Crown Princess Cruise Review by Michael23
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
We stayed in an inside cabin near the Terrace Pool (deck 14), so it was easy to get outside to look around and also up to the buffet to get breakfast or a snack. The room was small but very comfortable with plenty of storage for the two of us. It was also very quiet. We had some minor problems with the TV and the toilet that were quickly resolved.
We ate dinner in the dining room most nights and enjoyed almost everything. There was usually a good variety on the menu. Service was always friendly and efficient. We ate in Anytime dining room and never had to wait for a table, though one night there would have been a 15 minute wait if we hadn't been willing to sit with others. We ate breakfast in the buffet. There was a wide variety of consistent breakfast options each day (eggs, breakfast meats, breads, pastries, cereals, yogurt, fruit). If you couldn't find something you like, you're too picky! They opened up a second serving area (Cafe Caribe) as well as the Horizon Court to accommodate the large crowds at breakfast. Remember, there's over 3000 passengers aboard, and most are going to be trying to eat breakfast in the buffet at the same time especially on a shore day.
I saw several shows in the Princess Theatre. I felt that the entertainers were competent, but not really to my taste. I'm 60, but felt that the entertainment was geared to people in my parents' generation (maybe??). I went to a couple of the trivia nights, and they had some fun silliness. I occasionally poked my head into some of the lounges to hear performers, but found myself cringing because they were singing songs that didn't suit their voices or their musical style.
I felt that Princess typically did a good job with disembarking/disembarking at the various ports. The longest wait was for a tender in Guernsey--about 10 minutes--which isn't bad at all. They also usually worked well with local transportation to help passengers get to the heart of what was available to see in each port. For instance, in both Cobh and South Queensferry, it was VERY easy to get to public transportation to get into Cork and Edinburgh. The one annoying exception was Dublin. Princess charged 20 euros for a 3-4 mile bus ride to downtown Dublin per day. That's the better part of $100 (2 days) for my son and I to travel less than 15 miles total--ridiculous! Because this needed to be a "budget" trip for us, we took the free port bus (passengers aren't allowed to walk around the ships because it's an active commercial port), which dropped us off nearly a mile and a half away from the nearest easy public transportation (Luas). I'm surprised that Princess (and the other cruise lines) hasn't worked out a better arrangement with shore transportation with those in Dublin. Maybe a shuttle to the Luas or have one of the HOHO bus companies actually come to the ship. (OK, rant finished!)
Brief review of ports:
Guernsey--beautiful! Wasn't expecting anything, but it was a great visit.
Cobh/Cork--Very easy to take train into Cork, but then a bit of a walk from station into town. Beautiful blend of old and new. Quite a bustling downtown in Cork.
Dublin--Guinness tour is over-rated and over-priced I think--very slick, but it feels like advertising and has more flash than substance. Little Museum of Dublin gave a GREAT overview to the city. Emigration Museum provided great context for why so many people are from Ireland.
Belfast--Highly recommend HOHO. It gives an overview to the city itself with the second half giving an overview to the troubles. We enjoyed the Ulster Museum, which has a little bit of everything in it, and the botanic gardens, which are immediately outside the museum.
Greenock--We ended up getting a slow start to the day so didn't want to chance taking the train into Glasgow and not getting back in time. Wish we'd been in port longer.
Invergordon--This was the only port we pre-purchased an excursion because I could tell it would be hard to get to places without a knowledgeable guide. Tour was with Invergordon Tours, which I HIGHLY recommend. Small busses (about 14 people), great tour guide (Joan) who gave us a sense of what it might be to have lived in this area. Plus she has a great singing voice. It was a very enjoyable itinerary (Dunrobin Castle, Glenmorangie Distillery). Gavin, the company founder/owner, pays attention to details to make sure his guests (and you're treated like guests, not customers) have a good time and get a flavor of the highlands.
Edinburgh--Wow! Beautiful gardens. I really enjoyed the National Museum of Scotland and the National Portrait Gallery. We didn't do the HOHO here, but i think I wish we had.
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