Crown Princess Cruise Review by MARAPRINCE
- Sail Date: July 2006
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
Smooth as silk! Red Hook dock workers deserved a 10! They were right on the ball. All our luggage arrived by the time the muster drill was over so we could change for dinner and hang everything up before we sailed.
Sailing delayed due to a "fuel" problem which caused the Crown Princess to miss the first port in Grand Turk. All passengers received a $200 per person cabin credit to be spent on board during the voyage to make up for the lost port.
Our balcony cabin (BD category) was sufficient for 2 adults. We hung everything up in the large open closet. Our cabin steward was from Romania and had some difficulty with the English language and stored the extra set of bedding under the beds using up space that could have nicely stored all of our luggage instead. Bathroom could have been bigger. AC was not working in cabin even after Engineer came. Plumber was able to give us more water pressure in the sink, but the shower pressure could have been better.
Beds and bedding are very, very comfortable! No cabin noise from adjoining cabins or overhead cabins.
Sprinklers have been installed on all balconies. Baja and Aloha balconies are covered but you could look down on the Caribe and Dolphin balconies which are only partially covered. Depending on how the ship is sailing you may have the sun on your balcony from the early morning and afternoon hours or in the late afternoon.
Since we had been to San Juan, St. Thomas and Bermuda we did not take any of the ships tours but did our own thing in each port. The general consensus the time in the ports was too short! If you took a tour, your shopping or beach time was limited. Since we were in Bermuda on a Sunday, many of the shops in Hamilton were closed.
We went to the Maritime Museum at the Dockyard and caught the Dolphin Quest show before heading up to the Commissioners House on the top. Then we spent some time at Snorkel Park before heading back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we went to the mall at the Royal Clock Tower for some shopping before returning to the ship.
Considering that the ship holds 3,100 passengers, many of the public rooms are too small. The Princess Theatre the largest room only holds around 900 passengers. Smoking is allowed in all the public rooms except for the theatre even when daytime activities are held. As a result, the lecturer will have to compete with the noise from the bar in the Wheelhouse along with the noise of passengers passing by and bar patrons who are smoking.
Movies under the stars during the day it can be too hot to watch the movies. Many passengers will stay on deck 15 below and seek out a shady spot. Since the ship does not have a retractable dome, the movies still run rain or shine.
We found the selection in the Horizon Court buffets for breakfast and lunch to be quite varied and good. However, orange juice and cranberry juice are only available at breakfast in glasses that are already poured out. Omelets of your choice can be ordered or you can select from the daily specials already made and waiting. The selection of fresh fruit is amazing 3 types of melon and grapes, strawberries, bananas, papaya, and a nice assortment of dried fruits. If there was one area that could be improved, it was the sandwiches. Only one choice per day was available and it was already made.
Pizza was great as always.
We had 2nd seating (traditional) in Botecelli and there was a large selection on the menus. Our first table assignment wait staff wasnt as efficient as our second table wait staff. Jose, our waiter, was like the Energizer Bunny. He never stopped moving! Our table liked to share appetizers and main courses. He made sure that everyone had something to eat no matter where we were in the meal unlike other tables that were served course by course. As a result, we were usually finished eating in over an hour and had time to visit the restroom or shop before the shows. It took other tables up to 2 hours to eat dinner! The quality and preparation of the food was good with adequate portions. If you wanted seconds or didnt like your first choice, it did not present a problem or a long wait.
The merchandise selection left much to be desired. Living in NY we have access to the best shopping. Princess clearly missed the mark on this one! Either the prices were too high -- $1,700 bracelets or looked like craft projects gone wrong. There were only 3 formal tops available for sale. Again for a ship this size the shops should have had more merchandise for sale with a better selection of items. I have been on smaller ships with all price points and larger selections of merchandise. Even with our $200 per person credit the shops were not busy.
The first production show Destination Anywhere was spectacular in its settings and original words and music! However, the second production show Motor City wasnt as good. The first show was repeated the next night in the theatre. The space between the rows in the theatre is very close together almost as if you were on an airplane in economy. The International Crew show drew a big crowd. Most of the other shows featured comedians and were scheduled at 7 and 10:30PM and not held in the theatre but in the smaller lounges. Seating was not sufficient. For second seating dinner at 8:15PM this meant you needed to go before dinner or you didnt see a show that night. The finals of the Princess Pop Star drew a standing room only crowd and was held in the smaller Club Fusion. The CD and his staff never seemed to correctly estimate the passengers interest in assigning the right room.
I was disappointed. Even after attending the special dinner on 6/10 prior to the 7/2 sailing, I thought I was prepared for my cruise. The Piazza area is way too small and congested to be enjoyed properly. It is a nice idea to have various acts perform here but only a limited number of seats are available. Most passengers have to view the performances leaning over the rails. On deck 5, the lowest deck of the Piazza, you have Vines (wine bar), Future Cruise Sales, Internet Cafe, the artwork for the art auctions, the pastries and other food, a small stage for the performers. When the champagne waterfall was held, passengers were jammed onto the dance floor reduced in size by the setup for the waterfall and hanging off the 2 stairways and hanging over the rails on the other 2 floors. Meanwhile the shops were open along with the Passenger Service desk on deck 6 and Crooners bar. Way too many things all in a very small area! Only deck 7 has a lot of open space near the photographer since it is a cross over deck.
The ship is very noisy due to the many open lounges and more than one thing going on in the same space at the same time. The traffic flow in the Horizon Court is very poor. Not all the elevators go to all parts of the ship causing much passenger frustration. It is a very big ship when you have to walk from the front to the back of it. There was always a long wait for elevators that arrived full.
Something was missing I just cant put my finger on it.
Color scheme was soothing. Nothing was outstanding or spectacular.
The crew and staff seemed surprised by the large number of families on board. Some families were assigned to 2 different dining rooms! Over 300 passengers were waitlisted for 2nd seating. However, there were many empty tables in Botecelli every night. Unless you pursued it with the Maitred you remained on the waitlist. There was little if any enforcement of the no shorts or jeans rule in the evening.
Good mix of ages and everyone seemed to get along. Everyone we encountered passengers and crew and staff were polite and friendly. Lots of activities but not necessarily those that families could participate in since several of the game shows required you to be selected to compete. No arts and crafts since ceramics (additional charge) were offered as part of the scholarship at sea program. Again, only a limited number of passengers could participate. Many of the ceramics cracked when placed in the kiln and passengers were given refunds but nothing to show for their time and effort. Line dancing always drew a big crowd of all ages as did some of the trivia games. We had teams of 16 or more to allow everyone to participate. Sunday Mass was standing room only in the Adagio restaurant since there was no other room available.
It wasnt the worst cruise I have been on, nor was it the best cruise. Princess still has a lot of things to iron out on the Crown Princess.
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