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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. 2) Medical Emergency. In the middle of the first sea day, there was a medical emergency on board. The Captain broadcast an appeal for blood donors; to their credit 60 passengers in possession of valid blood donor cards volunteered to donate blood. In the meantime, the ship was turned around, heading back north toward Rio with an anticipated helicopter rendezvous with the Brazilian Coast Guard about 2.5 hours north of where we had been. During that time, the helicopter transfer was supplanted by a water transfer near another Brazilian port, but this still cost the Crown a total of 6 hours of time. Added to the delay in Rio, we were now 7 hours behind schedule. 3) Arrival in Buenos Aires. With two strikes against the Crown already, it turned out that the Gods of Fate were just getting warmed up. On the 127-mile-long Rio de Plata channel to Buenos Aires, we noted that the water was very muddy. Looking at the wake aft, it was almost as if the propellers were churning up silt from the very bottom of the channel itself. While we were working our way south from Rio, a major storm had affected the ocean and Rio de Plata area around Buenos Aires, with northerly winds and coincidental low tides lowering the water level to the point that the Crown (and many other ships) was unable to enter the port. Already 7 hours late, now the Crown was forced to anchor off the coast until the water returned to a level that made port entry possible. Instead of making port at the scheduled 8:00 a.m on Saturday, January 7, we now docked in the wee hours of Sunday, January 8. Schedule-wise, this was when we should have been arriving in Montevideo; the Crown was now fully one day behind schedule. 4) Embarkation in Buenos Aires. Having embarked in Rio, this did not directly affect us, but with approximately 700-800 passengers beginning their Crown Princess adventure here, you can imagine what they must have gone through, having checked out of their hotels on the 7th, and arriving at the terminal only to learn that the Crown would not be able to dock until the morning of the 8th. It must have been a wild scene as those passengers scrambled for overnight accommodations, etc. I will have to leave it to those so affected to provide a narrative of their experience. Personally, our planned Buenos Aires tour did not occur as the tour company was somehow unaware that the Crown had been delayed. Luckily, we found another delightful couple in similar straits, so the four of us set off and enjoyed our own tour of Buenos Aires. It turned out to be a fun day for all of us. 5. Montevideo. With the Crown having missed its reserved berthing spot on January 8, the ship now found itself unable to dock on the morning of the 9th, as all Montevideo berths were occupied by ships that had previously reserved for that date. At the same time, it was not possible to bypass Montevideo, as that is a fueling and stores stop for the Crown. Without fuel and provisions, it would not have been possible to continue on the voyage. As a result, the Crown was forced to sail past Montevideo and anchor in the estuary until such time as a berth opened in early evening. During this time of waiting, arrangements were made for a barge to come alongside and replenish the Crown’s fuel supply. Still, needing stores, the Crown continued to wait until it was finally able to dock in Montevideo around 7:30 in the evening. While provisions were being brought on, passengers were allowed to go ashore from 8:00 – midnight to see what they could of Montevideo. Happily, the tour company we had made arrangements with accommodated us with a night tour that proved to be very interesting and gave us some sense of the city. Unhappily, however, not long after many passengers got off the ship, a thunderstorm moved over the city with lightning and soaking rains. Many passengers who went ashore to simply walk around the city were totally drenched within a ½ hour of leaving the ship and had to return aboard. Why there was no advice from the Captain or crew about the impending weather seems to be something of a mystery. Certainly the ship’s weather radar must have shown the approaching storm; passengers should have been so advised. In any case, the Crown had now gotten underway in the wee hours of January 10, fully 30 hours, or about 760 miles, behind schedule. 6. Falkland Islands. With the above-noted deficit, something in the itinerary had to give, and that proved to be the Falkland Islands. This proved to be distressing to many passengers, particularly to one woman whose son had been killed in the Falkland War of 1982. Her son was buried there and she had never had the opportunity to visit his grave. This trip was to be that time for her. In a public “coffee and conversation” event in the ship’s piazza, Captain Justin Lawes acknowledged how emotional it was for him to have to delete the Falkland stop from the itinerary, knowing of this passenger’s pilgrimage to her son’s grave. As it turns out, even had we attempted to make the Falkland stop, the weather would have prevented us from doing so. On average, the Falkland stop happens about 70% of the time, as tendering is necessary in that port and wave/weather conditions are often not favorable. In his public conversation event, Captain Lawes retold the story of his “worst” experience as a Captain when he had to leave 800 passengers stranded in Stanley (Falkland) because of a weather change during the day and a resulting inability to tender passengers back to the ship. 7. Rest of the trip. The rest of the trip was uneventful, with the exception of two very minor fire incidents, both of which were quickly handled by the crew and without any inconvenience or danger to the passengers. As a way of adding something to the cruise after the earlier inconveniences and disappointments, the Crown did make an unscheduled visit to Chile’s Amalia Glacier, a glacier that originates in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This was a nice and appreciated plus. 8. Princess Makes it Right. As a gesture of good will, Princess went overboard (no pun intended) by providing a 100% credit to all passengers for the inconveniences encountered and ports missed on this cruise. The credit came in the form of a 50% on-board refundable credit and a 50% credit on a future cruise. Personally, we feel that this was very generous of Princess, particularly, as noted above, that most of the problems encountered on this cruise were things beyond Princess’ control. We thank Princess for this thoughtful gesture. We look forward to another Princess cruise.

Problems Not Caused by Princess

Crown Princess Cruise Review by winogeek

22 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2017
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
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.

