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365 Princess Caribbean Princess Family Cruise Reviews

My husband and I were looking forward to cruising with Princess. We understood it to have a 5 star rating. Previously we have cruised with Carnival and Norwegian. We paid extra to choose our cabin but discovered that we were not in the ... Read More
My husband and I were looking forward to cruising with Princess. We understood it to have a 5 star rating. Previously we have cruised with Carnival and Norwegian. We paid extra to choose our cabin but discovered that we were not in the cabin we selected. We were moved to the forward most room next to a warehouse/storage area where large carts were banged around all night. The noise was terrible and continued throughout the night. Customer service was a joke. The long line of disgruntled passengers was near constant each time we approached the desk to try to resolve our room issue. Apparently we were not the only ones unhappy with the cruise line or the accommodations. The cruise line denied any responsibility and claimed to be completely full so moving to another room was not an option. The food was alright although the wait times were long for the buffet and dining rooms. The ship appeared to be rather old and not well maintained. The entertainment was lack luster. The ship advertised a particular show but instead replaced it with a rather boring mentalist. The cruise director did nothing to encourage passengers to participate in any activities, unlike Carnival where you always know what is going on and when/where to go if you want to participate. The sea days were long and boring with little to fill the time. We were fortunate that we met another couple on board to play board games with. I left several items on board the ship and contacted customer service to report them missing when I returned home. I received a canned letter stating the items were not found, even though one of the fellow passengers emailed me that they had found the missing item and turned it into guest services for me to claim. Obviously, the guest services staff kept it for themselves. Overall, the experience with Princess was a big disappointment. We will never cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Pro's--Dinning room staff, embarkation, International Café, and entertainment (with the exception of one night...entertainment did not show up one of the evenings and the staff had to do an impromptu show of crew members hidden ... Read More
Pro's--Dinning room staff, embarkation, International Café, and entertainment (with the exception of one night...entertainment did not show up one of the evenings and the staff had to do an impromptu show of crew members hidden talents...TERRIBLE! Con's-Staff was rude and seemed angry to be on the ship working, food in the dinning room was cold, bland, and thankfully small portions. The buffet was one step above but food quality declined though the week. Our stateroom was dirty. I had a balcony that was rusted, peeling paint, and the glass had never been cleaned. Upon out arrival I found garbage under the bed (water bottle and soda cans) Our toilet remained broken a day and a half, never got fixed after reporting a problem and it was a smelly mess!!! Our steward for got my name and called my wife different names. The drinks were very overpriced (two drinks cost $24.00 with the tip and tax added) The staff hounded us to buy things the entire time and all pictures taken were washed out and had an orange color! Also on their private island I was not able to use my unlimited drink card...It's their product from the ship brought over to the island!!!!! Also coming back we waited with...and I kid you not 800+ people in the sun to get tendered back to the ship! Talk about being dehydrated and sunburned and the ship did not supply water to elderly people waiting in line. I really wanted to love this ship and cruise line! I really did! The elevators were broken daily and getting around on the choppy layout of this ship (some elevators only went to certain levels) made for a constant challenge to get around with 3000+ other people. I've taken Mexican Rivera cruises on Carnival that were a dream compared to this ship! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The temperatures were in the 80s at all ports. It was comfortable under the shade with sea breeze. Fort Lauderdale and Miami were hotter with highs in the 90s. We toured all islands on our own and didn’t encounter any major challenges. ... Read More
The temperatures were in the 80s at all ports. It was comfortable under the shade with sea breeze. Fort Lauderdale and Miami were hotter with highs in the 90s. We toured all islands on our own and didn’t encounter any major challenges. All our taxis drivers asked us for the return pick up time and always showed up on time. We never had to worry about getting the rides back to cruise ports. Princess Cay, 9am-4pm. Passengers were tendered to the island. Cruise line provided lunch and drinks (water and ice tea). There were bars for drinks. It wasn’t necessary to rent clamshells as it was very hot inside them. There were plenty of chairs. If you like area under the shade, go early. On the west side (north beach) there were good spots for snorkeling. Water sports rentals were also available. There was no need to book excursions unless you had something specific in mind. Very nice and relax day. St. Thomas, 7am to 8pm. Our cruise docked at Crown's Bay. We got off at ~8:15 am. There were many open sided safari trucks (Taxis) waiting outside the port. The price to each destination was clearly listed at the taxi stop, ranged from $4-10/person each way. We went to Coki Beach first. The taxi picked up about ~20 passengers and dropped them off at Downtown Charlotte Amelia, Red Hook (ferry terminal to St. John), and Coki Beach (our taxi’s last drop off spot). It took quite a long time to get there (>45 minutes) because of various drop off stops (maybe quicker if going to Coki Beach directly?). The Coki Beach (free) was right next door to Coral World Ocean Park. My husband went to explore the Coral World Park and thought it was worth the $19 entrance fee. Visit the website if you are interested: http://coralworldvi.com Coki Beach is the best snorkeling beach on St Thomas. We saw more fish here than all our previous snorkel experiences. The beach was pretty with fine white sand but not very big. We were lucky because we were the only cruise at port. It could be crowded with passengers from 5-7 cruise ships arrive on the same day. The onsite bar/food venders were aggressive to sell drinks and food. We rented 4 chairs ($5 each) but no umbrella ($10) because we got there early at 9:30am and there were shaded areas under the trees. Smoothly was $8 each, fresh coconut was $5. My husband went to the next door Coral World and thought it was worth the money. Their underwater observation deck was very nice and there were a lot of marine animals and corals to see. They also offered snuba, sea trak and other activities. We spent two hours at Coki beach. That was about right and I would say 1.5 hours would be the minimum. If you like to visit the coral world, add another 1-1.5 hours or more depends on how many under water activities you plan to do. Our taxi driver came back at 12:30pm and drove us to Magens Bay (~15 minutes ride). The entrance fee was $4. We spent two hours there. This was one of the best beaches we visited, the white sand beach stretched very long and the scenery was amazing. We laid the mats on the beach under the shade. The water was extremely calm. My boys rented standup paddle board ($20/half hour/person). It was their first time, but they managed to go safely and fast. The food and drink were reasonable price and okay quality. Three cups of soft drinks, one six piece chicken tenders (so so), one onion rings and one fries were $26. The portions were quite large. At 2:30, our taxi driver came back. The ride back to port was pleasant and didn’t take very long. Total fare was $29/person for the day. We included $4/person tips on top of the taxi fares. Overall Magens bay was a nicer beach but Coki beach was best for snorkel. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 7am-5pm When cruise ship arrived, there were many tour vans waiting outside the terminal. You can ignore them and walk across the street. There was a free trolley (stop 1, Paseo Concepcion De Gracia and J.A. Corretjer St ) near pier 4 (Princess docked at pier 4). Here is the website: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/free-trolley-old-san-juan. If your cruise docks at pier 1 to 3, there are stops alone Paseo Concepcion De Gracia. Note San Juan Puerto Rico is US territory so there are cell phone services. If you can't find the trolley stop, you can search it online. There are three free hop-on/off trolley routes circled in the old town. The one most passengers take is the open air trolley which take you to Del Morro Castle and San Cristobal Castle, then return to cruise terminal. The trolley has couple stops (25 and 26) before the El Morro del San Felipe where you can get off and take photos of the castle. Or it can take you right up to the castle entrance after stop 26. Entrance fee is $5 for both El Morro del San Felipe and Fort San Cristobal castles. Waking under the sun during summer weather is no fun. So the covered trolley is a great way to tour the old town. Highly recommended. We visited both El Morro del San Felipe and Fort San Cristobal castles and really enjoyed the visits. Besides history, the views from both forts were magnificent. If we come back again in the future, we plan to take the ferry and visit the Bacardi Distillery on our own. When the cruise leave San Juan, be sure to have your cameras ready and go up to the deck. There are a lot of photo opportunities there. Grand Turk 12-7pm There was a beach by the cruise terminal with lots of chairs. I believe they are free to use. The beach seemed nice but we didn't go there. We went to Governors beach, took a taxi ($4/person each way). Just walk to the left as if you were leaving the shopping area and there would be many taxis waiting. Price to each destination was clearly listed. Admittance was free and chairs were available at $10 each at governor's beach. We simply laid the beach towel on the beach under the shaded area. Snorkel gears were available for rental and there was also a snack shack. I didn't see other water activities there. The water was beautiful and wavy, but the sand wasn’t as fine as I expected. The beach wasn’t very clean. There were fish to see but not a lot. The entire place felt a bit run down. After two hours, our taxi driver came back. They were usually very flexible and would return at pre-arranged pick up time. Returning to the cruise, we took a shower then came out again. This time we took a taxi to the historical Cockburn town and Salt Company ($5 each person each way, 7-10 minutes from cruise terminal). The town was very small so we didn't get off. We spent about 20 minutes at the Salt Company to learn some history of Grand Turk and its salt production history. On our way back, the driver needed to pick up some passengers at Pillory beach (taxi fee: $8 each person each way) so we had about 20 minutes there for photos. There was a small resort there (http://www.bohioresort.com). The pillory beach was much nicer than government beach: clean beach, calm water and fine sands. The onsite shop or resort offered water activities: one hour snorkel on the wall at $45 (20-7000 feet of water), kayak $20/hour, snorkel rental $20/day, paddle boards $30/1.5 hours, beach lounger $10 each. If I were to do it again, I would go to Pillory beach. The ride back was short, a little over than 10 minutes. The Grand Turk wasn’t as developed as other Caribbean islands. There weren’t much traffic and at the most, there were three cruises in port (2 on our day).   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The Caribbean Princess was launched in 2004 and the design is very similar to the Grand Princess on which we have also sailed several times. The Caribbean Princess has been maintained to excellent physical condition, and its entire staff ... Read More
The Caribbean Princess was launched in 2004 and the design is very similar to the Grand Princess on which we have also sailed several times. The Caribbean Princess has been maintained to excellent physical condition, and its entire staff has been very well trained and proved to be helpful in every instance that we experienced. The food provided in all the venues was delicious and among the best experienced among the many cruise lines we have used over the years. (our 73rd cruise) There was some delays experienced at the Breakfast Buffet each morning due to so many people delaying their meal to the last half hour of the Breakfast period, but the delays were of short duration. Of note to the passengers who are in need of mobility access, is that most of the doors leading to the outside decks must be manually opened, which does present somewhat of a problem for those in wheelchairs and scooters. The cabin doors (even the handicapped ones) are also only opened manually as opposed to many of the newer ships that have electrically operated doors. Of good news is the very good availability of the elevator system. There are many of them available throughout the ship and they are consistently kept in good operating order. I noticed only one elevator that was down for repairs that was not fixed during the entire cruise. Regarding meals; this ship offered many additional options for your culinary pleasure in the form of "Specialty Restaurants" that are available for a usual cover charge of about $20.00 PP. We did not partake of that option on this trip as the included restaurants were perfectly adequate. The stage shows were elaborate and very well done by the ships staff of performers, and the main theater was spacious enough for comfortable seating for enough passengers that there was few people that were required to stand for even the most popular shows. The Handicapped seating, and positions for wheelchairs and scooters were very adequate and easy to access on Deck 7 (Balcony). Embarkation, and Disembarkation were well managed and not at all stressful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Embarkation: First off embarkation went very smooth for us. We arrived at Port Everglades around 10:30am dropped off our luggage came back to the terminal entrance got checked in around 11:00am. They had us wait in one area since we are ... Read More
