The Crown Princess has no peer (Or is it PIER?). I'd rather sail from Fort Lauderdale, but San Juan was O.K. Slow embarkation due to security check. You can't board with a tweezer, but at dinner they give you, and everyone else, a sharp steak knife. A clean, handsomly appointed ship that takes over 3,000 passengers but doesn't feel crowded. Nice cabin (Caribe deck terraces are twice as large as other decks).
Great bed, smallish shower. Everything was as good as any reasonable cruiser could expect. Food, entertainment, shore excursions, crew, ect. Great effort to keep clean with required hand applications of Purel at all dining. I would always recommend Princess as a good value. Need a private butler for your suite? Cruise Crystal and pay twice as much. I've done 35 cruises and really only dislike Carnival and Norwegian.
I like to book relatively new ships, like Crown Princess, because they don't have that worn out, time for an overhaul look. I'd use Princess again but tend to choose cruises by itinery and will use Celebrith and Holland America as well.
We arrived at the San Juan port at 2:25 on Nov. 4. Embarkation was a disaster. The line was out of the building, out to the street. We were told that due to problems with Customs when the ship arrived in the morning, embarkation had not yet begun. People stood in the blazing sun with no cover over them. No water or drinks were provided. There was an empty soday machine. To top it, people that arrived via cab were dropped at the front and allowed to cut the line, until one passenger went to the Security Guards and complained. Then people who arrived were told to drop their luggage and go to the end of the line. Once we got into the pier building (which was not air conditioned and had no fans so it was also terribly hot) the process went smoother - we were lined up in rowed seating and rows were called in order to embark. You went to the deck you were assigned to and check in took 3 minutes if your had express check in. Then it was another 10 or so minutesto get through security. The entire process took 1 hour and 10 minutes. However, our disembarkation was quick, so I would think the problems on Nov. 4 were due to this being the first cruise out of San Juan and hopefully, it will not happen again.
We had a balcony room on the Baja deck. We loved the room. The room was the largest of any ship we've been on. The balcony was comfortable for two chairs and a table. The bed was super comfortable - better than my bed at home. We had asked for a foam mattress topper, which we weren't given but didn't need at all. The bathroom was small as any cruise ship bathroom - I quickly learned to shave my legs before I got in, cause you can't do it while in there. The water was hot and plentiful and the water pressure was good. The room and bathroom were spotless. The t.v channel changer didn't work so well - we had to bang it to put the t.v. on and it came back on a few times after we turned it off and there was no sleep timer. It took awhile to get the safe thing down - we found that if you closed it gently and didn't bang it closed, we had no problems closing it. Our room steward was Alfredo and he was terrific - he would get ice if we asked quickly and extra towels and brought us a top sheet quickly, as the duvet was too warm for us.
The ship is just beautiful. The ship is classy looking with beautiful wood, plenty of places to sit, and gorgeous marble tiling. We thought too many elevators were reserved for embarkation - if you didn't have a suitcase, you couldn't find an elevator to move around the ship. I was with my 75 and 77 year old parents, who just could not walk the stairs to see other areas of the ship. And I heard that some people had problems with the employees on the elevators being very impolite when they asked if they could take one of the reserved elevators, although I personally did not experience that. It seemed that some of the employees were stressed during embarkation. We did find a kind English girl who allowed my parents to get on one of the reserved elevators at about 5:30, saying that there were already 2700 people on board the ship and she didn't understand why they were still reserving so many elevators at that point.
We had ordered gifts to be delivered to all of our clients who were traveling with us. One couple who had their room upgraded never received theirs and it took three trips over three days to passneger services before it was recitified. We also asked for robes on our cruise personalizer for all clients - no one got them unless they asked for them during the cruise from the room steward. The couple who had their room moved also received a delivery of flowers to their room for someone named Tammy for her birthday. They called passenger services to report the error and no one ever came for them and they felt that passenger services didn't really care. They went down to the passneger services desk as well and then went to the table where the flower service was located to try and ensure Tammy gother flowers. Even the flower desk didn't know who Tammy was or where the flowers needed to be delivered. We do hope Tammy got the flowers that someone paid for.
