2,033 Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews

Let me start by saying this was our second trip to Alaska, last year we went on the Carnival Miracle and had a fabulous time. We had cruised before as well on Carnvial and Royal Carribean. This trip was nice but we expected an upgraded ... Read More
Let me start by saying this was our second trip to Alaska, last year we went on the Carnival Miracle and had a fabulous time. We had cruised before as well on Carnvial and Royal Carribean. This trip was nice but we expected an upgraded experience since Princess is supposed to be a step above Carnvial. I won't discuss the weather as it will never be the same and shouldn't be a decision if you choose this cruise, it's Alaska it might be cold and rainy or you make luck out to a sunny trip. Alaska and the ports were amazing as always. This review is based on the cruise line itself and our experiences. We have severe food allergies which were handled very differently on both trips. I will share positive and negatives as well as comparing the two. Observations: The Princess ship was more elegant and refined in its design, as Carnival is much more playful and themed. We had very few children on both trips but the Princess ship had a much more mature crowd with most couples we spoke with on their 30th-50th cruise. Food was very similar quality on both ships. Carnival does has their chocolate melting cake every night which my husband missed. I enjoyed having crime brûlée every evening on Princess. Princess has the international cafe which is a nice treat. Activities throughout the day and entertainment were also similar on both lines. We really enjoyed the comedians although I think Carnvial has a better lineup. Our cabin steward did a great job and the ship was very clean. Positives: Princess had all of the NFL games on which was a huge plus for my husband on sea days. The gym was much nicer, cleaner and with newer equipment. The yoga classes were great. If you have no food allergies, the international cafe had a large assortment of pastries every morning, and treats throughout the day. We are gluten and soy free and the dining rooms had a great bread for all meals, muffins for breakfast and scones for tea time. Negatives: As I stated we have food allergies and they were not handled well on this ship. My husband has intolerance while I am anaphylactic in reaction. We let the ship know ahead of time and onboard we have multiple issues with allergens in our food. My husband was sick multiple times. We would order ahead every night to find out the next night that they hadn't been able to change a dish or they made some things that were done so poorly they were Inedible. We found for breakfast we were safer in the buffet and asking for very specific ingredients that they could cook in front of us. We did find a head waiter team about half way through the trip that seemed to care and take these issues seriously but overall it was handled very poorly. No one seemed to care was the theme. When we traveled with Carnival the customer service was outstanding. They would go above and beyond. The Princess team seemed to be there just to do there job, and not much more. I was a little disappointed at how rude some of the servers were. My husband and I were surprised to have had much better service on our past Carnival trips. We both agreed we wouldn't choose Princess over Carnival. We enjoyed ourselves but wouldn't rush back to Princess anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Background: My husband and I are in our 50s. This was our first cruise on Princess. This was our first time doing an Alaskan itinerary. We've done four Carnival cruises and seven Norwegian (NCL) cruises. We went on this cruise with ... Read More
Background: My husband and I are in our 50s. This was our first cruise on Princess. This was our first time doing an Alaskan itinerary. We've done four Carnival cruises and seven Norwegian (NCL) cruises. We went on this cruise with friends who are in their 60s. This was their first time on Princess. Pre-cruise: We flew into Anchorage the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Microtel hotel. We arrived late night and having had made prior arrangements with the hotel, they sent their shuttle van to pick us and other late-arriving hotel guests. Quick and easy. A nice way to end a l-o-n-g day of travel and get to the hotel for some much needed rest before the fun of cruising began. The hotel had a complementary breakfast buffet. Bananas, waffles, boiled eggs, cereal, oatmeal, coffee, orange juice, milk, water. Super way to start the day. We were going to walk to see the area, but quickly found the surroundings were of a neighborhood. Too far to walk to shopping or downtown, so we returned to the hotel's front desk to see about transportation to downtown Anchorage for some shopping. The nice gentleman working the desk called for a taxi to come pick us up. Later we got another taxi to return back to the hotel for getting our stuff and checking out. The taxi to downtown was approximately $13.00 and the same amount coming back to the hotel. We added a $5 tip to each trip. While downtown we popped into an information center, then walked along the street, stopping in several of the stores there. We hit the jackpot in one store because their prices were extremely good since they were having an end-of-season sale. We bought many items and, now home, wish I had purchased a few more items. I’ll have to remember this regret next time we go to Alaska in September! ;-). Transportation to Whittier (port) from Anchorage: We had made prior arrangements with the company (Alaska Cruise Transportation) to pick us up for transportation to port in Whittier. We chose the option that included a stop by a wildlife viewing area. I had never seen the majority of wildlife they have, so I was looking forward to it since it might be the only time during the trip to see some of these animals. There we saw moose, elk or caribou, musk ox, bison, eagle. The stop at the wildlife viewing area was extremely short...too short for us to see all of the animals they had and go to the restroom and get a snack. So we saw as many of the animals as we could, went to the bathroom, and got a snack. I'm glad we chose the animal stop because it was the only time we saw some of the animals during the vacation. The transportation was good, got us to port safely and on time. We'd use this company again if available and reviews were still good, but we'd skip the animal stop since we did it this time. Port and getting on ship: Whittier is an extremely small town, with not much to do or see (at least that we were able to find before the trip), so we just got on the ship once we arrived. Checking in was easy. There were two or three employees who made getting from the atrium and onto elevators a drawn out process. Soon, people ignorned the employees and went around to other elevators. Why they tried to keep a line and funnel people to certain elevators made no sense as it caused a back up of people wanting to get on and out of the area. Once we got an elevator, we quickly got up to our deck then cabin. This was our first time at being able to take our carry-on bags to our cabin immediately upon boarding and that was nice. On NCL and Carnival we had to wait for the cabins to be ready before taking our things to the cabin. Later, on the last day (disembarkation) we found out how Princess is able to accomplish this - you have to have your things - and yourself - out of the cabin by 8 a.m. That gives them the necessary time to prep the rooms for the next passengers. Early in, early out rather than what I was used to - late in, late out. Either way works for us. Ship (Crown Princess): The ship was clean and in good repair except for one area of ceiling in the Horizon Court buffet. There they must have had a leaking issue as we saw black discoloration on the ceiling, a sponge in the wooden fixture on the ceiling. We talked with one of the buffet attendants about this. A day later there was a yellow caution stand-up sign saying wet area and a bucket there. That's when we noticed the rust on the white ceiling panels. Don't know how we didn't notice the rust before then. Guess we were too focused on the discoloration and the sponge. A nice feature provided by the ship is the kiosk where you can swipe your card and get a print out of your onboard account. The kiosk was sitting outside one of the shops. It's a great way to avoid the busy times at the guest services desk. There is a variety of artwork around the ship. It made it interesting to explore. Some of the art I liked, some not-so-much. But it kept me happy and busy so no time was spent reading or doing my usual Sudoku puzzles. There are a lot of areas to sit in the sun or in the shade, depending on your mood or needs. I liked the large, tastefully decorated public areas and lounges. Some of the seating was on the smallish side for plus-sized people, but there were also settees, loveseats, and benches available in many of the venues, so finding a comfy seat isn't too difficult to do :Cool: I loved the multi-layered decking outside. It made it easy to find good viewing areas for scenery, relaxing in the shade, worshipping the sun, being in the crowd, or catching a quiet moment to yourself. The promenade deck is where you can walk around the ship on deck seven and eight. Down here you can hear the waves and get a better sense of being at sea. For such a big ship with a large passenger count, I was continually surprised at how uncrowded the ship felt and the vast amount of open area we had out on deck much of the time and in some venues many, many times. The only times and places we found it crowded are the usual - breakfast in the buffet, maybe a lunch or two in the buffet, the early performances in the theater, and some of the lectures in the theater...and of course, occasionally in different points around the decks during glacier and wildlife viewing (but people were very good about not hogging places and would view, take pictures, then move on to another spot so others could take a turn - at least in my experience). Like I said earlier, it's such a large ship so finding a good spot was pretty easy to do. I was disappointed in not finding a shuffleboard court , though. Our obstructed ocean view cabin was of nice size and well laid out. The picture window was larger than I expected it to be. We had found pictures of the ship's cabins on the internet and thought the obstructed view was okay, but in person we were happy to find the view better than expected. It was obstructed, but I didn't have to stand on tip-toes in order to see over the tender boat...so I was one VERY happy cruiser!!! The closet location was excellent - right outside the bathroom door. It was long, open, with more than enough hangers for us. Shelf storage above the hanging items (life jackets located here). Below the hanging items is ample floor area for luggage storage, shoes, and room for our small pop-up laundry hamper to sit (very convenient!). A storage cabinet with a door stood between the open closet and the bathroom. It had approximately six or seven shelves - the safe was located on one of them. The bathroom was of good size, a nice counter top to sit things on while showering and getting ready. Three small shelves along one side. A couple of glasses were on one and the other two could be used for keeping items in the bathroom, if desired. The shower, however, was dinky! It's adequate to shower in if you're small to moderately plus-size (which we are), but would not be fun if you are very plus-size or want to shave your legs while showering. Thank goodness I shaved them before the trip, and I’m old enough the hair doesn’t grow as fast anymore :D. You may end up bumping the walls, knocking yourself out, or covered in shower curtain :o. I wasn't too crazy about the placement of the wall bottles of shower gel and shampoo/conditioner - a little too low. The room wasn't too far from a set of elevators. There was a crew area across from our cabin door. There wasn't much noise coming from this area except for the last night when luggage collection was going on, but really the noise wasn't bad and didn't last too long into the night. Since it was a forward cabin, it was quite a walk to and from the buffet, but that can be a good thing :-) . Food: We ate all of our shipboard meals in the buffet this trip - excellent. We got pizza from the pizza station once - very good. They have a couple everyday selections and a third choice that changes each day. I ordered a cheeseburger, french fries, and iced tea from room service late one night - good. Hubby and I ordered a white chocolate mocha for me and a hot chocolate for him at the International Cafe - good. Lol, I had "try a Cronut" on my list of things to do on this trip, but my lazy self just never made it to I.C. early in the day to get one, so it'll be on my To-Do list on a future sailing. If I can’t wait that long, I’ve seen a poster in a Dunkin Donuts store that says they have Cronuts. The Buffet: The variety of foods available in the buffet blew me away!!!!! They had different themes each day. There was a lot of seafood available throughout the voyage. I've always been impressed with the variety and freshness of fruit available on NCL, but Princess outdid them :eek: :Cool:!!!!! Amazing. The selection of side dishes, meats, vegetables, eggs, pancakes, cheeses, breads/pastries,......Just simply amazing! There were so many dishes I'd only seen in magazines, on television, or in recipe books, but had never made or found in a restaurant to try, but they had many of the items in the buffet - so it's not too hard to guess what I did. I tried a bit of each of them :-) . Thanks to Princess for providing this unexpected happiness! Hubby and I thought the vast majority of items we tried were very good to excellent. One of the items I wasn’t too happy with was the iced tea. I’d read posts on Cruise Critic saying the iced tea on Princess wasn’t very good, but I'm pretty easy to please, in my opinion, so thought I’d be fine with it. I'd been happy with the available iced tea on Carnival (2002-2008) and NCL (2007-2013), but the iced tea on Princess wasn’t very good. In fact, it burned my throat on one occasion, and my friend said she had the same sensation on another occasion. Weird. We had a big problem with the heat in the front sections of the Horizon Court buffet. We could not sit in this area because of the heat. I think it was coming from the open kitchen area in the middle of the ship between the buffet lines. We found the back section of seating more cooler due to doors opening to the back of the ship deck helped cool this area. One note about employees we encountered in the buffets. They were the friendliest by almost always saying hello/good morning/good afternoon/ good evening when passing by each other. When entering the buffet line, greet us with a good morning/afternoon/evening, welcome, have a pleasant breakfast/lunch/dinner. Or they’d ask if they could help us find a table, or if they could carry a plate of our food to a table for us, or get us something to drink (juice, tea, coffee, water, sometimes offer to sell us bottled water), or refill our cups. Or they’d stop by our table and make observations of the day’s events, tell us about the ship, ask how our day/evening was going, ask about any plans we had for the day/evening, things to do in port, what we’d done in port, the scenery, events going on on the ship that day/evening, how their day is going, which ships and itineraries they’ve worked on previous cruises, where they’d be going after the final Alaska cruise (which turned out to be our cruise), … We really enjoyed being greeted and returning the greetings. We appreciated the offers of help at finding tables, assistance with plates, offers to bring us drinks and refilling them. Most of all, we liked the employees stopping by to converse with us about themselves/ship/itinerary/scenery/us/previous jobs, current job, ships, itineraries, future jobs, ships, itineraries. The only thing I didn’t care for was the amount of times they stopped by to offer drinks and refills. Most often there were too many stops. On rare occasions too few stops to our table. It reminded me of a restaurant chain the four of us eat at a lot back home. There are many times when the chain restaurant’s employees stop by the table too often, causing disruptions in the conversation and in eating our dinners. Then I got to thinking about the Brazilian Steakhouses or Churriscarias (sp?) on land and on Norwegian (NCL) cruise ships. In these, you are provided with a card that you turn up a certain color if you want more meat(s) right now or turn to another color if you don’t want any meat(s) right now. A card with service, please on one side and we’re fine at the moment on the other side might be a good thing to use in the Horizon Court. That way the tables not requiring drinks or refills at the moment wouldn’t be using up time the employees could be using on tables that would like drinks or refills at that time. Just a silly thought on my part... Alcoholic Beverages: I ordered a few different drinks during the cruise, with one drink being the most purchased - and purchased in many venues. The consistency of one drink varied greatly in one of the venues, and between venues. I quickly gave up ordering in the venue that had too great a consistency. Another problem across the board, no matter where I ordered a drink, was the fact way too much ice was put in the glasses. I even mentioned it to one bar tender - along with the lack of quality of the drink (way too little alcohol content, too watery taste). The drink I had so many problems with is one listed in their drink menu that can be found on tables in each venue, therefore a reciped drink of the ship’s. I expected quality and consistency with each and every one of those drinks I purchased. A shame that didn’t happen, because if inconsistency and lack of quality happened to me, it probably happened to other passengers as well. I’m sure it affected the number of drinks I ordered, and would be surprised if it didn’t affect the number ordered by anyone else if they had the same experience. I also learned quickly not to order a drink outside near a pool or hot tub. On the two occasions that I did, the drinks were not in an appropriate beverage container for the drink. I'm not into small plastic dining room cups for my alcoholic beverages. I understand the need to use plastic near pools and spas. That's fine. But give me a plastic cup (clear, preferably) of the appropriate size and shape for the drink I've ordered. We found that the drinks were in very small glasses, as compared to NCL and Carnival, and the drinks were more expensive. Not a good value! One thing we liked was that the staff were not pushy when it came to selling drinks (as they are on Carnival and NCL). If I want a drink I’ll ask or signal a server or go up to a bar, I’m happy with that, and that’s the way it was on Princess - cool! Entertainment: Hubby and I went to a couple of comedy shows featuring Carlos Oscar. - hilarious!, a couple of production shows (Blame It On The Boogie - good, Motown - okay, if I recall the names correctly) a naturalist lecture on animals found in Alaska and Canada - very good, and Libby Riddles' Iditarod (sp.?) talk - very good. Hubby and I enjoyed one night of the show band playing big band music in (I believe the venue's name was) Explorer's. We didn't stay to see them on another night for a couple of reasons (not able to find a seat and that was the venue that had the varying quality of drinks so I wanted to move on to another venue). One night they were supposed to start at an advertised time, and we were there at that time, but the band wasn’t. They were like 10 minutes late. Then they stopped at the set time to stop. Are you kidding? Show up late then don’t make up that time? And that became a sore point with us about the entertainment. All of the entertainers didn’t seem to play for very long periods of time considering how many hours there are in a day. Too many hours between live entertainment. In fact, hubby and I noticed and discussed the lack of live entertainment our first day or so on the ship. Too quiet, and not as much fun as the first day or so on all of our prior cruises. Again, I’m not too picky - really I’m not - but I didn’t care much for some of the entertainers :blush:. Some entertainment drew bigger crowds than others. Big band music (which I love, in part because