8 Houston First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise, I took my mom ( who is 79 and needs a wheelchair or scooter to get around) - and I was disappointed and also some things were great. However, more disappointed than great. Customer service needs a lot of ... Read More
This was our first cruise, I took my mom ( who is 79 and needs a wheelchair or scooter to get around) - and I was disappointed and also some things were great. However, more disappointed than great. Customer service needs a lot of help....even a little bit goes a long way. RUDE and not helpful AT ALL. ******* Beware I am going to write a novel ************** Check in was amazing - however, once one the ship - we were not EVEN greeted coming on board and we didn't stand in line....we didn't know where to go. Not even a HI. We made our reservations for the upgrade in dining and the lady/girl was EXTREMELY rude!! I asked some questions, because I didn't know what I was doing and she acted like it was putting her out to do her job. Found our stateroom, and Paul who was in charge of our room - knew our names and greeted us...he was AWESOME....Kudo's to PAUL all week long, he went above and beyond for us and he made this cruise better than it would have been with out him. We were suppose to keep our scooter in the room but if we brought it in you could use the bathroom at all without backing the scooter out into the hall way, and it barely fit as it was....very inconvenient. We found out on day 4 they have a charging station on deck 11 and they would come get it. So, when we called the first night - AGAIN the customer service DESK was freaking rude. they did come get it. We heard all these wonderful things about cruising, and expected to be pampered and have all this excellent service, yeah....ok. The SPA went above and beyond....I would do it everyday!! The service was above meeting your needs, customer service made you feel special and like you were the only one on the ship. Can't say enough about the spa, customer service desk on the main deck needs to go take some lessons from them on how to treat clients. We had the dining upgrade for our package here is the breakdown: * Pacific Main dinging was the best experience of the cruise - and it was free - not part of the upgrade package. I had the best risotto of my life, and the Cornish Game hen was baked to perfection!! Our waiter was spot on, and awesome - seriously the single best meal I've had in a VERY LONG TIME...and I entertain a lot of clients from other countries due to my job. My mom's meal was no exception - perfection! Congrats this was a grand slam and what we were looking forward too on this cruise. We had breakfast here too, and it was just as good.....hands down the best place on the ship. * Jasmine Garden - the worst meal we had on the ship. Seriously, I was very disappointed. The bright spot...the dumplings both steamed and fried were the highlight of the meal. My noodle soup came out basically cold. Mom's sweet and sour pork was luke warm at best. the fried rice was so oily we didn't eat it. The shrimp were so over cooked, we didn't finish the meal. We left and went to the Garden Café to eat. Worst meal we had on the ship by far. The table was dirty, asked for a cleaner glass for my mom. Icky from start to end. * Upgraded Specialty first one was the Brazilian Steak/BBQ - my mom loved it - never had anything like it before, she LOVED it. Tried all the different types of meat, she enjoyed herself. I've eaten at Brazilian before this one as slightly above average, I thought the buffet could have been better, it was pretty generic. The meal was good, and I enjoyed it. * Upgraded Specialty 2 - Italian - excellent food and service! The wine suggestion was spot on and it was a great experience by both of us. Service food, and cleanliness were great. The tiramisu was to DIE for....loved it. * Upgraded Specialty 3 - Cagney's steakhouse - beside the horribly rude customer service - they must have been working at Cagney's the night we ate there....hostess never ONCE acknowledged us, and had reservations and waited 30 minutes - because people kept walking up and she would help them and ignored us- I finally stopped a man in a suit who seated us. I was ticked off - BAD. Our dinner took over 2 hrs, our waiter was horrible - I honestly think he forgot about us. The we got our steaks, ICE cold....we sent them back. 30 min. later came out again, and the potatoes were cold. The butter was still hard, and the potato was COLD. The 3rd time - they actually brought me a steak cooked correctly, hot and it was the wrong steak. I ate it. All over the ship this was the "THE place" to eat...I wouldn't go back there at all - had better steaks at my local diners. Not to mention the absolute rudeness of everyone at Cagney's. * Upgrade Specialty 4 - French - this is almost a tie between the Pacifica and Le Bistro - the was absolutely the best food and atmosphere and it was second by a nose only to Pacifica. it would have won the meal battle, but my scallops came out luke warm at best, and our service was VERY slow, and if tried to ask him something he would just say he'd be back and keep going.....it took forever to get waited on....however, the food was to die for, perfection the escargot, scallops, cornets...all of it was spot on....LOVED