THIRD TIME NOT THE CHARM: Crown Princess Cruise Review by BURNSMN

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Sail Date: March 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Background: Third Spring Break Cruise in a row to the Caribbean for my wife and I. Previously cruised on the Crown Princess in 2008 and on the Caribbean Princess in 2009.

Pre-Embarkation: We traveled to Fort Lauderdale via the Cruise Connection Bus Service from Clearwater. We arranged this service at a discount through Princess and were very satisfied with all aspects including timeliness, cleanliness, and comfort. This was a large tourist type bus with a restroom and movie screens. We stopped in Fort Myers for a break at a local McDonald's.

Embarkation: We arrived at Port Everglades Pier around 12:15 P.M. and within a half hour were on the ship. We had about a ten minute wait outside the terminal and about a ten minute wait in chairs inside before we were called for check-in. I would rate the overall procedure as excellent.

Ship: We had previously been on the Crown Princess out of San Juan and found it to once again be in great shape. We enjoy the layout More of the ship with activities centered around Decks 5-7 and 15-17.

Stateroom: Our cabin was on the Emerald Deck 8 center ship. The room was a obstructed view outside cabin. When looking out our window the view was partially blocked by a lifeboat. We had a similar cabin two years ago on the Crown and the only noticeable difference was a flat screen television. We did have some noise problems from the Explorer's Lounge which was directly below us. When any bands were playing you definitely could hear the bass sounds. It was fine at all other times.

Dining: We signed up for anytime dining and divided our time between Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe and the table service restaurants. We also ate at the International Cafe, Hamburger Grill and Pizza Grill. We also went to the Wheel House Bar for English Pub Lunch on one of the sea days and did afternoon tea at the DaVinci Dining Room. On this cruise dined in the main dining rooms on formal night. In comparing the food quality over the last three years we thought that the buffets have gone down in quality while the main dining rooms seemed to be better this year. The International Cafe and both the Hamburger and Pizza Grills continue to be very good. One thing we found very interesting was that the prawns on the last formal night were much better that the lobster tails.

Service: We received good service from our cabin steward. I asked for ice to be kept in the bucket in the refrigerator at all times and it was throughout the whole cruise. Each night you received turn down service with chocolates left on the bed. Our room was always clean. The only complaint I had was that for the first time since we began cruising they ran out of pool towels. Clean towels have always been put in the cabin at the end of the day. One night we were told that no more pool towels were available and that we would have to get our own around the pools. When we tried, it took about five people to find any towels. Dining room service was the best we've had on our three cruises.

Entertainment: This is where things start going downhill from our past cruises. We enjoy taking in as much of the shipboard entertainment as possible. In past years we have never had a problem with finding something to see in the evenings. This year many shows were repeated. While we would find one show to go to, in the past we have always been able to go to two or three different things each night. Princess has obviously cut back in this area. There were three production shows, one hypnotist, and two comedians that we saw. The three shows were Motor City, What a Swell Party, and Destination Anywhere. Hypnotist was Joshua Seth. Comedians were Rollin Jay Moore and Troy Thirdgill. We did enjoy them all but wish there was more entertainment in the lounges besides house bands and Bert Stratton. Bert is good once but you can't go see him every night.

Itinerary: This was our least favorite of the three Caribbean routes we have taken. The four Western Ports were not as enjoyable as the Southern Ports we have traveled to before. The long winter had a major effect on this route and even though we stopped at all four ports, water temperatures in general were much cooler that what we experienced before. What is more remarkable is that the crew said our week was the best weather week since Thanksgiving! The Crown has missed ports numerous times through the season.

Ports: See the Ports Review Section. Princess Cays was a disappointment with cold water, too many people, and not enough loungers.

Disembarkation: We had signed up for the Cruise Connection bus back to Clearwater. We got off of the ship last along with the few back to back cruisers. We left at about 10 AM, picked up our luggage in the terminal, went through customs, and were able to load right onto our bus. Again, as with Embarkation the whole procedure was very efficient and we would give it an excellent rating.

