We chose this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. We've had good experiences with Princess in the past, and we liked the itinerary for this cruise.
This was our second Christmas cruise, the other one being a couple of years ago on Celebrity Silhouette. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise (we always do), and I will try to give a brief rundown of what we found to be the pros and cons of this particular cruise.
Pros: Although the Crown is showing her age, it was still quite well maintained. We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck (9), which was quite spacious, and the extended balcony provided space for foot rests. Also had a 3-cushion sofa, as opposed to the old love seats. The cabin steward was great, and the rest of the staff was extremely friendly and eager to please. We had a favorite bartender (William) on our Royal TransAtlantic 2017 cruise, and he was on this cruise as well. Great to catch up with him. The fridge was ice cold, compared to those on previous cruises (all the lines we have been on, including Princess). The Medallion worked great for us. Embarkation seemed well organized, and we boarded in a fairly short time. A HUGE highlight of our cruise was the Chef's Table. It was SPECTACULAR, and well worth the $190/couple uncharge.
Now for the cons: My mattress was severely broken down, and I slept not a wink the first night. On the second day, they stuck a piece of plywood under it, but that didn't improve it much. They finally replaced it on the 3rd day. The TV in the sit-in area (where we preferred to watch it) worked sporadically. Our cabin steward rebooted it several times, but it still wasn't right by the end of the cruise. We had a free perk of a Balcony Champagne Breakfast, which looked lovely and plentiful, but was not hot and not especially good. We were grateful for it, but we wouldn't have paid the $45 uncharge had it not been a free perk. We were disappointed that there was no religious service (ANY Christian denomination would have been OK for us). We were told that the Cruise Director was doing something, or we could watch the Pope on TV at 1:00 PM. Maybe I'm being too picky, but we found the Christmas decorations lacking; probably because we were expecting something similar to what we had on the Celebrity Silhouette Xmas cruise (They did it up to the NINES). Disembarkation was a nightmare, because people opted to do as they pleased instead of proceeding as they had been assigned. Since we live near the port, and had left our car in Park 'n Go, we were stupid not to just wait until everyone was off and then just make our way off leisurely and drive home. We signed up for two Princess tours. The one to the Mount Gay Rum plantation, Signal Hill and the orchid garden was very enjoyable. The other one was St. John on Your Own", and it was basically a ferry from the ship over to St. John and back. The bad part was that we were lined up next to the ship in the hot sun for 1/2 hour, and then marched a long distance to an old tub of a boat (the name on the stern was half worn off, and it looked like a death trap to me). They were packing this mob into it. By then, we were the last ones in line (we are 74 & 78 years old), except for two elderly ladies behind us. We opted to drop out, rather than spend 45 minutes each way, packed into that enclosed boat. In fairness to Princess, they did refund our money, assuring me the "Nobody died today" (LOL). By far the biggest gripe we had about this cruise was the decline in the quality of the food since we started cruising with Princess in 2012. As I said earlier, the Chef's Table was magnificent. We also ate twice in the Crown Grill. The first time, my husband found his fillet (ordered medium) to quite dry, while my lobster tail was very good. The second time, his steak was good, but I was unable to cut up my bone-in sirloin. The big strong Maitre's saw my predicament, and cut up my meat for me, for which I was happy to tip him. Must say it was very tasty. However, my point is that we found the quality of the food has declined across the board. The MDR was the worst. The first night, the prime rib was very good, but one night I ordered a Cornish Hen that was not even browned, and was completely inedible. The turkey on Christmas Day was dry and tough. The pizza by the pool was still good, but the outside grill is nowhere near what it used to be. This overall opinion was shared by many passengers we spoke with. I will be the first to admit that I am a food snob. We like to cook, and it doesn't always have to be high-end, but we would rather stay home than eat sub-par food.
We now have 47 days on Princess, and have pretty much decided not to progress to Platinum. We're booked on a Celebrity cruise in March, so we'll see how that works out.
This was spacious, with a 3-cushion sofa (2/3 of which turned into a sofa bed). The balcony was extended, with room for foot rests, which was very nice. I would probably not choose this deck again, because it is fully exposed, and my husband has that white Irish skin that keeps our dermatologist busy. Great for sun worshipers though. Also had a bathtub with a retractable clothesline. Nice. I mentioned the problem with the mattress above, and that was replaced on the 3rd day.
We dropped off when we saw the overcrowded old tub that they were going to pack us intoView All 195 St. John Tour Reviews
Nice driver who took us all over island. No need to go back there