Getting Around the Ship
Once you've found your stateroom, and before they deliver your luggage so you can unpack, it's time to explore the ship!
The Crown Princess has about 30 acres of deck space, so even though it is mostly private cabins and crew areas, it's still a lot to navigate.
You'll spend most of your time in your state room, on Decks 5-7, and up on deck 15.
Three banks of elevators-with-staircases allow you to move freely between decks.
We'll start with the stairs, then visit the Piazza and some of the sites on Decks 5-7, then visit Deck 15-16, and then return to Deck 7.
But the photos below represent just a fraction of what's on board.
3. Getting Around the Ship
The Horizon Buffet
The Dining Halls
9. The Scams
Fine Art Auction
Digital signage near the staircases and elevators tells you where you are and where you might want to go.
We rarely encountered elevator lines, but usually used the stairs to go down, even nine flights, like from the 15th Deck (Horizon Buffet) to the 5th Deck (International Cafe).
The staircases actually come in pairs, one on each side of the ship. The fore and aft stairwells each have four elevators; there are six elevators mid-ship.
The most important thing to know is that when you are on the left (port) side of the ship, the carpet dots are red, and when you are on the right (starboard) side of the ship, the carpet dots are green.
The Piazza spans three floors, decks 5-7, and has shops, cafes, guest services, and entertainment, plus six elevators.
The Piazza doesn't just look big in pictures; it's pretty big.
There is usually live music in the Piazza. This is the X-Trio, but the piano is ready for the next act.
Cruise Ship Power Strip
YOU MIGHT NEED...
A power strip with no surge protector. There is only out electric outlet in the stateroom, and surge protectors aren't allowed on board the ship.
You are allowed to dance in the Piazza.
International Cafe is on the bottom level of the PIazza (Deck 5), and has a great dessert selection. Shown: Raspberry chocolate muffins (left), Chocolate Brioche (center), mini-oreo cheesecakes and tiramisus (right). There was always a sugar-free option. One of the magical things that's hard to get used to is that most food is free. You just ask for it and they give it to you.
International Cafe also has sandwiches and salads -- ask and you shall receive! -- and a bar, and a nice little seating area with windows, and you can hear the music.
International Cafe also has Gelato, if you don't like the softserve on deck 15, but the Gelato costs $3.50, for which you get three scoops in a bowl. Everything gets charged to your blue card.
Just off the Piazza is the Internet Cafe, but right now Internet at Sea is pricy AND slow. Maybe that will change in the future.
The Casino and Art Gallery scams are right off the Piazza.
Not far away is the library, more for show than for use, but it has books and games. If you ever wanted to learn Mah Jongg...
Fusion Dance Club. This is where the dance lessons were held.
Deck 15 is glassed in on the sides, so the pool doesn't get windy.
Salty Dog burgers are mediocre, I am told, but I am sorry not to have found out for myself. Salty Dog also offers hot dogs, chicken sandwich, tacos, fries, and beer.
The softserve is good at Slice and Cones, and the milkshakes are included in the Ultimate Beverage Plan. The Pizza is okay if you prefer thin crust to thick or deep dish. I didn't try the focaccia, stromboli, meatballs, or avocado toast.
Princess Pizza waiting to be served. It's pretty fresh, because they can barely make it fast enough.
At the top of the stern, looking down at the pools. The ship is still in port, so these people must be done exploring the ship and are already swimming.
The gym facilities are extensive, and the machines have a great view over the bow.
That's a better view than at your local gym.
But the better workout, and the best-kept secret on board, is the promenade deck, which is the only deck that wraps all the way around the ship. 2.8 laps around the Promenade Deck is a mile, instead of 16 laps on the jogging track at the top of the world.
Ten laps around the Promenade Deck is a gorgeous 3.5 mile walk.
After you're done exploring, it will soon be time for the first big event onboard, which is called the “Muster Drill,” and like port, starboard, stern, and bow, it is an archaic word for a familiar concept, which is the safety video.
The ship does not sail until everyone reports to their assigned area to witness the safety video, and anyone who has flown on an airplane will have a rough idea of what the Muster Drill is like.
Twenty minutes prior to the Muster Drill, crew members were stationed throughout the ship to herd everyone to their assigned locations.
Our assigned location was the Princess Theater, because our cabin was near the bow of the ship. Blue-cards were scanned on the way in, so the computer knows who has been to the Muster Drill, and who needs to attend the makeup session (e.g., late-boarding passengers).
The audio recording of an unreasonably cheerful woman explained how to exit the ship in the unlikely event of a catastrophic end to the voyage. Crew members demonstrated how to put on the life vests, and how to hold them so they don’t come off when you plummet into the sea from the rapidly descending perch of your luxury stateroom. Several verses of the song “Safety,” with parody lyrics sung to the tune of “Love Boat,” kept things jovial, and a good time was had by all.