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First let me say that we had a wonderful cruise on the Crown! This was our first cruise on Princess, having only cruised on HAL, we did alot of comparing of the two lines. I have to say they are more different than we anticipated. Embarkation: Our cruise had quite a stressful start. We utilized the NE Motorcoach through Princess, we've done this before (with HAL) & it's easy & cheaper than driving into the city. Our paperwork from Princess stated our requested pick up location & time. My parents drove us to the park & ride and waited with us for the bus to arrive - it never came. I called Academy Motorcoach & spoke w/ the dispatcher who informed me that their manifest had us listed on a previous pick up and that the bus was already in NJ & that they could not turn around to pick us up. I phoned Princess & frantically explained the situation - they told us to drive ourselves & they would reimburse us for parking or get a taxi or whatever. My parents ended up driving us - none of us had any idea where we were going - I spent most of the time on the phone trying to get decent directions. So, needless to say embarkation was a breeze once we got there - nobody in the terminal but us and the employees! The ship is beautiful, we loved the layout & found it easy to navigate. The piazza area is great, always something going on. We had a balcony room on the Riviera deck, smaller than a standard balcony on HAL, but we had no problem with the size. Bathroom is very small, especially the shower! The closet area was nice & had plenty of room. Our room steward was OK - only saw him once (1st day) the entire trip. We thought the beds were very comfortable, nice & firm - not sure why everyone is always complaining about them. No problems with the AC, our safe malfunctioned once, phoned front desk & someone came up in a few minutes to re-set it. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS: FOOD: I know this is very subjective! We found the food tasted fine (most of it)just poor / odd selections. For example one nights' entrees were frog legs, veal, duck, and some fish. So, it was pick from the "always available" - we saw quite a few people eating chicken or steak. The buffet at dinner wasn't any better (we never ate there, just walked through) If you don't like the particular "theme" of the night or the main dining room entrees, you're out of luck! We had no problems with the layout of the buffet, you just pop in & pick up what you want - better than the long line style. Lunch at the buffet was as strange as dinner! We really missed the made to order deli sandwiches that HAL has daily. To me, lunch is a sandwich or salad, but again, the buffet choices were odd - lots of hot foods (more like dinner) pasta, mashed potatoes, fish, chicken, meatballs, etc.! Come on, all I want is a nice turkey sandwich with lettuce & mayo on a roll!! The coffee is absolutely horrible and so is the iced tea (brown water) I also want to know why you can get 1/2 grapefruit from room service but not at the buffet? Same with juice - only OJ & cranberry at buffet, but other varieties from room service. By the way, we are not "fussy" eaters and enjoy trying new things, just didn't care for the selections they offered. - drink of the day & martini of the day 6.75 - only 5.00 on HAL - casino was frequently crowded (at night) - kind of like the pool, it seems like people camp out for hours on end at both places! - A lot of smokers - pool area & casino were smokey (I smoke, so I am not bashing smokers!) - Pool/beach towels; HAL's system is much nicer, there are towels at the pool to use, when you're done you throw it in a bin. Same with at ports, if you want to take a towel they give you one as you get off the ship & then throw it in a bin when you return. Just easier than carrying your towel around all the time. - the majority of people adhered to the dress code - worst offenders were older men! A lot of women were really dressed nicely even on casual nights. - most of the tables for 2 in the anytime dining rooms are actually tables for 4 that they separate about 5" - we asked to be moved after sitting at one of these the first night. No, we are not antisocial, but if you want a table for 2 obviously it's because you don't feel like chit chatting with other people during dinner! I meet new people and have to make small talk daily for my job - don't want to do it on vacation!! - nightlife is much better than HAL, enjoyed the comedians, band & DJ - pool areas are way too crowded - they have so many loungers squished together you can hardly walk through. Also very loud (MUTS/band) We thought we'd enjoy the aft pool since it was at the end of the hall where our cabin was, but it was actually more claustrophobic than the others! We didn't get off the ship in San Juan & thought maybe we'd finally be able to maybe enjoy that pool, however the crew was varnishing all the wood around the pool - stayed for a while, but the smell of varnish was annoying. Seemed like an odd time to be performing