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Crown Princess Eastern Caribbean voyager review/report

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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.

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Thank you so much for the great review. We loved the Crown Princess so much this year that we've rebooked her again for 2020! 🙂

 

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Thank you so much for your review! We'll be on the Crown for the first time in September--can't wait!

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Thank you for the review.  Is the Crown using the older style MDR menus or the ones that have been trialed on the Ruby?

 

Again, thanks.

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Thank you for a great review!  I have a question about your cabin.  We are booked with three people in one like that on the Crown in June.  You said that the bunk came down in the "middle of the room".  Does this mean it wasn't above the bed by the wall?  And do you happen to have a photo of the bunk set-up?  Any info would be helpful. 

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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.

 

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Wow thank you for these photos!  Definitely not what I was expecting from our past balcony cabins with a bunk.  

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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.

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Yes it's weird, I've seen a youtube video of the same category of cabin on Aloha deck on Crown and the bunk is by the wall so not blocking the view like that.  I wonder if it has to do with a category BB cabin vs. a BC?  I'm so glad you mentioned it and posted these photos.  

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Thanks, sounds like the older menus and I love all the pictures and info you have provided.  Here is an example of the ones on the Ruby from ericopia's excellent review:

 

image.thumb.png.ebc41bf0e1f5cfe96ae4b86f2eef0538.png

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I enjoyed your review.  Glad it was a good cruise.

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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.

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