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27 Houston to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

Our daughter in law drove us to the terminal and there was a short wait for someone to assist my husband in a wheelchair. Our room was ready when we got onboard so we dropped off our 'stuff' and headed to the dining room for a ... Read More
Our daughter in law drove us to the terminal and there was a short wait for someone to assist my husband in a wheelchair. Our room was ready when we got onboard so we dropped off our 'stuff' and headed to the dining room for a very nice lunch. We were on the Caribbean Princess in October from Quebec to Houston. The cabin we had this time was next door to the one we had in October so we had the same cabin steward, Ranier, who was great. We only went to one of the productions, Bravo, and it was excellent. Seems like they had a lot of different comedians the other nights which did not appeal to us. We had anytime dining and never had to wait for a table. Food was excellent! We at breakfast in the dining room also and it was always good. We had been to all the ports previously so we did not get off in Cartagena. Others reported that it was hot and the vendors were pesky! Same as when we were there previously. I took the excursion to the rain forest in Costa Rica where we did a nature walk, had a wonderful lunch, and a tram ride over the forest. Great excursion!!! Disembarking was as good as it could be. There were a lot of people needing assistance so we had a bit of a wait but once someone was there to help my husband it went very smoothly. Our son picked us up and his only complaint was that there was a very long line of cars picking up people. Overall, it was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise for two reasons: the port of Houston was drive able for us and we wanted to visit Cartagena, Columbia. We were familiar with the other ports, but enjoyed some anyway. Embarkation and debarkation were relatively easy ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons: the port of Houston was drive able for us and we wanted to visit Cartagena, Columbia. We were familiar with the other ports, but enjoyed some anyway. Embarkation and debarkation were relatively easy and it was a joy to just drive home. The ship was tired and disappointing. We arrived on board with problems in the very tiny room (balcony). Toilet not working, TV fuzzy, no Kleenex, no pillow top for the queen (2 twins). All were remedied in a timely manner. Our cabin steward was always on the ball. No corkscrews in room. Wine was allowed to be brought on at embarkation. Everywhere you went was crowded to overcrowded, shows were not available to you unless you went 40-60 minutes early. It was difficult to find seats in lounges, especially if the entertainment was popular. Dining rooms were lovely, but dated- very low ceilings and darkly furnished. Waiters and assistants were best part, menus were just ok. Our ship excursion in Cozumel was the catamaran snorkel trip. It was great, but it was difficult for most cruisers to reboard the catamaran. We would not do that one again, even though it was fun for the most part. We did not disembark in Panama, which was a highlight of this itinerary. We had been there before. However, a ship excursion to the canals delayed the ship leaving port for 3 hours! . All in all we decided this would be our last cruise on Princess since other cruise lines offer much larger cabins for balconies. A larger cabin on Princess is a mini-suite. We were used to balconies on Holland America and Celebrity Cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked the March 6, 2016 Eastern Caribbean cruise to accommodate a family member's vacation. We flew to Houston one day before and settled in a hotel near Clear Lake, 15 minutes away from the Houston Bayport Cruise Terminal. We ... Read More
We booked the March 6, 2016 Eastern Caribbean cruise to accommodate a family member's vacation. We flew to Houston one day before and settled in a hotel near Clear Lake, 15 minutes away from the Houston Bayport Cruise Terminal. We took a taxi to the terminal and were onboard in 15 minutes after arriving at the terminal. There were lots of staff working and boarding was very efficient. The ship is a bit worn as some of the elevator panels had chipped paint. Once onboard, we received a letter in our cabin from the Captain informing us that due to a diesel generator problem, the ship was not able to travel at full speed. Adding to the fact that we will lose one hour for Daylight Saving Time on the last day of the cruise, Princess decided to cancel the call to Princess Cays and go to Nassau instead. This was quite a disappointment since we really wanted to spend some time at Princess Cays to enjoy the water sports activities. After one sea day, we arrived at the port of Key West and everyone was ready to stretch our legs. Unfortunately the Captain came on the speaker to inform us that due to high winds (>30 knots), that between the harbour pilot and him, they decided that it was not safe for the ship to dock and the ship would skip Key West. So we spent another sea day doing nothing. Then we got to Freeport, Grand Bahamas, and spent the time on shore shopping. it was sunny but the wind was too strong and the waves too rough to safely enjoy the beaches. Then after another night at sea, we arrived at Nassau, capital of Bahamas. Although it was sunny and hot, the wind was howling and it was not typical Caribbean beach weather. We received another letter from the Captain in the evening apologizing for the disappointment of the cruise due to various factors and offered each passenger $50 ship board credit and 25 % future cruise credit to be booked by March 31, 2017. It was a nice gesture to show that Princess cared about our disappointment. Given all the unexpected events, we had a lot of time onboard to eat, take in the entertainment and shop. We chose fixed time dining in the Palm Dining room and our waiter, Marius from Romania, and assistant waiter, Ben from Philippines, worked very hard to make our dining experience memorable. Along with headwaiter, Michael from Italy, they made the dining experience the highlight of this cruise. As with usual Princess practice, there was a different theme every night. The Italian dinner was the best of the meals and the lobster night was made into a surf and turf night. We did not find a need to pay to go to the specialty restaurants as the service and food quality were already very satisfying. The entertainment was also worthy of commendation since Princess put on two production shows with their four singers, nine dancers and the band. They also invited a guest soprano, Jennifer Fair, who added a lot of volume to the shows. She also gave a solo performance on the last night of the cruise. There was also the Entertainer of the Year competition with a vocalist, a magician and a comedian performing multiple shows throughout the cruise and passengers got to vote for the top entertainer. These three were the top attractions in the Princes fleet in 2015 and of course their performances were all very enjoyable. The other surprise was the jewellery shopping onboard. We normally do not buy jewellery onboard as we did not know the value. For this ship, Effy has taken over the jewellery shop and they sent their "ambassador" Zoran to introduce the jewellery pieces. He was a most dynamic fellow and gave at least two talks everyday in the Effy Shop about the various precious stones. He got a few Effy collectors to act as models and appealed to our greed by holding raffle draws at each talk. Other notable entertainment included Bert Stratton, the pianist/ vocalist, performing in the Crooners Bar. The nightly crowd got so big that Princess moved him to the larger Explorers Lounge on the last two nights. He really knew how to entertain the crowd and got everyone participating in the singing. The ship was always busy with the usual Princess band, violin duet, body balancing pair, bingo and art auction. Even though we travelled on a Princess ship in December 2013, we found that the activities were very enjoyable. Disembarkation was also surprisingly smooth. On the second night of the cruise, we were asked what time we wanted to disembark. As I booked a private shuttle to the Bush International Airport, I requested 8:30 a.m. On the last night I was assigned 8:20 a.m. disembarkation. The terminal building was large enough that disembarking passengers did not have to wait too long to get through Immigration and Customs. It took one hour on the freeway to get to IAH. Although it was not a cruise that we expected (only getting one of the original three ports of call), all in all we found it very enjoyable. The staff was Princess' biggest asset. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We’ve always had “side” facing suites or rooms. This time we had a penthouse suite #10166 on the rear of the Norwegian Jade and it was amazing. Because of it’s position, there is only the sound of the retreating water which sounds ... Read More
