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Sail Date: December 2018
Our two families sailed on NCL for Christmas last year and had so much fun that we decided to do New Years this year. Sailing out of San Juan on the NCL Dawn was easier than expected. Taxis have a set price per zone plus $1 per bag. Our ... Read More
Our two families sailed on NCL for Christmas last year and had so much fun that we decided to do New Years this year. Sailing out of San Juan on the NCL Dawn was easier than expected. Taxis have a set price per zone plus $1 per bag. Our hotel was near the airport and cost $20 plus bag fee. An Uber XL cost $14 for the 10-12 minute ride to the pier. We arrived on time and there were no lines and we were on the ship in minutes. We had a balcony and inside stateroom for our party. The walk in shower with good water pressure was spacious. No complaints at all with the cabin. Our stewardess Dorina was always smiling, pleasant and funny! She was a joy to see every day. In fact, when guest services dropped the ball on handling our defective safe, Dorina stepped in and had security present in 5 minutes! The bartenders work very hard on this ship. Two really stood out: Ian at the Bimini bar and Arthur at Topsiders. Ian took his time to make the drinks properly and was courteous. He made serving you more personable. Arthur hands down makes the BEST margaritas on the ship! The man is a wizard. While all our servers were very professional, we had only one kink for service at Le Bistro. Two of us had the specialty dining package while the other two did not. The waiter switched the check so we had to pay for 1 dinner that was supposed to be on specialty dining and did not for the other. The difference was about $25 extra we had to pay. Rather than argue about it we just ate the difference. However the next time evening that we dined there, and the food was really really good especially the seafood medley appetizer, we got the same waiter! I pedantically explained which two people had specialty dining and who did not BEFORE we ordered. He screwed up the checks AGAIN and we had to pay about $25 extra. I brought it to his attention and after much waiting he returned and mumbled that it was all fixed and we left. It wasn't fixed at all. This is a minor thing that didn't ruin our cruise but it was an unprofessional thing that I'd expect at a Denny's or Burger King; not on NCL. While our server (Agnelo) was a pleasant and smiling person he needs more training. So my recommendation is if you get him as your server then ask for another. We also dined at Cagneys and had a great meal. I liked the atmosphere at Le Bistro better though. With regard to the entertainment, the dancers and singers were excellent! Elements is a big stage production and a must see. We actually met a group of performers on the beach one day, including Emily and Lucy, and spoke with them. They were the nicest of people. Also a big shout out to the movie skit crew show. That was a really good low-budget performance that had us in stitches! As for the ship itself, it was easy to navigate around but for the life of me I don't get the space for the dinosaurs on the aft deck. I'd make seating and even a bar/grill like the Jade rather than that kid zone. In all the times I passed that section, I never saw any kids there. Which tells me it is under utilized space. Overall, the Dawn is a nice ship but we prefer the layout of the Jade better. The ship did not feel crowded at all even on the at sea day especially when compared to the Epic. There were plenty of loungers to go around. Lastly, the southern Caribbean itinerary was a show stopper! Fantastic. I'd do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I agree with Cramp's review from their cruise the week before ours, both in December 2018. We were only one family of four in D530, a balcony cabin with four twin beds. It was tight but worked well for us considering our budget. ... Read More
I agree with Cramp's review from their cruise the week before ours, both in December 2018. We were only one family of four in D530, a balcony cabin with four twin beds. It was tight but worked well for us considering our budget. A suite would have been more comfortable but I would use this room and in this configuration again. I think rooms from D510 - D530 are all great choices. We had a balcony room and not a deluxe balcony room. If we go again I would try the deluxe balcony because our balcony was really tight for all four of us to stand and there is only room for 2 chairs so we couldn't all eat breakfast out there, which would have been nice. We were just above the tender/lifeboats on deck 9. Deck 8, E rooms, are at the same level as the lifeboats and on tendering day will probably be really loud. We could hear them but with our balcony door closed it wasn't too loud, and we wanted to get ready to leave the boat so it didn't matter to us. In general, lines and waiting put a real damper on our cruise, so much so that I don't want to go again. Embarkation day was impressively fast and easy, and started our vacation off well. The