Dear Cruisemates Staff,
We have been planning a British Isles cruise for summer 2001. Princess seems to offer the best itineraries but we recently returned from the Canada/New England itinerary on the Crown and were less than thrilled with the ship. We have apparently been spoiled by the newer ships (Sun, Dawn, Grand) and are having second thoughts about booking the Royal Princess. I have read great reviews from die-hard Royal fans and some not-so-great reviews from some others. BTW, we have always been very satisfied with Princess before the Crown cruise.
What do you suggest? Princess has the hands-down best itineraries I have found but we fear we would be in for a "Crown-like" experience. Would the itinerary make up for the ship (maybe the Royal is far superior to the Crown?) or is there a better alternative on a different line, different ship?
Thanks for your help.
Sounds to me at least that you are more used the "newer" ships and have come accustomed to what they all have to offer. Of course a good itinary sure helps make a good cruise great. Sorry I can't help you with Crown or Royal, but hope you still give Princess another try, they sure do know how to treat cruisers.
bop, hope you find what you are looking for and get to cruise the British Isles, I an origionally from England and any little bit of info I can help with feel free to ask, I`m also quite familiar with Scotland (my mother was Scottish--- I spent a lot of my childhood years there) happy sailing...jean
Thanks for the reply. We definitely appreciate the many plusses that Princess consistently offers, we just didn't feel like the Crown was able to match the value and options offered on the newer ships. We fear that we will be similarly disappointed with the Royal but can't find another line with the great British Isles itineraries offered by Princess. Are we making a poor comparison by suggesting that the Royal may be in the same category as the Crown?
Some of the negatives we experienced on the Crown were : heavy engine vibration in stateroom resulting in sleepless nights, limited outside visibility and access to the bow area, dungeon-like health facilities, limited options, and mediocre food. To be fair, the crew was excellent, efficient and courteous, as usual. We just didn't feel we got our moneys worth on the Canada/New England cruise on the Crown.
Please let me hear from some fellow cruisers who have experienced the British Isles Itinerary on the Royal.
I was on the Crown six years ago and I found her to be a fine ship back then though she certainly didn't have the facilities we've come to expect on the newer ships. I have perceptions about the Royal Princess, but they are based on what I've heard and not on personal experience.
The Royal seems to have a loyal, devoted following, but I get the impression that she attracts an older crowd that is itinerary-driven and not at all bothered by the fact that the ship is smaller and may have less than state-of-the-art fitness facilities and fewer dining options. I believe the Royal is also a few years older than the Crown, and while the Crown was very recently refurbished, I'm not sure if the Royal has been updated.
Based on some of the things that disappointed you on the Crown, I'm afraid you might also be disappointed with the Royal. Unfortunately, it's common that the older, smaller ships do the unique itineraries while the newer beauties sail the same old, same old. In this case, you may have to decide which is more important to you (ship or ports) and let that be your guiding light. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
Thanks for the feedback. What you say makes a lot of sense. Thinking back on it, our Grand Med cruise last fall was wonderful and I don't think we would have been disappointed in it if we had been on the Crown. I guess the itinerary was the main attraction, so to speak.
To be honest, the Crown cruise got off to a bad start having been delayed for two plus hours in a terminal in NYC waiting to board. Our stateroom was the last one aft and the vibration was horrendous. We actually had to stuff paper in the buzzing ceiling tile frames to sleep. We were not able to tender in Newport due to bad weather and we ended up with an 8 hour wait in the Montreal airport with no offers from Princess for tours or hospitality rooms to pass the time. Yes, we did complain upon boarding the ship and yes, it was Princess air.
I didn't write a review when I returned since I am a die-hard Princess fan and I wanted to let a little time pass before venting.
On the plus side, Bar Harbor, Halifax, and Quebec City were wonderful and the service and demeanor of the crew of the Crown were top notch. Captain Romano was as delightful and effective on the Crown as he was on the Grand. Entertainment was, in fact, on par with the Grand.
I guess the "rough start" and having to spend three days on board with little to occupy our time other than eat and read, of course, was a rude awakening for us. We have only cruised on The Sun, Dawn, and Grand Princess prior to the Crown and facilities aboard them were outstanding.
Getting back to your advice, I will consider itinerary first and consider the old "busses" as a means to get there rather than destinations in themselves. If we want glitz and activities aboard, we'll save that for the Caribbean on the newer ships.
I attached a couple of pics of the Frontenac and some fellow passengers to give you a flavor for the "highs" and "lows" of the Canada/New England cruise. I'm going to get busy and book the Royal for Aug. 2001.
I sailed Royal on her second ever cruise back in 1985. When she was built, she was so far ahead of her time there was simply nothing like her. All her cabins are outside and they all have full bath facilities. If you can afford one of the deluxe cabins with verandah, you will not feel claustrophobic at all. Food on the smaller Princess ships can be absolutely wonderful. Two years ago I sailed Pacific Princess, a 33 year old 20,000 ton ship and had the best food I'd ever had on Princess. Was the ship high tech? No, it absolutely was not but there were many compensations. A crew that quickly got to know you by name and would come and talk to you whenever they had a minute free, 640 passengers so it was much easier making friends amont the passengers since you saw them again and again. I don't remember vibration onboard the ship, but vibration lulls me to sleep so I wouldn't remember this. The ship has been upgraded. Princess takes very good care of its ships, regardless of age.