30 Santiago (Valparaiso) Princess Crown Princess Cruise Reviews

Pre & post tour transfers & hotels were, as usual, excellent. Maybe Princess should take notes on how to handle their most valued assets, (their customers) from these organizations! It all started off on the wrong foot - ... Read More
Pre & post tour transfers & hotels were, as usual, excellent. Maybe Princess should take notes on how to handle their most valued assets, (their customers) from these organizations! It all started off on the wrong foot - embarkation. Herded like cattle through, what seemed like, endless lines before actual entry into the embarkation chamber. And of course, being a Platinum member, we expected, and were told, that we would have priority boarding. Lie #1. The process was, stand in line, and wait your turn! Once this procedure was completed, wait again for close to 15 mins. before clearing security. Finally aboard, with an overnight in Buenos Aires, before setting sail to Uruguay. We probably would have been better served spending a 2nd night elsewhere along our route! ENext, the infamous fire and safety drill which lasted the better part of 45 mins., standing the entire time, because we were crammed into an area with inadequate seating! Then listening to a rambling narration about many issues that had absolutely nothing to do with a safety drill! As to the ship's Captain, he was simply the bearer of bad news, any time he came over the public announcements its system, which, by the way, was very infrequently. On previous cruises, it was always a pleasure ro hear from the Captain who usually was very informative as to weather conditions, docking, port(s) of call, etc. This Captain seemed to spend all his time stating everything was "beyond his control"! Lie #2. Why was it that we could not dock alongside the pier in Ushuaui when there was plenty of room on the opposite side of the pier? Especially, when 2 other ships, including a Celebrity ship, came into port after us? Surely, accommodations of this nature are made well in advance by Princess! When passengers approached the Argentine authority complaining about same, they were told it was not them but "your captain"! And then, having been ushered into waiting rooms for some where between 2-3 hrs, awaiting disembarkation, only to be told certain tours were cancelled!! Real class act!! Once again, Proncess dropped the ball, absolutely no communication from the staff as to if & when would we could still go ashore! We were told, by a very abrupt staff member, to wait and an announcement would be forthcoming re priority disembarkation - but no timeline as to when this would occur! Another 30-40 minute wait and finally an announcement! As to food aboard ship, there seemed to be an unusual amount of unavailable items ranging from no mushrooms for AM omelets, to standard issue breakfast teas! In the Horizon Court, try and find a table! Spent most of our experience their either looking for or sharing a table. The cruise line is obviously not concerned with the volume or simply not prepared to handle it! And try to find "lactose free" items - they don't exist. Speaking of dining, why is it we could not obtain preferred dining when we booked well in advance, (1st time occurrence), when others, who booked well beyond us, we're afford same? Many people who did not receive room confirmations until just prior to boarding were given upgrades and yet, having sailed more than 11-times with Princess, have never once been offered an upgrade! Princess seems more concerned with new passengers than long standing ones! Medical issues - yet another area aboard this particular cruise. One doctor, for most of the cruise, for over 3,000 passengers, not including staff! Got to give it to Dr. Allison, great job exhibiting even great patience. Thank you. Apparently approx. 1/3rd of those aboard came down with some sort of illness, including bronchitis. So much so, in fact, the medical room ran out of cough medicine. And finally, disembarkation t her in Valpariso. Yet another disaster! A complete lack of onshore staff directing passengers where to collect rheir luggage or connecting vehicles to destinations beyond. W spent at least 1/2 hr. Looking for our baggage only to find someone who told us that our luggage was sent onto our hotel. Might have been nice for Princess to advise of this quirk befor leaving th ship! When we finally found our transport vehicle, we then waited for "2-no-shows" for yet another 45 mins. before finally leaving for our ultimate destination. The people responsible for coordinating this activity didn't even have names of the passengers, simply, a total number of expected passengers. We don't make a habit of complaining, nor have we previously, so for us to do so..... It'll be a long time before, or if, we book with Princess again!! Some people would venture 1 time in 11 is a good average, but as far as we are concerned, it is unacceptable for the amount of money we pay for the experience!! We are posting this notice on Cruise Critic because we realize, (having complained directly to the cruise line, it'll simply be "DEEP SIXED"! Oh yeah, 6-months earlier, on the same ship - no issues, go figure!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our 16th cruise, 9th on Princess. We sailed from Valparaiso, Chile around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We flew into Santiago Chile and spent one night in Valparaiso before boarding the ship. Embarkation was very ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise, 9th on Princess. We sailed from Valparaiso, Chile around Cape Horn to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We flew into Santiago Chile and spent one night in Valparaiso before boarding the ship. Embarkation was very chaotic. A strike by port workers that day prevented taxis from entering the port so we were dropped at stop where a shuttle bus would take us into the port, which was all a little confusing. Once in the terminal building confusion reigned. It was unclear where to leave your bags. Lines were not well defined and there weren't many staff available to clear things up. There was one other ship in port and I think both ships were delayed disembarking because of the strike and that was affecting our boarding process. After getting checked in, we then had to wait for another shuttle bus to take us to the ship. Overall it took us about 2 hours from arriving at the terminal to board the ship. The Pacific was fairly rough when we were out in the open sea. The first 2 days were probably the worst. When we were in channels protected by islands it was fine, and the Atlantic side of the cruise was very smooth. Our first port was Puerto Montt and there was another unannounced strike at this port as well. Picketers were blocking vehicles from leaving the port area. Eventually they did start letting 2 or 3 buses go at a time. We sat on our bus for over 2 hours before we were able to get out, and our excursion was cut short a bit as a result. After the initial rough seas and strikes, everything went quite well. We had generally very good weather and we were able to make all the ports, which doesn't always happen in the part of the world. The Crown is starting to show its age somewhat. Our cabin had a very slow shower drain (which was quickly repaired by staff) and drawers that stuck in the cabinets and were difficult to open, but all in all we were comfortable in our cabin and service was excellent. Food and service in the Botticelli dining room were very good. There was a nice selection at dinner and we were very satisfied with everything we had to eat. The buffet was ok, nothing to shout about but it wasn't terrible either. I require a gluten free diet and Princess always takes very good care of me in the MDR and they always have a gluten free dessert in the buffet. Entertainment was generally good. The magic and music show in the main theater was outstanding. Onboard activities were generally well run and enjoyable. Trivia was very popular. The port lecturer, Julio, was very informative and entertaining. His presentations were a big hit, always with standing room only in the Princess theater, so much so that they should have scheduled him twice for each of his presentations so everyone could have had a seat. The ports were all great. The Falkland Islands was the best. We had a beautiful day and the Bluff Cove Penguin excursion was one of the best we have ever taken. It included an entertaining 4 mile off road ride to get to the cove and then time to spend with some King and Gentoo penguins. And the town of Stanley was very enjoyable. Puerto Madryn was the least enjoyable port. We did not take an excursion there and there isn't a whole lot to see or do in the town. Temperatures ranged from the low 50s at the southern end of the continent and close to 100 in Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Disembarkation was a breeze--fastest we ever had--about 5 minutes. Well organized, easy to find luggage, and we were out of there. We stayed in Buenos Aires for 3 days following the cruise and enjoyed that. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
All was excellent. The cabin, the entreteinment and the food. We felt so happy to join this cruise. The ports where so interesting. We bought some tous on board. We stayed alone at some other ports. And we hired an independent tour agency ... Read More
All was excellent. The cabin, the entreteinment and the food. We felt so happy to join this cruise. The ports where so interesting. We bought some tous on board. We stayed alone at some other ports. And we hired an independent tour agency and guide in other ports like Buenos Aires (big city!!!ports - -punta arenas and ushuaia tours were fine, but scenery was old hat to those of us lucky enough to live in forested areas -buenos aires: we had a tremendous guide there LIZ ANDREA (liz2arg@yahoo.com) The best experience! -falkland visit to bluff farm was very enjoyable -- no long drives, lovely tea included, just enough time to enjoy the penguins room - upgraded to a mini-suite, which came in handy, as it was either too blustery or too sweltering to use the balcony food - varied from mediocre to excellent -- bread, seafood and dessert consistently above average - pizza recipe appeared to have changed, with an acidic sauce and odd-tasting cheese -- this was a disappointment -main courses in dining rooms underseasoned for our taste HIGHLIGHTS -tremendous tango performances -entertaining and informative port Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Itinerary round Horn was the attraction and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Good fellow passengers being a healthy mix - lots of British, Australians and Canadians. The crew were, as always it seems, excellent, cheerful, friendly and ... Read More
