9 Houston Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

We last cruised with RCCL in 2011 - a 9-night European cruise from Norway to France, Ireland, England, Scotland and back to Norway. In the intervening years we took three Disney cruises to Hawai'i, Western Caribbean and Alaska. Quite ... Read More
We last cruised with RCCL in 2011 - a 9-night European cruise from Norway to France, Ireland, England, Scotland and back to Norway. In the intervening years we took three Disney cruises to Hawai'i, Western Caribbean and Alaska. Quite frankly, based on our 2011 RCCL cruise, we weren't expecting things to be better than Disney. Were we surprised. Five years later RCCL had really improved their ships and their service onboard. There were more things to do for families and the available activities were, for the most part, on par with or better than DCL. We even found the food in the main dining room and the Windjammer to be better than DCL. Not everything was rosy. I did have an issue with the charter bus going from Bush International to the terminal. On DCL buses, both charter and Disney, the front seats are reserved for persons with disabilities - of which I am one. It was very hard to have to work my way down the aisle past perfectly healthy passengers to the rear of the bus. Also, despite my notifying RCCL of my need for a wheelchair from the terminal to the ship, there were issues there too. At the terminal, as advised, I asked the RCCL employee for wheelchair assistance. She informed me that there weren't any wheelchairs there and could I walk to the terminal to get one. I have muscular dystrophy and, while I can walk a short distance with a cane, longer distances are a challenge. I made my way to the terminal and asked the staff there again for a wheelchair and was told I would have to stand in the winding line and once inside the terminal would be provided with a wheelchair. What a Mickey Mouse operation! I hope RCCL lets their terminal staff know how incompetent and inconsiderate they were. One more thing. It would be nice if RCCL didn't clutter up the entrance to the Windjammer with marketing tables. Its hard enough to navigate around hungry guests without having to work around guests looking over the latest offerings in jewelry, teeth whitening and spa treatments. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my 5th cruise, but my first cruise with Princess. I have sailed with Disney and with Carnival for my other cruises. I absolutely love cruising and being out on the ocean, and try to look at the brighter side of things when things ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise, but my first cruise with Princess. I have sailed with Disney and with Carnival for my other cruises. I absolutely love cruising and being out on the ocean, and try to look at the brighter side of things when things happen because I believe it's what you make it. This cruise tested me and my attitude, that's for sure. I took my niece for this cruise, this is her 3rd cruise, and it was quite the adventure we will never forget. She was turning 14 at the end of the cruise, so it was a celebration while on board, but I'll cover that in a bit. We drove to Houston on Saturday, March 5th, and stayed at the Marriott by Courtyard at NASA. It was a nice hotel, and we enjoyed it. No complaints other than there was no "free" breakfast, but we knew that before we booked, and planned on eating lunch on the ship, so it wasn't a concern. Driving into the hotel was beautiful, there were structures of astronauts and planets and lovely palm trees. We stayed in an accessible room apparently, as we had a doorbell and none of our surrounding rooms did, but being a child of someone who requires accessible rooms, I wasn't impressed at anything else in that area, as the doorbell and light was the only thing I noticed that was really different than any other room. The room was clean and very spacious. There was a desk with a chair and also a sitting chair. There also was an iPod dock (something we read about in the advertisement when we booked the room), but it was for older apple devices, as the charging port was the larger style instead of the smaller newer ones. No biggie since we brought our own chargers for the cruise. We got up and drove to the port, it was an easy drive, about 10 minutes away. We prepaid for parking and saved $5. We dropped off luggage with a porter first, then we had to drive all the way back around and check in with the ticket booth. We were directed where to park and the shuttle was right behind the car waiting to pick us up to take us back to the building. We had to stop at a table and fill out a health questionnaire and then proceeded into line and was quickly checked in. We were handed two ship maps/deck plans with our cabin number on it. We both traveled with our birth certificates, and nothing was ever said about her not being with another adult or not being my child, but I had a notarized statement ready just in case, as well as my marriage certificate, as we have been asked to provide both on previous cruises (but not every time). Back to back boarded first, and then we were able to board. We went straight to our cabin, R407. It was an inside cabin that was sideways. Pictures I had previously found online led me to believe the cabin was much larger than it actually was. We have stayed in sideways cabins before (on DCL) and it was our favorite, but I was shocked at the size (or lack of) of this cabin. Our cabin steward came and introduced himself. We checked out the bathroom, and I'm still trying to get over how incredibly small the shower was. This was the smallest room, the smallest bathroom and the smallest safe I have ever had. I have a hipster Vera Bradley purse, and it wouldn't fit in the safe. So I tried putting my folder of documents in there, and it wouldn't fit either (it's a regular size folder). I also noticed there was no drain in the bathroom floor (other than the actual shower drain), like I'm used to on Carnival, and I did flood the bathroom several times (even the water didn't have enough room