We just returned from our cruise on the Crown Princess and I would say that it ranks up there with both RCI and Celebrity. Although it lacks the promanades of RCI and some of the glitz, it was a great ship, clean, and kept up for the most part. We did notice some wear on the greens at the mini golf, but that was the worse that I could remember.
We arrived in FLL on Friday and stayed at the Best Western Oceanside. Our accomodations were clean and we were near the beach and it included a great breakfast. It did not provide our transportation to the pier on Saturday. Check In was a snap; we showed up prior to noon and waited inside for a short time and then the numbers were called and before we knew it, we were on board, carry on unpacked, and we were sipping a drink by the pool.
We had a balcony on deck 11 and the room was sufficient and similiar to what we have had on RCI but no sofa. We were the first balcony that did not have one above looking down on us, but we did look down into two lower balconies. We had connecting balconies (that our room Steward opened for us when we arrived) both left and right of us..This was a great feature as we were able to gather with them and another couple that were on a different deck.
The food on Princess was as good as we have had on other lines and both presentation and taste were very good. Four couples went to Sabatini's to celebrate my brother's birthday. I am so glad that we did that since I have never been to any of the pay venues on any of the lines.
The food was sooooooooooo good and we had every appetizer on the menu and the entrees were excellent except for the scallops that two of our group had. Service was excellent and so much above that of the main dining room. We had somewhat of a problem changing from the traditional 8:15 to the anytime dining. The maiatre de was rude to me and our guest regarding this change. We were supposed to get a letter confirming our change but never received and when we showed up at Anytime at the time we had reserved, no one seemed to know about it. After it was cleared up, we were guaranteed that we would have our same table ready for us at 7:30 each evening. We would arrive at that time and most evenings did not leave until 10:00 or 10:15pm...This worked out well for our table of eight.
We attended only two of the theatre productions, one of which was the singers and dancers, and the other was the hypnotist. We enjoyed both of these. We took in a comedian in the Explorer Lounge that was also very funny. My daughter and fiancee went to a couple of different venues for dancing and had a great time.
I usually started out my morning on the Terrace deck and enjoyed the sunrises and we also utilized this same area for afternoon sun/shade and a quiet spot away from the main pools that were always very, very busy.
I'll have to agree with others about Princess pizza; it is really, really GOOD..we had it a couple of time, along with burgers when we returned from our island tours.
We booked an outside cat (less than 30 of us onboard) to Stingray City and avoided the hassle of being with the crowds..Also did a snorkle of a reef and it was great...I spotted a Moray Eel hiding in the coral. Saw lots of beautifully colored fish as well. On Roatan (our first visit there) we also did an outside tour and 5 of our 8 did a zip line, and also went to the monkey farm and toured the West End and other great opportunities for Kodak moments. We had to tender here as the ship could not back in to the port due to high winds and rough seas..It could have been skipped altogether we were informed. In Cozumel we just went as far as the shops on the pier (which was new to us) and then back to the ship for some R&R. Friends of our took the ferry to Playa Carmen to see a time share that had been rebuilt after a hurricane that they have never stayed at. We enjoyed Princess Cayes as it was our first Princess cruise, but wish that we had more time...Tendering there was very time consuming. This is a very beautiful beach day.
All in all, this was a great cruise. Disembarkation was a snap and we had plenty of time to make our noon flight back to reality, snow, snow, and more snow to cope with !!
Should anyone have any questions, I would be more than happy to help.
One other thing that I forgot to mention; my S-I-L purchased the behind the scene ships tour for my brother's birthday and I had the pleasure of accompanying him on this 4 hour journey of the Crown Princess...I did not ask what it cost, nor did I look up the price but it was worth every penny that she paid, LOL. Saw the theater, galley, provisions area, bakery, laundry, engineering dept, met the Captain on the bridge and then climbed up two levels inside the area that houses the smoke stacks. Also had the opportunity to be up in the area that houses the anchor and all the various ropes that hold the ship to the piers. Plenty of time to ask questions of each dept head during the tour. Recommend it to anyone that wants to see the inner workings of the ship.
Welcome home, Peterl, it sounds like it went well. I am sorry about the confusion in the dining room, and even more sorry that they were rude about it. I know I have said more than once that the service on board Princess is always great, so I do feel really bad about that.
I'm very glad that you enjoyed the pizza, the closest I've had has been on Costa. Everyone elses' is good, but not as good as Princess. I am glad you tried Sabatinis, sure hope everyone was hungry. I just couldn't eat all that food. I enjoyed the Crown more, because there wasn't so much served.
