We originally were supposed to be on the March 15th sailing of the Caribbean Princess, but had to cancel it and reschedule it, (ended up getting wisdom teeth pulled on March 15th instead!) We had insurance and were able to reschedule it for April 12th, without losing any money, thankfully.
We drove from central Illinois to Houston, leaving our home at 1:30 am on Friday. The car was loaded, we got up and showered and left. We had an uneventful drive, and arrived in Houston around 8 PM. Around 5 PM I decided to Priceline a hotel in the area. I ended up with The Marriott Springsuite. We got it for $80. Not bad. We walked to a bar/grill right next to the hotel to grab a bite to eat. The waitresses were VERY scantily dressed (not in a cute or sexy way either) and were kind of hard and dirty looking. The place was rather empty, but loud. Dan looked at me and said, “we’ll grab a quick drink and a snack and leave”. When I pulled out my chair, there was a can of beer upside down in the chair. I said, “no, we are not eating here. We are leaving. We aren’t starting out our vacation on this note”. So, we left and went to Chili’s. Not very adventuresome, but reliable and always the same! We were pretty wiped out, so we slept well. We ate their free breakfast in the morning, which was average, nothing more. But, it served its purpose! I took a quick trip to Starbucks and we decided to head to the port around 10:30 or so.
It took us 35 minutes to get to the port, and get in the parking lot. We had prepaid for our parking. We dropped off the bags and then snagged our spot. Very easy. We walked right in and there wasn’t a line at all in the Platinum/Elite line. We got our cruise cards and were given a ticket for early boarding, and they directed us where to sit. We waited and it seemed like an eternity, because we were so anxious and ready to get on board! In all actuality, it was probably 15 minutes or so! LOL They opened up the doors and we were onboard, purchasing our soda stickers by 11:45. We went to our room to drop off my computer bag and my purse before heading to lunch. We had a balcony room on Caribe Deck, C730. Our room was in order and our cabin steward, Eddie, was there to greet us. He was very nice and was wonderful the whole trip. We went to Horizon Court to eat and had a nice lunch.
Muster Drill went off without a hitch, except for a few older guys who insisted that they put their life jackets on. Oh well. LOL We had Anytime Dining, because we don’t want to be tied down to a certain dinner time . We also don’t particularly like sitting with strangers to eat, so we take the majority of our meals in the buffet . However, I was DYING for Love Boat Dream dessert, so we decided to eat in the Anytime Dining that first night. When asked if we preferred a table alone or with others, we decided to give it a try. Our tablemates were lovely people and we had nice conversation. It was a pleasant evening. The food was very good and my Love Boat Dream was every bit as good as I remembered! This turned out to be the only time we used the Anytime Dining room, though. We were tired, so we decided to turn in. The rooms next to ours had kids in the rooms across the hall. I think it was a few families travelling together. The kids were pre-teen and young teenage boys. The kids were LOUD. They didn’t close doors, they slammed them. Approximately 50 times or so each night. We decided we wouldn’t say anything, as long as it didn’t go on very late. They stopped between 10 and 10:30, so we didn’t say anything. But, it was an everyday occurrence. Next time we select our cabin, we will try and get a balcony that doesn’t have an inside cabin right across the hall, because I think lots of parents do this. There were LOTS of kids on this cruise, and for the most part, they were well behaved. I saw a little rough housing in the pool, but all in all, nothing major.