it. The casino is below average - however the poker tables were Tons of fun, we had a set of regulars that played and we had fun...the house rake was ridiculous, the dealers Marcus, Vaso, and Viktor make it a ton of fun. I didn't meet anyone who won any money in the casino at all. $25 Pia Gow? Really? Team Trivia was a blast and so was the family insanity. Bingo was fun, but it was way to expensive for the 1-3 games you play - it's a racket for sure and the payout....what they keep 50% or more? Mom loved it so, OK. it was fun, but expensive. We had a family in the room next to ours with 2 kids, who cried and screamed and threw tantrums all freaking day and night! the dad was screaming at them and they would cry louder, and 1 time locked him out side on the balcony. The one time made him go in the hall way which he ran up and down at 2 am screaming and crying. Couldn't get any sleep. Cozemul was awesome, and mom had a wonderful time - she had never been out of the country....it was wonderful. NOW - this is probably the part which bothers me the most about the trip - I called NCL direct and must have said a thousand times, Mom was special needs we had to have a scooter to go anywhere. Over and over I made this statement, and we bought an ADA accessible room - everything! Over and over told them we were first time cruisers we didn't know all the questions to ask..... or what to expect. Belize and Honduras - mom never got to go ashore, because they have tender boats. NO pier docking!! So if you have a scooter or WC - most people didn't get to go visit because they were allowed on the tender boats due to weight limits and other liabilities....so for 2/3 rd of our cruise mom couldn't get off the ship and ENJOY and EXPERIENCE the parts we PAID for....NO where did it state we would use Tenders!! we didn't know to ask! Don't you think when booking and stating over and over about needing special needs and scooters someone should have said she wouldn't be able to get off in the ports? To me this is extremely poor customer service. It should have been brought to our attention, so we could check our options. I am 50/50 if I will cruise again...but if I do, it won't be on Norwegian - EVER. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Are all cruise ships this boring? This was our first cruise and we really did not know what to expect. Before we left, our friends went on and on about all of the on board activities and the food. Our travel agent assured us we would ... Read More
Are all cruise ships this boring? This was our first cruise and we really did not know what to expect. Before we left, our friends went on and on about all of the on board activities and the food. Our travel agent assured us we would not be bored—wrong! The food in the dining room was very good, and the service was excellent. We had Anytime dinning and we only had a long wait (40 minutes) on one night. Please note that we always asked to share a table. I do wish that priority was given to those who actually signed up for Anytime dinning. Many of the traditional dinners like to crash our room to the point that there were two nights that we were taken to the traditional seating dining room because it was virtually empty. Now for the activities....Were there any besides the floating infomercial about art, health, beauty, jewelry or photography, and/or activities designed for you to spend additional money like bingo or the casino? Okay, there were trivia games--good luck getting a seat near the game. There were movies under the sun/stars, and there was a nightly "show" which you needed to arrive 45 minutes before to get a decent seat. If you arrived much later you might be lucky enough to nab a single seat between two strangers. I was thankful for the shows since they provided some much needed entertainment; although, they were nothing special or memorable. Shore days seemed to be loaded with great on board activities, which made no sense since the majority of the passengers got off the ship. Out of desperation I went to a line dance class that lasted less than 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it was not very fun. We even tried to listen to a music group in one of the lounges while having a night cap. The group was actually very good, but we did not arrive at the right time since after 3 songs they took a 30 minute break. Several of the other couples we spoke to mentioned how board they were on this cruise. One man said he had already read 3 books because there was nothing else that interested him. On a positive note, I did enjoy the Theater Tour and the Kitchen Tour, but could not understand the crew member who gave the navigation talk. We loved 2 of our 3 shore tours. Rio Secreto, a tour on the Cozumel stop, was the highlight of the trip. It was worth every penny, and budget an additional $40 to $80 (depending on your negotiation skills) for the photo CD. The lunch served was very good and they offered us free shots of anise flavored liquor. This tour saved the cruise for us, and immediately changed our attitude about cruises. Our second stop was Honduras where we opted for Gumbalimba Park (bring $3 for a locker rental) and Tabyana Beach. Both were fun, and we got great photos with the monkeys and parrots, and enjoyed swimming in the warm Caribbean water. The lunch