Several of the people we traveled with asked about church services on Sunday. There were none. Passenger services told them that unless that had a volunteer on board who would hold the service, they had no religious services. These cruisers said this was the first cruise line that had no services onbaord.
FOOD - we found the food to be only okay. My husband is a travel agent and we polled over 40 passengers while on the ship - only a handful enjoyed the food. the rest thought it was only okay or poor. Many of those who cruised on Princess before said that the food is much better on other ships and that the food was the worst on the Crown that they have encountered. On the first night, we ate at the buffet which featured shrimp, lobster claws and crab legs. It was fine. They did have excellent calamari!! The second night, we ate in the DaVinci dining room (as well at dinner Tuesday and Thursday). We arrived at 6:00 and there was no wait, we immediatley were seated. The menus in the dining room are heavy on fish, which is a problem for people like me who just don't like fish. I had filet mignon and it was fine - it was a little well done - it seemed the filet was cut in half in order to cook it better and it looked like liver but tasted delicious. Two people had salmon and didn't care for it - they thought it tasted too fishy. I happen to love the cold fruit soups on cruises and ordered them each time we dined at the restaurants - they were okay, but very thin. Dessert was great and the appetizers were good. When we ate there on Tuesday, there were three fish meals on the menu, which totally turned me off - I had the steak that is available at all times, which was good. SOme of the items that our fellow travelers mentione dthey liked on the dining room menus were the Fettucini Alfredo, some of the soups, and the steaks. After that, we decided to try the Cafe Caribe buffets - more on that later. I did eat there again on the last formal night because my parents wanted lobster, which they enjoyed. I again had steak that night. We also had breakfast there, which was the only place you could get oatmeal! We did enjoy breakfast - the eggs were cooked as you asked and hot, the pancakes were fresher and you got real toast that you didn't have to wait 10 minutes for to go through the one toaster in the buffet.
The third night we ate in Sabatini's and the food was delicious. Our server was Joseph and he loved my Dad - kept calling him Mr. Calabria, as he was born in Italy. There was so much food, I skipped soup and just asked for a taste of the macaroni and ravioli, which were delicious. Two people at our table ordered the fish soup they had and did not enjoy it - they felt the soup tasted more like a fish sauce then a soup. The rest of the food was magnificent, especially dessert.
We had our lunches in either the Horizon Cafe or Cafe Caribe. I enjoyed the pannini and specialty sandwiches, the salads and fruit. One day, there was an Asian theme to the food, which I also enjoyed. But the rest of the meals, the menu was heavy on Caribbean flavoring and food choices, which many people aren't crazy about. By the end of the cruise, the group of 14 we were with finally figured out that there was a real lack of American food - plain meat and potatoes. Someone longed for turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes - you could get turkey scollopini and coconut mashed potatoes. We felt the Caribbean menu just went too far and would have preferred mor eAmerican food. I found the hamburgers and pizza at the grill more to my taste. Many people we asked felt the same way.
As many people have mentioned, the set up of the buffet is not the best. For instance, for breakfast, the single toaster that took a long time to toast a piece of bread was right in the middle of the hot food. It would have been better to put that on a back counter along with the ketchup, jellies and jams, etc. You had to go back in through people who were getting food to get to sauces, etc. On the last night, I saw that there was horseradish sauce at the entrance to the buffet, so I figured they must have beef somewhere and I was right - it was in the middle of the buffet. This was a slight inconvenence they should look to correct as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to arrange the food in a more efficient manner. The prime rib served was very good in the buffets.
ISLANDS: First stop was Barbados. We did the 4 WD and Monkey Encounter. When we were ready to go, the last guy that got on our open truck told us he worked for the cruise ship (he was a deejay) and that Princess sends a ship employee on all excursions. That was a first for me on any cruise line and I think it was a good thing. The Monkey Encounter was awesome - monkeys ran right through and around your legs. It was a great encounter. There were other animals and the most tortoises I have ever seen. It was quite comical to see them lumber down the path in single file when the food was brought out. We then were taken on a tour to the East side of the island to see where the locals surf. Our driver took us to a high mountain top and drove partially down a dirt road. We asked her if she was taking us down what seemed like dirt on a cliff and she said she was indeed, this was the 4 WD part of the tour. I tried to tape it - all you can see as the truck went down the path is the camera being jostled and people screaming bloody murder. I really thought the truck was going to tip over, but we arrived saely on the other side. We spent a half hour on the beach (but were told not to go in the water) at a small souvenier table and small restaurant.
