After 3 days in London, we arrived at the port in Southampton around 1045. Check-in went very quickly and we were allowed to board the ship at 1100. I was amazed they let us board so early; most of the cabins were not ready. We ate lunch up in Horizon Court and that was the last lunch I ate there the whole cruise. Something I ate did not agree with me and I missed the first dinner in the dining room which had a wonderful menu.
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship, but not a good one to do a northern crossing on. The weather was bad enough to keep the outside decks closed for the most part. It was too cold to use the pools or stay outside for long. You really knew there were 3100 people on board in the public areas. Entertainment on board was very good. Movies shown were fairly new and many to choose from. An excellent group, Indigo, played all types of music; in Crooners lounge Sammy Goldstein did a credible job on the piano. In the piaza Rita Mustaine played an excellent selection of songs on the piano; the Crown Qunitet tended to mangle the music they played. The comedians on board were ho-hum and some jokes were quite racey. The cruise staff were excellent. Neil Chandler and his staff had plenty of fun activities going on. Because of weather we ended up missing 3 ports and Halifax was substituted for St. Johns. The staff did an excellent job of rearranging activities so we never had a boring day on board.
Food on board was pretty good and there was always a selection to choose from. I personally didn't care for the food in the Horizon Court although the service there was very good. We ate most of our meals in the dining rooms. For dinner we had traditional seating and had the best wait staff. They worked so well and complemented each other so we were served quickly and efficiently the whole trip. For breakfast and lunch we had mostly good service. I was a bit disappointed in the scrambled eggs at breakfast as they seemed to be made from instant eggs. On sea days the Wheelhouse had a pub lunch and it was very popular. We made it to one on the last sea day and the fish and chips and shepard's pie were delicious. The Crown Grille had the best filet and onion soup I have ever eaten. The International Cafe had light meals (salads, quiche and desserts); gelato was $1.50 for 3 big scoops; beverages there had to be purchased. Best was the fresh baked cookies. Seating was difficult to come by since people would sit and read or just visit with each other.
One area that was a bit disappointing was the tour desk and staff. They seemed to be a bit disporganized when it came to the tours in getting people off the ship and to the proper tours. They seemed to be a bit short-handed when it came to that.
The itinerary was interesting but not one I would choose to do again. We went from Southampton to Stavanger and Bergen, Norway, Lerwick/Shetland Islands (missed because of weather), Torshavn/Faroe Islands, Akureyri (missed because of high winds) and Reykjavik/Iceland, Nuuk and Nanotarlik (missed because of icebergs) in Greenland and St. John, Newfoundland was replaced with Halifax, Nova Scotia because of high winds. The ports we did get into were very interesting but very cold. If Princess were to do this itinerary earlier in the season it may be better. I still enjoyed myself.
Disembarkation in New York City was a little crazy. We were in our assigned lounge and our color was called to disembark but they never announced which gangway we were to use and there was no one to direct us. But we found our luggage with no problems and were on our way to the airport in less than an hour. I believe the Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn is one of the easiest to get through.
We really enjoyed Captain Nash's daily updates. He was very personable and made sure the ship and everyone on board were kept safe. We were very disappointed in missing the ports but we understand the captain's reasons for not visiting them. In Reykjavik, Iceland we took the Golden Circle tour. We went to the
National park and then on to the geysers and Godafoss Falls which were
spectacular. We had an excellent bowl of lamb stew at the snack bar at
the falls. We also visited a geothermal electric plant and got a quick
tour of the city.Nuuk, Greenland was very cold and pretty. We had to tender and the pier
was not very much--just a narrow walkway up a metal ramp and steep
steps. It was extremely difficult for any handicapped people. The town
itself was very charming. The buildings were quaint and
well-maintained. It was just like a small fishing village from the
Cabin D326, Dolphin deck is in an excellent location midway between the forward and center elevators. It was very quiet. The only thing wrong with it would be the sofa. It was not very comfortable to sit on for long. It looked like it needed to be replaced. The drawers in my bedside table were a bit sticky but otherwise everything in the cabin was good. They must have replaced the mattresses because they were very comfortable.
Before Bergen we were in Stavanger which has a beautiful town center and we would have enjoyed the tour of the Lysefjord a lot more if it hadn't been raining. The funicular ride up Mount Floien in Bergen gave beautiful panoramic views of the city. It does rain a lot in Bergen and we were unable to see much that afternoon.
Interesting fort and beautiful parks are to be visited easily. They have a free bus (FRED) that runs from 1030 around the city as well as a HOHO bus for a fee. Peggy's Cove is a major tourist attraction and is about an hour ride from Halifax. They also have the museum from the Titanic there.