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Crown Princess July 29 - Aug. 7, 2006 Eastern Caribbean Myself and my wife (both 50) and two teenage boys (18 and 13) Previous Cruises 03 Carnival Victory to Canada 04 Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean 05 QM2 - Independence Day weekend Cruise 05 Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda 06 NCL Spirit- one night cruise to nowhere Embarkation A We left our home in Jersey City at 10:10 A.M. went though the Holland Tunnel and he Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, followed the blue signs for the terminal and arrived there to plenty of parking at 10:35 A.M. In fact the parking lot was only half full when we sailed. We checked our luggage, went through security and check in, got a map of the ship and waited for boarding. At 11:30 boarding started. The boarding picture was taken with no background and people in line behind you. Once on board there were plenty of staff to help. The elevators were manned throughout embarkation with crew directing your way. Very nice. Stopped at or stateroom and headed to the Horizon Court for lunch. When we returned to the stateroom our luggage had already arrived. We did not take the offered tour of the ship. Stateroom B+ The nicest room weve had on a cruise but one flaw makes me grade it below an A. We had originally booked an ocean view quad because no balconies were available but our TA called just before final payment was due and gave us the news that there was a balcony available if we wanted it.... and, of course, we did. What a great room and large balcony. We were on Caribe deck 10 room C530. The balconies on this deck are about a third larger than other decks and are half exposed and half covered. Deck 9 balconies are fully exposed with no cover. those above deck 10 are smaller, but covered. The balconies, regardless of size have two aluminum chairs, a large aluminum table and a small aluminum table (footstool height. There are also two mesh nylon reclining seats. One of the things that stood out in the cabin was the setup... more like a hotel than a ship. The beds had been put together to make a king and the storage and bathroom areas were separated from the sleeping area by a wall. The three level corner TV stand had a 19 inch TV on top with front audio video inputs so you can check your digital pictures and videos, a shelf for drinks in the middle and a fridge in an enclosed compartment on the bottom with only the ice bucket in it so you could feel free to make good use of it. Ice was restocked twice a day. The night stands had two small drawers and a shelf. There was a large mirror at the head of the bed and a tasteful painting on the wall across from the foot of the bead. The desk which was next to the bed also had some storage space. The hair dryer was attached to the wall above the desk in a corner by the balcony door... as far from the bathroom as it could be. Two beds dropped down from the ceiling for our teens. All the beds had comfortable duvets and fluffy comfortable pillows. There was one major design flaw. When the bed closest to the balcony comes down from the ceiling it blocks the AC vent from circulating air to it. After 2 hot sleepless nights my 18 year old told our steward to leave the bed in the ceiling and slept on the floor on a duvet. The steward said he fully understood that we were not the first to request this. So for 7 nights my son slept (very comfortably) on the floor. This allowed air to circulate better throughout the room and made my 13 year old, who was in the other upper, jealous... he wanted to sleep on the floor too! But he was fine in the upper bed by the wall. The bathroom was typical of ship bathrooms. The shower had good water pressure and a retractable clothes line. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners are sample size in a shell shaped bowl on the sink. Our steward brought all of us robes (you do need to request them - we asked for two but he brought 4). There were also 8 pool towels in the room. One nice touch was a form that was on our bed the first evening that allowed us to select how much fruit we wanted for the cruise. You fill out how many bananas, oranges, apples and pears you want. They are then placed in your room and replenished throughout the cruise. Muster A Painless in a lounge. Actually entertaining while waiting for the demonstration of life jackets. Done only in English (as were all announcements) which surprised us considering all the nationalities in the New York area. Food/Dining Service B+ The best food Ive had on a cruise. We ate in the Michelangelo dining room. We had anytime dining but all but one night ate at the same table, same time, same servers because we liked them so much. The first night we were seated randomly with another couple and by coincidence they had the same last name as ours!! On the second night we were seated as a family at our own table. We requested it again the next night and after that they remembered and sat us automatically at the same location. Although we had anytime dining we made it traditional by eating at close to the same time each night at the same table. this was great because we had the benefits of traditional and the flexibility of time. OK, about the food. It was excellent. Plenty of good choices at dinner. Try the fettucinni alfredo as your pasta course. It is offered every