Next stop was St. Lucia. We took the Best of St. Lucia by Land and Sea excursion. We had a lovely catamaran cruise to the Pitons and a swim of about an hour. We were accosted by several Island residents on canoes trying to sell us souvenirs off the canoes which was annoying. They were pretty persistent. We then were taken to a bus to drive to the volcano. Unfortunaely, the bus drops you off near the mud baths and they then tell you to walk down a steep hill to a souvenirs stand. This was impossible for several elderly and handicapped people on our tour, but the tour guide kindly got a bus to come and pick us up and take us down. We then went to a plantation for lunch and a tour of the plantation. Food was very spicy. In fact, we were offered what we were told was Creole Chicken and my Dad swore it wasn't really chicken. He found the cook later and she told us it was the native chickens on the islands, which taste and look slightly different than the fat chickens we are used to in the U.S. Then we got on the bus and took it back to the ship. That was a long drive and took nearly an hour to get back to the ship. I would recommend a catamAran cruise only on this island, but we spoke to others who did the cat cruise only and they felt they only got a short amount of time in the water.
Next stop was Antigua. Some of us were too tired to do any excursions and went into town for some shopping and then we went back to the ship. That was the first time I actually had time to go swimming on the ship.
Next stop was St. Maarten. Several of the guys did the Bubba Bottom fishing tour - almost all of them caught fish. I stayed on the ship to enjoy swimming again and when they came back, we took the ferry to Phillipsburg to shop. We found that of all the Islands, St. Maarten was the cheapest. Forget abnout St. Thomas - the shops were twice as much at they were in St. Maarten. Absolute vodka was $6.99 a bottle and a carton of ciagrettes was $10 and change here. We don't smoke or drink, but you could not beat those prices anywhere on any of the other islands.
Last stop was St. Thomas. We took one of the open air taxi's at the dock into town in the a.m. I am not certain what the deal is with those - they would not take any money from us until we got outside the gates. They then stopped and collected $4.00 from each passenger. Make SURE you tell them you want to be let out near the P.O. - we spoke to people who were on the prior cruise and they didn't know to do that and were let off in a part of town that wasn't near the major shopping area. We stopped at a few stores and found the prices to be more than twice what we paid for items in St. Maarten. We took a regular cab back to the ship (make sure you tell the driver back to Crown Bay). In the afternoon, we did a ship excursion to St. John to swim at Trunk Bay. The beach was magnificent and the fish were plentiful. We had eight with us and we all felt that was our favorite excursion off the ship. We were also the last excursion back to the ship - the ship was waiting for us to leave. But it was the fastest we got an elevator coming back to the ship that day!
Several of our group of 14 took cabs at each port to various beaches rather than do excursions through the ship. Their excursions probably cost half of what ours were going through the ship. They asked cabs to pick them up at certain times from the beaches, and the drivers did it on all islands. They were able to rent chairs and canopies or umbrellas at each beach. They did have a problem trying to get to St. John though - the cab they took from the ship wouldn't take them to the dock for the ferry to St. Johns - it dropped them in town and they had to get another cab to the dock. They then missed a ferry and had to wait another hour for the next one. By the time they got to a beach in St. John, they didn't have a lot of time to spend. That time they said they wished they had done the St. John's excursion with us.
ENTERTAINMENT - we felt the shows started out good and kind of went downhill as the cruise went on. We saw the Motown Review the first night and enjoyed it. We arrived at the theater at 8:00 and had no problem getting seats. The place didn't really start filling up intil 8:15 or so. The next few nights, we went to the Explorers Lounge for the comedy shows. Get there early - we had a tougher time getting seats there than at the Princess theater. We found you needed to get there at least a half hour or more before the shows. No Sarge and by the end of the cruise we were sure sorry he wasn't on. The first nights, we enjoyed the comedians - Tony Daro was excellent the second night and Rodney Johnson the third. After that, we felt the comedians went downhill. One night the comedian showed a boring 10 minute video or himself with various Hollywood celebrities before he even came on. On Friday night, we went to the half filled Princess Theater for the final show. That was the first time I saw the cruise director, Omar, in person (saw plenty of him each morning on the Princess channel in the room.)
