17 Houston Senior Cruise Reviews

You've read the mixed reviews good and bad so here's mine. Whatever issues the Jade had, yes they were admittedly real according to the staff, those issues are long gone. This is a great cruise, well done by a hard working ... Read More
You've read the mixed reviews good and bad so here's mine. Whatever issues the Jade had, yes they were admittedly real according to the staff, those issues are long gone. This is a great cruise, well done by a hard working crew. Do yourself a great vacation, enjoy an outstanding ship, a quality experience, and just be informed ahead about how some things work as much as you can. Embarkation in Houston around noon was a breeze, fast, efficient, short lines, and we made it through quickly. The Ship was reported full. We were able to drop our carry-on stuff in the room and went to get a bite to eat. The required Muster drill was fast and painless. We were off to a great start. Garden cafe - is typical cruise ship fare, our choice for breakfast, quick, after excursion meals and snacks. We ate dinners in three "pay extra restaurants" as well as the Grand Pacific, Alizar, and Jasmine garden which are complimentary. More on those later. Cagneys Steak house - appetizers ordered were shrimp cocktail, lump crab salad with arugula, arugula salad with pears, onions, red peppers, raspberry vinaigrette, Mexican Caesar salad, whole cold water lobster, and filet mignon. Great service, quality food and presentation. The bill totaled $80 which was part our 3 meal dining package. Saturday and Sunday at sea we just relaxed, tried to orient ourselves to the ship, fore, aft, and the different ship levels and what's where. The Garden cafe is on deck 12, which we would frequent for coffee, breakfast, and occasionally at other times. Several of f the bars, music, the theater are on decks six and seven along with the front desk. Spinnaker is on 12. Pools are on 12. Take your time it's a nice sized ship with lots of venues. Cozumel - we had priority status for getting off and were one of the first 15 people off the ship. It's a fair walk down, across the pier, and you have to walk through the entire shopping area to get downstairs to a taxi. We found a taxi, agreed to the fare ($12 for all 3), and made our way quickly to PalMar SMALL Snorkel beach club. We were welcomed, found a spot on the small beach area, and settled in for the day. We had reserved our spot, paid half in advance, and took care of the rest, in cash, when we arrived. They don't take cards, only cash. It's $14 per person which includes 2 beverages per person. Not bad for $14. If you are not interested in crowds, multiple activities, and want a quiet place to sun and Snorkel this was our ideal day. After my son and I were getting out of the water, here came the Snorkel tour boats one after another to drop off snorkelers right where we had just been. We watched, enjoyed one of our two beverages, and relaxed. I went out snorkeling one more time. We ordered quesadillas, $8 and ceviche $12, both were freshly prepared and delicious along with our 2nd beverage. The green habenero sauce was hot but excellent. It was our ideal day, quiet, beautiful water, and a cold beverage. You did need solid shoes to navigate the rocky shore to get in the water but the best snorkeling is off rocky beaches not sandy ones. The owner came out and explained they had gotten permission to create an "entry/exit" point on the rocks which is needed. But we got in, saw lots of different reef fish and enjoyed it very much. We easily got a taxi back to the pier and were back on the ship in plenty of time. I tried to negotiate for some Cuban Cigars in town near the dock but they were too rich for my budget. An enjoyable day in Cozumel for sure. We had dinner at the Jasmine Garden. We ordered pot stickers, egg drop and corn soup, fried calamari, Wakame salad (seaweed and cabbage with a sweet vinaigrette), orange beef, sweet and sour pork, Mahi Mahi, udon noodles with seafood. The Green tea ice cream was very good. Service was good and the food good as well. It was busy every time we walked by. My son and I shared a spicy tuna roll from the sushi place, an extra $7, but it was really good 8 piece sushi roll. Our son returned to eat more sushi on Thursday so I know it was really good. We stayed on the ship instead of tendering into Belize. Spent a relaxing day in the spa, took a nap, got some sun and avoided the tenders and the crowds. The music in the bars is really good. The Masquerade duo played to the Sr crowd quite well. They played a Beatles set one night, the Eagles the next. There was a single guy Carlos, from Columbia in a nearby bar who is outstanding. He's an excellent guitarist and singer and thoroughly enjoys what he does. We