in that shower! Ha!) We pre-ordered the Sodas and More package, and was expecting the cups to be in our stateroom, but they weren't. Once we unpacked (our luggage arrived while we were unpacking our carry on luggage), we decided to go explore and have lunch. I stopped at a table they had set up for the beverage packages and asked about the cups, and he stated if you pre-order the package, you no longer receive the cups. I stated that that was disappointing and ridiculous. We did receive the cups in our cabin on the 3rd night with a note saying we pre-ordered that, and that we prepaid our gratuities. I also requested on the last night a cake be delivered for my niece's birthday, they also informed me the door would have some decorations. I brought some just in case, because I noticed every time I spoke with someone on the phone about anything, it was different every time, so I wanted to be prepared. Of course, there were not any decorations, so I hung my own, and the next night, we had the ship decorations added. We went to lunch at one of the sit-down restaurants and met some really nice people. We had to share the table with 3 other couples. Lunch was good, service was quick, especially the drinks (Carnival I feel fails in this area). After lunch I stopped by Guest Services to see if there is a limit I could put on my niece's card, and they informed me that isn't how it worked, but I could block some spending from bars, shops and casinos. I just left it alone, as I felt she was responsible enough and we had agreed on an amount. Turns out, there wasn't really anything either of us was interested in buying in the whole 7 days, so she didn't spend a single penny. We were both pretty disappointed with that. The night before we left, we found out we weren't going to be visiting Princess Cays (VERY disappointing), so we went to the excursion desk to try to find something for Nassau (they replaced PC with Nassau), so we booked the Discover Atlantis tour. Then it was time to go to the Muster Drill. We had to take our life jackets (you don't on CCL and DCL), but at least the drill was indoors. We also had to try on our life jackets which scared my niece because she already knew about the generator, and being that in depth of a drill, she wasn't used to, so she was nervous. After that, we went to the "Sail Away Party", but left early because it wasn't much of a party at all, at least not to our standards. We made our last phone calls before putting our phones on airplane mode and got connected to the Princess @ Sea app. You have to find your account number to add people to your list, and you don't get notified of any new messages, so the only thing we wound up using the app for was checking our stateroom balance. She was pre-registered for the youth club (the teen one, Remix). There were 70 total kids onboard. 70. Out of 3,000 + people, only 70 of them were children. It was spring break in Texas. I had heard that Princess is labeled as "Heaven's waiting room", and after this cruise, we believe it! There were scooters, canes & walkers EVERYWHERE. I have NOTHING against that, like I stated before, one of my parents is disabled, and uses a scooter, and a cane, and I am fully aware of the need for those things, and have respect and courtesy for those people, but I can't figure out how we didn't have power failure at night when all of those things had to recharge! I had never in my life seen so many. We finally made an ongoing joke the whole cruise to see how many groups we could find - knitters, readers, card players, and bar hoppers. (Every single time we went by this one bar, the same couple was there, and in the same seats.. seriously - every. single.time.) This cruise / cruise line / ship is not for young families or children. They seemed to have one CD that they played on repeat the entire 7 days in all of the public spaces, and about the "newest" pop song on it was "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. We went to dinner in the Island Dining Room (we had anytime dining) around 5:15 and had no wait. The service was good, the food was alright. We went to the 7:00 "Welcome Aboard" show. It was okay. The theater was small to have a ship occupancy of 3,000 + people. It wasn't like Carnival, but more like Disney. Arms on each seat instead of couches, and in one side of the arm, there is a table you can pull out- but if you have any size stomach at all, don't count on using that. Around 10 we went to the room, basically for a lack of anything else to do. We figured maybe tomorrow would be better since it's a day at sea, usually there are lots of activities happening on those, so we were looking forward to it. Turns out, every single day was a bore. I am one of those people who cringe when I hear someone say they are bored. I was raised not to say that, and that there is always something to do, but I was actually bored on this cruise. They had a holiday sale, and the shirts were $10 each. We got excited and ran to the shirt table, to find that the shirts said Western Caribbean, Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. (NOTE - our ports were Eastern Caribbean, Key West, Freeport and Nassau)..... I still can't figure that out. Another day, they had a "special" sale - 2 shirts for $20. IT WAS THE SAME EXACT SHIRTS. And, it's the same exact price!! We are still laughing about that one. On the "Fun Day At Sea", there were events like golf chipping in the pool, some movies, the shopping spotlight show (which we think should be renamed "The Diamonds International Show" - as that was 95% of what was discussed..... for nearly 2 hours.) The free gifts were some bamboo lei's, a Del-Sol tote bag, 1 shirt, 1 frisbee and a "diamond" necklace. This night was formal night, and people do go formal pretty well on this ship (comparing to CCL). The lines were SO long for dinner, we decided to go back, get "normal", and head to the buffet. We didn't want to miss the show (that's about the only thing exciting we had been waiting for all day). The buffet was good, and actually, due to menus in the dining room, we ate the buffet