Sail Date: August 2019
We took the British Isles cruise on Crown Princess, August, 2019. We had a really good time and enjoyed ourselves. Ship: Although not the fanciest ship around, the Crown Princess was very clean, had everything we needed and was easy to ... Read More
We took the British Isles cruise on Crown Princess, August, 2019. We had a really good time and enjoyed ourselves. Ship: Although not the fanciest ship around, the Crown Princess was very clean, had everything we needed and was easy to find our way around. Embarkation: We boarded in Dublin and were given our medallions and were on board in under two minutes. Excellent. Stateroom: We had an ocean view, which was very clean (Thank you, Belman) and comfortable. We pre-ordered bottled water which was waiting for us upon arrival. Excellent Dining: The food in the Horizon Court buffet was quite good, lots of variety and the service was great. The dining room food was hit and miss with some dishes being prepared perfectly and others not so much. We were tired of the menu by the end. The service was excellent. Shows: I really enjoyed the shows, especially the Irish Dreams show in Dublin port. Good fun and a departure from my everyday life. Service: This is the one area where Princess shines. The beautiful men and women from around the globe who took care of us are simply the best. They work long hours but somehow manage to do their jobs in the most competent way and do so with professionalism and a SMILE. TOP MARKS for the crew! Ports: this cruise had an excellent itinerary and I enjoyed the ports very much. Ireland, Scotland and the Normandy coast are stunning. LOCAL SHORE EXCURSIONS: We took three tours with small, local companies and they were all excellent, at a fraction of the cost of the Princess excursions....Irish Tours Tickets from Belfast, EXCELLENT, Timberbush Tours from Greenock, VERY GOOD and Wow Scotland Tours from Invergordon, SUPER EXCELLENT! Princess shore excursions were REALLY OVERPRICED and everyone was complaining about this. That having been said, I really enjoyed the excursion to the Canadian WW2 beaches and also the Edinburgh Castle and time on our own. However, the excursion called 'Best of Cork and Countryside' from Cobb was pretty bad and a terrible waste of money. What happened was that we had to shorten our time in port due to tidal concerns for Dublin the next day. No problem, this happens. The problem is that instead of changing the itinerary, they kept it the same with less time in certain spots. This resulted in 6 minutes at Charles Fort for a photo and 23 minutes in KInsale where the driver had to park a 12-minute walk from the main street which meant that we did not have time to even walk up to the main street to look around and then walk back to the meeting spot. All we had time to do was wait in a long queue for the loo. They should have just skipped this altogether and given us some time in Cork City. It just doesn't make any sense. Next our drive through Cork was basically three turns around a motorway with the guide pointing to a street saying that's where the shopping area is. Useless.... Next we were taken to lunch in a hotel in what looked like an industrial area and were taken in to a big, white, conference-like room which could have been any Best Western Hotel in any American city. No ambiance at all. They did have two guys playing some music and they brought in two kids who danced for us, which was nice but you didn't feel like you were in Ireland at all. The meal was so-so. On top of everything else, we had paid extra to be part of a small group only to have two Princess coaches with 45 people each join us at every stop, no effort was made to stagger the groups. Finally, we were taken to Blarney Castle and this saved the day. The castle and grounds are gorgeous. Princess offered us a 15% reduction on this tour because it was shortened but even with that, we paid $600 CAD for the two of us for this excursion. But most of all, it robbed us of the opportunity to properly see some of what this area has to offer. Princess needs to take a good look at their shore excursion program and fix wait ails. We DID have a great trip and for this I am grateful. I will not let one bad excursion colour my experience. Hey Princess, fix your shore excursion program and all will be well! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. The ports were fantastic! We did not use any princess excursions. I found independent tour companies on line. I highly recommend Butler's in Ireland, Uniquely Scotland (ask for ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we liked the itinerary. The ports were fantastic! We did not use any princess excursions. I found independent tour companies on line. I highly recommend Butler's in Ireland, Uniquely Scotland (ask for Mark) and Spearhead tours at Le Havre (Florin is incredibly knowledgeable about D Day) . The time on the ship was disappointing. Crown Princess looked old and shabby. There was no drink served when we got on the ship. No towel animals on the bed at night. The activities on board were repetitive and not exciting. Even the entertainment was so-so. Nothing was terrible, but nothing stellar either. Food in the main dining room was hit or miss. Some meals were wonderful others not good at all. The buffet was awful. We worked hard to not eat there since it was so bad. We had one dinner at the Crown Grill which again was just OK. The one excellent thing on the ship was the staff. Our cabin steward Norman was awesome! Our waiter, JP, was excellent when we ate at our assigned time. The nights we had to go to anytime dining the staff was not great. It tended to be slow. In conclusion, our cruise was not bad. However I have been on better cruises on other lines. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our first time oversees and we wanted to visit Ireland, Scotland and France. We flew into Heathrow, Airport and after getting through customs we found the Princess cruise personnel. Then we took a princess connection (bus ride) ... Read More
This was our first time oversees and we wanted to visit Ireland, Scotland and France. We flew into Heathrow, Airport and after getting through customs we found the Princess cruise personnel. Then we took a princess connection (bus ride) to Southampton. From there we checked in and received our medallions. The Crown could use some refurnishing, however the ships crew was top notch. Especially in the main dining and night clubs. Food was good in the main dining always something different was added each night. The buffet was average (but always available). The princess excursions were really good especially the Cork Sea Safari at Cork, Ireland. We also enjoyed the carriage ride at Stark, Island. Our favorite castle was Glamis in Scotland. We also took the excursion to the Louvre Museum in France well worth it. The medallions worked great! There was four of us the youngest 19. We had a balcony room. We would definitely cruise again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
My daughter and I cruised in late July 2019 on Crown Princess in the British Isles and had a wonderful time. We have never cruised with Princess, and we were a bit worried about what to expect after having read several negative reviews ... Read More
My daughter and I cruised in late July 2019 on Crown Princess in the British Isles and had a wonderful time. We have never cruised with Princess, and we were a bit worried about what to expect after having read several negative reviews about this ship. I am happy to say that we had a lovely experience! There were only a couple of negatives. First, when we arrived at the port in South Hampton, we had difficulty finding where we should drop our bags prior to checking in. Simple signage would have been very helpful. Food was good, but not excellent, but we don't expect 5 Star dining on a cruise. I feel like there was adequate variety in the main dining room, and we always found something on the menu to our liking. The excursions we booked through Princess were good, but some guides were better than others in offering information. In Liverpool, our guide was exceptional and made our Beatles excursion particularly enjoyable and informative. The ship was in excellent shape, contrary to what we read in reviews posted on Cruise Critic. I saw no evidence of worn carpeting, rust, or improperly working toilets. Our mini suite on the Dolphin Deck was spacious, had great storage, and above all clean! The only thing we found a little frustrating was a lack of outlets for our electronics and hair tools. The crew, especially our steward, Freddie, were helpful, eager to please, and always pleasant. If you are considering sailing on the Crown Princess, I think you will be pleased with this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We are Elite Members with Princess and this was our 2nd cruise around the BI. Our previous cruise of the BI was 5 years ago. We have also sailed multiple times with Holland America, Norwegian and Carnival. Let me give you a comprehensive ... Read More
We are Elite Members with Princess and this was our 2nd cruise around the BI. Our previous cruise of the BI was 5 years ago. We have also sailed multiple times with Holland America, Norwegian and Carnival. Let me give you a comprehensive review of our experience. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Both went smoothly. We purchased EZ Air, took a transfer from Heathrow to Southampton and were in our cabin by 11:30 am. However, unless you're at sea for a couple of days and you can rest up, I'd recommend staying overnight in London for a night or two; otherwise you miss the first day or so while catching up on sleep, because the sea/ocean air will make you relax anyway. Cabins: We upgraded this cruise and have stayed mostly in balcony and mini-suite cabins. They appear to be larger than other cruise line cabins. I agree with some comments they could do with a face lift, but beds are comfy and otherwise ok.If you are not used to Princess cabins, they have US outlets and it's a good idea to bring an outlet strip. Dining: My favorite place for breakfast is Horizon Court because of variety and quality. My husband likes Int'l Cafe because that's where they have the best coffee. Lunch is good in HC, too. Dinner we had in MDR. Agree, some of the choices are not the best - and too much beef, but we always found something on the menu we liked. I tried the Regional choices many days. Chocolate Journey desserts were yummy. Didn't try the specialty restaurants this time. Room service was good and quick, but menu needs an update. Activities & Entertainment: Kevin Tugwell was CD. He's ok, as are his staff, but the multiple (sometimes back-to-back) evening trivia and game shows became soooooo annoying and frustrating because that was often the only so-called entertainment that evening. The worst was when they attempted some amateur dramatics - we walked out. The cruise staff shouldn't be your entertainment in the Explorers Lounge. We did enjoy Voice of the Ocean/Karaoke - great talent on this cruise. Princess Orchestra is fantastic. Guest entertainers we liked were Michael Harrison (ventriloquist) - had the audience in stitches; George Casey and Ricky Jay (comedians); Jasson Allen (singer) and Johan Andersoon (singer). Ella also did a great job of Irish singing one evening in Princess Theater. Princess Singers and Dancers were ok. Liked the first two shows, had seen Encore before and walked out of Magic To Do - so boring. The local Folklore Dancers and Singers were mediocre - have seen and heard much better. XCite was a new band that boarded our ship and played most evenings in the Piazza - really enjoyed them. Because of cooler weather, didn't see any MUTS movies, nor were there any deck parties. Couple of piazza/balloon efforts. They had a few Zumba classes (free), but at odd times of the day. Service & Staff: We found the staff to be mostly friendly and helpful. They had a few issues with TVs on this cruise, partly because of the introduction of the Medallion. Both were competing for the internet, but they had an expert board the ship in Dublin and the issues seemed to improve after that. Medallion Class: This was new to the ship and there were a few hiccups, but generally it was quite well accepted. We've used it on other ships and it's fine when it's operating smoothly. Other Passengers: Typically, majority of passengers were from the US, Canada, Australia/New Zealand, and the UK/Ireland. We also had a tour of passengers from Mexico City. However, all communications are in English, so you really need to have someone fluent in English in your party; otherwise you'll miss a lot. Not sure how many people really read the daily Princess Patter, as the Captain got quite annoyed with the bad behavior of a few passengers. Ports & Tours: The selection of ports was great. At 2-3 ports, reps from the local Tourist Office were available in the Piazza to answer questions and provide maps/directions. I did a couple of self-directed tours on this trip. For example, in Cobh (pronounced Cove), I visited St. Colman's Cathedral. It was on a steep hill, but well worth the visit. Absolutely gorgeous and a couple of our passengers had written in the Visitors Book that they had emigrated to the US from Cobh over 60 years ago. In Liverpool, it was pouring down, but I dressed warmly and visited the two cathedrals there. While at the Catholic cathedral, I witnessed a christening. Most people had the sense to take the Hop On Hop Off buses, but I walked all the way. The Easy Loch Tour was a bit disappointing. It was a bus ride around the lakes and mountains. We did stop at Luss by Loch Lomond and saw a bride. In general, I think it's time to change up some of the tours offered and they are expensive, but guarantee you won't miss the ship - that is, unless you miss the deadline to get back to your bus. That happened on two of my tours. We had to leave without one couple and on the other one we waited longer than we should and the tour guide was really annoyed with them. More people are going for independent tours, but I noticed a lot of people were very late embarking the ship at Invergordon and they were on independent, not ship's tours. The Captain also made it clear in Edinburgh that we wouldn't wait for any late comers. Weather/What to Wear: Even for end of July/early August, the weather was a little cool. It was best to wear 3 layers - Tshirt, thin sweater or sweatshirt and a jacket - during the day. Evenings, they request passengers wear "smart casual" clothes and 2-3 evenings we had formal wear. Unfortunately, some people don't/won't understand the meaning of smart. We enjoyed this cruise overall, but maybe we have an advantage because we have sailed so many times with Princess, we know what to expect and how to get around any issues that arise. We did complete the survey after the end of the cruise and we know the corporate staff at Princess read Cruise Critics. I try to be honest, but fair. We've booked our next cruise on Princess. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Booked this cruise to see the British Isles. I travelled with my parents (72 and 73 respectively). Have been to some of the cities before but wanted to see more of Scotland. Stayed at the Leonardo Tower Bridge Hotel (Princess hotel ... Read More
