Try not to put too much stock in negative reviews. Contrary to the opinion of some, Crown Princess does not seem at all "tired or worn" to me. Here's what I did see in my recent cruise. The ship is immaculately clean. The staff does a great job in the public areas as well as the cabins. I have been on several cruises on several cruise lines. I tend to gravitate to Princess because I like the laid-back cruise style, but yes, if you want to do belly-flops in the pool and trivia, or even Bingo, you can do them on this cruise.
One of the things I would note is that Princess tends to decorate in a more sophisticated and neutral color scheme than do some other cruise lines with their garish color clashes. The cabin in particular is done in very neutral colors which some might find "tired" but I don't. I want my eyes to rest and enjoy, just as the rest of me does.
Anyway, the embarkation process was simple and fast. I had not received my Medallion (Princess' key card and other functions as well) in the mail and had to take time at check-in to get it. I think the whole process from de-busing to on the ship may have taken 15 minutes. There was only a slight amount of "herding" which I detest.
Our cabins were not quite ready upon embarkation, so we got a spot to eat at the buffet. Yes, Princess buffets are smaller than the ones you may find on other ships, but if you leave hungry, you must be from another planet. The food is good and varies day-to-day. Most meal-times there's a carving station as well as many and vairied main dishes. If you like to make salads you can, or you can eat an already mixed salad. There are soups (some of which I liked and others not-so-much). Lots of breads and sandwich making stuff along with freshly made sandwiches. Of course there are desserts as well. I never had a problem finding a table, or getting service for a drink while on this cruise.
Might as well talk about the dining room. My wife and I prefer fixed seating at a large table. We meet good folks and have the same servers every dinner time. Breakfast and lunch are open seating. As usual on Princess, we found the food to be well-prepared and seasoned. Hot food was hot and cold food was cold. Without exception, it was all good. The portion sizes were sometimes small, but it was never a problem to order more. We enjoyed the company and meals without exception!
It does take some degree of effort to read the Princess Patter (plan of the day) to find out which venues are open at which times. The same is true for shows and there are lots of them. We thought the level of artistry was better with the performers this year as compared to recent years passed.
We had a balcony cabin. It is small on Princess ships, but has everything we needed. Our room only had a desk chair. Somehow the other chair in the pictures didn't materialize. No worries, we don't spend that much time in the room. The steward made up the room every time we left. We had a problem with no hot water in the shower the first day and the plumber came and fixed it within a half hour of reporting.
Without any exceptions the officers and crew of the Crown appeared happy to be there. The service was always with a smile and fast. Room service was great. There were only problems with elevator waiting times on the first day. After that things settled down.
The ports on the Southern Caribbean cruise were varied. We missed Princess Cay, but did port in St Thomas, Dominica, Bonnaire, and Aruba. You know we didn't "beach" much, but went on Princess excursions to view various island sites. Some were good, some were a bit cheesy, but all were fun!
Were there bumps in the road? Sure and there are on all cruises. Did some things look worn on the Crown? Well, there was some damage from luggage carts, but we feel that's to be expected. There was some rust visible on the balcony, but that's to be expected when metal parts come into contact with sea air. If you like the climbing walls, go-cart tracks, hang-gliding, water slides, and the like, you won't find them on Princess. BUT you won't have trouble finding things to do that will suit you. Oh and yes, Princess has chair hogs around the pools and like other cruise lines, has never found a good way to deal with them.
So, I rate this cruise 4 stars. I would do it again on this ship.
A normal, somewhat small Princess balcony cabin. We were missing the "lounge" chair. The bathroom is small and if you have any size to you, you may find the shower challenging. I'm a big guy and I managed. The balcony was delightful and room enough for 2.