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creativegenius

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Everything posted by creativegenius

  1. Hi, we're just finishing a 10 day sail on Crown and we had the Sanctuary reserved for the entire week. I can tell you that the lounge chairs in the Sanctuary are the most comfortable lounge chairs on the entire ship, that alone made it worth it. :) The Sanctuary has the entire front section covered with mesh sails. So while it's not 100% shade, it knocks down the sun significantly so we really didn't feel the heat beating down on us. The very very front has a solid steel roof that does provide 100% shade all day and there is a section directly beneath the radar section that is complete shade depending on the time of day. I will say the ROI for the Sanctuary was worth it for us because of the service and the afternoon tea. The attendants were constantly checking to see if we wanted more water and they serve a full high tea everyday at 3pm. Plus if you want to cool off, the Spa Pool is right below you. The Sanctuary also had the most consistent breezes on the entire ship. Sitting out on the balcony, depending on where your suite is, sometimes you get breeze and sometimes you don't. The Sanctuary always had air moving. We had seats 52 and 53 on the right side under the sails. The way the reservations work is you reserve one set of loungers. If you want to move your lounger around to get into more complete shade, the attendants will work with you to move around if the space and / or extra loungers are available. On sea days, pretty much the entire space is booked. On port days there are more loungers available. If you want to reserve a space, you must go directly up to the Sanctuary as soon as you board. They loungers for sea days fill up fast. We booked for the entire cruise and got a discount. You can reserve by the 1/2 day, day or entire cruise. Have fun!
  2. Have an awesome time! I'll also add that the Love and Marriage game show was one of the more fun variations of this game show we have seen due to Angela's hosting. She was truly hilarious and it's honestly the first time we've seen that game show hosted by a woman. It made a real difference in the feel and fun of the show.
  3. Absolutely! Production Show "Magic To Do" was a fun show, that's the one with the partnership with the composer of "Wicked." Fun moments in that show. "DISCO: Blame It On The Boogie" was a great dance show as was "Sweet Soul Music." The house band is really awesome on this ship and they were great in all three of those shows. One day I happened to pass them rehearsing in the Explorers Lounge and stopped to listen for a bit. The Love Boat Disco Party on deck was really a lot of fun as the Princess Dancers joined in with very retro outfits. Mentalist and Illusionist Wayne Hoffman was surprisingly good, wasn't really expecting much but he really blew our minds a bit. What was cool is that he did shows both in the Theater and Explorer's Lounge. The Lounge was nice because you can sit up close and personal. I ended up being a part of both of those shows. "Let Me Be Frank" is a bit of a dud, if you have nothing else to do and like the music of the Rat Pack, he's a good singer, but stands in one place a lot. One of the best games was a Guess the Music Lyric contest in the Explorer's Lounge. Play part of a song, then stop it and give you a multiple choice on what the next lyric is. That was fun. Any dance class with Alex from the Cruise Director staff is worth taking, he's quietly hilarious. I loved the Disco dancing class especially. We went to one of the auditions for The Voice of the Ocean in Explorer's Lounge and were surprised by the caliber of singers onboard. Tonight is the finale in the theater and we're hoping to get seats to see the show. The theater has been PACKED for both the 7:15 and 9:15 showtimes, though the 9:15 fills up much more slowly. If you want to a good seat to the 7:15 you really want to be in the theater no later than 6:50. For the late show, you can roll in at 9 and still get a good seat, but it will fill up before showtime begins.
  4. Thank you for the kind comments! Yes, you DO have to race directly up to the Sanctuary as soon as you are onboard. Do not pass Go, do not go to your room, do not go to make dining reservations, go directly to the Sanctuary. The Sea Days especially fill up fast. You can book by the 1/2 day, by the day or by the cruise. Most people seemed to book the 3 Sea Days. We booked the entire week and it was $30/pp per day. They really do a nice job taking care of you and they are absolutely the most comfortable lounge chairs on the ship. The fastest way to the Sanctuary is to go all the way forward to the Princess Theater, then take those elevators or stairs all the way up to the Spa. The Sanctuary is one deck above that. If you can take the elevator to Deck 16, do that.
