428 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews

We live in California, and preferred the embarkation of LA and a 7 day cruise to Mexico. All went well on this cruise. I would conclude it was very enjoyable but not the best cruise we have done. For one, before departure, we read about ... Read More
We live in California, and preferred the embarkation of LA and a 7 day cruise to Mexico. All went well on this cruise. I would conclude it was very enjoyable but not the best cruise we have done. For one, before departure, we read about this ship having a outbreak of the norovirus affecting over ~300 passengers. During the cruise the captain informed us there were about 37 cases of such, and all the precautions taken by his crew. I guess this bit of information is worrisome, and we were lucky not to have been infected. The dining experience every night was the best. The waiters who waited on us, were superb. The ship offered other food options (other than one's assigned dining time and place), but those options were not very good--the Horizon Court buffet was so-so, hamburgers, hot dogs--skip it; and the for-fee-extra restaurants were not worth the extra money I heard. The dining staff from the head waiter to the chef each evening gave us a full meal to our hearts content--dessert every night--we ordered nearly every selection to sample. The entertainment was dated, nothing more recent or top 40 hits nor close to any Vegas-style shows really. The sports activities on Deck 19 were attracting many kids and teenagers, but Deck 19 is so small. For teenagers, I would conclude that this trip is not catering to their interests at all. The ports of call were the attractions for us to select this cruise. First stop is Puerto Vallarta, docked at 10am back by 5:30. My daughters went on the shore excursion for Zip Lining in the jungle (hour drive)--though fun, they were bit over 100 times by bugs and had to deal with the itchiness the rest of the cruise. Someone on the staff could have told us about bug spray. Mazatlan was good too, we went to a beach by El Cid El Moro hotel. That was nice. Cabo San Lucas was the next stop, but because there is no ship dock, the use of tenders to get on shore was quite time consuming. The ship docked at 7am, and back in line to tenders by 12:30pm. That is not enough time. I think we should have had more time on Cabo than the other two ports--and Cabo was on Christmas day. It is a very compact port, where you can go to the beaches very nearby or take a glass-bottom boat to Lover's Beach which is by the Arch (rock). Once there, you can walk on one side of the beach facing Sea of Cortez and the other facing the Pacific Ocean. We did this once we exited the tender ride and the many glass bottom boat owners offering us, a ride and tour. What a deal! Having not paid for any cruise ship arranged excursion at Cabo (lowest price was like $70 each person), the locals offered us a tour to the Arch rock, and drop off at Lover's beach for up to 2 hours, for $10/person. Of course, they start by asking for $25/person, and the lowest they go appears to be $10/each. The captain gave us a tourist explanation of the rock formations--really nice. Since it was only like 8am in the morning and cloudy, so our beach time was a bit chilly, when it was time to be picked up by the glass-bottom boat, the sun was fully shining and warmer, but it was time to head back to the tenders for the ride back to the ship--not so great timing. We still enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The Crown Princess needs to be reconditioned as it has been some time and it is clearly visible. The staff tries hard to maintain what they can but carpeting that is coming up and paint that is rusting through are clear indications that it ... Read More
The Crown Princess needs to be reconditioned as it has been some time and it is clearly visible. The staff tries hard to maintain what they can but carpeting that is coming up and paint that is rusting through are clear indications that it is not working. Embarkation and Debarkation were done very well and the crew and attendants were both very cordial and competent. The two specialty restaurants were not up to par. Sabatini's in particular did not merit the additional charge as the food was quite salty and for two of the dishes lukewarm at best. The Crown Grille was better but not that much different than dining in the Da Vinci restaurant. The buffet was done well as was the pizza and hamburger locations. Bar service was very well done and the shows were very good. My wife and I will probably look to Celebrity or Holland America for next years cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Executive Summary: My wife and I believe that any cruise is a good cruise. However, this being our 23rd Princess cruise we would rank it about number 20. We did the identical itinerary in October 2012 aboard the Sapphire and that is the ... Read More
Executive Summary: My wife and I believe that any cruise is a good cruise. However, this being our 23rd Princess cruise we would rank it about number 20. We did the identical itinerary in October 2012 aboard the Sapphire and that is the ship and cruise that we compare all others to. During this voyage we encountered two unusual problems, a medical emergency requiring a diversion to an unplanned port, Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands which resulted in an additional day at sea and an outbreak of Norovirus which required great effort by the crew to contain the spread of the virus. The Captain and crew did an exceptional job in keeping passengers informed of the progress in solving these problems and the Company and ship provided all the assistance they could in offering facilities and assistance to help passengers alter their onward plans in addition to offering to cover the costs for changing flight arrangements. We found Captain Justin Lawes to be the most visible, approachable and most communicative Captain we have ever had. The weather on this cruise was not as pleasant as that in 2012 but we only had one day in Bora Bora where the heavy rain and low ceiling and rough water resulted in the cancellation of our planned tour. One of the deciding factors in our choice of Princess is the outstanding friendliness and courtesy and efficiency of the cabin and dining staff. They did not disappoint on this cruise. As I have pointed out about other cruises there is no standard as to how or when the spas are available. For us this was a major disappointment on this cruise. We found the deck maintenance below standard and we thought that some of the entertainers were not as capable as those we have seen in the past. Although the cruise did not meet our expectations we will certainly cruise with Princess again. Detailed description: Because we were flying using “points” we were forced to use a circuitous route via Newark. We left Ottawa aboard a United Airlines flight at 0615 on Thursday morning the 16th connecting in New York for onward flight to Los Angles. The Ottawa flight was on time and uneventful but departure from Newark was delayed 1 hour 16 because the Captain was delayed arriving on another flight. To finish off the flight when we arrived in LAX no gate was available so we waited a further 15 minutes on the ramp. The flights were smooth and uneventful. However, flying United in Economy class is not something to look forward to. Finally off the aircraft we proceeded to collect our bags which arrived at the carousel quite quickly. We then proceeded outside to find the Super Shuttle boarding area. We checked in with the agent, using individual online tickets to save $3.00 each rather than $3.00 for a double booking. After about a 20 minute wait our shuttle arrived. Despite having only two other passengers we proceeded directly for San Pedro arriving about one hour later after dropping off two other passengers. Our destination was the Crowne Plaza, a hotel frequently mentioned in Cruise Critic submissions. We had booked this hotel using a Priceline “bid” about eleven months earlier and obtained the room for about 65% off the going online rate ($76/night). We had a very warm, friendly and efficient check-in. We were quite impressed with the room and its amenities. It was large, comfortable, with a big flat-screen TV and in a quiet area overlooking the large and very inviting outdoor pool and spa area. We were disappointed that there was no in-room safe or refrigerator. The HVAC system was noisy but fortunately we were able to leave it off for the night. We were disappointed at the lack of in-room information about nearby points of interest. There is no mention of the USS Iowa battleship memorial moored only three blocks away, nor about the free trolley or the antique streetcar. Pity they aren’t promoting the local area. The next morning we discovered a machine in the lobby that offered electronic info about the area. It’s a little out of the way near the Bell Captain station and only one person can use it at a time. I still prefer pamphlets. The Crowne Plaza offers ½ hourly shuttle service to the port beginning at 10:30 but you can’t pre-book a specific time. We’re told it’s first come first serve without tickets/numbers being given out. We’re visualizing a crowd scene where everyone is trying to squeeze onto the same bus. We’ll see how it goes. We walked up 7th street to Gaffey St., about 5 blocks, and discovered a CVS pharmacy which carried all the supplies we were looking for. Coming from the East it was surprising to find a store that carried BWS. CVS prices were cheaper than the nearby Vista liquors on Caffey St. We went for dinner at the Green Onion Mexican Restaurant across the street on 6th street and Palos Verdes. We were warmly greeted and very impressed with the décor of the restaurant. We were promptly visited by our waiter and soon had some beer and complementary chips and salsa. My wife ordered the chicken tostada with cheese enchilada and black beans and rice ($8.50) while I ordered the shrimp flores ($15.95) which came with a cup of albondigas soup, a hearty, chunky, vegetable and meat ball soup. These dishes were very generous and were outstanding. This turned out to be the best Mexican restaurant experience we have had. The next morning we went to the Grinder restaurant for breakfast. It’s located on S. Harbor Blvd. next to the Sunrise Hotel and in front of the Fishing Industry Memorial. This is an American style restaurant, something like a Denny’s but more intimate, serving all meals and is about three blocks away. Nice atmosphere including patio, good breakfast and excellent and pleasant service. We recommend it. We spent the rest of the day exploring the S.S. Lane Victory, a WW11 naval auxiliary and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum all within walking distance. Late in the afternoon we joined other CC members to do the San Pedro Brewing Company tour and dinner. Good turnout and a nice start to the cruise. We opted instead to have dinner at the Whale & Ale a nearby pub about two blocks west on 7th street. Great choice. Advertized as having the best fish & chips and I wouldn’t argue the point. Great pub full of locals and a pianist to boot. Excellent atmosphere and food. Day One: We took the hotel shuttle at about 10:45, seems the half hour schedule was abandoned, and we were aboard at 12:30. Very efficient check-in, security and boarding made easier as “Elite” category guests. Very nice Elite lounge with complimentary coffee and pastries. Unfortunately, it’s now 5:00 PM and we still don’t have our luggage. Most of our bags arrived promptly but the last one did not appear until after seven. Our departure was delayed a few minutes in order to get all the luggage aboard. We enjoyed cruising past the Iowa and the riverside restaurants during our exit of San Pedro harbour. This port is undergoing a major effort at renewal and revitalization. We’re very pleased with the cabin (B748). It has an oversize balcony for this category of cabin that is totally private with the exception of the ships rear facing cameras, I hope they are rear facing or someone will be getting an eyeful! All is good! We love our cabin and our steward, Sayan, has met all our requests and certainly is on top of things. We went to the Michelangelo dining room for Dinner. We had the good fortune to meet Robert, a Headwaiter we have had in the past. He was able to meet our request for a table for two adjacent to a window (212). Our waiters, Tan and Alona, provided us with the exact service we enjoy. I had the thick cut roast beef which was outstanding. Leaving the dining room we spoke with Robert and made a request for a standing reservation for table 212 for the entire voyage. Following dinner we visited the Wheelhouse bar to take advantage of its 2 for 1 Happy Hour promotion (10 to 11PM). Day Two: We awoke to a cool and heavily overcast day but by 9:30 we have scattered cloud and it is nice and warm. We are getting full sun on our balcony. We have a Carnival ship nearby on our portside sailing a parallel course. We attended an astronomy lecture in the morning given by Dr. Gary Kramer about the death of stars. The Captain made an announcement that late this evening and early tomorrow morning we would be getting into 20 foot swells and 40 knot winds. He advised us to secure things before going to bed. This will be the first time in all our cruising to have such high seas. I’m anxious to see how the ship performs. Rest of day spent wondering around and killing time reading and just chilling out. At 7 PM we attended a performance by Mike Wilson an Impressionist and comedian. Overall not a bad show. When we went to dinner we were very happy to learn that Robert had arranged for us to again have table 212. I think we now have a standing reservation. Had a great dinner again with Tan and Alona our waiters. We joined two other couples after dinner in the Club Fusion to play a game of Majority Rules. Good time then off to our cabin about 11:00 PM. Day Three: A little warmer today (70f) with a hint of sun. Some swell but not near the height predicted nor are the winds very strong. Guess we avoided the depression. Managed to get our deck walk completed this AM. Meeting with the with the Cruise Critic roll call group at 11 AM. Want to meet up with the couples we hope to climb Diamond Head with. Looks like we have four couples planning to do the climb. Afternoon too cool and cloudy for sunning. Day Four: Still cool and overcast this morning. Sea state about 3 to 4 and about a 4 meter swell. Other than a little pitching hardly any ship motion. Despite the notice that the treadmills over the cabins would not open until 9:00 AM all signs were removed when we arrived at 8:50 AM. Very annoyed that 7 of the treadmills were marked as out of service. This and it’s only day four! Sayan had our room made up by 8:30 this morning. Couldn't ask for more from this Steward. Good day generally. We saw an instrumentalist, Craig Richard, for the seven o'clock show then followed with a good dinner back at table 212. Came back to the room and decided to catch the movie at MUTS and enjoy a spa tub. We were nicely settled into the tub when a crewman came along to close it. It was about 10:15 but he stated that all the tubs were supposed to be closed at 9:30. Not a happy camper. Day Five: Partially overcast but warn. Sea state about 2 and mostly sunny. Got our exercise in early. Prepared a letter for the President of the company with copy to the Hotel Manager complaining about the hours of the tubs and poor maintenance of the treadmills. Will be interesting to see if I get a response. Most of the day spent enjoying our balcony. We intend to go to the Elite lounge again for cocktails then catch the seven o’clock show of the comedian Jim Colliton. On this cruise the Elite Lounge is being held in Club Fusion because of the large number of Platinum and Elite guests. Day Six: Woke up this morning to at last see land as we approached our anchorage of Hilo on the big island Hawaii. We hope to get ashore to see some sights and maybe get some supplies. Once ashore we did a little walkabout. Not too impressed but did visit the Pacific Tsunami museum and the discovery museum. Both worthwhile visits. Used the bus to get to and from town at a cost of $1.00 / person each way for seniors. Day Seven: We got up at 6:00 AM to watch the approach into Honolulu. It was very beautiful to see Diamond Head and the very narrow entrance into Pearl Harbour. Plan for today is to climb Diamond Head this morning then hit Waikiki Beach area this afternoon. We met up with three other couples at Explorers lounge at 7: 00 AM to climb Diamond Head. We left the ship about 7:40 and walked out of the port area to catch a bus. We stumbled across a taxi area that they claimed would take us to DH for about $22. Their advantage was that they could get us about a mile closer to the park than a bus. They could not accommodate eight passengers so we decided to take two cabs. Meter actually came up to about $30 per cab plus tip. Happy we took the cab because we got to do the climb before all the tour groups arrived. A challenging climb for those of our age but we found it worthwhile. We walked back to the bus stop in front of the park entrance. We learned that if we walked a little further to the West, in front of the University, there was a stop that offered more frequent service to Waikiki. We got the #19 and got off in Waikiki area and walked all the way to the Ala Moana centre taking a bus from there back to the ship. Back aboard about 2:00 PM and dead tired. We were back aboard for dinner then we enjoyed a great deck party prior to and during departure. This was our second night-time departure and it was wonderful to see the city of Honolulu all lit up as we sailed away to the beat and rhythms of a great band. The entertainment staff really got the passengers involved. Day Eight: This morning finds us in Nawiliwili Bay on the island of Kauai. This is a very small and interesting port. Free shuttles are provided to Hilo Haddies, Wall Mart, K Mart and the two nearby malls. The “tram” shuttle takes you to the mall where Mariachi’s is located. Free wifi is offered at the mall office where you can arrange a longer island tour. A relatively small port area but a very large Marriot hotel and golf complex located nearby. The hotel is on one of the nicest accessible beaches on the island and the beach is accessible to everyone. We did our usual walkabout and found a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Mariachi’s located on an upper level of Harbour Mall complex. This restaurant offered great prices on food and beer and free Wifi. Show your ship ID and get Happy Hour drinks all day long. Didn’t eat too much but the platters that we saw were very appealing. Set sail at 5:00PM. We enjoyed the singing of tonight’s featured performer Sonia Selbie. We finished the night with a hot tub session under the stars but were again asked to vacate at 10:00 PM. Day Nine: This morning we approached our anchorage of Lahaina on the island of Maui. We hope to get ashore to see some sights and maybe get some supplies. Once ashore we did a little walkabout. We were amazed at the number of art galleries and the welcome and information we were given just browsing around. We took the bus to the Whaler’s village complex where we visited the Whaler’s Museum. This museum is dedicated to the whaling industry. This complex is about a 15 minute bus ride form Lahaina on Kaanapali Beach. The Lahaina bus stop is about two blocks in from the beach/dock at the Wharf Cinema Centre. The fare is $2 each way or $4 for an all day pass. Pass holders are given priority boarding so buy an all day pass to avoid the boarding hassle on the return trip. Although small the museum is well worth a visit. Admission is $3 per person or $2 for seniors. There are excellent displays of the life of the whalers, their tools and their ships. Although all exhibits are clearly marked and explained you also have the option of taking a self guided tour and using a handheld device and entering the exhibit number you can hear an explanation in four languages. Take the opportunity to learn about these courageous seamen who usually went out on four year voyages in search of their prey. Upon returning to Lahaina we walked along front street and enjoyed a couple of beers and a Baja fish taco at Captain Jacks. This is a restaurant located upstairs one block from the port and across from the Banyon tree. Happy Hour begins at 2:00 PM and the 16oz beers are $4. The Baja fish taco at $5 was excellent. Sitting by the open air gallery with the pleasant breeze and cold beer was a great way to watch the world go by below. We were back aboard about 3:00 PM. This evening is a busy one for entertainment. At 6:15 in Explorers Lounge we watched Fred Becker & Bobbie, his wife. This was a magic and comedy act that was very entertaining. He got some audience participation but despite having some problems with his “subjects” and a problematical sound system he used these challenges to thoroughly entertain his audience. Highly recommended act. At 7:00 pm we went to the theatre to catch Carl Andrews a “mental comedy” act. This act included some remarkable feats but in my opinion was not as entertaining or polished as the earlier act. Good show none the less. We have our usual dinner at 8:00 PM at table 212. Robert has arranged to have a “special” spicy main course for us. After our appetizer we are presented with a delicious shrimp curry accompanied with rice, papadums and nan bread. The curry is one of the best I have ever enjoyed. After dinner it’s too late for a hot tub, they are still closing at 10:00PM, so we just return to the cabin and enjoy our balcony. Day Ten: Did an early deck walk then breakfast. Day is starting out cloudy sea state about 3 to 4 with occasional light showers. Easy day and really enjoying the rear deck facilities. Looking forward to dinner tonight as we have booked Sabotini’s. Tonight is one of the Formal nights in addition to having the Captain’s cocktail party for Captain’s Circle members. This function was held in the Fusion lounge. We met up with two of the wait staff that have looked after us in the past and we soon had our favourite cocktail in our hands. We left the party to go to Sabotini’s. Wonderful dinner in a beautiful but largely vacant room. Great service and attention from the chef Francisco. We were presented with two additional courses by the Chef. Way too many calories but a great night. Day eleven: Woke up to low overcast and lumpy seas today. Walked the upper deck and had about a 40 mph wind across the bow. Going to an Outlet sale event at 10:00 AM. Bought a light jacket for Louise at half price. Rum tasting at 3:00 PM. Good dinner again back at table 212. Thick cut slab of roast beef. Day Twelve: Morning is sunny and warm. Another two sea days before we arrive in Apia. Still have not seen any sea life although we were told whales were possible. Met today with Mr. Johannes DeVilliers, the DPS, to question the hours of the hot tubs/spas. He de-fused my frustration by stating that he had left a phone message yesterday stating that the aft spa would now close at 11:00 PM. We’re looking forward to testing out that new policy tonight. At 1:00 PM we enjoyed the crossing the equator ceremony where pollywogs become shellbacks. Lots of good sports and fun for all the onlookers. WiFi service is unavailable on the balcony using the new HP two in one tablet although the Nexus seven does get two bars. Enjoyed the magic of Fred & Bobbie again in Explorers followed by an early dinner in our usual section. Excellent Thai cooked red snapper. Quickly came back to cabin to change and go up and use the hot tub on this gorgeous night. Arrived at the tub at 10:05 to find the tub again closed. Not a happy camper. Returned to our cabin, called the Purser’s desk and supposedly talked to the duty officer, Alexa, at 10:32 to complain then onto the balcony for a good shot of rum. Day Thirtheen: Cloudy, overcast with an early morning shower. Wrote a letter to Mr. DeVilliers again. See what transpires this time. This has become one big frustration. Not the voyage we anticipated. Received a call at 1800 hours from Mr. DeVilliers with apologies and statements of mis-communications between departments. Assures me spa will be open tonight and that duty officer will check. Enjoyed Elite lounge again followed by a game of General Knowledge trivia which our team won then good dinner. Arrived at spa at 9:55 and yes it was open. Unfortunately, it was not heated so water temperature was about equal to body temperature. After about five minutes we gave up and returned to room. I returned to spa at 10:50 and met Alexa, the duty officer, and I had her confirm the situation. I am now ready to throw in the towel on this matter. I intend to pursue it with Head Office and postings on the Internet when we return. Day Fourteen: Today we arrived in Apia, Western Samoa at 7:30 AM, earlier than expected because we had a medical emergency aboard and we have been travelling faster than planned in order to transfer these two patients ashore. A large group of local dancers and musicians greeted us with a dockside performance. Nice little town adjacent to the harbour. Shuttle service into town with drop off at the cultural centre was available for $2 US/person. We found a special hotel called Aggie Grey’s about half way round the harbour. This is a very old hotel recently renovated. There is a great deal of history associated with this building. Take time to enter and go to the rear where there is a wonderful garden Terrace. Local beers were 6.50 Tala about US$3.00 for a small bottle and 13 Tala for a large. Well drinks at 12 Tala and water (350ml) 2.50 Tala, just over US$1. During happy hour cocktails are 10 Tala. The preceding statement about Aggie Grey’s is a repeat of comments we made two years ago. Shortly after our visit in 2012 the area was hit by a typhoon and Aggie Grey’s was severally damaged. It is now undergoing a total renovation and addition of a new four story wing. Also new since our last visit is the Catholic cathedral. This is an incredible building to rival many in Europe. Don’t miss the chance to visit. The ceiling is a mastercraft of hand carved wood. There is an incredible painted cupola and beautiful stained glass windows. During our return to the ship we stopped by “The Edge” bar and restaurant. This is a wonderful port side restaurant in a complex of several establishments in this complex. If you arrive by cruise ship it’s an easy walk from the dock, perhaps 400 – 500 yards. The restaurant has a few tables inside but the attraction is to sit on the deck over the water and enjoy the breeze and the small fish below. There are three local Samoan beers on tap as well as a variety of bottles. A mug of local beer is five “Tala” about $2.25US. The symbol for “Tala” is the same as US or Canadian dollars ($) so don’t be deceived. WiFI is available for 20 Tala for 2 hours. We did not purchase this service so can’t comment on the speed. If you use a credit card there is a 3.5% surcharge. We didn't try any food but the restaurant seems popular with the locals and we received a warm welcome. Great place to enjoy the Samoan atmosphere. Of note this is the first bar/restaurant I have been to where there was a plate of free condoms in each of the restrooms. Interesting! Right at dockside the Samoans have set up numerous stalls to sell all the local artifacts and handicrafts. Nearly all you could want was right at hand without having to go to town. We returned about 1:00PM and as we entered the cabin the phone was ringing. Alexa from the Purser’s office wanted to offer a dinner in the Crown Grill and a bottle of wine. I asked about a “hot” tub but she wouldn't commit to that. We returned to “The Edge” for happy hour. We enjoyed 2 draft beers, 2 bottled beers and 2 Mojitos for a total of 26 Tala. Good time enjoying a number of Samoans having a good time after looking after cruise passengers all day. Not much going on this evening. We are going to dine at the Horizon Court for the first time. We set sail for Pago Pago at 7:00PM shortly before sunset. Prior to dinner I went up to the hot tub to check conditions. By coincidence Alexa also appeared. We were both pleased that the tub was “hot”. Delighted! Enjoyed our first dinner in the HC. Great selection of dishes, very friendly staff and we were able to find a relatively quiet corner. Good experience. After dinner we changed and arrived at the tub at 9:50PM. Enjoyed our first evening under the stars and a half moon. Outstanding! Day Fifteen: We’re at the half way point. We've arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa at 7:00 AM . Day is overcast, some showers and windy. Strong crosswind makes it difficult to tie up. Saturday still as we have again crossed the International Date