52 Houston Romantic Cruise Reviews

This was our first Princess cruise and my 3 rd total. This will definitely not be our last Princess cruise as we were totally wow'd by the wonderful service, the great dining and the entertainment. Embarkation couldn't have ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise and my 3 rd total. This will definitely not be our last Princess cruise as we were totally wow'd by the wonderful service, the great dining and the entertainment. Embarkation couldn't have been easier. My husband and I dropped our bags with the porter, he parked across the street in front and we were on the ship in 15 minutes. We found our stateroom easily and dropped off our carry-on baggage and headed to lunch. We chose the International Cafe in the Piazza. The staff was so friendly and welcoming. After a nice lunch and yummy dessert we quickly checked out the upper decks. Our luggage arrived quickly and we were unpacked in a flash. The sail away party on Lido was fun and lively. We quickly got our Patter schedule and planned our evening. Dinner was anytime dining in the Island Dining Room. Service was excellent as well as a wide range of choices. The food was delicious and the chocolate journey was decadently amazing. We left Port late because of traffic and it seems that is one of the problems with Houston. Sad that it is no longer going to be used because it is a great location for us. After dinner, we enjoyed all the activities in the Piazza and the show. The best shows were Bravo and the comedian. The Voice of the Ocean was also fun. We saw some very good movies on deck with Movies Under the Sars. Late arrival into Cozumel was a little disappointing but we were given a later All Aboard time to compensate. We were back on schedule for the remaining ports and even with rendering in Belize, we were able to make our excursions without any problems. The week was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary and the cute balloons and door decoration made it extra special. We received a special dessert and the staff sang...it was a nice touch. We won't hesitate to sail Princess again and just hope that they will choose to go out of Texas again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We planned our trip in the middle of October 2015. Since then I read reviews weekly and was a bit nervous, but honestly, if you are like me and read review after review, please remember that what some people complain about may not mean ... Read More
We planned our trip in the middle of October 2015. Since then I read reviews weekly and was a bit nervous, but honestly, if you are like me and read review after review, please remember that what some people complain about may not mean anything to your trip. My boyfriend and I took this trip and we had the time of our lives! All of the staff were awesome! By the end of the first hour that we were on the ship a bartender who served my boyfriend once knew him by name and greeted him at another area on the ship. They really care for all of the passenger and want to make your trip as memorable as possible! Our room attendant, Roma, was awesome as well. He greeted us by name every time he saw us in the hallways and always had our room cleaned and turned down before we went to bed every night. We saw him interacting with kids on the ship and he was so patient and kind to them. We had the unlimited beverage package and we are so glad we did. We never had to wait more than 3-5 minutes for a drink and we didn't encounter any beverages that we not included besides the few specialty coffee drinks my boyfriend ordered. We only had one excursion planned- It was a dune buggy excursion in Cozumel. We ended up being the only two in the whole excursion and were afraid that they would cancel but we ended up basically getting a private excursion and it was awesome! We did not book through the ship we ended up booking through trip advisor. Our guide, Omar, made sure that we were doing everything we wanted and that we made it back to the ship on time. Since we didn't have an exucrison planned for Belize we hoped to get some shopping done and explore the city on our own. The port area is a tourist trap and you really cant get out of it unless you have an excursion planned. Since we had to wait about an hour to get on the tender, we were late for all of the excursions besides going to Kumbacha Beach (Old Belize) so that's what we ended up doing. We did get a city tour on the way there and it was awesome. I expected something very different than what Belize City is. Old Belize was ok. The restaurant isn't worth going to. We didn't get a server for about 15 minutes and they food was just ok. Overall its a fine excursion if you are looking to relax in a beach chair. Also, be aware of you who book through as the guy who dropped us off never came back to pick us up we had to pay someone else to bring us back. Honduras was my favourite stop. Again we didn't have an excursion planned but we did decided to find something right away. We ended up going to West Beach. Our tour guide, Courtney, was super accommodating allowing us to stop at a gas station on our way. He always agreed to pick us up whenever we wanted. We ended up renting snorkel gear because there are several reefs you can snorkel on your own. It was so much fun. We then ate lunch at the paradise AQUA restaurant and had the seafood platter. All fresh yummy seafood! Absolutely the best food we had the whole trip. Courtney then came and found us around the time we were wanting to leave and took us back giving us a small tour. Our favourite spot on the ship was the garden café on the back of the boat. It wasn't very windy and was the perfect spot to watch the sunset each night or to enjoy breakfast in the mornings. Alizar was our spot for dinner every night the food was amazing! I highly recommend the French Onion Soup. The entertainment on the ship was awesome as well. DO NOT MISS SOULDUO!! You will be sorry if you do. The juggling comedian was funny too. We did not attend any of the parties because they were too late. We are in our mid 20's and a full day in the sun doesn't make for staying out late easy. We would check into our cabins around 10 pm every night and watch whatever movie was on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Summary: Let me cut to the chase, by the time we left the ship, we had already booked two more cruises on NCL. However, that is not to say NCL and the Jade is without flaws. But for the money, my DW and I felt our 3/12 NCL Jade cruise ... Read More
Summary: Let me cut to the chase, by the time we left the ship, we had already booked two more cruises on NCL. However, that is not to say NCL and the Jade is without flaws. But for the money, my DW and I felt our 3/12 NCL Jade cruise was wonderful and a great value. Boarding/Embarkation: This part of the review will very soon be irrelevant as NCL has decided to not sail out of Houston. However, we felt that the embarkation process was nearly flawless. As we entered into the terminal, we were met by attendants giving us instructions. Once we told them that we were in the Haven, we were ushered to a separate waiting area for check-in. A lesson learned for us was to always make sure that we tell the terminal staff when we are traveling in a suite or above. The terminal staff were very quick to simply give us a number to wait with the other 2900 passengers. They did not ask what level of room we were in. Within our separate waiting area, two women were checking passengers in. Apparently there was a hiccup with another family who got forgotten, but we were checked in fairly quickly—maybe 10-20 minutes. After checking in, we were met by Omar (more on him later) who was our concierge. He directed us to beverages, canapes, and to his assistant who was ready to make restaurant reservations for us. After checking in, we waited in this waiting area for about 30 minutes when Maxi (who would be our butler) guided us and about 10 other passengers onto the ship, bypassing the wait that other passengers who were not in suites had to endure. Once we got onto the ship, we stashed our carry-on baggage in our room. The rooms weren’t ready yet, but no one had an issue with us dropping our bags off. We then went down to Cagney’s for lunch. The only negative, which is quite minor, is that this is the first cruise we’ve taken, including a 2008 cruise on the NCL Spirit, where we were not greeted on the ship with a glass of sparkling wine. It’s a small matter, but it always seemed to heighten our excitement of the cruise and we missed it. After we had lunch we spelunked around the ship and then returned to our room when it was ready. While we were unpacking, Maxi came by the room and explained the room, room service and how we could get a hold of him at any time. Maxi has been with NCL for 17 years and was more than willing to help us out with anything. We were new to the use of a butler and probably didn’t use Maxi to the fullest. But I’m positive that if we had thought of something, Maxi would have fully been able to accommodate us. Room: In a word: Wow. We had the smallest room in the Haven: a Courtyard Penthouse (although the phone in the room referred to it as a junior suite). However, for a couple, it was perfect. Unfortunately, the NCL website only offers a single picture without a floorplan. I’ll attempt to describe it here. Essentially, the suite is in two parts—a main living room opening to a small balcony and a bedroom/bathroom. As you enter the cabin door, you are met by the living room and a view to the balcony. Just to your left is the wet bar equipped with a hutch supplying a set of wine and champagne glasses and coffee/espresso machine. A four-chair dining table is next followed by a 48(??) inch TV and sofa. The space is much more spacious than you might imagine. The balcony is rather small with just enough room for two chairs and a small round table. The furniture, while comfortable, did seem a bit too large for the size of the balcony. A plus of the balcony is that this is one of the few cabins in the Haven that has a direct view to the ocean below. The two-bedroom suites has an awning from deck 13 that interferes with looking straight down. The balcony is also constructed to block much of the wind. Back inside the cabin, between the dining table and the TV cabinet is the doorway taking you into the bedroom/bathroom area. The king-sized bed is to the left as you enter this area. Curtains can be drawn to separate the bed area from the bathroom. There are small nightstands on either side of the bed which are plenty large enough to hold books, Ipads, and other essentials. There is also a small TV mounted to the wall that you can watch while in bed. The bathroom area sports a large double vanity. On the opposite wall is your closet, which we thought was rather small. However, we are horrible over-packers and recognize that the closet is plenty big enough for a couple who might actually pack appropriately for a 7 day cruise. It does have several deep drawers and two safes. Next to the closet is your toilet, sequestered into its own stall, fully equipped with a phone—which surprisingly was more convenient than I thought it would be. The real star of the room, though was the shower and tub. The shower is equipped with a rain-shower faucet, which is nice, but what is wonderful is the floor to ceiling window that you can look out of while you are taking a shower. By far, these were the most scenic showers I’ve taken in my life. Of course, there is a pull down curtain/shade that you can use so you are not giving people a show while in port. Just outside the shower is a separate tub with its own huge window. Above the tub and on the wall is yet another TV. This actually was convenient to have on when we were getting ready for dinner. The room is supplied with Bulgari soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. Ship General Areas: The ship is well maintained. There is a bit of wear on the carpet in the high-traffic areas of the ship, but it certainly didn’t fall into the “worn-out” category. While there are a good number of elevators, they tended to be slow. This didn’t impact us, however, as we declare a “no-elevator rule” whenever we cruise (it makes us feel better about all the food we are eating when we are walking the stairs). Of course, if we were not impacted by the slow elevators, the fact that most of the restaurants and clubs being on level 6 and 7 and our room being on floor 14 certainly gave us a workout. Our favorite gathering place was the Star Bar on deck 13. Beyond its convenient location to our room and Cagney’s, it also was the quietest, most intimate bar we found. Amit, our bartender in the Star, was great and made the best martinis on the ship. I was also glad to find that the Jade had a small cigar lounge. Unlike some cigar lounges I’ve been in on ships, this lounge had a great air scrubber that prevented the room from becoming overly saturated with smoke, even when there were several smoking cigars. The drawback to the ship, overall, is that it still screams Hawaii in all of its décor. The ship was originally christened as the Pride of Hawaii and NCL has done nothing to change its décor since renaming her the Jade in 2008. While it décor would be fine if it still was making its runs around the Hawaii islands, it seems out-of-place and even dated, given that she sails in the Caribbean and Europe today. We were told that she is due to go into dry-dock within the year. One could hope that the décor is changed out with this refitting. The Haven: We were anxious about sailing on a mass-market cruise line during Spring Break. As a hedge against our fears we decided to book a room in the Haven. We are so grateful that we did so. Unlike other parts of the ship, the access to the Haven is restricted to those who are booked in the Haven (and the Owner Suites). Within The Haven are eleven suites plus the two three-bedroom garden villas. As you open the key-card controlled door to the Haven, you are met by the change in décor. In the hallways, there is a nice cream carpet that stands in stark contrast to the bright Hawaiian greens, reds, and blues found around the rest of the ship. The Haven has a more refined feel to it. There are no inside cabins on this deck. Instead at the center of the Haven is the common area which consists of a small dining and beverage area, small dipping pool, hot tub, nice loungers and seating area and fitness area with showers and restrooms. There is also a stairwell to an exclusive sun deck on the 15th deck. Despite there being some 20 loungers on the deck, I never saw more than 5 or six people enjoying the views and the sun. Yes, there were children in the Haven’s pool. However, unlike the main pools used by everyone else on the ship, I never saw a child unattended. In fact, each family in the Haven seemed to be very respectful of each of the other passengers in the Haven. Throughout the day there was always cold water, juice, and coffee available in the dining/beverage area of the Haven. This area was also serviced by an attendant who stood ready to bring drinks from the bar or even bring room service. We learned that while drinks brought to your room would be charged to you, despite having an ultimate beverage package, you could order drinks to the Haven’s common area as part of the package. One negative is that food ordered to the Haven was rather slow…about 45 minutes from order to service. Drinks came much quicker, however. Beyond the value of the Haven’s not-so-common, common areas, the amenities that come with any suite-level room (not just the Haven) makes it nearly worth the price on their own. First of all, Cagney’s is opened for breakfast and lunch to only suite-level members or VIPs. Second, you have your own reserved balcony area in the Stardust Theater for any shows, complete with dedicated beverage server. But perhaps the most advantageous benefit is the priority disembarkation/tendering. Instead of fighting the masses and pulling a number for a tender, you simply meet in the Star Bar the morning of a port day and the concierge or his assistant will whisk you down a staff elevator to the fourth deck. Here, you are ushered ahead of the rest of the passengers attempting to get off the ship or tendering. It is a seamless, easy experience. Furthermore, you get to be served by Omar who is phenomenal. While Maxi would pop in on us to make sure everything is fine in our rooms, Omar seemed to be everywhere on the ship with a bright, infectious smile making sure that everything about our experience was perfect. No task or request seemed to be too big or too small. If it was possible, Omar made it so. Restaurants: With our cruise reservation, along with 240 minutes of internet, $50 off of shore excursions, and the ultimate beverage service, we also had the ultimate dining package included. Thus, we took the advantage of eating dinner in Cagney’s two nights, Le Bistro two nights, and the Moderno Churrascaria. Cagney’s and Le Bistro was solid. However, if you think that you are going to get a Michelin experience here, it’s not going to happen. Manage your expectations. We think it was better than a good Olive Garden or Outback, but probably not as good as that anniversary and birthday-only restaurant that you have back at home. That being said, the scallop dish at Le Bistro was to die for (I had a second serving of them both times we ate there). The steak and lamb was good. The duck at Le Bistro was so-so however. The service at Cagney’s was good, but not necessarily consistent. Service at Le Bistro was very good. Breakfast at Cagney’s was very good as was their lunch. On Wednesday night, we were fortunate enough to be among the dozen passengers (actually 11) who dined at the Chef’s Table. It was an additional $110 per person, but we felt it was worth it. Chef Rodney stayed with us the entire 9-course meal explaining each dish along with his own personal story and experiences. His asparagus soup was fantastic. The only missed dish was the veal which I felt was overcooked. However, I was pretty much stuffed by this course and did not send it back. The rest of the meal was spot-on. Our last night we ate at the Moderno Churrascaria. While the appetizer bar and service was very good, we had a mixed review on the meats. The ala-carte prices at the specialty restaurants were not unreasonable (if you discount the fact that you’ve already paid for dining at the other venues). Most entrees were between 15-25 dollars. Most appetizers were between 3-6 dollars. When the ship was in Roatan, we returned on-board early to enjoy the ship mostly to ourselves. We discovered that the buffet restaurant, usually swarming with passengers when at sea, actually was pretty good with a huge selection of items. We did have dining in our room one night. Maxi did a great job of setting it up for us. This was a relaxing way to have dinner from any of the restaurants in your room without the fuss of getting ready to meet the public. Entertainment: This was the first time in six cruises that we actually went to a show on a cruise ship and were very glad that we did so. We went to the Ukrainian gymnasts who were simply amazing. We also went to Elements which featured the performers of three of the ship’s nights (including the Ukrainians). This also was very, very well done. The other shows that we did not go to received good reviews by the other guests that we talked to who had gone to those shows. Spa: My wife had recently had surgery and chose not to partake in a massage as she usually does on the ship, although we both took advantage of the thermal spa suite. The ship only sells week passes to a limited number of cruisers and we were lucky to be in that number. Each gender has their own area with dry sauna, steam, hot tub, cold (very cold, btw) plunge pool, and relaxation area. Both areas open to a uni-sex relaxation area with reclining, heated relaxation chairs which are absolutely wonderful. There is also a hot-tub therapy pool in this area. The real treat is that this area is at the front of the ship with floor to ceiling windows looking out at the sea. This quickly became a must-do daily activity for us. While this is the only service we took advantage of in the spa, when she was walked through the spa by one of the attendants, my wife remarked it is the most beautiful spa of any ship she’s been on. Last thoughts: The cruise is not perfect. While service was friendly, it was spotty in places outside of our Butler, room steward, and Omar. Spotty mostly meaning a bit slow and non-attentive, but certainly not bad. There was not a single incident that I can point to and say I was upset or frustrated with the service. Just compared to some of the other cruises we’ve sailed on (mind you at a more premium price) the service had room to improve. While the ship was full and we never felt crowded, walking by the main pool during sea days reminded us that we made the right decision to go in the Haven. We saw the usual hording of chairs, unattended children, and mild intoxication that mostly drove our decision to upgrade. The only thing that was irksome was the business model that NCL has concerning its ultimate dining and beverage packages. I fully understand that the UBP only covers those drinks that are less than $15. The selections in that price point were fully acceptable to us. It does not cover bottled water, however, which we were initially disappointed with until we realize that you can order glasses of water anywhere for free. What we could not understand about the UBP was that ordering a coffee at one of the bars was an additional charge, not covered by the UBP. However, if you asked them to put Baileys in that same coffee, it was automatically covered by the UBP as a bar drink. What we didn’t think to do was to order a virgin Baileys and see what they would have done. While I didn’t have any real issues with the UDP, I was disappointed when we booked our next 2 cruises that suite-level rooms no longer include the UDP as a promotion. Instead, they include a Specialty Dining Package that only allows for four nights at a specialty restaurant. This confuses me as at the price point that we are paying for our rooms, it is not about the money. In fact, NCL could easily tack on an additional $75 per guest in the suites to offset the cost of the additional dinners and it would not be noticed. It would, however, give the illusion of a more inclusive experience and better value. On our next two cruises, we will likely eat at the specialty restaurants as frequently as we did this cruise, despite having to pay ala-carte for three of the meals. It’s not about the money. I appreciate the approach of NCL’s sister cruise line, Regent, which is fully all-inclusive. While I am careful not to compare the two cruise lines, I think that NCL is missing a huge opportunity to create much of that same all-inclusive experience for its highest paying passengers. Hope to sail with you in March 2017 on the NCL Dawn and in August 2017 on the NCL Escape. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was my first cruise and my husband's first as an adult. We enjoyed it very much. It was very low stress and relaxing. We plan to do more cruising the the future. Ship: The ship was clean, well maintained, and nicely ... Read More
This was my first cruise and my husband's first as an adult. We enjoyed it very much. It was very low stress and relaxing. We plan to do more cruising the the future. Ship: The ship was clean, well maintained, and nicely appointed. While each bar had its own vibe and decor, the three dining rooms were all very much the same. Once I was in a dining room, I couldn't tell which one I was in. It would have been nice if the dining rooms had more varied decor for variety. At anytime of the day or night I could find a quiet spot to read, play board games (we brought a few with us) or watch the water. Or you can always find a lively spot if you prefer. The staff was mostly good but not exceptional. We didn't use the pools but there a lot of them. At least one was adult only with hardly anyone in it. Still the pools were a little small. I would have used one if there had been a lap pool. Dining: We had anytime dining with the unlimited soft drink package. The dining was not really "anytime" as we often waited in a long line for a table. I loved the food in the dining room but my husband did not care for it. It was too gourmet with too much sauce on everything for his tastes. He normally love Eggs Benedict but was disappointed by that dish in the dining room. I loved my dining room breakfast. The best part of smoked salmon and cream cheese on a toasted bagel. Also good granola and yogurt. At dinner, on the first night I ordered a cheese tart (which is an entree) for desert and they were confused for a second but were happy to oblige. At our last meal in the dining room, I didn't like my beef wellington and they happily replaced it with something else more to my liking. Also, the soft drinks served in the dining room were flat and they seemed mostly unwilling to fix the problem. One server, sent his assistant to a nearby bar for our soft drinks and another brought us soft drinks in a can. But others were less helpful all the manager did was blame it on the manufacturer of the drink dispenser. The buffet lacked variety. In the AM the eggs were cold and the pastries stale. We also ate one night in the Italian restaurant and once in the Steak House. The food in the Italian restaurant was okay but not really worth it. The service was mostly wonderful but ... at another table one passenger had taken off his shoes and socks and was getting a foot massage from his son. It was formal night and this seemed well outside the dress code. Even at McDonald's you have to wear shoes. I complained to the waitress but she said there was nothing she could do about it. Not very romantic. The steak house was wonderful. The service there was superb as was the food and atmosphere. We would have eaten there again but it was our last night on board the ship. Even with our soft drink package we had to show our ship ID every time we ordered a beverage. I bought a lanyard (none provided) so that I would always have it on me in easy reach. My husband kept his in his wallet and got very tired of taking it out. We would have been willing to pay more it we could have ordered drinks without the fiddlyness of showing our card every time. Next time we will skip the drinks package and stick to the included drinks of water, tea, coffee. Be warned at least one bar charges for basic coffee even though basic coffee is supposedly included in the cost of the cruise. Entertainment and Activities: I was disappointed that there weren't more scheduled activities. I like more live music and dancing. I'd also like presentations about the upcoming ports covering history, culture, geography, and economy but none were offered. We went to one show in the theater which we enjoyed but there was too much opera singing for my husband's taste. The best activity was the star gazing but it was only offered once the entire cruise. Also, they turn off deck lights on the top deck to better see the stars (good) but when the talk is over they turn the lights back on (bad) so that you have no time just to look without all the yammering. They said it was for safety but they could have given us 30 more min of supervised (for safety) but silent dark to just soak in the night sky. Also the talk was all about the mythology and nothing about astronomy. I would also have liked a talk about ship operation and navigation. Ports: The towns are very poor and ugly. There is nothing glamorous, exotic, beautiful, or quaint about