Crown Princess Cruise Review by observer2
- Sail Date: July 2011
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
- Cabin Type: Interior
(1) There was a clear lack of capacity for most popular shore excursions, many of which were sold out weeks before the cruise began. One would have thought Princess could anticipate the number of passenger during the peak Summer period and plan accordingly. For those who plan a cruise around the assumption that they will be able to visit certain sites, the lack of capacity for shore excursions for which no alternative exists (for example, to Normandy and Paris from La Havre), raises questions about Princess' ethical and legal obligations to deliver what passengers pay for and expect.
(2) I understand that Internet access via satellite may be intermittent at times based on the position of the ship. But to continuously receive the message of too many subscribers logged in suggests a different problem that represents a shortcoming within the ship's and Princess' power to control and correct. The lack of reasonable (if not continuous) Internet access created unanticipated work-related difficulties for me and caused unneeded problems during what was supposed to be primarily a vacation. If not fixed, this should give pause to anyone who requires onboard semi-regular Internet access.
(3) Lack of news among onboard TV options. Found it ironic that on cruise to British Isles, there was no BB or SkyNews offered. Only news option was CNN International, which has deteriorated into irrelevancy. Most of the time, had to rely on the headlines at the bottom of the CNN screen for any world news. This was especially troublesome since cruise was a few days after tragic terror attacks in Norway. Crown Princess had just been in Norway the week before and was returning there on its next cruise. Security throughout Europe had been stepped up in the aftermath of the Norway tragedy. It would have been nice to have had more real time access to news than that offered by CNN.
St. Peter Port (Guernsey, England) - Arrived by tender. There's a heavily promoted Underground Hospital and Tunnel complex dating from the Nazi occupation that you can visit. But you have to take a bus to reach it or sign up for a Princess excursion (which was sold out). We discovered a similar site within 25 minutes walking distance. It's called the La Valette Underground Military Museum. Stop at the Tourist Information Center in St. Peter Port for directions after you tender in. We also took #7 (you can take #7 or #7A) bus from the central bus station for scenic views around the island. It's a 90 minute ride at a cost of just one pound.
Greenock (Glasgow, Scotland) - We skipped Glasgow, a long distance from the port. Instead, we took two bus tours (to Gourock and Port Glasgow), offered for free by the Inverclyde Tourist Group. ITG is a volunteer group that seeks to promote the nearby port town of Inverclyde to cruise ship passengers (http://www.inverclydetouristgroup.co.uk/). ITG volunteers greet you in the port as you arrive ashore and offer commentary on the tours.
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