|Age:||51||Cruise Line:||Princess Cruises|
|Number of Cruises:||13||Cruise Ship:||Crown Princess|
|Overall Rating:||Date Sailed:||04/14/2012|
|Embarkation:||Fort Lauderdale - Port Everglades, FL||Destination:||Caribbean - Western|
We first visited with KT and Gavin in Virginia and managed to fit in a mini-meet with Nieciez for lunch. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Friday April 13th. We had uneventful flights and made our way to Hyatt Place for the evening. After getting checked in, we walked over to Total Wine to get our bottle of Captain Morgan. Then to Five Guys for dinner. Walked back to Publix for the soda and water we would carry on.
Saturday dawned wet and stormy. I walked to the end of the hall and took pictures of the port and ships I could see. Fixed up our rum runners and packed for the shuttle over to the port. Had a leisurely breakfast and relaxed while waiting for the shuttle. We found out the Hyatt no longer provides complimentary shuttle service to the port. They now hire a service to provide shuttles to port. The shuttle driver loaded up the trailer in opposite order of drop off so those that were to be dropped first, would board last. When we arrived at the port, the line into the drop off location for us was backed up the street. The driver decided to go ahead and drop everyone else first, and we would eventually be last. After the long way around the port to the various ships, we were finally dropped off at pier #4. Since it was now after 11, there were VERY few folks left milling about.
We went through security without issue and sat a few minutes while waiting to check in. The check in process was quick and painless and we discovered we were upgraded from an inside to an outside a few doors from where we had planned on being. Our first upgrade! Woot! After getting settled in and meeting Oleg, the room steward, we had lunch at the international café. We then ventured out to see the ship. I took pictures all over the ship and caught a few of the port and ships in port.
Went to the muster drill and then made our way to the port side of deck 16 for sail away. We found a location just below the Crown Princess name and had our Cruise @ddicts flag so everyone would be sure to see us. (I would later see we didn’t put the flag up in time, and it wasn’t seen on the sail away video . . . .Darn! Off to dinner! We were escorted to our table and met our waiter Zoran and his assistant Maria. What FANTABULOUS personalities these folks had. Zoran proved to be the best waiter we have ever had on a ship. Maria had a great memory for who wanted which drinks, but was not as effective as an assistant as she could have been. She was often gone for very long periods of time to get things from the kitchen or bar. Zoran had help from other assistant waiters due to Maria’s shortfalls.
After dinner we went to check out the casino. I know, I know, you are shocked to read that . . . . . LOL Anyway, we played a few machines and made a donation to someone’s retirement account, we were walking from one area of the casino to another when one of the employees, stopped short and said, I KNOW YOU! It was the Casino host Alina. She emulates the C.R.U.I.S.E. credo that is Princess. She was the casino host on the Grand Princess March of last year. What a memory!
We signed up for “The Ultimate Ship Tour” at the passenger services desk and retired for the evening.
Day two, sea day. We enjoyed breakfast in the dining room and then spent time in the sun at the pool. A rather relaxing day, spent doing nothing much but reading, enjoying the pool, and of course our daily contribution in the casino. The casino was not our friend this trip. Oh well, it is still fun to play! Since this was the first formal night, we had dinner in the Crown Grill. We could enjoy this venue without dressing formal. What an incredible meal! Bread and I enjoyed the giant prawn appetizer, a salad, and then the filet mignon. They now serve three special salts with dinner. I was planning on being unimpressed, because after all, salt is salt, right? WOW! I was wrong. One of the salts offered was a blend called Yakima. It was an applewood flavored blend. Just put some on the plate to dip your filet in. It only took a VERY small amount to be effective! It had a campfire aroma, and woody flavor that was FANTABULOUS! It immediately brought back childhood memories of camping. I wish I could find that salt here, it was THAT good!
Day three, Cayman Islands. Another slightly blustery day was in store as we arrived at Grand Cayman. We tendered over and walked around town a bit so bread should find a new purse. This is THE port for that, she says. She went right to the store she wanted and lo and behold - - - -a new purse! It was VERY warm (for us). We went through a bottle of water and a lemonade before 10:30 AM. We met up with our tour group for the trip to seven mile beach. I was left unimpressed with the tour and felt we spent too much time standing around while waiting for the transportation. I decided that if we stop here again, we will most likely just take a cab to the beach. The facilities at the beach were less than great, but were adequate. Weather could have been better, but I did enjoy the water and talking to folks that were out there. Back to the ship and cleanup for dinner. The dining room was serving the Chef’s dinner and not something we wanted. Bread picked up some food from Café Caribe, and I a hamburger from the grill. We then watched “The Iron Lady” on MUTS. For those that wish to know, we think you should save your money and not see the movie. We felt it was a waste of 1.5 hours of our lives we will never get back.
