8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose our first Princess Cruise because we were celebrating my husband’s retirement - and we always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland. We arrived in London 5 days early and visited the major tourist attractions. A Princess bus ... Read More
We chose our first Princess Cruise because we were celebrating my husband’s retirement - and we always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland. We arrived in London 5 days early and visited the major tourist attractions. A Princess bus picked us up at Victoria Station and drove us to Southampton. Embarkation was very organized. We had to wait awhile, but chairs were provided and we were called in groups, so not too much standing in line. Our balcony stateroom was located on Deck 15 forward. It was clean and nice, and we loved the location. Our room steward was efficient, for the most part. We only saw him on check-in day. We asked that ice be provided each day, and he took good care of us for most of the cruise. However, the last few days, he took the ice bucket away and never brought ice again. There was an awful smell in one section our hallway, that never went away. It smelled like the carpet might have molded. We had to walk through that area coming and going to our room. It was disgusting. The people on this cruise were almost entirely quite old. We are 60ish - and were some of the youngest. I did see a couple of teenagers - who were probably bored to tears. This meant a lot of canes and scooters and slow walkers. They held up lines and elevators, and much patience was required on excursions as they took forever to load and unload buses. Many were very rude as well - cutting in line and ignoring instructions. The excursions were good, for the most part. We enjoyed the places we visited. Often, however, our play time was cut short - we would gather in a designated area on the ship and wait for our group to be called - then follow the leader up and down stairs to get off the ship and to our tour busses. Alternatively, we would follow that procedure to get on tenders - nightmare! There were not enough tenders, which meant long waits to get ashore and load the busses. All of this meant that the excursions sometimes got a late start - and we had very little time to shop or see anything on our own. If I had it to do over, I would definitely explore booking excursions through local companies - rather than Princess. We could have been off the ship earlier, had more time on shore, and saved money. The food was okay - but the choices were limited and became quite boring. If you want steak, visit the premium steak house onboard - do not order steak in the main dining room. I tried it twice and was thoroughly disappointed both times. The steaks were tough, tasteless, and full of gristle. I do highly recommend the creme brûlée, however. Room Service is still free - some cruise lines are charging a fee. But, the menu is extremely limited. Nothing memorable about the food at all. Entertainment on the ship was just boring. They definitely played to the older crowd - big band music, bingo, crafting get togethers, boring stage shows. I looked forward to the outdoor movies on deck. However, it was too cold on deck in the evenings and you couldn’t clearly see the screen during the day. We spent most of our ship time resting, watching tv, and eating. There wasn’t much else interesting to do. Staff was mostly efficient, but not too friendly. Unlike other cruises I’ve been on, the staff did not seem to enjoy their jobs, and were not particularly interested in the cruisers. They did their jobs, but gave nothing extra. Disembarkation was very smooth and quick. We had breakfast, met at our assigned location, and were quickly off the ship. The luggage was organized, and we met our driver in very short order. Overall, we enjoyed our trip because of the wonderful people in England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. We saw wonderful buildings and exhibits. I’ve always loved cruising, but this particular ship, with its boring entertainment, ho-hum staff, and limited food selection, was nothing special. I need to add - we were hot the entire time we were onboard. We lowered the temperature in our room as much as possible, but had to open our balcony door for cool air. All of the public rooms were hot, and we sweated through every meal. For that reason alone, I would not repeat this cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Enjoyed a pre-cruise day in London sightseeing. Independent transportation to the pier via Stonehenge. Great couple days. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Luggage arrived in cabin in less than 30 mins after boarding. ... Read More
Enjoyed a pre-cruise day in London sightseeing. Independent transportation to the pier via Stonehenge. Great couple days. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Luggage arrived in cabin in less than 30 mins after boarding. First time our cabin steward didn't make it a point to come and introduce himself to us. He did an adequate job. I had balcony cabin B701. Good location. I have sailed on Crown many times and prefer the Baja deck. Had 7:15 traditional dining in MDR. Since this was a port intensive cruise we were not able to dine there every night. Menu was fine. Same entrees as always with the exclusion of escargot. Enjoyed the Crown Grill one evening. It was delicious as always but price continues to go up. Enjoyed the buffet each morning. Selection was good. Disappointed the fitness center didn't allow passengers to use the treadmills until 8 am although I did understand. Difficult to use with early ports almost everyday. Love MUTS but too cold on this cruise to enjoy. However, I did ask for movie popcorn every night! You had to go hunt for it but I was able to get some. Ports were wonderful!!! My biggest surprise was the chaos getting on and off the ship at almost every port. Long queues, people upset, trouble getting gangways up, steep gangways, passengers getting on and off with luggage, etc. It was really a pain. I understand delays when it is a tender port but simply walking off should never be an issue. Overall great cruise. I would highly recommend. The layout and the size of the Crown works well for me. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the British Isles! Great ports, short on time, but we did so much I don't know where they would have found more time. Overall experience was great. All of the ports were fun and had loads of things to do. Perhaps one ... Read More
We chose the British Isles! Great ports, short on time, but we did so much I don't know where they would have found more time. Overall experience was great. All of the ports were fun and had loads of things to do. Perhaps one change would be stay one day in Doublin and two days in Edinburgh! We chose outside tours and were thrilled with them. Saved a considerable amount of money on them, too. The tours are smaller, personalized and just more fun than those offered by Princess. We had big problems with the assistance at the Front Service Desk. A JOKE! Fortunately everything went pretty smoothly, but the one hiccup was a major deal. Unfortunately, the Service Desk agents gave a different answer for the same question. Even asking to speak with the manager didn't get much help. Promised to call back and never did. Unacceptable. Apparently getting off the ship for a few days is something no one has ever done before (hah)! Our friends got approval from Princess before making reservations. The Crown Princess did everything to make this a terrible expereince for them. On the departure date they were told to go to immigration at 6:40am. They did. They were sent to three different places and no one was there. Nice way to end the cruise. The dinners were fine. Quality a little less than it used to be. We had an outstanding waiter at dinner who made the entire trip worthwhile. Hermanie was excellent! We never saw the Captain (except at the Platinum and Above Cocktail Awards event). Saw very few of the 'suits' walking around. Usually they are a lot more present than that. The Crown Princess is getting worn. It needs updating. The public bathrooms were terrible, tile falling off the wall, etc. Carpeting in the buffet was worn out. It has always been such a beautiful ship it's a shame to see it in such a state of disrepair. But the beauty of the British Isles is worth the trip. Such a lovely area to enjoy. The peace, beauty and history are worth the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The only thing I would change would be to tell Princess that when they travel to Europe in April and May they choose a ship with a retractable roof so people can enjoy the beautiful swimming pools and hot tubs. They should also have a non ... Read More
The only thing I would change would be to tell Princess that when they travel to Europe in April and May they choose a ship with a retractable roof so people can enjoy the beautiful swimming pools and hot tubs. They should also have a non alcoholic option for their gifts and prizes not everyone consumes alcohol. We loved the food but found there were too many seafood options and too much spinach done in variety of ways. The food in the Horizon restaurant was fabulous great variety. Another area they need to improve on is the shore excursions and how they handled the groups getting off the ship. We stood everyday in ridiculous lines to have a sticker with a number slapped on our person. They didn’t have enough people working that process. They should have the groups gather in an area and as a group is called they exit through a door where someone is waiting to provide them with a number sticker. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Good Cruise but major work needed on embarkation and disembarkation. The current processes while in port are cumbersome and lead to long lines and long waits to return to the ship. One of the re-embarkation security stations actually ... Read More
Good Cruise but major work needed on embarkation and disembarkation. The current processes while in port are cumbersome and lead to long lines and long waits to return to the ship. One of the re-embarkation security stations actually brought cruisers back on board in the middle of Crooners Bar. Security stations when returning to the ship are undermanned with the line stopping each time someone needed to be patted down since the person conducting the pat downs was also running the xray machines. Customs review was a TOTAL DISASTER and no officers seemed to be managing the process. We were told to report at 10 a.m. but it was not until nearly 11 a.m. until we reached customs agents. There are only 3 agents for 3,200 customers. There did not appear to be anyone running the process and the process was a debacle at best. It is unfortunate that as one of the last events onboard the ship would be memory of the horrors of going through customs with ship personnel in total disarray. Casino has heavy smell of smoking. Need to discontinue the cigar bar and repaint this area to get rid of the heavy scent of cigarettes and cigars. We normally use the casino but not this trip. On the upside we found the cabin, dining room and other staff members to be a joy and greatly enhanced our experience. Our thanks to them. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We started our holiday with a couple of extra days shopping at Sawgrass Mills, which has fantastic bargains for the British shoppers. The only real downside to our holiday was our arrival. We have since found out that we pre-paid an ... Read More
