We just returned form sailing on the Norwegian Crown out of New York on June 6th and wanted to post a detailed review. My wife and I were actually married in the Top of the Crown lounge on the vessel before debarkation so we have some additional items to comment on for those considering marrying on the vessel.
We were given priority check-in and boarded the vessel at 11:00AM. We were informed that this was the earliest a wedding couple had ever been permitted to board thanks to the re-positioning cruise the week before. Upon our return to New York there was another wedding, but the terminal had become somewhat chaotic due to peope departing the vessel, and we learned form talking to people that the wedding couple woud likely not be afforded nearly as much time as we were given. We must note, however, that the wedding ceremony and reception were truly wonderful. We had approximately 63 guests at our wedding (22 sailing and the rest not), which made for a little confusion when boarding, but we worked things out and highly reccomend considering the Crown for a wedding. The Top of the Crown offered a panoramic view of the city for our guests who all have told us they had a terrific time.
Having sailed 4 times before, we noted that the ship, while very clean, looked a little old and the ship was indeed a small vessel. This appealed to us as we were looking for a somewhat intimate setting for our honeymoon, but left limited entertainment opportunities while at sea. Additionally, the majority of the passengers were significantly older than us, and the limited entertainment options primarily geared towards the 50 and older crowd.
Additionally, while the seas were fairly calm on our departure out of New York, the ship really had a lot of movement. We thought it was kind of fun, but in our past sailings we had never experienced such rocking and felt it necessary to warn future passengers. We sailed into a storm on our way home and experienced swells of 5-10 meters which really made things interesting, but any ship sailing into those seas would experience movement. It was the obvious movement in calm seas that surprised us though.
The cabins were large a roomy. Our steward, Virgilio (AKA Virgil) was the best cabin steward we had ever had and so kind and meticulous. If any one is reading this and sailing in the same corridor as we were you really have something to look forward to with Virgil... he was absolutely wonderful! Also, we had read some negative comments regarding the wait staff prior to sailing. However, we found the staff in the dining rooms to be wonderful... curteous, motivated, and terrific with children. I can't say anything negative about the freestyle cruising experience or the staff in the dining rooms. It all went off without a hitch and we were never unable to get a table for multiple people or had to wait to be seated.
My only negative comments on the Crown are: 1) the Information/Reception desk was down right awful! We had ordered bon voyage gifts for wedding guests who sailed and they were all either delivered with incorrect messages or simply not delivered at all. We almost had to beg to get the gifts that we had ordered, and been billed for, delivered when they weren't. We were even accused of spending the casino chips we had pre-purchased for one passenger when they were never delivered. 2) The ship underwent major construction while in port (St. George's, Hamilton, and King's Wharf). We had paid for a bay window, but in St. George's looked out at welders pulling steel panels from the hull and welding new peices on. We had to close our curtains as the workers hung from the ship all afternoon peering into people's windows. In Hamilton the other side of the ship received the same treatment, and in King's wharf more of the same plus hull painting and touch ups. The problem was all of this construction made for a lot of noise while in port in the cabins and really disappointed us. When we asked the information desk how long these jobs would go on, they either accused of lying about construction noises, said no construction was taking place, or said they needed to check with the bridge never to get back to you.
I simply cannot comment enough on how awful their services were. Other passengers informed me of key requests that were never met, lies told about shore excursions, and other unbelievably rude treatment. The amazing thing is that no other department behaved in such a manner. The information desk is not representative of the ship's staff, but prepare yourself for horrible treatment from that desk.
Finally, the ports were wonderful. St. George's historical beauty was terrific, and we took the Charles Island Snorkel excursion which was absolutely wonderful and completely worth the money. Hamilton was terrific and a lot fo fun. We made the mistake of eating at M.R. Onions with the voucher program with sort of scammed us with high "service charges," but our other friends who used the program had nothing but great experiences with the vouchers so our recommendation is just to stay away form M.R. Onions. King's wharf's glass blowing factory and shopping centre were nice, but this is a great day for another excursion or heading to the beaches in the south of the island. King's Wharf simply does not offer that many entertainent options as it is fairly remote and the beaches on the west end pale in comparison to those in the south.
All-in-all we were very happy with our cruise. We had a six year-old with us and she had an absolute blast in the kid's crew, which I participated in many many years ago myself so NCL still offers that wonderful option for parents, and it appears only to have gotten better. Each parent was given a beeper for emergencies which was also a nice touch. While the Crown was a wonderful experience, I think my wife and I will sail on a larger vessel next time with more entertainment options which caters to a slightly younger or mixed crowd.