this type of work; I know they have to do maintenance, but does it make sense to varnish the wood around a pool on a hot sunny afternoon? - Noted quite a few passengers lacking any class, tact, etc. Several times saw people (men) walking in indoor public areas with nothing on but swim trunks & flip flops. I'm not talking about the pool area, I'm talking about walking down the inside promenade towards the shops/piazza area! You can't even get into Walmart dressed like that! Also saw people sitting in chairs with their feet up on tables or on other chairs, again, I'm talking about "nice" interior furniture. Ports: Grand Turk - just enjoy getting off and walking to the far end of the beach and hanging out for the day. San Juan - stayed on the ship (not a big fan of puerto rico) St. Thomas - walked to Emerald Beach, nice quiet beach, back to dock, stopped at marina store to pick up some rum Bermuda - took bus to Horseshoe Bay, walked way to the left, had a private cove to ourselves Disembarkation: Wow, very annoying!!! Had to be out of cabin by 8:00AM, went to assigned lounge to wait for color & # to be called - that didn't occur until 10:30. Nothing like ending a vacation by sitting in a crowded room full of complaining people for 2 1/2 hours. Self embarkation seems to be the way to go - I'd rather be outside sitting on a curb! Like I said, we had a very good time, but I think HAL has spoiled/impressed us in so many ways that we'll always be comparing to them. I know some of the things I mentioned may seem trivial to some people, and no, nothing "ruined" our vacation. We just missed some elements that are prevalent on HAL, such as: EXCELLENT food EXCEPTIONAL staff/crew (always pleasant & accommodating) General ambience of passengers

Crown Princess - Eastern Caribbean

Crown Princess Cruise Review by monaco02

Trip Details
First let me say that we had a wonderful cruise on the Crown! This was our first cruise on Princess, having only cruised on HAL, we did alot of comparing of the two lines. I have to say they are more different than we anticipated.
Embarkation: Our cruise had quite a stressful start. We utilized the NE Motorcoach through Princess, we've done this before (with HAL) & it's easy & cheaper than driving into the city. Our paperwork from Princess stated our requested pick up location & time. My parents drove us to the park & ride and waited with us for the bus to arrive - it never came. I called Academy Motorcoach & spoke w/ the dispatcher who informed me that their manifest had us listed on a previous pick up and that the bus was already in NJ & that they could not turn around to pick us up. I phoned Princess & frantically explained the situation - they told us to drive ourselves & they would reimburse us for parking or get a taxi or whatever. My parents ended up driving us - none of us had any idea where we were going - I spent most of the time on the phone trying to get decent directions. So, needless to say embarkation was a breeze once we got there - nobody in the terminal but us and the employees!
The ship is beautiful, we loved the layout & found it easy to navigate. The piazza area is great, always something going on. We had a balcony room on the Riviera deck, smaller than a standard balcony on HAL, but we had no problem with the size. Bathroom is very small, especially the shower! The closet area was nice & had plenty of room. Our room steward was OK - only saw him once (1st day) the entire trip. We thought the beds were very comfortable, nice & firm - not sure why everyone is always complaining about them. No problems with the AC, our safe malfunctioned once, phoned front desk & someone came up in a few minutes to re-set it.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS:
FOOD: I know this is very subjective! We found the food tasted fine (most of it)just poor / odd selections. For example one nights' entrees were frog legs, veal, duck, and some fish. So, it was pick from the "always available" - we saw quite a few people eating chicken or steak. The buffet at dinner wasn't any better (we never ate there, just walked through) If you don't like the particular "theme" of the night or the main dining room entrees, you're out of luck! We had no problems with the layout of the buffet, you just pop in & pick up what you want - better than the long line style. Lunch at the buffet was as strange as dinner! We really missed the made to order deli sandwiches that HAL has daily. To me, lunch is a sandwich or salad, but again, the buffet choices were odd - lots of hot foods (more like dinner) pasta, mashed potatoes, fish, chicken, meatballs, etc.! Come on, all I want is a nice turkey sandwich with lettuce & mayo on a roll!! The coffee is absolutely horrible and so is the iced tea (brown water) I also want to know why you can get 1/2 grapefruit from room service but not at the buffet? Same with juice - only OJ & cranberry at buffet, but other varieties from room service. By the way, we are not "fussy" eaters and enjoy trying new things, just didn't care for the selections they offered.