disappointment started with the first port, Princess Cays, and the long hassle to get on a tender and then again to get back on the ship. The same happened in Grand Cayman. On disembarkation day we had to exit our room by 8AM to sit in a dining room with all other passengers and sit there long after our 9:30 departure time, listening to them call out all the luggage tag colors. Once off the ship, get in line to find luggage, then in line for customs, then in line to get on the bus to the airport, then wait to get to terminal, then in line at terminal, then in line to drop luggage, then in line at security, then finally, waiting at the gate for the airplane. What a horrible way to end a restful week. Wheelchairs are the best hookup here and will get you expedited. Compared to my terrible experience, reviewer Cramp had a wheelchair and was out in 20 minutes. Also, I would never again put my luggage out for Princess to take the night before. My family is perfectly capable of taking our own luggage off the ship and into the customs line and this would have allowed us to walk off the ship at will at 8AM and get on a bus to the airport. We could've avoided the entire, "sit in the dining room" debacle. I don't have any suggestions for making tendering more tolerable, just plan on waiting a lot...or choose a cruise that uses piers for all ports. I talked so much about the part that ruined our trip but everything else was wonderful. My 13 & 14yo teens loved the beach house teen center and we allowed them to roam freely about the ship. We gave them a time to meet at our room for dinner and we gave them a curfew, usually 11:30PM so we could all go to sleep together. Many families let kids stay out all night according to our room steward, and it worked fine. We bought the drink package for our kids so they could drink as much soda, juice, and mock cocktails as they wanted, and they loved it. They ordered virgin frozen margaritas from the bartender every day. We used magnetic hooks and clips to clip our medallion and ship card lanyards, hats, and important papers to the wall. As other reviewers noted, the walls are all metal and magnets work great. We didn't buy internet intentionally so we could unplug..mostly to make the kids unplug. We have t-mobile One cell provider and though we didn't have service at sea, we did have service at each port, usually inclusive and at no extra cost (included as part of our regular US stateside plan). In every dining room the water, milk, fruit juice, and coffee (with cream and sugar available) are free, included in the cruise price. Soda and alcoholic beverages are for sale. There are coffee shops on the ship where you can get custom made coffees with syrups, these Starbucks type coffee shops sell coffee, this is what is purchased via the coffee plans, not the free coffee served in all the dining rooms and buffet style cafeteria (Horizon Court). You do not need to buy any beverage plan to drink all the water, juice, milk, and coffee you want during the cruise. If you want alcohol or soda you can buy them individually or buy an all you can drink plan. The ship laundromat has three ironing boards and irons and the washers and dryers operate by charging your ship medallion, no cash needed. Let the ship's photographers take pictures of you at all stops and in the dining rooms. We didn't care for it but in hindsight, some of our best pictures are those and I wish we would have taken a minute on the piers and disembarkation ramps, and at dinner, to let them photograph us. You don't have to buy them but you might want to. We rented the basic tuxedo for just under $100 from cruise line formals and it worked wonderfully, we'll do it again. My husband and teen son both had their tuxes waiting in the room and we left them there on departure. The quality was excellent and couldn't be easier. Menus for the dining rooms are posted outside the dining room so you can choose where you eat based on a preview of the menu. We chose anytime dining because we like the flexibility to eat when and wherever we want. We also used room service daily. We drink our morning coffee in our room every morning and you can order anything they serve in Horizon court so don't limit yourself to the menu card you find on your pillow each night. My kids loved getting french toast and syrup delivered to the room (no cost). When returning to the ship after exploring a port, order room service right away to beat the rush, having a snack while showering and dressing for dinner kept our family in good spirits. We brought our own snorkels and masks and carried them in backpacks to every port so we could snorkel anywhere and not have to rely on a mask rental facility. Cozumel has the 2nd largest reef in the world. We took the Atlantis submarine excursion there and thought it was excellent. We went down to 102 feet. If that's not your thing, I strongly suggest you snorkel at Chankanaab Marine Park. It is my favorite place to snorkel, there are statues underwater for you to discover. The taxi from the port cost $12US and entrance to the marine park is $21US per