it’s not as readily heard everyday) drew a smaller crowd than the 70s music show in the lounge drew - a packed house. I like 70s music, I grew up with 70s music, but I can hear that any time. Hubby and I went to the venue holding Karaoke a couple of times, mainly because of a lack of other entertainment going on, or what was going on wasn’t up to par for us or not of interest to us. We used to like Karaoke back when we sailed Carnival, but then we came to the conclusion that Karaoke was a cheap form of entertainment for the cruise line, so we aren't into it like we used to be. The first time we stayed to hear a whopping three people sing. When they weren't singing one of the Karaoke hosts sang. The second time only one person, besides one of the hosts, sang. We stayed maybe two or three minutes. The venue was large, yet very few people were in there either time when we stopped in. Spent a few minutes in a venue where the band Tons of Fun was playing. Skywalkers. Nice venue day or night. During the day is great because you have all that glass to look out at the ship and the scenery. Spent more time here during the day than during the night. Night time it's dark with dim warm white and colored lighting. There was either canned music or a DJ playing in there when I stopped by for a few minutes one night. Since I'm not into either one, I didn't stay long or come back on other evenings. Movies Under The Stars. I absolutely loved watching movies on deck on Carnival Liberty, and I still remember the movies that I watched there and when re-watching them at home, I think about sailing on the ship, watching the movies. So I was r-e-a-l-l-y looking forward to watching a movie or two during this cruise. Seemed like there was one thing or another that kept me from making it to a movie - either we were dining, or seeing a show, or I'd already seen the movie and wasn't interested in seeing it again, something else was going on, or the volume was too loud and the sound quality wasn't very good. I was determined to get to MUTS on the last night of the cruise, no matter what. The last night instead of a movie, music shows were aired. Oh well. The evening was fabulous - comfortable temperature, only a few people around, choice of chairs, so we sat there and watched a few minutes of some group I didn't know, though I think Paverotti (sp?) was to be showing. I'll just have to give it another try on a future cruise. The entertainment was [b]not[/b] up to my wishes or expectations - too much dependence on karaoke, canned music and DJs. Playing times of music too short, and there were too few sessions of them. Either too few trivia sessions - or they were held at times when other things were going on or when we were off ship, too few movies on cabin tv playing on continuous loop, too few airings of movies on MUTS (two showings seemed to coincide with dining or other entertainment going on. Movies on television played at strange times - too early, during dining, or during other entertainment, that I didn’t get to watch any of the ones I would have enjoyed watching once back in my cabin for the evening. I found a continuous loop of a movie during one of the last nights of the cruise, but unfortunately it wasn’t one of the movies I wanted to see. Casino. Spent some time here most nights playing slots. Won a bit, gave most back. The best night was a no smoking night. The place was packed with people. I've read reviews where people say no smoking nights aren't busy, well, this was not the case the no smoking night we went. Really enjoyed it. There were lots of slot machines, but not as many as on other ships/cruise lines I've sailed on before this cruise. Overall the casino seemed more open/uncrowded somehow, though the area where the slots I played a lot was a little cramped at times. Maybe due to the arrangement of machines there? Itinerary: Absolutely fabulous! The cruise started in Whittier, went to Hubbard Glacier, Margerie Glacier, Johns Hopkins Glacier, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Day at Sea, ending at Vancouver. The only way to improve it would be to lengthen the stay in Ketchikan :-). Along the way we saw whales, seals, porpoises while sailing. Officers/Staff/Crew: The personnel working in the buffet were pretty attentive, almost constantly asking if they can carry something to the table for me, getting drinks, refilling drinks, asking how our day is going, how the day went, how is the cruise going, how did the cruise go, were we having a good time, did we see this, did we go to that, talking about something that would be going on on ship, talking about the scenery, the area, the towns, excursions, their jobs, ... The entry way attendant into the buffet lines almost always said good morning/evening. Almost every time we'd pass by an employee of the ship, the employee would say good morning/evening/hello. Our cabin steward took good care of our cabin, provided items we'd request (supplies, towels, sheet for the bed). He introduced himself the first day and would say hi when we'd see each other. I don't know how many cabins he had to take care of, but he seemed to always be in a hurry. Overall, there were lots of hellos, can we get you fill in the blank, can we help you fill in the blank, and general pleasantries, but there were few smiles or genuine warmth. There were a couple of exceptions, and that was refreshing - I truly enjoyed seeing these people. I wasn’t all that wowed with the cruise director or the job he did with scheduling entertainment. Too few activities/shows with too many overlaps = entertainment missed or no entertainment to be had. I’ve said and posted that if one is bored on a cruise, they had only themselves to blame for that condition, but now I may see their side of things. I truly am fairly easily to please entertainment wise (as said by many people who know me), but I struggled this time. Veterans Appreciation get together in one of the lounges one afternoon was appreciated and attended by quite a few former military people. We (Hubby and I) went with our friends (he retired from the military after 20 years and his wife). It was a nice touch by the personnel, the ship, and the cruise line that they provided champagne/sparkling wine for making toasts to the veterans, their spouses, the current military, and to those who died while serving their country. Setting Out Luggage For Pick Up On The Last Night: It was kind of confusing for us as it's done differently than we'd done on Carnival and Norwegian (NCL). Instead of putting luggage out in the hallway for collection before going to bed (or midnight) the last night, we were instructed to put luggage out in the hallway for collection following evening dinner. Disembarkation: This was different, in a way, than what we'd done before in that they provide a list of times when each color is to disembark. During the cruise a paper is given to each cabin asking what time you would like to disembark. We chose a time and way we wanted to get off the ship (late and independent, since we were going to be spending the night in Vancouver and wasn't going to be doing an excursion or airport transfer with/through the ship). Our area to wait to be called to leave the ship was in the casino. The list they provided helped us keep up with who was leaving next. Getting off the ship was easy. Finding our luggage in the port building was easy. In Summary: I had been worried about cruising on Princess but found out that I shouldn't have been afraid at all. It was somewhat more formal than some of the cruises I've been on, but it's not too hard to fit in. The majority of cruisers on this trip were in the mature category than my other cruises have had, but that could be due to time of year, itinerary, because we’ve gotten older. The itinerary was superb! And boy, did we luck out in the weather department! Only a little mist or drizzle a couple of times - once early in the morning for a very brief time then clearing up into a beautiful day, and one evening while whale watching from the front of the ship during sailing, for a little bit of time then ending. The food was of amazing variety and quality, ranging from very good to excellent (except for the iced tea :mad:). The entertainment was hit or miss - in quality, quantity, length, amount, and attendance. Our ship booked excursion - Skagway railroad and motorcoach was good (but I wouldn’t have wanted to pay more than we did for it). Personnel were attentive and did their jobs. But felt they were a little cooler than what I’ve experienced on previous voyages on other cruise lines. The ship was beautiful and interesting to explore. Just wish I’d been able to spend more time enjoying all those amazing venues and outdoor spaces. We liked everything about our cabin but the coziness of the shower (will just have to keep plugging away at the gyms or add an extra Zumba class...and remember to again shave legs before getting on the cruise ship :P). All-in-all, it was a fantastic cruise, the only negative for me was the entertainment and I know that would most likely be different on a future sailing. And there probably will be a future sailing on Princess because they have terrific looking itineraries - and that has become one of our top factors when taking a trip.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was a vacation of a lifetime for us. We took a little over 3 weeks to travel around out west which included Seattle, Vancouver, cruise to Alaska, and land tour up to Fairbanks. Our cruise started in Canada Place, Vancouver, and since ... Read More
This was a vacation of a lifetime for us. We took a little over 3 weeks to travel around out west which included Seattle, Vancouver, cruise to Alaska, and land tour up to Fairbanks. Our cruise started in Canada Place, Vancouver, and since we stayed at a place downtown getting to the port was within walking distance for us. Everything there went very smoothly. We arrived about 11;00am and were on the ship by noon. We had lunch at the buffet and found the food to be very good there. We then proceeded to our room which was a suite on the Lido deck forward. (L107) The room itself was very nice with a separate room which had a full couch, sliding door to our deck, and large size tv with DVD player. The only downsize to this room is the deck. It is very large but the viewing area on top of the bridge is right by your deck so there is absolutely no privacy on your deck at all. You can reach out and touch the people standing on the viewing deck and since this is mainly a sight seeing cruise that area is filled with people at least 75% of the time. This was very disappointing for us as this is never mentioned in the fine print when you book this cruise. We did ask what could be done about this but since this was the last northbound cruise for the season it was fully booked and no other suites were available. We were given a little onboard credit but we would have been happier In a regular balcony room and would have saved a ton of money. I would never book a suite on Princess again. You do not get the perks like you do on NCL. Just to give you an example the fresh flower arrangement on Princess is 3 mini carnations in a vase in the bathroom. On ncl it's a beautiful flower arrangement in your living area like one you get delivered from a florist. There are other differences that can be checked out on cruise critics boards if you are interested. So why did we pick Princess over NCL for this trip? Well from our research on an Alaskan cruise we found that Princess owns Alaska when it comes to a cruise and land tour so we decided that for this cruise we would try Princess. And other than our suite it did not disappoint. We found the food in the main dining room to be very good. Most items were very good to excellent. We also like having the same table every night with the same people and the same wait staff. That is the only downsize for us on NCL. We did have breakfast in sabatinis as this was a suite perk and this was very nice especially on days when you were glacier cruising. The food and service there were excellent. We never did the dining room for breakfast or lunch so cannot comment on those. We did lunch mostly in the buffet or room service. We were very happy with either of those choices. We ate at the crown grill one evening and it was excellent. The ports we went to were: Ketchikan - we did the duck tour which was ok, and the lumberjack show which was also ok. We also walked around town and did some shopping. Juneau - here we did the Mendenhall glacier bus tour. This is a must when visiting Juneau. There are many different options when choosing to go to the glacier just pick anyone that interest you and you shouldn't be disappointed. We also did the Mt. Roberts tramway which brings you way up this mountain then gives you an awesome view of the area. You can also do hikes from this area and you can go up and down the tram as many times as you want during the day. And again we walked around the town and did shopping. Skagway - here we did the 8 hour bus and train ride on the white pass train. We took the bus up to carcross and emerald lake then the train back to Skagway. The sights were awesome and the history amazing. Next was the 2 days of glacier cruising which is something that is totally awesome. Since this was a fall cruise there was not a lot of calving of the glaciers - they said spring and summer are best if that is what you are looking to see. With doing the cruise that is doing the inside passage there is very little cruising that is not within view of land and/or mountains. Very much different from a Caribbean cruise. Again this cruise is all about what you see. If you have never done a balcony cruise this is the one to splurge on doing one. And it really doesn't matter what side of the ship you are on as you go up a passage and then come back down the passage so everyone gets to see everything on both sides. If you are traveling with other people I would suggest you book rooms near an elevator on both sides of the ship. Then you can go back and forth between the rooms in case there is any sea mammal viewing going on. As far as ship activities we did not do much. We did go to the comedian and he did a great show. We did not care for the theatre at all. If you wanted to sit in the middle you had to sit in a row of 50 seats. So if you needed to leave for any reason you would have to disrupt 25 people to get out. Not a good design at all. Also there are no balconies in the theater like on other ships. We love NCL theaters so much better and also there suite guests get reserved seating. Now for the land tour. We did the on your own tour going from the ship to Mt McKinley first. This was about a 4 hour bus ride with a stop in Wasilla for lunch. After arriving at the princess lodge we did the river jet boat ride in talkeetna. We were able to get tickets through our Alaska tour saver book which saved $70 over the princess price. Since we were spending the night I felt safe in doing a non princess tour here. This was a great tour. But you should also know that the 5 hour tour mentioned in the excursion list on princess includes the 2 hour bus ride back and forth from the lodge to talkeetna. So the actual jetboat ride and tour is only about 2 hours long. I thought that was a little deceiving saying it was a 5 hour tour. We did get to see the top of Mt. McKinley on this tour and at the lodge. The base of the mountain was covered In fog. But everyone said it was awesome for us to just be able to see the top. However the next morning there was not a cloud in sight and we saw the whole mountain which was breathtaking. They said that only about 30% of the people who visit McKinley actually get to see it so we felt pretty good that we got to see it and take some awesome pictures. Next we went to the Denali lodge. Here we went to the music of Denali dinner show. It was ok. We arrived at the lodge just 10 minutes before this started so the whole night just felt rushed. the food ok and the show was a little corny. The next day we did the natural history tour into the park. Very disappointed as we did not see any wildlife. Of course this is not the tours fault. If we had had more time here we would have done the tundra wilderness tour as we were told by people who did it that you definitely see wildlife. Then we headed on our train ride to fairbanks. This is a beautiful ride in the dome train. The views are just awesome but again no wildlife seen. Ate lunch on the train and it was good. After arriving in Fairbanks we did the Salmon bake at pioneer park. I would suggest you do this on your own and not thru princess. Just do the bake not the show. the food was great, salmon, king crab, prime rid, fish, salad bar, and dessert barn. The next day we were done with our princess tour and then did our own thing. We stayed 3 nights at a place called Arctic Roots Farm. Here we had our own log cabin that was just beautiful. We rented a car and drove to cold foot Alaska which crosses over the arctic circle. This was an amazing 10 hour drive but well worth it. We also did an afternoon visit with Mary Sheilds the first woman ever to complete the Ididarod race. This was a must do if you ever visit Fairbanks. It was just awesome to sit down with her and listen to her tell of her adventures. She also shows you her sled dogs and you get to play with them. Next we stayed one night at the riverside resort. We had our own cottage right next to the Chena river. This was very nice and would stay there again. Then we spent 3 nights at the aurora borealis lodge up in clearie summit - about 10 miles outside of Fairbanks. We choose this place as the rooms are set up to see evening viewing of the northern light. They also wake you up by Walkie talkie during the night so you don't have to wait yourself if the aurora comes out. Since seeing the northern lights was the main reason we spent an extra week in Fairbanks (and it was on DH's bucket list) we were quite concerned that we hadn't seen it by our next to last day there. But we did get very lucky and we did get to see it our last night. The pictures are just totally awesome and this whole trip is just something we will never forget. Overall the crown princess was a beautiful ship and we did enjoy our cruise very much. If I did another Alaska cruise I would do princess again if I was also doing a land tour. (We were also told that by doing the Kenai peninsula tour you would see more wild life). Otherwise I would do an NCL ship and do a suite for the perks it comes with. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My husband & I cruised on the July 26th sailing of the Crown Princess on the Voyage of the Glaciers southbound from Whittier to Vancouver. ABOUT US: It was my sixth or seventh cruise (I've lost track); his first. I've been ... Read More
