Sail Date: September 2006
Since this board has been very useful, I wanted to provide on trip report about experience on the Crown Princess, 9/30/06 (Eastern Caribbean). As background, I am a solo traveler in my forties and this was my 32nd cruise (9th on Princess, ... Read More
Since this board has been very useful, I wanted to provide on trip report about experience on the Crown Princess, 9/30/06 (Eastern Caribbean). As background, I am a solo traveler in my forties and this was my 32nd cruise (9th on Princess, the balance mostly on Cunard, Celebrity, & Holland America with a few on Crystal & NCL.) I dont like huge ships, but the price was so low and no flights were needed, that I decided to go anyway. Embarkation: Drove from Connecticut to the cruise terminal in Brooklyn, NY. Parking is provided adjacent to the actual terminal in a fenced lot. Cost is $18 per day (including tax). HUGE line inside the terminal waiting to check-in, but as a platinum member I had priority check-in so was able to bypass the line and got the fast-track onto the ship. Cabin: I booked an inside cabin on Deck 11, forward. Smaller than interior cabins on other ships but fine for one person. Large, open closet area (about 6 ft) with plenty of hangers, but not nearly enough shelves/drawers. Mini-fridge, TV (contrary to the brochure, not flat-screen, but fine). Good lighting in the cabin area for reading, putting on make up, etc. Cabins now feature premium bedding  basically a duvet & nice sheets. The cabin was warmish so the duvet was often too hot (cabin steward remade the bed with a top sheet so I could flip the duvet on & off); several other people mentioned the same issue, so it wasnt unique to my cabin. Bathroom was small (shower only) but that's what I expect. It was dark in the bathroom  the bulbs were yellowish. Steward service was good  friendly but not obtrusive. Passengers: With 3000 passengers, the ship was nearly full. Probably 95% Americans and average age was probably 50. Only about two dozen kids. It appears that Princess is now targeting a different demographic which doesnt appeal to me. The majority of the passengers were under 40, tattooed, pierced and loud. They didnt seem to be well-traveled, werent particularly courteous (pushing past people, talking during shows, snapping fingers at the waiters, cursing, shouting outside their cabins, etc.) Any central areas (such as the Neptune & Calypso pools, the piazza atrium and the buffet lines) were crowded, loud, and hectic. Everyone is entitled to enjoy their vacation but their approach had nothing in common with mine and I quickly discovered the quieter spots on board  Terrace pool, Adagio, Sanctuary, etc. and dined at off-peak hours. The other people who I met in these areas were also disappointed at the change in the passenger make up and the consensus seemed to be that they wouldnt be sailing on Princess again (Celebrity & Holland America were the lines people mentioned instead). Meals: I chose traditional style dining, second seating in the Botticelli dining room. Since I travel solo, I like having an assigned table where the whole table can get to know each other and catch up on our days activities at night. Although the traditional seating option was filled up when I boarded, the maitre d was able to add me to a table with two couples and another solo traveler. Nice people (one couple was on Princess for the first time and the others were platinum members). Service was good (interestingly, no wine sommeliers or stewards on this ship; instead, the waiter provided suggestions. Im not a wine drinker, but the other couples are fairly knowledgeable and were amused that his suggestions were based on the nationality of the food&if it was Italian night, he suggested they order an Italian wine  no specifics as to type of wine or vineyard, just pick something Italian). Head waiter provided several special appetizers to his tables  cantaloupe & ham, parmesan & ham, escargots. Overall, dining room food was sub-standard. I dont expect gourmet food on a ship, but this was below average. The menu was very limited and the food was routinely bland. Appetizers and desserts were low points; side dishes were unimaginative (sliced carrots, green beans & mashed potatoes were regularly featured); entrees were not varied and the quality was poor  veal cordon bleu was tough and salty; rib eye steak was dry and gristly; chicken breast was OK but no flavor; pork was dry & tough. The lobster tails were large and good, although the melted butter was some kind of butter substitute. The buffets (breakfast, lunch & dinner) were awful. Breakfast: No omelet station, no waffle station, no egg station. Instead, one type of omelet was precooked and stacked on a hot tray; same for the pancakes  a huge platter of pancakes on a hot tray with another platter wrapped in plastic wrap behind, waiting to go on the hot tray. Fried eggs were pre-cooked and placed on rows of plates on the hot trays. Fresh cantaloupe had obviously been cut & stored hours  if not days  ago since it was dry and had a white film on top. Lunch: meals were lukewarm (e.g. veal stew); chili had marble-sized balls of fat & gristle; Chinese & Mexican day entrees were lukewarm, bland and dry; canned fruit was readily available (peaches, pears and good old Del Monte fruit cocktail); no sandwich station or even platters of cold cuts to make your own sandwiches  instead one pre-made sandwich was available each day&.sitting on trays, either drying up or getting soggy; desserts included vats of Jello  jello molds and straight jello; only two flavors of cookies  oatmeal & choc chip. The buffet food was Dennys quality  Im not looking for a 4star restaurant, but something equivalent to a buffet at a Marriott hotel would have been an improvement. I ended up having pizza for lunch a few days from the pool-side pizzeria and that was the best. Entertainment: Three production shows, one of which (Destination Anywhere) was spectacular. All the dancers were exceptionally high quality  on my other cruises, Ive gotten used to so-so dancers but this troupe was very good. Two comedians who didnt appeal to me  one had lots of farting jokes and the other one had material about gays, black vs. white women & farting. The audience was so unimpressed with him that he had to ask if the microphone was turned on&. A hypnotist, magician, and a variety show. Each lounge had live music, movies were available (under the stars and in a lounge), Karaoke, American idol, dance contests, etc. Team trivia twice a day was a hit  about 30 people each time. Pool Olympics & various pool sports. Public areas: Ship is physically in great shape since its so new. Lounges are fine, but dark. Too bad there arent more windows to see the water on the four sea days. The Starwalkers nightclub was great  high up, at the aft end of the ship, offered great views during the day & was empty. Pools: as others mentioned, people were reserving deck chairs at 8:00 am. Very annoying. Husbands sitting there surrounded by four empty chairs, each with one book or a hat on it, while the wives were having breakfast. The most peaceful spot was the Terrace pool, which is an adults only; small pool with no diving allowed. In summary, I got a good price on this cruise so enjoyed the sun & relaxation but will not be cruising on Princess again. The food was so bad and the clientele was not appealing to me. Luckily, Celebrity & HAL have plenty of ships and itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
If this ship was my car, I'd bring it back to the dealer. What a bummer. Princess was the first cruiseline I used a few years ago, pre-Carnival, and the incredible service, atmosphere & food were the benchmarks for all my cruising ... Read More
If this ship was my car, I'd bring it back to the dealer. What a bummer. Princess was the first cruiseline I used a few years ago, pre-Carnival, and the incredible service, atmosphere & food were the benchmarks for all my cruising since, though I hadn't rebooked Princess til now. Embarkation itself was easy, though the drive to Brooklyn is a little sketchy. The minisuite was smaller than the one I had on the Grand Princess, and thanks to notes from past posters,I switched my room & was not open to the elements. In the suite itself, drawers would not open, the safe needed to be pried open with a knife, and the tub never drained. Our sheets were not changed for 4 days(my sister had gotten chocolate on hers, so we counted. The bathrobes were never changed regardless of how much coffee was spilled on them. Much has been written about the poor design of the ship, so I will just concur on that, but what drove me nuts was the dropped ceilings in the piazza area that obscured the elevator signals. Formal night dinner was a big bust. On the grand princess, our italian headwater & waiter created a culinary dining experience nightly, here we were rushed through dinner by a group of Malaysian waiters who were hard to understand, totally forgot our order, generally made us feel like a nuisance because we didn't order wine. We didn't go back, used the buffets the other nites. We are not big eaters, but I do like my food hot, and that was rare. Also, who thought German nite & Indian nite were good ideas? Bratwurst on a boat. The store was always almost sold out of pepto & imodium. Pizza was good though, as were the fruit tarts & cookies. Bummer no free lemonade like on RC, I don't drink soda, but had gotten a coffee card (thanks again CC posters for the tip). We did have a couple of drinks by the pool, 1 with 1 without alcohol, both separated almost immediately, and were undrinkable. Signed up for the Thermal suite in the spa ($130 for 2), It was nice when everything was working . The first day, 2 of the 8 weren't, I spoke to manager, and things were a bit better the next day, but some were never up to par. Also, found out after I paid that the ladies locker has a sauna & steamroom, so I really could have saved the money. Massage was nice, and not too pushy to sell products, but maybe because right up front I told them I could buy the products at the Elemis spa here at Mohegan Sun in CT using my points, so don't bother. The staff on this boat seem depressed. Shows were high school level, except for the French juggler, who couldn't even rise to that. MUTS was loud. This boat had the worst vibrations in the aft section I have ever experienced on a ship. Almost like a propeller was bent. And the superstructure made these really weird creaks. I felt like my cubicle was gonna pop out the side of the ship. I would get rid of Ocho Rios & Port Canaveral on this itinerary. Ocho Rios has gotten even more dirty & the natives more aggressive. We could only swim one at a time in Dunns Falls, so the other one could watch our belongings. Even with police patrolling I didn't feel too safe. An they should do Princess Cay instead of Port Canaveral, extend the tropical feel one more day. Course I won't get back to Princess Cay, because Princess just lost another customer. Disembarkation was the worst I've ever experienced. 2 porters for 3000 people. Enough said. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Please enter your review. I just read a Cruise Critic Member Review on the Crown Princess by Cheryl. I couldn't say it better, but I have more to add. I, too am a big fan of cruising. We have traveled on several cruise lines, and I ... Read More
Please enter your review. I just read a Cruise Critic Member Review on the Crown Princess by Cheryl. I couldn't say it better, but I have more to add. I, too am a big fan of cruising. We have traveled on several cruise lines, and I have always rated Princess as one of my favorites. I am now an Elite member with 15 cruises. But if ever a cruise was a huge disappointment this one was. We had booked Crown Princess as well as a cruise on RCCL Freedom of the Seas almost a year ahead and looked forward to both. Both were Caribbean cruises we have taken many times, but the Freedom was so innovative, and we have never been to Bermuda, so the Princess would take us to some place new, and we could enjoy and compare two new ships. We did get to see Bermuda - from afar! But, like Cheryl, we never docked there. The captain said it was too windy to enter the channel, and another port would not replace it. We traveled in slow motion for two days to kill time returning to NYC. Ditto to Cheryl about the Crown Princess looking bigger on the outside than the inside. Our balcony stateroom was smaller than on the Freedom, and unlike the comfortable bed on the Freedom, the bed was unbelievably hard. Relatives in another balcony stateroom got an egg-crate mattress cover that seemed to help, but none were available when we asked. We used the comforter underneath and asked for blankets and sheets to cover. Our balcony looked out on other balconies, for two decks down. Not a lot of privacy for those below though the young people didn't seem to mind, and the topless one seemed to enjoy every bit of exposure. The narrow hallways were especially inconvenient for handicap in wheelchairs and scooters. The layout of the ship and the elevators was confusing, and nothing seemed outstanding about the looks of the ship. Not enough shows and way too many comedians filled out the entertainment. The main theatre was very crowded on show nights. Our plight began, however, before we arrived at the ship. We had booked directly with Princess, who did our air, transfers, and insurance. We have always felt more comfortable letting Princess set this all up for us. We flew into Newark, NJ for a forced overnight at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott Hotel. When we arrived at the airport baggage area, we expected to see the familiar Princess Cruises greeter with sign. We collected our luggage and searched for our greeter. We sat and waited for two hours. Never had this happened to us in all our years of cruising. Fortunately, we had our cell phone, so I called 1-800-Princess. After another hour of confusion, we were told that this had been going on all day there, and they could not locate any one to help us. We were to go hail a taxi to take us over to NY, and we would be reimbursed for the cost when we got on the ship. With a wild ride and $75 out of pocket, we arrived at the hotel. We had planned a nice evening but were too tired to do anything but go to bed. The next day we were transferred by bus to the ship. When we got there, we were told to identify our luggage. One piece was missing. We spent 30 minutes waiting in the sun and were finally told to go on board, and hopefully it would be located and sent to our room. We were by then at the end of huge lines, and even though I requested the preferred boarding line as shown on my documents, we were herded into one of the long waiting lines and told to stay there. Our embarkation was not smooth as was Cheryl's. When our luggage arrived, the one piece was still missing, but it did get to our cabin eventually, at which time we noticed all three pieces had been mishandled and smashed. We were fortunate that customer service had us fill out a form allowing the ship to try to fix them, and we got our luggage back the night before disembarkation in usable, if not the best, condition, for which we were grateful. The real ordeal began when we tried to collect the $75 from customer service. It took three days of standing in line at the counter and arguing for the money to be replaced. They didn't feel they should have to pay the toll fees or the tip for the taxi driver. Later they would only agree to credit our account. I finally insisted on $75 in cash, and after sheer determination won. By this time our vacation seemed in much too much turmoil. I, too, wrote corporate office to no avail. The letter I received reads: As we are certain you know from your many Princess sailings, transfers are operated by independent ground personnel contracted by Princess. Therefore, as stated in our Passage Contract, Princess cannot be held responsible for problems arising out of such arrangements So there is your customer service after the sail. I am still in shock. This is not the Princess care we have experienced before, but seems this will be the norm for doing business now and hereafter. Obviously they DON'T CARE! Buyers beware! Wanting to end with something positive, I must say we had lots of good seafood. Our waiters were excellent. They were fun and funny and did their jobs so well all 10 of us at our table could relax and enjoy that time of day. The Freedom of the Seas is a gorgeous ship, and at least one of our two cruises was a joy! Down with Princess and up with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
This was our 9th cruise & our third and possibly last on Princess. The direct flight from the UK to San Juan was good & we went straight from the airport & straight on the ship. Embarkation was good, we were on the ship in 30 ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise & our third and possibly last on Princess. The direct flight from the UK to San Juan was good & we went straight from the airport & straight on the ship. Embarkation was good, we were on the ship in 30 mins. State room was small!. We were near the forward elevators & when you arrive at your chosen floor, say Lido, the elevator lobby opened out onto a corridor of more staterooms. You have to walk down another corridor to reach the open Lido deck area. The ship just did not flow. Two very nice pools on Lido but VERY noisy. Big screen pool area had sound on all day long, unlike Sea princess, where you had your own personal earpiece receiver to listen if you wanted. Other pool area had various bands, all playing music far to loud. Shows were poor and still far to loud. The juggler in particular was pathetic and people were leaving in droves. The food in Horizon court was sometimes warm, never hot but sometimes warm. we were a party of nine and we liked to have fixed late dining, our cruise was booked 13 months in front and we were still on the wait list for late dining. The maitr'd sorted it out on our second night. The food for our evening meal, especially meat, was only just warm. we brought this to the attention of our waiter at least 5 times in fourteen nights. Princess have a long way to go to beat Celebrity & Royal Caribbean for service. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2006