We started our holiday with a couple of extra days shopping at Sawgrass Mills, which has fantastic bargains for the British shoppers. The only real downside to our holiday was our arrival. We have since found out that we pre-paid an exhorbitant amount for our transfers and when we arrived at Miami airport, there was no one to greet us and we waited around for 15 minutes unsure what to do as a representative from Princess was not there. When we were finally shown to the taxi rank we had to wait another 45 minutes for a taxi to take us to our Hotel. The hour delay meant we hit rush hour which is a nightmare in Miami and our 45 minute journey then took 1 1/2 hours. However after that we had an amazing trip. We were unsure whether to do the drinks package as it is quite expensive and In the past we have had a middle of the range drinks package which suited us much better, but it was all or nothing on this cruise. We wouldn't have it again as you had drink quite a lot to get the benefit and taking into consideration you are off the ship on port visits on quite a few days, it would have been better to have bought this as we went. (We also met a British lady who developed an allergic reaction on the ship on the second day of the cruise and was advised not to drink alcohol and they wouldn't refund her drinks package) Compared to British spas , we found the spa on board is very expensive too. However apart from that we had a good experience. There were plenty of sunbeds and things to suit everyone. You can sit on deck by the main pool which always has a lot going on or find quieter spots by the small pool at the stern The food as usual was absolutely amazing and the evening dinners in the restaurant were superb. All the staff we came across were really friendly and couldn't do enough to help. The entertainment was also excellent and there is almost too much to choose from. Ports of Call We booked the majority of trips before we left England. St Kitts- we had a fantastic day out on a mini speed boat trip booked through Bluewater Safaris. We were picked up in a small bus and given a lovely guided tour of St Kitts from the port to the jetty where the speed boats were moored. We were given a safety talk and they got 2 people per boat and we sped over the water to a ship wreck where we went snorkelling seeing turtles and string rays and a variety of fish. It was a really enjoyable and exhilarating 3 hour experience . Martinique- we had booked a car for the day but the Avis Rental office was a ferry trip away and as the ferries were on strike we had to abandon that idea. Instead we met Awa on the promenade who offered to take us on a trip of the island . This was a fabulous day out and I would highly recommend booking Awa as she was obviously very proud of Martinique and showed it off to its best, stopping to show us the flora and fauna and was so lovely she gave us a hug at the end of our trip. She took us to the replica of the Sacre Coeur, the Balata botanical gardens, where she waited for as long as we wanted to spend there( and were beautiful), to the waterfalls , a rum distillery and St Pierre hit by a devastating volcanic eruption in 1902. I would really recommend booking her (mroad.contact@gmail.com)and although she spoke English we practised what French we knew with her too. Barbados We booked a trip on a catamaran called Calabaza. This had been recommended to us before we left and was another amazing day out. Some of the cruise tours had about 50 people on their boats, but this trip takes a maximum of 12 guests. There was as much food as you wanted, which was beautifully cooked and an endless supply of drinks. We stopped to snorkel in 2 locations and the turtles swam so closely to you it was hard to move out of their way. I didn't want the day to end. Antigua- as we wanted a bit of a relaxing day and we had been to Antigua before we stayed on the ship in this port. St Thomas- we booked tickets to go to the Pirate Museum that has recently opened. This was an excellent place to visit with interesting artefacts recovered from various ship wrecks. Upstairs there were lots of interactive exhibits with people around to talk you through them. For the pirate section we were shown round by a live Captain Jack Sparrow, who was so convincing that I'm sure he must be related to Johnny Depp and was really popular with the children. It was within walking distance of the ship and is situated next to the cable car. We spent a good couple of hours in there and you can just buy tickets on the door. Highly recommended! Grand Turks We spent the day here on the beautiful sand beach and swam in the azure coloured sea. The beach was within walking distance of the ship. Everglades/ Flamingo Park We booked this through the ship as they do like you to vacate the ship early in the morning and rather than wait around the airport all day, it's a nice way to time to pass the time, while your luggage is being looked after . The tour guide was really comical and the wind boats were great fun. The flamingo park was also very good but we were limited on time here. All in all I would highly recommend this cruise , but would suggest it might be more time and cost effective to arrange the transfers yourself as we paid £100s more booking through Princess than we would arranging this ourselves. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We sailed on Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on March 27th, 2019 on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley. This was our third cruise on Crown and our 11th with Princess. We are Elite members of the Captain’s Circle because we ... Read More
We sailed on Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on March 27th, 2019 on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley. This was our third cruise on Crown and our 11th with Princess. We are Elite members of the Captain’s Circle because we sailed in full suites on 6 previous occasions (double cruise credits). We arrived in FLL the night before and stayed at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel. I would happily stay there again! We took an Uber from the hotel to Terminal 2, which cost $8.40. Not bad! We got there at 1:00pm and walked straight in. Security was not a hassle and we proceeded directly to check-in and then straight to the ship. It was not busy at all. My only complaint about the embarkation was the usual sail-away photo-op, which gets a bit tiring after so many cruises. The photographers we not rude, but a bit too insistent for my liking. We stopped, had our photo taken and walked up the gangway. My first impression of the piazza was very favorable as Crown Princess had a visit to dry dock since our last voyage. Everything was clean, sparkling and tastefully elegant, as is Princess’s norm. We made way to our mini-suite on Dolphin deck unassisted. Our luggage arrived within 1 hour of embarkation. Our mini-suite was D719. The cabin neat and tidy, albeit a little shabby; just little things like torn lampshades, a toilet bowl that had the white enamel scrubbed off from years of cleaning, scuff marks on the walls and furniture, etc. None of it too off-putting, but less than expected after a recent refurbishment. The bed linens were clean, white and crisp and I really liked the new Princess Luxury Bed mattress! There was also a brand-new sofa bed, but the cushions would not stay in place and always flopped forward over the edge. The balcony had the usual rust spots and needed a touch-up. They finally replaced the old CRT televisions with small flat-screens, but there was only one remote control in the cabin. The TV reception was fair, and the selection was as good as one could expect at sea, but CNN was conspicuously missing from the lineup. The Wi-Fi worked well all over the ship and the princess@sea app was very useful. We sailed on time and headed towards Aruba for 2 sea days - my favorites! There was a lot to do on board and were kept as busy as we wished, or not. It was great to have lots of choices. I am an avid walker and really enjoyed my time on Promenade Deck 5. It is one of a few ships on which you can walk a full circumference, although you had to walk up a flight of stair to get to the bow, then back down the other side. The bow area on Emerald Deck 6 was open most of the time, even on sea days. This was great, as on other cruises on similar class Princess ships, it was mostly closed. 2.8 times around the deck is equal to 1 mile. I checked out the gym and it was modern and very well-equipped, but preferred walking outside versus on a treadmill! We did not purchase any excursions from Princess, nor from any local providers. Instead, we just walked around for a few hours in each port. Aruba was just like it was the last time, and the time before, and the time before, and… I can’t think of too many other cruises that haven’t stopped there. We just walked around and hung out in a few local watering holes. Next day was Bonaire. It too was nice. We did some more walking and hanging out. Grenada was next, and in hindsight, we should have booked some sort of spice tour. I was hell-bent on getting some real vanilla extract, but it was more difficult than expected as all the tourist markets had was the watered-down stuff. I finally found some at an out of the way local supermarket and it was cheap, compared to home. I used some of it in a recent batch of homemade ice cream and it was wonderful! Dominica was next and I was not very impressed with the area around the cruise port. Once again, we should have booked an excursion there. St. Thomas was next and is always a great place to visit! We walked to the beach, hung around, did some shopping and then returned to the ship. Regal Princess was there as well, and she played the Love Boat theme on her horns as we sailed away! Crown Princess could only reply with a few single monotone blasts of her horn! It was funny, and I guess you had to be there! Next day was another sea day and was a welcome rest from port visits. Last stop was at Princess Cays and we just stayed on board and enjoyed having the ship mostly to ourselves. Disembarkation in FLL was a breeze. We had to be out of our cabin by 8:00am but had a nice breakfast at the buffet and finally left the ship at around 10:00am (latest available disembarkation time). Our luggage was waiting for us and the US Customs line only took about 15 minutes to get through. We took another Uber to the Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Beach for our post-cruise recovery day. I would not recommend this hotel as it had perhaps the worst sound-proofing I have ever experienced in a Marriott-branded hotel. A note about using Uber at the cruise terminal for pick-up… getting one was not a problem at all, however finding the pick-up place was a bit of a slog. There is only one small area between the bus/shuttle/taxi area and the drop-off area. It has a single small sign that says Ride Share. If you are getting Uber or Lyft, that is the area you want to head to. Now it is time to convey my thoughts on dining, staff, entertainment, etc. My partner and I do not drink alcohol, so we each purchased an Unlimited Soda and More package. The good news is the “more”! In addition to the normal fountain sodas, Princess has several mocktail options. If what you want is not on the menu, they will try their best to make whatever it is you want for you. I got hooked on Chocobananas in the Wheelhouse bar. The Strawberries on Fire and virgin Strawberry and Pina Coladas were also great. The only odd exclusions were malts and milkshakes at Scoops. If you are a coffee lover, then get a New Grounds Coffee package. It is a good deal and the specialty coffees are excellently prepared by a barista. I got most of mine at the International Café in the piazza. They also have a great selection of sandwiches, panini, soups and deserts. It is open 24/7. Princess no longer uses stickers on your cruise card for addons, rather your purchases are encoded. We ate in the Michelangelo Dining Room every night but four. The food was uninspiring but edible. It was not as good as I remember on previous Princess cruises. It seemed like cutbacks and cost savings had taken their tolls. The wait staff were mostly excellent. We only had to wait for seating on one occasion and that only took about 15 minutes. We had anytime dining and would only accept a table for two. Our evening at the Crown Grill started out fine, but I ended up getting as stressed as the staff by the end of the evening. I’m not sure what was going on as the place was only about half full. I did overhear several intra-staff conversations and they seemed to be running around in fear of the Maître d’. He was very polite to us but was not treating the staff with much respect as he kept snapping new orders to them whilst they were previously occupied. Their stress showed at the table and influenced our ability to relax. However, the food was good. I had an 8 oz. filet mignon and it was cooked to perfection. Our evening at Crab Shack was enjoyably messy! I had the steamer basket. Great staff and food! It is located in a partitioned area of Café Caribe. Sabatini’s was the best evening for specialty dining. Our waiter was excellent, and the food was delicious! I highly recommend the experience. As an aside, the ship’s Captain and some of his friends sat at the table next to us. If the Captain eats there, it must be good, eh? LOL! Another pleasant surprise was at the Salty Dog Gastropub. It is held at the Wheelhouse Bar every evening and offers a nice selection of delicious food for a very reasonable price. The live music is a bonus! Now here are my thoughts as to the general staff around the ship. I couldn’t help but notice the lack of smiles and greetings. It was very un-Princess-like and I am at a loss to explain this, other than they were probably tired from their long times at sea. Nobody was rude or unpleasant, but only 2 members of the staff motivated me to fill in a positive comment card at the end of the cruise. Our Cruise Director, Peter Tredgett, was by far one of the best CD's I have ever seen. He was everywhere, visible, talkative, engaging and really had his act together. I have been on some cruises when the only time the CD was visible was opening or closing a show in the main theater. Peter was very different and really helped make our cruise enjoyable. I must have had three or four brief personal conversations with him throughout the cruise and he remembered my name after the first chat. The entertainment on board was unusually good in the Princess Theater. I especially enjoyed Encore! The soprano, Heather Hill, sang Mozart’s Queen of the Night Aria, from The Magic Flute. If any of you are familiar with this work, it is very difficult and requires a huge tessitura. There are some high D’s, and as she approached them, I said to myself, “I’ve never heard this on a cruise ship before. There’s no way she will hit those high D’s.” but hit them she did! Like an arrow into a bullseye! It was probably the highlight of the whole cruise for me! I got all tingly! LOL! Wow, it was a great show! We also saw Magic. The music was OK, but the wizardry of performing magic tricks on a ship was outstanding and almost worthy of Las Vegas! One last note on being Elite in 2019. We were disappointed to see a card left in our cabin on embarkation day saying that Elite laundry had a three-day turn-around. Pressing was available within 24 hours though; useful as the first formal night was on day 2. The usual Elite reception was held on the second formal night and we met the Captain. They served free cocktails, but I had to ask for a non-alcoholic beverage. There was also a daily reception in Skywalker’s for Elites and Suite occupants. Light hors d’oeuvres were served buffet style. I can’t remember if Platinum’s were invited or not. So, at the end of the day, despite the great, good and not-so-good, Crown Princess did not disappoint. We had a wonderful cruise and would not hesitate to sail on her again. I hope you have found my lengthy review helpful in some way. Thanks for reading and bons voyages! 