Half Moon Cay is my favorite private island, but Princess Cay is my second. I haven't been there in a while and won't get there this year, either. I guess they haven't changed it much. They seemed to be able to accomodate everyone easily, even on the Emerald. You're right, though, it does take a while to tender everyone. There's some pretty good snorkeling there, too.
I know you'd rather be anywhere but home dealing with the cold and snow! Our weather man mentioned that four letter word this morning as possible on Sunday. We were in the 70s yesterday, 30s this morning, now they're talking about snow????? YUCK!!!!!!!!!!
I do hope that Princess didn't disappoint you and your family. I really feel they're great, but that's me. Of course, I enjoy other lines as well, but they're my favorite.
It sounds like y'all were supposed to have docked at Mahogany Bay in Roatan, was that where you were? Or were you at Coxen Hole? The first time I was at Mahogany was on the Valor and we had to back in. It took the pilot 6 tries before he got it, and he had to back in. I don't understand why Carnival didn't make that wider and deeper so the ships would have an easier time porting there.
Do you think you'll try Princess again? What was your favorite port?
Thank you so much for taking the time to write a wonderful review!!!
Hi Penny, yes, that four letter word must be very upsetting considering where you live and all. I must say that the weather in FLL and each and every day was just perfect and we felt really spoiled by Mother Nature.
No, the incident with the dining room was a little upsetting but we got over it quite quickly and the Maitre d was very accomodating and pleasant with us from then on...The fact that we all were suppose to get a letter confirming what we had spoke of in advance of our set reservation caused the confusion and we were running between dining rooms trying to confirm our seating so that we could seat our party of eight and noone could help us. And, the answer to your question is yes, we would try Princess again..One of the things about using other lines is the ability to see other itineries that we can't make due to the timing of our spring breaks that we have to fall within.
We were to port at Mahogany Bay but went to Coxen Hole..As I stated, when I was speaking with the Cruise Director, she mentioned that the Captain could have completely skipped our Port there due to rought seas and high winds...The tender ride was not for those that need sea sickness meds !! Worth the trip in to visit this island.
OOOps, missed a couple of questions Penny. From what I heard, the Mayor of Roatan previously owned the area that was used for the Mahogany Cruise Port..Some wondered if he sold them a bill of goods because many, many times the ships are unable to use it because of what we encountered on our cruise and either have to tender or skip it entirely..They mentioned that they usually back in there as well.
I would have to say that I would like to return to Roatan to see more of this island as we saw beautiful sites during our short visit there. We have been to Grand Caymen and Cozumel several times before...I do enjoy Grand Caymen for Seven Mile Beach and showing off Sting Ray City to our friends and relatives that are new to this island. Stay WARM..
Today, the weather is beautiful, but I'd still rather be on board a ship:)
I'm glad you'd give Princess another try. I didn't know that about Mahogany Bay's area. It doesn't surprise me, though. We did get to see some of Roatan both visits I went with my hubby. When I went with my friend, we just stayed at Mahogany Bay since they wanted so much for cab fare. Our last visit I spent some time just walking around the port area. You can definitely tell the economy is improving, but you know that it was a very poor area before the cruise ships arrived.
Have you done the southern route? Grenada is one of my favorite ports and Dominica is awesome for snorkeling. St. Maarten is a very nice, clean island, too. Trinidad and Tobago were fun to visit, but we didn't have enough time to explore properly. I'd love to go back to either one of those ports. I enjoyed Antigua, too. I'd love to get back to St. Croix one of these days. Dang, I guess I'm going to have to get a couple extra jobs:)
I think that is one of the benefits of utilizing different cruise lines to see more of a particular carribean route. We have been out of Puerto Rico twice and I know that we could definitely see other islands by either extending our days or using a different cruise line. I think we have been to only 7 islands on our two different Southern cruises.
We definitely enjoyed Curacao the first time we visited two cruises ago.
I totally agree, Peterl. Plus, if you don't try different lines, you will never know how their ships, service, cabins, food, ammenities, etc. compare. Not that I try to compare lines one on one. I like to see what different lines have to offer. Costa is my second favorite because I love the ambience. I smile everytime I think about Dean Martin's "That's Amore" playing when you leave port. The other lines we've been on also have things to offer that I enjoy. I'd still like to try Regent, Cunard, Seaborn, Aida, and MSC just to see how they are.
also, our current situation only allows us to travel 1 week during Feb or April breaks due to my spouses employment so that limits us to the islands we are repeating..Change in lines helps a little as I can see.