Embarkation: First off embarkation went very smooth for us. We arrived at Port Everglades around 10:30am dropped off our luggage came back to the terminal entrance got checked in around 11:00am. They had us wait in one area since we are Platinum level members. As time came close to board they moved us to another area and by noon we were on the ship. Stateroom: When we arrived at our stateroom we received our luggage shortly after arriving and we were greeted by our room steward. He was more then friendly he would do anything for us and always made sure that we had everything we needed. He always came by just to say hi when he seen us in the hallways. Food: The food on the ship was very good whether if we ate in the dining room or at the Horizon Court there was always options onboard to choose from. Of couirse, I had to stop by the international cafe for a slice of cheese cake. The lobster that they had was very good and of course the Alaska bake the last night of the cruise was very good indeed. Ports: I loved all the ports in general. First stop was in Grand Turk the ocean was very nice clear water all around and very relaxing. I later found the pool and then I moved over there where they had a tiki bar and the water was very warm. San Juan: This was my first time in San Juan I seen some historic sites that I was impressed with. The streets of San Juan which is the old San Juan were very small and reminded me very much of St. Maarten there streets are small as well. Overall, I had a fun time in San Juan. St. Thomas: Having been here before I didn't see much in change from the last time I visited two years ago. We didn't do any excursions in the ports as we wanted to explore on our own. Princess Cays: This was my third time being at Princess Cays and we did not stay on the island that long because it was way too hot. We had the free lunch that Princess offers we had lunch on the island then decided to go back to the ship and go swimming since it was hot. I will say this about Princess about getting off the ship. They have tender boats that take you to and from the island and I feel that they need to get a better system in place as this does get congested and by the time you get off the ship its time to come back. Advice if you are going to visit the island get off the ship early otherwise it will be very crowded. Entertainment: I will say this if you can't find anything to do on the ship then that is on you. This is my 5th cruise with Princess and I always found something to do whether it was watching a show a demonstration, casinos there is always something to do on the ship. Disembarkation: What can I say it was very smooth and very well organized. Since we are platinum level members we had the option to either sit in the Casino or stay in Club Fusion so we chose to stay in Club Fusion where they had tea and coffee for us. Once off the ship we were through customs within 15 minutes so very smooth indeed. Overall, great cruise as I did celebrate my birthday onboard. Hats off to Princess for making my cruise enjoyable. Would I sail with Princess again most definitely!! Thank you Princess for another great cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was not our first cruise with Princess we have always been pleased and have considered this a top line. Our thoughts were changed during this trip. Although nothing I will speak of was a deal breaker there were issues that would make ... Read More
This was not our first cruise with Princess we have always been pleased and have considered this a top line. Our thoughts were changed during this trip. Although nothing I will speak of was a deal breaker there were issues that would make us think twice about cruising on Princess again. It was apparent to us that the service was somehow altered.my suspicion is that the number of staff was compromised. Examples: There was one person making speciality coffees with six people waiting in line. There was one person at the excursion desk on a port day because everyone else was sending out excursions. There were at least eight people waiting to be helped. The public bathrooms were not kept clean. The eating area around the outdoor grill was not picked up. There was trash on the ground and tables not bused. The singers and dancers wore costumes that were not maintained, looking worn and used. As I stated in the beginning these were not deal breakers, we had a wonderful time in spite of these issues. However there has been an obvious decline in Princess. Princess offers the SANCTUARY. This is a private area where you can rent a chair that is yours for the week. One deck under there is a small, adults only pool. They have a limited lunch menu,and provide water and headphones. For as wonderful as this place was this too has changed. It was twenty dollars a day and has now doubled in price. Also if you want lunch there is a $3.95 delivery charge. The week for two of us was $410.00. Breakfast was good, the usual foods, eggs, pancakes etc. lunch from the grill was okay. Dinner was difficult. We did not enjoy the menu, and ate two meals in the speciality restaurants and the other meals in the buffet. The charge for the speciality restaurant was $25.00 per person. The food was outstanding. The discrepancy between the speciality restaurant and the regular dining room was vast. The casino was a big issue for me. It is a smoking casino. There is only one night that is non smoking. I think Princess has this backwards. It should be non smoking with one day of smoking. It was intolerable. Princess has really fallen. It is only one step above Carnival. That should sum it up. Next time Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Embarkation: Was good except for a very loud noise shaking the floors prior and during which lasted for hours. Which was okay but not on the last day since the ship returned at 1:00 AM to Fort Lauderdale rather than 7:00 AM the following ... Read More
Embarkation: Was good except for a very loud noise shaking the floors prior and during which lasted for hours. Which was okay but not on the last day since the ship returned at 1:00 AM to Fort Lauderdale rather than 7:00 AM the following day "due to maintenance"! Public Rooms: Are very clean and organized. Cabin: Linen Service is excellent. The room gets made twice a day. However we had a horrible experience during the night EVRY Single night. The first night we were awakened by a scratching and tapping sound in the ceiling of our stateroom. We immediately requested that Customer Relations have an engineer do an inspection or move us to another room as it was very disturbing to our family. We got no place with this request and felt disrespected by the staff. It was a long week on the ship as we endured the sound in the ceiling every night (awakening us around 3:00 a.m.). Management was sarcastic and promised to move us but never did. Also, we were bitten by Bed Bugs all over our bodies, Again we complained to staff. We showed them the Bed Bugs Bites all over our bodies. Yet nothing was done about this either. Needless to say, this first cruise has deterred us from ever considering a cruise with Princess again. I would be most interested in hearing if anyone else has had such an experience with Princess. Shore Excursions: Over priced. Also the Shore Excursion Desk has limited hours. They are hardly available to inform you or to get tickets. Also they charge you for Adults rates for children over 12 years. We bought excursion tickets to go to the beach in St. Thomas. All we got was a taxi which dictated that we would spent only 2 hours at the beach, then we had to go shopping by force. We did not want to go shopping and the Taxi Driver who was appointed by the ship's Shore Excursion refused to let us stay for an extra hour only till 1:30 although the ship was suppose to leave at 5:00 PM. The driver also refused to take us back to the ship for he insisted only after we went shopping. He abandoned us downtown in the burning sun although he was supposed to take us back to the ship. We complained to the Excursion Desk Manager who refused to accommodate us in any shape or form. Dinning: Dinning Was the only good thing on this cruise: The restaurants were very clean. The food was 5 stars. The service in the restaurants were fantastic. Also the snacks counter which is available 24 hours has very nice menu. The staff was very friendly. Kids Club: The staff was very cooperative and very friendly. Except it had limited hours. Also it is not available when the ship is at a port. So if you want to spent some adult time or the children have no interest in leaving the ship, that is not an option. Photo Studio: Staff are inexperienced and rude. They lost our pictures 4 times. We had to pay for correcting the colors. Pictures were too orange. We paid extra, then they asked us to come back which we did 4 times every day for 3 days. They found them then they lost them again, The manager was so rude, he said that Americans like to be bribed ! in order to get our pictures right!. Overall we were not impressed with Princess. I think we would have been more impressed had management heard and responded to our problems.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
3 day cruise - Memorial Day Weekend. My first 3 day cruise. I was unaware that when we booked this cruise (which we got a great deal on), it was known as a "gambler's cruise". Entertainers are a whirlwind of information. ... Read More
3 day cruise - Memorial Day Weekend. My first 3 day cruise. I was unaware that when we booked this cruise (which we got a great deal on), it was known as a "gambler's cruise". Entertainers are a whirlwind of information. Embarkation onto the ship - As a platinum member, this was a breeze, except that they lost my cousin's card and we needed to go to the other end of the area to take a seat and wait while they printed a new one. Once on the ship - we dropped off our stuff and went to lunch on Lido which was pleasant. Plenty of choices and the food was good Cabin A749 - my first interior. Only downside was the location - the very last interior room before the Aft suites and the anchor that dropped 2 days and made a crashing loud sound which woke us up. Casino - Smokey!!!!!!! I can usually go there (and do!), but found it uncomfortably smokey. Perhaps they need a new ventilation system? Staff - Overall, we feel they had all newbies on staff. Service was slow, and in some cases nonexistent. Steward - Regallio, was very pleasant when we first met him. We requested extra towels which he provided with a smile. Unfortunately, he did not provide them the next two days and when my husband went to get one off the cart, he got "yelled" at, as if he were stealing it. (Believe me, you don't want their towels!) Bar Service - We prefer the quieter Terrace Pool area. There were zero servers around on either this deck or the lounging deck above. We had to go to the bar ourselves to get drinks (As a Carnival shareholder, this upsets me!). It took a very loooooonnnnng time to get their attention and then get your drink. Quality control is nonexistent - every drink I ordered tasted different (and yes, we ordered the same!) Shows - don't bother. It's like they dredged the bottom of the barrel for the two comedians. Ports - This short cruise only went to Princess Cays. Have been there many times and have no problem with this "private" port, however, on this ship it took 2 hours to disembark and 1 1/2 hours to get back on. That is unacceptable and I feel we did not get our money's worth from our cabana and aqua chair rentals. There are water sports and excursions available for extra money of course. Food is so so, hamburgers, hot dogs etc... I prefer to go back to the boat to eat. Food and Food Service - As far as choices, it was fine. You do not get the "top" level food as it is only a three day cruise, but it's fine. Service - our waiter, Alexander, was very nice and personable. He really tried to please. We actually tried to tip him extra on the last day, but we waited 20 minutes after eating and he never came back out! Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about our assistant waiter who we never saw until we actually asked our waiter for coffee. Moreover, we requested regular milk and were brought out cream, twice, each time ruining our cup of coffee! Also, I got sick on our last night of the cruise from something I ate at dinner. Not a good way to end the cruise :( Disembarkation - An absolute breeze. Ate breakfast on Lido and waited to walk off with our luggage. We never even made it to the Platinum lounge. The reason I booked this cruise was the price, plain and simple. I thought it would be a good cruise to help me get to elite status. My fault, but I should have checked airfares to Ft. Lauderdale first - it was expensive! Is this where I say, you get what you pay for? LOL The only shame is that I brought along my cousins. I wanted them to share my Platinum Princess experience and turn them on to Princess. I am afraid they will never book one again.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Just a bit of background info on me and my cruising experience. I'm 44 and my wife is 39. We also traveled with our children, my son is 15 and daughter is 14. We have been on most of the major cruise lines including Carnival, Disney, ... Read More
