Crown Princess November 14-21, 2009: Crown Princess Cruise Review by katisdale

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Crown Princess November 14-21, 2009

Sail Date: November 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We needed a quick break and the prices on this cruise were excellent. I had polio as a child and now have difficulty walking due to post-polio problems. We reserved cabin C312 and inside accessible cabin. Since cruise ships are large I travel with my scooter, a travelscoot. This scooter is very small, weighing only 35 pounds but also very strong, capable of handling ramps easily and has long lasting batteries.

We chose to drive to Ft. Lauderdale, about a 12 hour drive from our home in NC. This was almost all interstate driving and we avoided the hassle of air travel. We stayed in Ft. Pierce Fl. for one night on the way to the ship and drove straight home after the cruise. We would consider driving again if we had a cruise from Florida. I wish Princess cruised out of Charleston, SC or Norfolk, Va.

Embarkation was easy although we were at pier 21 and parked at the mid-port garage. Princess had lots of shuttles to take us back there after the cruise since we came back More into pier 2. The check-in personnel were quick but not overly efficient. Our lady could not figure out how to swipe our card and called another woman for help. Later in the cruise we had to go to the purser's desk to see why our card was declined. It wasn't declined, it was never swiped.

The ship is lovely with lots of muted colors and small private area. Everything seemed in good repair EXCEPT the elevators. We never went to a bank of elevators where one was not out of service. As a scooter user I would prefer if elevator use was done at night. The service personnel, both waiters and steward were warm, welcoming and efficient. We chose anytime dining and never waited for a table. We shared tables and also ate by ourselves. We usually ate about 6 PM. We had dinner at both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. Both were outstanding. We also enjoyed our meals in the dining room although food is very subjective. We especially enjoyed the goat cheese souffle and key lime pie. We were disappointed there were so few dessert souffles this cruise.

We found the entertainment to be satisfactory with the best show being that of the hypnotist who was quite entertaining. We had already seen both productions shows on previous cruises and did not repeat them this year. We liked the different acts in the piazza especially the doo-wop group Spank. They were excellent. We played trivia each day and had great fun and lots of laughs. Debarkation was excellent. It was the easiest we have ever done. I did not go to the handicapped area but just drove my scooter off when our color/number was called. As we are platinum we used this lounge and it was quite easy. Thankfully there was no bumping or crowding. The shuttle to the mid-port parking was easy and we were on our way by 9 AM. Less

Published 11/24/09

Cabin review: IBC312 Interior

We were in cabin Caribe 312. This is an accessible inside cabin. There is enough space at the door for the scooter to enter without being broken down. this is a very important attribute. There is also room to store the scooter near the two electric outlets which are on the desk. The beds in the room can be put together to make a queen sized bed BUT if this is done it decreases the turn around room. The closets are adequate with one high and one low rack. Neither rack is adjustable nor do they pull down. The bathroom is ample sized. The toilet is not of handicapped height. There are plenty of rails near the toilet, the sink and in the shower. There is no step into the bathroom. There is room under the sink for your feet if you are in a wheelchair. The shower seat is attached to the wall and can be collapsed if sharing with an able bodied person. The seat is low like the toilet. The drains around the shower do not contain all the water in the shower area. The drains are covered by a wire mesh like contraption that makes a metallic sound if you step on it. This cabin is located beside the laundry but we had no issues with sound at anytime day or night. However there is a staff elevator on the opposite side of the cabin. This is the area where all luggage is brought onto the Caribe deck. We did not find this to be a big problem. On the first night the noise stopped about 10 PM and on the last night by 11:30 PM.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We chose to take a taxi from the ship to Chakanaab. The park has a lovely garden that has concrete or packed earth walkways that are easy to navigate with the scooter. However what we wanted to do was snorkel as the sun was shining and it was hot. When we got to the snorkel area there was a ton of sand and I was afraid we were not going to be able to take part. However we then met a wonderful young man named Mario Ceh. He does snorkel tours for tips in the morning and scuba tours for set prices in the afternoon. This man is FABULOUS! He showed us to an area where access to the water is easier and also where my scooter could be stored. There are complimentary lockers in the area where snorkel gear is rented. Mario can be reached at or He is a NASE scuba instructor. We were out with him for about an hour and saw hundreds of fish. This was an excellent alternative for me as I cannot do the steps into a snorkel boat anymore and I do love to snorkel. This was a great day.

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We have been to Grand Cayman several times and were looking for something new. We decided to take a ship's tour to Boatswain's Bay Beach after e-mailing the park as to the accessibility for scooter users. They claimed to be completely accessible. This is not true. Since we have had problems with tender service being cancelled in the past due to high winds or seas we chose to use the ship's tour rather than do this independently as we would not be charged if the tendering was cancelled. The cost was $13.00 more for using the ship's tour but transport to the park was included. The tour included a tour of the turtle area and then use of the park for about 4 hours. The tour of the turtle area is accessible. However anything elsewhere in the park is on gravel walkways. The gravel is very deep in some areas and poor for scooters. Also where ever there is a bridge or ramp the gravel has moved away leaving a two or three inch step. We were able to get to the lagoon but I then had to walk down to the water where there was a steep grade into the water. The swimming in the lagoon was great, especially to the window that looked into the predator tank. It makes you feel like you are swimming with sharks. I could not get to the changing rooms, butterfly area nor aviary. I would rate their accessibility as a 2 on a 1 to 5 scale.

We chose to do a tour with Victor Bodden. This was an excellent choice. Our driver was a woman named Janette. She had no problem with my scooter. We had also planned to snorkel this day but did not as it was raining and in my past experience when it rains the visibility is poor under water. We toured the island seeing both areas where the rich and the poor live. The area's governor has a huge mansion, this is his private home as his office is elective. We drove around the island and saw where the new cruise port is almost finished. Janette discussed how difficult it will be for the independent tour operators to use this area as their vehicles will be kept off the grounds. The best part of the day was going to play with the monkeys. I have not laughed this hard in years. They are so playful. We also saw coatimundi, parrots, toucans and deer. We saw two kinds of monkeys both capuchin and spider. I would highly recommend Victor Bodden and his driver Janette!

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