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Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise to better enjoy the best parts of the Caribbean, currently the southern part, and to specifically enjoy Bon Aire. We normally are all about Princess, but this cruise seemed off probably because many were at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to better enjoy the best parts of the Caribbean, currently the southern part, and to specifically enjoy Bon Aire. We normally are all about Princess, but this cruise seemed off probably because many were at the contract's end. The selection of food with variety was way below the standard for what I think Princess does, but there seems to be a large dichotomy across ships whether they sail from the SE side of America or the Western. We always try to get the balcony on the end of the 14th floor on this ship and we did. We love this cabin. The entertainment was great with the new show. There were parts that were surreal, but some of the new concepts with the visualization of the dancing wind was very very good and new. Grenada we will never go back too as we felt very unsafe very quickly off port and we have never felt that way in any port over the 100 days of travel we have done. Princess is noted for having less of kids attend and we do not have kids, so the kids were never seen much and when seen were well managed by parents that seemingly needed a vacation! LOL, ironic. BONAIRE is one of the most under rated islands. I would love to have an overnight there and skip Granada all together. The island is special. We live near ft Lauderdale's port, and the entry on to the ship is usually very smooth, but that is probably we know the tricks and the trade of it all. We would NOT take this trip again if Granada is not on there or if there is not a longer non-Sunday stay in Bon Aire. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because our friends booked it in November 2018 and we thought it would be great to be together and it was wonderful!! All the staff no matter the rank were very polite, friendly and very helpful and great at their ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our friends booked it in November 2018 and we thought it would be great to be together and it was wonderful!! All the staff no matter the rank were very polite, friendly and very helpful and great at their jobs...from the wait staff in the morning, to the pool staff, our cabin stewards (Hank), etc. But, in particular we thoroughly enjoyed our 'anytime' dining almost 'every' evening with Caroline Villanueva, Ranie Samson and Jabulani Ngwenyo at table 508 in the Da Vinci dining room!! They helped to make it an extraordinary time with our friends! The food was very well presented each night and very good! Other than Aruba and St. Thomas and Bahamas...we would have skipped Bonaire, Dominica and Grenada!! The disembarkation element could/should be revised in our opinion. We were given a time of 7:45am to leave the ship and we stood for over an hour waiting for the 'walk-off' vacationers going first with allllll their luggage in tow...before we could go to the terminal for our luggage. We could have enjoyed a lovely breakfast if we had known about the others going first!!! Over all an excellent product, service and enjoyment! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had been happily anticipating our 10 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise, scheduled for March 27th on the Crown Princess. We had an entire year to look forward to it. We did do a 7 day Eastern over Thanksgiving, however, to break up the ... Read More
We had been happily anticipating our 10 Day Southern Caribbean Cruise, scheduled for March 27th on the Crown Princess. We had an entire year to look forward to it. We did do a 7 day Eastern over Thanksgiving, however, to break up the wait. You may be wondering why I mentioned this, well, you will soon find out just how this played into our cruise story. FLIGHTS: We booked our flights through Southwest, as we really like them. We wanted a direct flight from St Louis, as we needed to fly in the day of the cruise. I know, I know, this can be a problem and we don’t like to do it this way, but we both needed to work on Tuesday, so we didn’t have any other option. Our flight was scheduled to get in at 9:30am, so we had plenty of time in case there were delays. On the Friday before we were scheduled to leave, I was sitting in a work meeting and I received a text from Southwest that our flight was cancelled. Due to the grounding of the 737 Max 8 planes, our plane was rerouted and our flight cancelled. Panic immediately set in! I looked on the app for a different flight, but nothing was showing up that would work, except going in early the day before, which meant taking another day off of work, which was going to be a real hassle. I got on the phone with Southwest (only a 9 minute wait for call back, not bad!) and the rep was wonderful. I explained our dilemma and he put us on a flight that left St Louis at 5:30am going through Orlando. We would be in Orlando by 9, so if there was a problem with our connection, we could rent a car and drive to Ft. Lauderdale. Thankfully, all flights went on schedule and we arrived in Ft Lauderdale by 11:30am. A quick Uber to the port and we would be on the ship! I am a list maker. I have a Cruise Packing List stored on my computer. After 12 cruises, I pretty much have it down to a science on what we need and what we don’t need. I had everything packed up the day before, all ready to go. I went online and checked in for our flights, 24 hours before. I printed our boarding passes, luggage tags and put them in the folder with our passports. I carry this in my purse for ease. When I pulled out both passports, the lady looked at Dan and said “hmmm, you’re not Jack”. I looked and the second passport in my case belonged to my Dad! Somehow, after our cruise with him over Thanksgiving, I mixed up Dad and Dan’s passport. We had Dad’s passport and Dad had Dan’s at his house. THANKFULLY, Dan and I both have passport cards, also, that we always take with us on our cruise. Dan had that in his billfold (I had checked that he had it before we left) and we were good to go. I have to admit, I had a huge knot in my stomach for quite a while, thinking of what COULD have happened. I did double check that I had both passports packed, it just didn’t dawn on me that I had mixed them up 4 months ago. Lesson learned and catastrophe averted! Embarkation Princess does embarkation like a well-oiled machine, in my experience. The Port of Ft. Lauderdale is the easiest one to navigate through, in my opinion. We rarely wait and if we do, it isn’t for very long. Within minutes we were hearing the familiar “DONG” as they scanned our cruise card after we walked across the gang plank. I love that sound! It means rest, relaxation, food and fun! We were off to drop off our carryon, put our stuff in the safe and grab lunch. Susan and Ron (sister-in-law and brother-in-law) were already on the ship, as they did the previous 10 day route before ours, and Ron said that they had coupons for the Crown Grill for buy one, get one free for embarkation night. We went ahead and made reservations and headed to the buffet for a light lunch…..so we would be good and hungry for supper. Crown Grill The Crown Grill is an upcharge restaurant on the ship that you pay $29 each to go to. In past cruises, we have eaten there on the last night, so this was a first for us. I have to say, I wish we had eaten in the Main Dining Room instead. It was Prime Rib night and their prime rib is usually pretty good. The guys ordered steaks and Susan and I ordered Lobster Tails. You could have both, for $10 more dollars, but I decided to just swipe a bite of my husband’s steak instead. We were both disappointed that they don’t serve Lobster Bisque any longer, as we both really enjoyed it in the past. The soup that our waiter recommended, that he said was similar, was not very good. My lobster cake appetizer was quite good, though, and I do recommend it. My lobster tail was quite tasty, but not any better than the ones we ate in the Main Dining Room. In the past, they brought out several sides dishes, served family style. We had really enjoyed that. They also used to bring out lots of toppings for our baked potatoes. This time, the just put a few dollops of sour cream, a few chives and some bacon bits on our potatoes. Not that that was bad, it just wasn’t what we had in the past and what we were expecting. All in all, I didn’t feel it was a bad meal, but I wasn’t wow’d by it, which I was in the past. I don’t feel that it was worth the extra $30 for us to eat there. AnyTime Dining We always pick Anytime Dining, as opposed to Traditional Seating Dining, as we like to eat early (5:15-5:30), so that we can get a good seat for the shows that start at 7:15. This works out well for us. Dan and I don’t like to sit at a big table with people that we don’t know. I would eat in the buffet over having to do that. Maybe because I’m in sales and I talk to people all day for a living, I just don’t want to do it on a cruise. Susan and Ron had found a waiter (Jonathon and his assistant waiter Elmer) that they liked at the end of their last cruise, so we asked for them each night that we ate in there. They were polite, efficient and fun. They didn’t have a 4 top table empty, so they put us in a 6 top by the window. It seemed like the same people were sitting at the same tables around us most nights. One evening we did have something funny happen. A hostess that we had not seen before walked up with 2 people and sat them down with us, after we had already ordered and were eating our appetizers. The look of confusion on all of our faces must have been apparent, because she stopped as she walked away and asked if there was a problem. We said “no, no problem” and welcomed our tablemates. They smiled and nodded at us when we introduced ourselves and then we realized that they didn’t speak English. They said that they were from Bejing and nodded “no” when we asked if they spoke English. They did understand us a bit, so we communicated by pointing, nodding and smiling. The lady pointed to my husband and to his sister, sitting on either side of me, indicating that she could tell that they were related. Susan put up 6 fingers to tell her that there were 6 siblings and she laughed, so she did understand that. We had steak and lobster that evening and Jonathon brought out an extra lobster tail for Dan and for Ron. I didn’t waste any time in snagging it for myself, LOL Somehow, while I was talking, Dan told Jonathon that I didn’t want dessert and to bring me a plate with the words NOTHING written on it when he brought out desserts. He complied and everyone had a good laugh, even our Chinese tablemates and they even took a picture of the plate. Jonathon did bring me out my Love Boat Dream, that I ordered every single night we were in there, so all was good! Overall, the food was good, everything was cooked the way that we ordered it and it was served in a timely manner. Our waiters were friendly and prompt. No complaints from us! Horizon Court/Café Caribe We ate breakfast about half of the time up in the HC. I would get my coffee in the IC, though, and bring it up with me. The food in the buffet was good, not great. Dan ate lunch in there most days and he said that every time he went, he found something up there that he was happy with. We ate supper up there two nights (Mexican night and German night). Everyone enjoyed the food on Mexican night German night, I brought in a hot dog from the grill, so I was happy, LOL The only complaint that I have is it was hard to find a table at lunch time. Many times we had to walk around a few times before a table was available. A little more seating in this venue would be great. Salty Dog Grill I consider myself a hot dog connoisseur (yes, I’m serious!) and I have to say that their hot dogs are A+++! I ate one every single day for lunch and twice for dinner. Okay, I admit it, some days at lunch I ate 2. They are just that good. Dan had cheeseburgers there several times and he said that they were always very good. He had thought about ordering an Ernesto burger, but didn’t want to wait the 20 minutes that it takes to cook. We like that the food is served in baskets as opposed to plates, as it made carrying them around easier. International Café I went to the IC early most days for coffee. Some days we ate breakfast there, some days I took my coffee up to the buffet. Dan enjoys the breakfast sandwiches there, along with the banana walnut bread. My only complaint at the IC is what they DON’T serve any longer. I kept going down, looking at the desserts to see if this is the day that one of my 3 favorite desserts were being served. I was disappointed for several days in a row. Finally, I asked a lady when they were going to have the peanut butter pudding with the chocolate on it and she shook her head and said “discontinued”. Then I asked about the tiramisu….”discontinued”. Then I asked about the chocolate/vanilla layered dessert…you guessed it….”discontinued”! These were my 3 favorite desserts from there. I have to say that the desserts that they did have, just seemed blah to me, so I only had one, that I didn’t even finish. I was quite disappointed. Dan and Sue were both happy to see that the pistachio pudding was on the menu several different days. They both imbibed, to make sure that the powers-that-be knew that it was a good menu selection. I still enjoyed my coffee, but I have to admit that my love flame for the IC definitely dwindled a tad bit! My hubby, however, enjoyed several of the new desserts that he tried. We both really like their sandwiches and he loves the shrimp salad that they offer. Production Shows The last 2 cruises (Royal Princess and Regal Princess) that we had completed had excellent production shows. We were really looking forward to the shows on this one, because they were produced by the same person. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy either of the production shows(Encore and Magic to Do) on this cruise near as much as the past 2 cruises. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t really good either. They had good moments, but not really any great moments. The singers were good, but not great. The dancers seemed to be slightly off on most of their dances. Not bad, but not good, either. Average, I would say. Neither of the 2 production shows were something that I would have went back the next night to watch for a second time, while I would have the ones on our last 2 cruises. Other Entertainment We saw the comedy show by Troy Thirdgill. He was excellent. Very funny show. I would see him! He did 2 different shows on our cruise, before departing the ship. We really loved the ventriloquist/singer/variety show performed by Michael Minor. He had 2 shows and we attended both. He could do really good impressions, without moving his mouth, and it seemed like the puppet was actually talking. Very entertaining. We attended a performance by Stephanie Hodgdon, who was singing a rock tribute to the Kings & Queens of Rock and Roll. I really enjoyed her performance of Dreams, by Fleetwood Mac. She totally nailed Bette Midler’s The Rose. I felt that those songs were in her wheelhouse and I would have preferred more of those type of songs. She did a good job on the rock songs, but I don’t think that Helter Skelter was really the best choice for the Princess Cruise Crowd. Overall, she was good. Not great, but good. We also attended two shows by Gary Lovini, who was a violinist. He was very talented and entertaining. I would watch him again. I did enjoy the Sweet Soul Music Show and the Blame it On the Boogie Show by the Princess Singers and Dancers and I felt that they did a pretty good job on that, but those were songs that I really, really like, so that might have something to do with it. Cruise Staff Our Cabin Stewart was very good. I told Dan it was like he was a little stealth ninja, sneaking into the room every time we left to tidy it up! He always seemed to get in there and do his job. He kept our ice bucket filled and our towels refreshed, so no complaints from me. He was friendly, but I really didn’t see him much! The Cruise Director, Peter Tredgett ,did a great job. I can’t say that I remember any Cruise Director’s from past cruises, but I will remember Peter. We enjoyed him and we seemed to see him about the ship. I did have a bit of personal interaction with him, as I won an Instagram Contest that they had. Peter had asked us to take selfies around the ship, post them on Instagram and #crownprincess. I posted several pictures and was surprised to have a voicemail from Peter on the last day that they especially liked my selfie with the wait staff from formal night and the one from the disco party and that I was the winner and would receive something in my cabin later that day. We were both excited, as were Susan and Ron, as we contemplated what the prize would be! A free cruise? A Princess Gift Card? No, it was better than that! It was a stuffed Stanley Bear, LOL All kidding aside (I wasn’t really expecting a cruise, I figured it would be a bottle of bubbly, which I have won before), the bear is very cute! I did have the opportunity to be in need of assistance from Passenger Services, and they did a fine job. I will discuss that in a bit! All of the other staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. It did seem like there were less bar staff working around the pools, taking orders and delivering drinks. But, the ones I did see were friendly. MUTS When we first started cruising, we LOVED MUTS. We had said that we wouldn’t want to cruise on a ship without it. Now, we hardly use it. Whoever decides the lineup/schedule needs to rethink what they are doing. On sea day they did have a movie at 10am, but at 12:30 or so they played a concert. In the past, they would play another movie. The next thing was usually a concert again. This is prime sun time. They should be playing movies. Then sometime between 3 and 3:30 they would start a movie. Usually it was a decent movie. But, who can sit there until 5:30 to watch a movie? Most people need to go and start getting ready for dinner, especially on formal night. It would have been better to play the movie around 1 and then play concerts late afternoon, where people aren’t really watching it any way. They did have some good movies playing, but WHY do they need to keep playing Mama Mia!! Then, to add insult to injury they played Mama Mia 2!! Seriously, stop it! It’s played on there for YEARS. Stop it! The movies in the evenings looked like they were well attended. The weather was perfect for it, too. Ports Aruba. We had never been to Aruba and had wanted to cruise there for several years. We love the B & C of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), so we figured we would love Aruba, too. It was warm and beautiful. We booked a snorkeling excursion through a company we found on Trip Advisor, Aruba Watersports Center, and they did a great job. They were friendly and helpful. The snorkeling was better in Bonaire, but I was very happy with Aruba Watersports. If you want a strong rum punch, they make some good ones! Woo baby! After snorkeling, we went back to the ship to drop off of stuff and grab a bit of lunch. We then walked into town to do a little shopping. The shopping there was pretty good. When it was time to head back to the ship, I put my hand in my pocket and realized that I had lost my cruise card. I have never done this before. I have to admit I panicked a bit, LOL. To complicate matters, I didn’t have ANY ID with me. Every other time I carried my passport card, but this time I ran out without it. When I got up to the first security checkpoint, I didn’t have ANYTHING to show them. I told them my story and they looked on the ship manifest and they let me in. My dear husband, was standing behind me telling the lady that he didn’t know me and I looked shady. I had to repeat this again when I got to the ships security check point. They asked me my info and cabin number and they cross checked it with the photo that they had taken of me. They let me on the ship and told me to go to Passenger Services to get a replacement card. Yeah! I wasn’t stranded in Aruba! But, I guess if you have to get stuck somewhere, it might as well be Aruba! Passenger Services was friendly and they made me a replacement card quickly. Another crisis averted. Bonaire. We had been to Bonaire last year and LOVED it. The snorkeling was wonderful. I booked a private excursion with Woodwind, as we had used them last year. A few weeks before we sailed, I received an email from Woodwind that they “had to take their boat out of the water and will not be doing any trips March 31st”. When I asked for a recommendation, they recommended Sea Cow. I tried to book them independently, but they had already contracted with Princess for that day. So, I went on Princess’s site and booked it. I highly recommend the Sea Cow folks. They were friendly, knowledgeable, and I would definitely use them again. The snorkeling in Bonaire was better than in Aruba. I also think we saw more fish and a bigger variety of species than we did last year. I did have a bit of a mishap, about half way through, I got stung by a jellyfish! I had no idea what had happened, just that my leg was burning pretty badly and it hurt. Two people that were behind me in the water were stung, also. Then, I saw a few of them around me. I told our guide and she said not to worry about it and that she would pour some vinegar on it when we got to the boat. It hurt, but it makes a good story now! LOL By the next day, the marks were no longer visible. Grenada. We had also been in Grenada last year, so we decided to just do a beach day. We found a nice beach and rented 4 chairs. It was a nice relaxing day, no complaints! Dominica. Last year we were supposed to go to Dominica, but they changed the port to Martinique, due to the hurricane damage. After speaking to a guy in Grenada about a great place to snorkel in Dominica, so I went online to try and book something for the next day, but I couldn’t find anything. So, we decided to file that info away until next time and just explore a bit. Susan and Ron went on an excursion through Princess and Dan and I headed into town to explore and shop. The port where we docked had a lot of construction materials around and not really any shopping. The Regal was parked at the other dock and there was shopping down there. It was about a 30 minute walk, so we decided to go walk out breakfast off. It was an easy walk and there were sidewalks most of the way. When we got to the “town” area, we looked for shopping, but we seemed to be in a not-so-great area, so we headed back to the area around the Regal. There were lots of vendors set up shop there and we found a shirt for hubby and a dress for myself, so we hopped on a shuttle ($2/each) and went back to our ship. When we were sailing away from port, the Regal played the theme from The Love Boat to us. Everyone loved it. That was one of my favorite things when we sailed on the Regal and the Royal. Sea Day. We had 2 sea days at the beginning of the cruise and I wouldn’t even mention this third one, but it was rather exciting, so I will. We were sitting in the IC having coffee/breakfast and Dan looked out and said “a whale”! We all looked out just in time to see a whale jump, again! We watched for a while and saw it jump several times. It could have been a couple whales, but we only saw one up in the air at a time. It was only about 100 yards from the ship and it was like he was showing off for us. We had a perfect view from the 5th deck. Susan went up to deck 7 to watch for more whales and we went about our day. Dan and I ate lunch on our balcony and while we were sitting there, we saw several whales jumping in the horizon. Several, as in approx. 30 different jumps. It was such a pleasant surprise, as we weren’t expecting it at all. St. Thomas We have been to St. Thomas several times and decided to just take a taxi to Megan’s Bay to swim. We should have brought our snorkel masks, but we didn’t. We had a great day on the beach and swimming, though. We had a few turtles that entertained us for a while, also. A taxi is $8 per person, each way and the admission to the beach was $5.00 It was a very nice beach day. Princess Cays. Many times I elect to stay on the boat at Princess Cays, as I enjoy the boat with less people. Dan decided to stay on the boat, but I went in with Susan and Ron. We waited until 10:30 and there was no wait for a tender ashore. We did take our snorkel equipment and we found chairs at the far end. The water was clear and beautiful and we had a wonderful beach day. While on the each, we saw what looked like a rainbow circling the sun. I had never seen that before and it seemed like 50 people were staring at the sun taking pictures. I took one, but it didn’t do it justice. I took the ferry back to the boat and ate a late lunch and then just relaxed on the balcony and read. Chair Hogs. I was so pleasantly surprised on this voyage! I did not see hardly anyone reserving chairs. You could go out at any time and find a fairly decent place to sit, even around MUTS. Everyone I encountered was being super polite and they were picking up their towels when they were leaving and they weren’t leaving a book/bag on a chair and walking away for hours at a time, like we have seen in the past. It was refreshing to see! Disembarkation. Usually we do walk off, as we need to head to the airport early and hop a flight. This time, our flights weren’t leaving until 3:15 pm, so we elected to stay on the ship as long as we could, LOL We had a 9:45 disembarkation time. We had a nice breakfast in the Horizon Court and then sat in the IC and then Michaelango until 9:45. It went very smoothly, we didn’t have to wait long and customs was a breeze! We were outside, hailing our Uber in no time. For 4 people, with luggage, to get from the port to the airport it was $28 and change. Not bad. Flights home were uneventful and now we are at home ready to work off the 6 pounds (me) and 8 pounds (hubby) that we gained. It was worth it! All in all, it was a great cruise. We had a bit of adventure with the passport, lost cruise card/lack of ID, jellyfish sting, but that just adds to the story! We have noticed several penny pinching things, but nothing too drastic, yet! We love Princess and will continue to support them, but hope that they don’t keep cutting out things here and there. We’ve heard that they hired a company to help them increase their profit margin, which is a good thing, unless it brings down the overall quality of the product. It was a wonderful 10 days and I wish that we were repeating it again soon! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise since there were some islands on the itinerary that we hadn't been to before. We love the crew on the Crown so we wanted to sail on her again and this was our 4th time on her! We live in NE Florida so for a ... Read More