The last night, the show was terrible. They left the house lights on in the theater during the comedians show and as soon as the lights went out, half of the audience left - had the lights been extinquished, I am sure we would have seen the audience walk out during his show. We left when the lights went down as well and went to one of the lounges.
We enjoyed the singers in the bars and we really enjoyed the theatrics in the Piazza during the day and night. There was a great accapella group, a funny juggler, a funny Italian comedian, a piano player. Don't pass these up - if you are in the area, stop and see what is going on. On the last formal night, there were more people watching the entertainment in the Piazaa than almost anywhere else. We made a Dance Heads video one day - the grandkids are still laughing about their Grandma in a cartoon bikini!
We did some dance lessons with Lisa, the Deputy Cruise Director who was always out on the ship - she was lovely.
We felt that the formal portrait process was set up in areas during formal night that really were inconvenient to passengers trying to get around the Piazza. They were set up in between some of the elevator banks and in front of the restaurants.
We had a few winners in the Casino in our group as well. On the third night of the cruise, two people sitting next to each other at two slot machines each won $250 within minutes of each other. Someone won at the slots on the second to last night and one player of Let It Ride won all his money back on the last night of the cruise.
Disembarkation was fine. We were red 4 and our color was called at 9:15. Finding your bags in the terminal was a problem - they just put the bags in color order, not numbers, so you do have to hunt through all of the color to find your bag, but this is not any different than any other ship we've been on. We took a porter (who also helped find bags) and he took the Customs Forms for us - all we had to do was show our i.d.
We took the Princess transfers to the airport. We were on a bus quickly, but had a bus driver was was very loud and continually beeped the horn trying to amuse us.Cabs ar eplentiful and lined up in the road outside the pier if you'd prefer a cab.
I loved the ship, the ports and excursions. The food and enterainment wasn't a deal breaker for me, I would not hesitate to recommend Princess to others. In fact, we have another Princess cruise booked for March of 2008.
Review of Crown Princess Cruises
Background – Married, retired, 50's, cruising since 1984, cruise two or three times a year, various lines. Usually cruise with good friends in tow. Couple traveling with us 40's working couple who we originally met on 1992 cruise of Celebrity Zenith. They were married during that cruise and we had pleasure of standing up for them. We cruise at least once per year with them since. Have sailed Carnival, Celebrity, NCL, Royal Viking, Princess, RCCL all multiple times
EMBARKATION: Upon entry to the pier area itself it becomes obvious that the embarkation area is much more expansive than the Manhattan pier simply because they have lots of room to spread it out. We were greeted by multiple drop off lanes unlike Manhattan's single one. Dropping luggage off with porters the long term parking was within a couple hundred feet. Unlike Manhattan where payment is required upon entry, Brooklyn parking is done by receiving a ticket and then self parking. Payment is made upon your return. Pay your ticket before getting car to exit!
Next we entered a spacious terminal where we passed through airport type security. Yes they notedboth my laptop and a bottle ( Chivas Regal ) in my carryon. I was asked to open my bag for inspection, more for the bottle I am sure. Having anticipated that only wine was allowed to be carried on I sneakily gift wrapped my sole bottle of scotch and declared it to be wine. I was allowed to pass without disturbing the gift wrap but that could be a hit and miss proposition. Since Princess offers 3.75 mil bottles of some alcohol too be purchased for in cabin use at a reasonable price ( see web page ) that might be acceptable instead of the sneak aboard method. A personal choice. I note that this is the first time any security screening has ever stopped me for a bottle so rumors of more stringent booze checking that I have read about would seem accurate.
Next we passed to ticket line and were handed a paper to sign swearing that we were of good health, not coughing or suffering from diarrhea and the like. That strikes me as strange since who, having paid, traveled, and anticipated their cruise, is going to own up to being ill knowing that they might be barred from boarding the ship? Being of current good health we signed the form, of course I would have signed it if I was dying. So like I said, what's the sense?
Processing was quick and line moved well. Before you knew it we were posing for our onboard photo and walking up the gangway.
