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  #181  
Old November 14th, 2009, 09:04 PM
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I'm home from the Crown today. Had a really nice time.

I did EZ Check with my luggage and just wanted to say it was great. It is SO worth the money. I got the airport, walked in the door, went straight to security and was through within minutes. It's wonderful. And, my suitcase DID make it home with me. I hope they have this on every cruise I take in the future.
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  #182  
Old November 15th, 2009, 10:24 AM
jackdiamond jackdiamond is offline
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We just had a report from a neighbor who yesterday returned from this cruise; and, they were disappointed. They taught bridge to some of their regular pupils and others on the ship were invited to join the group; and, our friends complained that some of those folks were late for the classes. Additionally, they hated the food; and, indicated that they would never again sail on the Crown.
We were interested because we sailed the Emerald for ten nights in April; and, we were pleased with the cruise, and the food. As a matter of fact, we are booked on the Ruby in March of next year; hence, we are interested in ascertaining if there has been a decrease in the service or food quality on this class.
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  #183  
Old November 15th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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We just had a report from a neighbor who yesterday returned from this cruise; and, they were disappointed. They taught bridge to some of their regular pupils and others on the ship were invited to join the group; and, our friends complained that some of those folks were late for the classes. Additionally, they hated the food; and, indicated that they would never again sail on the Crown.
We were interested because we sailed the Emerald for ten nights in April; and, we were pleased with the cruise, and the food. As a matter of fact, we are booked on the Ruby in March of next year; hence, we are interested in ascertaining if there has been a decrease in the service or food quality on this class.
I am curious were you neighbors brought on the ship by Princess to teach Bridge? They may have been on the ship under the entertainment department of which case it was possible they were kind of treated like crew in which they only could eat at the buffet.

But the one thing that you have to remember as much as you think you may know your neighbor Food is Subjective and not everyone has the same tastes in food as you might have. Food is one of those things that if you do not like it everything having to do with eating is bad and that includes service.

Princess is still filling those ships faster than many of the other cruise lines and since most of cruising involves food and dining they must be doing something right. I would not worry about it and enjoy your upcoming Ruby cruise
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  #184  
Old November 15th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jackdiamond View Post
We just had a report from a neighbor who yesterday returned from this cruise; and, they were disappointed. They taught bridge to some of their regular pupils and others on the ship were invited to join the group; and, our friends complained that some of those folks were late for the classes. Additionally, they hated the food; and, indicated that they would never again sail on the Crown.
We were interested because we sailed the Emerald for ten nights in April; and, we were pleased with the cruise, and the food. As a matter of fact, we are booked on the Ruby in March of next year; hence, we are interested in ascertaining if there has been a decrease in the service or food quality on this class.
Princess cannot make people be on time for activities. Some people have difficulty finding their way around the ship, and might run late because they got lost on the way. Others might just be inconsiderate enough not to care about inconveniencing others.

Food - highly subjective. That being said, it has been our experience that the quality of the food is dependent on the chefs who are on board. Over 90% of the time the food has been very good to excellent - depending. Occasionally, the cooking of the kitchen staff just isn't to our liking. IMHO the quality has not decreased at all, it's just sometimes you miss on the chef lottery. Not very often.

We did very much enjoy our Emerald cruise this past January, and thought the food on the Caribbean in August/September was very good. Boarding the Crown in a few more weeks, and hoping the chefs on board are some of the better ones!

We think Princess continues to deliver a reasonably consistent cruise experience, which we enjoy immensely.
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  #185  
Old November 15th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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LAVNVEGAS,
No, they did this on their own; and, apparently were given a room where they could teach the classes. I guess that the folks who did not report on time were people that the cruise line allowed to participate in return for our neighbors being allowed to use the room. It is of no consequence to me, since I do not play bridge; and, I do not sweat the small stuff.

Last edited by jackdiamond; November 15th, 2009 at 11:11 AM.
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  #186  
Old November 15th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mjksmonkey View Post
Dan-

Your updates have been great! Thanks so much for letting all of us tag along. We will be on the 11/28 sailing and one of our cruise traditions is a ship pub crawl. Can you confirm all the places onboard that serve alcohol? here's what I pulled from the Princess web site, but want to check as we're going to make up a little sheet to fill out as we go along for our post cruise memories. Thanks!

