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About grg

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  1. I've been on many cruises but never a one nighter. How different is it in terms of entertainment, dinning, and activities, movies under the stars?
  2. I believe all ships travel west around Vancouver island. I also think that technically the inside passage doesn't start until you reach Alaska. I have taken 3 trips 2 on the Star and one on the Grand (I think it was awhile ago) to Alaska and all started out going west around Vancouver Is.
  3. My family of 4 just spent 4 days pre-cruise there in March. The pool area is nice we spent a good portion of each day there. The pool bar had good service and food. We ate breakfast at a place in a strip mall within walking distance called NY Marina Deli. The food was good and very reasonable. Regular breakfast items served on paper plates with plastic utensils. I had an omelet and fried potatoes, the rest of the family had French toast, both were very good. I went back later for a sandwich one day also really good. We did an Everglades tour to Everglades Holiday Park. It was about 3 or 4 hours long. We booked a VIP package that included transportation from the hotel and back. It included airboat ride in the Everglades (about an hour) then a short (15min.) alligator show including complimentary picture and water. We thought it was worth it the boat ride was very entertaining. The hotel has a free beach shuttle to Fort Lauderdale beach , I think it left twice a day. We used it once. the beach is close by we saw people walking there from the hotel. It's up over the bridge. We had to call the hotel for pick up as the driver didn't return when he said he would. I think it left a 11 AM and returned at 3 PM but it was more like 4PM. the hotel also arranges shuttles to the port for $12 a person. We planned to walk to the princess terminal (births 1 and 2) it was maybe a 10min. walk. My 9y.o. and I did it the morning of departure, but our ship Crown Princess was birthed at birth 14 about 2 mile away. We took an Uber for about $8 dollars for the 4 of us picked us up at the hotel about 10min. after we called it showed up and we were at the ship in about 15 min or so.
  4. Thanks again for the comments. We did have the old menu. It was an excellent cruise, and vacation! Still haven't quite got back to the reality of being home.
  5. Agreed! In the future I would either pay more for a mini suite or less for an inside. I have done inside cabins with 3 adults as well as with my family of 4 with no problems. But you can see from the pics the allure of a balcony is lost with the sleeping arrangements.
  6. Canada rocks and day dreamer you're welcome. The waiting is the hardest part! We were booked well over a year out for this cruise. Happy cruzer, I don't think I'm familiar with the Ruby menus, but ours had a Crown Grill insert. The always available was on the right side with the usual dishes, a different burger replaced the beef dish there. The left side had the daily menu. The always available shrimp cocktail had a pineapple salsa or something like that with it but you could ask for the regular cocktail sauce. There was the regular bread rolls and butter on the table that was the same but for one night they had really nice cheese rolls. Rocklinmon, Yes the bed came down from the middle of the room not by the wall. It pretty much cut the room in half we could see past the bunk bed when it was down. We had the bottom beds in queen formation and the initial queen placement had half covered by the bunk giving very little head space on that side of the bed. We ended up moving a nightstand and pushing the bed against the wall ourselves the first night but still there was a little panel that hung down off the side of the bunk lower then the actual bunk bed that turned into a head bump hazard. I think all 4 of us hit our head at least once. Very poor design. Even with the beds in twin the under bunk bed had little headroom. I don't know if all balcony rooms are the same but I would be hesitant to book a balcony room for three people. With the bunk bed down half the room cannot see the balcony or TV. Although without the roll-a-way bed you would have a little more space and access to the balcony would be easier.
  7. This is my first try at a trip report/review. The short version is. Great cruise, great ship, swim with dolphins, and never ever book 4 people in a balcony cabin! I’ve been on many Princess cruises and read many others reports and thought it time I share. Traveling with me were my wife and 2 boys, 9 and 11(we celebrated their birthdays on board), my older brother and his wife, and 2 of my nephews. All from the Seattle area. We were on the Crown Princess out of FLL. 10 day Eastern Caribbean Voyager, March 17-27. Ports visited were St. Kitts, Martinique, Barbados, Antigua, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. My family did 4 nights pre cruise in Fort Lauderdale. We stayed at the Hilton Marina right across from the Cruise port. The hotel was nice, we had stayed there in the past but only for the night before cruising. We were not in the tower but the west wing. No views of the port or marina just the parking lot. Service was average or a little below what I expected for a Hilton. One night our bed only had a sheet and duvet cover on it no blanket or duvet?!? It took almost an hour and a half and a trip to the front desk after calling to get bedding. The pool area was great probably the best part of the hotel. While in FLL we went to the Everglades Holiday Park for an airboat ride and to see alligators, my 11 year olds birthday request. It was a great time, we booked the VIP tour they picked us up and returned us to the hotel. The airboat ride was super fun and the captain very knowledgeable and entertaining. The ride was about an hour long zooming around the glades we saw 5 alligators and many different birds in the wild. It was overcast and cool by Florida standards and the captain was surprised we saw that many gators. After the ride there was a short alligator show. The park is owned by the Gator Boys guy from TV, he did the show himself. Well worth the price. We went to FLL beach one day to swim in the Atlantic. Great beach when compared to what we have in the NW. no rocks! The other days we lounged at the hotel pool. Now for the cruise! We Uber’d to the pier for $8 for the 4 of us. We planned to walk as it is just across the street about a 10 minute walk to births 1 and 2 The