Line. Beautiful little hurricane hole. Not much here but we didn't do any tours. By turning left out of the port and walking less than 1000 feet there is a wonderful little hotel/restaurant and beach called Sadie’s by the Sea. Great place to stop. Enjoyed $4.00 mugs of beer on their delightful outdoor terrace. Their gift shop had the only decent liquor display so we bought a litre of rum and transferred it to our plastic bottle which we had no trouble boarding. Sadie’s also has their own little beach which you can use for $5 a day. Immediately beyond Sadie’s there is a very active public beach. If you turn right out of the port and walk about ¾ of a mile you will discover Tutuila Store which has a wide selection of fabrics at very reasonable prices. We are supposed to have a musical send off at 5.00PM. Had a wonderful sailaway for this marvellous little harbour. Dined at our usual table. Went up to the tub just before ten. Windy, overcast with a little rain but the tub was hot and we had it to ourselves. Returned to the cabin about 10:30 and had a nightcap on our balcony. Day Sixteen: Early awake again. Overcast with winds about 30 knots. Sea state 4 to 5. We are straight into the wind so we have a wind across the deck of over 50 mph. The Captain advised that he has reduced speed in order to improve passenger comfort so we are now running about 3 hours late for Bora Bora. May make up time tomorrow. . Formal night tonight. Enjoyed another good meal then watched “Want to be a Millionaire” Princess game. Still rainy, windy and closed decks so retired to our balcony about 10:30PM. We’re heading east again so setting time one hour forward tonight. Day Seventeen: Overcast and light chop this morning. Another sea day. Winds have died a little and sun begins to appear about noon. Having a pub lunch, afternoon game, show at seven, Flamico Express and dinner with new friends at eight. Flamenco Express is a duo that performs several dance routines to Flamenco music. Good show. Enjoyed our dinner with Gary and Sheryl from Vancouver. Played a new game where you try to decipher a phrase from a scramble of words. Good fun in the Explorers lounge. Will be in Moorea tomorrow and we’re looking forward to our whale and porpoise watching tour. Day Eighteen: Arrived at the entrance of our anchorage area in Moorea at about 8:30 about one hour late because of the winds during our crossing from Pago Pago. Stayed on ship for the morning but enjoyed the Spinner Dolphin, whale watching tour provided by Dr. Michael Poole. This was conducted in a large roofed boat with a very educational briefing by Dr. Poole of the years of research he has conducted on dolphin and other species. We spotted many dolphin, saw some spins then travelled to a shallow lagoon area where we stopped and were given the opportunity to swim and interact with rays and black tipped sharks. Wonderful experience. This was a tour offered by the ship at $129. Returned to the ship about 4:30PM. Quiet night tonight entertainment wise. We enjoyed our usual dinner then spent 45 minutes in the hot tub with some rain. Good fun none the less. Day Nineteen: Arrived at Bora Bora anchorage about 7:00 AM. Very narrow entrance to a wonderful harbour overlooked by a 2500 foot volcanic peak. Another day of cloud and drizzle. Took a tender about 10:00 to visit port area. Bought a set of black pearl earrings for Louise. Found a little grocery store and replenished some supplies. We have a lagoon tour planned for 1:30 but we have had a series of heavy showers since we returned at about 11:30. Don’t think this will be much fun. Went to the dock for 1:30 and by mutual agreement of the operator and guests the tour was cancelled. We returned to the ship to enjoy our balcony in a misty and cloudy afternoon. Saw an instrument show featuring an Australian banjo player and violinist then followed with dinner and thirty five minutes in the tub under a full moon. The Captain announced earlier that we had extended our stay in Papaeete until 2:00PM Friday. Day Twenty: Arrived in Papeete at about 7:30 to a beautiful sunny day, the first in many days. We are stern in and adjacent to a park and entertainment area. We met Sally, a relative, in late morning and enjoyed lunch and part of the afternoon at her home just outside the city and with a view to nearby Moorea. On our return we stopped in at a nearby brasserie called 3 Brasseurs. We’ve come over 10,000 miles to stumble across the same micro-brewery we have at home. They make at least four house brews. We enjoyed the “Blanche”, white beer (650 XPF about $7). Prices somewhat higher than in Canada. A good place near the harbour to enjoy a brew and people watch. At 7:00 PM we enjoyed a fabulous Tahitian show put on in the theatre by a troupe of about 20 dancers and musicians called “O Tahiti E” folkloric show.. This show was the highlight of our trip so far. After the show we enjoyed dinner followed by a walk through the adjacent park area which was alive with people enjoying the offerings of the many “roulettes” (food trucks) with their wide diversity of offerings. Day Twenty one: Woke up to a delightful day here in Papeete. The Captain advised us late last night that our departure was being delayed until 4:30 today because we are awaiting arrival of a ship from New Zealand with important provisions for us. We will take advantage of the extra time to walk the harbour promenade later this morning. We walked the length of the pedestrian harbour-side walkway to the stadium, about a mile. Construction is in progress to improve this walkway and include a new marina. Project expected to be completed in 2015. On our return we walked on the opposite side and about half way back we discovered the Robert Wan Pearl shop and Pearl Museum, claimed to be the largest pearl museum in the world. The museum is free and was a wonderful discovery. There were displays of ancient pearls, how they were discovered and used. There are displays of royal clothing and headdresses of the past and then displays of current cultivation. This is certainly a place to wander in, discover and learn some history and marvel at the beauty of the various pearls. This was the most spectacular departure we have ever had. The shore was lined with locals all waving us off. The welcome and friendliness of the Tahitians will be a lifelong memory. We caught the seven o’clock show of Michael Minor a ventriloquist and vocalist. He had a good routine using four characters and his singing and impressions were very talented. Tonight we dined at the “Crab Shack” for the first time. This turned out to be a fun and outstanding experience. We had the shrimp and hush puppy appetizer followed by the shrimp and crab legs. This main course was outstanding. Although I finished mine, Louise only completed the legs and took the excellent shrimp for lunch tomorrow. We’re happy we didn't also order the soup. We followed dinner with our usual hot tub. Overall a wonderful evening. Day Twenty Two – We are off on our Pacific crossing of over 3500 nautical miles over better than 7 days. Today dawned cloudy but warm with a few showers about and light seas. The sun came out after noon and it very hot on the balcony. This should be the routine until we get to LA. I won’t report unless there is something of particular interest. Saw two shows tonight, David Aiken “The Checkerboard Guy”, a juggler and comedian and Doug Funk a Toronto improv comedian. Funk had very good audience participation. Both provided very good entertainment. During dinner, about 9:00 we were advised by the Captain that we had a medical emergency and that we were diverting to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands to transfer the patient. He could not confirm the delay. Day Twenty Three - Hot and sunny southbound. The Captain informed s at about 9:00 AM that we would arrive at Nuku Hiva at about 2:00 PM and that there would be a tender transfer of the patient. We arrived at the port about 2:10 and had retrieved our tender by 2:50 PM. Very slick operation. Advised we are running about a day late and that our new ETA for LA is about 9:00 AM Sunday the 16th. Tonight were catching a show by Ric Steel who highlights the songs of Roy Orbison, Jonny Cash and the Beatles. Good entertainer and we look forward o his performance in the Explorers Lounge later in the week. We follow the show with dinner and a tub. Fabulous evening. Day Twenty Four – Lots doing today. Started off with Remembrance Day service presided over by Captain. Theatre full. Very impressive service. Still no update about our arrival. Have succeeded in changing our hotel reservation in LA but cannot complete flight change on AC site. Have wasted over 1 ½ hours of internet time without results. Keep getting time out or page fault. Have sent message asking my brother to try on my behalf. Shortly after 1200 the Captain announced that ETA was 0900 16 Nov if weather holds. Further promised to update at 1630 regarding travel arrangements. At 1630 Captain announced that patient had been operated on in Papeete and was recovering. Stated that Princess Air passengers were being re-scheduled and others must do own bookings. He stated that free phone and internet would be provided and that claims for additional air charges should be submitted to Princess. Received message from Gerry that our flights were re-booked. We’re elated and celebrating with a glass of wine! Enjoyed another show by Ric Steel followed by dinner. Tried to use the hot tub but it was again closed. Not happy! Day Twenty Five – Woke up to a warm but overcast day. Sea state about 3 and winds less than 20. Last night we again crossed the equator and are making good time for LA going at better than 22 knots. We intend to see Doug Funk, the comedian this evening before dinner in the Crown Grill. There are extensive line-ups at several locations on deck seven where people are trying to change their flight arrangements. Ship has set up different locations for different airlines and each has an open line direct to airline booking centre. No need to make individual calls. Although never very good, since leaving Papeete the Wifi service has been almost non-existent. This persists until we arrive in LA. The Crown's Wifi has been the worst we have ever experienced. Captain advised us today that we have numerous cases of Norovirus aboard and many extra sanitary precautions have been imposed. Spa tub on deck 17 aft remained closed all day and evening for no apparent reason. We went to Crown Grill for dinner at 8:00 PM. Nice quiet atmosphere with very few diners. Good appetizers. Louise ordered Sea Bass & shrimp and I ordered 8 oz filet with lobster tail plus vegetables for main courses. Beautiful, delicious sea bass and perfectly cooked filet. However, lobster tail and all vegetables were barely warm. A disappointing dinner experience overall. Would only go back if we specifically wanted a quiet night. Wish they would offer an upsell to a premium steak in the MDR. We had a much more enjoyable experience at the Crab Shack. Day Twenty Six – Cloudy and windy this morning. Spa tub still closed. Went by the spa about 10:30 to find it open. Later talked to a deck attendant who stated it had been closed because of poor water quality. Closed over 36 hours to adjust quality? There are probably less than 300 gals of water. Why not simply empty and re-start. We’re starting to think about packing. The crew show is on in the theatre this evening. Crew show was a sell out and we enjoyed it. Day Twenty Seven - Cloudy and cool today. Don’t do much. Captain hosted an end of cruise cocktail party at 7:00 PM this evening. We don’t recall ever having one of these before. He gave a speech thanking everyone for their consideration and compassion regarding the deviation in course and congratulated everyone on their efforts to contain the Norovirus. He stated that we were now down to less than 50 cases from a high of over 90. We see Michael Minor again for a very entertaining show followed by dinner. We decide to forgo the spa tonight and visit the Happy Hour in the Wheelhouse Lounge and enjoy some easy listening. Day Twenty Eight - Last day dawns bright and a little cool with smooth seas again. Enjoy an afternoon spa under MUTS then cocktails, a show at seven by Ric Steel which turned out to be the best show of the trip. Finale was a musical number with the CD and all of the stars we have had aboard since Papeete. Followed this with dinner and then retired to the cabin for a nightcap. Day Twenty Nine – We’re alongside by 7:15. We hope to start disembarking by 9:00 and our time off is scheduled for shortly after 11:00. We’ll see how cooperative Customs and CDC are today. Clearance comes early and as disembarkation progresses our time off becomes earlier. We actually disembark about 10:30, speed through the non- US immigration/customs, easily find are bags and are out looking for Super Shuttle within 15 minutes. Perhaps the smoothest dis-embarkation ever. We have a smooth drive to our hotel, the Hilton, after a stop at the airport. Enjoy our stay at the Hilton and a wonderful meal at a nearby Mexican restaurant then the following afternoon we have an uneventful return flight to Ottawa via Air Canada.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
You would think that after paying over $10k for an Alaska CruiseTour that you should not have to pay extra to get a soda with your meal or have to spend $29 for a soda card, but not here. For "your convenience" they charge $11.50 ... Read More
