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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.
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.
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.
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.