We chose this cruise since there were some islands on the itinerary that we hadn't been to before. We love the crew on the Crown so we wanted to sail on her again and this was our 4th time on her! We live in NE Florida so for a change we drove down to port the morning of the sailing. We parked our car at the Park N Cruise and caught the shuttle to port. We arrived around 11:45 and were onboard by Noon, just in time to get lunch in DaVinci dining room! Easy peasy! Our cabin was on Baja Deck, midship. Nice cabin, in very nice condition except for the AC...our cabin was very warm and it wouldn't cool down. I always bring a small battery operated fan so that helped. The "ventilation worker" came to our cabin a few times and customer service followed up several time to see how the cabin temp was. It did get a wee bit better and the last day they offered us some obc credit to make up for the issue. Our room steward, John was quick and efficient! We sailed on the Crown 25 day sailing in the Med last October and the food in the dining room was not good. This time however, the meals in the dining room were very good! Not a bad meal for the whole 10 days! Very impressed by the change! Our waiter and assistant waiter were both friendly and efficient! The new "late dining" time was 7:15 but they opened the doors at 7:05 most nights. The new time fit with what we like to do onboard and if you want to make it to one of the shows(9:15), it works well We ate in Crown Grill the first formal night, and it was lovely as usual! However, they rolled out the new wine list on our sailing and when we ordered a bottle in the Crown, they had a hard time finding it...took 20 minutes! We did try some of the new wines and were very pleased with our selections. We played Trivia several times and actually won 3-4 times! We attended several of the game shows which are always fun! We went to Kareoke and the Voice of the Ocean audiions and that is always entertaining! The cruise director staff was great! We particularly enjoyed Allwynn and Song! Very fun and funny! We didn't go to any of the shows in the Princess theater having seen many of them on our October cruise. We went to a few in the Explorers lounge and they were good. I played Bingo twice and was very dissappointed with the higher priced packages...even higher than just 5 months ago! And I found the hard sell on the "tablets" to be extremely irritating. Smallest tablet package was $69!!! Won't be playing bingo anywhere near as much as I used to. Very disappointing....but I must say this was the only real downside to this sailing. For one of the few times, we booked all Princess tours and they were good to excellent. Whale Watching in Dominica was a real highlight! And we also ventured to a sailing on the "AquaSpace" vessel, a one-of-a- kind 40 year old exploring boat that Jacque Cousteau used for some of his explorations! Very interesting and different! In Aruba the DePalm island beach break was nice and relaxing and included drinks and lunch. Overall, we found the Crown to be even better than before and it was reflected in being voted #2 ship in the fleet only behind the Regal! The health inspectors came onbaord mid cruise and gave the Crown 99 points!! That's really saying something for a ship as old as the Crown! I give credit to the Hotel General Manager, Andreas Pitsch for all the quality improvements....he is doing an excellent job! We will definitely sail on the Crown again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Went to islands we had not been to before. The ship was clean and well managed. There is obviously a lot of Elite members now cruising. Laundry warning about extra time for turn around of returned clean clothes was the first clue. ... Read More
Went to islands we had not been to before. The ship was clean and well managed. There is obviously a lot of Elite members now cruising. Laundry warning about extra time for turn around of returned clean clothes was the first clue. Dining room food choices are getting smaller with lots of unknown dishes being presented. Sabatini's and Crown Grill were better food in general and service in both was very good. Kind of confused by them having different wine lists. The wine we chose in Sabitini's, and all enjoyed was not available in Crown Grill. Strange since both are on the same ship. Regular dining room food seemed lackluster. A sign of the times in almost all cruise lines. Bottom lines are taking effect. Princess still ranks high for me but declining. Cruise staff was excellent as always and the hosted cruise critic event visit by a staff member was a great positive. Biggest complaint is still seat savers and deck chair hogs. All cruise lines need to enforce some more stringent rules! Overall meeting fellow passengers were a positive experience. I will still look at Princess first but continue to cruse by destination and itinerary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Embarkation and disembarkation was amazingly smooth. Dining room and Wine Bar staff were exceptional. Entertainment was not as good as that on previous Princess cruises (9).This was one of many cruises to the Caribbean so the ports of call ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation was amazingly smooth. Dining room and Wine Bar staff were exceptional. Entertainment was not as good as that on previous Princess cruises (9).This was one of many cruises to the Caribbean so the ports of call weren't of particular interest to us but I think most would have been enjoyable to the less traveled cruisers. Internet service...as usual on Princess ships...leaves much to be desired. It's not so much the speed as its reliability/availability. It was up/down much of the cruise. Princess should think about giving the service to guest instead of charging for it. We had a balcony mini-suite which was quite comfortable. The balcony was of nice size and the cabin included 2 large-screen TVs and a sleeper sofa. The food quality and variety was excellent though the service around the pool area and in the Horizon buffet needed much improvement. Be sure not to miss the Culinary and Galley Presentation! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We took this cruise mainly because we liked the itinerary—Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Martinique, Grenada, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation was easy. Princess always has good service, good food, and good entertainment. It was hard not to ... Read More
We took this cruise mainly because we liked the itinerary—Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Martinique, Grenada, Bonaire, and Curacao. Embarkation was easy. Princess always has good service, good food, and good entertainment. It was hard not to feel like there were too many people on board. I wonder how many people it originally carried. The elevators were crowded and sometimes the entertainment venues were packed! There were just more passengers than room for them sometimes I’m handicapped and appreciate both the ease of getting around on Princess ships and the attentiveness of the crew. I was quite pleased with my accessible room. I was always seated near the entrance of the dining room, and when I had breakfast or lunch at the buffet there was always a crew member offering to help me get my meal. It’s easy to get the feeling that the ship’s getting long in the tooth, but the most obvious place was the Horizon Court buffet. Both the furniture and carpet were really worn. Princess should make a priority of fixing that. I enjoyed this cruise and imagine I’ll be sailing with Princess again. The pros far outweighed the cons while onboard, and disembarkation was a breeze. Princess partners with the airlines, and for a fee you can have your luggage checked to your final destination when you leave it outside your cabin on the last night of the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first 'drive to the cruise port' cruise. We drove from South Carolina to Fort Lauderdale with a one night stay at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, FL. The drive was fine but we did have some difficulty getting ... Read More
This was our first 'drive to the cruise port' cruise. We drove from South Carolina to Fort Lauderdale with a one night stay at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, FL. The drive was fine but we did have some difficulty getting to Pier 2 at Port Everglades. Maybe it was bad gps, but the route was very difficult to follow after exiting I-95 with poor signage and it took us through a port entry where we had to deal with the rudest port entry security guard that was hard to understand and appeared to be 'playing' with us because we were confused about the route. However, after getting past him, the rest of the journey to the parking deck and ship was pretty easy. Embarkation was very easy, very quick and our room was ready for us when we got on board (1pm). The cruise was really nice and the weather just great throughout the cruise. If you enjoy coffee, get the New Grounds Coffee package. The specialty coffee drinks are really good and the regular coffee at the International Cafe is so much better. It's worth the price. The internet is still slower on this ship, but I find that I really need to get a package for peace of mind. All but one of the excursions we purchased were excellent. The only bad one was the Spice Beach Break in Bonaire. This was a 3 hour visit to an alleged beach resort that provided 'reserved' beach access for our group. Well, the beach area and lounge chairs that were supposedly reserved for our group were already mostly taken up by regular resort customers. Finding available chairs was difficult. We left early and took a private cab back to the ship rather than wasting our time waiting for the return school bus ride back to the ship. Do not purchase this excursion. You WILL be disappointed. We pre-purchased all of our excursions, coffee card, internet package and extra beverages for the room via princess.com using our account 3 weeks before the cruise. It's really the way to go. The dining room and our wait staff was more than adequate (nothing special). Our room attendant was very competent. Our stateroom (C752) was an aft facing balcony room with a very spacious balcony and beautiful views. The ride back there was a little bumpy but nothing to complain about. Love the breakfast options at the Horizon Court. Finding available pool side deck chairs is problematic as is the case with any cruise. I rated our entertainment as 'average' but that's only because one of our entertainers is one of the best. He is Todd Adamson and he's a very talented singer and entertainer. The rest of the entertainment was very disappointing. We chose express walkoff for disembarkation and it was very quick and somewhat easy. We were off the ship very early. Although the Crown returned to a different pier than our departure, Princess had shuttles waiting to take us to the proper parking deck. We were on the road back home by 8:45. We were very happy with our overall experience and hope to do it again next January. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to visit at least 5 ports, and the Crown Princess had a good itinerary. The Crown Princess embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and fast. No waiting at all. The ship was clean and fairly easy to maneuver. We had a ... Read More
