While researching cruises, I noticed that many reviews that are less than positive are overcome by a litany of responses attempting to defend the line and/or ship. I'm not sure what it is about cruising culture, but people don't like to hear bad things about their beloved cruise lines. After the experience that I had, I feel compelled to come here and share my experience.
About two weeks before we left, I came across an article titled "Month-Long Poop Cruise Finally Docks, Promptly Picks Up New Victims" (http://gawker.com/month-long-poop-cruise-finally-docks-promptly-picks-up-1659472459)
This would be our ship, the Crown Princess. I kind of chuckled about that, knowing that I wouldn't normally go on such a cruise, but we had a decent sized group going and it was for Thanksgiving. We also had non-refundable airline tickets. We pressed on.
I had, at first, considered writing a lengthy review, but then it would go unread. With that, I'm instead opting to share some general points about my experience:
1. The staff was miserable - They were burned out, overworked and bitter. The majority of them were rude and not helpful. After spending all of their rare free time over the past six weeks battling Norovirus, it's hard to blame them, but then I paid for a different experience. None of them were from the U.S. and many had trouble with English. I do not have a positive impression about any of the staff.
2. The food was terrible - I'm being completely honest when I say that the Walnut Creek, CA Kaiser Hospital serves food an order of magnitude better than anything on this ship. The Crown Grill was decent, but everything else was just crap. I get that a lot of people with limited dining experience enjoy the food, as will those trying to stuff as many cheap calories into their faces as possible, but it's not for me.
3. Drinks were bad - If you could get a drink, it wasn't good. Most of what we got was sugary and sweet. I ordered a Sidecar as a test and, sure enough, it was water. I asked the bartender about it and he named sweet and sour as one of the ingredients. I told him that sweet and sour has no place in a Sidecar and he argued with me. They clearly don't know how to tend bar. Wine lists were anemic, at best, and indicative of the class of patrons being served.
4. Elevators were awful - 5+ minute wait for elevators only to be met by a sardine can stuffed with people. Kids made it worse toward the end by calling every elevator on every floor and pushing every button in the elevator. This effectively shut down service.
5. No room service - It was impossible to reach room service at any point during our 7 day cruise. My children were in isolation and that was their primary source of sustenance. Not good.
6. Norovirus - My children contracted Norovirus and the ship's lack of response was disgusting. There was massive contamination and I couldn't get anyone to come help. This definitely had an affect on other passengers. Out of eight people in our group, five us us became infected despite bleach wiping absolutely everything several times per day and carrying hand sanitizer in our pockets. We probably went through a quart of hand sanitizer. No one is cleaner than our family.
7. No Sleep - Forget about sleep. Between the two fire alarms and the blabber mouth captain, there was little opportunity for uninterrupted sleep.
Never again. Like I said, I know that a lot of you love to cruise and think that the experience is amazing. I disagree, and that's my opinion. Apart from the bitter crew, the food stood out as just being awful. I have never been served worse food and, having been in the military, that's saying a lot.
In summary, you couldn't get me on another cruise for any amount of money.
Spacious for a ship, but nothing special. We were supposed to have been met with a beautiful bouquet, but were instead met with 1/2 of a dying orchid. Our particular cabin was behind two door, which was nice as it isolated us from hallway noise.The wake noise was comforting to me when the balcony doors were left open, but may be too loud for some. There also tends to be more vibration in the rear cabins than with others. There is a limited view from the rear balcony when compared to side balconies.
Not bad, and better than expected. Quaint, accessible and safe. Good eating opportunities here.
Absolutely horrible. Police and machine guns everywhere. Blight abounds. I felt very unsafe and uncomfortable. Lots of hustlers. I would never get off at this port again.
Decent port, but too little time allotted. First tender was at 7:00 AM with last at 1:00 PM. Tendering was a bit difficult, especially on the way back. The tender line was 1/2 mile long at 12:30.Very safe, lots of good eats. Lots to do. Limited time to do it.