Crown Princess Cruise Review by Love Boat Dream
- Sail Date: August 2006
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
We drove to the ship from CT. If you are driving please leave extra time! There were so many delays due to traffic and construction!
We arrived at 3:10. We walked right up to a check in window and right onto the ship. I am glad that we didn't come on the early side. I was told that although the check in was quick at 11:30, no one was allowed on until 12:30-1 pm.
Parking was a breeze. Not even half the lot was full even at that late time. We pulled up and a porter took our bags and we parked and walked back in 2 minutes. On the way home, we paid in the terminal so we were able to drive right out. It cost $162.
We were in D220 in a mini suite. First I was a little put off that we did not meet our cabin steward until the next night. But, she turned out to be great. Her name is Gina and she was out for a couple of days with a bad back. But, she was very attentive. She even made my son 2 wonderful towel animals for his birthday. I did ask for these and she had no problem doing them for us.
We loved our minisuite. The bedding is wonderful and very comfy. We had air conditioning problems the first night, but the engineer came promptly. The room was never cold, but it was comfortable. You have to make sure the door is shut for it to work properly though.
Mostly I did not mind the open balcony. I liked being open to the stars. Although we were in view of everyone above us! And, it could not be used in the rain. but, it was a nice large size. It was never too hot out there.
We started in Anytime Dining but were switched in time for the 3rd night to early traditional. I think there is a real difference in the attention you are given by the waitstaff if you have traditional vs anytime. Unless you make a point of reserving your own waiter in Anytime, the wait staff does not get to know you and your preferences. We had a wonderful team. Nikko and Johnathan were fabulous waiters and after the first night knew what we liked. And, it was nice to get to know them too!
Food: We are not food snobs, but we do like good food! We usually make allowances that cruise food is NOT fine dining. It is very nice dining but for 3,000 people! I have to say that in 25 cruises, the food in the DINING ROOM was probably consistently the WORST FOOD I have ever eaten on a cruise ship on any line! It was all extremely salty and did not taste good to me. Mostly it looked pretty, but the red snapper fingers looked like a plate of eels and was rubbery. One bite and I couldn't eat any more! Even the crab legs tasted like they had been dunked in salt and the lobster was rubbery. I usually have 2-3 plates of lobster on the 2nd formal and I barely made my way through one! The starters were passable though and some were good. Desserts were delicious. I love the Love Boat Dream and also the souffles. One nigh tin anytime, the waiter served me a FLAT souffle which tasted awful. I sent it back and the new one was very tasty.
Breakfast was good in the dining room. the one lunch I had there was terrible though. For breakfast, you can order crunchy french toast or eggs benedict either the evening before or wait 20 minutes for them in the morning. They were also able to make a special order of chocolate chip pancakes for my son.
But, the food I ate everywhere else was wonderful! We fully enjoyed our 2 dinners in Cafe Caribe. The Provencale night and the Indonesian Rijstaffel were both excellent. The pizza and the grill were yummy too. Sabatini's was fabulous (the lobster there was perfect!) I loved the International cafe. The marinated shrimp, the paninis and the spinach and mushroom salad were fabulous! And, the COOKIES!!!
They no longer serve them piping hot because someone got burned. But sometimes you would get one that was a little warm. Cool they are very good cookies. Warm, they are amazing! One of the workers gave me some hot ones from the back after I begged and they were the best cookies I have ever eaten!
They put the chocolate chip cookies out at 11. If you go there at 10:45, and ask politely someone might bring them to you to from the back (when they are still warm!)
Sabatini's was just lovely. The food was perfect there! We had Valentin as our waiter. And, we had our dessert in Adagio. I loved the drinks menu in Adagio too.
We loved the acts in the Piazza area. A great new Princess innovation! All of the demos were here too. Always something going on here and we loved it. Especially the first two days of the trip that were rainy!
Entertainment: Sarge was hilarious! He was very funny and his life story is very inspirational. I know he is having a one man show in Lincoln Center as part of a comedy series and he will be in a movie too. Here's one of his jokes about the ship "the Crown Princess is the first in the fleet where there are no gratuities needed. The ship already tips for you!"
Uber Rossi did amazing physical comedy (although his jokes fell short) We enjoyed Kenny Cabral the juggler and also The Cool Magic Dude in both the atrium area and at their shows.
Kenny Byrd is a great ventriloquist although I thought his jokes to be a little off color for a family show. There were a few other people we did not get to see.
I was so glad to see the level of entertainment on Princess ships raised for this voyage. No octogenarian harmonica players! All the entertainers were very enjoyable!
Production shows: the singers and dancers are incredibly talented and worked their hearts out. I was glad to see the dancers were more mature than usual (meaning they did not look like they were 16!) the singers were great! Very high energy from everyone on stage!
I did not love "What a Swell Party" though. That was the one with the Cole Porter songs. I liked Motor City. They had everyone singing along. They did a great job with Destination Anywhere. (Although for me no show has ever been as good as Mystique -the one with the Chinese acrobats!)
Don't bother buying the Savvy Traveler on board the ship. These are not big shopping ports. The "freebies" are pretty junky. i had a book from my last cruise and there wasn't much to get in these ports. On the Dawn last year they gave a spa discount with the book, but not on the Crown.
The stores on the ship sold the same old stuff. The Crown shirts were poor quality for tee shirts.
