First Time on Princess... Loved the Crown!!: Crown Princess Cruise Review by riegem

Crown Princess 5
Member Since 2009
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First Time on Princess... Loved the Crown!!

Sail Date: April 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Getting on board the ship was swift and easy. We didn't encounter any lines and the people checking you in moved you right along. We got on the ship about 1:30ish but didn't have our bags delivered until after the muster drill which wasn't a problem. Being budget-conscious and having a desire to enjoy a few cocktails on our cruise, we did some research about bringing alcohol on board. We settled on packing a 1.75 L (handle) of vodka in one of our checked bags, a 12-pack of beer in a carry-on backpack, and about 8 bottles of wine in a cardboard box which we also carried on. We also put a luggage tag on a case of bottled water and two cases of soda all taped together. For good measure we gave the baggage handlers a decent tip, for what that is worth, and we had no issues whatsoever with any of it getting delivered to our room. It was well worth the planning, as it was nice to have a cold beer waiting for you in the room after a long day on the beach, and a cocktail More or glass of wine while getting ready for dinner.


Overall first impression of the Crown Princess is understated elegance as opposed to the flashy, flamboyant and colorful decor of the Carnival Destiny. The state room was very comfortable, especially thanks to the balcony. The refrigerator was also a nice touch as it saved us from having to constantly fill an ice bucket to keep wine cool or having to fill cups of ice in order to drink soda. The expansive closet space and shelves were an added bonus. The bathroom was on the tiny side but adequate enough for what we needed. One downfall was the temperature. From the moment we entered the room it felt muggy so we set the thermostat to the coolest setting and it never really seemed to cool down. We spoke with other people who had the same problem and then a few more who had the opposite, their rooms were too cold. We concluded that it may have had to do with the side of the ship your room was on as those of us on the starboard side wished for cooler air and the port side needed warmer clothes. The Steward assigned to our room was Samuel and he was a joy! He was attentive, friendly, accommodating and humorous! Any time we saw him in the hall he would give us a bit of a jab about the amount of liquor we had. But he also made sure we had 2 wine glasses ready to go every night. Our room was on the 14th (Riviera) deck towards the back of the boat just down the hall from the Terrace (adults only) Pool which we frequented daily. Lounge chairs were limited at the terrace pool, especially on the days at sea but there were bar stools, tables and chairs that looked down into the pool that allowed for extra seating. The pool itself was great; clean and inviting. The other pool areas on the ship were less crowded, we never had an issue finding a lounge chair even on the days at sea, but were louder and allowed children. The mid ship pools also had entertainment, live bands, movies, games, etc. which were ok but we definitely preferred the relaxing atmosphere of the Terrace Pool. We utilized the fitness center 3 days on the ship. I had signed up for 2 yoga classes, both on the days at sea. There are two fitness instructors on board, Katie & (forget his name). Katie was the instructor who taught the yoga classes. Unfortunately I found the classes boring and less than challenging. About 20 people had signed up for the two classes and I would say about 15 attended the first day, some people even got up and left in the middle of the class. The 2nd day there were far less people in attendance, maybe 7? I don't know that it is necessarily the instructors fault as I'm sure she is required to cater to all age groups and fitness levels but if you're someone who is looking for a good work out these group classes are probably not the best bet. The fitness center itself was beautiful. Plenty of cardio and weight equipment. We received a tour of the entire spa on the first day and it was also impressive. If you're looking to pamper yourself be prepared to fork over quite a bit of $$$. It was worth taking the tour of the spa on the 1st day just to check it out.