nearly every night. One night they had fried chicken on the menu, so we went, and sat next to a lady who informed us fried chicken was one of the worst things you could put in your body, and we had to hear a health speech during the whole dinner. The fried chicken was gross, and we couldn't eat it. We hit the buffet after the show. Note - I normally NEVER miss dining in dining rooms for dinner. In fact, out of 5 cruises, this was the first time I had ever eaten in the dining room, so eating in there nearly every night really says something!! I normally love dressing up and going to the MDR and enjoying the atmosphere, but not here. Not this time. We went to the comedian's show in the Explorer's Lounge. A lot of shows and games were hosted in this lounge, and if you want to go, get there AT LEAST 30 mins. early to get a good seat (We usually shot for an hour). The comedian was hilarious and the best part of the cruise! We were sad he didn't win Entertainer of the Year (that was happening during this sailing). We hit the Captain's Welcome Aboard "Party", and saw the "champagne waterfall", and the line of people to take a picture of themselves supposedly pouring some champagne, but the captain actually did the pouring, and it really wasn't a waterfall. It took 12 bottles, so you can imagine how long that took, with people stepping up a small ladder, smiling, pour a few dashes, and then the next person came. We went to a few game shows they had onboard, Majority Rules, Marriage Game Show, Liar's Club, Yes/No Game Show (our favorite), etc. You don't want to miss the Yes/No Game Show, it's pretty funny watching people try to avoid saying yes and no for 3 minutes, and most people can't make it. The evening show in the theater was Born to Be Wild or something like that. We sat in the middle of the 2nd row. The rows are close together in that once your in, you don't leave until it's over if you are in the middle. We never sat in the middle again. This show was supposed to be about a road trip and had songs such as "Life is A Highway", "I've Been Everywhere", etc. I'm still trying to figure out why the female dancers dressed as night walkers (thong leotards, SUPER mini skirts, bras, etc.), and danced as if the only thing missing was a pole. My niece turned and looked at me when the thong lady came out during "Life is a Highway", and our jaws were both dropped. Now, the old man in front of us was clapping and cheering, and we thought he may have a heart attack he was so excited. I would have been REALLY upset if my child was younger. I just don't understand the need for that with those kinds of songs, and for a "family" friendly show. After the show, we walked around the upper decks to see if anything was happening (we usually don't go to bed until around 3 am on CCL and DCL), and usually by 10:30 this ship was pretty well shut down other than the casino and the piano bar. The next day was supposed to be Key West, but as we sailed right by it, it was decided that it was going to be cancelled. The captain came on the intercom system and said due to the wind we were not able to dock. Trust me, the ship's atmosphere REALLY sank after that!! We ran to the shore excursions desk to find something to do in Freeport now, as we were just going to "wing it" since we knew we would be having lots of fun in Key West and in Nassau, but now, I was determined the rest of this trip was not going to be ruined. Of course, like everyone else, the whole reason we picked this week was for KW and PC, and now that both were cancelled, I was rather irritated that I didn't just wait a week (the next week is my spring break and I was off). I do understand the weather is out of people's control, but I don't understand about Princess Cays. Supposedly the generator was not working correctly and we were informed we wouldn't be able to travel at full speeds, but we did. There was a lot of discussion about that among passengers. Before the 1:00 port time, there wasn't much going on, Knitters & Knatters, Back Pain Relief, Jewelry sales, Art sales, etc. They announced they would be putting out a new Princess Patters that would start at 1:00 with new activities. Not much was offered different from before, with the exception of a few games (pictionary, etc.) Pretty disappointing day. I had been looking forward to the Stargazing that they have been advertising a lot, and I love stars, but it was too windy, so they cancelled that also. The employee stated they would try it again on our last night at sea, so I was hopeful (NOTE - the last night at sea was gorgeous, and I have never seen the moon shine on the sea quite like it did that night - and NO, they did not reschedule stargazing!!) For Freeport, the Shore Excursion employee recommended we do the All-Inclusive Beach, and we did. There wasn't an option to not do all-inclusive, and most of the choices were garden tours, history tours, etc., so we jumped on this opportunity even though we don't drink. We met off the ship in the pier, and had an A/C bus ride to the beach (about 20 mins away), and it was only us cruise passengers. It was a BEAUTIFUL beach. They did serve alcohol to an underage kiddo - more than once actually - because he and my niece became friendly (I told her after watching him partake of the drinking games 3 times and downing shots like it was nothing - she is to no longer hang out with him!). His parents were busy doing their own thing - like they did the whole entire cruise. It was apparent this kid has his own room with his little brother and mom and dad didn't have any control or care what happened, as he even talked about the bar staff on board giving him drinks one night when we all had dinner together. (This was before the beach, and I thought he was just trying to be a big shot in front of my niece, I now realize he was probably serious, and he probably drank it!) We tried to make it to the magic show for 2 of the shows, but couldn't find a seat for the one did in the Explorer's Lounge. Each contestant for Entertainer of the Year performed 2 shows - one in Explorer's Lounge (the place you need to