We’ve always had “side” facing suites or rooms. This time we had a penthouse suite #10166 on the rear of the Norwegian Jade and it was amazing. Because of it’s position, there is only the sound of the retreating water which sounds much like the lapping of waves on the shore. On the side, you get the sound added of the ship cutting through the water, not to mention wind from the forward motion of the ship and actual breezes. In the rear, you’re sheltered from all that. Also, coming back, you’re heading North so you get the sun facign your suite for several hours each day. We found we could sun ourselves on our deck which has never been the case with the side facing. Freestyle dining: I am sure there are people who like the idea of being able to show up any time for dinner, or even eat at different times each night, but we particularly like the experience of developing a relationship with our waiter during the week. What I’ve found with “freestyle” is a more “impersonal” feeling, in the main dining room. It’s almost like with NCL, the main dining room is an afterthought, in fact. We have found the food mediocre at best on both cruises vs. Carnival. Additionally, the main dining rooms are noisy and hectic, much more so than Carnival’s. I try to keep in mind “different strokes for different folks” but I can’t find a single redeeming value in NCL’s main dining rooms. We always thought Norwegian was a “step up” in quality and class, and for the most part they are, but their food does not support that. However, on this cruise, we had the luxury of a dining plan that allowed us to eat at any of the specialty restaurants with no additional cover. We will never “go back.” These restaurants were very nice, rarely more than half full, quiet, and you could order a second glass of wine without fear of having it served with your last mouthful of dessert, which has happened to us frequently on both cruise lines. I can honestly say I’ll never go on another cruise where I’m forced to dine in the main dining room or stand in a buffet line. The suite package we had allowed us to use one of the specialty restaurants for lunch vs. standing in the buffet line. This was nice for a couple of days but the menu at Cagney’s only has a few items, so it gets a bit stale after day 3. That being said, the buffet was always nice. It didn’t vary much from day to day like Carnival’s buffet but it was easier to get to (stations vs. one big line) and there was enough variety that we didn’t feel cheated by having the same basic layout each day. To top it off, with the suites, you can have anything you want delivered at no charge for room service. Anything you can find in the buffet line, including omelets, can be brought to your room any time. This eliminates the need to endure the rush at the buffet line unless you’re an early riser then it’s very relaxed. On a related note…NCL has the best “stock” coffee we’ve had at any hotel, cruise line or resort. Carnival and Disney are both absolutely undrinkable. I drink coffee at Disney and on Carnival cruises ONLY so I won’t get a caffeine withdrawal headache. Otherwise, I’d stick to water. It’s absolutely horrid, like watered down dunkin’ donuts with bleach added. NCL’s coffee machines were fabulous. And of coruse, being a suite holder, we had an espresso / coffee / tea maker right in our suite, but honestly that wasn’t that much better than their machine brewed coffee in the buffet. Great job on that, NCL. Entertainment was OK except that there wasn’t much good music in the way of a real band after hours. On Carnival there was always some little duo, trio or 5 piece band setup in some area or other that one could stop and listen or dance to. There was one really neat duo called Masquerade Duo with David and Cherry Phillips. Fantastic. They’d do 50’s, 60,’s, 70’s, country, rock, they had an amazing repertoire, great personalities and Cherry is actually Judy Garland’s great neice. (You’ll believe it when you hear her sing “Over the Rainbow!”) I would not ever cruise out of Houston again. It’s a bleak, profoundly uninteresting land and expensive to get to and from cruise port. I found the same thing in New Orleans a couple of years ago. What I’ve learned about cruising is to cruise ONLY out of places that seem to be tailored to tourism. Miami, Tampa, etc. Otherwise, it becomes a ton of work just getting to the danged ship. You’re tired before you start cruising! That being said, a deal is a deal…if a cruise is cheap enough, I’ll sail out of Tucson Arizona by way of Greyhound. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
I traveled with my two kids, age 2 and 4, my husband and my parents, who were in an adjoining cabin. We were on deck 10, exterior balcony room, port. We were repeatedly extremely disappointed with the poor service, or complete lack of ... Read More
I traveled with my two kids, age 2 and 4, my husband and my parents, who were in an adjoining cabin. We were on deck 10, exterior balcony room, port. We were repeatedly extremely disappointed with the poor service, or complete lack of service. We had dinner in the Grand Pacific dining room on 3 evenings. The food was bland and service non-existent. For example, at one point my two year old knocked over a glad of water while the waiter was standing at our table. He literally did not react. We jumped to contain the water and had to ask 5 TIMES for dry napkins. Drinks take forever. We were repeatedly looking around for someone to either take a drink order or refill our wine. The drink waiter is different than the food waiter. The food - meh. Pasta Arrabiata is bland red sauce over warm noodles. Nothing spicy about it. The "bread pudding" doesn't have any bread in it. It's a weird gelatinous white pudding. Once you've waited for ages to order and mass produced blah food is on the table, do not expect a waiter to return to check in on you. They're gone. If you're thirsty, order 2 at a time. The tender operation in Belize was embarrassing. They claim they had to turn away several locally contracted tender boats due to them being unlicensed. Do you not come here each week?? Should the licensing not be validated prior to the day you have 2000 people in port? It was a mess. The lines were disorganized and unregulated, so that tender ticket you got up at 6 am to go fetch means nothing. I had an old man literally push me - with a child between us - when I pointed him to the back of the exceedingly long line. Upon finally boarding a tender, Sr Officer Max literally said "it's not our fault" Direct quote. Those stripes on your shoulder mean it absolutely IS your fault. The bright spot is Honduras. We booked a $33 round trip to West Bay Beach, Bananarama, included beach chair and one drink, plus bathrooms and showers, and it was by far the best day. Absolutely gorgeous. I echo others in saying DO NOT book excursions through NCL, you can do the same things for far less money independently. We won't be sailing Norwegian again, ever. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
food is okay, but could use some work. I remember throwing out the fish cakes, crab cakes, some dry chicken, some really HARD uncooked pasta, watered down dressing, veggie patty (turkey patty and beef patties were good!). breakfast got ... Read More