Just a bit of background info on me and my cruising experience. I'm 44 and my wife is 39. We also traveled with our children, my son is 15 and daughter is 14. We have been on most of the major cruise lines including Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and now Princess. This was our first Princess cruise. I booked it primarily because I wanted to try a new cruise line and really didn't know much about Princess. I guess the best place to start a review is at the beginning. Keep in mind, that this review is all based on my own personal opinion and experiences. My ratings are simple. 5 star is the best and 1 the worst. EMBARKATION: 4 Stars We got to the port pretty early (around 11:30 AM). The check-in process was relatively simple. I did ask the counter guy to hole punch the cards for our lanyards. Surprisingly, he said he didn't have a hole puncher. He told me to go to the boutique once I got on board. CABIN: 2 Stars We booked a really cheap inside cabin R732. I selected it primarily because of its location to a small pool on the back of the ship called the terrace pool. When we arrived at our cabin (we were pleasantly surprised when we were told it would be ready as soon as we boarded), the room steward was in the cabin working on it. We walked in just to set our bags down and encountered the first issue of the cruise. The beds were in a twin configuration and I told her that wasn't going to work for us. I explained that we were a married couple and we slept together. She proceeded to call her supervisor. The supervisor told her he would meet us at 1:00 pm. We checked out the ship and came back at 1:00 pm. We waited for about 15 minutes and nobody showed up. At that point, I proceeded to rearrange the beds myself. We unpacked and left the cabin. A few hours later we came back to the room and the supervisor happened to see us. I asked why he wasn't there at 1:00 pm, and I was told he had an emergency (thanks for communicating that fact to me at 1:00). He said that typically Princess had its passengers sign a safety waiver before pushing the beds together, but I didn't need to worry about doing that. He explained it was no problem and left. Overall the cabin was about as tight and cramped as any cruise ship that we've ever been on. The only place to sit down was the bed. I don't expect much from an inside cabin, but this cabin was more like a closet. One other note that seemed to agitate me more as the cruise progressed....the room steward kept her cleaning trolley parked outside my room for most of the cruise, which meant having to squeeze beside it and look at it the entire time. Ships Appearance and Cleanliness: 2 Stars This might have been my biggest issue on the entire cruise. We felt the ship was just dirty. Missing end caps on rails, windows that looked like they needed to have windex, carpet that was frayed, little pieces of trash in various places on the ship. The most eye opening event was the "Ultimate Deck Party". The deck was trashed...covered in food trays, beer bottles, etc. and it STAYED that way until the next morning. I know of no cruise line that wouldn't clean up at the completed of a party event. Several other passengers were heard commenting that the ship just seemed dirty. One person even said she felt like she needed a tetanus shot. The odd thing is that the ship is only 10 years old and just came out of dry dock two weeks ago. It just doesn't make sense unless the employees aren't cleaning as they should. Outside of the cleanliness, the ship seemed very pedestrian to us. It did not have the opulence of any ship that we've sailed on. It just seemed very plain to us. FOOD AND SERVICE: 4 Stars We felt the food was very good for a cruise line. We greatly enjoyed having the buffet open until 11 pm. The servers were very friendly and would ask it you needed water or tea almost immediately. Another strange note about the bar service...we never once had a waiter ask us if we needed a cocktail. We found it very strange. We don't like Carnival's pushiness on the drinks, but we really would have liked someone to take our drink order. Perhaps the oddest food issue on the entire cruise is that chicken fingers were only available in the dining room or by special request. We had never been on a cruise line that didn't have chicken fingers available next to the hamburgers and hot dogs. Princess also pulled up all the upper deck loungers at 8 pm. It was frustrating. ENTERTAINMENT: 2 Stars Almost non-existent or very poor. Clearly this wasn't a party cruise, but it seemed the average age was around 60 and most preferred to watch the "Movies Under the Stars", which was heavily promoted. The lack of music was astounding. It was much too quiet for our tastes and several guests made the same comments to me. The performers in the main Princess theater were so bad that we didn't stay throughout the performance. On a positive note, Skywalkers was very cool. We had hoped for an 80's music night, but it didn't happen. Princess seems to cater to the older crowd and I'm sure most on the board already knew that, but I didn't. OVERALL RATING 2.5 Stars There were too many issues for us to consider a cruise with Princess for a while. Maybe in another 20 years, I'll be ready to curl up under a blanket each night for a movie, but not yet. I need to hear a little pitbull, I need to feel that cruise vibe. The buffet lines were too small, the ship was cut up in a way that made it feel small to us. We just didn't like the ship....oh and btw, where were my damn towel animals? :)   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our first time on Princess Cruise Line. We have traveled many times on Royal Caribbean. This is also our LAST time of traveling with Princess. We had been told by family members that Princess was far superior to RCL and that ... Read More
This was our first time on Princess Cruise Line. We have traveled many times on Royal Caribbean. This is also our LAST time of traveling with Princess. We had been told by family members that Princess was far superior to RCL and that after we sailed with them we would never want to go back to RCL. Since we have always been very pleased with RCL, we were excited about having an opportunity to compare and perhaps increase our options in the future. Having a child with special needs, we have a lot of preplanning with the cruise line in order to bring his oxygen and wheelchair on board. Hands down, RCL has this streamlined to be very easy and efficient. Princess has totally different departments and 800#s and physician statements to deal with. RCL I get it all done in one phone call. I also prefer RCL's system to pay for gratuities, shore excursions and beverage packages beforehand instead of having it added to our onboard account as Princess does. Beverages and wine are more expensive on Princess and wine list seemed shallow. Houston was a very easy port to get in and out of. While on RCL we have to wait to access our cabin til about 1pm, Princess lets you go straight onto your cabin as soon as you board. The first thing I noted was that the cabin was not prepped for my son's special needs. No sign on the door saying Oxygen In Use and no extension cord, as was prearranged. When I saw the cabin steward and mentioned these, he said he would bring us an extension cord that evening, but that Princess does not post an oxygen sign. (Weird...I thought that was a law). Also, the ship is laid out very difficulty and a puzzle to get from deck to deck and aft to forward, which I had read several times on reviews. The balcony cabin we booked was not even passable. There were huge dark stains on the carpet that were sticky to walk on so I wouldn't let anyone walk barefoot. There were also stains on the wall by the desk (I would post photos if I could). There were no flat sheets on the bed, just a coverlet. The bed was so uncomfortable and had really bad wear enough to see a visible sag in the center. The shower had a curtain instead of a door as on RCL. And the shower was not clean. The last people's soap bar remnants were on the soap holder and the floor by the drain. I had to get out Lysol wipes and clean before I would let anyone use it. I swear I am not exaggerating. We ate in the Coral Dining room and was very pleased with our head waiter and wait staff. Very pleasant and helpful. We had a table by the window, but the window was not clean which we noticed on all the windows around ship. Yes, the Caribbean Princess is older, and we have sailed on older ships on RCL (Seranade of the Seas), but there is no excuse for dirty and unkempt. The Seranade is older, but immaculate and actually my favorite ship on RCL. Customer Service is far superior on RCL as compared to this Princess sailing. Some explained this because of how the gratuities are earned on RCL. I prefer the dining experience and food on RCL far above Princess. Surprisingly so, I would even say the desserts are better on RCL. Which was not what we expected. We had the 5:30 seating and were lucky to get the main course by 7:15 or 7:30 the first two nights. After that, the timing improved. On a seven day cruise, we saw our cabin steward 3 times. This was not shipwide, as I saw the other 2 cabin stewards on our deck all the time. Working hard. There just seemed to be a total lack of supervision. The crew was goofing around in front of guests and playing silly games on this cruise. I have never seen this on RCL. Entertainment and activities are much more abound on RCL. I had read poor reviews on cruise lines before and actually said outloud, "Gee some people aren't happy unless they are complaining" so please understand that I am writing an honest review on our experience. The three ports were Belize, Cozumel and Honduras and all three were very pleasant. Princess lost our business and we will be staying with RCL in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Just returned from 7 Day/6 night Caribbean Princess From Houston to Cozumel, Roatan Island - Honduras, & Belize. Overall fun trip. The ship is somewhat older…with wear showing at the seams, but overall good food and good service. ... Read More
Just returned from 7 Day/6 night Caribbean Princess From Houston to Cozumel, Roatan Island - Honduras, & Belize. Overall fun trip. The ship is somewhat older…with wear showing at the seams, but overall good food and good service. I've had more fun on Carnival…its geared toward a younger crowd and would recommend them if you have children as they have better/more outdoor things on the boat such as putt/putt, slides, better basketball court, running track, etc. This ship had more pool and larger pools than on Carnival. As far as the excursions go: Cozumel - worst of all the 3 stops. Snorkeling was poor…..no corral…no fish….but beach after was fun. Roatan - snorkeling was the 2nd best of the 3 stops. We did the BOSS underwater scooter. It was expensive and not worth the price. The scooters were slow, the helmet constantly fogged up, and you had to press a button the entire time with your thumb to get the scooter to go…..which caused hand cramps after a while. The scooters are tied to a floating buoy…so you only go 8 ft deep. Snokeling was better and much more enjoyable. BTW, the ship pulls up to a dock in Roatan called Mahogany Bay…which has a great shopping and beach area right there if you just want to get off the ship and get into the water. Belize - We didn't go to the mainland….just did a deluxe snorkeling trip. This was the cheapest of all the excursions we did and the most fun. The reefs were great….saw lots of fish and guides would dive and bring up things for the group to touch and see. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Princess Caribbean ship in good condition, clean and sanitary efforts noticable throughout. Ship had Norovarus situation about two months ago, however booked as Princess reputation good. Day one to four, all food handling in Lido buffet ... Read More
