We chose this cruise as we were travelling with daughter son in law and two grandchildren. If travelling without school age children we normally cruise outside school holidays. We did almost the same family cruise last year on Emerald. After booking were concerned about the poor reviews about the state of the ship prior to embarking the Crown. We all had priority embarkation, which as boarding started early, meant we checked in and boarded straight away. P&O could learn from Princess.
We didn't find the ship to be in poor condition in the public areas, infact carpets in hallways and stairs were in a good condition. The ship did vibrate a lot towards the stern so we were glad we were further forward on this trip. We had a premium balcony cabin mid ship which was not in bad condition and was kept spotless by Ronald our very efficient and helpful cabin steward. The balcony walls had been painted and the flooring had been left with splashes of white paint on it. There were some small spots of rust and the furniture was a bit old and faded so we covered it with pool towels and it didnt spoil our enjoyment of the large balcony. The only real problem we had was the dreadful condition of the mattress on the bed. I have a back injury and suffer quite a lot of pain so I always travel with a thin memory foam topper. I had also asked pre cruise for a pillow topperwhich was provided, however the bed had two huge craters in the mattress which rendered it unusable. Out cabin steward got me another foam topper and with all three we just about managed but it was not comfortable. We had the new Beds on Emerald last year which were very comfortable, but I don't know how long they will last with the size of some of the passengers nowadays.
The buffet resturant as on similar P&O and Princess ships is a poor design and not adequate for the numbers using it. The food was also of poor quality at lunchtimes and breakfast times, with un-peeled fruit! and dishes made from leftovers which were never hot, so when the main resturant was open on sea days we always used that. My grandson sometimes ate in the buffet later in the evening when too busy to eat with us and the food seemed better then. The food in the main resturant varied from good to excellent, and the service was always very good. The menus had a lot of seafood with scallops on almost daily. The meat especially the beef was of very good quality and there was no problem getting extra vegetables which we often asked for.