This is meant to be an information post for those of you who are thinking about buying crew members from the crown shop. The short of it is, if you wait until your Pirate is level 50 to buy crown shop companions, they will be somewhere between level 51-53, so 1-3 levels above the current level cap.
The reason this happens is that when you acquire any companions in Pirate101, in order to make sure you try them out and don't just leave them at the bottom of your roster, they start out a few levels higher than you. The idea being your regular crew members will be a few levels lower than you are making one you just got who is 4 or 5 levels above all the rest of your crew very attractive to place at the top of your roster and see what they can do. It makes sense, when you think about it. However, when you reach the end of the game this still applies and they can actually be several levels over the level cap.
The developers left this in the game and I haven't heard any buzz saying this was a bug, but seems to be working as intended. This comes as a shock to some players who have spent money in the crown shop prior to Pirate level 50 to buy companions that now won't reach the pinnacle of what they could if they had been bought once you reached max level.
Now, is this game breaking? From what I hear, not really. It's annoying if you didn't know about it, sure, but I can say from personal experience that the 2 crown companions I bought at max level (53 Inoshishi Necromancer and 51 Doctor Noh) don't appear to be that much stronger than the rest of my companions. My level 47 Bonnie Anne still holds her spot as my first mate, indefinitely. The point of this post isn't to say this should be fixed or that it's something everyone should do but merely to inform everyone that this is currently part of the game and that you should be aware that if you hold off on buying companions, they can exceed level cap. If it's worth it to you to wait, the choice is obvious. If you don't want to wait that long to enjoy crown companions or side-quest acquired companions (this trick works with them as well, by the way, as my lvl 51 Monkey King can attest to), then at least you know the option was there.