get to 30-1 hr ahead of time), and one in the main theater. Each show was supposed to be different. My niece stood the whole time for this magic show in the back, but I went and sat in the Piazza area and people watched. The night before the last night, at 4 something in the morning, we awoke to our drawers flying open, hangers banging, and some strange noises. Come to find out, we were in the middle of a pretty bad storm. Most all of us and our neighbors were out of the cabins (pj's and wild hair and all!) and several of us went to the top deck to see what was happening, and then down to deck 7. I have some video of the waves from deck 7, and it was really something! It was a LONG night that night, because by this time, we were so done with this cruise, and now the storm, and we were just ready to go home. I also wanted to note, there were no towel animals in our cabin. To some, that's probably not a big deal at all, but it's pretty sad for us when it's something you look forward to. The service on this ship was great and overall speedy. I really enjoyed having the Sodas & More package, we enjoyed a total of 73 mocktails over 7 nights, so it was worth the price for us ($8.05 per person, per day). We went to one of the "Fun Deck Parties" one night, and it was literally just me and my niece, and one person walking by.. which I also have on video, because I knew my friends and family back home would find it hilarious, comparing to what we've done before. Overall, if you are 70+, you will probably enjoy this ship. And I don't mean that to be rude, not by any means!!! If you are looking for nothing to do, you will enjoy this ship. But don't go expecting to have fun in the same sense you would on a CCL or DCL ship (Again - I don't drink alcohol, I'm not some party animal, and I don't go to night clubs... but I do enjoy people watching, getting something to eat, trivia's, games, comedy shows, and so on... not just knitting and origami....) Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise my wife and booked and what we actually sailed ended up being two different things entirely; and while there was disappointment that we we unable to dock in Key West, we did end up going to Nassau which was very nice. Before I ... Read More
The cruise my wife and booked and what we actually sailed ended up being two different things entirely; and while there was disappointment that we we unable to dock in Key West, we did end up going to Nassau which was very nice. Before I proceed with this review any further, I need to address some misinformation provided in the previous review by bcsjr. In fairness to Princess they did send my wife and I an email the Friday prior to sailing that due to a generator issue (not an engine problem as suggested in the other review) the ship would skip Princess Cays (their private island) and would be replaced by a stop in Nassau so the ship could return to Houston in time. Secondly, while we did skip Key West due to strong winds causing unsafe docking (on a sunny day I might point out) we ended up spending an extra day at sea. Princess provided compensation of $50 per person in the form of on-board credit as well was 25% of the fare we paid as a credit towards a future cruise. All of this we found fair and more than reasonable. While we were disappointed, we did not let it ruin our vacation unlike many other passengers who complained the whole trip endlessly. If you travel by ship, you have to be more flexible and understanding and not so rigid and demanding like we found so many of our fellow passengers to be. Embarkation was very smooth. My wife uses a wheelchair and the staff were amazing and we were on-board in no time. The only issue we had was the dining noted on our cruise cards was incorrect and I had to stand in line at passenger services once we boarded to get it fixed so they reflected the dining preference I had confirmed for months in Princess' Cruise Personalizer. I try to avoid these long lines on the ship on the first day, but it was handled very well by the passenger services staff. I did find that they are a tad jaded, most likely from dealing with so many people yelling at them. As for the cruise, the entertainment was very good. They had a visiting Soprano on the ship who was amazing we saw her in the production of Bravo and during her own show on the last day. The ships singers and dancers were average (some nails on chalkboard moments). We also experience the Voice of the Ocean patterned after the TV show and found the passenger talent to be quite good and the judges very funny. This cruise also played host to Princess' annual Entertainer of the Year Awards where they showcased a singer, comedian and magician who are supposed to represent the best of Princess. The singer was good, the magician was kids birthday party level, but the comedian (AJ Jamal) was fantastic and really funny as well as very nice and personable when you saw him around the ship (he always engaged the passengers). We were not a fan of the Wake Show the cruise director did everyday on TV, it was one endless infomercial for EFFY (the only jewelry line on the ship) and really told us nothing about the ship, activities or ports of call. Dining room and food were fantastic and when we did have an issue it was quickly rectified by our amazing waiter Abel. We ate all of our meals in either the dining room, International Cafe or room service (which was timely and good); we avoid buffets given the "piggy" and rude nature of our fellow passengers in this type of venue. Our idea of dining is not dealing with lines of aggressive, pushy people who think they will never eat again unless they elbow someone for a sandwich. Overall we had a great time. We did not do any excursions given the limitation of wheelchair accessible options, so we explored Nassau and Freeport on our own which worked out just fine (and made easier by the incredible weather). As Platinum members we did enjoy a few perks, but Princess could learn a few things from Royal Caribbean and ramp up the perks. Finally, as for the condition of the ship; it was in very good condition overall and seemed to be maintained well in the public areas. We did have some issues with the cabin which I will address in the cabin review. This was our third time on this ship over the last 2 years and we found the staff friendly and the ship easy to navigate, especially for someone with accessibility issues. My biggest disappointment came from some of our fellow passengers who need to learn better manners. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