Booked this cruise to see the British Isles. I travelled with my parents (72 and 73 respectively). Have been to some of the cities before but wanted to see more of Scotland. Stayed at the Leonardo Tower Bridge Hotel (Princess hotel near the Tower of London) for 2 days prior to sailing. Great hotel with buffet breakfast included but on the outskirts of London. Took the hop on hop off bus which was great. Got to see everything without leaving the bus. Have been to London a few times before so the bus was perfect for us without having to do all the walking. After a three hour ride to Southampton, embarkation was very quick, easy and efficient, as was disembarkation. Got onboard around 2:30 and cabin was ready with luggage already there. Cabin was nice. Always clean and everything replenished. Cabin steward Marlon was very attentive to our needs. Bed was absolutely terrific. Best sleep I have had in years. Not much of a balcony person so I can't really comment on it but it was clean the few times I was on it. We had Anytime Dining and went to both dining rooms. We made a reservation each night to avoid the line-ups. The food was excellent with different selections each night. Portions just right. Never went away hungry. Also had one meal in the Crown Grill. Again, food was excellent. I highly recommend the lobster. Had breakfast in the Horizon Court every morning. There were times that we had trouble finding a table but that depended on what time you went to eat. Food was good. Mostly the same thing every morning but that didn't bother us. My only complainant would be that now and then it was a bit on the cool side. My parents had room service twice for breakfast and both times it showed up before they were expecting it. We went to all four shows in the Princess theater and they were fantastic. The house band played in the Piazza every night and they were great. Did not go to any of the singers in the lounges or the piano player in Crooners. A highland dance troupe played one night but I did not go. I heard they were excellent. Never went to any trivia, art auctions, talks or bingo. The service was good for the main part. Service in the dining room was excellent. Very attentive to your needs. Service in the Horizon Court was also good. We did all Princess shore excursions. Well worth the money. Had excellent tours with excellent tour guides and bus drivers. Saw everything we wanted to see and do. Little Chapel in Guernsey, two hours in the Blarney Woolen Mills stores (shopping heaven), Dublin, all Beatles things in Liverpool, the sad history in Belfast, Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow, Urquhart and Nessie in invergordon, Royal Mile and Princess Street in Edinburgh and Juno Beach in Normandy. The weather was fine for me (low 20's Celsius). The only day with rain was in Liverpool. The Crown is an older ship but still looked great. Overall, I had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Left from Le Havre France. Did not get a very good send-off from the crew as only 300 passengers got on here (vs. Southampton - 2300 & Dublin - 300). Kinda surprising - would have expected more attention, but embarkation seemed like an ... Read More
Left from Le Havre France. Did not get a very good send-off from the crew as only 300 passengers got on here (vs. Southampton - 2300 & Dublin - 300). Kinda surprising - would have expected more attention, but embarkation seemed like an afterthought. Loved the ship, the dining, the service & the shore excursions. Great variety of food. We ate mostly at the buffet but did have a couple of dinners in the specialty restaurants. Also ate a couple of meals in the main dining room. All the food was consistently very good. Entertainment wasn't of a very high caliber in my book - didn't really enjoy any acts. My wife and I actually walked out on the first comedian show - he was terrible. Stale old jokes & then he made fun of little people. That was too much for me though others I spoke with liked him. No accounting for taste! The cabin was fine except that my mattress had a HUGE dip in it. Steward turned it over, but still uncomfortable. Very nice cruise for my wife & I. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was the first Princess cruise we'd sailed that offered the new Medallion class experience; had seen on other reviews that people loved it so were looking forward to it. Essentially, the medallion is a version of the Disney ... Read More
This was the first Princess cruise we'd sailed that offered the new Medallion class experience; had seen on other reviews that people loved it so were looking forward to it. Essentially, the medallion is a version of the Disney MagicBand and has all of the same functions like opening your cabin door, registering your entrances/exits from the ship, charging expenses, etc.; it also includes operations like being able to order drinks and have them delivered to wherever you are onboard ship, tracking other people in your party onboard ship, playing various games, etc. We were told that eventually it will replace all paper on the ship including the daily Princess Patter newsletter, which lists all shipboard activities. All this sound may sound nice enough, but what we also discovered is that some of the personal information encoded into the medallion doesn't really stay personal; in fact, every waiter and even entertainer with whom we interacted had ready access to our names, cabin numbers, and even birth dates (which, incidentally, is all that's required to access your Medallion Internet account). What a surprise it was to have ship staff we did not even know call us by our names and then show us how our photos and other personal info showed up on their devices when we were within a certain distance of them. Don't know exactly how much information they have access to, but as one waiter put it, "We know everything about you!" Other than this issue of personal data exposure, the cruise went well although the food offerings and quality seemed to have diminished in quality—it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t up to what we had come to expect from prior Princess cruises. We were disappointed especially in the food court as it was so tiny for such a large ship! And on some mornings, it was so very crowded that getting to food was difficult and time-consuming---it really needs to be larger. Dinner offerings in the main restaurants were usually okay, though I can't say any were fantastic (though I did love that chocolate ice cream!); on the other hand, all the wait staff were always very competent, efficient, professional, and friendly and the kitchen really does take food allergies seriously: Thanks to all the wonderful kitchen and waitstaff! Entertainment was so-so: the duo in the Wheelhouse Bar (Jezzebel) were quite good though I'd suggest that broadening their dance music to include a few traditional types of ballroom dance might be beneficial to their audiences; e.g., a typical old-time waltz, a foxtrot or two, a rumba, cha cha, etc. The party band (The Drop), however... music was actually fine but their volume was painful, and we could never remain in their venues without ear pain so never did get to dance to them. As far as itinerary, there are quite a few ports included (and we could have used more at-sea days to relax!), but each port was of value. We tend to like to visit cities using the "on your own" option and we did this in Cork (Blarney), Dublin, Glasgow, Paris, and also London, sometimes using the cities' hop-on, hop-off bus system to visit museums and other sights. And in each city, I'd recommend the "Big Bus" hop-on, hop-off system over the other companies as Big Bus always seemed to have the most buses and the best schedules; routes were pretty much equivalent.. Prior to the cruise, we arrived in England a day early and stayed at the Heathrow Renaissance Hotel; after the cruise we remained in London another few days and stayed at The Windermere Hotel, near Victoria Station and not far from Buckingham Palace. Both of those places are highly recommended, although they are quite different in that the Renaissance is a huge chain hotel and the Windermere is very small boutique hotel, but both provided excellent service, very friendly and helpful staff, clean rooms, a safe environment, and good food. The Windermere's Pimlico Brasserie was excellent: the chef is a master at cooking dishes to perfection and then serving them in very attractive ways---he's as good at food presentation as preparation. Both were wonderful places to stay. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable and I would recommend it for its diversity of ports and what they all have to offer; I just have great reservations about how our personal information is being used. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Our family of three mostly enjoyed our British Isles cruise out of Southampton. We had cruised with Princess 5 years ago on a land/sea adventure to Alaska which was outstanding so we chose Princess again based mostly on this itinerary. ... Read More
Our family of three mostly enjoyed our British Isles cruise out of Southampton. We had cruised with Princess 5 years ago on a land/sea adventure to Alaska which was outstanding so we chose Princess again based mostly on this itinerary. We flew from the US to London 3 days early so we could get over our jet lag and see some of the sights of London prior to the cruise. Our balcony cabin was fine. Our steward made up the bunk for our 12-year-old daughter every evening which worked great for her. The beds were amazingly comfortable! We loved having a balcony to see the passing scenery and the ports. I can't imagine not having a balcony cabin for this itinerary as there is so much beautiful scenery throughout the cruise. Our cabin was maintained very well by our steward. The TV froze a few times but once we figured out that unplugging and plugging it back in resolved the issue, it was fine. We learned on our last cruise that scheduling our own excursions is much less expensive and a much better experience than purchasing excursions through Princess. I scheduled private or small group tours at every port and saved a fortune over what Princess charged. Most of the tour companies guarantee on-time return to the ship and we have never had any issues with timing. Two members of our extended family did purchase an excursion through Princess in Dublin to Powerscourt and said the entire experience paled in comparison to our private tours throughout the rest of the cruise. We thought the food on the cruise was good. We ate breakfast at the Horizon buffet every day and the taste, variety and quality were all very good. We ate most of our lunches off the ship as most days we were at port. For dinner we ate at Michelangelo and loved our table the first night so we continued to request the same table. Our servers, Pong and Sunshine, were outstanding and we enjoyed the more relaxed pace of the dining room after a full day of touring. We also enjoyed the gelato at the international café and coffee every morning at Coffee and Cones. We thought the entertainment was very poor. Our last cruise was on Holland America and we thought the entertainment on that cruise was extremely good. During this cruise we found it difficult to find something interesting to see or do most evenings. We did enjoy the karaoke and Voice of the Ocean competition but most of the other entertainment at the theater was not very enjoyable. We did seek out Jezebel which was an Irish duo and enjoyed their music. One great experience was the finals of Wimbledon being shown on the Movies under the Stars screen. The servers were passing out popcorn and it was a very lively crowd since we had just left Southampton/London 2 days before. Some of the other reviews mention the ship as showing its age but we didn't notice that. The common areas and our cabin all appeared to be in good condition. Our 12-year-old daughter attended the kids' club at the start of the cruise but once she made a group of friends, they tended to hang out by the pool or go eat together rather than go to the club. She did enjoy the kids club the times she attended and it appeared to be very well run. I see that some people are complaining about the tracking aspect of the medallions but it made it very easy to find our daughter on the ship and we were thankful for that ability. Embarkation and disembarkation were both fine. We chose to disembark on our own which comes with the bonus that we could keep our luggage in our room the last night. We scheduled our own transport to and from the ship which was half the cost of the Princess transfer. All in all we did enjoy the cruise but I'm not sure I would choose Princess again after an all-around better experience on Holland-America. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Ship: Crown Princess is showing its age but was well maintained. Laundry facilities are located on most floors but are heavily used. Must use tokens available in the laundry rooms but the machines were out of tokens quite often so I ... Read More