My husband & I cruised on the July 26th sailing of the Crown Princess on the Voyage of the Glaciers southbound from Whittier to Vancouver. ABOUT US: It was my sixth or seventh cruise (I've lost track); his first. I've been on Royal Caribbean, Holland America, NCL and American Hawaii (RIP), but this was my first Princess cruise. We're in our late 20s with no kids, but we are not into partying or drinking at all. We like natural scenery, photography, eating and relaxing so we fit in well with the older crowd on Princess. PRE-CRUISE: We did a week in Alaska before the cruise that we arranged independently. We flew into Anchorage, did a day trip to Katmai National Park for brown bear viewing at Brooks Falls, drove to Denali National Park where we took the shuttle bus to Wonder Lake, and then drove to Seward where we explored the Kenai peninsula and Kenai Fjords National Park by kayaking to Aialik Glacier and hiking the Harding Icefield trail. Then we drove to Whittier, returned our car and got on the ship. Our first week in Alaska was spectacular but very hectic and we booked the cruise for two main reasons: 1) to see Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier and 2) to relax and have a "vacation to recover from the vacation" after our very busy first week. I booked the cruise about 6 months out, and the price fell quite a bit after I booked it (steadily, not all at once). I kept calling Princess and they kept giving me price adjustments to the lower fare, even though sometimes the lower fares were advertised as "new bookings only." This was hugely appreciated and definitely started off our cruise on the right foot with very positive feelings about Princess. I highly recommend checking the price after booking but before final payment and asking for a price adjustment if it drops. FOOD: Overall, I thought the food was satisfactory but not outstanding, probably average or slightly better than average compared to my previous cruises. We ate dinner in the dining room every night (anytime dining) and ate breakfast and lunch in either the dining room or the buffets (there are two, both on the Lido deck – the traditional Horizon and the Caribe, which serves Caribbean fare). Breakfast in the dining room was the most unimpressive meal on the ship. Eggs ordered over medium came out almost raw with the whites not cooked, hashbrowns were a quarter-size patty that tasted worse than McDonalds, etc. The breakfast buffet was the usual mid-range hotel quality, but the French toast was great and there were made-to-order eggs that I think were better than those in the dining room. Generally we preferred lunch in the dining room, but it’s not served on port days (which I found annoying) and we didn’t have time for a sit-down lunch in Glacier Bay, so we only took advantage of it a few times. I had a sole meuniere at lunch in the dining room on our last sea day that was probably the best meal I had on the ship. There’s also a poolside grill with hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and very good pizza, and the International Café is open 24/7 and has good pastries and also little sandwiches and appetizers. There’s also a British Pub Lunch on sea days, and reindeer chilli and fish chowder served on deck in Glacier Bay (both free). One thing that Princess does that is unique is that in addition to the usual appetizers, soup/salad, entrée and “always available” choices at dinner, they have two pastas – their signature fettucine alfredo and a pasta of the day – available as either appetizers or entrees every day. We are big pasta lovers and had one of these almost every day and found them to be generally very good. The dining room desserts were underwhelming but the “Love Boat” heart-shaped chocolate mousse was very good and always available. My husband had never cruised before and found the food pretty bland. We both found it amusing that they came around with fresh pepper and offered it to you no matter what you ordered – they even offered it for a Philly cheesesteak. Maybe they are trying to mask the blandness of the food. The food at the buffet for lunch was adequate, but we definitely preferred the dining room. The most annoying thing about the buffet was that it was very crowded and there wasn’t enough seating at peak times. I did like that the buffet has waiter service for drinks so you don’t have to walk around carrying heavy trays loaded with food. We never ate at any of the restaurants with an upcharge because the free food was more than satisfactory. Our first day, we went to dinner fairly early, around 6 pm and getting a table for 2 was no problem (although I found that they seemed to want to force you into sharing even when there were lots of open tables for 2 or 4 – if you want to sit alone you’ll have to be somewhat insistent about it). The second day, which was a formal night, we went around 8 pm because there was good glacier viewing until after 7, and we were told (after waiting in line for about 15 minutes) that the wait for a private table was indefinite. Since they couldn’t even quote us a time, we shared a table with 4 other people and our meal took way longer than we like. After that, we made a reservation for a private table every day. I recommend doing that. Even with a reservation, we frequently had to wait a few minutes, which was frustrating. You can only make a reservation on the day of, but we never had a problem getting a reservation even in the late afternoon. Menu and food photos are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/123726325@N05/sets/72157646139180645 CABIN: We had an interior cabin on the Lido deck. The cabin was big for an interior cabin and very well organized with a lot of closet space and a big (for a cruise ship) bathroom. We had closet space to hang all of our clothes up and then could stack our suitcases, which saved a lot of space. I debated getting a balcony cabin (if you’re ever going to get a balcony cabin on a cruise, Alaska seems like the place to do it) but then decided to just go with the interior cabin, partly because our first week in Alaska was very expensive and I was looking to save money and partly because I figured we’d be out on deck when there was anything scenic anyway. I really regret not getting a balcony cabin. In Alaska it’s impossible to comfortably spend hours on deck and so I would have to retreat to the room to warm up and then I’d feel like I was missing scenery, whereas if we’d had a balcony I could have mostly stayed inside but easily popped out every 10 minutes to take a photo. I highly recommend a balcony cabin if you can afford one, even though Princess’s inside cabins are very good for inside cabins. The bed was very comfortable and I slept like a baby, finally away from the bright Alaskan “night” after 8 days of very restless sleep. SERVICE: Service was very friendly but inconsistent. Our cabin steward Glenn was great, we had no complaints about him at all. He never disturbed us and whenever we returned our room was always made up. The service in the dining rooms was generally ok, but far from perfect. We got the wrong meal a couple of times and once the hot chocolate I ordered didn’t arrive until after we had eaten our food. One night I ordered tea & mignardises off the dessert menu and only got tea, no mignardises. Of course I had plenty of food, and could have gone to the buffet for additional desserts, but these little lapses in service were noticeable. My husband hates wasted food and was upset that they brought us things we didn’t order a few times and wouldn’t take them away, and they always brought more bread without asking if we wanted it. On the first formal night, the waiters were very pushy about a champagne breakfast, asking each person at our group table several times if they wanted to order it and leaving forms about it on the table, even though every single person said no the first time around. I do agree with other reviews that there was more upselling than I remember on previous cruises. SHIP: I thought the ship was beautiful and well-maintained and I do not understand comments about wear and tear showing. The piazza (atrium) area is particularly beautiful. The elevators were of course crowded, and it’s annoying that people take them down 1 floor, but that’s not the cruise line’s fault. My biggest complaint about the ship is that the Lido Deck (where 2 of the pools are) was always absolutely soaked to the point that there was sometimes standing water on the deck. I understand that Alaska is rainy, but it seemed like absolutely nothing was being done to dry the deck. Our room was on this deck and it got to the point that I couldn’t wear flip flops anywhere on the ship, because trying to get back to our room across the slippery deck in flip-flops was death defying. ACTIVITIES: We didn’t take advantage of a lot of the activities, due in part to the fact that we only had one true sea day and also the fact that they were (in my opinion) somewhat poorly scheduled. For example, on our first full day, we didn’t have scenic cruising until after 3 pm, but aside from a few naturalist talks, there wasn’t a whole lot going on during the day. They scheduled a formal night that night, which I found odd, since we didn’t leave the glacier area until around 7, meaning everybody had to get ready after the glaciers & descended on the dining rooms around 8 pm. Then there was a comedian/vocal impressionist at 10 and the Newlywed Game at 9:30 – we wanted to go to both but they conflicted and we went to the comedian since we were still eating at 9:30 (on previous cruises I’ve done, the Newlywed Game is a daytime activity that doesn’t conflict with shows/dinner). There were no poolside/on deck activities but that makes sense because it’s Alaska. Perhaps due to the limited number of activities, there were very few onboard announcements, which was nice. The comedian/vocal impressionist was decent, although a lot of his impressions seemed to go over the heads of people under the age of 60. There was another comedian who did two shows; he was pretty funny and his two shows are different so it’s worth going to both. Note that his act is audience-participatory, so if you come late or sit up front beware you may be part of the act. We went to a production show on the final night, and it was ok but not amazing. EMBARKATION/SAILAWAY: We were at the cruise terminal by 11:30 and were disappointed when they announced they would not begin checking people in until 1 pm. However, they started checking people in shortly after noon and we were on the ship by 12:30. Overall, embarkation was very smooth. We went straight to the dining room and had a nice, relaxed lunch – I love that the dining room is open for lunch on embarkation day. Our stateroom was ready as soon as we got onboard, which was great. Luggage arrived around 4 pm. We were supposed to sail at 8 pm. We ended up being quite delayed (they said because they were still loading luggage, although I heard later in the week that there were some late-arriving passengers) and we did not sail until almost 10 pm. This was a little frustrating because there was good scenery for at least an hour after sailaway and possibly longer. As it was, we went to bed around 11 pm, which was later than we wanted, and we still felt like we might have missed some scenery. HUBBARD GLACIER: We lucked out with weather at Hubbard Glacier. It was overcast and drizzly as we entered Yakutat Bay but by the time we reached the glacier it was partly sunny and a balmy (for Alaska) 60 degrees. Thanks to the lack of fog and ice in front of the glacier, we got incredibly close to it (closer than any ship this season, they said) and watched it calve over and over again for more than an hour. I think it was calving about once a minute on average. Hubbard is the largest tidewater glacier in N. America (6 miles across and 76 miles long) and incredibly active. It was spectacular and definitely the highlight of our cruise. I did find it pretty annoying that the ship’s photographers came around bugging you to take a photo on the glacier days. It’s fine at dinner, where people can decline if they’re not interested, but when you’re standing on the deck with a huge camera pointed at the glacier, trying to capture a calving, it’s pretty distracting to have the ship’s photographers repeatedly tapping you on the shoulder, “Turn around for a photo with the glacier, ma’am!” I’m trying to TAKE a photo of the glacier, thank you very much. Perhaps thanks to the large number of people with balcony cabins, the decks were fairly uncrowded and it was easy to move around to different places, you didn’t have to stake out a spot. Since there was nothing going on scenery-wise until after 3 pm, I went to a naturalist talk in the morning – I found her talk fairly slow-paced and repetitive but her on deck commentary about the glaciers & wildlife was adequate (certainly better than the Glacier Bay park rangers the following day). GLACIER BAY: Glacier Bay was honestly a pretty big letdown after the spectacular Hubbard Glacier (and our pre-cruise trip, which included hiking and kayaking to glaciers). We did get closer to these glaciers than we did to Hubbard (1/4 mile) but we got plenty close enough to Hubbard. These glaciers didn’t calve nearly as much – Margerie calved a handful of times in an hour and I didn’t see Lamplugh calve at all - compared to Hubbard, which seemed to be calving every minute or two. The weather also didn’t help – it was partly sunny and about 60 in Hubbard, and raining and around 50 in Glacier Bay. The commentary from the park rangers was absolutely terrible, I thought. They went on and on again about the same scripted factoids but failed to point out anything that was actually of interest. At one point the ranger casually said, “As you can tell from the bear on the shore, this area is rich in wildlife…” Seriously? You can tell us 852 times why glacial ice is blue, but you see a BEAR and you mention it ONCE, casually, without telling anyone where it is? The ranger was particularly annoying, going on and on about what a peaceful, undisturbed wild place this is (it would have been a lot more peaceful if she would have shut up) and telling a long, boring story about her own kayaking trip where she saw humpback whales and bears, the only point of which seemed to be to make us feel bad about all the wildlife we weren’t seeing. (Jokes about the rangers’ repetitive commentary were the funniest part of the comedian’s act that night.) SKAGWAY: We booked a tour to the Yukon through Frontier Excursions, not through the cruise line. We did a 3.5 hour tour called The Yukoner that went just across the border. They also offer a longer tour called Yukon Discovery that is more similar to what Princess offers, but you'll save quite a bit of money booking it directly. The longer tour goes to Emerald Lake, which would have been nice, but also includes a BBQ lunch and stops at a taxidermy museum and a dog sled farm which we not only didn't care about, we actively did not want to do (we are animal lovers & heard the dog sled farms are very depressing with dogs chained up and howling, etc). We cared about setting foot in the Yukon and good scenery/wildlife and for that the shorter, cheaper tour seemed much better. We were not expecting this scenery to be spectacular in comparison to what we saw pre-cruise and also at the glaciers, but it was disappointing even with our lowered expectations. It was overcast when we left Skagway but as soon as we set out, it started raining and very thick fog set in so we could barely see 10 feet in front of us. We skipped a whole bunch of scenic viewpoints (which was objectively the correct decision, since we couldn’t see anything, but it was still disappointing). I was really thinking the whole trip was a waste of time and money, but as we approached the Yukon the rain and heavy fog let up, and we were greeted by a beautiful cinnamon-colored black bear right by the road, whom we observed for 10 minutes or so. On the way home, the clouds cleared considerably and we saw some mildly nice scenery and stopped at the viewpoints we skipped on the way out. Still, had we not seen the bear, the trip would have been quite a disappointment, and the bear sighting of course cannot be guaranteed. I was extremely unimpressed with our guide, who didn’t spot any wildlife on her own (the bear was spotted by other people on the bus), insisted we had seen a brown bear because of its light brown coat when people on the bus, including us, pointed out that it clearly had the tall ears and short claws of a black bear and lacked the brown bear’s distinctive shoulder hump, and at one point actually started to drive the bus away from a viewpoint with two people still outside. JUNEAU: Today we went to Mendenhall Glacier (on our own, not through a Princess tour). The ship docked early (6:30 AM) and we were at the glacier before 8 AM (we had to take a cab -$40 with tip –because the Glacier Express “blue bus” does not do its first run from the cruise dock until 9 AM. We went so early because the ship naturalist said the best bear viewing was first thing in the morning. We did not see any bears when we first got there but still felt it was well worth being the first ones there because we had the beautiful glacier to ourselves. It was still beautiful later in the day, but it had lost some of its majesty when it was overrun with tourists. Even after viewing numerous tidewater glaciers and hiking the Harding Icefield Trail with great views of Exit Glacier, we still felt Mendenhall was gorgeous and very worth it. After taking a few photos, we hiked the East Glacier Trail, which was mildly scenic but nothing to write home about. We wanted to do West Glacier Trail, which is supposed to be spectacular, but the trailhead is not near the visitor center and looked to be several miles away according to the map – I think you need a car to do that one. To the left of the glacier, there’s a stream that has salmon in it in late July and August and they’ve built an elevated platform over it so people can watch the salmon and any bears that come to feed on them without any harm to bears or people. After our hike, we went back to the bear viewing area and were lucky enough to see a large male black bear (this one with a very dark black coat) fish (unsuccessfully) and then wonder around in the woods right near the platforms munching on berries and leaves. Thanks to the platforms, the bear seemed totally unconcerned with all the people trying to photograph him. We didn’t get good photos, because of the crowds and the fact that the bear was hiding behind shrubs and bushes, but it was still fun to observe him for a while. However, unlike our excursion in Skagway, where the bear was the only thing that really made it worthwhile, Mendenhall Glacier is certainly worth a visit even if you aren’t lucky enough to see a bear. We took the blue bus - $10 per person per way – back to the cruise dock. On the southbound cruise, a few hours after you sail away from Juneau, from around 7 pm to 8 pm, there’s a very good whale watching opportunity. Unlike other supposed whale watching opportunities (into and out of Glacier Bay, in Johnstone Strait, BC on our sea day), where I only saw one whale or none at all, there were TONS here – I saw probably 20-25 humpbacks over that hour, including a mom with calf and several that came very close to the boat. I think this is definitely the best whale watching opportunity of the whole week. If you want to see whales on the cruise for sure, schedule your dinner to avoid this hour. KETCHIKAN: After gloomy, overcast weather all week, we arrived in the rainiest city in Alaska to brilliant sunshine and warm (by Alaska standards) temperatures. I think it broke 70 degrees, if not, it was definitely high 60s. We didn’t have an excursion planned and unfortunately I had to do a fair amount of work, so we walked around Ketchikan a bit to the Totem Heritage Center which was mildly interesting and probably worth the $5 admission fee, and then walked along Creek Street, which is quite picturesque with brightly colored buildings on stilts (just don’t tell the people you’re showing your photos to that they were once brothels and are now extremely touristy shops). We did some shopping and then observed a harbor seal in the creek eating a salmon. We got back on the boat around 3 pm and took advantage of the nice weather by going swimming for the first time all week. The adults-only pool was freezing cold, but the other two pools were a good temperature and not too crowded. If I ever do another cold weather cruise, I’ll certainly look for a ship with an indoor swimming pool; I really missed swimming regularly. SEA DAY: I went to a culinary demonstration/galley tour in the morning. The culinary demonstration was alright, although the maitre d’hotel and head chef were a little too into their not very funny comedy routine. It was also a little horrifying to see how much butter, cream and cheese went into the mushroom risotto, a dish I make at home that can be very flavorful without butter or cream and with a much smaller amount of cheese. The galley tour was badly organized. There were hundreds of people in attendance and they led us down into the dining rooms while we waited and waited and waited…I eventually got bored and left, before we ever made it into the galley. There was a shopping event taking place in the dining room at the same time, which seemed like poor planning. The patter said we would be passing through Johnstone Strait, “one of the best places in the world to see killer whales” sometime after noon. Around noon, we went outside but couldn’t see any land at all. We frantically tried to find the naturalist or someone who could provide us more information, to no avail. We finally discovered a map outside the gift shop, which indicated that we wouldn’t get to the whales until 5:15 pm – you would think they could have provided something more detailed than “sometime after noon” or at least made an onboard announcement. We had afternoon tea in the dining room, which was fun – they serve you tea and come around with pastries, cookies and sandwiches. Around 4:45, I went out on deck to look for killer whales. Johnstone Strait is very picturesque and I saw a couple more humpbacks, but the killer whale eluded me. DISEMBARKATION: We had an early tour in Vancouver that we were supposed to check in for at 10:15 AM so we opted for walk-off disembarkation. We were assigned 7:45 AM (other walk-off times were 7:25 and 7:35), which was pretty much perfect since Princess requires you to be out of your stateroom by 8 AM. As soon as we arrived at our meeting point they made the announcement that we could disembark and we had no line getting off. This was so smooth I will never do regular disembarkation again. Plus if you walk off, you get to keep your luggage with you and don’t have to put it outside your stateroom before dinner on your final night. In Vancouver, I went whale watching with Wild Whales Vancouver, which was spectacular. We observed a pod of killer whales for an hour & the company was great – I highly recommend them if you want to see killer whales in Vancouver. For the price paid (which was less per night than most of our hotels in Alaska, and included food and transportation) I was very satisfied with the cruise, and cruising is a good way to see tidewater glaciers. I wouldn’t hesitate to take another Princess cruise if the price and itinerary were good, but I also wouldn’t seek out Princess above other lines.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I depend a lot on reviews so I feel obligated to write one in return. We arrived at 1 to a big huge mess. We had taken a taxi to be dropped off right near the entrance only to be asked to turn around and go back to the street. We lined up ... Read More