Day four, Roatan. Finally, a nice sunny day! We arrived in Roatan and was surprised by the small size of port, and that fact that the ship backed in. Mahogany Bay is a BEAUTIFUL little port, in spite of the two ship wrecks that are plainly visible. We took the chair lifts from the shop area to the beach. Made it comfortable for us as we do not normally take that long of walk. It is certainly walking distance for the average person. A rather nicely paved walkway was beneath us on our way to the beach. We discovered this to be what we consider to be THE best beach we have experienced in the Caribbean. The swimming area is marked with rope and buoys, the sand soft and mostly rock free. LOTS of loungers to choose from. Several in a very nicely shaded area. There was a Fat Tuesdays there with waitstaff that would walk around providing service to those that asked. They were available without being the least bit pushy. They would ask if they could help you, and if you said no, they would thank you and walk away. WONDERFUL! The swimming area is nice and shallow. We walked well away from the shore and were all the way up to our . . . . .waists! The water was warm and clear. We spent a LOT of time in the water enjoying the sun. Found out near the end of the day that I had not put sun block on my tummy, and it was slightly pink. Okay, lesson learned. Be sure to put sun block on the tummy too, not just the back and shoulders. Back to the ship and clean up for dinner. It was Italian night in the dining room (one of my favorites). The Zoran and Maria were happy to see us back, and Maria was prepared for us with our drinks of choice without being reminded. I was impressed with this since we had only been there the first day, then missed the next two. After dinner we watched the hypnotist in the theater. The show was funny enough, I was just not that impressed with the hypnotist himself.
Day five, Belize. This was a tender port. After our normal breakfast in the dining room, we reported to the theater to wait for our tender. The tender is a LONG ride since the ships have to anchor so far out. We met our tour guide, and loaded up for the hour plus drive to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins. The guide was of Mayan ancestry, and was VERY interesting to listen to. The tour of the ruins was absolutely fascinating and I highly recommend it for others. I thought the city and roadsides of Belize to be rather dirty and trashy. I was a bit taken aback by that. The ruins were clean, and it was extremely evident the Government wants to make every effort to preserve them rather than just destroy them exploiting them. The ride back to the port got a little warm when the AC in the bus quit working. Another long tender ride back to the ship and then get ready for dinner. The dining room again for another nice meal and then back to the casino for our donation.
Day six Cozumel. We have been here before and had nothing planned. We walked through the port shopping area. Picked up a couple of things and went back to the ship. This was to be another relaxing day by the pool. And it was! We were set up uder one of the overhangs near the ice cream and pizza bar. Good thing, as a storm came through the area got VERY wet in the downpour. We cleaned up, and spent the majority of the afternoon indoors relaxing. After dinner in the Café Caribe (another formal night) we enjoyed the comedian Rolland Jay Moore. We have seen him before, and enjoyed his show. And we were not disappointed this time. Another very funny show.
Day seven, sea day. This was a very good day! We took part in the ‘Ultimate Ship Tour’. What a GREAT time. We enjoyed seeing a lot of the behind the scenes parts of the ship. From back (and under) the theater stage, galley, engine control room, to the medical center, print shop, photo processing center, to the funnel area and bridge. We were instructed to wear trousers, and we did. Several others chose to wear shorts, and we should have! It was very warm and the walking in hot clothes took their toll on us. If you get the chance to take part in one of these tours, I highly recommend it. When we got back to our room, there were robes and chef’s coats waiting for both of us. Nice! Later, they delivered several group photos of our tour. The tour cost $150 pp, but we felt it was well worth it. Very interesting, and very informative. Of course this was our last dinner in the dining room and we made sure to let Zoran know how much we appreciated his service. We enjoyed the Baked Alaska parade and said our good-bys to the waitstaff. Went back to our room to pack up and then make our way to our final deposit at the casino.
Day eight, disembarkation. We had breakfast in the dining room and was able to say goodbye and thank you to Zoran one more time. He set the bar that all future waiters will be graded by. After breakfast we cleared out of our room, said our goodbyes to Oleg the room steward and then went to the Piazza to wait for our disembarkation. Off the ship and to the shuttle for the rental car.
So ends the most relaxing cruise we have ever taken. I might point out that this was the first cruise that we have ever taken alone. All others were either group cruises or cruises with family and friends. The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship. The crew was the nicest, most helpful, and most happy crew we have ever experienced. I am guessing that has a lot to do with the Captain. The entire crew on board seemed to be happy to be there. And several specifically identified the Captain as a great person to work for.
All in all, another FANTABULOUS Princess Cruise!