Food was never a shortage on the cruise! We opted for a late seating (8:15) of the traditional dining which was held in the Boticelli Dining Room...the only dining room on board that offered this choice. The other two dining rooms, the DaVinci and the Michelangelo, were for "anytime" dining. We were assigned table #73 which originally was set for 10 people but one of the couples had to cancel the cruise at the last minute. So for the first few nights we were a table of 8. We were by several years the youngest couple at the table (we are in our late 20s/early 30s) but found our table mates to be kind, social and charismatic and thoroughly enjoyed their company. After the 3rd night one of the couples elected to switch their dining choice to the anytime dining so the remainder of the cruise was just the 6 of us. On our previous cruise with Carnival we had been paired at dinner with another couple that was about our same age and also from the Northeast (New York) whom we enjoyed spending time with each night. Although we did enjoy our table mates on this cruise, we were a little disappointed that Princess did not do as well with seating us with similarly aged couples. Our waiters were friendly and attentive. Leandro, the assistant waiter, didn't say much but poured our water and cleared our plates with a smile! Panya, the head waiter, was quite talkative. He gave us his recommendations on the appetizers and main dishes every evening and his recommendations were usually the best! He was very accommodating to any of our requests. The only slight downfall was at the end of our dinner he would be quite chatty offering his reviews of other ports and itineraries and going off on a tangent about his home land of Thailand. Overall the dining room experience was excellent. We utilized the room service continental breakfast option every morning so that we could eat a lighter fare and enjoy coffee and juice on our balcony rather than filling up our bellies at the buffet. It worked out great for us. On the last day we did go to the DaVinci dining room for the formal breakfast. There is an option to sit by yourselves but that would have typically resulted in a wait. We sat with 3 other people who were all friendly. The service was a bit on the slow side and the breakfast itself was tasty but not any better than what you can get at the buffet. We did eat at the buffet usually for lunch and/or a light snack before dinner and found that there was a lot of repetition in food choices and some things tasted as if they had been left out for too long. However, the buffet options were definitely an improvement to the options we had last year on Carnival. We did not partake in any of the private dining (Crown Grill or Sabatini's) or the smaller vendors (Vines, International Cafe) but did have lunch one day at the grill...burgers and chicken sandwiches which were decent but nothing to get excited about. The pizza was quite tasty though probably not as enticing for us Bostonians who are spoiled with delicious pies and have high expectations. The food at dinner was exceptional while the rest of the ships options were decent. Carnival for sure had better desserts!


Entertainment is not one of the enticing factors of going on a cruise for us. For me, I have zero desire to go to any Las Vegas style song and dance show or those that involve passenger participation. No thanks. We did however enjoy the piano bar on our Carnival cruise last year so thought that would be something we might check out this time around. Before we left we read on CC that Bert Stratton, pianist/comedian, was going to be on our cruise and people seemed to be generally ecstatic about his presence on the ship. This was reiterated to us by our table mates on the 2nd night. We checked out Bert (with an "e"!) that night in Crooners bar and got there at the tail end of a show. He definitely seemed talented and we decided to pay him a visit the next night as well, and the night after that, and the night after that haha. We attended pretty much all of Bert's shows with the exception of Thursday night when we attended the stand up comedian Troy Thirdgill's act. He was very entertaining and humorous though my only complaint would be that his crowd interaction at certain parts of his act prompted a few loud mouth individuals to interject on their who was sitting right next to us. Quite annoying. Less

Published 05/22/10

Cabin review: BB Balcony

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Port and Shore Excursions

We woke up Wednesday morning to clouds, dark ones. The forecast was calling for cloudy weather which was a huge bummer for us as we had booked a day at the Nacchi Cocom beach club ($49/person all inclusive). The clouds proceeded to get darker and opened up on us as soon as we arrived at the beach club. Fortunately we had cover from our tiki tent. So we just ordered muchas cervezas and rode out the storm. The rain eventually stopped (about an hour later) and the clouds broke away and it turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon. The water was warm yet refreshing, the open bar was flowing and the food from our 3 course included meal was scrumptious. The club also had a swim up bar, hooray, which we of course had to utilize. The club allows only up to 100 guests per day but I would guess there was somewhere between 30 and 40 people there that day. Perhaps the weather deterred a lot of people from making the trip. We didn't mind the lack of guests because it provided for a relaxing and quiet afternoon in the sun. We had our own personal waiter, Josef, who was extremely nice and prompt with bringing us our cervezas, very important haha. The cab fare to and from the beach club was $15 US. On the way back to the cruise ship we hooked up with another couple on the beach with us and split the fare $10 each (including tip). I originally wasn't overly excited about going to Cozumel as I'd heard from other people that it was dirty, ridden with pushy Mexicans trying to sell you stuff and heavily guarded by the military. I didn't notice any of these issues and would love to back to Nacchi Cocom again...totally worth it!