Ship: Crown Princess is showing its age but was well maintained. Laundry facilities are located on most floors but are heavily used. Must use tokens available in the laundry rooms but the machines were out of tokens quite often so I recommend you get tokens ahead of time. 3 dollars per wash or dry but some machines were broken. $1.50 for detergent and softener. Itinerary: London (Southhampton); Guernsey (St. Peter Port) ; Cork (Cobh); Dublin; Belfast ; Glaskow (Greenock); Orkney Islands (Kirkwall); Inverness (Invergordon); Edinburgh (South Queensferry); Paris/Normandy (La Havre). If you take ships tour to Normandy sit on left side of bus for best view. Be prepared for change as arrival and departure times will change and in some cases the ship will not enter the port if tides, currents, and winds do not allow. Stayed over two day in London and got last minute tickets to lion king play which was terrific. Visited British Museum which was free and saw Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra’s Sarcophagus. Currency: Five different currencies; British Pound, Guernsey Pound, Orkney Pound, Euro, North Ireland Pound which are not easily or interchangeable at all. Didn’t need a lot of local currency but it was convenient at times. Credit cards can be used everywhere but make sure you ask before you sit for a meal or drink because some don’t. Use cards that don’t have foreign transaction fee. When asked whether to charge in dollars or pounds choose dollars because the store will charge a transaction fee if you chose dollars. Test debit cards in U.S. to make sure they work and advise all credit card companies that you will be traveling to Europe. Food and Beverage: Plentiful but average. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages must be purchased unless you get beverage package. Own time seating allows you to show up at any time. Can request couples only table or may opt to join others at larger tables. Able to talk with others adjacent to you even if seated at couples table. Ship had special wine – Mondavi 3 75 milliliter bottle for $5 – enough for two glasses each. Can purchase soft drinks on shore and bring back to ship. Some even purchased wine and got it onboard. Excursions: Ships excursions are very expensive but you will get lunch and pre-paid admission to sites. Met with one couple who arranged private tours at all ports and used Trip Advisor to find others to join them. Price was $85 per person per day (8 people per van) – much cheaper than ship. Private tour guide followed them to Glasgow, Inverness, and Edinburgh. Could tailor excursions to specific sites they wanted to see. Start as early as you can on your own time tours to avoid queues and lines at sites. London Heathrow Airport: Convoluted terminals with long walkways. Will take 15-20 minutes to walk to or from gates plus customs and security checks. Use oyster card for subways and buses in London. Can purchase on line or in airport and get remaining balance reimbursed before you return. Port Information: Every port had information booth on shore or set up on ship. Sometimes the walk from the port to the train was 30 minutes. May have long wait for transportation from port if you wait on the ship for your number to be called for the shuttle to the shore, wait for the tender to be fully loaded before leaving, get on the bus and wait for it to be fully loaded, and then drive for 30 -45 minutes into the town. Hotel Information: London Heathrow Hilton Terminal 5 not close to terminal. An old but very nice hotel but no shops close if you need or want to purchase anything. Heathrow Hilton Express Terminal 2 was terrific and had only been open one week when we stayed there. Can push trolley from terminal 2 through car park into hotel without going outside or using shuttles. Free trolleys are everywhere for luggage. Miscellaneous: Many people on the ship boarded at one of three ports. That allowed them to stay longer in cities they were interested in and to seek cheaper airfares. Needed at least two days in Belfast and Edinburgh and less in other ports. Edinburgh and Glasgow are about 50 miles apart so you could arrange tours if you get on board the ship at other ports. Cobblestone streets are brutal to walk on. Take hair dryer that automatically adjusts to 110V or 220V current. Ship uses 110V outlets so you only need adapters on shore. Having two adapters is helpful if you are using the hair dryer and charging your phone at the same time. Don’t need a transformer if you have dual voltage hair dryer. Most late model cell phones can automatically adjust to 110v or 220V so you only need adapter. Global Entry approval greatly speeded passage through customs on return to U.S. Travel guides for Scotland and Ireland were helpful for general information but they are not written for cruises so have little to no port information. Layered clothing is essential. May be hot one minute, raining and cold the next. Water bottle large enough for ice was very helpful. Ice is difficult to find off the ship. To prevent noro virus outbreak, ship recommends you wash hands after meals. Hand sanitizer not effective against noro virus. Believe that is closing the barn door after the horse has left. We gathered our food with the tongs provided in the buffet and then went to the washroom to wash out hands before we sat to eat. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Been on over 25 cruises, various lines from Carnival in early days to crystal. Princess is not Crystal or Cunard of course. For a large ship, it was a good cruise. First the crew and service staff did their jobs well and were very friendly ... Read More
Been on over 25 cruises, various lines from Carnival in early days to crystal. Princess is not Crystal or Cunard of course. For a large ship, it was a good cruise. First the crew and service staff did their jobs well and were very friendly and organized and good at what they do. The food was excellent, including on the Lido deck. The ship was clean and well kept and had the feeling it was "new". At ports the ship was efficient at getting the passengers off and back on board. I have no complaints at all. If you tour in Edinburgh, remember that there is a long walk UPHILL to the top of the castle, and it is tiring. And a long walk back down. I have travled to over 125 nations in my business years and as a tourist as well. This included trips to Scotland, England, and Ireland. I did not find the cities on the cruise of great interest, but one did get a good feel of what Ireland was like and ENgland, and scotland. There is a reason that the british isles are characterized as a nation of pubs and shopkeepers, and it was ok and a good time could be had. I would recommend this cruise. For a summer cruise that took a risk of being in the north atlantic area, the seas were quiet and not much rolling of the ship at all. I didnot see any ill passengers at all, which i have seen in other oceans and cruises. This cruise is cold, wet, and windy. Recommend wool socks heavy, rain hat, and waterproof coat with hood. Layer up. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose the British Isles cruise through Princess due to the ports. It is a very port intensive cruise but you see a lot and each port has a lot to offer. Embarkation and disembarkation out of Southampton was so easy. We took a private ... Read More
We chose the British Isles cruise through Princess due to the ports. It is a very port intensive cruise but you see a lot and each port has a lot to offer. Embarkation and disembarkation out of Southampton was so easy. We took a private taxi to the Southampton for embarkation and drop off could not have been easier. For disembarkation, we used Princess to get us to the airport. Though we had to be up early, they got us to London Heathrow in an hour and a half. Activities and Cruise director staff was wonderful. We had two sea days and there was lots of activities to keep people busy or movies in the stateroom to watch. Food in the dining room left a lot to be desired but if you do go for breakfast get the french toast, super yummy. The buffet had lots of options and the food was pretty good in the buffet. We did some shore excursions through the cruise but the majority with third party companies. Overall, the cruise was very enjoyable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I wanted to cruise the British Isles. We embarked in Le Havre which I did not feel was a comfortable port to embark or disembark. It is 3:30 hours from Paris. It is a long trek back and forth. I found that the staff on the Crown Princess ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the British Isles. We embarked in Le Havre which I did not feel was a comfortable port to embark or disembark. It is 3:30 hours from Paris. It is a long trek back and forth. I found that the staff on the Crown Princess was fantastic. The ship does not look like it has been refurbished. The entertainment is boring and geared to an older crowd. There is no sail off entertainment or parties. I found the that when I was on the ship I was simply bored. The food in the dining room was fantastic and the service was amazing. We had anytime dining through out the 12 days and we were always seated almost immediately when we arrived. The homemade ice creams for dessert were simply unforgettable. I was disappointed at the fact that there was only one side of the buffet set up for breakfast. I got tired of walking around with my food in my hands to find a table to sit I didn't understand why only one side if they have at least 3 that I could see. Our stateroom was dark. Very poor lighting but the beds were very comfortable and I was able to slee very well. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Attracted by the itinerary, we have chosen this cruise. Initially, we were unware that Liverpool was not there and replaced by 2 days at Dublin. It ended up this gave us a chance to visit the famous Cliff of Moher. We arrived London ... Read More
Attracted by the itinerary, we have chosen this cruise. Initially, we were unware that Liverpool was not there and replaced by 2 days at Dublin. It ended up this gave us a chance to visit the famous Cliff of Moher. We arrived London few days earlier to give us a chance to explore this famous city before jumping into our cruise ship. Embarkment was simple, easy and quick as we arrived the pier around 1pm. In the beginning, we were a bit concerned about some of the negative comments on Crown Princess but they were gone after on board. We don't see any major signs of rusting or worn out within the ship. Cabin was nice and clean as usual. Service was good especially in Michelangelo dining room. We met Marius, the Head Waiter, who always gave us warm welcome as well as Pong who served us dinner with professional standard. In view of the high food cost these days, we were satisfied with most of the food quality. We even have lobster tails one night. The Horizon buffet restaurant was another surprise to us as services were excellent as the waiter kept on asking us if we need drinks or refill and managed to clean up the table as fast as they can. We even have fresh oysters for at least 2 times (not even offered in the dining room). Negative points, they have. Soups were a bit salty (even though oldies might have poor taste buds - bad for health). Beef products were a bit tough not because of the wrong cooking skill but due to meat quality. We found better one last time at Ruby 6 months ago. Though bread and buns were good, the cake quality needed to be improved. Stateroom service was good. We have nice and clean toilet and comfortable bed to sleep all nights. Entertainment was a bit insufficient as they have too many comedian shows (maybe due to cost cutting). We didn't join their shore excursions (except for shuttle bus services from ports to city) as they were too expensive. We used outsiders that cost almost 40% cheaper. Princess has introduced the medallion device that helped a lot to open the door of our stateroom and shopping (for identification). Overall, it is a good value for money vacation. Princess is Princess and you can't compare the standard in the past to the present as the purchase value of $$ are no longer the same. Have purchased future cruise credit in the ship and will definitely looking for another amazing journey in the near future with Princess. The only really negative comment is that disembarkation was a bit messy. They should separate the line of passengers of port visit only from the passengers who have finished their cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Overall this was a very nice cruise. Ship and cabin were lovely, dining room food and company were very good. We had weather and mechanical issues that caused several cancellations of tours. They were missed on our part, especially the ... Read More
Overall this was a very nice cruise. Ship and cabin were lovely, dining room food and company were very good. We had weather and mechanical issues that caused several cancellations of tours. They were missed on our part, especially the Lake District, but overall it didn't diminish our enjoyment of the trip too much. Weather was cool and mostly cloudy, but rain held off for the most part when we were out and about. The food court was, as expected, noisy, very crowded, with mediocre food. I never understand how people can sit in there all day. The pizza was pretty good, and the tacos, burgers, and hot dogs at Salty Dog Grill were very good. Ice cream is always a treat. We did anytime dining, with shared tables, and had a delightful dinner every night. Food was very good, company and service excellent. We also went to tea most days which was delightful. Entertainment was mediocre, and it seemed there were fewer big shows than we've had in the past. We were hoping for some big sporting events on the big screen outside (women's world cup and the Stanley Cup was on), but no dice. Couldn't find any films that interested us - some we watched on our TV, but nothing in the big venues. Ship configuration was a bit strange, had trouble on a couple of decks finding our way to certain venues - lots of dead ends. Shore excursions were all very good, at least those that didn't get cancelled. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