We wanted to visit at least 5 ports, and the Crown Princess had a good itinerary. The Crown Princess embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and fast. No waiting at all. The ship was clean and fairly easy to maneuver. We had a mini-suite on the 9th deck, Dolphin Good size, small bathroom, ok storage. Veranda does not have a cover. The veranda above can see the entire balcony. Shows were generally average. The comedian, Kevin (?), was hilarious. There was a wonderful opera singer who joined the production and Ashlie-Amber, a singer was good. The other productions and events were ok.Outstanding service from our cabin steward, Joseph, and the bartenders. Dining room staff was friendly but service was slow. Most of the cruisers were retired people trying to get away from the cold!! Nice, fun crowd. Very few children.I would definitely take the Crown Princess again, especially this itinerary.. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise primarily for the destinations and tho we've never sailed on Crown we have sailed Ruby and Carribean in this class and prefer this class of ship over the newer designs. The ports did not disappoint us...We arrived ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the destinations and tho we've never sailed on Crown we have sailed Ruby and Carribean in this class and prefer this class of ship over the newer designs. The ports did not disappoint us...We arrived and left on time with a minor glitch on Turks and Caicos which being on Super Bowl day did not affect us since our plan was to stay aboard anyways. The food was good at the Horizon buffet.....The food one of the two times we ate in the dining room was good. It is difficult to have a bad cruise...ours was good but having personally owned our own restaurant for 30 years, customer service doesn't seem up to par...A few examples....For the first 7 nights we had food and bird excrement on the balcony C374 along with dirt and soot from the previous cruise. On the 7th night my wife and I were sitting on an extended balcony when we heard the cabin above us to the right being cleaned by the steward. All of a sudden a bucket of water came crashing down from above. Jumping up I saw the steward entering the cabin above but when I yelled to him he ran. Not knowing what was dumped on us I went to guest services and talked to Valeria, I believe....But we couldn't hear one another because guest services is right next to the Atrium and the band was playing very loud. We waited about 4 minutes until we could hear one another if we yelled. She apologized to me...said they have brought this problem up before....but no one listens...Captain, I guess you might want to take a look at this one...Anyways she said she was going to notify housekeeping and have our balcony cleaned. Shortly Riu, the steward came by to see what was wrong...said he had just taken off his duty clothes...said the steward should have checked for people below...(Captain?) Before throwing it and said he'll check in the morning. Next day, no one had still cleaned the balcony until I embarrassed him by detailing all that was left over from the last cruise..He cleaned it the last 2 days....Housekeeping needs help on this ship. The windows in Horizon Court look like a greasy spoon and common areas could use a good sprucing up. Looking for Miller Light beer I went to 4 bars and finally found Crooners. When I asked the bartender if he had any he told me it was limited and he brought some to his bar that morning...then told me that Explorers Lounge had it and I could maybe get it there. I told him I only wanted 2 and his would work. On the morning breakfast we walked in at 8:15 for a table for two and were told they had none....We said ok we can eat at the buffet...then they said they had one...upon walking in there were about 15 to 20 open.....quick note to Princess....satisfy your customer....not your own wants....And this one goes out to the deck hands...when asked if they were going to provide Lounge covers for the Super Bowl like they do for MUTS...the answer was " My supervisor hasn't decided if he wants to or not." Really?? If he wants to or not....And again, deck crew..if it starts pouring....berating customers because they ran away from it without grabbing wet towels?? Probably not cool.. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in their environment and job that they actually need to be re-trained with regard to ideal customer service..It happens and appears like it's time for this to happen on Crown Princess...Again, we had a good time...these are not complaints as much as they are indications that some things need to be addressed.. Most importantly, listen to your own customer service desk and move them so that they can do their job....It's hard enough as it is! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I chose this cruise because it was a 10 day cruise and our friends have not been to these islands but we have seen them before. We drove to Ft. Lauderdale so embarkation and disembarkation was easy. Easy parking as well. Our favorite ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was a 10 day cruise and our friends have not been to these islands but we have seen them before. We drove to Ft. Lauderdale so embarkation and disembarkation was easy. Easy parking as well. Our favorite island is Aruba and St. Thomas. Grand Turk was great. Not a fan of Dominica or Grenada. We went on 4 excursions and they were ok. This is our 3rd cruise on Princess. The ship is older but doesn’t show it. I prefer the smaller ships. Went on the Oasis and it’s just too big. Horizon buffet is very good however trying to find a table was very hard. Need more smaller tables for 4 people. 2 people would table up a whole table for 6 to 8. We do Anytime dining. We always got right in. Not a fan of the food however. We only went 3 times. I feel people go to this dining if they are first time cruisers. Not worth getting all dressed up to go to this type of dining. Loved the Steakhouse! Liked the pizza and burger restaurants. Also we were disappointed with the Crab dinner you pay extra for. Did this dinner on another ship and it was fantastic. Pool is very COLD but nice. Movies and music by the pool VERY LOUD! Can’t even talk to your friends. Not relaxing by the pool with entertainment blaring. My cabin steward Mario was fantastic! Answered every question. Room was nice and clean. Loved the layout of room. Outdoor bartenders were great but not enough people walking around to get you drinks. Been on a cruise 8 times and I would rate this one a 7. Did not go to any entertainment or casino. Casino smelled like smoke. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We just returned from a 10 day cruise in the SE Caribbean on the Crown Princess. This was our second cruise with Princess. We have also cruised with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Over all, this was the best cruise to date. The ship, ... Read More
We just returned from a 10 day cruise in the SE Caribbean on the Crown Princess. This was our second cruise with Princess. We have also cruised with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Over all, this was the best cruise to date. The ship, although 13 years old was in good shape. It is an elegant ship compared to others I have been on. Both the embarkation and debarkation process were easy. Food in the main dining room offered a good selection and was good quality. Service in the dining room was excellent. In fact, all the crew we encountered were very helpful and friendly. The entertainment was top notch. Even the production shows which on other lines are often cheesy were first rate. In fact, the last production show entitled Encore received a long and loud standing ovation. Loved the always available pizza, soft serve, and French fries and the 24 hour International café. Our room was serviceable and not much different from other ships. The cabin steward was very friendly, helpful, and did an outstanding job keeping the room clean and stocked. The only things that kept me from giving a five stare review was the buffet; food for the most part was good but the serving area was very small and crowded and it was often hard to find a table. I much prefer the open serving area concept on Celebrity ships. We will definitely "catch a ride" on the Crown Princess again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We, my family and friends, chose this cruise as a way to visit new islands in the Caribbean. We have traveled as a group on previous cruises and actually this was our third cruise on the Crown Princess. Embarkation and disembarkation ... Read More
We, my family and friends, chose this cruise as a way to visit new islands in the Caribbean. We have traveled as a group on previous cruises and actually this was our third cruise on the Crown Princess. Embarkation and disembarkation were the most pleasant parts of this cruise. The ship is in great need of some cleaning, new carpets are way over due for the cabins. The air conditioner in our cabins was deficient. Wait staff in the Michaelangelo dining room need some pr training and the menu needs a tweaking. We chose to take most of our meals on the Lido deck where the service was far better. Roxana, wait staff and Jigs, a bartender at the Calipso Bar, were pleasant and courteous . The ports were delightful except for St Thomas. The tour we booked was terrible. The tour operator crammed us into taxis without a guide and we were unable to learn anything about the island. I wold not cruise on the Crown Princess again by choice. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was an anniversary celebration cruise with friends. We had excellent embarkation and disembarkation experiences...Princess does it right! Dining: We ate many meals at the Michelangelo Dining Room. I can't pin it down ... Read More
This was an anniversary celebration cruise with friends. We had excellent embarkation and disembarkation experiences...Princess does it right! Dining: We ate many meals at the Michelangelo Dining Room. I can't pin it down exactly, but felt the quality and selections were less than previous Princess cruises. On the other hand, we felt the Horizon buffet was much better than previous cruises. We enjoyed the International Cafe very much, using it for our specialty coffee orders, the outstanding apple donuts and the ability to just sit and relax and enjoy the entertainment provided...especially the Violin duo! Was not impressed with the Salty Dog but wife enjoyed it. Didn't have pizza this time but noted that many seemed to enjoy it. Crown Grill was outstanding but we went at end of cruise and it was just too much food! We booked an inside cabin and had no issues at all with it. Cabin steward did a great job with freshening. Entertainment was very, very good! The production shows were outstanding and the musicianship of the cast and band were excellent. Comedian was great and ventriloquist was good! Movies on deck were great! New screens are now visible even in full sunlight! We went on shore at every stop and enjoyed the Princess Cay water bikes and the Heritage excursion in Antigua. Wi-fi was lousy...but didn't expect much improvement. Only "complaint" was miscommunication on our anniversary package. Still not sure what happened but we were supposed to have two specialty nights. On first day, customer service said it may have been our Princess travel agent, but they didn't make any effort to make it right. On settling our account, the desk found that we should have had two specialty meals. Would suggest that Princess provide additional training in this area. Because of that, I didn't give this enjoyable, relaxing cruise five stars. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I doubt the revolution was Kevin Tugwell’s idea, but he’s exactly the right kind of cruise director to make it work. My wife and I first met young Kevin as an energetic and creative assistant CD on a Hawaii cruise in the fall of 2017. ... Read More
I doubt the revolution was Kevin Tugwell’s idea, but he’s exactly the right kind of cruise director to make it work. My wife and I first met young Kevin as an energetic and creative assistant CD on a Hawaii cruise in the fall of 2017. We said then, to him and to Princess, that he should be promoted as soon as possible. He was. He’s 31 now, a natural at the job, best we’ve sailed with, perfect for redefining and taking on his employer’s biggest challenge, keeping his passengers engaged. As we said after that cruise, Princess faces a slow but steady reduction in its core audience – Baby Boomers. They’re fading out and dying off, not being easily replaced by the next generations, whose interests are more diverse and whose cash flow is not as plentiful. The blunt end of the problem showed up every night: passengers go to a stage show after dinner, then disappear to their cabins, leaving what amounts to a floating ghost town behind them. In our experience, this phenomenon is most acute on Holland America, but it was afflicting Princess as well. The difference is that Princess took notice and took action. Somebody figured out, first, that scheduling dinner times earlier made more time available for evening entertainment; thus, traditional dining is now at 5:00 and 7:15, with the main shows at 7:15 and 9:15. Second, it follows that if you give your passengers, regardless of age, a good reason to stay up later, they will. Third, if you give them a cause to laugh, to be involved, to have fun, even with participation games that are pretty silly, they’ll happily join in. Bingo: the show-lounge will fill up and the after-show hilarity can begin. Result: a better cruise experience, one you want to come back to, one you’ll talk about to friends and family. Of course it’s nowhere near that simple, but the result was a good cruise experience, 20 days in length, our favorite in recent years, almost worth the 30 per cent per diem premium we paid versus our last cruise with a different line. It wasn’t all a bed of roses; it never is. The fabled Princess head office bureaucracy continues to be mired in an obsolete paradigm. When I phoned, three times, to ask what time the evening shows would take place (after news of the 7:15 dinner) no one had a clue. Could they find out? No. So it was a complete mystery until we boarded the ship. When the NFL playoffs were on, we were told the games would only be shown in three of the public areas, the better, no doubt, to sell drinks from the bars. In truth, they were available on our stateroom TV sets but no one was in a hurry to tell us that. Not the only examples, but you get the picture. Our veranda cabin was fine, but some drawers had been replaced by a cupboard, effectively reducing useful storage space. The new Princess beds were wonderfully comfortable – so long as you stayed absolutely still. Try to change position and your muscles complained; it was like sleeping in a bucket