2) Medical Emergency. In the middle of the first sea day, there was a medical emergency on board. The Captain broadcast an appeal for blood donors; to their credit 60 passengers in possession of valid blood donor cards volunteered to donate blood. In the meantime, the ship was turned around, heading back north toward Rio with an anticipated helicopter rendezvous with the Brazilian Coast Guard about 2.5 hours north of where we had been. During that time, the helicopter transfer was supplanted by a water transfer near another Brazilian port, but this still cost the Crown a total of 6 hours of time. Added to the delay in Rio, we were now 7 hours behind schedule.

3) Arrival in Buenos Aires. With two strikes against the Crown already, it turned out that the Gods of Fate were just getting warmed up. On the 127-mile-long Rio de Plata channel to Buenos Aires, we noted that the water was very muddy. Looking at the wake aft, it was almost as if the propellers were churning up silt from the very bottom of the channel itself. While we were working our way south from Rio, a major storm had affected the ocean and Rio de Plata area around Buenos Aires, with northerly winds and coincidental low tides lowering the water level to the point that the Crown (and many other ships) was unable to enter the port. Already 7 hours late, now the Crown was forced to anchor off the coast until the water returned to a level that made port entry possible. Instead of making port at the scheduled 8:00 a.m on Saturday, January 7, we now docked in the wee hours of Sunday, January 8. Schedule-wise, this was when we should have been arriving in Montevideo; the Crown was now fully one day behind schedule.

4) Embarkation in Buenos Aires. Having embarked in Rio, this did not directly affect us, but with approximately 700-800 passengers beginning their Crown Princess adventure here, you can imagine what they must have gone through, having checked out of their hotels on the 7th, and arriving at the terminal only to learn that the Crown would not be able to dock until the morning of the 8th. It must have been a wild scene as those passengers scrambled for overnight accommodations, etc. I will have to leave it to those so affected to provide a narrative of their experience. Personally, our planned Buenos Aires tour did not occur as the tour company was somehow unaware that the Crown had been delayed. Luckily, we found another delightful couple in similar straits, so the four of us set off and enjoyed our own tour of Buenos Aires. It turned out to be a fun day for all of us.

5. Montevideo. With the Crown having missed its reserved berthing spot on January 8, the ship now found itself unable to dock on the morning of the 9th, as all Montevideo berths were occupied by ships that had previously reserved for that date. At the same time, it was not possible to bypass Montevideo, as that is a fueling and stores stop for the Crown. Without fuel and provisions, it would not have been possible to continue on the voyage. As a result, the Crown was forced to sail past Montevideo and anchor in the estuary until such time as a berth opened in early evening. During this time of waiting, arrangements were made for a barge to come alongside and replenish the Crown’s fuel supply. Still, needing stores, the Crown continued to wait until it was finally able to dock in Montevideo around 7:30 in the evening. While provisions were being brought on, passengers were allowed to go ashore from 8:00 – midnight to see what they could of Montevideo. Happily, the tour company we had made arrangements with accommodated us with a night tour that proved to be very interesting and gave us some sense of the city. Unhappily, however, not long after many passengers got off the ship, a thunderstorm moved over the city with lightning and soaking rains. Many passengers who went ashore to simply walk around the city were totally drenched within a ½ hour of leaving the ship and had to return aboard. Why there was no advice from the Captain or crew about the impending weather seems to be something of a mystery. Certainly the ship’s weather radar must have shown the approaching storm; passengers should have been so advised. In any case, the Crown had now gotten underway in the wee hours of January 10, fully 30 hours, or about 760 miles, behind schedule.

6. Falkland Islands. With the above-noted deficit, something in the itinerary had to give, and that proved to be the Falkland Islands. This proved to be distressing to many passengers, particularly to one woman whose son had been killed in the Falkland War of 1982. Her son was buried there and she had never had the opportunity to visit his grave. This trip was to be that time for her. In a public “coffee and conversation” event in the ship’s piazza, Captain Justin Lawes acknowledged how emotional it was for him to have to delete the Falkland stop from the itinerary, knowing of this passenger’s pilgrimage to her son’s grave. As it turns out, even had we attempted to make the Falkland stop, the weather would have prevented us from doing so. On average, the Falkland stop happens about 70% of the time, as tendering is necessary in that port and wave/weather conditions are often not favorable. In his public conversation event, Captain Lawes retold the story of his “worst” experience as a Captain when he had to leave 800 passengers stranded in Stanley (Falkland) because of a weather change during the day and a resulting inability to tender passengers back to the ship.

7. Rest of the trip. The rest of the trip was uneventful, with the exception of two very minor fire incidents, both of which were quickly handled by the crew and without any inconvenience or danger to the passengers. As a way of adding something to the cruise after the earlier inconveniences and disappointments, the Crown did make an unscheduled visit to Chile’s Amalia Glacier, a glacier that originates in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This was a nice and appreciated plus.

8. Princess Makes it Right. As a gesture of good will, Princess went overboard (no pun intended) by providing a 100% credit to all passengers for the inconveniences encountered and ports missed on this cruise. The credit came in the form of a 50% on-board refundable credit and a 50% credit on a future cruise. Personally, we feel that this was very generous of Princess, particularly, as noted above, that most of the problems encountered on this cruise were things beyond Princess’ control. We thank Princess for this thoughtful gesture. We look forward to another Princess cruise.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB B615
Nice -- The usual balcony cabin on a Princess ship.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins