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This was my first cruise with Princess Cruises, and I was wondering how it would compare with the 3 previous cruises I had been on, all with Royal Caribbean. The embarkation from Pier 4 in Old San Juan went smoothly and everyone there knew their job in order to keep the passenger line moving along. I chose a stateroom with a balcony, as I've heard from other friends who've cruised as well that balconies are so much more enjoyable than just a large oceanview window....and they were absolutely right about that! The private balcony was used every night for a few hours around sunset and late at night. Wandering around from deck to deck was difficult in some instances as certain outdoor decks could only be accessed from one side of the ship, some elevator lobbies did not service all decks and therefore I had to go either midship, forward or aft to get to certain public rooms or outdoor pool areas. Decks 6 & 7 were the most difficult as these decks were where the main dining rooms were located and I had to go up to 8, or down to 5 to get around them to other public areas that were back on 6 & 7. The ship lacked a dedicated gameroom, which I've always found available onboard Royal Caribbean ships in the past. The ship's library had restricted hours which was unusual....on RC ships, passengers came and went to check out books as they pleased. There was an abundance of pools and jacuzzis on various decks, but as expected, they were always the first places to fill up and remained so for hours at a stretch. The fitness center was attached to an onboard spa which was heavily used by passengers and this made it difficult at times to use equipment in the fitness center at times which I would normally go to the gym at home....from 7 - 8 AM or from 5 - 7 PM. A few of the treadmills and elliptical machines had out of service signs on them for the entire length of the cruise,which didn't help matters. It was very annoying to try and find staff members to assist in problems with some of the equipment....never saw more than 2 male trainers in the gym at any time and they were usually holding a pilates class or some other group class. I wound up using the running track on an upper deck just to get away from the crowds and to be outside more. I had selected late seating for my dining option, but noticed when my documents arrived, that I had been given anytime seating instead which I tried but could not change! Unless I chose to go eat between 5:30 - 7PM or after 8:30PM, I wound up standing in line or being given a pager to use until my name was called, and the wait times averaged 30 minutes. Anytime dining is only an option for those who like the option of being somewhat flexible in eat times and in determining the size of table they wish to be seated at. The other person travelling with me ranged our table sizes from 4 up to 8 people over the course of the cruise. On evenings that we did the anytime dining rooms, we had minor mixups or delays in our dinner and drink orders, which were corrected immediately. On 2 evenings when wait times exceeded 30 minutes, we chose the buffet style dining and found the food to be of very nice quality and the waitstaff to be more attentive and available. There was a nice variety in the onboard entertainment that was listed in the daily newsletter, but we are not much for large musical shows, instead preferring comedians or gameshows involving passengers onboard. There are plenty of shopping and jewelry shows and art auctions which are staples onboard, but we passed on those as well. A nice feature onboard was something they called "movies under the stars", which involved showing first run movies on a huge outdoor plasma type screen that was mounted high up, forward of the funnel and overlooking the largest pool and deck area onboard. It could best be described as an updated theme on drive in movies....quite nice to sit outside with a drink in hand on a comfortably padded chaise lounger at 11PM watching Casino Royale, among the movie titles shown onboard. Service on board from various ship staff members was the real big weak spot for Princess. Problems that cropped regarding the usage of the safe in our stateroom, a washer in the onboard laundromat that wasn't working, questions about excursion information....anything that became a problem took an unusually long time to resolve and it seemed to be a bother for personnel to come and set things right. At one point, I had to speak to the person at the main purser's desk and the 2 staff members there were overwhelmed with taking calls from people then were barking orders into their 2 way radios to find out where crewmembers were who had been dispatched a some time earlier to handle a request. there never seemed to be enough people staffed at the front desk and long lines were the norm there. Breaking $100 and $50 bills into smaller denominations was frustrating as I was always told that they were out of $5's and $10's! Each main elevator bank on each level had courtesy phones and clocks, but a few of the clocks weren't even functioning and some of the phones had the index card denoting what to push for what department onboard, were missing, so you never knew what correct button to push. The ship was less than a year old, but some areas of the interior would have indicated otherwise....scuffed up walls, torn wallcoverings, many lightbulbs out in public areas, elevator floor tags missing inside from elevator cars were among the more noticed things. We booked 3 excursions through the ship and another 2 independently that we didn't see listed on the choices that Princess