  5. The spa pool has not been all that busy. There's a misperception among many passengers that the spa pool is only for spa and Sanctuary guests. It's actually a public pool open to any adults. If you just want to post a few pictures from time to time, you could get a smaller internet package and I've found Deck 5 sitting in Vines is the best place for WiFi outside sitting in the actual Internet Cafe. WiFi is very spotty all over the ship but since Vines is right next to the Internet Cafe, good spot to grab some coffee and make social posts. I'm finding 1 to 2 bars of WiFi in most areas of the ship. 5 bars of WiFi down on Deck 5. I do drink Tequila but have not tried that Mayan Heat drink. Most of the bars have been disappointing but last night I tried The Mix for the first time behind the Movies Under the Stars pool and it might be the best bar on the ship. It's not a typical pool bar catering to frozen mixed drinks and beers. They cater to cocktails and I have found Washington's Apple to be a good one along with the Chairman of the Board if it's made correctly. Two Chairman's were great, but another one I had was terrible. Not much in the way of consistency on the ship, if you find a bartender you like, stick with them. For coffee in the morning, I highly recommend Carmen in the Coffee and Cones up on Deck 15. She's usually in there from open till about 8 or 8:30am.
  6. So the Stargazing was pretty good. the way it works is they play pre-recorded segments from a Discovery at Sea affiliated astrophysicist who sets up the constellations and what they are. Then a crew member, in our case Emily the Assistant Cruise Director, follows up what they say and uses a laser pointer to point you to the constellations. On our night there was a full moon and some cloud cover so we could not see the first half of the constellations. But what we could see was very interesting. I wish they would have offered this twice in the cruise just to give us two chances to see everything. But it's definitely a nice 30 minutes up on Deck 17 with the main ship lights turned off.
  7. If you are planning to use a laptop, tablet or any other device with the Ship's internet package, and you use an automated Cloud backup service, turn that backup service OFF while sailing. The ship's wifi is too slow to handle simultaneous uploads and downloads from your device and it will simply stall your internet. I'm 7 days into a 10 day cruise and have not been able to use my Microsoft Surface Pro on the ship's WiFi until today. It would take about 5 minutes just to connect to WiFi and then over 10 minutes to load a single webpage. Today I finally figured out to turn off the cloud backup service and now I'm able to use the laptop anywhere on the ship as expected. A quick tip for those you preparing to sail, especially one of the ships that has not gotten upgraded internet service, like the Crown Princess that we are currently sailing.
  8. We purchased the 640 minutes in advance of sailing and they upgraded it to 680 minutes. One big tip I will give you, if you have an automatic cloud backup service, turn it off for the cruise. I've spent the past 7 days being basically unable to use my laptop on the ship's internet because as soon as I connected to the wifi, my backup service immediately tried to start uploading new files from my laptop. That killed the internet service from working because obviously it's much slower on the ship than on land. I finally figured that out today and now suddenly my laptop works just fine all over the ship. At least it's a 10 day cruise so I still have three days to use it. :) Happy sailing!
  9. We are sailing Club Class for the first time on Crown Princess and have been taking advantage of the specials prepared in the dining room by the manager each evening. So far our favorites have been Penne Arabiatta, Penne alaVodka with Salmon and the Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chili peppers. I also enjoyed the Pot of Mussels in the Crown Grill. Salty Dog Grill on deck is ok, nothing great. The pizza is still pretty good, though they could leave it in the oven just a tad longer. Drinks have been the biggest disappointment. They're just too syrupy and the bartenders can't make good classic drinks like a good Old Fashioned or good mixed drinks. There's not a single craft cocktail bar where they actually take time to make drinks correctly, it's all assembly line, watered down drinks. Celebrity, NCL, Royal and even Disney make better cocktails than Princess these days.
  10. Sailing Crown Princess now and they have a combination of tables for 2 or shared. One long row of tables for 2 are along a bench and we all generally end up chatting during dinner.
  11. Stargazing is on the schedule for this evening at 8pm. We're sailing out of St. Thomas on the way to Grand Turk tonight. This will be the 8th night on the cruise and this is the first and probably only time they will offer it. The only instructions are to meet at 16 Forward. I'll report back on how it went tomorrow.
