My first cruising experience was on the old Queen Mary as a 15 year old. Ive also sailed on the QE2 in the year 2000. However, my husband and I have cruised together twice before, both times on the Norway. This was our first time on the Norwegian Crown. We loved the grandeur of the Norway, and didnt know what to expect from the Crown.
We chose the Crown because of the destination, Bermuda. My husband had been there before, but this would be my first time. We sailed with friends who wanted to get married in Bermuda, and we were their witnesses and Best man and Matron of honor. Our friends wanted to get married on the cruise, but the cost was prohibitive.
Our first impression was a very easy embarkation experience. Our family lives in Philly, and dropped us off effortlessly at the ship. A very nice way to start the trip. We arrived at the ship around 11Am, and we were led quickly through the boarding process, passports shown trip ID cards made, etc. After leaving the terminal building we rounded a corner and saw her for the first time. It was a beautiful day, and we admired her as we walked the long ramp to board.
We separated from our friends, and set off to explore our cabin and await our luggage. We were lucky to have been given the opportunity to upgrade, which we did with pleasure. Our cabin was in the AA category, 1007, or the MYKONOS APARTMENT, as it was labeled. We were on the port side toward the bow, with a view of the Navel Yard in port. We had a very nice bottle of chilled Champagne waiting for us. Also, some light snacks. Pate2, fruit, and crackers. Although we are not fond of champagne, this had a nice flavor, and we enjoyed most of it until our friends arrived, at which time the Husband to Be, Don, gulped the rest of the bottle!!
Our luggage arrived promptly, and we unpacked as most people were still boarding. Our stateroom was nicely laid out, with the bedroom as you first entered. Beyond that, was a sitting room with two chairs and a sofa and coffee table. Across from the sofa were a round table and four chairs. The furniture was wicker with light floral patterned cushions. The room had the usual things you would expect, a refrigerator, TV, Stereo, large ice bucket, glassware, and a safe. The closet was of a good size, with several drawers for each of us. Our balcony had a small wicker table with four chairs, and 2 padded chaise lounges. The bathroom was marble, and had a good size jetted tub, which I took advantage of several times. My only complaint is that the room bordered on shabby. The marble was stained, and the cushions had spots on them. None of which took away from our overall pleasure in our accommodations. We all enjoyed the services of our butler, Anoop. He took very good care of us, and was helpful with reservations in the special dining rooms. A note here, make your reservations as soon as you board, as these dining rooms fill up quickly.
We liked the Freestyle dining experience. The old formality, and eating at the same table, with the same people, at the same time, was not missed at all. We think there could be major improvements in the Yacht Club buffet. By the end of the cruise, we were calling it the barf-fet. The first day on board we had lunch in the Yacht Club, and discovered that off to the side was a specialty salad station, and a chef who had a different grilled course every day. That was the only food we could count on, as the regular buffet had a varying degrees of edible food. By the end of the cruise, I was in line at lunch, and commented to the woman behind me that I couldnt find anything to eat, to which she replied, yeah, they must have run out of leftovers. I found that the Seven Seas room had a better lunch then the Yacht Club. Although the Seven Seas room is very large, and attractive, you were seated very close to your neighbors. You could check out there food and get advice, as you ended up conversing with them due to there proximity.
We loved the specialty restaurants. We ate in Chopstix once, The Pasta Cafe once and once from room service, and the Bistro twice. The menu is not large in Chopstix, but we all enjoyed the food. However, if you like sushi, their offerings were limited. The Pasta cafe was very good, but again limited selections. Our friend Don ordered the pasta with Bolognese sauce, and could have eaten two portions as he is a tall man. He was disappointed, but learned to order two portions the next time (which was served in our room by Anoop) and was very happy. Anoop got us menus of each of the restaurants and we could all order something different, from a different place, and all the food arrived at the same time and was wonderful.
Anoop's name came in handy when we decided we liked the Bistro and wanted to eat there again the next night. Jimmy, the host, initially told us there was no room, but when he overheard us talking about having Anoop call him, he found room for us. We all enjoyed the filet and lobster. There was a $20.00 charge per, but well worth it. Jimmy quickly became our friend and also sang for Don and his bride Stephanie at dinner after their wedding. Very nice touch.
