I’ve always been reluctant to cruise, but when Princess Cruises invited me to experience a cruise with a guest of my choosing for a Twitter press trip, it turned into the perfect opportunity to enjoy a romantic week with my husband. After all, Princess Cruises IS The Love Boat!
This was the first cruise for both of us and also our first romantic getaway in years. We were giddy with excitement as we chose our excursions and packed accordingly. We not only had to pack for ourselves, but we had to make sure the kids were prepared for a week with their grandparents. We took off on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale and our escape plan aboard the Crown Princess was implemented.
We boarded the Crown Princess and were shown directly to our stateroom, a mini-balcony suite. We met our cabin steward, Ed, who promptly delivered a glass of Champagne to each of us. Hubby and I enjoyed the fresh air on our balcony and toasted the start of our romantic getaway and discussed our first impression of stepping aboard the ship.
Passengers aboard the Crown Princess are welcomed in the Crown Plaza, a spacious Italian piazza style atrium that is the center of onboard activity throughout the cruise. The ship can accommodate over 3,000 passengers with 900 staterooms offering private balconies.
Stateroom: We enjoyed a mini balcony suite which included a separate sitting area with sleeper sofa, two televisions, a very comfortable queen-size bed, bathroom with tub/shower and a spacious balcony with seating for four. These mini-suites are approximately 323 square feet (including the balcony) and offer extra amenities such as in-room refridgerator and welcome Champagne. Suite occupants are also allowed exclusive use of Sabatini’s Restaurant for breakfast. A fresh flower arrangement decorated our room as a welcome and each afternoon we were treated to canapes and Twitter-themed treats. Tip: Be sure to take advantage of a romantic evening meal on your balcony ($50 per person).
Dining: There are a variety of dining options, including Traditional dining at Boticelli’s, Anytime dining at Michaelangelo and Da Vinci, Specialty dining (cover charge) at Sabatini’s, Crown Grill (steak and seafood) and balcony dining , as well as casual dining at many of the other places located around the ship. On one evening, we experience dining at the Chef’s Table, which includes a tour of the galley complete with appetizers and Champagne followed by a multi-course outstanding culinary experience ($75 per person). Tip: If you like soft drinks, purchase a soft drink card at the start of the cruise and get unlimited colas for around $4 per day.
Activities: We explored the ship and hubby was excited to discover a nine-hole putting course and virtual golf simulator. During our time at sea, he entered a golf tournament, ping-pong tournament, and bingo tournament. Each evening at turndown, Ed placed a copy of the Princess Patter which listed the following day’s activities. Tip: Bring a highlighter to mark activities of interest.
Entertainment: The Princess Theater offers Las Vegas style performances with lots of music and dancing. There are also many other entertainment venues and bars located throughout the ship. We preferred an evening of Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) where we lounged in poolside chairs snuggled up together under blankets provided by the ship. Movie candy and popcorn is served, along with a variety of movies throughout the cruise. Tip: Smokers can light up in Speakeasy Cigar Bar.
For the Kids: I did a walkabout of the children’s activity areas just in case I wanted to cruise aboard the Crown Princess at a future date with kids in tow. Activities are age appropriate with three age groups: Princess Pelicans (3-7), Shockwaves (8-12) and Remix (13-17). The youth and teen center has its own game room and movie room along with their own pool. I was more interested in the tween and teen areas which looked like pretty cool hangouts. Tip: Parents can take advantage of kid activity time to catch a spa treatment or other activity.
My Favorite Things: I loved the aspect of visiting different places and still sleeping in the same bed at night. I enjoyed eating at a restaurant and not having to pay a bill or drive home. I LOVED the couple’s massage at the Lotus Spa and laughed with the masseuse girls when my husband started snoring during his treatment. Most of all, I really enjoyed those morning cups of coffee with my husband as we gazed out at the ocean and realized we had escaped completely on our romantic cruise aboard the Crown Princess.
Our trip was hosted by Princess Cruises and would cost a consumer approximately $3900 in total to experience the same amenities, excursions, and all the extras that we enjoyed on the this trip, including airfare to Ft. Lauderdale. This is equivalent to to a week at a high-end all inclusive resort except you have the added benefit of visiting four destinations instead of one. I would recommend this experience for a honeymoon, milestone anniversary, or any special time for a couple to reconnect. Check out Princess Cruises Department of Romance for more ideas on how to enjoy a romantic escape.