usual Princess ones, but the Crown was at berth 14. We arrived around 11 am and checked in with no line then waited about 15 minutes to board. On by 11:20 I think. Our stateroom was R525 with a balcony. It is advertised as accommodating 4 people with 1 bunkbed and a roll-a-way. Totally false! This was the only disappointing thing about the cruise. We have done insides with 3 and 4 people before with no problem. This was totally different with the beds set up the only place to really stand is in front of the bathroom. The bunk comes down from the middle of the room giving only about 2 to 3 feet of headspace for half of the bed underneath blocking any sightline in the room. In the evening it was pretty much a room full of beds. The roll-a-way blocked access to the balcony and took up any floor space, knowing that we would have booked either a mini suite or an inside. I think Princess should not advertise that 4 people can fit in that room. Otherwise our room steward Arvin was good to us, helping to make it work as best as possible. The ship looked good inside and out. All the crew members I talked to were friendly and open. I tend to talk to crew a lot. Only on the last sea day was it hard to find a lounger by the pool. No noticeable lines anywhere even on embarkation day maybe a short one at the ice cream bar . Bar service was good as well as the grill, pizza and ice cream. The buffet was good also. My youngest son was pleased to find that they had waffles for afternoon snack at the buffet; he’s a big waffle fan! I was introduced to star fruit there as well buy a server, probably the tastiest fruit I’ve had. The usual cruise activities didn’t intrude if you didn’t want to participate or watch. It was the first cruise that I actually saw whales in the sea, both jumping and spouting! We had an emergency evacuation the second day. They cleared the front half of the ship outside and the promenade deck as well as all balconies on the port side as a Coastguard helicopter came to take the passenger to a hospital in Puerto Rico. We didn’t go to any shows. Saw a special guest magician that was really fun. We went to trivia a few times but mainly just relaxed on ship. The boy’s loved the kids program in the Lodge. We let them check themselves in and out on sea days. They had foosball, air hockey, skeet ball, a lot of arts and crafts, movies, and of course computer games. They came back with a lot of stuff from the program some junk and some worth keeping. They got small stuffed whales as a goodbye gift. They get a “kids” patter in the room the first day with the week’s schedule. On sea days we would have breakfast with them then they would go to the Lodge and we’d meet back for lunch and pool time most days. Most nights they would eat dinner with us and leave before we were done to go to their evening activities. On port days after our excursions or exploring we would have to check them in and out of the program in person and be given a pager for contact until sail-a-way. We had Anytime Dinning that worked great for us. As I stated we were a group of 8 and the first 2 nights we had a 10 to 15 minute wait but from day 2 on the Maitre’d told us to just show up whenever we wanted as they were holding the same table just for us! Our Head Waiter, Sebastian, took excellent care of us. On several nights he brought us special dishes, a couple of pasta dishes, calamari, and a special dessert once. I think they were from the Club Class. The pastas were tasty the calamari not so much. My 9 year old told him he liked the bacon in the buffet so on his birthday he brought him a plate of bacon as a gift! It was a favorite time of day for us as a family to get together each night for dinner and share experiences not only amongst ourselves but with Sebastian and Natalia our waiter. Often we would stay late talking with them and each other. We booked all excursions through the ship. We like the security of that. St. Kitts was swim with dolphins. It is kind of expensive but well worth it. This was our 9 year olds birthday request and by far the highlight of the trip for us all. My wife had done it in the past and said it was incredible, I was more along the lines of we’re on vacation and it was an experience she wanted to share with the boy’s so let’s do it. It was fantastic! We were in the water with the dolphins for about 40 minutes we danced with them, pet them, held them, they pushed us by our feet, pulled us with their fins, had them do some other tricks. It was the most amazing thing to experience. It’s hard to explain until you experience it. But if you get a chance to do it go for it! I couldn’t recommend it more. In Martinique we did a catamaran sail/beach break. The sail was much better than the beach break. It was interesting in that the tour guide constantly reminded us that Martinique is part of France and the EU, things like “all our exports go to Europe “or, “we can travel to any EU country without visas” “we are all French citizens”. It seemed a little more than just national pride, almost as if she thought she was superior because of it. Incidentally I think the majority in our group was from the UK. Booking through the ship paid off here as we were late returning and the ship was waiting. A ships officer hurried us on board and we sailed minutes after boarding. My 11 year old was pleased to be the last passenger aboard just before the officer and 2 crewmen hauling in the ramp. Martinique was the least touristy of the ports. There is a neat fort near the cruise port but you can’t go in as it is an active French military base. In Barbados we went snorkeling over shipwrecks and saw sea turtles and stingrays as well. It was really fun snorkeling there. In Antigua we did a sting ray encounter witch was fun as well. We rode a small boat out to a sand bar on the Atlantic side of the island and had about an hour interacting with the rays or just snorkeling around the shallow bar. St. Thomas we basically stayed on the ship. After 4 busy days it was nice to just relax aboard and the boys wanted to be in the kids club anyway. Grand Turk we just hung out at the cruise port beach. There was a Carnival ship in before us so it started out crowded but they departed a few hours after we got there and gave us more room. It was a good beach day. I’ve only sailed with Princess, and each time it confirms my decision to choose them. There is enough that is different to keep me interested and enough that is the same to keep me coming back. As always the service is top notch.