night along with another alternative that is different each night. Dont miss the veal ravioli when it is offered. The first nights feature is prime rib ( or you could go to the all seafood buffet in Cafe Caribe on deck 15). There is a lobster night and a king crab night in the dining room. The crab legs are cut in half so you can just pull the meat out with a fork. The seared scallops are also excellent. If you ever order a steak or prime rib, order one half step lower than youd like it. For example. if you want medium, order medium rare. The leg of lamb was the best Ive ever had... anywhere!! as was the rack of lamb. Stay away from the dry swordfish. I hedged my bets that night by ordering a steak with it for surf and turf and was glad I did. Desserts were just OK. We prefer ice cream (in the dining room it is Haggen Daz). You can choose your flavor and toppings. There was also a nice sorbet, different each night, made on the ship. Our waiter. Ricky, wanted us to try things, so wed order our ice cream and hed bring it along with 2 or 3 other desserts. one night my 18 year old asked about one of the chocolate desserts and received three different chocolate desserts along with his chocolate ice cream. You can get coffee, tea or herbal tea. Each night Alexis remembered my wife liked Bigelow orange spice tea and brought her a pot of it. The empty coffee and tea cups are pre warmed. Alex ,18, had a soda card. Matthew, 13, is not a soda drinker and ordered milk each night. My wife and I prefer water. The service was such that our glasses never got to below half full before being refilled. Also with regards to service, utensils are brought as courses are served so you get only what you need. Makes more sense than on the Voyager of the Seas where you have more utensils than you know what to do with. There is also a basket of rolls and bread stick on the table. A very important note: the dining room is cold. Bring a jacket or sweater. Cafe Caribe, a buffet at the back of the ship had a different themed meal each night and is nicely set up with linen placemats and napkins. As good as the dining room was at night, it was useless to us at lunch; too many fancy meals that my kids wont order. So we ate at the Horizon court. This buffet, on the Lido deck, had a strange layout but a great selection of food every day. Fish cooked here was always very good. You could also get iced tea. At busy times it may be difficult to get a seat. There were plenty of crew cleaning and helping to find seats and deliver drinks. Pizza and grilled foods (burgers, bratwurst, chicken) were available near the pools as was a street vendor type hot dog stand. Breakfast was good at either place. There was a set breakfast menu in the dining room and several daily selections. We ate in the dining room on sea days and the Horizon Court on port days. The Horizon Court had a bigger variety and wonderful french toast. Omelets were premade as were eggs over easy. Be careful. The plates are hot! Plain scrambled were always available as well as scrambled with meat or salmon, the ingredients different each day. There was also plenty of fresh fruit. Cereals were mostly for the adult palate. The only kids cereal was Frosted Flakes. The dining room had oatmeal but no Cream of wheat or grits, which were offered on the Voyager. There was an afternoon, white glove service tea with sandwiches. And the International Cafe where warm cookies, sandwiches, salads and cheeses were always available at no charge 24 hours a day. There are two formal nights. We did not use the alternative dining. I had lost 12 pounds prior to the cruise and gained three of them back during the cruise. I had allowed myself four so I felt pretty good about it. Entertainment/Activities A Best shows Ive seen on a cruise. Motor City, a Motown show is similar on most ships but this was the best executed. Destination Anywhere was also very good. What a Swell Party is a new show that was absolutely the best Ive ever seen on a cruise ship. Cole Porter music and dancing. dont miss this one! Also plan to take the backstage tour on the last day at sea. You wont believe what the dancers dresses weigh!! The first comedian, Sarge, was hilarious, doing a routine on the tipping incident and muster drill. The farewell comedian, Rick Star, was awful... just not funny at all with old old material We also had Steve Baner, a comic hypnotist, who was absolutely hilarious. If he is on your cruise do not miss him. Each day in the Piazza atrium there were various shows from jugglers to towel animal demonstrations. That was unusual since Princess does not do towel animals! Also there were game shows daily in Club Fusion. We had fun at The Price is Almost Right and Princess Jeopardy. There were also very well attended dancing classes with a different ballroom dance each day. I was amazed at how many activities there were to choose from each day. Lots of fun. Also, do not miss the cooking demonstration in the Princess theater or the galley tour that follows. The demonstration is very entertaining and the tour is interesting. There is no midnight buffet, but there is decorated food on the galley tour. MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) Not so great during the day but nice at night. We really enjoyed this. The pool is cleared and the lounge chairs get special covers. Blankets and popcorn are provided... a nice concept. Titanic