My wife, sister and our friend Ann and I left Washington DC and Pittsburgh to travel to Houston to meet the Caribbean Princess. Concerned by earlier reports of boarding delays due to fog in Bayport, we chose to hire Lady Bird Limo by Susan Hunter to meet us at Hobby Airport at 1 pm for departure Saturday. Susan met us and when we found the port, the police were not letting passengers be dropped off until 2 pm. Susan took us to a nearby town and we purchased our one bottle of wine apiece, toured the town and then went back. We were allowed to enter the terminal and were efficiently processed. But, then we had to wait over an hour before we were allowed to board the ship about 4 pm. When we arrived at our staterooms, most of our bags were already there. We called dining line to request the Chef's Dinner event and went to the gym to sign up for classes.
The Caribbean Princess is laid out almost exactly as the Ruby Princess, so we knew the layout and found our staterooms, Emerald 202, 204 and 120 were well positioned forward. Even though they were obstructed views, we were happy with the views, E120 is almost completely unobstructed by the life boat.
We had 5:30pm fixed dining in the Coral Dining Room, table 344 and we met our wait staff. A highlight of the the cruise was the amazing attention and care lavished on us by head waiter Martin Petrov, waiter Ric Dela Cruz, and his assistant Vira Ovcharova! What a delight! Each night our water glasses were filled according to our preferences and our wine bottles were on the table. Ric advised us on the best choices of the evening and Vira insured our breads were just right and brought our non-drinking members their favorite soft drinks without asking! One of our group has a food intolerance and Martin went way beyond the expected by helping her choose her dining selection for the next day and then communicating with the chef. The preparations she enjoyed were absolutely amazing! Martin personally checked each dish for her and sent several back to be redone. The results were spectacular! For us, fixed dining was a winner! A bonus was that we did not need to make a decision about when to eat. I heard many groups in the cruise struggling with this decision each night, it made for some interesting group dynamics!
The ship was under norovirus restrictions for four nights, but the only impact was our Chef's Dinner, which we were selected for, was canceled. We were very disappointed, we were truly looking forward to the event based on past reviews on Cruise Critic, but we understood.
We loved the entertainment! We went to most of the shows, we especially enjoyed Ric Steel, he gave an amazing concert, and the magic show. We spent a great deal of time in the Explorers Lounge enjoying trivia contests, dancing and music.
The weather outbound from Houston was a little cool, but once we got to the Caribbean, it was good. The inbound trip on the last day had some rough seas and cold weather, but we were too busy to notice except one of our party stayed in the cabin with a bit of seasickness.