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Crown Princess Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,116 Reviews

North to the Sun.

Crown Princess Cruise Review by TRUEBLUE66

14 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Aug 2017
  • Destination: the Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony

Firstly, this is lengthy, but I have tried to break it up and hope you get a good overview of the cruise from it.

My wife and I are in our early 50’s and although this was only our second Princess cruise it was the 12th overall. We enjoy the outdoors so this 14 night North Cape and Norwegian Fjords looked a good choice.

We originally booked an MB class mini suite but got a free upgrade during one of the sales to the new M1 Club class with the main benefits advertised as priority boarding/disembarking and a section of the Da Vinci restaurant on deck 6 reserved only for Club class dining.

We flew down to Southampton the day before and stayed in the Holiday Inn next to the cruise terminals. Good choice for a 1 night pre cruise stay if you can book in advance and get a good rate but the place needs some T.L.C. for the fixtures in the rooms. Decent buffet breakfast but not a huge choice.

Had some sunny weather in Southampton so did some walking about having never been there before. We then met up with other cruise critic passengers for a nice meal at the Red Lion Inn, apparently England’s second oldest pub, with huge portions at a good price. A great way to start the cruise by meeting fellow passengers!

On the morning of the cruise we booked a taxi to the QE2 terminal and within 20 minutes were onboard. We explored the ship and thought it was overall in good condition. The hull of the ship around the water line needs some work which I take it will be done next year at the refit. Our room was also in good condition with a small amount of mould around the tiles in the bathroom but nothing to worry about. Everything worked during the 2 weeks and the cabin was clean.

Our Meet and Greet the next day, sea day, had over 100 attending from our roll call and we were lucky to have Captain Stenzel and several of his senior officers attend and introduce themselves before doing a Q&A session. The Captain was the best we have experienced with regular updates on weather, ship position, timing and a nautical story thrown in for good measure! We found all crew we came in to contact with to be polite and helpful and it seemed to be a well run ship.

The Entertainment onboard was of a higher standard than most we have been on. The ships singers/dancers did two great shows in "Magic to do" and " Encore". The headliner acts brought onboard were enjoyable.

The stand out for us onboard was the club class dining experience. There was always plenty of tables for 2 and 4 with a decent amount of space between them. The head waiter Stefan from Romania and our waitress Laura from Columbia could not do enough for us and on many occasions there were more crew than passengers. Each evening Stefan would prepare one of the main courses at a table in the middle of the dining room. In general we found the food good to excellent but it was the personal attention to detail with the time to talk that made this a bit special.

We ate in Sabatini’s and whilst it was good it wasn’t any better than the main dining room. The place was near empty both times we went and I think they need to rethink the menu. There is also a real problem with the ship vibrating in this area and you glass of wine/water is constantly shaking as are you!

The Crown grill was of a better standard than the main dining room with excellent steaks and was reasonably full the second time we went. However I “personally” think that Chops Grill on the R.C.I. ships has a better menu!

We had 9 ports of call and 4 sea days spread out due to the distances involved with 3 of the ports being above the Arctic circle. We were extremely lucky with the weather as only Tromso was a washout. In Honningsvag, the most northerly place on the European mainland, we had expected to be in about 4 layers of clothing but instead many were in t shirts and shorts.

We usually like to do private excursions but that proved difficult in Norway to find so, like many, we booked several expensive excursions with Princess.

Stavanger- We did the strenuous hike up to Pulpit rock with Princess as the logistics of trying to do it on our own was proving too tight on time with buses and ferries required. The weather was good and the views terrific. We had about 20 min before we had to set off back down as the time allocated was approx. 4 hours. Worth doing once but it is hard going, steep and busy.

Flaam- We did the railway and 6-8km hike again with Princess. Not as impressed with the scenery from the train as I thought I would be but again worth doing. The Hike was enjoyable with plenty of photo/rest stops and we got to see some of the best scenery up close. There were 2 stations to stop at on the way down so some opted for the shorter walk and the rest walked on for an extra couple of km before catching the train back to Flaam.

Geiranger/Hellesylt- Again took a Princess tour for the full day that took us to several scenic locations in the area and ended with a hike up to the Birksdal glacier. Got a bit wet but enjoyed the trip. The ship tendered passengers ashore at the first stop and then moved in the afternoon to the second stop to tender those who had taken a princess tour back onboard. If you wanted maximum time ashore your choices were limited outside of Princess.

Trondheim- Warm and dry day so walked into town for a short while then {eventually} found the Lidestien trail. This is basically a coastal path which starts about a mile from the ship and winds around the top edges of the town through some nice scenery. There was a great coffee shop on the trail with the best carrot cake ever! Recommend the trail and the coffee shop highly to get away from the crowds and do something different.

Honningsvag- Booked with a local company, as did many others, for a coach trip to the North Cape and visitor centre. Spend a pleasant few hours viewing stunning clifftop scenery. Visited the Ice bar in the small town later and had a walk around in the unexpectedly warm sunshine!

Tromso- Thankfully hadn’t booked anything here. Was a very wet Sunday with most things closed. We used the wet weather gear and took the ship transfer into town and walked over the impressive bridge to the Arctic Cathedral. Walked to the cable car but the girl at the desk was honest enough to say it was a waste of time as the cloud cover was never going to get above the mountain so the visibility would have been zero. Saw some of the scenic parts of the town before calling it a day.

Lofoten Islands- One of the guys on our c.c. roll call organised a private tour for us and we got to see the best of the islands over 6 hours in dry and sunny weather. Again, fantastic scenery.

Aalesund- Did the Princess tour to climb “Sugar lump” mountain for about 4 hours. Amazing views from the top and enjoyed the walk along with an entire local Primary school who climbed to the top to have their first day of school picture taken by drone! Explored town afterwards and well worth a visit.

Bergen-The final stop and again a Princess tour for the first few hours, going up early on the funicular to the mountain and getting great views. A couple of hours hiking in the hills around followed before descending to the old part of town to explore before returning to the ship.

A restful day at sea and easy disembarkation ended a really great experience and cruise.

I doubt many could have complaints regarding this cruise as we left on time, got in to every port, had better than expected weather and no holiday spoilers we were aware of. There were fewer than usual kids onboard probably due to the locations being visited but those that we encountered were well behaved and polite.

We will have no hesitation booking with Princess again

TRUEBLUE66's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M1 D417

Located midship near the lifts but no issue with noise. Had the new princess bed and we slept well but might have done so anyway due to the fresh air of Norway! Standard layout with decent sized balcony and interior space. Plenty of cupboard space.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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