that was included was excellent, and there was ample security at the beach. If we return to Honduras, we will either do a beach day or snorkeling. Our last stop was Belize and unfortunately, we selected the wrong tour for us. We took the Altun Ha Maya Site and a River boat tour. It was a long hot day, and our guide, Marcela, did not have the energy or sense of humor of our previous guides; however, she was knowledgeable and passionate about her country. I tired quickly of her bringing in “helper” guides who wanted to be tipped but did not add anything to the tour. In all, I think there 10 people who we were asked to tip. The most glaring example of unnecessary guides, was Raquel, who repeated word for word a script Marcela had given earlier. To make matters worse, the lunch served was the worst meal we had on the entire trip; however, I did appreciate the bottled water and bottled soft drink that was included. If we return to Belize we will do the zip line and cave tubing. I was very pleased with our Baja deck 11 balcony cabin, and our steward, Richard, was very attentive. There was a constant "vibration" in the bathroom and throughout the cabin, but we got used to it. In addition, the ship did sway and list more than we thought it would. The TV in the room had 3 movies channels, a couple ESPN stations, and re-runs of the Love Boat. Our remote was hit and miss, and the reception on the TV was not consistent, but I did not take a cruise to watch hours of TV in my cabin. There was someone smoking nearby since when we would open up the balcony door, the smell would fill the room. Richard, the steward had stopped by for some reason and asked if we were smoking in the room. I invited him in and said it was a daily occurrence, but that I could not determine where the smell was coming from. He went out on the balcony, but also could not see where the smoke was coming from. He said he would report it and they would look into it further since smoking is not permitted on the balcony or in the cabin. On disembarkment day, we were delayed into the Port of Houston due to high winds—no fault of Princess or the crew. We had been told that our cruise was the first is several weeks that left the port on time, so it was not a huge surprise to be arriving back late. This meant that our 8:05 AM disembarkment group was moved to after 3:00 PM. Once the ship docked in port at 12:30 PM, we were asked to leave our stateroom which meant all of the public areas were very, very crowded. Thankfully for us, we were driving home, and not flying, as many of our new friends missed connections. If you booked your airfare through Princess, they paid for and arranged all ticket changes. If you booked airfare on your own, then you were out of luck, and Princess seemed very unsympathetic. Many complained that they were forced to buy internet minutes or incur large phone bills to try and rebook while still aboard the ship. Others lamented that the airline ticket change fee might be as much as they paid for the cruise. Lesson to the wise— book your airfare through the cruise line, buy trip insurance or refundable/changeable tickets, and/or add a day or two onto the trip to ensure a stress free flight home. Although we found the ship itself very boring and lacking in quality activities, we thought our cabin steward, dinning room staff and food were outstanding, and we enjoyed meeting new people, and the land excursions so much that we are already planning our next cruise—most likely on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Maybe we were going in with so many preconceived ideas that cruises were the best thing since slice bread? We just found this Cruise just okay! There wasn't lots wrong, it just didn't really meet outstanding expectations? ... Read More
Maybe we were going in with so many preconceived ideas that cruises were the best thing since slice bread? We just found this Cruise just okay! There wasn't lots wrong, it just didn't really meet outstanding expectations? First, everytime I called Norwegian with questions, I was informed that since I did not book directly with Norwegian they cannot help me. Even on the Ship, with questions pertaining to Shore Excursions which again, I was always told that they were unable to help me. I just think, no matter how a person booked the travel, that person is now a Customer of the cruise line but with that kind of customer service, I guess not. We booked the Norwegian Airport/Port shuttle. Our Airport-Port shuttle was so late and we drove around IAH several times, we were 2.5 hours later than the original shuttle time. I wouldn't book a cruise shuttle again, just take a taxi. Everything was EXTRA, drinks, wifi, etc. I didn't mind paying the Service charge with the idea that it eliminates the Gratuities, but if you order a drink you are automatically charged 18% gratuity. I purchased the Specialty meal package automatically charged the gratuity but when they print you out the bill, it has a line for extra gratuity. Always with the hand out. ALL the food was GOOD, no matter where you ate, good selection! The Port and Shore excursion process was a bit tedious with very little information. Again, asking for information to a Norwegian employee the response was always, you did not book through Norwegain, I cannot help you. The Cozumel port