To start with the good- the show "cripton" was excellent. He is an illusionist and performed some great illusions. His show as well as the acrobatic team were entertaining. Disemarkation-we had an excellent fellow who helped my ... Read More
To start with the good- the show "cripton" was excellent. He is an illusionist and performed some great illusions. His show as well as the acrobatic team were entertaining. Disemarkation-we had an excellent fellow who helped my mom in a wheelchair for getting off the ship. She had difficulty getting to the actual meeting place for that service but was helped once she got there. The not so good- I was reassured by NCL that my gluten-free dietary needs would be accompdated and that my disable mom would have no trouble getting around this ship. We were greatly disappointed. 1. You are required to order all 3 meals at dinner the day before for glulten-free. 2. The food is mediocre and at one point I was served something that was NOT gluten-free but was told it was. I subsequently got sick. 3. Service in the dining room where I was required to eat took almost 2 hours for every meal. We were told it was because of my special diet. However we ate at the alternate dining room which was smaller and they served our meals within an hour. 4. There were NO handicapped restrooms open or available for my mom who was traveling with me. She rented a scooter which required the use of an elevator. There were no designated elevator for handicapped use which proved to be challenging getting an elevator that wasn't filled with people. 5. Shore excursion team had no idea what was available at some of the advertised excursions. We took the botanical garden/beach tour and found that they have assistance for those who couldn't handle prolonged walking. This would have been helpful information before we took the excursion. They also had no idea if I could eat the lunch BBQ was being offered and would not permit me to take a gluten free sandwhich off the ship. I do believe that Celebrity has NCL beat in cabin size,comfort, dining, service, and overal cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We are a late 60's couple married 46 years with at least 14 prior cruises to our credit, 5 long cruises across the Atlantic with lots of sea days. This was a much anticipated cruise with lots of research including the McCullough book ... Read More
We are a late 60's couple married 46 years with at least 14 prior cruises to our credit, 5 long cruises across the Atlantic with lots of sea days. This was a much anticipated cruise with lots of research including the McCullough book "Path between the Seas". Of course the cruise was much more than the day we spent going through the canal. We like lazy at sea days with lots of time to read and relax. If one watches carefully, even the open ocean can have visual rewards. First the misses. The tours and travels were not really capable of dealing with a handicap scooter and coordination with tour operators was marginal. We had to cancel several tours because we were informed the tour operator could not accommodate a small 3 wheel, take-apart scooter , only to find when we walked out on the dock there were lots of huge buses which would have accommodated us easily. We even asked a bus driver if the scooter could be loaded and he assured it could easily be done. The lack of meaningful lectures was sorely missed. The selection of movies available was interesting to say the least, but playing "The Hobbit" 8 times a day was annoying. I could go on, but why bother. The Azura dining room was dark and noisy, Tzar's was much better and open almost every day for all meals. Some nice bits. Osheehan's and ChinChin were greatly appreciated. Food everywhere and no need for a coke package if you can do with fruit juice, coffee and water at all times. The Jewel rides VERY smoothly and was extremely well handled. Our Steward Paul was a wonderful part of our cruise. look up "Quiet efficiency" and his picture will be there. The library on board was one of the largest I have seen on any boat and even had a few Atlas's available to peruse. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a ... Read More
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a Cruise Critic member's (foolds) proposal to his girlfriend. I met lots of great friends on the ship and I am so lucky to have had this experience. Embarkation/Bon Voyage Program My grandfather joined me on the ship before it left port as part of the Bon Voyage Program. As soon as we arrived we were taken in and led to the priority check-in line and were taken to board the ship. The whole process was very smooth. He absolutely loved the ship and one of the bar servers, Nhorman, helped us get him and his wheelchair on to the ship. He was exceptionally nice and friendly to us and to my grandfather. Ship Overall the ship is pretty nice. There are a few design issues such as moving between dining rooms but overall it is nice. The public areas are well decorated and somewhat elegant. Overall the ship appears well maintained. I find some people have unreasonable expectations for ships (remember that they operate 24/7/365). I saw plenty of maintenance taking place and did not feel the ship to be in disrepair or dirty. Crew/Service I must say that the crew on the ship was very helpful and kind. Dining room service was decent but not outstanding. The bar people were nice and friendly. My cabin steward (it's steward, not stewart by the way) was great. I take a medication that I have to mix with water. I usually use a fork to mix it in a cup so the first night of the cruise I