them. The water was gorgeous. The weather was warm and pleasant. Shore Excursions: We booked an excursion for each port and were happy with them. When we first booked, we wanted to do the the America's Cup Race but it was wait-listed so we booked a snorkel thing instead. Luckily someone canceled and we got into the America's Cup Race and had no difficulty canceling the snorkeling but we did have to ask them to do it. It was not automatic. Then, because the water was so beautiful and we weren't doing the snorkeling, we asked to change one of our other excursions to include time at a beach where we could snorkel and we had no problems getting that taken care of either. In Cozumel we did the America's Cup 12-Metre Yacht Race. I highly recommend it. We hope to do that excursion again it was so much fun. In Roatan we did the Gumbalimba Preservation Nature Park & Scenic Drive. We added time at the beach to this one and it came with lunch. It was okay. The scenic drive wasn't very scenic and we didn't get enough time with the monkeys. The lunch was cold hamburgers and there wasn't enough food. The beach was wonderful but the snorkeling was just so so. In Belize we did the Lamanai Mayan Ruins,Mangrove River Cruise & Lunch. I'm glad I saw the ruins once but they were not very interesting compared with ruins I've seen in Europe. The river cruise was loud and windy. Don't expect to see wildlife. I think the noise of the boat scared it all away. Lunch was very good, home-cooked, and the best meal we had on the entire vacation. Embarkation/Disembarkation: The cruise leaves out of our home city. In the morning we drove to the cruise terminal. Parking was easy and check in was low stress. The waiting room could be more comfortable and better appointed but it serves its purpose. We were early and some of the first to board. We had plenty of time to get lunch on board, take a self guided tour of the ship, and unpack. Then sit on the back deck, enjoy a drink and discuss the geography of the area. Then we sailed away thru the ship channel and watched the land pass by. At the ports, getting on and off the ship was easy if a little crowded. At the end of the cruise we had a choice of walking off with our luggage or having them unload or luggage for us. With the second option you have to pick a specific time to disembark. We wanted to be flexible so we chose the first option only to find out that those folks have to get off first very early so we switched the the second option but had to give them our luggage the night before. In the end it turned out well but it could have been better explained in the first place. We were looking for a relaxing stress-reducing week and we got it. We especially liked that there was no air travel involved nor long car drives like all our previous vacations. It was also very affordable. We understand that this is that last season that they are offering the cruise out of Houston but we will take a similar cruise again in the future out of Galveston. We will do the America's Cup Race again and spend the other days snorkeling off a sail boat. We will try a different cruise line in hopes of better dining. We will get an interior cabin towards the front of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Well this was our first NCL cruise, having gone on Carnival our other two trips. We found the cruise lines very comparable. Embarkation was fine, a bit of a line but went smoothly, on boat with in half hour and we got to port ... Read More
Well this was our first NCL cruise, having gone on Carnival our other two trips. We found the cruise lines very comparable. Embarkation was fine, a bit of a line but went smoothly, on boat with in half hour and we got to port around 1:00pm. Can't recommend paying the $100pp for the NCL transportation since we arrived at 10:30am and had to wait for a few flights to arrive before we could get the bus out. Waited about 1.5 hours in airport. No biggie but would rather not linger and would also like to pick up some water to take aboard. Our stateroom was an ocean view on deck 5 (2nd from bottom) and it was perfect. Room #5084 was purchased as midship and was the first room in hallway after the aft elevators. Quick trip above to Alizar, one of two main dining rooms. Also the casino and the multi-faceted bar area with Carlos singing was on deck 6. Easy access baby! The room, though smaller than Carnival was great! Lots of storage for my wife and I and bathroom area so well laid out it seemed larger! Our room attendant was David, and he was awesome! Always treated us with a towel animal included some new ones for us!! Ship was great, lots of eateries, good food everywhere including the buffet meals. We had a 3 night upgraded dining package and enjoyed Moderno, Tapanyaki and loved Cagney's on our last night. However, the other nights we ate at the buffet once (great), and Alizar 3 times which we loved. I had the best steak there! Didnt bother venturing to the Grand Pacific Dining room as Alizar was so close to our room and had the same menu. They also handled my gluten allergy with precision! Always ordered a day ahead for dinner and had no issues. Meals were done is about an hour or a bit more. Perfect. Entertainment I thought was the best we have seen. Always seemed to be multiple performers in different parts of the ship, show in Stardust were great and games shows in the Spinnaker were fun. Didn't play any Bingo, gaming in casino was better than I recall on Carnival. Exception was Blackjack was 6-5 at low levels, cost $25/hand or more to play 3-2 so didn't bother. Qualified for BJ finals on Tuesday and score held up. Finished 2nd in tourney and got a fun tshirt and a bottle of wine. (one card away from the $500 first prize). Fun slot tournament and holdem tournament as well. We highly recommend sitting near Martini Bar and watching/listening to Carlos, his voice is just great and he is so friendly and appreciative. Plays requests all week. Bar service was fine. We had the booze package and loved it. If you can get it included for free like we did it is such a good value. After prepaying the booze package tips nobody treated us differently because we weren't tipping again. Sure the pool bars get busy at times so we tended to wait until crowd went down to stroll up. Aloha bar in main atrium was dependable for service and no lines. Debarkation was a bit of a rigor marole. Lineups were all down the stairs by our room and slow. This may be blamed on the weather (which was perfect the rest of the week) as it was so windy they couldn't use the walkway to the terminal. We chose to take our own luggage off and it went smoothly after we left the ship. Walked right out. Overall a great cruise and good value as our booze package was included with our ocean view room. We will sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had fantastic weather, great excursions and enjoyed the cruise. We arrived on the Friday and checked into the Doubletree beside the Bush Airport it had a supplied shuttle and we went to a cajun restaurant down the street and had ... Read More
We had fantastic weather, great excursions and enjoyed the cruise. We arrived on the Friday and checked into the Doubletree beside the Bush Airport it had a supplied shuttle and we went to a cajun restaurant down the street and had fantastic seafood dishes. We bought a few drinks and snacks for the cruise had a leisurely breakfast and ordered an uber to get us to the port. It was simple and quick and cost $47 for the two of us. We checked our bags and checked in for the cruise we got zone 5 and loaded the boat approx. noon. We went ot our room and checked it out small but functional, the mattresses looked worn and had a ridge in the middle of the mattresses. We had room 5574 mid ship, I liked the location we spent a lot of time on the 6th floor evenings in the lounges and ate at Alizar 3 times. We had dinner in the Grand Pacific I had made reservations and we got the worst possible table beside the prep station this pissed me off a little, service was good and we enjoyed the meal. Cozumel we just went ashore and wandered around doing some shopping, the Mexican vendors are very aggressive and i wanted to pummel a few of them they were so disrespectful, ask for a price and then the pressure sales tactics after were rediculous. Belize- The highlight, swam with the sharks and Rays had a great lunch on the island. The tour company was great and we booked through NCL. Honduras=--We went on the Jolly Roger catamaran snorkeling adventure, great snorkeling and friendly staff good lunch and beautiful soroundings Overall lots of fun we met some great people enjoyed the musicians in the lounges nightly, the comedy and acrobatic shows were excellent. The magic show was ok not my thing. I don't know if I will cruise again I prefer to go to a destination and explore it more than the 6hr window that you get with cruising. We loved Belize and will make that a future destination to visit. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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
The cruise my wife and booked and what we actually sailed ended up being two different things entirely; and while there was disappointment that we we unable to dock in Key West, we did end up going to Nassau which was very nice. Before I ... Read More
The cruise my wife and booked and what we actually sailed ended up being two different things entirely; and while there was disappointment that we we unable to dock in Key West, we did end up going to Nassau which was very nice. Before I proceed with this review any further, I need to address some misinformation provided in the previous review by bcsjr. In fairness to Princess they did send my wife and I an email the Friday prior to sailing that due to a generator issue (not an engine problem as suggested in the other review) the ship would skip Princess Cays (their private island) and would be replaced by a stop in Nassau so the ship could return to Houston in time. Secondly, while we did skip Key West due to strong winds causing unsafe docking (on a sunny day I might point out) we ended up spending an extra day at sea. Princess provided compensation of $50 per person in the form of on-board credit as well was 25% of the fare we paid as a credit towards a future cruise. All of this we found fair and more than reasonable. While we were disappointed, we did not let it ruin our vacation unlike many other passengers who complained the whole trip endlessly. If you travel by ship, you have to be more flexible and understanding and not so rigid and demanding like we found so many of our fellow passengers to be. Embarkation was very smooth. My wife uses a wheelchair and the staff were amazing and we were on-board in no time. The only issue we had was the dining noted on our cruise cards was incorrect and I had to stand in line at passenger services once we boarded to get it fixed so they reflected the dining preference I had confirmed for months in Princess' Cruise Personalizer. I try to avoid these long lines on the ship on the first day, but it was handled very well by the passenger services staff. I did find that they are a tad jaded, most likely from dealing with so many people yelling at them. As for the cruise, the entertainment was very good. They had a visiting Soprano on the ship who was amazing we saw her in the production of Bravo and during her own show on the last day. The ships singers and dancers were average (some nails on chalkboard moments). We also experience the Voice of the Ocean patterned after the TV show and found the passenger talent to be quite good and the judges very funny. This cruise also played host to Princess' annual Entertainer of the Year Awards where they showcased a singer, comedian and magician who are supposed to represent the best of Princess. The singer was good, the magician was kids birthday party level, but the comedian (AJ Jamal) was fantastic and really funny as well as very nice and personable when you saw him around the ship (he always engaged the passengers). We were not a fan of the Wake Show the cruise director did everyday on TV, it was one endless infomercial for EFFY (the only jewelry line on the ship) and really told us nothing about the ship, activities or ports of call. Dining room and food were fantastic and when we did have an issue it was quickly rectified by our amazing waiter Abel. We ate all of our meals in either the dining room, International Cafe or room service (which was timely and good); we avoid buffets given the "piggy" and rude nature of our fellow passengers in this type of venue. Our idea of dining is not dealing with lines of aggressive, pushy people who think they will never eat again unless they elbow someone for a sandwich. Overall we had a great time. We did not do any excursions given the limitation of wheelchair accessible options, so we explored Nassau and Freeport on our own which worked out just fine (and made easier by the incredible weather). As Platinum members we did enjoy a few perks, but Princess could learn a few things from Royal Caribbean and ramp up the perks. Finally, as for the condition of the ship; it was in very good condition overall and seemed to be maintained well in the public areas. We did have some issues with the cabin which I will address in the cabin review. This was our third time on this ship over the last 2 years and we found the staff friendly and the ship easy to navigate, especially for someone with accessibility issues. My biggest disappointment came from some of our fellow passengers who need to learn better manners. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Our embarkation port was Houston (Bayport). It's about 60 to 90 minutes depending on traffic, from the airport to cruise terminal. We drive our car car and park on site for about $100/wk. safe gated area. Embarkation is very ... Read More