had listed. Barbados is where we did a hike and cave exploring expedition which was an incredibly amazing thing....because of the steep terrain and movements required and some safety gear worn, no backpacks or cameras were allowed, so the images in my mind will have to serve as my only record. St. Lucia is where we did a hike and zipline expedition through a rainforest area and afterwards, a lunch before we headed back to the ship. It's an island like Barbados where there are many varied things to do if you aren't interested in going to the beaches every single day! Antigua is a port that I would not choose to revisit....Princess offered only beach tours, snorkel and beach tours and a catamaran tour on the island. We stopped at a tourist stand at the port and saw brochures for another zipline tour and some parasailing, but the ladies at the stand said they weren't booking those and didn't seem to interested in pointing us to whoever would, they just kept pushing the different beaches on us. Also, we walked a few feet away from that stand to where some taxi drivers were gathered and they had brochures of 3 beaches that they all kept clamoring about and we asked about the fares to these beaches and they stated that for our group of 2, the fare would be $32 each way, which was the government rate, regardless of the beach we went to. About 2 blocks from them, we saw some other drivers with minibuses who would take as many as they could fill in their bus and take us to whatever beach we wanted to go to for $3 per head! Our trip to Runaway beach was a 15 minute bus ride and cost us $6 roundtrip!!! St. Maarten is a jewel of an island to visit, in my opinion! We visited Loterie Farm, a private wildlife and nature sanctuary, located on the french side of the island and participated in a hike through a dense rainforest area and up a steep mountain called Pic Paradis. That is the tallest point on the island and our group hiked up 900 feet of this 1,500 ft. mountain. Afterwards, there was a buffet style lunch of native dishes that was incredibly good! Loterie Farm was once many years ago a plantation for rum and sugar, relied upon slave labor and had an abundance of wildlife and plant species that other parts of the island didn't have.....an incredible expedition that I will certainly go back again and revisit for the hike and scenery alone!!! Spent a few hours in the afternoon on the beach in Philipsburg and some shopping afterwards. Last stop was St. Thomas, USVI which is another port that i can do without visiting again. The only exceptional part of that island chain is the island of St. John, with the national park there and the stunn ing terrain, scenery and beaches! We did a safari style ride around the island, stopping at Caneel Bay resort, Trunk Bay Beach and Cinnamon Bay campground. Also stopped that the ruins of the Annaberg Rum Mill, which is now part of the national park on the island. I am not really certain that I would sail on another Princess cruise after experiencing this one. I am used to the treatment and level of service that I've experienced from 3 RC cruises and while there were some amenities and offerings on the Crown Princess that I didn't find on any RC ship, it all came down to how the staff interacted with us and their ability to perform, their job!

Crown Princess - Eastern Caribbean

Crown Princess Cruise Review by minsaus

Trip Details
This was my first cruise with Princess Cruises, and I was wondering how it would compare with the 3 previous cruises I had been on, all with Royal Caribbean. The embarkation from Pier 4 in Old San Juan went smoothly and everyone there knew their job in order to keep the passenger line moving along. I chose a stateroom with a balcony, as I've heard from other friends who've cruised as well that balconies are so much more enjoyable than just a large oceanview window....and they were absolutely right about that! The private balcony was used every night for a few hours around sunset and late at night. Wandering around from deck to deck was difficult in some instances as certain outdoor decks could only be accessed from one side of the ship, some elevator lobbies did not service all decks and therefore I had to go either midship, forward or aft to get to certain public rooms or outdoor pool areas. Decks 6 & 7 were the most difficult as these decks were where the main dining rooms were located and I had to go up to 8, or down to 5 to get around them to other public areas that were back on 6 & 7. The ship lacked a dedicated gameroom, which I've always found available onboard Royal Caribbean ships in the past. The ship's library had restricted hours which was unusual....on RC ships, passengers came and went to check out books as they pleased. There was an abundance of pools and jacuzzis on various decks, but as expected, they were always the first places to fill up and remained so for hours at a stretch. The fitness center was attached to an onboard spa which was heavily used by passengers and this made it difficult at times to use equipment in the fitness center at times which I would normally go to the gym at home....from 7 - 8 AM or from 5 - 7 PM. A few of the treadmills and elliptical machines had out of service signs on them for the entire length of the cruise,which didn't help matters. It was very annoying to try and find staff members to assist in problems with some of the equipment....never saw more than 2 male trainers in the gym at any time and they were usually holding a pilates class or some other group class. I wound up using the running track on an upper deck just to get away from the crowds and to be outside more.