went to Horizon Court and picked up a fork and brought it back to the cabin. The next morning the steward took the fork, which I figured he would, so I went to and picked up another fork that night. Well the next morning the steward brought me a clean fork and extra glass and left them in my restroom for me to use with the medicine. I find this to be extraordinary service that he did this without me having to ask. I gave him the Consummate Host card. Ports/Shore Excursions I have been to Cozumel and it is more of the same it has always been. The only excursion I took was in Belize which I really loved. I took the open air trolley tour. I am kind of torn because I loved the tour and the people seemed nice but Belize is a horribly homophobic place so I do not plan to spend any money at all there in the future. Mahogany Bay at Roatan blew me away. Let me say this now: I heard an Princess Elite member telling people on the ship that they could NOT use the beach at Mahogany Bay because it is owned by Carnival. This is 100% FALSE. The beach is free for any cruise passenger that docks at that dock. If someone tells you any different they are simply misinformed. I spent the day at Mahogany Beach and it was simply amazing. The water was beautiful and so was the atmosphere. Entertainment The only show I really attended was the magician, Michael Barron, and he was excellent. This was probably the best magic show I have ever seen and was very entertaining. I did attend the Princess Pop Star competitions as a friend I met on the ship was competing and they were amazing. We (a group I met on the ship) also went to Skywalkers most nights and had a blast. LGBT Get Together There was a LGBT get together every day at 5:30 in one of the bars, usually Wheelhouse. I met a few other guys there and we all hung out together for portions of every evening. The only thing I would like to see them change is maybe have a crew member host it (there are plenty of gay guys in the crew) and have some way of marking where the event is within the bar such as a sign. Cabin I was in cabin A403, an interior cabin on deck 12. The cabin was small but comfortable with adequate storage and closet space. The bathroom was small (as all are) but it served it's purpose. The Elite bathroom amenities were nice. Captain's Circle Elite Benefits The Princess Captain's Circle is awesome. The benefits are outstanding. I received a free mini-bar, priority service at the pursers desk, 10% boutique discount, priority tender embarkation, 150 free internet minutes and much more. These were all awesome benefits. Bad Parts Avoid the shopping show on the second sea day. You will lose part of your life if you go. There was little to no actual port info given and the whole thing was a long, drawn-out sales pitch and the man (Vince) was repetitive and not very genuine. I would not lose sleep if they did away with his position. Disability Accommodations I have some medical problems including a damaged spine. I did not ask for or sign up for any disability accommodations but the facilities seemed ample and appropriate. I did use the elevators which were usually available but sometimes had a wait. There were quite a few mobility impaired people onboard who seemed to get around easily (as easily as possible). The tender ride in Belize and the trolley were a little uncomfortable and I had to take pain meds after returning to the ship but that was the only real annoyance. Solo Cruising I have taken many cruises but this was my first solo cruise. I was nervous at first but it worked out really well. I did not attend any of the SOLO cruiser meetings as they all interfered with the LGBT get together or other activities. Summary The cruise was amazing. I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to another. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The terminal in Houston is beautiful. The embarkation procedure was terrible, but NCL has no control over this process because it is land based and union rules need to be followed. I have mobility problems and need to use a walker at ... Read More
The terminal in Houston is beautiful. The embarkation procedure was terrible, but NCL has no control over this process because it is land based and union rules need to be followed. I have mobility problems and need to use a walker at times. Also, I was in a suite. I could not use the suite or handicap line because we arrived just at the time a lot of new workers on the ship were boarding and they were using the handicap and suite security line. Snaking through the long line was difficult. As suite guests, the ckeck-in process took longer than usual, because Florentina, the concierge, spent a lot of time chatting with other guests. Eventually, it was our turn. The young assistant escorted the passengers who were staying on deck 11 to their rooms. She led us to the escalator including me with my walker. I asked for an elevator. She said it would be okay for me to ride the escalator. The situation was frightening as I tried to get on the escalator. A young man came to my rescue and led me to the elevator. After that incident was resolved, we made it to our lovely two bedroom/two bath family suite. This is not a Haven suite. I think I'm spoiled. When I cruise NCL again, how will I ever be able to book anything else? I have a dilemma. Should I bore you with the details or have you go to youtube and search NCL Family Penthouse Suite.? Youtube won, but the shower jets that come from all directions with great pressure is fantastic. I want suite 11518 again and again! I ate lunch in Modenaro each day. On port days our butler, Lazaro, brought our hot breakfast right on time. The other days I had breakfast in Modenaro. Same menu each day which I liked. I only ate in O Sheehan's once. The chicken pot pie was good. DH and I shared the artichoke dip which we both like a lot.. The escargot in Le Bistro is the best I have ever eaten and the fillet is excellent. The steak in Cagneys was good, but I liked Le Bistro better. In the three ports we used NCL shore excursions. Highly recommend River Safari and Mayan