1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Crown Princess
This was a 14 day Med cruise from Southampton, visiting Barcelona, Ajaccio, Rome, Livorno, Genoa, Marseilles and Gibraltar. There were 3 in our party, myself, my disabled husband and my 6 year old son. Outward Journey - We were due to fly from Manchester to Southampton the morning of the cruise, but it was explained to us that if we were late for embarkation, we'd have 4 days to kill before picking up the cruise in Barcelona. So we flew down the night before. We stayed in a 4 star city centre hotel that's part of a well known chain. It was pretty tatty and a bit smelly. We were really disappointed with Southampton city centre. We thought that with all the passing cruise traffic, you would see more investment in it, but it felt quite run down. Sadly you really wouldn't want to spend any time there. Embarkation - Lots of queues at embarkation, but the queues moved quickly. They've obviously got this process down to a fine art. Apart from the hand sanitisers! After you go through security and before you board, you're supposed to use one of 3 hand sanitisers. 1 was broken and 2 were empty! We boarded the ship and started wandering about. We didn't read the Princess Patter (their newsletter) beforehand. We got some beers and food at 4 pm and then heard an announcement that our muster drill was at 4.15 - so we had to down everything and run! Room - There were 3 of us in an accessible room. We didn't realise that my son was too young to sleep in the bunkbed. Children have to be 9 and over. As my husband is disabled, it was me who ended up in the bunk bed! This took some getting used to. And then the ceiling over me developed a rattle - it rattled every night, like morse code. It drove me mad! The staff were very quick to try and resolve the matter, but it took some time. It got so bad, that I insisted that we put a z bed between the twin beds and I wore ear plugs at night. There's one accessible power outlet in the room - and it's American. Swimming Pools - The 2 main pools on the Crown Princess on the 15th deck where small and rectangular shaped. The shallow end was 5' 2" and the deep end was 7' 2". We couldn't touch the bottom at either end and still be able to breathe! The pool was so small and packed, that you couldn't swim, you could only doggy paddle, or hold onto the edge. Most people were holding onto the edge! My husband has poor co-ordination, so struggled to doggy paddle (for which you need co-ordination or you'll sink). When my little lad swims, he grabs onto you, but every time he did this, we went under! There were lot of kids jumping and diving into the pool, despite signs saying no jumping or diving. I was concerned that if my little lad got knocked or winded by someone jumping or diving on top of him, he could be knocked to the bottom of the pool. There was no lifeguard. There was a security guard who monitors the pool but it's inconsistent. So we sat around the edge of the pool on sentry duty. The pool at the Pelican kids club was a splash pool for toddlers - it was no good for swimming. Most sunbeds were reserved with towels by 9 am. Kids Club - Before we left, I rang Princess Cruises to see if my 6 year old son could go to the kids club if we went ashore. I was first told that if we went ashore, he would have to come with us. I then received a phone call back from them to say they had given me the wrong information and that my son could go to the kids club if we went ashore. It was just as well, because at some ports if our boy had left the ship with us, he would have been bored stiff. My son is a natural athlete. He's very good at ball sports and is a fast runner. He has tonnes of energy which he needs to burn off. The activities in the Pelican Club for 3-8 years olds were too craft based for him. My boy wanted to