This was our second time on the Crown Princess and we were as happy this time as we were the first. Some outstanding staff and service and a very good itinerary that was possibly helped by mostly having fabulous weather for the entire trip.
5 out of 5
Our first trip at Platinum level so there was the wonderfully snobby experience of being able to walk straight past everyone else in the queue. Time from stepping into the embarkation area to getting on board couldn't have been more than ten minutes; fabulous.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We had a minor, minor problem with getting a steak done rare in Sabatini's but I'm not going to mark down on just that single issue especially as the waiter was eagle-eyed enough to see it was wrong as my wife cut into it whereupon he whisked it away and came back with an apologetic head waiter too. The second one wasn't rare either but hey, they tried. Adagio's bar service was unbelievably good; Carlos the stand-out member of staff on board. No other complaints anywhere else as we know what to expect from Princess.
5 out of 5
We don't really take part in many activities but what we did we enjoyed.
We don't tend to watch the entertainment.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Carlos in Adagio's: one of the best members of staff we've had the pleasure to be served by on Princess. Nightlcub staff very good, very friendly too.
5 out of 5
Everything as expected.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
If you've been on Princess before then you know what to expect from the room; no complaints there. The balcony was a aft-facing one and far deeper than normal as you can see from the pictures. The obstruction (metal section to the right) was of no concern. While we started with standard chairs and a small table these were supplemented over the course of the first few days with foot rests and a bigger table. This was our first aft balcony cruise. We enjoyed the space on the balcony but will probably opt for side views in future as we prefer watching the waves slide past the ship, nice those the wake looked. Noise-wise, it could get up there a bit but I like white noise so it wasn't a bother to us at all.
Second visit to Zeebrugge but first time in Bruges for us. Very nice, probably not quite as good as Ghent for us. We did a walking tour and canal trip with the latter retracing some of the former's route through the city which was a tad repetitive although obviously it was presented from a different viewpoint.
Ignored Copenhagen in favour of an excursion out to see Frederiksborg Castle, Fredensborg Palace, and Kronborg Castle along with a stop for lunch. The first of these locations was stunning beautiful and our group was the first in as it opened allowing us to see the rooms without crowds in front of us; this pleased our guide. Kronborg had a reasonably interesting tour by a Hamlet actor.
Top rating for this port for the Vasa Museum on its own; wonderful piece of history, like something straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean. City Hall and Gamla Stan were very good too although the excursion felt a little thrown together at points. Stockholm looked like it would be a good place to come back and see for a long weekend.
No excursion here as so easy to walk into the old town from the ship in under 30 minutes. Beautiful place that was amusingly overrun with Belgian football fans in good spirits. We had a good wander around and enjoyed a few local beers in a couple of different places to recover from the heat. Good souvenir places just outside where the ship docks on the walk back.
Well, a weekend is not enough here. Fabulous place, great history, great architecture. Took in most of the typical tour options. Church of the Spilled Blood looked lovely with its onion domes; St Isaac's was gorgeous inside; nice meal at the Academia Banquet Hall including red caviar, questionable vodka, some decent folk singing; Hermitage was overwhelming in its size and amount to see (easy to get tired of it but the trip was just about right in length); ballet was absolutely incredible (go for the upgraded option to get into one of the older theatres); second day we settled for a canal boat tour which was excellent. Tip: don't buy hats or dolls from street vendors; the souvenir shop as you enter the port has better prices.
The heavy rain may have had an impact on this port but the city didn't seem to have a lot of appeal for us. It was pleasant enough and we visited the Sibelius monument and the rock church before making our own way back to the ship (via a bar) but compared to other stops on this cruise this felt the least interesting. Artisitcally, there was something to be said for the city: there was an art display in the main square featuring seals painted by artists to raise money for ecological reasons; near the port there were some fantastic street art pieces to see too.
Another beautiful day, another lovely excursion to see Gdansk, wander its streets and take in the sights. Fascinating to see pictures of the place following the war and what it looks like today. Lots of souvenir shops. Interior of St Mary's Church was really quite impressive when compared to its exterior.
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