I went on the Crown Princess from December 14, 2013. Here is the link to the photos.
CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums - katlady's Album: Crown Princess 12/14/13 to 12/21/13
I need my hubby to edit my review but here is the unedited verision please excuse the typos and grammar errors.
Pre-cruise hotel I picked was Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale. I found a great promo code so it was $144 per night. This includes full breakfast in the morning including custom made omelets and happy hour from 5:30PM to 7:30PM with free cocktails. Yeah! Both my hubby and I enjoyed this hotel. It's also walking distance for Publix supermarket which is great for picking up sodas and water to take on the cruise. The service was excellent and the hotel. The room was clean, the beds were comfortable, and the room was quiet.
Embarkation was handled very well. This was one of the most organized embarkations I had been a part of. We got there early about 11AM so was zipped through the security line and the check in line. After that we were guided to a seat. Turns out they were seating you according to how you checked in. Then they simply took row by row to board the ship. Very nicely done.
Princess ships are beautiful, elegant and badly designed in the princess theater and the cabin. While I loved that this ship has many open decks that allowed access to the ocean. I disliked that horribly designed Princess Theater. For one the airplane seats flying from California to Florida were bigger and more comfortable. The first few rows were too close to the stage making them unusable. The seat is supposed to have a table the flips down over your lap. This table will not work on a full grown adult. Despite this we attended two shows sort of. The first was the welcome aboard show. On past cruise I have attended the Welcome aboard show gives you a glimpse of the shows to come and chance to meet the cruise director. This show started off good with the singers and dancers coming out. However, the whole went downhill when the cruise director came out. Sadly she attempted jokes, which wouldn't have been so bad if she hadn't played a video ad for princess different cruises and new ships. Seriously I didn't come here to watch a commercial. I waited but the video went on and on. So we walked out of the show. The next show we show was called “Disco: blame it on the boogie.” I can report disco is now dead and because the Princess singers murdered it someone call out the CSI Team. They took at the spirit, the soul and fun out of disco. They were talented singers but they missed the point of the music. The stage again was badly designed and it was too small, because of this the dancers didn't have the space to do anything to complex, which was a shame because I could see the talent lurking there. Sunday and Monday they showed the football games on the movie under the stars screen. For Monday night football they had chicken wings and pom pom for each team. We loved watching the games this way. They did a great job with this. Also Karaoke was a blast and I got a kick out of the DJ running it.
Food on Princess was some of the best I had on any cruise line. The bacon in the buffet was crispy and melted in your mouth. Most cruise lines don't cook it long enough and give you limp bacon. The eggs were light and fluffy. The dinners in the main dining room also good, we had anytime dining and were able to get a two person table quickly each time we went. We did Sabatini's and wow wow wow every course was perfection. The service was tremendous well worth the extra $25 per person. The only miss food wise on this cruise was the desserts in the main dining room. I love dessert but the choices were odd and some were not done well. The love boat dream however, was very good best dessert in the main dining room hands down. Oddly enough the international cafe on deck 5 (plaza deck) is where they were hiding the good desserts. This delicious looking dessert was from the international cafe.
Our room was on Deck 10 Caribe deck room C511 which begs the question What is a Caribe?? Turns out it's another word for piranha. So I was on piranha deck 10 well that explains why the bed killed my back. Serious that is the hardest bed I have tried to sleep on. We had C511 which was an inside room. It had lots of space for storage. The main issue was that shower curtain it didn't come all the way down to the ground so every time we took a shower the room bathroom flooded.
Our room steward was Olga and she did a great job. She introduced herself right away and got our preferences for ice, more pillows etc and made certain our room had what we liked. She also greeted us with a smile on her face every time we saw her. Service all through the ship was excellent. The photographer for our formal night pictures was willing to work with us on doing funny nontraditional photos, the bartenders on Explorers Lounge were laughing and having fun with the cruisers. Like I said before Sabatini's from the moment we walked the service was wonderful. We had a later reservation but wanted to move it up. No problem, the host (who I think runs the restaurant) found us a table no waiting. The host was from Portugal we chatted a bit about Madeira Island and Porto. Our waiter was from Serbia timed the meal perfectly; making sure to give us a leisurely and excellent experience. I wish I would have gotten their names.
I had never been to these ports before and I loved them all. Back home it was very cold. Here it was in the 80s in every port. The ports were St. Marteen, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and Princess Cays Bahamas. Princess Cays and Grand Turk are rocky so I was glad I packed my water shoes. St. Marteen we went to Orient beach and it has the softness sand. There were some waves but once you entered the ocean it wasn't an issue. Grand Turk the ocean was smooth as glass and that along with Orient beach were my favorite beaches. In St. Thomas we went to coral world which we both enjoyed the exhibits are well maintained and interesting. Koki Beach is right there but was petty crowd so we went back to the ship instead. Princess Cays was fun but the water was rough making it difficult to get in and out of the ocean. We rented a clam shell for $25 and I feel it was worth every penny. The calm smells came over the loungers protecting us from the sun. It was very nice having the buffet lunch right at the beach and the bathrooms were well maintained. We didn't do any shore excursion. For us this vacation was all about hanging on the beach relaxing. These ports are perfect for that.
Debarkation was as well organized as embarkation. Each block was given a time to go to their assigned area, then guided off the ship. We had no flight to catch so we chose a 10:30AM time. Most everyone else was gone so we breezed through customs.
Our post Cruise hotel Doubletree Gallery one. We chose this hotel post cruise because it was walking distance from Texas de Brazil restaurant. I love the restaurant and there isn't one in California so going there is a special treat. This was the perfect post cruise hotel. We got there early and were lucky they had a room ready in fact they upgraded us to a water view room. Fort Lauderdale has canals similar to Venice Italy. This hotel is right at a water taxi stop right in back of the hotel. So we hopped a water taxi for the day I believe it was $22 per person. It took us all the way to Hollywood, Florida at the beach. The only downside to the Doubletree is the noise. The Embassy is a very quiet hotel. But the Doubletree we could here every noise. Also the Doubletree does not include free breakfast or cocktail happy hour. But the room did included kitchen area with a dishwasher, Fridge, Microwave, and range top (no oven). A Publix is in walking distance so it was easy to make breakfast in the morning. Fort Lauderdale is a very nice port to cruise out of I would do it again.