heard him three times in three days. Cripton The magician was as good as advertised. Not a long show but worth the time for sure. His wife disappears from all kinds of boxes and then reappears. He does an impressive floating table too. Roatan - We arranged for a private transport from the Pier. Tendering is certainly will one of the Jades issues. It takes time. Get your tickets early if you want an early tender. We took a bit of a tour of island, including West Bay, then made our way to Infinity Bay Beach Resort for a day of snorkeling. We had wristbands reserved ahead by our driver and walked right to the beach, found loungers and went snorkeling, saw lots of fish and the coral and reef is definitely worth seeing. The beach was eventually packed with 4 ships in port. Yes, local folks are walking by trying to sell you everything. Met the Donut man and enjoyed his pineapple donuts, (3 for $5). The, hawkers are plentiful up and down the beach but they won't pester you if you say no. We left at 2 and arrived back at the pier about 2:30 as the last tender was at 3. It was a long line. There must have been 500 people waiting. It took some time moving up as filling the tenders is kind of slow. If impatient there's a bar on the dock for a drink or snack as you wait. Meet your shipmates, share your days experience and relax. Tendering wasn't completely done until around 4. All in all a really enjoyable day. I overheard a lady the next morning saying it took her party an hour and a half to get back on the ship. It didn't take us that long but it was at least 45 minutes or a bit more. As long as you are in line to tender you will be fine, it just takes awhile. Alizar - Our menu selections included appetizers of Calamari, prosciutto with melon and arugula salad, burger sliders, main dishes of prawns with linguini, gnocchi with braised short ribs and snow peas, strip loin Steak with onion strings, and for desserts, strawberries napoleon with mixed berry sauce. Snickerdoodle pound cake with ice cream, chocolate volcano, service outstanding, food was excellent all around, served in a timely fashion, efficient, a very good meal and dining experience. Went to hear comedian David Naster last night in the Stardust theater. He is hilarious. He does real life that's funny. He's a seasoned comedian and kid friendly. We'll be going to hear him again on the trip back to Houston as well. Our preferred breakfast spot is the Garden buffet. I love the eggs cooked to order, all you can eat bacon, and biscuits and gravy. It's not my own homemade sausage gravy but very good nonetheless. There's any kind of breakfast you can ask for from continental, waffles, cereal, fruit and more. Moderno restaurant is a Brazilian churrascaria. It's another word for "meat fest." There's a serve yourself salad bar which was really good and fresh. Offered were two kinds of soup, a Brazilian bean soup and another, chorizo, salami, olives, a cold shrimp pasta, a cold bean and corn salad, a pear and walnut salad, and much more. After the salad they bring you a "meat plate," The gauchos come by and offer you all different meats, sirloin, filet mignon, garlic Beef, chorizo, two kinds of chicken, grilled lamb cops, shrimp and fish. All the meat we tried was outstanding favorites were the sirloin, filet and lamb. The bill was $25 per person but it was one of our three dinners I added as part of the dining package. It was a really enjoyable meal. The desserts weren't our favorite, (no chocolate), flan, rice pudding, and a mango cream cold sort of ice cream offering. We went to the 9:30 pm variety show which includes all the evening shows stars, magic, acrobatics, dancers, and singers concluding with the Norwegian song by all the staff coming out and joining in. It's surely worth the time. We then heard the Jade staff band do a few oldies in their Glenn Miller tribute, then we made our way down and listened to Carlos again. We enjoyed all the musicians on board but he was by far our favorite. I read a review a couple of cruises back from someone that recommended you bring your own coffee cup and I've done that since. It makes it really convenient if you like fixing more than the one cup. I'm sure same could be said for tea, water or juice. We also brought our Yeti coozies to keep the other beverages cold. We booked early enough to have the beverage package included, a nice bonus especially if you drink, order drinks anywhere and let them swipe your card. The only added charge is tax while in Texas waters, i.e. on the way out and possibly the last night in if the ship is early. It's a tax you can't avoid. La Cucina restaurant is the Italian specialty restaurant. It was excellent. We ordered minestrone Soup, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, osobucco, lobster linguine and desserts I can't recall now but we enjoyed the specialty dining and will likely do it again next time. All said, we loved the Jade, her hard working, friendly crew, and pretty much everything about it. For the value it provides, the convenience of sailing from Texas and for a quality cruise, sail the Jade, enjoy the ride, it's your vacation!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