I had selected late seating for my dining option, but noticed when my documents arrived, that I had been given anytime seating instead which I tried but could not change! Unless I chose to go eat between 5:30 - 7PM or after 8:30PM, I wound up standing in line or being given a pager to use until my name was called, and the wait times averaged 30 minutes. Anytime dining is only an option for those who like the option of being somewhat flexible in eat times and in determining the size of table they wish to be seated at. The other person travelling with me ranged our table sizes from 4 up to 8 people over the course of the cruise. On evenings that we did the anytime dining rooms, we had minor mixups or delays in our dinner and drink orders, which were corrected immediately. On 2 evenings when wait times exceeded 30 minutes, we chose the buffet style dining and found the food to be of very nice quality and the waitstaff to be more attentive and available. There was a nice variety in the onboard entertainment that was listed in the daily newsletter, but we are not much for large musical shows, instead preferring comedians or gameshows involving passengers onboard. There are plenty of shopping and jewelry shows and art auctions which are staples onboard, but we passed on those as well. A nice feature onboard was something they called "movies under the stars", which involved showing first run movies on a huge outdoor plasma type screen that was mounted high up, forward of the funnel and overlooking the largest pool and deck area onboard. It could best be described as an updated theme on drive in movies....quite nice to sit outside with a drink in hand on a comfortably padded chaise lounger at 11PM watching Casino Royale, among the movie titles shown onboard. Service on board from various ship staff members was the real big weak spot for Princess. Problems that cropped regarding the usage of the safe in our stateroom, a washer in the onboard laundromat that wasn't working, questions about excursion information....anything that became a problem took an unusually long time to resolve and it seemed to be a bother for personnel to come and set things right. At one point, I had to speak to the person at the main purser's desk and the 2 staff members there were overwhelmed with taking calls from people then were barking orders into their 2 way radios to find out where crewmembers were who had been dispatched a some time earlier to handle a request. there never seemed to be enough people staffed at the front desk and long lines were the norm there. Breaking $100 and $50 bills into smaller denominations was frustrating as I was always told that they were out of $5's and $10's! Each main elevator bank on each level had courtesy phones and clocks, but a few of the clocks weren't even functioning and some of the phones had the index card denoting what to push for what department onboard, were missing, so you never knew what correct button to push. The ship was less than a year old, but some areas of the interior would have indicated otherwise....scuffed up walls, torn wallcoverings, many lightbulbs out in public areas, elevator floor tags missing inside from elevator cars were among the more noticed things.
We booked 3 excursions through the ship and another 2 independently that we didn't see listed on the choices that Princess had listed. Barbados is where we did a hike and cave exploring expedition which was an incredibly amazing thing....because of the steep terrain and movements required and some safety gear worn, no backpacks or cameras were allowed, so the images in my mind will have to serve as my only record. St. Lucia is where we did a hike and zipline expedition through a rainforest area and afterwards, a lunch before we headed back to the ship. It's an island like Barbados where there are many varied things to do if you aren't interested in going to the beaches every single day! Antigua is a port that I would not choose to revisit....Princess offered only beach tours, snorkel and beach tours and a catamaran tour on the island. We stopped at a tourist stand at the port and saw brochures for another zipline tour and some parasailing, but the ladies at the stand said they weren't booking those and didn't seem to interested in pointing us to whoever would, they just kept pushing the different beaches on us. Also, we walked a few feet away from that stand to where some taxi drivers were gathered and they had brochures of 3 beaches that they all kept clamoring about and we asked about the fares to these beaches and they stated that for our group of 2, the fare would be $32 each way, which was the government rate, regardless of the beach we went to. About 2 blocks from them, we saw some other drivers with minibuses who would take as many as they could fill in their bus and take us to whatever beach we wanted to go to for $3 per head! Our trip to Runaway beach was a 15 minute bus ride and cost us $6 roundtrip!!! St. Maarten is a jewel of an island to visit, in my opinion! We visited Loterie Farm, a private wildlife and nature sanctuary, located on the french side of the island and participated in a hike through a dense rainforest area and up a steep mountain called Pic Paradis. That is the tallest point on the island and our group hiked up 900 feet of this 1,500 ft. mountain. Afterwards, there was a buffet style lunch of native dishes that was incredibly good! Loterie Farm was once many years ago a plantation for rum and sugar, relied upon slave labor and had an abundance of wildlife and plant species that other parts of the island didn't have.....an incredible expedition that I will certainly go back again and revisit for the hike and scenery alone!!! Spent a few hours in the afternoon on the beach in Philipsburg and some shopping afterwards. Last stop was St. Thomas, USVI which is another port that i can do without visiting again. The only exceptional part of that island chain is the island of St. John, with the national park there and the stunn ing terrain, scenery and beaches! We did a safari style ride around the island, stopping at Caneel Bay resort, Trunk Bay Beach and Cinnamon Bay campground. Also stopped that the ruins of the Annaberg Rum Mill, which is now part of the national park on the island. I am not really certain that I would sail on another Princess cruise after experiencing this one. I am used to the treatment and level of service that I've experienced from 3 RC cruises and while there were some amenities and offerings on the Crown Princess that I didn't find on any RC ship, it all came down to how the staff interacted with us and their ability to perform, their job!
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