is no longer shown :-) There was only a problem one night when the DVD got stuck two thirds of the way through the movie and could not be fixed (Fun With Dick and Jane). Fortunately they ran the movie all day the next day on the televisions so we could see the end of it. The mini golf, which is really just a putting green was lame with no rails to keep the balls from rolling around the entire course. All white balls so it wasnt easy to see which player had which ball. We gave up after 3 holes. A small stone wall surrounded the golf course and there were no drains so if there was a rainstorm at night the course became a wading pool and a sponge. . The scholarship at sea program offered various courses and lectures. Most were $25, some were free. There are two ping pong tables. Kid's Program A+ My 13 year old had a blast and spent most of his time at Remix, the teens area. There are many scheduled activities or it can just be a place to hang out. There were also some activities for those those 18-21. Alex avoided those and spent most of his time playing paddle ball or basketball on the woefully inadequate, hidden behind the smokestack sports deck. He won the basketball shootout contest on 4 of the 5 days he participated. His only complaint was that the sports deck was locked up tight by 10 PM With both kids occupied my wife and I had plenty of time to lounge and read on the promenade or our balcony Ports/Itinerary B+ Grand Turk: We took the hop on/hop off tour. it has only 3 stops but gives a good overview of the island, If you take this one make sure you get off at one end of town and walk to the other end along the shore. It is a quaint town with a 1950s look (except for he FedEx truck). The people are new to tourism, extremely friendly, and want to be seen as welcoming. Other than that there is not much on the island. many people chose to shop or go to the beach by the ship. While there, the Elation came in making an itinerary change due to Tropical Storm Chris. That was the first we heard of it. The weather was partly sunny, mid 80s. La Romana, Dominican Republic: a last minute change because of Chris and a first time stop for any Princess ship so no excursions were offered. Princess was able to arrange shuttle buses to town and have local tour guides at the pier. Princess did print a shopping guide with little preparation time. So with little guidance we took the shuttle into LaRomana, a poor town with many shops and some pressure to buy but not near as bad as Ocho Rios. Another shuttle went to Casa de Campo nearby which had million dollar homes, a beautiful beach and a modern mall. The port was surrounded by barbed wire with guards with sawed off shot guns posted along the fence. In town, the police also had shotguns. We were glad to get back to the ship, disappointed at missing San Juan. Weather was sunny and hot. St. Thomas: had to go through US immigration at this port but it was well organized. Immigration officials were in Club Fusion. Each deck was given a time period to report there with passport. We were in and out in 2 minutes. As you left the club you were given a landing card that allowed you to get off the ship any time without waiting for full clearance. Once everyone was cleared you could come and go without the card. We took the CasCay eco-tour of an uninhabited island and did snorkeling. A good choice. There was much talk by the locals that if Cuba ever opens up people will stop coming to St. Thomas. Weather was cloudy with a few showers. Bermuda: Ah yes, Bermuda, our favorite stop and one of the reasons we took this cruise. A 9 AM to 5 PM stop. We lost a half hour while two Bermudans on the cruise were located and summoned to immigration to clear the ship. It was a Saturday so ferry service was limited (hourly and no service to St. George) so we took a bus to Hamilton, walked around a while, saw a beautiful lily tree in Victoria Park and took a ferry back to the ship. After lunch went to Snorkel Park beach within walking distance from the ship... a wonderful day. If you are going to be there Sunday be aware that most stores will be closed. Excursions here may be worthwhile if you have a Saturday or Sunday stop. Weather was sunny in the mid to upper 80s. Note that you will need your sea pass and photo ID to reboard at most ports. My cell phone (Verizon Wireless) worked (roaming) in all ports Itll be interesting to see how much those calls cost. The Ship B Very nicely decorated ship with comfortable lounges and lots to do. You can basically get anywhere front to back from the Promenade deck 7 or Lido deck 15. The promenade is narrow and there is no shuffle board. We liked to walk around the promenade several times each morning for exercise. For those who like to sit on the promenade there are cushioned chairs that recline but no lounge chairs. There ae also small wood tables that make great footstools. Smoking is permitted on the starboard side. The aft of the ship from deck 15 up is difficult to navigate and I was still getting lost back there on the last day of the cruise. The shops are nothing special and dont even carry postcards or Christmas ornaments. We make our own buying two magnets and placing them back to back with a ribbon between them to hang from the tree. There are 4 main pools, two for families and two for adults only. We liked the adults only spa pool at the front of the ship just below the over-hyped