I have sailed on cruise ships a number of times on both Carnival and Princess. This was my husband’s second cruise. Our first cruise was on a Carnival ship and we can both say that we have NO intentions of EVER going on Princess again after our experience.
I know weather cannot be controlled, however, this is not Princess' first "rodeo", they should have it down when ANY complications should arise, especially since they started having problems with the fog in this Port in November 2013.
The way they handled themselves was so unprofessional, rude and in-sincere! Someone else described it in one of their reviews, "they were like robots, going through the motions of their jobs"
When you have saved and prepared for a vacation, you really don't prepare yourselves for any "letdowns". That was WRONG! I should have prepared myself especially after reading some of the reviews of the problems and complications with this Houston Port!
We were on the December 14-21, 2013 cruise out of Houston.
My husband and I arrived 2 days early and stayed a short ways away from the Port of Houston.
Our first day in Houston we spent over at "Kemah Boardwalk". The weather wasn't the greatest, but at least the rain subsided while we were able to enjoy our day over there.
Our hotel was quite fancy, it had an onsite restaurant, lounge, there were many activities going on during our stay.
The morning we were due to leave on the cruise I awoke to see it extremely foggy out. As I had done every day prior, I pulled up the ship's webcam only to see that it was NOT alongside the dock in the Port of Houston but still “In-route" to Houston. I knew this wasn't good. I contacted Princess and was informed that the ship was due in at 11:00 and they would start disembarking passengers at 11:30.
We arrived at the terminal around noon time. The ship was in, the passengers were dis-embarking and they were checking people in. We went ahead and checked in. While in the terminal, announcements were made that it was going to be a delay of several hours before we could board the ship. We could sit in the terminal or we could go over to "Kemah" on one of the buses provided. We chose to stay in the terminal. It was a very long wait!
They finally started boarding. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE stopped to get their picture taken before boarding the ship.
Once we boarded we were above to go to our room. We had a mini suite with a balcony. The room was very clean and spacious which was nice!!! We immediately met our room attendant Ricardo! He was a joy to have! We finally departed around 8:00 pm.
The ship had a lot of "wear and tear" on it; you could tell it was a pretty old ship that needed updating.
The first night we had dinner in one of the dining rooms. The food was good but the portions are very small. The service was good; we sat at a table with 4 other couples.
Most of the trip we ate in the buffet. My husband preferred it as there was a much larger selection to choose from.
I like to spend time in the casino. The first night it did not even open until 12:00 midnight. Then since we came in early (or tried to), they closed it at 4:30 the day prior to coming in. Not to mention when in the casino, you NEVER saw any of the casino managers walking around. Very little bar service and when they would walk by, you could tell they were hoping you didn't want to order anything. The slot machines on this ship were the WORST slot machines I have ever played in my life! ~!!!! Very disappointing Casino.
I do not understand why they don't keep the "pizza or ice cream" places open past 11. It just seems that everything closes up so early on this ship!
The shows were "so so", nothing fancy. The last cruise I went on, the shows seemed so much more "In sync".
I would wander through some of the clubs in the evenings; there were hardly any people in them Kind of sad!
The activities going on seemed to be repeated daily.
The cruise staff was, to me, extremely rude at times. I work on a ship, I know it is hard work and you do not get many days off. You could tell that this crew had been working several straight days and in much need of a day off! I have no complaints about our Cabin Attendant, He was Awesome!!!
I would like to know what happened to the animals on the beds at night. That is one of the coolest “cruise” features and they didn’t do it one night!!! Very disappointing.
Also, there are no longer bathrobes in the rooms. You have to request a bathrobe. I overheard one person asking there room attendant about the bathrobes. They said they had requested them to be in the rooms on the internet prior to the cruise and they still didn’t have them. This was the third day of the cruise!!!
We signed up for two excursions; however, one of them was cancelled. We were supposed to receive a credit on our bill, but who knows if that was done. I have yet to see a bill from this cruise. I have attempted to contact princess several times. They keep telling me they have received my information and they have 1-2 weeks to respond. Nice huh??? In the meantime my credit card statement is going to come in and I am expected to pay that!
We did enjoy all of the ports we visited, Cozumel we did the Segway tour, that was pretty fun! I suggest that to anyone who might be thinking about doing it. It is VERY EASY to ride those things.
Roatan was probably our favorite port. It was so green. I loved the ski chairs!!! Very relaxing. It rained when we first got there then it stopped. The rain was a warm rain.
Belize is a tendering port. Once you get to the island you can either stay inside the shopping area that they have set up for all the cruise ships that come in, or you can venture out on your own. We chose to venture out. Of course we got lost, but we were not that far off from the ship.
We played bingo a couple of times! Didn't win anything there either. The call the numbers WAY to fast!!! I’m not a professional bingo player like some of them people.
I did go for a massage which was very relaxing and worth going to!
The hot tubs were NOT HOT at all. Some were even green in some of the places. Usually they were overloaded with too many people!
So now the fun part of the journey.
After we have departed Belize and are heading back to Houston, that Friday the Captain makes and announcement that he is going to try and beat the fog and come in earlier than expected, meaning we would be alongside sometime this evening. We would stay on board and disembark the following morning like originally planned. It also meant that certain services would be closing down. Aka: casino!
Then a while later captain comes on again, did I tell you he is a very hard man to understand?
He announces that due to the fog he has been contacted by the port of Houston and that the port was closed and was going to remain closed and we wouldn't be alongside the dock until 1100 pm Saturday evening. If air transportation was done through princess, they would handle the changes, if we did them ourselves, we needed to contact our carriers and change our flights to Sunday no earlier than 1:30 pm. We could use our phones from the rooms at no charge…that was a joke…like you can get a line out on a ship when 3500 people are trying to do the same.
Since we were in cell range we were able to change our flight.
A princess patter is put in our box that night. Wow, activities all day tomorrow.
Then around 8:00 am we start moving, the captain again gets on the PA and announces that the port is now opened, we had the pilot on board, and we were moving and would be alongside the dock around 11:30. More information to follow. Nothing about what we were supposed to do about the flights we had just changed. I mean N O T H I N G. You couldn't get through to the desk downstairs and if you did, they hung up on you. Finally they tell us we need to change our flights. Well to change a flight again it was going to be $500.00. It was 4 days before Christmas, kind of a bad time to be having to change flights!!!
I asked if princess was going to pay for our hotel that we had to stay at that night. They said no, they could just recommend a hotel we needed to take it up with princess at their 1-800 #.
Then I started thinking about the princess patter that came out…there was bingo scheduled for today, there are going to be some MAD people!!! (Sorry had to throw that in LOL)
Disembarkation---what a joke!!! I mean, they told us to stay in our rooms and wait for our number/letter to be called...then they "SKIPPED" our number!!! So we decided to just go for it...then they weren't even checking the stupid things!!! Or if they were, they didn't care they just let you go.
Then we go to our bus that we have PAID for in advance to get us to the airport. We were just going to take a shuttle from the airport to our hotel. So we get on our bus…I have these tickets that were left in our room from princess. No one collects the tickets. I realize, they are giving EVERYONE a ride….so why did we have to pay for it if no one else did?
So we spent the night in a beautiful hotel (that I think princess should pay for) that was near the airport and left on our flight home the following day. Then of course, our luggage didn't make it home with us. The airlines delivered it at 5:00 am the day after we got home.