food is okay, but could use some work. I remember throwing out the fish cakes, crab cakes, some dry chicken, some really HARD uncooked pasta, watered down dressing, veggie patty (turkey patty and beef patties were good!). breakfast got boring after 3rd day. its just bacon, eggs, sausage, waffles, french toast. FYI, excursions are alot cheaper thru local people. bamboo rafting was $80 thru RCL, we paid $40 a person. snorkeling was $74.xx , we paid $40. jetskiing and canoeing was $74.xx per hour, we paid $30 per hour. golf rental was $90 for 3 hours, we paid $40 for 2 hours. was expecting there to be more activities, but there was nothing since it was outdoors and it rained out. mini golf tournament was cancelled, volley ball tournament rained out on last day, ice skating was only open from 5-7pm on 2 days of the 9day cruise. ping pong table was played outside. keep in mind there is 15-16 mile winds. lots of balls got hit outside of the ship. rock climbing was cancelled and so was the boogie surf board area. water park was not open due to rain. got yelled at for shooting a basketball in my flip flops (i was the only person on the court shooting free throws). dining area was dirty, lots of plastic scoops and utensils in the hot cheesy sauces and heat lamps (im sure the plastic melts and causes cancer). they should have used metal tongs. anyways, the metal tongs were touched by many travellers and just thrown back into the food serving area. thousands of hands touched the handle and then the handle touched the food. plates, cups and utensils were dirty/water marks. blood stains on bed sheets and my wife didnt have her period. too much stuff too list or maybe i am too picky. this is my first experience with Royal carribbean. ive cruised 4 times in the past with norweigian and carnival(good bang for the buck) and never had alot of problems. i was expecting a better experience. if i could do it all over again, i would pass on royal. All of the shows except 2(ice skating, and acrobats ) were boring. lots of people left during solo performances on 2 individuals. i felt bad and stayed til everyone left or when it got dark so they couldnt see me leave. last day show was boring. 10pm adult shows were okay, i took naps from 1-4pm because there was nothing to do after lunch. from 5-6pm i ate dinner and played a bit at the casino. the employees there told me they worked there for 15+ years and they dont play. odds are very slim to win big....you get lucky, but impossible to get lucky forever. smart employees =) lots of old people on board, they were nice....but not my type of crowd. on norweigian cruise, alot of younger and hip people. carnival is in the younger genre....you will see high school kids and their parents, but very few seniors in the 65 and up. staterooms were smelly. the attendants did everything they could to keep it clean...but it has that oily nappy head smell in the pillows and sheets. carpet is old and soaked in alot of germs and dust. its smelly but once you sleep and pass out, it should be okay. the tv is a small 30 in flat screen that shifted alot during the ships movement, but like i said...it shouldnt be a problem once you fall asleep. bathrooms were just like every other bathroom on a cruise ship. the staff was very nice. this includes the cabin staff, windjammer, jade staff, rembrandt dinign room staff (shout out to gina and khalef!), sorrento staff (not the black drink dispenser guy), promonade cafe staff was nice as well. they gave me alot of food when i only asked for 1 piece. lol dining areas were same as every other cruise ship but the silverware and plates were not that clean. i had to get hot water from the hot water dispenser and give it a good wipe down on my plates and cups just to be safe. last day of cruise was bad, they gave up on the lunch, dinner. one half of the cruise was closed down and only a few options were available. i remember on that day all i ate were fries, broccoli and a beef burger patty. the soup was crap, asian corner was crap, etc. im glad i gave royal carribbean a try. should have listed to my roommate (cruise expert) when he said to stick with norweigian. if it werent for my wife and her family, and my parents i wouldnt have went. they had the same experience as well and have always been with norweigian. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The Carnival Magic had very poor entertainment. One person was the MC and he was boring. Jokes were bad and you couldn't understand what he was saying half the time! The food was fair and the portions were so small that you would ... Read More
The Carnival Magic had very poor entertainment. One person was the MC and he was boring. Jokes were bad and you couldn't understand what he was saying half the time! The food was fair and the portions were so small that you would have to order multiple dishes just to get a few spoons full! The Ahi Tuna appetizer was a joke! It was1 inch x 1/2 inch in the middle of a plate! They only offer you coffee or lemonade for meals at the buffet. I got acid reflux and it went into my lungs and caused a very bad infection and bronchitus. We didn't do any trips because I was sick all the time. All we did was go ashore and come back. All I saw were the ports! I had to go to the doctor and have breathing treatments every day. When I got home I was sick for 6 weeks. The insurance they sell is a joke. You have to get your other insurances at home to write a letter saying that you aren't covered for the drugs and medical care. Only problem medicare doesn't write notes and neither does Silverscript a medicare insurance. So how do you get the money back? The lines getting to the ship were not organized. Many of the staff would not put up the flag for the next in line until they felt like it. I have been on other cruises more organized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This is the 2nd time on NCL Jewel which was booked the very last minute. Since the last time has to say she went thru refurbishment and looks a LOT better. NCL took out the Chocolate Night and the lobster night but did have a sea food ... Read More
This is the 2nd time on NCL Jewel which was booked the very last minute. Since the last time has to say she went thru refurbishment and looks a LOT better. NCL took out the Chocolate Night and the lobster night but did have a sea food night on the last day. Cabin was clean and even when we did not wanted it cleaned, Sam cleaned it anyways. Food was ok. Menu hardly changed from November 2014. We had a meet and greet and it was nice to have the Sr officers come to it. We were at Cozumel ; Belize and Rotan - We have been to all these ports before and have to say did not take any shore excursions. This is the last time NCL was going to Belize city and they will be going to Harvest Cay ( NCL private Island) We flew into Houston on the day of the cruise and came back the same day. Houston port is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by industrial. We do cabin Bar Set up and have to say till you leave TX water and go into international waters, your mini fridge is sealed and alcohol will not be in your cabin. So be prepared. Entertainment was good. Circus was AWESOME! that was worth the trip. JP was funny. Sam Greaseman was ok. it was Jaime's ( cruise director's) last cruise. She is good, Friendly and approachable. Wish her good luck. We had priority disembarkation however it was a night mare. Line was so long. People were coming from all direction. once out supper shuttle was right outside so had no worries getting in. ( we had taken round trip blue shuttle for $98) This was an unplanned cruise since we could not wait to get out to the sea due to the crazy winter and glad we did. we have one planned on Epic and another one on Spirit. I am addicted to NCL. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I found a handful of people complaining about length of time to get a drink. We found the best waiter the 1st day & our group just meshed with him. He had the best personality & went the extra mile for us daily. We usually started ... Read More
I found a handful of people complaining about length of time to get a drink. We found the best waiter the 1st day & our group just meshed with him. He had the best personality & went the extra mile for us daily. We usually started out the day with a nice tip because he was well deserving of it. I hope you all are lucky enough to meet Oswell Raymond. He will make your trip extra special. You will leave feeling like family! Food was always good. The sushi was delicious & well worth the little extra. Music by the pool was always upbeat & fun. The comedian was pretty funny too. My only complaint would be the bathroom close to the pool. It was clean, but each day it stunk like yearn a bit more. By the end of day five I didn't even bother using that room - the indoor room was very close by so, it was never a bother! I am anxious to take my next Norwegian cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
