This was our 3rd cruise, 2nd with Princess. We had read some reviews of the Caribbean Princess, some of which were a little negative, so we didn't have the highest of expectations. It exceeded our expectations though! If we could design our own cruise ships, it would have a combination of the 2 cruise lines we've sailed on: Princess and Royal Caribbean. We've had enough experience now to make comparisons. First off, we love the "Movies Under the Stars" that the Princess has offers. There's nothing like hanging out on the lounge chairs under the stars while watching a movie. I enjoy the International Cafe on Princess where you always have access to small finger foods and some yummy desserts. We also took advantage of eating out on the back deck of the Princess. The Coral Dining Room has doors right out to the back area where you can eat outdoors (Deck 15) right above the back pool area. We enjoyed the fitness center every day, then would go into the locker rooms and spend a little time in the steam room and sauna. It's the best.
The entertainment has been good. Always enjoyed the comedians! Singers and dancers do a great job and the poolside live music has always been great.
The food on board was great! This was one of the best times, with desserts exceeding out expectations. If you can't decided what appetizer or dessert to get, they'll bring you both. Wished we'd gotten a second round of the lobster & shrimp meal...so divine.
As always, the service all around was great.
Overall we enjoyed our ports: Cozumel, Roatan Honduras and Belize City.
We chose to take a chance by finding someone to take us to the ruins. One of the crew members who took us from the ship to Belize City, recommended going to Altun Ha and to touch base with IRWIN at the city center. So we found it within a few minutes, asked for Irwin and we started talking to him about going to Altun Ha. At first it looked like the cost was going to be over $100 each, but then he passed us on to another tour member to finish making plans so Irwin could talk with some others. We were told we could get a city & ruin tour for $50 each and just with the 2 of us. We agreed and were then taken to LEON who would be our guide for the next few hours.
LEON gave us some good history and info on the city as we casually drove through on our way out to the ruins (Altun Ha). We knew the drive would be an hour, but it felt longer because at times the road conditions were so bad Leon had to drive slower. For this being the only way to this well known ruin, it blows my mind that they wouldn't take better care of the roads. Tons of pot holes.
We saw a lot of interesting things on our drive to and from...lots of homes on stilts, men on the site carving and sanding their woodwork. Men hacking away at weeds with their machetes, fruit stands on the side. Such a different way of life out here.
Once we arrived to the ruins, Leon made sure we got inside ok. He did not come in with us because only certain tour guides are allowed, and they are not certified. We were disappointed with that (but then I guess that's why it was less expensive). The area was amazing! It was hard to be surrounded by these ruins and not know the history. A few times we were able to listen in on tour groups that came through. Altun Ha was a pretty spectacular place!
They had plenty of natives outside the park selling all native stuff, much of which is carved and finished by them or family members. I enjoy looking at it all, then going back and choosing. They want you to pick up and touch the items, as you'd be more likely to buy it. They also have natives there selling food items: pop, coconuts, sugar cane, dried banana's and sweet potato (snack). We picked up a snack and drinks because it was a pretty warm and humid day.
I picked up a beautiful wood bowl that was carved and finished by a Belizean husband and wife.
For not having booked anything, we had a great experience. The only negative is the time spent getting to the island and back, as they ships anchor about 15 minutes away.
After the snorkeling, the Tour took us to a private area of the beach where there were plenty of chairs and some fun water toys to play with and not too crowded.
Booked a Catamaran Snorkeling Trip (Fury Tours). Fury Catamaran tours did a great job at keeping all passengers comfortable and happy. After the snorkeling, they offered plenty of drinks (we're not drinkers, so we enjoyed some cold punch) and cranked up some good beach music.
Booked a Catamaran Snorkeling Trip (Fury Tours). This included about 45 minutes snorkeling, after which they offered plenty of drinks (we don't drink, so we had some good punch) and
The waters were clear and pristine, so you could see so well. There was nice coral reef and some fish. .
A great start to our cruise!
Initially about 20-25 of us got in a school bus converted into an excursion vehicle (turquoise in color with fish all over it. It is not air conditioned, but then again we knew that. Jorge gave us a nice history of the island as we drove to the area we'd be snorkeling at. Once inside, we were offered a nice non-alcoholic drink then we followed Jorge out to the beach area. We were on Fantasy Island (there's a sign to prove it) and the beach time was at a beautiful beach resort.
Up to now, all was smooth, but things got a little strange. We were to fill out waivers (which in my mind should have been done on the bus) and for the next 15 minutes or so we did that and were hangin around waiting for instruction from Jorge. I need to mention that he's by himself on this part of the leg. It felt like the next 45 minutes was wasted as Jorge seemed to be disorganized, not knowing what time and order things were happening. Not too impressed by this. He took about 15-20 minutes basically giving a private lesson to a new snorkeler. He shouldn't be taking this time to do this now. Some of us decided to take advantage of the beautiful water and get wet.
We had been told the current was pretty strong and waters were a little rough, but they took us out to a spot not far from the beach where we were. They grouped us by snorkeling experience, with each group going with a guide.
The water was a little rough, but the coral reef and fish made it all worth it. They told us we had about an hour in the water. The clarity of the water was fairly good. The coral reef was amazing and we saw some great schools of fish. I had forgotten about the fact that this was a "shipwreck snorkeling tour" until I got back on the boat when I started feeling sea sick from all the rocking waves (i lasted about 30 minutes or so). It didn't make sense to me that we'd be taken on this "shipwreck" tour and not get to see it, but the last 5-10 minutes they brought all the remaining snorkelers right by the boat where there was a shipwreck, but from what everyone said, you could only see the outline of it. It was too far down or visibility wasn't too great. Even those that dove down didn't get too close.