CABIN: Both couples had selected Mini-Suites Cat AB on Dolphin Deck side by side, D624 and D626. It was spacious with plenty of closet space and hangars, plenty of shelving and a decent sized bathroom with a tub. The balcony was large enough to accommodate two lounge back type chairs, two metal chairs and a table. Having friends next door we elected to have our cabin steward open the door between balconies allowing them to adjoin. Within the area of shelves was an electronic safe. The cabin also had a small refrigerator that worked very well. There were no complaints concerning the cabin but the wall safe operated differently than prior ones we have seen. A simple operation, press enter and a 4 digit code you devise and enter again to program. Where it differed was that when left open for more than a moment of so it starts to emit an annoying chirping. This is to remind you that it is open, but also geared to deprogram after s fairly short span of time. Our travel mates also had problems with it not opening on command. Similar problems were noted with others as well requiring a ships staff member to come and open the safe. Response to such a request is quick and I would bet because this happens a lot. That was the only problem noted.
Our Cabin Steward, Lawrence, was fantastic. Greeted us early on arrival and handled every request without hesitation. He made it a point to greet us by name everyday and to ask us if there was anything he could do to make our cruise more enjoyable. He wasn't into towels animals and being a frequent cruiser I can live with that. He was into great service and again being very congenial. You could ask no more from a steward.
SHIP: Not much you can say bout the ship other than she is gorgeous. We were all very impressed with all the areas though it takes some getting used to finding your way around. If you are in the Bottichelli dining room ( traditional dining ) this is located aft Deck 6. However, you can only get to it via the aft staircase on Deck 7. So if you were mid-ship on 6 you would have to climb up a deck, walk aft, and then descend a deck. The Explorers Lounge which serves as a second show lounge as well had a great night club type feel to it. Plenty of bars and lounges all pretty much with some sort of music of entertainment in the evening. The main lobby or Piazza contains the coffee bar and others with shops on higher decks. There is often a piano player in residence or street acts happening, magician, acrobatic act and so forth.
We were happy enough with the show quality and variety. One of the comedians, a rather large gentleman called Sarge was highlight of the cruise. A black/Jew ( self described ) is a very funny comedian and also a talented singer/musician. He has been favorably noted in several reviews and we certainly concur, he was great.
Pool area's divided up but were comfortable and for most part well fitted with seating. This was the first time I saw the huge screen ( MUTS – Movies Under The Stars ) and it was actually kind of astonishing. Can't say we ever spent a lot of time watching it yet I enjoyed the times I did. It does make that pool area pretty noisy however. Seeking peace and quiet we generally proceeded to the adjacent pool. The fact that the next area contained the excellent pizza stand and also the great hamburger stand didn't hurt either. My wife's favorite pool location was the small aft pool area for a nice more intimate quiet pool spot. There is limited seating there though.
The much spoke of new concept Sanctuary area for which you must pay for by half day segments, well honestly I didn't even go see it. There were plenty of comfortable locations to spend some relaxing time in so paying a fee to have a separate experience seemed a total waste to me. The bottom line for us was that the ship itself provides just about anything you could look for in a resort/ship experience.
DINING: We choose traditional dining with an assigned time and table. We had a great waiter in Dan and assistant waiter in Michael at table 118 Bottichelli dining room. You could not have asked for better service and congeniality. Bar and wine service is provided by the assistant waiter, normally something I am unhappy with in that it often interferes with service. In this case either Michael was one fast dude or he had a hidden bar around the corner. He was prompt with everything be it wine or a cocktail, yet water was still refilled quickly and course arrived promptly and so forth. The Head Waiter passed by daily and spent much time ensuring our needs were being met. The dining experience was superb! Food was excellent and Princess also has always available items like steak and pasta on the menu as well should a particular evening fare not be of your taste. It is our habit to request a cheese and fruit tray at our table at the start of dinner. After making the request it was provided each evening unasked for and the head waiter asked us if there was any particular cheese's we liked and provided same. Although we were at a table of eight there were but the four of us. The other two couples never showed during the cruise ( a shame since we enjoy meeting other cruisers ) though our waiter assured us that there were people assigned to the table. Maybe they saw us and ran? More likely they decided to use personal choice dining. The beauty of Princess over NCL is that you at least have an option between the two. Princess seems to be able to maintain the “ do it your way “ attitude for the passenger which is great and is found less and less on board ships lately.