Itinerary round Horn was the attraction and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Good fellow passengers being a healthy mix - lots of British, Australians and Canadians. The crew were, as always it seems, excellent, cheerful, friendly and always willing to help. Entertainment was quite good overall. The destinations speaker was excellent, humorous and informative. Cannot say the same for the other speaker on security et al. Embarkation was a disaster - due to a strike of the port workers. Chile needs tourism and strikes cannot help promote the country. Some passengers were unable to get off the ship until after noon - wondered how many missed flights? On the negative side, (1) the ship is tired as noted by several other passengers - the cabin was tired, etc. (2) Appears they were running inventory down - example: poor wine selection resulted in complaints we were told so no wine package - go figure, poor selection so higher prices!! (3) Prices - seems everything is now more expensive - example $13:50 per day gratuities - heard several passengers say they had decided to decline the charge - sad for the staff. (4) the main theater is too small - to get a seat for early show required arriving half an hour early - recommend three (shorter) shows an evening - one before dinner for the late sitting? Princess standards seem to be slipping. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The cruise itinerary is pretty unique, starting at Valparaiso , then around the Cape ,into Buenos Aires and Rio, Salvador and onto the Caribbean. We spent 2 days in Santiago before we embarked, embarkation was an unorganised Shambles, a ... Read More
The cruise itinerary is pretty unique, starting at Valparaiso , then around the Cape ,into Buenos Aires and Rio, Salvador and onto the Caribbean. We spent 2 days in Santiago before we embarked, embarkation was an unorganised Shambles, a strike by Chilean dock staff delayed passengers getting off and passengers getting on - no input from Princess just very poorly organised chaos, and the chaos was repeated in Fort Lauderdale [ but more later]. The ship is a bit tired , but our cabin was fine and the cabin staff were great. Dining was anytime for us and most nights was wait and trouble free, food standard was ok, not as good as Celebrity but similar to other Princess cruises, average variety [ almost poor variety, and lots of repetition in the Horizon Court Buffet] The specialty restaurants were poorly patronised, we ate once at the Salty Dog [ very average] and once in Sabitinis [ great food, excellent service, but only 12 patrons] Entertainment was mixed, production shows were excellent, but if you wanted to go to the 8pm show be there an half hour early , the theatre holds just over 700 and their were 2800 passengers ? Staff were great everywhere, the coffee shop, restaurants, cabin staff and cruise directors team. The officers were rarely seen and the Captain rarely heard -- most unusual Ports were generally good, although the Chileans were on strike again at Puerto Montt and tours were cancelled, all the rest were great, Stanly, Punta Arenas, Montevideo and Rio were all excellent. Rio De Janeiro immigration held the ship up for over an hour before allowing disembarkation. Disembarkation at Fort lauderdale was also chaotic, long lines and 2 hour delays, and then the ships bus transits to airports was very poorly organised, we have done this type of transit from ports before, it has always been poor, lots missed flights. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. Never having been to South America we enjoyed the ports. We chose Princess excursions and for the most part they delivered what they promised. Before boarding we were driven around Santiago ... Read More
We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. Never having been to South America we enjoyed the ports. We chose Princess excursions and for the most part they delivered what they promised. Before boarding we were driven around Santiago and Valparaiso for an hour to our distress; only later as we arrived at the port terminal did we learn the port workers were on strike and the embarkation delayed. An hour and a half later after milling around amongst 2,000+ passengers we were able to board the ship. The lack of information at the terminal was distressing; Princess could have remidied this situation by having someone in charge to inform us of what was happening and see that lines were properly cordoned off, so we at least knew where to wait. I was told to wait in line #3 but where to go as there were no lines. What a disastrous start to our trip. The ship is older and in great need of some TLC; dirty worn carpets, walls in need of repainting, some repair of glass doors and safes as well (ours did not open unless we used a nail file to pry it). The food was average ship fare; nothing outstanding but nothing bad, although we did have two table-mates return fish which was spoiled and smelt beyond fresh. They could do with a little more originality in choosing their menus and not so much repetition of choices: how many times do we want to see pork on the menu in so many permutations as in recycled leftovers. The dining room wait staff was badly trained or not at all as when my entire was about to be removed twice without a question as to if I was finished or not. They were either novices with no direction or poorly trained and the dining room captains were not helpful in guiding these persons but were rather pompous in their demeanor. At one breakfast we waited 45 minutes for our food, cornflakes with sliced banana and for my husband a bagel with salmon and cream cheese; then were told our order was being prepared. Really! The wait teams need to be taught how to work efficiently together. An amusing anecdote is in order: On one occasion when ordering the bagel cream cheese and salmon, my husband referred to the order as bagel lox and cream cheese and lo and behold he received a lot of cream cheese (get it? lox and cream cheese). We ate in Sabatini’s one evening and what a disappointment the experience turned out to be with just your average fare borrowed from the dining room menus; an empty restaurant except for two other tables and perhaps the absentees knew more than we did. I could not then imagine paying 29.00 per person for such food when it was ours at the dining room or even Horizon. The coffee, well an improvement with the coffee card enabling a real cup of perked coffee instead of the dreadful instant swill that is served. However, I think since purchasing this card one should have been able to enjoy a cup of perked coffee in the dining rooms also and not just the International Cafe. The Horizon is as always a jungle of humanity trying with not so quiet desperation to grab a table, anywhere anywhere at all not just a window, forget the window. And with no trays to carry our food we must return for our entree after our salad and then a return for dessert. Breakfast there is a joke on us, carry your fruit, return for the entree which could be eggs bacon toast and then wait for the juice and coffee service (the eggs are cold by now). This is not cruising at its best, as I eat like this at home with only one or two trips to place food on my table. The entertainment was what one might expect of a ship, poor mediocre or worse acts with two exceptions, the production shows, one of which Magic To Do was excellent. The venues are too small to accommodate the number of persons on this page ship and lines were always present at the Crooners Bar, International Cafe (of course the writing on the wall says the ship would rather we eat at Horizon), dining rooms and Explorers. The library can hardly be called that. It needs an update with comfortable chairs and a friendlier atmosphere. The Pacific Princess which is a quarter of the size of this ship has a library that is both welcoming and comfortable. Our cabin was alright but somewhat shabby with at times almost threadbare towels. We did have a stellar steward though who was pleasant and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Our cruise was from Santiago (Valparaiso) to Buenos Aires via Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands in late February. It provided a break between land trips to Machu Picchu, in Peru, and the Iguassu Falls on the Argentine / Brazil border, ... Read More