Princess Caribbean ship in good condition, clean and sanitary efforts noticable throughout. Ship had Norovarus situation about two months ago, however booked as Princess reputation good. Day one to four, all food handling in Lido buffet performed by servers wearing plastic gloves who placed your selection to plate. Day five to seven discontinued as no health concerns from ship medical doctor. Signs in Restrooms urging wash hands, and use paper towel to door handle on exit and place paper towel into waste receptacle near door. Hand sanitizers use urged and convienant located especially food areas. Notified Princess specail access dept. two months advance our family had two deaf. Princess graciously supplied sign language interpreters. They were excellant, provided much understanding to our deaf members on tours to Excaret in Play Del Carmen, nightly show performances in front row with two additional deaf on cruise. Bayport cruise port poor. Harbour restrictions delayed departure, advised takes three hours to clear channel to open sea, and subject to fog. Terminal access line long tho advanced cruise documents were printed ready at gate. Advised this is first year at Bayport, and possible termination future. Port is heavy commerical container. Seabrook TX, overnight motel good, however no restaurant nearby, taxi availbility poor. If you have cruised previousy, not interested in carrying additional clothes for Formal night, can reduce luggage handling by using 22" rolling suitcase, and small carry on type bag/case as there is self service laundry facilities with ironing boards on several decks. Smart packing techniques make it possible. Additionally if use carry on luggage, disembarkation was a snap as we walked off 9:00 AM with notice to customer service on disembarkation document two days advance. Saved time looking for lugagge in Great Hall and Imigration. Crew exceptionally polite. Gratutites automatically included in stateroom account fair. Caution: Open dining not in all dining rooms at your time desired except for one in "Island" Dinning room. Other dining rooms availbility after 7:30 PM. Lido buffet usually open all times, however 2-3 days Lido not open after 3:30 PM, buffet, food, seating in smaller rear Lido area open.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Spring Break cruise to Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize. Family of 4 -- mom, dad, 6 and 1 year olds. We have been Royal Caribbean customers but chose Princess this time because the schedule worked well with Spring Break. I will include some ... Read More
Spring Break cruise to Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize. Family of 4 -- mom, dad, 6 and 1 year olds. We have been Royal Caribbean customers but chose Princess this time because the schedule worked well with Spring Break. I will include some comparisons for others that may not have tried both companies. *Port of Houston -- easy to drop luggage, park the car, and walk in. We arrived 3.5 hours prior to departure and waited about 40 minutes total from arrival to embarkation. *Stateroom -- Oceanview level 5. Open floorplan stateroom felt a lot more spacious than Royal Caribbean. On RC they try to implement separate living room and bedroom areas, but the single room on Princess worked much better for us. Shower does not have a detachable showerhead and flimsy shower curtain hardly does its job -- keep everything off the floor! Our shower had hot water only which made for interesting showers. *Stateroom service -- pleasant and efficient but not super accomodating like on previous cruises. Our requests for extra pillows, towels, and diaper disposal were not quickly serviced. *Ship layout -- very well done interior and nice variety of venus, from piano lounge to wine bar to line dancing. Outdoor areas are nice with giant movie screen at one of the pools. Few good ocean viewing spots, like up high or at the very bow or stern of the ship. I always like to stand at the very front of the ship like Kate Winslet in Titanic. *Pool area -- nice and basically what we expected. I wish cruise lines would enforce the "no reserving lounge chairs" rules. At one point I counted the number of vacant, reserved chairs was more than double the total number of people wandering around the pool area. What are people doing, reserving loungers and then going back to their rooms? Also, the clean towel bin was almost always empty. *Dining Rooms -- food definitely a cut above Royal Caribbean. Service seemed to be in a more European style, very efficient and polite but not friendly and talkative. Dining room staff does not provide entertainment like on Royal Caribbean. "Anytime Dining" gave us some flexibility with the 1 year old and let our family sit alone, which made us more comfortable when he was difficult. But it is only "Anytime" if you arrive right when it opens at 5:30. Every night when we finished dinner at 7:00 there were more than 100 people in line waiting to be seated. *Bars -- good drinks, and nice variety between the different venues. On Royal Caribbean it seems like every bar location has exactly the same offerings. Princess had a martini bar, wine bar, draft beer at the pool, etc. I liked that 15% gratuity was added automatically to drink orders because I didn't feel like I had to leave $1 or $2 regardless of whether my order was only $4. Very attentive service at all locations. *Buffet -- We had breakfast and dinner a few times. Nice variety among nights. We particularly enjoyed Bavarian night and "Crab Shack" (which costs $20 extra). As other reviewers have mentioned, yes, of course the crab has been previously frozen. But the big quantity and pretty good quality make for a good value. We usually had to wait for about 5 minutes to get into the buffet line which was never an issue on R.C. *Entertainment -- excellent first run movies, at "Movies Under the Stars" at the pool at night, at the theatre, and in the cabin. I have never watched movies on previous cruises but watched several this week. *Children's clubs -- children under 3 not accepted for children's activities or babysitting, unlike on Royal Caribbean. There were definitely a few times we lamented this. But my 6 year old absolutely loved the kids club and wanted to go back as often as we would let her. *General -- I didn't feel like Princess was constantly trying to upsell me like on Royal Caribbean. In particular, the photographers were not as ubiquitous and intrusive. We observed crew members bickering with each other on a few occasions which struck me as very unprofessional. Ports *Cozumel, Playa Mia -- online it looks like a wonderful beach park with water slides and playgrounds for children. But the sea is rough and deepens quickly. Everyone has to wear a life jacket to swim out to the water trampoline. You probably need to be at least 12 years old and a strong swimmer to enjoy the in-water amenities. Food and drink service was excellent, though the buffet was a bit "American-friendly" for my taste. Fruit, mashed potatoes, fries, etc. with just a few Mexican offerings. *Maya Key, Roatan, Honduras -- a gem. Shallow and extremely calm beach, though you arem't allowed to go out very far. Perfect for small children; we were totally comfortable letting our 6 year old go out to the water while we watched from our beach chairs. The best snorkeling from shore I have seen outside of Hawaii, and several interesting birds and big cats. *Belize City -- the only excursion available for little kids is the zoo and Howler Monkey Sanctuary. This tour involves about 3 hours on a bus but the tour guides were excellent. At the monkey sanctuary you only have about 15 minutes with the monkeys but it is amazing how close you are. The zoo is small by American standards but they have unique local specimins. Really my favorite part of this tour was driving through the "real Belize", outside of the port area. Belize does not have a welfare state, so even though it is a developing nation, small business owners and entrepeneurs are everywhere. The cashew wine sold at the monkey sanctuary is a unique local experience. Summary We slightly preferred this cruise to our previous Royal Caribbean cruises due to better food, stateroom layout, entertainment, and on-board venues. However, I believe that the fact that Princess charges all gratuities automatically to your account has decreased the motivation for individual crew members to excel at their jobs. We will definitely sail Princess again after our 1 year old is old enough to participate in the kids' activities. The ship is a bit more worn than you would expect for its age, but I probably would be too if I went to Cozumel every week. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We departed Houston (Bayport) on the Caribbean Princess on Feb. 8th. Between recent issues on this ship with fog in Houston and norovirus, I was a little anxious that things would go well. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. ... Read More
We departed Houston (Bayport) on the Caribbean Princess on Feb. 8th. Between recent issues on this ship with fog in Houston and norovirus, I was a little anxious that things would go well. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Embarkation went pretty smoothly. We got to the port about 1:00 pm and were on the ship within an hour. We had a mini-suite (D329) on the Dolphin deck (deck 9). Naming the decks was irritating. I wish they just went by deck numbers. First, I would like to talk about the food. My wife and I both thought the food was very good. The main dining rooms were fine. The quality and selection of the food was generally very good. We always found something we liked. My one complaint about the main dining rooms is that the ship had two formal nights (on a seven day cruise) and did not want non-formal dress in their dining rooms. I think with three MDRs, they could have one set aside for casually dressed diners. On the other hand, the buffets were also very good. I was amazed to get hot food from a buffet. They had a good selection and we always found something we liked. Other reviewers have complained about buffet seating but we always found a table fairly quickly. One thing about the buffets were the desserts. I have been to other places that had nice looking desserts but they didn't taste very good. The Caribbean Princess (everywhere - not just the buffets) had wonderful looking desserts that tasted as good as they looked! We did the expanded soda cards that included smoothies and milk shakes. The smoothies were awful. You could only get a milkshake at the ice cream bar and they weren't that good. I would just get the soda card. The entertainment was generally good but not great. They had a singer (Zach somebody) who was excellent and they also had a very good comedian. The Caribbean Princess singers and dancers were good but certainly not great. The casino was small and very smoky - and we lost our shirts at the slot machines. Other venues had piano players and bands but generally nothing that I thought was great. We paid the $105 per person to use the Sanctuary for the full week. It was the best part of our cruise! I burn quickly in too much sun. The Sanctuary had shade, they had assigned comfortable loungers. The staff was very attentive bringing you extra towels, drinks, fruit, etc. The Sanctuary was also right next to the Spa pool which was very nice. I can't recommend the Sanctuary enough! The Spa was very nice but it is so expensive that they priced themselves out of my reach. Almost $200 (including tip) for a massage. I got a very relaxing hour long massage on the beach for $60. We had great weather. Our cruise went to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. At Cozumel, we got off the ship and wandered through the port area, bought a few things and then used a coupon at a place called Pancho's Backyard to buy a drink, talk with some other old guys and just relax. At Roatan, I had arranged a shore excursion through the internet at Little French Key - a small island paradise about 15 minutes away from the ship. It was the perfect spot to go to relax, swim, eat, drink a little, get a massage, and so on. If you're going to Roatan, you should certainly look up Little French Key on-line. It is not available through the Princess cruise ship. At Belize, we stayed on the ship. First, it was a tender port and a long (30 minute) tender ride at that. Second, based on my last stop at Belize, if you don't have a ship based shore excursion, and you want to just get off the ship and wander around, I consider it to be a dangerous port. Call me crazy, but I stayed on the ship and enjoyed the Sanctuary. Another thing about this ship is that it had the most pleasant crew I have ever seen on a cruise ship. These were hard working folks who managed to always have a nice word and go out of their way to help you. Very friendly people! Disembarking was the smoothest, best organized I have ever experienced on any cruise ship. No standing in long lines. They were punctual. It was amazing! Overall, I would say we had a very good cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We had sailed with Princess Cruises on several family holidays so were looking forward to our Western Caribbean Cruise on the Caribbean Princes in February 2014. My husband and I (B.C. Canada) met our son, and family (Saskatchewan Canada) ... Read More