person. The taxi takes about 15 minutes without heavy traffic. The trip back to port took us 45 minutes in very heavy traffic, stop and go traffic. We took the Dunn's river falls and dolphin park excursion in Falmouth and although the tour guides at the Falls were annoying with their attempts to make us perform for their video cameras, the falls are so beautiful and unique that we would all do it again. The dolphin park was fantastic for a dolphin lover. For $20US my daughter got to have a dolphin push her on a boogie board and she and the dolphin faced each other and the dolphin pulled her through the water on it's stomach, called a belly ride, I think. ....for $20!! Amazing value in my opinion. We received free lunch in the cafeteria upstairs by the shark pools and the jerk chicken and jerk sauce (on the side) was the best i've ever had. It looks low budget, but tastes great. In Grand Cayman we took the Turtle Centre , Hell, Rum Cake tour because I love sea turtles. Everyone can hold turtles, they are in tanks and you can reach in and hold as many as you like, they have small and medium sized ones to hold. No hatchlings this time of year though, I was disappointed about that because I wanted to see them in their tiny stage. Hell and Rum cake were not at all exciting to me but I enjoyed the driving tour so we could see the island beyond the port. The rum cake factory sells beer for $1.88 each US, so it is a great place to sit by the water or on their shaded porch, and drink a few cheap beers. There is an almond tree next to the parking lot, on the right side of the building as you look at the angel and devil photo-taking activities. We smashed them open with a rock and they are different from those purchased in the grocery store in the US, but delicious anyway. In Princess Cays we used the surf fishing excursion and my son, the fisherman, considers that his favorite day of the cruise. He caught a yellow tail snapper and a parrot fish. The rest of us caught nothing. Bring water shoes, or you'll want to buy them. Walking on the beach there was interesting because I found hermit crabs, sea urchins, sand dollars, and corals. The ship serves you lunch on the island at no extra cost so you can plan a day of buffet, barbecue lunch. My kids snorkeled and had fun there too. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose Silversea due to their reputation for service and chose Silver Wind in particular due to its small size and itinerary. We had a wonderful time and overall were very pleased with our cruise. Embarkation was AMAZING. We showed ... Read More
We chose Silversea due to their reputation for service and chose Silver Wind in particular due to its small size and itinerary. We had a wonderful time and overall were very pleased with our cruise. Embarkation was AMAZING. We showed up 45 minutes prior to the published embarkation beginning time and within 25 minutes were in La Terazza eating lunch! We kept staring at each other wondering how that happened...but we were so very grateful it did! We were fortunate that two weeks prior the Wind had undergone renovations to their rooms, which we found to be wonderfully appointed. The bed was dreamy and our refrigerator never ran out of champagne...how could anything NOT be good? Onboard entertainment was spotty, but we didn't choose the Wind for that...if that's your thing, choose another ship! Our only disappointment was New Year's Eve; we expected an evening of dancing and instead had a DJ playing kiddie-bop music in the theater...it was a real letdown. Dining was good. Clearly, not great, but good. We ate at La Dame twice and it was...good. Hot Rocks/The Grill gets really old really fast, but the first time was interesting and the food was...good. La Terazza was...good. I was personally disappointed by two things that would have meant so much more if they were done right: 1) We never were contacted about our preferences for what would be in our minibar. My wife had specific interests in if they stocked things, but we never were contacted and instead had to learn about it on the ship. And the answer was no...they didn't stock what she hoped to have. 2) It was my wife's birthday during the cruise and I filled out the necessary form identifying such. Her birthday came and went without any acknowledgement. It certainly didn't ruin our cruise, but it was a disappointment. Excursions were...good. Not much creativity in what they were and only one was excellent (the hiking in Bequia...it was awesome!). We chalked it up to a learning experience and will be more discretionary and inquisitive on our next cruise with SS. Our butler was very good. Sometimes not available, but overall he was available and very good. When my wife and I filled out the on-board survey for Silversea, we summarized it by saying "the service is excellent and the product is slightly above average". One final note: A BIG Thank You to my cruise critic friends for educating me about what to wear on NYE...I clearly felt more comfortable in my tuxedo! Thank you, everyone! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We wanted to get out of the Colorado cold weather and have fun on New Year’s Eve. Chose this cruise as we sailed Princess before and liked the ports. We loved the ship, especially the retreat pool and the entertainment. New Years ... Read More