Our cruise was from Santiago (Valparaiso) to Buenos Aires via Cape Horn and the Falkland Islands in late February. It provided a break between land trips to Machu Picchu, in Peru, and the Iguassu Falls on the Argentine / Brazil border, which were the main reasons for visiting South America. Having mentioned the reason for us taking the cruise, it would be remiss not to mention Machu Picchu and the Iguassu Falls. The cruise itself was certainly not a “trip of a life-time” but we were really glad that we had these two highlights on our “bucket list”. Machu Picchu Machu Picchu is amazing and even better than you might have imagined from any pictures. We had no problems with the altitude but drank plenty of water, avoided alcohol and coffee. Cusco and the Sacred Valley are also very interesting. It is best to stay in Cusco and also stay a night in Machu Picchu, ideally at the Inkaterra Hotel. The Inca trail would have been quite a challenge (although it is closed in February) so we took the easier train option. Expect some rain but you might be lucky, like we were. Iguassu Falls The Iguassu Falls are even more spectacular than Machu Picchu. Whilst it is possible to visit the falls from both the Argentinian side and Brazilian side in a single day, as we did, spreading this over two days would be better. We did not have time for either a helicopter trip or the very wet boat trip but managed to pick a day when the weather was perfect. Crown Princess is basically the same as her sister ships, Emerald and Ruby Princess, but lacks the new bedding found on the Emerald princess. Embarkation was delayed by several hours because the Valparaiso port stevedores were on strike. The Priority Boarding queue turned out to be the slowest line for boarding, so Princess's loyal passengers were inevitably upset. Loading of provisions was also curtailed, which was thought to account for the limited availability of wines on board. Having gone through the usual passenger safety drill on arrival, we could not see why it was necessary to pipe the crew's own emergency drill, and other messages, through to all cabins, in English then Spanish, the following morning. Safety is important but was unnecessarily intrusive. FOOD AND DRINK All food was of a consistently good quality but Princess menus are now so predictable that they are boring. Some items, like chicken and leek pie seemed to appear several times, there were few fresh vegetables and hardly any seasonal fruit besides strawberries. We soon discovered that the choice of wines, especially white wine, was very limited and they had abandoned the wine cards that normally give a discount package. On the first night, we opted for a bottle of basic Californian chardonnay (29 USD + 15% service) as there was very little Chilean wine available. After that, most passengers would return on board with a couple of bottles of very good Chilean wine, purchased locally for a few USD, and pay 15 USD corkage in the restaurant. Service in the Botticelli restaurant was generally very good, except at breakfast time, which was often frustratingly slow. Choice of food at the busy Horizon Court was often better than the restaurants but you never knew when they had specials, like an Indian buffet, and had to search for each course. Afternoon tea should be a leisurely event, so we refused to be rushed when the waiters descended. The International café, in the foyer, worked well on sea days but was otherwise over-crowded. The cruise was advertised as having three formal nights but there were only two until they squeezed in another towards the end of the voyage. This might sound picky, but annoyed the ladies who had extra evening wear in their over weight luggage and those who enjoy lobster. In the end we had two lobster nights and everybody was satisfied. LECTURES The theatre was always packed to overflowing, so it was necessary to arrive at least 30 minutes early to find seats. In warmer locations, more passengers would probably have been out on the sun decks instead. A Spanish guide, named Julio Delgardo, presented information about each port and kept the packed theatre amused with his whimsical, yet informative, style. He was not concerned with selling trips and was of great help to independent travellers (like us). Princess has discovered that talks on forensics and security can be very popular, so Peter LaSorsa gave several talks on email security and identity theft. He also gave a good talk on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, although it was a little misplaced and would have been more relevant when cruising in the opposite direction. ENTERTAINMENT The resident singers and dancers performed really well on a stage that was constantly moving in the choppy seas. One show was cancelled, just as it was about to start, because a band member was, unfortunately, taken ill. We found the evening entertainment in the theatre rather disappointing, so maybe we are just getting hard to please as the theatre was packed for most of the shows. We enjoyed the numerous trivia quiz sessions and even won several, only to find that Princess had run out of their usual prizes. The cruise directors need to give more thought to the timing of activities, as it takes time to empty a theatre and get from one location to another. Activities seemed to clash throughout the morning then there was little to do in the afternoon whilst at sea. EXCURSIONS We generally avoid organised excursions and find we can do more as independent travellers. Excursions on offer were either very easy to do ourselves or involved lengthy and costly trips to see penguins etc. The Elite priority boarding on tenders saves time but does not apply to excursions. WEATHER Along the Chile coast, we experienced 5 metre swells for around six hours, which was not much fun. Around Cape Horn it was mainly calm and sunny and the weather in the Falklands was really good, albeit with a cold wind at 9 am around Gypsy Cove, rising to about 17 degrees. From Puerto Madryn onwards it was mid 20s rising to 32 in Buenos Aires. Apart from the first port, we hardly saw any rain. After reading earlier reviews, reporting lengthy waits for tenders, we realise how lucky we were with the weather in late February. CONCLUSIONS If, like us, you are mainly visiting South America to see Machu Picchu, in Peru, and the Iguassu Falls, on the border between Argentina and Brazil, you might find it easier to skip this cruise and fly from Lima to Buenos Aires. Santiago is fine, but maybe not worth a detour, and the Falkland Islands is much like England to the Brits. Most of the port stops are not particularly interesting, unless you are keen to join a long excursion to see penguins of various types. We preferred to explore independently and thought that most of the Princess excursions were very over priced. The Tango Show in Buenos Aires is certainly worthwhile, if it is not included elsewhere on your travel plans. Our cruise was competitively priced but the cost of excursions, drinks and gratuities seems excessive – so exercise your options! We have cruised with Princess many times but would not rate this trip or Crown Princess very highly, as the entertainment was mediocre and the ship was very crowded. The staff and service were, however, up to Princess's high standards. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because of the 7 night land tour of Peru that can be taken at the start or end of the cruise. The Land Tour was fabulous, great hotels, lovely people and lovely food, magnificent scenery. The Cruise from Valpraiso to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the 7 night land tour of Peru that can be taken at the start or end of the cruise. The Land Tour was fabulous, great hotels, lovely people and lovely food, magnificent scenery. The Cruise from Valpraiso to Beunos Aires started on the wrong foot, the port workers were on strike, so boarding was a fiasco, huge long queues, nowhere to sit down and temperatures in the low 80's, no complimentary drinks. It propably took us 2hrs to get to the front of our 'Priority' queue. Friends travelling with us [6] took longer, as they weren't in 'Priority'. All of the dining, including the Speciality restaurants, were disappointing. Cold plates = cold food, orders taken but cutlery not changed for choices made, therefore when food was delivered, waiter did not know who was having what, and cutlery came after, but not always straight away - food even colder. Service in the restaurants was very poor, were we on a 'training' ship? Every opportunity was taken to try and sell us something we didn't need or want - training waiters to be waiters is paramount. Wine selection was particularly poor, Sauvignon Blanc had run out by day 6/14 and the coffee was foul. We didn't get to go on our first excursion as the port strike had followed us down the coast, and the coaches were not allowed to leave with passengers on them. I could go on . . . . . but I won't, needless to say, Princess did not meet our expectations, and we will not be travelling with them again. The best thing about this cruise was our Cabin Steward, he was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We like long cruises and this was a back to back cruise starting in Valparaiso, Chile and ending Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We have taken 20+ cruises and this was the only one that we have EVER complained about. Princess has lower the ... Read More
We like long cruises and this was a back to back cruise starting in Valparaiso, Chile and ending Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We have taken 20+ cruises and this was the only one that we have EVER complained about. Princess has lower the entire experience of cruising. They do not make the experience special anymore now you just a number!!!! We chose anytime dining and the service was great but the food most of the time was cold and lacked flavor.The Bean Counters at Princess may not think that the passengers noticed that Princess Favorites side of the menu has deleted steak and replaced it with hamburger. Pizza and hamburgers by the pool were the best food on the ship. The horizon grill reminds you of you old school cafeteria. On the first leg of the cruise we enjoyed the Enrichment talks on the sea days but on the second leg of the cruise there was none. This ship had so many out of order signs such as : elevators,ice machines, coffee machines bathrooms, and swimming pools. If you wanted to go to the Princess theater you needed to go 45 minutes early to get a seat. Many people did not know this and end up sitting on the floor and on the staircases. No Princess people were to be seen to control this nightmare. Major safety issue for every one on the ship. I would think Princess would be concern for the safety of the passengers not only concern about lawsuits pertaining to accidents due to blocked stairways. Closed down laundry for 3 days while in port in Buenos Aires (due to water shortage????) It would have be great if Princess had given the passengers a little notice of this information BEFORE we had 14 days of dirty clothes. We didn't book a tour on our first day in Buenos Aires . We planned to stay on the ship and wash clothes for the 19 days on board. Many unhappy people!!!! On the last part of the cruise in the women's Spa the hot water controls in all 3 showers were wrapped with duck tape. You could only take cold showers!!! The information that was given to me by Spa employees were the threads were stripped out. Was there NO plumbers on board.... Too many issues to list them all and most likely we will not cruise Princess again. We are Platinum members and were planning a trip with Princess to the Baltic's this year which will put us at the top (Elite). Now we are questioning if we want to be Elite with a cruise line that has lowered their standards. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I really don't have many good things to say about this ship ..I did enjoy the ports .. it was nice to 'escape' from the ship. However,there were far too many sea days where we could not get out on deck due to the weather. ... Read More