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We had booked a private excursion with Stingray Sailing to take us out to the Stingray City sand bar. We got off the boat as early as possible as we needed to be at the pick up point for the sailing at 8:30 sharp. We got there with plenty of time to spare and met a few of the people who were joining us on the trip. Chip, the captain of the sailing, took us by bus over to the dock we were leaving from. In addition to Chip there were 3 other crew members, including Chips father and a childhood friend. They were very knowledgeable of the island and the stingrays...and as they said on the tour anything they didn't know they'd make up! There were probably 20 people maximum on the boat with us that day plus the 4 crew members. The sail out to the sand bar took about 35 minutes with a bit of choppy seas but the boat was large enough that everyone was able to spread out and enjoy the sunshine if they chose to. We arrived at Sting Ray City where there were already about a half dozen boats. The sting rays are smart though, new boat = fresh food so they instantly swam up the back of our boat. I will admit, they were intimidating at first. They are much bigger than I expected, at least 3 feet wide and I didn't realize that their stingers would not sting you. We got into the water and I clung to my BF for dear life fearing that I was going to be stung. It took until one of the crew members demonstrating pressing his hand against the barb for me to relax and realize that they were not going to hurt me. From that point on we all took turns feeding the sting ray fish and holding them. They are quite adorable once you're no longer scared! Some even leapt out of the water like dogs. They were very smooth and soft to the touch and by the end of the excursion I found myself talking to them as if they were puppies and enjoying when they rubbed up against my back. After swimming with the sting rays the boat took us over to a reef for some snorkeling. We were unsure if we were going to be able to snorkel at all as the seas were on the rough side. As a result we used up the entire under water disposable camera on the sting ray portion of the day. This ended up being ok since we only saw a few decent fish while snorkeling. Afterwards the boat returned us to the dock and we took the bus back to the cruise terminal area. At this point we were pretty hungry and stopped into a local bar/restaurant, the Paradise Cafe (just South of the South Terminal) for some fried conch. The fried conch in Grand Cayman was much better than what we had in Arawak Cay in the Bahamas. We sipped on some local beer (CayBrew) and enjoyed the scenery with the cruise ships docked off in the distance. The negative aspect of our snack was when the bill came and the price difference between Cayman and American dollars appeared to be completely out of whack. $1 cayman island dollar (KYD) is worth about $1.25 US dollar (USD), yet the cost in USD was about 20% more than KYD. When paying with a credit card you couldn't elect to pay the Cayman amount and then let your credit card company worry about the conversion, they stated since it was an American card (which they have no way of knowing upon first look) they needed to charge the American amount...and you still need to pay a % to the credit card company. What a farse! After lunch we went back aboard the ship. Grand Cayman was beautiful and clean. Stingray City is a must see and we definitely recommend Stingray Sailing as a company to go with. I would love to go back and spend time on the island itself as I'm sure it has other enchanting spots to offer.

We took our time getting off the boat in Roatan. We could tell from our balcony that morning and by the announcements made by the captain that it was hot, hot, hot and even more humid, humid, humid. We hit the gym in the morning which was nice and quiet with the majority of people off the ship. The boat docks in Mahogany Bay which is similar to Grand Turk (both owned by Carnival). The cruise line created a man made beach area with tons of lounge chairs lining the beach with bars and shopping scattered about. We walked around the shopping area and skipped over Fat Tuesday as I was instantly turned off by the young "locals" dancing on the bar. No thanks. The beach area was nice but pretty deserted likely due to the heat. We probably only stayed on the island for a little over an hour before it was just to oppressive to be enjoyable. If we had the chance to go back again, on a cooler day haha, we'd probably rent a vehicle of some kind and head over to the Western part of the Island to see more of the local atmosphere. It looked pretty lush and green from afar and I'm sure the rain forest environment would be neat to experience.

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