Our embarkation port was Houston (Bayport). It's about 60 to 90 minutes depending on traffic, from the airport to cruise terminal. We drive our car car and park on site for about $100/wk. safe gated area. Embarkation is very efficient. Usually no long lines. Very informal boarding. No officers in site. Mostly security who are very quick about scanning cards. We did not disembark except at mahagony bay. Nice chair lift ride to the beach. There is a fee. Food on board was average cruise fare. With the exception of breakfast at Sabitinis each morning. (A suite perk) varied menu and well prepared. The steak house was also very nice. Although too much food. Bar service at crooners was very good. Ask for an Amalfi Collins. This itinerary is familiar to us, we have taken it several years in a row. We've sailed with Princess over 20 times and have been generally pleased with food, service, entertainment, cleanliness of our staterooms, and value for our money. We are experienced cruisers having sailed with other lines as well. We experienced multiple issues with the cleanliness of our suite. We were surprised, discouraged and disappointed in the level of response and lack of concern shown by PRINCESS corporate offices toward our problem. We presented the problems we encountered on this cruise (with photos) and how it interfered with the quality of our vacation. We were in F305 Grand Turk Suite. We had issues with the cleanliness of the suite on arrival. There were food crumbs on furniture and under the couch on the floor, stained and grimy entry door, sticky drawer pulls, pubic hair in the tub, stains on the walls, and hair in the sheets. The shower had black mold and loose caulk along the shower floor. There was rust and mold on the inside and outside of the shower door. We talked with our room steward and he was sure he could fix the problems. We also heard from the housekeeping deck supervisor who assured us all issues would be resolved. The shower was not useable until Wednesday evening, 4 days into a 7 day cruise. My husband is 100% disabled and getting into and showering in an open tub was cold, causing him pain and discomfort, not to mention stressing his immune system. We asked for compensation for our unsatisfactory suite from customer service. We visited with Customer Service Reps on board who sincerely tried to help aleviate the situation. Five (5) days into the cruise I took more photos to show that the room was still not being cleaned properly, and showed them to the Customer Service Supervisor. The customer Service Rep came to our suite and was visibly repulsed by what she saw. She was only authorized to offer a very low amount of compensation for our hard earned money. We told her it was inadequate. She emailed corporate offices shore side on our behalf, explaining our dissatisfaction with the amount of cruise credit they were willing to credit to our account. Our cruise cost approx. $3100 US. We asked for $800 refund, about 25% the cost of the cruise. Corporate shoreside first offered $350.00. We refused this amount and then the home shore office offered $450, about 15% of our cruise cost. We had issues with our room daily, and no shower until 4 days into the cruise, We have emailed and spoke on the phone with a shore customer relation representative and have been unable to resolve this issue. As I stated we have cruised with PRINCESS over 21 times and hold stock in the parent company. We have always been confident that if there were issues or problems arose they would act as a reputable company and back their product. We are elite members in the captains circle program, but are SERIOUSLY QUESTIONING WHETHER TO CONTINUE WITH PRINCESS as our go to cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I sailed for our anniversary last week out of Houston on the Caribbean Princess. It was our third cruise, second on Princess. This trip was NOTHING like our experience on the Tahitian Princess 13 years ago. We decided to ... Read More
My husband and I sailed for our anniversary last week out of Houston on the Caribbean Princess. It was our third cruise, second on Princess. This trip was NOTHING like our experience on the Tahitian Princess 13 years ago. We decided to upgrade to a mini suite for the larger shower/bathtub combination. Overall, we had a great time in the ports and enjoyed spending time together. I have never wanted a vacation to end before this trip and could not wait to get off the ship. I am fine with an older ship (only 11 years old) but there is a difference between older and not taken care of properly. Our experience with the food, water quality and stateroom/ship maintenance needs take the forefront. The rest still heavily contributed to our disappointment. We have notified our travel agent (with pictures) and have completed the online survey form with Princess. Although it has only been a few days, we have not heard anything back yet. If I was a future or prospective passenger, I would want someone to tell me about their experience. We like to give credit where credit is due, here is the "good" and the "bad" of our trip. Good: Transfers/Embarkation/Debarkation: Transfer from the airport to the Four Seasons then to the ship was great. Good service and no issues. The embarkation process was about 15 minutes and our stateroom was ready right away. Debarkation and transfer to the airport was just as seamless and quick. Weather: I know there was no control over this-weather was great and seas were calm for the whole trip. Pools/Deck/Gym: Pools on board were larger than other ships we have been on. They were not crowded and they were clean. There was plenty of space on deck and there were plenty of chairs and towels. The hot tubs were small and full of people-not inviting to us. The ship did not seem crowded otherwise. Gym was nice and we could always find a machine the couple of times we went. Wish there were more classes and that they didn't charge extra for some of them (yoga, boot camp). Specialty restaurants: Both were good. Sabatinis even better. The food quality and service was what we were used to getting on a cruise vacation. The staff provided the best service we experienced on the ship and would rival the best service we have had anywhere. Wine Bar: One of our favorite places on the ship. Wine is always good, but Jack and Arvin provided exceptional service. They were among the few staff members on the ship who were actually smiling. The tapas and sushi were a nice touch. Pillows/robes: The pillows were good and I liked having a robe. The Bad: 1. Water quality: Even though we booked a mini suite, we were unable to use the bathroom from day 3-7 of the cruise. After our second port in Roatan (day 3), our shower and sink water intermittently turned from dark brown, to light brown to yellow....sometimes went back clear but we were already completely grossed out. Once we thought it might be fixed it would happen all over again. We had to brush our teeth with bottled water and use a shower in a standard stateroom downstairs. We asked for and were provided with this "solution". NOT what we paid for. We had about 10 maintenance staff come through over the course of three days. None of them seemed to be communicating and my husband had to "prove" the color of the water. One of them even stated that it was because the sink was colored and had a brown tint (is that any better?). We were told that they had not tested the water and there seemed to be varying opinions regarding what was wrong with the plumbing and/or water supply. I still don't know if they found or fixed the problem. 2. Stateroom: Our mini suite was not only outdated but it was also worn and dirty. The carpet was dirty, the drawers had other people's hair in it, the shower and bathroom tile had black and other mold in the grout lines. The couch was filthy and the bed had indentions where it was worn out. If it was my mattress at home I would throw it away. The furniture was similar to an beaten up motor home. Some of the drawers in the desk were hard to use. I only ended up using one drawer after cleaning it out myself. The shelves in the bathroom seemed to have a film of hairspray or something else on them. The balcony had white spattered white paint on the blue deck floor and the patio furniture. The railing wood was cracking and needed to be re-stained, the ship metal showed rust and needed to be painted. The patio chairs were usable but not cared for. 2. Food: I am not a picky eater and really like all types of food but this was some of the worst food I have ever had. After three nights in the main dining room we stopped going due to food quality and mediocre service. We skipped dinner completely another night. A FAR cry from what we experienced on Princess before. The beef was grey and tough...food was bland (no seasonings or spices even when it said it was "spicy"). Main courses were probably the worst. We were offered to try other dishes but were done with the experience by that point. Appetizers and desserts were just OK. We tried the Palm dining room at lunch and it was just as bad or worse. Room service was mediocre without the ability to get the order right (no mayo on sandwiches, etc.). Coffee in all parts of the ship except for the coffee bar (extra cost) was terrible and weak. Could not eat the pizza or the burgers by the pool. Meat carnival cheap and the pepperoni tasted bad. The buffet was also bad with several trips through without anything on my plate. The scrambled eggs were so bad I spit them out, fruit not cut off the rind (especially pineapple and cantaloupe), not many healthy vegetable choices except for a small salad bar. The omlet bar was edible and I'm glad I accidentally found it. Over the entire week, we had three good meals on the ship and they were all in the specialty restaurants. On the first day we completed the request to have fresh fruit brought to our stateroom daily. It never showed up. 3. General ship state: The ship is LONG overdue for maintenance and overhaul even though it is not that old. Needed to be painted (with taping off), including railings, hull of the ship, etc. A lot of rust is showing throughout the ship. Many of the bathroom toilet stalls in the public areas were out of order. Several doorways were being fixed/upgraded and were blocked off. Some repairs by the pool provided a loud saw and drill noise atmosphere as people were trying to nap. Maybe do this on embarkation/debarkation days or take this ship out of circulation more often for these repairs. I know that does not make money...... 4. Staff Attitude/Attention to Detail: We can count on one hand how many crew members actually seemed happy or provided a smile. I can understand if the passengers are not cared for, I'm sure the crew might be treated poorly as well. General poor attitude and no motivation for attention to detail. Too much "selling" for every little thing all week. 5. Internet Fees & Service: We felt we had to purchase an internet package to send emails to our three kids back home. Wow do they overcharge and the service was spotty. Interesting that I have had better (and included or cheap) internet service on an airplane traveling much faster than a cruise ship. 6. Don't waste your time with the Thermal Suite. We paid about $200 to use it for the week and found that they were not keeping track of others who did not pay using the facility. The area was small and I wish they had soap for my face at least in the showers in the private area. They did not keep the eucalyptus going in the one steam room. We saw people from the regular spa area and otherwise come to use the thermal room. This made me not want to book the spa services that I had planned on booking. Spa area did look nice, seemed a little pricey. We enjoyed our time together and found fun in the ports. This is what salvaged our vacation, the first without kids in 7 years. We only booked our excursion in Roratan through the ship. It was a beach day at Tabaya beach. Beautiful setting, great facility, too many people and peddlers. The other two were through ShoreTrips through our travel agent (Belize Cave Tubing-VIV Tours-awesome!) and Viator (food tour in Cozumel-awesome!). Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We booked this cruise about 8 weeks before sailing to get away from the rainy Pacific Northwest and once again Princess delivered a great holiday. We got lucky and did not have to deal with fog or high winds in the Houston port area so ... Read More