In summary, we did enjoy the Crown and this cruise but in no way did it compare to our last two spring break experiences. Less

Published 04/23/10
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: OW Oceanview (obstructed view)

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Port and Shore Excursions

We booked the Passion Island Beach Adventure with Lunch through Princess based on internet research. This island get high ratings from most reviewers but we must have caught it on a bad day. We took a motorized catamaran to the island directly from the Puerta Maya Pier. It was quite a long ride and by the time we got there we were told that we would have three hours on the island. It was all inclusive with food and drinks available at the one restaurant on the island. Food was buffet sytle and drinks came from one bar. There was also a cash bar on the beach. The problems started when we first were released by our island guide. People made a mad dash to grab all of the comfortable chairs and loungers. All that were left were hard clam loungers which you could not adjust or lay on your back. So it was put your towels down and lay on the sand. In reviews, I had read that this was one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico and had been used in Corona commercials. Well, unfortunately there had been storms the night before and the beach was covered with seaweed, the water was semi-cold and murkey. The drinks also seemed to be watered down, so I would recommend drinking beer if you go. Also, the food was mediocre with only the chips and salsa being very tasty. I know we caught it on a bad day, but we would not go back again. After three hours we caught the catamaran back to the pier.

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We did the Dolphin Swim and Stingray Sandbar through Princess. This was the best excursion we have taken through Princess. The price was excellent, about the cost of a dolphin experience alone. We bused to Dolphin Cove where we loaded onto a Native Way sports boat to the Stingray Sandbar. Once at the sandbar you were in beautiful warm blue waist deep water. Once in the water a few Southern Sting Rays immediately come up to you and the guides would hold the rays and allow you to touch, kiss, or hold them yourself. They were all very tame and no one had any problems whatsoever. After a while the guides brought out squid which they began to feed the rays with. At this time more and more rays showed up. The guides also let us feed the rays if we wanted to. I did and this was quite an experience. We then had some free time just to enjoy the rays and the water. This is truly a remarkable experience. After we finished at the sandbar, we returned to Dolphin Cove where we began our experience with the dolphins. We put on flotation vests and then jumped into the water with our guides. Over the next 30-40 minutes we got to participate in many activities with the dolphins. Included were touching, kissing, holding, and fin riding with them. Again, this was a wonderful experience. The only negatives to this part were that no cameras were allowed when you are in the water with the dolphins and that you can not wear glasses or sunglasses. This was not a problem for me but my wife has very poor eyesight and didn't get to enjoy the dolphins as much as she could of. If you go, bring some type of athletic glass strap. After we got out of the water, we bussed back to the tender dock. Overall, it was a great day.

Unfortunately we arrived in Roatan in the rain. We had scheduled a snorkeling excursion with Upachaya on our own. Outside vendors are not allowed into the new Mahogany Bay Pier, so you have to walk outside the gates, up one hill and down another to get to the buses. We walked in a drizzle until we found our bus and then waited for one more family to arrive. We only had a group of eight on our excursion. Upachaya is a small wellness retreat in the jungle on Man of War Harbor, a very quiet location by the reef three miles from Coxen Hole. When you arrive at the retreat the owner gives you a brief orientation and then you are off to a pontoon boat which takes you out to the reef. Snorkeling was at two locations and a salad lunch was also included. At the first snorkeling stop we saw many different types of coral and fish. Our next stop was near a underwater wall and unfortunately after we got there the weather did turn for the worse. We did see some starfish before the current got bad and we had to return to the boat and then the retreat. It was still a enjoyable day and well worth the money even thousgh we didn't see the reef under the best conditions. Once back at the retreat, we loaded into the van and returned to Mahogany Bay. On the return trip they do allow outside vendors into the port.

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Member Since 2008
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