To give you a bit of background information, we are a family of four (husband and self in our mid -forties and our two boys, ages 16 and 13) from the Seattle area. This was our 12th cruise.
Transportation from George Bush Airport to Galveston: There's been numerous posts on the easiest and most economical way to get from Houston to Galveston....well, I think we found the answer (at least for a family of 4). We flew in Friday, arriving around noon. We had reserved a car through Enterprise, but here's the trick: We rented through the office in Humble, TX (a $10 taxi ride from the airport). So when we landed my husband got the car and the rest of us collected our luggage, then husband came to pick us up 15 minutes later. We casually made our way to Galveston and we stayed one night at The Hotel Galvez in Galveston. Very nice hotel, great location, great pool, free parking and they offer a free shuttle to the terminal. (The only con to the hotel was that the room was a bit small.) Anyways, we kept the car overnight, had fun in Galveston and then the next morning husband dropped the 3 of us off at the terminal around 10am (with the luggage) and he returned the car and Enterprise gave him a free ride to the Tremont Hotel (a hotel right across the street from the terminal) and then he walked over. We were back together around 10:45. So the one way cost including car rental, gas & taxi was approximately $95. It worked great; we saved approximately $60 plus had the independence of having a car for the evening. (We ended up doing the reverse a week later when disembarking).
The ship: The Crown Princess is in very good condition and has been kept up well. Embarking and disembarking was easy and organized. The staff was all very helpful and cheerful. The food was typical of Princess ships, entertainment was good (of what we saw - we only went to two comedian shows). The pools were on the cold side, not sure why (we did appreciate pool towels poolside). We loved MUTS. Our boys utilized the teen club (Remix). PARENTS, HERE IS A PIECE OF TEEN ADVISE: If you have kids in either Shockwaves or Remix, get them checked in the first day and have them go to the first night's events. That first night is when kids meet up with other kids and "groups" are formed then. If your child waits a day or two it is much more difficult for them to be included in already formed groups. Back to the ship....This was a primarily older group of passengers, but everyone we met was nice. (We only witnessed one atrocious (pool) chair hog). We gambled (and lost) a bit. The servers poolside did not push drinks at all; they were helpful, but not hovering. And Princess must have upgraded some of their beds, because our bed was insanely comfortable. The only con of the ship is that the cigar lounge has terrible ventilation. It took 3 days to air out my husband's and mine clothes after a few hours in the lounge smoking cigars.
Excursions: Our family of four are certified (scuba) divers, so I pre-arranged private dive excursions for all three ports. We were thrilled with our choices of dive shops. If you would like info on that then please feel free to email me at: email@example.com. My only other piece of excursion advice is do think long and be well informed when booking excursions. We met many people that did ship's tours that were 8 hours long. People said they were exhausted and hot because the tours were so long. Just a thought.
Disembarkation: Again was quick and smooth. My husband left the ship 30 minutes before us (to be at Enterprise right at 9am when they open), meanwhile the 3 of us collected luggage and went through customs and then were picked up curbside. Again a small quirk with Enterprise is that the Enterprise office in Humble closes at noon, so these arrangements only work if your flight times coincide.
We had a great time and were once again happy with Princess.