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This cruise combined a 15 day transatlantic with a 12 day around the British Isles cruise. We are not brand loyal cruisers (15 cruises on 5 lines) selecting the cruises by the itinerary. This particularly appealed to us because of stops in the Azores and Lisbon on the transatlantic while ticking off all our desires on the round the British Isles leg. It was our first time on Princess. The cruise met our expectations for the itinerary. We had beautiful weather almost everywhere at stops in the Azores, Portugal, Belgium, England, Ireland Scotland and Northern Ireland. We got to a lot of places that would have been difficult to get to any other way. With a great itinerary but a poor ship I gave this cruise an average score overall. I would tell others to try to find the itinerary on some other ship. Although there were some bright spots, the Crown Princess was a disappointment. First, the positive. • The main dining room food and service (late seating Botticelli) were mostly outstanding. • We had lower expectations for the cabin because we knew going in that the balcony cabins have no couch (and the easy chairs shown on the room diagrams had been removed) leaving you only the bed or desk chair to sit in. We were also prepared for the small bathroom though the shower was not quite as tiny as we expected. • The cabin service provided by our room attendant was excellent. • If you do book a balcony go for one on the Caribe deck which is larger and partially covered. • The room service was very good and most important very prompt. We used it for breakfast on many of the port days on this itinerary to get an early start. • The Magic production show was outstanding as were the comedians. • Getting on the ship in Fort Lauderdale was easy and our room was ready. This may be because we tend to arrive later in the boarding cycle to avoid the crowds. • The crew was delightful - friendly and efficient. Then, the bad. I don’t know if this ship was badly managed, badly designed or both. There are many examples. • Theater - The Crown has a theater that only covers 2 desks with something like 700 seats for 3200 passengers. Do the math, with a full ship half the passengers aren’t going to the show. We noticed that passengers went to get seats ½ hour or more, cutting short there dinners to get a seat. Once in the theater the sight lines were bad from the upper level. Irish dancers aren’t nearly as interesting when you can only see them from the waste up. Even daytime enrichment and port talks were full houses in the theater. We gave up trying to go to the theater on the transatlantic cruise. • Tendering – Tendering was a nightmare. We quickly learned you had to get off early or it might be hours to disembark the ship. In Guernsey we talked to people that waited more than two hours to get off the ship and ended up with no time to do anything. When it was time to return there was a massive line. We sat at a bar overlooking the line for an hour and when it got close to last call went down and still waited ½ hour. After that experience we got off early in the other tender ports. • Customs check in Portland - On the next to last stop on the transatlantic leg UK officials came aboard in Portland before anyone could disembark the ship. They assigned us times to come. This quickly fell apart. They had 4 agents to see 3200 passengers one or two at a time. Needless to say this took a long time. We had an 8:30 time and finally joined a line that went the length of the ship around 11. This may be due to the UK authorities but the ship needs to do the math and set expectations realistically. • Getting on the ship – I heard one passenger day that the people running the gangways must have worked previously at the DMV or post office. In many ports there were large lines to board the ship. This large ship never had more than two gangways and one was often closed even though the security stations were manned. • Disembarkation in Southampton – Like most cruises, the Crown assigned disembarkation times. We arrived at our disembarkation station in one of the restaurants 10 minutes early and were told our group had already gone. We went to get off and joined another line the length of the ship to disembark. We discovered no one was enforcing the disembarkation times. Fortunately it was fast once we were off the ship. • Laundry – For a ship doing long cruises there were only 2 washers and dryers on the floors that had them (some of which were broken for 27 days). There were large lines and crowds hanging out waiting on the machines. Unlike other cruise lines, Princess had no laundry specials during the 27 day cruise. • Captain’s party - Not enough waiters for the size of the crowd. People swarmed the one door that the waiters emerged from with trays of drinks – feeding frenzy! Although we couldn’t get a glass of champagne, they had plenty for Princess’s ridiculous champagne fountain where what I assume are high rollers get their picture taken pouring champagne into a glass tower that gets nowhere close to full. The officers made a brief appearance on a balcony where you could not see them. The farewell party was much the same. • Programming – The cruise director staff did not have any idea about how to spread out the crowd. The theater was packed along with the Explorers lounge where the main stage acts often did a second show. There was rarely anyone in the large Fusion venue or the bars at the aft of the ship up top. Better planning would have made better use of the larger Fusion venue. They seemed to be rolling out the same plan that they used on their Caribbean cruises with a younger crowd. After days of lines and crowds I heard passenger say ‘Now I know why they call it an ocean liner”. The management of the ship seemed to have a “maybe they won’t notice” attitude. Princess loyalists seemed to be conditioned to all this with comments like “everyone know you have to go to the theater a half hour early”. For me going on cruises is to relax and have things be easy. On the Crown I felt like we were treated like cattle and had to work around limitations and issues with the ship.

Poorly managed ship, great itinerary

Crown Princess Cruise Review by jwh0002

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2019
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Premium Balcony
This cruise combined a 15 day transatlantic with a 12 day around the British Isles cruise. We are not brand loyal cruisers (15 cruises on 5 lines) selecting the cruises by the itinerary. This particularly appealed to us because of stops in the Azores and Lisbon on the transatlantic while ticking off all our desires on the round the British Isles leg. It was our first time on Princess.