You would think that after paying over $10k for an Alaska CruiseTour that you should not have to pay extra to get a soda with your meal or have to spend $29 for a soda card, but not here. For "your convenience" they charge $11.50 per person (children included) per day for tips for the room stewart and serving staff. This works out to a total "take" of $250k. If this was shared among the entire 1200 person crew (which it is not), each one gets a $200 "tip" per week. Then they say that if you wanted to put a little extra in an envelope for someone you should. They are always trying to sell you something, from art auctions to the constant push to buy jewelry. The seating and space in general around the central "piazza" is limited and then they have tables of junk (jewelry, t-shirts etc) for sale taking up the isles. These ships were designed for cruising in the warmer climates where many people can sit outside and around the pool. This is not an option when the temperature is 50 degrees with fog or a cold rain (typical Alaska). That is when you discover that the ship is sorely lacking in comfortable quiet public space (that is not in a bar!) to just sit an relax, watch the scenery or read a book. The rear portion of the ship experienced a constant vibration, even when in port. This, combined with the rolling of the ship when at sea, was accentuated by the 15th level aft location of the Horizon Buffet. We left a plate full of breakfast and never returned.The "anytime" dining rooms are located further forward and on the 5th and 6th level did not have as much of a problem, However, sit-down breakfast was limited to one dining room and closed at 9:30 AM, even when at sea when you might just want to sleep-in. The staff, while very courteous, was not very fluent in English, which made getting your request correct difficult. As you may guess, we did not enjoy cruising and will NEVER cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was the first of our bucket list trips and found Alaska to be wonderful and exciting. We had done the northbound 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Whittier on the Crown and then a 4 day cruise tour to Fairbanks. The ship was OK and the ... Read More
This was the first of our bucket list trips and found Alaska to be wonderful and exciting. We had done the northbound 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Whittier on the Crown and then a 4 day cruise tour to Fairbanks. The ship was OK and the food typical, but nothing to write home about. The dining rooms were very oddly placed and we found ourselves getting turned around a lot during the week. We did have a specialty dinner in the Crown Grill that was very good and had excellent service. We were very lucky as not having to experience too much rain and spent a lot of time outdoors even in the coolest of temperatures where we enjoyed the burger center and the pizza counter on the outer deck for lunch. Although I am not one for ship entertainment, my wife felt the entertainment less than good, but we totally enjoyed the comedian (Katz). The event schedule during the days were sparse and on the last day, evening events on the schedule crammed together. We also found the ships officers/upper staff to be non-existent. We have sailed on other cruise lines that the officers were always apparent and always quick to introduce themselves and chat with passengers, but not so on this ship. Our cruise tour was awesome starting in Whittier and making our way north staying at different Princess lodges with McKinley and Denali being our favorites. The train ride was informative, but we had quite a few non-English speaking people in our car who were very loud and made it difficult to hear the narration of our surroundings. Be prepared to spend a small fortune for food as you are kind of locked in to all of the lodges for eatery choices. The one thing about these lodges are that they all lack are safes, so carry your passport and most valuables with you. Embarkation was ok, the lines were a bit long. Good thing we had a terrific cab driver who got us right in to the terminal and later, disembarking pretty seamless, but very wet due to the rain. After all being briefly said, this was a wonderful experience, but with the pricing, I know now why this was a ‘PRINCESS’ cruise…..prepare to ante up…. CRUISE TOUR McKinley Lodge….After disembarking the train we motor coached to Talkeetna. We opted to get off and tour this small town and enjoy an open air restaurant for lunch. Then got a shuttle to the lodge where you can enjoy sitting around the fire pits at night having a drink and doing a meet and greet and waiting for Mt McKinley to clear enough to see it at 100%. At the Denali lodge we took an 5 hour narrated excursion into the park….wish we would have done the 8 hour trip that went deeper into the park. The Princess Lodge in Fairbanks was the final destination. Since most of the flight s back home was at night, we opted to rent a car and tour on our own starting in the interesting town of Northpole, Alaska…then on to the Falmouth Auto Museum and the University   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Given 3 weeks notice to book a lifelong dream of cruising Alaska, we made the best of it. We left our 3 children at home with the grandparents, and had a much deserved getaway, adults only, to Alaska. We flew from Florida the day before, ... Read More
Given 3 weeks notice to book a lifelong dream of cruising Alaska, we made the best of it. We left our 3 children at home with the grandparents, and had a much deserved getaway, adults only, to Alaska. We flew from Florida the day before, and spent the night in Anchorage which was expensive. We then took a Princess charter bus to Whittier, where we walked off the bus, walked into the terminal which was empty, and walked right on to the ship. It was the easiest embarkation we ever experienced. The food was typical buffet food. They do offer several varieties for each meal, however it seemed just average. The ship itself, seemed to be in nice condition. My thoughts are Princess attracts the elderly crowd, as the entertainment was geared for the elderly. I think the average age was in their 70-80's. We found the pizza on the pool deck to be very good, and found ourselves there almost every day for lunch, after walking through the buffet.The comedy show was the best show we saw on this trip. He was funny, and picked on anyone walking in late or anyone sitting up front. We had late dinner, which was recommended to me, so we could enjoy each port without having to rush back for dinner. This was a great tip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Every guest had access to our balcony from a large observation deck that obstructed our view. Very disappointing especially going through the glaciers. We were never notified about this in advance. We saved a lot of money to have a suite. ... Read More
Every guest had access to our balcony from a large observation deck that obstructed our view. Very disappointing especially going through the glaciers. We were never notified about this in advance. We saved a lot of money to have a suite. People on the observation could look into our bedroom and living area. The only privacy we had was to keep our curtains shut. When we complained we were offered a smaller room, the next day, or a bottle of wine. If we were on our balcony we could touch the people on the observation deck. They also took our cushions, from the sofa, to be refurbished because it was our rooms turn. We spent a whole day looking at a sofa with missing cushions. The Casino smoke radiated to many areas of the ship where vendors were selling jewelry & clothing. Crew members were fooling around. They were in public areas and disturbed guests especially in the Adagio Lounge, during the string quartet performances. There were also crew members conduction business in Sabitini's during breakfast. We could hear their whole conversation. The Crown Grill (Specialty Restaurant) disturbed guests, who paid extra, with loud singing (Happy Birthday). The meal was delicious. Our head server was cold and impersonal. The ass. server was wonderful. There were fifteen members in our party and the Crown Princess made special reservations for thirteen to eat at Sabitini's, another specialty restaurant. We were excluded because we had a suite and received a picture frame instead. They told us that if we returned the frame, and a voucher for a photo, we could eat with the rest of our group. Really!!!!! We took the frame and voucher down to guest services and offered to return it. Food was adequate at best. Beware, if you are thinking about a suite to ask about the privacy & safety. We only chose Princess because our friends would only go on Princess. We did an Alaskan Cruise with Celebrity and had a perfect suite with a butler....Same price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first Princess cruise which included the extra 3 day inland portion starting in Fairbanks. We definitely recommend this with trips to Denali and Mt McKinley lodges. Their own lodges and glass domed train were excellent. ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise which included the extra 3 day inland portion starting in Fairbanks. We definitely recommend this with trips to Denali and Mt McKinley lodges. Their own lodges and glass domed train were excellent. Ship's food was some of the best we ever had and we have cruised 7 times before on R.C. And Celebrity which still are our favorites. Going on our first Crystal cruise also next year. The best part was the food, room attendant and waiters. Disappointments were: I did not see any urgency or requirements to use hand sanitizers when going into the dining rooms as well as returning to the ship from port. This is totally unlike other any other ships I have been on. Entertainment was middle of the road and very short, one time only 35 minutes. Throughout the ship it just did not feel as clean as others. Some disappointments in public rest rooms and did not see crewmembers sanitizing public areas as again I did on the 2 other cruise lines. Huge rip off from the photo shop advertizing their cruise DVD which was a really generic Alaska DVD with a few pictures added from our cruise. Do not fall for this one. Room, a Jr. Suite was nice and very clean, however it was on Deck 9 and did not have a ceiling over the balcony and all above could see what was happening on our balcony. Basically no privacy from above. Because the disappointments outweigh the good points I will not return on Princess. Navy Mustang Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We'll boarding the ship took a long time we had to wait almost 2 hours and standing the whole time in the sun. Once we got to our cabins our cabin beds were set up wrong, which they fix quickly. Our cabin steward was great. We were on ... Read More
We'll boarding the ship took a long time we had to wait almost 2 hours and standing the whole time in the sun. Once we got to our cabins our cabin beds were set up wrong, which they fix quickly. Our cabin steward was great. We were on the tenth deck in inside cabins the cabin was big but made a lot of noise. This was our first Princess cruise so we thought to try it out and just get a inside cabin. We have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity a lot of times and Princess was our least favorite. The cruise was very boring no party our music by the pool when leaving port. There was not a lot to do!!! DINING/ we had the early seating in the dining room,the service was horrible, one waiter for 5 tables and no help which is NOT the waiter fault at all. We felt so sorry for our waiter he was running to get our food and trying to be nice which he was. We didn't want to ask him for anything different or for a drink. the food was hit and miss. We only ate in the dining room 3 nights because of the service . We did eat in the two specialty restaurants which were excellent and worth the extra money. The Crown Princess is a pretty ship and clean, the upper deck 18 in the lounge to relax and look out wasn't that nice it rattle and you could hear the golf balls on deck 19 roll all the time.. The pacific coast cruise ports were very nice and a lot to do. We talked to a lot of people on this cruise that have sailed on Princess before said that this was a weird cruise and the smaller Princess ships are nicer and the service is better. Getting off the ship went smooth. So our family might give Princess one more try if we like the ports and reviews! Princess is NOT our favorite for sure!!! The staff on the ship were very nice and helpful, I think it's the management :(   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
First the good stuff - California coast has some wonderful destinations and iconic sights including LA itself for the Holywood scene, San Francisco for the Golden Gate Bridge and street scenes, beautiful Santa Barbara for beaches and ... Read More
First the good stuff - California coast has some wonderful destinations and iconic sights including LA itself for the Holywood scene, San Francisco for the Golden Gate Bridge and street scenes, beautiful Santa Barbara for beaches and shopping, San Diego wonderfully bright and fresh - can't really saÅ· the same though for Ensenada in Mexico which was a little bit 'iffy'. Not so good The ship (Crown) was OK but it is showing its age a little bit now, and lacks the sparkle that the newer ships today have. Food was fine both in main dining and in the buffet. Staff, our steward (Standly) was excellent and kept our mini suite in tip top çondition and he always had a smile. Can't say the same for the so called guest services/front desk team most of whom looked like they were sucking lemons most of the time, really it felt like they did not want to be there at all ! A word of warning if buying gifts on Crown pre cruise as they will not be in your suite when you arrive - all you get to hand out are pieces of paper, how rubbish is that ! And if you order flowers they may not be in your suite when you board which sort of defeats the purpose and when you make a complaint to the so called CUSTOMER team well you may as well talk to the nearest wall for all they seemed to care. Boarding - I've never seen longer queues. We were picked up at LA hotel by coach and dropped (dumped) at cruise terminal. We were amazed at the length of the lines and all the Priness staff just left us to fend for ourselves - they really need to sort this out. Leaving the ship though was very smooth with no issues at all. Entertainment - shows were very short, about 30 minutes and while they were OK they were over in no time. Also their timing made it difficult for those of us on màin dining at 8pm. Bars and other entertainment was ok too though on this cruise many folk were off to bed early it seemed. Could definitely do better and I've seen better on other cruises. We've cruised with RCI, MSC, Carnival and now PRincess and I would rank them in that order. So while we really enjoyed the cruise (fabulous weather in April helped) and the destinations I was a little disappointed more so by some staff (except steward and main dining waitress/waiter who were very good) that really seemed to give the impression the paying guest were an annoyance to their day........... So overall I would do this cruise again for the destinations but would hope to see an overall happier and customer friendly crew - but I would not pre buy gifts again - I really don't understand their approach here unless of course it's about saving a few dollars. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Sailed one of the California Costal cruises on the Crown. Embarkation was a three hour line to board through one door with no explanation and incredibly poor communication from anyone representing Princess. Ship was bland in decor, really ... Read More
