Southern Caribbean Cruise
Nov. 12–19, 2011
Mary & Vincent Finelli
When Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz “There's no place like home,”
most people agreed. This was our sixteenth cruise on Princess ships
and our second on the Crown, thus we became Elite members of the
Captain's Circle and we were happy to find many of our old
We received a special
“welcome aboard” by Captain Andrew Proctor, Hotel General Manager
Martin Ford, Maitre D' Hotel Francesco Ciorfito and Cruise Director
Ron Goodman, who, together with other officers and crew, have been
phenomenal hosts. They create a home at sea atmosphere, that
immensely pleases the passengers, especially the repeaters. We were
greeted with an enormous bouquet of flowers from Martin which made
our stateroom fragrant for the entire cruise (carnations, roses,
lilies, snap dragons and baby's breath). Francesco reserved us a
beautiful table near the window and made sure that we had VIP
treatment throughout the cruise. We also had a personal note from
Capt. Andy hoping to meet us in La Piazza on Port Mornings! How nice
it is to be remembered and welcomed aboard in such a personal way.
What a great start to our Southern Caribbean Cruise.
For us “frequent floaters” it is easy to board in
Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, since we live 20 miles up
the road (I-95). A thirty minute ride from home and we were at Pier
2 to drop off the baggage and proceed to check in. As elite members
we also have priority embarkation, so we were escorted directly on
board after picking up our boarding passes. In only 15 minutes we
were in our stateroom, Riviera (Deck 14) #301.
The condition of the ship is excellent. Built in
Fincantieri Shipyards, Montefalcone, Italy in 2006 (Hull #6100). Her
Deck plan is exactly like her sister ships—the
Ruby and the Emerald. The Crown Princess is 951 ft. long, 118 ft.
beam and has a gross tonnage of 112,894. She has an international
crew of 1,200 and a passenger capacity of 3,150 and this cruise she
sailed full. Her top cruising speed is 22.5 knots. In Nov. 2010 we
published at this web site
review of the Crown Princess with a deck by deck
description which we will not repeat here; suffice it to say that
this is a beautiful ship splendid with fine artwork, marble and
brass. The many venues on board provide passengers with music, fun,
entertainment and privacy. Select your own preference and create an
individualized cruise to remember.
This ship has a well kept décor and an pleasantly gentile ambience.
For example try the 3:30pm “Formal Tea” held each afternoon in the
Da Vinci Dining Room (Deck 6 midship)—with
white gloved service, every lady feels like a queen. The general
atmosphere recaptures the vintage cruises of bygone times, with the
advantages of modern vessels. In other words the best of both
Stateroom #301, on Riviera Deck 14, is wheelchair
accessible. When entering on the left is the large bathroom with a
4ft.x4ft. shower with folding seat. There is a single sink with two
shelves and complimentary shampoos, soaps and lotions.
Next, flanking the bed, a queen size with puff and very soft
pillows, there are two low bureaus: each with a shelf and four large
drawers. A fixed reading lamp is too far away to turn off from the
bed. Ryan, our cabin steward, put two pillows in one pillow case to
fashion a firm one.
When entering on the right is an alcove with a floor length mirror,
large enough to park Mary's wheelchair. Then, there is a triple
armoire: one section has shelves and a personal safe; the double
section has adjustable dowels for hanging clothes. Next, there are a
TV, a Bar set up and a refrigerator (complimentary mini bar set up
for elite members). There is a long desk with a lighted mirror and a
chair. There are also a small circular glass top table and an
upholstered barrel chair.
The walls are beige, so is the furniture which is trimmed with maple
wood. The carpet is blue with a white diamond pattern. Blue drapes
cover the wall and a glass sliding door which opens to a spacious
balcony, where there are a small table, two chairs and one chaise
lounge, which Ryan added for Vincent. Ryan did several changes which
made our cabin very comfortable (a riser for the commode, a mattress
FOOD & SERVICE
Service on board is excellent in the proper but
friendly English fashion. The food venues reflect the elegance of
Maitre D' Hotel Francesco Ciorfito. The dining rooms are the
Michelangelo, the Botticelli and the Da Vinci, decorated in simple
wood paneled walls and golden sconces; the ceilings are dotted with
tiny twinkling lights that give a starlight quality to the rooms.
Our table for two was in the Michelangelo dining room, near the
entrance and by window. We enjoyed watching the sea during dinner.
Our Waiter Arturo Estrada (Mexico) was quick and polite. His
assistant Nemanja Filipovic (Serbia) was clever and interesting.
Head Waiter Dante Grecu (Romania) made the rounds efficiently. But,
it was Asst. Maitre D' Antonio Mana (Portugal) who greeted us every
night by name, making us feel at home.
