Crown Princess Cruise Review by jwh0002
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Premium Balcony
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.
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