Crown Princess Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Review SummaryArriving in Ft. Lauderdale was a breeze. Given the sheer amount of folks trying to get on to ships, it being Christmas Eve to boot - it went very well getting to the ship and dropping off the luggage. And then... we waited. 4 hours... Norovirus outbreak 3rd week in a row. sitting in a hanger with hundreds of others, two TV screens, no drinks...my husband turned to me and said let's go home. We can't - they have our bags was my response. Our saving grace was the fact we were the second group allowed on when we were finally cleared.
Following Princess' instructions we headed to the kid's club first, given they would not pre-register us on line - only to find you could if you knew the right person - we waited for the Open House to start (with a sign up saying register now) - and then be told, oh no, the sign is wrong, come back later..... ok then... Off we went to the cabin.
Bear in Mind - we were still in good cheer - it's Christmas!
Get to the cabin - it was not what my father in law had requested (he treated us to the trip) - we called Customer Service, they pretty much said, yeah sorry about that, take it or leave it, we had to adjust. Mind you, we didn't pay for guarantee, assign us wherever room (rather my father in law), we sucked that one up too. It's my family time, my son was ok with the bed he got, my husband was not - we had to sleep in single beds rather than the requested double configuration due to the drop down bed set up. What is a woman to do? Made my husband a drink, gave him a snack and had him chill - it is the best i could offer at the time LOL.
Going to the dining room and our first day experience of a lifetime continued - The food was bland. No salt, no flavor. There was also no exception to the could we have this instead rule - eat how it was advertised and make sure you were quick about it - we have lots of people and can't accomdate you. I will touch on the dining room only in this section - the food remained that way for the entire trip. And we found out quickly why - the median age was 69 for the cruise. I totally understood then.
Returning back to the kids club, we registered my son and he took one look about and I could already tell he was not getting a good vibe - should have trusted him. He did go back for what sounded like a fun evening a couple days later, but paged us within an hour to return. We went to find out what was happening and he said Mum, I would rather baby sit my cousin than strange babies! I was stunned. I looked at the camp staff and they looked me in the eye and said Your son is lying, we don't make them do that. Now, I couldn't breathe. Bless his heart, he looked dead at them and said I don't lie, my mum and papa taught me not to lie - and that is what you made me do! and he promptly turned and walked to the door. yeah, he didn't go back to kid's club again.
And that was the end of our first day.
It continued on - Rated R movies showing at the pool at 10. Rude smokers who didn't care if they threw their butts down on to your balcony, staff who didn't either. Food areas only open 4 hours so if you wanted something from the grill, pizza or even ice cream - be there or be square.People being sick on the decks and no one came to clean it - i had to stop several people from stepping in it!
Now to the shining stars/moments of our trip: Our cabin staff was superb. Given the sheer amount of people, they were never far away and were impeccable. The martini bar with the live piano and the staff there were wonderful. It became a hang out for us as it was a comfortable place to play boardgames and chill, listening to a good pianist. The Tapas and Sushi Bar was fantastic too - this is where we started eating dinner most nights, after we sat with the extended family in the dining room LOL The staff, the food and the whole experience was what we had expected throughout the ship but these areas turned out to be those gems for us and we spent a good portion of time within them.
The Decor - beautiful. Very elegant, very bright and enjoyable, not over the top. The ports were beautiful - Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. Embarkation(once we got moving)and Debarkation were not a problem at all. Entertainment - no children friendly times for shows were identified so it was hard to see what would have suited them, so we were careful with that - my in laws said the shows were good, catering again to an older crowd. There was a Calypso band from Guyana (where my husband is from) and they were brilliant - we only discovered on the next to last night unfortunately.
Summary -Crown Princess is not for a younger set of kids - Ideal 13+ as it seems lots of grandparents with their grandkids were on there. In general it caters completely to the 55+ customer and looking back on it, that is most likely why my in laws picked it LOL. Myself and my immediate family loved spending time with them, so the trip was about them, more so than about us. Would I book the Crown Princess for us again? No. Would i think it would be a good trip for perhaps an older couple or group, yes. The customer service was lacking severely in pockets, in others it was great. So i think it is truly the rotation of staff, rather than to say it is a Princess Problem.