Hey everyone! First and foremost, we had a great time on the cruise! We left out of Port Everglades, FL, went to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. The weather was perfect, seas calm, until we got to Cozumel, it drizzled in the morning, but the sun came out later in the day and the seas were a little choppy, but nothing unbearable.
The entire crew was very accommodating and friendly! Kudos to Allen in the DaVinci Dining Room, everyone at the excursions desk, Amanda, the Captains Circle Hostess, our Cabin Steward, ALL the bar staff, especially the guys on the ramps, helping you get on and off the ship and tenders(amazing!), and the Hostess at the DaVinci Dining Room(sorry I can't remember her name, she is from Mexico, though.)
I have a few favorite ports: Tortola, Antigua and now Roatan! The Island isn't as commercialized as Grand Cayman, The Bahamas or St. Thomas, which is what I love!
I have a scooter to get around, due to a broken knee, and there are some doors you can't get out onto the decks, due to the scooter being low to the ground, but there are designated doors that open automatically. If you have a walker, scooter, wheelchair, electric chair, etc. You definitely need a handicap cabin, the doors to the regular cabins won't work. C312 is right next door to the laundromat, which wasn't a problem at all. Only thing, when the carts are in the hallway, it can be a challenge to get around them, but the cabin stewards are always happy to move them out of the way when needed.
Prior to booking a cruise with a disability or handicap, please make sure you check if they use tenders or docks when in Port. If they use tenders, per Se, in Roatan, they use their own tenders, so they let me take my scooter on the tender both ways. In Belize, they outsource tenders, so they didn't let me go on the tenders with my scooter, so make sure you double check before booking, just in case. And first thing on the ship, go straight to the excursions desk to see which tours would suit you best. We had to cancel the tour in Belize, because. there was nothing in the "easy" section to choose, and in Cozumel, we changed to a different tour, so we weren't able to see any of the ruins. If you get the DVDs at the end of the cruise, all the tours are included, so you don't miss anything.
I have sailed 5 time prior, and 3 times on Princess...A couple things I noticed on this cruise:
We chose Anytime Dining; the waiters didn't dance around like they usually do on other ships, usually one night out of the week. (I would not recommend Anytime dinning if you are younger than 40 years old, we are 33 and each night, we were sat with a big table of older people that like to one-up each other on how many grandchildren they have and how many cruises they have been on and train trips around the world-not that there is nothing wrong with any of that, we were just there to have a good time, not hear about their lives.) One night we were sat with a couple, the wife ordered EVERYTHING on the menu 3 times and we missed the last show in the Princess Theater because of her. If you can Choose a dining time, I highly recommend it, but if you don't mind taking hours to eat dinner and listening to people, Anytime Dining is for you.
There were no carved ice sculptures; and NO midnight Buffet, although the buffets were open until midnight. This was the first cruise I have been on that that had happened...they did have a beautiful Champagne Waterfall in the Piazza on Formal Nights, maybe that replaced ice sculptures?!
And no towel animals, like on Carnival-which was fine- a lot of people would expect it if they haven't cruise Princess!
I do think Princess should include hard liquor, beer, wine, etc in a drink plan that people could purchase, instead of paying for each drink....it would be nice. I know Celebrity has several of those plans to choose from. You can purchase 2 soft drink plans, I think they started at $49/pp/wk-includes coffee, hot chocolate, soda, juice, milkshakes, etc, which is extra. I think when you book the cruise, it would be a nice option to add onto your cruise, so as soon as you board you don't get bombarded with people trying to sell you drink plans.
The food was great, plenty of options for everyone, you can even ask for the children's menu if you don't see anything on the regular menu/vegetarian menu to your liking, which is nice, there is also the Buffets/Pizza/Ice cream/Burger Bars as back up. My Brother said the Seafood at dinner was amazing...so if you eat seafood, go for it! The Ice cream is so good and get the Dream Boat for Dessert! You will not be disappointed! The dining rooms are loud, so once everyone starts leaving it quiets down some.
The entertainment was fantastic. We haven't been on a Princess Cruise in years, so we didn't see all the shows/acts/etc...everything was great! Lisa Ball was our Cruise Director, and she does her job well. She seems to be all over the place at the right times, if not herself, her Deputy Cruise Director, Stu and her Assistant Cruise Directors.
We had fun on the tours, but please keep in mind, there were no "Handicap Accessible" transportation via the excursions, so if you can walk steps to get in and out of the vans/buses, the tours are for you, if not, I would make other arrangements.
Grand Cayman-the sidewalks are not scooter/wheelchair friendly, just be careful. The tour bus was a mini-bus, not a motor coach, but had A/C!
Roatan- TONS of walking(really long walk) from the ship through the port shops to the buses, and even if you want to go to the beach, so if would be great if you had a scooter, if you are older and can't walk long distances or if you are going on tours, you can take the scooter to the bus and the security guards will watch the scooter while you are on the tour, and will be there when you get back. The tour buses are little mini buses, not motor coaches, so it's a tight squeeze. They have A/C!