Cruised with 19 family and friends who have been on many cruises, I have been on 22. I was on the Grand Princess and this one is my second Princess cruise. The whole group found the experience enjoyable with the exception of the ... Read More
Cruised with 19 family and friends who have been on many cruises, I have been on 22. I was on the Grand Princess and this one is my second Princess cruise. The whole group found the experience enjoyable with the exception of the embarkation in San Juan. We had problems with boarding the ship, but that was stated in other reviews, so I won't bore you. The ship is designed poorly in my estimation for several reasons: First, there are three pools all with very deep water, 5' 3" to 7' 2". You could not stand up in the pool and have fun. There was very little activity around the pool. Also, the band hardly played, there was more piped in music. Secondly, the elevators were slow when they worked, and that made it difficult for handicapped people. We found ourselves walking up and down stairs, we had our cabins on the 14 floor. The outside doors were manual and hard to open. The buffet was designed poorly, there was always a crowd in the middle of the buffet, the lines did not flow. Our suite was under the pool deck and all day and night you could hear the movement upstairs, people walking and tables and chairs being moved. The acoustics are not good. If you pay that much for a suite, it should be located where it is quiet. The suite was small in comparison to other ships. There was no concierge service, so it really does not pay to get a suite on this ship. You get very little for your money. The food was decent, the crew was friendly and efficient, but the room and dining room stewards are overworked. I know that they have cut staff since being under the Carnival flag, but it really shows in the quality of the service. Also, prior to the cruise we found that they had placed our group on 3 separate tables in the Botticelli Dining Room and we requested 2 tables of 10. I called Princess and they told me that they do not have tables of 10. On the ship in our area in the dining room, there were tables of 10. It would have made it so much easier for us to seat our group. I would not recommend the Crown Princess to families because of the pools and activity around the ship. To be fair, it is a new ship and we were on the first cruise out of San Juan, so perhaps, they have to get advice from people like us to improve. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our first...and, I am afraid to say, last cruise with Princess. We have been cruising for many years with Princess's sister company, P&O, based here in UK. This year we decided it was time for a change. Our flight from UK ... Read More
This was our first...and, I am afraid to say, last cruise with Princess. We have been cruising for many years with Princess's sister company, P&O, based here in UK. This year we decided it was time for a change. Our flight from UK to San Juan was without delays, no problems and were well looked after on the flight. A rather disappointing delay through San Juan airport immigration followed - and this was to be one of many queues for immigration processes throughout our cruise. It is one of the reasons in the future that we will not choose an US port of embarkation or have an American port on the itinerary. It is just too time wasting for the Brits to spend ones holiday. In future we shall continue to fly to Barbados for blissful, stressfree ..straight onto the coach and to the ship arrivals and departures - you really can't beat that, and it was something that maybe we had taken for granted previously. Anyway! On with the review! Our first impression of the ship? Looks enormous! Is enormous! BUT doesn't feel too big once you get inside. There are plenty of areas to go where one doesn't feel overwhelmed by the sheer size and numbers onboard. The only time you are reminded just how big it is, is when you take a look at this ship when on land!! We didn't experience any ports via tender as now Granada has a new port there were no more tendered docks. Our cabin was as we expected for an inside cabin - enough space for us and our things - as long as we were tidy (not easy...but one tries eh?!). Bathroom etc all fine. Brilliant cabin steward who introduced himself and the company very well. Very obliging and helpful and kept our cabin spotless. Now! this is a message for any BRITISH LADIES who may be travelling with their faithful GHD (or similar!) hair straighteners!! - THEY WILL NOT WORK - OK!!! - this was discovered to my HORROR on the first day, when plugging them into our trusty little adapter, they sort of flickered and went out.... not a good start for any evening, frizzy hair, moody wife and fed up hubby... Went to reception whereupon they kindly gave me another adapter, but realized that as some of our electrical items are no compatible....the second day in port was spent tracking down a pair of hair straighteners with an american plug. Sorry guys, if this bores you, but I know just how important something like this can be to us girls - am I right?! Food! - One of our delights on a cruise is to enjoy our food. This we didn't on the Crown. There was plenty of it...and after all we did manage to put on half a stone! - it wasn't of the luxury type and not what we have come to expect. Again from a Brit point of view...we like our veggies here in UK..and they were VERY sparse on the Crown, and I mean VERY. Salads etc fine at lunchtimes, but evening meals left a lot to be desired. Very much missed the tractional puddings/currys etc always to be found on P&O... Lots of incidents within the restaurant we weren't happy with. From having to eat our morning cereal with soup spoons (every day..) to teaspoons unceremoniously stuck up in tea cups..and waiters with a very bad command of basic English. This caused probs throughout for many and resulted in some peculiar incidents. including the morning when hubby tried to book a table for the evening (we were on anytime dining - again, a word...don't do it! - Everyone ends up usually wanting to eat at a similar time, they can't cope with it and it ends up like a glorified canteen arrangement to see who can get their table finished first...that's if you get to eat before 10.pm) the guy could not understand that we wished to book a table and thought we wanted to purchase a book! hmmmmm... Talking of food/drink etc - If Princess are supposed to welcome Brits they need to make sure they have staples in like....PIMMS! Pernod! and MARMITE!! none of these items could be found - or in some cases understood. We are also used to having our coffee as a separate course I do not like it swilled down with my dessert (if indeed I had chosen one of their revolting looking desserts in the first place). The have visited all the ports on the itinerary before, but chose some new independent tours. Would not wish to visit St Thomas or St Marten again due to the pathetic immigration process set aside for us Brits. Although for us here in UK, this cruise wasn't considered a "back-to-back" as we purchased the two week cruise with airfares all thrown in, but for a majority of pax they were either on the ship for just the first week or second week only. We should have been able to have jumped from P&O's loyalty scheme (The Portunus Club) where we are on their top Gold Level - but because in UK this cruise was considered just one cruise we have to wait until our next cruise with Princess before being an Elite pax. The worst day spent on this cruise was the day in the middle when the ship returned to San Juan. We had previously arranged an independent tour on this day. Only to discover that we were not allowed off the ship (unless on a Princess tour...funny that..) unless we have completed the formalities..as they so cutely said. This involved us Brits having to wait until 11.30am, we were herded into a dining room, then marched off the ship all through immigration again...frisking, the works...only to then have our new cruise cards issued to us, then had to join the queue of new pax coming onboard!! incredible, quite incredible. By the time we had followed this queue, gone through the whole process of being "welcomed onboard" ..again... it was 3pm what a complete waste of a day. Also to add no bars or facilities were open for us "in Transit" pax. Disgusting, and this is one of the reasons why we not be including any American port or cruising with Princess again. There were of course good points...somewhere... Oh! yes, Adaggio's the bar was nice. But no Pimms or Pernod of course. I apologize if this revue is slightly on the negative side, but this is just a personal view. You will, like us no doubt want to make your minds up yourself. What we would say is... If you are very much a British type of passenger, think VERY carefully before cruising with Princess, as we found it very alien to what we are used to. We met with many lovely people from all parts of the world and this was obviously a good point to the cruise. I couldn't describe the ship as being what is referred to in the brochures as a "friendly ship" in general people kept themselves to themselves. The new idea of beaming in the Cruise Director from one office somewhere in the world is a good one, it must save thousands in salaries. I don't think you can beat the old fashioned cruise directors you get to say good morning/afternoon too around the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
This was our second cruise with Princess, and a major disappointment. The ports were the main reason for the choice of this ship. Embarkation went fairly smooth. We were at the pier by 12:00 and on the ship by 1:00. The ship was ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess, and a major disappointment. The ports were the main reason for the choice of this ship. Embarkation went fairly smooth. We were at the pier by 12:00 and on the ship by 1:00. The ship was big--by the end of the cruise we finally knew where everything was. I personally thought there was alot of movement while on the ship. The sail to and from San Juan was terrible--coat hangers banging against the wall in the closet and constant creaking and groaning. We were on the 9th floor in a mini-suite. There were alot of activities--but like other people, I thought the volume of the movies was excessive--especially during the day. I also noticed many of the wait staff watching the movie--not serving people around the pool. They would quickly make a run around the pool--then hurry back to where they could watch whatever movie was playing. Which brings me to service. I thought the service was lacking on this ship in comparison to the Coral Princess I sailed on 3 years ago to Alaska. There were a few people that went above and beyond--but for the most part I thought most of the staff was rude--especially the Romanian men. I was also somewhat surprised by the additional 15% gratuity that was added on at all of the bars and International Cafe. I guess it doesn't matter if they give poor service--they will get their tip anyway. As for the food, I thought the food in the main dining room was horrible. We ate there the first night and that was it. We were constantly rushed, which I find annoying. I'm one of those people that likes to go out to dinner and relax--take my time. I don't like to be rushed. The soup was like mud--the steak was undercooked and cold--the baked potato was cold, and the salad tasted like it had been sitting out for 4 hours. We did eat at Vines a couple of nights for the sushi and a glass of wine--that was very nice and fresh. We also enjoyed the International Cafe--lot's of goodies throughout the day. After the first night, we decided to eat at the specialty restaurants for the rest of the cruise. The night that we ate at Sabatini's was interesting--there was alot of movement while at sea, so it made it somewhat hard to hold onto that glass of wine. The food was good--although the entree was lacking in taste. The rest of the nights we ate at the Crown Grill. I thought the food there was delicious, as well as the service being wonderful. Although, it's a shame that you have to pay "extra" to get good food on a cruise after the money you pay upfront. We enjoyed our mini-suite, although I didn't care for the balcony being totally uncovered. It's too bad they don't let you know that before booking the room. Unfortunately, I didn't find out about the cruise critic website until after I booked. The ports were wonderful--had a great time in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Maarten. We didn't book any excursions thru the ship--all were handled individually. I didn't care much for St. Thomas--too commercialized--nothing but shops and shops of jewelry. I guess if you're a big shopper that's a good thing. Disembarkation went fairly smooth--only had to wait one hour before having our color called, as we had an early flight. This was it for me--no more Princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
This is my sixth cruise. Two on Carnival (fair), three on Celebrity (outstanding) and one on the Crown Princess (poor). My husband's luggage did not arrive at our room. We called several times and were told that they were still ... Read More
This is my sixth cruise. Two on Carnival (fair), three on Celebrity (outstanding) and one on the Crown Princess (poor). My husband's luggage did not arrive at our room. We called several times and were told that they were still distributing the luggage. I went to the Cust Svc desk at 11:30. I overheard someone say that there was a lost luggage area. I went there and found the luggage (it had my husband's name on it, but no one had bothered to call us). On day 2 we were told that the ship was out of Miller Lite (our favorite beverage). Later that night and other nights were found Miller Lite in other areas of the ship. They would not be bothered to stock the pool bar for us (we were a party of 12 who all drink Miller Lite). Anytime dining was a joke. The description for anytime dining states that you can dine anytime. Ha. The Princess Patter stated that you would need to call a make a reservation for anytime dining. We called 5 nights for reservations and were told that the only times you could make a reservation were 6:30 and 8:30 (the same times as traditional dining). Every afternoon on the pool deck we smelled raw sewage quite plainly. The staff were certainly not as friendly as Celebrity. The customer service desk was staffed with one or two people and always had a long line. One couple in our party were awakened in the night by a "water" noise. When they went into the bathroom black water was erupting from their sink. The itinerary, however, was incredible (that's why we chose Princess). We called to make a reservation in one of the specialty dining rooms on the first night. We were told that the earliest available reservation was 9:00 or 9:30. When we arrived there, we were almost the only people dining. Celebrity is far superior. We would never sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
Here is my two cents worth on the topic of cruising with Princess. We are a couple, 42 and 50 years old. We recently went on our very first cruise on Princess. In fact, it was our very first cruise period. We did the Southern Caribbean, ... Read More