We booked this cruise about 8 weeks before sailing to get away from the rainy Pacific Northwest and once again Princess delivered a great holiday. We got lucky and did not have to deal with fog or high winds in the Houston port area so our embarkation and disembarkation went like clockwork. Princess gets high grades for overall service from the friendly crew, excellent dining, and superb entertainment. The single person acts from comedians Carl Strong and Steve Moris were lots of fun and left us wanting to see them again. The "Piano Man" and "Do You Wanna Dance" production shows are old Princess staples but with new voices, dancers, and costuming they continue to be fresh and very enjoyable. The new production show "Bravo" was absolutely brilliant and I hope we get to see it again. The voices of the 4 primary singers were showcased in several genres of music and the show was thrilling. Activities run by the Cruise Director's staff were excellent with a particular nod to the game shows and trivia contests. The adagio dancers and the violin duo did a fine job with their acts in the piazza. All of our dinners were presented well and the quantity and quality of food served left nothing to be desired. It's nice to see some new menu items. Arman and Francisco were a great wait staff team in the Coral Dining Room. They usually brought us a small sample of the evening pasta to go with our entree's and that was a nice touch. We enjoyed the International Café offerings for breakfast and lunch which we took up to our balcony and enjoyed the view while eating. Our cabin on the Caribe Deck amidships was wonderful and Henry our cabin steward was mighty nice and good at what he does. Port calls occurred in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, and Cozumel. We walked to Mahogany Bay in Roatan strolling past the tourist trap gift shops and decided we should have gone snorkeling instead. We took a cave-tubing excursion in Belize that was wonderful and a great value. Eight ships (and about 30,000 passengers and crew) were in Cozumel on the day of our port visit so we pretty much steered clear of the town that day. The only sad part of the cruise was the post-cruise shore excursion to the Johnson Space Center. Advertised as a 2 hour 15 minute tour we had about 1 hour 20 minutes of time to tour JSC and the guide's direction to take a tram tour to the Orion Deep Space Mission Control Center and the astronaut training facility was a dud. We waited 20 minutes for the tram to depart and we got perhaps 15 minutes of content In an hour long period that was meaningful. Our guide was sub-standard and we were told we had to be back on the bus that would take us to the airport at noon. None of the 45+ people on our bus had a flight that departed before 3:30pm and we got to the airport in time to wait 90 minutes for the check-in counter to open. The Princess Shore Excursion office responded to my letter describing the poor excursion which they had contracted from a Houston vendor in a VERY satisfactory manner, well beyond what I expected them to do. Their conciliatory tone and desire to do what was right is commendable. JSC has great potential as a good excursion but you need to have a good guide and you need at least 2+hours to see the exhibits (forego the trams!). We are not very keen with the new structure of the boutiques. Now that EFFY has a stranglehold on jewelry we don't see the variety we used to like. There did not seem to be much in the way of reasonably priced clothing items and accessories and we did not see too many people in the shops which suggests Princess has a bit of a problem in this area. We thought the ship was in good shape and the ongoing maintenance effort continues to be a strength. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After about 14 cruises, this may be one of the best Norwegian Cruises I've ever been on. Stayed overnight pre and post cruise at Springhill Suites near Hobby airport for free using points (used their shuttle to dinner and to purchase ... Read More
After about 14 cruises, this may be one of the best Norwegian Cruises I've ever been on. Stayed overnight pre and post cruise at Springhill Suites near Hobby airport for free using points (used their shuttle to dinner and to purchase a case of water for the trip). We were at the terminal about 10 am to check-in the next morning using Super Shuttle from the airport, did organized boarding beginning at 11:30 am with Group 1 and we dropped of our luggage in our cabin by 11:45 am. It was very smooth. I've been on the Jade before and compared to some of the Carnival trips, I really liked the lay out of this ship. We were on deck 8 midship and since there was no center atrium open (as on other ships), the music didn't bother us. For example, we loved Deck 7 since we could walk around the ship at all hours. The food in the complimentary dining rooms was simply fabulous. I ate at some of the specialty restaurants on past NCL cruises and it's really not necessary. We had no wait for any dining room. My husband likes the idea of eating whenever we're ready rather than having a set time. We enjoyed spending time on Deck 6 next to Le Bistro with the champagne bar and piano player. The Star Bar and Spinnaker Lounge was great for reading a book while watching the waves. We had the unlimited beverage package and the bartenders were very accommodating with us trying different drinks. The service each day was fine. The internet was very slow and I heard many people get frustrated. The only thing that would probably need some improvement would be the gift shop. It was a large gift shop, but not much variety, especially for kids. On a few recent Carnival trips, there were substantial 50% savings on their duty free items like perfumes, colognes, cosmetics and alcohol. We did four shore excursions through NCL. Passion Island Beach Day in Cozumel was very good, the water was cold, food and drinks were included. There's a Starbucks at the end of the pier with free wifi. Altun Ha Ruins in Belize was also very good, 1 hour bus trip to the site, small restaurant with excellent beer and some shopping, free internet at the port with better shopping. Maya Key Beach Day in Roatan was the best, food was excellent, nice to see wildlife as well! There was also ziplining available at the port over the water for $30 or $40. The last excursion was being offered at the same price as a transfer to the airport and it included over 3 hours of a city tour in Houston with a few stops. We were off the ship about 8:30 am with the tour group. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
just got off CB. It is excellent value for a cruise and it is a shame it is not going to be based in Houston after April. Activities were numerous-at times you could not do everything you wanted. Service was excellent-a throwback to days ... Read More
just got off CB. It is excellent value for a cruise and it is a shame it is not going to be based in Houston after April. Activities were numerous-at times you could not do everything you wanted. Service was excellent-a throwback to days before now when more cabins per worker and more tables mean a decrease in service. We did Cozumel, which has a nice new shopping pier there, Roatan, and Belize with their Maya ruins, beaches and many attractions. Our balcony cabin was clean and well kept with no evidence of wear. Dining was excellent-never ran out of things to eat. Entertainment was the star-the 3 dance floors were the best we have seen, and the main theater shows were very good-talented and entertaining. Embarkation took 1 1/2 hours, but disembarkation only 30 minutes. In all-it was a very good ship especially for the rate we got. Would go again. We are diamond on Royal, but Princess has a better product-at least on this our first Princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We are sophisticated, educated world travelers, accustomed to 5 star accommodations, yet keep coming back to Princess because of its overall excellence, traditions and summer camp spirit, comfort, excursion choices, good food and wine. ... Read More
We are sophisticated, educated world travelers, accustomed to 5 star accommodations, yet keep coming back to Princess because of its overall excellence, traditions and summer camp spirit, comfort, excursion choices, good food and wine. What a VALUE ! Truly a bargain. This was our 7 th Princess cruise. Sailed once on Celebrity and were disappointed. And are put off by upscale, pretentious, absurdly expensive lines like Regent, Seabourne, Silver Sea etc. There were many dire, negative reviews about this cruise, which generated much pre-cruise anxiety, but none of them materialized for us. Embarkation was slow for regular passengers, but speedy for Elite ones ( Platinum ( us), Suites etc). But overall highly organized. Princess consistently excels at moving large groups of people efficiently. Port of Houston ugly and strange, set amongst refineries, and a boring, unscenic 35 min cab ride from our Four Seasons hotel downtown. But, that said, Houston a relatively short easy flight from California, so we're sorry to hear Princess abandoning this port for good We sailed away 7 hours late due to major underwater repairs ( didn't inspire confidence), but our schedule and itinerary were not affected. The Caribbean Princess decor looks rather dated and tired, but ship was immaculate, spotless. And still a very pretty Italian- built ship. Great care was taken to avoid Norovirus around the ship, in bathrooms and buffet. Our mini-suite was immaculate ( I'm a stickler) and very comfortable, and whoever designed that space initially, a genius. Love the full bath, large closet, generous storage ( more than we heavy packers with 2 50 lb bags could even fill!) 2 flatscreen TV's, down pillows, comfortable, large bed. Comfy waffle weave robes. Terrible stiff towels. But serviceable. Our steward Robert, could not have been more friendly, attentive, responsive, and hardworking. Food choices were varied and good to great ( in Crown Grill and Sabatini's--well worth the extra cover charge). I've been a gourmet cook for decades. My husband is an oenophile and found the wine list excellent and well-chosen. Enjoyed the International Cafe in the Atrium--lovely for a quick bite of pastry, gourmet salads and sandwiches. Service was attentive and professional. Waitstaff mostly well-trained and friendly. Especially ( this applies to all crew) if you make the effort to engage them, inquire about their home country, etc. Only downside, terrible un drinkable poorly mixed cocktails. Entertainment was, well mostly, entertaining. Princess Theatre comfortable and attractive venue. Professional Princess Orchestra/band outstanding. Dancers & singers attractive and talented. Loved their youthful energy. Glitzy, hokey but fast- paced musical shows. Outstanding comic/musician Steve Moris. Standing O. Ship activities: the usual variety. Mostly low-brow and hokey, like bingo. Terrible art auction of unmitigated shlock art. Princess should upgrade with some lectures/ cultural/ nature activities.for the college-educated. But overall, what you'd expect. If you have mediocre expectations, you'll be fine. I do love that something fun and silly is always going on in the pretty Atrium. And enjoy the live music there. Crew was mostly young, friendly, international, trained to please. It's fun to engage them and ask about their home countries. Then many bloom. The rude, impatient Internet Cafe manager was a disgrace. And the Internet pricey and slow. Wonderful, varied, and adventurous excursion choices. Roatan snorkel and catamaran sail delightful. Roatan was a charming stop. Unspoiled island. We had cool weather in Belize. Highly recommend the Lamanai Ruins excursion. But not for the faint of heart--jungle " cruise" is actually wild 50 mile long speedboat ride. Risky but exhilarating. Ship anchored quite far out from Belize City and long tender ride to shore an adventure in itself. More cool weather in Cozumel and our snorkel/ sail was sadly cancelled. But fine to explore Cozumel all day. I should add how impressed we are by the thoroughness and efficiency of the first afternoon's Muster Drill. Princess takes safety very seriously and crew appears well prepared. We experienced a shockingly chaotic one on Celebrity. Now to the tricky part. The demographic that sails with Princess isn't our social/ educational demographic. Some are truly boorish, clueless schlubs and shleppers. The quintessential Ugly Americans. That said, most are solid, friendly, well-behaved middle Americans who are enthusiastic and open to trying something new. They go all-out on formal night. Good for them. But we'd love to make some new like-minded friends on these cruises. Guess the solution is to bring a group of friends. Overall, an enjoyable, well-managed cruise---and tremendous value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We take a cruise every year, typically in January and usually to the Caribbean. We have travelled on various cruise lines NCL, Celebrity, RCCL, Princess and Carnival. We choose this trip based on the itinerary and because we wanted to see ... Read More
We take a cruise every year, typically in January and usually to the Caribbean. We have travelled on various cruise lines NCL, Celebrity, RCCL, Princess and Carnival. We choose this trip based on the itinerary and because we wanted to see ruins in Belize. It was a bonus to us that we left out of Houston do we did not have airfare, it is unfortunate that the Houston cruise terminal is closing but not a deal breaker. The Jade was great. There isn't as much Hawaiian decor as I expected from other reviews although I would have enjoyed it as I have travelled to Hawaii many times. Every NCL employee we encountered offered a greeting and were smiling, this was great! Two days before our cruise I was offered the opportunity to upgrade and took it as a surprise for my other half, it was worth every cent! We went from a balcony to a 2 bedroom in the Haven. There were plenty of activities on board that kept us entertained. The shows were very good, we enjoy the singing and dancing. The only thing we did not care for with regard to the shows were the push to purchase their DVD at the end, while I expect this it shouldn't be a 10 minute pitch. We took two ship excursions one in Belize to Altun Ha which was amazing, I have been to Tulum many times and enjoyed seeing ruins with a jungle background instead of the beach. While it was drizzling it was perfect for pictures and walking the ruins, it would be very hot without the clouds. The road was fine with very little over dirt, less than a mile. We would have liked at least an hour rot explore on our own but knew it would be short. We will return and visit these ruins and others in the future. The second was in Roatan where we went to Maya Key and enjoyed the sunny day with great snorkeling and beach time. The water was calm and clear and fish abundant. The beach was clean and we did not experience issues with any bugs. They are a rescue and do a good job caring for the animals, employees were fantastic, attentive and always willing to answer questions. This excursion included lunch which was very good and plentiful. Cash bar was extremely reasonable and device very quick, be sure to bring cash for this. We chose to eat in the included venues for meals and found the service to be excellent. There are so many choices each day and they are happy to make modifications to plates for your taste. We had the Ultimate Beverage plan and always had prompt service. Only complaint is that we enjoy wine and the wine by the glass selection was a be lacking but that only allowed us to experiment with other cocktails. We will cruise again with NCL probably on the Jade. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My wife and I went on a 7 night cruise to Cozueml, Roatan and Belize aboard the Caribbean Princess. This is our 5th cruise together and 1st with princess. The ship is the perfect size for us and the decks were easy to navigate. Its an old ... Read More