We had sailed with Princess Cruises on several family holidays so were looking forward to our Western Caribbean Cruise on the Caribbean Princes in February 2014. My husband and I (B.C. Canada) met our son, and family (Saskatchewan Canada) and flew to Houston, Texas to board the Caribbean Princess for a 7 day cruise to Cozumel, Rottan and Belize. Everything was perfect - boarding went extremely fast considering the long line up and having to stand outside - the new port of Houston was having some hiccups -( we did the same trip out of Galveston a year earlier and the wait was much longer and lot more frustrating so this was a nice surprise). The ship had just gone through a Norwalk Virus and some delays due to fog but our sailing was perfect. The weather was great, food was excellent and service supreme. Our little grandson ( 3 1/2) was treated like a prince in the formal dinning room and even had a chance on the last formal night to walk with the waiting staff and serenade the dinners. His mom and dad got engaged that same night we had shopped in Cozumel, swam in Rottan and Snorkeled in Belize (wonderful memories). Then as we sailed toward Houston my husband became ill - the ships medical staff acted immediately and for the next two days he was well looked after in the ships hospital. Princess Cruise totally took control and handled all the details - they looked after my husband, myself and our family - I cannot say enough about Princess Cruise Line and the treatment we received from the wonderful medical staff and support crew on the Caribbean Princess. The clearance they provided getting off the ship - the ambulance and the prepared documentation to the hospital in Houston was amazing. Then after being admitted to the ICU unit for critical care in Houston - Mary, Princess representative, phoned us everyday to make sure we were all doing okay. THANK YOU TO PRINCESS CRUISE LINE FOR YOUR CONCERN AND TO THE STAFF OF THE CARIBBEAN PRINCESS FOR YOUR AMAZING CARE AND COMPASSION TO OUR FAMILY - (Husband is now home and doing very well thanks to Princess) Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Having taken four other cruises. (three of them with Carnival,) the selection of Princess brought a heightened expectation of better service, ambiiance and perception of value than the competition. This was not the case. To get the ... Read More
Having taken four other cruises. (three of them with Carnival,) the selection of Princess brought a heightened expectation of better service, ambiiance and perception of value than the competition. This was not the case. To get the particulars of this January 4th -11the voyage out of the way: Record cold was forecast for the region and it was quite chilly/windy in Houstion. Embarcation was relativly swift and the Bayport Terminal well-suited for the task. Lines moved quickly, alcohol possession was not checked, and we were exploring the ship by Noon, settling in and enjoying a leisurely lunch in the Horizon Court. Within hours after the hour late departure, we began to encounter the warmth of the Gulf. The first full day brought enough sun and heat to allow for a marginally acceptable "deck day," with many of our fellow travelers enjoying the plentiful lounges. Days two thorugh six brought heavy showers, thunderstorms, low temperatures in the 50's ,and 45-50 knot sustained winds, with gusts in excess of 60 knots. The 950 foot ship rode heavilly in the 20 foot plus seas, with several passenger areas closed. Day Seven brought some out to the first sunny day, in several. The following day was our arrival, with strong winds and temperatures in the upper 40's. In Cozumel, tThe excursion, to the Mayan ruins at Coba, cannot be recommended, as the participants travel in excess of eight hours, (including a 30 minute stop for shopping enroute,) to visit a signiificant archaeoiogical site for a 45 minuite visit and a 2 km walk. The tour guide, however, was excellent. As a result of the heavy weather, the stop in Roatan was cancelled altogether and the same caused the cancellation the tour to the Xuantunich ruin. While not Princess's fault, or responisbility, this certainly put a damper on the entire cruise experience. Note: There wer several bottles of alcohol purchased in both Cozumel and Belize and there was no effort to retain it for delivery pre-debarcation. Day Five bought an announcement that there was an outbreak of the Novo Virus on the ship, and "Condition Red" hygiene standards would be in effect for the remainder of the voyage. It turned out to be the symptoms of four, of the over 3,000 passengers, onboard. As others have reported, on other cruises, the fog delayed our entry into the port for 4 1/2 hours. with the ship's berthing at 11:30 AM. The debarkation, whiile not chaos, was disorganized, lacked efficiency and lacked real care for the passengers. Originally instructed to vacate the cabin at 8:AM, we remained there untill well after Noon and independanly deceided to go down to the Island Dining Room, indicated as being our earlier assembly point. In situ for 1 1/2 hours, we were directed to depart the ship and claim our luggage. This was easilly accomplished and a friendly porter secured. Transiting through cunstoms was quick, with no one's bag being checked and brief, cursory questions asked by the Customs Agent. Now about the experience with Princess: This cruiseline was selected, above others, even though there was a closer port, (New Orleans,) the destinations similar, and the price higher. Originally booked as a single, there was no discount to the fare and the resultant rate was the merely doubled "per-person" rate, (less $75 port taxes.) Other lines frequently add only a single supplement. At the last minute, an additonal passenger was secured and the $75 port tax fee paid. The balcony cabin was relatively small, clean, well appointed and adequate for this length of the cruise. Our cabin stweard was accomodating, eager to serve and pleasant. Unfortunately, the condition of the ship itself is below standard. The paintwork and varnish are in real need of attention and some of the interiors seem dated. With 3,000 plus people on board, the ship never felt crowded, but this comes at a sacrifice. Unlike other ships, the Caribbean Princess seems a bit claustrophobic, with many low ceilings. The noteable exceptions are the mid-ship Piazza (mid-ship deck 5 -7,) and the Princess Theater, (forward.) There are numerous "settings" above and below to read, excercise, be entertained, shop, etc. without feeling crowded. Our "anytime" dining usually occurred around 7, with minimal wait times. The food was, on average, "above average." The buffet usually good, the Coral Dining Room, up a notch from that, with the serrvice, in each pleasant and eager. The food/in the upcharged Crown Grill was exceptional and the experience recommended. Sabatinni's was universally disapointing with prefuctory service and pedestrian taste. Frankly, this was the biggest dissapointment the cruise. Entertainment was predictable, with the times short and the settings minimal, especialy in the Princess Theater. Much of the overall "entertainment" required passanger participation with bingo, trivia, a passenger singing chorus, an egg-drop and other similar events. This is a much older crowd, than some other curiselines, and it showed in the types of acivities as well as the "sidewalks" being rolled up at a way too early hour. We cannot recommend Princess, above what other cruiselies have to offer. As Princess is now owned by Carnival, the line between differences is quite blurred. As there is another port 4 hours closer to home, with more cruise options, future travel will likely occur there. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Overall a mediocre experience. We arrived and found that parking at the port was convenient at a cost of $80. It is an easy walk to the terminal from anywhere in the parking lot. The terminal appeared new and was easy to navigate. The ... Read More
Overall a mediocre experience. We arrived and found that parking at the port was convenient at a cost of $80. It is an easy walk to the terminal from anywhere in the parking lot. The terminal appeared new and was easy to navigate. The processing for the cruise seemed efficient and we boarded the ship at the designated boarding time. We carried our luggage on and went straight to our assigned interior state room. The room was clean and well organized with plenty of hanging space for clothes. There was a refrigerator in the room. The bathroom had a slight smell of urine coming from the toilet, which remained throughout the trip. The cabin steward would put a blue sanitizing liquid in the toilet each morning, but once that was flushed the smell would return. Aside from that there were not complaints with the cabin or the facilities within. Meals on the ship were what we would describe as mediocre. They reminded me of institutional type food one would expect from a hospital or standard cafeteria. The desserts, which appeared delectable, seemed tasteless and lacked substance. It appears they were trying to stretch the ingredients too far. The cookies, expecially the oatmeal cookies, were very good. They reminded us of store bought cookies. They were consistently good, which is more than I could say for the other dessert items. The main entrees also seemed lacking in seasoning and taste in most cases. There did not appear to be the variety that we have enjoyed on other cruise lines. The formal dining again was mediocre. The food though presented well seemed to lack taste and was reminiscent of a standard cafeteria food. It had nothing over a chain like "Golden Corral." We took part in the formal dining on only one occasion and found that the buffets offered more variety and essentially the same quality as the formal dining. Entertainment on this cruise was mediocre. No comedians performed other than a magician, who had somewhat of a comedy routine with his magic show. One singer performed a variety of rock and country songs which was o.k.. There were a couple of other dance shows performed by the ship's entertainers. The show on the last night was the best act of the cruise by far. In short, this is the first cruise that we have been on that did not have a comedian perform. Usually we could expect to have several comedy shows. Other passengers were also disappointed at the lack of comedy shows. On the second day of the cruise the Captain made an announcement that cases of "norovirus" were suspected on the ship and that measures were be employed to prevent it's spread. Passengers were advised to use only their estate bathrooms and not the public restrooms. Passengers were not allowed to touch any of the serving utensils or condiments in the buffet dining areas. Aside from those changes, there seemed to be no noticeable deviation from the standard activities. The casino remained open even though one would think the handling of chips and slot machines would assist in the spread of the "norovirus.' The gym and health spa area also remained open. It was not until we returned back to port that we learned that the previous 2 cruises also had outbreaks of the "norovirus" on the same ship. No mention was made at the port in the form of notices or other means prior to boarding. We did not leave the ship in Cozumel on the 3rd day, as we have been to that tourist trap on other cruises. We did exit at Roatan on the 4th day and enjoyed walking around the tourist area, which had a beach and several restaurants with free WiFi. Shortly after leaving Roatan, the Captain announced that we would now be heading straight back to Houston due to fog possibly closing the port at Houston. Many were skeptical that the decision was based more around wanting to get back before the "norovirus" got worse and to prepare the ship for the next cruise and it's paying customers. I guess only the crew and cruise line no the true answer to that. Once back in port, we took advantage of the self disembarking by carrying our bags off. We were given tickets and a meeting location on the disembarkation deck. It was the smoothest and fastest disembarkation we had experienced. There were no waits in long lines or standing in crowded areas on the ship. Those wishing to carry their own luggage off were the first off. Those wanting to check their bags had to tag and place their luggage in the hallway on the night prior to disembarkation. As for the "norovirus" issue, we feel that boarding passengers should have been given notice of the issue prior to boarding. We know that may have scared some away and not been good for publicity. The publicity on the issue came later, as disembarking passengers were swarmed by print and other media waiting in the parking lot, along with helicopters flying overhead taking pictures. By attempting to minimize media exposure, it sometimes gets worse when a situation comes to light. Would we have left if we had known about the "norovirus" outbreaks? Maybe not, or at least we would have been more cognizant of the problem. My wife did get sick the night prior to disembarkation with some of the symptoms associated with the virus. She did eat a lot of the items said to be common transmitters that were uncooked: smoked salmon, fresh fruit, and vegetables. We also learned that some of the passengers stricken on the cruise were confined to their cabins and at least one passenger complained that he had to keep calling to have food brought to his cabin and that he was threatened that if he did leave his cabin the coast guard would be called and he would be removed. A very mediocre cruise overall. Would we cruise on Princess again? Maybe and only after looking at other options. We did receive a refund of one day on this cruise and a 20% discount based on the cost of this cruise on any future cruises.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Background: My husband and I are in our 30's and were traveling with our 2 daughters, ages 8 and 10. We have taken 2 cruises previously with Carnival (once out of Florida and once out of Galveston) and fell in love with cruising on ... Read More