The cruise met our expectations for the itinerary. We had beautiful weather almost everywhere at stops in the Azores, Portugal, Belgium, England, Ireland Scotland and Northern Ireland. We got to a lot of places that would have been difficult to get to any other way.

With a great itinerary but a poor ship I gave this cruise an average score overall. I would tell others to try to find the itinerary on some other ship.

Although there were some bright spots, the Crown Princess was a disappointment. First, the positive.

• The main dining room food and service (late seating Botticelli) were mostly outstanding.

• We had lower expectations for the cabin because we knew going in that the balcony cabins have no couch (and the easy chairs shown on the room diagrams had been removed) leaving you only the bed or desk chair to sit in. We were also prepared for the small bathroom though the shower was not quite as tiny as we expected.

• The cabin service provided by our room attendant was excellent.

• If you do book a balcony go for one on the Caribe deck which is larger and partially covered.

• The room service was very good and most important very prompt. We used it for breakfast on many of the port days on this itinerary to get an early start.

• The Magic production show was outstanding as were the comedians.

• Getting on the ship in Fort Lauderdale was easy and our room was ready. This may be because we tend to arrive later in the boarding cycle to avoid the crowds.

• The crew was delightful - friendly and efficient.

Then, the bad. I don’t know if this ship was badly managed, badly designed or both. There are many examples.

• Theater - The Crown has a theater that only covers 2 desks with something like 700 seats for 3200 passengers. Do the math, with a full ship half the passengers aren’t going to the show. We noticed that passengers went to get seats ½ hour or more, cutting short there dinners to get a seat. Once in the theater the sight lines were bad from the upper level. Irish dancers aren’t nearly as interesting when you can only see them from the waste up. Even daytime enrichment and port talks were full houses in the theater. We gave up trying to go to the theater on the transatlantic cruise.

• Tendering – Tendering was a nightmare. We quickly learned you had to get off early or it might be hours to disembark the ship. In Guernsey we talked to people that waited more than two hours to get off the ship and ended up with no time to do anything. When it was time to return there was a massive line. We sat at a bar overlooking the line for an hour and when it got close to last call went down and still waited ½ hour. After that experience we got off early in the other tender ports.

• Customs check in Portland - On the next to last stop on the transatlantic leg UK officials came aboard in Portland before anyone could disembark the ship. They assigned us times to come. This quickly fell apart. They had 4 agents to see 3200 passengers one or two at a time. Needless to say this took a long time. We had an 8:30 time and finally joined a line that went the length of the ship around 11. This may be due to the UK authorities but the ship needs to do the math and set expectations realistically.

• Getting on the ship – I heard one passenger day that the people running the gangways must have worked previously at the DMV or post office. In many ports there were large lines to board the ship. This large ship never had more than two gangways and one was often closed even though the security stations were manned.

• Disembarkation in Southampton – Like most cruises, the Crown assigned disembarkation times. We arrived at our disembarkation station in one of the restaurants 10 minutes early and were told our group had already gone. We went to get off and joined another line the length of the ship to disembark. We discovered no one was enforcing the disembarkation times. Fortunately it was fast once we were off the ship.

• Laundry – For a ship doing long cruises there were only 2 washers and dryers on the floors that had them (some of which were broken for 27 days). There were large lines and crowds hanging out waiting on the machines. Unlike other cruise lines, Princess had no laundry specials during the 27 day cruise.

• Captain’s party - Not enough waiters for the size of the crowd. People swarmed the one door that the waiters emerged from with trays of drinks – feeding frenzy! Although we couldn’t get a glass of champagne, they had plenty for Princess’s ridiculous champagne fountain where what I assume are high rollers get their picture taken pouring champagne into a glass tower that gets nowhere close to full. The officers made a brief appearance on a balcony where you could not see them. The farewell party was much the same.

• Programming – The cruise director staff did not have any idea about how to spread out the crowd. The theater was packed along with the Explorers lounge where the main stage acts often did a second show. There was rarely anyone in the large Fusion venue or the bars at the aft of the ship up top. Better planning would have made better use of the larger Fusion venue. They seemed to be rolling out the same plan that they used on their Caribbean cruises with a younger crowd.