Princess Theatre
Aft Pool
MUTS Pool Bar
Neptune's Reef Pool Bar
Gatsby's Casino
Explorers Lounge
Skywalkers Nightclub
Club Fusion
Wheelhouse Bar
Adagio Bar
Crooners Bar
Speakeasy cigar lounge
You've got a good list going there and here are some comments:

I don't think the cigar "lounge" actually has any alcohol available in it. It's just a room where smoking is allowed...

Don't forget VINES on the Plaza deck for a great selection of wine...

Check to see if the International Cafe on the plaza deck has cocktails like the Lobby Bar or Patissere on other ships...

Enjoy the "crawl"!!
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Last edited by Av8tor; November 15th, 2009 at 02:00 PM.
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  #187  
Old November 15th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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I just came off the Crown and I will be posting my review shortly however I did want to comment on the food. I told my DH several times that this was some of the best food we have had on any cruise. The breakfast items were better. French toast, waffles, aanf egg mcmuffin type sandwitches were better. The lobster claws and tail were also the best I have had on a ship. Best onion soup and scallops. Of course not every thing was great but overall I really enjoyed the food and thought they must have a darn good chef.
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  #188  
Old November 15th, 2009, 05:41 PM
Dan Askin Dan Askin is offline
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Originally Posted by mjksmonkey
Dan-

Your updates have been great! Thanks so much for letting all of us tag along. We will be on the 11/28 sailing and one of our cruise traditions is a ship pub crawl. Can you confirm all the places onboard that serve alcohol? here's what I pulled from the Princess web site, but want to check as we're going to make up a little sheet to fill out as we go along for our post cruise memories. Thanks!

Princess Theatre
Aft Pool
MUTS Pool Bar
Neptune's Reef Pool Bar
Gatsby's Casino
Explorers Lounge
Skywalkers Nightclub
Club Fusion
Wheelhouse Bar
Adagio Bar
Crooners Bar
Speakeasy cigar lounge


Quote:
Originally Posted by Av8tor View Post
You've got a good list going there and here are some comments:

I don't think the cigar "lounge" actually has any alcohol available in it. It's just a room where smoking is allowed...

Don't forget VINES on the Plaza deck for a great selection of wine...

Check to see if the International Cafe on the plaza deck has cocktails like the Lobby Bar or Patissere on other ships...

Enjoy the "crawl"!!
International Cafe has a bar attached (for spiked coffee drinks or anything else you might want).

You can certainly bring alcohol (ordered from Gatsby's Casino is easiest) into the cigar lounge if you want to add a stogie to your crawl.
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  #189  
Old November 15th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TwinCruiserMom View Post
Hi Dan,

Thanks for all the info thus far! I am enjoying the pictures too

Giovanni was working the traditional dining room as head waiter in March, but he could be in any of them if he is onboard. I saw him walking through Michelangelo several times while we were dining. He also supervised up in the Horizon during lunch sometimes. I am sure he is well known.

Thanks
I met Giovanni in the DaVinci dining room last week on the Crown Princess.
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  #190  
Old November 15th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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Default Crown Princess Dining: A Chef's Table, Beards




When I asked about beards in the galley, I wasn't expecting a five-minute treatise ... but the response was the epitomy of the personalized attention you get from the tour. Here goes ... there's little place in the kitchen for beards (there are probably one or two, said the chef, of 250 galley crew). If you join the ship looking scruffy, they won't hold it against you, but you'll be given a beard-safe galley task (perhaps cleaning glasses rather than cutting vegetables). For some reason, moustaches are fine (not the curly, Rolly Fingers variety, keep it cropped, pleased) ... but even Francois had eventually decided to shave his signature stash. Why is he carrying around these photos? He likes to be reminded of his younger self.
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  #191  
Old November 15th, 2009, 05:55 PM
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Default Crown Princess Chef's Table



The number of times Princess' ships offer the service depends on the demand, but groups will be no larger than 12 people ... small enough not to obstruct the crew from working. Inquire about times on the first day of your cruise.


