Crown Princess Review

A brilliant time in the British Isles

Review for the British Isles & Western Europe Cruise on Crown Princess
10+ Cruises • Age 2020s

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Value for Money
Public Rooms

Additional details

Sail Date: May 2011
Cabin: Balcony

DH and I (late 50's) booked this cruise over a year in advance - which is apparently too much time for me as I crept us up from an inside cabin to oceanview finally ending in a balcony We had an absolutely wonderful time! I know there is already a lot of discussion regarding the norovirus outbreak, so I am going to stick to the ship and ports.PrecruiseWe flew in from Phoenix on Delta arriving early in the morning. We stayed at the Park Plaza Riverside (on the Thames) which was booked at a terrific Hotwire rate. All we had to do was cross the bridge and we were in the thick of things in Westminster. The only glitch was that immigration took 2 hours and our driver gave up on us appearing. Another driver kindly called the hotel for ours to return. On Sunday morning, we took the very comfortable National Express coach from Victoria Station to Southampton. Then it was a 5 minute cab ride to the ship. We arrived at around 1:30 and were onboard in less than 15 minutes. Although we used the platinum express checkin, there wasn't much line at any counter at that time. We met up with many of the 180+ people from our roll call at sailaway for a little "preparty". What a great group!ShipWe were in Caribe 303. This cabin is HA, but had been release to open booking just prior to the cruise. It is almost the perfect cabin - right near the elevators and laundry room. It is oversized due to being HA and the balcony is quite large. We were very comfortable throughout the trip.Much has been said about the International Cafe - and it is just as great as people report. The location of the coffee bar and the cafe make the Piazza area a bustling place during the day. I think it was genius on the planner's part. I looked forward to a latte and a warm cookie every day when we returned from port. The food items, both meal and desserts, were terrific. The only charge was for 3 scoops of gelato ($1.50). The girls in their "cookies and milk" aprons walking around serving to people in the Piazza were adorable.I didn't spend time in many areas of the ship on this cruise as we had so many port days. I thought the ship was pretty in a classic kind of Princess style. I rarely note the cruise director, but on this trip I felt that Ron Goodman's friendly graciousness added to the trip. We saw a Canadian comedian - DH liked him, I thought so-so. We had fun playing trivia on those days we were back in time, but one of the assistant staff seemed a little harsh. It's only a game, after all. We saw one of the big shows and thought it was good. We ate in the MDR (anytime dining), the buffet and Crown Grill. The food in the Crown Grill was terrific. I usually don't splurge on specialty dining but I thought DH would enjoy a great steak...all 22 oz. of it! We and another terrific couple from the roll call ate together in the MDR. We began requesting Salvador's station as he spoiled us to death. He and the head waiter brought us several extra dinner items to enjoy - we felt like rock stars! Not sure what we did to deserve such service, but it was appreciated. The buffet was the same as we have experienced on most ships (with the exception of Oceania which has a superb buffet). We had no complaints.PortsGuensey - what a charming little island! More French than English really. After tendering, we walked to Castle Cornet. If you are there at noon, you can watch the firing of the cannon. Unfortunately, DH spent so much time in the fort's museums, I didn't make it to the German Occupation Museum or the Underground Hospital. I opted instead for a bus trip around the island and was honored to have the opportunity to chat with one of the people who as a child was evacuated during the war. It was like having the book come to life! Shame on Princess for charging $129 for what cost about 5 GBP. Just hop on the 7 or 7A bus for a pound - or take the #4 to the Occupation Museum and Hospital. I never would have met that wonderful woman on the ship tour!Cobh - I was excited to visit as my grandmother emigrated from this port. I really enjoy lovely little port towns, as opposed to big city ports. I had hoped to go on a tour of Spike Island, but it was not yet open. We were fortunate to join roll call members on the ecoach tour (which at $19 Euro cost 1/4 of the Princess excursion to the exact same places) After driving through Cork, we visited Blarney Castle. Since our tour arrived early the lines to kiss the Blarney Stone were short compared to an hour later. The Blarney Woolen Mill has many nice items. Then we went on to Kinsale - another nice little town, but not the craft area I had read it was.Dublin - I can't say enough about how much fun we had on the Dublin City Bike tour. For $24 euro we had a four hour bike tour throughout the city. If I can do this ride - anybody can. Liam and Keegan are so knowledgable and friendly, they bring the city and its history to life. Liverpool - we walked over to Albert Dock and spent time in the Maritime and Slavery Museums. We had hoped to do the River explorer boat to Albert Dock and the u-boat, but since we parked in their space, the boat was cancelled that day. Once again, Princess sold expensive tours to places that were right at or near the pier. Although the dock area was extremely windy that day and I was afraid he would be blown over, I was stopped to chat with an elderly gentleman who told me of his war experience. Another priceless opportunity. For shoppers, Liverpool has an enormous pedestrian shopping area a few blocks from the pier.Belfast - Arthur from Urban Adventures Limited arranged a black cab tour of both parts of the divided city followed by an awesome lunch at the John Hewitt Pub and then a walking tour with him of the city center...and only $50 GBP!! There was no additional charge for the bomb scare that made everyone about two hours late returning to the ship. The city provides a free shuttle to downtown Belfast.Greenock/Glasgow - we shared a 45 minute cab ride to Glasgow and then rode the HOHO. The cathedral/St. Mungo religious museum/Lord's Provandship area was the highlight of the visit. The People's museum was worth sitting in the beautiful glass conservatory and eating banoffee (apparently banana and toffee) sponge cake - yum! I would only take the other loop if interested in the University of Glasgow or when the museum and tall ship opens that direction.Invergordon/Inverness - We loved the beauty of the Scottish Highlands! We again shared the cab in to meet our bus to the Jacobite boat tour. This is a very comfortable boat ride to a castle and an interesting museum on the Loch Ness monster tales. I booked the tour online at a bargain price.South Queensferry/Edinburgh - I have two BIG tips for this port. DO NOT pay Princess $69 for the ride into Edinburgh - just turn left instead of right and hop on the "other" shuttle for $10 GBP RT. (Princess won't tell of this option). And be sure to buy the Edinburgh Castle admission tickets in advance online. You will sail pass the long lines waiting to buy. The Castle takes quite a bit of time. Then we headed down the Royal Mile to Holyrood, browsing in shops along the way. We were disappointed that Charles and Camilla were in residence so there was no Holyrood tour that day. This is a very long walking day, so be prepared with comfortable shoes!Le Have/Normandy - We joined two other couples for a private D-Day area tour with Eric Le Doux-Turnbull. What an amazing memory for dates - times - places this man has!! After visiting St Mere Eglise, we had a take away lunch like only the French can do for 5.5 Euro. Then we were off to Utah and Omaha beaches as well as Ponte du Hoc. Eric tells the story like he was actually there. Because D-day was coming up, there were many costumed reenacters in town which I felt added to the atmosphere. The thousands of crosses in the American Cemetery can't help but move your soul. Ironically, today Omaha Beach is a lovely, happy place for families to spend the day.Sadly, they did make us get off the ship! I was green with envy at those walking down the dock to board the Cunard ship for the crossing home. Our driver had us back to Heathrow in about 90 minutes. Except for the "making us get off" thing - we have no complaints about this cruise and applaud the staff for their efforts in keeping the virus under control.

Cabin Review


Cabin BA

Large HA cabin well located by the elevators and laundry facility, extra large bathroom and balcony

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