I really don't have many good things to say about this ship ..I did enjoy the ports .. it was nice to 'escape' from the ship. However,there were far too many sea days where we could not get out on deck due to the weather. When the weather did improve, 2 of the pools were closed for maintenance!! I have been one Princess cruise before, which I enjoyed, but will not go with Princess again ..in fact they have put me off cruising all together. The constant sell, sell, sell was disgusting, entertainment third rate, the price of the drinks ridiculous ..they probably took in less money due to the fact most people seemed to be drinking very little!! The Horizon buffet was the worst I'd ever seen on a cruise ship ..usually you are spoilt for choice ..most times I wandered about and came away with nothing ..food was always cold anyway !! Dining room not much better ..I never really looked forward to meals. Come back new ! ..no, come back disappointed and annoyed at the price paid and poor value for money ! (and being taken for fools to be fleeced at every opportunity) I don't usually complain but something has seriously gone wrong with this ship (and Princess) ! Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Review of the Crown Princess We travelled around South America on the Crown Princess in February 2017, starting from Valparaiso and finishing in Buenos Aires. The itinerary was the biggest attraction for us. We had only travelled once ... Read More
Review of the Crown Princess We travelled around South America on the Crown Princess in February 2017, starting from Valparaiso and finishing in Buenos Aires. The itinerary was the biggest attraction for us. We had only travelled once on Princess before and that was a sailing out of Sydney. I was soon to discover that there is a huge difference in the way Princess cater for Australian passengers and the way they cater for American passengers. Apart from Princess, our previous cruises have mainly been with P&O on the Ventura and the Azura. Those two ships are the same size as the Crown Princess, they have roughly the same number of crew and passengers, the quality of service we received and the quality and choice of food was pretty much the same. So, why are all the onboard prices so much more expensive on the Crown Princess? The auto-gratuity on P&O is £5.50 per day or approximately $6.60 but on the Crown it is $13.50 per day. A 500ml bottle of beer on P&O costs £3.75 or about £4.25 per pint. On Crown a 355ml bottle of beer costs $6.00 plus an automatic 15% gratuity which works out at a staggering £9.20 per pint. The cheapest glass of red wine costs $8.00 plus 15% which works out at approximately £46.00 per bottle. There are no automatic bar gratuities on P&O but there is 15% added to virtually everything on Princess, but NOT when sailing out of Australia as the Australians presumably don’t stand for it. The other big difference was in the constant sell, sell, sell on board. I kept my copies of the Princess Patter, the daily newspaper on board which lists the day’s events. Approximately one third of everything advertised was a selling pitch. Here are just some of the examples on our second sea day. Complimentary consultations on board for the men’s barber; $10 gift event; medi-spa seminar: non surgical face lift; The art of collecting seminar; complimentary walk-in acupuncture consultation; diamond seminar. If you think that is a lot for one day, that is only the morning’s list, there was at least the same again in the second half of the day. So, to sum up, the cruise was really enjoyable, we had a once in a lifetime experience with the itinerary, seeing lots of wildlife and some fantastic scenery, the Falklands and the Amelia Glacier in particular were great. The staff were very friendly, the food was pretty good. The fact that we were in a region famous for its beef probably contributed to some of the excellent beef dishes we had on several nights. One of the biggest let-downs for us, apart from the prices, was the entertainment. We had a couple of good Canadian comedians but most of the theatre shows were not very good. The other big complaint we had, and where P&O could teach Princess something, was in the timing of events. There was simply not enough time between events for people to get from one venue to another and, more importantly, for the previous event to empty out before another one started. On a number of occasions there was a talk in the two storey theatre at 10.00am which did not finish until about 10.50 and another presentation at 11.00. This resulted in several hundred people trying to push into the theatre while those from the first event were trying to leave. The health and safety risks involved in this manoeuvre, considering the age range of many of the passengers and the fact that we were on board a moving ship, could have been quite severe. So, would I travel with Princess again? As I said at the beginning, the itinerary was great. The one big area in which Princess scores over P&O is their destinations. If the right itinerary came up I would consider Princess again, but I must say that apart from that I don’t think there is anything in Princess’s favour which makes them any better than P&O to justify their considerably more expensive on board costs. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
embarking/disembarking -- chaotic in Valparaiso but very smooth in Buenos Aires ports - we very much enjoyed the three days we spent in Valparaiso pre-cruise -punta arenas and ushuaia tours were fine, but scenery was old ... Read More
embarking/disembarking -- chaotic in Valparaiso but very smooth in Buenos Aires ports - we very much enjoyed the three days we spent in Valparaiso pre-cruise -punta arenas and ushuaia tours were fine, but scenery was old hat to those of us lucky enough to live in forested areas -falkland visit to bluff farm was very enjoyable -- no long drives, lovely tea included, just enough time to enjoy the penguins room - upgraded to a mini-suite, which came in handy, as it was either too blustery or too sweltering to use the balcony food - varied from mediocre to excellent -- bread, seafood and dessert consistently above average - pizza recipe appeared to have changed, with an acidic sauce and odd-tasting cheese -- this was a disappointment -main courses in dining rooms underseasoned for our taste HIGHLIGHTS -tremendous tango performances -entertaining and informative port presentations -out-of-the-ordinary talks/activities to keep us engaged -- cybersecurity, advanced photography lighting, drumming -magic production show was excellent NEEDS IMPROVEMENT -Princess telephone customer care line is very frustrating -- inconsistent or incorrect information given, which caused us a difficulty on board - UNACCEPTABLE -production shows typically strident with little nuance -insufficient room in the PrincessTheatre - had to arrive well ahead to get a seat Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Overall we are very pleased with the way things went. We were apprehensive about what we'd face upon arriving in Lima. All went very well. The Delta flights from home and connection for ATL-LIM went well. We delighted in seeing the ... Read More
Overall we are very pleased with the way things went. We were apprehensive about what we'd face upon arriving in Lima. All went very well. The Delta flights from home and connection for ATL-LIM went well. We delighted in seeing the lights of the canal across the Panamanian isthmus. In Lima, as we exited the bureaucratic entry containment area into the public reception area, there at 1:15am was a man with a Princess Cruises sign; he worked for Lima Tours. He expected 2 other couples who were no-shows which kept us waiting for an hour before being driven in a comfortable car to the hotel. For the cost of the extra night at the Swissotel, it was an excellent value for the comfortable room with a comfortable sitting area and a bathroom with separate tub and walk-in shower. It's location in a neighborhood with embassies and international businesses gave us a sample of Lima's cosmopolitan atmosphere for the walks we took, once we woke up in the late morning. Lima Tours had two agents stationed most of the day-before-departure in the hotel's lobby. They accompanied us throughout the excursion until we reached the cruise boarding terminal in Valparaiso, Chile. Our group of 72 divided into 4 once we arrived in Cuzco; each group had it's own local guide for the days in the mountains; ours had 16. We were in comfortable medium sized buses. The two Lima Tours guides from Lima continually handled logistics and problems (most folks had no idea of the extent of their work, especially that of Juan Carlos Nina, who when we left him in Valparaiso well disguised his exhaustion.) The mountain excursion had us bouncing Cusco's 11,150 ft., Chincheros 12,343ft and Aguas Calientes comfortable 6,693ft. Machu Picchu above Aguas Calientes is only 8,040 ft. I believe that the sites visited gave us an excellent sample of the Sacred Valley of the Inca. All accommodations and meals were excellent! Our local guide was good; I won't rate him excellent because of some language difficulties which I can understand. We were surprised at how easily we began speaking in Spanish comfortably. But, we would hit mental blocks for the right words in speaking and listening. We talked with folks on the ship, mostly Europeans