Great cruise for first time in Caribbean: Crown Princess Cruise Review by Sactosinger

Crown Princess 5
Member Since 2010
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Great cruise for first time in Caribbean

Sail Date: November 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We have never been to the Caribbean and decided a cruise would be a great way to have an introduction to this part of the world. Since we were pleased cruisers on the Coral Princess to Alaska we decided to stick with the Princess cruise line. We were not disappointed.

We live on the West Coast and found a flight to Fort Lauderdale from San Francisco on Virgin America. It was a comfortable flight with plenty of legroom, plenty of entertainment via the seatback screen that also served as the ordering device for food and drink after the initial beverage service.

Our hotel prior to the cruise was the Springhill Suites in Dania Beach. The hotel was sold out because of the number of ships in port (4). The hotel staff was helpful in finding a place for dinner, a Cuban restaurant within walking distance, and suggesting BJs discount member warehouse across the street for wine. BJs will allow you to purchase wine at their membership desk without buying a membership. More

Transportation to Port Everglades is arranged at a desk via KSA Transporation. The company provides fast transportation around Fort Lauderdale, however, the young man at the desk lacked experience in dealing with all the people and variations on requests. On the morning of departure, our 12:30 pm shuttle became a 1:30 pm shuttle. Mary, one of the drivers, seemed to be the only one who knew what was going on and what needed to be done.

Embarkation: When we finally arrived at Port Everglades, our luggage was quickly taken care of. We headed into check in and found no waiting. We were welcomed aboard and headed to our balcony stateroom on the port side. Our steward, Antonio, was in the area and welcomed us and made sure we had ice and anything else we needed. Antonio was great through the entire cruise. He greeted us each time we saw him, asked if we needed anything, and made up our room quickly when we were out.

The Crown Princess: is a beautiful ship. Everything is well maintained and clean. We are a couple who is interested in the operations of businesses so we enjoyed watching various aspects of the functions and logistics of this ship. During the cruise we saw a crew painting railings, washing glass, replacing carpet on a stairway, and retrieving and buckling up the transfer boats. Our bed was comfy, there is plenty of closet and storage space, and an adequate bathroom.

We enjoyed having a glass of wine in the afternoon on the balcony and watching the peace of the ocean or watching preparation as we sailed away from a port.

Dining: We had "Anytime Dining" and sat at tables with other people. On our third night we sat with a couple that we hit it off with and ended up having the rest of our dinners with them. This included the Chef's Table that we and the other couple had made reservations for.

We ate most breakfasts in the buffet and some late night pizza and desserts. The variety at breakfast offers a wide range of foods. We had lunch from the Trident Grill (hamburgers & hot dogs) on the first sail day while watching football games on MUTS. Other lunches and some breakfasts we dined on food from the International Cafe. We loved the IC. Three scoops of gelato for $1.50 is a bargain. Baked goods, paninis, salads, and desserts depending on the time of day are all delicious. We enjoyed a peaceful lunch from the IC while sitting on the Promenade deck. That deck is little used by and a nice quiet respite place.

We enjoyed all of the dinners. The Chef's Table was a fantastic experience. Executive Chef Guiseppe and the service staff provided outstanding service and a marvelous dinner. We will never forget that wonderful evening. This is limited to 10 people so we made our reservation as soon as we arrived in our stateroom.

One negative about the dinner food - the beef was overcooked. Both our prime rib and medallions of beef were cooked more at medium well instead of medium as requested.

Activities - We enjoyed MUTS bundled in blankets and having NFL games on that big screen. We found the Lotus pool perfect for a quiet retreat as well as the lounge chairs behind the pool. No need to pay extra for the sanctuary. We were impressed with the gym. Plenty of treadmills, elliptical trainers, exercise balls, and plenty of floor space. We did not use the spa services. They are more expensive that what I pay at home. There are specials on port days that may be worthwhile.

Entertainment - We saw a couple of movies in the Princess Theater. The theater is very comfortable. So comfortable that I fell asleep during one of the movies. We only saw the evening show the first night. Ron Goodman is the cruise director and was the cruise director on our Alaska cruise. He is upbeat and knows what is going on and where. The comedian on board was very funny. We went to another of his shows later in the cruise. For whatever reason, we weren't drawn to attend any of the other shows. Musical entertainment in the piazza was quite good. We enjoyed the satellite broadcasts on the stateroom TV. Good movies, BBC news, weather, port information at the touch of a button.

Service - The service was everything that we expected. Staff were pleasant and responsive. Several of the staff in the Michaelangelo dining room soon recognized us and we were warmly greeted each evening. The staff is one of the reasons that we would cruise with Princess again.

