to get to, easy to navigate through, and easy to park at ($18 per day). The ship itself is gorgeous! Bright, ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I LOVED it! We paid $900 each for a Balcony cabin on Riviera deck. The Brooklyn terminal was easy to get to, easy to navigate through, and easy to park at ($18 per day). The ship itself is gorgeous! Bright, elegantly decorated, with tons of open spaces. The staff were personable and the service was fantastic. We felt as if we were at a five star resort! Movies Under the Stars was really cool. The staff come around with popcorn and blankets and you can watch first run movies and star gaze at the same time. The Terrace Pool is the hidden gem. Our room was right near the pool and we enjoyed beautiful views of the sea while avoiding the noise and chaos of the main pools. Every night after dinner, we'd relax in the hot tub located above the terrace pool. The other passengers were really nice and down to earth and was made up by honeymooners, empty nesters, and active seniors. Age was not a factor - everyone was friendly. I wouldn't recommend this cruise for singles in their 20s looking for a parry ship. Lots of partying, but not wild. The food was okay. The buffet got a little funky as the cruise went on but the dining rooms were nice. We had anytime dining. The poolside pizza was surprisingly good as was the Trident Grill. Crown Grill was great too, but $25 a person. It was worth it! There was no need to go on an excursion at Grand Turk - there's a nice beach and pool within walking distance. Everyone who walked up Dunn's Falls at Ocho Rios had a good time (very strenuous - you must be in good shape). At Grand Cayman, you MUST do the reef / sting ray snorkel. Fabulous! If I had to say something negative about the cruise, it would be that there was no clock in the room and the coffee cups were too small. Now I know to pack an alarm clock and my travel mug along with my bathing suit and suntan lotion! I LOVED this cruise - the ship - the staff - EVERYTHING!!! I give it a 5+++ stars! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
This was my eighth cruise, first one on Princess. Im partial to Celebrity after two excellent trips (15 and 10 days) with them. Embarkation  very quick. We arrived about 11:30 and were on the ship just after 12:00. Cabin  C437 (Cat ... Read More
This was my eighth cruise, first one on Princess. Im partial to Celebrity after two excellent trips (15 and 10 days) with them. Embarkation  very quick. We arrived about 11:30 and were on the ship just after 12:00. Cabin  C437 (Cat BA balcony); huge balcony  Should have used it more than we did. Regular size room  hate those small showers. Was disappointed when the cabin was a little dirty when we got on  last passenger left all of his hunting magazines in one of the cabinets and the were crumbs and a toothpick on the chair. Told the steward and he apologized. He was fine for the rest of the cruise. Location of the cabin could have been better  always seemed to be woken up by the stewards in the supply room across the hall at 7am; maybe Im just a light sleeper. Sabatinis  Excellent food and service. We had Sebastian from Romania serve us the first time so we requested him again a second time. Hes top notch and we rewarded him for it. He even took down our email addresses to add us to his buddy list. Crown Grill  Disappointing. Maybe it was not the place to go on the first night. Brazilian Lobster ($9 extra charge) was completely ammonia (ie. bad), filet mignon was the most tasteless weve ever had, lamb was just okay. Lobster charge was taken off the bill. Service was poor  an example, I dropped my steak knife and the waiter picked it up but never came back with a new one. At least dessert was excellent. Anytime Dining  First time for us and we loved the freedom of going whenever we wanted. All the wait staff was very good. Food tended to be good to very good. Only one night was really excellent. I wasnt impressed with the choices though  very few things that stood out. Buffets  Only adequate. Usually ate there for breakfast and a few lunches. Pizza  wow! Real pizza outside of NY. It was great. Cruise Staff  Best at sea. Everyone was personable, fun, energetic, and funny. They were just funny enough to not be over the top and they werent corny or slapstick. They really made the cruise memorable. Jacinta, one of the assistant CDs was the best of all. Always found time to stop and chat for a few minutes and not just how is the cruise going or come to the show tonight. I cant say enough about her. James Lay was the best CD Ive had in 8 cruises. He really knows what hes doing. Daniel was a great Bingo caller. Shows  Production shows were very good. Always a little cheesy, but not like a high school production, like Ive seen on other ships. A few comedians, but only Sarge stood out. He wasnt as funny as Id hoped but that may be because theres so much hype on these boards about him. Casino  I actually won at both the tables and slot machines. I just seemed to have a lot of luck there. Won enough to pay for the price of the cruise. Would have had more if I stayed away on the last day, but it was fun losing their money. Dealers were great; especially Gillian, Tatiyana, Laslo, and Ilyana. Spa  Had two massages by Mo. He did a great job and didnt try to sell me anything except to go back to my chiropractor because he noticed my legs werent even. Next time I wont pay extra for the thermal spa  only used it a couple times. Skywalkers Nightclub  Usual fare for a cruise ship nightclub. Some nights were crowded, some nights dead. Great music after 11. Crooners piano bar  Only so many times you can hear Billy Joel from the piano player. Lots of martinis on the menu but the waiters kept messing up our orders. Piazza  Love the layout. Didnt sit there as much as I wanted to; which is probably good or else I would have eaten dozens of the delicious cookies from the International Cafe. Internet cafe  Checked email only a few times and seemed to have lots of problems. I found it to be slow always. One time I typed a long email and before I could hit send, SIGNAL LOST and the computer rebooted. Another time, the computer locked up and wouldnt do anything except run up the minutes. It was late so no one was around to help out. Racked up an extra 20 minutes before it corrected itself. Told the night purser and all the charges were taken off for the session. Grand Turk  Quite a small island. Beautiful but not much to do. We went on the Kayak and beach snorkel tour. Kayak was interesting - very sedate. Honestly, theres nothing to see if you do go snorkeling on the beach they take you to. I dont think I even saw one fish. Margaritaville was hopping when we got back to the dock. Waited about 15 minutes just to get one overpriced margarita. Shopping was expensive at the dock. I saw cheap looking t-shirts that were marked $25! I almost fell over. Ocho Rios  Been there twice before. Went on the Trimaran tour that went to the Falls and to a nice beach for about 2 hours. Climbed the falls again even though Ive done it before. Still surprises me just how dangerous it really is but the tour guides dont discourage some people who really shouldnt do it. I skinned my knee and I heard some woman broke her ankle and was in an air cast the rest of the cruise. I would have rather taken the Catamaran instead  the Trimaran was very small. I like to stretch out on the front of a catamaran but that wasnt possible on the trimaran. Grand Cayman  Beautiful. Wish we had more time there and that it wasnt on a Sunday when most shops were closed. Took a boat trip to snorkel at the reef and then to Stingray sandbar. It was fun, but almost half of us were stung by jellyfish. It would have been nice if the tour guides told us that its jellyfish season. I was stung 5 times and some woman had a bad reaction and had to be taken off the boat to get medical attention. That part wasnt fun  pain went away by the next day. Port Canaveral  Just went to Coco Beach for a couple hours. Nothing exciting. Heard that the Space Center tour was too rushed and really not worth it. Disembarkation  Never a good time. We had car service picking us up and the driver was stuck in traffic forever trying to get into Red Hook. Problem is that its one road in and one road out. And the pick-up area is way too small for everyone to stand in with luggage  a riot waiting to happen. Good thing it wasnt raining. All in all, this was a very good cruise - a solid A-. If the itinerary was better and the food was as good as Ive had on Celebrity, I would have given it an A+. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My husband and I are in our 50s. This was our 13th cruise but our first cruise on Princess. We usually cruise on Celebrity. EMBARKATION: Because this was our first Princess Cruise we were not eligible for any priority embarkation. We ... Read More
