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Overall, we were a little disappointed with our third Princess cruise - mostly with Princess's new approach (a la Carnival) toward their customers. Embarkation was pleasant and efficient, considering the size of the ship. We noticed a lot of folks from the prior cruise were disembarking rather late, so we had to wait a bit longer than expected to leave the waiting area and begin the boarding process. Everything went very smoothly, though. From the moment you board, people hawk soda cards at every turn the entire day. And so began the pushy marketing. The ship - very nice, but - as others have mentioned - nothing really jumped out at you. I was surprised to find that the MUTS was actually enjoyable - watched a movie and a football game (don't get me started on the fact that the eagerly-anticipated Eagles/Saints game was unavailable. People were clamoring for it, but we were given some line about a problem with the satellite reception for that station. Maybe they just didn't pay for the rights to air that game). I agree with some of the other reviews about the layout of the ship's decks. Some elevators didn't go to the upper decks; you had to exit the elevator, walk to the back of the ship, and take another elevator. Better signage might have helped somewhat. The pools and hot tubs were nice, and there was almost always an available spot in either - the main area's hot tubs were often filled to capacity, but if you wandered around the ship, you could always find an available spot. Princess's staterooms are usually on the small side, and the Crown is no exception; Royal Caribbean's cabins are generally larger. There was adequate closet space, but very little storage in the cabin area itself - just a few small drawers. The bathroom was small but functional. The shower was extremely small - I don't know how "large" folks manage in there! They neglected to provide a reasonable amount of space for bath products in there, too. Our safe repeatedly malfunctioned; we had to have Security visit numerous times to assist us with it. This was our first time on the Aloha deck, and we got to look down on the partially exposed balconies below us for a change. The balcony was small but cozy. Be forewarned - once you have a balcony stateroom, it's the only way you'll want to cruise. One of the best additions on the Crown - and a personal favorite - was the Wine and Sushi bar. The staffers there were wonderful - friendly, helpful, and attentive - and the selection of wines and freshly made sushi were just right. I spent some time there almost daily. The sushi was fresh and expertly prepared. Our cabin attendant was simply wonderful, as they have always been on Princess. She really went the extra mile. Most of these people work terribly hard to please you, and spend as long as eight months away from their families in the process. They usually deserve something extra (above the pre-paid service charge for staff) at the end of the cruise for all of their effort. While Princess did a good job overall on cleaning up the ship after the rolling incident, there was still some evidence of the damage; on the upper decks, some glass wind guards were still broken. Otherwise, she looked relatively good. One thing that "steamed" me: I discovered that the steam room had also been damaged during the rolling incident. The entire front of the room was missing; it had been shattered. After observing the ridiculously designed glass doors on the nearby shower stalls, I understood how the damage occurred. Did the designers simply forget that ships are capable of rocking? On even a relatively smooth day, the shower doors kept swinging open and closed by themselves - the tiny magnetic latch was not strong enough to hold them closed. This was not what upset me, though! Another passenger had asked to use the other steam room (which I believe was in the spa treatment area itself), and he was told that he could - if he was willing to pay for a spa treatment in order to gain access to it! Preposterous, and insulting! You'll see a repeating theme here: squeeze more money out of your customers wherever possible. If they were unable to repair the "free" steam room for weeks, then they should have allowed passengers to use the remaining steam room in the meantime. This is called taking care of your customers. As another reviewer stated, it's more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Princess apparently is too cocky to care about that now. This was generally the rule, not the exception, when it came to the treatment received from many of the staffers we encountered. Let me qualify this by saying that the bartenders, cabin stewards, and most of the restaurant staff were terrific. It was more the upper echelon of the crew, such as the Customer Service and Pursers Desk staff, etc., who seemed to be unaware that their job was to assist the passengers (a.k.a. customers). They could barely be bothered, it seemed. There was some misinformation aboard, too. One example: the 24-hour pizza stand. At one point, when we found it closed just after 1:00 am, we were told that it was only open until 1:00. The next night, it was closed long before 1:00 am again. We observed this three times. The pizza was fairly good, for the record, as were the hamburgers and chicken they managed to keep available most of the day. The fact that the ship was again unable to make port in Bermuda (I think it happened at least four weeks in a row, counting the week we were on board) was very frustrating. Since it had happened several times already, you would think that they would either have planned another stop as a backup, or arranged for tenders to take people ashore. Or maybe they could have just let us stay at the prior port another night. This wouldn't have been terrible, since our port visits tended to be on the short side (5 or 6 hours) to begin with. No, we just cruised along at low throttle for another day of "spend your money at the bars, casino, stores, and spas, please" - for many who took this cruise primarily to visit Bermuda, it was an outrage. I was disappointed with missing the chance to see the island for the first time, but more upset with the way it was handled by Princess. Yes, cruise lines are struggling to offer the best pricing for the cruise itself, but this new