I travelled the Med on the Crown Sept. '02 and was very happy with all aspects of the trip. However I have spoken to people who used it spring 2003 after its transfer to Norwegian and they said it had downgraded. I don't have any specifics.
Just returned from Dec.28-Jan11 Trip. This cruise is simply about the destination. The Crown is old and small - sea days are quite dull unless you want to spend a lot of money gambling, spa, etc. On our cruise, the Americans were 99% 65+ (I'm 48). The South Americans took up about half the passengers and were much younger and there were lots of children since it is summer vacation in S.A.. There were a lot of Europeans, Aussies as well probably 20%. All the tours we went on we good but were expensive. Chile is a treasure, the people and the country are unspoiled. The tour to Fitz Roy Estancia and the end of cruise tour to the winery and Santiago were outstanding. The tour guide Eduardo was knowledgable and a terrific companion for the 12 hours we spent together. If you can spend a few days before/after in B.A. or Santiago do it. We really enjoyed Argentina and Uraguay but Chile blew us away. The scenery in Southern Chile is similar to that of the Norweigan Fjords (Norway is more impressive)but there is more of it in Chile. Central Chile is like California (both Southern if the wine region and SF in Valpariso). The Lake District was quite beautiful. I must admit that going to Cape Horn was a hilite. I was surprised how calm the southern Atlantic was. An hour from the cape the weather was perfect and the water was calm. I wish I had taken a video of the hour. By the time we got to the cape we were in 70 mph winds and 25 ft. seas. The Ship would drop from the top of a wave and crash and send water over the top of the ship. What a rush. We actually stopped at the Falklands, but don't count on it (I think that it rare that the seas are calm enough for tenders). The only place you could get tasty food was Le Bistro. Chopstiks had shusi but it was cooked? The main dining room had good food (not great) and the menus were never repeated during the 14 days. The low prices in these countries are staggering, everything is about 1/3 of what it costs here.I enjoyed this trip so much that I was almost in tears when we had to leave - and I definitely want to go back before these countries are become spoiled by development.
I'm taking the Crown from Valparaiso to BA at the end of this year. Very much looking forward to it as SA has always been a place of dreams. Funny, it didn't occur to me that there'd be SA'ers on board - what a nut.
Did you meet anyone who did the Torres del Paine excursion?
No, The flightseeing trip to Antartica was sold out to my surprise. A couple that went on it thought it was fantastic, especially the presentation before they left. The problem with this and Torre are they are too expensive.
I am off on the Crown for a cruise round the Horn this Christmas/New Year. I chose the ship cos of her size, I prefer the smaller/older ships and the itinerary is superb too. Definately looking forward to the trip, which includes 2 nights at the Sheraton in Santiago and again at the Sheraton in Buenos Aires.
I must say that I was quite apprehensive about the cruise as there seems so little information about this ship and this itinerary. Also the ship is older (1988) and smaller (34,000 tons) than the ones we have cruised on in the last few years so I am pleased to report that my worries were groundless.
Once on board it was apparent that this was a much smaller ship but everything was clean and the décor was pleasantly neutral. Our cabin was a ‘restricted view double’ on deck 8 and was very well appointed with plenty of storage, a comfortable bed and a large en-suite with a bath and shower.
We explored the ship and found that all the amenities were available – show lounge, disco/dance venue, main restaurant, buffet, 3 speciality restaurants, pool, casino, lounge, shop, spa, fitness centre, photo gallery etc. but everything was, obviously, on a smaller scale. We really enjoyed the informality and ‘freestyle’ dining which enabled us to meet a lot of fascinating people and the food was generally good.
The cruise was the perfect way to visit South America for the first time. Peru was fascinating but there is a lot of poverty and that was quite distressing at times. Chile, in contrast, seems very affluent and I would love to see more.
My husband and I have put the ‘Valparaiso to Montevideo’ cruise high on our list of ‘wanadoos’ and we would not hesitate to do it on the Norwegian Crown.