- drink of the day & martini of the day 6.75 - only 5.00 on HAL
- casino was frequently crowded (at night) - kind of like the pool, it seems like people camp out for hours on end at both places!
- A lot of smokers - pool area & casino were smokey (I smoke, so I am not bashing smokers!)
- Pool/beach towels; HAL's system is much nicer, there are towels at the pool to use, when you're done you throw it in a bin. Same with at ports, if you want to take a towel they give you one as you get off the ship & then throw it in a bin when you return. Just easier than carrying your towel around all the time.
- the majority of people adhered to the dress code - worst offenders were older men! A lot of women were really dressed nicely even on casual nights.
- most of the tables for 2 in the anytime dining rooms are actually tables for 4 that they separate about 5" - we asked to be moved after sitting at one of these the first night. No, we are not antisocial, but if you want a table for 2 obviously it's because you don't feel like chit chatting with other people during dinner! I meet new people and have to make small talk daily for my job - don't want to do it on vacation!!
- nightlife is much better than HAL, enjoyed the comedians, band & DJ
- pool areas are way too crowded - they have so many loungers squished together you can hardly walk through. Also very loud (MUTS/band) We thought we'd enjoy the aft pool since it was at the end of the hall where our cabin was, but it was actually more claustrophobic than the others! We didn't get off the ship in San Juan & thought maybe we'd finally be able to maybe enjoy that pool, however the crew was varnishing all the wood around the pool - stayed for a while, but the smell of varnish was annoying. Seemed like an odd time to be performing this type of work; I know they have to do maintenance, but does it make sense to varnish the wood around a pool on a hot sunny afternoon?
- Noted quite a few passengers lacking any class, tact, etc. Several times saw people (men) walking in indoor public areas with nothing on but swim trunks & flip flops. I'm not talking about the pool area, I'm talking about walking down the inside promenade towards the shops/piazza area! You can't even get into Walmart dressed like that! Also saw people sitting in chairs with their feet up on tables or on other chairs, again, I'm talking about "nice" interior furniture.
Ports: Grand Turk - just enjoy getting off and walking to the far end of the beach and hanging out for the day.
San Juan - stayed on the ship (not a big fan of puerto rico)
St. Thomas - walked to Emerald Beach, nice quiet beach, back to dock, stopped at marina store to pick up some rum
Bermuda - took bus to Horseshoe Bay, walked way to the left, had a private cove to ourselves
Disembarkation: Wow, very annoying!!! Had to be out of cabin by 8:00AM, went to assigned lounge to wait for color & # to be called - that didn't occur until 10:30. Nothing like ending a vacation by sitting in a crowded room full of complaining people for 2 1/2 hours. Self embarkation seems to be the way to go - I'd rather be outside sitting on a curb!
Like I said, we had a very good time, but I think HAL has spoiled/impressed us in so many ways that we'll always be comparing to them. I know some of the things I mentioned may seem trivial to some people, and no, nothing "ruined" our vacation. We just missed some elements that are prevalent on HAL, such as:
EXCELLENT food EXCEPTIONAL staff/crew (always pleasant & accommodating) General ambience of passengers
monaco02’s Full Rating Summary
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