May 9 - Travel day. We flew Delta One overnight from Atlanta to Heathrow. We landed around 7 am and had the fast pass for immigration so we were out of immigration within 15 minutes. We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington (£25 for 2 ... Read More
May 9 - Travel day. We flew Delta One overnight from Atlanta to Heathrow. We landed around 7 am and had the fast pass for immigration so we were out of immigration within 15 minutes. We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington (£25 for 2 people since we arrived on a weekday and bought the tickets 90 days in advance), then a taxi (£8) to the Doubletree Hilton Hyde Park across from Kensington Palace. My sister arrived on Saturday morning so she only paid £11 for two people on the Heathrow Express 90 days in advance. The Doubletree Hilton Hyde Park hotel was located in a nice, walkable neighborhood with plenty of restaurants, groceries, and shopping nearby and easy access to the tube and most important to us, the hop on hop off bus picks up right outside the hotel. If we go back to London, I would definitely stay there again. May 10 - London - I was excited to see London and we met up with friends who had arrived earlier in the week and did the hop on hop off bus. We were told the total HOHO loop was 90 minutes but we were surprised at how slow traffic affected the tour and ended up not seeing as much as we planned. Have a plan for what to see in London but be ready to adjust on the fly if you are affected by weather, traffic, tube issues or protesters. May 11 - London - Day 2, we took an Uber from the hotel straight to the Tower of London around 9:30 am because the tube line near us was closed for the weekend due to maintenance and we had read to get there as early as possible. We took the Beefeater tour and it was entertaining and informative. We had lunch at the café at the Tower of London and it was delicious. The Tower of London was much more crowded when we left around 1 pm. We jumped on the hop on hop off at the Tower and once again had difficulty with traffic and seeing the sights. I wondered what the HOHO bus would be like in high season (summer). Less than 1/2 way thru the loop we were told we could not get any closer to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abby and surrounding sites because police had closed many streets due to protesters. We were disappointed but got as close as possible then walked the remainder of the way to Buckingham Palace. You could only see from the gate since you cannot tour until later in the summer. . If I go back to London, I will try the HOHO bus mid-week and see if that helps. It may be like any major city, crazy all the time. We got some decent pictures of Buckingham Palace but it started raining pretty hard so we grabbed a cab and headed to Kensington Palace which was unaffected by protesters. We toured Kensington Palace and walked around Kensington Gardens then joined our friends for dinner at the Goat pub at Kensington High Street. Food and drink were both great. May 12 - London to Southampton - Windsor Day Tours. We knew we had to get to Southampton from London and wanted to see the English countryside along the way and had read the great reviews for Windsor Day Tours. Jill was able to pick us up at our hotel in London because it was Sunday. Her tours can also originate from Heathrow. We had a photo stop at Eton College, then on to Windsor castle and the town of Windsor. Windsor Castle as wonderful; there was a slight wait for security. Buy your tickets in advance. We then had a lovely lunch at the White Lion in a tiny village called Wherwell. We saw thatched roof cottages and lovely scenery. After lunch we visited Winchester Cathedral and the town of Winchester where we grabbed our 2 bottles of carry on wine and then Jill took us on to the Room2 suites in Southampton. The cost of the tour was just a little more than the princess transfer but we wanted to see the English countryside and Windsor Castle and Jill worked with us to customize our tour. She was a great tour guide and very knowledgeable. We highly recommend Windsor Day Tours. Southampton - Room2 Suites is a new hotel that was clean, walking distance to Oxford Street restaurants and 3 minutes by car from Ocean Cruise terminal. We paid Uber £7 pounds instead of walking because we had 3 suitcases and the road across to the terminal was multi lane. May 13 – Crown Princess Embarkation - Our suggested arrival time was 1:30 for Dolphin Deck and as we weren’t sure of lines we arrived a few minutes after 1 pm. Very short wait for check in and we were in our cabin by 1:50. Our bags were already at our door – off to a great start. My sister was on Deck 10 and got her bags by 4 pm. Princess had very organized embarkation at that time of day. May 14 - Guernsey - Our plan for Guernsey was to take it easy and just wander around since we knew we had future days with all day plans. If you want to see things in Guernsey do your research and get a good map, Signage is available but not very intuitive. There is more than one museum and signage just pointed to museum without specifying. We arrived via tender around 9 am to find that most of the places to visit opened around 10 am, even the tourist center, (perhaps they open earlier In June and July later in the season?) but we could have left the ship later. We were worried about tender lines so we got up early. We wandered a bit then headed back early around 1 pm which worked in our favor. Tendering later in the afternoon was a nightmare with a 90 minute wait and was hampered by high winds. May 15 - Cork/Cobh – We had a great day with Craig @ Munster Bus Tours and we saw Cork, Kinsale & the Jameson Distillery. We had 6 people and were able to see so many things that we would never have seen on a big tour. Craig drove us around the city of Cork, we visited a local sweet shop/candy company where they were hand making candy, got great pictures at the beautiful St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral and then headed to Kinsale. Before we enjoyed a lovely lunch in coastal Kinsale, Craig took us to a small memorial garden honoring the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. The memorial garden was an unexpected, touching spot that we never would have seen on a large tour. Craig had secured a lunch reservation for us in Kinsale. After Kinsale we toured Charles Fort. Craig was engaging and entertaining and gave us great personal insight into the area. His pride in his home country was evident and the scenery was spectacular, exactly what we imagined Ireland to be. One note about the Jameson Distillery – it was an interesting tour but we thought we would see a working distillery and instead toured their old factory and did not actually see any actual whiskey production. We did enjoy the tasting! May 16 - Dublin – A free shuttle was provided into Dublin since we docked at a different place than originally planned – this created a bit of a headache for those just going into Dublin. My sister booked a private tour that left Dublin at 11 am and she needed to meet the tour in Dublin. She was waiting for the ticket for the Dublin shuttle at 9:30 am but it took forever and she finally arrived at the meeting spot in Dublin 15 minutes late so she lost her money on the excursion. If you plan a private tour in Dublin and have to get into Dublin, I would allow at least 2 hours to get off the ship and shuttle to your meeting place. Dublin patter is attached and explains Dublin shuttle and private arrangements. We didn’t properly read the description for the Princess excursion for Powerscourt Estate and didn’t realize it was just gardens only. I thought you toured the house as well, but the house was damaged by fire years ago and was only restored as a gift shop with a small room showing a film about the history of the estate. If gardens are your thing, this is a great place to visit. There was beautiful landscaping, acres of flowers, and a Japanese garden but I was a little disappointed. We were dropped off back in Dublin and wandered around Trinity College and had a lovely pub lunch. May 17 - Belfast – This day was at the top of my bucket list and it was a wonderful day. We booked a private Antrim Coast and Giants Causeway Tour with Alister at City and Causeway tours and it didn’t disappoint. The Torr road was a fun, curvy drive and the scenery was spectacular. Northern Ireland is such a lush, green beautiful place. As with all of our private tours, we were mostly able to beat the large coaches since we only had 6 people. Our goal for this trip was to go as far inland as we could with the time we had and concentrate less on the cities and that worked out well. The Giants Causeway was surreal but very crowded. We walked down to the causeway and had planned to take the shuttle back but they closed the shuttle service so that a VIP tour could use the shuttle. I felt sorry for the folks who had mobility issues and had to walk back up the hill, it was over a mile each way. We did not pay to go to the visitor’s center. Alister took 2 couples back to the ship and then drove us 1 ½ miles to TEC Belfast to see the Game of Thrones Tour Exhibition. This was an added bonus for us since we are GOT fans and it was fantastic. If you are a GOT fan and in Belfast this summer, it is worth the money. May 18 - Glasgow – This was our second bucket list day and it was remarkable. We booked a private tour with Tom at Photowalk Scotland. Although the day was cold and rainy we got to see some lovely places including Glencoe, Stalker Castle and Kilchurn Castle. We even stopped at a beautiful small church and got amazing picture of blue bonnets in full bloom. Tom gave us the flexibility to change our plans when the rain didn’t let up for a while and took us to the castles instead of another Glen. He also was kind enough to share some sunny day pics with us since it was so rainy. Despite the weather it was one of our favorite days of the trip. May 19 - Sea Day – After 9 full days of travel, a sea day was much needed so we took it easy and just relaxed. We don’t have a lot to review on the Crown Princess but will say that it is a lovely ship. This was our 4th cruise and all ships we have been on could be improved slightly but the Crown Princess was great for what we wanted, a nice way to see the British Isles. We did not see any shows or comedians but my sister took in a few and said they were fine. May 20 - Kirkwall - This was our 2nd Princess Tour - West Mainland Sightseeing and it was OK but it reminded us why we choose private tours. The tour guide was very nice but it was her first day on the job and she neglected to tell the bus driver to even slow down for the Standing Stones of Stenness. We just rode right past it with not photo stop. We were able to tour the Ring of Brodgar and see a bit of Kirkwall as we were whizzing by the sights. For us, Guernsey and Kirkwall were just bonus days so that was Ok. Private tours at Kirkwall were limited and booked up quickly. Plan far ahead if you want a private tour in Kirkwall. May 21 – Invergordon - We booked a private tour with Invergordon tours and saw Castle Leod, Urquhart Castle, Culloden Battlefield, and Clava Cairns. The scenery was lovely. May 22 - Edinburgh - previous reviews had suggested the Princess Excursion “Edinburgh on your own” to maximize your time in the city since ship tours got tender priority. This was a great in theory but didn’t necessarily work for us. I think our Princess meeting time in the theatre was 8:15 am. Our plan was thwarted because we had to wait over 30 minutes in the Princess theatre for our total group to gather to go to the tender and then another 20 minutes on the bus in South Queensferry for four people who never showed up. The ship was in Edinburgh from 7 am to 7 pm but we didn’t get to the city until well after 10 am and got picked back up at 3:15 pm. Not nearly enough time to see such a great city. You could find your own transportation back you just needed to tell the driver. We walked straight to the Edinburgh Castle; we printed our tickets which we bought online from a kiosk. The lines were long. If you are going to the castle, buy your tickets in advance. Edinburgh was the best city we visited (compared to Dublin and London) and the only city we think we would revisit. Looking back at the patter for Edinburgh, you could get in line for a tender ticket in the Michelangelo dining room starting at 7 am. I would set an early alarm, take my chances on my own, grab the earliest tender ticket and take the X99 bus into town. It is a 45 minute ride from South Queensferry to Edinburgh. May 23 - Sea Day – we spent the day repacking. I did go to afternoon tea in the dining room which was just Ok and crowded. May 24 Le Havre - The ship docked in Le Havre on schedule and we easily got off the ship for our tour. We had 12 hours before we had to be back on the ship. We booked a private excursion with Overlord Tours to go to the D Day beaches. The cost was €980 for up to eight people. We had 6 and our group and the van was comfortable. Eight people in the van would have been tight. Our guide for the day was Thierry, we were very impressed with his passion and knowledge of the Allied landing on June 6, 1944. It was an hour and a half drive to Omaha Beach which went by quick due to Thierry’s narration. We toured the American cemetery, Omaha and Utah beaches, Pointe Du Hoc and