There will be plenty of people who will post unhappy reviews about this January 4 - 18 Crown Princess cruise, but we will not be among them. Was this a wonderful cruise? No. Was this the “cruise from hell”? No. But virtually all the problems encountered on this cruise were things that were beyond Princess' control. Details follow:
1) Embarkation in Rio. This proved to be something of a nightmare for many people because of the long delay. The line of dominoes that caused this started with the Brazilian officials. In a Meet & Greet of our Cruise Critic group with two of the ship's officers, we learned that disembarkation from the incoming cruise was due to start at 7:15 in the morning. But the Brazilian officials didn't even show up until 8:15, so already a problem had started. Another CC poster has noted that there had been some flu cases on the ship and the Brazilian authorities would not let anybody off the ship until the most recent cases (10-12 passengers) had been examined, tested, and cleared. As a result, the first passenger disembarked at 9:15, two hours late. Additionally, all non-Brazilian passengers were required to do a face-to-face disembarkation with Brazilian immigration authorities instead of the usual group exiting process. This slowed down the entire disembarkation process with the result that the last passenger disembarked at 1:15 p.m., three hours later than planned. Embarking passengers had been scheduled to start boarding at 1:00, so the entire embarkation process had slowed to something comparable to slogging through mud.
Early in the morning Princess had sent out an e-mail advisory asking embarking passengers to delay their arrival at the terminal, but many passengers didn't check their e-mail or proceeded to arrive as planned. The result was a hot terminal full of people who could not board. Many took that in stride, but many others managed to show the uglier side of their character. The embarkation turned chaotic; Princess could have managed this better, but many uncooperative passengers made the process difficult for all. With an original departure time of 6:00 p.m., the last passenger boarded at 6:15; the Crown departed at 7:00, one hour late.