Ruins in Belize. Enjoyed Playa Maya Lunch and Open Bar shore ex in Cozumel. There are plenty of loungers in sun and shade, pool, water park, inflatable raft which has a trampoline, ropes course, climbing wall, slide, and rope swing. In Trujillo, the Campo Del Mar beach has coarse sand and the slope is too steep for young children to enjoy. The small raft's ladder is hard is hard to climb. The entertainment is fantastic!!!!!!!! The Le Cirque show currently on Jewel is the best at sea. I have been on 7 cruise lines and have seen several Le Cirque style shows. When I was on Jewel in 2011, I liked the show very much. This was even better. The officers on this ship are very friendly. The captain leads by example. One night, I was invited to an officer's dinner. I had chest pain that afternoon and an abnormal EKG. I had to stay in the medical center and missed the dinner. After dinner, Jon, the officer in charge of something about the environment, came to see me in the medical center. I was very impressed with his kindness. There are so many excellent things about this cruise. I wish I had written the review sooner or taken notes. I wrote lots of note cards and put them in the box by the Guest Relations desk. I have a favorite officer and I wrote his name and position on the recommendation card and noted, "He is my Favorite." Be sure to fill these cards out throughout the cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date November 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
We sailed on Caribbean Princess on 12/14/2013 and were really looking forward to getting away and enjoying some warm weather! We'd been set to sail with RCCL out of Galveston that week, but changed when we learned that Princess was to ... Read More
We sailed on Caribbean Princess on 12/14/2013 and were really looking forward to getting away and enjoying some warm weather! We'd been set to sail with RCCL out of Galveston that week, but changed when we learned that Princess was to be sailing out of the Port of Houston, and it's significantly closer to where we live in NW Houston. For whatever reason, the Houston area’s been unseasonably cold ever since Princess first got here in November, and the 14th was no different. We had some last-minute errands to run, so we left our house around 9 a.m., thus missing the email that warned us that boarding would be delayed – about the only true message Princess sent out during the cruise! We got to the Port of Houston around 12:30 p.m. since we board early due to my disability and were directed to a loooonnnnngggg line of cars that ultimately reached the auxiliary lot, where we started Row 6. No reason was given, but at 2:00, we were told that if we wanted, we could go into Kemah for lunch because there was plenty of time before boarding would begin as the passengers returning had not yet been cleared to leave the ship! We decided to wait because it was sprinkling and nasty out, with a bitter cold wind blowing as well. We finally began moving around 3:45 a.m. but once we parked, it took little time to go through embarkation and board the ship. Our Cabin was A303, a disabled cabin with no threshold and enough space for “Nascar Nellie” my scooter – who was wearing her Christmas Finery and twinkling with LED lights – one set of batteries lasted the week…thanks QVC! We had ordered a soda card for my husband but that was it. Next time, if there is one – we’ll also get a coffee card, not because he drinks specialty coffee but because except for the dining rooms and buffets, you had to pay for the privilege of getting not only coffee, but also tea and hot chocolate, UNlike our prior experience with RCCL. Once again, just as I said with our last trip on Princess, we felt as if they nickelled-and-dimed us to death on the cruise. It seemed like everywhere, something cost extra, and it's amazing how much those little things add up. We chose Anytime Dining because my husband is diabetic and is used to eating at 6 p.m. so we felt that would give us the chance to eat close to the same time. WRONG! The first day, since boarding was delayed (and so was our departure), we didn’t get to the buffet for lunch until almost 5 p.m. and we didn’t feel like having another big meal. The food in the buffets was plentiful and tasty much of the time. Everywhere were hand-sanitizer units, and it was good to see everyone using them! There were even signs in the restrooms urging people to use paper towels to open the doors when leaving. I had only one gripe with the restroom facilities: because there are handicapped stalls when you first get in there, it doesn’t mean that you should use them instead of regular ones – every time I had to wait while one or more people who did not appear to be disabled in any way, shape, or form, took advantage of the extra space. There wasn’t enough space for me to leave Nellie behind, so I just waited. I could understand if there weren’t enough regular stalls, but there were, and most often, they were vacant. It’s just a courtesy thing, ladies! The second night, we were directed to the Coral Dining room, where we learned that we wouldn’t be able to dine until at least 7 p.m. (actually 7:30 before we were seated) because it had fixed seating until then. It wasn’t until Day 5 that we learned of the existence of the Int’l Dining Room, but ironically, IT didn’t have availability for us until 7:30 as well. We asked about making reservations, but were told by not only one, but two people, (and a phone recording) that they weren’t taking reservations. Each night, as well, there was a huge delay between our salads and our entrees. On virtually every night in a dining room, my meat was too tough to eat, and since we had such a delay, I didn’t ask about a replacement. Not only that, but the entrees we did get were not even warm, but tepid. This was a huge difference between our last trip on Princess. That time, we had poor service on the first day, and they switched us to Anytime and gave us the same seats and waitress for the rest of the trip – marvelous!!! Twice, we chose to eat in the Caribe Buffet and enjoyed