Western Caribbean Cruise
Nov. 6–13, 2010
Mary & Vincent Finelli
This was our first cruise on board the Crown Princess, but her class
includes the Ruby and the Emerald Princesses which are exact
replicas, and we have sailed on both of them. The tradition of
creating new classes of ships built to one basic engineering design
is a good one, since passengers feel that they already know the deck
plan well from sailing aboard a sister ship. It also reduces time
spent looking for various locals on board--theater forward, dining
rooms mid to aft, Piazza or centrum Decks 5, 6, & 7, Buffet and pool
areas Deck 15 etc. The Crown Princess Captain Andrew Proctor can
usually be seen at morning tea with his lovely wife in the
International Cafe. He says that he enjoys this area of the ship
immensely because the open atmosphere invites informal conversations
with passengers. This kindly gentleman sets the warm mood of the
On Princess ships embarkation is speedy and orderly.
Baggage is taken at curbside and for wheelchair passengers there is
direct access to Priority Check In counters. All passengers go to
Check In counters individually marked with each deck name. This
system reduces long lines and needless waiting. The gangway once
again was quite steep, which means reversing the swing away pedals
on the wheel chair to protect them. Vincent also shut off his
scooter to avoid jamming the motor or gears. This was our 88th
cruise, so by now we know how to avoid equipment damage.
We arrived in Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, FL at 12:30pm and
had assistance all the way to our cabin C303 where we dropped off
our walker and hand luggage and were off to the buffet at 1:00pm.
After lunch Vincent went to the Crown Grill Restaurant where Maitre
D'Hotel Francesco Ciorfito assigned us an exquisite table for two,
by the window, in the Da Vinci dining room. Personal Choice Dining
allows us to dine at the same table every evening with the same wait
staff. Now all that remained was the Boat Drill at 4:15pm. On
Princess this is painless since the Muster Stations are indoors and
seating is available.
The Crown Princess is the first of three ships in
the Crown Class. She was built by Fincantieri Shipyards at
Montefalcone, Italy in 2006. She is Hull #6100 to come from this
venerable builder. There is an abundance of wood, brass and marble
which contribute to its elegant interiors. Throughout the ship are
many paintings and mosaics. Her Port of Registry is Hamilton,
Bermuda. Her gross tonnage is 112,894, her length is 951 ft. and
breadth is 118 ft. Passenger capacity is 3,150 and she sails with a
crew of 1,200. She has a cruising speed of 22.5 knots. There are
three sets of elevators: one forward, one aft and a Panoramic set of
lifts mid ship.
Gala Deck 4 has crew areas and the Medical Center.
Decks 5, 6, & 7 (Plaza, Fiesta & Promenade) are all public passenger
areas. Forward on Deck 5 there are passenger cabins and the
Laundromat (other Laundromats are on Decks 8, 9, 11, 12, & 14 aft,
and on Deck10 midship). The theater is located on Decks 6 & 7
forward. Plaza Deck 5 midship are the Piazza, with live music and
entertainment and the International Cafe, with terrific coffees and
hot chocolates, not to mention marvelous desserts, salads, soups and
sandwiches. Here is also served Italian Gelato (three huge scoops on
a special elongated dish for a $1.50). There is a beautiful Peacock
mural and mosaics everywhere and even on the floor. Midship are also
the Internet Cafe, with its many interesting chiaro-scuro
photographs of Venetian scenes, the Travel Cafe Escapes, the Vines
(a wine and cheese bar), the Future Cruise Sales, and the Art
Gallery. Aft is the Michelangelo Dining Room.
Fiesta Deck 6 midship has the Gatsby Casino, Reception Desk and the
shops of Meridian Bay. Aft is the Da Vinci Dining Room, with its
light maple wood walls and low ceilings and lovely art work. Aft is
the Botticelli dining room, accessible only from the upper decks by
the aft lifts. On Deck 6 forward is the lower level of Princess
Theater with wheelchair accessible seats through a corridor.
Promenade Deck 7 has the promenade around the ship with the
exception of the forward part, which continues through the stairs on
Deck 8, Emerald deck. On Deck 7, forward there is wheelchair access
to the upper level of Princess Theater. Here are also the Wheelhouse
Bar with its nautical décor and the Library with its excellent
Decks 8 through 14 (Emerald, Dolphin, Caribe, Baja, Aloha, and
Riviera) are mainly for passenger cabins and suites.
Lido Deck 15 forward has cabins, midship are the Trident Grill with
more mosaics, the Neptune's Reef & Pool with the Pizza and Ice Cream
station. At midship there are also the Pool and the Movies under the
Stars. Aft is the Horizon Court & Terrace for buffet dining.
Sun Deck 16 forward has the Lotus Spa with the Beauty Salon, Sauna
and Massage rooms, Aerobics, Fitness Center, and the Hearts & Minds
wedding chapel. Aft is Sabatini's gourmet Italian Restaurant and the
Adagio Bar with elegant entrances of wrought copper grape vines.
Sports Deck 17 forward is the Sanctuary, an exclusive area reserved
for sunning and relaxation. All the way aft are the Teen Center with
Chill Out, The Fun Zone, Off Limits and the Video Arcade.
Sky/Star Decks 18/19 have the Center Court, Cybergolf and the
Jogging Track, and the Skywalkers Night Club at the top.
This is a beautifully kept ship with much to do for all ages.