My husband and I are in our 50s. This was our 13th cruise but our first cruise on Princess. We usually cruise on Celebrity. EMBARKATION: Because this was our first Princess Cruise we were not eligible for any priority embarkation. We knew the ship was full because 2 days before the cruise Princess called us and told us the cruise was overbooked and could we go on a later cruise (at half price). Our plans were not that flexible so we couldn't change. Princess had advised us to try to arrive after 2 pm to avoid crowds. We arrived a little after 2. So did everyone else (or so it seemed). The line was tremendous. When we did get to the counter the embarkation was quick and efficient. FIRST DAY: When we got on the ship we went to our cabin. We had an inside cabin (another first). It was roomy and pleasant. We brought a clock so we could tell the time in the middle of the night. As soon as we got to our cabin we met our room attendant, Elizaldi. He was the best room attendant we have had on any cruise. One day, after we went to the beach, we left our shoes in the cabin covered in sand. Zaldi cleaned them! He was the greatest. Anyway, after depositing our overnight bags we went up to eat. It was a little after 3 pm. When we got to the buffet area the same 3000 people who were in line for embarkation were now in line for the buffet! Despite the huge crowd only one buffet area was open. The buffet areas are enclosed so it gets very crowded in there. The food itself is not laid out well. If you try to get a salad you're now out of line and no one will let you back in. By the time we got food it was time for the muster drill. We went back to our cabin and went to the drill. When we got back our bags had arrived and Zaldi had put them in the closet area for us! We headed back out to explore. The ship's lay out is confusing at least when you try to find the dining rooms. For example to get to our dining room on the 6th deck you need to cross over from the 7th deck and go down. You can't go from the forward area on the 6th deck to the aft area. FOOD: We had traditional, 2nd seating and a table for 2. This was a great choice. The tables for 2 are in a row and you get to know and socialize with your neighbors without feeling forced to if you want privacy. Our waitress, Roberta was wonderful. We chose traditional seating because we enjoy having a relationship with the wait staff. Roberta was worth it. We enjoyed her every night. The food in our dining room (Botticelli) was great! We usually cruise with Celebrity and were expecting the food to be a step down but it was excellent. Princess also has the best soups we have ever had on any cruise. I should also mention the assistant waiter who was charming and hard working. The assistant head waiter was phenomenal. He was all over the place, clearing dishes, pouring water, running out special orders and requests and generally doing anything he could to ensure everything went smoothly. We did go to the Crown Grill one night. We have gone to specialty restaurants on other cruises and have enjoyed the experience. The Crown Grill was a disappointment. The food was no better than in the main dining room and the service was not as good. The waiters were literally running. They all looked rushed and flustered. No one had time to explain anything on the menu. We would not recommend it. We did no go to Sabbatini's. The buffets continued to be a bit of a disappointment. For example, at breakfast there is no omelet station or waffle station like Celebrity. Everything was kind of lukewarm. We ended up eating most breakfasts and lunches in the dining room which was great. The service was wonderful and the food good. PHOTOS: People don't usually mention the photographers on a cruise but the Crown Princess must have the best ones in the fleet. The choice of backgrounds and styles and the quality of the photography was amazing. People were changing into special outfits just for pictures. We had our portraits done almost every night, not just formal nights. We purchased an embarrassing number of pictures. PUBLIC SPACES: We found two favorite spots-the Wheelhouse Bar and the Piazza. Every late afternoon we would sit in the Piazza and have a specialty coffee and fresh baked cookies while we listened to chamber music. It was wonderful. The staff there is great. Before dinner we would have a drink in the Wheelhouse mainly because we loved the waiters. They were funny, friendly and always acted happy to see us. The music was good and it was just a nice spot. The pools were fine. There were plenty of chairs and always a place to sit in the sun or shade. There are 2 adult pools plus the pool where all the activities are and the Movies under the Stars pool. There were not a lot of children on this cruise but the ones who were there seemed well behaved and entertained. I didn't use the hot tubs but there were plenty of them. Princess uses fresh water in the pools which is nice. Movies under the stars was entertaining. We only went to one night movie, The DaVinci Code. They did run out of chairs but that was the most popular movie on the cruise. They showed it a few nights later in one of the lounges. Football was also very popular. Football showed on the big screen on both Sundays and on Monday night. The baseball playoffs were not shown on the big screen but were available in your cabin. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: The best show on the cruise is the staff talent show. It is only on once and they do run out of chairs. Get there early. We didn't see the singers and dancers. The comedians were OK and got a lot of laughs with their tiltin Hilton jokes. I thought the hypnotist was terrible and that everyone was faking. It was disturbing. Other people liked it. The spelling bee was great. We didn't use the casino. I didn't understand the whole Sanctuary thing. $15 for half a day to sit in the shade in cushy chairs seemed pointless to me. We looked at it the first day. We heard from other cruisers that it seemed to be empty most of the cruise. PORTS: There were supposed to be 4 destinations Puerto Rico, Grand Turk, St. Thomas and Bermuda. Unfortunately, due to a low pressure system, we could not go to Bermuda. We were a little disappointed but soon the staff put together a whole list of activities and we enjoyed our extra at sea day. Grand Turk is very small. There is a beach there, some shops and Margaritaville. The population on Crown Princess is more than on this island. We went on the Stingray excursion. It was great. We had a quirky guide and he took us to an uninhabited island with crystal clear water. There were at least twenty stingrays. We fed them by hand. The snorkeling was good too. At St Thomas we took the excursion to the Northern side of the island. It was a good choice. We were taken on a tour of the island in an open bus and treated to gorgeous views. Then we went to a hotel beach for a couple of hours where we had full use of the facilities, a chair and a beach pretty much to ourselves. The day we docked at Puerto Rico we stayed on board. I had a spa day. They do try to sell their products but that's the same on any cruise. DISEMBARKATION: Not the worst, it is always difficult but it was handled OK. OVERALL IMPRESSION: We would recommend this cruise. We had a great time. The ship was a little big for us but it was fun. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We sailed on the 9/03/2006 Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean cruise from New York. We arranged our own air on American Airlines from Charlotte, NC to New York on the day of sailing. We used the Princess transfers to get to the cruise ... Read More
We sailed on the 9/03/2006 Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean cruise from New York. We arranged our own air on American Airlines from Charlotte, NC to New York on the day of sailing. We used the Princess transfers to get to the cruise terminal. This worked well for us. We arrived at about 11:30 AM and were at the ship before 1:00 PM. The only holdup was on the interstate where a car had had a flat tire in the left lane and all traffic was slow in that area. Once at the cruise terminal we were quickly on board. We chose an obstructed view cabin which we were pleased with. We had two small areas where we were able to see the ocean. We like the cost savings of these cabins and are still able to check the weather through our window. As previously mentioned about all Grand Class ships, the bathrooms especially the shower are very small. There is a small step up into the bathroom which can be an issue for individuals with mobility issues. (I use a walker for balance problems but can manage small steps.) However I would like to see more "universal design" in all cruise ships so that regular cabins could be used by more cruisers and leave the accessible ones for those who must use wheelchairs. There is plenty of storage in the room and the bathroom. There are lots of hangers. The new mattresses are a GREAT improvement from those we had on the Caribbean Princess last year. The beds are still the skinny twins that when placed together make up into a queen size bed. The new duvets are a nice addition especially if you are a "cool natured" person. My husband loved them but I found them too warm for my taste. Our room steward, Joe from the Philippines was excellent. This is a large ship that holds a lot of people but we never found it crowded. Our preference in ships is of small to moderate size. (Our all time favorite cruise thus far was on the "old" Royal Princess in Europe.) We attempted to lower our expectations for this cruise since we were afraid we would be disappointed. We were not disappointed, in fact we were extremely pleased. At no time did we feel we were with 3000+ other cruisers. The areas where you did notice you were not on a small ship were in the Princess theater and around the main pools. This was not a problem for us as we got to the theater about 15 to 20 minutes before the shows we wanted to see and used the terrace, adult only, pool. We selected anytime dining. We used the dining room for dinner eating in both the DaVinci and Michelangelo rooms. We never waited for a table. We had different waiters each evening. All were personable and happy to make recommendations about what was "good" that evening. Some evenings we sat with others and some evenings we chose a table for two. At no time did we have to wait. We found the food to be very good. The waiters recommendations were excellent when we followed them. They were always ready to replace something if needed (not needed for us but one evening one tablemate did not like what they chose for their entree and it was replaced.) The international cafe is a wonderful addition to the ship. The shrimp salad is especially tasty and available for lunch every day. We also ate at both the specialty restaurants. The view toward the wake from Sabatini's made that meal even more special. The food was delicious and there was a lot of it. The cafe creme brulee was worth the price of the entire meal. The crown grill was our favorite of the special restaurants. We both had the filet which was cooked perfectly. We normally do not attend the production shows on cruises but made an exception for this cruises. We enjoyed all three shows, the singing and dancing were well executed. The costumes were beautiful. Our favorite for evening entertainment is comedy. This ship has enough show lounges that if this is what you like you can