My wife and I went on a 7 night cruise to Cozueml, Roatan and Belize aboard the Caribbean Princess. This is our 5th cruise together and 1st with princess. The ship is the perfect size for us and the decks were easy to navigate. Its an old ship, 12 years now and needs an update. This review is based on the overall experience. CABIN: We had a balcony on deck 10 forward. The room was modern, spacious, comfortable and had lots of storage space and a comfortable bed. Our cabin steward, Lector, was great, he was always available and always working tirelessly. No towel animals for adults on Princess though, which is something we usually enjoy on other lines. Nightly chocolate with turndown service instead, and the chocolates everywhere on this ship were delicious. DINING: We had breakfast and lunch everyday in the buffet, there was always a good selection of items including vegetarian options daily, but I would say the layout of the buffet is very condensed in one small section which means there might be a line to enter. They should space things out a little more, open both star and port sides to each other and make it one large area with stations. The food was excellent everyday, and always hot. We did do breakfast in the MDR once, but it was slow and the options were rather limited, so we preferred the buffet. We had late dining, which on this ship is not a good idea unless you want to go to bed afterwards. The timing of the entertainment options at night happens seems to be geared to those who had early dining. That plus the fact that our waiter in the MDR was a little rude made us switch to anytime dining, which was the best thing we did because we had a completely different experience. Service was prompt, and we never missed a show except for the first two nights. We always had a table ready even without reservations. The menu was a little underwhelming on some days, I was expecting a little more from princess, but on other days it was phenomenal. The formal night dinner was by far the best. Any dessert that has the chocolate journeys logo is a must, they are absolutely delicious. For snacks we had burgers, pizza and hot dogs which were all good poolside. ENTERTAINMENT: As above, the timing of the entertainment activities needs to be tweaked, because by 10pm there becomes little to do or see. We watched all their productions, the best one was "Bravo!" which is produced by a Disney producer. This is a must see. The other 2 shows were ok. The live orchestra makes everything enjoyabe anyway. We had two comedians on this sailing. The first one was Steve Moris was ok. He talks a lot though and was not really funny. His jokes were geared to an older generation. The other guy was hilarious, although I cant remember his name. Comedy was clean which is exceptionally hard these days, but he did an amazing job. Our cruise director was boring. However, his deputy Theo was awesome. We pretty much did all dance lessons he gave, and every event he hosted. He should've been the director. One of the best things they did on this ship was that they introduced an all inclusive photo package that includes all your pictures for $99. On every cruise we buy one or two as our ship souvenir, but this was an unbeatable deal. The only downside though is that the photographers on non-formal days only had 1 location and repeated the same white backdrop, which was annoying. Still with 2 formal nights, 3 ports, and multiple sea days we had almost a hundred photos. I would buy this package on every cruise if offered. PUBLIC ROOMS The ship has 4 pools and they probably the biggest pools we've seen on ships. They were perfect for actual swimming. We spent most of our time in the Sanctuary adult only pool. We did the free morning stretch class and the abs classes in the gym every day. This was a great way to start the day. The gym is a little small for this size ship however, and they do not have a private studio for classes. Also they need more cleaning supplies. PORTS & EXCURSIONS Cozumel - Went to Chankanaab. Had lots of fun snorkeling, and exploring the grounds. Roatan - Went to West Bay beach. snorkeling here was phenomenal. Belize - Cave tubing and Altun Ha. Must do cave tubing if in belize, it was a totally different expereince. SERVICE: All staff members were happy and fun to interact with. VALUE: We had an unbeatable price for this cruise. DISEMBARK We were delayed 5 hours into houston because of wind. The ship handled it well and they showed an additional movie in the theater. Disembarkation was fast otherwise. We used Uber from and to the port/airport. It's the cheapest and most reliable. VERDICT This was a fun cruise, although I was expecting a little more from Princess. The ship definitely is due for an upgrade. Still, we had a great time and we indeed did come back new. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was supposed to be a review of our Christmas Cruise to Cozumel, Rotan and Belize. As it turned out it will be a review of our 7 day cruise to Cozumel. DW and I (late 40’s) took DS (18) and DD (16). DW and I had a very nice ... Read More
This was supposed to be a review of our Christmas Cruise to Cozumel, Rotan and Belize. As it turned out it will be a review of our 7 day cruise to Cozumel. DW and I (late 40’s) took DS (18) and DD (16). DW and I had a very nice entry level balcony cabin on deck 14 and the kids were in a nearby inside on deck 12 (there is no deck 13). While we are all veteran cruisers, this was our first Princess cruise, with most of our previous cruises on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. In the review, we’ll draw a lot of comparisons with RCCL’s Voyager class as that is where most of our recent cruising history has been and the prices and age on Voyager/Freedom Class and the Princess Grand class ships have are relatively comparable. We drove up from our home on the TexMex border a day ahead of time, having received very well communicated notice of delayed embarkation due to Noro clean-up in our e-mails, text and voicemail. We were fine with the revised schedule as we had a late check-out in a very nice suite at the Clearlake Hampton and had 3D-IMAX tickets to see BB-8 and light sabers the night before. We drove up exactly when we were supposed to show up for the revised embarkation and were promptly diverted to the now infamous holding lot at Bayport. They kept us there for about an hour, which would not have been so bad except: There was no communication as to when we would be permitted to drive up, park and board. We could see buses, taxis and shuttles all proceeding directly to the terminal. They filled the holding lot left to right, every other row. We ended up on the right. Then when they ran out of room, the filled the rows in between. When it came time to empty the lot, they emptied it from left to right row by row. So even though we arrived roughly in the middle of the local Texas drivers, we ended up being last. After dropping Wife, kids and bags, I went to park, thinking I would see wife and kids in a couple of minutes. Well, the credit card machine for the lot went on the fritz and, even though I had prepaid, ended up on a line for another 45 minutes or so to get in to the parking lot. The actual check-in went fine. Almost no wait as there were still many held up in the parking lot. Only one gangway, pretty slow deal to get on board once we were told we could. So even though we were told our late check-in time would be 1:30 and that’s when we showed up, we ended up not boarding until almost 4:30. We were told our rooms were ready, but we restrained ourselves from visiting the rooms and headed to the buffet as I had a sneaking suspicion as to what would happen next: The First of many bad news announcements from Captain Knick (CK) came at about 5pm: Late departure, late boat drill, late dining (all delivered in a wonderfully British Baritone). As soon as this announcement came out, the buffet got swamped. We had finished by then and went to check out the rooms. Now here’s where the first really good thing happened: most of our bags were already waiting for us – and the rest showed up by the time we finished unpacking the ones that were there. We really like the princess cabin set-up of a sort of walk-in closet en-route to the bathroom. Much easier to unpack and more privacy on the bed when the cabin door was opened. True the cabin itself feels smaller than a comparable cabin on a Voyager class ship, but on the whole we liked the set-up. Bathroom a bit dated compared to what we’re used to. R-Deck Balcony was more private that we expected, but we did not like looking down on to other people’s balconies – but it was preferable to having them look down on us. Only downside to the cabin was it was under the Café’ Caribe. We expected some galley noise at certain times of the day – but there was a perpetual BOOM, Boom, boom, bm - that repeated itself at 2 to 5 minute intervals, 24/7. Fortunately this noise was only audible on the Balcony and within a couple days we tuned it out. The ship’s layout lacked the WOW factor we are used to, but carpets and trimmings all were in great shape. Did not see anything broken or worn as others have reported. We’ve “been there and done that” with the rock walls and water slides and appreciated that the pool decks were actually pool decks and the pools reserved for adults were actually reserved for adults. Princess was the first to slap a big screen on the Funnel – we’ve never been fans of the big screen copies on CCL and RCCL (I actually had “Just say NO to big screens on lido decks” in my Cruise Critic signature for a couple of years) – but Princess did it so much better and it was just one pool of 4 devoted to this so it ended up being one of favorite parts of the ship. There are a couple of other things that Princess does better than anyone else we’ve sailed: Pizza and Bar service. They are so much better than what we’ve experience that I don’t even think it’s a matter of opinion as empirical fact. As the bar packages have been rolled out, it sure seems like the other guys have tried to limit consumption by cutting back on servers. Not so on Princess: a server was always there, just about everywhere, but especially at the Terrance Pool and the Casino (where they were woefully lacking on our last RCCL cruise). On the rare occasions we elected to walk to the bar for a drink, we were served promptly and courteously. We also really liked that we never had to sign for any drinks especially since there’s always a spot for the not-so-optional “extra gratuity.” At one point I even asked the server to please bring me a receipt so I could give him an extra tip (I did not bring my cash in the pool) and I he told me he could not do that. With respect to the Pizza – DW and I grew up on New York pizza and the Princess product is closer to that than anything we’ve experienced on any other line. We enjoyed dinner in the MDR every night. Food was very good 6 of 7 nights. 1st formal night’s (50th anniversary) menu had very limited selection and the “available every day selections” are not that great. Our waiter was an “old pro” who did most everything right. Our assistant waiter was young and enthusiastic, lacking the street smarts to avoid overtly pitching extra fee coffees and shot glasses at every turn. One thing we did not like was that bar service duties fell to the assistant waiters rather than a dedicated bar person; But, if I had to choose between a third service person to get me drinks in the MDR or better service at the pool and the casino, I’d choose the later – and this is how Princess is set up. The Grand Class ships lack the Wow of the 2 and 3 story dining venues we’re used to, but we had a very nice table 4 for by the window, fixed late seating. There are some things that disappointed us: Show room entertainment was satisfactory, but no WOW. Obviously no Ice show which has been one of our favorite things on RCCL. But I think the biggest thing that was missing was a “Good Start” to the cruise. I realized we had a botched departure, but we’re used to a parade or a party after the boat drill. We missed the single welcome aboard show as it was during our delayed, late seating dinner so we never really felt – well - welcomed aboard. I think we were waiting for that event where we could say “That botched embarkation is behind us and now we’re on a Cruise for Christmas!” Instead we just kind of skulked out of Houston in stark contrast to the “Bon Voyage” scenes we could see on the ship’s “The Love Boat Channel” every 40 minutes or so. This cruise had a chance for a reset with us in Cozumel, but something went awry with our dock assignment. We were supposed to be bow in on a pier by ourselves, but somehow NCL ended up with that on what is “Carnival Corp Dock” so we ended up later than our promised late arrival as we had to spin and then wait for Triumph to tie up next to us and then – inexplicably - most of the Trimuph pax were off before us - so it was even later before we got through the crowds to the cabs to Chuckanabb. We were there last year where