The day we came into Houston was a bitter cold day. I guess apparently it was a record breaking cold morning. We did park our car at the port. It was $80 for the week. The port is not in a pretty location as it is an oil refinery area and shipping port. However, the port itself is new, but small. Parking was easy, and you don't need a reservation ahead of time as there were tons of spots. Drop off your luggage to a porter and then go park the car. It is easy walking distance. Princess sent us an email to come at a certain time, but that seemed to create more congestion. The terminal is not set up well. Getting through security was difficult as a long line formed outside the terminal in freezing conditions. I can't see how this terminal could handle more than one cruise ship. It is very small. Right now, it is only handling Princess. We were in line for 45 minutes in cold weather of about 40 degrees and windy conditions. Once through security, we waited in a warm seated area and pretty much a standard embarkation.
On Princess, it is pretty much the same Princess service and set up as usual. We love Princess and for those that do, it will not disappoint. The ship is a bit older, but still I found it to have the same charm as always. I would say the average age on this cruise was around 50 years old. Our steward, Noel, was excellent and very friendly. Food was better than normal, and they have added more vegies instead of carbs with the main courses. I wish they would get rid of that soggy ear of corn which always shows up about the second day. The entertainment was good, but the male singers were really bad. I liked the cruise director. He was always hosting events and that was nice to see. As far as ports, we loved them all. Best beaches were Cozumel and Roatan. If you are looking for beaches near the ship, both are great. We had great weather until Belize. There are no beaches near the ship in Belize. I would plan an excursion that day. The city is right off the ship and that is it. It poured rain that day, and people told us if you plan a ruins tour you go inland, and it was sunny. The city itself is fairly poor, and there is not a lot to see.
When we came back to Houston, they informed us early over the loudspeaker that fog was preventing them for going to shore for three more hours. They said the Horizon dining room was open and the International in Piazza would be as well. I noticed a few others have mentioned this happened on their cruise into Houston as well. Here are a few suggestions. Book your flights to not leave until after 4 pm. Also, ask your steward if you can stay in your room longer. Our steward let us stay until 10 am. Everyone seemed to congregate near the exit area and the piazza early on, and if you are not getting off for three hours longer, that is a long wait. Many had to change flights. I would suggest, if you are delayed, to go up to Horizon and sit by a window and watch for docking and have lunch or just relax. We all got hungry as we ended up not getting off until 1:30 pm. We were supposed to get off at 9:15 am. The ship should have told us we could all stay in our room longer. It was a very long wait. All in all, the cruise lived up to expectations. I loved the ports and the wait staff was excellent.