I depend a lot on reviews so I feel obligated to write one in return. We arrived at 1 to a big huge mess. We had taken a taxi to be dropped off right near the entrance only to be asked to turn around and go back to the street. We lined up for an hour just to the entrance of the security check in when a rep told us to get out of line to drop off our luggage. She did not tell us that we would lose our place in line for doing this! Luckily, another volunteer was compassionate and we probably fell only 10 minutes back from our previous spot. After that, it was another 2 hrs through immigration/customs before reaching the Princess counter. If you are reading this Princess...please do not have similar embarkation times to another ship in the same terminal. I loved our cabin. Our "obstructed view" cabin was barely obstructed! We were on the 8th floor which was perfect because it was only one flight down from the promenade deck where most activities took place. We were also safely on the other side of the buffet for which my belly was grateful. We were not directly in front of the stairway/elevator but close enough for it to be handy. Our stateroom was clean. The tv programs need updating. I am now "platinum" on Princess and they are still showing the SAME programs. Please update! Our window was good and we could enjoy glaciers without venturing outside. We had our first experience with "anytime" dining which was great. The servers were all excellent. The food was mediocre at best. It was subpar compared to other ships and the desserts were all way too sweet. Let's just say it was average but not fine dining. The 24 hr international cafe had some great salads options. There is always something to be found at the Horizon Buffet. I actually enjoyed the food there much more but it's nice to be served once in awhile. There are much better options on Celebrity. Sorry but true. The gym was crowded and I never used it. I actually had enough room in my modest stateroom to work out! We never bought anything on the ship. The photo gallery took good pictures but way overpriced. Why not sell the prints electronically? I would have bought many files if so. I really enjoyed the silent policy on the ship. I cannot tell you how many times I have been annoyed with constant announcements in the stateroom. Peace and quiet was such a delight. The ports were excellent. I booked all of our excursions privately to avoid higher charges. Island Wings in Ketchikan (fine), took public bus to go to see eagles on the beach in Juneau (could have skipped this), Sockeye bike ride in Skagway (LOVED), Major Marine Surprise Glacier tour in Skagway (Very good and saw more wildlife during those 5.5 hrs than in 7 day cruise). Then we took the cruise back down to Vancouver. Skagway Floats in Skagway (good, not too eventful but I was travelling with my mother and she liked it a lot), Mendenhall Glacier (just take a $10 one way bus from the stands off the ship..this was phenomenal must see!), and then went on a mapped walk in Ketchikan (great if you are there during the salmon run)! Seeing Glacier Bay National Park is breathtaking. We saw College Fjord northbound but with bad weather and Hubbard Glacier southbound. All the glaciers are a must see and you will be very humbled by its beauty. Throughout the cruise, you feel that you are walking in nature and beauty. I think everyone should go on an Alaskan cruise. It is visually stunning! Disembarkation was a breathe! Thank goodness! All in all, a good cruise. Weather plays a major part. Staff is nice, food could be improved. Entertainment was ok. Commercialization was a bit much but bearable. For the price that we paid, we are very satisfied. The value is outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Sailed from Vancouver on the 5th of July 2014. Not a good start EMBARCATION horrendous over 3hours. As a non Us citizen we expected some formalities despite clearing customs and homeland security in Los Angeles on the 2nd of July having ... Read More
Sailed from Vancouver on the 5th of July 2014. Not a good start EMBARCATION horrendous over 3hours. As a non Us citizen we expected some formalities despite clearing customs and homeland security in Los Angeles on the 2nd of July having arrived from Sydney. We arrived at the dock in Vancouver to find massive delays and queue's outside the embarkation doors. The facility was clearly not manned or equipped to service two large ships due to depart within an Hour of each other. Princess, Holland America, the Port of Vancouver and US Homeland Security need to jointly sort this situation out if the want customers/tourists. Having finally boarded the ship we had immediate access to a well prepared mini suite and our cabin attendant was prompt to ask for any needs we might require. The cabin was well appointed and roomy. The larger balcony proved to be of benefit despite fairly average weather. We took aboard the two bottles of wine the cabin was allowed and enjoyed a pre dinner drink whilst getting ready for dinner. Dining.. we had requested late sitting in the Main Dining Room to be seated with other passengers including a couple from the US. We had contacted our Princess representative in Australia and these seating arrangements had been confirmed. On our arrival for Dinner we found that we had been allocated a table for two. After many discussions with the concierge we were seated at a table for 6 though 2 never arrived. However the two other passengers sharing the table were excellent company and good fun. They had also had to move to that table as their seating arrangements were not as they expected. The first night the table service was very ordinary and the second night worse causing both couples to complain. To their credit the table staff and their supervisor rose to occasion and the dining experience for the remainder of the cruise was very enjoyable. Two of the table were gluten free and every night the head waiter would come and discuss the next nights menu so that suitable and very good meals were provided. We ate several lunches and breakfasts in the Horizon Court Buffet and were pleasantly surprised as before the trip we had read some bad reviews from members on this site. The ports of call were enjoyable. In Juneau the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale watch tour was extremely good. We were lucky enough to Orca's several times during the cruise and were especially lucky to witness Humpback Whales grouped together doing bubble feeding a large school of fish. The entertainment in the theatre was enjoyable as well as in other public areas of the ship. The on-board self service laundry that is not available on a lot of ships was used twice by us and is good facility. In summary we enjoyed our cruise on the Crown we would not say it was above cruises we have enjoyed on Princess and Costa but would be happy to those who ask we would sail on Princess again if the itinerary and dates we were looking for matched a Princess itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Things to keep in mind as you read this: 1. First time cruisers. 2. Spouse is out of her comfort zone and is not adventurous. 3. 75 year old mother is in cabin right across hall. 4. Ship is huge with 3000+ people. 5. Expectation is ... Read More
Things to keep in mind as you read this: 1. First time cruisers. 2. Spouse is out of her comfort zone and is not adventurous. 3. 75 year old mother is in cabin right across hall. 4. Ship is huge with 3000+ people. 5. Expectation is that everything is paid for. 6. Not expecting a medium to hard sell to buy extras (Think time share presentation!!) 7. Weather was horrible with two days at sea that were very rough. 8. Two out of the three of us ended up getting sick 4-5 days into the cruise. On July 4th 2014 three people embarked upon their first cruise. The cruise included a land tour immediately following the water portion. Three celebrations would occur on this cruise: A 30 year anniversary; A 75th Birthday; 32 year retirement. We arrived in Vancouver and stayed overnight at the Quality Hotel in Richmond. I would highly recommend this hotel as an alternative to the higher priced downtown hotels. Saturday morning we took a taxi to the docks. The taxi cost $35 and delivered us right to the cruise entry area. I would highly recommend this mode of transportation. Porters then took all of our luggage which eventually showed up in our rooms. More on this later. We entered into a line that moved right along through customs and security. We had arrived at this area around 11:00. We then entered an area with chairs and this is where the cruise line took over. Someone made the decision to start boarding early and off we went. We were immediately stopped to take the embarkation photos. Let me stop right here and say that unbeknownst to us this was the first of what we found to be very intrusive picture taking. We also did not know that these pictures would be displayed for all to see and of course would be available to purchase for $20 per page. Each "page" consisted of either one 8x10 or a collage of three photos. Every time we turned around it seemed the cruise line wanted to take another photo. We started to say no very quickly. I'm talking about every port you stop at, every time you sit down to dine, as you walk through the picture gallery, etc... After stepping on board there were plenty of Princess employees to help us find our cabins. My wife and I had a balcony room and right across from us my mom had her room. (See description of cabin.) We found that Princess placed employees that spoke and understood english at strategic locations. However many, many, employees seemed to neither understand or speak english. We found this to be a problem when we would ask someone for directions or a general question about the cruise. As a matter of fact the only people who knew anything about our specific cruise was the people at the 800 number. You really, really need to know your own personal itinerary!!! The employees on the ship know only about their own area or specialty. Don't get me wrong every single employee we met tried to help us. Our head waiter for our dining room visited our table every evening. Our room steward was fantastic. Our server was also fantastic. Everyone had a job to do and did it well. As I said earlier every time we turned around it seemed that Princess was trying to sell us something or there was an extra fee. From the pictures to the bingo to the markers for the bingo cards to the so called auction to the drink programs to the specialty dining to the exorbitant fees for the Lotus Spa and the hard pressure sale of their products to the cost for the Sanctuary to the tour of the kitchen and then have to squeeze by the table where they are selling cookbooks and then at the end of the tour going into a room where they are selling leftover items from previous cruises. It all got to be to much and frankly turned us off on future cruises. Now let's talk about the tipping. Princess charges $11.50 per day per person for tips. Other then your tour director if you take a land tour there are no other tips you HAVE to give. Tips are also automatically added onto any bar tab. When you break it down this is really not to bad. However it does make you stop and think how much are the people who are personally serving you getting?!? As soon as possible after boarding I would highly recommend going to the main desk and opting out of this tipping charge. Then give your room steward a good tip right from the start as well as your server and assistant server. In other words tip those people who actually serve you. With regards to #4 above. Anytime you stick 3000+ people in an enclosed area there will be problems. If you try to go to a show or any event for that matter GET THERE EARLY!!!! I don't care how big the ship is, if you do not like a lot of people around you don't go on a cruise. Also it is impossible to sanitize a ship this big when you only have 4 hours to do so. By the time we disembarked I would unscientifically estimate that half the ship had some sort of cold or ailment. My mom ended up almost having to go to the hospital and did go to the ER after getting home. She was diagnosed with bronchitis. I am still getting over whatever I had. Cold like symptoms. If you can I would recommend taking antibiotics right when the cruise starts. Now the food and dining. Immediately after boarding the ship the buffet's were open for lunch. It was fantastic. As a matter of fact we found the buffet's to be better then the traditional dining. They seemed to have almost the exact same choices as we were given. We did a traditional seating for dinner at 6PM. First of all breakfast. You go to the buffets for breakfast. I kid you not. They have everything you could possibly think of for breakfast. Lunches are a different matter. When we were at port we wanted to dine at a local restaurant which we did. We even had dinner at Skagway. there was always a buffet open on the ship. The first dinner was a bit hectic for everyone passengers and servers. It settled down after that. The way the traditional dinners work is that you are given a menu. This menu will have 6 or 7 appetizer choices, a couple of soup choices, a couple of salad choices and 7 or 8 entree choices. Every night there are special choices in each category. You really can order whatever you want off of this menu. You want one of each appetizer...go for it. Let me make one thing clear. Except for lobster night there are no "high priced" choices. All of the prime steaks are at the Crown Grill. All of the specialty seafood is at the Crown Grill or Sabatini's. The food was good but I still think the buffet is the better value. SIGN UP FOR TRADITIONAL DINING but other then the formal nights and/or lobster night go to the buffet. And you can go to any of the dining rooms and view that nights choices and make your decision then. One more thing...If you do decide not to attend your traditional dining seating please let the dining room know. In addition to these there was also an ice cream bar, a poolside grill (great hamburgers), a pizza area, and the international cafe. All of these areas had free food. There was a charge for milkshakes. Specialty dining......We did two specialty dining options that I would like to mention. As part of a promotion we received a voucher to attend one specialty restaurant. We choose Crown Grill. Hands down probably one of the best porterhouse steaks I have ever had. If we ever go on another Princess cruise I would definitely pay an extra $25 and do this again. Another "specialty dining" we did was an in room champagne breakfast. You can pick the time you want this served. We choose the day and about the time we were going to get to the glaciers. It was fantastic. More food then we could ever have eaten. And high quality food. I would highly recommend this option. Drink programs. We did not purchase a program. Frankly I don't see how this is a good value. You have a fridge in your room. No you cannot bring alcohol onto the ship. But unless you are an alcoholic there is no way one person is going to drink $56 worth of booze in one day. You can bring pop and water onto the ship. So at the first port buy some! Or just get your pop fix at the port itself. The cost for a bottle or can of pop on-board is not that bad either. I don't see how the cruise lines are making money off of this unless people are just clueless or filthy rich. NOTE...I did purchase the coffee card. This is the only beverage option that you can share if you like and if you don't use all of the punches you can take it on the next cruise or give it to someone else. Excursions.....The one Princess excursion we went on was very well organized and the tour guides were well spoken and informed. The decision to book tours ahead of time is a personal one. KEEP IN MIND that you have until 6PM I believe to cancel any tours for Monday morning (our cruise started on Saturday). After that any pre-booked tours have to be canceled at least 48 hours prior or you will forfeit your money. No negotiating. When we got sick, which we had no control over, we tried to appeal to many people to no avail. We ended up paying for an excursion we were to ill to go on. Based on the lines I saw many people wait to book their tours on-board. i will say this...We were offered the same tour that we had to cancel later that same day with an extra thrown in. We also heard of tours that were canceled due to lack of enough people signing up. So good luck with the excursions. On Board Activities...On board activities were plentiful. Of course the obligatory casino. We attended dance classes, bingo, cooking demonstration and kitchen tour, comedian, art auction, band performances, stopped to watch some movie under the stars, and went to the Sanctuary pool and hot tub (Free). The minerature golf course and basketball courts were in sad shape. The fitness center looked pretty nice. My wife and mom got some things done at the Lotus Spa on the very first day. They ran some specials. Princess Patter....The Princess Patter is a "newspaper" that shows up in your mailbox which is just outside of your cabin, later in the evening. This paper will list all the events upcoming for the next day. Weird things to take with you.....take a highlighter with you to highlight those things in the Princess Patter you are interested in...take some regular tape with you to tape those things you will need for the next day on the obligatory big picture in your room or the mirror...maybe take some packing tape with you to send stuff in priority mail boxes back home...get a pair of comfortable water proof shoes to take the place of maybe two pairs...extension cord...don't forget chargers...binoculars...camera(s)...For women-Take at least 1 dressy sweater and a pashmina/extra large scarf for your shoulders. Some of the areas of the ship are rather chilly. Do Not Take....A LOT OF CLOTHES....Believe it or not at the very first port there were nice jackets for sale at numerous shops for only $20...t-shirts $10...sweaters and hoodies $15...hats 3 for $10....These prices were consistent at every port we stopped in...Both men and womens items. And you need souveniers! Men...Take one pair of dress shoes...one or two pair of dress pants..and 3 or 4 shirts to match them. Any more then that would be overkill. I wore shorts on the ship and jeans on land. The weather was chilly on our cruise. Debarkation...I don't care what the Patter says...Get to your debarkation point at least 10 minutes early. This like everything else was well organized. That's about it. We did take a land tour in conjunction with the cruise through Princess. Two days at Princess Denali and two days at Princess McKinley. By the way Mt McKinley and Mt. Denali are the same mountain! We had a fantastic tour guide and except for being sick had a great time. I would highly recommend this add on. HOWEVER...The train ride was horrible. 10 1/2 hours on a slow moving train looking at the same scenery over and over. Even though it is included in the price I would skip the train and find alternate transportation to the lodge. After further consideration if it hadn't been for getting sick we would have had a very good time. There are many things that I wish I would have known beforehand and I have tried to convey these in this review.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We were very impressed with the food in the main dining room and the horizon café and found the staff to excel in the service they provided. The International Café was also a pleasant surprise and it was great to be able to get a light ... Read More
