Norwegian Crown (May 23, 1999)

Yesterday, Hans and I had the chance (through the auspices of the Steamship Historical Society's very active Long Island Chapter) to attend a reception and a tour onboard a ship that was new to us, NCL's Norwegian Crown. It wasn't until I got onboard that I discovered we were to have sailed on this ship for a ten day Baltic cruise several years ago when she was the Royal Odyssey. It couldn't have been a nicer day for a visit to a ship, unless, of course, it was to sail to Bermuda as the lucky people I saw boarding were about to do.

The Crown is not a big mega-liner, but a cozy yacht-like ship, weighing in at only 34,250 gross tons. There's room for 1, 050 and the crew accounts for 470. One of the first things I noticed while walking around the aft was the layered "wedding cake" style of the decks. Lots of space and a feeling of airiness. The outside pool area (there is also an inside pool near the fitness center and beauty salon) isn't large and vast, like on some of the newer ships I've seen recently, but reminds me of something more personal and cozy (there's that word again). I especially liked the hot tubs on the Penthouse Deck, also. There's a beautiful piece of modern sculpture set in the middle of a smooth granite area to give a feeling of privacy to this space. A very nicely designed space, indeed.

Speaking of penthouses, Kate (our own "By The Book") asked me to take a look at the Penthouse Suites on this deck. This ship is a personal favorite of hers. We were able to wander into one of the "apartments" as they are called, suite #1014, the Imperial Apartment (some others were the Hollywood Apartment and the Bali Apartment) . This was simply gorgeous, with an over-all oriental theme, black lacquer furnishings and delicate oriental prints on the walls. The suite comes with it's own CD player and a huge walk-in closet, plus a full bath. The verandah was large, both wide and deep, and all of us felt that it afforded the privacy that most folks who book verandah cabins look for. There is a deck above, but it is far enough back as to not intrude on this space. I was particularly sensitive to this since viewing the Grand Princess last year, where this was not the case. For all the verandah cabins, very few had any degree of privacy on the Grand.

Personally, Hans and I liked the design and the interiors of all the public rooms we saw. The Stardust Lounge was lovely, with monotone colors and frosted deco-style glass that didn't try to scream at you like some other ocean-going ships nowadays. Same with the aqua shades in the theater, nice and cool and lovely. When I saw this theater onboard the Crown yesterday, I immediately remembered the awful theater onboard the Rotterdam VI last spring. The upholstery was yellow and navy... in swirls! The staff almost had to dim the lights to get the audience to relax in that one. The navy and wood in the Yacht Club was also beautiful, with the crystal over the bar "proper" to add a focal point to the room.

We had cocktails and appetizers in the Top of the Crown, a great place for sail-aways and before dinner drinks in the evenings and then, we retired to the Yacht Club for lunch. The dining room, the Seven Continents Restaurant, was open and serving lunch, as well. The folks onboard the Crown couldn't have been more gracious and helpful, despite being in the middle of boarding new passengers and accommodating visiting groups of travel agents and groups such as ours.

As some of you know from reading my past reviews about ships I have visited or sailed on, I end my remarks with whether or not I would sail on the ship again or at all. NCL's Crown is a very definite yes.