stopped for a delicious lunch in Saint Mere Eglise where we saw the church where Paratrooper John Steele got caught on the steeple when he was trying to land in the town square to fight the Germans. Thierry was a great guide and we had no trouble understanding his English. May 25 Southampton to Heathrow – Princess Disembarkation was the easiest we ever experienced. We put our bags out the night before and found all three easily the next morning. We did leave fairly early so not sure if this was a factor. We chose private arrangements on the form and had passenger services change us to 6:55 am disembarkation for our 7:30 pickup. It was fast and efficient. We used Smiths for Airports for transfer for four back to Heathrow for £163 pounds. We were waiting on our driver by 7:05 am. Wait under the signs not on the sidewalk in the lanes. The driver must come in and confirm that you are there before bringing the car into the lanes to pick you up. We left at 7:45 am and arrived at Heathrow at 9:20 am for a 12:50 pm flight. Had business class for two of us. Checked in and through security in 20 minutes. Our fellow travelers had to wait in security for approximately an hour before clearing. The departure gate was cramped and hot but we timed it so we only had to wait for 15 minutes to board. At Heathrow you wait in the giant shopping area until your gate is called ~30 minutes before your flight. Crown Princess British Isles Notes: Crown Princess Mini Suite D618 – we had plenty of storage space and loved the extra room in the bathroom with the real tub and shower and the clothesline which we used a lot. We had planned to ask for hangers but found an adequate supply in the closet. We did take 4 pants hangers which was great when we had to hang dry our clothes. The balcony had two chairs with ottomans and a small table. We enjoyed the extra cabin space in the mini suite and the sofa; our friends often came to our room for a drink before dinner or to hang out in the evening. One note about cabin D618, we were startled early on the first tender day as the tender that lived just below our balcony was deployed and the gears were quite loud as it moved away from the ship and then was lowered down – it was fun to watch it deploy, you just need to know that if you are on Deck 9 in a mini suite, you may hear and see tender boats on tender days. PRIVATE VS SHIP TOURS – For the first time, we did a mix of private vs. ship tours and were very happy with the private tours. We are cautious travelers and only chose private tours with 5 star ratings and they all lived up to their reviews. When we had a private tour for a non-tender port, we just blended in with departing Princess tour groups, got off the ship and found our guides. We will definitely book private tours for future cruises. Private arrangements do require some extra time and planning for the tender ports. TENDERING - For tender ports, Guernsey, Kirkwall and Edinburgh allow extra time if you have private tours. There were tender delays even for the Princess tours due to high winds at Guernsey and Kirkwall. At one point during the Kirkwall day, waves were so rough that a crew member was hurt and tendering was suspended for an hour. There was a 90 minute wait to get a tender at Guernsey later in the day. LAUNDRY - Laundry was a crap shoot and as expected impossible on a sea day. If you are a super early riser or late nighter your chances are better. My sister started her laundry at 5 am and had company while she was there. Deck 9 had 2 working washers and only 1 dryer so we ended up hang drying a lot of clothes which was not a problem, it just takes extra time if you are out of clean clothes. We used the bathroom clothesline quite a bit. Deck 10 had 1 working washer and 2 working dryers. If you intend to do multiple loads buy your tokens early. You swiped your cruise card and it is $3 per wash and $3 per dry and $1.50 for detergent. I should have brought Woolite or similar as I did hand wash a bit but I managed with body wash and shampoo. I did bring tide pods and dryer sheets with me. Later in the trip, we checked and finally found an open dryer and ran our hang drying clothes down while it was free. BRITISH ISLE CLOTHING - With such long port days, I easily could have gotten away with only 1 or 2 pair of dress pants and rotated shirts. Since this was our 3rd cruise, we don’t always want a huge meal every night. We only ate randomly in the dining room and even then only 5 out of the 12 nights. We grabbed pizza, a hamburger/hotdog or ate at the buffet when we didn’t want to change for dinner after a really long tour day. Nice jeans or khakis and collared shirt or polo worked for most nights in the dining room for my husband. I should have brought more jeans/casual pants since we did have a few days of wearing jeans for 3rd or 4th time as I was trying to find an open washer/dryer in the very busy of laundry room. We only did one formal night and my husband did fine with a long sleeve collared shirt and khakis and I wore a blouse with black pants. We saw plenty of people who looked lovely in tuxedos and formal gowns but we were not wasting precious suitcase space on fancy clothes on our 16 day vacation. WEATHER – I believe Scotland is having the hottest summer on record for June but for May all previous advice was accurate, layers, layers, and more layers. We took a warm coat and a rain jacket and alternated them or wore both at the same time depending on wind and rain. We really only had one very rainy day although we expected more. Lots of partly sunny days. I was happy to have a scarf and hat most days. Long sleeve shirts were a good base layer and I wore a sweater 3 days. I expected the weather to be in the 50s and 60s but the wind made it feel much cooler. My sister bought a warm hat in Kinsale because it was colder than she expected. FOOD - we weren’t sure what to expect with Princess and British Isles food but we were happy overall. We cruise specifically by itinerary and find cruising to be the best solution for us budget wise with meals/hotel/transportation all rolled into one, especially in places where we would never drive. We had been warned to expect bland, simple food in Scotland and Ireland and were pleasantly surprised at the delicious food at every stop. We had all sorts of yummy comfort food including cottage pies, fish and chips and hearty soups with sandwiches. We did not have one bad meal in port. Crown Princess food was as expected, a few stand out dishes but mostly average. As mentioned before, we don’t cruise for the food or ship entertainment just for the travel and transportation. Formal nights were the day of Guernsey and the first sea day. We only did one formal night and my husband did fine with a long sleeve collared shirt and khakis and I wore a blouse with black pants. We saw plenty of people in tuxedos and formal gowns but we were not wasting precious suitcase space on fancy clothes. We had anytime dining and turned up between 6 pm and 7:15 pm for each night in the Dining Room – we only ate there 5 out of 12 nights and Formal nights were more crowded. If the wait was going to be more than a few minutes they gave you a pager so we grabbed a drink at the International Café while we waited. We had less wait when we went at 6:15 or 6:45 vs. 6:30. On our last dining room night the night before Le Havre, we were moved to one of the fixed dining rooms and had better service than in the Michelangelo Dining Room. TIPPING - We haven’t cruised in 5 years so this may now be the norm but Princess automatically adds 18% for alcohol. On past cruises with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean we were able to add tip and decide how much to charge. Princess also doesn’t give you a receipt, you just have to hope the bill is right and check your bill periodically. They do have a self-serve kiosk where you scan your cruise card and get a print out or use the Princess @ Sea app. PRINCESS @ Sea app: The app was good for checking your stateroom balance by day and the total spent. Each person sees what they spent and the cardholder on file sees all cardholders. The messenger part was somewhat disappointing since it didn’t notify you when you received a message which made it difficult to make arrangements if you were traveling with other people. You had to occasionally check to see if you had received a message. Hopefully this will change when the Ocean Medallion service is finally rolled out. There were Carnival employees on board working on the service but about all we saw was the TV system was updated some to support on demand programming. Not sure how ocean medallion rollout will change this. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose our first Princess Cruise because we were celebrating my husband’s retirement - and we always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland. We arrived in London 5 days early and visited the major tourist attractions. A Princess bus ... Read More
We chose our first Princess Cruise because we were celebrating my husband’s retirement - and we always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland. We arrived in London 5 days early and visited the major tourist attractions. A Princess bus picked us up at Victoria Station and drove us to Southampton. Embarkation was very organized. We had to wait awhile, but chairs were provided and we were called in groups, so not too much standing in line. Our balcony stateroom was located on Deck 15 forward. It was clean and nice, and we loved the location. Our room steward was efficient, for the most part. We only saw him on check-in day. We asked that ice be provided each day, and he took good care of us for most of the cruise. However, the last few days, he took the ice bucket away and never brought ice again. There was an awful smell in one section our hallway, that never went away. It smelled like the carpet might have molded. We had to walk through that area coming and going to our room. It was disgusting. The people on this cruise were almost entirely quite old. We are 60ish - and were some of the youngest. I did see a couple of teenagers - who were probably bored to tears. This meant a lot of canes and scooters and slow walkers. They held up lines and elevators, and much patience was required on excursions as they took forever to load and unload buses. Many were very rude as well - cutting in line and ignoring instructions. The excursions were good, for the most part. We enjoyed the places we visited. Often, however, our play time was cut short - we would gather in a designated area on the ship and wait for our group to be called - then follow the leader up and down stairs to get off the ship and to our tour busses. Alternatively, we would follow that procedure to get on tenders - nightmare! There were not enough tenders, which meant long waits to get ashore and load the busses. All of this meant that the excursions sometimes got a late start - and we had very little time to shop or see anything on our own. If I had it to do over, I would definitely explore booking excursions through local companies - rather than Princess. We could have been off the ship earlier, had more time on shore, and saved money. The food was okay - but the choices were limited and became quite boring. If you want steak, visit the premium steak house onboard - do not order steak in the main dining room. I tried it twice and was thoroughly disappointed both times. The steaks were tough, tasteless, and full of gristle. I do highly recommend the creme brûlée, however. Room Service is still free - some cruise lines are charging a fee. But, the menu is extremely limited. Nothing memorable about the food at all. Entertainment on the ship was just boring. They definitely played to the older crowd - big band music, bingo, crafting get togethers, boring stage shows. I looked forward to the outdoor movies on deck. However, it was too cold on deck in the evenings and you couldn’t clearly see the screen during the day. We spent most of our ship time resting, watching tv, and eating. There wasn’t much else interesting to do. Staff was mostly efficient, but not too friendly. Unlike other cruises I’ve been on, the staff did not seem to enjoy their jobs, and were not particularly interested in the cruisers. They did their jobs, but gave nothing extra. Disembarkation was very smooth and quick. We had breakfast, met at our assigned location, and were quickly off the ship. The luggage was organized, and we met our driver in very short order. Overall, we enjoyed our trip because of the wonderful people in England, Ireland, Scotland, and France. We saw wonderful buildings and exhibits. I’ve always loved cruising, but this particular ship, with its boring entertainment, ho-hum staff, and limited food selection, was nothing special. I need to add - we were hot the entire time we were onboard. We lowered the temperature in our room as much as possible, but had to open our balcony door for cool air. All of the public rooms were hot, and we sweated through every meal. For that reason alone, I would not repeat this cruise. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Enjoyed a pre-cruise day in London sightseeing. Independent transportation to the pier via Stonehenge. Great couple days. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Luggage arrived in cabin in less than 30 mins after boarding. ... Read More