run and there was no place for him to run. The running track on the top desk was narrow and comprised one very short loop - it was only wide enough for 1 jogger. It also served as the path for people to walk around the top deck and get from the golf to the basketball court, so realistically it would be difficult to use it for running. The basketball court was very small and full of adults, which my son felt a bit intimidated by. The 6 hole golf course was too sedate for him. And we had no idea how to play croquet! The soft play area in the Pelican club looked like a cage it was that small and really is only meant for toddlers. Horizon Buffet Restaurant - the food was ok, the problem was the seating. Unless you went early or late for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was nearly impossible to find seating. People were getting very angry and frustrated, milling about with trays of food and no place to sit. The buffet bar has automatic doors at various entry/exit points, which open onto the main pool deck on the 15th floor. This means that if the weather's cold (which it was leaving and returning to Southampton), and the doors are automatically opening, you've got cold air flooding into the buffet bar. On one night in particular, it was freezing. Main Dining Rooms - on average, the food was great. Their menu comprised of set items and others on rotation. The children's menu was a bit disappointing - it was the same 3-4 dishes every night, with no rotation. Although children can eat from the main menu, my little lad wasn't interested. The air conditioning was very effective so bring a light cardigan or jumper. The dining rooms are a bit dated - all dark panelling and swirly carpets. If you do not finish a bottle of wine, they'll label it for you for the following night. The staff were just fabulous. We went Anytime dining. You can reserve a table if you want - you need to do this between 8 am - 9 am each day. We found that we only needed to book a table on formal nights. Entertainment - Freddie Mercury Tribute was fantastic. For most 8 pm shows, people were reserving seats at 7.30 pm. Shops - there were a lot of promotions, particularly in relation to jewellery and especially towards the end of the cruise. Laundering facilities - on most floors, there was a laundry room comprising 2 washing machines, 2 dryers, 2 irons and ironing boards. The washing machines and dryers cost $3 each. Washing power and softener cost $1.50. You present your room card to a token reader in the laundry room and it gets charged to your account. The laundry room got busy on formal nights. Alcohol drinks package - we decided against buying a drinks package. We felt it was expensive bearing in mind that we're not huge drinkers and we were getting off at every port. We bought 2 bottles of wine onto the ship at embarkation. We bought a bottle of wine at dinner every second night. We bought some beers and soft drinks. We had cocktails a couple of times during happy hour (3-4) in the Wheelhouse bar. Tea, coffee, orange juice, apple juice and iced water were free in the 3 dining rooms. Tea, coffee and still lemonade was available all day in the Horizon Buffet Bar. The coffee was on tap - it was ok. At the end of the holiday, we spent 1/4 of what we would have spent with a drinks package. Conclusion - overall we had a great first cruise as a family. Pro's - superb staff, good food, great itinerary Cons - tired decor, pools too deep for young children, not enough sporting activities of kids Would we sail with Princess again? Maybe, not now - there are so many other companies out there that we want to try. Would we sail from Southampton again? No. Warm sunny weather makes our holiday. It was wet, cold and windy for 2 days sailing out and 2 days sailing back and because the weather was cold, we just wanted to be home.