BARS Loved the staff - Bartenders in the Spinnaker lounge were the absolute best. They took care of us, made us drinks based on our tastes ie: sweet, not too sweet, etc. (we seriously even went home and bought liquor based on their ... Read More
BARS Loved the staff - Bartenders in the Spinnaker lounge were the absolute best. They took care of us, made us drinks based on our tastes ie: sweet, not too sweet, etc. (we seriously even went home and bought liquor based on their recommendations). A. Kumar, in particular was awesome. Tip them well! They know what they're doing. RESTAURANTS/FOOD Le bistro was probably my favorite restaurant. I went to Cagney's the night before, and I think I actually liked the beef tenderloin I got at Le Bistro over the filet at Cagney's (though both were amazing). The buffet style food they had was alright, nothing to write home about, but it was fun to have a different style or theme each day. And I'm a sucker for breakfast foods - which I loved, even if all I ate was pretty much a parfait with a piece of french toast each morning. POOL They only have two pools, and they are *right* next to eachother, so the pool area is packed the entire time. and, yes, there is an adults only pool, but it's directly next to the other pool, so you are constantly surrounded by screaming children. I'm sorry, not a kid person, I'm just not at that stage in my life, and I'm on a vacation at a place that isn't Disneyland...   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Cruise Critic has been such a helper to prepare for our first trip - we read 300+ reviews and tips and came back from the cruise today happy and fulfilled! The roll call is the must - we felt connected even before the trip. Tim and Debbie ... Read More
Cruise Critic has been such a helper to prepare for our first trip - we read 300+ reviews and tips and came back from the cruise today happy and fulfilled! The roll call is the must - we felt connected even before the trip. Tim and Debbie were such nice hosts and arranged a very nice meet and greet on the first sea day. Cruise critic is influential - The senior officers showed up for us and gave us a nice intro and a card of all their contact information. I told Gary, the manager of guest service, about my experience with his staff and feedback. He took notes and the next day we got a plate of chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room as his appreciation. Tim and Debbie and quite a few members opened up their staterooms for the cabin crawling - it was so fun and I can see the jealousy eyes from other guests! We visited several inside cabins (many personalization ideas), ocean view, balcony, mini suite and a suite. WOW! I know what I want for the next cruise. Free style and unlimited beverage package are king! As first-time cruiser, My husband and I were not sure what to expect. Free style is a relief for him and UBP gave us the reason to explore and hang out. NCL Jewel does have a nice crew. Our waitress Reubenlene at the Tsar dinning room has been so helpful and taken good care of us every dinner. I am also impressed by the Hotel Director Steven - the best example of walking management I have ever seen. He is EVERYWHERE! At 8am he might walk by the pool and later on greet you at the breakfast buffet. When you come back from excursion he is the washy washy person at the security. You see him constantly at the hallway of every deck. Of course on the welcome and farewell shows you see him and his staff. He personally read every guest comment card and recognizes his team - Reubenlene showed me a photo of her being recognized by him last time! The trip was not perfect (bad traffic and weather when we were in Houston, noisy afternoon near our cabin when all the lifeboats were back from Banana Coast, no towel animals, only lobster sauce pasta on the last night, my skin and swim suit reaction to the hot tub chlorine...) but we did have a great time and felt the hospitality and the good service from every crew member.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my third cruise and my friends first. I chose Houston port because of flights available for me and she could drive. We found a great hotel near the port where she could leave the car while we sailed. I had previously sailed out of ... Read More
This was my third cruise and my friends first. I chose Houston port because of flights available for me and she could drive. We found a great hotel near the port where she could leave the car while we sailed. I had previously sailed out of New York and Miami. Although I had been to Cozumel before this was by far a much nicer stop than my last visit. I really think it was the difference in the ports that we stopped at this time. There is no word or phrase that I can find that describes the beauty of Coxen Hole, Hondorus. We had a private tour of the island and an excursion by boat through the mangroves. Absolutely wonderful. We were also quite happy with the port shopping. The Jewel has an on board shopping adviser. She was knowledgeable and helpful in making that experience better than my previous cruises. I liked the fact that Norwegian has vetted the local shops and extended a warranty to those on the approved list. It saved time and gave us comfort that we weren't being taken advantage of. Our cabin was close the elevator that was central to most of the dining facilities. We enjoyed being able to eat when and where we chose. It was like making a decision at home and going to a local restaurant. No first and second seating. From a buffet to BBQ at the pool or formal dining you chose when and where. The only way we will go again. The service was phenomenal. I celebrated my birthday during the week and they went all out to help me celebrate. From cake to balloons and streamers in our stateroom.This cruise was by far my BEST ever. We are now planning when and where we do our next Norwegian vacation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I’m from East Texas and drove to the port. On Saturday night before sailing on Sunday, we spent the night in Baytown, TX at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites on I-10 East. Great location, very convenient , close to Denny’s for breakfast, ... Read More
I’m from East Texas and drove to the port. On Saturday night before sailing on Sunday, we spent the night in Baytown, TX at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites on I-10 East. Great location, very convenient , close to Denny’s for breakfast, Target, Walmart. Easy 20-25 minute drive to cruise terminal, depending on road construction. Muddy & messy after a rain near cruise terminal area. Once you get onto port/terminal property they have things very organized and well-staffed. Parking was a breeze and embarkation very smooth. Long lines but moved fast. We arrived inside the terminal building at 10:45 and walked on the ship at 11:55. Went straight to our cabin and dumped our carry-ons then went for lunch & exploring. Our luggage arrived before 2:00. Dining: We had late dining (8:00). On Sunday night we walked out of the dining room at 9:55…very slow service that night and most nights. I wasn’t impressed with the breads, and I tried many varieties of rolls. I ordered beef filet medallions (on the menu every night) and didn’t think they had a very good flavor; also had a lot of gristle; very disappointed starting off the first night. However, Crème Brulee was awesome as was the cheesecake and heart-shaped chocolate love boat dessert, and these were offered every night also. They had two shows in the Princess Theater the first night, at 8:00 & 9:30, but were in the dining room during both shows. Lobster was on the menu the second formal night and it was awesome, prepared perfectly. I found the staff/crew on this ship to be the least friendly & cheerful of any ship I’ve sailed on and the food not the quality as on some other cruise lines. I found even higher quality meats tough and prepared with not a lot of taste. Ricardo, the Head Waiter in my dining room (Botticelli) was very arrogant and it appeared to be beneath him to spend more than 15 seconds saying hello from a distance. We were a table of 6, mostly women, and he never actually came to our table and carried on a conversation with us. He just rubbed me wrong from the beginning! The butter pats on the table for bread were chilled so hard they wouldn’t spread, and one night ours were even frozen. Grilled salmon was on the menu every night and it was awesome; prepared just perfect every time. Pizzaria & ice cream bar located mid-ship deck 15. They had hand-dipped ice cream as well as soft-serve. They served it to you, not self-serve. I didn’t think either were very good, and I tried several flavors on several days; just not the flavor/quality like I’m used to. International Café (deck 5 mid) in the Piazza is a great place to pick up a complimentary light (mostly continental) breakfast, a light deli lunch, a dessert, a snack. Really good food there. Gelato available for a nominal charge. Also in the International Café is a coffee bar with specialty coffees that you have to pay for. The Best thing going is to purchase a coffee card for $29 + gratuity, for 15 cups of any specialty coffee and unlimited regular coffee. You can choose to have your coffee in a glass cup or in a take-out cup, and you can have a 12 oz. or 16 oz. cup. And the great thing about this is that if you have any punches left on your coffee card at the end of the cruise, they carry over to your next Princess Cruise; just the specialty coffees, not unlimited regular coffee. There aren’t many real bargains on a cruise ship, but to me this is one. Vines wine bar is in this same area in the Piazza, as well as the 24-hour Internet Café & Future Cruise Sales desk. The cabin: In the shower they provide shampoo/conditioner combo in a pump container as well as shower gel (no soap). If you want an antibacterial or deodorant soap you have to bring your own. Wall mounted hair dryer by the dressing table/desk is plenty hot and plenty powerful. Small refrigerator in cabin but doesn’t get very cold at all. Had to ask cabin attendant to remove their drinks so we cold use it for our own stuff. TV in the corner on a shelf but not interactive, so you can’t check your account, menus, make reservations, etc. I’m used to this and was very disappointed. Can be a real hassle because you have to actually go somewhere to check on anything. Kiosks are around the Passenger Service desk where you can swipe your card and check account balance/activity. Love the closet set-up in cabins on Princess ships. Smart design, easily accessible and no door to get in the way. Traditional electrical outlet (two plugs) at desk/dressing table, but if you need another, the one where the TV is plugged in has one plug available and is very convenient. Our cabin was on deck 10 and had an extra large balcony, even though it was the same BE category as cabins on other decks with much smaller balconies. Ours overlooked the balcony below us…something to seriously think about if considering deck 9; NO privacy there at all. We felt so guilty for “intruding” on our neighbors below, but made the most of our nice balcony and used it often. Cabin doors are recessed in the hall, which makes it nice when entering your door with other people walking in the hall; however, the halls are incredibly narrow and you can barely get thru when a cabin attendant’s cart is in the hall or you pass someone walking the opposite direction. In my opinion that is a definite design flaw. It is very nice that Princess’s cabin attendants still put a piece of chocolate on your bed when they turn it down at night. Many cruise lines no longer do this and I appreciated this special little touch. Around the ship: They have a sorry excuse for a shuffleboard court; half-court only and right in the middle of a walkway; very badly placed. Mini golf (deck 19 aft) is just a little putting green with a few holes, not actual miniature golf at all; very disappointing. Beautiful show theater; offered 3 shows Mon., Tues. & Fri. nights, 7:00, 8:30 & 10:15 and 2 shows the other nights, 7:00 & 8:30. Club Fusion (deck 7 aft) is a real neat & comfortable place with some fun activities there, including sometimes Trivia. Trivia is offered twice daily and sometimes has themes. Gatsby’s casino (deck 6 mid) is very spacious and comfortable. They offered 2 non-smoking nights and it was extremely pleasant in there those 2 nights; other times the smoke was almost unbearable. They had lots of penny slots and a nice variety of games. The Piazza is the central hub and was the venue for various entertainment throughout the week. They had a pop choir who performed the last day and they were really good; on Valentine’s Day the captain did a vow renewal ceremony for couples who wished to participate; the last night they had fun & lively Mardi Gras celebration with singing & dancing, as well as some other things. It’s a really nice area and can be seen from above on decks 6 and 7. The Sanctuary is a large space fixed up nice and offers great pampering, but is very under-used. We never saw many people there and it seems such a waste of good space for so few people. The cost is $20 for half-day and $40 for full day per person. I’m sure the cost is what keeps many from using The Sanctuary. Entertainment: Comedian duo Alfred & Seymore were very good. Theirs was a unique comedy show, not like anything I’ve ever seen. They were funny, clean and quite entertaining. I was very disappointed in the production shows by the singers & dancers. They didn’t seem as polished as most production entertainers usually are. Tom Franek was another entertainer who was awesome. He plays the piano (not like anyone you’ve ever seen before) and sings and has a really great show. Another entertainer was Andrew Phipps; he was a good entertainer but not a good singer. Not one of my favorites for the week. Ports: Docked at the Puerta Maya pier in Cozumel. Lots of ships in port that day and we shared a pier with another ship. In Roatan we docked along-side also and in Belize we tendered; very nice shopping in all port areas. In Roatan we took an excursion to Gumbalimba Park. It’s at the extreme west end of the island and is a great excursion for wildlife up close & personal. NOTE: can’t take bags, backpacks or large purses into park; can take small across-the-chest purses. Best not to wear jewelry either as the monkeys love to grab it. Can rent a locker for $3 to store things not allowed in the park. Can have your picture taken with a macaw on your arm or monkey on hour shoulder…very neat and lots of fun. Will also see iguanas & other lizards, hummingbirds, “rabbit rats”, butterflies & parrots. 40 minute (+/-) bus ride to park; bathrooms there & small snack bar. Entire excursion takes less that 4 hours. Disembarkation was the most amazing yet. I’ve never seen a smoother, more organized or streamlined plan. From the time we walked out of our cabin pulling our bags for self-assist disembarkation till the time we got in our car in the parking lot, it was probably 15 minutes, and that includes a stop at customs on the way out...a truly exceptional process. Other cruise lines should take some notes on Princesses procedures here!! All in all, sailing on the Emerald Princess was not my favorite cruising experience, but it was still a very enjoyable cruise with a very dear friend and we had a really nice time. Will I sail on this ship again…only if I find a truly exceptional deal that just can’t be passed up.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My wife and I booked our cruise two weeks prior to sailing We're in our 60's and have cruised since 2006. This was our first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). We usually cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines but were looking ... Read More