FOOD & SERVICE
The service on board is top notch--fit for a
queen--every afternoon at 3:30pm High Tea is served in the Da Vinci
Dining Room. This is a must experience. Maitre D'Hotel Francesco
Ciorfito is a patient and kind man dedicated to giving the
passengers a wonderful experience on board. Head Waiter Giuseppe
Renda made us welcome each evening in the Da Vinci. Sous Chef
Federico Femiano sent us some marvelous specialties like Lucullus
(egg plant rolled around angel hair pasta, baked with a tomato sauce
and mozzarella cheese and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano), and a
Risotto ai funghi (mushroom risotto) that was delicious. Our waiters
each evening were the very adept Douglas Garcia and his assistant
Despot Cvedanovic. They served the meal at a nice pace and always
with a smile. We especially like the crisp salads and innovative
soups including the cold ones (Pina Colada, pear, and peach were
Lunch time was always pleasant with the the very cordial waiter
Enrique. Head Waiter Mihai Baroi was everywhere on board and
overlooking everything. The luncheon menu is quite good, in fact we
think the best afloat: including fried Calamari, Vitello Tonnato,
osso buco, etc., items usually found in upscale restaurants only!
We ate dinner in Sabatini's ($20) with what seemed like 18 courses.
Our table was next to a fountain and the delightful room design is
repeated circles of round tables and wood décor with a huge Tiffany
ceiling globe, similar to the one in the centrum. All in all a
gorgeous room. All the breads on Princess are exceptional, but the
Food & Beverage Supervisor Claudio Guarnieri told us that the
Corporate Executive Baker was on board to “Tweak” the recipes and
has already had great success with the focaccia.
Since this was our
fifteenth cruise with Princess, we are now Elite members and were
invited to breakfast in Sabatini's. Excellent! Mary recommends the
poached eggs served over tiny roasted potato cubes in a snifter of
sorts with Hollandaise sauce on the side. Vincent recommends the
freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice with James Beard's French
toast, or an excellent Belgian waffle. Sous Chef Ivano Milani (a
student of Executive Chef Antonio Cereda) makes Sabatini's a
terrific place to dine. Vincent, as an Italian, usually avoids
Italian food when dining out, because he is afraid of being
disappointed, but not on Princess with her many terrific Italian
born chefs. We feel Princess has the best food on the seas. Hotel
General Manager Martin Ford has every right to be proud of the
service aboard the Crown: It is superb!
C303 on Caribe Deck 10 is a wheelchair accessible
cabin with ample space. When entering on the left is a parking area
for the wheelchair and next a triple armoire, with two sections for
hanging clothes and one with shelves and a personal safe. Next,
there is a flat screen TV and a refrigerator, a long counter area
and one cabinet with two drawers. There is also a small round coffee
table and two chairs.
On the right when entering, there is a large bathroom with a fold up
shower seat and a single sink with shelves for amenities. All was
nicely tiled and kept exceptionally clean by our Steward Marius.
There is a large queen bed with a puff quilt. The bed is flanked by
two bureaus with four drawers each and a reading lamp too far away
to shut off from the bed. The décor is blue, gold and cream, very
The balcony is oversized and held two lounge chairs, two chairs and
a table. There was a cover over half of it. It was very convenient,
private, and protected. We were very comfortable here and the
chocolate dipped strawberries and fresh fruit daily made life a
Princess always has excellent music in the Piazza,
the Dining Rooms, and on deck poolside. Cruise Director Ron Goodman
leads off the cruse with a Sail Away at Neptune's Reef on Deck 15
and the music and dancing begin. In the Explorer's Lounge on
Promenade Deck 7 there was an early movie “Oceans” and the cruise
was off to a great start. The Princess Theater usually has two
nightly shows: 7 and 9pm. We dined at 5:30 and sometimes made the
early show. The Princess Orchestra and Dancers star in two shows
“Motor City” and “Destination Anywhere.”
The Piazza has many entertainers among which were “Duo Alia” (two
gorgeous girls who did “adagio body balancing” a unique acrobatic
routine. Then there is the Champagne Waterfall Party hosted by
Captain Proctor and built by Maitre D' Francesco Ciorfito, where
many ladies had their pictures taken with the gracious and patient
Francesco. This was formerly held at midnight, but has now been
moved to 7:30-8:30 pm with free champagne for all. There was an
abundance of comedians on board. We thought the best was Cary Long
in the Explorer's Lounge. The well organized “Princess Patter” lists
all the daily activities and events—Go have a ball.
PORTS OF CALL
Day 1. Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, FL Depart
Day 2. At sea
Day 3. Grand Cayman Arrive 7:00am Depart 4:00pm
Day 4. Roatan, Honduras Arrive 10:00am Depart 5:00pm
Day 5. Cozumel, Mexico Arrive 7:00am Depart 8:00pm
Day 6. At sea
Day 7. Princess Cays, Bahamas Arrive 9:00am Depart 4:30pm
Day 8. Ft. Lauderdale, FL Arrive 6:00am Disembark 7:00
Debarkation was as organized and simple as
embarkation. Passengers were called by their luggage tag colors.
Wheelchair Passengers met at the Crooner's Bar and, since our color
was already called, we had immediate assistance, thanks to our new
acquaintance Food & Beverage Manager Claudio Guarnieri. We were off, collected
our luggage, and were through customs, passport check, and outside
awaiting our son Marcello by 8:30am. Excellent!
This was our fifteenth cruise on Princess and
another pleasant one. We are now Elite members of the Captain's
Circle, so we look forward to more cruises on Princess ships for the
enhanced benefits, such as complimentary Mini Bar set up, free
laundry and professional cleaning services, deluxe canape
selections, and, most of all, the special breakfasts at Sabatini's!
However, our next cruises will be a 3-day cruise to nowhere on the
new Allure of the Seas Nov. 23rd and a 7-day Eastern Caribbean
cruise on the same ship in Jan 2011. Happy Cruising!
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