and Australians/New Zealanders and Latin Americans who did other Machu Picchu excursions. None could praise their experience as we did. Another kudo to Juan Carlos Nina, every day he provided a an updated itinerary for the next day that included instructions for handling luggage and contact information. Weeks before departure we asked Princess about what we would do in limbo-land between our early am flight from Cuzco to Lima and 5:50 pm departure for Santiago. I rate Princess response a "0" on a scale of "0 - 10". Fortunately Lima Tours had a most acceptable solution. They provided a tour of Lima's major sights followed by a meal before returning to the airport for the Santiago flight. Lima Tours had originally planned for us to have a 12:15pm flight to Santiago, not the 5:50pm flight. The Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Santiago was a disaster. Our group arrived at 1:30am. There was no extra staff to handle our luggage. So, spouse & I hauled it ALL to our room over the vociferous objections of hotel staff. - We wanted to go to bed ASAP. (Others in the group followed our lead.) The room was comfortable, but several fixtures didn't work. Then, in the morning, we placed our luggage (as usual) for pick up and transport. Only this time the Marriott decided that clients and baggage had to share the same elevators. We waited for 4 elevators before there was space for customers. Getting out of the elevator meant stumbling over randomly scattered luggage. Then, when we were to leave, Marriott's valet service had parked cars that blocked the access for the luggage truck and for our bus. Ah, finally aboard a Princess ship in Valparaiso -- only to find what looked like vomit stains on the drawer faces on one side of the bed - quickly cleaned by the steward. Who know what else he hadn't cleaned; but, that's why we carry hydrogen peroxide wipes to go through our cabin before unpacking. - We do another wipe down on any cruise longer than 10 days. We chose not to tour Puerto Montt in case we needed time to recover from the Andean excursion. A good choice, no one we talked with felt that the tours were worth the cost. We walked the waterfront from the dock to downtown, a well designed area that is decidedly neglected in maintenance. The Amalia Glacier and Chilean fjords were enjoyable but nothing special in the context of Alaskan cruises. Navigation through the Straits of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and all twists and turns in between there and Cape Horn are amazing. The estancia guide (Ursula) at Punta Arenas was among the best on all prior 19 Princess cruises - enthusiastic, very knowledgeable, great supportive artifacts that she shared trustfully; the Fitz Roy estancia was pure tourist show - sheep shearing on a working cattle ranch. The guide at Ushuaia ranks with the worst - totally no enthusiasm. And, the tour was like visiting a remote lake in the state of Maine. The sail around Cape Horn can't be described. We had excellent weather, wind, wind, wind, and sun (if you count dressing for heavy winter winds and cold weather as normal). Did I mention the cold wind? Wow!! How could sailors 500 years ago, let alone 200 years ago navigate and survive those waters? OK -- we reached the Falkland Islands. We decided that "walking the town" would be our excursion, rather than the originally planned penguin tour. Meandering around Port Stanley was worth it. A very interesting outpost of the UK - loyal Brits to the end. They readily accepted our UK pounds left over from last year's visit to London. Uruguay: Surprised at the depressing lack of modernity in Montevideo, albeit the vibrant activity on the streets. The Princess excursion to an estancia/farm/ranch was well done. En-route, however, suburban and exurban conditions along the expressway disappointed our previously optimistic expectations of Uruguay. Argentina: Puerto Madryn, prior day to arrival in Montevideo - a good Princess tour to a working sheep estancia - greatly enjoyed by spouse who was drafted to help haul a ewe to its sheering. A guanaco wandered into our luncheon dining room to nudge, in hope for a handout, the tourists. And, we saw some interesting play among sea lions in their protected habitat at a preserve en route back to our ship. Between 5 days in Uruguay and Argentina we had the best beef ever. All is range fed, no feedlot stuffing for fat. Since returning to the US, we haven't had any beef as good. Buenos Aires: Fantastically modern central city - replete with traffic congestion. Beautiful parks throughout and expansive park-like highway exchanges in the suburbs; very cosmopolitan feel. Once you get into the countryside, the roads (mostly private toll expressways) are "rough and tumble" - to be polite. The Princess excursions are very good. On our last day, we took a city tour that didn't hide the rough spots, but included a fantastic 1 hr+ tango show, preceded by an excellent meal, more Argentine steak and lamb. Unlike what we have experienced with Princess promoted excursions in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska and Europe, all of the excursion luncheons on this cruise were very good. There were ALWAYS options other than chicken. (Princess, take the hint.) We had excellent lamb and beef. On-board the Crown Princess, service was typically Princess, usually very good to excellent. The food was better than usual in that the chef knew that there are seasonings other than salt. The Chef Curtis Stone option, of Food Network fame, are promoted on each menu; however, he knows only salt. One taste, no more. Promoting him is a waste of our money. We had one problem that we feel Princess treated badly. Dining room staff could not find an unfinished bottle of wine from a previous evening. Staff claimed that the only wine record was for a prior finished bottle. The attitude was that I was trying to cheat Princess out of a bottle of (inexpensive) wine. I told the head waiter that I wouldn't let him insult me further and would present my daily folio with the wine order to Passenger Services - Princess does not routinely provided receipts for carry over on wine bottles. The next day we were welcomed with open arms and apologies when they found the bottle after my complaint at passenger services. I don't fault the waiter who handled the order. I fault the ATTITUDE OF SENIOR DINING STAFF in failed problem solving and failed customer service. As far as the sailing, it was a smooth cruise overall. The only challenging, but not uncomfortable part had a few hours of 65-70 knot winds T-boning the starboard side of the ship. This was much better than many prior cruisers on this route have experienced. Delta's "Economy Comfort +" is an oxymoron. The bloke on the return flight next to me thought that I'd sleep better with his elbow in my ribs. Had spouse been in my seat she could have complained with an assault charge. Also, my hand arthritis kicked in. I couldn't open a beverage. The Delta flight attendant's attitude was totally gratuitous and demeaning, not only with that request, but with service in general. Delta needs to learn that its paying customers are their first priority, not their stock investors. Fortunately, Atlanta arrival immigration, and transfer to the domestic flight went smoothly. Based on prior experiences with luggage handling, and TSA passenger management experiences, Atlanta has been our least favorite eastern US entro portal. This time, however, all went well. To conclude, Princess needs to do a better job of informing clients about pre-cruise arrangements. The excellent handling by Lima Tours doesn't make up for Princess Cruises' faults. The Andean land tour is excellent, and well worth the premium price, except for the buffoons at the Marriott hotel in Santiago. For the cruise, passengers should not expect a tranquil Caribbean experience. The itinerary goes through some of the world's roughest waters. We were exceptionally lucky weatherwise. All of the ports were interesting and gave us a perspective that most North of the Equator travellers don't have. As far as flights, we avoided a couple of US airlines because of the horrible customer reputation, only to experience on the Buenos Aires Aires to Atlanta leg of the trip a Delta cattle car treatment. Would we do the cruisetour again? Yes. For air travel it may be worth going business class. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our second cruise with Princess our fourth overall. We cruised South America from Santiago to Buenos Aires. The itinerary was brilliant, varied with many contrasts and iconic destinations. Embarking was not too bad around an ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess our fourth overall. We cruised South America from Santiago to Buenos Aires. The itinerary was brilliant, varied with many contrasts and iconic destinations. Embarking was not too bad around an hour, mostly indoors out of the heat, I've certainly experienced worse. The cruise was very enjoyable the food was good, service was great, very attentive and polite. We like anytime dining and like to have a table for two, there were plenty available and we rarely had to wait. The food was restaurant standard, I love fish and shellfish, which was available most nights, we had lobster twice and the prawns were to die for. I was however disappointed that Princess no longer mark low fat options on their menus, their low fat dishes certainly didn't lack flavour. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court which is much better organised than when we last sailed with Princess on the Star. I was pleased to see no one could miss the hand gel and there were frequent reminders about washing hands throughly. We had a balcony cabin on Caribe deck which was very comfortable having a larger than normal balcony. The carpet in the cabin was looking a little faded but otherwise the cabin was clean and neat and tidy. I do like the way the bathroom/wardrobe area is organised with the door opening out on the hanging space to provide a dressing area. We like to go our own way on shore and were provided with some useful advice during the port talks given by Julio Delgado Corredor, who was knowledgeable and informative. If a place was worth visiting he would tell you. It would have been nice however to also have had some talks about the geography of the area, given the itinerary. We also attended beginners Spanish lessons which were also very good. I usually enjoy the cookery demonstrations, it was a shame on this cruise that most of them classed with the port talks. I wonder what criteria the organisers use to work out the schedule for the onboard entertainment. Disembarking was no problem it was very smooth. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This cruise was part of a longer trip with tours at the beginning and the end "organised" by Wendy Wu and booked through Cruise.co.uk. The tour parts of the trip were a disappointing shambles so the cruise became a very ... Read More