Belize- As I said earlier, you can't bring scooters on the tenders, and the boat ride is about 25 min to Belize from the ship, there are stores right at the doc and a Fat Tuesday's right there, so if you can walk into the boat and walk a little, you can do what we did, took the tenders, went into the shops, bought souvenirs/beer, waited on line to go back on the tenders. We can say that we went to Belize. My brother walked outside the gates and said Belize City right there is scummy, within 5 steps he was offered a massage, tour, drugs, taxi, etc, so he turned around and came back. From what I understand anything outside of the City is beautiful, but we couldn't do a tour, so I can't say for sure. The ride is nice to and from, though!
Cozumel- Great Tour-the tour guide had beer/soda/water waiting for us on board, then we went Tequila Tasting, then to a show, the show was a little hot and dark, so we kinda took a nap, because. of all the beer and tequila, but it was a fun tour! I was able to take my scooter and they put it in the compartments under the coach bus. And plenty of A/C to go around for all!
Port Everglades- we had to fly in the night before and Stayed at Sleep Inn in Dania Beach-I've stayed here prior, and love the location bec. there's a Walgreen's in the parking lot and across the street-a Strip Mall with Publix Supermarket, a Chinese, Mexican and Italian Restaurants as well as a dollar store. There is free transportation to and from the Airport and Cruise-port, but we had to take a taxi bec. of the scooter, it was just easier. If you scooter comes apart like the GoGo I'm sure you can get on their free vans, but it's just a hassle sometimes.
I did have to go to the infirmary because I had bronchitis the entire cruise, and the staff were great! If you are traveling with illnesses, make sure you fill out the paperwork on Princess.com and have your doctor fax it to Princess, bec. it helps the doctors a lot when have to go visit them.
There are tons of pools on the ship, the Adults only pool is in the back of the ship, but there are steps to get down to it, there is a bar too, so it's nice not to have kids running around like maniacs, like at all the other pools.
The shops are basic, clothes, trinkets, souvenirs, Duty Free, etc. Wait until the last few days of the cruise, things go on clearance, and will be cheaper to purchase at that time, they do have jewelry, purses, ties for $10/ea during that time. I bought two bangle bracelets at a nice discount!
The Casino is a good size, and on certain nights they have no smoking, which is really nice for those of us that don't smoke. There are also designated areas on the ship for smoking....they even have "how to play" Activities throughout the cruise, for those of us that have no clue how to play games! It's a Cash Casino.
The Photo Gallery- Photo's are $19.99/each and there are tons of opportunities to take portraits all over the ship. If you don't want to shell out $20/picture, just take your own, and kindly decline on photo's. They do have photo packages available for a reduced rate. I purchased the DVD Package, includes 2 DVDs from the events and each port/excursions and another DVD with still photo's that you can print/upload/set screen savers etc.-$39.99, so DO NOT purchase the stock photo's on board if you are getting these DVDs, you will save a boat load of money.
There are tons of activities every day on ship for everyone....just make sure you make it out of dinner on time, or you will miss some of the late shows, like the one we missed. Don't miss the Shows in the Princess Theater--they were fantastic! The Comedian, Hypnotist, Pianist and Magician were great as was the International Crew Show! You will laugh! There are also little things going on in the Piazza throughout the day, like Hula Hoopist- Ashley Winn, don't miss her! And some of the dancers/singers perform throughout the cruise there, as well as the Choir, on the last day, performs, which is interesting. There is Bingo, Dancing Lessons, Art Workshops, exercise classes, trivia, etc. all day, as well.
I didn't have anything done in the Spa/Salon, but the staff is friendly and the facilities look nice and clean. On the last two days they have specials, so be on the look out for those packages in the Princess Patter.
We went to the first Art Auction, I wasn't impressed. The Guys running it only catered to the people that were actually going to shell out money for art, which irked us, because, I am an artist, and I would of bid on some things, but their attitudes turned me off. Princess has their own auction company, so it was a little different than on Carnival or our previous Princess Cruises...BUT there was free cheap champagne.
There are nice decks that you can just sit and look out, that are nice and quiet.
The TVs have The Wake Show with Lisa Ball & Stu, to tell you the goings on the next day/that day, and there are shopping channels, excursion channels, Movie Channels, Ship View Channel, Ship Stats Channel, which has the clock, so if you sleep with that on, you will catch a clock. We had to change time zones in every port, so It's a GREAT Idea to get a wake up call, because. the phone's clock that you can't see, automatically change, which is helpful. OR BRING YOUR OWN ALARM CLOCK! There isn't one in the cabins.
The Wake Show explains Disembarkation, so you should be all set, and pay attention to your Princess Patters/mail at the door/on the beds/desks/etc....valuable information!
I hope my review helps you understand the ship/cruise a little bit more than, coming from a 33 year old Single Female that has a scooter, other than the average person. (I know it was long, but I had to share!) If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org