First time cruising with Norwegian; leery of all the negative reviews. After a few months the crew and staff seem to have found their routine. Found it to be in between Holland America and Carnival in terms of clientele, food, and ... Read More
First time cruising with Norwegian; leery of all the negative reviews. After a few months the crew and staff seem to have found their routine. Found it to be in between Holland America and Carnival in terms of clientele, food, and service. Best part the chance to dress much more casually. The ship was originally named the Pride of Hawaii, and the decor still reflected the Hawaiian theme. Some called it gaudy, but no more than on any other ship we have been on. Enjoyed the bright colors, Hawaiian prints, and shell collections. Admittedly we have been spoiled with the food and service on HAL. But this wasn't bad. Best explained by breakfast choices. HAL provides citrus that has been supremed, where as NCL gives you quartered chunks including the skin. NCL servers did not ask how we wanted our eggs cooked, the standard was a very runny, whites included sunny side up. Best choice the omelets. Quantities were certainly sufficient. Found we couldn't eat our standard, soup, salad, entree and dessert. Our best choices were three apps in the Alizar main dining room. Also enjoyed it more as it was more intimate than the large open room in the Grand Pacific. Garden Cafe our choice for lunch and snacks. Despite what other reviewers have stated, we had no problem with the servers, bartenders or room stewards. Service levels, as in any environment reflected how you treated the staff - that human nature. The most frustrating thing to me about the cruise was how rude some of my fellow travelers were to the staff. Yes, sometimes they are hard to understand. As with any other person, if you treat them with respect, get to know them and learn about their history they will respond in kind. But how would you feel miles away from home, family and loved ones, earning minimal wages, and having to speak a foreign language. If you paid attention to them as a person, talked to them, learned their history, they responded in-kind. NCL does have their "vacation hero" program which allows you to personalize your nomination for special recognition of the crew member. In terms of entertainment, many music choices including karaoke. The nightly stage shows were more production style, not the singers and dancers on other lines. But the award winning entertainers were very good. We didn't participate in any excursions, many have restrictions regarding neck and back problems, recent surgeries or age - all which applied to us. But there's plenty to do on board the ship, and it is much quieter when every one else is out and about. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Yes, our ship The Caribbean Princess actually stopped, came about, and rescued a raft containing a dozen Cuban refugees who had been drifting in the Gulf of Mexico for almost a month! It was a heartening experience and one we will never ... Read More
Yes, our ship The Caribbean Princess actually stopped, came about, and rescued a raft containing a dozen Cuban refugees who had been drifting in the Gulf of Mexico for almost a month! It was a heartening experience and one we will never forget. The captain and crew did an excellent job of providing medical attention, food and water to the refuges. Our vessel contacted the Mexican Coastguard who responded promptly and plucked the poor folks from their derelict craft and took them to safety. Just to add a bit of added drama to the already touching scene a rainbow appeared over the refugees craft as they were being taken onboard the Mexican vessel. Amazing! That was a tough act to follow. The remainder of the cruise was an interesting experience for us. A voyage of discovery. In total this was the 5th time we have taken the same cruise to Honduras, Belize and Cozumel…once on Carnival, three times on Royal Caribbean and once on Princess. After taking the Carnival trip five years ago we concluded that Carnival caters to a much younger crowd of heavy drinkers and partiers. After three trips on Royal Caribbean it seemed that they were picking up the overflow of ne’re-do-wells from Carnival. Much to our shock and disappointment we learned that there are apparently too