We were very impressed with the food in the main dining room and the horizon café and found the staff to excel in the service they provided. The International Café was also a pleasant surprise and it was great to be able to get a light meal at any time of the day. It did however need a bigger seating area with only a very small number of tables being available. The ice cream bar was a disappointment serving only diary soft rather than "real" ice cream. We did find that the ship appeared quite aged with many of the public areas being dark and poky. The lifts were also very slow to respond when called and were often over crowded WE found that the boat was best suited to those who like the BIG ship experience and that you were only getting to know all the areas at the end of the cruise. Possibly a smaller boat is better for the Alaska cruises given that much of the time is spent ashore rather than on the boat. The production shows looked dated and were not particularly impressive. The Cruise Director seemed sounded like she should be running an English holiday camp however her assistant Bernie had great enthusiasm and a real bubbly personality. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
In preparing for our Alaska cruise, I read all the reviews. I figured that I had better write one, so future travelers can learn from my experience too. I booked this cruise directly through Princess. Our first Princess rep. left her ... Read More
In preparing for our Alaska cruise, I read all the reviews. I figured that I had better write one, so future travelers can learn from my experience too. I booked this cruise directly through Princess. Our first Princess rep. left her position, so when I called to talk to our new rep, the guy answering the phone said, "I'll be your rep.". I just figured that Princess would have assigned somebody to our booking but, that wasn't the case. Our new rep. seems to be out of the office alot and does not return voicemails. For this reason, I will probably not book another cruise directly though Princess again! Our embarkation was from Vancouver on June21. We had flown into Seattle the night before and took a shuttle from SeaTec ($40 booked through Princess). The shuttle left 45 minutes past it's advertised departure time but otherwise the 3+ hour drive was uneventful. Canada Place (the pier) on the other hand, was a different story. We were over 3 hours waiting to board the ship. Had heard that the Crown Princess and another major ship, had docked at the same time so there were probably close to 5000 people trying to board. The last thing we had to do is fill out and sign a health question sheet but they did not give us a pen to do this with. Once we boarded the ship, we were told that the elevators were down so we took the stairs to our room on the Caribe deck. Our cabin was Interior, pretty much in the center of the ship. I was impressed with the room size. The ship departed close to the time that it was suppose to and sailed under the Lion's Gate bridge which was awesome to see. The first full day of sailing was good up until early afternoon on June 22 when the water became a little choppy and you could feel the boat sway. This ship movement was for about 8 hours but then it became smooth for the remainder of the trip. We picked the anytime dining plan and ate our meals early (as soon as the restaurants opened). We had no problem with seating. There were two formal nights on our cruise. We participated in one of them and did not feel like getting dressed up for the second one so we ate at the Horizon Buffet that night. I felt that the food, at all venues, was ok but nothing spectacular. We did eat at the Crown Grill one night and that was excellent. Our ports of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway were wonderful and I had planned them on my own which was less expensive than booking through the ship. Our day sailing Glacier Bay was wonderful. We had found on table in the corner of the Lido deck (out of the wind), got our coffee and watched as the ship sailed by the beautiful sights. Finding ourselves there at lunch time still, we got pizza (which was excellent) and continued our viewing. The next evening we were at College Fjord which, in my opinion, was even better than Glacier Bay. We included a land tour option to our cruise which I highly recommend. The cruise ended at Whittier and exiting the ship went smoothly. Our luggage was transported to the Denali Princess Lodge while we board the train for a 9 hour trip. We did the Tundra Wilderness tour through Denali National park (8 - 9 hours) which I believe was better than the shorter History tour. Our stay at the Princess McKinley Lodge was wonderful as was our night at Captain Cook in Anchorage. I was very impressed with the organization of Princess as far as our luggage and the transportation from one location to the next. At times, I felt that we were always being shuttled someplace, but it has to be that way when you are part of a tour. We did rent a car and do a couple of days on our own, touring the Turnagain Arm area.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Hotel: Doubletree San Pedro - the hotel is nice, and beautifully located right on the marina, but the first room they gave me was so noisy that I and to request a change. They have two or three rooms whose front doors give onto a balcony ... Read More
Hotel: Doubletree San Pedro - the hotel is nice, and beautifully located right on the marina, but the first room they gave me was so noisy that I and to request a change. They have two or three rooms whose front doors give onto a balcony right above the reception desk. You hear everything - music, luggage, front desk clerks, telephones - I mean everything. Of course, the room the replaced it with was at the very far end of the hotel - A very long walk for a partially disabled guy like me! But at least the 2nd room was quiet! Dinner the night before the cruise at 22nd St. Landing. Delicious grilled sea bass - not cheap, but worth every penny. Embarkation was delayed, so there were hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in the terminal, but at last we got on and made our way up to the Horizon court buffet. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. It's been my experience that the first lunch buffet on Princess is mediocre at the very best, but this time the food was good. Our stateroom was ready, and it was a standard Princess balcony stateroom. Bed was very comfortable, everything was clean and the bathroom looked a bit updated, but of course the shower was tiny as always. I had two stewards - one left when we were in San Francisco, but both of them were good. The ship: Yes, the Crown is a bit older, but I thought it was in very good shape. It's a bit different than the other Princess ships I've been on - the Vista lounge on other ships is 'Club Fusion' on the Crown, without the bench seating. Crown Grill is where Sabatini's is on other ships, etc.,etc. No problem, really. The one problem is that the Crown takes more passengers than the Grand/Star/Golden, but the many of the public rooms are the same size, which means they fill up quicker. The International Cafe area was always packed with people, and there were lines every night for dinner...even if you had a reservation! On the good side, unlike the Grand and Golden, the changing rooms in the spa/gym area have showers, sauna and steam rooms, so that is a definite plus. Food: Unlike some other folks on my cruise critic roll call, I thought the MDR food was quite good - didn't have a single bad dinner there, and the maitre'd at DaVinci was very helpful. Buffet food was good too - always a good variety to cater to every taste. the only disappointment for me was at Sabatini's. The special pasta when i went was spaghetti carbonara, which had way too much egg, and ended up very heavy and gloppy. And I had the veal chop, which was tough. Lastly, I got a glass of wine, which was good, but very skimpy for the price. Service: Great - absolutely no complaints - Princess appears to have made a concerted effort in the past couple of years to improve on service, and it shows. Entertainment: Fair, with one glittering exception and one piece of eye candy: The acts they had in the theater (hypnotist, impressionist) were mediocre. However, the classical quartet (Magdalena Quartet) was probably the best classical ensemble I've seen on a cruise. They ladies were good, and that was evidenced by the people (like me), that made it a point to attend their performances, rather than just listening for a few minutes while passing by. The eye candy was provided by a very muscled - and shirtless- young man performing acrobatics in the piazza. Ports: Well, you can't go wrong with Santa Barbara and San Francisco, especially when the sun is shining. I actually didn't get off the ship until Victoria, as I live in the SF bay area and have been to Santa Barbara many times. Disembarkation was very quick and easy. Overall, I had a nice, relaxing time, and the ship and crew made it a good vacation.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Cruise 4/19/14 through 4/26/14. My Mom and I took this cruise as a short getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area. We flew from San Jose, to LAX via Southwest, then boarded a Super Shuttle shared van to take us to the Pier at San Pedro. ... Read More
Cruise 4/19/14 through 4/26/14. My Mom and I took this cruise as a short getaway from the San Francisco Bay Area. We flew from San Jose, to LAX via Southwest, then boarded a Super Shuttle shared van to take us to the Pier at San Pedro. Upon arrival at the port we were surprised to see a huge mob of passengers waiting to board the ship, and another large group waiting for pick-up to leave the port. We were told that the ship had arrived late, and that boarding would begin at 2:00 pm. It was about 1:30 when we were finally able to board. The ship is although very clean, is just okay, no frills. I really expected it to be much nicer than it was especially since I have traveled on Princess 11 times. We had an inside cabin on Caribe Deck 10, stateroom C720 which is pretty far aft. The room was spacious, and pretty nice. We did hear the engines and feel the vibration pretty heavily when arriving and departing a port. However it was a pretty quiet cabin during the night, and the gentle rolling movement did lull us to sleep every night. Our cabin Stewart Ariel Santa Cruz from the Philippines was very good. We found the beds to be very hard, so we asked for egg crate mattresses, and blankets which he quickly addressed. The penny machines in the casino were a lot of fun, especially the one called Striking Tiger, and the Wild Wolf slots. The elevators were the worst. A constant wait, and a real pain. The gym was great, lots of machines. The food in all the venues was good. We had anytime dining, but unlike the Sapphire Princess (my fav Princess ship) the Crown only has 2 anytime venues for the evening meal besides the buffet. On deck 15 in the buffet I would like to see a free ice cream machine in the to go with the desserts. I loved the stir fry's, the balsamic vinaigrette and the daily cupcakes at lunch time. Delish. Service, terrible and slow. Most of the time we had to get our own coffee, and water. I heard numerous complaints about this from others as well. We picked this cruise based on itinerary. All of our excursions were DIY. Be sure to book all your excursions on line before the cruise in order to save money. San Francisco - Weather was bitterly windy (in the 50's) dull and cold. Thank goodness I had my winter parka. We did the Hop on Hop off bus run by Grayline. I booked it through Viator.com which I have used numerous times in Europe. Very good narration by the driver and beautiful overview view of the city sites. It was excellent. In San Francisco the ship docks at Pier 35. The ticket from Viator tells you to go to Pier 33, but this is not correct, because the bus does not stop there. Instead, catch this bus at Pier 39 which is about a 5 minute walk from where the ship docks. Sit on the benches facing the Embarcadero right next to the Aquarium and the bus comes by there every 30 minutes. You can call them to see what the time of arrival is. Santa Barbara - Took the Old Town Trolley. We got it for $17.50 each on line, $19 p/p at the trolley. The cruise pax paid $35 p/p for the this same trolley. The website stated "Black Out Period for Cruise Passengers" however, there does not seem to be an issue if you grab the trolley at the Stearns Wharf & State Street corner next to the dolphin statue. Again excellent 2 hour tour with ability to Hop On and Hop Off at any of the 12 stops. San Diego - Also took the Trolley which is the best deal in town. Takes you all over to the best sites in SD for about 2 hours. Awesome. You pick it up at the restaurant right next to the cruise port (I think it is called Anthony's but I could be mistaken) which is a short 5 minute or less stroll. Ensenada - No comment as we stayed on the ship. Disembarkation - Again a nightmare. We had the early self walk-off, which was supposed to leave the ship at 7:45 am. However we were held up by Customs (not the ship's fault) and didn't leave the ship until about 8:20 or so. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We left out of Port Everglades which was extremely chaotic. I think just in our terminal there were 4-5 boats leaving. Once we got off the taxi it was pretty simple, we had priority boarding which made it that much easier. I will say that ... Read More
We left out of Port Everglades which was extremely chaotic. I think just in our terminal there were 4-5 boats leaving. Once we got off the taxi it was pretty simple, we had priority boarding which made it that much easier. I will say that Princess has nailed it with the priority boarding if you are a platinum member or in a Suite, most other cruise's I have been on do not really have this. Once on board we got to our room in D735 which was on the aft of the boat. The room was as small as the other balcony rooms, but the balcony was huge. The balcony is also completely covered so if you like the shade it is a good balcony to have. I probably will opt to not get an aft room again because every movement and every vibration is felt at night. Going into Curacao where it was very windy I woke up several times during the night because of movement. After boarding, we found out that princess now offers an all inclusive drink package for $49 a day any drink on the boat under $10 is included. This includes coffee, water, and all non-alcoholic/alcoholic beverages. I found this to be incredibly beneficial and it was fantastic to pay up front and not have a huge bill that you are unsure of at the end. We went with our family of 10 and we all thought this was a fantastic idea, I am very happy princess finally rolled this program out. The food on the boat was very good. I never had anything to complain about, and the highlight was the pizza which was absolutely fantastic. All the dinners were very good, I guess my only complaint would be the breakfast buffet, the food was the same every day and the scrambled eggs were very runny. Also there wasn't much variety of fruit at breakfast. For some reason every morning I would wake up and feel extremely bloated and sick, after laying down for about an hour the feeling would go away and It would be fine. On board we found ourselves basically just drinking everyday because there was not a lot to do on board. We would get the patter and try to circle activities but it ended up being just bingo and trivia. I understand princess is geared more for an older crowd, but for 20somethings there is not much to do other than drink. The entertainment was just okay, the comedians were funny but having them in the explorers lounge was a huge pain because there just wasn't enough room. If you didn't show up an hour early for a show there, you would be standing in the back trying to see. Also, the fitness center was great, but needs to be opened a lot sooner and the 20 minute maximum needs to be enforced. I found myself getting very frustrated at the lack of machines available and how crowded it was. The service onboard was great, other than on the aft bar there were a couple of bartenders who just completely hated life. We ended up finding our favorite bartender Beth in Club Fusion and we ran into Wilfredo at princess cays and ended up being our favorite bar help. We would go to the wheel house every night just because of Wilfredo. Princess Cays was good, but again there isn't much to do on the island other than finding a chair and drinking, which is what we ended up doing. Wilfredo was fantastic and was a great bartender on the island which made it so much better. Our second stop in Curacao ended up being my favorite stop. We got off the boat and it was very clean and a pleasant it was more of a place to walk around and shop but it was relaxing. Our last stop in Aruba wasn't what I expected. We were planning on going to a beach, but it was too overcast and very windy so we decided to explore the island and little. Getting of the boat was a hassle, because it was a long walk to get anywhere, and then you have to walk through a gauntlet of tourist traps to finally get to the island. My dad and brother went golfing and said it was a great golf course, but extremely windy. We ate lunch at Iguana joe's which was a good place to eat, but make sure you time it right because it gets very packed. Disembarkation was a complete nightmare. We had to do the early walk-off because of our flight and it was chaos. They had us in Michelangelo's and it was 7:30, but all they had was a path of tables and chairs and no one knew what was going on. We ended up being filed all the way back into the Casino, and the line was moving very slowly. I think there should be an easier way to do this without everyone carrying their luggage, because all you could hear from the older crowd was complaints. Overall we had a blast, but we had to make our own fun. Like I said, the boat is geared towards an older crowd and we got to hear a lot of the people complaining about the tiniest things. If I wasn't with my family I would've been bored a lot more. I think the ships needs a few updates, the mini-golf course was very run down and hasn't been touched in a long time. It's too bad that virtual golf is non-existent because that would've been a lot of fun. As a male in my 20's and a princess platinum member I think I will opt for a younger cruise line. Princess is fantastic if you are looking for a relaxing cruise with almost no children. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We were sailing with Princess on the “Brazilian Adventure” cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires, a 19 night cruise. The larger majority of passengers on board the boat were the “49ers” travelling from Fort Lauderdale to Los ... Read More