of marshmallows. The sheet-and-duvet combo was hot and heavy, not at all an improvement. I’d give the food a B+, but only that: not good enough. No complaints about the Horizon Court buffet (though more shrimp at lunch would be nice). No complaints about room service breakfast, served as ordered and on time. Ditto the Salty Dog hamburger joint: better menu options and fast service despite long lineups. But in the dining room, erratic service for the first 10 days though much better (at a different table) in part two. Appetizers were pretty bland and boring and entrees other than beef were too often over-cooked and under-sauced. The feeling I expect, that I’m part of a fine dining experience, was distinctly absent. All a matter of taste, to be sure, but I came away from dinner less than fully content. Dining room service has not been improved by the elimination of wine stewards, replaced by the regular table servers doing double duty. That’s an imposition of time and requires more wine knowledge than some servers possess. Saves Princess money, though. By contrast, on the Lido deck bar servers now serve lemonade and food staff serve bar drinks, a resolution of a long-standing conflict. My biggest complaint concerns the hapless shore excursion staff. Once again, Princess can reduce staffing and save money by having tour passengers meet on shore, not in the Princess Theater as on previous cruises. But that system requires staffing on shore and competence at getting hundreds of passengers to the right place at the right time. Too often, particularly during our first 10 days, such competence was lacking or totally absent. Staff members may be to blame but, more likely, it’s a management and training issue. So too is the level of knowledge about the tours themselves: whenever I had a specific question it was apparent that no one behind the counter had ever taken the tour in question. And one more thing: about one in five passengers on this journey was a resident of Canada. Americans (two thirds) had four US-based TV channels in their staterooms, Brits (one in 15) had their BBC, but for us Canadians: zilch. Cm’on, Princess; you happily take our money, so give us some news from home! And how about Canadian wine and Canadian beer? All that said, this was a good cruise with significant positives. The ship itself was clean and in good shape. Beverage service was very good. The day and evening activities, as noted, were varied and creative. The tribute acts (to Elton and Aretha) were outstanding. Comedian Troy Thirdgill was the best we’ve seen on a ship. The song-and-dance troupe performed unevenly but when they were good they were very good. The Princess orchestra, save for a few sour horn notes, showed off its talent. Because we were revisiting 10 of the 12 island ports after a 10-year absence, we took mostly highlights tours, which, once we got to them, were of decent quality. We were particularly impressed to see how well Barbados has is doing, pleased to hear that Grenada’s unemployment rate has fallen, disappointed by economic conditions in Dominica but encouraged by those in various other islands. It is, however, a bit disconcerting to see that St. Thomas – American territory – seems quite depressed once you’re away from the tourist areas. We were impressed by the facilities at the head of the pier in Grand Turk. The island itself is basically a salty pancake, but the beach and shopping area at the port are very well designed and situated. Our worst shore excursion, it turned out, took place in Fort Lauderdale on our day between cruise segments. Our “guide” told bad jokes in lieu of any guiding, the rain came down in buckets, the Everglades airboat ride was a dud, with no commentary and no alligators, and our bus driver got lost three times. Overall, a good experience with fair value for money. Princess still has some work to do but has made good progress in the last couple of years. If the line can continue to engage and amuse its passengers, continued success will be the result. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted a good overview of the Carribean Islands. It was good to get away from the winter of Canada. Feeling the sunshine, listening to the steel drums with the warm Carribean breeze was a wonderful feeling. No cooking, no dishes ... Read More
We wanted a good overview of the Carribean Islands. It was good to get away from the winter of Canada. Feeling the sunshine, listening to the steel drums with the warm Carribean breeze was a wonderful feeling. No cooking, no dishes wasn't to hard to take either. I had time to read 2 books. I sure enjoyed that. The ship entertainment was pretty good and we enjoyed dancing most nights. The food was great. I had a memorable lamb dinner with mint jelly. It was a remarkable dinner, my favorite. Service was great. Embarkcation and disembarkcation are very well organized. Nice variety of food choices and good dining room service. Enjoyed most of our port stops. I always did an on shore excursion because Princess price gouge for their excursions. Be prepared to be nickelled and dimed every time you turn around. E.g.. pictures, bottled water, drinks, WiFi, excursions, certain menu choices are extra, specalty fine dining room added cost, gambling, pay extra for serenity room, spa treatments, you can't even check in for your flight with out paying to use WiFi and it's expensive and antiquated. Some of the games cost money. Every time you turn around Princess is trying to get in your wallet, be prepared. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We took the 10 day cruise to Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We are experienced cruisers with about 40 cruises under our belt, in the Baltic, Asia, Mediterranean, Alaska, and the Caribbean. We are both 71 ... Read More
We took the 10 day cruise to Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We are experienced cruisers with about 40 cruises under our belt, in the Baltic, Asia, Mediterranean, Alaska, and the Caribbean. We are both 71 which fit the demographic of this cruise perfectly. Nearly everyone was old. The Crown Princess and her sister ships have what we consider to be the best (while still affordable) cabins afloat– the generous mini-suites on Dolphin deck. There is a very good-sized sitting area, big deck, decent bathroom, great closet and shelves. We also like that there are real night tables, not just slabs of wood or less sticking alongside the bed. Unfortunately, the night tables are no longer useful in terms of drawers. They have been permanently closed for some reason. The bathrooms could use a re-do. The tub was a bit scratched up, and the floor had what appeared to be scrapes or some kind. The bed was terribly soft. It appeared that they tried to cover up a sagging mattress with a pillow top. If so, it was not effective, and the bed was not comfortable—unless you like no firmness at all. We like the generous sofa, good sized coffee table and extra chair as well as the two large screen TVs. There were movies every day that you could choose from. It struck me off that most of them we had never heard of. Some of them also appeared in the Princess theater or on MUTS. I really like MUTS and wish more good movies had been on it. Also wish you were able to get more than the handful of popcorn that was passed out by waiters. Literally, a handful. Popcorn is cheap. Why the chinziness? Entertainment in general was very good. Project 5 did a fantastic job on the Whitney Houston tribute. The comic, Darryl something, was very funny. Some nights, though, like the last, there did not seem to be anything going except a rather boring folk singer, Cassie Matthews. Food in the buffets was just dreadful at lunch and dinner. Cheap cuts of meat, tough as shoe leather. They had BBQ spareribs 4 times in the first 4 days. They did make an effort have sugar free, gluten, and vegetarian desserts. Someone should tell them, however, that diabetics, of which I am sure there were hundreds on board, need carb free, not just sugar free. Serving them sugar free cake is not helpful. Flourless chocolate cake was the best thing going, though it was not sugar free. Food in the dining room was average at best. We ate twice in the Crown Grill and found the steaks tough and the beef rib, not good. The French fries, however, were excellent. Best food on the ship: Salty Dog hot dogs. After having given up on the lunch buffets after 5 consecutive failures, we ate at the Salty Dog every day at lunch. Our room steward, Roderigo, was excellent. I love it when the steward is able to clean your room while you are at breakfast and again, while you are at dinner. And Roderigo was able to do that. As to the itinerary– we had been to all of these islands before, sometimes many times. I would like to see shore excursions that suit the elderly on cruises which are majorly composed of the elderly. Perhaps some classes on shore like Salsa Salsa Salsa but fitting the island they are visiting. Something cultural rather than something involving physically demanding excursions. We did not take any ship excursions at all. We rented a car in Aruba, which is very easy to do right on the pier. We picked up a guide in Dominica, again, on the pier. We took the local tram in Grenada. Our time was limited in Curacao and Grenada. We have been to St. Thomas so many times that we barely got off the ship. Grand Turk is a complete waste, so... There is a nice souvenir area, quite large, at the terminal in Dominica. The cruise was pleasant because the weather was perfect. Quick embark and debark. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
CROWN PRINCESS: Dec 27, 2018 ~ Jan 6, 2019 “New Year’s” Eastern Caribbean Voyager 10-days 6 ports Cruise: Fort Lauderdale-Princess Cays Bahamas-St. Thomas-Antigua-St.Lucia-Barbados-St.Kitts-Fort Lauderdale Day 0: Stay-Park-Cruise ... Read More
CROWN PRINCESS: Dec 27, 2018 ~ Jan 6, 2019 “New Year’s” Eastern Caribbean Voyager 10-days 6 ports Cruise: Fort Lauderdale-Princess Cays Bahamas-St. Thomas-Antigua-St.Lucia-Barbados-St.Kitts-Fort Lauderdale Day 0: Stay-Park-Cruise Rodeway Inn & Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port. Price of lodging and long-term parking just under the cost to park car at port terminal ($15 per day). Free shuttle to port provided with quick stop at a drug store. Planning this comes with a warning: when you return the Rodeway shuttle may keep you waiting hours to pick you up to take you back to your car – many exasperated dawgs hired a taxi (4.3 miles/13 minutes travel via I-95, tax and tip: estimated $16.25 per dawg) back to Rodeway. Day 1: Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale. We arrived at the port at about 11:15 a.m. Salty dawgs who packed only carry-ons can navigate around the luggage hounds asking for your luggage and a $10 tip. Just prepare that you may be one of the unlucky dawgs whose luggage arrives to their stateroom after dinner. Our check-in was among the quickest and most efficient we have experienced. We are a couple, no pups in tow. Yes, we had our travel docs, checked in online, presented the same credit card as we had booked and printed our boarding passes. We were given our cruise card: check name, ship, dates, cabin and dining for accuracy. Safeguard your cruise card: dawgs will have bar code scanned whenever they depart and re-board the ship and it is the onboard cash card. Be certain to obtain and sign an accurate receipt for expenses. By-pass the souvenir camera pointers (photos are not free nor mandatory) and trot across the gangway. Present cruise card and take ID mut shot. Our stateroom was ready to occupy when we boarded. Study the hallway carpet for a helpful navigational aid: our deck had red “berries” port side (even numbered staterooms) and blue “berries” starboard side. Our cabin E322 midship obstructed ocean view was an upgrade from inside cabin. Only the lower portion of our window was blocked by a lifeboat. We concluded we had an acceptable view of the ocean and sky. A midship location is not as susceptible to up and down motion as cabins forward and aft. This small cabin required some choreography for two to navigate simultaneously. Exercise caution when opening the lavatory door because partner dawg could be pinned against the closet. Our closet contained 32 wooden hangers. Even at the coolest setting, our cabin felt warm. An inevitable topic of conversation among fellow sea dawgs became the old ship felt too warm, an issue the ventilation officer was unable or unwilling to rectify. We should be grateful it wasn’t summer! Incidentally, our cabin fridge stayed too warm, too. It helped to keep a bucket of ice in the fridge. The venerable Crown Princess (2006) has limited electrical outlets that accommodate U.S. plugs, so I recommend packing a multiple outlet surge strip for multiple devices and chargers. We had a 40-inch flat screen TV, but major U.S. networks were not televised. Prepare to be saturated with “The Love Boat”. Our shower was tight; most will not be able to squat to grasp dropped soap. I recommend packing your own favorite soap and shampoo. Pooches insisting on a bath tub should book a suite or investigate the Lotus Spa thermal suite day pass costs. The Princess Patter publishes important information, the daily onboard activity schedules and evening events. Weather permitting, make time to snuggle under a blanket with a bag of popcorn and enjoy a Movie Under the Stars. Once unpacked we went to lunch at the Horizon Court buffet. Food offerings were