Sanctuary. This pool also had a lap pool function that many enjoyed. we found ourselves drawn there every afternoon. There were also a couple of kids pools in the kids program area. The Calypso Pool (MUTS) closes at 5:30 P.M. All other pools close at midnight. Not a big deal. Many on this cruise were asleep early. Pools on Princess do not use saltwater. Amen! The internet cafe was small but worked well.. It was very busy the night of the itinerary change because of the storm. The sanctuary looks wonderful but I saw no reason to use it at $15 per half day. The fee is working too well. It never looked busy. We do not gamble or drink so I cannot comment on the casino or bars. We also did not use the spa but did use the well equipped gym. Let me pass on a secret. You can stand on top of the bridge (where the bridge extends like wings but you need to know how to get there. On Lido deck 15 forward go through the hallway of staterooms on the starboard side. At the front of the ship do not turn but go through an unmarked door (there is an exit sign pointing to the port side. You will then be in a short hallway that leads to a second door that will take you outside on top of the bridge. this is a great place to be whenever entering or leaving a port. The black box data recorder, which is really orange and not a box is also located there. There is no deck 13 so ask someone in the elevator to press the button for it and watch their reaction. Someone previously wrote that the ship shimmied and indeed it did when the seas were moderate and we were traveling south. No nice roll or rocking; more like a car with a wobbly tire. The rest of the time was smooth as can be whether the seas were slight or moderate. The balcony dividers sometimes creak as did the aft elevators, The other elevators seemed slow, but we were on a cruise and never in a hurry. The only damage we noticed from the tipping incident was a missing lamp on the staircase railing in the Piazza. The base was there, but the wiring and glass were missing. Otherwise the ship looked great. Ive read several reviews of this cruise where people sait that they felt a slight list and my wife mentioned it a couple of times during the last day but I never felt it. Service A++ Cant say enough about the Princess crew members. They were wonderful, extra friendly, seemed genuine, and went out of their way to make sure the cruise was special. We were very impressed! On the last day you are given a four page summary of the captains log as a souvenir. Disembarking C- If you can carry your own luggage you can get off as soon as the ship clears immigration. You must register to do this several days before arriving back in Brooklyn. We decided we had too much luggage and disembarked the traditional way, waiting for our color coded luggage tag to be called. If you do this you need to put all your luggage, except for one bag which can be put out by midnight, out before dinner on the last night. Breakfast is available at the Horizon court or in the dining room until 9 A.M. You must be out of your stateroom by 8 A.M. We docked at 7:15 A.M., were cleared by immigration by 7:45. Disembarkation was s l o w and we sat on the promenade deck reading until our color was called at 11 A.M. There were still six other tag colors after ours. Princess apologized for the slowness which was caused by congestion in the terminal.. Once off the ship we found our luggage and were off to the parking lot. Parking costs $164 for a 9 day cruise and can be paid by cash or credit card. You can pay at a machine before you get into your car or at the gate. The gate area only takes credit cards and Id recommend that route. The machines that took cash had long lines as people had trouble getting the machine to recognize wrinkled bills. Overall (personal opinion): My favorite cruise so far but not my favorite ship. The Voyager of the Seas is a nicer ship and better thought out. Now if I could just get this Princess crew on the Voyager of the Seas all would be perfect. Two pages of pictures available at http://web.mac.com/pekrause/iWeb/Site/Crown%20Princess%2006.html

Crown Princess - Eastern Caribbean

Crown Princess Cruise Review by paulekrause

Trip Details
Crown Princess July 29 - Aug. 7, 2006 Eastern Caribbean
Myself and my wife (both 50) and two teenage boys (18 and 13)
Previous Cruises 03 Carnival Victory to Canada 04 Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean 05 QM2 - Independence Day weekend Cruise 05 Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda 06 NCL Spirit- one night cruise to nowhere
Embarkation A
We left our home in Jersey City at 10:10 A.M. went though the Holland Tunnel and he Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, followed the blue signs for the terminal and arrived there to plenty of parking at 10:35 A.M. In fact the parking lot was only half full when we sailed. We checked our luggage, went through security and check in, got a map of the ship and waited for boarding. At 11:30 boarding started. The boarding picture was taken with no background and people in line behind you. Once on board there were plenty of staff to help. The elevators were manned throughout embarkation with crew directing your way. Very nice. Stopped at or stateroom and headed to the Horizon Court for lunch. When we returned to the stateroom our luggage had already arrived. We did not take the offered tour of the ship.