  12. For those following this thread, the very slow internet issue on my laptop has been solved. I was finally down in the Internet Cafe when the manager was there and he indirectly pointed me to the culprit. I have an automatic cloud backup service. Whenever this laptop connects to the internet, the service automatically starts backing up new files from my computer to the cloud backup. As soon as this system connected to the ship's WiFi the backup service started trying to upload. That killed the internet connectivity on this laptop. I'll make sure that's in the full review to come, but if you have automated cloud backup services on your devices, turn them off during the cruise. I'm typing this from the Sanctuary as I enjoy my cucumber water. :)
  13. Drinks are just not that great on here. It's disappointing. The Crooners Bar seems to be the most consistent, but even there, just not good. The new World Class Bar on Celebrity is the best at sea and both Royal and NCL have fantastic craft bars now. This ship just has the generic bar with the same poorly prepared drinks in every single bar. Just that Chairman of the Board suggested earlier in this thread has been a decent drink.
  14. Small as in both size and selection. It's a very small space compared to many ships we've sailed. My wife remembers it being this same size on the Caribbean Princess back in the day, but I've become so accustomed to what we've gotten on Celebrity, NCL and the others that this is a really small space. They do open up the Caribe Cafe from time to time but it seems random. As for breakfast, it's a decent selection, but the omelettes are weird. Strange texture from whatever egg product they use, so I just ordered one and never again. I tend to have a small breakfast of yogurt, fruit and nuts because I know I"ll eat terribly the rest of the day. The roasted potatoes are generally good each morning though. They still serve that horrendous coffee from syrup in the buffet. That's one thing I remember hating way back in 2006. :)
  15. Ah, now I understand. No, there is no curtain that divides the sitting area and the bed in D423. There are two TVs but I can see how the flickering of that TV could keep you awake. Tell him to read instead. :) The internet is just terrible unless you use the Princess computers in the Internet Cafe like I'm doing right now. :)
  16. Hey Jim, I tried it tonight and it was fantastic! I also talked to the server and he said tomorrow night they'll make the Old Fashioned the way I like it.
  17. It's very dark in the cabin with the main curtains closed at the balcony. They do overlap would while they are not completely black out, it's very dark in the cabin if you want it to be. We are in D423.
  18. If I can get my laptop / tablet to work again in a future day, I'll upload some photos from around the ship. We're off to Barbados tomorrow, maybe the wireless will be happier there. Have a great evening all!
  19. Princess is rolling out an updated internet service that was originally scheduled to be on the Crown by now. That got delayed (along with the Princess Medallion wrist band) with no word on when they will now be installed. With any luck it'll be installed by the time you sail in June. I'm pretty certain there is a communications contractor on board at this time, we've seen them several times and it looks like they're doing something with communications. Our plan with T-Mobile allows us unlimited data in over 150 countries so we use that in all the ports. But it's 2G speed for free so it's good for texting but not so much for looking up websites.
  20. One of our very favorite cruises was the Cruise Tour of Alaska with the Sapphire Princess. 7 days on land, 7 days on the ship and then 3 more tacked on at the end in Vancouver. It's a bit of deja vu when you reboard the ship, especially the first night you eat in the MDR. Brought back a lot of memories of Alaska. As always, the dinner staff is so incredibly friendly and helpful. One thing we've really noticed is that there's not nearly the level of rushing around that we have seen on some of the other lines. A professional pace, but not rushing all over the place. As always, the staff will turn any main course into an appetizer portion if you want to sample more than one entree. We've been doing that each evening. Enjoy the trip!
  21. Quick update on the internet on board. I've been in the Internet Cafe for the past hour trying to use my tablet via the wifi. It connects just fine but then no webpages will load. I used up over 25 minutes of my internet time just trying to connect to this very forum to answer these questions. I gave up and am now using one of Princess' computers in the internet cafe. Internet is bad on this ship, very bad. But it forces you to do things other than report back to other cruisers on Cruise Critic. :)
  22. It's supposed to be, we have not had it yet, but we are now halfway through the cruise. We're looking forward to it and I'll report back if it's offered. Waters have been rolling so the ship has been pitching and rolling a bit in the evenings. Not sure if that's affecting the schedule, but I hope we do have a chance to do that.
  23. I have not seen a curtain, but honestly it would be in the way. The cabin narrows between the bed and the sofa due to how the furniture is laid out. So it's kind of a natural separation. It's a nice cabin though.
  24. I have not seen that actually on the menu but I thought I heard one of the servers say that they had an additional item for an added fee. But nothing is actually listed on the menus for extra charge. As I mentioned in my review, we are sailing Club Class this time and we have been really enjoying the special prepared in the dining room each evening. I'll see if I can find out about the Crown Grill items tonight and report back.
  25. Yes, they have all the coffee drinks up at Coffee and Cones
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