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Trip: Crown Princess 7 Night Eastern & Southern Caribbean (San Juan to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas). Embarkation date: Dec. 16 Stateroom: Balcony (R235), Riviera Deck Background: My wife and I decided to use our airline miles to take another cruise before the holidays. We're relatively young (mid-20s), but we've cruised about 5 times before and we were not expecting many surprises. This was our first (and probably last) Princess cruise, as we have mainly cruised Royal Caribbean and once with Norwegian. The ship's physical features: As you should know by this point, this ship is huge. The Crown is not the largest ship we've cruised on before, but it is close. My wife & I were initially attracted to this particular cruise because of the youth of the vessel, as well as the itinerary. We knew about the Crown's "listing" incident over the previous summer, but we weren't too concerned about a repeat occurrence. The ship is in excellent shape. We had a balcony stateroom with ample space and comfortable bedding. There was so much storage space that we had many empty shelves and cabinets. The bathroom was very tight, but bathrooms always are small on a cruise ship. My only complaint about our stateroom, and this is an extremely minor complaint, is the shower was very very small, and a detachable showerhead would have helped considerably. The layout of the ship seemed a bit odd at times: you can't get all the way through some decks because there's a dining room in the way, and we felt we were constantly trekking between the top deck and the Promenade deck (7). The split layout between the top and middle levels of the ship became a little annoying at times because the elevators were always jammed packed, stopped at every floor, and were sloooooow. But lots of room on the top decks for those who want to lay in the sun. The service: Unfortunately, this is the area where Princess is lacking, at least on the Crown Princess. The first day or so of our trip, we felt that this cruise was very similar to previous cruises on other lines. But soon the cracks in the service appeared. When it came to service, let me first say that our stateroom attendant did an excellent job. Sure, there were no "towel animals" or anything extraordinary, but he did a great job, worked hard, was unobtrusive, and was always friendly. I wish that I could say the same for meal service. The concept of "Anytime Dining" is a good one, but was poorly executed. Entrees were often overcooked, and the wait staff didn't seem to care. On several occasions, the waiter couldn't find our bottle of wine until halfway through dinner. Overall, very disappointing with the main dining rooms. The staff always seemed unhappy, and even allowed passengers to sit in the dining room, on formal night, with baseball hats on sideways. Not kidding. Sabatinis, the specialty restaurant with the cover, was excellent, however. The breakfast & lunch buffets were decent. The food quality was better than on most cruises, but Princess often made some stupid decisions made there. Often, a whole side of the buffet (and the corresponding tables) would be shut down and there was NEVER a place to sit inside--all 5 times we ate lunch there. To our disappointment there was NO midnight or chocolate buffet. The staff in general seemed unhappy. No one remembered our drink orders, despite having gone to the same bartenders for week. No one smiled. But when the cruise line builds in the tips as part of the cruise package, where's the motivation? Additionally, we felt nickel & dimed at times. Princess charges to use their front pools, for coffee, ice cream, and more. Disappointing. Fellow passengers: As for our fellow passengers, we really feel like Princess screwed us. Many of our fellow passengers were British, and were very nice. But because the ship was nowhere near full before sailing out of Puerto Rico, Princess advertised last-minute $200 per-person cruises in San Juan to fill the ship. No upgrades were offered to passengers paying higher fares, and Princess acted like we wouldn't find out they did this. And as a result, many of Princess's last-minute "guests" treated the trip as a food & booze cruise, the vast majority of whom didn't even leave the ship when in port. Drunken shouting down the hallway outside our room in Spanish at 3am was the norm. I can't speak to the entertainment, as I my wife and I never go to the shows because we generally find cruise ship shows hokey and uninteresting (I think this is a generational thing). We liked all the shore excursions and ports of call. Bottom Line: We would take another Princess Cruise, but ONLY if the deal was unbelievable.