I prefer to find a nice deck chair away from the crowds and read my book. I never had a problem finding a nice place to sit. The chair hogs congregate around the pool area.
We tried the ballroom dancing once and it was a lot of fun. Very well attended.
They have the Ceramics at Sea set up in a nice area on Deck 15 between the 2 pools. It was very popular. I had been looking forward to scrapbook classes but I was told they ran out of supplies after the 2nd cruise.
We LOVED Movies Under the Stars. I didn't see anything during the day. If you did, you could purchase a headset for $2.50. It is yours for the entire cruise (and I have heard you can keep it for your next cruise too) Some day time movies had subtitles too. At night, MUTS is transformed. They put covers on the deck chairs and give you a cozy blanket. There is free popcorn and the buffet, pizza and grill are all close by and of course the bar is open. The sound was good and it was such a fun and relaxing thing to do!
We had a couples massage in a cabana in the Sanctuary. It was heavenly. You can sit in the Sanctuary for an hour after at no charge. I also went back to the Sanctuary for an afternoon. I paid the $15 without complaint. It was worth it to me. It was very quiet, the seats are very comfortable and the service was excellent. You can get several menu items up there that are not available elsewhere also.
My son spent a lot of time in the Pelicans room (ages 3-7) He had a great time. Always something to do. Lots of children on board and they were all very well behaved. The hours of the kids club are 9-12, 2-5 and 7-10. After 10 you can pay for babysitting ($5 an hour) There were 2 kids dinners while we were on board. Port days the center was open 9-5, by appointment. The older group were the shockwaves (8-12) and the teens were Off Limits. I felt the staff in the kids room was very professional and they took very good care of the children.
My son had his 7th birthday on board. The staff made a nice fuss over him. He loved it. The staff on this ship is excellent.
A little excitement on our trip: A false Man Overboard report was called in. They spent 2 hours searching the water. All activities on board were ceased and everyone had to go back to their cabins for a roll call. Luckily, no one was missing. The prankster was caught and he and his family were off the ship the next day.
A comment on the "Brownie" video. I didn't even know it happened until I read about it on CC.
Here's what we did in the ports:
Grand Turk: Nice sunny weather. We were going to take a cab to a beach. But, once we saw the nice beach right there at the pier we stayed. We swam in the Margarita pool too. Being there at Margaritaville almost felt like it was a private island stop (where you had to pay if you wanted food!) There were a few stalls of Island type merchandise, a few jewelry stores and a duty free store. We had to be on board at 1:30 so it was too short of a day!
Ocho Rios: We used Trevor Hudlin for a private tour. He had a family emergency, so he said a substitute (we knew this in advance) A very nice gentleman. We shared out tour with another family from CC. We went tubing. It was so much fun! And, we were there before the crowds. I highly recommend this activity. He then took us to the Wassi pottery factory. It was interesting. We got a pottery demo. My son was allowed to make his own little pot on the wheel. We also went to the Taj Mahal shopping area which I didn't care for and for a scenic ride. WE WERE NEVER SOLICITED TO BUY DRUGS or bothered in any way by people looking for tips.
Warning! The reports from past cruisers is really true. People buy drugs and then the officials know exactly who purchased it. A teenager was pulled out of the line and he had drugs on him. Clearly he was pointed out. He was arrested and he had to stay overnight. Supposedly he was having a hearing the next day and was going to fly home. I heard from a friend of his that his family did NOT leave the ship. He was 19 and they continued on their cruise and left him there to take care of things himself! The teen who told me this also said he knew of one other person who was pulled out of line but did not know if he was arrested and was off the ship. It really looks like a scam where the drug dealers tell the officials who has bought from them!
Grand Cayman: We did the catamaran with Capt Bryan to the stingrays and then 2 snorkel stops. We loved it (even though it rained on the way back) I highly recommend this independent tour! It was reasonably priced and there were only 20 of us onboard.
A note to all: Write your name on your waterproof camera! mine got mixed up with someone else's and I don't know if I came off with the right one! I have to get it developed later today.
Port Canaveral: We went on the Kennedy Space Center tour. It was quick and we would have liked more time but it is sufficient to get a good overview. Here are some tips! Get up just a few minutes earlier and get in the first 2 rows in the meeting area (Princess theater) This will put you in the front of the line. We were the very first people through customs (the computers weren't even on yet) and we were on the first bus to the space center. We had a wonderful guide on the bus. BTW, make sure you don't have any nail files or knives because they will be confiscated! We got to KSC first and had time to look at the exhibits before we went into the IMAX movie (and early show just for our group) In the IMAX, sit all the way to the right so you are first out and do not have a long wait for the buses that take you all around the center and around the launch pads. Then, you will be the first to the exhibit center and will have much more time there to look around! It was a pricey tour, but we had no crowds and I am glad we went!
Disembarkation: We had a later color. Since we drove we were in no hurry. We had breakfast in the Davinci on the later side. When we did get off, it was quick and easy. You can wait in a line and either get a blue cart that you can take yourself or an orange cart with a porter. You can prepay the parking before you leave the terminal.
Driving out of the terminal area was the longest part!
Overall, we loved the cruise! I prefer a smaller ship though. Everyone on board was wonderful, but in my opinion the level of service and the amenities are even better on a smaller ship.
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