was the easiest as they ship docked and you did not need to take a Tender. We did speak to other 'cruisers' and many of them veterans of the cruise vacations but each one of them recommended Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was my first cruise and it was not horrible. I've read some real horror stories and feel fortunate none of those things happened to us. I was not impressed, however, with the experience. I'm low maintenance. I don't ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it was not horrible. I've read some real horror stories and feel fortunate none of those things happened to us. I was not impressed, however, with the experience. I'm low maintenance. I don't care about having towels folded into animals. I don't need to be besties with the bartender or wait staff. Here's what bothered me about it. There were a ridiculous amount of people. The buffet was like a fight to the death for food. The bartenders were sometimes nice and sometimes rude. There were not enough bartenders. We did not have a drink package, as I absolutely refused to pay $1200 for drinks for 2 people. We do indulge at times, but are not huge drinkers anymore. The problem is there's not much else to do but go to the many bars and drink. So we're paying up to $13 a drink (beer and some other drinks are a little cheaper). They force you to pay 18% gratuity on top of that. They are using the absolute cheapest well liquors available and the drinks are not very strong. Too much mix of any kind means sugar overload or heartburn. I just wanted a few good, strong cocktails. By the end of it, I learned to order something they couldn't water down like a dirty martini. Enough about drinks. I really felt like they nickel and dime you to death. The forced gratuity, the daily $13.95 charge per person, the "free" room service that cost $7.95 per person, etc. When the guy came to lock our mini fridge, he argued with us about what we had taken, which was one very pricey Red Bull. He looked around our cabin and questioned us about water my mother had given me, which she had purchased. He questioned us about a diet Pepsi that we got elsewhere on the ship. Really annoying. The pool: this was a big one for me, as I was looking forward to some pool time in the winter. The pools are tiny. One pool is for adults only. Professional cruisers put their towels on chairs early in the morning to hold them all day. One day we got chairs at the pool. Could I have done the same thing? Yes, but it didn't feel right to me. The day we got there early I saved 2 extra seats for my sister and brother in law and felt really guilty. A lot of these professional cruisers simply do not care about anyone but themselves. We never had beach towels in our rooms. I have never cruised before and didn't know I was supposed to have them. We asked for some at the pool and had to put down a deposit. The guy said they should have been in our room but not his problem. Take it up with housekeeping. When I went to return the towels, the guy didn't speak English and just kept shoving a clipboard at me. I didn't understand what he wanted me to do. Finally, he just motioned for me to put them in the bin. I'm scared I'm going to end up with a charge on my card for them. We had lots of fun in the ports. We did our own thing and did not do the excursions. Be aware that you are going to poverty stricken countries. You are rich to them, and they are trying to survive. They will not hesitate to rip you off, so you just have to be careful. We went to Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. Be very careful if you leave the port in Belize. It is dangerous. We hired a local to show us around. He was a big guy, packing a big gun. We got to see the real city and enjoyed it, although some things we saw were quite sad. I wish there would have been more time in the ports but I guess that's just part of cruising. One very disturbing thing happened to us. I can't prove anything but my husband may have been drugged. He had three drinks on New Years eve and totally blacked out. He doesn't remember ordering a $200 bottle of champagne. I was shocked and horrified, as we are not wealthy people. Right after that he literally fell over and I had to have help getting him back to the room. I was not intoxicated at all. He drank no more than I did. He felt dizzy and off for at least 24 hours. It was a scary experience and the only motivation I can think of for someone doing this would be the large automatic tip on the champagne. We were told by our guide in Belize that crew members buy drugs in the ports and sell them to passengers, so I don't find it totally out of the realm of possibility that he was drugged. I don't know. Maybe it was just some weird reaction. We will never know for sure. Heads up people. Never assume you are safe. Another thing that may be more of a suggestion than a complaint is that it's really hard if you're traveling with others to find them. The ship is like a city. If you don't plan to meet someone, you probably won't see them. If you text, you're going to be charged ridiculous rates. We should've taken walkie talkies. It would be nice if the ship had an app that would allow you to contact other passengers. I'm sure NCL would charge you an arm and a leg to use it though. My fault for not planning on that one. I found the cabin to be satisfactory. No complaints. They are small but it was fine. There is an amazing amount of storage in such a tiny space. We had a window room on the 5th deck. We liked watching the waves. Over 24 hours off the boat and I'm still dizzy. I feel like I'm on drugs or something. Just be aware of that if you have to go straight back to work or have something to do. I feel like you need a little recovery time. Like I said, this was my first cruise. I did a lot of research but still felt like I didn't know what was going on half the time. I just wasn't a huge fan of the whole experience. I would rather pay more and not feel nickeled and dimed to death or maybe go to an all inclusive resort. That's just me though. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is my first time cruise so everything on a cruise ship looks new to me. Every night, the ship is loaded with different shows and most of them are actually very good. You can go to the buffet dinning or pay extra to different type ... Read More
This is my first time cruise so everything on a cruise ship looks new to me. Every night, the ship is loaded with different shows and most of them are actually very good. You can go to the buffet dinning or pay extra to different type dinning. One problem is the food is so salty. Not sure what's wrong with the chefs on the ship. People are talking about gaining weight after cruise but not for my family. My wife actually got stomach virus for 2 days after this cruise trip. Another thing I don't understand is the ship departs from Roatan Island at 4PM but arrives at port of Houston the night before the end of cruise. So it looks to me that the ship has plenty of time to get back. If so, why not left people stay in Roatan Island longer? I also call the guest service a few times during the day but nobody answers the phone which is weird. One of my cabin with bad safe but is never fixed during the trip. Overall, the service on the Jade is OK. If I were asked to take another cruise trip, it definitely won't be NCL Jade. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Departed four hours late, swimming pool closed 5 out of 7 days. Spending card mixup took 3 hours and part of two days to get credited items that someone else purchased with our room key. Exiting and returning to ship at ports took more ... Read More
Departed four hours late, swimming pool closed 5 out of 7 days. Spending card mixup took 3 hours and part of two days to get credited items that someone else purchased with our room key. Exiting and returning to ship at ports took more time than we got to spend in Honduras and Belize. Food was Goodbar of the time, the 18% mandatory gratuity added on was confusing after paying 300$ prepay gratuity. Very poor communication from ship leadership to passengers. Almost none. Never saw the captain on the bridge, checked everyday several times. Only time I did see him was when we were trying to leave Houston and he was yelling and cussing at the crew loading some type of steel construction stuff, making us 4 hours late! They managed to break both bottles of rum from Belize that they confiscate until end of trip. Lots of other crazy bad hospitality issues like it was there first practice cruise. But, half moon bay in Honduras is amazing, eat the fresh lobster and Conch. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We noticed immediately that cruise companies cater to people who like gamble and smoke because on the Jewel, Deck 6 is where the casino is located. And adjacent to the casino was the theater, the smoke would invade into that area and it ... Read More
We noticed immediately that cruise companies cater to people who like gamble and smoke because on the Jewel, Deck 6 is where the casino is located. And adjacent to the casino was the theater, the smoke would invade into that area and it would be very uncomfortable. Another area that made us uncomfortable was on Deck 12 near the Spa where the ladies who hang out like "hookers" enticing you into the spa. My wife would not even go near that area even if it was close to the pool. We liked the Deck 7, Promenaded Deck but since it was a smoking deck we could not find a place to relax away from the people went there to smoke. We really enjoyed The Great Outdoors because we could relax under a canopy and drink coffee or water and read while reading or talking. The shore excursions were very fun. Our time in Trujillo was the highlight of our trip because it was the most authentic of all the ports of call. It was not tainted by "Diamonds International" mentality. We loved Belize and Cozumel also. We got lost in Cozumel. I felt our Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was poor organized and we didn't get to meet anyone from our roll call. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have cruised with Princess many times before, upgrading each cruise from inside to oceanview to balcony, to mini-suite and finally to suite. In general, we have enjoyed every Princess cruise and have had few bad things to say. This was, ... Read More