Enjoyed a pre-cruise day in London sightseeing. Independent transportation to the pier via Stonehenge. Great couple days. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Luggage arrived in cabin in less than 30 mins after boarding. First time our cabin steward didn't make it a point to come and introduce himself to us. He did an adequate job. I had balcony cabin B701. Good location. I have sailed on Crown many times and prefer the Baja deck. Had 7:15 traditional dining in MDR. Since this was a port intensive cruise we were not able to dine there every night. Menu was fine. Same entrees as always with the exclusion of escargot. Enjoyed the Crown Grill one evening. It was delicious as always but price continues to go up. Enjoyed the buffet each morning. Selection was good. Disappointed the fitness center didn't allow passengers to use the treadmills until 8 am although I did understand. Difficult to use with early ports almost everyday. Love MUTS but too cold on this cruise to enjoy. However, I did ask for movie popcorn every night! You had to go hunt for it but I was able to get some. Ports were wonderful!!! My biggest surprise was the chaos getting on and off the ship at almost every port. Long queues, people upset, trouble getting gangways up, steep gangways, passengers getting on and off with luggage, etc. It was really a pain. I understand delays when it is a tender port but simply walking off should never be an issue. Overall great cruise. I would highly recommend. The layout and the size of the Crown works well for me. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose the British Isles! Great ports, short on time, but we did so much I don't know where they would have found more time. Overall experience was great. All of the ports were fun and had loads of things to do. Perhaps one ... Read More
We chose the British Isles! Great ports, short on time, but we did so much I don't know where they would have found more time. Overall experience was great. All of the ports were fun and had loads of things to do. Perhaps one change would be stay one day in Doublin and two days in Edinburgh! We chose outside tours and were thrilled with them. Saved a considerable amount of money on them, too. The tours are smaller, personalized and just more fun than those offered by Princess. We had big problems with the assistance at the Front Service Desk. A JOKE! Fortunately everything went pretty smoothly, but the one hiccup was a major deal. Unfortunately, the Service Desk agents gave a different answer for the same question. Even asking to speak with the manager didn't get much help. Promised to call back and never did. Unacceptable. Apparently getting off the ship for a few days is something no one has ever done before (hah)! Our friends got approval from Princess before making reservations. The Crown Princess did everything to make this a terrible expereince for them. On the departure date they were told to go to immigration at 6:40am. They did. They were sent to three different places and no one was there. Nice way to end the cruise. The dinners were fine. Quality a little less than it used to be. We had an outstanding waiter at dinner who made the entire trip worthwhile. Hermanie was excellent! We never saw the Captain (except at the Platinum and Above Cocktail Awards event). Saw very few of the 'suits' walking around. Usually they are a lot more present than that. The Crown Princess is getting worn. It needs updating. The public bathrooms were terrible, tile falling off the wall, etc. Carpeting in the buffet was worn out. It has always been such a beautiful ship it's a shame to see it in such a state of disrepair. But the beauty of the British Isles is worth the trip. Such a lovely area to enjoy. The peace, beauty and history are worth the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
“Winter with Leaves” A May Cruise around the British Isles “Call me Ismael” - Herman Melville; we wander when we can as there is so much world, and so little time. This time, for our May 1st cruise, we packed for cool/cold ... Read More
“Winter with Leaves” A May Cruise around the British Isles “Call me Ismael” - Herman Melville; we wander when we can as there is so much world, and so little time. This time, for our May 1st cruise, we packed for cool/cold weather and guessed correctly, as the temps never got above the mid-40s to low 50. We, Gene & Susan, left Houston Hobby, with a slight delay, (they had to reboot the plane?) April 29th to DFW, and on to an over-night flight to London Heathrow, landing about midday the 30th. Heathrow to Soho at the “Sticky Wicket” We decided to cut to the chase, jet lag being what it is, and had booked Heathrow Taxis (good value) down to the Hilton at Ageas Stadium, getting there early afternoon. The hotel is actually built into a Cricket Stadium surrounded by a Golf course. If you don’t know the game of Cricket, I wouldn’t encourage you to explore it too closely, and just assume that it resembles a cross between baseball and croquet!! We did get to watch a Cricket practice out our room window with bowling to the batsman on a Cricket pitch and wickets of course. “And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” John Masefield We taxied to the Crown Princess, May 1st (about 5 miles), arriving around noon, and had a very quick and easy embarkation with priority boarding. One of the main dining rooms was open where we had a leisurely lunch, avoiding the frantic crowds at the Lido. Our cabin, a balcony on Caribe deck, was ready and we relaxed until Muster Drill. I had hosted a Cruise Critic roll call, so we followed Muster with a Sail Away Party in the Wheelhouse Lounge, as outside was a bit chill. It was well attended, as a number of CC people were there and introduced themselves. Guernsey Where getting there is half the fun!! Guernsey is a tender port so all the ship tenders were used. They loaded the usual 75 or so on tender 21 and set out for shore. Sadly, it’s steering was broke that day and it water bugged us in circles and didoes all over the ocean. It finally got back to the ship, loaded three mechanics and set out again, with the same outcome, more circles and didoes. By this time passengers were turning green from ocean motion, and were considering holding a Muster Drill. They finally wallowed back to the ship and off loaded us on to another tender which worked. Some of the people in the lines behind us missed their tour due to the delay as it caused delays to the whole process. Guernsey = Blue Bell ice cream The original Texas Blue Bell was made using only milk from the Guernsey cow. The Guernsey and the Jersey, on the next isle over, have the highest butterfat content of all the dairy cattle (took Ag in HS). There are few cattle left on the island, as it’s about 90% developed, and is considered an off-shore banking and financial center much like the Caymans. Immigration is limited to those who can prove that they have a job when they arrive, or enough money to sustain them. We joined about 6 others on an island tour with “1st call Taxies” that circled the island. Those who read or watched “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” might be somewhat disappointed at the island’s modern development as there is little wild sea coast left. There are still a number of German observation posts and gun emplacements, however. Besides driving around the island, our guide took us into a 4,000-year-old barrow from ancient people on the island and a unique chapel built of cut glass. We had an excellent lunch at a local pub, fish and chips with panko bread crumbs, picked up some wine for the cabin, and it was time to get back to the ship, but not on tender 21 I’ll tell you! Cobh/Cork Our goal today was Blarney Castle and the Irish countryside with Ecoach (Butler tours). We wound our way through Cobh & Cork out to Blarney Castle, which almost resembles a theme park as you arrive at a woolen mill which advertises the most Irish souvenirs in Ireland. Also, there were a couple of Pub/restaurants, and ticket purchase (we had skip the line) with public rest rooms. You next stroll through forest gardens and streams to the castle, and it is beautiful; set on a hilltop surrounded by battlements and some discreetly hidden gift shops. Since there was a long line to kiss the Blarney Stone, I asked the wife if I needed to get in it. She replied that the Stone ought to be kissing me?? We roamed for about an hour with the wife taking pictures and then back to the visitor’s center where I enjoyed a pint of Irelands best while the wife visited the woolen mill. My son says that drinking Guinness is like eating a loaf of bread, and he might be right. We explored the Irish Countryside, had a pub lunch in a historic port town, picked up some wine for the cabin and returned to the ship about 5. Dublin We ported two days in Dublin which is about right, as will be explained. The ship didn’t dock until 11 AM but there was no rush as we planned a leisurely day riding the HoHos and had an evening event. We taxied into the city to the Hop-On Hop-Off office where we purchased tickets and also “jump the line” entrance to the Guinness brewery. Dublin is a city of young people. It was a Saturday, and young families were everywhere pushing babies in strollers and doing what they needed to do. Our first stop was Dublin Castle where the wife got some shots of the building as it is now used as Govt. offices. The next “God help me” was Guinness!! In retrospect, you should find a local pub have a pint and salute Guinness at a distance. The Guinness Store House is a 7-story exhibit with stairs, little A/C, and 1,000 of your closest friends!! It is a very nice history of the Stout with grains and a water fall, the brewing process, and a free pint at the end. When we reached the top of the tallest building in Dublin (I could have used a Sherpa), the wife took pictures when she could get near a window, as a Fire Marshall would have a coronary with the crowds in that building. They were mostly young Irish who must consider it a pilgrimage or some such, children and all. When we finally fought our way out of the building it was getting late afternoon so we hopped the HoHo, so to speak, and got off near our evening adventure, Irish Nights at the Belvidere Hotel. It was wonderful with Irish folk music and step dancing, a good dinner and wine by the glass with cruise friends. Dublin Day II “I don’t think my heart can stand another ewe!!” Sheep Herders lament Do you ever tire of cities?? Same ole public buildings, cathedrals, and museums?? We have, so it was time to see the country side, the Emerald Isle, and it didn’t disappoint. This time with two other cruise friends Susan and I taxied into Paddywagon Tours for a trip out to Kilkenny and the Wicklow Mountains. It was a wonderful day with emerald green pastures full of sheep with Grose hedges. Our first stop was Glendough, the ruins of a monastery from the 1100s. It was wonderful to walk and see it in the crisp cold air. You could spend a day here hiking as there were three lakes in the glen and numerous trails. There were also very good facilities (hotel etc) as well. Off to Kilkenny, or almost, as our bus blew a tire. But, no problem, there was a 2nd behind us on the same route with 30 empty seats. Cruise passengers had priority. The first bus limped into Dublin about two hours later than ours. Kilkenny was the ancient capital and featured quite a nice castle, a lunch at a good restaurant, and two bottles of wine for the cabin. It was close to 2 hours back to the ship, but it was a beautiful day in the country. Belfast Northern Ireland This one was a bit difficult; less than 5 miles from Belfast our 14-passenger bus, a Mercedes, blew an engine. But once again no problem as they had a replacement there shortly, and it was on to the Giant’s Causeway, a unique headland of Columnar Basalts that cooled into hexagonal crystals. We saw the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge and had a good pub lunch before returning to Belfast. We completed the tour with a visit to the Titanic dry dock, interesting, but a barn where the cows are gone, then back to the ship after 7 in the evening. Greenock/Glasgow It was a rainy morning with a grey mist falling over Greenock on the Firth of Clyde, the port for Glasgow, as we set out with Discover Scotland tours on another wonderful adventure. The first stop, the rain was very slight, was at Loch Lomond, a beautiful lake where we walked a village and down to a dock to the calm waters and the silence of nature. Have you ever wondered about the term “Skyfall” the title from a Bond film? It means that when the waters are so calm that they mirror the sky above and this we found reflected in the Loch. This was a good start, as our next destination was Stirling Castle, one of the most famous in Scotland and most visited, where we rejoined tourism as we know it. Susan bravely shot the castle with her camera as there were heights and voids that were out of her comfort zone. We then visited the village of Callander where we lunched in a “Tea Room” favored by the locals, small, with shared Formica tables. I had a steak and haggis pie served in a pastry, as this was also a bakery for scones. Haggis, dear reader, is when you stuff a sheep’s stomach with mutton and oatmeal, and boil it until it turns to mush. The steak and gravy in the pie, (remember Marie Callender?), provided the flavor. We picked up some wine for the cabin while there, and set out for Glasgow. It is the third largest city in the UK but we didn’t spend much time there as we were due to get back to the ship. Invergordon/Inverness My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart’s in the Highlands a chasing the deer, Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe, My heart’s in the Highlands where ever I go. -Robert Burns- In Invergordon, on the Firth of Cromarty, we were picked up by Highland tours at the ship for a trip through the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Our first stop shortly after viewing the ruins of Urquhart Castle was Loch Ness where my wife wanted me to dabble my fingers in the water to tell her how cold it was while taking pictures. (She gets double indemnity if I’m eaten by a Sea Monster!!) The Highlands are beautiful but still in their winter colors of brown heather and pale brown grasses on all the hills and mountains, some of which are snow capped in the distance. The Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most photographed in Scotland, was our next stop on a crisp cold day in a land where they see the Northern Lights. While winding through the glens of Scotland, we turned into a road that said Single Trac, you guessed