Stephanie and I both had a Spa treatment. She chose a combination of 25 minutes of massage, with 25 minutes of a full body scrub. She LOVED it. I chose a combination lasting 60 minutes consisting of a facial, scalp massage and treatment, hand and arm massage, leg and foot massage, and a wash and dry. I also enjoyed mine but I would choose Stephanies package if I had it to do over again. They do try to sell you their very expensive products. I might have been tempted, but I didnt like the scent. The Spa and exercise room were very up to date and beautifully appointed. Ken used the treadmill and claimed the view was the best on the ship.
We are not Casino people, but it seemed to have the usual games. It was very smoky or I might have dropped a quarter in the slots. The gift shops were expensive, with the exception of the liquor store. The only bargain liquor on this cruise was there. You will not find any bargains on anything in Bermuda as everything is imported. We bought gold by the inch on the next to last day, and we are very happy with the purchase. Our Granddaughter also likes her ankle bracelet.
We enjoyed a VERY nice lunch in St. Georges at the Carriage House using the dining ashore program. We ate as soon as we got off the ship, which is a good tip as the place had a very long line to get in as we left. You only get one dining around coupon, and we were not disappointed that we used ours there .After a great lunch, we enjoyed the only shore excursion we had time for. We went on the bell helmet dive. Our trip was hosted by Triangle Divers, and they did a great job. My husband, Ken, has a beard which becomes a problem with a traditional dive mask. Also, Don is very afraid of the water. These helmets allowed us to keep our glasses on, our hair dry, and still enjoy the fish at around fifteen feet or more down. The tricky part is getting down the ladder, after that just enjoy. They tell you there are no sharks, which Don and Stephanie were glad to hear. However, we were in the ocean, so draw your own conclusions. The water was 70 degrees, and we were offered wet suits. As a former diver, I chose not to wear one. I didnt mind the temperature, but when the dive captain dropped the fifteen pound helmet on my bare shoulders, I was bruised for the rest of the trip. Ladies, WEAR THE WET SUIT. I dont think I would have been hurt if I had had one on. We did get some great pictures with our underwater disposable camera. Thats a must if you choose this trip. They give you stale rolls to feed the fish, which was a blast. They are obviously used to this, as they came up to your hands the minute you were down the ladder.
We did not attend any of the ship's nightly productions, with the exception of a variety show starring Rudi Maccagi. Hilarious, we highly recommend him if he is on board. I played bingo once, as I like Bingo, it bored my husband to death! At night we hung out in the Top of the Crown. A very nice bar, very comfortable, and has a nice drink menu. They have nightly entertainment if you want to participate, but you can also sit to the side and talk. We talked, with the exception of Karaoke night. My husband does a wonderful Elvis, but was a bit off that night.
We met some very nice people on board, a good crowd, very varied. The staff also is varied, with many nations represented. The vast majority went out of their way to help. Just a few with an attitude, and they stand out as most were great. Especially our room steward, Archibald, who saw Don with a Fosters beer, and called him Fosters for the duration. Archy is a funny man.
Don and Stephanie had a beautiful wedding in Hamilton on Thursday. We were in Kings Wharf on Thursday, and took a water taxi back to Hamilton. A good way to get around, skip the taxis. Hamilton was closed on Wednesday when we were there as it was Queen Victoria Day, but I wont bore you with wedding details.
In Kings Wharf we went to the Frog and Onion pub, had a great time. Don got the beer sampler, and enjoyed it. By now you know hes a beer man. Ken and I enjoy Jack Daniels, but had rum swizzles in several bars and liked them Stephanie is a non drinker, but she also enjoyed the rum swizzles. Dont order one in the Yacht Club. They dont know how to make a proper one. The other bars on board make a good one. As for liquor, expect to drop $5 to $8 a drink on board. We were lucky in that the AA cabins get 3 free bottles in their suites. We filled out a slip when we first entered our room, and Anoop made it appear the next day.
Debarkation was also very smooth, but sad. A great cruise is never long enough. We were met in the short term parking lot by our son in law, and dropped the newlyweds off at the airport as we were spending a few days in Philly with family. Then the long drive back to Atlanta, our temporary home. We had a great time, and would choose the Crown again. As a smaller ship, she was easier to get around, and you got to know the crew and fellow guests with greater ease. There were very few children on board, which was fine with us as empty nesters. You cant compare her to the Norway, which was the last of the large liners of her day. Its a very different experience on the Crown, but just as enjoyable. If youre looking for a ton of activities, and a younger bar crowd, this is not the ship for you. But, if you want a more relaxed cruise, with more then enough to keep you busy, this is it. Enjoy! Read Less