Room service was prompt and accurate and menu was better than many found on ships lately. We generally only use room service for coffee, Danish and the like in morning and a pot of tea and cookies in afternoon. However I was surprised to see that you could order a cheeseburger from room service if desired. There was a wait at times in afternoon to get room service on the phone but once they answered the delivery was fast. I did find it unusual that room service presents you a check like paper to sign ( no charge for room service of course ). I would guess that some tracking check and balance system for them. There is also a space for a gratuity where you sign. We customarily hand the server $2 on delivery anyway so continued with our normal mode instead of writing in a tip. Service was always provided with a pleasant greeting and pleasant attitude.
Buffet area, I found that to be as satisfactory as any I have seen. A little confusing as most are with little islands of salads or desserts that cause people to wander a bit and bump into each other. Plates were large and plentiful, food was varied enough and desserts decadent enough to please me. Fruits were plentiful for those that like to eat healthier than I. Seating usually available without tremendous difficulty and outside pool area has tables and chairs as well for those that prefer eating outside. The Pizza is excellent for non-NY shipboard pizza. Heard many people comment about how good it was. Burger and fries also very good but I found hotdogs to be more of knockwurst type tube. My personal taste run more towards a nice slim dog but what the heck, can't have everything. The ice cream stand is next to the pizza stand, I will mention that in my nickel and dime section.
CASINO: Some different things here hadn't seen before. They have .01 cent and .02 cent machines, .25/.50 cent machines and $1 / $2 machine and $5/$10 machines. Some machine can be changed between denominations so have to pay attention to the initial setting when you sit. In example a dollar machine can be played for 1 dollar or two dollar a credit setting in addition to number of credits played. These machines have been seen more and more in casinos on land lately. What is really new, I have never seen it on land or sea, is the ability to collect your credits on your room key card. Also get more wagering cash right at machine via cabin key. Also collect points and receive instant $10 credit at machine for every 1000 points. I played 9000 points plus so received $90 cash during week for play.
Okay here is how it works. Your cabin key/boarding pass/onboard credit card is now also your gaming card. Besides accumulating points for play like land casinos it also allows for transfer of monies machine to machine. The first time you place card in a slot machines game card slot you are prompted for your birth date. Entering date of birth date correctly the next step prompts you to establish a 4 digit pin number. So now you put say a twenty into the slot machine and play. Maybe you hit or lose but you decide after some play to go to another machine. You can either cash out normally and coins drop OR you can transfer your remaining credits directly onto your card. Move to next machine and transfer credits in desired amount to new machine for play. For the most part this works well, however, there can be glitches. On one occasion I was transferring $98 back to the card when the computer server apparently glitched for a moment. No money on machine or card. That can give rise to a moment of hyper ventilating. Casino staff responded to my machine and could tell that the amount in question was $98 and completed the transfer to my card. I was told that this does happen from time to time when the server goes down or is overtaxed, usually towards the end of the cruise. Finally yet another ability of using card in machines is to get money credited to card for further gambler from onboard credit account. This could be a problem for someone with a gambling habit, makes it a little too easy, never have to leave machine to get more money. NOTE there is also a 3 percent charge on these onboard account transactions. No charge for the transfer of amounts from or to machines. This is all something I have never seen before either on land or sea casino.
Machines appeared tighter than even usual for ships. I can't say that there were no hits but can say very limited.
NICKLE & DIME department: I am now in a habit of looking at how much the N&D is utilized on each ship since onboard revenue became the big things on ships. Ice cream, not only the Haagen Daas but also the machine soft and extra for each topping. No more punch out bingo cards, now use marker, price $1. Embarkation photo $29.95, no I am not kidding! No where do they have sign with prices for photo's either now, let it be a surprise….Bingo grand prize limited $2,500 no longer based on amount of play. Normally you would expect a ship with this many passengers to have final bingo of upward 3 to 4 grand.
BARGAIN: Coffee card if you are a big brewed coffee drinker. You get card, unlimited regular brewed coffee and something like 11 latte's or expresso's. Instant still free at buffet of course.