it, a one lane road going to the ferry on the Isle of Skye. There was some backing and pulling over in a dance with on coming traffic, not that there was much. Here I should perhaps mention that the highways of Ireland and Scotland are not wide, as most two-lanes don’t have room for a stripe in the middle. But they get you there with the occasional four-lane to take you back to a city. Scotland’s are marginally better. The ferry to the Isle of Skye is the last “Turn Table” ferry in the world. It is a motorized barge with a parking platform on top which rotates to turn the cars in the opposite direction from which they boarded, in order to offload. It is only a short distance to the Isle itself. We drove through the hills of Skye to a small village for a pub lunch (sound familiar); it was actually more of a café with an order line and shared tables. Following lunch, we saw a little more of the Isle and returned to the mainland via a modern bridge and eventually back to the ship. Our First Sea Day Thank you, Jesus, as we’re running on empty and need the rest. Rest did come with responsibility, however, as it is time for our Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle. I had sent invitations once we were on board, and had rented a mic for the event. The ship provided Skywalkers and a cash bar. It went well with probably 60 in attendance. The officers introduced themselves and spoke about their area of responsibility. We finished with the attendees getting to say who they were, where they were from and what was their favorite port. A good time was had by all. The rest was a sea day as we try to avoid the Lido for meals, and we don't do the shows, but some wine and dancing in the evenings. Edinburgh We awoke anchored off South Queensferry on the Firth of Forth, the port for Edinburgh. Our tour for the day was with Go Scotland but first we had to tender ashore. Oh My God, they were shoving us on to Tender 21, but surely, they had got it fixed. Oh no they didn’t, as the pilot used the two engines to steer and we wallowed like a sick hog under a famous railroad bridge which was trying not to get hit, and finally to shore. In every case, we were met promptly by our tour guide, and today was no exception. We begin by driving out in the country to Roslyn Chapel founded in 1446. This is beautiful with gothic design and elaborate stone carving throughout. The Knights Templar came here to fight alongside the Scots. It is said that they buried both the Arc of the Covenant and the Holly Grail under this chapel. While you are down there, you might find Jimmy Hoffa and Amelia Erhard as well!! Traveling through Edinburgh on the way to the castle, we saw many famous sites as Trinity College one of the world’s oldest. Why did they always stick castles on hill tops? Yeah, yeah, I know, as they didn’t trust their neighbors and probably had some pretty good reasons not to. We trudged up the hill from our small bus, and quite a hill it was, where we had jump-the-line tickets as there were 1,000 of our closest friends taking selfies and trying not to fall off the battlements!! The castle is still an active military base and fires a 1 O’clock gun, much to the consternation of the pigeons, and the benefit of the hundreds of tourists gathered to watch it. A fine time was had by all as Susan shutter bugged the edifice and we moved down hill (thank God) to where the tour group met for an hour and forty-five-minute walking tour. Something my walking ability told me not to do, as I got a new hip last Fall. So, I bought two bottles of wine for the cabin, and retired to a convenient pub/restaurant for lunch and relaxation. Those of you of the culinary nature would enjoy exploring “Toad in the Hole”, a shell of Yorkshire pudding layered with mashed potatoes, with three “bangers” pork & Haggis sausages, topped with caramelized onions and a brown gravy!! It was a hearty dish although hardly heart healthy, and in the States, subject to a Surgeon General’s warning!! Susan joined the walking tour, taking in historically significant sites as well as the Greyfriars Bobby statue, a haunted cemetery and Harry Potter points of interest. We regrouped, boarded the bus and circled Arthur’s Seat, a small mountain that hung over the city. We stopped by Holyrood Palace where Elizabeth stays when in Edinburgh, before returning to the tender port. As luck would have it, a commercial tender seating more than a hundred was a comfortable ride back to the ship. I did keep a wary eye out for “Sea Cow 21” as I had vowed to sacrifice my place in line, and it was long, if offered another ride with her. The Second Sea Day I really don’t recall much about this day as there was no agenda and no pressing need to have anything but three meals in the MDR as for once on a cruise, we never visited the Lido. We did attend the Capt.’s party as it was the last formal night, and did book a future cruise at a discount while on board as we are thinking a Northern Alaska visit with seeing Denali this next time with perhaps a night in a Princess lodge. Le Havre France Paris and Normandy are the two attractions here but, as I’m a Marine from a Marine family, Normandy wasn’t our war. We declined seeing Paris about 300 miles away as I felt that the French needed no help turning over cars and setting them on fire. We opted to visit a local mall, Docks Vauban, where Susan did her last gift shopping and we enjoyed a three-star grill where the French did what they do best, cook!! The Longest Day We had opted for a Princess transfer from SOHO as we had an early 12:15 flight. No one wants you off the ship more than the cruise line, so we met to disembark @ 6:30. As the traffic was interesting, we made Heathrow by around 9. After check in and airport security, I can confirm they are even more intense than our own, as I lost a can of shave gel. We had a leisurely brunch and boarded for our 91/2 hr flight to DFW, which arrived on time. After the ordeal of Customs and Security all that was left was the short hop to Houston, right? They loaded us on the small plane on time and then sat there in a sweat box for close to an hour waiting for them to get more fuel that they might run the air conditioners among other delays. Even with that amount of time my luggage missed the flight and was delivered the next day. Thus, from the ship’s cabin to home made about 21 hrs of travel. I’ve mentioned a few mechanical problems that occurred on this vacation, and have visited with God about them from time to time, but none posed a serious threat to us or our travels so let the cow chips fall where they may as it was a wonderful cruise. We hope that this has been informative and helpful for those of you traveling to this part of the world and until I write again. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind at yer back not be yer own. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Gene & Susan Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The only thing I would change would be to tell Princess that when they travel to Europe in April and May they choose a ship with a retractable roof so people can enjoy the beautiful swimming pools and hot tubs. They should also have a non ... Read More
The only thing I would change would be to tell Princess that when they travel to Europe in April and May they choose a ship with a retractable roof so people can enjoy the beautiful swimming pools and hot tubs. They should also have a non alcoholic option for their gifts and prizes not everyone consumes alcohol. We loved the food but found there were too many seafood options and too much spinach done in variety of ways. The food in the Horizon restaurant was fabulous great variety. Another area they need to improve on is the shore excursions and how they handled the groups getting off the ship. We stood everyday in ridiculous lines to have a sticker with a number slapped on our person. They didn’t have enough people working that process. They should have the groups gather in an area and as a group is called they exit through a door where someone is waiting to provide them with a number sticker. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Good Cruise but major work needed on embarkation and disembarkation. The current processes while in port are cumbersome and lead to long lines and long waits to return to the ship. One of the re-embarkation security stations actually ... Read More
Good Cruise but major work needed on embarkation and disembarkation. The current processes while in port are cumbersome and lead to long lines and long waits to return to the ship. One of the re-embarkation security stations actually brought cruisers back on board in the middle of Crooners Bar. Security stations when returning to the ship are undermanned with the line stopping each time someone needed to be patted down since the person conducting the pat downs was also running the xray machines. Customs review was a TOTAL DISASTER and no officers seemed to be managing the process. We were told to report at 10 a.m. but it was not until nearly 11 a.m. until we reached customs agents. There are only 3 agents for 3,200 customers. There did not appear to be anyone running the process and the process was a debacle at best. It is unfortunate that as one of the last events onboard the ship would be memory of the horrors of going through customs with ship personnel in total disarray. Casino has heavy smell of smoking. Need to discontinue the cigar bar and repaint this area to get rid of the heavy scent of cigarettes and cigars. We normally use the casino but not this trip. On the upside we found the cabin, dining room and other staff members to be a joy and greatly enhanced our experience. Our thanks to them. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We started our holiday with a couple of extra days shopping at Sawgrass Mills, which has fantastic bargains for the British shoppers. The only real downside to our holiday was our arrival. We have since found out that we pre-paid an ... Read More
We started our holiday with a couple of extra days shopping at Sawgrass Mills, which has fantastic bargains for the British shoppers. The only real downside to our holiday was our arrival. We have since found out that we pre-paid an exhorbitant amount for our transfers and when we arrived at Miami airport, there was no one to greet us and we waited around for 15 minutes unsure what to do as a representative from Princess was not there. When we were finally shown to the taxi rank we had to wait another 45 minutes for a taxi to take us to our Hotel. The hour delay meant we hit rush hour which is a nightmare in Miami and our 45 minute journey then took 1 1/2 hours. However after that we had an amazing trip. We were unsure whether to do the drinks package as it is quite expensive and In the past we have had a middle of the range drinks package which suited us much better, but it was all or nothing on this cruise. We wouldn't have it again as you had drink quite a lot to get the benefit and taking into consideration you are off the ship on port visits on quite a few days, it would have been better to have bought this as we went. (We also met a British lady who developed an allergic reaction on the ship on the second day of the cruise and was advised not to drink alcohol and they wouldn't refund her drinks package) Compared to British spas , we found the spa on board is very expensive too. However apart from that we had a good experience. There were plenty of sunbeds and things to suit everyone. You can sit on deck by the main pool which always has a lot going on or find quieter spots by the small pool at the stern The food as usual was absolutely amazing and the evening dinners in the restaurant were superb. All the staff we came across were really friendly and couldn't do enough to help. The entertainment was also excellent and there is almost too much to choose from. Ports of Call We booked the majority of trips before we left England. St Kitts- we had a fantastic day out on a mini speed boat trip booked through Bluewater Safaris. We were picked up in a small bus and given a lovely guided tour of St Kitts from the port to the jetty where the speed boats were moored. We were given a safety talk and they got 2 people per boat and we sped over the water to a ship wreck where we went snorkelling seeing turtles and string rays and a variety of fish. It was a really enjoyable and exhilarating 3 hour experience . Martinique- we had booked a car for the day but the Avis Rental office was a ferry trip away and as the ferries were on strike we had to abandon that idea. Instead we met Awa on the promenade who offered to take us on a trip of the island . This was a fabulous day out and I would highly recommend booking Awa as she was obviously very proud of Martinique and showed it off to its best, stopping to show us the flora and fauna and was so lovely she gave us a hug at the end of our trip. She took us to the replica of the Sacre Coeur, the Balata botanical gardens, where she waited for as long as we wanted to spend there( and were beautiful), to the waterfalls , a rum distillery and St Pierre hit by a devastating volcanic eruption in 1902. I would really recommend booking her (mroad.contact@gmail.com)and although she spoke English we practised what French we knew with her too. Barbados We booked a trip on a catamaran called Calabaza. This had been recommended to us before we left and was another amazing day out. Some of the cruise tours had about 50 people on their boats, but this trip takes a maximum of 12 guests. There was as much food as you wanted, which was beautifully cooked and an endless supply of drinks. We stopped to snorkel in 2 locations and the turtles swam so closely to you it was hard to move out of their way. I didn't want the day to end. Antigua- as we wanted a bit of a relaxing day and we had been to Antigua before we stayed on the ship in this port. St Thomas- we booked tickets to go to the Pirate Museum that has recently opened. This was an excellent place to visit with interesting artefacts recovered from various ship wrecks. Upstairs there were lots of interactive exhibits with people around to talk you through them. For the pirate section we were shown round by a live Captain Jack Sparrow, who was so convincing that I'm sure he must be related to Johnny Depp and was really popular with the children. It was within walking distance of the ship and is situated next to the cable car. We spent a good couple of hours in there and you can just buy tickets on the door. Highly recommended! Grand Turks We spent the day here on the beautiful sand beach and swam in the azure coloured sea. The beach was within walking distance of the ship. Everglades/ Flamingo Park We booked this through the ship as they do like you to vacate the ship early in the morning and rather than wait around the airport all day, it's a nice way to time to pass the time, while your luggage is being looked after . The tour guide was really comical and the wind boats were great fun. The flamingo park was also very good but we were limited on time here. All in all I would highly recommend this cruise , but would suggest it might be more time and cost effective to arrange the transfers yourself as we paid £100s more booking through Princess than we would arranging this ourselves. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We sailed on Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on March 27th, 2019 on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley. This was our third cruise on Crown and our 11th with Princess. We are Elite members of the Captain’s Circle because we ... Read More