We were sailing with Princess on the “Brazilian Adventure” cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires, a 19 night cruise. The larger majority of passengers on board the boat were the “49ers” travelling from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles. Getting to the boat Flights from UK fine, although glad we booked on earlier flight from Manchester to LHW to give us more time for transfer and to get something to eat. Stayed one night at Intercontinental At Doral, Miami prior to cruise. Stayed here before & knew the locale. Transfer to the ship – the bus was due at 12:30, although Princess rep was hoping it would arrive early at 12:15. It was late, and did not arrive until 13: 30. Not a new vehicle and lots of signs of wear & tear. On the way to Fort Lauderdale the bus broke down and another bus was sent for. The passengers all helped to unload the luggage in preparation for the transfer to the second bus. We arrived at the port and were pretty much the last to arrive, and were at the end of a very long queue. Due to the fact that a lot of passengers (not those from the UK) required visas for Brazil and Argentina there was stringent checking, which took much longer than normal. Also, the usual “priority Boarding” system used for Platinum and Elite passengers had been abandoned. Once we actually got to the check-in desk (which took 1.5 hours) we were checked in and through in 2 minutes! We got to our cabin just in time to pick up our life vests and go to the emergency drill. We were in Cabin D719, which was a mini-suite with a balcony. It was a good size and presented as you would expect. Our cabin steward was called Edsel, and as expected he provided excellent service . Life on board We were by far some of the younger passengers on board the boat (with a combined age of 104). This was the first cruise since we achieved Elite status. We had the free Mini Bar set up – 8 miniature bottles of spirits (2 each of Brandy, Whiskey, Gin and Vodka - we had the whiskey swopped for Gin) plus 2 bottles of beer, 2 cans of soda, 2 cans of tonic, two bottles of Perrier water and two small bottles of still water. We used the free internet (we both received 250 minutes free) and the laundry/Dry cleaning service that we get for being elite. On Formal nights (3 on this cruise) we had complementary canapés delivered to our room (although on the last one we got chocolates rather than chocolate dipped strawberries). We also received an automatic 10% discount on anything we bought from the on-board shops/boutiques. We went to the art auction (we had bought a piece on our last cruise on the Crown Princess in October 2013), however the franchise had been taken over by “West One”. We liked the previous way that they priced the art (the price quoted included Tax and shipping) whereas now it was usually just the purchase price with shipping & tax on top (also some did not include the frame, whilst others were “carry-offs” and sold as seen). The actual auctions could also be confusing. The only pieces we liked were way above our price range so did not buy anything this time. It was our wedding Anniversary whilst on-board (we were married on the Star Princess) so we went to the Crown Grill to celebrate (used to be the Stirling Steak house, which was where we held our wedding reception). We had a fantastic meal (lobster and Filet for our mains) but too much food (we could not even start the anniversary cake, and the waiter (Hector) wrapped it in foil to look like a swan). We did lots of quizzes on board, plus took part in the passenger “Olympics”. Each day in Club Fusion they held the “Suite, Platinum and Elite” passengers cocktail event, with nibbles and the daily cocktail being at a reduced price. On the Diamond Princes this was held in the Skywalkers Bar which then has great views, however on the Crown there were so many Elite passengers they could not fit everyone into Skywalkers. We had all but one of our evening meals in the restaurants, rather than the Horizon Court (which we often feel does not have such a great range of food) and most lunchtimes just had a slice of Pizza (it is just so very easy to over eat!). We enjoyed the food very much, and as noticed before, the nearer to the end of the cruise seemingly the better the food becomes. After about 10 days on board there was an outbreak of Norovirus on the boat so after this all food was served to you (even salt, pepper and sugar). We were not affected by the virus and never met anyone who had been. We got to know lots of nice people on board (one from Australia who turned out to share a very distant relation going back to the 1600 in Leeds, England). Trips ashore As we had not been to any of the destinations before, we booked trips for each stop, which we did on-line as soon as they were available. We generally felt that most of the trips were over priced for what you got. St Thomas A lovely island and we did the tour including Megans Beach (where we had a couple of hours to go swimming). The views from the hills were great, and we also visited Blackbeards castle before going into the main town for shopping (lots of duty free available). Antigua We went on a 4 wheel drive safari, which included some bits that were “off road” so bumpy but very enjoyable. The driver provided Rum Punch for everyone who wanted it, we probably had too much (one of us can not remember getting back to our cabin!). We perhaps could have done with longer at Nelsons dockyard, but a very enjoyable trip and we saw a lot of the island and got to go swimming again. This was our favourite trip overall as we saw a lot and had some fun (even without the rum!). Barbados We did the tour that included a Mahogany workshop, the Cathedral and a plantation, with lunch included. The lunch was nice, but overall it took too long to serve and there was not much time then to actually see the plantation and house. Trinidad On a previous cruise we had visited Tobago, but found Trinidad to be a nicer island. We did the trip to Asa Wrights nature reserve which we really enjoyed as there was lots of birds and plants to see. Recife We did the tour that included the city tour, Olinda and Casa de Culture. Unfortunately the guide, although very nice, did not speak good English and did not use the microphone on the coach well, so we missed most of what he was saying! Once we got to Olinda we had to change onto minibuses to get up the hill, the views were fantastic from up there. Unfortunately we had to wait 40 mins for a bus to take us down again, so by the time we go to the casa de culture (an old prison that has been turned into tourist shopping – the cells are the shops) we only had 20 minutes before we had to return to the ship. Just get a taxi & go to Olinda yourself! We complained to Princess and got a 20% refund. Rio When we got onboard we received a letter to advise that there was a problem with our Rio trips – for day 1 we had booked two excursions - a city tour during the day (including Sugar Loaf and Corcovada) and the Rio Sambadrome carnival for the night time. However the ship advised that the timings were too tight between these and we would have to change. We swopped the trip planned for day 2 (Jeep safari) to day 1 (no problem as this was a shorter trip), however the city trip with Sugar Loaf and Corcovada was by then fully booked for day two so we just had the city tour and Sugar Loaf. The Jeep Safari never actually goes “off road”, for us the best bit was driving back along Leblon, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches where it was carnival “party time”! For the Rio Carnival trip we met in the Explorers lounge to get the tickets. The organisation was not good for this, as they decided to give the tickets out to one section at a time (but then every one who had just turned up also then just joined the queue so those of us who had gotten their earlier then had to wait longer). The shore excursion staff had asked for the passengers assistance/organisation – some hope of that. It took well over an hour to hand out all of the tickets (and gifts – a seat pad, confetti, a t-shirt, a whistle, a garland and (the cheapest ever) pair of binoculars). The Rio Carnival in the Sambadrome is spectacular. It started at 9:15 (we did not get there until 9:30 but it takes so long for the parade to walk down the Sambadrome that we had not missed anything) and we stayed for 4 of the schools to parade (and left at 1:30 am). We were in section 9 (the tourist section where you have an allocated “seat” – however there are actually no seats there – you have a numbered space on the concrete steps) and you only sit down between the parades (but take a cushion). Vendors come around between each parade selling drinks and ice creams, which is good. In the UK this stand equates to the old football terrace stands (which have now been made all seating due to safety concerns!). The city tour included a visit to the Cathedral (similar design to the one in Liverpool), however our guide only showed us the outside as we were told it was closed (funny that, being that it was a Sunday). Other passengers told us that they went there independently and went in to see the stained glass windows. Sugar Loaf was great (apart from the queues – it took two hours in total to spend 30 minutes at the top, the actual cable car rides only take 10 mins each way) with good views. Again we raised this trip with Princess and got a 20% refund. Ilhabela We did the city drive and Tocas waterfall. One of us was bitten by mosquitoes when in the toilet (even when wearing mosi repellent clothing!). To be honest, we would just walk around the town next time (or go on a boat trip). Leaving the Boat We were scheduled to leave the boat in Buenos Aires around 7:30 for our trip to the airport and flight home. We left the lounge at 7:40 but when we got to the terminal we had to wait 10 minutes for one of our cases to arrive. We were on the bus at 8:20, but some passengers still had not got their luggage and it was 9:00 before the bus actually left. We had only been travelling for 10 minutes when the bus turned around and went back to the terminal as 4 passengers had received the wrong disembarkation instructions and should have been on our bus. We left the terminus again at 9:20 and at 9:40 we hit a traffic jam. We were luck as our flight was not until 14:25, but the 4 passengers who we had to go back for were on an 11:30 flight. We eventually got to the airport at 11:25, having been sat on the bus for over 3 hours and with no toilet available! Our flights home were good (but tiring - 13 hours from Buenos Aires to Heathrow then a two hour wait before our connection to Manchester). Overall View We really enjoyed the cruise and the itinerary, but this was the “Cruise of the Queue”. This may perhaps be because this particular repositioning cruise does not happen very often so staff were not familiar with how things worked, however we felt that the general organisation from Princess was not up to their usual standard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Embarkation- Horrendous is not an overstatement. You would think that the Port Everglades Princess staff had never had to check-in customers where visas or other special country entry docs were required. We arrived at the port about ... Read More
Embarkation- Horrendous is not an overstatement. You would think that the Port Everglades Princess staff had never had to check-in customers where visas or other special country entry docs were required. We arrived at the port about 2-hours after the check-in process had begun thinking that we would be able check-in easily and board the ship promptly as we had grown accustom to doing from past experiences. To our surprise the line was +2-hours long and even the most frequent Princess cruise customers who normally get priority treatment had similar waits. Princess blamed the wait on their need to check each passenger’s special paperwork required for entry into Brazil and Argentina. In reality Princess mismanaged the check-in process as they had options to speed up check-in but relied on their SOP which failed them. My suggestion would be to add more check-in clerks, allow check-in to start earlier and then work the passenger line sorting out those passengers who have the proper docs from those that do not. Ship Maintenance- Everything on board the ship was clean and in good working order. It was apparent that the ship’s crew works diligently to keep the ship in good condition. Cabin Steward- Absolutely the best we have ever had on any cruise including the premium cruise lines. Greeted us immediately upon entering our cabin then quickly followed with 2-glasses of “welcome to Crown Princess” champagne. My wife asked for more hangers and he immediately went and got her more than we needed. This pattern of immediate response to our needs continued for the whole cruise. I have repeated examples of these type of responses to our needs. He genuinely felt that it was his job to respond in this way. Food- In general very good with reasonable preparation and nice plate presentations in the main dining rooms. Some menu items are overstated ie; On one occasion Tiger Prawns were really just medium-large shrimp, the size you would get frozen in a bag at the grocery. Filet was something less than the actual cut of meat yet tasty. The buffets always had a nice variety of food that tasted freshly prepared which is complementary to this style meal. Main Dining Room Table Service Staff- Our main dining room waiter and assistant tried hard but it was apparent that they had little experience as illustrated by their lack of knowledge of menu item preparation and ingredients. Their skill level was to repeat what was written on the menu so we were on our own to figure out what we were ordering plus looking at the dishes served to nearby tables helped. They performed their functional duties adequately but it ended there. • On St. Patrick’s Day the main dining room had NO Irish dishes on the menu which we found surprising. I mentioned this to the Head Waiter who gave us a strange response, “We put the menu together months ahead.” to which I replied that St. Patrick’s Day date is well known years in advance, way before Princess plans it’s menu. I was amazed that he would offer up an excuse and least of all, one like this. Buffet Table Service Staff- Slow and inattentive. The staff in the buffets often lacked promptness in taking beverage requests, refills, clearing dishes, etc. SOP was to wave them down to order beverages and refills were never offered as they rarely made eye contact with the diners making it difficult to get their attention. Passengers frequently had to step out of the way to let buffet personnel and servers pass. Front Desk Personnel(Purser’s Desk)- We found all of the staff we interacted with to be friendly, courteous and helpful except the Elite/Suite desk personnel who came across as snooty. The others promptly responded to all our requests. Cabin- We were in a mini-suite center/aft on the port side which we were familiar with from a prior Princess cruise and the cabin on this ship was identical. Everything was clean, in good condition and good working order so no surprises. Any minor issues ie; plugged drain and burned out light bulbs were quickly repaired/replaced. Entertainment- The ships production performers are all very young but do an excellent job learning and performing the many shows on the ship. The orchestra is more seasoned but also do an excellent job in the production shows and supporting the guest entertainers. The other full time ship’s night club musicians do a very nice job as well. • The guest entertainers are 2nd or 3rd tier performers whom you have never heard of but do a nice job. They are varied in their acts and are onboard for just a few days when they are replaced by other performers. Magicians seem to be popular on Princess but it was ironic that the 1st two magicians that performed did the identical opening tricks in the same order. • Movies/presentations- One of the highlights on Princess is “Movies Under the Stars” which was great until they experienced technical problems which lasted the better part of a week and when they got it working again we were beginning the coldest part of the cruise which lasted for 8-9 days so unless you wanted to dress for 40-50 degree weather, “Movies Under the Stars” was out of the question. During the technical problem resolution and cold weather, Princess showed the movies in the Princess theater but that had its own technical challenges as they had to restart their projector every few minutes. The same problem occurred during port lecturers. While all these delays were very brief they were annoying and you ask yourself “Do they really know what they are doing?” • Broadcast entertainment- It seemed like 1/3 to ½ of the limited # of TV channels were devoted to selling you something on Princess. Unlike any hotel in the world, there are no broadcast network channels which seems unheard of in today’s high tech society. Our cruise was during the 2014 Winter Olympics and every country represented on the ship had teams in the games but Princess did not broadcast them at all. There are frequent announcements over the ships loud speakers; a daily update from the Captain or other ship’s officer which are informative, morning & evening announcements from the Cruise Director of the activities of the day which are a repeat of what is presented in the ship’s newspaper and on TV and the most annoying are the extremely loud ads to attend the art sales which always imply “once in a lifetime opportunities”.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Norovirus appeared on ship after stops in Carib'n. Still not contained when ship reached Buenos Aires 10 days later. Passengers probably not co-operative with isolation/preventative procedures. I believe Crown Princess could have been ... Read More
Norovirus appeared on ship after stops in Carib'n. Still not contained when ship reached Buenos Aires 10 days later. Passengers probably not co-operative with isolation/preventative procedures. I believe Crown Princess could have been more aggressive with preventative measures before the outbreak occurred. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", especially when there is no cure! Information about the disease and its' prevention should be everywhere printed/presented in all relevant languages, at the very least. It needs a priority second only to muster station drill. Congratulations to the Chef Linzer ... the food was outstanding as was the service. Ship personnel were very very accommodating, personable and friendly. Our outside accommodation with balcony was very good in all respects. The entertainment/enrichment activities content was somewhat juvenile for the most part. The two day stop in Rio for Carnival made up for many deficiencies. Information/history/education about the countries and ports-of-call could have been much richer for my liking particularly as there were many at-sea-days. For Bridge players the program was good. The land tours were way overpriced for what was received. Many of the guides barely spoke English. There were of course a couple of excellent tour guides. I would not recommend purchasing the tours except the one to Christ the Redeemer in Rio. On Ilhabela, a very small town, the two sights were on a couple of blocks from the pier easily reached on foot. [Church and Museum]. The beach experience was minus 5.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Background - 19 cruises & 9 with Princess. Overall, we had a good cruise, however since we had a small child (age 13 months) with no babysitting opportunities other than my mom who was on the cruise as well, I would not probably ... Read More