it almost as much as the regular dining rooms. We thoroughly enjoyed our Meet & Greet event, but it was a good thing that we’d made sure everyone knew when and where because it wasn't mentioned in the Princess Newsletter that day. We had a great time and many of us exchanged grab bag gifts themed “What we wouldn’t sail without.” Some of the gifts were really clever and everyone had fun. On Thursday, we met again and swapped “Tall Tales” with prizes provided by one of the members who was from Calgary, Alberta. Raoul claimed to be afraid to sail, but seemed to be enjoying his time at sea! Unfortunately, our bad weather followed us throughout the Western Caribbean. We did leave the ship for awhile in Cozumel, but it began to rain, so we returned. Roatan, Honduras gave us some sunshine, but much of the day consisted of torrential rainfall. My husband joined another couple to go to the Cameo Factory, but Nellie and I stayed behind because she doesn’t like rain very much. We did get to go out on our balcony for awhile when they got back and we enjoyed not one but two rainbows. The second one was so close that I’d swear you could see just where the pot of gold was – and it WASN’T in the Casino! In Belize, they won’t tender scooters, so we remained onboard as well. We enjoyed people watching, and spent some time in the casino – where I actually won almost $40 playing a 2-cent slot machine! I gave $20 of it back, but spent a long time doing it. Friday the 20th marked probably the worst day of the trip. We were told to have our luggage outside our doors by 9 p.m. On other cruises, it’d disappear almost as quickly as you put it out, but not this night. We went to join some friends, and then came an announcement from the Captain, telling us that due to bad weather in Houston, they were going to make a run for it, and would hopefully arrive before it did. They anticipated a 9 pm arrival on Friday, the 20th (luggage?), but would not be disembarking guests until the regular time on the 21st. Still no luggage disappearing… About an hour later, there was another announcement from the Cruise Director (more on him later.) NOW, the fog had arrived and they told us that we could not arrive until Sunday, the 22nd, with docking taking place around 11 p.m. on the 21st. We were to retrieve our luggage. They advised anyone who had air reservations to make their changes themselves, UNLESS they had booked through Princess, same with transfers. They provided only complimentary phone and Internet service to enable this. The ship had pretty much stopped in place and that was the situation when we went to bed. We hadn’t been able to get a copy of our statement, and none was ever placed under our door. The next morning at 7:00 a.m., my husband woke up and told me that we were moving again, and that it appeared that the fog had lifted. Just moments later, the mysterious Cruise Director came on and told us that, contrary to what they and we had been told, we were now about to enter the Houston Ship Channel and would be docking, not on Sunday, but on Saturday at around 11 a.m. (or noon). We should put our luggage out as soon as possible and then go for breakfast. Disembarkation would occur as soon as possible after we docked, and wait for your floor to be called. So, we had breakfast and went to the public areas to wait for disembarkation directions. We said goodbye to our Steward, Raymond, who had been wonderful to us all week long, and we gave him extra gratuities – he was the only one we did that with. After we’d waited for almost an hour, they told everyone to please go and wait in their cabins and disembarkation information would be provided. It was maybe 11:30-ish and we were still moving. When we got to our cabin, it had been prepped for the next cruise. We ended up sitting in the little chairs provided in the room – and it was nasty outside again, so the balcony was of no use. There we sat until 3:30 p.m. when we were told to disembark. We were among the last and by then the wind was howling and it was pouring down rain. Ed ran through it to get our car from a handicapped parking spot, but they didn’t want him to drive under the Departure Portico to load my scooter, so he ended up getting soaking wet – and so did Nellie! I had plastic covering her tiller, but everything we had ended up wet. We finally got to our home in NW Houston about 5:00 pm…and were we ever glad to be home!!! I don’t have a whole lot against Princess – it’s certainly better than Carnival. What we did see was a staff who didn’t really care a whole lot. In all our our dozen cruises, we’ve always been able to recognize the cruise director, yet this one we never even caught sight of. Due to the mess with dinner times, we didn’t get to enjoy any of the entertainment (and we don’t play bingo!) There weren’t towel animals, chocolates or so many of the little touches that we’ve come to enjoy when cruising. I won't even comment on gratuities. We didn’t get sight of the captain, either, because we didn’t get our invitation to the returning guests event until AFTER it happened. There was one person in one of the shops who was friendly. Those behind the Purser’s Desk appeared no less than surly the one time I did make a request. We’d heard so much from our M&M friends who were “Elite” but I think they were the only ones to matter to Princess. Frankly, we cancelled an RCCL cruise to be on this one and we’re sorry we did. From rumors we’ve heard, another captain has left the Caribbean Princess due to Port of Houston issues – but Princess KNEW what it was like before they ever returned there! I don’t understand why there are all these problems, but it’s affecting those who are cruising. We felt worst for those who changed reservations and then ended up having to pay for another night’s lodging if they hadn’t purchased travel and insurance through Princess. No, the weather wasn’t their fault, but the way Princess reacted TO the weather WAS. We’ll think long and hard before we sail with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013

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