Sunday – At Sea. We had breakfast in Horizon Court and then went back to the room. About 9:30 I went up to the pool area to get a seat around MUTS to lie in the sun and watch movies. Dirty Dancing was on at 10:00 and I always enjoy it. I have to say, I didn’t see any chair hogs. This was the best, most polite group of sunbathers I have ever encountered! For the whole cruise! I was pleasantly surprised! The weather was wonderful and it felt very relaxing. I had a hot dog off the grill for lunch. I left around 2, to get ready to go to the Cruise Critic M&G, but that didn’t work out for me. I went into the room, put my bag down and then went to retrieve my Kindle I had left by the pool. I ended up on a goose chase, because it got turned into the bar, and turned into the purser from there. When I got back to our cabin, I had left my key inside. DH was on the balcony reading and he couldn’t hear me knocking on the door or calling the phone. This was about the ONLY time I didn’t see Eddie in the hallway! I finally called Passenger Services and they sent someone up to let me in. That took about 15 minutes, but it was my own fault. I purchased a coffee card, and I used it exclusively for brewed coffee. I am a coffee addict, but I don’t like flavored or fancy coffees. Just plain old, good brewed coffee. We ate super in Café Caribe and it was average. MUTS - Hunger Games
Monday – Cozumel: We normally book at least 1 excursion on a cruise, but this time we didn’t book anything. I had major colon surgery last year, and we just didn’t know how I would fare on an excursion, so we decided to just relax and not plan anything this year. We had breakfast from the IC and waited until the excursion people were off the ship before exiting. We took a taxi into town and shopped. When we were done, we took a taxi back and had a very good lunch in Horizon Court. I must say, we thoroughly enjoyed the lunches there this cruise. They were excellent. I enjoyed the lunches there much more so than the dinners. I was up at the pool by 12:30 with my Kindle reading. I had a great afternoon of sun. I went to the art exhibit to look at the Thomas Kinkade pictures. MUTS: Saving Mr. Banks. I hit the IC before going back to the room and took back a nice cup of tea and some desserts. Very tasty.
Tuesday – Roatan: I went down to IC about 6 am with my kindle and read and drank coffee while DH slept a little longer. Ok, I admit it, I ate a chocolate chip muffin too. About 7 I took some breakfast goodies for him up to our room and we had breakfast. We did the same thing at Roatan, walked around a bit and did a little shopping. This is where I love to snorkel, so I was a little sad that I didn’t do that. Oh well, next time. When we got back to the ship, we had lunch from the grill and I was in my chair by the pool by 1. I do love being out there when a lot of others are off the ship. It was very quiet and the service was great. There weren’t any movies, just concerts at MUTS, and then they were doing karaoke there that night. We did supper in Café Caribe, but I wasn’t finding things I liked so I went out and got a hot dog from the grill and brought it in and ate with DH. We watched the jugglers in the Piazza, and they were very good and then went back to our room and read. It was a very relaxing day and was just what we needed. I had finished the 3 books I had downloaded to my Kindle, so I used some of my free internet minutes to buy 4 more books on Amazon and download them to my Kindle and my iPad. I had no issues with the internet or the internet speed doing this. No complaints!
Wednesday – Belize: Initially I wasn’t going to get off the ship, but we decided to go in and walk around. We did breakfast at IC and waited until you didn’t need a tender ticket. We got right on the tender and had an uneventful ride in. In hindsight, I wish I had stayed on the ship. It was the same shops and we ended up not staying long. We ate lunch and I was at my usual spot by the pool all afternoon. It was very warm that day! We did our usual supper at Horizon Court. MUTS was Gravity. We went to see Zach Winningham, and I can see how he was selected 2013 Princess Entertainer of the Year. He was very good, we thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it!
Thursday – Sea Day: My usual coffee/breakfast in IC! I really enjoy their muffins and coffee! I have to admit, I got engrossed in an episode of The Love Boat on TV. I was at the pool by 10 am. I did not have trouble finding a chair in the sun, around the MUTS pool. There were a few chairs saved, but the people were coming and going frequently, and seemed to be picking up towels when they left. Most polite bunch of sunbathers I have encountered on a cruise! It was very warm and sunny. I took my Kindle to the pool, as they were playing The Princess Bride, a concert, and replaying Dirty Dancing. I don’t know why they did that. I had a hot dog from the grill for lunch, and had a very relaxing day. We donated $30 each to The Bingo Gods and then we did dinner at Café Caribe. It was pretty good. Not great, but good. Once again, I have to say that the lunches seemed to be better than the dinners, but that is just our opinion. That evening, the Princess Singers and Dancers were in the Piazza. There was a young guy at the piano, and he was very good. We went to see the magic show by Michael Baron. We thought he was entertaining. This was where we encountered the only grouchy person on the cruise ship! I won’t go into detail, but we were sitting next to a guy with a real attitude problem!