Background - 19 cruises & 9 with Princess. Overall, we had a good cruise, however since we had a small child (age 13 months) with no babysitting opportunities other than my mom who was on the cruise as well, I would not probably return to Princess for this reason only until the child is 3 years of age. Food - Our 1 night at the Crown Grill was excellent as always, however they no longer have the cobbler which was a bummer!. Our 2 formal nights in the main dining room were good to very good with attentive service and generally good to very good food. The remainder of our evenings were spent at the dinner buffet which was good to excellent depending on the evening. We like this option because it is less time consuming and allows for more entertainment options. Still in love with the Pizza & Ice Cream bar for a lighter meal/snack. Entertainment - Excellent comedy, magic, etc... The Comedy Magician Christopher James was one of the best we have every seen and Al Katz and his comedy was very good as usual. The Patrick and Matilda show is not to be missed either. We don't typically attend the singing/dancing shows in the Princess Theatre so can't comment there. Service - Excellent service especially in the Lido buffet. Very attentive for drinks and other needs. Itinerary - One of our favorites to Princess Cays - Curacao - Aruba. Played golf in the latter two.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our 12th cruise and we anticipated it would have been a lot better then it turned out. The Crown is a new build and we found the ship clean and very well kept. Dining room service was excellent. We were not impressed with the food ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise and we anticipated it would have been a lot better then it turned out. The Crown is a new build and we found the ship clean and very well kept. Dining room service was excellent. We were not impressed with the food court however. Our itinerary included three ports, Princess Cay, Cuaraco and Aruba. Princess Cay is simply a beach which is fine in warm weather, but cruisers need to realize that the Bahamas (where Princess Cay is located on the island of Eluthera just 30 miles from Nassau) can be chilly in January. We had about 65 degrees for the high so a beach day was a bit of a drag. We were delighted we had not rented a $200 bungalow with air conditioning to sit in. Its a thousand miles from Princess Cay to Cuaraco so this particular cruise included plenty of sea-time and therein was my problem. With 3200 passengers on board, elevator waiting could be a listed acitivity. The Princess Theater, home of the main stage, holds 800 passengers and they are presented from two to three times a night. You can do the math. Many people, experienced it seems, brought reading material and arrived 45 minutes early and lines of eager passengers already form but the time you exit after the show. In the nearby Explorer's Lounge, a venue for other shows, the seat grabbing is more intense since the venue holds only about 120 persons. Needless to say finding deck chairs in a good location will also require a bit of patience and sometimes a little pushiness. If you enjoy bingo, trivia games, zumba, line dancing and the like you will be quite pleased with the daily schedule. Movies (older ones) and televised concerts are also presented on the outdoor screen. If you prefer quite the "Sancturary" area is available- for a fee of course. Overall the cruise was pleasant enough but I wil try to choose a trip with more ports and perhaps a slightly younger crowd on the next round. Many octogerians aboard this one.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Southern Caribbean on the Crown Princess This cruise was the 2nd of a back to back to back adventure. Embarkation was simple and quick. We left the Coral Princess around 11 am, took a taxi to the Crown Princess and were able to board ... Read More
Southern Caribbean on the Crown Princess This cruise was the 2nd of a back to back to back adventure. Embarkation was simple and quick. We left the Coral Princess around 11 am, took a taxi to the Crown Princess and were able to board right a way with preferred boarding. The ship was nicely decorated for the holidays. The ship appeared to be full and it was a little crowded. There were lots and lots of activities – lots going on (more than I remember seeing on Princess before). The average age of the passengers was slightly lower than normal and there were actually a number of 20 and 30 somethings on board. In general, the ship had a little more “party” atmosphere than you usually find on Princess – I guess it's the 7 day Caribbean thing. After the Horizon Court on the Coral, this one was a little small and outdated. Not as much to choose from, not as much variety. The food was okay. We had assigned seating in the Botticelli. Food and service were good. The first port was Princess Cays on the next day. Nice weather, water fairly calm. Once we left Princess Cays, we hit rough weather and on and off rain. An NFL event planned for MUTS had to be moved inside because of the rough weather. The second stop was Curacao. It rained most of the day there and the water was rough enough that some of the boat trips were canceled. Rough water continued to Aruba, where, thankfully, the sun came out. The sun stayed with us somewhat and the water calmed somewhat for the last two sea days. We had a LOT of first time cruisers onboard so there was more sea sickness talk than normal. As far as Entertainment onboard: The production show, “Blame It On the Boogie” was great as was comedian Troy Thirdgill. The Cinnamoon duo in Wheelhouse was very good, playing lots of danceable ballroom music. The problem was the floor was soooooo small and there were many dancers. Mix of Moods played in the Explorer's Lounge – lots of Caribbean and Reggae. There was a third “party” band, The Score, that played in the Piazza occasionally, at sail aways, for the Ultimate Deck Party, etc. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our second cruise with Princess Cruise Line. Our first was a year ago on the Ruby Princess and we were thoroughly happy with our experience. This time, however, we took a Southern Caribbean cruise heavy with sea days (3). We ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess Cruise Line. Our first was a year ago on the Ruby Princess and we were thoroughly happy with our experience. This time, however, we took a Southern Caribbean cruise heavy with sea days (3). We didn't think we would mind an extra sea day, but for us it stretched to 4 days as we didn't go ashore in Curacao due to weather. We drove to Ft. Lauderdale Port Everglades and parked at the parking garage. Embarkation was relatively easy and we were onboard and in our stateroom before 12:30! We immediately called room service for a couple bottles of rum for the room, and then called the dining line and made our reservations for the Crown Grill for 2 nights...absolutely the best food we had on the entire cruise!!! Well worth the extra $25 fee per person. We noticed that the Crown Princess wasn't as well maintained as the Ruby Princess was. There were several rust spots outside on the balcony and noticeable from many areas on the ship. When on the Ruby Princess, people were constantly cleaning and painting. We didn't see one paint brush this time and it could have used it! On our first day, someone was scraping the hand railings above us and the scrapings fell onto our balcony and we had to ask the room steward if he could make sure it got cleaned up so that we didn't have to push it around the balcony and off the seats when out there. He was happy to take care of it and when we returned a couple hours later, it had been taken care of. Our room steward (Michael) was great and always seemed to be working hard. This time we went to the Main Dining room once and weren't really impressed with the food nor the fact that it took nearly 2.5 hours from the time we sat down till we left (and we skipped dessert!) One night we went to Horizon Court for dinner buffet with Bavarian theme. We didn't find much that suited our palletes so we ended up getting pizza -- it was good but the crust was much thinner than the what we had on the Ruby and there were fewer toppings too. Overall, the food wasn't as impressive as what we had in the past. There were lots of fatty meats and meats pounded to the point of non-recognition ...I couldn't tell the chicken from the pork one night. The sous chefs weren't as particular about fruits and veggies prep either as often times there were cores left in the pineapples, stems, and pits as well as spoiled fruit (grapes - I found many that shouldn't have been served). One day the salad ingredients were wilted and a bit slimy like they were just topping off the containers with fresh and not emptying out the containers. The entertainment that we went to was very enjoyable. We saw a dancing and singing show with the Princess singers/dancers and I have to give them huge kudos for the job they did! They didn't miss a beat as far as dancing goes and no one could have blamed them if they had as the seas were quite rough and we were doing a lot of rocking and rolling!! Absolutely awesome job!! We also saw a show called Matilda and Patrick in the Princess Theatre. We were told that it was to be their last show so we HAD to go! :-) It was a hilarious ventriloquist show !! We loved it. One night we saw a great show in the Explorers Lounge performed by a "mentalist" ...sorry his name escapes me, but his show was really mind-blowing!! Our stateroom was a balcony on Caribe deck. Caribe deck balconies are larger than most other balconies and we thoroughly enjoyed using it. The bathroom is small but equipped to do everything necessary...although, I must say it's nearly impossible to shave your legs in the shower without standing on your head or performing some double-jointed magic. Overall, we had an enjoyable time. We absolutely loved Aruba!! We did not take a princess shore excursion but instead opted for a tour with Didi. (an Aruba local) He has a brightly colored bus and took us to see many of the same sights that Princess excursions would have taken us but for far less money. He charged only $25 per person to go to a Rock Formation (haystacks), Anna Church (? don't remember the complete name), the California lighthouse and he gave lots of information along the way. We ultimately went to the Palm Beach and Eagle Beach area where he left us to enjoy 2.5 hours at the beach and came back to pick us up, delivering us back to the pier (even took us back through security). The best day on shore! Although we had a good time, it wasn't the "great" time we had the previous year. The food wasn't as good which ultimately affected our overall impression. I'm not saying we won't go on Princess again (we are currently booked for Dec. 2014) but we are considering going with another cruise line...a thought that we did NOT have before this cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for ... Read More
Our party of 10 (2 brothers, their wives and teenaged kids, and Grandma) embarked on our first-ever Christmas cruise 12/21 and are just back. All of us have cruised multiple lines previously, including Princess, so have a basis for comparison. Embarkation was relatively easy, and after arriving via Park And Go from our parking area, we boarded by 1:30p and met up with the rest of our party onboard. A row of 4 interior cabins and a balcony cabin at the back of the ship were our home for the duration; our cabin steward Merlito was very attentive and became known, among the teens, as the "all-seeing, all-knowing" all-powerful presence who always knew who was up and perhaps even where they were headed. The cabins were small but entirely adequate and well-organized with a nightstand per person, and shelves and safe in the closet area (with plenty of hangers) that separates the bathroom from the bedroom. Initially the A/C seemed not to be working well, but after the first day, this was better. We had a very nice time overall and gained several pounds along the way, so we can't complain about the food. I was surprised by the relative absence of symbols/signs on the menus that would indicate "waist-watchers" choices, or calorie counts that would help guide those inclined to limit themselves. The first day, we had to petition the maitre de for a table for 10, even though we had requested this upon reservation, but once this glitch was overcome, had a good time every night with our waitstaff Tanya and Ketut in the Boticelli DR for late seating. Service was prompt and accurate, though the pace seemed to slow as dessert approached, when much of the table was eager to break free for the evening entertainment. The choices in the buffet areas were a bit repetitive, but since one can't possibly eat every item at each meal, this was not an issue. In addition, the grill and pizza were available on Deck 15 (and deemed excellent and good respectively) but the general feeling is that the pizza in particular should be served til at least 1am rather than 11p to allow for night owls with late-night cravings. The International Cafe on Deck 5 had good salad and panini offerings and was open 24/7. We were disappointed by the sushi offered in the Caribe Area, but don't know if the quality of the sushi served at Vines (when one purchases wine/drinks) is any better. No midnight buffets were offerred. Entertainment was varied and widely available. The 2 person Cinnamoon duo in the Wheelhouse Bar were good for couples to dance to. The piano bar Crooners was convivial, but I had hoped for a piano bar where the crowd could surround the piano and join in lusty song; here, the entertainer was very talented but performed primarily solo. Club Fusion was home to karaoke, trivia, Mass, Pop Princess competition, and Bingo, though some evenings it seemed to be underused for such a large space. The Princess Theater was the venue for every evening's main entertainment and the singers and dancers were quite good; show quality varied, but they get an A for effort. Lisa and Toby, the co-cruise directors, were awesome and funny both. I was surprised by the lack of drink sales in this location, though there may be a reason for this. Explorers Lounge hosted the ventriloquist, the Marriage Game, the Bad Boy of Magic, and another fun game night hosted by Toby. The Adagio Bar, up on Deck 16 next to Sabatini's, was the quietest bar on board, but Allen was the consummate bartender every night. Skywalkers was the nightclub on Deck 18, which could really "rock and roll" if the seas were up, and the bouncers did a pretty good job of keeping the under-18s out. DJ Nikki knew what she had to play to get folks to flock to the dance floor, so I was surprised on the last night that her selections were pretty weak, with long lulls of dullness between bursts of activity. Our teens found it odd that there was no place and no effort made to allow those in that difficult age range of 16-18 to hang out together; the Teen Club allows only those up to 16, the disco allows only those over 18, so for example, if cousins who are 16 and 18 want to be together, they have nothing to do but roam the ship aimlessly! If announcements can be posted in the daily flyer for AA folks and LGTB folks, why no 16-18ers? Activities on board could have been more in quantity. When trivia is held in Adagio/Wheelhouse and there is SRO, that's a sign that folks are looking for something to do. When 2 teenaged boys plan to attend napkin-folding, that's a sign that they need more things to do. When the Speed Sudoku held in Adagio runs out of sheets for eager participants who arrive and no effort is made to procure more for them to be able to do so, that is a lack of initiative on the part of the staff. Why is there NO shuffleboard, the iconic cruise activity? Only 2 ping pong tables for a ship this size is inadequate. The minigolf area is somewhat seedy-looking, it is unclear where to get the clubs and balls, and it's impossible to get on the course without climbing over the wall! And what's with the "jogging track" that measures, what, 0.3 miles and at the very top of the ship--a recipe for dizziness and disaster! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We were on a 7-night cruise on the Crown Princess, Nov. 16-23, 2013, with ports of call to Princess Cays, Curacao, and Aruba. We had a great time on the cruise but there were some disappointments but they did not detract from the overall ... Read More
We were on a 7-night cruise on the Crown Princess, Nov. 16-23, 2013, with ports of call to Princess Cays, Curacao, and Aruba. We had a great time on the cruise but there were some disappointments but they did not detract from the overall experiences. This was our first time taking a cruise in November and we were pleasantly surprised to find the weather in the mid to high 80’s and sunny every day. EMBARKATION What a zoo! I’m glad my aunt is a Platinum member (we are Gold members) and we were able to join her in the check-in line for the Platinum members which got us checked in quicker (we did the online check in prior to the cruise and didn’t have to show our credit card as this information had already been provided). After check in you are shown to an area to sit and wait until they call your number. Again, as my aunt was the Platinum member we didn’t have to wait at all. It probably took 30 minutes from the time we arrived at the port to getting on the ship. THE STATEROOM We requested a balcony stateroom with a sofa bed or rollaway as three people would be staying in the stateroom. We didn’t receive that right away. We were in balcony stateroom Baja 633, deck 11. We walked into the stateroom to find only two beds! I won’t get into all the details as these are being discussed directly with Princess but it wasn’t until around 10:30-11:00pm when we had the deck supervisor and another person reconfigure the stateroom furniture to fit a rollaway bed in the room. There is a bed that pulls down from the ceiling but there were too many safety issues with it for us to use it . Let me add, a balcony stateroom will not fit a rollaway bed unless you remove one chair, push the two single beds together, and place the rollaway bed with one end up against the balcony door. Also the stateroom had no air conditioning for the entire cruise. Based on other reviews we’ve read, this appears to be a continuing problem with this ship. We opened the balcony door each time we were in the room and each night (all night) to get some air flowing into the room. We found out from another passenger that their stateroom also had no air conditioning. Apparently starboard staterooms had no air conditioning on decks 11 and 9 (don’t know about deck 10 as didn’t meet anyone from that deck). There were other areas of the ship that didn’t have air conditioning either, you would walk through an air conditioned area of the ship and then walk straight into another area with no air conditioning. THE FOOD One word – GREAT! No one should complain they couldn’t find something to eat at breakfast, lunch or dinner (or anytime in between). If the food should have been hot it was, if it should have been cold it was. You must try their New England clam chowder in the buffet – it was really good. We had dinner in the main dining room – 5:45pm. The menus each night provided many choices and everyone at the table enjoyed whatever they ordered. There were the “Homestyle Cuisine” choices each night. Perfect for when you just want some home cooking, such as meatloaf, and our favourite choice for the week southern fried chicken, fries and coleslaw. YUMMMMM! In the Wheelhouse Bar, on 2 sea days, they served a pub lunch. There were different menus for the two lunches but fish and chips were on both menus (it also came with mushy peas). Other items on the pub menu were: bangers and mash (I had these and they were great), steak and kidney pie, breaded prawns and chips, and two other items but I can’t remember what they were. If you want to go to these lunches go early – starts at 11:30 – as it filled up quickly on our cruise. We did not patron the speciality restaurants. The burger and hot dogs at the poolside grill were perfect for that lazy day at sea lunch. STAFF Our waitress in the main dining room, Elena, was EXCELLENT. She was very friendly and we had a good laugh during the week, and her recommendations for dinner were spot on. Her assistant was very good, always remembering what you liked such as specific teas, wine, etc. Our stateroom attendant was good – we hardly saw him which was different for us as we’ve always run into our stateroom attendants during the day. He had the room cleaned and made up within I would say and hour or two of us leaving the room for the pool. We found the service provided by the passenger service staff hot and cold. When we first brought our bed situation to the attention of passenger services the first response was not helpful at all. There was one woman behind the counter whose face looked like “Grumpy Cat” every time we saw her. ITINERARY AND EXCURSIONS We loved the itinerary – 3 port days, 3 sea days. The ports were Princess Cays, Curacao and Aruba. In Princess Cays we spent the day lounging on the beach chair, swimming and snorkelling (lots of fish to see). The lunch was great (hamburgers, hotdogs, fruit, cookies and cakes). The band (2 men) that played all day was fantastic! Princess should hire them to play on the ship. If they had a CD I would have purchased it. In Curacao we took a trip to the Curacao museum, Hato Caves, and the Curacao liqueur factory. The museum was very interesting if you are into history, the caves were a disappointment (you were not allowed to take pictures or film which is not disclosed before booking the excursion). The trip to the Curacao liqueur factory was also a bit of a disappointment; you didn’t get to see them make the liqueur which may have been attributed to trade secrets or maybe they weren’t in production the day we visited. Of course the tasting at the end was well received. You must try the chocolate Curacao. In Aruba we booked the snorkelling excursion with Red Sail Sports; a great trip. The crew were friendly and knowledgeable about the snorkelling areas we went to, one being the Antilla wreck. The sea days were spent lounging by the pool working on the tan. THE SHIP The ship is in good condition from a non-mechanical point of view (as stated above some staterooms continue to have no air conditioning). We didn’t find any worn out areas. We were pleased not to have to smell any smoke from cigarettes or cigars. I don’t know where the designated smoking areas were. We didn’t find the casino until near the end of the cruise – it’s next to the passenger services desk on deck 6. It was nice not to have to walk through the casino to get to where we were headed. We had pre-dinner drinks at both Explorers and Crooners Lounge Bar. We preferred Crooners as you could hear the piano player who was playing in the piazza. We had dinner in the Botticelli dining room. It was nice but not too impressive in our opinion. It lacked the elegance of a 2-tiered dining room we have experienced on other ships. The prints on the walls however were very nice and this also holds true for the other dining rooms. ENTERTAINMENT We were not impressed with the entertainment provided in the theatre. We know not to expect greatness but it was really bad in our opinion. We didn’t see any other shows such as comedian or anyone else they had on. They had a so-called “pub night” where we thought there would be a piano player/singer or a singer (the Cruise Director Lisa would have done as she has a pretty good voice) who would lead the audience in various songs. It was just another scaled down show of singers and dancers put on in the Explorers lounge (I think I have the venue correct) where they had the audience join in on four songs. As for the entertainment provided by the pool – great. There was a group playing Caribbean music and it was nice and relaxing. WHAT TO STOP DOING Printing the pictures taken by the ship’s photography staff. We all see them posted throughout the cruise and on the last night you can see how much time and paper is wasted as there are lots of unclaimed pictures. Why? The cost. $19.99 for a picture that was digitally printed. Very few people will pay that price for a picture that really costs maybe $5. We have a suggestion. Continue taking the pictures and instead of printing them, make them available on either computers or the stateroom tvs (the issue of privacy would be the same as posting the pictures on the walls for all to see) and then ordering the pictures through those mediums at a cost of $5 – they’d still be making money. DISEMBARKATION We had an early flight so we were off the ship by 8:10am. We found our luggage without any problems and a short wait, in line, to get a cab to the airport and we were finished our cruise. Boo hoo! OVERALL Despite our problems with the stateroom we had a wonderful cruise and will certainly cruise with Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I am pleased to write this a couple of weeks after returning from three and a half weeks away, the first part of which was our very first transatlantic cruise. We chose the Celebrity Eclipse, fantastic it was too. This was our first ... Read More