My wife and I booked our cruise two weeks prior to sailing We're in our 60's and have cruised since 2006. This was our first cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). We usually cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines but were looking forward to experience NCL style cruising. We had an ocean view cabin on deck 5 and also had the Ultimate Beverage as part of our cruise package. The itinerary was Cozumel, Belize, and Trujillo Honduras. We drove to the cruise terminal on the day of the cruise from Granbury, Texas. The cruise terminal located near La Porte, Texas is called the Bayport Cruise Terminal. It is located in a remote area that is without any other businesses other then the cruise terminal and a parking lot. Don't count on being able to buy any last minute items you may need before boarding from a nearby gas station or convenience store because there are none near the cruise terminal. We arrived at the terminal around 11:00 AM and parked without problems. We had reserved our parking space online for $75.00. We did not drop off any luggage with the terminal porters. We carried our luggage thru security without difficulty and after only a few minutes of waiting we had our key card to our room and a boarding group number. We sat for no more then 30 minutes then our boarding number was called. We walked into the ship carrying our luggage and went to our cabin to drop them off. Our cabin was not ready, but our cabin steward allowed us to drop off our luggage in our room. There was a announcement for the passengers saying the cabins were not going to be ready until 1:30 PM. We went to the Tsar's Palace dining room for lunch which was one of two main dining rooms. The other main dining room is called the Azura. The Tsar's Palace dining room was very nice and nearly empty. We read online that most people went to the buffet on deck 12 for their lunch and didn't know lunch was also served in the Tsar's Palace. Lunch is served Restaurant style from a menu with a starter, entree, and dessert. There was one difference between the two dinning rooms. Tsar's Palace has a stricter dress code then the Azura dinning room in the evenings. You can't wear shorts at the Tsar's Palace in the evenings except on the first night when most people are still waiting for their luggage. Both dinning rooms allowed shorts during breakfast and lunch, but only the Azura allowed shorts in the evenings. The following dinning facilities are complimentary: Azura Garden Cafe (Buffett) Great Outdoors O'Sheehan's Bar and Grill Tsar's Palace ============================== Extra Cost dinning facilities Cagney's Steakhouse $30.00 per person Chin Chin Asian Fusion $15 per person Let Bistro French $20.00 per person La Cucina Italian $15 per person Modemo Brazilian $20 per person Mongolian Hot Pot $15 per person Sushi Bar A La Carte. Teppanyaki $25 per person There are also 13 different bars located on the ship. We liked the Spinnaker bar because of the great views. Located on deck 13 near the bow of the ship, it offers full bar service as well as generous comfortable seating with panoramic views from the front of the ship. We ate multiple times in the Tsar's Palace and Azura main dining rooms. We preferred the Azura dinning room because we could wear shorts in the evenings. The menu was the same for both restaurants. Service took about one hour in either restaurant . Both included bar service. The Garden Cafe Buffett was very nice. We liked the way it was set up with multiple, separate stations for the various food items. One station for desserts, one for salads, one for sandwiches, one for wok cooking, and one for other hot foods. There was also a children's area with everything set up for kids. Tables, chairs, and Buffett items there were all at a child's height. It was popular with families with small children. Soft serve ice creams with a variety of toppings were available. During lunch it seemed there was a crew member who served the ice cream. Between meal times the ice cream was self serve. The ship had a live band playing in the pool area several times during the cruise. I'm not sure if the band was playing every day or not, but we saw it several times when we were in the pool area. During the evening shows there was also a 7 piece band providing the music for the main production magic show The TV in the cabin was a flat screen model complete with remote with sleep timer. The channel selection was limited compared to what have experienced on other cruise lines. This by itself is not a big issue for us. What we viewed as a problem was the only channel that showed national network shows. It would start showing a show like The Big Bang Theory and without warning after about 15 minutes into the show, it would switch to something like The Mentalist. After you got over the previous show being terminated before the end of the show and started watching The Mentalist, it would suddenly terminate before the normal ending and jump to another show. I don't think we ever managed to see a show end normally for the whole week. We don't sit in our cabin all day watching TV, but like we watch some TV before going to sleep and enjoy seeing what shows are available when they don't terminate suddenly and jump to another unrelated show. Not a deal breaker for us, maybe there was a problem with the TV, it wasn't anything worth complaining to Guest Services. Just something we noticed and didn't care for. I'm not going to write much about the cruise ports, we've been to Cozumel and Belize many times but had not been to the NCL port of Trujillo where we were tendered. The tender process for NCL was very organized compared to Carnival tender operations we have been on. Trujillo appears to be a new port for NCL and there was very little to be seen right at the port. Getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was easy and quick. Diamond and Platinum passengers are allowed off the ship first. Then passengers who are carrying ALL of their luggage are allowed to leave the ship and proceed thru Customs. We were off the ship by 7:15 AM and on the road home by 7:30 AM. We noticed there were more Customs agents manning all of the Customs stations in the terminal. At the Carnival terminal we noticed there are not enough Customs agents to man all the Customs stations on numerous occasions which can really slow down getting thru Customs. Our overall impression of the Jewel was favorable with the exception of the FreeStyle dinning which we did not care for, although many cruisers seem to like it. A major part of cruising for us is meeting new friends during meal times and especially during the evening meal. We like to compare our day with our table mates, find out what excursions they took and finding out if they enjoyed them. We prefer assigned seating at a specific time and sharing a table with other cruisers. Not everyone may like that style of dining, but it's what we like. That alone will keep us from cruising with Norwegian again. To sum things up, we liked most everything on the Jewel. The food was decent and would of been even better if delivered to our table while it was hot. The shows were great, the live music near the pool and during in the main theater for the magic show was great. The only really negative thing for us was the FreeStyle dinning, and we knew it was going to be different then Carnivals dinning with assigned seating and assigned times. We thought we would give it a try and see if we liked it. Turns out FreeStyle dinning is not for us, but that's just our opinion and opinions are like belly buttons... everyone has one. Keep on cruising Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We booked this as a Christmas present to out adult kids/spouses. We stayed at the Best western in Seabrook that has a 50.00 Car parking /shuttle to the boat.(not sure I'd recommend. I think someone there got my CC number...Though ... Read More
We booked this as a Christmas present to out adult kids/spouses. We stayed at the Best western in Seabrook that has a 50.00 Car parking /shuttle to the boat.(not sure I'd recommend. I think someone there got my CC number...Though can't prove it yet.)Rooms were ok-Breakfast was nice. For the Jewel- We Had 3 rooms One balcony and 2 ocean views(on turned sideways 8090) honest- rooms felt a bit small. But were ok. When they join beds together..still a crack down the center.MEH. Service over all was excellent. People were nice- helpful.. Only real issue was I pre-ordered a Birthday Cake for my daughter in law- They got a note saying it was not available- they would refund and send strawberries- NEVER CAME... and got a bottle of wine(we don't drink so its a waste) so she took it too the Service desk which only offered to trade for 4 cans of soda.. wow really?? But as I said all the other experiences were great! TZAR's palace was our families Fav! we ended up eating there 5 of 7 nights! Food was Excellent! Ranging from Ribs, to Salmon to Roast Duck , Chicken, Prime Rib.. the Garden was great for Breakfast and late nite snacks. Azul(very slow service) OShehans good food- a bit slow on service. Cir de Bejuol is not to be missed! It was out standing!!! and the Duo night was equally great. Deal or no deal was a fun activity and Bingo callers need new jokes! Star-fish Snorkel was Raining like crazy- but still a good trip..Even our 4 yr old grandson went and had a great time!(Banana Coast) Snorkel the Barrier reef in Belize was ok- not what I expected..but reef was cool. Swim with the dolphins Excursion was great! My daughter and daughter in law both went and had a time of their life! great pics too!(cozumel- chukkanuab) Kids club for grandson was good- Not Disney- but good. Embarkation and Disembarkation both went smooth in Houston- Much better than Princess!! WE WILL TAKE the Jewel Again! Had a great time! Great FOOD... very relaxing ;)   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our total experience on Princess was just great. This was our third time with Princess. We have sailed previously on Disney, Celebrity, Holland America and Norwegian. Staff was very friendly and very efficient. The Emerald Princess is ... Read More
