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We have cruised more than 35 times. This is our 3rd Princess cruise.
Pre-cruise: We stayed at the Comfort Inn on 46th Street in the heart of Times Square. Excellent location but the church next doors bells start ringing at 7 am. Didn't bother us since we were already partly awake. We did some shopping and grabbed a deli sandwich when we arrived. Hotel was clean and the staff good. We arranged car service to the pier with Carmel Limos. They sent us a driver that had no idea how to get to the pier but he had GPS and since I had the address we had no problems.
Embarkation: We embarked the Crown at the new Brooklyn Terminal. Princess did a wonderful job and we waited only about 10 minutes to board the ship. We went right to our cabins and settled in. We were in Caribe 714. Good cabin with a balcony 1/2 shade 1/2 sun. Excellent location.
The Ship: The Crown is a beautiful ship with lots of room to roam. It is very similar to the Caribbean Princess. We never really felt crowded but we avoided high traffic events like the Champagne waterfall and the Captain's party. We loved the addition of the International Cafe and the Coffee Bar. I purchased the coffee card for $24 + tip. Well worth it to this coffee lover. We did not go to the Sanctuary but did use the aft pool. Get there early for a seat. Bar staff at Mermaids there was wonderful. The piazza where the International cafe (charges for some items) and the Coffee bar are located was great. Also there is Vintages wine bar. There were several performances there each day, jugglers, bar demos, food demos, singers, etc. Fun place to hang around. We did experience a short blackout in San Juan but it was handled well. Some of the crew was still there from the list and a few looked pretty nervous. I couldn't blame them as I was thinking the same thing. At least we were in port.
The Crew: The cruise director was Omar Lugo who used to work for RCI. All the cruise staff was wonderful but we loved Matt as he had great spirit. Our cabin steward Nora was good and we had no issues with our cabin whatsoever. All the bar staff was great, especially Stefano in the International Cafe.
Dining: We had traditional 2nd seating and were very pleased. Last year we tried anytime and felt it was missing something. We loved our waiter Jozeph and our Head Waiter Francesco. They were excellent and took very good care of our special requests as well as surprising me for my birthday with a cake. Francesco really spoiled me with Calamari, Focatti bread, and Octopus just to name a few. All excelllent. The first few meals were just OK. Once we got to Italian night everything got much better. The last evening was the baked Alaska parade and we loved it. This is one of the things we were missing with anytime dining. Also we were able to develop a nice relationship with our waitstaff, also missing from anytime. We never felt rushed. We sat next to a wonderful couple we met through another cruise board and enjoyed each others company all week.
The buffet was typical cruise food. I thought the quality dropped a lot since last year on the Caribbean. The sandwiches and the Quiche were excellent as well as the cookies. The cakes looked great but not worth the calories. Ice cream is served on the closed side of the dining room from 3:30 to 4:30 each day. 4 flavors to choose from, try the Rum Raisin and the Melon sorbet. We tried lunch in the dining room and had excellent service as well as good food.
Ports: We went to St. Thomas, San Juan, Royal Dockyard Bermuda and Grand Turk. We didn't get off the ship in San Juan and St. Thomas except to pick up some wine and other small items. Princess allows you to carry on wine and no one even attempted to take it from me. Grand Turk was HOT and very expensive. This will be a great port once it's built up more. Many of the stores are unoccupied and the only real stores here are Goodmarks Jeweler and Del Sol. There were a few huts with local crafts, pretty much what you can get anywhere in the Bahamas. Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville was here and looked great. They had a pool with a swim up bar and many said it was wonderful. Bermuda was the main attraction for me. We took the water taxi to Hamilton and enjoyed strolling the streets and talking to the locals. We stopped for some refreshments along the way and enjoyed our fact finding mission. I plan to return again to see more. We were docked at the Clocktower mall and there were some good shops also more of the usual souveniers. I did enjoy going into the "Bermuda Triangle." Great little store and supposedly part of the real Bermuda Triangle. Met the owner and she was lovely to speak to and she helped my pick out true Bermudian souveniers.
General: If your looking for a relaxing cruise Princess fits the bill. We spent much time doing absolutely nothing! It was wonderful.