We sailed aboard the Crown January 26 - Feb 5th. I have read many negative posts about the Crown lately so thought I would post my thoughts. We are not Princess cheerleaders although we have cruised with them enough to have Platinum status. We have also cruised Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity.
We boarded with no problem at all. We had our Medallions delivered to us at home so we were all ready to go. We did have some trouble with traffic around Port Everglades. There were eight ships in port that day and the traffic was incredible. We had rented a car with drop off right near the port and thought that if we dropped it off by 12 we would be on the ship shortly after. Didn't happen. We boarded at 230 due to the back up of people who had rented cars, were dropping them off and then waiting for the free shuttle to take them to the port. There had to be at least 100 people waiting in the shuttle line when we got there. The traffic was so bad the shuttles had trouble getting back and forth in a timely fashion. And the shuttle only held 8 people! So we had a long wait in the warm Florida sunshine. Next time, we'll drop off the car much earlier!
We had a Caribe deck cabin five doors from the back of the ship. We enjoy the Caribe deck's half covered half opened balconies. The cabin was fine, our room steward was a busy guy.
He didn't seem to have a helper with him. The bed was very comfortable and the hair dryer seemed more powerful than on past cruises and dried my thick long hair very quickly. Yes, there were a few areas of rust on the balcony, who cares? We had some noisy neighbors....wish people would realize how voices carry! My other pet peeve is letting doors slam when you leave your stateroom. Really, people, just close the door by hand.
The entertainment on board was good. They had an incredible opera singer at some of the shows. We saw two comedians and took advantage of Movies under the Stars to catch up on some movies we had missed. They came around with popcorn but I miss the warm chocolate cookies they used to bring around. We enjoyed the ports. We took a ship tour out to the Pitons on St. Lucia on a catamaran. It was beautiful and they anchored off a small beach so we could swim for about a half hour. I would recommend that if you want to hear anything the guide is saying to sit in the back with her because we were up front and heard nothing after the boat got out to sea.
At Turks and Caicos we just went to the beach right at the port. When we arrived after 1 there were plenty of open chaises with covers. They were free so we grabbed one right away. We soon found out why the seats were empty. The beach on the right side of the dock has a very rocky bottom, making it very difficult to walk out to deeper water. Luckily we had water shoes so we were able to get in but we saw many people struggling and finally giving up and leaving to go to the other side. I don't know if there was any charge for the other side or not.
In Barbados we spent the day at Bathsheba. It was gorgeous and quiet with very few people around. The taxi was $100 round trip. It is quite a good drive to get there, almost a half hour's ride. But we enjoyed it so much. You cant really swim at Bathsheba, the water is too rough which is kind of nice because not many people go there because of that.
In Antigua we went to a small beach area called Beach Limerz, about a ten minute cab ride from the port. The cab was $30 round trip for both of us. We had prebooked online. The place is very small, there were only about 15 people there when we arrived. Unfortunately they had already run out of cushions for the loungers so that was a problem. The conch fritters they served in the restaurant were good but the service there was nonexistent. After sitting at a table for ten minutes and being ignored by the waitress my husband finally went to the bar to order. The beach there was wonderful, no rocks and so refreshing.
In St Kitts we took a taxi to Carambola Beach Club. Beautiful beach, plenty of chairs. St. Thomas was a short day, we left at 3pm so we just browsed around the shopping mall and went back on board.
We had anytime dining and ate both in the MDR and in the buffet. Food on the buffet was lukewarm most of the time. Main dining room food was better in my opinion. Anything I don't have to prepare and cook is good with me. Is it the best food ever? No, certainly not. But we were never hungry.
Generally we noticed that there didn't seem to be as many waitstaff. Many times we noticed buckets of used glasses and utensils sitting around. Didn't see as many waiters in the Princess theater either. I suppose this has to do with the Medallion but the one time I tried to use mine to order drinks it froze and the drinks never came. We approached the bar to get our drinks and the waiter was closing up and couldn't help us.
We didn't go to Art Auctions or Frequent Cruisers cocktail hours so can't comment on those. Also didn't use the gym or spa other than using the spa swimming pool. One area that we did enjoy was the 19th floor at the back of the ship. They have a small putting green there and a walking path ...16x around is a mile. Great place for sunsets too.
The engine problem that the Crown has did not prevent us from making all of our stops. The last stop in Turks and Caicos was quite late, after 1 pm so it was after dark when we sailed away from there.
All things said, it was a wonderful cruise and I wouldn't hesitate to sail the Crown again. In fact, we booked another Princess cruise while we were on board 🙂