approach of nickel-and-diming you to death for everything once you get on board is getting out of control. I won't list all of the annoying charges they levy now; other write-ups have addressed this already. Now, if only the cruise lines would address it better. Most people would rather pay more up front, and not be surprised and annoyed later by these charges. Considering the number of at-sea days, there were not enough onboard activities. Many people seemed to feel that the overall attitude of Princess was, "While you're on board the ship, spend some more cash." The wait staff swarmed the pool areas relentlessly, asking you if you needed another drink. It was convenient to rarely have to walk to the bar, but it bordered on harassment the way they kept at it. Just another way Princess gently encourages you to ring up more charges to your account, I suppose. Food onboard ranged from acceptable to good, with the occasional unpalatable. We ate at both Sabatini's and the Crown Grille, paying the extra fee for the privilege. The food was certainly better than the regular ship fare, but whether it was worth the price is debatable. I preferred the experience at the Crown Grille to Sabatini's, personally, though the staff at Sabatini's was very entertaining. In fairness, we've dined at Sabatini's several times before on other ships. The premium restaurants are a nice change of pace, and something different to try. I'm sure you can find reviews going into much more detail, so I'll leave it at that. The entertainment was just fair overall. One comedian was fantastic, and the next was so awful, you felt sorry for him. The production shows were enjoyable, but - as others have mentioned - the theater is far too small to accommodate the percentage of people who might want to see a given show. Disembarkation - Not terribly organized. It took us a very long time to get off the ship. Getting on an elevator bordered on impossible. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast, with 3000+ passengers onboard. It wasn't a pleasant experience. Excursions: We did two Princess-sponsored excursions. I would not recommend the drive tour of the rain forest in Puerto Rico. An hour each way in a small bus with fixed windows, then only three or four brief stops to actually get to see anything. There were much better tours available, I heard later. The trip I would recommend highly was the Sea Blaster snorkel trip in St. Thomas. Great boat, fantastic crew, and they take you to some nice snorkeling locations. As a bonus, they pick you up just a few hundred yards from the ship, which is very convenient. And, after snorkeling is done, they serve their delicious homemade rum punch. There's also another snorkeling trip I'd recommend, called Captain Nautica. They use large rigid inflatables to zip you to 3 different locations, and they also have a terrific crew. In closing, unless I see people beginning to document positive changes in the way Princess is doing business, I believe I will be cruising with a different line in the future. For those of you who have never been on a Princess cruise before, you may still find it a great experience. It's just not as good as it was in the past. The Carnival influence has taken them down a notch; hopefully they'll reverse that.

Crown Princess - Eastern Caribbean

Crown Princess Cruise Review by flukeslapper

Trip Details
Overall, we were a little disappointed with our third Princess cruise - mostly with Princess's new approach (a la Carnival) toward their customers. Embarkation was pleasant and efficient, considering the size of the ship. We noticed a lot of folks from the prior cruise were disembarking rather late, so we had to wait a bit longer than expected to leave the waiting area and begin the boarding process. Everything went very smoothly, though. From the moment you board, people hawk soda cards at every turn the entire day. And so began the pushy marketing.
The ship - very nice, but - as others have mentioned - nothing really jumped out at you. I was surprised to find that the MUTS was actually enjoyable - watched a movie and a football game (don't get me started on the fact that the eagerly-anticipated Eagles/Saints game was unavailable. People were clamoring for it, but we were given some line about a problem with the satellite reception for that station. Maybe they just didn't pay for the rights to air that game).
I agree with some of the other reviews about the layout of the ship's decks. Some elevators didn't go to the upper decks; you had to exit the elevator, walk to the back of the ship, and take another elevator. Better signage might have helped somewhat. The pools and hot tubs were nice, and there was almost always an available spot in either - the main area's hot tubs were often filled to capacity, but if you wandered around the ship, you could always find an available spot.
Princess's staterooms are usually on the small side, and the Crown is no exception; Royal Caribbean's cabins are generally larger. There was adequate closet space, but very little storage in the cabin area itself - just a few small drawers. The bathroom was small but functional. The shower was extremely small - I don't know how "large" folks manage in there! They neglected to provide a reasonable amount of space for bath products in there, too. Our safe repeatedly malfunctioned; we had to have Security visit numerous times to assist us with it. This was our first time on the Aloha deck, and we got to look down on the partially exposed balconies below us for a change. The balcony was small but cozy. Be forewarned - once you have a balcony stateroom, it's the only way you'll want to cruise. One of the best additions on the Crown - and a personal favorite - was the Wine and Sushi bar. The staffers there were wonderful - friendly, helpful, and attentive - and the selection of wines and freshly made sushi were just right. I spent some time there almost daily. The sushi was fresh and expertly prepared.
Our cabin attendant was simply wonderful, as they have always been on Princess. She really went the extra mile. Most of these people work terribly hard to please you, and spend as long as eight months away from their families in the process. They usually deserve something extra (above the pre-paid service charge for staff) at the end of the cruise for all of their effort.
