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First of all, let me preface this review with my cruise background, because my comments are based on expectations developed by my past cruise experiences with other cruise lines. My first cruise was with RCL from Barcelona, Spain on a 12 day Splendour of the Seas cruise. It was in May of 1995. (only it's third cruise after launching). My Second cruise was a 7 day Eastern Carib on the Century in 1997 out of Fort Lauderdale. My third was a 7 day Western Carib on RCCL Radiance of the Sea out of Fort Lauderdale, and my Forth was a Southern Carib in 2005 on the Celebrity's Constellation from San Juan. Except for the Radiance where we had a starboard forward oceanview cabin, we had balcony accommodations. I must also state that I love the cruise ships I had sailed on. On all previous cruises tipping for service was the norm, and cruise personnel appeared to go out of their way to provide excellent service in expectation that they would be rewarded with tips at the end of each cruise. The Crown Princess was my first experience with "The HOTEL Charge". (Wherein you are charged $10.50 per day per passenger and that amount is reportedly disbursed to crew members for services provided.) In fairness to both Princess Cruise Lines, their crew members and the industry as a whole, it "appears" to me that this relatively new policy significantly reduces the level of service provided. My first two days aboard were nothing to brag about. I would liken service to a 2-3 star hotel. Food in the DaVinci Dinning room was unremarkable, (I had beef dishes--more about that later). By the third day we had decided that we would only eat in the buffet line area. At least one could sample various food items to find something that would please the pallet. And we frequently did. ("We" included my wife, Son 9, Daughter (in thirties) and myself.) We were later told by a crew member to stay away from the beef and the items on the menu that were listed as "always available". It appeared that "fresh" food was boarded in St Thomas, as meals after that improved in Freshness. The Corn and Green beans served in the dinning room prior to that appeared to be of the "Frozen" variety - certainly not suitable to be categorized as culinary delights. Childrens program appears to amount to Baby sitting where other cruises had programs and activities for involvement. I witnessed two occasions of crew members being demeaned by other crew members in verbal discussions and overheard loud discussions of negative passenger behavior by crew members coming from the central core area while walking down the corridor on the Bahia deck. Picky? - Maybe, but these little things added to my frustration with my perception of poor service and crew member attitudes. I went to the pursers desk on deck 6 and relayed all of the above "experiences" to one of the individuals on duty. He was patient, curteous and took notes. Later that day a noted from the dinning Maitre De with apologies and a bottle of Champagne appeared in out suite to my pleasant surprise. I should note that our cabin steward was exceptional (attentive-Courteous-pleasant-efficent) First time cruisers might find the shipboard experience acceptable, but those accustomed to what has become traditional cruise fare might wish to look elsewhere. BTW: Service appeared to improve after my complaint as if they had circulated my photo to all crew members to be on the lookout for me. (SMILE).. Also: pre cruise Princess air arrangements seemed out of touched with the reality of todays air travel system: I was initially booked on USAir from Philadelphia to Chicago O'Hare(?) with a change in planes before continuing on to San Juan for an evening arrival. (On a Saturday, in the winter, to arrive San Juan 3 hours before schedule cruise departure time) (Princess says they only need to schedule 2.5 hours leeway) I refused those arrangements and had to pay a fee to change to a Friday departure , an overnight hotel accommodation, to insure I'd be their prior to the ships scheduled departure. After a delay of an hour and a half to recover baggage, and an hour bus trip to the hotel (across the street from the cruise terminal) my decision to forego the Princess pray everything went on schedule deal seemed justified, even though I had to pay.

Crown Princess - Southern Caribbean

Crown Princess Cruise Review by Rod

Trip Details
First of all, let me preface this review with my cruise background, because my comments are based on expectations developed by my past cruise experiences with other cruise lines. My first cruise was with RCL from Barcelona, Spain on a 12 day Splendour of the Seas cruise. It was in May of 1995. (only it's third cruise after launching). My Second cruise was a 7 day Eastern Carib on the Century in 1997 out of Fort Lauderdale. My third was a 7 day Western Carib on RCCL Radiance of the Sea out of Fort Lauderdale, and my Forth was a Southern Carib in 2005 on the Celebrity's Constellation from San Juan. Except for the Radiance where we had a starboard forward oceanview cabin, we had balcony accommodations. I must also state that I love the cruise ships I had sailed on.
On all previous cruises tipping for service was the norm, and cruise personnel appeared to go out of their way to provide excellent service in expectation that they would be rewarded with tips at the end of each cruise. The Crown Princess was my first experience with "The HOTEL Charge". (Wherein you are charged $10.50 per day per passenger and that amount is reportedly disbursed to crew members for services provided.) In fairness to both Princess Cruise Lines, their crew members and the industry as a whole, it "appears" to me that this relatively new policy significantly reduces the level of service provided. My first two days aboard were nothing to brag about. I would liken service to a 2-3 star hotel. Food in the DaVinci Dinning room was unremarkable, (I had beef dishes--more about that later). By the third day we had decided that we would only eat in the buffet line area. At least one could sample various food items to find something that would please the pallet. And we frequently did. ("We" included my wife, Son 9, Daughter (in thirties) and myself.) We were later told by a crew member to stay away from the beef and the items on the menu that were listed as "always available". It appeared that "fresh" food was boarded in St Thomas, as meals after that improved in Freshness. The Corn and Green beans served in the dinning room prior to that appeared to be of the "Frozen" variety - certainly not suitable to be categorized as culinary delights. Childrens program appears to amount to Baby sitting where other cruises had programs and activities for involvement.
I witnessed two occasions of crew members being demeaned by other crew members in verbal discussions and overheard loud discussions of negative passenger behavior by crew members coming from the central core area while walking down the corridor on the Bahia deck. Picky? - Maybe, but these little things added to my frustration with my perception of poor service and crew member attitudes. I went to the pursers desk on deck 6 and relayed all of the above "experiences" to one of the individuals on duty. He was patient, curteous and took notes. Later that day a noted from the dinning Maitre De with apologies and a bottle of Champagne appeared in out suite to my pleasant surprise. I should note that our cabin steward was exceptional (attentive-Courteous-pleasant-efficent) First time cruisers might find the shipboard experience acceptable, but those accustomed to what has become traditional cruise fare might wish to look elsewhere. BTW: Service appeared to improve after my complaint as if they had circulated my photo to all crew members to be on the lookout for me. (SMILE).. Also: pre cruise Princess air arrangements seemed out of touched with the reality of todays air travel system: I was initially booked on USAir from Philadelphia to Chicago O'Hare(?) with a change in planes before continuing on to San Juan for an evening arrival. (On a Saturday, in the winter, to arrive San Juan 3 hours before schedule cruise departure time) (Princess says they only need to schedule 2.5 hours leeway) I refused those arrangements and had to pay a fee to change to a Friday departure , an overnight hotel accommodation, to insure I'd be their prior to the ships scheduled departure. After a delay of an hour and a half to recover baggage, and an hour bus trip to the hotel (across the street from the cruise terminal) my decision to forego the Princess pray everything went on schedule deal seemed justified, even though I had to pay.
Rod’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
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Ages 7 to 9
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