Our total experience on Princess was just great. This was our third time with Princess. We have sailed previously on Disney, Celebrity, Holland America and Norwegian. Staff was very friendly and very efficient. The Emerald Princess is decorated in a more subtle fashion than most ships. Did not have the "Las Vegas" over the top look. Dining: The food in the dining room was about as good as we have seen on any previous sailing. On 7 day trips, we normally eat in the alternative dining venues around four nights. We opted for Sabatini's this year on the second night. Very good food and service. We are at the age that we are just not eating much at night, so we had a difficult time justifying the additional $50 per night cost. That said, anyone eating a full evening meal should take advantage of this option. Sanctuary: We tried the Sanctuary on the second day at sea; The day was a little chilly. Although it was certainly nice and the service was solicitous, we could not see much more value than just sitting on our balcony. Ports: The ports were not a big draw for us. We use this sailing as an opportunity to get out of the cold for a week in January. Please see port reviews below. Entertainment: Entertainment is not high on our criteria for sailing. The entertainment segment usually fills the 45 to 60 minute period after dinner prior to going back to the room to read. Although our expectations for entertainment on any ship are low, unfortunately this experience was poor. The productions seemed to over reach the talent of the performers. In our view, the finished product was sub standard. Overall: The dining, staff, public rooms and our room were all Very Good. One of our best sailings. We would highly recommend this cruise line, staff, and ship. Hope this helps.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Overall, we had a good time on Princess--this was my first Princess cruise, but I have cruised other lines before. The ship seemed "cut up" and not laid out very well to us. We found both the food and entertainment to be ... Read More
Overall, we had a good time on Princess--this was my first Princess cruise, but I have cruised other lines before. The ship seemed "cut up" and not laid out very well to us. We found both the food and entertainment to be disappointing compared to Royal Caribbean. The food choices were limited and not very tasty, with a few exceptions like the lobster and roast. Dessert were not all that great. The Singers and Dancers were fine, but they need updated costumes (you could see entire sections where sequins were missing, etc..) and the individual special performers were not as exciting as we'd like. In fact, we left after two songs on one performer. Emerald Princess has been refurbished, but probably has still seen her better days, as you just can't fix the layout of this ship--so chopped up. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Since this was our first cruise with NCL (we've done 3 others on another line), I read the reviews here before we left. When I saw several that said the crew wasn't as friendly or helpful as on other ships, I thought "surely ... Read More
Since this was our first cruise with NCL (we've done 3 others on another line), I read the reviews here before we left. When I saw several that said the crew wasn't as friendly or helpful as on other ships, I thought "surely not", but I'm sorry to report that that was our experience also. Not every crew member, of course. Our cabin stewards were great and we did occasionally meet someone who was cheerful and eager to help, but mostly the crew seemed depressed. No one was rude to us, but no one seemed to have much energy. The service (and food) in the main two dining rooms was terrible, so much so that we finally started eating at the buffet on deck, even though we would have preferred the dining rooms. The food was another area of disappointment. On our other cruises, the food was GREAT. Dangerously so. On the Jewel, the food on the buffet was good (but not great) and the food in the dining rooms was poor (at best). The menu in the dining rooms would sound great but the actual food just didn't seem very professionally prepared. But all in all, we enjoyed the cruise. It was nice to get to a warm climate in the middle of January. The ship is nice and NCL didn't seem to be selling constantly like, say, Carnival does. And although the ship was full, it didn't seem as crowded as our Carnival cruises, but that might have been because this seemed to be mostly an older crowd. Oh, and getting on and off the ship was about as easy as it gets. (By the way, this was out of Houston, sailing to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize in January). So... our first experience with NCL. If there were a place I wanted to go and NCL was the only (or much much cheaper) carrier, I'd go with them. Our trip wasn't terrible. We had a good time, all in all. But all else being equal, if I had a choice among carriers, I think we'd go with someone else. We didn't hate our cruise on the Jewel; we were just a little disappointed. Some of the other reviewers, who were on the same cruise we were on, seemed to like it just fine - loved it in fact. So there you go..... Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
The Norwegian Jewel, overall appears to be a great ship. This was my first cruise and I was impressed. The diverse crew assisted you throughout the ship and are always there to help. The ship had many shows and activities for adults and ... Read More
The Norwegian Jewel, overall appears to be a great ship. This was my first cruise and I was impressed. The diverse crew assisted you throughout the ship and are always there to help. The ship had many shows and activities for adults and families such as Nickelodeon Slime Time and White Hot party. The first day: When you first arrive at the ship, you want to head to guest services and ask for the ship layout and schedule. This will help you find your way around the ship and plan your day. Without these two key pieces of paper you will be lost. If you have kids, ask about their Splash academy and Entourage program. Splash academy and Entourage: These two programs are for kids ages 3-17 and have their own program. The Splash academy (ages 3-12) acts as a "childcare" but allows your child to have fun and learn new skills. At the end of the cruise they put together a circus featuring all the children in Splash academy. Entourage(ages 13-17) is a place for teens to hang out, play foosball, air hokey, Wii, and more. They have different activities for the teens such as foosball tournaments and charades. Pools: The Jewel has 3 different pools, one for toddlers, kids, and adults. All three are located on deck 12. The toddler pool is a small 2ft deep pool with a small slide and Jacuzzi just for them. The kids and adult pool are shaped the same way but the kids pool has a horrible slide.Half way down, you stop and you have to push yourself down. Overall the pools are good for small children and relaxing but no major excitement. Entertainment: Each night the ship hosted entertainment for all ages in the Stardust theater. They had gymnasts, jugglers, and a comedian preform throughout the seven nights. Most of the shows were preformed twice during the night. If you weren't interested in shows they had music and dances on different decks. In your stateroom TV, they also showed previous shows on board and a wide range of movies such as the Giver, and Divergent. Food: The Jewel had a wide range of restaurants from buffets to fancy sit down places. The major restaurant, I think, is Garden Cafe. It is a buffet with ice cream throughout the entire day and each night has slightly different cuisines. For example, one night they had a Mexican cuisine and another night the featured seafood. Unfortunately though, breakfast is always the same at Garden Cafe and at the other complimentary