find something each evening. There are also a variety of music available that should fit almost anyone's taste from classical to rock. The only thing I did not hear was rap and for me that was not a problem. The addition of the piazza entertainment was especially nice. There was always something going on in this area. For our cruise we were scheduled to go to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Bermuda. On Grand Turk we selected the Stingray Snorkel. This was enjoyable. Although I have trouble walking I am a strong swimmer and enjoy "swimming with the fishes." My only problem on these types of excursions is getting back on the boat. This was not a problem on this excursion as the boat had a good long ladder that was easier to use than most. The boat also had a shallow draft which allowed it to closely approach the beach. The stingrays were calm and friendly and enjoyed being fed. The snorkel area had a moderate amount of fish but fairly drab coral. On San Juan we took the Camuy Caves and Arecibo Observatory tour. This was a full day tour rated as being for only the most physically fit (not me). I checked with the tour desk and was told that the caves were not accessible but that the observatory was. This was correct and I am glad I took the tour. Getting off the ship was the only problem. Everyone must go through customs in San Juan and the directions for individuals with disabilities were less than excellent. We were told to go to the seventh floor entrance to the Princess theater but the exit for customs was on the 6th floor. When our group headed down the steps and out the door we were left on the wrong floor. Although we had a hard time getting an elevator we did finally catch up with the group. I highly recommend this tour for people with an interest in science. In St. Thomas we took the power snorkel excursion to Turtle Cove. This was also an excellent excursion. We had never used a power snorkel before but the explanations were well done and we were quickly on our way. We saw four green turtles. The boat for this tour was a catamaran. We were in the open ocean so boarding was a little more difficult. Once I was one the second step I was able to scoot up the steps on my bottom. We were not able to stop in Bermuda due to hurricane Florence where we also had a snorkel trip planned. Princess quickly credited our account with the price of that tour as well as the port fees. We had no problem with this decision given our small dose of poor weather cruising. We were in 16 to 20 foot swells on the last day of the cruise. We suffered no ill effects although I had to be very careful walking as the ship bounced up and down in the waves. I had almost decided not to bring my walker but just use the cane on this trip. I now know that I will always bring the walker as we might run into poor weather and would not have been able to leave the cabin without it. In all respects this cruise exceeded our expectations. The disembarkation procedures went well. Our flight home did not leave New York until 4:45 PM (actually delayed until 5:23 PM). I would recommend to Princess that they offer tours of New York for those cruisers with late flights. We spent the day people watching and listening to cell calls that were none of our business. A post cruise tour would have been much appreciated. We arrived back in Charlotte about 7 PM and were home at 9:00 PM with all of our luggage. We were well pleased with our cruise and would book this ship and even this itinerary again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
As an introduction, we have been on a number of cruises with multiple cruise lines. Each has its distinct advantages and some disadvantages. Nothing is perfect! However, we have enjoyed every cruise and are addicted to cruising. ... Read More
As an introduction, we have been on a number of cruises with multiple cruise lines. Each has its distinct advantages and some disadvantages. Nothing is perfect! However, we have enjoyed every cruise and are addicted to cruising. Approximately six weeks before the cruise, we booked the Crown Princess back to back...18 days total, 1st to the Eastern Caribbean and then to the Western. We live in Pinehurst, NC and flew to NY for two nights. We stayed at the Regency Hotel in NYC, booked at a special rate and had a wonderful time. Embarkation on the Princess took us all of fifteen minutes. We arrived early via car service and was on board before noon. Our mini-suite on Dolphin Deck was great. Plenty of room, wonderful bedding, large bathroom with tub, great cabin steward and of course a marvelous balcony. Some complain that the balcony's on Dolphin are uncovered but we seldom saw people from above. Also, our cabin was at the very back of the ship. We have even booked the same cabin number on the Sapphire for Dec. '07, but more about that later. We booked this cruise because (1) new ship; (2) easy; and (3) because we cancelled a 19 night cruise in Dec. from Singapore to Sydney. We just decided that being gone for 30 days was too much. The Crown is a magnificent ship with all amenities first rate. Food was very good. We had anytime dining and it worked out well. I sought out a Maitre 'D, Godwin and arranged a table in the Michelangelo dining room large enough for 4 persons but only for my wife and I (unless we chose to bring others to dinner with us...which we did on one occasion). We had the same wait staff every night and excellent service. I would call Godwin each evening and let him know if we were coming to dinner, what time and whether we were bringing another couple. Our waiter gave us his recommendations and when we could not decide he would bring a portion of more than one appetizer, entree, desert etc. Our table was a corner table away from most noise. We did eat at Sabatini's one night and although most rave about it, we found it to be too long of an experience and too much food. On the other hand we ate at the Crown Grill twice. The second time with the comedian, Sarge, with whom we became very friendly. We email back and forth and he is now at home in Florida. He is an outstanding entertainer. Although, we enjoyed the Crown Grill, it is not necessary to eat at the alternative restaurants. The food in the dining room is quite good. The buffet is a buffet....lot's of quantity if you are in to that. I did enjoy breakfast both at the buffet and in the dining room. The ship has something for everyone. Our most favorite place (we went there most every day)was the Sanctuary. The chaise's were plush and elegant, service great and most of all quiet. We would read and sleep. We just figured the cost was the price for pampering. For the first time on a cruise we did not get spa treatments. The ports on this cruise are mediocre, but we knew that going in. We did not care. We did have a good time in San Juan, Ocho Rios (where we rented a driver)and St. Thomas, where we also visited the island of St. John. All in all we had a great time. We have stayed in some of the best resorts in the world. Yet we find cruising to be a great value, and an easy way to travel. Yet, some people come on with either unrealistic expectations or just like to complain. The ship held over 3,000 passengers and some 1100 or more crew members. Going through the kitchen and meeting the Princess Corporate Chef was a highlight. Preparing meals for that many people with the quality offered is in itself a great feat. We enjoyed entertainment, and if you did not like an act, there were plenty of other venues. We never felt crowded on the ship. We did dress formal for three of the four formal nights (we were on for 18 nights, because we had formal wear, but it is not necessary. All it is...is a photo op. I am told that the photography department takes in over $500,000 per cruise. We do not take pictures! Some people complained about some of the extra charges, but the fact is the base fare of these cruises; that is the per diem cost that includes meals, lodging, entertainment and different ports is very low. The cruise line makes their money on the extras. A great time. We booked the Sapphire Princess for Dec. 4, 2007 - Beijing to Bangkok (16 nights) and booked the same D728 cabin. We liked its location. We are already looking forward to visiting SE Asia. Come aboard. Accept that it is not always perfect and do not have unreasonable expectations. The crew are tireless workers and delightful people if you let them be. Special kudos go out to Genovese, head of hotel services including food, Godwin, our Maitre 'D, Byranna, our head waiter, his assistant (forgot his name, Darush, our cabin steward, the entire staff at the Sanctuary (most from Thailand)and everyone we dealt with at the passenger service desk. It is because of these people that our trip lived up to our expectations. Good job....Princess. From Sharon and Michael Busch P.S. Disembarkation was the quickest we have ever experienced. We were off the ship by 9:15 AM, had our luggage waiting via color luggage tags and in our car to LaGuardia by 9:30AM. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We are a family of four and this was our first cruise with Princess. We loved the layout of the minisuite. It felt like a 2 room suite, and we prefer it to the junior suites of other cruise lines. We enjoyed the daily fresh fruit, the ... Read More