Great itinerary, good food, brilliant staff, tired ship

Crown Princess Cruise Review by pollymary

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was a 14 day Med cruise from Southampton, visiting Barcelona, Ajaccio, Rome, Livorno, Genoa, Marseilles and Gibraltar.

There were 3 in our party, myself, my disabled husband and my 6 year old son.

Outward Journey - We were due to fly from Manchester to Southampton the morning of the cruise, but it was explained to us that if we were late for embarkation, we'd have 4 days to kill before picking up the cruise in Barcelona. So we flew down the night before. We stayed in a 4 star city centre hotel that's part of a well known chain. It was pretty tatty and a bit smelly. We were really disappointed with Southampton city centre. We thought that with all the passing cruise traffic, you would see more investment in it, but it felt quite run down. Sadly you really wouldn't want to spend any time there.

Embarkation - Lots of queues at embarkation, but the queues moved quickly. They've obviously got this process down to a fine art. Apart from the hand sanitisers! After you go through security and before you board, you're supposed to use one of 3 hand sanitisers. 1 was broken and 2 were empty! We boarded the ship and started wandering about. We didn't read the Princess Patter (their newsletter) beforehand. We got some beers and food at 4 pm and then heard an announcement that our muster drill was at 4.15 - so we had to down everything and run!

Room - There were 3 of us in an accessible room. We didn't realise that my son was too young to sleep in the bunkbed. Children have to be 9 and over. As my husband is disabled, it was me who ended up in the bunk bed! This took some getting used to. And then the ceiling over me developed a rattle - it rattled every night, like morse code. It drove me mad! The staff were very quick to try and resolve the matter, but it took some time. It got so bad, that I insisted that we put a z bed between the twin beds and I wore ear plugs at night. There's one accessible power outlet in the room - and it's American.

Swimming Pools - The 2 main pools on the Crown Princess on the 15th deck where small and rectangular shaped. The shallow end was 5' 2" and the deep end was 7' 2". We couldn't touch the bottom at either end and still be able to breathe! The pool was so small and packed, that you couldn't swim, you could only doggy paddle, or hold onto the edge. Most people were holding onto the edge! My husband has poor co-ordination, so struggled to doggy paddle (for which you need co-ordination or you'll sink). When my little lad swims, he grabs onto you, but every time he did this, we went under! There were lot of kids jumping and diving into the pool, despite signs saying no jumping or diving. I was concerned that if my little lad got knocked or winded by someone jumping or diving on top of him, he could be knocked to the bottom of the pool. There was no lifeguard. There was a security guard who monitors the pool but it's inconsistent. So we sat around the edge of the pool on sentry duty. The pool at the Pelican kids club was a splash pool for toddlers - it was no good for swimming. Most sunbeds were reserved with towels by 9 am.

Kids Club - Before we left, I rang Princess Cruises to see if my 6 year old son could go to the kids club if we went ashore. I was first told that if we went ashore, he would have to come with us. I then received a phone call back from them to say they had given me the wrong information and that my son could go to the kids club if we went ashore. It was just as well, because at some ports if our boy had left the ship with us, he would have been bored stiff. My son is a natural athlete. He's very good at ball sports and is a fast runner. He has tonnes of energy which he needs to burn off. The activities in the Pelican Club for 3-8 years olds were too craft based for him. My boy wanted to run and there was no place for him to run. The running track on the top desk was narrow and comprised one very short loop - it was only wide enough for 1 jogger. It also served as the path for people to walk around the top deck and get from the golf to the basketball court, so realistically it would be difficult to use it for running. The basketball court was very small and full of adults, which my son felt a bit intimidated by. The 6 hole golf course was too sedate for him. And we had no idea how to play croquet! The soft play area in the Pelican club looked like a cage it was that small and really is only meant for toddlers.

Horizon Buffet Restaurant - the food was ok, the problem was the seating. Unless you went early or late for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was nearly impossible to find seating. People were getting very angry and frustrated, milling about with trays of food and no place to sit. The buffet bar has automatic doors at various entry/exit points, which open onto the main pool deck on the 15th floor. This means that if the weather's cold (which it was leaving and returning to Southampton), and the doors are automatically opening, you've got cold air flooding into the buffet bar. On one night in particular, it was freezing.

Main Dining Rooms - on average, the food was great. Their menu comprised of set items and others on rotation. The children's menu was a bit disappointing - it was the same 3-4 dishes every night, with no rotation. Although children can eat from the main menu, my little lad wasn't interested. The air conditioning was very effective so bring a light cardigan or jumper. The dining rooms are a bit dated - all dark panelling and swirly carpets. If you do not finish a bottle of wine, they'll label it for you for the following night. The staff were just fabulous. We went Anytime dining. You can reserve a table if you want - you need to do this between 8 am - 9 am each day. We found that we only needed to book a table on formal nights.

Entertainment - Freddie Mercury Tribute was fantastic. For most 8 pm shows, people were reserving seats at 7.30 pm.

Shops - there were a lot of promotions, particularly in relation to jewellery and especially towards the end of the cruise.

Laundering facilities - on most floors, there was a laundry room comprising 2 washing machines, 2 dryers, 2 irons and ironing boards. The washing machines and dryers cost $3 each. Washing power and softener cost $1.50. You present your room card to a token reader in the laundry room and it gets charged to your account. The laundry room got busy on formal nights.