plentiful, international and seemed to meet most dietary choices and requirements. Gone are the drink stations. Unless dawgs purchased a soda card, the drink choices were coffee, tea, water and lemonade. It seems Princess has made things more inconvenient for dawgs who do not purchase a soda or drink package. Those dawgs might do well to pack single serve powdered drink mixes to add to their complimentary ice water. Long gone are the self-serve ice-cream dispensers. Pampered pedigrees will probably discern enough to whine about with this mostly self-serve buffet. Paw sanitizers were at chow entrances, but guard dawgs weren’t monitoring use. Contrary to persistent rumor, the buffet dinner menu differs from the usually superior restaurant dinner menu. Seven short followed by one long horn blasts signals report to the muster station. Our dawgs only had to bring their ship card which crew dawgs scanned. Muts who miss this Coast Guard required muster earn a more thorough private muster later. The weather was deteriorating as we departed. Strong winds and moderately rough seas kept dawgs off the upper decks, limited “Enchanted Evening” events and closed the pools and promenade deck. Crown Princess does not have an all-weather enclosed pool area. As the conditions worsened, a moderate rise and fall, lurch and list began. Interior creaks and groans, some sounding like loose carts rolling across the deck, made sound snoozing difficult. I recommend packing ear plugs. For queasy dawgs, obtain prescription anti-motion sickness patches before boarding. DAY 2: Princess Cays, Eleuthera, Bahamas. Few were surprised when the captain announced the wind and sea conditions were deemed too rough to tender to the island. This port stop was cancelled. Top Dawg might have charted a more sheltered course west of the Bahamas, instead he sailed into the open ocean east of the Bahamas and we enjoyed a day and night of rock ‘n’ roll. The cruise log published rough seas and wind gusting to 45 mph. I would categorize the motion more a nuisance than severe, but landlubbers were becoming nauseous and bags were distributed. Entertainment scheduled a few more onboard activities, most profitable ventures for the cruise line. Coffee and Cones (Ice Cream) and adjacent Slice (Pizza) port side between the main Neptune and Calypso pools offers a limited complimentary and a fee menu. The Salty Dog (formerly Trident) by the Neptune pool serves up hot dogs, burgers and fries in complimentary and fee menus. Adults should accompany their pups to these venues because it is easy to order from the fee menu. Day 3: At Sea. Continuing wind and sea conditions kept the pools closed and limited on-deck activities. By now it was obvious the ventilation system could not adequately recirculate the air or keep the sealed interior space comfortably cool. Motion sickness bags and medicines became available. To enhance our onboard experience, that night the hot water throughout the ship was turned off to permit scheduled maintenance. Decisions such as this one cause me to question how much priority Princess places on passenger comfort. On select sea days, the Crown Grill puts out their Union Jacks and serves a complimentary British-style pub lunch such as Fish and Chips, but no complimentary drinks. Be warned to double check which lunches are complimentary and which are not before ordering. Day 4: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI. Most welcomed docking and stepping onto terra firma in the warm sunshine. But what are cruise itinerary planners thinking? Crown Princess, Norwegian Gem, Crystal Symphony, Celebrity Infinity and Queen Mary were all in port! Reminiscent of Santorini, downtown was wall-to-wall dawg packs. Shore excursions and destinations were generally hosting more dawgs than ideal or customary. The ship offered a welcomed sanctuary even though a lot of maintenance was in progress. Some high-end shops await dawgs at the end of the pier. Left and past the tourist shops, dawgs may catch a $4 taxi to down town Charlotte Amalie. It is possible for fit dawgs to hike to downtown following a curvy and busy highway. My advice to bargain hounds is check the price online before purchasing. Most Caribbean ports are saturated with retailers like Diamonds International, Columbia Emeralds and Effy’s. Better prices are generally found further from the tourist enclave. Dawgs will receive a fairly sketchy map of the tourist enclave from the cruise line. Smart dawgs know to search for a free, complete and accurate map from Tourist Information, usually located near the port entrance. For dawgs considering booking a shore excursion through the cruise line; most are overpriced. The premium purchases insurance that the ship will wait for dawgs tardy due to their late returning shore excursion. Generally, the safety and quality of the cruise line excursion has earned the recommendation of the cruise line. Excursions offered by independents will beat the cruise line price because they aren’t paying a kickback to the cruise line. Savvy dawgs who do a little pre-cruise research should be able to sniff out reliable and less costly shore excursion operators that are used by other cruise lines, but not Princess. Regardless of the island, most Caribbean shore excursions are snorkeling, diving, beach break lunches, coastal sailing, taxi/bus scenic island tour, historical site tour, swim with sea life and explore geological sites. Day 5: St. John’s, Antigua. The tourist enclave here is Heritage Quay. Just inside the gate, a pack of assertive dawgs thrust their island tour deals into our faces. My most effective response was to say (truthfully) that I had been to Antigua before. A glance at the street ahead revealed loaded tour wagons crawling through snarled traffic. Further up the street and to the right is a large indoor consignment stall market where some bargain souvenirs may be found and negotiated. My experience is often the best deal is offered when you turn and walk away. Day 6: Castries, St. Lucia. This island is a lush, mountainous paradise reminiscent of a South Seas island. We booked a well recommended day excursion with Joy’s Adventures and went by speedboat from Castries south along the scenic beaches and cliffs of the west coast to Soufriere. We took a van to the sulphur springs and mineral baths where totally sane muts took a mud bath. The water is hot, the mud is thick, and the area reeks of sulphur. Off to Toraille Falls for a chilly, high-pressured “power shower”. I guess most dawgs were finally presentable enough to have an authentic Caribbean lunch in a spacious basement of the tour owner’s home not far from Rainbow Falls. I found the meal Caribbean and delicious. I ate a small spoonful of everything, and I’m still here to tell the tale. Lo Mein was available for the less adventurous. We were driven back to our speedboat and went further south for a beach break and snorkeling in the Coral Gardens located between the majestic Petit and Gros Pitons. The bar opened as we headed north along the west coast. We gawked at the yachts and homes of Marigot Bay and our boat was small enough and the seas calm enough to motor through a natural sea arch. All too soon, but well before departure time, we were back aboard the ship. Day 7: Bridgetown, Barbados. The Carnival Fascination and Norwegian Dawn docked shortly after Crown Princess arrived. Barbados is a contrast to the lush, mountainous St. Lucia. This seems a good island to book a sailing or beach excursion. The crew runs drills in the morning. The busy port complex and concrete dock is large. The cruise line provided complimentary shuttles to the terminal though fit dawgs had no trouble hiking there. Familiar cruise line shops await in the terminal stores. Taxi drivers who have paid cruise lines for terminal access and tour operators are just outside the terminal stores building. Taxi vans into Bridgetown are about $2. DIY beach day dawgs might discover it is much easier to get a taxi to a beach than from the beach back to the port. Warning: today the ship departs earlier than usual: at 3:30 p.m. Waiting just outside the port entrance gate are more tour operators and taxi drivers who do not have access to the port area. Many of these taxis are unmetered, some are even unlicensed, so exercise due caution and agree on the fare before hopping into the cab. Dawgs are advised to know their limitations and risk exposure well before starting the mile long walk into Bridgetown. I advise dawgs research and determine where they are going in Bridgetown and why before they pound the streets. Day 8: Basseterre, St. Kitts. This and Nevis are beautiful lush, mountainous islands. Crown Princess docked next to a similarly sized MSC Prezioso. We booked the Cruise to Nevis, Pinney’s Beach, Snorkel and Lunch 6-hour cruise line excursion. It proved a popular excursion. Though advertised for 40, about 70 dawgs were onboard the motor catamaran; seating was tight. We went through some rain squalls forcing dawgs to stand under the little canopy awhile. The crew unfurled the foresail, but only for show because we slowly motored the entire journey. We cruised from Basseterre about 3 miles along the Southeast Peninsula of St. Kitts and anchored near Buggs Hole for snorkeling. Getting mask, fins and vest was an exercise in patience, probably because so many were aboard. After snorkeling the bar was opened and lunch was served. We found the drinks strong and the lunch surprisingly good. Then we motored two miles across the straight to Nevis Island and the catamaran beached on Pinney’s Beach. We lounged in chairs and the crew brought a cooler from the boat. Then we climbed aboard and slowly motored back to the port. Smart dawgs brought towels, sunglasses, secure head covering and sunscreen. I believe the most comfortable spot on the catamaran is the trampoline, just know a wave may splash you there. Day 9: At sea. Many dawgs have learned to wait to the end of a cruise to take advantage of Princess shop sales events. Savvy dawgs know to check the onboard sales price of items with what can be purchased on the internet. For some, a unique item or an item’s “souvenir” value is worth the premium. Today is a good day to check and settle shipboard accounts. An unexplained charge from Crown Grill appeared on our account. A visit to the customer service desk did not resolve the issue because no one in authority from the Crown Grill was available. Day 10: At Sea. A series of announcements herald the Princess campaign for dawgs’ final vacation dollars: up to 75% off onboard outlet sale; Effy blow-out sale up to 60% off; big bingo jackpot will be awarded today; don’t miss the huge art auction; pay for a future cruise; etc. It is possible to escape the distracting crass commercialism to experience reasons you booked this cruise for one final day. Day 11: Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale. Again, what are cruise line itinerary planners thinking? Seven large ships docked (Crown Princess, Royal Princess, Celebrity Edge, RCCL Harmony o/t Seas, HAL Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam and Zuiderdam) and disgorged 25,000 cruise dawgs at the same time overtaxing transportation and security systems. Entering and exiting Port Everglades is increasingly stressful and difficult. Crown Princess has three main dining rooms: Boticelli, Da Vinci and Michaelangelo. On this voyage, the main dining menu offered a left side fixed menu and a right side changing menu. The “Princess favorites” left side menu offered shrimp cocktail, ceasar salad, potato soup, fettucini, salmon, chicken and a burger. The changing “right side” menu featured, among others, Prime rib, salmon, lamb, red snapper, trout, shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, lobster tail, pheasant, duck, jerk chicken, turkey, pork and chateaubriand just to start an impressive list. Disappointed dawgs who couldn’t get a reservation at the premium ($29 cover charge) Crown Grill may find consolation in the main dining room. Their menus list steak offerings for a price. With a little menu comparison, savvy dawgs can order a steak for $19 in the main dining room that dawgs pay $29 to eat in the premium Crown Grill. Surf and Turf ordered for $29 comes out of the same galley that dawgs pay $10 in addition to Crown Grill’s $29 cover charge. There were two formal nights, but I saw more dress shirt and ties than suits or tuxes; more dresses than gowns. Face it, better entertainers have more lucrative performance opportunities than a venerable cruise ship during the holidays. Princess Theater shows were enjoyable and impressive. Crown Princess booked a variety of live musicians to perform in venues on deck. Those live musicians attentive to the preferences of their audience enjoyed popularity; the clueless generally performed to nearly empty venues. There were some opportunities to dance, but often held on the small dance floor in the Wheelhouse Bar. For $20 half day/$40 full day/$200 full cruise, dawgs can access the extra padded lounges and tranquility of the Sanctuary. Located far forward, the sail cloth awning provides little protection from less favorable weather and wind. For the Princess VIP treatment, book a full suite. Pedigrees will be treated to a host of extras such as luxury bedding, complimentary laundry service, exclusive Club Class dining, complimentary Lotus Spa thermal suite access and priority services. Sea Dawg Read Less
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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