After days of lines and crowds I heard passenger say ‘Now I know why they call it an ocean liner”. The management of the ship seemed to have a “maybe they won’t notice” attitude. Princess loyalists seemed to be conditioned to all this with comments like “everyone know you have to go to the theater a half hour early”. For me going on cruises is to relax and have things be easy. On the Crown I felt like we were treated like cattle and had to work around limitations and issues with the ship.
jwh0002’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Premium Balcony
Cabin B1 C327
We had lower expectations for the cabin because we knew going in that the balcony cabins have no couch (and the easy chairs shown on the room diagrams had been removed) leaving you only the bed or desk chair to sit in. We were also prepared for the small bathroom though the shower was not quite as tiny as we expected. The combination shampoo and conditioner was pretty lousy. The cabin service provided by our room attendant was excellent. If you do book a balcony go for one on the Caribe deck which is larger and partially covered.
Caribe Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Giant's Causeway
    I rated this tour poor because they did not deliver what they promised. We bought this through Viator but the operator was Odyssey Tours I selected this tour because the claimed to go to carrick-a-rede rope bridge and giant's causeway on a minibus which would make getting off and on easy. They showed up with a massive bus that was almost full and announced that due to the schedule we would not be going to the bridge and tried to convince us we really didn't want to go there anyway but we would see it. Seeing it was from an overlook miles away. The Giant's Causeway was great but we had many other options to get there if the bridge wasn't an option. The tour ened with a depressing drive through Belfast "Peace Wall" where we learned that they still don't like each other.
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  • Brugge (Bruges)
    Disappointing stop. It was interestingn but it was mostly about the main square which was overrun with tourists that day. We wanted to go on the tour of WWI siights in Flanders but it was sold out months before the cruise and Princess never added another.
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  • Cobh (Cork)
    Took and excursion from Princess to Charles Fort and Kinsdale. Charles Fort was intersting but we did not have enough time there. Kinsdale may be quaint on a slow day but it was just a bunch of shops swarmed by tour bus horders when we were there. We walked around a little and got a drink on a nice hotel patio overlooking the spot where our bus was to return.
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  • Dublin
    The first day we took a cab into town. Taking a cab each way for two of us was basically the same price as the Princess Shuttle. Do make sure the cab runs the meter. 2 of 4 cab drivers didn't and tried to overcharge us. We did our own walking tour of the city. We went to the Kehoe pub which was interesting. We also visited Dublin Castle. The next day we cabbed to the train station early and caught the metro out to Bray. At Bray we took the beautiful cliff walk over the hill and ended up in Greystones where we had a nice lunch before catching the scenic metro that goes along the coast through some tunnels back to Dublin.
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  • Edinburgh (South Queensferry)
    Took the train into town on our own. Proncess did have a reasonbably priced shuttle there. Went to the Castle which was awesome. Bought our tickets in advance and got there close to opening time. Got more crowded as the day passed. Walked down the Royal Mile with interesting architecture and "Closes" but it seems to have mostly devolved into a massive tourist shopping strip with the same stores repeating along the route. We wanted to go on to Palace of Holyroodhouse and Arthur's Seat overlooking the city but we were fighting colds we caught on the ship so we cut our day short.
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  • Greenock (Glasgow)
    We arranged our own tour with Discover Scotland, Highland Lochs, Glens & Castles Shore Excursion. It was on a minibus, excllent kilted guide, made a lot of neat stop, lunch at the Drovers Inn, great scenery even on a rainy day. Highly recommend. Much cheaper and more to see than on the expensive ship's tours. Awesome.
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  • Le Havre
    Our trip continued after the cruise and we were fighting colds so we did laundry on the ship and skipped an excursion to Honfleur we booked privately.
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  • Lisbon
    Due to bad weather we got 2 days here and skipped Bilbao. We loved it. The first day we walked though the square and up the Avenue of Liberty to a large park and returned via the old city. Thi was a 4-5 hour walk.
    The second day we caught a cab to Belem and went to the Maritime Museum (excllent, don't miss the barge display in the second building), the monument to the explorers and the Belem Tower. We did not wait in line to go in the latter two.
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  • Ponta Delgada
    Had an excllent guide who gave us a greta underdtanding of life on the island. The hot springs were interesting and the gardens were beautiful.
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  • Southampton
    We got off the ship during the long layover and went to Winchester. We caught a cab to the train station and took one of the many trins there. We visited the round table (no big deal), the cathedral, the Royal Green Jackets Museum (for Sharpe fans) with an excllent Waterloo diorama, Wolvesay Castle, walked along the river and ate pizza in the cute downtown area. If we had more time we would have gone to the Hospital of Saint Cross which is a lovely walk to the Hospital which is not a hospital but one of the last surviving medieval almshouses with a lovely chapel.
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  • St. Peter Port (Guernsey)
    Made our own tour around the island by taking the bus that makes a circular route around. They have a route that goes clockwise and another counterclockwise. Get off the ship early to avoid the tender congestion and get a seat on the bus. We caught the first of the day. We went counter clockwise I got off about 3/4 of the way around the island to go to the German Occupation Museum. It was a small but very interesting family run museum with lots of artifacts from the occupation. If you don't want to go around the island there are a couple of differnet buses that take you either near the museum or to the airport which is a short walk. The man at the museum told us about a scenic coastal path. We made the 20-30 minute walk and found not only a beautiful coast wak to a point but also a restaurant, Le Gouffre Cafe and Restaurant. It's at the head of the path in a beautiful peaceful setting with some of the best food we had anywhere on the trip. It was then a 20 minute walk back to the airport for a bus to town. You'll want to use a map app to find Le Gouffre so you don't make any wrong turns like we did. The bus was very reasonable so you can do this for a fraction of the cost of an excursion if you are adventurous and like to walk.
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