Food on board starts with the Welcome Aboard Buffet, Deck 15, the
Horizon Court. There are many offerings of cheese, fruit, salad
bars, seafood salads, pastas and soups. The carving station featured
a turkey and all the trimmings—excellent.
Breads on board are terrific, hot and crusty. On Deck 15 is the
Trident Grill (Don't miss the pork and veal bratwurst! The Pizzeria
and the soft serve ice cream Bar are also located here (open 11am to
Each morning we had breakfast in our cabin promptly at 7:00am. Hot
delicious coffee from Ethiopia, hot chocolate, sweet rolls,
croissants, Danish pastry with apricot and orange marmalade, English
muffins with Canadian ham and eggs, fresh grapefruit and juices.
For lunch we either went up to the Trident Grill or down to the Da
Vinci Dining Room which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The noon
menus featured fried calamari, hot sandwiches, wings and ribs or
even elegant dishes like osso buco. The dinner menus have an
abundance of items both healthy and gourmet. Executive Chef Giuseppe
De Gennaro sent us a truly excellent wild mushroom risotto—delicious.
One night Mary had pheasant—a
reminder of her youth in New England. Vincent recommends the Frito
Misto (Fisherman's platter). Salads are great, but the desserts blew
the ice creams (pistacchio, nocciola and others taste like Italian
gelato, no artificial coloring or flavoring—superb)
and sorbets are made on board (the grapefruit sorbet was perfect).
It was a revolution on the palate.
Needless to say for us the food rates four stars. We also enjoyed
dinner at Sabatini's, the upscale restaurant ($20). It has a new
are the table side antipasti, now there are eight or so appetizers
to select from, including a “deconstructed” vitello tonnato! We had
a wonderful dinner with lobster and veal chop as entrees. Service on
board is tip top and a credit to Princess.
Cruise Director Ron Goodman is very personable and
friendly with the passengers. Each morning Cruise Director Ron did a
program called “The Wake Show” on Channel 21 during which he gave
the highlights of the day, interesting quips and hints on how to
enjoy the day.
La Piazza has live music
afternoons and evenings (pianists, a wonderful flautist and a string
quartet). On formal night Maitre D' Francesco created a magnificent
blue Champagne Waterfall in honor of Captain Andy. The champagne
flowed freely and a grand time was had by all.
The shows presented at “Movies Under The Stars” and in the Princess
Theatre were exceptional, such as “The King's Speech,” “Source
Code,” and “Captain America.” They also showed concerts by Bon Jovi
and “Beyonce, Live from Wembley,” and “The Killers at Royal Albert
Hall.” There is so much available that all ages should be
ping pong to dance classes to port tours. Just read the Princess
Patter so you won't miss anything. There are several Bars and Clubs.
Try the Adagio up on Deck 15 with an elegant setting and piano
music, or there is the Skywalker Nightclub on Deck 18. “It's the
closest thing to heaven,” as Deborah Kerr says in “A love Affair to
Remember” on the Romance Channel 25, or chat with Ron Goodman, he
likes to mingle with the cruisers.
PORTS OF CALL
This cruise did 4,450.24 statute miles, which is
quite a distance for a 7-day cruise, so that except for the three
days in port we traveled at top speed almost every night. Needless
to say Captain Proctor had the pedal to the metal a good deal of the
Day 1 Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA: Depart 4:26pm
Day 2 Princess Cays: Arrive 8:30am, Depart 3:58pm
Day 3 At sea
Day 4 Willemstad, Curacao: Arrive 12:00 noon, Depart 10:10pm
Day 5 Oranjestad, Aruba: Arrive 7:30am, Depart 5:20pm
Day 6 At sea
Day 7 Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA: Arrive 6:00am
This was a breeze. At 8:00am we met Luigi
(Sabatini's Maitre D') in the Crooners Bar Deck 7 midship, where
wheelchair assistance was provided. Luigi was very capable and had
the wheelchairs and passengers moving right long. In only 15 minutes
we were off, had collected our baggage and were through customs
check. Thanks Luigi, well done.
This was a great cruise, even better than the one we
had last year on this ship. We really appreciated the elite member
benefits, which include complimentary laundry and professional
cleaning services, shoe polishing, complimentary mini bar set up,
10% boutique discount, complimentary wine tasting event and more, in
addition to the benefits which we enjoyed as platinum members, such
as free internet time and Princess Platinum Vacation Protection
Upgrade. It really pays to be “Frequent Floaters.” While on board,
we purchased two more future cruises yet to be determined, so we'll
be cruising on Princess as soon we decide the itinerary. For now we
look forward to a cruise on Celebrity Eclipse, Dec. 10th. Happy
Cruising and best wishes for the coming holidays.
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