We have cruised with Princess many times before, upgrading each cruise from inside to oceanview to balcony, to mini-suite and finally to suite. In general, we have enjoyed every Princess cruise and have had few bad things to say. This was, by far, the worst Princess experience we’ve ever had. This cruise started off a little poorly when Princess changed our flight way back in September from the 9am flight down to the 7:51am flight out of Chicago, which meant we were bound to wait at the airport or at the terminal. EZAir charges extra fees for booking. On the United site, our airfare was listed $99 less than charged thru EZAir. Day 0 – Saturday, embarkation at Port of Houston It felt strange to hand our luggage over to a truck not marked in any way as Princess affiliated. When we arrived at the port of Houston, it was pretty easy getting in initially to obtain our boarding passes since we were both Platinum and Suite passengers. Once checked in, however, we were informed that the ship had gotten in several hours late due to fog and we would not be embarking for a minimum of 2-3hrs. They offered us shuttles to Kemah Boardwalk and told us the shuttles would be constantly running throughout the afternoon. My husband opted to wait in the terminal, a very uncomfortable setting with no food or water, but mercifully out of the weather. My son and I decided to go to Kemah. Getting to Kemah Boardwalk went smoothly, and we settled down to eat at Bubba Gump. I called my husband for an update on boarding(this is < 45min later) and he was already in the cabin (He told me that Princess offered us complimentary reservations at Sabatini’s to make up for the long wait. This was NOT a concession since Suite Passengers get dinner at either Sabatini’s or Crown Grill on embarkation night already) We ate quickly and arrived at the queue to get on the next shuttle. There were already over 100 fellow passengers who had been waiting for about 45min in 40degree/windy weather. 30min later I called the Princess 800# and asked them where in the world the shuttle buses were. 5 minutes later another passenger made a second phone call to Princess. 10 minutes later, 4 shuttles of varying sizes showed up to take us back to the port of Houston. We had been told that since we already had our boarding passes, we would have little or no line. NOT!!!! It took an additional 3-45minutes just to get through security a second time. My son was in shirt-sleeves and he caught a nasty cold. Passengers in the “normal” line were wrapped around twice, so their wait had to be at least one hour. There appear to be only 2 screening stations for 3000 passengers to pass thru, hence the long, long lines. 5pm – finally on board, champagne and canapés in our stateroom. Took a look at our balcony. The last time we cruised and booked the suite, we had a table and chairs to eat on the balcony. This cruise we had 2 chaises, 2 chairs and a tiny little table. The suite only had a cocktail table, so we couldn’t eat together when ordering room service, another suite “perk”. Dinner at Crown Grill – strip steak was tough, lobster tails WAY overcooked Day 1 – Sunday at sea, No significant issues, ship is really moving to make up for lost time. Dinner at the anytime dining Coral Dining Room was very good, no wait and very attentive wait staff. This however would not continue. The mini-cake tray that we couldn’t eat wasn’t delivered to the stateroom until Tuesday afternoon, very stale! Day 2 – Monday, late into port, late out of port Cozumel, everyone booked for an excursion was loaded onto one of only 2 ferries to the mainland, Playa de Carmen which made for very long waits. Finally boarded a bus for our excursion to Rio Secreto with 1hour 40min of shopping. This was a disaster!!! Road construction ate up ALL the possible shopping time, the 40 min bus ride extended 2-3 times normal. The town is not at all pretty. It reminded me of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo over 20years ago, where there was very definite tourist area and the local area with mothers/children begging in the street. Rio Secreto – amazing tour, leave your cameras at the ship because they are not allowed. Charge for picture CD, $70; more if you want souvenirs Tried to eat in stateroom. One at the desk, one at the table, one at the vanity area Day 3 – Tuesday, late into port, left very close to on time Roatan, Because Princess did not offer intro scuba diving excursions, we had to book independently thru Scuba Roatan and they booked us a “trusted Taxi”. Princess, however, does not allow these taxis into the port area, nor do they offer a shuttle over the hill in the pouring rain, about ½ mile, so once again, we are soaked to the skin. Our “trusted taxi” had booked 2 parties and we had to wait even longer in the rain until the taxi admitted the other party was probably not coming(the other party was smart, they got into one of the 200+ taxis without prepaid riders RIGHT AT THE PORT! Again, now because of the long walk/wait, we couldn’t go on the 11am boat, but took the 12:3- and 2pm dives instead. That left us with @30min to shop at the port stores. It’s Funny how Princess lets the “trusted taxi” over the hill and into the port area for dropping off passengers, but not for picking them up. BAD, BAD POLICY PRINCESS. Finally tried the thermal suite. They used to provide flip flops, not this time. Many taps/etc missing. Dinner tonight there were several things forgotten on the order. Day 4 – Wednesday, into port on time, the sun finally came out Belize, Ship excursion, our