Sailed one of the California Costal cruises on the Crown. Embarkation was a three hour line to board through one door with no explanation and incredibly poor communication from anyone representing Princess. Ship was bland in decor, really no wow factor and way too crowded. My least favorite ship in over 85 cruises. Our cabin steward vanished after night three and on night five another one showed up and never seemed to understand when to turn the room down at night and never replenished any elite amenities. The Horizon court was the worst casual eating restaurant at sea, always confusing, crowded and food was poor. We ended up eating in Sanatinis most nights just to escape the mediocre food and crowds. Crown Grill was rushed and nothing special The ports were all fine and a highlight of this cruise. Everything else about the Crown was so mediocre, I most likely will not sail Princess again with so many nicer cruise options available Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My wife and I are just back from the May 26, 2014 California Coastal Cruise aboard the Crown Princess. Here are a few pros and cons of the experience. CABIN We had a balcony cabin, forward on the starboard side. The cabin itself was OK. ... Read More
My wife and I are just back from the May 26, 2014 California Coastal Cruise aboard the Crown Princess. Here are a few pros and cons of the experience. CABIN We had a balcony cabin, forward on the starboard side. The cabin itself was OK. Even though we had a balcony, the room only had two chairs, no loveseat. Décor was serviceable, if a bit bland—everything except the carpet was beige. TV was a decent-quality flat screen. Balcony furniture seemed new and was comfortable. Best part of the room was the bed! Extremely comfortable. We had the steward add the egg crate mattress topper, and slept like babies. The bed in “king” formation seemed wider than most as well. Excellent thermostat control in the room—did a nice job of keeping the room temperate without burning up or freezing. We asked for and got the plush robes instead of the standard waffle weave; not sure if it mattered that we were “gold” level past passengers. Room steward was excellent, very much the “silent butler” type. He was efficient and inconspicuous. FOOD This was our biggest disappointment overall. Food was just…mediocre. Wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t tantalizing, either. In the dining room, rather than feeling we had many good choices, we felt we were having to stretch to put together a satisfying meal. It felt like with most of what we ate, the “hot” food was rather cold, and the cold food was somewhat warm. The buffets had a lot of choices, but it all had that “served with a feed scoop” feeling to it. Not a lot of style or subtlety to any of the food, sauces or presentation thereof. We never could quite figure out what was going on with the Caribe buffet. It was supposed to be the “alternative” buffet, serving slightly more exotic fare. We got to eat there once the first sea day. After that, it never seemed to be open. It was scheduled to be, but every time we went by, it was closed. Many days, it was only set to be open 5-6am (!) for continental breakfast. Weird. Breakfast buffet was serviceable. I tried the made-to-order omelet station one fairly slow morning. I ordered, then stood there for maybe 10 minutes. Still no omelet. The guy in front of me canceled his order, and I followed suit. The system just didn’t seem to be working smoothly. They were trying to cook them on a central grill, rather than the usual guy working a couple of pans set-up. The grill cook couldn’t seem to keep up with the (modest) demand. We ate in Crown Grill one night. The food was marginally better there, but still nothing we’d return to if it were a land-based restaurant. We didn’t try the limited room service menu. The “Anytime” dining didn’t really work for us. The service was terrible—the sensation was of the service staff throwing your food on the table and running off. They seemed harried, never had enough time to, say, check back and see if your food was OK, and just weren’t engaged with the diners. You have to make a reservation every day (via phone, and prepare to be on hold quite a while), and if you don’t, you stand in a very long line to be seated. About half way through, we switched to traditional dining, and the service was vastly improved: much more timely, more friendly, more coordinated, no daily phone reservation, wholly a better experience. The ship did have a nice selection of sugar-free desserts throughout the cruise, and the breads were excellent. But overall, I’d give the food about a 4.5 out of 10. CABIN We had a balcony cabin, forward on the starboard side. The cabin itself was OK. Even though we had a balcony, the room only had two chairs, no loveseat. Décor was serviceable, if a bit bland—everything except the carpet was beige. TV was a decent-quality flat screen. Balcony furniture seemed new and was comfortable. Best part of the room was the bed! Extremely comfortable. We had the steward add the egg crate mattress topper, and slept like babies. The bed in “king” formation seemed wider than most as well. Excellent thermostat control in the room—did a nice job of keeping the room temperate without burning up or freezing. We asked for and got the plush robes instead of the standard waffle weave; not sure if it mattered that we were “gold” level past passengers. Room steward was excellent, very much the “silent butler” type. He was efficient and inconspicuous. SHIP Again, eh. We kept saying, “this ship feels rabbit-y!” There’s just not a lot of flow (IMHO) to the design of the ship. Seems like you’re always having to detour around something—a panel on the deck, a potted plant to get to your buffet table, needing to go down a deck to get forward where you want to be. It just wasn’t smooth navigating on board. The Movies Under The Stars seemed lame. (Note to Princess: really? MUTS was your best choice for an acronym for this feature?) The screen was atrocious. Maybe it was impressive when the ship was built, but in the era of Jerryworld’s high-def megascreen, the image quality here was pathetic and nigh unwatchable. Handy tip: if you want to go out on top of the flying bridge, go onto deck 15 Forward, and just keep going. There are a couple of beige, unmarked doors all the way forward—just walk through those, and you can go up 5 steps onto that area. Quite a nice view back along the side of the ship. But hang on—it’s windy up there! Overall, the ship was well maintained. Unfortunately, that did not extend to the mini golf area. Throughout our week-long cruise, it was “closed for maintenance,” though no one seemed to be maintaining it in any form or fashion, nor was it in particularly bad shape. I think they just didn’t want to mess with it. I find that really annoying, that they offer something like that as a sales point an enticement, then don’t appear to make any effort to make the feature available. The pools and hot tubs seemed to be open and closed with no rhyme or reason. A pool would be closed, but the hot tubs next to it open. We were in port in Ensenada on the warmest day of the trip, and the pool was closed. Very odd. No signs, no explanations—just random closures. It felt like there was a real shortage of just plain fun events on board. No shuffleboard court. No putting challenge. No ring toss for goofy prizes. Everything was geared toward getting more money out of your pocket: “Free acupuncture analysis” to see if they can get you to buy an acupuncture session, “free aging analysis” to see if you need to buy some botox, “free lecture on precious gems” that you can buy in the jewelry store, “free foot analysis” to see if…something is wrong with your feet, presumably—that sort of thing. Take a tour and decide for yourself, but we thought paying extra for the thermal suite facilities ($109 for the week!) wasn’t worth it at all. The saunas were miniscule, and the whole area seemed like a stuffed-away afterthought. You could only get a pass for the week, which was a drag, too. Just not a good value. We toured the “Sanctuary” area as well, which also didn’t seem worth it. It really came down to it being a different set of deck chairs behind a railing…for 20 bucks a half day. You could request sun or shade “on a space available basis.” And it was located on a windy part of the deck, underneath massive, LOUDLY-flapping international flags! It wasn’t much of a “sanctuary.” They did seem to limit the number of announcements on board, and we always appreciate that lack of intrusion. Tenders ran smoothly in Santa Barbara. Not too much waiting. PORTS We did enjoy the itinerary. No place we hadn’t been before, but each was a fun, “simple” stop, enjoyable and easy to get around. For SF, highly recommend getting a Streetwise map before you go, then getting a 1-day MUNI pass from Walgreens when you arrive, and just seeing the city on your own. Easiest city on earth to get around in! We highly recommend riding Segways in Golden Gate Park. We found this place on Yelp, and it’s the way to go—you get to scoot around on your own at your own pace, aren’t stuck in a tour, and get to go a longer time at a cheaper price! Nice, friendly owner will help you get ready to go, even if you’ve never been. Ton of fun—our most fun outing on the trip! Check it out: http://www.yelp.com/biz/segway-sf-bay-san-francisco Santa Barbara has a shuttle you can take into town from the port for 50 cents. The line seemed long and the sun was hot, so we just took a cab to the far end of State Street for 8 bucks. We walked most of the way back, then grabbed the shuttle to the ship. A $9 shore excursion! BTW, try McConnell’s ice cream! Fantastic! In San Diego, we stopped at the Tourist Info center right on the pier, bought two all-day transit passes for $6 each, got a map and took off on our own. We had to walk a few blocks to catch the 7 bus to Balboa Park, but it was easy enough. Then we went to Old Town for lunch by bus, then took the Green Line train back to the ship. Easy, fun and cheap! And ho-hum Ensenada, we treated as another sea day. : ) We didn’t do any ship shore excursions—no need to in these cities, IMHO. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION High praise to Princess for the boarding process. It was by far the fastest, easiest and most pleasant we’ve experience in about a dozen cruises. Part of that may be due to the terminal building in San Pedro, which is well designed and very comfortable. Disembarkation was OK. We did the walk off with our luggage. The process got delayed by customs, as usual, it seems. They had 7 customs officers on duty (the max appeared to be 8) to handle an entire ship. Thus, the bottleneck. But all in all, it went fairly quickly. OVERALL We enjoyed the trip. Being locals, it was nice to not fly anywhere to get on board. The ports were pleasant, and having two sea days was relaxing. It was an “easy” trip, no big hassles or challenges. The ship was OK and the food was a drag, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. And for $550 for a balcony, for food, transportation and lodging, it was still an excellent value. Overall, we’d give the trip about a 6.5 out of 10, with high marks for the itinerary, price and simplicity of the experience, and low marks for the ship layout, food and feeling of always being squeezed for money. Bon voyage!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This cruise got off to a rocky start with a delayed boarding due to Norovirus being on board the 2 cruises previous to ours. But it was worth the wait of a delayed 4 hour board because it seemed to clean up the nasty bug. After 3 days we ... Read More
This cruise got off to a rocky start with a delayed boarding due to Norovirus being on board the 2 cruises previous to ours. But it was worth the wait of a delayed 4 hour board because it seemed to clean up the nasty bug. After 3 days we were release from our Code Red. Our cabin was great as we splurge and purchased a mini-suite this time. (D407) Excellent room with plenty of space and storage area. Never used all of it. Having a tub/shower combo is great. Extra seating area makes a lot of difference when you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the crowds. We definitely enjoyed it. Not sure if I like the completely open balcony or not though. Our room steward, Sandie, was excellent. He always asked it everything was ok. Never wanted for anything and room was always kept clean and refreshed. He even left me a little gift the last evening we where on board. Such a special extra touch is always nice. Morning room service (which is one of our highlights on all our cruises) was good the first day but from then on it got slower and slower. On the 3rd morning it never showed up so we just went for breakfast. Got a message later in the morning that our breakfast order was ready and they would bring it as soon as we called. Oh well..... As far as the ship goes, we have had better cruises. Entertainment in the Princess Theater was good and so was the comedian. Tried to catch more then one of his shows but it you didn't get there early there was no seating available. There was no sail away party and only one deck party that we know of which was held at 9:30 at night. They did have a live band but all they did was play for entertainment in between movies. Most of the afternoon entertainment was held in the Piazza which has limited viewing area and if you needed to use the stairs sometimes it made it difficult. This cruised seemed to rely on the 'Movies Under the Stars' to much. Weather was not real great on sea days and pools were a little chilly. We love a morning swim and didn't get to do that the first 2 mornings. Had we realized it was Spring Break for some of California, not sure we would have booked this cruise. Most of the hot tubs were taken over by kids during the day and evening. Staff on board were just kind of there I guess. Did get a lot of 'hello's and smiles though. Crooners bar had the most friendly staff and seems to go over and above to take care of you. Food was very lacking as far as taste and variety on this cruise. Have had better in the Horizon Court. Two different days we tried to eat lunch there and found nothing to our liking so had either the grill outside or pizza. Both were very good. Dined in the MDR twice and sat with some very nice people. Food was ok but not great and service seemed kind of rushed. We did realize that having only 2 port days (which we thought we would enjoy more sea days) is not enough. Maybe it was because there wasn't a hole lot to do on the ship. Do enjoy PV and Cabo but have noticed that the prices for meals in Cabo have gone way up. Was the main topic on board the ship after we set sail. Still have a lot of fun during our port days and weather was great. Will we sail back to the Mexican Rivera? Not sure. Will we sail with Princess again? Most definitely. Was this one of our better cruises? No. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