Here is my two cents worth on the topic of cruising with Princess. We are a couple, 42 and 50 years old. We recently went on our very first cruise on Princess. In fact, it was our very first cruise period. We did the Southern Caribbean, January 12 through January 19 out of San Juan. We booked our transfers to and from the airport and all of our air travel through Princess Air. Were we satisfied? No, we were not, but our travelling problems were not the fault of Princess - rather regular everyday delays with American Airlines who finally got us to the ship ten minutes before departure from San Juan. Oh and they lost our luggage too, but fortunately they found it (left unattended somewhere in the airport). Seems our luggage made it to San Juan on our original flight from Toronto via Miami. This flight was originally cancelled and we were re-routed through Boston. I believe that the entire mess would easily have been avoided had Princess given us more time between connecting flights in Miami. We had a 45 minute window from landing to take-off on another aircraft in one of the biggest airports in the US. I voiced my concern about this weeks before, but they assured me all would be fine. It wasn't. I would never let them arrange my flights if I was to cruise again. I could have done a much better job considering how much extra I paid for their flight arrangements. You see, this cruise was a surprise birthday gift for my partner. I wanted the travel agent and Princess to arrange everything. I had requested the bath-robes for the room. Not there. Didn't get the champagne that was supposed to come with the room. They forgot to do the room with birthday balloons as I had requested. Smallish things, not enough to complain about but irritating nonetheless. So...the cruise. The ship is stunning. I cannot say more than that. Simply stunning. We had a suite on Dolphin deck. It was lovely but it stunk of cigarette smoke from the previous tenants. I just can't imagine, in this day and age, allowing anyone to smoke in a room unless it is designated a smoking room or smoking floor. At night, I would leave my balcony door open to listen to the sea, but my neighbors were smokers, so their cigarette smoke simply wafted into my room. I would never complain about that as they are also entitled to enjoy their balconies, but it was a bit of an eye-opener. I would have to ensure that smoking is not permitted on certain floors if I were to cruise with Princess again. The service onboard in any of the restaurants, dining rooms and bars was average. At no time did I feel like I was being treated exceptionally well. The servers were not rude - just indifferent. Who can blame them when they can't earn their tips the way the service industry normally does. I thought the idea of a daily fee, charged to our ship account, was a good one until I realized that that meant the service could be terrible but that the servers would still be rewarded no matter how bad their service. Not a good plan. Let the servers work for their tips! I can't offer any opinion of the shows because Vegas-style acts don't appeal to me. However, in the lounges and bars, the pianists and quartets were simply some of the best musicians I have had the pleasure to listen to. In fact, the best place on the ship for entertainment and service was in the various lounges where the more sophisticated passengers would congregate. I went to the Casino one night for about 10 minutes. The smoke was just too much. Simply unbearable. Who are these people? Those poor servers... Food was simply normal fare. I cannot say that I had one thing that was extraordinary. We ate at both the Crown Grill and Sabatini's and neither was spectacular. Certainly not bad - just not "wow!" I should have known when "shrimp cocktail" is a featured appetizer. How pedestrian. I did enjoy the lunch buffet though! They tried and failed to invite people to eat new foods. These passengers would have none of that! Gimme my burgers and fries, they cried! That meant we enjoyed all of the less-popular but certainly tastier dishes all to ourselves with no line ups. We booked all of our excursions through Princess and were delighted with each and every one. Yes, I heard people say that we paid more for them, but at least they were arranged through Princess and I knew there would be no problems. I wanted a worry-free holiday. Let someone else do the work... So, I ask myself, would I cruise again? Yes, I would but I would only do it again in the Baltics, or maybe the Mediterranean but definitely, as far away from those who find the Caribbean affordable. I think the class of people might be slightly higher in other parts of the world. You see, there were way too many people with mullets and wearing wife-beaters. And the corn rows! People - just because you are on a Caribbean cruise does not mean that you should allow yourselves to look SO ridiculous. Large, white women with corn-rows serve nothing except to insult those from the Islands. And yes, you have a tattoo on your backside, that does not mean I want or need to see it. And you, the one wearing Crocs in the dining room - have you no shame? Of course, who could forget the family that took pictures of every single dish that was delivered to their table? I can just imagine the conversation while showing the vacation photos at work..."and here is a picture of my steak. And this is my wife's steak ". Then, there was the woman with the bikini wearing high-heeled shoes on the deck by the pool. She was a delight to watch as she fed her kids, drink in one hand and cigarette in the other. My assumption is that they either "won" this trip or it's the first and likely only trip they'll be able to afford. (September, 2034..."Hey Brittany, what was the name of that there guy who sat next to us on the cruise?" .....On THE cruise ...(see what I mean?) Having said that, we did meet nice people on board - in the lounges, previously mentioned. And contrary to the negative tone of this review, we really did enjoy ourselves. Cruising is somewhat cult -like, I discovered. I was shocked at how many people were on their 15th or 20th cruise. My first thought was "Wow - you must be wealthy!" By the end of the trip, I realized it is not so much wealth as it is gluttony and laziness. But for the senior set, cruising is the way to go! So, Crown Princess...5 star hotel at sea (without the service), catering to a motel crowd. A fairly accurate review, I think. If you disagree with this review, then cruising is for you. If you found it informative and witty, try a much higher cruise line or better yet, stick to Paris or Rome. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
So, a little background on us and the group we were cruising with. Our family consisted of myself (37), my wife (36) and our two small children (both boys, one 2+ and the other 11 months). We also traveled with my sister, her husband and ... Read More
So, a little background on us and the group we were cruising with. Our family consisted of myself (37), my wife (36) and our two small children (both boys, one 2+ and the other 11 months). We also traveled with my sister, her husband and their almost 4 year old daughter. My parents, and my wife's father and his his wife. All together we were a group of 8 adults and 3 kids. We flew into San Juan on Friday and stayed at the "Beach House" hotel. My sister booked the hotel after changing the reservations from the Travel Agent. This hotel is a disaster. No elevator, horrible rooms, disgusting continental breakfast. Do not stay there for any reason. The night we were there, the hotel was hosting a party in their "courtyard". They had the music blasting well into the morning (around 3:00 AM). We are seeking a full credit from Travelocity. Embarkation: Getting on the ship was pretty much a breeze. From hopping off the shuttle to stepping on the ship took less than 15 minutes. There was a sign for people with "Preferred Boarding", which we had, but we did not have to use that line as there was virtually no wait even at 12:45 when we arrived at the terminal. Room: We booked a full suite on Riviera (Deck 14). I did read some reviews where people complained about the noise from the deck above, and while we did hear some traffic, nothing beats being able to take the stairs up 1 flight to go to the pool, or the buffet, without having to wait for an elevator. The suite was great, and our cabin steward was even better. They took care of mostly everything we needed in a timely fashion. The free laundry service was a nice, and much used service. A note to anyone booking a suite: Our particular room (R415) is a handicap accessible room. It does not have a bathtub, but the door is super wide which came in handy with our double stroller. The ship: The ship is nice enough. We mostly hung out at the rear of the ship where the kids pools are. They are really annoying to get to though. You have to get to deck 15, walk all the way to the back, and then go up 2 flights of stairs. Not easy with two kids and all the gear. All of the public areas of the ship are well kept. So let's get to all of the issues: The food SUCKS. We had a standing reservation in the Di Vinci dining room because of the size of our party. While this did eliminate the wait that most people experienced with the Anytime Dining option, we all found that we were never looking forward to dinner. Princess tries too hard to provide an "upscale" dining experience but fails miserably to deliver anything that tastes as good as it sounds on the menu. I honestly can not recommend ANYTHING I ate at the dining room. The service is OK, except when the waiter got mad at my father-in-law. The waiter was trying to sell us on a wine tasting they were holding in the dining room the next afternoon. When my father-in-law asked what kind of wine they were offering, the waiter opened with a Kendell Jackson offering and my father-in-law laughed and started to walk away. Well, unfortunately the waiter said something like "so don't come then" under his breath a little to loud. Needless to say we did not give him any additional tips. As for the buffet, the breakfast offerings were decent with very little variation from day to day. The buffet lunch was again a miserable experience. I kept having hopes that there would be something appetizing, but found that I was disappointed and ended up getting a burger and fries almost every day. The pizza is also a sub par offering (of course we are from New York originally and may be skewed by the fantastic pizza) and hardly ever fresh. Right next to the pizza is the "pay ice-cream". Like most people, I think that charging for vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice-cream is disgustingly cheap of Princess to do. And speaking of being cheap, they also try to sell you a glass of "fresh squeezed" orange juice (from a plastic pitcher, not really freshly squeezed) for $2.75. Now, this next gripe may seem petty, but it annoyed the hell out of me. We purchased some of the pictures that we took, and when we went to pay for them (at $24.95 a pop) they offer you a "frame deal" for $10 a piece. When we said "no thanks", the ass behind the counter said that "we would not find a deal like this on shore", to which my wife replied, "um, have you never heard of Michael's or Marshall's?" It just really annoys me when they treat you like an idiot. All tips are included on everything. Order a drink at the bar, the tips are added to the bill. You are charged $10.50 per person per day for room services, etc. ($11.00 per person in suites). In my opinion, when a service person does not need a tip, the service is no good. The bar staff is never in a rush to take orders. All of the islands were nice. Aruba was fantastic. We did not take any excursions. Disembarkation was fairly easy. GET A PORTER to take your bags from the baggage area out to the shuttles. They let them, and you, pass through a different line with no waiting. Summery: We have been on the Celebrity Millennium, and the RC Radiance of the Seas and both were a much nicer experience. I do not think that we will be cruising on Princess again. And we are going to look at other options to replace our yearly family cruise, at least for the next few years. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
First a little background and perspective through our eyes; we are two women from New Orleans, one in her 40's and one in her 50's. We have now cruised six times on four different cruise lines. We know that there are others out ... Read More
First a little background and perspective through our eyes; we are two women from New Orleans, one in her 40's and one in her 50's. We have now cruised six times on four different cruise lines. We know that there are others out there with many, many more cruises under their belt than us; but we also believe we have something to compare to with our other cruises and cruise line experience, so we are not complete novices. Embarkation: We choose to arrive after 2:00 on our cruises so we do not have to wait in lines. When we arrived only a few others were also checking in. Everything was handled very smoothly and we were out and on to the ship in a matter of minutes. My only criticism is that the woman checking us in was not friendly at all, and by her demeanor, she acted as though she was doing us a favor allowing us to board. Yet, right next to us we heard another employee heartily welcoming those passengers. Public Rooms: Overall, the ship's public rooms were very nice. Everything was well maintained and very pretty. It seemed that the ship needed another smaller theater or a larger lounge for some of their entertainment. Some of the better acts we saw were in the Explorer's Lounge and each time it was standing room only. This may also have to do with the quality of the theater productions, but I'll get to that topic later. Cabin: The cabin itself was an average cabin. I loved having an empty refrigerator to keep things in. Also, having a fruit basket brought to the cabin with your choice of fruit was a welcomed treat. On the down side, the beds were very hard. We had been forewarned of such here on Cruise Critic so in advance we requested the egg crate foam to be put on our bed. It wasn't, so after the first night and now with killer back aches we again requested the egg crate foam; and again, we did not receive it. Finally after going face-to-face with the ship's Passenger Services desk, we got it. While it helped some, we still slept poorly and awoke some days with sore backs. The bathroom and the shower seemed smaller than those I have had on other ships. Dining: We chose the Anytime Dining and enjoyed its flexibility. We often shared tables with others and always enjoyed our dinner conversations with our fellow passengers. I just wish we could say as nice of things about the food. The food ran from mediocre to inedible. Although there were three or four items to select from in each category, it was not uncommon for me not to find anything I really wanted to eat; and I am not a picky eater. Often the food I would order would be bland or covered in some sauce, or unrecognizable. The discussions at dinner often centered around the food and how bad it was. One night an older lady at our table ordered her entree and sent it back because it was bad. She then ordered a different entree and the same thing happened. When she received her third entree (all different) and found it to be inedible also, she said she didn't care to try anything else. On Thanksgiving night we were really looking forward to our traditional turkey and dressing. Were we disappointed! The turkey was processed and the dressing/stuffing was an ice cream scoop of what looked and tasted like bread crumbs soaked in water (think dog food) with some bizarre seasonings added. I was sorry I had taken even a small bite. We dined in both of the "premium" dining rooms where you had to pay extra to dine. Our first experience was in the Crown Grill, which cost an additional $25.00; or, if you want whole Maine lobster, then $34.00. We chose to do the surf and turf with the whole Maine lobster and the filet mignon. The filet was a nice flavor and although tender, not the most tender I have had. The lobster was a major rip off. My lobster tail was so small that I ate all of it in four regular-sized bites. When I then cracked the first lobster claw I found it to be total mush from being frozen, and therefore inedible. Our meal exceeded two hours and not by choice. Our waiter had a table of ten that had been seated just shortly before us, our table and then two other tables. Due to an obvious lack of staff, we often waited up to 10 minutes between courses. Sabatini's, the other premium restaurant was equally understaffed with the exception of the Maitre D who constantly circled the dining room. He stopped at our table a total of SIX TIMES! We felt as if we were being stalked by the time we left. Regarding the food, we were told that we could order a choice between two soups and a salad, and our choice between four or five entrees. Other than that, we would receive a sample sized taste of everything else. We asked if we could just order regular style and were told no. We therefore were given small samples of food we really would not have chosen to eat, as well as sample size portions of food we would have liked a full serving of. Sadly, other than the fried calamari, there was nothing served that I felt really cheated about not receiving the regular sized portions. And speaking of calamari, we actually watched the server pick up a couple at a time as he put them on the plates and in doing so we realized he was making sure we each received five calamari rings. We came to this conclusion when we watched the waiter purposefully drop one ring back on the platter from the serving utensil. Overall, at both restaurants the food was not any better than it was in the regular dining rooms; and the service was worse!! Entertainment: As I mentioned earlier, we enjoyed the smaller acts that were placed in the Explorer's Lounge. A juggling comedian was funny and a talented juggler; but as he said, who puts a juggler in a room that had ceiling probably 10-12 feet. We attended two of the ship's productions. Overall, the show's were mediocre. For the type of productions they were performing, both of the male singers (especially one of them) were much too old for the roles they were portraying. There were also two women singers that were a little more age appropriate. All of their voices were nice but nothing you could not hear in any community theater. The same can be said for the dancers. Amateurish is probably the best way to describe these productions. The comedian they had towards the end of the cruise (sorry, but I cannot remember his name) was very funny and by far the best entertainment we saw on the ship. Service: Overall, the service was acceptable by cruise ship standards. Almost always the staff was ready to serve. However, we did not necessarily find them as friendly as we have on other cruises. Instead they were reserved and simply doing their job. No real complaints here, other than the 3 egg crate foam requests; but nothing really impressive either. Value: At the time we booked this cruise I thought it was a good deal for the money. However, after the cruise I do not feel it was a good value for the money. Other than the ports, our main reason to go on a cruise is for the food and entertainment; and, in my opinion, these were two of the weakest areas on the Crown Princess. Overall: The word that first comes to mind is disappointing. We love to cruise and thought the Princess had an upscale reputation, so it was with great anticipation as we prepared for our cruise. Each day we became more and more disappointed. When the cruise was over, we were not just disappointed, but we also felt somewhat cheated. Right now we have agreed that we do not plan to cruise on the Princess cruise line any time soon, if ever. But you know that old saying: "Never say never!" Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This was our first and last cruise on Princess cruise lines. We had gotten off the day before we sailed on the princess on a GREAT Day NCL cruise on the DAWN. We booked this cruise because we went with a group of 50 people (friends of ... Read More