Background: My husband and I are in our 30's and were traveling with our 2 daughters, ages 8 and 10. We have taken 2 cruises previously with Carnival (once out of Florida and once out of Galveston) and fell in love with cruising on those ships. We plan to take many more cruises in the future as budget allows. Embarkation: Embarkation was simple even though it was delayed. Unfortunately, our cruise was delayed by a day after we arrived in Houston because the Port of Houston had closed due to fog. We were sent an e-mail that embarkation would begin 24 hours after the originally scheduled embarkation. Princess did their best call everyone as well. The port opened before the expected time and we were allowed to begin the embarkation process as early as 6:00 pm that evening rather than the next day, but because most passengers were already informed of the 24 hour delay, we did not leave until 24 hours after the original sailing time. Princess made sure everyone got to the ship before sailing. We received a phone call about 2:00 pm in addition to the e-mail to make sure we knew. We arrived in the terminal around 8:00 pm and boarded within about 20 minutes of that. They served dinner in the dining room and dress code was not enforced that night as everyone was arriving late. Cabin: Our cabin was more or less what we expected in terms of size, although there was a bit more storage space than I expected and was pleased about that. We had an interior cabin at the front of the ship with beds that folded down from the walls. My biggest disappointment here is that the cabin did not strike me as particularly clean. There were small tar-like areas on parts of the carpet, the drain had hair or fuzz or something in it and there were stain-like marks on a few of the walls. After the first shower, there was standing water that was almost overflowing within the first 5 minutes of the shower and it took greater than 15 minutes to drain. We asked our steward to fix this and had to ask again the next day as it was still the same issue when we went to shower again. It was "fixed" (still a very slow drain, but at least we could take an actual shower) and then the next day it was slow again. I finally figured out that I needed to clean the drain of any residual hair or whatnot after each shower and it helped a little. Our room was also very noisy (probably due to where we were located on the ship). But we would often hear loud bangs with a vibration when the ship would rock. It was also very noisy at port as they were working with the equipment. Service: The service on the ship was pretty good overall. But another disappointment was that we did not get our luggage until sometime close to 3:30 am. It's understandable that it would be a bit late because we boarded the ship so late due to the delay and everything was off schedule. But we had to sleep in our clothes that night because we were all too worn to stay up until that hour of the morning and no one told us when we might expect our luggage. After midnight we finally went to bed and I awoke at 3:30 to find it. I know it was likely close to that time when we got it because my family members in other cabins stayed up and didn't get theirs until about that hour of the morning. Dining: We had anytime dining because other members in our party preferred it. I would have preferred traditional and we might have had a different experience if we had - I don't know. However, if you didn't get to the dining room when they opened, you were likely to have a long wait. We did have a large party (there were 9 of us), but the line was always a way out the door regardless of the party size. We compensated by eating dinner around 5:30 every night and were able to get a table in a reasonable amount of time. But I would highly recommend traditional dining if you want to eat later because there was always a long line waiting for a table. The actual service was very good. Because of our party size, we typically ended up with the same waiter and he was phenomenal. He really doted on our youngest child and made everyone there feel welcome. His service was top-notch. Eating in the dining room for breakfast or lunch always resulted in great service as well because it was never crowded. The buffet, on the other hand, was lacking. Having previously sailed Carnival, we didn't realize there wouldn't be lots of drink fountains. It took forever to have a waiter bring you a drink and you could almost forget about refills. There was never enough seating and we could rarely sit with our entire party. The food was pretty good and there was always a great variety, but the fancier foods were of course served in the dining room. Entertainment: The entertainment was more or less what we expected, having cruised before. The dancing at their big show was the best dancing I have ever seen, but it wasn't bad and was entertaining. There was plenty to do on sea days, but port days were lacking in the evening. I found that there wasn't a lot more to do other than dance or hear live music on those evenings. And I was disappointed to only find one comedy show, which was the headliner that night. I had expected more shows in the clubs and lounges. We did attend several dance class sessions, and those were really good - easy enough for anyone to do. Children's clubs: The children's area was OK, but I had though our 2 children both being in the Shockwave age range would get to be together. This ship had a different lay out which required our 8 year old to be separated from our 10 year old. Our children our very shy and do not like to be left alone, so we didn't end up using this very often. It did look like it would have been lots of fun, though, and was convenient if you needed a few kid-free hours. General information: One notable thing is that I found this ship to sway a lot more than any other ship we've been on (not that we've been on a lot). I think the waters were slightly rougher than normal, but even when it seemed like smooth waters, there was always a fair amount of swaying. I like, too, that the demographic was more fitting for us. It was nice to not see crazy drunk people everywhere you went all the time. I felt good having my family aboard this ship. One general thing I did NOT like was that you could smell cigarette smoke almost everywhere you went. It made sense, I suppose, in the casino and the lounge, but it seemed to waft everywhere. I don't know if this is because it is a poor design of the ship or if smoking only in designated areas is not well enforced. Also, the main entrance to the theater was through the casino which made it difficult to avoid smoke if you have allergies or just don't like it. Also, there were smoking areas on the outside of the promenade deck which also happened to be the walking deck. This did not make sense to me at all as those who are trying to walk/jog for health are getting hit in the face with unhealthy cigarette smoke. The public restrooms on the ship were generally clean, but there was almost always 1 or toilets out of order in any given restroom at any given time. There were a few times I had to travel to different decks just to use the restroom. That was frustrating. In general, public areas were kept clean, though. Disembarkation: Disembarkation was pretty simple. We walked off and found our luggage easily (except for the one bag that had accidentally been taken by someone else). The lost bag was handled relatively well and was returned. Getting through customs was quick and easy. The line of passengers moved quickly. Overall, I was just less impressed with this trip than the ones we have taken with Carnival. Maybe it was just because this ship was booked to capacity which made wait times and such longer and created more maintenance situations. However, if this had been my only experience with cruising, I don't know that I would be as excited to cruise again. I've heard very good things about Princess in general, so I don't why our particular cruise was what I would consider to be below average, but it definitely wasn't my favorite cruising experience. I heard other people on board make similar comments, so it could be it's the ship as well. In any case, I can't decide whether we will take another cruise with Princess, but if we do, it won't likely be on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
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 ... Read More
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.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have cruised with Princess many times before, upgrading each cruise from inside to oceanview to balcony, to mini-suite and finally to suite. In general, we have enjoyed every Princess cruise and have had few bad things to say. This was, ... Read More
We have cruised with Princess many times before, upgrading each cruise from inside to oceanview to balcony, to mini-suite and finally to suite. In general, we have enjoyed every Princess cruise and have had few bad things to say. This was, by far, the worst Princess experience we’ve ever had. This cruise started off a little poorly when Princess changed our flight way back in September from the 9am flight down to the 7:51am flight out of Chicago, which meant we were bound to wait at the airport or at the terminal. EZAir charges extra fees for booking. On the United site, our airfare was listed $99 less than charged thru EZAir. Day 0 – Saturday, embarkation at Port of Houston It felt strange to hand our luggage over to a truck not marked in any way as Princess affiliated. When we arrived at the port of Houston, it was pretty easy getting in initially to obtain our boarding passes since we were both Platinum and Suite passengers. Once checked in, however, we were informed that the ship had gotten in several hours late due to fog and we would not be embarking for a minimum of 2-3hrs. They offered us shuttles to Kemah Boardwalk and told us the shuttles would be constantly running throughout the afternoon. My husband opted to wait in the terminal, a very uncomfortable setting with no food or water, but mercifully out of the weather. My son and I decided to go to Kemah. Getting to Kemah Boardwalk went smoothly, and we settled down to eat at Bubba Gump. I called my husband for an update on boarding(this is < 45min later) and he was already in the cabin (He told me that Princess offered us complimentary reservations at Sabatini’s to make up for the long wait. This was NOT a concession since Suite Passengers get dinner at either Sabatini’s or Crown Grill on embarkation night already) We ate quickly and arrived at the queue to get on the next shuttle. There were already over 100 fellow passengers who had been waiting for about 45min in 40degree/windy weather. 30min later I called the Princess 800# and asked them where in the world the shuttle buses were. 5 minutes later another passenger made a second phone call to Princess. 10 minutes later, 4 shuttles of varying sizes showed up to take us back to the port of Houston. We had been told that since we already had our boarding passes, we would have little or no line. NOT!!!! It took an additional 3-45minutes just to get through security a second time. My son was in shirt-sleeves and he caught a nasty cold. Passengers in the “normal” line were wrapped around twice, so their wait had to be at least one hour. There appear to be only 2 screening stations for 3000 passengers to pass thru, hence the long, long lines. 5pm – finally on board, champagne and canapés in our stateroom. Took a look at our balcony. The last time we cruised and booked the suite, we had a table and chairs to eat on the balcony. This cruise we had 2 chaises, 2 chairs and a tiny little table. The suite only had a cocktail table, so we couldn’t eat together when ordering room service, another suite “perk”. Dinner at Crown Grill – strip steak was tough, lobster tails WAY overcooked Day 1 – Sunday at sea, No significant issues, ship is really moving to make up for lost time. Dinner at the anytime dining Coral Dining Room was very good, no wait and very attentive wait staff. This however would not continue. The mini-cake tray that we couldn’t eat wasn’t delivered to the stateroom until Tuesday afternoon, very stale! Day 2 – Monday, late into port, late out of port Cozumel, everyone booked for an excursion was loaded onto one of only 2 ferries to the mainland, Playa de Carmen which made for very long waits. Finally boarded a bus for our excursion to Rio Secreto with 1hour 40min of shopping. This was a disaster!!! Road construction ate up ALL the possible shopping time, the 40 min bus ride extended 2-3 times normal. The town is not at all pretty. It reminded me of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo over 20years ago, where there was very definite tourist area and the local area with mothers/children begging in the street. Rio Secreto – amazing tour, leave your cameras at the ship because they are not allowed. Charge for picture CD, $70; more if you want souvenirs Tried to eat in stateroom. One at the desk, one at the table, one at the vanity area Day 3 – Tuesday, late into port, left very close to on time Roatan, Because Princess did not offer intro scuba diving excursions, we had to book independently thru Scuba Roatan and they booked us a “trusted Taxi”. Princess, however, does not allow these taxis into the port area, nor do they offer a shuttle over the hill in the pouring rain, about ½ mile, so once again, we are soaked to the skin. Our “trusted taxi” had booked 2 parties and we had to