First off let me say this was our first cruise with Princess and it was just so-so. Ship- The ship it self was very clean and very beautiful. The ship however tend to rattle and shake quite often. We missed having a nice viewing area in ... Read More
First off let me say this was our first cruise with Princess and it was just so-so. Ship- The ship it self was very clean and very beautiful. The ship however tend to rattle and shake quite often. We missed having a nice viewing area in the front of the ship but the gym was where it is normally on different ships but the Crown had it in the back of the ship with the Mini Golf above it so you could hear the balls rolling if people were playing. I must say though Princess does an excellent job with the design and the decor of the inside of the ship. Cabin- We had two inside cabins. They layout was GREAT! Best inside cabin we have ever had. The only downside was our room rattled like no other. Crew- The crew is what saved this cruise. Every single one of them was super nice and helpfully. Service/Food- Embarkation was soooo slow waiting in line for about an hour and half, we got off the ship relatively quickly tho. The food was just ok throughout the whole cruise, very hit and miss. The pasta's were great but everything else was ok. The main dining room experience was one we have never had before. Our poor head waiter was all by himself. We had no bar or assistant waiter the head waiter did everything. Every once in a while a drink guy would come by to help but not often. We felt so bad for our guy, he was running all over the place. The main dinning took FOREVER, at least 2 hours plus. We ate the Crown Grill which was AMAZING! Highly recommend eating there, worth the $25. Overall- Our cruise was just ok, nothing ever really wowed us. Would we cruise with princess again maybe, many people who we talked to on board who have cruised with princess said something seemed off on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We’ve cruised with Princess 25 times and this was our second time on the Crown. We took this cruise I because it was close to home and was an easy, short break with no flying involved.  We generally have had nothing but great ... Read More
We’ve cruised with Princess 25 times and this was our second time on the Crown. We took this cruise I because it was close to home and was an easy, short break with no flying involved.  We generally have had nothing but great experiences with Princess but this trip will not go down as one of our favorite cruises. Unfortunately, we boarded a ship that was still infected with Norovirus from the previous voyage and that affected everyone on board, both crew and passengers, in one way or another. Embarkation was delayed because of deep cleaning after the ship had arrived from a 49 day voyage around South America.  There had been a couple of outbreaks of Norovirus on board and it wasn’t contained. Boarding was delayed until 3PM and led to over 3000 people piled up in a hall that was inadequate for the task.  We were admonished for daring to use countertops to fill out health forms, even though that seemed to be a reasonable use for them.  Passengers were ordered to get up from sitting on the floors and to leave the port and return at a later time.  Where were people supposed to go???  It was a poor way to treat passengers, some of whom had been traveling for hours and many of whom were elderly and disabled. Once on board, we found Code Red was in full effect in all the dining areas.  We weren't told much of anything about why, until it became inevitable.  We knew from Cruise Critic and our Roll Call what the problem was. We were not allowed to serve ourselves in the buffet, pick up a plate, get a cup of coffee, put ketchup on our food.  Everything had to be done for us.  Even in the dining room, the waiters had to salt our food for us. Eventually, the captain told about the Norovirus and we got used to daily lectures about washing our hands after using the bathroom.  We were told we were all in this together.  He never told us how many people were affected, only that numbers were increasing or stabilizing.  However, the media in all the ports we went to knew, because Princess kept issuing press statements giving them information.  The ship staff could have been much more transparent.   By the end of the cruise over 120 passengers and 30 crew were sick, Princess confirmed to the media, but not to us, the passengers on the ship.  Despite the Code Red restrictions, passengers continued to get sick all week and were confined to their cabins.   We bought our own salt and pepper shakers in one of the ports and took them with us when we ate.  It became very tiresome to have to ask for every item we wanted.  I learnt to request hot water and milk separately so I could make my own tea at the table with my own tea bags and sugar I picked up from Starbucks in port. We found our way of dealing with the restrictions but it put a damper on the vacation. We spent a lot of time at sea in heavy fog with the horn sounding every minute or so. The weather in ports was mostly warm and pleasant, although we tendered in Santa Barbara in dense fog that did not lift until early afternoon and it meant a very slow tendering process as the local coastguard insisted on escorting each lifeboat to shore. For all the deep cleaning that was apparently going on, I never once saw a crew member cleaning elevator lobby areas or buttons.  I saw tables wiped down but never chair backs, which were touched more frequently.  I noticed one coffee spill on the marble floor near the Lido elevators that remained there for over 24 hours, meaning that floor was not cleaned.  Were the menus ever cleaned? We were allowed to touch those. And cruise cards being handed back and forth? I’ve seen much more rigorous enforcement of hand sanitising on ships with no Norovirus outbreak than I saw on the Crown. There were so many inconsistencies.  Salt sachets were handed out only on request in the buffet but freely available at the burger bar.  I was not allowed to order a medium rare burger at the burger bar because of Code Red, but could have a medium rare steak in the Crown Grill. It was maddening.   We thought the ship was in great shape and was aging well.  The carpets looked rich in color and recently replaced.  We think there is less and less to do on the ship during the day that is not sales related.  There were no port lectures and no enrichment talks, but it was a short cruise with only two sea days.  Evening shows are cut down to 30 minutes.  There were lines everywhere, the worst of which was a 75 minute wait for Anytime Dining on the first formal night which meant an enormous line of 100 people snaking all the way through the Piazza on Deck 5 and down the cabin hallway.  I have never seen anything like that before. Dining was a mixed bag.  The food was fine, although one night we ordered the gourmet burger option, waited a long time to have them custom cooked medium and medium rare, and when they arrived they were both cooked to death and the worst burgers we've eaten in a long time.  We didn’t complain because our table of eight waited so long to get their food anyway, and our specially cooked burgers were apparently the hold up. I can’t remember any waiter coming and asking how our meals were.  The breakfast menu has not changed in the 20 years we've been cruising with Princess. I do wish the menus were a little more innovative and with the times, offering things like brown rice and Greek yogurt instead of the same old standard fare. Formal dress code observance was down to about 25% and people thought nothing of going into dinner in open necked shirts and casual pants.  Nothing was ever said. We felt like the odd ones out in our formal wear surrounded by people in the most casual of clothing. I hate to see formal night disappear, but most of the passengers ignore it and the staff don’t enforce it. It is dying. The gym was excellent and had  great quality equipment in it.  Thankfully, it was rarely crowded and was a wonderful part of the ship. We appreciated the wrap around Promenade deck. Our cabin girl took great care of us and the onboard tailor repaired a torn pair of pants for me for free, which was much appreciated.  The cabin was quiet and restful, with a deep balcony and midship location.  The mattresses never bother us, although the pillows could have been better. We were quite happy. We had a wonderful meal in the Crown Grill one night which was worth every penny.  It wasn't a bad cruise but the whole Norovirus issue hung over everyone constantly and created a lot of negative vibes and a lot of dinnertime conversation.  Even drop off boxes at the passenger services desk and make up samples in the boutique were removed.  Everything we queried was blamed on Code Red.  Eventually we realized the entire cruise was going to operate under Code Red restrictions and they would never be lifted. We know how great it can be on a Princess cruise and I hope we experience that again on another ship soon, but it wasn’t to be on this one. Our dinner companions on the final night were on their first cruise and we sat there and tried to convince them not to be put off and to try again on another cruise. We looked forward to disembarkation so we could finally "escape completely" and get away from the stressful experience on board the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This is our 8th cruise with Princess. Our only other cruise was in the Mediterranean in October 2013 on the Celebrity Reflection. It was a disappointing cruise. We flew into LA and spent the day waundering around San Pedro trying to kill ... Read More
This is our 8th cruise with Princess. Our only other cruise was in the Mediterranean in October 2013 on the Celebrity Reflection. It was a disappointing cruise. We flew into LA and spent the day waundering around San Pedro trying to kill time until we could board at 5 p.m. It was tiring however we did take a very interesting tour of the battleship USS Iowa which is berthed there. At 5 p.ml. we boarded and went to our cabin. We had asked for twin beds with waffle tops, robes and distilled water. We had a double bed without a topper, no robes and no towels. We didn't have toiletries or tissues in the bathroom. Our steward was running around doing his best to bring the cabins up to standard. I must say by the end of the next day all of our concerns had been addressed and our steward did a very good job of keeping our cabin ship shape. This was not the normal Princess cruise in terms of food or entertainment. No entertainment by the pools, unless you classify Movies Under the Stars as your entertainment. No pool games, ice carvings, bands, cocktail making contests, etc. It was very boring, one can only read for so long. There were no sail away parties. When we were leaving Puerto Vallarta the Cruise Director announced there would be a sail away party with music etc. He came up to the pool deck, stood there for 10 minutes and then left. Nothing happened. People just stood around looking bored. As the they were still trying to eliminate the norovirus, for the first 4 days of the cruise we could not serve ourselves in the Horizon. This meant that the remaining crew had to serve which resulted in diminished food selections and long lineups. Burgers and pizza were by far the best food options for lunch or a snack. We have a complaint regarding service in the main dining rooms and this does not pertain only to the Crown. We were recently on the Ruby in the Caribbean and had the same problem. They are understaffed in the main dining rooms. The waiters are running around, barely having time answer any questions regarding the menu. There are long waits between courses. On more than one occasion we left before ordering dessert as we had been left sitting for over 20 minutes waiting for the dessert menu. We do not feel this is the fault of the servers but the result of a management decision to reduce staff. The worst part is the anxiety transfer, instead of feeling calm and enjoying a relaxing dinner in lovely surroundings, you feel the frantic pace of the dining room staff as they rush about trying to accommodate everyone. This complaint does not apply to the Crown Grill or Sabbatini's where the staff is great. Another complaint is the lack of enforcing the dress code for formal nights. We dressed in formal wear for both ships, the Ruby and the Crown which meant that we paid extra for luggage in order to bring formal wear but we enjoy dressing up on that one night. On the Ruby we were seated next to a table of diners in t-shirts and shorts and on the Crown we sat next to a gentleman wearing a bowling shirt and ripped jeans. Princess needs to decide to enforce the dress code in the dining rooms on formal nights or I predict over the next year or so formal nights will be a thing of the past or will come to mean - wear your best pair of jeans! The staff were very friendly as expected on the Princess ships and I expect that we will cruise Princess again; however, if they don't entertain us or staff up then we will go elsewhere. We work hard for our cruise dollars and will spend them on whichever line gives us the best bang for the buck. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
On our California Coastal cruise, we were not informed that the previous cruise had the Norovirus on board. We were held at embarkation for approx. 2-3 hours additional.We found out later that they were trying to "clean" the ... Read More