DS and I tried scuba for the first time. This time DD wanted go with us and the instructor/Guide at booth #3 is so great that we were very happy to repeat this choice. But with the late arrival and anticipated traffic back in to port, the day was way too short – we were hoping to see the included sea lion show which we missed last time – but we did not have time. And then the wheels really fell off of our planned itinerary: The captain announced we would leave even later than our promised late departure, waiting for one missing passenger “In the Spirit of Christmas.” I rather doubt that was the reason: we’re speculating that Carnival pulled rank and pimped our pilot. Whatever the reason, we ended up leaving an hour and a half later than the hour we had planned, and had to spin again to head to Rotan. These couple of hours became the reason we were not able to dock, getting to an anchorage almost 4 hrs later than promised to a dock. Tender service was extremely limited – unless you were on a princess excursion or waiting on line for a tender ticket when the tendering was announced – you did not get ashore. The Captain actually came on and essentially said "where the tenderes come in there's not much there and time will be very limitied, so, unless you're looking for a very brief experience of rural Honduras, stay on board." After the last tender/life boat came back, it took forever to get the stowed and pull, so we were late leaving Rotan and arriving in Belize. Again, too late to get to port before the sunrise winds, 3 other ships got in on time and maintained their itinerary. So we ended up with at a day at anchor where we could not get off the ship plus three at sea to get back to Houston. You’d think we’d be able to stop back at Cozumel, Progresso, Costa Maya, Cancun, or even Grand Cayman with three full days… But Nooo! Houston is the one port we are going to be early to because of the track record of closures due to fog. So the cruise ended prematurely with the shops and casinos closed by 8pm on the night before arrival and we were tied up in Houston for the last night (so much for DW and I's tradition of walking the promenade the last night at sea). We went to the MUTs Sound of music sign along before the Verizon LTE kicked in and we lost our kinds to their Iphones. DW and I really enjoyed our Balcony and the Terrance pool and the casino for 4 days straight. One of the days was Christmas, so we had stockings with the kids by the little tree we brought with us (it fit very nicely by the TV and we were able to hang stockings under the TV with a Yule log station turned on). The Christmas decorations were nice, but RCCL does this better. The Captain came on the speaker Christmas Eve to announce Santa was sighted on the Radar and would be landing on board soon. We were sure he was going to say “high winds would keep Santa from landing as scheduled” as every other time he chimed in, it was to announce something similar. But it appears Santa used the same pilot as NCL, Carnival and RCCL – all of whom made it in to our scheduled ports when we did not. Only other thing we did of note was the Princess version of the Rasual (another cruise ritual for DW &I). We were warned before we started that if we left the door open to the steam chamber (which did not close right) we might set off the Alarm. After mudding up, DW and I got in to the steam room as fast as we could – but the alarm still went off. The alarm stayed on so long that, eventually I threw my robe on over the mud to find someone. The first woman I ran in to said “it will turn itself off” and eventually it did. But that was 15 minutes of blaring alarms in a tiled room. Then, after the alarm finally went off, our attendant started banging on the outside door telling us that the bridge had noticed an alarm and that we needed to keep the steam room door closed. Of course the only way we could acknowledge her was to open the steam room door – and the whole thing started over again. I did not think it would be possible for me to characterize an hour in a private spa with my mud covered wife as unenjoyable – but Princes managed to accomplish this. And - good lord – 15 minutes for the bridge to respond to a fire alarm?? So we were on a Princess Cruise with our kids at Christmas – that in and of itself was wonderful. We had a nice time with each other and enjoyed CB and her crew. Nice meals and decorations without the work. But this cruise did not provide very many opportunities to make memories. The debark was also very slow considering we were there so early. This was only the 2nd time we were able to get off the ship, but we’d have to say there is something different about how CB does their unloading (at ports of call and debark) that is slower than other ships – even those with more passengers (such as Oasis). On our drive home, I asked DW what here favorite parts of the cruise were. Her response was “Spending time as a family in the dining rooms and spending time with my Husband on our Balcony and at the casino.” I told her I felt the same way. She said “Good ‘cause that’s pretty much all we did!” Unfortunately, we’d have to rate our CB Christmas cruise at or near the bottom of the 23 wonderful cruises we have taken. Not saying we’ll never sail Princes again, but we’ll look at every other option first. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I wish I could say I really enjoyed this cruise since it was our first Norwegian. The only parts we enjoyed were the free booze, food, and elements show. During our stay on board our trip was anything but relaxing. From the moment we got ... Read More
I wish I could say I really enjoyed this cruise since it was our first Norwegian. The only parts we enjoyed were the free booze, food, and elements show. During our stay on board our trip was anything but relaxing. From the moment we got into our stateroom things started to go wrong. My birthday is Dec 16 so my wonderful husband arranged to have our room decorated and a cake. These items were supposed to be delivered on my birthday. Instead everything was delivered on Dec 12. I was also supposed to get roses that our cruise consultant set up. No roses for me since guest services had no record and argued with my husband when he showed them the receipt. The first day went fine... The second day at Cozumel was fine.. The third day was complete chaos with the tender issues...I have learned A not to ever buy a non NCL excursion and B guest services only cares about those who do. In the middle of night leading to the 4th day a pipe burst on the 8th floor in the middle of the night. People were screaming and banging around. Guest services did give us a free dinner at Cagney's which was delicious. No one had water the morning if the 16th and our water didn't have hot water till the morning of the 17th. Also on the morning of the 17th we discovered the tender boat had not been secured. So all night/day it would swing and bang against our room. Once again we had to call guest services who told us it was just the wind..I reminded them we had rough seas before the tender boats were launched and they didn't make a sound. Funny.. the noise stopped after they finally sent someone to check it out. After this we became the room of complaints. I was convinced the steward and his staff was messing with us. From taking towels and not replacing them to taking all but leaving 1 towel. I feel like your crew just doesn't care, maybe it's a because NCL is leaving Houston. Worst cruise/birthday week ever. :( Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our second NCL cruise this time on a smaller ship and it was very relaxing. Houston is a small port with no confusion when departing. They have less employees than other terminals but all are very helpful and polite. The Hawaii ... Read More
This was our second NCL cruise this time on a smaller ship and it was very relaxing. Houston is a small port with no confusion when departing. They have less employees than other terminals but all are very helpful and polite. The Hawaii theme on the Jade is very colorful after a day you get used to it but the ship is very clean . Our room was very well maintained and the the room stewards on our floor were very cordial and learned our names after the second day, they even worked around our sleeping in late on sea days. We had the UDP and found that the food was great and the service lacked in some of the restaurants almost as if they were short handed. If you informed them ahead of time you were going to a show they took care of you so it all worked out. I understand there was a pipe break on the ship one day and I'm sure that ruined some travelers trip but it did not affect our floor. The excursions are what you make them, we found Belize to be beautiful and the people extremely friendly and welcoming. Rotaan is another gem and it's snorkeling is fantastic we will be back to both stops, we booked our own excursions outside of NCL. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We had so much fun on our NCL cruise, we booked another for this December! We arrived in Houston the day before we sailed. I can honestly say that I don't think that I would ever sail out of Houston again. The port is very far away ... Read More
We had so much fun on our NCL cruise, we booked another for this December! We arrived in Houston the day before we sailed. I can honestly say that I don't think that I would ever sail out of Houston again. The port is very far away from anything. We rented a car and had to return the car to the rental place and then take an Uber to the port. It was cheaper to rent the car and take a cab part of the way than to take a cab the entire distance because the port was so far out of the city. There was no place even close to the port to return the rental. The ship was amazing. I had been warned by friends who had cruised before that the rooms are tiny, and don't get me wrong, it definitely wasn't spacious, but it didn't seem that bad. Its laid out well so that everything is accessible, There was tons of closet space for our clothes so that we were able to unpack and put our empty suitcases under the bed. Our cabin steward Danillo was awesome! He was funny, polite, and always eager to help. My husband actually lost his wedding ring (we think while snorkeling) but Danillo searched our cabin top to bottom, even though we told him were were sure that we lost it after leaving the ship. The dining options were great, our favorite was the Jasmine Garden. We also ate in both dining rooms, and the cafe for breakfast and lunch. We did not have a specialty dining plan so we did not eat in any of those restaurants. For entertainment we spent a very small amount of time in the casino, where we won some t-shirts and a bottle of wine, but no money, lol. I attended the shopping info meeting, If you are looking for great inside info for shopping for jewelry you'll find it here. We went to the comedy show and the magic show and enjoyed both. We did not plan activities in Cozumel. We did some shopping and eating while we were there. In Belize we went on a snorkeling and private beach excursion and it was great! The snorkeling was a new experience for me and the crew on the ship were helpful and fun! We enjoyed some delicious (and strong!) rum punch while we went to the private island. It was beautiful and peaceful, and our favorite part of our cruise. In Honduras we chose to go zip lining. I enjoyed it, but my favorite part was the ride to and from the zip lining. The driver of the van told us a lot of the history and industry of the island. If we went to Honduras again I would take a guided tour of the city to learn more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We took this cruise with another couple for our 29th Wedding Anniversary. The ship was lovely and we really felt the food was exceptional. Our first day at sea was somewhat bumpy with 6 foot swells causing some wooziness among a few of us ... Read More