Stateroom B+
The nicest room weve had on a cruise but one flaw makes me grade it below an A. We had originally booked an ocean view quad because no balconies were available but our TA called just before final payment was due and gave us the news that there was a balcony available if we wanted it.... and, of course, we did. What a great room and large balcony. We were on Caribe deck 10 room C530. The balconies on this deck are about a third larger than other decks and are half exposed and half covered. Deck 9 balconies are fully exposed with no cover. those above deck 10 are smaller, but covered. The balconies, regardless of size have two aluminum chairs, a large aluminum table and a small aluminum table (footstool height. There are also two mesh nylon reclining seats.
One of the things that stood out in the cabin was the setup... more like a hotel than a ship. The beds had been put together to make a king and the storage and bathroom areas were separated from the sleeping area by a wall. The three level corner TV stand had a 19 inch TV on top with front audio video inputs so you can check your digital pictures and videos, a shelf for drinks in the middle and a fridge in an enclosed compartment on the bottom with only the ice bucket in it so you could feel free to make good use of it. Ice was restocked twice a day. The night stands had two small drawers and a shelf. There was a large mirror at the head of the bed and a tasteful painting on the wall across from the foot of the bead. The desk which was next to the bed also had some storage space. The hair dryer was attached to the wall above the desk in a corner by the balcony door... as far from the bathroom as it could be.
Two beds dropped down from the ceiling for our teens. All the beds had comfortable duvets and fluffy comfortable pillows. There was one major design flaw. When the bed closest to the balcony comes down from the ceiling it blocks the AC vent from circulating air to it. After 2 hot sleepless nights my 18 year old told our steward to leave the bed in the ceiling and slept on the floor on a duvet. The steward said he fully understood that we were not the first to request this. So for 7 nights my son slept (very comfortably) on the floor. This allowed air to circulate better throughout the room and made my 13 year old, who was in the other upper, jealous... he wanted to sleep on the floor too! But he was fine in the upper bed by the wall. The bathroom was typical of ship bathrooms. The shower had good water pressure and a retractable clothes line. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners are sample size in a shell shaped bowl on the sink. Our steward brought all of us robes (you do need to request them - we asked for two but he brought 4). There were also 8 pool towels in the room. One nice touch was a form that was on our bed the first evening that allowed us to select how much fruit we wanted for the cruise. You fill out how many bananas, oranges, apples and pears you want. They are then placed in your room and replenished throughout the cruise.
Muster A
Painless in a lounge. Actually entertaining while waiting for the demonstration of life jackets. Done only in English (as were all announcements) which surprised us considering all the nationalities in the New York area.
Food/Dining Service B+
The best food Ive had on a cruise. We ate in the Michelangelo dining room. We had anytime dining but all but one night ate at the same table, same time, same servers because we liked them so much. The first night we were seated randomly with another couple and by coincidence they had the same last name as ours!! On the second night we were seated as a family at our own table. We requested it again the next night and after that they remembered and sat us automatically at the same location. Although we had anytime dining we made it traditional by eating at close to the same time each night at the same table. this was great because we had the benefits of traditional and the flexibility of time.
