Crown Princess Cruise Review by Doctor of the Seas
- Sail Date: December 2016
- Destination: South America
- Cabin Type: Premium Balcony
The Horizon Court was open for lunch and the fare was what we have come to expect from the buffet.
The mandatory safety drill seemed rather slow to get started as everyone waited in their muster station for instructions to be given over the PA system -- much better than standing out on the deck and being deafened by the loud speakers.
We chose to eat in the main dining hall instead of the Horizon Court. We were assigned a table, but it was not the table size we had requested. We spoke with the head waiter, a very personable fellow, who agreed to speak to the Maitre d'. We were given a temporary assignment to another table, but we had to wait until 5:30 to make sure the people originally assigned to that table did not show up. No problem. A few days later we had our own permanent table. The waiters and assistant waiters were very polite and prompt with their service. Even recommending what they determined we would like. Beverages were waiting for us as we arrived for each meal. We felt the food was much better than what was offered in the buffet, but some of the highly touted selections of Chef Stone we did not find all that exceptional. Special chocolate desserts developed especially for Princess were also hit and miss -- sometimes worth eating, other times worth skipping.
On this cruise there did not seem to be much optional entertainment in the Explorers' Lounge. Most entertainment took place in the Princess theater. There were two comedians, one juggler, one gaucho, and one magician. The remainder of the 31 nights featured some form of musical fare from the 3 musicals the singers and dancers put on to various individual or small group acts all building up to the Voice of the Ocean finale on the last night. No mater where you went there was some form of musical performance from the atrium to the crooners lounge to the Wheelhouse bar to the Explorers' Lounge to the Princess Theater to Club Fusion to Skywalker's Nightclub, and even on the deck over the huge MUTS Jumbotron on decks 15 & 16. They did achieve a sense or reality, however, one night the Packers were playing with the game televised on the Jumbotron, and the outdoor temp made it seem like you were right there in Lambeau Field. The Tango band in the atrium played loud enough that you could hardly hear the people speaking to you at the customer service desk. There was a handful of episodes of the Love Boat TV program and a few select movies, but honestly I had a much better selection of movies on my return flight home. I suppose if you are into various types of trivia, line dancing, kareoke, and zumba you would have been more than happy with the entertainment. I am not into any of those, so I found the entertainment basically lackluster and disappointing.
Actually the best entertainment on the ship was the Port Authority -- Julio Delgado Corredor, who was knowledgeable and informative. If a place was worth saying, he would tell you. If it was a waste of time, he would tell you that too -- Example: "There is a garden there. I think there are 3 flowers. It shouldn't take you no more than a minute to see it." Or, "There are only 3 streets in this city. You can't possibly get lost. If you do, sit down and start to cry. Someone will come and help you."
The lecturer was a retired archaeology professor, Dr. Kus, who told us more than the average person wants to know about the Inka people.
Our cruise did have some weather problems. In Ushuaya, Argentina, we were docked but an afternoon wind came up and pinned us to the dock until 4 am. The next day we were supposed to go to Cape Horn, but the winds were over 80 mph and for the sake of the safety of the ship and people on board the visit was aborted as the ship listed heavily to the port side.
The timing of the cruise left something to be desired as we arrived in Punta Areanas, Chile on Christmas Day and in Montevideo, Uruguay on New Year's Day -- both being holidays, of course, almost everything was closed. Princess could have started the cruise a day earlier or a day later to avoid this. Or, they could have added an extra stop, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and upped the price a couple of hundred dollars so we would have been at sea on the holidays.
There were some children on the cruise as this was a holiday time of the year. For the most part they were well behaved. Some teenagers, however, took it upon themselves to chase up and down the hallways and play in the elevators.
I took a similar cruise on another line 15 years ago. It, actually, was much better than this one. I have cruised a number of times with Princess and it seems the quality is beginning to slip. There are photographers everywhere. There are too many dress-up nights so that the photographers can take pictures, If you are that desperate for a photo, people, go to a studio in your home town. The boutiques are not so bad, except when they wheel their display cases out into the hallways and make it difficult to pass by. It's like going to KMart but on a ship. The spas are offering daily seminars and specials. Cruising is becoming too commercial and it is getting more and more difficult for people to do what the cruise is supposed to help them do -- relax and come back "new." I think I will have to do more comparative shopping before my next cruise.
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