wait even longer in the rain until the taxi admitted the other party was probably not coming(the other party was smart, they got into one of the 200+ taxis without prepaid riders RIGHT AT THE PORT! Again, now because of the long walk/wait, we couldn’t go on the 11am boat, but took the 12:3- and 2pm dives instead. That left us with @30min to shop at the port stores. It’s Funny how Princess lets the “trusted taxi” over the hill and into the port area for dropping off passengers, but not for picking them up. BAD, BAD POLICY PRINCESS. Finally tried the thermal suite. They used to provide flip flops, not this time. Many taps/etc missing. Dinner tonight there were several things forgotten on the order. Day 4 – Wednesday, into port on time, the sun finally came out Belize, Ship excursion, our priority tender passes were worthless because the excursion’s boat came directly to the ship instead of the pier so they came a little later. Sergeant’s Cay is very difficult snorkeling, deep water/high waves. They assign guides, but they are absolutely impossible to distinguish one from another once in the water. So we wandered pretty aimlessly. Still good snorkeling, but this reef is not as exciting as other destinations we’ve been to. Mediocre dinner service again tonight Day 5 – Thursday, at sea The captain’s cocktail party is pretty much nothing more than a Princess commercial. Dinner service tonight was better than the other nights since this was the second formal night and they were more attentive. Forgot my son’s pasta, so I gave him mine. Day 6 - Friday The ship is racing the fog to try and get into the Port of Houston before the fog gets in. We have reservations at Sabatini’s to celebrate the end of the cruise, and since we didn’t have any time at any port to go shopping, we used the money we saved to pop for the specialty restaurant. Sabatini’s, I must say was very patient and attentive, holding our various courses as we raced all over the ship trying to communicate with passenger services, dogsitters, employers, etc. Minutes after seating, announcements started about how the ship did not make it to Houston before the port was closed. Now instead of docking @midnight for disembarkation in the morning, it is estimated that the ship will not dock until 11pm Saturday and disembarkation won’t be until Sunday morning. All passengers are now given one complimentary phone call from their stateroom and 30 minutes of internet to try and make arrangements. This would be great if the ship could accommodate the thousands of phone calls and internet. It can’t. Not only that, we learn on Saturday morning, after dozens of tries that the directions given in the stateroom notebooks and from ship’s personnel, that the directions are wrong. Back to Friday night – Passenger services rebook our flight to 3:38pm Sunday, exactly 24hrs later, even after explaining the necessity to get into Chicago as early as possible Sunday because all 3 of us were scheduled to work Sunday. Princess also informed us that we would not be moved from Red 4 to Red 1, for transfers and possible standby. Day 7, Saturday After giving up trying to make phone calls, I tried the internet and made arrangements for 2 of us to work Monday in place of Sunday. I made all my changes at 8am and by the time I was through, there was a line 20 deep to get onto the computers. At 10am, passenger services announced that the fog had cleared sufficiently to get us into port at 11:30am. Nothing was said about them changing our air back to Saturday, so my husband went to check on these arrangements. He was told that passenger services would deliver our new air itinerary to our stateroom. They proceeded to check him out of our cabin. When I took the paperwork to check for accuracy, I found they had checked him out of the wrong cabin!!! It took another half hour to straighten this mess out, since someone at the desk decided that the crew member who had made the mistake had to correct it. At about 12:00, my husband called from the stateroom to see if our air had been changed. They verbally gave him the flight and confirmation number. They managed to get us a 5:29 flight to O’Hare. I felt lucky to get this flight even though we were scattered all over the aircraft. Next, I went to the internet café to print boarding passes. There were very few passengers there, but all of us had one goal: get our boarding passes. I tried signing in, but the system said our time had expired although we still had about ninety minutes and thirty more minutes of free internet to make arrangements. There was no Princess Representative in the internet café. It took some time, but someone finally came down after a few calls and got our boarding passes printed. Good move as it turned out! Passengers were informed that they could opt for self-handling of luggage for faster disembarkation, a necessity for anyone with flights leaving before 4pm. There were at least 500 people already in line to disembark this way. They finally started allowing passengers for the shuttle buses off the ship at about 2pm. There were several shuttles for: IAH, NOT United; only one for United airlines passengers. We sat on the bus, waiting for passengers to disembark since all United Airlines booked passengers were required to be on that one bus. We started asking about when we were going to leave at 3pm and were told at 3:20 we were still waiting on 20 more passengers. Many passengers missed their flights, since the bus didn’t pull out of the Port of Houston until 3:30pm, waited for a freight train to clear and pulled in at arrivals at @4:35. The only reason we made our plane is because IT was late arriving from Chicago. During the shuttle ride to the airport, we were finally able to contact all of our people in Chicago. In conclusion, we would NOT recommend the Western Caribbean sailing out of Houston. This terminal is much too small to accommodate any ship of size and this was the third time in a month that the ship was delayed because of fog.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Just finished a Christmas family cruise from Houston. I've read online the problems with the weather keeping the ship from leaving and returning to the port on time so I was expecting problems. After checking in my luggage I received ... Read More
Just finished a Christmas family cruise from Houston. I've read online the problems with the weather keeping the ship from leaving and returning to the port on time so I was expecting problems. After checking in my luggage I received an email from Princess saying due to weather the ship will no longer be leaving port on Saturday as planned but will now leave on Sunday and to board on Sunday instead of Saturday. So after arriving in Houston Friday night we are now a group of 12 deciding what to do with our unplanned rainy day in Houston. We arrange to get a rental car and add another hotel night to our airport hotel stay at the Doubletree Hobby airport (which I must say the Doubletree went out of their way to help us). After picking a movie to see we get another email from Princess saying the ship is now able to dock and we can board for the evening but it will not leave port until Sunday afternoon. We then cancel the hotel stay and rental car and head for the port. I must say the embarkation was very easy and we get to our room by 6:00 pm. We do not set sail until Sunday at 5:00pm and we receive notice that our itinerary will have to change and we exchange Roatan for Costa Maya. We did enjoy Costa maya but we were looking forward to Roatan as that was the only port we really wanted to see. Because of the delay we end up with cold weather for the first 3 days of the cruise as well as cold weather for the last 2 days of the cruise. For compensation we are refunded one days cruise fare for ship board credit. The ship itself is very average and as others have stated somewhat worn and dated interior. We had a balcony room on Caribe deck and enjoyed the large balcony as well as the connecting balconies to the rest of our family. I was expecting 4 chairs on the balcony but instead there were only two charges with foot rests and a table. If getting a balcony room I would highly recommend the caribe deck. The room was typical size but lacked a sofa (only one chair and desk chair). Not sure why princess doesn't have sofa like Royal uses. The buffet breakfast always was over crowded with long lines and limited table availability. Not sure why they only had one section open for breakfast as it was too congested to enjoy. The food was average and similar to RCL but just too crowded. The pizza was fabulous. Hand tossed new york style and best I have had at sea. The dining room was typical cruise food with some good options and some average things. The service was generally very good and our head waiter Marchin made each meal very special and fun. We did eat a Sabatinis which was disappointing. We did bring several bottles of wine in our checked luggage which made it through without detection and there was no corkage fee ever charged. Ports: Costa Maya we took a cab to the fishing village beach area and spend the day at one of the small restaurants/bar along the beach. The cab was 2 dollars per person each way and if you ordered food and dring the shade and beach chairs were free. 10 dollar buckets of corona and pretty good food. Turned out to be a good stop. Belize, we used Butts up for atv and zipline. 75 per person with transfers. We had a great time doing both and much cheaper than the cruise line. Cozumel we took a cab to Baconos beach club. It included chairs and snorkel for 10 per person. I thought the 10 dollars would be credited towards food purchase but that was not true. The snorkeling was great and the food also very good. The beach itself was just ok but the pool was clean. I felt it was kind of over crowded but there were 6 ships in port. Not sure I would go back as the beach area was small but the owner went out of his way to accommodate our large group. Taxi was 17 each way. The ship entertainment was above average but seemed to lack many options. The Movies under the stars were old movies and because of the cold weather we never watched one. Overall we did have a good time, the the Princess staff was friendly and the cruise was a good value as the Christmas and New Years cruises are usually over priced. Luckily our ship did make it back to port on time and we were able to walk off the ship at 7:30am and got through customs in 5 minutes. We picked up a super shuttle for 10 of us and made it to the Hobby airport by 8:45am. The lines were very long at the airport but had no problem making our 12:00 noon flight. In summary, Princess did a pretty good job but the ship is rather old and due for and update soon. I would prefer a bigger promenade area and don't think I would ever sail from the Houston port again due to the recurring problem of weather issues either leaving or returning to port.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess the week of Thanksgiving, 2013. We sailed out of Houston (not Galveston). The weather was very cold for Houston and we had very strong winds all day and into the night. The winds were so strong that it ... Read More
We sailed on the Caribbean Princess the week of Thanksgiving, 2013. We sailed out of Houston (not Galveston). The weather was very cold for Houston and we had very strong winds all day and into the night. The winds were so strong that it was decided it was not safe to navigate the Houston Ship Channel. For this reason, our ship did not leave the dock until the next day (18 hours later) . So practically the first day of the cruise was spent tied to the dock. Our 7-day cruise is now a 6-day cruise. Because we had lost so much time, our stop at Roatan, Honduras was canceled. We headed for Costa Maya, Mexico which was substituted in Roatan's place. Costa Maya was nice but our adult children had an excursion scheduled in Roatan which of course they did not get. Our next port-of-call was Belieze City, Belieze. When we got there the winds and seas were so rough that the ship could not safely enter the Belieze ship channel. The stop at Belieze City was also cancelled. No substitute port-of-call was provided. The captain apologized and said we would have a "day at sea" instead. Our children missed their excursion in Belieze City as well. When we arrived in Cozumel, Mexico the winds were very strong and all excursions that were on the water or required transportation over the water were canceled. Our children's third excursion was canceled. So our 7-day cruise was 6-days. We only made it to 1 of our scheduled ports-of-call. Our children did not receive any of the three excursions they had booked (they did however receive refunds). The rough seas made the first part of the cruise extremely bumpy and a number of people commented to us that this was the worst cruise (in terms of rough seas and high winds) they had experienced. Every time we missed our schedule, canceled a port-of-call or canceled excursions, the captain would apologize. However, at the end of the cruise, Princess never offered any good will gesture or any kind of compensation for a cruise that was a very big disappointment (albeit because of weather). I left the ship feeling like Princess Cruises didn't care that the cruise was very rough, or that you didn't get the ports-of-call that you paid for or that one day was spent tied to the dock. You got a "cruise" and if it didn't meet your expectations (based on their advertisements) well...tough! Many of the onboard aspects of the cruise were nice. The food was fine, the entertainment was good and the ship's staff were friendly and helpful. However, if you're going to book a cruise and all things are equal between Princess Cruises and another cruise line, I'd select the other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was my third cruise with Princess. The first two were on the Sapphire Princess Ship and both times it was a great experience. I wish I could say the same thing for the Caribbean Princess. This was a Thanksgiving cruise leaving out of ... Read More