While Princess did a good job overall on cleaning up the ship after the rolling incident, there was still some evidence of the damage; on the upper decks, some glass wind guards were still broken. Otherwise, she looked relatively good. One thing that "steamed" me: I discovered that the steam room had also been damaged during the rolling incident. The entire front of the room was missing; it had been shattered. After observing the ridiculously designed glass doors on the nearby shower stalls, I understood how the damage occurred. Did the designers simply forget that ships are capable of rocking? On even a relatively smooth day, the shower doors kept swinging open and closed by themselves - the tiny magnetic latch was not strong enough to hold them closed.
This was not what upset me, though! Another passenger had asked to use the other steam room (which I believe was in the spa treatment area itself), and he was told that he could - if he was willing to pay for a spa treatment in order to gain access to it! Preposterous, and insulting! You'll see a repeating theme here: squeeze more money out of your customers wherever possible. If they were unable to repair the "free" steam room for weeks, then they should have allowed passengers to use the remaining steam room in the meantime. This is called taking care of your customers. As another reviewer stated, it's more costly to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Princess apparently is too cocky to care about that now. This was generally the rule, not the exception, when it came to the treatment received from many of the staffers we encountered.
Let me qualify this by saying that the bartenders, cabin stewards, and most of the restaurant staff were terrific. It was more the upper echelon of the crew, such as the Customer Service and Pursers Desk staff, etc., who seemed to be unaware that their job was to assist the passengers (a.k.a. customers). They could barely be bothered, it seemed.
There was some misinformation aboard, too. One example: the 24-hour pizza stand. At one point, when we found it closed just after 1:00 am, we were told that it was only open until 1:00. The next night, it was closed long before 1:00 am again. We observed this three times. The pizza was fairly good, for the record, as were the hamburgers and chicken they managed to keep available most of the day. The fact that the ship was again unable to make port in Bermuda (I think it happened at least four weeks in a row, counting the week we were on board) was very frustrating. Since it had happened several times already, you would think that they would either have planned another stop as a backup, or arranged for tenders to take people ashore. Or maybe they could have just let us stay at the prior port another night. This wouldn't have been terrible, since our port visits tended to be on the short side (5 or 6 hours) to begin with. No, we just cruised along at low throttle for another day of "spend your money at the bars, casino, stores, and spas, please" - for many who took this cruise primarily to visit Bermuda, it was an outrage. I was disappointed with missing the chance to see the island for the first time, but more upset with the way it was handled by Princess.
Yes, cruise lines are struggling to offer the best pricing for the cruise itself, but this new approach of nickel-and-diming you to death for everything once you get on board is getting out of control. I won't list all of the annoying charges they levy now; other write-ups have addressed this already. Now, if only the cruise lines would address it better. Most people would rather pay more up front, and not be surprised and annoyed later by these charges.
Considering the number of at-sea days, there were not enough onboard activities. Many people seemed to feel that the overall attitude of Princess was, "While you're on board the ship, spend some more cash." The wait staff swarmed the pool areas relentlessly, asking you if you needed another drink. It was convenient to rarely have to walk to the bar, but it bordered on harassment the way they kept at it. Just another way Princess gently encourages you to ring up more charges to your account, I suppose.
Food onboard ranged from acceptable to good, with the occasional unpalatable. We ate at both Sabatini's and the Crown Grille, paying the extra fee for the privilege. The food was certainly better than the regular ship fare, but whether it was worth the price is debatable. I preferred the experience at the Crown Grille to Sabatini's, personally, though the staff at Sabatini's was very entertaining. In fairness, we've dined at Sabatini's several times before on other ships. The premium restaurants are a nice change of pace, and something different to try. I'm sure you can find reviews going into much more detail, so I'll leave it at that.
The entertainment was just fair overall. One comedian was fantastic, and the next was so awful, you felt sorry for him. The production shows were enjoyable, but - as others have mentioned - the theater is far too small to accommodate the percentage of people who might want to see a given show. Disembarkation - Not terribly organized. It took us a very long time to get off the ship. Getting on an elevator bordered on impossible. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast, with 3000+ passengers onboard. It wasn't a pleasant experience.
Excursions: We did two Princess-sponsored excursions. I would not recommend the drive tour of the rain forest in Puerto Rico. An hour each way in a small bus with fixed windows, then only three or four brief stops to actually get to see anything. There were much better tours available, I heard later. The trip I would recommend highly was the Sea Blaster snorkel trip in St. Thomas. Great boat, fantastic crew, and they take you to some nice snorkeling locations. As a bonus, they pick you up just a few hundred yards from the ship, which is very convenient. And, after snorkeling is done, they serve their delicious homemade rum punch. There's also another snorkeling trip I'd recommend, called Captain Nautica. They use large rigid inflatables to zip you to 3 different locations, and they also have a terrific crew.
In closing, unless I see people beginning to document positive changes in the way Princess is doing business, I believe I will be cruising with a different line in the future. For those of you who have never been on a Princess cruise before, you may still find it a great experience. It's just not as good as it was in the past. The Carnival influence has taken them down a notch; hopefully they'll reverse that.
flukeslapper’s Full Rating Summary
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