We are a family of four and this was our first cruise with Princess. We loved the layout of the minisuite. It felt like a 2 room suite, and we prefer it to the junior suites of other cruise lines. We enjoyed the daily fresh fruit, the larger bath with full tub, the 2 flat screen tvs, the complimentary champagne and cookies, the robes, the comfortable bedding, and most of all the balcony! (There is nothing like waking up early and opening the slider to the sun rising over a different landscape each morning...or taking a much needed nap on the balcony in the late afternoon to the lull of the waves...or looking at the moon and the stars and feeling the mystery of the black ocean surrounding you at night). We also enjoyed the privacy of the balconies of Emerald deck. We had plenty of sun, but the cover overhead worked really well when it was extremely hot and sunny, when raining, or when we wanted to relax out there in bathrobes in the early morning. We had an aft cabin and could look out at the side or rear of the ship. We occasionally heard some muffled music late at night but were not at all bothered by it and never slept better. We would highly recommend the Emerald minis for a family of 4. The ship is beautiful. The Piazza was the highlight with its' beautiful decor, bakery scents, classical sounds, and wandering performers. The 2 main pool areas always had chairs available on one of the decks. It was nice to be able to choose between movies,or music by the pool. You never had to go far for a snack of pizza, chicken sandwiches, or burgers and fries. The frozen drinks were more like desserts, and addicting even for nondrinkers. Movies under the stars is a great concept, but better enjoyed by adults in the evening. Arrive early for popular flicks. The blankets, candy and popcorn make it feel like a drive-in theater. Dinners were amazing some nights, and just good on others. Service throughout the ship was excellent. The entertainment was good to very good. We liked this itinerary, with the exception of Puerto Rico. We were unimpressed with the beach resort area of Isla Verde. Graffiti was visible even by the Ritz Carlton Resort. We still enjoyed swimming in the warm, turquoise water, and the kids found coconuts they cracked open and ate from. Grand Turk's beach was beautiful with the ship as an enormous backdrop. The pool area here was immense, with both rowdy and quiet areas to choose from. Maegan's Bay in St. Thomas is picturesque. The snorkeling isn't bad from the beach here if you go out along the edges. Bermuda was missed due to 7-12 foot seas, but there was plenty to do on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My wife and I recently returned home from our 9/12 cruise onboard the magnificent Crown Princess. This was our very first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to, but here's my review. Embarkation It took less than 45 minutes from ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned home from our 9/12 cruise onboard the magnificent Crown Princess. This was our very first cruise so I have nothing to compare it to, but here's my review. Embarkation It took less than 45 minutes from our arrival at the Brooklyn cruise terminal to board the ship. Very efficient! Room We booked a standard room with balcony on the Aloha deck (A401) the room was tastefully decorated and spacious enough for 2 people. The balcony was great! I spent several afternoons sitting with my wife listening to the waves, very relaxing! The shower was a little small, but I managed! Ship The Crown Princess is absolutely breathtaking! She truly is a magnificent ship. The Piazza is very impressive, the lounges are nice and the outdoor pool/deck areas are always clean. We never really had problems finding a lounge chair, although the ones right by the pools tend to fill up fast. Staff The staff onboard the Crown was very friendly and helpful. The waiters were professional and our room steward Jorge, was excellent. Every time we saw him, he would ask us if we needed anything. He always kept our room clean and tidy. He even replaced our towels with fresh ones twice a day! The ship was kept very clean by the staff. The public washrooms were always spotless! One night I woke up at 3am and decided to go for a walk on the top decks to look at a distant thunderstorm and get a little fresh air. The cleaning staff was busy pressure washing the decks, tables, lounge chairs etc & apparently they do this every night! Overall, the staff always made us feel as if we were VIP guests onboard the Crown. Entertainment We saw Sarge 3 times and we laughed like crazy at his shows. He really is hilarious! We also saw 'Destination Anywhere'. It was a little cheesy at times but overall quite good. The staff talent show was also quite funny! We both thought cruise director James did a great job! Movies under the stars We loved it! My wife and I watched several movies during the day (with free earphones provided) while relaxing in the sun and also watched Mission Impossible 3 one night. It was great! Food First of all, I gained 10 lbs! The buffet food was good, although a little bland at times. The breakfast was yummy, lots of things to choose from. (Eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit, cereal, yogurt, pancakes, French toast, bagels, smoked salmon etc...) We usually ate lunch at the buffet or at the international cafe. The pizza was OK but the cheeseburgers were awesome! At night we would dress up and dine in either the DaVinci or Michelangelo dining rooms. The food was delicious and the service was excellent. When I would order the steak or fillet mignon medium rare, it was always perfectly cooked. We ate lobster tails, crab legs, rack of lamb etc. The food really exceeded our expectations. The fresh baked cookies are exactly as everyone has already mentioned: delicious! Activities Lots to do on this ship; We played some ping-pong, painted ceramic coasters, went swimming in the Lotus Spa pool (adults only). Worked out in the gym, played some bingo, watched movies outside by the pool. We never felt bored. Ports Grand Turk Although I have never cruised before, I have traveled to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Florida keys. Governor's Beach is the nicest beach I've ever seen, the sand was powdery white and soft, and the water was so clean and warm. We stayed in the ocean for nearly 3 hours! The taxi ride from the pier to the beach is about 5-10 minutes and cost us $5 per person (one way) There's nothing really to do on Grand Turk besides go to the beach and shop at the duty free shop near the pier. margarita isn't really our 'thing' so my wife and I skipped it. Ocho Rios We did the green grotto caves and Dunn's River falls. We boarded our bus and headed off to the caves while our guide explained the history of Jamaica and pointed out landmarks and highlights along the way. The caves were great and our cave guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. I had no idea we'd see bats in the cave, but they were everywhere! Luckily, my wife and I are animal lovers so we didn't mind the bats, but many people on the tour were a little freaked out!! We then took the bus to Dunn's river Falls. After a brief safety talk, we joined hands and started the 600 foot climb to the top. It was a little challenging at times but we managed without too much trouble. The falls are very pretty and we had a great time! If you decide to climb the falls make sure to bring a pair of rubber soled water shoes since the rocks are very slippery. After the falls you must walk through a market of local vendors. These vendors tend to be aggressive but a simple "No thanks, not interested" should be enough for them to leave you alone. Grand Cayman What a beautiful island! We did the sea world explorer semi sub. We saw all kinds of tropical fish, stingrays and even jellyfish. We also saw 2 shipwrecks among the coral reef. We also managed to do a little souvenir shopping. We bought some delicious rum cakes, sea shells and other small gift for friends/family. Before heading back to the ship, my wife and I had some lunch at a restaurant (I forget the name) overlooking the bay. We tried the conch fritters and the jerk chicken sandwich for authentic Caribbean flavor and both were very spicy and delicious! Port Canaveral My wife and I visited the Kennedy Space Center. We both found it very interesting and awe-inspiring. The tour bus brought us to the rocket garden we then watched a 3-D IMAX movie. The bus then took us to the vehicle assembly building (VAB) and the launch pads. We were then dropped off at the exhibition hall and walked under a Saturn V rocket - WOW, it's massive! We both touched the moon rock and bought some souvenirs at the gift shop. Overall, a pleasant experience. Debarkation We chose the Express Walk Off option, which means you carry off your own luggage. It was a breeze, we were called off the ship at 8:30 am and we were standing in the pick up area in Brooklyn at 8:40am. Overall My wife and I had a great time on our cruise. We had good weather, the ship was beautiful, the staff was excellent and the food was yummy! I would definitely recommend a cruise on the Crown Princess to anyone. We really had an amazing cruise; it was a near perfect vacation! Highlights: -Beautiful ship -Professional staff -Good food -Nice room with balcony -Great destinations -Fun Activities, never felt bored -Movies under the stars -2 formal nights with Champagne waterfall Things I would have changed: -Photographers can get a little annoying and $20 for one print is way too expensive. -Casino is very smokey. I recently quit smoking and I love to play blackjack, but I couldn't stay in the casino for fear of breaking down and having a cigarette. Maybe they could build 2 smaller casinos; one for smokers and the other one non-smoking. Conclusion My wife and I kept a positive attitude throughout the trip and went on this cruise with realistic expectations. No trip can be perfect, but we feel it was as close to a perfect vacation as one can ask for. We both agree that our Princess cruise exceeded our expectations and can't wait to sail with Princess again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
We arrived at the Brooklyn terminal around 2:00 and embarkation was a breeze. We were lucky for a beautiful fall day. While in port, go to the back of Deck 16. There youll have a vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall St. in front of you. ... Read More
We arrived at the Brooklyn terminal around 2:00 and embarkation was a breeze. We were lucky for a beautiful fall day. While in port, go to the back of Deck 16. There youll have a vista of the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall St. in front of you. Nice place for a drink. When leaving New York we followed the advice of a previous Cruise Critic and went to the very front of the Lido deck. There, after going through two sets of doors, you can access the deck overlooking the bow of the ship. Its a great spot to get a picture of the Statue of Liberty. If you have a choice, get a cabin on the starboard side of the ship. In New York, Bermuda and leaving Grand Turk it was the better side to be on. We had a mini-suite for the first time in our 5 cruises with Princess. As a plus the bathroom had a full tub and was much larger. This alone was worth the price to upgrade. The stateroom itself had a few extra feet of space, and two TVs. The balcony was actually smaller than those found one deck up on Caribe. If you plan to spend a lot of time on your balcony, Id recommend an Oceanview Double on Caribe instead of upgrading to a mini-suite on Dolphin. The best thing about our cabin was the bed. It was the most comfortable Ive ever been in. Everything on the ship still looks brand new, and there was no evidence of the tilt accident from July. Maintenance crews were visible painting and varnishing, but were not in the way. One surprise was that while in San Juan, a crew replaced our balcony dividers. The Star Princess had a major fire and plastic balcony dividers were to blame. Princess has the most plastic dividers of any fleet. To their credit they are going to great expense to replace the dividers with aluminum to fix the problem. It was a slight inconvenience, but we were informed well in advance and the job was done professionally. It was a hot, humid day for a hard job, but the crew did a great job. The only other maintenance issue was the loss of the main generator for several minutes. The whole ship went dark, which surprised me. Emergency lights, and the backup generator were somewhat slow to come on. But everything got fixed and there were no further problems. One other thing. They cant get the clocks on deck to work, so dont depend on them. I have a picture showing one clock ten minutes fast and the other ten minutes slow. We like anytime dining, which gives greater flexibility to see evening entertainment or a late return to the ship. Most nights we arrived around 7:30 and had no more than a 15 minute wait. Both the DaVinci and Michelangelo dining room serve anytime dining. After eating in both, Id go to Michelangelo on deck 5. It seemed less crowded. Also the hostess, (cant remember her name) was the most pleasant crew member we encountered. It may be an unfair statement, but there seems to be a higher percentage of Asian wait staff on the Crown compared to other Princess ships weve sailed. Ive concluded European waiters offer better service and have a better sense of humor. Not a bad experience, but weve had better. The food was quite good, though the Princess menu doesnt seem to change much. We ate at Horizon Court one night because we wanted to see a Movie Under the Stars. That buffet was also good. Entertainment was a little disappointing. Other Cruise Critics raved about comedian Sarge, but I was not overly impressed. It seems every comedian on a cruise ship has to make light of the small showers and sucking toilets. Gets to be an old joke after awhile. The MUTS selection was also disappointing, though if you can find one you like, its a great way to see a movie. The Cruise Director Omar looked new to the position and was just OK. The Assistant Director had much more personality. She also gave the ballroom dancing lessons and was quite a good teacher. We rented scooters in Bermuda from Oleander who has a location right at the West End pier. Go online before you sail and you can save $5.00. Be warned that a $30.00 insurance charge is in the fine print. A scooter gives you great freedom to explore. The best beaches were on the southern side of the island. Plan on an excursion on Grand Turk. There is not much to do at the dock. We did a kayak and snorkeling trip which worked out nicely. The days at sea are a nice change of pace. If you want to get away from the crowds, the sun deck near the front of the ship on the Sports deck always had space. Princess is pushing The Sanctuary as a $15.00 per half day option. I just dont get it. I didnt see more than 6 people use the space. Ill be interested to see if Princess continues this option. One other nice place to avoid the crowds for an evening drink is the Adagio lounge. Their specialty is martinis and they offer a large selection of tasty olives to accompany the drinks. I cant overstate how much we enjoyed this lounge. There were several wonderful musicians for entertainment. Adagio is on Deck 16 all the way aft. Many people just dont venture that far, so it was never busy, but well worth the walk. On a ship with 3400 passengers, it is surprising how many quite places can be found if you are willing to look around. When arriving back in New York, do yourself a favor and wake up early to see the morning sunrise over the city. I went to the front of the Promenade deck. It was just beautiful. Disembarkation did not go well, though the blame goes to US customs. Due to 6 cruise ships arriving in New York on the same day, only 5 custom agents were available to clear 3400 passengers. It went on forever. And getting a taxi was difficult. We should have used a Princess arranged transfer. Those folks got to disembark much earlier. Overall a great cruise. Im guessing in the summer there are many kids which if you have children would make for a fun time. Our September trip was more adult oriented which was just fine for us. Cruises remain the best travel value and we look forward to another cruise on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
My 2 sisters and I just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess. We range in age from mid 40s through late 50s. We haven't stopped talking about what a fabulous experience we had! The only experiences that we ... Read More
My 2 sisters and I just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess. We range in age from mid 40s through late 50s. We haven't stopped talking about what a fabulous experience we had! The only experiences that we had that were less than stellar were during embarkation and disembarkation and with so many on board perhaps that is to be expected. The ship was immaculate in all areas. The staff was consistently helpful above and beyond the call of duty. My sisters and I have all worked in customer service related industries and we really appreciate great service when we encounter it. The food was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, especially the International Crew Talent Show and the Cooking Demonstration and Galley Tour. Some particular high points of the trip for us were the following: THE SANCTUARY: We strongly recommend this area of the ship to anyone who is looking for pampering and relaxation. The area has its own adults-only pool adjacent to the spa. The staff provided us with MP3 players and headphones so we could totally tune out any outside noise and distractions. They regularly appeared with ice cold cloths and iced citrus water and there was a menu of spa type cuisine as well as hot dogs and hamburgers available at no additional charge. To us it was very well worth the $15/half day fee. The way we looked at it was that it was the equivalent cost of a shore excursion and it enhanced our "at sea" experience. INTERNATIONAL CAFE (THE PIAZZA): Cappuccino, Espresso, Latte, Wine, Tapas, Gelato, live entertainment, all in one comfortable setting, who could ask for more. A nice little get away on board. SABATINI'S: Well worth the $20 fee. An outstanding dining experience! DA VINCI DINING ROOM: Our wait staff (Eugen & Valentin) were just incredible. They were personable, knowledgeable about every menu and the service that they provided was beyond excellent. We had two balcony staterooms connected by a door in the balcony partitions. The rooms were immaculate and our steward Manuel anticipated and fulfilled our every need. Being able to share a vacation of this length was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the 3 of us and we want to thank the Crown Princess crew for making it exceed all of our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We traveled to Redhook Cruise Terminal, Brooklyn, N.Y. by car from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The trip was easy due to the directions I attained from the Redhook Port site on line and maps I printed from Google maps. We traveled and ... Read More
We traveled to Redhook Cruise Terminal, Brooklyn, N.Y. by car from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The trip was easy due to the directions I attained from the Redhook Port site on line and maps I printed from Google maps. We traveled and cruised with another couple from our neighborhood;they were on their fourth cruise;we were on our second. All of us had cruised only with Royal Caribbean before booking this cruise on the Crown Princess. I will be making some comparisons between the two cruise lines during this review. We arrived at the terminal about 11:45 and there was some congestion due to people disembarking and embarkation passengers arriving at the same time. True to New York style the stretch limos were lined up everywhere. I pulled up to the drop off and before I could get out of my vehicle a porter had the back of my SUV open and was unloading our luggage . I quickly drove to the convenient terminal parking lot and rejoined my companions within five minutes. Embarkation was truly a breeze. We had preregistered on line so it took maybe five minutes to get to the security check point, do our pre-boarding picture, and receive our sea passes/room keys. Princess gets major points for the embarkation process over Royal Caribbean. Much quicker much easier. We dropped off our carry ons at our state rooms, which were ready. We had booked balconies as well as adjoining rooms with our cruise companions. We were on the starboard side of the ship and this proved to be perfect to view the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. It was a beautiful day and the view from our balcony while anchored in the harbor was worth the extra cost of a balcony stateroom. We definitely enjoyed our balcony during the entire cruise. I can't say enough about the views from our balcony while sitting in the harbor. Governors Island was in plain view as well as the Staten Island Ferry. Next we went to the Horizon Court buffet for lunch. Seating was not a problem because of our early arrival - it would prove to be a problem on several different occasions. We always found a table but had to search through both buffets and just outside on deck on some occasions. The buffet stations were too close together for passengers to maneuver around each other when busy. The food was abundant and the variety was excellent. The buffet stations were set by different categories - fruits, breads, pastries, desserts, vegetables, meat entries, etc. The Caribe buffet had different theme nights throughout the cruise as well as cloth napkins and table service at dinner - very nice. However, I have to give Royal Caribbean the points for the buffet service. The pastries were not fresh made on Princess, more of the frozen Sam's Club variety. The omelets were pre-cooked and there was not fresh carved meat at breakfast as there was on Royal Caribbean. The food was not bad or inadequate on Princess it's just that Royal Caribbean was a notch above on taste and freshness. We ate breakfast almost everyday and lunch on several days at the buffets. The International Cafe was a delightful spot for pastry and coffee - very good and always fresh made. I became briefly acquainted with pastry chef Antonio and must give him major points for his pastries. He also made the pool side pizza. This pizza was the best I have ever had - I'm really going to miss it. This area was busy all the time. Major points to Princess for its pool side pizza, burgers, hot dogs, sausage, and grilled chicken. Royal Caribbean really fell short in this area, especially with their less than frozen quality pizza. Antonio should open a pizza parlor anywhere in the U.S. and become a successful entrepreneur! Onto the dining room food service. We did the conventional seating at dinner every night so I cannot comment on the anytime dining. We had the early seating and I think if I had it to do over I would choose the later seating or anytime dining because of the interference our seating had with the various entertainment. Our food servers were excellent - hats off to Emil and Elena from Romania for their hard work and absolute professionalism. The dining room food ran from good to excellent - I had some very, very good entrees and some not so good. This of course is a very individual opinion. The presentation was creative and very beautiful. I personally believe Princess excelled in presentation. However, all of us agreed that Royal Caribbean gets the points on dining room food taste and satisfaction. This is not to say that Princess' food was in any way tasteless or unsatisfactory - we just thought Royal Caribbean was better. We also missed the big three story dining room on Royal Caribbean and it's spectacular decor. We realize that Princess could not do the anytime dining with one large dining room Princess offered afternoon tea with white glove service. I was very impressed with this service. Excellent cookies, pastries, scones, and tea. I did not try the small sandwiches. I recommend that you attend afternoon tea. Our stateroom was adequate with plenty of storage. I found the bathroom barely adequate in size and the shower small for my large size. The bed was very restful and the linens adequate. Our room steward was beyond excellent taking care of our every need and keeping our room well maintained, very clean, and orderly. Major points to Benjamin on the Aloha deck. I would like to say that all the staff on the Crown Princess, down to the last man/woman, were friendly, helpful, and accommodating. How anyone can complain about them is beyond me. All service was excellent. The entertainment on board the Crown Princess was good to very good. There were four different comedians on this trip, three out of four were good , one falling short on delivery and impersonations. The Crown Princess dancers were top quality-I was truly impressed. The lounge acts and bands were good, especially the band True To Life. The four members of this group were absolutely professional musicians. The cruise director and his staff were hard working and entertaining. Major points to assistant cruise director Lisa Ball for her dance classes and instructions. I would like to see her demonstrate the various dances with a professional partner during the classes - I believe it would inspire and give the passengers a clearer understanding of the dance steps. The activities aboard the Crown Princess were many. There was bingo, lectures, computer classes, ceramics at sea, a galley demonstration and tour, a bridge tour, all kinds of pool side activities, art auctions, shopping, the casino, and much more. There were five sea days this trip and we could never do it all. We enjoyed the ports of call. We took a cab at Grand Turk to the center of the island for two dollars each, rented snorkeling gear for ten dollars, (half day) walked right off the beach, the coral was beautiful, the fish plentiful - I saw an octopus, the water was warm and very clear. At San Juan we walked down two piers, caught a ferry for fifty cents, went to the other side of the harbor, caught a cab for four dollars each, went to the Bacardi factory, took the free tour which was very enjoyable and informative, caught the four dollar cab back to the fifty cent ferry to the other side of the harbor. We walked down to the information center right on the pier, shopped at the street vendors and was told by one vendor to catch the free trolley to loop Old San Juan. We could get on and off as we pleased, just catch the next one, very easy. Walked around the old forts and walked back to the ship through the shopping district, a nice day. At St. Thomas we got off the ship took a four dollar each cab to the main shopping district, caught a ten dollar each ferry to St Johns. We enjoyed our visit on St. John but we didn't have much time because we had to be back to the ship at 2:30. We shopped and relaxed on the little square the back to the ferry and St. Thomas. Our last port of call was suppose to be Bermuda, but increasing winds and the harbor pilots recommendation kept us from landing. Evidently the passage through the coral reef is very narrow for such a large ship. We were disappointed but safety first. I understood that the Crown missed this port the last three times do to wind. In summary we really enjoyed our cruise and would do it again. The staff and service on Princess was not lacking at all. I can't believe some people complain. The drink servers and photographers were not pushy at all. Points to Princess for this. Only the soda cards were pushed hard the first day. There were not enough fruit carvings and ice sculptures but the fresh flower arrangements were very nice. The decoration of the ship was very good with wall murals, tile murals, beautiful tile and hardwood inlays on the floors, very rich hardwood paneling and moldings in the public areas. The lounges and bars were stunning.. Points to Princess for the beautiful decor of the Crown Princess. We loved our cruise - thank you! Disembarkation was orderly and easy. Princess lets you sit in the public areas, lounges, bars, and theater, they also enforce the color disembarkation code times which keeps congestion down in the terminal baggage claim area. Points to Princess for its disembarkation process. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
My wife and I are experience cruisers, having been on approximately 21 ships. This was are sixth cruise with Princess. Ships are like people, they all have personalities and the Crown Princess was no exception. This was an 8-day ... Read More
My wife and I are experience cruisers, having been on approximately 21 ships. This was are sixth cruise with Princess. Ships are like people, they all have personalities and the Crown Princess was no exception. This was an 8-day repositioning cruise out of Brooklyn N.Y. and ending in Puerto Rico. We live in CT and decided to have our daughter drive us to the pier. The two and half-hour trip had us arriving at the pier around 1:00 p.m.. However, due to the traffic and unfamiliarity of NYC, we arrived at the our destination 20 minutes before ship departure. If anyone is thinking of driving to NY from surrounding states, give yourself plenty of time. Even New York's finest don't know where the new Brooklyn Pier is located. My first impression of the Crown Princess's dEcor was uninspiring. However, as I discovered the public rooms on board, it became apparent that the majority of the ship was beautifully appointed and decorated in good taste. The "Piazza", the three level atrium, is the center point of all ship's activities, especially during the evening hours. It is the center of the ship where all passenger traffic passes through. It's a very large atrium with access to several restaurants, cafe bar (great cappuccino coffee), casino and mini mall. Evening during dinner hours, entertainment can be seen and heard in the Piazza. If you enjoy dinner music or classical string quartet, this is the place to see and be seen. Also it's a great place to enjoy a pre-meal spirit. The food on the Crown Princess had its ups and downs; however, I was mostly impressed with the on-board buffets., a first for us. Don't miss the first and last night seafood buffet. Both had Maine Lobster and Alaska King Crab, not to mention shrimp cocktail and several different prepared clam selections. This was the first ship I 've been on that did not serve Langostino for their lobster selection. What a treat! Also I am a lover of fruit. The fruit selection and quality was sweet and always ripped. Now to the main dinning room, I was disappointed on several of my entrees during the cruise. Having been on five other Princess ships, I have not disappointed with the quality of the entrEes. Overall the dining room food was good but not inspiring. The service was mostly good. We choose to dine "anytime dinning". I can only recall one night that I felt the service was below par. I highly recommend anytime dinning to individuals who likes to meet people and don't like keeping to a strict eating schedule. We never waited more then one to two minutes for a table. One other disappointment that was subtle but noticeable was the main dinning room tables settings.It lacked the usual multiple plates and glass setting one is accustomed to seeing on the tables of the ship's restaurants. I suspect that Princess has determined that multiple plates, glasses and silverware settings takes time to set up and remove.. This might seem insignificant to some but to me, the dinning experience on board a cruise ship is an experience unique to cruises and should not be tinkered with in any significant way. Now, the big difference from this ship to other Princess ships is the outside theater, located on deck 15 mid ship pool (one of six pools). It's a very large LCD screen, about half the width of the ship, that has Dolby Stereo sound. The TV screen continuously plays throughout the cruise. On Monday nights, passengers can be seen watching Monday night football under the stars. On other evenings, first run and rated films (Pirates of the Caribbean) can be seen with complimentary popcorn. On chilly nights , blankets are available upon request. This is not for everyone but intriguing for the movie aficionados. My wife was regularly lured by the movies, while we took our daily strolls on the decks throughout the day. Lastly, I am a firm believer that one goes on a ship for its personality not ship's destinations. What I mean is the islands, (i.e.) Dominica and St. Kitts were fabulous destination but not the main reason for going on the Crown Princess. This ten month old ship sold itself to us. Having said that, we have been to both of these island on past cruises. I highly recommend the "Sari-Sari Falls" in Dominica if you are seeking adventure and are a serious hiker. We entered the rain forest and hiked four thousand feet above sea level. If you are not physically fit, I do not recommend this excursion. This hike takes you approx. three (3) mile into the rain- forest, up very steep slippery terrain and requires wading through streams waist deep. Your reward will be a two hundred foot waterfall that will blow you away (no pone intended). We took a dip in the deep lagoon below the waterfall. Don't forget to bring your bathing suit! Lastly, people read these reviews to determine if they want to vacation on a particular ship. I hope this review helps. After all is said and done, my over-all view of this ship was fun and memorable. I highly recommend this ship to anyone who wants to experience a large ship with well tuned, unique on board activities . Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We are 67 and 55 and were on the Crown Oct 18 - 27 and are still suffering PCD! The ship is beautiful, the staff extremely friendly and overall the trip was fantastic! Embarkation and Room: We arrived via van a little after noon with 6 ... Read More
We are 67 and 55 and were on the Crown Oct 18 - 27 and are still suffering PCD! The ship is beautiful, the staff extremely friendly and overall the trip was fantastic! Embarkation and Room: We arrived via van a little after noon with 6 friends, embarkation was a breeze and we were in our rooms in under a half hour. First order of business was to reserve the Ultimate Balcony Dinner for our anniversary on Saturday. With that done, it was off to the buffet for a bite to eat. We went back to our room (C752) to meet our room steward Vicente so we could request an egg crate for our bed and just relax on our aft balcony. The room is a Cat BB and had plenty of room and storage for two people. The balcony was completely covered and we enjoyed relaxing and listening to the wake. Vicente was an excellent steward and took wonderful care of us. And we did give him a challenge with frequent before dinner wine gatherings, the UBD and doing the balcony breakfast for 5 one morning! We were sure to give him extra tips for all of his wonderful service. Dining: We had anytime dining and since we all did our own thing during the day, our group of 8 decided to have dinner together most evenings, we made a standing reservation for 8pm with Nicolae and Adrian as our wait staff. They are an excellent team, very professional and very friendly. Sergio the head waiter took extra special care of us and offered us a number of special treats during the week. I caught a cold the next to last day of the cruise, and Nicolae brought me extra soup and Adrian brought me lemon tea in an effort to help me feel better. DH and I prefer breakfast in the dining room over the buffet. We had excellent service every morning except for once, guess not everyone is perfect. I didn't do lunch most days, but would get a late afternoon snack at the International Cafe on deck 5. I usually had one of their great pannini's (tuna, mozzarella with proscutto and mozzarella with tomato and basil) with a glass of wine. They also had shrimp, mushroom salad, quiche and a number of other items at no charge. I never got to try the gelate or other desserts, but they did look great. DH usually hit the Horizon court since he hung out at the pool. Activities: We met our cc group in Skywalker's on the first sea day and had a great turnout and get together. It was fun to see familiar faces all during the cruise. Based upon the raves, we were sure to catch Sarge and he lived up to his billing. Didn't see the other production shows as DH and I prefer the casino. Just wish the casino had better ventilation. As an ex-smoker I was able to tolerate the smoke, but some of our group avoided the casino because of it. It's the only area of the ship that I feel needs improvement. I enjoyed trivia, spelling bee, jeopardy and was part of a pathetic team at the scavenger hunt. I also enjoyed my hot stone massage at the spa. Ports: Grand Turk - We went to the beach at the pier. There was a strong undertow that day making getting out of the water a bit difficult. Thankfully lots of friendly folks around to lend a hand. Definitely need water shoes as there are lots of coral and rocks in the water. Ocho Rios - We went swimming with the Dolphins. We had done this 3 years ago and they have since changed the routine. It was great but definitely better the first time around. We also did a little bit of shopping. We found that the liquor prices were better in Grand Turk. Grand Cayman - DH went to the seven mile beach with some friends and I and another friend walked downtown and did a bit of gift shopping. Port Canaveral - We didn't get off the ship since it was a short stop. Also, this was the day my cold started so was happy to kick back and do nothing. All in all it was a great cruise with a good mix of port and sea days. Even though the ship was full, it never felt crowded. We did put down deposits for two future cruises. Just have to decide where and when. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Crown Princess Cruise Oct 18 - Oct 27, 2006 Brooklyn-Gr.Turk-Ocho Rios-Gr.Cayman-Port Canaveral Background - Married, retired, 50's, cruising since 1984, cruise two or three times a year, various lines. Usually cruise with good ... Read More
Crown Princess Cruise Oct 18 - Oct 27, 2006 Brooklyn-Gr.Turk-Ocho Rios-Gr.Cayman-Port Canaveral Background - Married, retired, 50's, cruising since 1984, cruise two or three times a year, various lines. Usually cruise with good friends in tow. Couple traveling with us 40's working couple who we originally met on 1992 cruise of Celebrity Zenith. They were married during that cruise and we had pleasure of standing up for them. We cruise at least once per year with them since. Have sailed Carnival, Celebrity, NCL, Royal Viking, Princess, RCCL all multiple times. EMBARKATION: Upon entry to the pier area itself it becomes obvious that the embarkation area is much more expansive than the Manhattan pier simply because they have lots of room to spread it out. We were greeted by multiple drop off lanes unlike Manhattan's single one. Dropping luggage off with porters the long term parking was within a couple hundred feet. Unlike Manhattan where payment is required upon entry, Brooklyn parking is done by receiving a ticket and then self parking. Payment is made upon your return. Pay your ticket before getting car to exit! Next we entered a spacious terminal where we passed through airport type security. Yes they noted both my laptop and a bottle ( Chivas Regal ) in my carryon. I was asked to open my bag for inspection, more for the bottle I am sure. Having anticipated that only wine was allowed to be carried on I sneakily gift wrapped my sole bottle of scotch and declared it to be wine. I was allowed to pass without disturbing the gift wrap but that could be a hit and miss proposition. Since Princess offers 3.75 mil bottles of some alcohol too be purchased for in cabin use at a reasonable price ( see web page ) that might be acceptable instead of the sneak aboard method. A personal choice. I note that this is the first time any security screening has ever stopped me for a bottle so rumors of more stringent booze checking that I have read about would seem accurate. Next we passed to ticket line and were handed a paper to sign swearing that we were of good health, not coughing or suffering from diarrhea and the like. That strikes me as strange since who, having paid, traveled, and anticipated their cruise, is going to own up to being ill knowing that they might be barred from boarding the ship? Being of current good health we signed the form, of course I would have signed it if I was dying. So like I said, what's the sense? Processing was quick and line moved well. Before you knew it we were posing for our onboard photo and walking up the gangway. CABIN: Both couples had selected Mini-Suites Cat AB on Dolphin Deck side by side, D624 and D626. It was spacious with plenty of closet space and hangars, plenty of shelving and a decent sized bathroom with a tub. The balcony was large enough to accommodate two lounge back type chairs, two metal chairs and a table. Having friends next door we elected to have our cabin steward open the door between balconies allowing them to adjoin. Within the area of shelves was an electronic safe. The cabin also had a small refrigerator that worked very well. There were no complaints concerning the cabin but the wall safe operated differently than prior ones we have seen. A simple operation, press enter and a 4 digit code you devise and enter again to program. Where it differed was that when