This cruise was part of a longer trip with tours at the beginning and the end "organised" by Wendy Wu and booked through Cruise.co.uk. The tour parts of the trip were a disappointing shambles so the cruise became a very important aspect of the trip. We sailed from Valpraiso around the Horn and up to Buenos Aires. Luckily for us the weather was reasonable most of the time so we were able to make all of the scheduled ports including the Falklands. As going around the Horn was quite chilly the majority of the over 3000 guests chose to stay inside the ship most of the time. This led to the ship feeling very crowded at times. Getting a seat in Horizon Court and in the bars was very difficult at times. Some of the ports of call were more interesting than others, but at most taxis were available at the quay, although many of the drivers only spoke Spanish. The entertainment on the ship was not to a very high standard. Music played in the bars was very good but the main entertainment was very hit and miss .... sadly mostly miss. There were an awful lot of "shopping opportunities" available. Food was mainly good but I found that any time I chose chicken, however it was cooked apart from in a sauce, it was always very dry. Our cabin was ok although very rocky at times as we were at the top and at the back of the ship. Luckily we soon got used to it. As the trip was around South America there were lots of Spanish speaking guests, so a lot of time was spent on translations. In conclusion I would say that entertainment has definitely deteriorated on Princess as has the food slightly, but on the whole the trip was good. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I have been on 14 cruises the majority with princess, they have decided to do what the airlines do now and have numerous add on charges that make it difficult to say its a good value. The Crown Princess holds over 3100 passengers and seems ... Read More
I have been on 14 cruises the majority with princess, they have decided to do what the airlines do now and have numerous add on charges that make it difficult to say its a good value. The Crown Princess holds over 3100 passengers and seems quite crowded in the public spaces especially the buffet, international café , princess theatre and most sitting area's. I know that Princess has announced they are putting in new beds which is long overdue, because the last 3 cruises the beds have been really bad. The towels also need to be improved, the one's they use know are small and thin. The last few cruises the ships seem to be needing to be dry docked for plumbing repairs and other mechanical and maintenance items maybe they are stretching out the maintenance schedules? The food in the dinning rooms was up and down, good on the formal nights and mixed on the other evenings. The buffet is over crowded and the food is average or worse. Sabatini's as usual is very good. Salty dog was pathetic and offerings were strange and not very good. The bread and deserts were very good as usual. The tours for the most part were good and well organized. The balcony cabin we had was small but adequate except the shower could be improved as they have done on the Regal and Royal princess. The ports and for the most part were interesting and both Montevideo and Buenos Aires are grand cities with much to offer. Princess needs to come into the 21st century with the numerous formal nights where they have posted dress requirements at the dinning room entrances and have better menus on those nights. One dinning room should be for people who don't want to dress formally. It is a burden for most people to pack extra clothes with the airline weight restrictions. Formal dress should be optional, a lot of other cruise lines have done this or eliminated them altogether including the more upscale cruise lines. Overall I would rate this cruise average and I will surely check on my next princess cruise whether the ship has updated the beds and how recently it has gone in for overhaul. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We are avid cruisers that have been on more than 45 cruises and chose this cruise due to the pre Machu Picchu excursion which was a few days longer than offered on other major lines. This was our first time cruising on a ship that carries ... Read More
We are avid cruisers that have been on more than 45 cruises and chose this cruise due to the pre Machu Picchu excursion which was a few days longer than offered on other major lines. This was our first time cruising on a ship that carries more than 3,000 people and although many times the crowds were not too noticeable, when they were, it was annoying. The Horizon grill was so crowded, your food could get cold before you found a seat inside. Being cold and windy outside, the tables offered were not a viable option. Having tenders in several ports, passengers with excursions whether private or through Princess had no choice but to eat during busy times. Room service did not start until 6:30 and it was a shot in the dark as to when your food might come. We had a mini-suite which wasn't worth the additional price. In fact, the size reminded me of many Holland America's regular balcony rooms. The bed was comfortable and we had enough space for our things. The bathroom was showing it's age but was fully functional. The pre excursion to Machu Picchu was long. Sometimes 20-23 hour days. The food on the pre arranged buffets were average at best. The stops were interesting and while we enjoyed going to all of the stops, I might reconsider how I would recommend this in the future. The Princess staff that were with our guides were good. A bit rigid,but good. The shore excursion staff did not have experience on specifics of the excursions they offered and could only read what they were told the excursion would be like. That was disappointing as we have always held the cruise lines experience in high regard while making choices. We decided to do three Princess excursions and then took 4 private excursions for less money and found out we saw the same things as others that were on bigger buses with longer lines and wait times. We ate at both the Crab Shack and the Crowne Grill while on this cruise. Unfortunately, although we had superb service, the food in the Crab Shack was overlooked. The steak and sides in the Crowne Grill were excellent and so was the service but after trying to get ne warm baked potato. I gave up. Even the waiter was surprised that the kitchen couldn't produce one hot potato! There was a lot of entertainment and a variety. We did not participate in many of the activities but others we were with enjoyed the choices each night. Overall, We have sailed on Princess three times before but will be more selective in cabin choice and ship before we come back to Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I'm 'just' reading reviews from fellow cruisers, and I 'feel' I must add my .02 for 'you' to read. I LOVED this cruise. (I'm a BIG OFTEN done this a 'lot' cruiser)....We were very lucky ... Read More
I'm 'just' reading reviews from fellow cruisers, and I 'feel' I must add my .02 for 'you' to read. I LOVED this cruise. (I'm a BIG OFTEN done this a 'lot' cruiser)....We were very lucky to be able to tender and arrive at all ports scheduled for this trip on time, etc. The weather was what was to be expected for this part of the world. We brought 'meds' for rough seas, but really these were NOT needed. To those who missed the Falklands, and the KING PENGUINS, I'm sorry as this was the HIGHLIGHT of this cruise. WOW. So worth the overland travel through bogs and mud! The staff was excellent on board. The cruise director, his staff, the productions, etc. (I'm not particularly a fan of comedians and magicians)....especially the shows produced by Princess. Thanks for this, as the energy was positive and upbeat and all activities so well attended. The food in the dining room (advice, only go there...lunch and dinner) was very good...service great...'anytime' worked out well. Yes, the Horizon is full full full ALL the time, but for cereal and coffee (good coffee) who cares. Yes, it's an older ship (I just sailed on the biggest newest ship on the seas, so NOT a fair comparison)....but the layout of the cabins is fine for two (inside) as well as the room seemed virtually SOUND PROOF (very important, and NOT the case on the newer ships). Princess MUST improve their wi fi pricing however, as I've 'heard' they're planning to do....VERY $$$....since it was a January cruise, I actually needed wi fi to 'work' a bit!!! Loved the ports in addition to Falklands....Make your stay longer in Santiago and in Buenos Aires, as I did as there's a lot to see and do. Research private tours (sorry, cheaper and smaller groups).....enjoy the culture and and ambience of South America. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I was in a party of four people in their early-mid sixties. We all have a lot of travel miles behind us, both on land and on cruise ships.We decided to take this trip for the itinerary and historic value.My wife and I stayed for two days ... Read More