Friday – Sea Day: I did breakfast in the IC again, and it was wonderful. It was cloudy and much cooler that day, so there would be no sunbathing! We explored the ship a little more and read. I actually read 7 books on this cruise! We had lunch in the Horizon Court and a light dessert/coffee from IC. We didn’t want to eat too much, because we had reservations at The Crown Grill that evening. We, once again, donated $30 each to The Bingo Fund in the afternoon. We didn’t win a darn thing! LOL We were surprised at how slow the boat was travelling, but knew that we wouldn’t have trouble making port. We had a lovely meal at The Crown Grill. We both had steak and lobster, along with every conceivable side dish you could imagine. It wasn’t busy at all in there and our service was excellent. We had 2 desserts, and I have to say that the Chocolate Explosion was heavenly. No other way to describe it. We were stuffed. We like to eat there on our last night, because it is always a sad night, because we are never ready to get off the ship. It kind of cheers us up. We walked around a bit and then went back to the room to pack. I finished packing and then, surprise surprise, I read some more.
Disembarkation. I went down to IC at 6 and got coffee and muffins, and brought them back to our room. We showered and were ready for Express Walk Off at 7:05. Our group went to The Explorer’s Lounge. We didn’t wait very long and it seemed to be orderly. We made it quickly thru customers and we were in our car by 7:30 and ready to drive away.
Sorry or all the detail. I figured you can read what you want, and skim over what you want. This was the LEAST that we have ever done on a cruise, but it was probably the most needed and the most relaxing. We had a hell of a year, and we just really needed to relax, spend time together and recharge. Mission Accomplished!
State of the Ship: She is a beautiful ship, and I admit I am partial to the Caribbean Princess. She was the first ship we ever sailed, and we fell in love with cruising on her. She will hold a special place in our hearts because of this. However, you can easily see that she is in need of repair. We saw worn carpet and things that just needed updated or changed. Did it spoil our cruise? Not at all! Were we inconvenienced by any of this? Not in the least.
I was a little disappointed with MUTS. It has changed. The first few cruises we went on, they had movies playing most of the time. They might repeat a movie (play it in the evening and then maybe the next morning), but they weren’t replaying old movies over and over again. Dirty Dancing, twice? Really? And they have played Mama Mia on each and every cruise we have gone on! The Tina Turner concert was good, but it has played on each and every cruise, also. I was glad to see that they had the Wake UP Show on the screen in the mornings, as opposed to a blank screen.
Our room was fine, no issues. Our TV remote stopped working, they changed the batteries, and it still didn’t work, so they brought us another one. Our cabin steward was attentive and friendly and he was right on the ball with keeping our room in great shape. No complaints there.
Food was average to good, depending on where you ate. We thought that the buffet lunches were extremely good for a buffet, the suppers were just ok. Breakfast was good in Horizon Court and good at the IC. I loved the hot dogs/brats from the grill and DH loved the hamburgers. We both had pizza once and thought it was not bad. On the other cruises we were not a pizza fan.
Cruise Staff was friendly, efficient, and seemed to go above and beyond with a great attitude. No complaints whatsoever there!
All in all, it was a great cruise! Just what we needed. The other passengers all seemed to be enjoying themselves (except for Mr. Grumpy in the theater) and were friendly, courteous and happy! We never experienced long lines anywhere and it didn’t seem crowded at all. Elevators, for the most part, were running well and we only had one time that we felt we waited very long.
Is Houston our favorite port? No. We think it is much prettier to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, but that is our opinion. Also, it is much warmer sailing from Ft. Lauderdale than it is from Houston. I think that your last sea day, going into Houston, runs a much higher chance of being chillier. Will we sail from Houston again, yes, if the price is right! Can’t wait to cruise again!