restaurants. In conclusion, the Norwegian Jewel is an awesome ship with fantastic shows, activities and food. It hosts activities for all ages and keeps you busy throughout the day with an option to relax. The crew makes you feel special and helps in any way they can. Overall the Jewel is a fantastic ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 10th cruise but only second on the Princess. Before we left I read many reviews that had me a bit worried. I decided to forget about the bad reviews and try it out for myself. I am so glad I did. I think this cruise was my ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise but only second on the Princess. Before we left I read many reviews that had me a bit worried. I decided to forget about the bad reviews and try it out for myself. I am so glad I did. I think this cruise was my most favorite one next to the cruise I took with mom and day in 1964 from England. The ship was clean and the staff was friendly. I noticed there were not any towel animals in the room and I was ok with that. The sea was smooth so I did not get nauseated one day which is very unusual. Our room was clean everyday. There were a few things I was not happy with. I slept in a top bunk and the bed was uncomfortable. The railings were rattling and it was hard to get off and on because of how it was positioned. I usually love sleeping in the top bunk and had a wonderful comfortable bed on a Royal Caribbean ship and hoped this one would be as good but it was not good at all. The bathroom was very, very small I was grateful that each member of my family was not over weight or else we would have hung out of the shower stall. My daughter is very slim and it was tight for her. All in all it was a great trip, I did not sleep as well because of the bunk and I was afraid I maybe a bit cranky but the staff was so genuinely nice that it all worked out well. The food was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Service was excellent everywhere. The crew goes out of their way to be friendly ad accommodating. The ship itself is amazing and beautifully maintained. If you are a drinker, make sure and buy "UP" - the Ultimate Package. All ... Read More
Service was excellent everywhere. The crew goes out of their way to be friendly ad accommodating. The ship itself is amazing and beautifully maintained. If you are a drinker, make sure and buy "UP" - the Ultimate Package. All premium alcohol is included, as is Starbucks coffee. At $9-11 USD per drink, you don't have to be a lush to get value from this package. Now the weaknesses: 1. Internet. Horribly slow and grotesquely expensive. If you need Internet, buy the unlimited package. I bought two one hour packages and wasted my money. It can take 15 minutes to log on ad just download some email. 2. Restrooms. They didn't build enough in the public areas. Usually lines in both men's and woemn's. 3. Food in the dining rooms. It is just "OK," nothing special, and feels mass-produced as it is. I actualy found the food in the coffee shop (next to Starbucks) to be the most consistent. The sushi bar is also excellent (but it is a la carte.) 4. Itinerary. I have been on many cruises and generally stay on the ship now. That is especially true in Roatan, Belize and Cozumel -- all not worth the time unless you are going on a tour to do something you like. Otherwise, nothing worth seeing in these places. Overall, I would rate the experience "good," but always leave cruises wondering why I didn't just find a 4 or 5-star all-inclusive and spend less time traveling and more time relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
First of all let me start by saying that the ship is beautiful. I traveled with my sister, We had a balcony cabin. We were pleasantly surprised by the large balcony, and the room itself was very nice. We liked the way the large closet ... Read More
First of all let me start by saying that the ship is beautiful. I traveled with my sister, We had a balcony cabin. We were pleasantly surprised by the large balcony, and the room itself was very nice. We liked the way the large closet separated the bathroom and bedroom area. So A+ for the room. The food was really very good. We did the anytime dining and that worked very well for us. We had a wonderful waiter who we requested every time that we used the dining room. He made our dinner and breakfast a special treat. So ask for Arnold Trinidad, He is the best. Shore excursions were very good and reasonably priced, but the lunches included in the excursions were pretty bad.Not much selection and not much food. That brings me to the entertainment. Cruise director Kelvin and his sidekick Dan are hilarious and worked very hard to keep everyone happy. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre. The dancers were great but the specialty shows were not so good. One of the shows was playing card tricks, it made me feel sorry for the people further back in the theater because I am sure that they could not see what he did. Overall we ahd a very good experience, just dont expect fantastic shows.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
From the start I noticed issues. I'll keep it brief: clearly an understaffed ship. Service in bars and restaurants, including the pay restaurants, was brisk, harried, with some service personnel snapping at each other due to being ... Read More
From the start I noticed issues. I'll keep it brief: clearly an understaffed ship. Service in bars and restaurants, including the pay restaurants, was brisk, harried, with some service personnel snapping at each other due to being overwhelmed. I watched one bartender literally sweating, alone, behind a bar trying to keep up with the orders and it wasn't happening. He got on the phone and begged for help but none arrived. Felt bad for him to be honest; these people already work hard as it is. Cagney's was excellent; again service was a problem. Chin Chin was quite simply, awful. No other way to put it. Service again was bad, but worse than any other place, and food went into the trash. I saw this happening at most other tables. We waited an hour for food that was not good at all, an no compensation of any kind, not even a visit to our table by the maitre'd. The French restaurant was excellent, but again service was rushed. So sad, because I'm happy to pay for the meal, but slow down and let me enjoy. Cabin service was excellent, pool side was fun and lots of food options to choose from. Saw some great shows as well. But overall it was just meh. The overall service was enough for me to steer clear of this line forever. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Left out of Galveston for a 7-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Ship had been recently refurbished and was beautiful! We had a balcony suite on deck 8. Big cabin with plenty of storage space and a nice couch. Plenty of room even with ... Read More
Left out of Galveston for a 7-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Ship had been recently refurbished and was beautiful! We had a balcony suite on deck 8. Big cabin with plenty of storage space and a nice couch. Plenty of room even with beds separated into twins. Food was very good (desserts were a little disappointing, but that was a minor "problem"). Crew was amazingly attentive and friendly and many went above and beyond to give cordial service. We had traditional early seating in the dining room; never had a long wait for someone to take our drink orders, and by the third night they all knew our preferences and were right on it. Plenty of lounges around the pool area (never had to search for space), and deck attendance was also good for drink service, etc. Shows were great; loved the main shopping area (beautiful atrium setting that had a main-street feel). Full breakfast was available through room service at no extra charge, so we enjoyed breakfast on the balcony several mornings. Ports of call were fun; Falmouth, Jamaica port shopping was nice. Grand Cayman we did a private yacht snorkeling that was awesome, and Cozumel is always fun. Only very slight criticisms we had were announcements were sometimes difficult to hear, especially if you were by the pool, and there were sometimes very long waits for the elevators (especially at dinner time). All in all a great cruise, and we would for sure book with RC again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014

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