We wanted to get out of the Colorado cold weather and have fun on New Year’s Eve. Chose this cruise as we sailed Princess before and liked the ports. We loved the ship, especially the retreat pool and the entertainment. New Years parties were fantastic. Unfortunately, our interactions with the crew didn’t meet our expectations. Generally the crew from guest services, wait staff, deck attendants, etc ranged from unhappy to annoyed. Rarely did we ever see any crew member even smile (except for the cruise director or the entertainment) This was very surprising. We did not experience this on our previous Princess Cruise. We chose traditional dining so we could get to know our waiter. Unfortunately, the service for dinner was subpar. Again our waiter was generally unhappy and disorganized. We waited for long periods of time to get menus or water. Drink and food delivery was slow also. We did notice other parties with different wait staff had much more positive experiences and faster service. Since Princess automatically charges you with a daily gratuity, we wondered if the staff just stopped trying. We did book another cruise with Princess hoping this cruises poor service was just an anomaly. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I have been on many other cruise lines, but wanted to give Princess a try because of their "higher class reputation". The customer service was awful! We would acknowledge staff with "good ... Read More
I have been on many other cruise lines, but wanted to give Princess a try because of their "higher class reputation". The customer service was awful! We would acknowledge staff with "good morning","hi" etc., and rarely heard any comments back. We would just get an awkward stare back. Hardly saw any staff smiling or speaking with passengers. Ordering drinks from the bar was a horrid experience I felt like we were putting them out with the disgusted looks we would get. Again, I have been other cruise lines and none have compared to the bitterness we saw with the staff on Princess. We felt like we were needing to be congenial to them. One positive thing with the cruise was their food. The two formal nights we were served with high quality food. The chefs do an outstanding job. Management really needs to dig deep and find out why their employees dislike their jobs. You are going to continue losing business because of the lack of positive customer service. I suggest traveling on another cruise line to see what customer service should be like. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We arrived on a Saturday and when we finally made it to our room we were sorely disappointed that the room looked unkempt. The bed looked like someone just got off it and left it wrinkled and was showing it's age/use or both. The mirror ... Read More
We arrived on a Saturday and when we finally made it to our room we were sorely disappointed that the room looked unkempt. The bed looked like someone just got off it and left it wrinkled and was showing it's age/use or both. The mirror above the desk was filthy and untouched. The carpets were greasy looking and dirty. The bathroom looked clean and we were surprised by that. Balcony railing was dirty and wasn't ready for guests. Balcony chairs had bird droppings on them. Live television has four channels BBC, MSNBC, Fox and CNBC. All are limited in the information they provide. The recorded programs were ample with recorded t.v. and movies. The furnishing were dated, something from the art-deco period. The A/C in our room didn't work. Most days and evenings were hot and muggy and we only got a break late at night. We left the door open and got chewed out for this, they sent someone to adjust the a/c, but it was our last day. Most areas of the ship were hot and muggy, the a/c didn't keep up with the number of people on board the ship. We stopped at Princess Cays for the first stop and I wished we hadn't. Like most cruise lines they all seem to want to drop you off on an island so you can eat dry hamburgers and hot dogs and then get a sun burn. A waste of time, stay on the ship and sleep in. Our first stop was St. Thomas. This island is a typical Caribbean island with nonsensical items that you don't or won't ever need except to give away as gifts at Christmas. The island is one of the more modern islands in the Virgin islands (that's not saying much). We went on a two hour tour around the island in a truck and it's not for the faint-hearted. The tour truck takes you up a steep incline and stops three times so you can shop for more junk. The view at the top was nice. The next stop was St. Marteen and it's not a pleasant experience. The downtown shopping area is filthy, shop keepers are generally greedy and want way too much for the junk they sell. The highlight of the island is to visit the airport where the jet blasts your brains across the