You may email any questions to email@example.com please put Crown Review in subject since I delete many emails as spam.
I don't care what label they slapped on this ship, its a Carnival cruise ship so don't be fooled.
1) SERVICE - the pits, the staff was miserable which made the passengers miserable. The staff to passenger ratio is about 10 to 1 and they treated the passengers as a nuisance. Soda card - if you buy it, forget it; you'll never see another staff member again.
2) Food - was not edible most days, the buffet was preferable to the dinning room. If you ate in the pay restaurants, food was not bad.
The ship line does not provide trays in the buffet area. So, if you have a child with you and no food tray, you have to choose, utensils or your kid's hand because you're going to have to let go of one. The only drinks provided for free are coffee/tea and water. If you're traveling with children, juice may or may not be included depending on which staff member you get and what kind of day that person is having.
3) Condition of The Ship - the ship has not been fully repaired since the tip-over. Glass panesas still shattered on the upper deck.
4) Children Services - the kiddie pool, mis-designed since the inspection, has never opened and will not open until the ship is dry-docked, in a couple of years.
5) ADA Issues - all the doors leading to the outer decks, pool areas, etc., are very heavy and manual. The doors are attached to a mechanism designed to make them automatic/handicap compliant. Since the doors are all too heavy for the mechanisms, the mechanisms have burned out and no doors can be opened by a handicapped person and or with great difficulty. The ship is not ADA compliant. A staff member advised me that they are not obligated to follow ADA Rules, they are not American.
6) What your expectations are - if you're looking to be pampered, treated like a guest or just feel welcome - this is not the cruise to be on. If you are looking to be nickel and dimed, looking to loose weight on a cruise, looking to save money at port because your docking 15 miles away from civilization - this is your cruise!
This is only MY opinion. I suggest that each person form their own opinion based on their own experience. We personally found many unhappy people on this cruise from different walks of life and different age groups. It was a terrible way to waste 9 days of our life.
We bravely boarded the "Tilt-a-Whirl" otherwise known as the Crown Princess a scant 2 weeks after its little mishap. This brand new ship, twin to the Caribbean Princess, is beautiful and spacious. We always cruise in an aft balcony room to enjoy the privacy, quiet, and hypnotizing wake that aft cabins provide. Also, the balconies are twice as deep as star and port side balconies for the same price. Our balcony, unfortunately, had a huge 3 foot wide metal support beam on it, as did 2 balconies on each aft deck. Therefore, for the same price as our neighbors, we dealt with a huge obstructed view whereas they did not. Totally unfair. Our agent assumed the obstructed view was a flagpole or something trivial. It was, however, hugely significant. Princess refuses to recategorize these rooms (they are BB) because of what they say is a larger balcony space. Not much good if you have to rearrange your furniture each time you use your balcony to move around your table, chairs, and loungers, depending on what your activity out there is. Maneuvering the furniture and my toes around this beam was truly treacherous.
Leavingfrom this new Brooklyn port is fabulous. Very smooth embarkation. As expected, the waters were a bit choppier than leaving from a Florida port, especially coming home following Hurricane Ernesto up the eastern seabord. We were rocking and rolling and so were our tummies. The Captain made haste despite the swells and we dealt with it. New feature which this "foodie" absolutely loved was the Cafe Caribe in the aft of the Horizon Court. The Horizon Court was its usual but the Cafe Caribe featured a different Caribbean cuisine every evening starting at 5PM. Catch a bite there before your 8:30 P.M. dinner seating. It was fabulous. The other big hit is the International Cafe at the bottom of the Atrium. Offering up warm baked cookies at 3 A.M. was a big hit with my group. Service during our reserved seating was ok. I felt there were plenty crew in training. Ordered items went missing, beverages were not waiting for you as I am accustomed to, a little disorganized. Our cabin steward must have also been newer, as we received NO towel animals from this kind young man, even with a child in the room. Movies Under the Stars is a fantastic feature, although none of us were able to stay awake the 2 times we tried this cinema extravaganza. The lounge cushies and blankies were too comfortable. Not even fresh popped popcorn could keep us awake. Beware of the vent grates on the upper most deck near the satellite balls. My 11 year old tripped and fell onto it during our sailaway resulting in 3 stitches to his badly lacerated knee. The medical staff were stellar, even though I was presented with over $400 in medical bills and missed sailing under the Verrezzano Bridge! I truly felt this to be the ship's responsibility and the bills are in dispute. Let's see what happens. bon Voyage!