On our California Coastal cruise, we were not informed that the previous cruise had the Norovirus on board. We were held at embarkation for approx. 2-3 hours additional.We found out later that they were trying to "clean" the ship. Once on board everything seemed OK. Then each day we kept being informed about the growing number of people that had contacted the disease during our trip. Obviously, the ship needed more cleaning. A pet peeve on this trip was the "Anytime Dining". Only one dining room was available between 5:30 and 8:00 for Anytime dining. Two became available after 8:00. There were long lines, and even though we showed up at 5:30-5:45 every night, we constantly were being given pagers. Why you ask!!!!! Because Princess allowed reservations!!!!. Large groups were making reservations for 6:00PM through 7:00PM, which meant all of these tables were reserved, and Anytime diners without reservations had to wait until these folks finished their meal. A few times we were whisked to another Dining Room. Once, when this happened, we were sent to a "Set Seating" dining room at 7:15. My wife had pre-ordered her "Gluten-Free" meal at the Anytime Dining room the night before, and this "Set Seating" dining room couldn't find it. She had to remember what she ordered, and then they had to prepare it gluten-free. We had our food thrown at us, since we were in a dining room where second seating started at 8:00PM. We left without any dessert at 7:58, being rushed out the door. We also noticed that, although it was very nice of the pizza makers to prepare a gluten-free pizza for my wife, they were tossing the dough for every pizza without gloves on. While normally this is not the most sanitary way to do this, it was INSANE to do this when there was a Norovirus on board. Princess has been verbally told and written to, with no response. We have always been very happy with Princess, but feel that this trip was the worst experience we ever had. While it may not stop us from doing another Princess cruise, we shall attempt to get set seating, and hope to see if there had been any misadventures on a prior cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I have been on the Crown previously about 6 years ago and it was wonderful so I was looking forward to being on the ship again. I flew in to Ft. Lauderdale the morning that we were leaving and so went to the ship directly from the airport. ... Read More
I have been on the Crown previously about 6 years ago and it was wonderful so I was looking forward to being on the ship again. I flew in to Ft. Lauderdale the morning that we were leaving and so went to the ship directly from the airport. The lines to check in were very long, even the priority lines, which I was on. It took about 2-1/2 hours to finally get on board. It seems that everyone had to be checked for the visa for Brazil and the reciprocity fee receipt for Argentina. When my husband and I boarded, we were shocked to see the wear and tear of the ship. The carpet was very shabby and the ship seemed to have lost its sparkle. I was told that it was scheduled to go to dry dock soon to be overhauled. It sure does need it. I finally got to our stateroom and was very pleased with the location. It was at the rear of the ship with easy access to the Horizon Buffet and would require a lot of walking to most parts of the ship giving me great exercise. The room itself was roomy and the balcony was the usual size. I had anytime dining and usually went to the Da Vinci restaurant and had no trouble being seated. My husband and I enjoy sharing and so we met many nice people. The staff in that dining room was excellent. The food was a little too continental for our taste and so we did go to the buffet many times. We found that we enjoyed the cooking at the Horizon. We had our breakfast and most often our lunch there. We also enjoyed the International Cafe and the coffee bar tremendously. It was great for snacks in the afternoon and some good coffee. There was activities planned in the piazza and on some of the higher decks for those who wanted to participate. I did not. The staff and the service was excellent in all areas of the ship. We had an exceptional cabin steward who really catered to us named Alfred, which was wonderful. We did not think that the entertainment was anything special. There were a lot of shows with a main person for about 40 minutes. We had enjoyed the big production shows that they used to have with the singers and dancers. On this cruise, the singers and dancers performed in the piazza, in Explorers Lounge and sometimes in the Princess Theater. I am not sure if they did anything elsewhere. Most of the time my husband didn't want to bother going to the shows. They did have a very good pianist/singer/comedian in Crooners by the name of Tom Franek. He didn't start his show until between 9:00 and 10:00 pm. We didn't go on any Princess excursions. When we disembarked, that went fairly well until we went to get our luggage and it wasn't with all of the other luggage with our tags. It took almost an hour for one of the Princess employees to finally find it stuck in a corner of the cavernous room which held all of the luggage coming off the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Loved this cruise itinerary as it went into the Sea of Cortez. We got to swim with the Whale Sharks. It was amazing! Water was chilly in January, but I came prepared with tights and swim jacket. We met so many nice people on Princess. ... Read More
Loved this cruise itinerary as it went into the Sea of Cortez. We got to swim with the Whale Sharks. It was amazing! Water was chilly in January, but I came prepared with tights and swim jacket. We met so many nice people on Princess. We've cruised with many other lines, but this was our first Princess. Was a little disappointed in the food quality. Had better food on Carnival and I had to turn down most desserts as they contained milk (I'm lactose intolerant). At least I didn't gain any weight! The kitchen seemed to struggle to prepare substitutes for me. Never realized how many dishes contain milk! We had a balcony room for the first time and loved it. Some public areas were somewhat crowded but there were plenty of other areas that were not. Overall, it was a good value. We experienced great service from all of the ships personal, especially our room steward. My favorite area is the forward deck, near the spa area. Very quiet. If you like noise, then the main pool area is for you. Embarkation was a breeze. Disembarkation went really smooth as well. Entertainment was just o.k. Ports and shore excursions were good. Although some excursions in Mexico are somewhat sketchy (I expected that). Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I took a group aboard the Crown and we were disappointed in how much the service has gone down in just a year (the group was on this ship last winter too.) Food was warm not hot. Service was slow. Orders were mixed up and some never got ... Read More
I took a group aboard the Crown and we were disappointed in how much the service has gone down in just a year (the group was on this ship last winter too.) Food was warm not hot. Service was slow. Orders were mixed up and some never got serving they had ordered. The first night we had a table with eight squeezed into a table for six. The chairs had arms on them so I couldn't get my chair close to the table and had to sit on the edge of the chair. After speaking with the Maitre'd we were moved the next night, after his telling me it was "impossible" The room steward wasn't much better. Whenever I asked for something, it never arrived. Much to my surprise they no longer offer dry-cleaning. I had packed lightly thinking I could have an couple of things cleaned mid-cruise and stretch my wardrobe. I was advised by the room steward to not use their "professional cleaning" as they just toss it into a hot washer and hot dryer and the clothes would be ruined. It's unfortunate that we're booked on the Royal for 28-days in April and I am hearing a lot of complaints about that ship too. Princess went "down the tubes" years ago but we had been pleasantly surprised that their level of service and quality of food had improved significantly but they seem on a downhill slide once again. Letters to Princess are ignored. Our flights on our next cruise were booked through Princess and it's been a nightmare. So far, two of the flights don't even exist! This may be our last cruise with them.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We have been traveling with Princess for over ten cruises. We keep trying to convince ourselves that things are not changing with Princess, but it is hard to do. First the good: Our cabin host for B501 was very conscientious and tried his ... Read More
We have been traveling with Princess for over ten cruises. We keep trying to convince ourselves that things are not changing with Princess, but it is hard to do. First the good: Our cabin host for B501 was very conscientious and tried his best. Our embarkation and disembarkation was very well done, no problems there at all. Dining experiences were very good. Ports were nice, we especially liked Turks and Caicos. Now the bad: We were in cabin B501. There was a horrible stench in that cabin and it made our entire trip much to be desired! It smelled like rotten eggs to say the least. We contacted front desk, who sent up two engineers on different occasions and they could not figure out what it was. It seems like it came from the vents. I contacted Princess about it, but have not heard a word. Also, what is with the robes? I heard it before and will confirm, they don't fit a child and are very cheap looking. Our host was able to exchange them for better ones, so please ask! Also the pool area. Something has to be done about everyone hogging the chairs. Otherwise get more room to put more chairs up, because right now you can't get near the pools and you end up standing on sea days. Also, pools are way too small for the amount of people on board. Now for the ultimate insult. I cannot say enough bad things about the Lotus Spa on board. I was forced under pressure to buy $180 worth of a product I did not want. The pitch is done while you are naked on a table with the doors closed tight and a woman staring straight in your face telling you where to sign. I did not like anything about the spa. It is not warm, friendly and comfortable and I would never go back there. If you have a complaint, as someone else had said, Princess is not involved. You must call the company direct. Of course no phone numbers and information given to you. I am not sure I will continue my loyalty to Princess unless they get back to what they were 5 or 6 years ago and they know exactly what I mean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
The Crown Princess is a new ship and is well maintained. The cabins and public spaces were immaculate and the dining room service was top-notch. The main problem we encountered was that the ship is just not designed properly for 3,200 ... Read More
The Crown Princess is a new ship and is well maintained. The cabins and public spaces were immaculate and the dining room service was top-notch. The main problem we encountered was that the ship is just not designed properly for 3,200 passengers. The Princess Theater holds 800 cruisers and there are two to three shows a night. You can do the math. Many patrons arrived at the theater, armed with reading material, 45 or more minutes early to stake out a seat. At the end of the show, the line of incoming passengers has already formed! The situation in the Explorers Lounge, a smaller venue that also features shows, was even more chaotic with seat-hungry passengers lingering in the aisle long before the early show is over. Elevator riding could be a listed event as well. Younger travelers can get their work-out by climbing up and down 8 or 9 flights in less time then it will take to find a elevator. Staking out deck chairs, of course, is another activity not recommended for the timid. If you enjoy bingo, trivia contests, napkin folding lessons and zumba you will not be disappointed. If you prefer a quiet time near a pool you can try the Sanctuary- for a fee of course. Passengers should note that the ship has a set-back on decks 10 and 11 so that your balcony will not only include the ocean, but the balcony of the cabins below your deck as well. The cabin itself was bit smaller then most with no room for the petite couch that usually finds a place in such cabins. Instead you will have a small chair. One good feature is that the closet area is perpendicular to the sleeping area affording a bit of privacy to your cabin-mate when using the dressing area. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I had a good time on the Crown Princess, for the most part. I had been on one cruise before, the Norwegian Spirit. I thought overall the Crown Princess was a notch above the Norwegian Spirit in terms of food, fellow passengers, the upkeep ... Read More