water and leaves you deaf for the rest of your life. No I didn't go to the stupid airport to watch unsafe aviation practices. After St. Marteen, you are stuck on board the ship for two days. This is the most boring part of the trip, this cruise itinerary gives you three at sea days so plan for the doldrums of things to do. The sea days were tedious and we wished we had another port of call along the way. It would have been better than two days at sea. This is why we don't opt for cross Atlantic sailings etc. The ships entertainment is amateur at best and you just have to roll with it. It's not going to win any awards, but it kills time. The themes are definitely geared for families with children, which I wish we didn't have to put up with on a cruise. Seems the cruise lines that depart from Florida are filled with kids and they love to ruin your relaxation. The food during the cruise is plentiful, there is a caveat to this. The caveat is that the food is plastic, i.e. without flavor, texture and eye appeal. The bistro was suppose to be the main place for breakfast and lunch but there was too many people that made the place a nightmare to get around. The layout is non-logical, i.e. bread in one salon and the cold cuts in another. Breakfast is a "Where's Waldo" type journey, you have to hunt for fresh eggs and omelets are harder to find. Look for the lines with people holding paper slips, that's the omelet line because you'll never see the omelets. The drink choices are water, water, water, ice tea and coffee and tea. You're lucky if you get orange juice and lemon aid during other parts of the day. Soda water, normally free, is chargeable as with milk. We noticed the ship had a very noticeable shake and it was so bad at times we could see our plates and utensils moving on the table. I had to wonder if the prop shaft was out of true and needed to be repaired it was that bad. We also noticed the lack of sanitation control. Most cruises will have a "soap police" to make sure you are washing your hands or using the hand sanitizer. Not this ship. Only few washed or used sanitizer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
New Years 7-night cruise with stops in Princess Cays, St Thomas, and Saint Maarten. Princess Cays was Ho-Hum but we could have spent an easy week in the other two. The ships service and amenities were excellent. I can’t say enough ... Read More
New Years 7-night cruise with stops in Princess Cays, St Thomas, and Saint Maarten. Princess Cays was Ho-Hum but we could have spent an easy week in the other two. The ships service and amenities were excellent. I can’t say enough about the crews quality and friendliness. The ship and food were outstanding. We took in one show “The Secret Silk”, which was memorably horrible. I won’t knock the performers, but the performance was laughable. Only those on 60’s era LSD could follow the plot with no original music, only Pop from the 1980’s to 2010’s that failed to match what they were attempting to portray. I honesty can’t speak for the entire performance because we bailed before they started singing songs that may have been from Nine Inch Nails. We skipped the beverage package, drank a lot and didn’t come close to what we would have prepaid. We had anytime dining and reservations the New Years dinner filled up quick. They accommodate everyone even seating people well past their standard posted dinner times. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again and planning cruise number two! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We understand that it is a different demographic and we chose Princess again (sailed last year to the UK). We are beyond the 'party until you are stupid' crowd but still want some fun and nightlife. It was as if the ... Read More
We understand that it is a different demographic and we chose Princess again (sailed last year to the UK). We are beyond the 'party until you are stupid' crowd but still want some fun and nightlife. It was as if the ship's activities were purposefully funneling you to either the buffet or bed by midnight. The Patter had numerous errors regarding activities and timing (i.e. who schedules the NYE Balloon Drop for 10:30 pm?). We are a family of 3 and chose Anytime Dining in the hopes of meeting people - I would say half the time we sat by ourselves and felt pressured to do so to 'move things along'. The last night we ate in the Michelangelo, my husband and I waited an hour and a half to be seated (2 people, requested sharing) and then dinner took two hours. We were offered a wine list two of the 10 nights. We brought a bottle we brought on board (allowed 1/pp wo corkage) and wound up being charged corkage after a near argument. One night they had a Pinot they recommended to be paired with dinner on the menu - ordered that and was told a half hour later that the dining room did not have it, but maybe the others did if we wanted to try there. Not - 'we'll send someone to see if a bottle we are advertising is one deck away'. Wow. Food was 'meh' at best. I feel the boat was very understaffed. They worked hard, but there just weren't enough people. In 10 days, we were asked if we wanted a drink/coffee/ice tea twice. People were constantly walking to other tables for silverware/salt/pepper etc.. The shows were good. I suggest that they get some peppier in between acts - not so 'lull you to sleep'. What saved the trip was the itinerary and weather - both were fantastic. For our next trip I think we'll entertain other lines - an itinerary would have to be outstanding to outweigh what might be a mediocre cruising experience - especially if the weather were bad. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The Crown Princess is a nice ship with great staff. Except for the production shows, the on-board activities and entertainment was excellent. The cabin was nice. We had a mini-suite and the balcony was a good size. There was plenty of ... Read More
The Crown Princess is a nice ship with great staff. Except for the production shows, the on-board activities and entertainment was excellent. The cabin was nice. We had a mini-suite and the balcony was a good size. There was plenty of storage space. There were two televisions which made the kids happy. We brought out 11 and 18-year old kids. They did not take advantage of any of the kids activities. They had fun just running around the ship on their own, eating all the time and attending the multitude of activities. Food was very good overall throughout the ship. Although it was easy to get food in the buffet, finding a table in the casual dining room was almost impossible. I would NOT recommend Anytime Dining. In the past I have always chosen the traditional seating time - your table is guaranteed and it is nice to build a rapport with the waiter. Each night we had to wait approximately 30-45 minutes for a table - with a different waiter each night. Ports were great. We were unable to go to the first scheduled port because of weather. I would have liked to have laid by the pool on sea days but the chairs were never available - reserved by people early in the morning who then seldom used them. The fitness room had plenty of equipment and a great view while you worked out. Fitness room never seemed overly crowded. Plenty of room to stretch, do free weights, yoga, etc. The class offerings were also good. They also had Zumba out on deck - I didn't try it but I wanted to. They had personal trainers and staff available in the fitness room as well. Something that struck me as odd - no garnishes on the expensive drinks. My kids liked ordering the $6+ virgin daiquiris, but they had no garnishment that you come to expect on an expensive drink (if you're going to charge $6 for a virgin drink, maybe add a piece of pineapple and a cherry to make it feel special). The spa was an AWFUL experience for both my husband and I. The staff all seemed more focused on selling products and additional services than actually providing good service. The services were so expensive. I should add that they spent some of our overpriced service time for both facials AND massages trying to sell us additional services and products! In general I feel that people should be aware that there is A LOT of upselling on the ship. The cruise alone is expensive, but you have to be prepared to spend MUCH more once you get on board. I feel that clientele for Princess may be an older crowd. We had a great time but in the future we would probably choose a cruise line geared more to younger, more active people. This was a 10-day cruise to the Caribbean, not 20 days as mentioned in the heading. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Our 2nd trip on the Crown over a New Years Eve. Last year was the best, no champagne on NYE this year was disappointing. The food on this years cruise was much better taste wise and choices. Having the formal night confusion due to ... Read More
Our 2nd trip on the Crown over a New Years Eve. Last year was the best, no champagne on NYE this year was disappointing. The food on this years cruise was much better taste wise and choices. Having the formal night confusion due to changing the night was a bit confusing but many people wanted formal night to be on New Years Eve. It would be better to have an earlier departure from port on New Years Eve and a later arrival to port on New Years Day. We are booked for next years New Years Eve Cruise and both NEW Years Eve and New Years Day are port days but the arrival and departure times are much better. We dined In Sabatini Restaurant this year and we loved the atmosphere and the food and service was excellent. We had the worst cabin steward we have ever had! He did not make the bed well, forgot our ice twice, did not bring extra towels each day that we requested, argued with us about whether or not we put our “refresh room” sign on door and all of this after we gave him a $20.00 tip to start the cruise!! First time we have ever had a bad experience with a cabin steward. Overall we enjoyed the cruise despite some minor issues. We are booked again next year, so that should tell you how much we enjoyed ourselves! Read Less

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