  8. Something not mentioned is a few weeks before sailing call Princess and ask how many children are booked and they can tell you the numbers for each age group. Like everyone else our boys 9 and 11 both loved the club on the Crown.
  9. Cruised with our 2 boys when they were 1 and 3 and once with just our oldest when he was about 8mo. I was surprised how the crew treated them. The waiters, bar staff, room steward, even the musicians treated them fabulously. It never dawned on me that lot of them are missing their kids or young family members. Put a suit jacket and tie on a 2 year old and all of a sudden they are the talk of the town! We brought some small toys for them to play with at dinners and in the room. The kids menu worked great. The chicken strips are awesome. Order some for yourself, and try the Princess Volcano for dessert. We kept milk from the buffet in our fridge and got room service cookies once or twice. They were the only kids on our cruise so the kids programs were closed. They did let us use the rooms. There where some Legos and climbing stuff, an outside area that was netted in with balls and trikes. There was a wading pool up on a top deck that they used. We had a inside cabin and they had fun sleeping in the bunks. In the morning the would get chocolate milk at the international café bar and the bartenders were very nice to them. We traded off nap time in the afternoons, and my in-laws watched them a night or two so we could stay out a bit. We brought an umbrella stroller to use in port it was compact and didn't take up a lot of room space. We also brought some bubbles that we blew on deck which was fun. Overall it was a different cruise experience the previous trips without them. Not bad but different. A few earlier nights and a different schedule for the sea days with little ones. The boys had a good time on board. Loved the attention and all the goings on on ship. We took a lot of pics and used Shutterfly to make a picture book of the trip that they still look at 8 years later.
  10. Yes we used a folding "umbrella" stroller. We took our full size stroller on our first cruise and it took up a TON of space even in our mini suite. The umbrella stroller was nice and compact. We used it every time we got off the ship. if they were not walking one was in the stroller and the other on our shoulders. It was nice to have off ship because one would always get tired or if we would need to hurry somewhere. We didn't use any car seats or other carriers. It sounds like you are in a mini suite. You will have plenty of room. Definitely email the dietary people and when you get on the ship go see the Maître D and talk to them. They were very helpful getting food for our youngest. I would think they would get any special milk for you. The fridge is small. We would bring milk cartons from the buffet and keep in it. Room service cookies were great!
  11. Hi, I've done this trip twice once with a 9 month old and then again with his brother when they were 1 and 3. First off the boys were treated fabulously by the crew! I was surprised how many would want to talk or interact with our kids. You tend to forget they have lives outside the ship and are missing their own families. The first time we had a mini suite and a crib. plenty of room for the 3 of us. We called Princess ahead of time and they arranged baby food for us. We were asked what he liked to eat and how much before the trip and on embarkation met with the Maître de to confirm. He asked if we wanted it in our cabin or to be brought out at meals. Second time we did an inside. The boys (1&3) loved the bunk beds. the room wasn't too crowded as they were small. Both boys ate off he children's menu this time.(the absolutely best chicken strips in the world!) Again the crew was wonderful. We had fixed dinning and the wait staff took excellent care of us. having a little snack at the table ready for our boys, and other little things like that. Some of my thoughts: -Get a good "umbrella" stroller the compact folding kind. Our first trip we had his full size one and it took up a lot of space in the mini suite. -The provided baby food was great, cut down on packing. -The buffet was good always found something for our picky eater. At dinner fixed dinning with the same waiters was great. -The kids club was not operating on our second cruise. Not enough children but they let us use the rooms. They had Legos, balls, trikes, a play room. -As for packing "baby" stuff there are normal stores in Ketchikan and Juneau for getting things if you run out. -My wife and I are both from Alaska and I spent a lot of time in S.E. Alaska and my mother lived in Ketchikan (reason for cruise #1) so we just walked around the ports with our boys. There was enough to keep them and us interested. -For naps we took turns in the cabin. -Both are potty trained and we went to a pool everyday and played. It's an Alaskan cruise so the pools are pretty deserted! -With kids your daily cruise routine is changed it is still fun but just different. -Traveling with family is nice because you have built in help. my wife's parents were with us and took the boys for a night or two so we could be out late. -I have to say I talked with more cruise staff on these cruises than on any of my previous ones. I usually talk to them anyway but I found them to initiate conversation more when my boys were present. I'm sure you'll have a great time. It is a different cruise experience when you have small children. Be sure to tell us how it went.
  12. Looking for an everglades air boat/alligator tour. Looking at Everglades Holiday Park they pick you up and return you to your hotel. Anybody done this or have recommendations?
  13. We are a group of eight are sailing on the Crown. What table sizes are available in anytime dinning? We would like an eight top. Also what is everybody's experience with arranging the same table and wait staff for the entire cruise in anytime dinning? Thanks
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