I was in a party of four people in their early-mid sixties. We all have a lot of travel miles behind us, both on land and on cruise ships.We decided to take this trip for the itinerary and historic value.My wife and I stayed for two days in Santiago at Hotel Ismael 312 in the Bellas Artes barrio. It was a perfect choice of location and hotel.We then took the drive to Valparaiso for one night and stayed at the Hotel Ibis .My reviews for these locations can be found on Tripadvisor. The Crown Princess is an easy ship to navigate. There are plenty of lounging areas and bars.The swimming pools were open most of the time, except when the sear were too high for the pools to be safe. It was fun trying to body-surf in a pool when the waves and motion got a good swell going in the pools. Because of the hiking and walking on our port stops, we tended to go to bed early,without using the lounges at night. There really isn't much available to do if you have a later dinner. . As always, the Princess wait staff was excellent. The food was very good at night. The Horizon Court was our go-to breakfast and lunch stop. It would be nice if Princess had more enclosed dining at this venue as on sea days it was mostly too crowded for us to eat indoors. The ports were fantastic for their beauty and historic value. Our cabin was TERRIBLE for two barely seniors Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
My husband and I chose this cruise for New Years Eve and the fact that it was sailing to the ABC islands- which all three were very nice. A breath of fresh air compared to the other carribean destinations. The Crown Princess is old but ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise for New Years Eve and the fact that it was sailing to the ABC islands- which all three were very nice. A breath of fresh air compared to the other carribean destinations. The Crown Princess is old but grand in size. Not oversized, but it is large. It was a sold out cruise which makes the trip somewhat of a struggle. Our balcony cabin was fine. Nothing spectacular but typical of Princess. We like it up in the bow so we routinely choose a cabin up there to be close to the gym and spa. We paid extra for the thermal spa which a few things did not work to our disappointment. They have no hair dryers in any of the gym or spa areas so be prepared to go back to your cabin with your hair dripping wet. (We experienced this on the Emerald as well.) I asked the hair salon which is attached if I could use a dollup of hair conditioner as my hair morphed into brillo pad status and it WAS new Years Eve! I was in panic mode. I got a snotty reply from one of the hairdressers telling me I should have booked an appointment but they were full up. He was of no help. I was not happy about the lack of assistance I received. No kindness there. I am now supposed to be Elite status but Princess lost 10 of my sail days from 1994 and want me to prove I actually was in that cabin with my husband way back then! They have another woman named Carol Ball in that cabin with him! LOL. Never heard of her. So, I have to go through my past pictures and prove I was in fact on that ship. I find this to be alittle upsetting. I went around the entire world with princess 5- 6 years ago! ( I have no idea just what my accrued days will get me but even if its just a key chain, I want the correct status. ) The Princess staff of assorted people seem to be totally bored with this issue. My husband is so disgusted, he wants to scrap Princess altogether. I'm not that upset. I had not been on Princess for 4 years maybe 5. I've been on several of the ships and always have been satisfied. I am willing to give them a break. Nothing is perfect. I noticed the anytime dining was a pretty good wait either standing with a beeper or sitting with strangers waiting 2 hours for the entire meal to be delivered. Eating alone with my husband took time to get a table but they did move right along in serving us. The meals were sparse and very few choices. This is a change compared to what they have been before. The food was adequate. It used to be outstanding. They combined the appetizers and the salads as starters. The entrée was small with few vegetables and more potatoes. Service was just okay. Desert was very small portion wise. It's a good weight loss ship! I was a little disappointed in their regular entertainment. The dancers work so hard but they pale in comparison to years ago and certainly cannot compete with lets say the Norwegian line which has absolutely the best entertainment ever- but you pay al la carte for it. Norwegian also has an over the top pay for spa but its well worth it. I guess they all nickel and dime us on all ships these days. The ports at the ABC islands were the best of the caribbean and this itinerary had nice sea days. I was happy to get out on the ocean, I really needed a vacation so I can't complain. The ship had a nice class of people. I am from Florida so the Port was not new to me. It is a lovely area and has good parking. 8 days cost approx. $120.00 to park. If you want cheaper, you can find it but must go thru more hoops to get there via bus, taxi or shuttle. Travel is not for the weak and weary. Each time I travel, I am exhausted but a day or so later upon coming home, I'm looking forward to my next trip! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I chose this cruise to experience South America from one side to the other. The cruise was very enjoyable. It started out in warm Santiago Chile then proceeded South were the weather gets very cold and windy as you get closer to ... Read More
I chose this cruise to experience South America from one side to the other. The cruise was very enjoyable. It started out in warm Santiago Chile then proceeded South were the weather gets very cold and windy as you get closer to Cape Horn then gets very warm from Buenos Aires northward. You have to pack both warm and cold weather clothes. Brazil requires a visa for American traveler's which costs $160 per person for USA traveler's. It costs a lot more if you use a visa service to get the visa instead of going to the Brazilian consulate yourself. Plan on about 4 weeks to get the visa, so start the process well before your cruise. Princess did a fantastic job with the food and entertainment. The ship is very comfortable. We had a balcony cabin which works out well if you get it on the land side of the ship, port side for us. One excursion we particularly liked was the Falkland Island Volunteer Point Penguin tour done by Estancia Tours (book this online before the trip, not through Princess). Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise around South America because it visited a number of places on our bucket list and because our previous cruise through the Panama Canal on the Island Princess in 2014 was superb. However where as everything about our ... Read More
We chose this cruise around South America because it visited a number of places on our bucket list and because our previous cruise through the Panama Canal on the Island Princess in 2014 was superb. However where as everything about our time on the Island Princess was faultless, this one on the Crown was quite the opposite mainly I think due to extreme penny pinching by Princess or what the Americans call Nickle and Dimming. This was evident in the food which was average at best and downright poor at worst and the constant and very wearing attempts at upselling. The only good food we had was at the speciality restaurants, Sabatinis and the Crown Grill. However the cover charge for these has increased from $20.00 to $29.00 and there was still obvious signs of cost cutting. There is another speciality 'gastro pub' called the Salty Dog, where the cover charge was originally $19.00 but had recently been cut to $12.00. I can tell you it was not worth $12.00 let alone $19.00. The burger I had was dry and much smaller than the one pictured in the promotional literature. There was hardly ever was anyone in the Salty Dog so that tells you all you need to know. The bean counters at Carnival really have excelled now in dragging Princess down market. Again the service levels in the bars and restaurants was not as good as we have experienced on previous Princess cruises, the exception being our cabin steward who was superb but who seemed very over worked. The entertainment was OK with one exception which was the new 'Magic to do' show which was excellent and extremely well staged. The ship seemed to be quite well kept and clean although there were often rest rooms or lifts out of order. While the embarkation process was swift and easy the disembarkation at Rio was a complete debacle. We had booked an all day tour to see the sites of Rio and had a tour time of 7.30am. We arrived in the Princess theatre on time and sat there for over 2 hours while we waited and waited for the ship to be cleared. This was especially galling given that the ship had arrived in Rio at about 4.30am!!! The ship blamed the local authorities but I am not convinced that was true. When we finally disembarked we had to queue in the blazing hot sun in 35C temperatures with no shade for the best part of three quarters of an hour to reach the cruise terminal and retrieve our luggage. We finally reached the tour bus about 10.30am. It was just as well that our flight was not until 11.00pm. I know other people who had to cut short their tours to head to the airport becuase we were so delayed in disembarking. Absolutely disgraceful Princess, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Despite all of this we made the most of our time and enjoyed the itinerary but it is unlikely we will cruise with Princess in future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Second-time Princess Cruisers. Two mid-30s married couple, no kids. Above average land & sea vacation experience. Cruise experience: Celebrity, Carnival, Avalon Waterways, Princess. Pre-embarkation: Solid experience. No issues. ... Read More