priority tender passes were worthless because the excursion’s boat came directly to the ship instead of the pier so they came a little later. Sergeant’s Cay is very difficult snorkeling, deep water/high waves. They assign guides, but they are absolutely impossible to distinguish one from another once in the water. So we wandered pretty aimlessly. Still good snorkeling, but this reef is not as exciting as other destinations we’ve been to. Mediocre dinner service again tonight Day 5 – Thursday, at sea The captain’s cocktail party is pretty much nothing more than a Princess commercial. Dinner service tonight was better than the other nights since this was the second formal night and they were more attentive. Forgot my son’s pasta, so I gave him mine. Day 6 - Friday The ship is racing the fog to try and get into the Port of Houston before the fog gets in. We have reservations at Sabatini’s to celebrate the end of the cruise, and since we didn’t have any time at any port to go shopping, we used the money we saved to pop for the specialty restaurant. Sabatini’s, I must say was very patient and attentive, holding our various courses as we raced all over the ship trying to communicate with passenger services, dogsitters, employers, etc. Minutes after seating, announcements started about how the ship did not make it to Houston before the port was closed. Now instead of docking @midnight for disembarkation in the morning, it is estimated that the ship will not dock until 11pm Saturday and disembarkation won’t be until Sunday morning. All passengers are now given one complimentary phone call from their stateroom and 30 minutes of internet to try and make arrangements. This would be great if the ship could accommodate the thousands of phone calls and internet. It can’t. Not only that, we learn on Saturday morning, after dozens of tries that the directions given in the stateroom notebooks and from ship’s personnel, that the directions are wrong. Back to Friday night – Passenger services rebook our flight to 3:38pm Sunday, exactly 24hrs later, even after explaining the necessity to get into Chicago as early as possible Sunday because all 3 of us were scheduled to work Sunday. Princess also informed us that we would not be moved from Red 4 to Red 1, for transfers and possible standby. Day 7, Saturday After giving up trying to make phone calls, I tried the internet and made arrangements for 2 of us to work Monday in place of Sunday. I made all my changes at 8am and by the time I was through, there was a line 20 deep to get onto the computers. At 10am, passenger services announced that the fog had cleared sufficiently to get us into port at 11:30am. Nothing was said about them changing our air back to Saturday, so my husband went to check on these arrangements. He was told that passenger services would deliver our new air itinerary to our stateroom. They proceeded to check him out of our cabin. When I took the paperwork to check for accuracy, I found they had checked him out of the wrong cabin!!! It took another half hour to straighten this mess out, since someone at the desk decided that the crew member who had made the mistake had to correct it. At about 12:00, my husband called from the stateroom to see if our air had been changed. They verbally gave him the flight and confirmation number. They managed to get us a 5:29 flight to O’Hare. I felt lucky to get this flight even though we were scattered all over the aircraft. Next, I went to the internet café to print boarding passes. There were very few passengers there, but all of us had one goal: get our boarding passes. I tried signing in, but the system said our time had expired although we still had about ninety minutes and thirty more minutes of free internet to make arrangements. There was no Princess Representative in the internet café. It took some time, but someone finally came down after a few calls and got our boarding passes printed. Good move as it turned out! Passengers were informed that they could opt for self-handling of luggage for faster disembarkation, a necessity for anyone with flights leaving before 4pm. There were at least 500 people already in line to disembark this way. They finally started allowing passengers for the shuttle buses off the ship at about 2pm. There were several shuttles for: IAH, NOT United; only one for United airlines passengers. We sat on the bus, waiting for passengers to disembark since all United Airlines booked passengers were required to be on that one bus. We started asking about when we were going to leave at 3pm and were told at 3:20 we were still waiting on 20 more passengers. Many passengers missed their flights, since the bus didn’t pull out of the Port of Houston until 3:30pm, waited for a freight train to clear and pulled in at arrivals at @4:35. The only reason we made our plane is because IT was late arriving from Chicago. During the shuttle ride to the airport, we were finally able to contact all of our people in Chicago. In conclusion, we would NOT recommend the Western Caribbean sailing out of Houston. This terminal is much too small to accommodate any ship of size and this was the third time in a month that the ship was delayed because of fog.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013

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