Port & Shore Excursions - Grand Cayman - no booked excursion. Roatan - privately reserved a shore trip. Cozumel - Shore trip to Tulum reserved with Princess. Princess Cays - beach equipment reserved with Princess. More on all these later. We are interested and seek out history and nature places to visit. We are only interested in shopping for folk art souvenirs and crafts of the local area. No interest in purchasing jewelry or alcohol. We recommend packing a Nalgene or some other water bottle. We took one every time we went on shore. It was very valuable especially in Tulum and Roatan.

Disembarkation - Since we had an evening flight back to San Francisco, we were not in a hurry to disembark. We had pre-paid for the Water Taxi and transportation through KSA. We kept our fingers crossed that all would go well with this based on the negative experience we had getting to the ship. Our luggage was picked up before we went to dinner the last night and was waiting for us when we got off the ship. We were actually off the ship earlier than originally scheduled. Getting through customs took some time. It is just a slow process and nothing can be done but be patient.

We took a KSA shuttle to a Comfort Inn after some juggling of the shuttles. From there another shuttle took us to a place to catch the Water Taxi. We enjoyed seeing the mansions and yachts as well as the narration of the Water Taxi staff. We got off at stop #3 and walked a couple of blocks to the Casablanca Cafe for lunch. Great place that faces A1A. When the KSA shuttle came to pick us up, the luggage was already on the shuttle. We were impressed with this part of KSA's service.

Overall, the Crown Princess met or exceeded our expectations. There is a lot to do or one can do absolutely nothing. We ended the cruise with a great tan and relaxed. We look forward to more cruises in the Caribbean. Less

Published 12/07/10

Cabin review: BDB334 Balcony

Loved balcony. Convenient to have refrigerator and fruit if we wanted it. Liked the convenience of having light switches at the entry and also by the bed to control the lights. Bathroom small but adequate. Plenty of storage space, hangers, cupboards, and drawers. We didn't fill all the space.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We paid for a private shuttle tour at $20/person to the west end of Grand Cayman with stops at Hell, Seven Mile Beach, Tortuga Rum shop and the Dolphin pool. The driver, Josephine, provided narration along the way. The total time was about 1.5 hours. We then walked to the National History Museum where for a $6 admission we learned about the history of Grand Cayman. That was probably the highlight of our visit to the island. Other than that there is mainly shopping in Georgetown. We were back on the ship by 1:30 pm. Perhaps if we had gone snorkeling we might have enjoyed the port more. I need to mention here that Princess had cold water and face cloths as we reboarded the tender. That was a big deal to us and very refreshing.

The ship actually docked at Cozumel. We had booked an excursion to Tulum through Princess and were glad we did it that way. From the ship, we walked to another dock to take the 30 minute ferry shuttle to Playa del Carmen. As usual everything was very well organized. There were three buses going to Tulum from our ship. Our guide, Manuel, was entertaining as well as full of historical facts. There was a comfort and shopping stop about 30 mins into the trip to Tulum. This was located in a large warehouse type building with lots of crafts. Our purchase and actually the only thing we really bought to take home was nativity set and a booklet on Tulum. We were prepared for a lot of walking at Tulum. Manuel provided about 45 mins of a guided tour around the Mayan ruins and then we were free to explore and have lunch. On the return trip the ferry was about 15 mins late returning to Cozumel. We were glad we booked the tour through Princess or the ship may not have waited for us.

This was our favorite port and we had the best shore excursion here. Via e-mail we reserved a private driver and tour of Roatan with Victor Bodden Tours. Channin, Victor's cousin, was our guide. We highly recommend this company and Channin. We started out going east where the road runs along a ridge. The scenery is beautiful. Channin provided outstanding information on the history of the island as well as telling us about past and current businesses, development, and changes that have occured. We then drove west to the Sandy Beach area. After visiting Victor Bodden monkeys, which were okay but nothing great, we headed for lunch. Channin took us to a locally owned restaurant with local food. What a treat!! The restaurant, Bertie's, is open air. We had chicken stewed in coconut milk and garlic shrimp. Each came with plantain chips and rice and beans. The lunch was delicious. Can't wait to return. Channin dropped us off at the ship at 3:00 pm as requested. Victor Bodden provides very good instructions on meeting the tour guide (it's about a 1/4 mile walk) and suggestions of places to visit. We enjoyed making a request in general of what we wanted to see and then allowing Channin to drive us around. At $40/person we believe this was a bargain.

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Member Since 2010
30 Forum Posts
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