Second-time Princess Cruisers. Two mid-30s married couple, no kids. Above average land & sea vacation experience. Cruise experience: Celebrity, Carnival, Avalon Waterways, Princess. Pre-embarkation: Solid experience. No issues. Received room upgrade prior to embarkation. Pre-cruise information and checklists were adequate. Enough information was provided to arrange for Visas, inoculations, and port activities. Embarkation: Valparaiso, Chile No challenges. The lines moved quickly, our documents were in order, the shoreside staff were friendly. It pays to be friendly even if you're not in the mood. It makes staff more eager/willing to help assist you. Our inside stateroom was ready, bags arrived shortly after. Dining areas were open, but packed as usual. Staff seemed refreshed and ready for a new voyage despite having just completed journey from SoCal. Kudos to them. On-board Amenity "Familiarization": A pre embarkation walk-around the ship yielded no real surprising things. Facilities identical to prior cruise on Ruby Princess. Level of staff interest in promoting "add-ons" was expected and not over the top (just yet.) Safety drill was fine; despite the incredible and Cruise-persistent rudeness of non-English speaking passengers. Seriously; in crowded groups, everyone would silence down when messages in Spanish/Portuguese were broadcasted. As soon as the announcement switched to English, noise levels rose dramatically - as though no announcement was being made. Ports of Call: Punta Arenas: Arriving on Christmas Day I think was a miscalculation. The area was empty except for vendors in the square. Cruise-tour operators were, of course, available. This seemed like a sly ploy to corner passengers into purchasing expensive excursions. Saw right through this. Off-putting and insincere to say the least. Tendering was fine. We had no issues at this port. Sailing Glacier Alley: Fantastic. The "nice touch" was having the Captain put the expert speaker on the PA system for everyone to here. We claimed seats early and enjoyed the show. Ushuaia: First of a couple disembarkation disasters. Getting off the boat took forever. The common response from Cruiselines is attributing this to "circumstances outside our control." I hate this because it suggests a powerful cruisline does not have the ability to make adjustments to its schedule in order to deliver a seamless experience for its customers. Worried about the slow response from port authorities? Plan to arrive earlier to accommodate that delay. Suffer a "gangway malfunction"? Test and service your gangways during an at-sea day. Preventative checks and maintenance never hurt anyone. We had scheduled two Cruise-sponsored excursions and were assured in their non-conflict in time. Passengers on the first tour had to take measures into our own hands to ensure we made the second tour. That should not happen. If a tour is delayed due to a delay in disembarkation, those with follow-on plans should be identified, given alternative options, and/or given priority for transport. Essentially: spend more money = get higher level of service. Falkland Islands: A fantastic Port of Call. We pre-arranged a non-ship sponsored shore excursion with calculated risk. We were given Priority tendering passes because of an earlier issue. We used them on this port of call. Unfortunately, disembarkation staff did not know how to stage direct us and ended up having us fend for ourselves. We caused some initial angry glares which were cleared up as soon as the priority tender explanation was made/shown. Totally understandable. I too would be upset if someone cut in line. Point: Cruise Staff should all be familiar with how/where to direct priority tenderers so they are not subjected to the justified, but misinformed anger of other cruisers. The scarlet letter we wore as a result of the staffs mishandling of us stayed with us for the rest of the cruise. Buenos Aires: A nice port of call. Again, disembarkation disaster. Gangway issues caused staff to redirect queued guests to another gangway. Did not file those people in nicely, but essentially "released" them and lost control of the group, causing cutters, angry passengers, and many choice words being thrown about between guests. Staff lost control. Not a good way to start an excursion. This was new-years eve. We should have hung out in the harbor till nightfall to witness BA's fireworks. We did not, but left port for the short, but slow journey to Montevideo. The NYE events aboard the ship were debaucherous. Drunkeness everywhere, vomit in the lobby elevators, boobs, butt, and god-knows what else falling out everywhere. We are not prudes, but the behavior of the majority Argentinian & Brazilian guests was inappropriate by any Western Nation's standards. ***I have to pause from the review to discuss a very concerning matter that became evident at this point in the Cruise - Abusive treatment of Staff by cruise guests.*** We began to see the effects of guest treatment on the Staff by this point. Servers were clearly trying hard to stay polite - but the way some of the guests treated them was shocking - predominately from the Argentinian and Brazilian guests. Seriously. One server expressed to me after I witnessed what could be considered a "sexual assault" event (a female server's butt was jokingly pinched by a guest. She protested, he apologized.) that they dare not complain to their supervisors because of retribution and being fired for cause. I could not believe it. The responsibility should NOT be on the guests to report such events. Every team lead, every staff member should be empowered and protected by the cruise-line to report passengers who abuse them. (I saw towels thrown at staff, yelling, etc...not cool). If they don't have it, Staff should have their own "bill of rights." - Back to the review. Montevideo: Rainy Port of Call, but a beautiful city. Cruise-sponsored tour guide was spot-on. No issues. Fantastic day. Rio de Janeiro: If I never have to go back to Brazil, I'll be ok with that. Hours late to get off the boat because of admitted "problems" between the Cruise Staff and Port Authorities, Rio was supposed to be an immediate drive to the airport for many. We had a couple of follow-on days in Rio so the delay didn't effect our plans, but I still felt bad for those who had to leave. Many flights were missed. I don't know how the Cruiseline managed this. Said our goodbyes to the staff and disembarked. Had a 30-minute circus show between the port transfer folks and local customs authorities over which way we needed to walk. Everyone was fine, but it was somewhat tone-setting for the unoraganized nature of Brazilian government. We rolled with the punches. Cabin: Fine. Was what was expected. Cabin Steward friendly, gracious, kind. All good. Dining: Again, anytime dining continues to be the trend. More folks using this. However, I am not a formal dresser. I was denied entrance to the standard dining room because I did not have a jacket on. This is unacceptable. I should not be made to feel a second-class citizen for choosing not to dress-up. Formal Nights are for a bygone era. Allow those who want to dress up to do so, but do not limit ship amenities because others choose not to. My dress has no bearing on how another chooses to "experience" the evening. It is classism at its most obvious. Enrichment: Kudos to Princess for stepping up their game on lectures and educational activities. More of this... Entertainment: SO MUCH BETTER THAN A FEW YEARS AGO. Shows are finally getting edgy. One features dancers in lingerie! Oh my!! MORE MORE MORE adult-appropriate shows with a few kid shows thrown in! Greater production value, better props, better choreography. Movies under the stars: fantastic. Fitness: Didn't use but a couple times. Service: Staff continue to be the shining star and the Keystone of Princess. Guests ought to spend time and invest in getting to know their staff. This is a huge gem of an opportunity to enrich ones cultural understanding. So many traditions of our shipboard crew; it was fantastic and they loved to talk about their backgrounds and traditions. Wonderful! Shore Excursions: Continue to be overpriced. Utilize the same tour operators as what can be hired separately. A cruise-ship based economy in a Port city is hinged upon tour operators getting their cruisers back to the ship on time. The fear-mongering that Princess and others use to convince cruisers to sign up for their tours is annoying. Cruisers just need to be smart, do their research ahead of time, and sign up with reputable tour operators who have a long standing reputation for that location. Trip Advisor is your friend in that regard. Spa: We usually drop way more than we should on spa services. Why not; it's vacation. However, the subcontractor Princess uses should back-off on the post services sales pitch. Nothing ruins the state of tranquility after a massage than a hard-pitch, high-pressure sale of products used during that massage. If I want it, I'll ask. This was incredibly off-putting. Value for Money: The Face-price cost of the cruise was an incredible deal. But the cost of excursions, Visas, airfare, and on-board costs quickly negate any value. We rank our trip as being average cost for what we received. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
One of the older Princess ships in need of a major refurb. The casino is still smoking! If you can believe that and you can smell the smoke outside the doors, very unpleasant. The theatre only holds 850 people and many shows there were ... Read More
One of the older Princess ships in need of a major refurb. The casino is still smoking! If you can believe that and you can smell the smoke outside the doors, very unpleasant. The theatre only holds 850 people and many shows there were standing room only and a fire hazard. Some folks were very unpleasant and aggresive toward the staff when told no more room. Over all the quality of the entertainers has dropped another knotch to "so-so" Most Princess Show bands are good to even better, this one was in the "so-so" group. Food was very good in the dining rooms and international cafe. As for the Horizon Grill, what a disaster, not so much with the food, its the whole lay out of gates getting in and out. Plus small lines at a time allowed in the serving area. I believe the mood of the ship is set by the Captain and was only fair on the Crown. While there were some wait staff that went above and beyond, they were few and far between. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Crown Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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