I am pleased to write this a couple of weeks after returning from three and a half weeks away, the first part of which was our very first transatlantic cruise. We chose the Celebrity Eclipse, fantastic it was too. This was our first Princess cruise and although it transpired not to be quite the same standard as Celebrity we had a really nice week in the Southern Caribbean On arrival at Ft Lauderdale we disembarked Celebrity and took a taxi around the docks to the terminal the Crown Princess was docked at - embarkation was a bit of a zoo but we were obviously early so on reasonably quickly after a seated wait in the terminal building, we were quite early having only to travel around the port and we were on board by about 12.30, no welcome drink so that is the first minus for Princess. We headed to our cabin as we had been told that they were ready, sadly not and the cabin steward was actually working on it as we arrived. We dropped the hand luggage and told him to finish and went off to explore and find the various cafes and restaurants etc. Stateroom… We were on the port side of Lido deck (15) and only four cabins inside the corridor from the main door to the forward pool and between that and the forward lifts so as the week progressed we found this automatic door open more than closed thus the corridor got quite warm. For a ship built in 2006 I possibly expected better corridors but there were signs of several bumps and bangs from luggage and cleaners carts and it did not look as well maintained as other ships I have sailed on. That said the cabin was a reasonable size, they are never massive and we did not expect larger. When we returned to our cleaned room to unpack we found the carpet had not been vacuumed and worse was to come when I opened the balcony door and found a mass of stripped white paint on the floor and chairs. They had obviously been doing some remedial work, that is good, but not cleaned up after themselves so that is poor. Being the Saturday and start of the cruise I reported it to the room steward who said he would get it sorted. It was the Monday before this was done. Early the first evening my wife lay on her side of the bed to test it and almost disappeared into the mattress that was, to be honest, worn out. Again we reported to the room steward and asked that it be changed, but were told no spares were available and they added a topper but first night not very comfortable. We again reported this time to the guest services desk the following day and finally by Tuesday we got it changed. On to our initial search around the ship. We passed the pool areas and found these fine with plenty loungers, tables and chairs, wood a little dark in comparison to what we have seen on other ships but it was nice and whilst on board a lot of varnish work was done. We went into the buffet areas and after a complete walk round of both areas decided to have a spot of lunch. Got a table no issue and off we went and selected some food that we found of good standard and hot. I was disappointed that the crockery was of the melamine type and to be honest this gave it a more Denny’s type feel to the café and spoiled what was actually a nice experience. These rooms are quite low so it doesn’t help make it feel spacious but once we got over the crockery issue we enjoyed the food. Dining… We used the buffet for breakfast daily and again found this of decent standard, plenty choice but a little repetitive. It was nice to be served by the waiters with coffee, juices etc. (a plus here for Princess against Celebrity). In the evening we had opted for the anytime dining giving us freedom with timings and of course you can select to eat alone as a couple or join others as you so wish. My wife and I generally prefer our own company and there were two floors to choose from although the menu was the same in each room at least you had a choice of which queue was the shortest. The hosts in both rooms were always trying to get couples to share but as we wanted our own table we occasionally had a short wait, nothing too long to worry us however. The food was always tasty but I think the menu a little ‘samey’ with the vegetables often the same night after night just presented with different meats. I will say that all the beef I ate was excellent and all food well cooked, well served by good waiters and service timely on the whole. We had the same waiters for three nights and they were very good, but all the waiting staff where a real plus for Princess. As opposed to Celebrity main dining room I would say a 3.5 to Celebrity 4.25 We took the afternoon tea most afternoons and that was a real plus for Princess, very well done, very tasty and extremely professionally served. A couple of lunches were taken in the buffet, one from the excellent pizza station, a couple in the International café that had great sandwiches and two in the Wheelhouse Bar where they were serving a British pub lunch as a special. My steak and kidney pie and chips (fries) were as good if not better than any I have had in the UK. There are many bars and all are attractive, if a little dark in the day. They do however come to life at night with lots of entertainment scheduled in them all. Entertainment… This was of a good standard by shipboard entertainment standards, we enjoyed all the production shows, they were all extremely well staged and very enjoyable to watch plus we had some very reasonable guest entertainers with Patrick Murray & Matilda being the highlight on our trip. The cruise director and her staff worked hard all cruise and there was always something going on to either watch, join in or enter. On the last night they hosted a mini show, Ye Olde London Pub Night in the Explorers lounge and that was a great sing-a-long although I am not sure the US guests on the ship understood much of what was going on. I did miss the availability of the 4 page daily newspaper that you get on other ships and I really believe that they need to introduce it. I was surprised when ordering gin and tonic to be asked if I wanted single or double, previously I have always found the standard serving on other ships appears to be almost a double, I will say on Crown Princess they are not as free with the alcohol but service was always speedy. Ports of call… The main reason for us taking this cruise was to see Curacao and Aruba and we certainly enjoyed both and we would certainly go back to both. I am not a real beach person but I also enjoyed the Princess Cays, a well thought out place with plenty loungers and the BBQ that they put on was excellent. I even swam in the sea much to the surprise of my wife. We enjoyed the sea days and also the fact on this ship you have a full promenade deck (a few steps at the front to negotiate) to walk round which was very nice. Disembarkation… Disembarkation was great as we chose to do ‘walk off’ with our own luggage and we were off through Passport Control and in the bus to go for a hire car in under three quarters of an hour after breakfast. Summary… Overall we had a really nice relaxing cruise slightly marred by our expectations possibly by being on the Celebrity Eclipse for 13 nights beforehand. We met some very nice people, enjoyed ourselves and found the company Executive chef’s demonstration in the theatre very interesting. I like the cruise log that was supplied at the end. The shows after dinner were good, food was good if a touch repetitive. The staff in areas very helpful in others less so but all in all I would say this was just under a 4 star vacation and Celebrity the prior fortnight close to a 5 star trip. Would I choose Princess again, yes on the whole I would give them another go, there were more positives than negatives. Would I choose Crown Princess again, maybe but I think I may try a different ship to get a better feel for the company. If Celebrity & Princess were running like for like cruises on same dates to same ports I think I would opt for Celebrity however even though it may cost a little more.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Firstly we would like to say that we enjoyed the cruise, it was not the best we have been on but we had a good time. The night before this cruise we stayed over at Crowne Plaza Heathrow, which included parking. This meant that our car was ... Read More
Firstly we would like to say that we enjoyed the cruise, it was not the best we have been on but we had a good time. The night before this cruise we stayed over at Crowne Plaza Heathrow, which included parking. This meant that our car was near Heathrow for our return flight. We then got the Princess Coach transfer to Southampton (£35 pound each & using "Intercruises”) at 10am from Terminal 3 and arrived at the ship at 11:20 and having lunch on board by 12:00. We were advised whilst checking in that the ship would not sail as planned due to the storm hitting southern England and it stayed in Southampton for 2 nights. There were Free shuttle on to go into Southampton but there were long queues (55mins) to reboard on the Sunday! Enjoyed ship, food, activities and being off work! When left Southampton late on the Monday afternoon of the "St Jude” storm, roughest weather we have ever encountered on a cruise ship so far (felt like being on a roller coaster - sure we were pulling negative g at the top of every wave!) and captain said the waves were half the size of those during the actual storm. However after around 17 hrs it calmed down. Due to the delayed departure the ship missed the stops in Le Havre, Vigo and Azores. Visited Lisbon and Bermuda, neither of which we had been to before and enjoyed them very much. Very calm from Azores to Bermuda, amazing to think we were thousands of miles from anywhere! We were in Cabin R218, smallish but fine. For evening meal we mainly ate in the Da Vinci restaurant, mainly sharing a table. We were on anytime dining but found that to book a table we were quite restricted to booking times 5:30; 5:45, 6:00 and 7:30. Also felt restaurant staff pushed you towards sharing tables at dinner - sometimes we did and sometimes didn't. We prefer the 4 restaurants on the Diamond Princess rather than 2 big ones (Da Vinci and Michelangelo). Food has changed since our last trip (May 2012) and less steaks on offer at dinner. For lunch we mainly went to the Horizon Court restaurant, however a few times we just had a slice of Pizza (which was very nice and freshly cooked) as the choices available on the buffet were not great (on one day just about every meat option was pork based great if you like pork…) We took out the Wine package (7 bottles for $185 up to $29 per bottle), there was no White Mondavi though. We are not big drinkers so with cocktail party etc so not sure if we'd do this again. We Did the British pub lunch one day (in the Wheelhouse bar)- worth doing. We also had Afternoon tea one day - if you go in later though the staff are eager for you to leave as they have to setup for dinner! We ate in Sabatinis restaurant - lobster and steak, very good service and excellent food. Hardly anyone in restaurant on night we visited. $25 surcharge each. International cafe (Deck 5) open 24 hrs for cakes and snacks. However all drinks are chargable, so if you wanted complimentary tea or coffee then you needed to go up to Horizons court on Deck 15 (on RCI they have complementary drinks on the promenade deck on the Adventure of the Seas) We enjoyed cocktails at $5 each for elite, suite, platinum passengers daily in Club Fusion with snacks. We preferred Skywalkers as the location for this, (which we had on the Diamond Princess) as you could look out to sea there. We did most of the quizzes and some activities such as sports. Didn't think activities were as varied as when we crossed Pacific. There was some good entertainment on board: a good pianist, singer and saxophonist/instrumentalist for a couple of shows each. The "House” shows were also good, the only show we did not enjoy was the Magician/juggler. We arrived into Fort Lauderdale on time and were due to leave the ship at 10:55. However we were very late disembarking (blamed on the US customs and Immigration service) so did not get to our hotel until 14:30 (which was only 20 mins from the dock). Due to the delayed start & missed ports Princess have offered all passengers a discount against a future cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Quite an eventful cruise! Missed Corfu - humanitarian grounds, late in at Koper - big storm and U turn back to Cadiz - medical emergency. Good points First class cabin steward. Good humored, effective and efficient. Quality food, ... Read More
Quite an eventful cruise! Missed Corfu - humanitarian grounds, late in at Koper - big storm and U turn back to Cadiz - medical emergency. Good points First class cabin steward. Good humored, effective and efficient. Quality food, particularly in formal dining room. Lobster twice, steaks perfect. Waiters and other staff in Michelangelo spot on in all respects. Lectures on jewellery given by Valeria informative and knowledgeable, with no hard sell. Venice fantastic: facilitated by Princess $15 water taxi from port to St Marks. Dubrovnik city walls a must see. You need Kuna. Movies under the stars with recent releases, popcorn, cookies and milk most entertaining. International cafe waiters and other staff excellent. Try the warm croissants! Coffee card good value. Roger Wright singer - excellent, particularly his second show. Violinist Lisa Rollin a well judged mix of music. Jeff Stevenson a traditional comic- hilarious from start to finish. His Explorers Lounge set was a gem and a lesson on how to work an audience. Nul points. Princess Production Company. Saw 3 shows that needed more technical rehearsal- Poor diction, singers couldn't always carry roles, awful tap dancing and those dreadful nylon? wigs!!!!!!! Clearly loads spent on lavish costumes so why the cheap wigs? Port talks. Mostly OK but some misinformation. "We'll be in Corfu on Saturday" ( He meant Sunday) but we didn't go there at all. "Euros all the way now" (Er... No! Dubrovnik you definitively need Kuna ) Venice got up at 5:30 as advised for Venice sail in but too late, probably too dark anyway. Missed Corfu but not allowed to be too disappointed as we saved some unfortunate refugees. After all we got a free drink at the bar ( not a premium drink) from Il Capitano for being so understanding. Koper - almost didn't make it but a successful "attempt" to dock . Bravo Capitano! Nice enough place but watch out for the lines to get back on ship. Port authorities security facilities totally inadequate when 2 ships in. Waited in line for over half an hour but apparently we got off lightly. Some people claimed over the hour:; they've got to go one better! Ship photography crew used to be time share sales people!!! A polite "no thank" you should be enough. All too often It wasn't! I will never, ever, ever, ever, buy anything from them. I have a sneaking suspicion that our long wait to get off at Cadiz was caused by these people blocking the gangway, plying their wares. To sum up. A few problems but on the whole an excellent trip with many positive experiences. Will sail with Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
The itinerary and ports were spectacular, the ship, no. Our room, C212 was 2 floors above the Princess Theater, yet we heard every show three time-once in person and twice again in our cabin. Food was awful. Worst we have had on any ... Read More
The itinerary and ports were spectacular, the ship, no. Our room, C212 was 2 floors above the Princess Theater, yet we heard every show three time-once in person and twice again in our cabin. Food was awful. Worst we have had on any cruise, and the very first time we were not happy with the food.Regional favorites prepared badly in the buffet-overcooked, oversauced and greasy. Food prep staff openly fighting in front of guests. Ship needs a new buffet manager.Breakfast in the dining room had greasy potatoes and bacon and lunchtime service in the dining room was extremely slow and food was served cold.Activities were run of the mill-all the oldies and nothing new. The piazza was pressed into service too often and was crowded with no place to sit. Embarkation took almost 2 hours. Don't know why it moved so slowly. Now for the good. Our stateroom was very comfortable and well laid out-the best interior we have ever traveled in. Our cabin steward, Edgar, was exceptional. Evening entertainment was great, especially Donna Cousins, Mike Doyle and the Russian folkloric show. Donna and Mike were quite funny and the Russian singers and dancers were excellent-no need for evening shore entertainment. Port and shore excursions were mostly booked with SPB tours (thank you, Cruise Critic!)but the Princess booked tours of Brugge and Ghent and then Oslo were fun, informative and activity-packed. Copenhagen and Gdansk not so much.A note of caution-this is a physically demanding cruise. Six port days in a row, lots of foot travel over cobble-stoned streets. However, the cities were magnificent and we quickly ran out of superlatives. St. Petersburg was an unforgettable experience!The ships staff was not terribly helpful,with some exceptions. Excursion staffer Biljanna and cruise director Lisa Ball(a lovely woman) went out of their way to help us get info for our London visit after the cruise. Several departments could not even produce a London street map! Disembarkation went smoothly. No use of children's clubs. Read Less
Sail Date August 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 3.9
Family 4.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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