I had a good time on the Crown Princess, for the most part. I had been on one cruise before, the Norwegian Spirit. I thought overall the Crown Princess was a notch above the Norwegian Spirit in terms of food, fellow passengers, the upkeep of the ship. The food was pretty good. I liked having cheese and fresh fruit readily available. The orange juice was inedible, was both incredibly acidic and over-sweet. The bacon needs to be upgraded. I had two really good dinners in the Michelangelo dining room. Although, a special dining room experience on the Norwegian Spirit (special Indian food tour in the Asian restaurant) was far better than anything I had on the Crown Princess. Another highlight of dining on the Princess ship was the quality of the baked goods, fresh, tasty, excellent quality. The wine list was weak, almost all wines one could find in a regular grocery store. The bar tenders didn't know how to make, or didn't have the ingredients (or sufficient quality ingredients) to make some pretty common drinks. Most of the bar menu consisted of fun-ish, sweet, weak concoctions for people who don't really like the taste of alcohol. It was not sophisticated. The bar offerings are outdated and shallow. Heaven help you if you try to order a glass of wine in the dining room. The server will badger you, repeatedly, to order a whole bottle. The sales pitch to pay to attend the wine tasting event is often repeated. We found ourselves saying "No thank you." over and over again on the voyage. Prices were high for decidedly low-brow drinks. Perhaps Princess could increase sales of its wine tasting (and at the almost un-used Vines Wine Bar) if they featured exciting, interesting product, instead of harassing passengers with sales pitches. My room was very good. I had a regular inside cabin, which felt plenty large and was appointed nicely. The bathroom was better than what I had on the Norwegian Spirit. Overall the room was better on the Princess ship. The only negative aspect is the bedding linens seem worn, probably should have been retired some time ago. The Crown Princess felt very crowded on sea days. The public space was not allocated correctly, or rather, was optimized for revenue over function. They probably would sell more premium coffee drinks and gelato if the cafe on 5 were twice the size. Several bars were underutilized, Vines Wine Bar (next to the cafe on 5,) Adagio Bar, and Crooners Bar. Maybe Princess should rethink those spaces, maybe open a new food venue to introduce some much needed variety. Spaces outside on deck were mostly un-sheltered and reserved for uncomfortable lounge chairs. Even though the Norwegian Spirit is much smaller than the Crown Princess, my friends and I were able to find more, better spaces to hang out on the Spirit. I didn't see much entertainment, being early to bed. But the musicianship onboard was very, very good. Employees in the buffet and on deck are nice, and hard-working. I loved the statuesque, beautiful Ukrainian Prell-minder at the buffet. She was so nice, and helpful to less firm, older passengers. The new Serbian boutique employees as very gracious and nice. My steward, Wilfredo, was excellent. Overall my experience was positive. I had a good voyage. But I think I can afford a nicer experience. I'd take Princess again (I was a P&O and Princess employee in the 90's, so there's some nostalgia at work) but I would be overruled by my friends. They were extremely put off by the up-selling and sales pitches onboard. The sales pitches were over the top, even unseemly, in the dining room. They were blatant at the spa as well; I'd avoid eye-contact with the employees on my way to the fitness center for fear of conversing with them. This may be a symptom of being Carnivored. (And please, both Norwegian and Princess, get rid of your Robin Leech-like shopping bozos that hawk Diamonds International!) So I could use some suggestions for other lines. What's nicer than Princess but isn't Crystal expensive? Celebrity? Should I try a small ship experience and focus on adventure, a la Star Clippers? I'd like to go somewhere more off the beaten path, and am willing to save up for it. I'm open to ideas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have taken several cruises with Princess Cruise Line and this was the last. The overall quality of the Line is Good in comparison to a Carnival cruise but where they drop the ball is customer service. I cruised on the Crown Princess ... Read More
I have taken several cruises with Princess Cruise Line and this was the last. The overall quality of the Line is Good in comparison to a Carnival cruise but where they drop the ball is customer service. I cruised on the Crown Princess which is a nice ship overall. The Food was much better this time and I was able to get food from the Buffet that was sometimes actually above room temperature. I booked a Balcony Stateroom 6 months in advance and requested 1st seating Dining with a Table for two (2). Registered my Cruise with "My Princess" on their website and registered the credit card I would be using. When I arrived I was again asked to supply my credit card information and I did so. Went to Dinner and though this time I was listed as a Past Guest (the cruise before I wasn't), I was shown to a Table of eight (8). When I explained that I had requested a Table for 2 I got the run-around and this continued thru-out the week? Instead of eating at 5:45 pm they had me scheduled to eat at 8 pm??? It was Thursday by the time I was given what I had requested all along, a Table for 2 eating at 5:45 pm. That's pretty bad but the attitude of the Stall is even worse. They kept telling me of how difficult it is to "change" my Table Assignment??? I'm telling them I don't want to change my Table Assignment. I want the Table Assignment that I requested in the first place. I went to the Fitness Center and while working-out I was approached by the Staff running the Center and told that my Tennis shoes were making too much noise and he felt it was distracting to him (referring to the screeching noise shoes make on a wooden floor). I explained to him that this was a Gym, not a Library and continued my work-out. The cabins are small and virtually the same size as on a Carnival Ship? This is a Luxury Line and they're supposed to be larger? My toilet stopped flushing halfway thru the cruise. You flush it and it just sits there???? It may flush in the next half hour, it may not? Finally, when I went to the Passenger Services Desk to complain on Thursday, the woman Yessed me thru-out the entire time and I requested the "Tip" of $12 a day per passenger be removed from my bill she gave me a form to sign and then went into this elaborate story of how the refund will show up on my credit card statement on Saturday (which would be after the Cruise has ended and I would be on my way home). This was at 10 am. I returned to the desk later that day around 7 pm and spoke to a different person at desk and explained that I never got a copy of what I signed??? She tried to tell me it was an internal document and they don't give copies. I explained to her that anytime you ask someone to sign something they are to receive a copy of what they signed. As it turne out there was no record of me ever coming to the desk? Had I not come back, I wouldn't have discovered this until after the cruise and then they would have the story of we have no record of your complaint. Anyway, I've done with the Princess way of doing things.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I sailed with wife and parents on the Crown Princess on its first Fort Lauderdale departure after repositioning from Europe. First impressions went downhill in a hurry. There are really only two options here, either Princess takes ... Read More
I sailed with wife and parents on the Crown Princess on its first Fort Lauderdale departure after repositioning from Europe. First impressions went downhill in a hurry. There are really only two options here, either Princess takes responsibility for helping create an epically bad embarkation (haven't seen any acknowledgement yet), or by their silence they state this should be expected as the norm. Government processes preventing embarkation may be beyond the cruise line's control, but knowing this can and will happen after repositioning a ship from Europe to the US is not. PCL should have been ready to deal with 2000-3000 people stuck waiting 2-3 hours longer than normal...water, snacks, more benches, access to more restrooms, etc. On arriving at 11:30am the baggage handlers directed us to the terminal building where we could request a wheelchair to get my mother through embarkation. The crowd was larger than normal for this time of morning. Efforts to find a wheelchair were fruitless as the terminal folks had all of them tied up for the steady stream of disembarking Southhampton passengers, which didn't slow down until around 1pm. We were early enough to park my mother on a bench to wait it out but too late to talk our way into the terminal building for better seating as we were told 30-40 others inside were already waiting on wheelchairs. There were only enough benches outside to seat maybe 25 people. With nowhere to sit many older people were left standing in line. One gentleman fainted and fell backwards right in front of me, someone's backpack partially protecting his head from the concrete. Fire & rescue responded to a call from the terminal, hauling in a stretcher, so those inside apparently didn't fare much better. At 1:40pm news reached those outside the terminal that boarding had started. By then the majority of the 3000+ passengers were queued outside the building. The line outside didn't really start to move until after 2pm. At 3pm still no hope of getting a wheelchair outside the building but we were able to walk mother to the elite passenger entrance and talk our way in (we are only at gold level) and once through security got a prompt wheelchair escort. Speaking to others our 3.5 hours to board was typical. Once aboard, the Crown was actually better than I expected. The Piazza area and all the lounges are immaculate in design and upkeep. I actually did not resent my time away from the pools. Dining in the Botticelli was a good experience and our servers worked hard to keep us happy. Food quality was comparable to other cruise lines I have sailed. There were issues in a few areas with overcooked food. But the crew were glad to re-try anything not perfect. Don't be bashful about your food, or even in the bars if you're not happy with your drink. The crew seems satisfied working for PCL compared to other cruise lines and this translates into a good customer experience. The Crown's crew is truly international, many are from eastern Europe and the Philippines (and they continued to serve well even with uncertainty regarding their families after Typhoon Haiyan). The bars keep good quality liquor on hand and the bartenders and servers willingly discussed brands available. Cocktail prices are reasonable. The gym has the usual amenities, many treadmills, ellipticals, and weight machines, few free weights, plenty of spin and other classes. Spa prices seemed high relative to previous cruises but we're not frequent spa users. On embarkation day a serious crowd developed in front of the Botticelli dining room. Due to the delays starting the cruise, seating did not start right at 8pm. Escaping requires going up one deck, a challenge if you've got a wheelchair and a crowd between you and the elevator. Consider being a little late for that first dinner if you need extra assistance. That was the only time at sea I felt crowded. Actually, I was impressed with the general feeling of elbow room all over the ship. We were not constantly tripping over other passengers, usually got quick service at restaurants and lounges, and readily found loungers in the pool areas. We had dinner one night at Sabatini's. We had our table for 3 hours. The meal was OK but not as memorable as the crew who looked after us warmly. Pizza on the Lido became a mid-day staple as the thin crust was quite good and never a wait. There were only a handful of children aboard which I'm sure eased the crowd. Father enjoyed NFL football all day Sunday on the movies under the stars screen after not finding the games on TV indoors in the lounges. Hints Pub lunch days at the Wheelhouse are busy (for good reason, loved the food and environment) so try to arrive before noon or after 1:30pm. The International cafe is a hidden gem for a quick bite any time without dealing with the Lido buffet. Dining room breakfast closes rather early at 9am. Coffee card is worthwhile to get if you like espresso-based drinks. If you've read previous reviews you've seen comments on the plumbing and unfortunately they seem true. Our toilet refused to flush multiple times and we had to call for service twice. Handle this situation like you would at home (use another toilet until yours is fixed and don't keep trying to flush it) and you may avoid overflow that others I talked to experienced. The ventilation system pumped cold air but not enough of it so the room temperature ran warm as a result. There was a bathroom odor in the room initially but mostly dissipated by the second day at sea, low airflow may have contributed. The room was relatively quiet despite the location near the elevators and below the Cafe Caribe which saw regular use. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, an unusual chance to reach Curacao and Aruba in 7 days from Florida. The ship docks late at Curacao. Adjust your plans accordingly to take advantage of the picturesque town after dark. Princess Cays is almost a wasted effort (as are other cruise line private islands) since there is so little time ashore if avoiding the rush. Hurry to the dining areas before food supplies run low and note the southern (smaller) food line closes at 1pm not 1:30. In ironic contrast to the chaotic embarkation, disembarkation was no-fuss and the most organized I've encountered. No constant blare of instructions for each group leaving. This is the trade-off for having to wait in the lounges to disembark rather than having the option to wait in your cabin. Since I had other family with me I didn't need to hide out in the cabin. This was my fourth cruise out of Port Everglades and second out of terminal 2. On the shuttle to the hotel (Cambria Suites) I also had a chance to see several of the other terminals in operation (6 ships departed that day). In general I consider Port Everglades to be user-unfriendly especially after disembarking. If you have someone in your group needing a wheelchair it's unfriendly all the way around as some of the areas to pick up transportation are away from the terminal building and are unprotected from the elements (only exception I saw was the Oasis terminal). Even if you can have someone from the terminal wheel you all the way out to the remote site for pick-up there is no bench or chair for your handicapped person to sit and wait. Unless the process improves there is no guarantee of getting a wheelchair outside the terminal to get your loved one through embarkation and onto the ship where your rental wheelchair is waiting. The only real way around this is to drive to the Port, park in the deck/lot at your terminal, and provide your own wheelchair. If arriving by air maybe getting the transfers from Princess might help but I have no experience with this since I fly in the day before the cruise and stay in a local hotel. We will have to reconsider using Port Everglades again which means my FL resident parents may not be sailing Princess any time soon, or HAL which is normally their favorite cruise line.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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