This was our first and last cruise on Princess cruise lines. We had gotten off the day before we sailed on the princess on a GREAT Day NCL cruise on the DAWN. We booked this cruise because we went with a group of 50 people (friends of ours have a band in Detroit and this was their cruise). we stayed the night in Fort Lauderdale at the Best Western Airport and Cruise Port. NOT worth the money the shuttle they have from the airport doesn't run til after 1 pm even though we were told differently, when we got there no rooms ready has s throw all of our suitcases into the back area of the office no tickets nothing to show we gave our luggage to them VERY RUDE Office staff the older gentleman there was a real jerk. paid almost 200.00 for this room and wasn't worth a third of it. we got to the cruise port around noon waitedin line went fast the check in process went fast and smooth about the only good thing on this cruise. we found out cabin on the Baja deck cabin ok lots of wasted space small bathroom but served its purpose. upon walking around the ship we found the ship to be VERY NICE one of the nicest looking ships but looks are deceiving. went for pizza on the deck the area open with tables by the pool. good pizza but the area filthy. the ceiling fans over the tables in the pool area had almost an inch of black dirt and grease build up from NOT BEING CLEANED I have the pictures to prove this. YUKKKKKK the ports all were good the usual suspects. private island nice. the ship was DEAD the bars night clubs etc by 1030 at night dead or was ready to close up/ the casino Small but nice it was paying out though won 300.00 in the casino for the week Bingo was low prizes and low cost better on other cruiselines. the main stage and shows... hmmm where to begin... the main theatre looked like a college classroom (auditorium) the productions TERRIBLE I seen better highschool and community theatres productions. the comedian didn't even get laughs during his show. The food in the dinning room and buffets were OK all carnival quality nothing to right home about but good never dd the paydiners because figured it wouldn't be any better, service was good. The SHIP was VERY shaky and rocked an rolled alot unless in port need to do something about that. This was one of the worst cruises we had ever been on if we weren't with the group of friends we would of left the ship in St thomas and flew home 2 days early. employees RUDE short and acted like we were bothering them when asking for drinks information at pursers desk gift shops etc. in fact in the friday before the end of the cruise went to purchase transfer tickets to FTL was told it was too late and that for two of us we would be better just to get a cab. talked to hotel manager she acted like it was no big deal told her about the irty fans by pizza area she said she would look into it the dirt and grease buildup was still there upon returning to port . disembarkation went smooth and fast best part of the cruise getting off of this terrible cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
This was our 3rd cruise - all with Princess. The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship and is very similar to the Caribbean Princess which we sailed on before. Embarkation was a piece of cake. Very quick and easy to board. Finding our ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise - all with Princess. The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship and is very similar to the Caribbean Princess which we sailed on before. Embarkation was a piece of cake. Very quick and easy to board. Finding our cabins was easy since we already knew the layout. However, there didn't seem to be as many staff this time there to direct us, so it was good that we knew what we were doing. We cruised with friends who were first time cruisers and they loved the entire trip, but they also didn't have anything else to compare it to. Cruising is still a much more luxurious way to travel than an all inclusive, and still less expensive, and I would continue to cruise with Princess however my biggest complaint is the constant "up selling" the staff are now required to do. On previous cruises, on the first day at the buffet lunch there were people selling the Coke stickers and the wine tasting, and then at dinner you were occasionally asked if you wanted an after dinner liquor. That was it. This time, the staff was in your face trying to up sell throughout the entire cruise. For example, when we said we had already purchased the tickets to the wine tasting, they tried to up sell us to the more expensive wine tasting. The minute you sit down for dinner, they are trying to sell you mineral and bottled water. Then they are trying to sell you the Italian lemon liquor, and the cookbooks. It was ridiculous. I thought you hired top of the line wait staff so they can wait on you, I didn't know they were required to be salespeople as well. It was just ridiculous. I understand completely the need to charge for alcohol and I'm almost glad there is a charge - people are less unruly without unlimited free booze, however to charge for mineral water and pop and cappuccino is just preposterous. We love to cruise, and will give Princess one more chance, however if it gets any worse than this last experience we will look for another cruise line that isn't a ship full of sales staff instead of service staff. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
After 5 days in London we boarded the Crown Princess in Southampton. The check in process was quick and efficient - which was the last time that anything involving a line on the Crown Princess was quick and efficient. Our cabin was ... Read More
After 5 days in London we boarded the Crown Princess in Southampton. The check in process was quick and efficient - which was the last time that anything involving a line on the Crown Princess was quick and efficient. Our cabin was absolutely wonderful. It was the first time that we had a balcony and we would definitely book a room with one again. The room was quite nice and kept immaculate by our room steward. We did have an issue with some of our shore excursions being booked improperly. I made my way down to the shore excursions desk to find a line that stretched around the entire atrium. It was moving so slowly that the shore excursion desk sent staff out to tell people to go away unless they had issues with the next day's excursions, which were already sold out. I made two more trips back to the shore excursions desk during our trip. Both involved waits of 10-30 minutes. I found the staff to be polite, but not friendly and of limited help with my issues. I also found that the hours did not coincide with my schedule (i.e. they were open while we were in port!?!?). I found the dining to be VERY disappointing. We had the anytime seating option on the ship. Every time we showed up to the dining room, we had a wait of 10-15 minutes to talk to the hostess, who then promptly gave us a pager and told us to go away. 20-30 minutes later, the pager would go off and we could then be seated. We had the same experience at both of the anytime dining restaurants. Once seated, the food was good - not exceptional, but quite good. One evening I tried to make reservations to be told that the earliest reservation was 8:00PM - much too late for our tastes. Often we opted to eat at the buffet for dinner. We found the buffet food to be mediocre at best. For breakfast and lunch at the buffet, seating was impossible! We often had to make two or three rounds of the dining room to find a table available. Mostly, we gave up and sat out by the pool, which would not have been a problem if it was not FALL IN THE BRITISH ISLES! Translation: cold, wet, windy. Disembarking and embarking was a giant cluster. Lines were enormous. It was clearly evident that this ship was much much too large for the ports that it called on and the ports did not have the capabilities of handling 4000+ people flooding their port towns. I found my fellow passengers to be rather rude and uneducated. I often found myself hanging my head in disgrace at some of the uninformed, provincial questions that they asked or their strictly rude mannerisms - I understand why American dollars are welcome and American tourists are made a mockery of. We had our best experiences in port when we were far away from other passengers. Taking a shore excursion on your own is definitely the way to go! I would definitely visit all the cities on this cruise again; however, I would not take this ship again nor would I take a ship of this size again. If I were to cruise a similar itinerary, I would choose a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Let me start with some background info: I'm 37 and have been on three other cruises...Celebrity Century, NCL Pearl, and Carnival Splendor. I read good things about Crown Princess and thought it would be a small step above NCL and ... Read More
Let me start with some background info: I'm 37 and have been on three other cruises...Celebrity Century, NCL Pearl, and Carnival Splendor. I read good things about Crown Princess and thought it would be a small step above NCL and Carnival. I was wrong. The food was relatively good, but the service was not. I was in a mini-suite room...the coveted "double balcony" in the aft of the ship, Emerald level room E730. While this mini-suite room was nice inside and the balcony was larger than normal, the room shook like an earthquake. Apparently the propellor/engine is directly beneath this room. I did not notice it until night time as I lay in bed and felt the bed vibrating, not in a good way! The lamps were visibly shaking and the flat screen tv's were making creaking noises and rattling. Keep in mind, that we did NOT have rough seas. I believe this is just the nature of this ship. This is not the typical rocking of a cruise ship. I have been on three other ships prior to this cruise and have never experienced anything this annoying or dramatic. So, be warned, if you book a room in the aft, you might be experiencing mini-earthquakes your entire trip. I complained to the manager and was moved to another room the next day (they said that lucky for me, this room was available because someone canceled at the last minute.) This next room was also a mini-suite, but on Dolphin level, midship. However, the balcony was not private since everyone above me could look down on my balcony. However, what ruined my experience with Princess is that either the room steward or the manager on the Emerald deck stole my Ipod in the transition from room to room. While moving out of earthquake room E730, I hurriedly opened the safe and grabbed my purse, forgetting that my small ipod was still in the safe. When I got to my new room on Dolphin level and realized I had forgotten the ipod, I called guest services and was told the floor manager would go back and check the room safe. They called a few minutes later and told me they could not find it. I told them I needed to get back in that room and see for myself, because I knew for certain I had left it there. I frantically went back to the room in search of my $200 ipod. It was not in the open safe or anywhere in the room, which the steward had already been in and cleaned after I had moved out. Princess reps (the purser and the floor manager) proceeded to search my new room on Dolphin level going through ALL of my stuff in search of the ipod (bags, drawers, EVERYTHING. I'm surprised I wasn't strip searched.) I suppose they do this to make sure I was not lying or senile. They said it was "protocal." But I knew I had left the ipod in the other room in the now OPEN SAFE. After they thoroughly search my new room and don't find the ipod (shocking), they tell me they will "write an incident report." I asked what good is this going to do, since I don't have my ipod, which one of their employees obviously now had. Will they reimburse me $200 so I can buy a new one? The purser, Andrew, says no, but I can file it with whoever I have trip insurance through. Are you kidding me? Hello, trip/travel insurance does not cover things that Princess employees STEAL OUT OF YOUR ROOM! I told them they needed to do better than that and demanded that someone find my ipod. They didn't care. So, I now go with the purser to his computer while he began to fill out the worthless "incident report." Lo and behold his phone rings. He hangs up and tells me they "found" my ipod in my old room and that the room manager will be waiting for me outside my new room. I see her standing in the hall outside my room. She says to me "Oh, we must have missed it, it was in the back right corner of the safe." I am not stupid. Both she and I had previously checked the SMALL safe and it had NOT been there. So now it mysteriously shows up??! Amazing. I grabbed the ipod and didn't bother saying anything to her. I had already wasted 2 hours of my day on this BS. We both knew she was lying. Either she or the room steward on the Emerald level had taken it and then either got in trouble for it, or got a conscience and decided to return it to me. I was very glad to get it back, but the way Princess handled things was absolutely ridiculous. You would think because of my inconvenience and the violation of having them go through all of my belongings, tjhat Princess would apologize or send a bottle of wine, etc. Something. But no, I got absolutely nothing. And now, because of this incident, I will not recommend this cruise line to anyone. Honestly, the ship was not anything spectacular. The NCL Pearl is a gorgeous ship and had fantastic shows. And the service and food I had on the Carnival Splendor was very good. To spend more money on Crown Princess only to be treated like this, is a joke.The shows were OK, and like I said, the food was good. The hypnotist was pretty funny and the juggler was OK. Some of the other shows were not of interest to me. "A Night of Cole Porter?" Sorry, just not my thing. The average demographic on this ship was 55-70 years old. I would not recommend this ship for kids. Not much going on for them. Same with night life. I am not a big partier, but there was hardly anyone in the lounges at night. I worked out in the fitness area which was not anything great. The water fountain had warm/hot water. I mentioned it to the attendant at the spa desk and she just said "Yeah, we've asked them to fix it at least seven times now." Uh, how about putting a water cooler in there instead? They had one in the adults only "Sanctuary" so it's not like this is a novel idea. Oh, wait, people who use the Sanctuary pay a fee, so I guess that's why they get to have cold water and the people using the gym get the warm water fountain water. The spa area left little to be desired. Both the Carnival Splendor and the NCL spa were a lot better. The NCL Pearl spa are is hands down the BEST I have ever seen. Panoramic views, men's and women's lounges, etc. The spa on Crown Princess has no outside view, no thelassotherapy pool,and no cold water to drink. Basically not much of anything. If you like a nice walking track, this ship is not for you. The outdoor track is teeny tiny...16 laps = 1 mile. I honestly don't know why this ship had such high ratings. Maybe it has gone downhill over the past few months? Either way, I will not be cruising Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
This web site was really helpful to us before we went on our cruise. I feel like I should "pay it back." These notes are for cruisers on a tight budget. We like the idea of taking a cruise over the holidays - in our case it ... Read More