Like the Ultimate Ship Tour, there are lots of facts tossed out -- 1400 cold appetizers served a night, 400 Fettuccini Alfredos ordered every dinner -- and then it's time to eat ... the most food I've ever consumed in one sitting ... some of it cooked or "finished" (tableside sautéing of veal) by the chef himself. Here's a shot of chef and maitre d' in action during the galley portion.
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  #192  
Old November 15th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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Default Crown Princess Chef's Table



While we chatted in the galley with Francois and Guisseppi -- who've been on ships for over 40 years combined -- we ate canapés (750 calories total) including a king crab dish in a martini glass, mini quiche with truffles, foie gras and caviar. On a side note, if you combined those four appetizers into one megatizer, you'd have the most upscale canape ever.
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  #193  
Old November 15th, 2009, 06:02 PM
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Default Crown Princess Chef's Table



"Dinner" in the dining room at a reserved table: goat cheese soufflé (500 calories), Guiseppi's asparagus and lobster risotto (500 calories, incredible), palette cleaning raspberry sorbet with Grey Goose (100 calories), veal shanks/tenderloins with vegetables (finished tableside by the chef himself), lobster tails. I was told that my dinner plate (lobster, veal, vegetables in butter) was in excess of 2,000 calories. Didn't matter of course, as I couldn't fit anything else in the stomach at that point.

The baked camembert (by now they had stopped giving me calorie information) was the only disappointing dish, and odd combination of a mild cheese, pine nuts and port wine sauce. Just didn't work for me ... but then again I never had to eat again at that point. Cookies, Guiseppi's homemade biscotti and coffee followed.

Then there was the wine thoughout (refilled immediately post sip) and bread. Glasses of Champagne in the galley, red and white in the dining room.

All totaled, we're talking about 6,000 calories ... but again this will be your last meal on earth. I'd like to suggest that they finish the meal with a wafer thin mint...

One other thing: Besides the wine, food and galley tour, you get a Princess cookbook and a chef's jacket.
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  #194  
Old November 15th, 2009, 06:34 PM
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Default Crown Princess Port Day: Cozumel

So we ran a little poll prior to the cruise asking readers to select my Cozumel shore excursion. The winner was ... "Tulum Mayn Ruins and Beach Break." The winner is ... MSN-Travelers, who'll take home a sweet trio of Yucatan hot sauces.

As poster Shogun said on the fast ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen (26 knots, 12 mile trip), we dock in Cozumel to get away from Cozumel. So the first thing to know about visiting Mayan ruins (Tulum, Coba, etc.) is that they're on the mainland, the Yucatan ... and you'll be in transit for roughly half the day. Take the ferry to and from Playa del Carmen (45 minutes each way, with serious sea sway), and then a bus to the ruins (about an hour each way for Tulum). With a bit of loitering thrown in, it all adds up to 4-plus hours in transit. That leaves you with an hour to visit the ruins and about two for lunch ("local" food) and beach (at an approximately four-star resort).

Carlos (who called us his "amigos" and told us in Quintana Roo, "You don't have to worry about banditos...") and Enrique led the tour, a slick operation with pitch to buy a personalized Mayan calendar and stop at a jewelry store built in. The craft went too far when Carlos basically coerced everyone into paying an extra $2 to take the tractor trolley from parking lot to ruins (3/4 mile). "Amigos, we should all stay together, ok amigos? So we'll take the trolley then? $2 each amigos. Gracias!" Two other guys and I didn't want to pay the $2 (Carlos was annoyed, stopped calling us amigos), but to keep everyone together, they let us ride free.