OK, about the food. It was excellent. Plenty of good choices at dinner. Try the fettucinni alfredo as your pasta course. It is offered every night along with another alternative that is different each night. Dont miss the veal ravioli when it is offered. The first nights feature is prime rib ( or you could go to the all seafood buffet in Cafe Caribe on deck 15). There is a lobster night and a king crab night in the dining room. The crab legs are cut in half so you can just pull the meat out with a fork. The seared scallops are also excellent. If you ever order a steak or prime rib, order one half step lower than youd like it. For example. if you want medium, order medium rare. The leg of lamb was the best Ive ever had... anywhere!! as was the rack of lamb. Stay away from the dry swordfish. I hedged my bets that night by ordering a steak with it for surf and turf and was glad I did.
Desserts were just OK. We prefer ice cream (in the dining room it is Haggen Daz). You can choose your flavor and toppings. There was also a nice sorbet, different each night, made on the ship. Our waiter. Ricky, wanted us to try things, so wed order our ice cream and hed bring it along with 2 or 3 other desserts. one night my 18 year old asked about one of the chocolate desserts and received three different chocolate desserts along with his chocolate ice cream. You can get coffee, tea or herbal tea. Each night Alexis remembered my wife liked Bigelow orange spice tea and brought her a pot of it. The empty coffee and tea cups are pre warmed. Alex ,18, had a soda card. Matthew, 13, is not a soda drinker and ordered milk each night. My wife and I prefer water. The service was such that our glasses never got to below half full before being refilled. Also with regards to service, utensils are brought as courses are served so you get only what you need. Makes more sense than on the Voyager of the Seas where you have more utensils than you know what to do with. There is also a basket of rolls and bread stick on the table.
A very important note: the dining room is cold. Bring a jacket or sweater.
Cafe Caribe, a buffet at the back of the ship had a different themed meal each night and is nicely set up with linen placemats and napkins.
As good as the dining room was at night, it was useless to us at lunch; too many fancy meals that my kids wont order. So we ate at the Horizon court. This buffet, on the Lido deck, had a strange layout but a great selection of food every day. Fish cooked here was always very good. You could also get iced tea. At busy times it may be difficult to get a seat. There were plenty of crew cleaning and helping to find seats and deliver drinks. Pizza and grilled foods (burgers, bratwurst, chicken) were available near the pools as was a street vendor type hot dog stand.
Breakfast was good at either place. There was a set breakfast menu in the dining room and several daily selections. We ate in the dining room on sea days and the Horizon Court on port days. The Horizon Court had a bigger variety and wonderful french toast. Omelets were premade as were eggs over easy. Be careful. The plates are hot! Plain scrambled were always available as well as scrambled with meat or salmon, the ingredients different each day. There was also plenty of fresh fruit. Cereals were mostly for the adult palate. The only kids cereal was Frosted Flakes. The dining room had oatmeal but no Cream of wheat or grits, which were offered on the Voyager.
There was an afternoon, white glove service tea with sandwiches. And the International Cafe where warm cookies, sandwiches, salads and cheeses were always available at no charge 24 hours a day.
There are two formal nights.
We did not use the alternative dining.
I had lost 12 pounds prior to the cruise and gained three of them back during the cruise. I had allowed myself four so I felt pretty good about it.
Entertainment/Activities A
Best shows Ive seen on a cruise. Motor City, a Motown show is similar on most ships but this was the best executed. Destination Anywhere was also very good. What a Swell Party is a new show that was absolutely the best Ive ever seen on a cruise ship. Cole Porter music and dancing. dont miss this one! Also plan to take the backstage tour on the last day at sea. You wont believe what the dancers dresses weigh!!
The first comedian, Sarge, was hilarious, doing a routine on the tipping incident and muster drill. The farewell comedian, Rick Star, was awful... just not funny at all with old old material We also had Steve Baner, a comic hypnotist, who was absolutely hilarious. If he is on your cruise do not miss him.
Each day in the Piazza atrium there were various shows from jugglers to towel animal demonstrations. That was unusual since Princess does not do towel animals!