This web site was really helpful to us before we went on our cruise. I feel like I should "pay it back." These notes are for cruisers on a tight budget. We like the idea of taking a cruise over the holidays - in our case it started on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We are almost novices at cruising; the last cruise was over 10 years ago (Panama Canal) And then only one before that (Mexico.) We signed up for the 7 day Caribbean Cruise at a really great price through Americas Vacation Center. It was only $399 pp, with a $75 shipboard credit. They gave us a free room upgrade in the process! One of the best features about the cruise application process is that it can be done on line prior to departure. I noticed that the popular ashore excursions got sold out VERY early. I completed ours six weeks before departure and was disappointed that the excursions we were interested in, were no longer available. I asked the on line community about hotels in Ft. Lauderdale, found a Hampton Inn 12.6 miles from the airport on Priceline for $65 per night. Sounds reasonable, huh? The taxi from the airport was $40 and the Supershuttle to the cruise ship the next day was $60! We should have just paid the price and found something near the ship's terminal. In addition, because we arrived late in the evening, (coming from the west coast) - there were no restaurants open for dinner. We found the neighborhood bar (Cheers) (really the name) that served hot sandwiches that were ok. We had a great rocknroll band to entertain us that night too! We were up at the crack of dawn to take the Supershuttle to the cruise dock. Bad news. The line to get into the ship was a mile long. If you had bad knees or bad whatever, it could be a problem. We got acquainted with lots of experienced cruisers in line with us, and got some good tips from them about the cruise ship. We were worried about the "no booze" policy - taking booze on board in luggage. We read - on this site - about how someone bought some mouthwash in a plastic bottle, rinsed it out and put vodka and green food coloring in it. Thought that was a splendid idea. Only trouble was, the vodka tasted like mint mouthwash. That was a bust, had to throw it away. My husband drinks vodka, but I am a red wine drinker. So brought a box of wine in my suitcase, and that went through ok. Then our first stop was Cayman Island. One of the duty free stores sold Rum in a bottle. We just emptied our plastic water bottle, filled it with clear rum and brought it on board no problem. The $29 soda pass was a good idea. We just filled our plastic coke "glass" with coke and then added the rum when we could. There is something about rum and coke in the Caribbean - it tastes just wonderful. We brought the leftover rum home and tried it when we got back - didn't taste the same! The Lotus spa was a good investment. For $139 per couple, we could have unlimited access to the thermal spa. Was lovely. We did the card stamp game upon arrival - it is a good way to see the ship. There is a free library exchange in the ship's library. Bring a book or two that you don't mind giving away, and find another good one to read. We recommend not making reservations or having the same seating at dinner each night. The fun part of having open seating is that you get to meet new people each night. One couple we were especially fond of - we met several times later. The food was wonderful of course, and you could order as much as you could eat! My favorite wine with dinner was the Nobillo Sauvignon Blanc. It was reasonably priced and the wine server saved the leftovers for you for the next night. The other fun thing we did was to attend the Maitre D's wine club tasting ($25 pp) and another wine tasting ($12 pp.) Coming from California, we love wine and there was an especially good selection at both events. Other notes: You can ask for an omelet at breakfast. We only ate two meals a day - late breakfast and early dinner. It was too cold to enjoy the outdoor theaters with free movies, but seemed like a good thing to do. We liked to walk the deck/s for exercise. The exercise equipment in the sports area had a waiting list. You had to sign up/reserve all. We loved the comedy club the best. As recommended, get there early for seats. The comedians were top quality and very funny. Order a coke and put in a little of your rum for fun. Or house wine was only $5.50 per glass (but they add an 18% tip on everything.) Internet: Very expensive on board. Also do not forget to shut off data roaming on your cell phone. And fetch data manually. Long distance international calls on the cell phone will break the bank. Even incoming. At Grand Cayman, we found a very reasonable internet cafe up an alley just opposite the post office. There are signs. ($2 for 10 mins.) You will need exact change for postage stamps at the post office. They have post cards there to sell; don't need to run around town to find one. We took the Jolly Roger tour for $48 for two people. It was sardines, people too crowded on an open bus. Just took you a mile or 2 out of town to a nice beach for about an hour. But you could sit at a beach restaurant upstairs overlooking the cruise dock and drink local draft beer in a frozen mug and be just as entertained by the bartenders. (We did that too.) There were people snorkeling, diving, riding a glass bottom boat, etc. Not enough time to really enjoy the island. Don't bother. Wish we had time to go to the free lectures - cruise friends said the "Art History at Sea" was really good. We thought the LGBT get together sounded interesting. When we showed up to party, we found lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgenders. It was definitely a party! A little awkward for heteros like us, but the people there (mostly gay men) thought it was hilarious that we attended and bought us a drink! Saw several during the cruise and got the wink from all. I had to ask our new friends what the "Friends of Dr. Bob and Bill" was about - so we didn't get embarrassed again - it is the ship version of AA. After all the Carib beer, rum, wine, mint vodka, - we should have joined! Oh don't forget to mention the free rum tasting at the Duty Free store on the dock. Ask the cashier for a tasting cup. Ten different flavors of rum (Coconut, vanilla, orange - more - cant remember. The cruisers standing around tasting were FNP (family's abbrev. for "feeling no pain.") And reasonably priced. They bag it and bring it to the ship for you too. Roatan Honduras We really wanted to go to the Dolphin encounter for $378 per couple. But just not in our budget. I had a fantasy about having my picture taken with a dolphin in our arms. Instead we found another couple and shared the cost of a taxi for $10 each into town. BE warned, Honduras is a VERY poor country - although the locals try to make it a comfortable & safe place for us tourists. Our taxi driver, Martin, took us to the local grocery etc. store (the local Wal-mart) and then waited for us for two hours while we walked around. This is a one main street town; but ok to walk "around the block." Our friends bought some really nice souvenirs. I already have three of everything so did not partake. I have spent time in Central America as a medical volunteer and it was great to get back to the roots and share it with my companions. The grocery store had a sit down counter and served beer and local food. Black beans -really delicious. Across from the grocery store - you had to find your way to the back of the run down building - was an internet cafe. I installed skype on the computer there, and was given a computer phone/monitor to plug in. Ran out of time to see if it worked, but it was computer #2. Check it out. I bought Caribbean spices at the grocery store to add to my gourmet cook shelf. This was the first opening day of the Mahogany Bay Cruise Center with lots of "duty free shopping." The "largest theme bars, perched atop Monkey Hill has glorious views of the cruise ship and the tropical gardens of Monkey Bay." So says the literature. The "world's first magical flying beach chair." Of course you had to pay to get there, but everyone that we spoke to enjoyed it Cozumel -Tulum Mexico My husband had never seen a Mayan ruin. The day was VERY hot and made it a poor choice to be outside, but being a prepared traveler, we had handkerchiefs to wet for our necks and brow, and a spray bottle. And extra water bottles in our back packs. Our tour guide was awesome; he gave us his profile and compared it to a picture from a Mayan carving - we believed him when he said he was an ancestor. He really made the ruins come alive. The path to the ocean was closed, and you could not walk on the ruins, up the steps and through the arches - like you can at Mishu Piccu and ? fill in the name. He brought us to a family run lunch business where he said was "safe" - he probably got a cut of our business - such is the way in this part of the world. The food was ok and the beer was cold. The cost - $158 for 2 people. Glad we did the 8 am tour. The afternoon tour would have been intolerable. (Does it sound like all we did was drink?) We are really temperate when not on vacation! Princess Cays This beach is owned by the cruise line. We rented a "beach clam shell" for $24/ 2 people - to keep out of the sun. And some snorkeling equipment. Forget the snorkeling, not much to see. Formal wear night. We have a wonderful picture of handsome husband in a tux (married for 48 years) and myself. But not cheap. $40? It was a good investment, and scanned/copied it to enclose in family Christmas cards. I did not realize that you could get a picture with different backdrops in several locations. So look around before you choose. Other notes: I got busted for having an iron in our room. It was really a steam/iron combination, but our steward made me put it away. Next time, I will bring just a steamer to freshen up the clothes. The Laundromat was a mile down the corridor and always in use. So bring hand wash items and liquid soap. There was a $10 jewelry sale in the dining room one afternoon. Just our price! I bought pink cubic zirconian rings, pendant, earrings; super costume jewelry sets. My granddaughters loved them for Christmas presents. Overall, it was a great experience and we will do it again to another venue. Our friends are now on board a Princess cruise from San Francisco to Alaska. When our personal economy is better, we would like to take that cruise. Cruise on! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
My wife and I just completed a cruise on the Crown Princess. It was my 28th cruise, second on Princess, 19th on Carnival Corp ships. We were accompanied by my in-laws. I will attempt to describe our overall impression of the good and the ... Read More
My wife and I just completed a cruise on the Crown Princess. It was my 28th cruise, second on Princess, 19th on Carnival Corp ships. We were accompanied by my in-laws. I will attempt to describe our overall impression of the good and the bad. The boarding process in Ft Lauderdale went very smoothly. The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship. The ship itself was spotless, the onboard crew was superb. We especially liked the cabin layout. Having the wall between the bathroom, the closet and the rest of the room makes the cabin space so much more useable. Not having to negotiate closet doors in the entrance hallway as is typical on today's cruise ships makes living in a small space much easier. My in-laws were especially pleased with their suite. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was the "Personal Choice Dining". We were so looking forward to this choice in dining. The "Personal Choice Dining" concept doesn't work well on Princess, or Holland America for that matter. On NCL the concept works quite well as they employ LCD monitors to keep passengers apprised of wait times in each dining room. The problem on the Crown Princess was that reservations were only available prior to 6:15PM and after 8:00PM. I submit that having the availability of making reservation for the times the passengers don't want to eat is extremely silly. If I wanted to eat at those times I would have taken fixed seating. What was especially frustrating was that after standing around and waiting 45 minutes on the first night we were finally seated in the dining room where 50% of the tables were empty. After being seated we ordered drinks. These didn't come until halfway through our meal. In general the food service in the dining rooms was very good; the drink service in the dining room was horrible. In fact one night my father-in-law refused the drink he ordered because the drink came again at mid-meal. The only criticism of the food service in the main dining rooms was that we were not asked if we wanted a second cup of coffee three out of 5 nights we ate in the main dining rooms. The quality of the food is another matter. For the most part the food on the Crown Princess was totally tasteless. I could only describe the food as "Institutional". However, the deserts and the baked goods all over the ship were excellent. This was the Thanksgiving Day week cruise. We were expecting a good Thanksgiving Day meal consisting of Turkey and all the fixings. The turkey was totally tasteless, the waiter offered the excuse that they don't use salt. Breakfast was, in my opinion, the best meal of the day as breakfast foods don't usually have the need for seasoning beyond salt. We ate all of our breakfasts and lunches in the Horizon Court Restaurant. At breakfast there was confusion such as syrup for pancakes and French toast were presented prior to the serving area for the actual pancakes and French toast, necessitating a second trip through the same line. The food in the Crown Grill was good, but not up to the taste of a premium shore-side steakhouse. The quality of the meat was excellent; the problem was the lack of seasoning. The food at lunch was tasteless, even the hamburgers. As to the grilled items, I have a problem with the placement of the hamburger grill all the way in the front of the ship and the pizza and the ice cream amidships. It doesn't make sense to have to hike half the length of the ship to get grilled items or pizza. Holland America ships have a much better layout and the hamburgers are excellent, or they were last March when we cruised the Westerdam. The service staff in the Horizon Court couldn't do enough for us. If they passed by the table and saw your glass or cup was empty they asked if you wanted a refill. They cleared the table promptly. As a personal preference I would rather have full drink stations setup as Carnival does or to a lesser extent Holland America does. I really don't want to wait for someone to pass the table to get a refill of orange juice or coffee even though the staff is there. Holland America had a nice balance of service and the availability of self service. The last dinner we ate in the Cafe Caribe. The roast beef at the carving station had a little taste. I found that they were serving Cajun Shrimp. You would think that the "Cajun Shrimp" would have a little zest to it, it had no taste as did the shrimp cocktails I had in the main dining rooms. I do have to complement Princess, as you do have the option of a shrimp cocktail on the dining room menu every night. The lack of availability of a shrimp cocktail on the menu every night is a complaint my mother has had on Holland America. Having "NO Smoking" nights in the Casino is a very good start; however the Casino reeks of cigarette and cigar smoke even when no one is smoking. Having a cigar bar as part of the Casino was an incredibly bad idea. In summary, Princess has the same problems most of the other cruise lines have. As the price point is squeezed they do the easy things to economize without understanding the effect. They cut staff, but they do not have the professional onboard management to figure out how to get the productivity to make up for the smaller staff. Luckily, for the cruise lines, they are all failing in the same way. We are trying Celebrity for our next cruise. We shall see. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
First, I will say that I cruised with Princess one time before and it appears not much has changed. The ports that this ship visited were great. The rest of the cruise was very undesirable. To cruise with Princess and enjoy yourself...you ... Read More
First, I will say that I cruised with Princess one time before and it appears not much has changed. The ports that this ship visited were great. The rest of the cruise was very undesirable. To cruise with Princess and enjoy yourself...you have to be of the "older" mindset. This was not a younger people's cruise. Granted we sailed on a VIP casino invite. The casino was way too small for all the people they invited on this cruise. Machines were always full and there were lines of people waiting to get on them. The other thing is they were so tight...this is how they made so much money - even though they gave free drinks. It was not enjoyable. The food was better in the buffet than in the dining room. I looked for escargot every night on the menu. On the day of disembarking we had breakfast in the dining room and I asked the others at our table why they didn't have escargot for dinner. They said that the maiter'd came to every table and said "don't forget that escargot will be available tomorrow night but won't be on the menu". What the heck cruise line does this. Crazy. Of course - there are more things that happened like this throughout the cruise. The smoking area on this ship is in one corner of the ship toward the back and in the casino. Then my husband had issues with the old ladies in the casino - saying ah that cigarette is horrible most every night. This was THE ONLY place to smoke on the ship and the others were just ridiculous about it. Typically you can smoke on the pool deck on the starboard side. Royal Caribbean gets our vote and our business for future cruises. Princess will not. Overall, the ship appeared to be taken care of and our cabin was very large. The cabin steward was great and the bartender in the casino was fabulous. They do push the drinks as well. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
I'm a first-time poster, so I'm not sure how this normally goes, but here's a quick Crown Princess Review. Background: I've been a Princess cruiser my entire life and this cruise was my 14th. It was also the cruise ... Read More
I'm a first-time poster, so I'm not sure how this normally goes, but here's a quick Crown Princess Review. Background: I've been a Princess cruiser my entire life and this cruise was my 14th. It was also the cruise that gave me top level status (Elite) on Princess. And it was also probably my last. We at least one cruise per year, and over the past five years, Princess has done what I would have considered the impossible: It has turned me from a brand evangelist to one who really doesn't have many nice things left to say. I'll be the first to admit that many of the problems we faced (e.g., the constant nickel and diming) are not exclusive to Princess, but that doesn't make them less frustrating. It just makes us more likely to trade out of cruising altogether (something else I never would have thought was possible five years ago). I don't know the best way to do a cruise review, so I'll try to break it into sections. My wife and I and our two babies (eleven months) had a Vista Suite. My parents were also on the cruise and had a mini-suite. I can't cover everything, but I'll try to give a flavor for the highlights and lowlights. Check-in Smooth as silk. FLL is a decent port and some friends dropped us off. We dropped our bags, filled out our forms and checked in. There was no line, so we went right on board, artfully dodging the people trying to take our picture and headed up to the cabin. On the way to the cabin, one of the cabin supervisors saw us and welcomed us by name, which was pretty impressive, since we hadn't even gotten to our cabin yet. Ahh, the benefits of having 11-month old twins. Grade: A. The Cabin Adequate, although poorly designed (This is where I wish I had some pictures.). We had booked the Vista Suite on our last cruise in order to get the future cruise credits. We wanted one of the bigger ones, but the future cruise counselor told us that the larger ones wouldn't actually allow four people, only the Vistas (We later found out that she could have fixed this with a phone call.). I'm guessing the whole cabin was around 450 sq ft. The living room was small and had random furniture thrown out. The bathroom (which was huge) was right off the cabin door and connected on one side to the front of the living room and on the other to the master bedroom. There is a DVD player in the living room and a long list of movies. The suite also has a huge balcony. Suites come with a number of benefits, which makes sense, since they cost 3X as much. A free mini-bar set-up (which became a huge source of frustration), free laundry and dry cleaning (great for puking kids, or at least their clothes), breakfast every morning in a specialty restaurant, flowers, canapes and free internet access. Grade: B. Cabin Service The cabin service was one of the areas that we had noticed had been slipping and this cruise was no exception. Our room steward was very nice, but getting anything done was a nightmare. A clogged toilet? Three phone calls. Turn-down service? We asked him to do it at 7 pm every night, but if we didn't leave out the little card, he didn't. Replace amenities and towels? Sometimes. The mini-bar incident was one of the more memorable ones. My wife and I don't drink, so we always ask the cabin steward to replace the entire mini-bar (which is mostly liquor and beer) with the equivalent in Diet Coke, Diet Sprite and bottles of water. It's never a problem and the liquor costs so much more than our sodas that they fill the fridge beyond capacity and tell us that if we want more, we should ask. We made our normal request of the cabin steward on day 1 and he told us he would do it. Nothing got done. We asked again and he replace four or five liquors with four or five sodas, leaving much of the beer and stuff we didn't want. By day 2, we were starting to get frustrated and asked again. Nothing got done. We called the cabin supervisor and she contacted the steward to fix it. A few more things got replaced but the beer got left behind. Finally, we called the cabin steward in, explained yet again what we wanted, actually handed him the items we didn't want and tried to get some replacements. We ended up trading in about 16 items of hard liquor, beer and sparkling water for fewer than that of our choice. We called on Day 5 to get restocked and the steward told us there would be a charge. We explained that we never got the equivalent value on Day 1. Nope, still a charge. I went to the purser's desk to escalate. No, he said, there was a policy change six months ago. It's on the website, he said (but he couldn't show me where). It's in the P&P, also (which he wouldn't show me). You get 16 items with alcohol or 15 without. I asked him how many items we got. He told me he was sure we had gotten 15. I asked him for a total. He didn't have one. Called room service. They didn't have a total either, but wouldn't deliver any more. This went on and on, got four people involved and finally, after sufficient begging, got a few more cans of soda. The cabin supervisor eventually told me that the policy in the past had always been to exchange for equivalent value, but Princess changed it recently to a fixed number no matter what you ordered (which was actually fewer items if you didn't have alcohol). Yes, the cabin steward should have said something on Day 1. Okay, enough about soda. Grade: D. The Purser's Desk Without a doubt, the worst customer service on the ship, with every person at the desk embodying the attitude of "This job would be great if it weren't for the customers." Plus side: There was a separate line for suite and Elite passengers. Downside: It was ignored. At worst, the desk was a fountain of misinformation: I stopped counting the number of times that the employees made up answers if they didn't know them (e.g., telling us there was no place we could take the kids swimming, telling us there was no Chanukah service, the aforementioned soda incident, etc.). At best, they were simply rude. Picking up the phone was out of the question. The words "I'm sorry" were clearly not in these people's dictionary. Grade: F-. Dining Services For the most part, a highlight. Because we were in a suite, we were allowed to have breakfast every morning in a premium restaurant (same food but more private) and had a reservation for dinner every night at the same table with the same staff. The premium restaurant staff was unbelievable. Every morning, the high chairs and rice krispies were ready for the kids and they knew what our orders would be before we got there. Our dinner servers were friendly and also had stuff ready for the kids. Even the food was better on the ship than it had been in a while. Sabatini's had a great tasting menu dinner. The only negative was at the Crown Grill, when I tried to change a reservation from 7pm to 8pm. I stopped by and the host told me, no problem, just show up. I told him I'd rather he changed it, so he looked in his book. Oh, he said, that would be difficult, since a lot of people were coming at that time. I pointed out that he had just told me that it wouldn't be a problem to show up; suppose I had? He yelled at me, "Just show up!" and walked away. Grade (ex-the Crown Grill guy): A. Outside of the premium dining, service was so-so. Employees were spending a lot of time chatting with each other rather than refilling dishes or cleaning tables. Some were extremely friendly while others looked at us as if we had just come from a foreign planet. Grade: C. General state of the ship Depends where you are. Most of the ship was in pretty good repair, and they were constantly doing maintenance, generally at times that would minimize passenger inconvenience. Other areas were inexcusable and bordered on safety issues. For example, they brought one of our kids a pack-n-play with a large hole in the webbing, while the trays on the high chairs were often broken. The kids' pool was often coated in crap (not that kind) to the point where they couldn't swim. Our cabin had a non-functioning light when we got it. But the most frustrating thing was the elevators. At least one elevator was down for the entire cruise. Buttons didn't work and weren't repaired when we reported them. Up elevators went down and vice-versa. 5-10 minute waits were common, which was exacerbated by the fact that people would push a button and get so frustrated by the wait that they'd just walk down the stairs (although I never understood why able-bodied people couldn't walk down a flight of stairs). Grade: C-. General Helpfulness My "catch-all" category. I've been cruising long enough to know how hard these guys work for how little money, but the "it's not my job" attitude is definitely becoming more prevalent. It seemed particularly prevalent at areas where people wouldn't get tipped for what they did. Most of the staff seemed pretty miserable. No one really wanted to go out of there way for anything. We went to the kids' center one day during regular hours and it was closed. I called pax services from the house phone to find out why and he said someone would be right there. Ten minutes later, the house phone rang and it was the same guy saying the kids center was closed. I pointed out that the sign said it should be open and suggested that they send someone to put a sign on the door saying when it would open. He said, "It's in the Patter (the list of events)." Click. And on disembarkation day, I couldn't get off the ship and had to go see the purser's desk. They told me I had a credit that I had to claim. I went to the desk, waited 15 minutes and then someone walked by and simply said, "It's taken care of." I waited for someone else to find out what was taken care of. Apparently, they took care of my credit. No, I really wasn't entitled to anything back and no one could explain to me why they made me stand there. Needless to say, no one bothered to apologize. Grade: D. Nickel and Diming: Without a doubt, this is the one area where Princess has improved. And yes, I recognize that it exists to a certain extent on every cruise line. But it's gotten out of hand. Escaping the people trying to take your picture is next to impossible. The art for sale is everywhere (I can't wait until I trip over Picasso.). The little things (delivery charges, the Sanctuary, seminars on how to lose weight without trying but are really trying to sell you miracle pills) became truly annoying. They could have cut back on the onboard announcements by 50% if they had stopped trying to sell me stuff over the intercom. But when you generate 25% of your revenue from onboard spending, they'll keep coming. Grade: A if you're CCL, F if you're a passenger. Bottom line: Every cruise, we book our next cruise onboard so we get the shipboard credit. On Day 1, we booked our cruise for next year. $8,000 for a family of four in an Owner's Suite. On Day 5, we canceled it. For that kind of money, we can get a nice suite at a Four Seasons. Sorry Princess, you aren't what you used to be. Mike Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
It is our fifth cruise and we decided to try Princess based on the itinenary and the good reviews. We are big fans of Celebrity and were expecting the same or even a better level of customer service. We were wrong...I have never seen a ... Read More
It is our fifth cruise and we decided to try Princess based on the itinenary and the good reviews. We are big fans of Celebrity and were expecting the same or even a better level of customer service. We were wrong...I have never seen a cruise line with so many strict (and stupid) rigid rules and total lack of enpowerement at the working level. Don't get me wrong. There are lots of good people aboard the Crown, working hard to satisfy the cruisers. But the proportion is much smaller than on the other ships we have been on. Here are a few examples: 1. Kids Club: We were cruising with our 2.5 year old son and visited the Pelican Club a few times. Great toys and equipment. Even if there were no other childrens in the club (there were few of them on board) Our son would be completely ignored by the staff (they start taking care of them at 3). They would set up four chairs for the childrens to watch a movie but would nor bother a fifth one for our son. He did not exist as far as they were concerned (in the case of a female staff I will not name, it was borderline rude) We were told it was policy as they were afraid of liability...Give me a break. Smiling and having a small chat with a little boy does not bring out lawsuits... 2. Room Service: There was a Package offered in the room service where you could purchase a bottle of alcool along with the mixer for pre-dinner drinks. I called room service to be told they decided not to offer it anymore but that they would gladly charge the mixers extra if I wanted. When I insisted that it was black in white in THEIR menu, I was put on hold for about 10 minutes until a supervisor repeated the same to me. (They had not yet updated the menu in the staterooms but decided to no longer offer) I once again inststed, was again put on hold and the supervisor said he would sent the order in. No apologies. Then the order arrive...with the mixers as extra charge. They were making it a matter of principle so I made a formal complaint. 2a (Continued): 2 days after, no news/ I enquire to the Maitre d< as Sabatini if it was normal and he said he would follow up (and he did !, thanks) I receive the day after the visit of a supervisor and a card from "Room Service Manager" (No name) saying thy were looking into it and was with the Management. How many layers of management do you need to answer a 4$ question. Many on Princess. Bottom-line, I never got my drink or my answer and the cruise is now finished. 3. Dinner Reservations: If you have free dining at one of the 2 main restaurant, you can call to reserve the same day and avoid the 30 minutes standing in line at the queue to get a table (especially formal nights and at sea days) With a 6-month pregnant wife and a small boy, that wait can be quite painful. I then called to be told that there were no longer table that could be reserved. They still had tables but kept them for walk-ins. Given that reservations are always seated first, we were told to simply go wait in line. I also think they are purposely slowing down the process by having only 1 head waiter seating the guests. We often waited a long time when the restaurant was half-empty. 3a Continued. They seem much more short-staffed as the waiter also takes care of wine (there is no sommelier) and most everything else (jr. waiter only handles the drink). I got the feeling that they are given many more tables that usual) 4. Specialty Restaurant: You would think they would make it easy since it is a source of revenues...Nope!, if you call same night (after 17:00) you are told that you can no longer reserve. You are also told that they don't take calls. (Basically you need to cross the entire ship to see if there is room available) Is that customer service for you ? Once you get there, it is good. 5. Cabin Staff: One night, we needed Hot Water to warm the baby's milk. After vainly trying to page our attendant (the page system does not work, like the wake-up call and the messaging system by the way)I was told that it was not their duty and I had to call room service...How far from Celebrity level of service. 6. Sports Facility: Basket-Ball court locked most of the time (even days at seat and when we had beautiful weather) When it was finally open, no basket-ball in sight. After looking for 20 minutes for a staff member (none to be seen and we were AT SEA)my wife tried calling guest services and was put on hold 3 times...no one knew where the sports staff were or the ball. 7. Baby sitting: Prohibited on Princess, afraid of liability Every staff member has its small pigeonhole and they will not go the extra mile...I find that unusual for a cruise line. Again, apologies to all the good people who provided us great service during that cruise(Yuri at Crown Grill, Most of our Dining Room Waiters) Also, the British Isles Itinerary is beautilful and I would warmly recommend it. The cabin design is great with a toddler (it makes like a suite with the open-closet area big enough for a crib and the soundproofness is decent and the ship is in good condition. A telltale, we met many long-time celebrity passengers. Invariably when ask why they always cruise with Celebrity, they responsed...the great loyalty program. Sorry, this is not how you keep customers... By the way Princess, I am still waiting for my answer (and apology) for that mixer-drink question... This will be our last cruise with Princess...back running to Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
I have so much to say about this trip that it became too much to post, so I'll try and keep it simple and to the point. My husband and I booked this cruise as a holiday gift to his family. It was our second time on the Crown ... Read More