Crown Princess - Southern Caribbean

Crown Princess Cruise Review by Justin B

Trip Details
Trip: Crown Princess 7 Night Eastern & Southern Caribbean (San Juan to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas). Embarkation date: Dec. 16 Stateroom: Balcony (R235), Riviera Deck
Background: My wife and I decided to use our airline miles to take another cruise before the holidays. We're relatively young (mid-20s), but we've cruised about 5 times before and we were not expecting many surprises. This was our first (and probably last) Princess cruise, as we have mainly cruised Royal Caribbean and once with Norwegian.
The ship's physical features: As you should know by this point, this ship is huge. The Crown is not the largest ship we've cruised on before, but it is close. My wife & I were initially attracted to this particular cruise because of the youth of the vessel, as well as the itinerary. We knew about the Crown's "listing" incident over the previous summer, but we weren't too concerned about a repeat occurrence.
The ship is in excellent shape. We had a balcony stateroom with ample space and comfortable bedding. There was so much storage space that we had many empty shelves and cabinets. The bathroom was very tight, but bathrooms always are small on a cruise ship. My only complaint about our stateroom, and this is an extremely minor complaint, is the shower was very very small, and a detachable showerhead would have helped considerably.
The layout of the ship seemed a bit odd at times: you can't get all the way through some decks because there's a dining room in the way, and we felt we were constantly trekking between the top deck and the Promenade deck (7). The split layout between the top and middle levels of the ship became a little annoying at times because the elevators were always jammed packed, stopped at every floor, and were sloooooow. But lots of room on the top decks for those who want to lay in the sun.
The service: Unfortunately, this is the area where Princess is lacking, at least on the Crown Princess. The first day or so of our trip, we felt that this cruise was very similar to previous cruises on other lines. But soon the cracks in the service appeared.
When it came to service, let me first say that our stateroom attendant did an excellent job. Sure, there were no "towel animals" or anything extraordinary, but he did a great job, worked hard, was unobtrusive, and was always friendly.
I wish that I could say the same for meal service. The concept of "Anytime Dining" is a good one, but was poorly executed. Entrees were often overcooked, and the wait staff didn't seem to care. On several occasions, the waiter couldn't find our bottle of wine until halfway through dinner. Overall, very disappointing with the main dining rooms. The staff always seemed unhappy, and even allowed passengers to sit in the dining room, on formal night, with baseball hats on sideways. Not kidding. Sabatinis, the specialty restaurant with the cover, was excellent, however.
The breakfast & lunch buffets were decent. The food quality was better than on most cruises, but Princess often made some stupid decisions made there. Often, a whole side of the buffet (and the corresponding tables) would be shut down and there was NEVER a place to sit inside--all 5 times we ate lunch there.
To our disappointment there was NO midnight or chocolate buffet.
The staff in general seemed unhappy. No one remembered our drink orders, despite having gone to the same bartenders for week. No one smiled. But when the cruise line builds in the tips as part of the cruise package, where's the motivation?
Additionally, we felt nickel & dimed at times. Princess charges to use their front pools, for coffee, ice cream, and more. Disappointing.
Fellow passengers: As for our fellow passengers, we really feel like Princess screwed us. Many of our fellow passengers were British, and were very nice. But because the ship was nowhere near full before sailing out of Puerto Rico, Princess advertised last-minute $200 per-person cruises in San Juan to fill the ship. No upgrades were offered to passengers paying higher fares, and Princess acted like we wouldn't find out they did this. And as a result, many of Princess's last-minute "guests" treated the trip as a food & booze cruise, the vast majority of whom didn't even leave the ship when in port. Drunken shouting down the hallway outside our room in Spanish at 3am was the norm.
I can't speak to the entertainment, as I my wife and I never go to the shows because we generally find cruise ship shows hokey and uninteresting (I think this is a generational thing).
We liked all the shore excursions and ports of call.
Bottom Line: We would take another Princess Cruise, but ONLY if the deal was unbelievable.
Justin B’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
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Shore Excursions
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