Alcohol drinks package - we decided against buying a drinks package. We felt it was expensive bearing in mind that we're not huge drinkers and we were getting off at every port. We bought 2 bottles of wine onto the ship at embarkation. We bought a bottle of wine at dinner every second night. We bought some beers and soft drinks. We had cocktails a couple of times during happy hour (3-4) in the Wheelhouse bar. Tea, coffee, orange juice, apple juice and iced water were free in the 3 dining rooms. Tea, coffee and still lemonade was available all day in the Horizon Buffet Bar. The coffee was on tap - it was ok. At the end of the holiday, we spent 1/4 of what we would have spent with a drinks package.

Conclusion - overall we had a great first cruise as a family.

Pro's - superb staff, good food, great itinerary

Cons - tired decor, pools too deep for young children, not enough sporting activities of kids

Would we sail with Princess again? Maybe, not now - there are so many other companies out there that we want to try.

Would we sail from Southampton again? No. Warm sunny weather makes our holiday. It was wet, cold and windy for 2 days sailing out and 2 days sailing back and because the weather was cold, we just wanted to be home.
pollymary’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Crown Princess price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin B303
Large and roomy. Great walk-in shower. Decor a bit tired and dated.
  Crown Princess Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Barcelona
    City tour with a 3 block walk to Sagrada Familia. The walk was an incredibly stressful experience because there was a full coach load of people trying to stay together and keep the guide in sight while crossing 3 main roads in amongst the summer crowds and heat. It was probably one of the most stressful things I've ever done! We used earphones in Sagrada to listen to our guide and a number of earphones were not working. You need to be 100% fit to do this tour.
    View All 2,289 Barcelona Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Barcelona Cruise Port Review
  • Corsica (Ajaccio)
    It was a 5-10 minute walk into town. There were sight seeing buses and a land train to take you around. The ticket office is at the start of the main square, right by the port. Napoleon's house is a 10 minute walk from the ship. There were some nice restaurants in the side streets near Napoleon's house.
    View All 362 Corsica (Ajaccio) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Corsica (Ajaccio) Cruise Port Review
  • Florence (Livorno)
    If you're going up the tower or into the other buildings, see if you can buy the tickets online before you get there. Pisa is less crowded in the morning than the afternoon. Boarding the trolley car was a bit chaotic. Lots of pushing and shoving and young families were unable to sit together because people wouldn't move to accommodate them. This part of the trip needs more organisation.
    View All 1,114 Florence (Livorno) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Florence (Livorno) Cruise Port Review
  • Genoa
    The port is right in the town. We took a sight seeing bus to the Ducal Palace. Because there was very little information in English, we couldn't work out initially what there was to see there. Once up the stairs and in the main throne room, we found some information in English. Up the tower to the cells, and a bit more information. They were showing a film in relation to the history of the cells but all in Italian. The sight seeing bus was worthwhile.
    View All 413 Genoa Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Genoa Cruise Port Review
  • Gibraltar
    A private taxi tour of Gibraltar. We toured the island, when into St Michael's Cave and then to see the apes. We were then dropped off in town. The bus/taxi rank was so busy, we decided to walk back to the ship. It's a 20 minute walk, but felt longer in the heat.
    View All 738 Gibraltar Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Gibraltar Cruise Port Review
  • Marseille
    Marseille has a lot of graffiti and litter everywhere. The bins were overflowing and smelly. The best part was the old port, with all its restaurants. We took the land train to the church on the hill but didn't have time to get off and have a look around. The land train was worthwhile.
    View All 839 Marseille Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Marseille Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    Did a golf buggy tour of Rome. Absolutely fantastic! It was the highlight of our holiday. We were taken to the main sites, but also down side streets to see some little gems there. We ate in a back street pizzeria - great food and reasonably priced.
    View All 325 City Tour Reviews