This was our first experience of Princess cruise ships and therefore the comments should be viewed in conjunction with those more familiar with the line. Boarding was ok but could have been handled a bit better. The staff in the terminal were friendly but seemed a little unsure when it came to dealing with Southampton boarding specifics and loading took longer than we were used to. There was little help from staff as we entered the ship as to where we should go to find our cabin but they seemed friendly enough. Once we located our cabin our cases had already arrived – even if they had been left in a way that completely blocked entry to the cabin. The cabin itself was adequate if a little smaller than we had been used to on Cunard ships. Again the bathroom was functional but the decoration and facilities tired.
Our first stop was Guernsey. This stop required passengers being tendered to the Island. The process took hours and certainly was a distraction to the day. In fairness there were a lot of passengers to get onto the small lifeboats being used by the ship. We were lucky and only had to wait for about an hour and a half but those sitting next to us who had tickets with numbers over 500 above our number must have wondered if they were going to get off the ship before nightfall. Returning to the ship was slightly better as we seem to have used some larger ferries based on the island.
Dinner on our first night was ok but certainly not up to the standard we come to expect on Cunard ships. On the second evening we asked for a table for 2. Non were available in our dining room and we were then taken to another dining room where we we had a table for 2. I was extremely surprised that at the end of our meal having asked for an espresso coffee this was an extra charge. At the beginning of the cruise we had opted for free dining but unfortunately we never managed to get a table for two which we preferred as I have very poor hearing. The options were either to share, which we did on occasions, or move to the fixed table dining room which was ok except it required quite a complex walk and also the staff managed to lose our bottle of wine twice. In fairness they did provide complementary glasses but nevertheless the organisation seemed very poor.
Unlike our last, and previous, cruises with Cunard, just about everything not directly associated with food in the dining rooms was an extra charge. I have already mentioned the espresso at dinner but also ice creams were extra as was the use of the laundry or service to rooms. On one occasion I managed to get a bed on what was called the sanctuary only to find that I was going to be charged $20 for the privilege.
Having spoken with a number of passengers who have travelled with Princess boats in the past the general consensus of opinion seemed to be that Crown Princess fell well short of expectations for most.
Cabin was ok if a little on the small size.