left open for more than a moment of so it starts to emit an annoying chirping. This is to remind you that it is open, but also geared to deprogram after s fairly short span of time. Our travel mates also had problems with it not opening on command. Similar problems were noted with others as well requiring a ships staff member to come and open the safe. Response to such a request is quick and I would bet because this happens a lot. That was the only problem noted. Our Cabin Steward, Lawrence, was fantastic. Greeted us early on arrival and handled every request without hesitation. He made it a point to greet us by name everyday and to ask us if there was anything he could do to make our cruise more enjoyable. He wasn't into towels animals and being a frequent cruiser I can live with that. He was into great service and again being very congenial. You could ask no more from a steward. SHIP: Not much you can say bout the ship other than she is gorgeous. We were all very impressed with all the areas though it takes some getting used to finding your way around. If you are in the Bottichelli dining room ( traditional dining ) this is located aft Deck 6. However, you can only get to it via the aft staircase on Deck 7. So if you were mid-ship on 6 you would have to climb up a deck, walk aft, and then descend a deck. The Explorers Lounge which serves as a second show lounge as well had a great night club type feel to it. Plenty of bars and lounges all pretty much with some sort of music of entertainment in the evening. The main lobby or Piazza contains the coffee bar and others with shops on higher decks. There is often a piano player in residence or street acts happening, magician, acrobatic act and so forth. We were happy enough with the show quality and variety. One of the comedians, a rather large gentleman called Sarge was highlight of the cruise. A black/Jew ( self described ) is a very funny comedian and also a talented singer/musician. He has been favorably noted in several reviews and we certainly concur, he was great. Pool area's divided up but were comfortable and for most part well fitted with seating. This was the first time I saw the huge screen ( MUTS  Movies Under The Stars ) and it was actually kind of astonishing. Can't say we ever spent a lot of time watching it yet I enjoyed the times I did. It does make that pool area pretty noisy however. Seeking peace and quiet we generally proceeded to the adjacent pool. The fact that the next area contained the excellent pizza stand and also the great hamburger stand didn't hurt either. My wife's favorite pool location was the small aft pool area for a nice more intimate quiet pool spot. There is limited seating there though. The much spoke of new concept Sanctuary area for which you must pay for by half day segments, well honestly I didn't even go see it. There were plenty of comfortable locations to spend some relaxing time in so paying a fee to have a separate experience seemed a total waste to me. The bottom line for us was that the ship itself provides just about anything you could look for in a resort/ship experience. DINING: We choose traditional dining with an assigned time and table. We had a great waiter in Dan and assistant waiter in Michael at table 118 Bottichelli dining room. You could not have asked for better service and congeniality. Bar and wine service is provided by the assistant waiter, normally something I am unhappy with in that it often interferes with service. In this case either Michael was one fast dude or he had a hidden bar around the corner. He was prompt with everything be it wine or a cocktail, yet water was still refilled quickly and course arrived promptly and so forth. The Head Waiter passed by daily and spent much time ensuring our needs were being met. The dining experience was superb! Food was excellent and Princess also has always available items like steak and pasta on the menu as well should a particular evening fare not be of your taste. It is our habit to request a cheese and fruit tray at our table at the start of dinner. After making the request it was provided each evening unasked for and the head waiter asked us if there was any particular cheeses we liked and provided same. Although we were at a table of eight there were but the four of us. The other two couples never showed during the cruise ( a shame since we enjoy meeting other cruisers ) though our waiter assured us that there were people assigned to the table. Maybe they saw us and ran? More likely they decided to use personal choice dining. The beauty of Princess over NCL is that you at least have an option between the two. Princess seems to be able to maintain the  do it your way attitude for the passenger which is great and is found less and less on board ships lately. Room service was prompt and accurate and menu was better than many found on ships lately. We generally only use room service for coffee, Danish and the like in morning and a pot of tea and cookies in afternoon. However I was surprised to see that you could order a cheeseburger from room service if desired. There was a wait at times in afternoon to get room service on the phone but once they answered the delivery was fast. I did find it unusual that room service presents you a check like paper to sign ( no charge for room service of course ). I would guess that some tracking check and balance system for them. There is also a space for a gratuity where you sign. We customarily hand the server $2 on delivery anyway so continued with our normal mode instead of writing in a tip. Service was always provided with a pleasant greeting and pleasant attitude. Buffet area, I found that to be as satisfactory as any I have seen. A little confusing as most are with little islands of salads or desserts that cause people to wander a bit and bump into each other. Plates were large and plentiful, food was varied enough and desserts decadent enough to please me. Fruits were plentiful for those that like to eat healthier than I. Seating usually available without tremendous difficulty and outside pool area has tables and chairs as well for those that prefer eating outside. The Pizza is excellent for non-NY shipboard pizza. Heard many people comment about how good it was. Burger and fries also very good but I found hotdogs to be more of knockwurst type tube. My personal taste run more towards a nice slim dog but what the heck, can't have everything. The ice cream stand is next to the pizza stand, I will mention that in my nickel and dime section. CASINO: Some different things here hadn't seen before. They have .01 cent and .02 cent machines, .25/.50 cent machines and $1 / $2 machine and $5/$10 machines. Some machine can be changed between denominations so have to pay attention to the initial setting when you sit. In example a dollar machine can be played for 1 dollar or two dollar a credit setting in addition to number of credits played. These machines have been seen more and more in casinos on land lately. What is really new, I have never seen it on land or sea, is the ability to collect your credits on your room key card. Also get more wagering cash right at machine via cabin key. Also collect points and receive instant $10 credit at machine for every 1000 points. I played 9000 points plus so received $90 cash during week for play. Okay here is how it works. Your cabin key/boarding pass/onboard credit card is now also your gaming card. Besides accumulating points for play like land casinos it also allows for transfer of monies machine to machine. The first time you place card in a slot machines game card slot you are prompted for your birth date. Entering date of birth date correctly the next step prompts you to establish a 4 digit pin number. So now you put say a twenty into the slot machine and play. Maybe you hit or lose but you decide after some play to go to another machine. You can either cash out normally and coins drop OR you can transfer your remaining credits directly onto your card. Move to next machine and transfer credits in desired amount to new machine for play. For the most part this works well, however, there can be glitches. On one occasion I was transferring $98 back to the card when the computer server apparently glitched for a moment. No money on machine or card. That can give rise to a moment of hyper ventilating. Casino staff responded to my machine and could tell that the amount in question was $98 and completed the transfer to my card. I was told that this does happen from time to time when the server goes down or is overtaxed, usually towards the end of the cruise. Finally yet another ability of using card in machines is to get money credited to card for further gambler from onboard credit account. This could be a problem for someone with a gambling habit, makes it a little too easy, never have to leave machine to get more money. NOTE there is also a 3 percent charge on these onboard account transactions. No charge for the transfer of amounts from or to machines. This is all something I have never seen before either on land or sea casino. Machines appeared tighter than even usual for ships. I can't say that there were no hits but can say very limited. NICKLE & DIME department: I am now in a habit of looking at how much the N&D is utilized on each ship since onboard revenue became the big things on ships. Ice cream, not only the Haagen Daas but also the machine soft and extra for each topping. No more punch out bingo cards, now use marker, price $1. Embarkation photo $29.95, no I am not kidding! No where do they have sign with prices for photos either now, let it be a surprise Bingo grand prize limited $2,500 no longer based on amount of play. Normally you would expect a ship with this many passengers to have final bingo of upward 3 to 4 grand. BARGAIN: Coffee card if you are a big brewed coffee drinker. You get card, unlimited regular brewed coffee and something like 11 lattes or espresso. Instant still free at buffet of course. You may email any questions to georgeny@verizon.net please put Crown Review in subject since I delete many thinking they are spam. 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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