I have so much to say about this trip that it became too much to post, so I'll try and keep it simple and to the point. My husband and I booked this cruise as a holiday gift to his family. It was our second time on the Crown Princess so we had a good idea as to what to expect. It was my husband's 4th cruise, my 10th. Overall the service was below average. The cruise started negatively before we even got on the ship. It took close to 2 hours to board the ship. Followed by our 2 suitcases delivered to outside our room soaking wet, and all clothing inside the suitcases soaked throughout. 2 items we were especially concerned with were my formal dress and my husband's suit. The ship supposedly dry cleaned them, but not in time for formal night, and were returned in the exact same poor condition as we gave them. Everything from the room steward, to the head waiter, to the crew at the front desk was average/below average. Excuses we heard throughout the trip: "It's a very crowded ship." "There are hardly any activities because its only a 5 day cruise." Insert eye-roll here. The service on our prior Crown Princess trip (2007) was adequate as well but the saving grace was the wonderfully fantastic Konrad. Where ever this guy is, I hope Princess does whatever they can to keep him. Anyway, if you are planning a cruise, I suggest you not book on Princess. If you do book, just lower your expectations and you should be all set. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
January 29, 2011 Western Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess Background: This was our ninth cruise overall and the sixth in the past 20 months. The five previous recent cruises have been on Celebrity (3) and HAL (2). We are a ... Read More
January 29, 2011 Western Caribbean cruise on the Crown Princess Background: This was our ninth cruise overall and the sixth in the past 20 months. The five previous recent cruises have been on Celebrity (3) and HAL (2). We are a couple in our early 50's traveling with another couple of about the same age. I am a customer service manager by profession and therefore lapses in serving us (the customer) really annoy me. Conversely, I am as quick to praise excellent service. This review is in the form of a log, with a few random thoughts thrown in as I tried to keep it up during the cruise. If you just want the summary, scroll down to the end. Embarkation: We stayed the night before the cruise at the Homewood Suites in Dania beach. The room was very nice but breakfast a disappointment. Crowded and the hot food was cold. A quick cab ride brought us to the port about 10:20 AM. Luggage was immediately taken and we were whisked through security. It appears we were about the 45th or so to arrive who were not "Elite" as they sat us in rows. We were in boarding group one. Processing began at about 11:45 and within 5 minutes we were on board. Initial reactions to the Crown are that it is a beautiful ship. We are very impressed with the artwork and overall appearance of the ship. Our friends we were traveling with were in boarding group 2 but were on board within 5 minutes after we were. Upon boarding a string quintet was playing in the Piazza, we would see them many times throughout the cruise and always enjoyed their performance. After some cabin photos of our cabin A311, a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck (#12), we began to explore the ship. We had determined on cruise critic and it was confirmed in the welcome aboard Princess Patter that one of the dining rooms was open for an embarkation lunch. The Patter listed the times as 12:00 - 1:30 and we arrived at the DiVinci dining room about 1:00 PM. The person at the door tried to discourage us by saying that they had many back-to-back guests and they were reserving the DiVinci for those guests. After seeing our reluctance to retreat to the lido buffet, they welcomed us in. We are very glad we persisted as this was by far the best embarkation lunch we have enjoyed on any of our 9 cruises to date, and a promising start to this, our first Princess cruise. After lunch we wandered the ship some more and discovered the International Cafe. We also met our cabin steward and obtained a coffee card. The muster drill was the usual thing - Princess makes you bring your life jackets and only put them on at the end of the drill. After the muster our cruise critic group had arranged an informal sail away meet and greet and the aft bar. This was very well attended and this week the Crown was one of the earlier ships out of Port Everglades so we really enjoyed watching many other cruise ships follow in our wake. We were surprised that the beverage prices seemed as high as or higher than we have recently witnessed on Celebrity. We have fixed 6:00 PM seating and although had requested a table for 4 were seated at a table for 6. Our other dining companions are a very pleasant older couple. After the fabulous lunch perhaps our expectations were raised too high as dinner was not of the same caliber. I asked for an end cut of the Prime Rib and in 9 cruises this was the first time I have ever sent a dinner plate back to the galley as the meat was so tough to be inedible. Without my bringing it up, I heard the same comment from at least four others during the cruise (about this same Prime Rib, same dinner). It was quickly replaced with the Filet Medallions and they were adequate. The assistant waiter apparently has the job to up sell beverages and wine. There are no sommeliers in the dining room, a change from our experience on Celebrity and HAL. There is no dessert presentation (a tray with samples of each dessert) and we found that to be greatly missed. It's just not the same ordering off a menu and needing to ask "What is this exactly?" all the time. We found a great band in the Wheelhouse bar and were able to get in a dance. During our dance, however, someone cleared away my wife's special (alcoholic and expensive) coffee of the day and my Patter. We notified a waitress who replaced the coffee mixture (but the original came from the International cafe so it was not the same) and the Patter. We attended the welcome aboard show and found the 15 minutes of real entertainment in the 45 minutes show to be quite good. The other 30 minutes we could do without. What we did not know at the time is this was the only show where the Orchestra played live music which the singers and dancers performed to. The rest of the week the shows were essentially "Karaoke." After the show, we found our way up to the lido deck to check out the ten o'clock "Movie under the stars." The movie was not real good but the unique (to us) experience was fun. Popcorn, pizza, and ice cream were all nearby. The next morning we found out that the buffet had a seafood feast featuring rock crab claws, which had not been advertised. That would have been much better than the dinner we had! Sunday was a sea day. We began by getting good coffee at the international cafe (this will be a standard routine) as the standard coffee in the buffet or the dining rooms is as bad as you read on cruise critic. We then went to the buffet for breakfast. I ordered a ham omelet and it was okay. I also took some French toast, waffles, assorted fruit, and 2 slices of bacon. The French toast and waffles were mediocre, not warm, and rather hard. The fruit was good, and the bacon was extremely fatty. Next time we will try the dining room. After breakfast we headed to the adult pool by the spa. It was still early so no trouble getting loungers and we enjoyed the heated freshwater pool a great deal. One of the hot tubs was too hot, the other was nice. There were one or two other couples there with us early. Next we went for more good coffee, ran into our friends, and walked the promenade deck. We browsed through some of the shops and then retreated to our cabin to enjoy our verandah. Our cabin steward came to open our two bottles of wine and we enjoyed some wine on the balcony. At noon our cruise critic meet and greet was up in Skywalker's, not an easy place to find! About 50 of us finally did locate it though, and a good time was had by all. No officer or ship's representative attended. I found this bewildering as we had over 100 on our roll call list so expecting a 50% turnout, usually when 50 "Connected" people are meeting the ship's staff would want to welcome them. Today a "Pub lunch" was offered in the Wheelhouse bar. I went with my friend to enjoy adequate fish and chips. The ladies went to the international cafe for healthy salads, and brought them up to the Wheelhouse to sit with us. All four of us decided to go to that same pool. Now of course, no loungers were available. We noticed a couple packing up to leave and after asking they confirmed they were so we got two in the shade (I need shade). The ladies found two in the sun up on the sports deck so all were happy. Later in the afternoon we took advantage of the tea service in the DiVinci dining room. That had a live keyboard player who came over to our table and asked if we had any requests. This was a very impressive touch. Tonight is the first formal night. We attended our dinner and quite frankly have never been so disappointed in a meal on a cruise. As we entered the dining room we overheard someone saying there were Lobster claws on the buffet. I asked our waiter if we could possibly be brought some Lobster claws as none of the menu appetizers were appealing, and he said that was not possible, with a lame explanation that others could see and would ask for the same thing! Well - yeah - who wouldn't want them? I don't remember what our party ordered, but after leaving the 2 hour dinner all four of us agreed to go up to the Lido to see what was available on the buffet. Sure enough, the buffet did have Lobster claws, pre-cracked, with drawn butter available, and they were delicious. We sampled various other items from the buffet, and spoke with one of the buffet dining room managers who informed us that they would again feature Lobster claws on the second formal night. Lest I forget, for dessert in the dining room I ordered a "Make your own Sundae" and it was brought out to me wrong two times. I can understand one error, but two in a row? My customer service training is that if a customer gives you a chance to "Make an error right," triple check it before making the second delivery! Monday brought us to Grand Cayman. The four of us enjoyed a reasonably quick and good dining room breakfast and obtained tender tickets about 45 minutes after the all-clear. There was no wait and we were able to go directly to our tender. We took the public bus to Cemetery Beach and enjoyed the beach and snorkeling there. Took the bus back to Georgetown and after walking around a little and seeing Margaritaville, decided we had enough and headed back to the ship. We arrived back at the ship just in time to snag 4 shady loungers by the pool and MUTS. We got lunch from the buffet and the pool grille. I think the food at the pool grille is better as I ordered a hamburger cooked to order. We didn't really watch, but heard the soundtrack from Sherlock Holmes while we relaxed. We also enjoyed the pool and hot tub, not a bad way to spend an afternoon. After previewing the dining room menu, we all agreed to do the buffet. This allowed us to participate in some other activities including a DJ "Ballroom dance" session. We followed dancing by dinner at the buffet which was okay. After dinner we went to the Wheelhouse bar where we first took advantage of the after 8 PM "Power hours" for $2.99 drinks. The band is quite good and we were able to get in a few dances. This night there was late night (10:15 is late for us!) ballroom dancing to the orchestra. They are excellent and we stayed as long as we could. Our travel mates participated in the "Super deck party" held the same evening and had a very nice time. During the evening the CD announced that due to expected wind conditions our arrival at Roatan was being moved up to 8:30 AM, and departure would also be moved up. We hoped the 26 people signed up through CC would remember our contingency plans for a time change. Tuesday we woke early in order to be at the DiVinci when they opened at 7:30. This morning we had two wonderful, happy waiters (The "Double AA" team) who made breakfast a pleasure. During breakfast however the Captain came on and announced that after conferring with the local Pilot, a decision was made that docking in Roatan was too risky due to force 7 winds and we would bypass the port. The beautiful sunny skies teased us as we now proceeded at a snail's pace towards Wednesday's call in Cozumel. This was a great disappointment as Roatan was the primary port we wanted to visit on this cruise, having not been there before. We quickly finished our breakfast and taking all our gear with us went to the lido in search of shady chairs. None could be found that were not already "Reserved" in the shade. On a hunch, I checked the spa pool and found three loungers as yet unoccupied. I put down our gear and spoke with a friendly neighbor that I just needed to get things from my room and would be right back (We were back in 5 minutes). We enjoyed the pool during the morning and then a revised Patter schedule was published. The ladies went to a Zumba class while the men went to a movie in the theater. We enjoyed lunch in the DiVinci, met the ladies at the International cafe for coffee, and relaxed away the afternoon watching a second movie on this "Extra" sea day. A few notes at this point, not quite half-way through the cruise. The Crown is a beautiful ship, in some ways one of the nicest decorated we have sailed on. There are 14 passenger lifts. I am finding the lifts very annoying. Being on deck 12, we take the stairs to go to the Lido (deck 15) or Sun (deck 16). Going down to decks 5, 6, or 7, however, is 5 - 7 flights. It can take up to 5 minutes for a lift to show, as most often at least one lift from each bank of lifts is out of service. When you finally get one, they stop at every deck. We have been on ships with half to two-thirds the passenger count of the Crown that have 12 lifts. If we were unable to use the stairs at all (as some of the passengers are) then waiting for lifts would truly be a great inconvenience. Tuesday evening was dinner in the dining room and our waiter is starting to show some signs of personality. Dinner was okay but at least it moved along. We danced a few in the Wheelhouse and proceeded to the Princess theater for the show at 8:05. 25 minutes before show time and the only open seats were some folding chairs added to the ends of a few of the front rows. Once the lights went out the show was so compelling that I was falling asleep, despite the uncomfortable chair! Wednesday we again woke early as we arrived in Cozumel at 7:00 AM. Enjoyed breakfast in the dining room when they opened at 7:30 and went to Chankanaab Park. We enjoyed the beach and snorkeling at Chankanaab. Returned to the ship at about 12:30 for a quick shower, quick lunch from the buffet and pool grille, (buffet choices seemed very limited) and headed downtown for the afternoon. Back onboard about 3:45 and being quite exhausted from the day feel asleep in the coolness of the cabin. Awoke to find we had missed our dinner time! Our travel mates had the same affliction. About 6:50 we went to the DiVinci dining room and explained we had missed our dinner and they were kind enough to seat us. Kudos to the dining room manager as they did not need to allow us in. We learned that tonight was the "Chef's dinner" with a limited menu however there was also a secondary menu one could obtain. Dinner was okay, but again just adequate. We told our waiter we wanted to make the 8:30 comedy show in the Explorers lounge and he got us through dinner by 8:00. We headed straight to the Explorers to find it was standing room only with not a seat to be found. On this I have to give Princess an "F" for ship planning. The public rooms and theater are simply too small for the number of passengers on board. It is silly to need to arrive 45 minutes or longer before a show to get any kind of seat, when the show length is 40 minutes. This is not our idea of a relaxing cruise vacation. Thursday was a sea day headed towards Princess Cay. We slept in, wandered the ship in the late morning and ran into one of our traveling friends in Skywalkers, where we were drinking our International Cafe coffee before trying the "Princess links" mini-golf. The International cafe is one of the best things on the ship. Most of the staff there are very happy and always serve with a smile (there was one exception, a rude young woman who made it clear to everyone that this was her last week on the ship and she can't wait to get off). Vince is a showman at heart and likes to make the coffee a production; he is fun and always ready to please. The pastries at the cafe are also usually very good. After finishing our coffee we played mini-golf. The wind made it a challenge and often seemed to affect the play. However, this was something different and it was not crowded there on deck 19! Other than the cafe, we had skipped breakfast so we headed to the DiVinci for lunch. Seeing nothing that interesting on the menu two of us ordered the burger. The burgers are rather tasty however they contain a lot of salt. I asked if I could have one without added salt and the waiter explained they are partially prepared ahead of time so to custom make one would take more than 35 minutes. Salt it is. We were seated at a table for 8 and when the entrees were served found one of our table mates had a fried seafood combination of fish, scallops, and shrimp. We swear we didn't see that on the menu (it was there but called something completely different). The waiter was good enough to bring us one of those entrees to share. It was quite good and certainly better than the last few dinners! During