We took this cruise with another couple for our 29th Wedding Anniversary. The ship was lovely and we really felt the food was exceptional. Our first day at sea was somewhat bumpy with 6 foot swells causing some wooziness among a few of us - I believe the height of the ship may have had something to do with it, but once we were out of the Gulf of Mexico it was like sailing on glass. It is too bad Princess will no longer depart out of Houston, but understand that the fog in winter months caused many delays. Our first stop was Costa Maya, and because of a Passenger who had fallen seriously ill, we were delayed in arriving until late in the afternoon after having to drop them off in Cozumel. We only had about 5 hours in port and barley got to see the ruins, but that's how it goes. Belize was great, the tour guides there are fantastic friendly and informative. Last stop was Roatan and we enjoyed our private Cabana on Roatan the best. Would definitely take this cruise again if Princess returned to Houston. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Embarkation went smoothly. We arrived to the terminal at about 11:30AM. The lobby was packed and we thought it would take a long time to board. To our surprise, things moved fast and we were on board by Noon. Our luggage did not arrive ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly. We arrived to the terminal at about 11:30AM. The lobby was packed and we thought it would take a long time to board. To our surprise, things moved fast and we were on board by Noon. Our luggage did not arrive until about 7:00PM, but we didn't mind since we were busy exploring the ship. We had an obstructed oceanview stateroom (8062). The room was nice and clean for the most part. We usually purchase an inside stateroom, but we chose an oceanview because of a promotion that included a free ultimate beverage and ultimate dining package for about $100 more. It was well worth it. We dined at most of the restaurants and really enjoyed them. Our favorite restaurant was La Cucina(Italian). Our steaks at La Cucina were actually better than the steaks we had at Cagney's steakhouse on the ship. We also enjoyed the Teppanyaki restaurant. Our Chef (Christopher) was very entertaining. We also dined at the Main Dining Rooms a couple of times and they were decent. The only poor dining venue is the Moderno restaurant. The place is supposed to be a Brazilian Churrascaria similar to the land based restaurant Fogo De Chao. The service was extremely slow and the meat was sub-par. It was very disappointing. I will say that the wait staff were very friendly, but the place appeared to be short staffed and we saw several people walk out after not being served for a long time. We usually had breakfast at the buffet and it was good for buffet food. The omelet chefs are very good. We usually had lunch in the Grand Pacific dining room which was good. There was no shortage on entertainment. Every day and night, there were live music acts all over the ship. The Reggae band was phenomenal. We only attended one show in the theater(stand up comedy). The comedian was hilarious. We spent most of our time in the casino and had a blast. There are many games to choose from and we did pretty well. We had three ports: Cozumel, Belize City, and Roatan. Cozumel was gorgeous. We opted for an all inclusive day pass at the Hotel Cozumel resort. It was only $35 per person and it included food, beverages, snorkeling. We snorkeled most of the day and saw all kinds of fish. In Belize, my wife was not feeling well so we stayed on the ship. I hit up the bars that day to take advantage of my beverage package. In Roatan we had to tender because there were too many ships scheduled. The tender ride was fast. We booked a monkey interaction tour with Bodden tours. It was really fun. On the way back to Houston, we were told that the ship would arrive a day early to avoid forecasted fog but we would still be able to stay on the ship until our scheduled debarkation. The biggest downside was that we had to pay port taxes on any purchases made. However, it was nice to know that we would debark timely and the ship was not rocking back and forth as we were docked. Debarkation was a breeze and well organized. This was our third Norwegian Cruise and we enjoyed it immensely. We will definitely continue to cruise Norwegian. We only cruise with NCL and Carnival because of the laid back and casual atmosphere. I have to wear a suit to work everyday, so I like to dress casual while on vacation. The Jade is a nice ship and the layout is almost identical to the Jewel. We feel that it was well worth what we spent. The crew members are very courteous as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We sailed out of Houston on December 5th for what should have been a memorable experience. It was memorable all right just as a nightmare and not a dream. This was our second trip on Norwegian and our 7th cruise overall. We've also ... Read More
We sailed out of Houston on December 5th for what should have been a memorable experience. It was memorable all right just as a nightmare and not a dream. This was our second trip on Norwegian and our 7th cruise overall. We've also been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This by far and away was the worst experience we've ever had. It stared before we ever set foot on the ship. We had arranged airport transfers with the cruise line. The driver forgot about us and left us stranded for an hour and a half which isn't necessarily NCLs fault but they had no communication with the waiting passengers. Just left us sitting there and several of us had to beg to get any information about why the delay. Once we got to the ship and on board it only got worse. The service on this ship is the worst I've ever had. At the pool it was hard to find a waiter for a drink half the time we had to resort to going to the bar. At dinner the waiters barely ever offered you a drink from the bar (which would include soda) you had to actually ask them. Service was also slow. In the main dining rooms we sometimes set for 10 minutes or more after being seated before anyone would even bring us water. Even in the specialty restaurants service was hit or miss. At the Teppanyaki restaurant my wife asked for a plum wine and the waitress never brought it or came back to tell us they didn't have it and ask if she wanted something else. Speaking of food it was overall very bland and tasteless. We were very surprised given what we have had before how bad the food was. It was very tasteless and lacking in any flavor for the most part. There were a few exceptions Cagney's steakhouse was very good. However, one thing stands out above all else the 5 spice cake at the Jasmine restaurant: the way it looked was so unappealing in the way it looked.. to use the cleanest language possible it looked like a "turd" on piece of wood. It was disgusting. After having to come back to port early due to weather (still waiting for the mystery fog that the Captain says was the reason we had to come back early) it was just as bad. In port due to some crazy laws in Texas we had a very limited drink menu which was frustrating but even more so when they ran out of some of that limited menu. Really? The poor customer service continued when I discovered that I hadn't been given my luggage tags despite having booked an airport transfer through NCL. So at 10:30 at night I'm arguing with guest services to give me my luggage tags instead of packing for an 11 pm deadline. I was never given an explanation and barely a half-hearted apology. I will give two shout outs though. In all this disaster there were two bright spots. Oliver at the casino bar was an awesome bartender and Marco one of the dealers was always a good time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our 10th cruise on Norwegian, and the 2nd on this ship. Overall, it was a good experience but was marred primarily because of the bad experience in Houston. We booked the hotel through the line as we normally do, but this was ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise on Norwegian, and the 2nd on this ship. Overall, it was a good experience but was marred primarily because of the bad experience in Houston. We booked the hotel through the line as we normally do, but this was not a comfortable hotel at all. The staff was friendly, food good, but we got very little sleep due to the poor bed in the room. We waited over an hour for the bus to arrive at the hotel, multiple phone calls receiving the same response that the driver would be there in 10 minutes. Once the driver arrived she presented us with a questionable story about the other driver just "disappearing", and was extremely rude when off loading baggage, we should have asked her to return the tip! Houston is not a desirable port of embarkation. There are crazy liquor laws that limit availability until at sea, not to mention the crazy tax they make you pay when you get back. I would advise against ever using a Texas port. Our stateroom was clean and comfortable, and maintained well by our steward. We generally skip the buffet because it is, after all, a buffet with all that that entails - cold food, lack of seating, etc. The main restaurant provided quick seating and attentive service. The food selection was good, and we were able to order the food with some adjustments due to dietary preferences. Was not too impressed with Jasmine Garden this time, no rice with our entree! Love La Cuccina, Cagney's and the Brazilian. First time at the Bistro, the food was good just a little formal for our taste. The entertainment was okay. Really enjoyed the magician shows, but the variety and theater type shows just were not what we'd experienced on other Norwegian cruises, bring back more Broadway and ensemble comedy shows! The itinerary was not the best we've sailed. Cozumel is great for shopping, and we did a relaxing beach day for our excursion. Belize, however, was awful. Not a large selection of appealing excursions and the shopping was extremely limited and expensive. We just spent time in a bar on the port, which turned out to be pretty fun. Roatan was a little better, but the shopping was still limited. We did due an underwater BOSS excursion which was one of the best shore excursions we have ever taken. Returned to Houston a day early due to fog, so the mini-bar was locked and beverage service again limited due to Texas weirdness. To reiterate, Texas is not a place I'll sail out of again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We drove down to Houston a few days early and spent some extra time there. It was a family vacation and a party for a new life as my sister in law was moving to Alaska. We started in an inside stateroom. As the date towards the cruise came ... Read More
We drove down to Houston a few days early and spent some extra time there. It was a family vacation and a party for a new life as my sister in law was moving to Alaska. We started in an inside stateroom. As the date towards the cruise came closer I called and upgraded to a balcony suite. (9516) Best decision ever. That ocean breeze is nice and sleeping with the balcony open I liked a lot. My husband is always hot, so it worked well for him too. The thing I didn't like is you couldn't hear announcements from the inside of your room. We purchased excursions at each port through NCL. Their phone customer service reps were great. I printed off all those and took them with me, I also printed off the beverage package verification we bought through NCL. The passion beach excursion was probably the worst. It was terrible. The beach was cloudy and you couldn't snorkel unless you got far enough out. Seaweed was all over and they had one man shoveling it and using a wheel barrow to move it. I felt so bad for the guy. Everything on passion island was overpriced. Save your money for the other ports, in the city it might be different I don't know. In Belize it rained, we did the Bacab Jungle, though it rained we made the most of it. It did let up some. The bad part was the trails were closed due to flooding. Now they did offer us a refund upfront but we had come all this way to make Belize the family day so we all went. Even with the rain it was more fun than Mexico. The best excursion was the dolphin swim encounter and snorkel. Anthony's Keys staff were very informative one tiny downside, no cameras allowed WHILE snorkeling. Bring your waterproof camera and video camera you will have times to use them. Also I invested in the $55.00 cost for photos they took, which was over 20 photos emailed to you. I received mine with no problems. They were good photos. Watch your spending before the ship leaves international waters or you will pay taxes even with the beverage package. Hit the international waters and shop. Purchased the 3 meal dining package. Chose Cagney's, Teppanyaki, and Moderno. Only Cagney's and Teppanyaki were worth eating at. Moderno my husband was served raw chicken. Not appealing at all. Take advantage of the Grand Pacific and other complimentary dining you will find on your daily news letters. Read them, they are informative. Do more than just the buffet, sample all you can. Paid $80.00 (cards $20.00 a piece.) playing deal or no deal, the audience plays along with a contestant. I won a 6x8 photo and one pull tab. Not really fun and goes quickly. Played bingo- won nothing. Cost of the cards is a little outrageous. Played at the casino, lost it all. Guess that is why they call it gambling. Now here's my complaint. I was injured on the Jade by an automatic door. I was going out on deck 7 outside the stardust theater and it slammed into my head as I was walking through it. Knocked me hard. I still have a knot. At my families request I saw the doctor hours later. He told me "I doubt that happened" Really? You do? I thought doctors were supposed to be compassionate. Terrible just terrible. NCL had a fruit basket sent to me for my suffering? I don't know, all it said was compliments of guest services. They called but they didn't talk to me, they talked to my husband. They never called back and talked to me. Am I recovered? No. I'm working on it. I understand accidents happen, but your doctor was out of line. I sent a form to NCL about it and was told I would be contacted within 10-15 days. Hmm. It's been over that. So as far as service, I don't know. Your move NCL. I will tell you my steward, Menzi, was great. Ioana? If that is how you spell her name was also great she took care of the restaurant reservations, well one special reservation. The Chefs Table. Out of over 2000 people on board, only 14 were able to attend. My husband and I were one of those 14. We paid $95.00 a head for a nine course meal and folks, it was great. Chef Rodney made those of us with allergies the same food without things we are allergic to, or offered us a similar choice. He autographed our menus and photos of the group and couple photos were taken. Dress up! You cannot book the chefs table until you get on board, so if you're interested make a mad dash for guest services when you get on board and they will tell you were to go. With the cruise tickets included, hotel before, excursions and onboard spending, we probably came in around $3000-$5000 still looking through receipts. We were due to check into port at 1:30 we got there around 11:30, by the time we got through the line it was 1:30 and we boarded. Glad my husband got there early. Our other party members got there at 1:30 and didn't board until almost 4:00. Take in those free shows at the theater. And PLEASE people get there early so you aren't walking over people during shows, it is very annoying! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015

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