Also there were game shows daily in Club Fusion. We had fun at The Price is Almost Right and Princess Jeopardy. There were also very well attended dancing classes with a different ballroom dance each day. I was amazed at how many activities there were to choose from each day. Lots of fun. Also, do not miss the cooking demonstration in the Princess theater or the galley tour that follows. The demonstration is very entertaining and the tour is interesting. There is no midnight buffet, but there is decorated food on the galley tour. MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) Not so great during the day but nice at night. We really enjoyed this. The pool is cleared and the lounge chairs get special covers. Blankets and popcorn are provided... a nice concept. Titanic is no longer shown :-) There was only a problem one night when the DVD got stuck two thirds of the way through the movie and could not be fixed (Fun With Dick and Jane). Fortunately they ran the movie all day the next day on the televisions so we could see the end of it.
The mini golf, which is really just a putting green was lame with no rails to keep the balls from rolling around the entire course. All white balls so it wasnt easy to see which player had which ball. We gave up after 3 holes. A small stone wall surrounded the golf course and there were no drains so if there was a rainstorm at night the course became a wading pool and a sponge. .
The scholarship at sea program offered various courses and lectures. Most were $25, some were free.
There are two ping pong tables.
Kid's Program A+
My 13 year old had a blast and spent most of his time at Remix, the teens area. There are many scheduled activities or it can just be a place to hang out. There were also some activities for those those 18-21. Alex avoided those and spent most of his time playing paddle ball or basketball on the woefully inadequate, hidden behind the smokestack sports deck. He won the basketball shootout contest on 4 of the 5 days he participated. His only complaint was that the sports deck was locked up tight by 10 PM
With both kids occupied my wife and I had plenty of time to lounge and read on the promenade or our balcony Ports/Itinerary B+
Grand Turk: We took the hop on/hop off tour. it has only 3 stops but gives a good overview of the island, If you take this one make sure you get off at one end of town and walk to the other end along the shore. It is a quaint town with a 1950s look (except for he FedEx truck). The people are new to tourism, extremely friendly, and want to be seen as welcoming. Other than that there is not much on the island. many people chose to shop or go to the beach by the ship. While there, the Elation came in making an itinerary change due to Tropical Storm Chris. That was the first we heard of it. The weather was partly sunny, mid 80s.
La Romana, Dominican Republic: a last minute change because of Chris and a first time stop for any Princess ship so no excursions were offered. Princess was able to arrange shuttle buses to town and have local tour guides at the pier. Princess did print a shopping guide with little preparation time. So with little guidance we took the shuttle into LaRomana, a poor town with many shops and some pressure to buy but not near as bad as Ocho Rios. Another shuttle went to Casa de Campo nearby which had million dollar homes, a beautiful beach and a modern mall. The port was surrounded by barbed wire with guards with sawed off shot guns posted along the fence. In town, the police also had shotguns. We were glad to get back to the ship, disappointed at missing San Juan. Weather was sunny and hot.
St. Thomas: had to go through US immigration at this port but it was well organized. Immigration officials were in Club Fusion. Each deck was given a time period to report there with passport. We were in and out in 2 minutes. As you left the club you were given a landing card that allowed you to get off the ship any time without waiting for full clearance. Once everyone was cleared you could come and go without the card. We took the CasCay eco-tour of an uninhabited island and did snorkeling. A good choice. There was much talk by the locals that if Cuba ever opens up people will stop coming to St. Thomas. Weather was cloudy with a few showers.
Bermuda: Ah yes, Bermuda, our favorite stop and one of the reasons we took this cruise. A 9 AM to 5 PM stop. We lost a half hour while two Bermudans on the cruise were located and summoned to immigration to clear the ship. It was a Saturday so ferry service was limited (hourly and no service to St. George) so we took a bus to Hamilton, walked around a while, saw a beautiful lily tree in Victoria Park and took a ferry back to the ship. After lunch went to Snorkel Park beach within walking distance from the ship... a wonderful day. If you are going to be there Sunday be aware that most stores will be closed. Excursions here may be worthwhile if you have a Saturday or Sunday stop. Weather was sunny in the mid to upper 80s.
Note that you will need your sea pass and photo ID to reboard at most ports.
My cell phone (Verizon Wireless) worked (roaming) in all ports Itll be interesting to see how much those calls cost.