We sailed on Crown Princess out of Fort Lauderdale (FLL) on March 27th, 2019 on a 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley. This was our third cruise on Crown and our 11th with Princess. We are Elite members of the Captain’s Circle because we sailed in full suites on 6 previous occasions (double cruise credits). We arrived in FLL the night before and stayed at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel. I would happily stay there again! We took an Uber from the hotel to Terminal 2, which cost $8.40. Not bad! We got there at 1:00pm and walked straight in. Security was not a hassle and we proceeded directly to check-in and then straight to the ship. It was not busy at all. My only complaint about the embarkation was the usual sail-away photo-op, which gets a bit tiring after so many cruises. The photographers we not rude, but a bit too insistent for my liking. We stopped, had our photo taken and walked up the gangway. My first impression of the piazza was very favorable as Crown Princess had a visit to dry dock since our last voyage. Everything was clean, sparkling and tastefully elegant, as is Princess’s norm. We made way to our mini-suite on Dolphin deck unassisted. Our luggage arrived within 1 hour of embarkation. Our mini-suite was D719. The cabin neat and tidy, albeit a little shabby; just little things like torn lampshades, a toilet bowl that had the white enamel scrubbed off from years of cleaning, scuff marks on the walls and furniture, etc. None of it too off-putting, but less than expected after a recent refurbishment. The bed linens were clean, white and crisp and I really liked the new Princess Luxury Bed mattress! There was also a brand-new sofa bed, but the cushions would not stay in place and always flopped forward over the edge. The balcony had the usual rust spots and needed a touch-up. They finally replaced the old CRT televisions with small flat-screens, but there was only one remote control in the cabin. The TV reception was fair, and the selection was as good as one could expect at sea, but CNN was conspicuously missing from the lineup. The Wi-Fi worked well all over the ship and the princess@sea app was very useful. We sailed on time and headed towards Aruba for 2 sea days - my favorites! There was a lot to do on board and were kept as busy as we wished, or not. It was great to have lots of choices. I am an avid walker and really enjoyed my time on Promenade Deck 5. It is one of a few ships on which you can walk a full circumference, although you had to walk up a flight of stair to get to the bow, then back down the other side. The bow area on Emerald Deck 6 was open most of the time, even on sea days. This was great, as on other cruises on similar class Princess ships, it was mostly closed. 2.8 times around the deck is equal to 1 mile. I checked out the gym and it was modern and very well-equipped, but preferred walking outside versus on a treadmill! We did not purchase any excursions from Princess, nor from any local providers. Instead, we just walked around for a few hours in each port. Aruba was just like it was the last time, and the time before, and the time before, and… I can’t think of too many other cruises that haven’t stopped there. We just walked around and hung out in a few local watering holes. Next day was Bonaire. It too was nice. We did some more walking and hanging out. Grenada was next, and in hindsight, we should have booked some sort of spice tour. I was hell-bent on getting some real vanilla extract, but it was more difficult than expected as all the tourist markets had was the watered-down stuff. I finally found some at an out of the way local supermarket and it was cheap, compared to home. I used some of it in a recent batch of homemade ice cream and it was wonderful! Dominica was next and I was not very impressed with the area around the cruise port. Once again, we should have booked an excursion there. St. Thomas was next and is always a great place to visit! We walked to the beach, hung around, did some shopping and then returned to the ship. Regal Princess was there as well, and she played the Love Boat theme on her horns as we sailed away! Crown Princess could only reply with a few single monotone blasts of her horn! It was funny, and I guess you had to be there! Next day was another sea day and was a welcome rest from port visits. Last stop was at Princess Cays and we just stayed on board and enjoyed having the ship mostly to ourselves. Disembarkation in FLL was a breeze. We had to be out of our cabin by 8:00am but had a nice breakfast at the buffet and finally left the ship at around 10:00am (latest available disembarkation time). Our luggage was waiting for us and the US Customs line only took about 15 minutes to get through. We took another Uber to the Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Beach for our post-cruise recovery day. I would not recommend this hotel as it had perhaps the worst sound-proofing I have ever experienced in a Marriott-branded hotel. A note about using Uber at the cruise terminal for pick-up… getting one was not a problem at all, however finding the pick-up place was a bit of a slog. There is only one small area between the bus/shuttle/taxi area and the drop-off area. It has a single small sign that says Ride Share. If you are getting Uber or Lyft, that is the area you want to head to. Now it is time to convey my thoughts on dining, staff, entertainment, etc. My partner and I do not drink alcohol, so we each purchased an Unlimited Soda and More package. The good news is the “more”! In addition to the normal fountain sodas, Princess has several mocktail options. If what you want is not on the menu, they will try their best to make whatever it is you want for you. I got hooked on Chocobananas in the Wheelhouse bar. The Strawberries on Fire and virgin Strawberry and Pina Coladas were also great. The only odd exclusions were malts and milkshakes at Scoops. If you are a coffee lover, then get a New Grounds Coffee package. It is a good deal and the specialty coffees are excellently prepared by a barista. I got most of mine at the International Café in the piazza. They also have a great selection of sandwiches, panini, soups and deserts. It is open 24/7. Princess no longer uses stickers on your cruise card for addons, rather your purchases are encoded. We ate in the Michelangelo Dining Room every night but four. The food was uninspiring but edible. It was not as good as I remember on previous Princess cruises. It seemed like cutbacks and cost savings had taken their tolls. The wait staff were mostly excellent. We only had to wait for seating on one occasion and that only took about 15 minutes. We had anytime dining and would only accept a table for two. Our evening at the Crown Grill started out fine, but I ended up getting as stressed as the staff by the end of the evening. I’m not sure what was going on as the place was only about half full. I did overhear several intra-staff conversations and they seemed to be running around in fear of the Maître d’. He was very polite to us but was not treating the staff with much respect as he kept snapping new orders to them whilst they were previously occupied. Their stress showed at the table and influenced our ability to relax. However, the food was good. I had an 8 oz. filet mignon and it was cooked to perfection. Our evening at Crab Shack was enjoyably messy! I had the steamer basket. Great staff and food! It is located in a partitioned area of Café Caribe. Sabatini’s was the best evening for specialty dining. Our waiter was excellent, and the food was delicious! I highly recommend the experience. As an aside, the ship’s Captain and some of his friends sat at the table next to us. If the Captain eats there, it must be good, eh? LOL! Another pleasant surprise was at the Salty Dog Gastropub. It is held at the Wheelhouse Bar every evening and offers a nice selection of delicious food for a very reasonable price. The live music is a bonus! Now here are my thoughts as to the general staff around the ship. I couldn’t help but notice the lack of smiles and greetings. It was very un-Princess-like and I am at a loss to explain this, other than they were probably tired from their long times at sea. Nobody was rude or unpleasant, but only 2 members of the staff motivated me to fill in a positive comment card at the end of the cruise. Our Cruise Director, Peter Tredgett, was by far one of the best CD's I have ever seen. He was everywhere, visible, talkative, engaging and really had his act together. I have been on some cruises when the only time the CD was visible was opening or closing a show in the main theater. Peter was very different and really helped make our cruise enjoyable. I must have had three or four brief personal conversations with him throughout the cruise and he remembered my name after the first chat. The entertainment on board was unusually good in the Princess Theater. I especially enjoyed Encore! The soprano, Heather Hill, sang Mozart’s Queen of the Night Aria, from The Magic Flute. If any of you are familiar with this work, it is very difficult and requires a huge tessitura. There are some high D’s, and as she approached them, I said to myself, “I’ve never heard this on a cruise ship before. There’s no way she will hit those high D’s.” but hit them she did! Like an arrow into a bullseye! It was probably the highlight of the whole cruise for me! I got all tingly! LOL! Wow, it was a great show! We also saw Magic. The music was OK, but the wizardry of performing magic tricks on a ship was outstanding and almost worthy of Las Vegas! One last note on being Elite in 2019. We were disappointed to see a card left in our cabin on embarkation day saying that Elite laundry had a three-day turn-around. Pressing was available within 24 hours though; useful as the first formal night was on day 2. The usual Elite reception was held on the second formal night and we met the Captain. They served free cocktails, but I had to ask for a non-alcoholic beverage. There was also a daily reception in Skywalker’s for Elites and Suite occupants. Light hors d’oeuvres were served buffet style. I can’t remember if Platinum’s were invited or not. So, at the end of the day, despite the great, good and not-so-good, Crown Princess did not disappoint. We had a wonderful cruise and would not hesitate to sail on her again. I hope you have found my lengthy review helpful in some way. Thanks for reading and bons voyages! 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Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise to better enjoy the best parts of the Caribbean, currently the southern part, and to specifically enjoy Bon Aire. We normally are all about Princess, but this cruise seemed off probably because many were at the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to better enjoy the best parts of the Caribbean, currently the southern part, and to specifically enjoy Bon Aire. We normally are all about Princess, but this cruise seemed off probably because many were at the contract's end. The selection of food with variety was way below the standard for what I think Princess does, but there seems to be a large dichotomy across ships whether they sail from the SE side of America or the Western. We always try to get the balcony on the end of the 14th floor on this ship and we did. We love this cabin. The entertainment was great with the new show. There were parts that were surreal, but some of the new concepts with the visualization of the dancing wind was very very good and new. Grenada we will never go back too as we felt very unsafe very quickly off port and we have never felt that way in any port over the 100 days of travel we have done. Princess is noted for having less of kids attend and we do not have kids, so the kids were never seen much and when seen were well managed by parents that seemingly needed a vacation! LOL, ironic. BONAIRE is one of the most under rated islands. I would love to have an overnight there and skip Granada all together. The island is special. We live near ft Lauderdale's port, and the entry on to the ship is usually very smooth, but that is probably we know the tricks and the trade of it all. We would NOT take this trip again if Granada is not on there or if there is not a longer non-Sunday stay in Bon Aire. Read Less
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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