5 Houston First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Cruise ship was in poor maintenance, toilets constantly backed up, rusty and dirty balcony. Blanket had brown stains on it, the television was placed such that the remote did not work properly, the buffet was lousy, particularly the ... Read More
Cruise ship was in poor maintenance, toilets constantly backed up, rusty and dirty balcony. Blanket had brown stains on it, the television was placed such that the remote did not work properly, the buffet was lousy, particularly the breakfast selection. Two of our three destinations were cancelled, one due to engine trouble with the ship. But by far, the worst aspect of the cruise, was the customer service. Easily the worst customer staff I have ever had the misfortune of experiencing. Constantly making promises that were never met, claiming supervisors/management would be in contact with us concerning our issues. None of these things ever happened. The only compensation given for all these issues was a paltry $50.00 credit, and a credit towards a future cruise booking, which we won't be using. Apparently their idea of compensation for such a poor experience is the customer giving them more money. Company and staff refused to take ownership of any of the problems, and the story was different depending on which person you spoke to. We will be booking all of our future cruises with a different cruise line. The only positive parts of the cruise were that embarkation and disembarkation from ports of call were very easy and went quickly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My girlfriend and I sailed 12/26 - 01/02 on the Norwegian Jade. Our other experience with Caribbean style vacations have been in Cancun at all-inclusive resorts. My review will consist of our ratings of the ship, service, food, ... Read More
My girlfriend and I sailed 12/26 - 01/02 on the Norwegian Jade. Our other experience with Caribbean style vacations have been in Cancun at all-inclusive resorts. My review will consist of our ratings of the ship, service, food, activities, and excursions. We decided to take almost all of the advice contained in our check in paperwork from NCL. We flew the day before embarkation, and stayed at a hotel within 25 miles of port. On embarkation day, our paperwork advised us to show up between 1:30 and 2:00. It stated not to arrive outside this window, as you would be asked to wait until your time, or may be late. We arrived at 1:35 and got in line. Line took about :30. The young lady checked our passports and documents, but was unable to answer any other questions we had about the cruise. We headed for the gangway and boarded. We researched very well, and knew exactly how to get to our stateroom. We stayed obstructed ocean view, port, mid. The room was decent, but the bed was very uncomfortable. The A/C remained on the coolest setting all week, and still did not get comfortable. There was plenty of room for our 3 suitcases, toiletries, etc. The view was not ideal, but we were able to see to one side of a lifeboat whether we were near land or not. Our steward: at first impression he was adequate, offering extra towels and information about the safety drill. Sleeping was a challenge due to temperature, and lack of comfort of the bed. Due to the A/C issue, we sweated a bit, and we requested all of the sheets be changed every other night. The comforter and towels were changed, but never the fitted sheet. We also found our "fresh" pillowcases with stains. We had communication issues all week, and we still don't believe he understands english. This contributed to many issues including overcharges on laundry, and others. We had a few drinks while still in port, and were skeptical when the bartender told us despite the fact that our tabs were around $16, we would only end up paying the tax on each tab until we reached international waters; that was true. After spending $3000 on the cruise, we decided not to spend any more on the "premium" dining options onboard. We tried all of the restaurants included in our cruise price. First was Grand Pacific. We waited about 10 minutes to be seated, and about 15 minutes to see our waitress after being seated. It was as if the cruise staff was not expecting the amount of cruisers on the ship. Our waitress took our orders for drinks, apps, and entrees all at once. She returned to our table 2 times total, once for drinks and apps, and once for entrees. Our food was bland, and barely warm. We began exploring the ship. The bartenders were friendly and upbeat everywhere we went. Unfortunately they were the only staff on the ship, with the exception of a few, that were professional and seemed to care. Sunday morning we attempted to have breakfast at the buffet. The food was poor quality, and not hot. This continued to be the case throughout the week. We attempted to participate in several activities, and several times, we arrived to empty rooms or areas, where the activities never happened. Monday we arrived in Cozumel. We did not prepay for any excursions, due to the high costs, and I'm glad we didn't. At each port, we found that you can easily fulfill any of the excursions sold by NCL for much cheaper than their prices. You can also barter prices and times with the tour operators,taxis, etc. We observed hundreds of fellow NCL guests waiting in the hot sun for later tours, when they could have saved money, and gone on the "sold out" earlier tour if they chose to haggle once in port. We got off the boat(free) and did some shopping at the mall. The quality and prices of typical tourist souvenirs are similar at all 3 ports. Tuesday we arrived near Belize. The waves were rough, and we decided not to leave the ship. Wednesday we arrived at Roatan, and boarded the tender for the island. We grabbed some seats at Monkey Lala's and waited for the lines to dissipate before haggling with a cabbie for a round trip to the west end for $50. They even threw in a translator (who tried to sell us all kinds of things). The west end beach was gorgeous, and americanized enough for us to enjoy a fantastic pizza, and a few drinks at the Thirty Turtle. We may plan a return visit here via airplane. Last tender back to the ship was supposed to be at 5:00, but at 5:15, we found more seats at Monkey Lala to wait for the enormous line to dissipate. The meals continued to be bland, cold, and flavorless, except for Jasmine Garden. This was our only solace in a world of terrible cuisine. I recommend you request Lady as your waitress. She, along with bartenders Aan (pool deck and martini bar) and Garfield (Great Outdoors) were the only 3 members of the NCL team that understood how to provide excellent service, and go out of their ways to make sure we felt appreciated as NCL guests. We could not wait to disembark Saturday morning. We chose the "freestyle" plan, and were anxiously awaiting clearance to get off the nightmare that was the Jade. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We had the absolute worst vacation experience ever. We have been unable to come to a resolution with Princess. We strongly feel that the advertising, services and the product were mi-represented to us, and we are extremely unhappy with all ... Read More
We had the absolute worst vacation experience ever. We have been unable to come to a resolution with Princess. We strongly feel that the advertising, services and the product were mi-represented to us, and we are extremely unhappy with all attempts at resolution, both on-board and after disembarkation with "customer service". Stateroom 617 1) Accommodations- Princess Cruise lines claims on their website to offer "Premium accommodations and luxurious appointments" for their balcony staterooms, which was the cabin type we purchased. On top of our accommodation being very dirty (we have pictures) there was a deep persistent rattle under our bed, which shook the entire bed, to the point we could not sleep at night. We also experienced night crews working right over our room and noise in the hallways, such as loud thumping, chaise lounges being moved, machinery being run at night etc. We tried to get our room changed, and would have even paid for an upgrade, but the only available cabin was not of similar or better accommodation. There was also a septic stench at times, as the toilet next to our room kept malfunctioning. Additionally, we had a Norovirus outbreak on our ship, meaning we were confined to this cabin under quarantine, and we could not get food delivered to our room. After we disembarked we discovered this 50 year old ship has one of the highest rates of Norovirus. 2) Service Issues- We have numerous complaints documenting the poor service from the room service to the dining staff, and multiple cases of rude employees, saying shocking statements to us like, "It doesn't matter how long your food takes, you are under quarantine". Room service was took anywhere form 1-2 hours, and our order never came to us correctly, missing items, broken coffee pots, etc. Several times when we called the phone just rang and rang. Despite claims by Princess Cruise lines that standards of dining-dressing would be enforced, they never were, adding to the over all lackluster experience. The poor service has continued since we have been off the ship with our dealings with post- cruise customer relations. 3) Product claims- We felt that we have been falsely advertised to- the entertainment was far from "world class" as claimed by Princess, and most of the activities are centered around a "sales" pitch for you to buy something. The food was billed as "gourmet" yet we received microwaved breakfast sandwiches and many other simply terrible items. Additionally, we had asked for a private dining experience, yet we were seated with another couple and served at the same time by the waiter, who treated us the entire time as if we were a "4 some". This is on top of an expensive shore excursion we took that was advertised as "very active" yet was 6 hours of driving, and simply walking at a slow pace over flat ground. Additionally, numerous times on our trip we went to use amenities, hot tubs pools, stores etc, and they were closed. This entire cruise was "oversold" to us. Ultimately, we have pages and pages documenting our entire bad experience. We are seeking a refund for our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
First time cruisers with another family who previously cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Children were ages 4, 6, 14, and 16 so given that this was our Thanksgiving holiday we were really psyched but quickly disappointed. ... Read More
First time cruisers with another family who previously cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Children were ages 4, 6, 14, and 16 so given that this was our Thanksgiving holiday we were really psyched but quickly disappointed. Embarkation was a breeze. Arrived to the terminal, dropped off the luggage, parked and all checked in relatively fast. No more than 45 minutes from lining up in customs to getting on the boat and then the issues began. Drink packages - I am pregnant and cleared for travel however because my husband and our children all must purchase a drink package because he will be drinking there is not an online option to change my drink package to an all-inclusive soda package. Doing this online supposedly saves you $5 a day however when I called before we left I was told it was too late to do this and to explain to them my issue on the boat and there should be no problem. Wrong again. We left on a Saturday, purchased the all-inclusive drink package for $54/day and were told to call the offices on Monday to dispute the charges because there was nothing that could be done - and this was the beverage manager we were talking to. Food - Garden Cafe (buffet) has the same food for breakfast, some changes in lunch and dinner but nothing to brag about. As for the "CHOCOHOLIC" night that they raved about in the daily - it was a misprint on Thursday and not available in Tsar's and when we asked our server she found out from her manager it was not available. So it was again listed in the daily for Friday and nothing more than what the Garden Cafe already had available