The Ship B
Very nicely decorated ship with comfortable lounges and lots to do. You can basically get anywhere front to back from the Promenade deck 7 or Lido deck 15. The promenade is narrow and there is no shuffle board. We liked to walk around the promenade several times each morning for exercise. For those who like to sit on the promenade there are cushioned chairs that recline but no lounge chairs. There ae also small wood tables that make great footstools. Smoking is permitted on the starboard side. The aft of the ship from deck 15 up is difficult to navigate and I was still getting lost back there on the last day of the cruise.
The shops are nothing special and dont even carry postcards or Christmas ornaments. We make our own buying two magnets and placing them back to back with a ribbon between them to hang from the tree.
There are 4 main pools, two for families and two for adults only. We liked the adults only spa pool at the front of the ship just below the over-hyped Sanctuary. This pool also had a lap pool function that many enjoyed. we found ourselves drawn there every afternoon. There were also a couple of kids pools in the kids program area. The Calypso Pool (MUTS) closes at 5:30 P.M. All other pools close at midnight. Not a big deal. Many on this cruise were asleep early. Pools on Princess do not use saltwater. Amen! The internet cafe was small but worked well.. It was very busy the night of the itinerary change because of the storm.
The sanctuary looks wonderful but I saw no reason to use it at $15 per half day. The fee is working too well. It never looked busy.
We do not gamble or drink so I cannot comment on the casino or bars. We also did not use the spa but did use the well equipped gym.
Let me pass on a secret. You can stand on top of the bridge (where the bridge extends like wings but you need to know how to get there. On Lido deck 15 forward go through the hallway of staterooms on the starboard side. At the front of the ship do not turn but go through an unmarked door (there is an exit sign pointing to the port side. You will then be in a short hallway that leads to a second door that will take you outside on top of the bridge. this is a great place to be whenever entering or leaving a port. The black box data recorder, which is really orange and not a box is also located there.
There is no deck 13 so ask someone in the elevator to press the button for it and watch their reaction.
Someone previously wrote that the ship shimmied and indeed it did when the seas were moderate and we were traveling south. No nice roll or rocking; more like a car with a wobbly tire. The rest of the time was smooth as can be whether the seas were slight or moderate. The balcony dividers sometimes creak as did the aft elevators, The other elevators seemed slow, but we were on a cruise and never in a hurry. The only damage we noticed from the tipping incident was a missing lamp on the staircase railing in the Piazza. The base was there, but the wiring and glass were missing. Otherwise the ship looked great. Ive read several reviews of this cruise where people sait that they felt a slight list and my wife mentioned it a couple of times during the last day but I never felt it.
Service A++
Cant say enough about the Princess crew members. They were wonderful, extra friendly, seemed genuine, and went out of their way to make sure the cruise was special. We were very impressed! On the last day you are given a four page summary of the captains log as a souvenir.
Disembarking C- If you can carry your own luggage you can get off as soon as the ship clears immigration. You must register to do this several days before arriving back in Brooklyn. We decided we had too much luggage and disembarked the traditional way, waiting for our color coded luggage tag to be called. If you do this you need to put all your luggage, except for one bag which can be put out by midnight, out before dinner on the last night. Breakfast is available at the Horizon court or in the dining room until 9 A.M. You must be out of your stateroom by 8 A.M. We docked at 7:15 A.M., were cleared by immigration by 7:45. Disembarkation was s l o w and we sat on the promenade deck reading until our color was called at 11 A.M. There were still six other tag colors after ours. Princess apologized for the slowness which was caused by congestion in the terminal.. Once off the ship we found our luggage and were off to the parking lot. Parking costs $164 for a 9 day cruise and can be paid by cash or credit card. You can pay at a machine before you get into your car or at the gate. The gate area only takes credit cards and Id recommend that route. The machines that took cash had long lines as people had trouble getting the machine to recognize wrinkled bills.
Overall (personal opinion): My favorite cruise so far but not my favorite ship. The Voyager of the Seas is a nicer ship and better thought out. Now if I could just get this Princess crew on the Voyager of the Seas all would be perfect.
Two pages of pictures available at http://web.mac.com/pekrause/iWeb/Site/Crown%20Princess%2006.html
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