We flew from Oakland to Houston Hobby on Friday, April 18th and took the free shuttle to the Marriott. Hotel and room very nice. Our shuttle driver helped us make taxi arrangements to the port for the next morning. We traveled with two other couples, so there were six of us. We had to use two cabs with all the luggage.
Bayport Embarkation: This was very smooth and efficient. We are Platinum so very little wait. I think we were on the ship by 12:15. We dropped off our carry-on luggage in our cabin and went to the International Café for lunch. This was so much less crowded than the buffet usually is at that time. We relaxed and just soaked it all in.
The ship was beautiful with decorations of giant Easter eggs making it even more festive. I was on this ship, Caribbean Princess, nine years ago. She is a beautiful ship. The upholstery is a bit worn in some of the public rooms, but hopefully that will be taken care of when she goes into dry dock in May.
The crew was friendly and accommodating, as always. Our cabin steward made sure we had whatever we asked for, was friendly when he saw us in the hallway, and made up our room constantly. Yet, he was mostly invisible, as I have explained to friends they are supposed to be.
Our dining room staff in anytime dining in the Coral Dining Room was terrific. We had 8 people and made a reservation for the same table and time every night. Therefore we had the same servers. Very accommodating, and we showed them our appreciation with extra tips on the last night. We did this for our cabin steward too. The food was good. If you didn't like something they made sure to get you something else instead. Perhaps sometimes the food was a bit better in the past (more gourmet), but we still think Princess does a terrific job of feeding all those people and it's better than average. We also loved the International Café (love the chicken salad), and the pizza and hot dogs and fries on deck were superb!
We got a drink package for $7.50 a day that included all soft drinks, juices, and mocktails. We don't drink alcohol so this was great for us. We only needed one for each cabin, so it is really a value.
Entertainment: As always, we loved the nightly entertainment. The shows were very good, though we did think one was a lot louder than we liked for comfort. The comedian was hysterical. We had already seen the magician on a previous cruise, so didn't go again. We love to listen to music and dance and a few of the groups onboard were very good. The one in Explorer's Lounge was too loud one night so we had to walk to walk out. Our favorite by far was listening to Bert Stratton play piano and sing in the Crooner's. We went every night, at some point in the evening. I had first seen him 9 years ago, and he is as good as ever. Very entertaining and extremely personable. My friends all enjoyed him immensely. He really made our cruise so special!
Cozumel: We went to the Mayan ruins. Princess excursion. It was so extremely hot and humid! Lots of steps up and down, and so it was tiring. Gorgeous when you get to the ruins and see the beauty and the sea. The transfer to the motor coach was air conditioned and very comfortable. You have to take a boat to the motor coach. It was also air conditioned.
Roatan: We did our own private excursion to Little French Key. I had heard about it on Cruise Critic roll call. Had a lovely day. It's beautiful there. It rained, but we didn't much care. The lunch was so good and you also get two drinks a person. The little rescue zoo was fabulous and I got to hold the monkey, Lisa. They had a Jaguar cub there and they took him swimming and we got to touch him. Took lots of photos. We love animals so this was a high point. The water and beach were gorgeous. Very well maintained. Some of our group went snorkeling. It was a wonderful beach day! We walked through Mahogany Bay before returning to the ship. Looked nice on that beach too.
Belize: We tendered in and looked for a short tour or something. We decided not to go to the ruins there since the heat really took its toll on us in Cozumel. We took a city tour and were shocked at the poverty! I hear that if you travel out to one of the islands it is much different, but we were in Belize for so little time, we couldn't do that. We walked around the shopping port before going back on the tender.
Lots to do on the ship, but not enough time to do it all. Most free time during days on the ship were spent relaxing up on deck. We like to turn the lounges around to face the rail so we can see the water. Usually can find shady spots. DH did play Bingo once, and stopped in the casino one afternoon for a short time. We somehow never got to Trivia or dancing lessons this trip. But we had lots of fun.
Disembarkation: This was very organized. Found our luggage easily. Princess really has this down.