This is a review of the inaugural cruise of Crown Princess. My wife, 2 teenagers and I were booked on a mini-suite on Dolphin deck. I had previously cruised on the Grand Princess in 1999 and also stayed in a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck. The room on the Crown was almost exactly the same as on the Grand Princess. Below is a brief summary of the cruise.
1) The Crown is a beautiful ship and the service on the Crown is superb. My cabin steward was great. Most of the food waiter staff were also great. The cruise director staff was also very helpful.
2) The entertainment for a maiden cruise was good, but had no star power. There were no recognizable names on the Crown. When I cruised on the Grand Princess in 1999 they had Marty Allen on board who at least was an older star. This maiden cruise should have had at least one name star. There were 2 singing and dancing productions on this cruise and they were very good. For a maiden voyage, I expected more than what they presented.
3) The cruise director, James Laywas very good. He had a great personality, and seemed to be everywhere. I still don't know when he slept. His staff was also first rate.
4) The food and dining room menu was a disappointment. In 1999 on the Grand, the food menu and quality were very good, however on the Crown I thought the food selection was poor, and the food quality was fair. The service in the Crown dining rooms was superb. I did Anytime dining. If you choose Anytime dining make a reservation early each day, or you will wait anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to be seated.
5) Alternative dining. Sabatini's was a major disappointment. You think it's Italian? Wrong. No red sauces, no veal dishes, and only 2 pasta dishes. In fact most of the food quality was poor to average. Also, be prepared for a 2 and a half hour meal because service was slow. The Crown Grill, a steak and seafood restaurant, was good but not great. The steak I had there was fair, but can't compare to NY or NJ steak houses. I would recommend that you skip these because they aren't worth the extra cost ($20PP in Sabatini's and $25PP in Crown Grill) If you had to choose one, stick with the Crown Grill.
6) The Itinerary on this Western Caribbean cruise was terrible. The first stop is Turks and Caicos. This is a total waste. Absolutely nothing to do except go shopping in a Carnival made village by the port, and go on a Carnival made beach by the port which is horrible because the water has a significant amount of coral and you can barely walk in the water. The second stop is Ochos Rios. Plenty to do, but be careful. The amount of natives that try to sell you their goods and drugs is annoying. The third stop is Grand Cayman. This is one of my favorite islands. Good shopping, beautiful beaches and great people on the island. The fourth stop is Port Canaveral. Why do they stop here from 7AM to 3PM? Other than the Kennedy Space Center, there is nothing to do. Florida beaches rate poorly as compared to Caribbean beaches. Why not stop at Princess Cays? However, if you do any excursions in Canaveral, be prepared to leave by 6:30AM.
7) This cruise had too much of a Carnival feel and not enough of the old Princess feel. I am not a big fan of Carnival, and it was a disappointment to me that that Princess was becoming like Carnival. An example is on my 1999 Grand Princess cruise the mini-suites got priority check-in, butler service, and a twelve pack of 50ml bottles of liquor. This cruise treated the mini-suites like standard rooms, and oferred none of the above. Also, the quality of all foods were below standard, which was not the case before Carnival purchased Princess.
I rate this cruise as good, but I expected more based on my previous cruising experience on Princess in 1999. In addition very little was done to highlight that this was an inaugural cruise. I will probably try RCCL or Celebrity on my next cruise.
First cruise for my husband and I.
What we enjoyed the most on the boat was the Sanctuary (a place reserved for adult only). Movies under the star was nice but would have been better if more recent film would have been featured. For first timers like us, it wasn't easy to get access to different locations on this boat.
Grand Turk was the best Port of call. Beach was beautiful, public pool at the port accessible and people were very nice. Port Canaveral would have been nice if we could have skip the immigration. The cruise line asked us to be in a public lounge around 06h40 AM. Non US residents were done with immigration around 08h30 AM. Since we had a short day at that port (07h00 to 13h00), we couldn't enjoyed our day at this port.
If you like cruising, I would recommend this boat.