for desserts on any other day. Desserts were disappointing as were the specialty desserts from Carlo's Bake Shop. As for O'Sheehans - great bar food if you don't mind waiting for it or if they don't forget to put your ticket in as this happened to me. This was where we went to dinner the first night thinking we'd try it out since the menu seemed appealing (wings, cheese sticks, chicken pot pie, fish & chips and burgers). Wait time was 40 minutes and we were seated. Once we ordered we just ordered in bulk and then our server disappeared. The next day I decided I'd go for lunch and get a burger. An hour later my husband and I are still waiting on my lone burger however everyone who was seated before and after me have eaten and left and still no food. Tsar's was interesting on Thanksgiving night as we had reservations and some ordered the Thanksgiving meal however they didn't bring the first course out (soup) until reminded and then decided that they wouldn't bring yams with one of the meals and instead put carrots thinking it would go unnoticed, perhaps? Azura was better but the food choice was only for that day. Our only good food was the last night at Teppanayaki's but with a 10p reservation we were unable to order sushi because the restaurant closed at 8p. Really? Room service menu was limited so don't plan on ordering a continental breakfast - not an option. Pizza is available 24/7 at a $5 charge and any room service orders after midnight cost you and additional $4. Room - we had a balcony on Deck 10 and right next to the elevators. Convenient and at times noisy but standard for a vacation. Saw our steward many times but had to ask if they did towel animals and by the third night was the first time we saw one on our bed. Children's activities - sparse. You could sign up for the NICKELODEON PAJAMA JAM that was only advertised on the restaurant placards and nothing more for $20 per person. This was the price of admission and breakfast but keep in mind, breakfast is free but not for this. Just like buying a ticket to movie if you are going with your child you pay full price. There were maybe 15 children in ages from infant to 12 or 13 but you do get a 1-on-1 photo opportunity with Dora, Diego, Sponge Bob, Sandy, The Last Airbender and 2 other characters I can't recall. Crafts consisted of coloring t-shirts or handkerchiefs with fabric markers, there is the arcade and the kids camp available too but not as much character sighting as I was hoping for given the Nickelodeon themed notion for the kids. Disembarkation - fast as when we got on. Only hold up was Customs but that is to be expected. Off the boat by 9:30a and home by 10:30a so this process was fast. Overall service - disappointing. Seemed to have some trouble communicating with guest services at time due to a language barrier and we spoke English but not sure they understood what we were asking. Can't say we felt welcomed by anyone. One bartender - Amalia - was the only one who seemed to make a point to want our business and ask how things were. Hubby had made friends with dealers in the casino but that was the extent of getting to know anyone. Never again for the amount of money spent would we go on another NCL cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Sailed for cruise sites in Cosumel and Roatan and Belize we embarked on Saturday 25 Jan. A couple good days in the sun, but on Monday both of my sisters became very ill.(gastrointestinal..Captain announced that night that there was in ... Read More
Sailed for cruise sites in Cosumel and Roatan and Belize we embarked on Saturday 25 Jan. A couple good days in the sun, but on Monday both of my sisters became very ill.(gastrointestinal..Captain announced that night that there was in fact, Rotovirus on the ship. Told every one to wash hands with soap and water and we noticed that procedures changed in the buffet. Visitors were required to use hand sanitizer and food was handed to the patrons by crew members. Scuttlebut on ship said that there were in excess of 90 cases, this was Monday. Once reported the girls were quarantined to their rooms, Husbands however could come and go from that room. Some quarantine! Upon being visited by the Ship Doctor or nurses, it was never made clear, a shot and the next day a bill for $130.00. Tuesday night the captain of the ship announced that we would not visit Belize but would return to port, BECAUSE OF HEAVY FOG IN THE HARBOUR. A quick google indicated that there was no fog, port was closed on previous Tuesday and Wednesday. Medical personnel told my sister that she brought the virus from the hotel, despite the fact that there was up to 24 hours of incubation for this virus, numbers did not add up. It was apparent that Princess was taking no responsibility, were very disingenuous and that we were basically out the cost for the trip. After the announcement of turning back, the cruise was basically over. Ship personnel were serious, constantly wiping up and generally very quiet. Friday morning we were told to disembark, I did not know even at that date to which hotel I would be going and only found out after I had disembarked. They delivered us to the Sheraton Hotel in Houston where were held in a holding area until rooms were ready.(6 hours) Of course we had to buy our own food which would normally have been furnished by ship. What credit did we receive for this disruption of a much anticipated vacation, one day per diem (1/7th of cruise cost) and a promise of 20% on next cruise. They said CDC ( Center for Disease Control) would visit the ship on Friday. Must of been a quick visit, the ship sailed for the Western Caribbean on Saturday with a whole new visitor roster. They too could be collateral damage for Princess Cruises to maintain their PR Status. Houston Newspaper, indicated 176 visitors and 12 crew members infected. No one can really maintain that a trip, one stop removed and 1 day short, constant stress from not really knowing, no real information about the sickness,/status, this is not a vacation Read Less
Sail Date January 2014

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