our lunch, our traveling friends DW had an experience that regretfully seems to characterize the customer service (or lack of it) component of this cruise. She is an avid table tennis player, and the ship hosted a mixed pair's tournament. She was paired with an 84 year old gentleman who had been playing the game for 60 years. The young woman on the cruise director's staff began by stating "These are the rules" and when questioned as they were not the normal rules of the game, threw an attitude and said "This is my game and these are my rules and if you don't like it you can just leave." Anyway, they won their first match, lost their second, and were paired to play a final match with another couple. During the break the staffer went to the pool grille and brought back a chicken sandwich which she proceeded to eat in front of the playing passengers. We've certainly never experienced this before - cruise staff eating while they are supposed to be working? Apparently she really didn't want to be working as when our team was discussing with their next opponent how they would play she accused them of breaking her rules, told them they forfeited the game, and gave the medals to the other couple. Three repeated complaints and follow ups with the front desk brought three repeated promises that Sam, the CD, would contact them. They never heard from Sam. The staffer involved should be made to "Walk the plank." That afternoon, we watched a movie in the theater as no deck chairs were to be found anywhere. This is our ninth cruise and before this cruise we have never watched a movie on a ship; there is always so much to do! Princess does not enforce its unoccupied deck chair policy and people go to the deck at 6 AM, "Claim" deck chairs, and do not release them until late afternoon. This was the second formal night and our dining room servers are becoming more personable. Actually, the assistant waiter has been great all week. He is also the greeter at the DiVinci for breakfast and lunch and always has a good word to say and a warm smile. We remembered him especially at the end of the cruise; this is also his last week on board. The lobster tonight was okay, but drawn butter was served by the wait staff and no cups were made available. After dinner we enjoyed some dancing in the Explorers (dinner was faster tonight and we got there 50 minutes before the comedy show) and the ship's orchestra is very enjoyable. The comedian was okay. After the show, we went up to the buffet for lobster claws. The claws are some work as they were not completely split; however, they seem to taste better than the dining room lobster tails. Drawn butter was available in small cups in the buffet (so why not in the dining room?). Next we went to get changed and tried to watch MUTS as it was showing "Wall street" which we wanted to see. This was the late show and no one came around with blankets. We stayed about an hour but found that it was difficult to hear the dialog. We thought it was because we sat on the side but one of our traveling friends sat immediately in the center and had the same experience. It was quite windy and he conjectured that the wind was affecting the sound. In any case, we became chilled and called it a night. Friday is Princess Cay day! We met for breakfast at 9:00 as the ship was anchoring. We obtained our tender tickets at 9:40 and were on the island at 10:30. I thought it took a long time first to get on the tender and second the tender bopped around a while in the ocean waiting for a spot they could tie up. On Princess Cay we found another ship's employee who needs to walk the plank. There are several large signs "Welcome to Princess Cay." These are not copyrighted backdrops like they use on the ship for their formal portraits; this is a SIGN. A ship's photographer was anchored directly in front of this sign. He had no current passengers looking for him to take their photo. When asked to step aside so we could take a photo, he refused and said "Not while I am here." What is with these Princess employees? They are either really really good or really really bad. This is our ninth cruise but first "Private island" experience. We really enjoyed the Cay. I did a lot of snorkeling. No large fish but the area is shallow and there were hundreds of fish hidden among the rocks and coral. The lunch served on the island, even though the food came from the ship, seemed to be better than on the ship. Everything is very conveniently located and we wished it was a longer stop. Last tender was 3:00 so we arrived in a very long line to board a tender back to the ship at 2:00. 25 minutes later we were on a tender. Upon arrival on board, we went to the spa pool and used the hot tub. No chairs were available (no surprise there) but we didn't need chairs. The farewell dinner was the best dinner all week. Finally a good menu selection of both entrees and desserts. Plus, a baked Alaska parade. I like the way Princess did the baked Alaska. Our waiter cut it up right on our table and served a large section to anyone who wanted some. We all went to the Wheelhouse for music and dancing. The band took a one hour break which we used to pack up, and then met one last time back at the Wheelhouse. We were not sure we would see each other in the morning so we said our goodbyes. Saturday morning we went to the DiVinci at 6:30, enjoyed breakfast at a table for two, and said farewell to our assistant dinner waiter who was working his last meal on board. We gave him a special goodbye and headed back for the last time to our cabin. We got our entire luggage together and noted that disembarkation had just begun. We had walk-off, "Express 5" disembarkation and snagged an upward elevator as all the downward ones were filled. We were off the ship before 8:00 AM and through immigration by 8:45. Princess seems to have embarkation and disembarkation down pat; the only delay was that immigration had only two customs officers on duty. While we were in line two others arrived, and once they had 4 the lines moved well. There is much said on the cruise critic boards about smoking. We found as long as we avoided the casino it was not an issue. Someone within a few balconies of us would occasionally have a cigarette, but it was never so bad that it caused us to retreat to our cabin, and my DW if quite sensitive to smoke. We found the comfort of the bed to be mediocre at best, and we generally like a firm mattress. In summary, I would grade Princess as follows: Activity schedule - B-, (however, cannot participate in things when you can't get in the room.) Customer Service - F Enforcing policy (deck chairs) - F Entertainment; main theater - D Entertainment; other - B+ Food - D Princess Cay - A- Public rooms - F (too small for the number of passengers on board) Ship's dEcor and maintenance - A Stateroom - B (Would be an A but the bed is not very comfortable) Overall - D+ Would we sail with Princess again? Not likely. We much prefer the food and service on Celebrity and HAL. On both of these lines, we can arrive at a show 5 minutes before show time and have never had trouble finding a seat. The dining room service on both is two steps above our Princess experience. We have never faced offensive ship employees on those lines. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Having sailed with Princess before, I thought I would give them another try. What a mistake! From the accomodations to the food, what else could go wrong! PLENTY! Too many people on a ship that can't provide. You must be 45 ... Read More
Having sailed with Princess before, I thought I would give them another try. What a mistake! From the accomodations to the food, what else could go wrong! PLENTY! Too many people on a ship that can't provide. You must be 45 minutes to 1 hour to find available seating at a show. Comedians are very mediocre at best. Bar drinks are not what you expect and are very pricely. The music on the ship gets an A+++++. Gordon the band leader is exceptional, and the Jazz Cats are a favorite. The ship needs more Gordons. The staff, meaning cruise director and some of the DJ's seem to be very insecure and in the need for constant attention and affirmation. In fac the cruise director had some of her relatives on the ship the week I was cruising and she seemed to be spending her time giving them the attention that some of the passengers paid for. They are wanting to be the center of attention and focus. You are nickled and dimed from the moment you walk onto the ship, and this will last the entire duration. I know that the crusing industry has taken a "hit" with the current economic status, but in desperation, trying to make it up with high priced, coffee drinks, wine tasting and the like. The adult space on the ship is NOT free, but rather you pay for a half or a full day to use these facilities, which should not be charged, when they allow others to "save" chairs at the pools for hours on end. Where else can you set? The food is not high calibre, medicore at best. I have had better breakfast food at IHOP or Denny's. There is mayhem everywhere in the Horizon and Caribe Court buffets. People roaming back and forth, to and fro not realizing that several of the stations have the identical food selections. It takes forever to get a drink, or clean eating utensils. You are best to get your own. In the formal dining rooms, the sevice and food quality is poor as well. The seating takes forever even when you have a reservation and you request certain specifics. Don't bother. Sabatinis has gone down hill! What used to be a treat, is a waste of time and money. They should pay you to eat there. Service is very slow at best, and the food portions are VERY small. They bring you hot dinnerware, but the food is cold and tasteless. I cancelled my reservation to the Crown Grill, as I didn't want to invest any more money on food that possibly have been just as mediocre as other venues. The International Cafe is the best delight on the ship, but is not staffed adequately. You will wait for service, but the food is good, and the $1.50 spent on the Gelato is well worth it. The Cabins are clean, but our bed was in need of replacement. You could see the wear and tear of the mattress from just looking at it. We told our cabin steward who was FANTASTIC,and he did his best to remedy the situation. Other than him purchasing us a new mattress, there was nothing else that could have been done. The ship is beautiful, but they take for granted that there are services that need to be provided to make consumers happy and for them to stay competitive in the cruising industry. For anyone who has traveled Princess in the past, the service, food, and in this instance the bedding in my cabin were not at all satisfactory. For over $1,000 you expect high quality and I can say that in my situation, this was not even medium quality. I doubt that I will sail Princess again. I work too hard for my money and when I take a vacation, I do expect good service, great food, and Yes, a comfortable bed. I do believe that I had an original mattress, that had NEVER been replaced. Sleeping on the floor or the balcony was probably a better choice. Also, don't pay for the airport/pier-pier/airport transfer. You will be nickled and dimed by the drivers for tips, and in our instance the driver took our bus full of Southwest passengers past the terminal (3 terminals past) and we were responsible for taking our bags back! How bout that for convenience? Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Us: Frequent cruisers. Ages 45 and 48. Mini Suite guests. Anytime dining requested. Date of cruise was Feb 19, 2011 The following is basic facts about our cruise: Embarkation in FLL: Flawless! FLL is a great port to sail from. 15 ... Read More
Us: Frequent cruisers. Ages 45 and 48. Mini Suite guests. Anytime dining requested. Date of cruise was Feb 19, 2011 The following is basic facts about our cruise: Embarkation in FLL: Flawless! FLL is a great port to sail from. 15 minutes from show to stateroom. Mini Suite was clean and as advertised. Stateroom attendant greeted us with a comped glass of champagne and nice introduction. Sailed on time. 1st day at sea: As advertised during the day. Formal night attire requested. This where the flaws began. Anytime dining was a disaster as we had to wait an hour and a half for a table. We title the dining on Crown as "Anytime they can get you in". We requested a table for two which wasn't available. We were given a pager that would only work within a 50 yard radius. Can you say "Outback" steakhouse versus cruise ship dining experience? No offense Outback! Dining staff once we got in was poor, lacking of detail and unattentive. Maitre D? Head waiter? Food was marginal to poor. Grand Cayman: We had already been there on previous cruises so we just thought we would enjoy the beach. We chose a 7 mile beach experience. Poor choice as they hurded us into cramped busses and drove us to a packed section of 7 mile beach where you were pretty much told to only buy from there providers. Huh? Oh yea, the welcome drink they advertise is water or soda. No alcohol is provided in that spot without a walk down the beach through "other" vendors. From previous cruises however, the stingray encounter was pretty decent. Roatan: Great port. We were unable to get to the dock due to high winds and had to tender. This obviously was not the cruise lines fault and it seemed that the staff was very much trying to get organized at the last moment. All in all, it worked well with short notice. The excursion team and tender teams did a nice job. I will state however that they were teaching on our tender boats to new drivers. Probably not the best choice in high seas as this guy had a lot of trouble getting away from the boat and into the dock. We chose the Fantasy Island tour. One word is "Fantastic"! Daryl the guide did a great job and the Isand is beautiful. We had a great snorkeling tour and beach excursion. Fantasy Island is highly recommended. Cozumel: We did Passion Island. Great tour, food and a wonderful host named Alex. Open bar however seemed a little bit of the water down drinks. Beer was good and cold however. Beautiful beach and very relaxing. Day at Sea: As advertised. Formal night...same as before. Aka.....very disappointed with reservations and service. Princess Cays: We stayed on the ship to enjoy some peace and quiet. We practically had the ship to ourselves. We had previously done Princess Cays and thought we would try something different. Princess Cays on a previous cruise was nice but required the dreaded tender. Diembarkation: Wonderful as FLL does a nice job. Time from stateroom to cab was 20 minutes. Overall I would rate this cruise a 5 of 10. We were disappointed with Princess this time, mainly due to poor dining room attention and time issues of seating. We are not big eaters but enjoy a fine meal which is expected on the better cruise lines. The timing issue and quality of service in the dining rooms was deplorable at best. By the way, the food in the buffet was slightly above edible. One word that comes to mind is tasteless. Thank god for the pizza and hamburger stands which are delicious. I hate to say it as we have had good experiences with Princess in the past, but we are looking at Celebrity or going back to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
I will keep it short and sweet.First and foremost, I could not find the dining room the whole time I was aboard the ship. They have the funniest way of where to put the dining rooms. I had to figure on extra time just to make sure I ... Read More
I will keep it short and sweet.First and foremost, I could not find the dining room the whole time I was aboard the ship. They have the funniest way of where to put the dining rooms. I had to figure on extra time just to make sure I could get to the dining room.As a previous poster said, I had "Anytime Dining." That meant that you could go to the dining room "any time" between 5:30 and 9:30 or something. The first night was fine but then when it came for the first formal dinner, they asked if I had a reservation. Why should I need a reservation when I had "anytime dining?" Then, because I traveled by myself, I asked for a table for one. They didn't have one and sent me to here and yon to another dining room. Then they decided that I would eat there at 6:00 and at a specific table. Not a good start.I also agree that the dining staff left something to be desired. Because the first night I ordered a bottle of wine and they said they would keep it for the next night. So when I got to a table on the formal night, it took a long time to get my bottle of wine. I was so upset with the way I was treated I ate at the buffet dinner the next two nights. The food was marginal, at best. The food was way much better when I used to cruise 15 years ago.The tours I went on were to the beaches. I went to Cayman and Cozumel. I found a gem of a place on the beach "accidentally" I'm sure from the taxi guy. I asked to go to the Carlos & Charlies on the beach and he dropped me off at another beach club. It was great as there was no one there and it was nice and relaxing.Due to my experience, I am not going on Princess again. There has to be a cruise line with everything.Both embarkation and de-embarkation was a breeze. For a fee, Princess obtained my boarding passes for my flights and shipped my suitcase to the airport without me having to deal with it. Money well spent. 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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