Entertainment and Enrichment
Princess is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none kind of cruise line, but if there is anything that they have a reputation for giving short shrift to, it is entertainment and enrichment. So I was prepared to be disappointed, but the reality was much, much worse than I had been led to believe.
First, it's fair to point out that the new entertainers are constantly coming and going, so no two cruises are going to be the same.
But there are a few constants. One of them is the budget that the cruise line allocates to entertainment and enrichment. The second is the competence of its entertainment directors, and the kinds of things that they believe will be enriching and entertaining to its target market.
What you can expect for entertainment on the Crown Princess is some instrumentalists and pianists in the Piazza, some vocalists and comedians in the lounges, and some higher-end shows in the Princess Theater each night.
What you can expect for enrichment on the Crown Princess are some pretty run-of-the-mill activities and destination lectures, and an army of scam artists will emerge from their lairs to try to capture first your attention, then your money, with raffles and discounts.
I will reproduce parts of the Princess Patter for some days so you can get a detailed sense of the range of what is offered. I can give you a first-hand account of some of those events, also.
The Horizon Buffet
The Dining Halls
9. The Scams
Fine Art Auction
See also our review of the MSC Grandiosa
9 Things I Wish I Had Brought On Board
5. Door Decals
I couldn't guess how Princess could screw up port-o-call lectures, because everyone would be interested in hearing about the places we were about to see. These lectures were immensely boring, despite the apparent gesticulations. Nobody attended, either because the lecturer's reputation preceded him, or because they were content to watch a prerecorded version of the lecture looping on Channel 48.
X-Trio in the Piazza consistently put great classic songs to their weird instrumentation and made it work.
A forgettable pianiist/vocalist works the Piazza.
A Crooner croons in Crooners. Actually, this is Explorer's Lounge, not Crooners.
The Princess Theater isn't big enough to seat everybody if there is a great show. Princess solves the problem by staging not-great shows, so we had no trouble getting seats.
Phillip "I Was Mufasa in London" Browne has a great voice.
The Crown Princess Singers can sing, the Dancers can dance, and the Band can play. But what the Producers and Directors tell them to do with their ample talent left MUCH to be desired the week we sailed. The cast staged two production numbers -- Motown/Soul and a Disco show called "Blame It On The Boogie." They were booth well-executed by the performers, but poorly conceived by the show's director and producer. I can't say all the things that were wrong with "Boogie," and hopefully they will pull the show so it won't matter.
One too many costume changes left the cast inexplicably dressed like citizens of an alien planet in the original Star Trek series.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that ALL the entertainment on the Crown Princess is bad -- I really liked the X-Trio, and some of it was perfectly competent. But I am convinced that Princess doesn't put the kind of budget or attention into entertainment and enrichment that some of the other lines do, and it shows.
Below are some pages from the Princess Patter, which is delivered to your stateroom each night, to alert you to tomorrow's opportunities. If you exclude the sales pitches disguised as entertainment (especially Art, Jewelry, Gambling, and Spa), there's not that much on offer.
We attended Napkin Folding, Paper Flower Making, and Speed Painting, and they were really bad.
The safest policy on the Crown Princess, in my view, is to be prepared to entertain yourself.
PRINCESS PATTER, JULY 8, 2018 -- PAGE 2:
We don't actually HAVE to rely on Princess to entertain us. With eBooks, you can have your whole library with you, including that book you SAY you've always been meaning to read...
PRINCESS PATTER, JULY 8, 2018 -- PAGE 3:
PRINCESS PATTER, JULY 8, 2018 -- PAGE 4:
PRINCESS PATTER, JULY 12, 2018 -- PAGE 2:
PRINCESS PATTER, JULY 12, 2018 -- PAGE 3:
See also our review of the MSC Grandiosa