Princess Cruise Recap

A gigantic screen above the pool on the Crown Princess

A gigantic screen above the pool on the Crown Princess

I’ve been off the ship now for almost two weeks, and that has given me plenty of time to reflect about the experience I had on the Crown Princess. This was my first ever experience on a cruise, so that is where I am coming from. Also, it was a media trip sponsored by Princess Cruises, so keep that in mind as well. My experience wasn’t 100% what an average person would have on a cruise ship.

Did I enjoy the cruise?

Yes. I had a great time and much of that was due to the people I was on the cruise with. The “stuck on a boat” feeling never really kicked in, even when we were at sea. The staff goes way out of their way to make sure there are things to do from trivia contests to movies.

What was the best part?

The food. This part of the cruise astonished me. I was expecting Vegas buffet quality food the entire week. I never once ate at a buffet and every evening the dinner was exceptional. It wasn’t just better than buffet food, it was really good. High end restaurant good. They should have taken food bloggers rather than travel bloggers it was so good.

The ship at dusk as seen from the bridge

The ship at dusk as seen from the bridge

What was the worst part?

The crowds and the short time in port. There was one day at sea when I walked past the swimming pool and it was literally like a scene out of Wall-E; fat people bobbing up and down filled the pool. It was like a cannibal fantasy. Having eight hours in port really doesn’t leave a lot of room for adventure.

What do you have to watch out for on a cruise?

Incidental costs. Food included with the price of the cruise. Drinks are not, not even soft drinks. Shore excursions, the casino, shopping and gambling can all add up. I saw some guys at checkout with very long itemized bills. A cruise can be very affordable, but you need to watch what you spend money on. I was mostly immune to this given the press packed were were on, but we did have to pay for drinks at the bar. I should also note that drinks are cheaper on the boat than I’ve seen in most bars.

What was the most interesting part of the cruise?

The crew. Cruise ships are the most extreme example of international cooperation in the world. Every crew member had their country of origin on their name tag. I took a census of all the different countries I encountered during the cruise. Here is the complete list: Philippines, India, Mexico, Ukraine, Macedonia, Germany, Scottland, England, Portugal, Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Thailand, Italy, Turkey, Chile, South Africa, Brazil, Nepal, Canada, Jamaica, Peru, United States, Poland, France, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Uruguay, Argentina.

Lightshow in the Crown Princess theater

Lightshow in the Crown Princess theater

Would I recommend a cruise to my parents?

Yes. They are the perfect demographic for a cruise. The average age of a Princess Cruise is 55. Johnny Jet’s dad who just turned 81 loved it and had a blast. The short stays in port are probably more appealing to an older crowd than to a younger crowd. I think 2/3 of the passengers on the ship were repeat cruise customers and many of them had been over 10 cruises. The people that love cruises REALLY love cruises.

Would I recommend a cruise to a backpacker?

No. If you want the freedom to go where you want with no set schedule with time to explore the places you visit, then a cruise is not for you. That being said, if you could snag a one way trip on a boat and use it as transportation (lets say from Cozumel to Miami), then the price and meals would probably be worth it. I don’t think they do that however.

Would I go on another cruise?

It depends. A cruise depends on where you are going, who are you are going with, and on what ship you are going. I would not take a cruise if I was by myself and I didn’t know anyone else. That would be a horrible experience. I don’t think I’d take a cruise in the Caribbean again either, as that would be better explored better on foot. I also would not want to go on a ship any larger than the Crown Princess. The Oasis of the Sea with 6,000 passengers would be too much. I would consider a cruise to someplace like Alaska where glaciers and whales can best be seen from the sea. I’d also consider going on a cruise if it was a themed cruise for travel blogger or photographers with other people and activities which I’d be interested in. I suppose like any vacation, you have to select what you want to do and where you want to go.

Summary

I enjoyed my trip and I’d like to thank Julie Benson and Princess Cruises for the chance to do something I’ve never done before and probably would never have done on my own. I enjoyed myself during the week aboard the Crown Princess and it is an experience I’m sure I’ll share with others whenever the subject of cruises comes up.

  • 13 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. George says:

    Hello Gary, thanks for sharing this post! I used to travel by cruise and loved it, but my wife suggested that we stopped cruising and chose one destination to go on vacation and rent a house. We chose Punta del Este, in Uruguay, since it is a seaside we visited in our last cruise and liked very much, specially its astonishing beaches. From what I’ve read from your posts, you haven’t been to Uruguay yet! It is a really nice spot for travellers. Let me share an interest article I read today which accurately describes Punta del Este and shows beautiful pics: http://bit.ly/hRGDK4 .
    I would love if you travelled there and shared your thoughts with all of us. It is the best option to travel with low budget and have close contact with nature.
    Great blog Gary, keep up the good work!

  2. George says:

    Hello Gary, thanks for sharing this post! I used to travel by cruise and loved it, but my wife suggested that we stopped cruising and chose one destination to go on vacation and rent a house. We chose Punta del Este, in Uruguay, since it is a seaside we visited in our last cruise and liked very much, specially its astonishing beaches. From what I’ve read from your posts, you haven’t been to Uruguay yet! It is a really nice spot for travellers. Let me share an interest article I read today which accurately describes Punta del Este and shows beautiful pics: http://bit.ly/hRGDK4 .
    I would love if you travelled there and shared your thoughts with all of us. It is the best option to travel with low budget and have close contact with nature.
    Great blog Gary, keep up the good work!

  3. joj says:

    how can you get paid to do this. lol you cant even spell well and Scotland is one t not two.

    • Gary says:

      1) You didn’t capitalize the first word of any sentence.
      2) You didn’t use a question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence.
      3) You didn’t capitalize an acronym (LOL).
      4) You didn’t use an apostrophe in a contraction (can’t).

      Compared to you, I am a grammatical genius.

  4. Hey Gary,
    They do have one way repositioning cruises sometimes (to move a boat from one port to another) that are actually cheap and a good deal. From Vancouver I know in Sept there are quite a number as, when the Alaskan cruises slow down, they reposition the boats to other places.
    We took our first cruise with Celebrity by mistake and the average age group was 60! But it was still fun :)
    One more thing to mention for your incidental costs section – cell phone bills. I had a coworker that went on a cruise and didn’t realize how much roaming charges are when you’re at sea and he ended up with a $3500 bill!

  5. Interesting experience. I didn’t know average cruise age is 51. I used to think they offer things for family members as well such as Disney cruise. They might also have things like tennis court, basketball court, casino, cinema, etc.

  6. Rob says:

    My parents take cruises all the time. I think they and many older people go because it’s a safe and familiar way to see places that might not be “so safe” and most certainly not familiar.

    Will make notes on the “drinks aren’t free” part of the cruise, that could definitely add up along with the other incidental costs you mentioned.

    Sounds like you had a great time!

  7. Gabriel says:

    sounds cool! I hope i can go on cruise as well one day. thanks for the sharing!

  8. I heard you and the other travel bloggers talking about your cruise on the TWIT podcast. Sounds like a fun trip. Any trip on someone else’s dime is a good trip.

    A one way trip on a cruise ship sounds like a great idea. I would have to think someone has done it or a cruise line would be willing to do it.

    • Gary says:

      I’d like to see them do it. If they did that, I’d use that as a means of hitchhiking around the Caribbean. There would have to be restrictions on it and there might be some logistical problems, but it is a way cruise ships could book a few more rooms on every trip.

  9. Cruise Buzz says:

    Great recap. This was a fun group on a wonderful cruise line. Princess Cruises rolled out the red carpet and showed this group the best of all cruise features.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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