This was my third cruise with Princess. The first two were on the Sapphire Princess Ship and both times it was a great experience. I wish I could say the same thing for the Caribbean Princess. This was a Thanksgiving cruise leaving out of the Houston Port. I have been told that Princess only started leaving out of Houston port earlier the same month (November). Embarkation seemed chaotic. Our family had a mini suite, and previous times leaving port we were able to get in a line for suite holders. This time, we were told that we would have to get in the long line because we did not have a "full suite." It was cold and windy, and we had to wait in the elements for over an hour. Once on the ship, the captain got on the loud speaker stating we would be delayed a couple of hours leaving the port due to the weather. A couple of hours later we were told that they would still not be able to leave the Houston port due to the weather and that they would try again at 10:00 PM. No word after 10:00 PM and we went to bed on the ship. When we woke up the next morning, we looked outside our balcony and saw that the ship was still parked next to the Houston Port. The captain later got on the loud speaker and stated that they would try to leave around 10:00 AM and explained that the itinerary for the cruise would need to be changed due to the delay. The ship left around 10:30 AM Sunday morning. The captain later came on the loud speaker and stated that we were not going to be able to go to Honduras due to the delay. Also, instead of going to Cozumel the first day as planned, we would be going to Cozumel on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday). This day was planned to be a day at sea. We would now be going to Costa Maya Mexico on Tuesday (not on the initial itinerary), and would be going to Belize on Wednesday as planned. We had no idea what was in Costa Maya. The cruise ship was able to plan activities and we did arrange an excursion to see Mayan ruins. After Costa Maya, we set course for Belize. Wednesday morning, the captain got on the loud speaker and told us that due to strong winds, we would not be able to go into port in Belize and instead would be staying out in sea for the day. This was frustrating. Instead of a Caribbean cruise visiting exotic destinations, it turned into a Mexican cruise visiting only two ports. On Thursday, we arrived in Cozumel. I believe most if not all of the water excursions such as snorkeling and scuba diving were cancelled due to the weather. We were able to visit X-Caret and enjoyed our excursion. The excursion returned us to the ship at around 5:00 PM. We got on the ship at 5:15 PM. Thanksgiving Dinner was at 5:30 PM and we had to put on our formal attire before going in the dining room. The Thanksgiving Dinner was very disappointing, as we had what appeared to be processed Turkey, with no mash potatoes. I saw other people had stuffing, but for some reason, there was no stuffing on my plate. I was able to request mash potatoes which was then delivered to my table. Although I enjoyed most of the Dinners on Princess during the trip, the Thanksgiving meal was the most disappointing meal I have ever experienced on a cruise ship. We left Cozumel and arrived at Houston Port on Saturday morning by 7:00 AM. First, let me say that I believe Princess needs to reconsider their decision to move from the Galveston to the Houston Port. From what I read on another review, the same ship was delayed going into Houston Port due to fog which likely caused many passengers to miss their flights. I believe this was the fourth cruise out of Houston, so having problems with the port on two out of four cruises is not a good statistic to have. On the way home at the Houston Airport, I spoke to a couple that left on the Disney Ship out of the Galveston Port the Saturday we were supposed to leave. The couple told me that they left the Galveston Port with no problem. If Princess is going to have cruises not being able to leave Houston Port due to weather, then people need to reconsider whether they want to go on a cruise out of Houston. The second thing I want to say is that Princess did not provide any reimbursement for not going to two of the three ports advertised (money off a future cruise would have been nice). Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I will keep this review as objective as possible and organized by category if you want to skip to a topic that you're interested in. Our overall experience was, unfortunately, on the low end of the scale. Missed Ports of Call: The ... Read More
I will keep this review as objective as possible and organized by category if you want to skip to a topic that you're interested in. Our overall experience was, unfortunately, on the low end of the scale. Missed Ports of Call: The weather itself was no fault of Princess, but we were generally unlucky with a cold front in the area. There was moderate wind with accompanying waves/swells. The ship didn't leave Houston until the next day past our scheduled departure. The report from the bridge told us there were extremely high winds with gusts over 50, although they may have forgotten that passengers have access to reliable, real-time weather data on their mobile devices. My weather app told me that winds were 18 at the exact time the announcement was made. Someone else immediately checked another site that confirmed winds were 15-20 with slightly higher occasional gusts. While we appreciate safety considerations, we felt deceived. The Houston port may very well prove to be problematic for the cruise industry, even during minor weather episodes, but time will tell. A federal document easily found on the web indicates that the channel is relatively shallow, narrow, and extremely busy - even after being enlarged around 2005. It was clearly a problem for our particular sailing. After we finally got out of the Houston area, the cruise line proceeded to cancel both (yes, both!) of our exotic stops (Roatan and Belize). It was a major disappointment. We docked in Cozumel, which turned out to be fun for us. We then made an unscheduled stop at Costa Maya in lieu of the two missed stops. The bottom line is that we ended up with too many "at sea" days and only two stops. Since my family and I spent a lot of money on the cruise with three separate staterooms, I asked for very nominal and reasonable compensation due to the missed ports. I got a letter back from Princess customer relations denying my request and telling me, and I quote: "Carrier may, for any reason, without prior notice, cancel the cruise, deviate from the scheduled ports of call, route and timetable; call or omit to call at any port or place or cancel or modify any activity on or off the ship... shorten the cruise or substitute ships..." Wow! It's in the fine print and customers are basically at a big disadvantage as far as I can tell. I'm sending a copy of their letter to news outlets with a goal of increasing awareness for potential cruisers so that they truly understand what they're getting into when they book a cruise and click "I agree" on their contract. In case you're wondering, the new cruise passenger bill of rights seem to be very narrowly focused on mechanical problems, and appear to be heavily weighted in favor of the cruise industry, in my opinion. The Ship: It is nice but not overly impressive. It's almost 10 years old and definitely shows signs of age and noticeable wear in certain areas. Some tables and chairs are downright embarrassing, for example. The moving walkway up to the sky lounge did not seem to be working at all, at least during the times when I visited. At least one hot tub seemed to be inoperable most of the time, which was a true shame given the colder than normal weather we had. There are some good features about the ship though, to be sure. I enjoyed the workout room, for example. Service: Not terrible, but nothing like the warm, friendly, welcoming, approachable, helpful style that we just experienced a couple of weeks ago on the NCL Jewel. The two experiences were very different from each other. Food: Really good for the most part. I never had a bad meal. The breakfast buffet was delicious. I opted to get a pre-paid coffee card too, which worked out well for specialty coffee drinks. The anytime dining option, however, was a mild disaster. It was a nightly strategy session for our family on how to get a table with the least amount of wait time. I would not suggest going with the anytime option. It's probably best to stick to the traditional early or late seating on this Princess ship. My kids informed me that the 24-hour International Café left a lot to be desired. Yes, there were some great pastries, but it didn't even come close to the late night and 24-hr options on Carnival, NCL, and Royal Caribbean in our opinion. Entertainment: Overall, I feel compelled to give this a low rating for the primary reason that there was a shocking lack of upbeat live music that exuded the casual Caribbean or reggae vibe that one would expect on this type of itinerary. I felt as if Princess was trying to please everyone by offering mediocre "safe" boring music - it didn't work for me. The shows were mildly entertaining, but the overall fun experience on this cruise was seriously lacking for me. However, I must give a big shout out to the evening solo singer who was incredibly talented. I provided a separate review for our cabin, which was located on the Dolphin deck.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was my first Princess cruise. I went with my 83 year old parents and my sister. This was the last trip my parents would take as my Mother has alzheimers. This trip was bitter sweet for all of us. This itinerary was one my Dad wanted ... Read More
This was my first Princess cruise. I went with my 83 year old parents and my sister. This was the last trip my parents would take as my Mother has alzheimers. This trip was bitter sweet for all of us. This itinerary was one my Dad wanted to do. We had easy embarkation. We had two balcony rooms. Our room steward opened the divider which was nice to go back and forth between rooms from the balcony. The ship was in good condition. The service for the most part was very good. I really liked the way the staff helped you around the elevators on embarkation. This was a nice touch. The food in the dining room was very good and so was the service. We were not very happy with service at the bar. We purchased the coke card and when the waiters saw that sticker they ignored us. Several times we waited for long periods of time due to the fact we had this card and they did not want to help us. The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the comedian. He was funny without being vulgar. We sat and listened to A.J. in the piano bar most nights and he was awesome. We listened to the group in the other lounges and we enjoyed them as well. The cruise director was just o.k. We did notice you must get to the theater early to get a seat. It was very crowded every night. I was very surprised at how unprofessional the photo department was. The pictures were not good and the staff were rude. It was so hard to find your pictures. These were also the most expensive photos that I have ever paid for. They took pictures while peoples mouth was open or cloths were out of place. We enjoyed every port. We used Princess excursions and we were happy with them all. Unfortunately we did not get to go into the Acadia Park. It opened the next day. We were not informed about our excursion being cancelled and had to find a different tour which was not easy. We still enjoyed the only excursion that was left. Hopefully we will be able to return some day. We did excursions that would accommodate my Dad not being able to walk for long distances. Only one day did the tender become an issue. That was in New Port. We waited an hour to get off the ship and wasted allot of our time there. As far as things to do on sea day, it was pretty much non-existant. Thank goodness we only had one sea day. Some of the choices were a lecture on hemorrhoids. Wow are we old or what? I am 54 and was one of the youngest people on this cruise. I did realize after this week that I will never work in a nursing home as my patience with the elderly is not very good. Remember everything is in slow motion on this cruise. Do not get in a hurry to get anywhere because 99 % of the passengers can't move very fast. We loved each port. Towel animals are nonexistent also. I really missed them but it did not affect our cruise. As a whole I really enjoyed this cruise and was very pleased with the Princess experience. Not sure if I would go with them on a cruise with allot of sea days but would definitely go again on a port intense cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.2

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