What's been built up around the Mayan ruins at Tulum is terribly tacky (a Subway sandwich shop, Mexican hat and poncho hawkers, bars touting two Coronas and a tequila shot for $4, etc.) -- the ruins are not, temples and and other buildings set up on 40-foot cliffs that give way to Caribbean sea and sky:



You don't really get much time to explore (enough to get bit in the face by a mosquito -- definitely bring the DEET, which hawkers conveniently sell if you forget). After a quick primer on the Mayans -- inventors of the calendar, ancient brain surgeons, astronomers and mathematicians (credited with the concept of "zero") -- we were left to wander among the remains and iguanas. "Amigos, meet in front of the jewelry store at 12:15."
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  #195  
Old November 15th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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Default Crown Princess Port Day: Cozumel, Part 2

For part two of the excursion -- which I didn't mention was $129 through the line -- we headed 20 minutes down the road to the beach. Some were miffed that we didn't get to stay and swim right at the spectacular strip of sand situated 40 feet below the ruins, but ... as we arrived at Ak'iin Beach Club, any disappointment was sucked away with the tide. The food at the Ak'iin resort was more than adequate (it was great) -- guacamole, black beans, pico de gallo, steak fajitas, tortilla, salad. There was obligatory bar and masseuse ($1 a minute) ... masseuse wasn't good at keeping track of time, but was excellent at applying proper pressure, said fellow cruisers. After lunch, just about everyone headed to the water for a swim or beach chair for a snooze, something impossible a day before in rained-out Roatan. With just our group of 40 occupying the beach club, it provided a balance to the day, one part massively popular tourist site, one part lazy beach day.

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  #196  
Old November 15th, 2009, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambitiousspice View Post
I met Giovanni in the DaVinci dining room last week on the Crown Princess.
Thank you so much for reporting that Giovanni is still onboard! I will cross my fingers that he will be there for my December 5th cruise. If so, it will be the 4th time I have sailed on a ship where he is working
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  #197  
Old November 15th, 2009, 10:15 PM
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This may be a randomly weird question which you cannot answer, but here goes. My best friend and I are going on a Princess cruise on the 5th of December for my birthday. I really want to do the Chef's Table. She is "sensitive" to garlic. She actually loves it but it doesn't love her. A little isn't an issue but a LOT will make her nauseated a few hours after she eats it. Because of this we're going to pass on Sabatini's. And of course we'll ask when we try to sign up for the Chef's Table, but did you find it heavy on garlic?
I mean if it was garlic laden (as Italian or Chinese food can be for instance), there's no sense even trying to get on the Chef's table list.
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  #198  
Old November 16th, 2009, 02:40 AM
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Default cost of Tulum beach break

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Askin View Post
For part two of the excursion -- which I didn't mention was $89 through the line -- we headed 20 minutes down the road to the beach. Some were miffed that we didn't get to stay and swim right at the spectacular strip of sand situated 40 feet below the ruins, but ... as we arrived at Ak'iin Beach Club, any disappointment was sucked away with the tide. The food at the Ak'iin resort was more than adequate (it was great) -- guacamole, black beans, pico de gallo, steak fajitas, tortilla, salad. There was obligatory bar and masseuse ($1 a minute) ... masseuse wasn't good at keeping track of time, but was excellent at applying proper pressure, said fellow cruisers. After lunch, just about everyone headed to the water for a swim or beach chair for a snooze, something impossible a day before in rained-out Roatan. With just our group of 40 occupying the beach club, it provided a balance to the day, one part massively popular tourist site, one part lazy beach day.

It is gorgeous there and we enjoyed this excursion to the same resort and Tulum through RC last December, it was $89 for Tulum and the beach break. It sounds like that is how much the same excursion was for your sailing this past week. I wonder if you would know the answer to this, but why would the same excursion be $129 for the December 5th sailing? Tulum only is $79 and an 8 hour trip. Tulum and the beach break is $50 more at $129! That is a lot of $ for fajitas. I'd love to do that again but that is a huge difference!
Any idea why it changed so much in a month?
Thanks!
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  #199  
Old November 16th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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We are also booked on the Crown Princess on November 28th. Any hints or tips??
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Old November 16th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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We will be on the Crown next year and I have just looked at pictures of the beds in balcony cabin on a thread here and they do not look very comfortable. Can you tell us anything about them, are they more comfortable than they look?
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