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This cruise was our 2nd on Princess and our 7th cruise overall. We had great service and a lot of really nice fellow cruisers. Living near Philly, we like to sail out of New York when we can because it's a drive of about an hour and forty-five minutes.
The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is brand new, and it shows. We drove up on a Sunday, so traffic wasn't too bad. I read that other people had trouble finding the terminal, but we found it with no problem. There are lots of police in the immediate area directing traffic, and it moved well. Once we got to the terminal, we pulled up and dropped our bags off, and then drove to the parking lot. The lot was adjacent to the terminal, and there were pleanty of spots for all the people who drove.
Once we got into the terminal, the line to check-in seemed very long. The terminal itself is spotless, but not many places to sit. They send you through a maze like you were going on one of the rides in Disney, and the line never stopped moving. We got to the registration desk in about 30 minutes, which wasn't bad considering the amout of people there. With express check-in it took about 3 minutes to get past there and get on the ship. For those of you who have sailed out of NY from the cruise terminal on the west side, the difference is day and night. No traffic horrors, and the terminal is clean and new.
The Crown Princess is a brand new ship. We were on her third voyage. She is a beautiful ship with lots of art work throughout. It isn't the best laid out ship that we have been on, but it only took a couple of days to get our bearings. We were on the Riviera deck which is right below the Lido deck. This made it very convenient to the buffet. We were located under one of the pool areas, and could here people walking above us during the day, but never really heard anything at night. Never a real problem The problem is that the cabin (a balcony cabin) was the smallest cabin we have ever cruised in. There was pleanty of storage space, though, and we got used to the size pretty quickly. The balcony felt about the size of all the others we have had in the past, with 2 chairs ( lounges) and a pretty large table. It was covered by the Lido Deck which jutted out quite a bit. We had some rain on the trip, but never got wet on our balcony.
The unique thing about this ship is the atrium. The bottom of the atrium is an area called the Piazza which is set up like a street scene in Italy. There is constant entertainment in the courtyard there, including any thing fom a piano player playing classical music, to juglers, to acapella sings, to magicians.You can view the goings-on there from the two decks above it as well. This is a real plus for the ship. Also in the atrium are two decks of boutiques, a piano bar, a wine bar, the internet bar,and the registration desk. The casino is right off the atrium, but since I never use it, I can't tell you much about it.
Another unique area is the Sanctuary This is an adults-only lounging area above the spa. There is a $15 charge to use the area for half a day (4 hours). The chaises in the area are much more plush than any I have seen on a cruise before, and much of it is covered. There is a pool there and food and beverage service. We never used the area, so I don't know what the sevice is like (as a matter of fact, we never even met anyone who said that they used the area). There always looked as if there were lots of space there.
The Terrace Pool aft is also an adult-only area and that area is where we were if we were out by the pool.
Over all the food was very good. We had dinner in the Botticelli Dining Room which is a fixed seating dining room. We had late seating. We requested a large table for dinner, but when we found our table, we were at a table for two. his was disapointing to us as we enjoy meeting new people and talking about our day with them. Luckily, the 2 tables for two right next to us had great people and it was almost as if we had a table for six. There are many more tables for 2 in this dining room than I have ever seen before. The menus are much more limitted than in the past, but I had no problem finding something I enjoyed each night.The lobster was excellent, probably the best I've had on a cruise. The next night was King Crab legs, and they were great also. Lots of seafood on the menu. Two formal nights: 1st sea day and 3rd sea day.
We ate breakfast every day in the Horrizon Court, and this too was good. The selection didn't vary greatly, but it seldom does.Lunch was either in the Horrizon Court, or pizza, or burgers. The lunch in the horizon court was consistantly good, but we just are never used to having such fancy lunches. The burgers were fine, but the pizza was not the best we ever had on a cruise. Since my wife is addicted to pizza, we still had to have some.
There were no midnight buffets that we noticed on this cruise, not even a grand buffet. The only place on the ship to get food late at night was in the International Cafe in the Piazza. They had specialty coffees and sanwiches. They also had pastries and cookies. These cookies may have been the best cookies that I have ever had on a cruise (possibly in my whole life), and they were free and always available. I can't stress it enough, if your on this ship, get some of these cookies.
The entertainment was only fair on this cruise. The Cruise Director is James Lay, but we have had better. He is a very nice gentleman. We never really get into the entertainment around the pools, but from what we heard, other ships do a better job of it. The Princess Theater shows were hit and miss. A couple of good comedians, and a very good singer, but another of the comedians was just plain bad. They have two productions shows. The first is called 'Destination Anywhere" which I enjoyed, and the second is called "Motown" which was hit and miss. I must say, though, that the kids who perform in these shows are some of the more talented performers that we've seen on cruise ships.
We really enjoyed the Art Auctions that they had on all of the sea days. Princess does a much better job on their auctions than the other cruise lines. We really learned lots about art on this cruise.
We did St Thomas, San Juan, and Bermuda . This is where the major problem with the cruise comes in. We were supposed to leave New York at 5pm, Well that came and went. A couple of hours later we heard that the reason we haven't left yet was that the ship didn't receive enough fuel from the company supplying them. We were told that they were expecting more fuel about 9 pm and then we would depart. 9 pm came and went also, and we were still in Brooklyn. We went to bed and were awoken at 12:30 by the captain telling us over the intercom that the fuel they brought was not the correct fuel for this ship, and we were going to sail anyway. He said tat we would refuel at our 1st port-of-call. Unfortunately, due to leaving late, we would be missing Grand Turks altogether, and our 1st port would be San Juan. We found out the next day that they were giving everyone on the ship a $200 credit per person and an extra day at sea. To be honest, there was not much grumbling at all about missing the port after this.
San Juan was just OK. Lots of police waking around the Old City with flak jackets on. That can make you a little nervous. We toured the city and forts, and did a little shopping.
St. Thomas is just flat beautiful. We toured the island and took lots of pictures, then we shopped. We really loved this island.
Bermuda is one of our favorite places. Unfortunately, we got there on a Sunday and most srores were closed. We took a glass-bottom boat and snorkelling excursion. This was very good. The snorkelling was great with lots of fish to see.
This was also great. The crew was helpful whereever you were on the ship, and very friendly. Our Cabin Steward was one of the best we ever had. He was vaery attentive to our requests, and was never intrusive. Our waiters in the dining room were great also. There was some minor problems, but I have to chalk them up to the ship being brand new.
This was the great cruise for us. I would have liked to go to Grand Turk. The extra sea day we had was also a fabulous day, and any day on a cruise is better than most. I highly recommend this ship.