many idle, self indulgent merrymakers sailing this route fro Carnival and Royal Caribbean to handle. A well represented overflow seemed to have turned up on our Caribbean Princess voyage. That was a shock. On all previous Princess cruises we were pleasantly surprised by the civility, politeness and maturity of the passengers. Typically an older crowd, but we are older ourselves. This particular sailing seemed to be about 50/50 so far as being a mix of partiers and “seniors.” Also, there were a lot of children for a Princess cruise. Not a happy surprise. The ship was in excellent condition and our stateroom appeared to be in “like new” condition. Our stateroom attendant was the best we have ever had. Our cabin as well as the passageway on deck 12 and other areas of the ship had a strong odor of sewage. We reported this twice and it was never fixed. We also had an issue with intermittent AC performance that, after reporting it three times, was never really fixed. The food was remarkably average, with not one single meal that we can point to that was noteworthy. On the other hand none were really awful either. The selection seemed limited based on our experience. Our dining room service was intolerably slow and at a low standard in general, but I think we drew the “black bean” so to speak. It appeared as though others were well served and satisfied. Entertainment was OK, not great. The general level of service throughout the ship was slightly short of typical Princess standard, driven mostly by the heavy contingent of Eastern European crew who always seem to be so sullen, morose, unhappy, and depressed. When they wait on you they make you feel as though you have inconvenienced they greatly, and that they have only done so in great pain and under duress. Embarkation was a dream. Sorry to hear that the Houston terminal will be shutting down in April 2016. Cruise customers are not well served by that decision and we pray it will be reversed. Disembarkation was a nightmare. The ship was over an hour late in arriving, but that was not the problem. The crew did a poor job of communicating and managing the situation. The “Walk Off” passengers’ area was a mob scene. Passengers with mobility issues were overlooked. It was the worst example of a disembarkation I have seen on Princess. Not their finest hour. One can draw two conclusions from our experience(s). First, it seems that “all” cruises to the western Caribbean from Texas must draw an ample representation of more “common” clientele, regardless of the cruise line. Second, the western Caribbean cruises on Princess are not typical of their normal level of service, quality and professionalism. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We were originally booked in an obstructed view and when they had a price drop after our final payment, they would not give me the new lower price, but did offer a free upgrade to a balcony on Lido deck. We had L226 which is Balcony ... Read More
We were originally booked in an obstructed view and when they had a price drop after our final payment, they would not give me the new lower price, but did offer a free upgrade to a balcony on Lido deck. We had L226 which is Balcony Forward on the Port side. I was concerned about noise since its on the same deck as pools, bars, and Horizon Court Buffet. We could not hear a sound from the parties or other activities. We were right below the Lotus Spa so no noise above either. I was also concerned about ship movement since you can feel more movement the higher you go. Since I've never experienced ANY rough seas on any of our Caribbean cruises (4), I thought we were safe......WRONG! First 3 days were perfect, but during dinner Saturday night we all noticed the ship leaning quite a bit toward the port side. This lasted throughout our 2 hour dinner. It wasn't until we left dinner we could see that the port side looked like a hurricane blowing and starboard was dry. We had met up with a cold front out of Texas and it was howling wind and rain and they had us leaning into the wind on Port side. We did start to notice movement of the ship as we headed up to deck 15 to our cabin. By the time we got up there, you could not stand up straight, and had to hold on to the walls, furniture, what ever was handy. We went up, down, and sideways all at the same time. My daughter who's cabin was on 11 was concerned about us, and came up and said it was way worse on our deck than hers. So needless to say, IF you suffer from sea sickness, don't book these rooms. Of course I understand that this was not typical so we just drew the short straw. You could hear the wind howling through the balcony door during the storm, like an old horror movie. Water did seep in and our carpet was soggy the next morning. The crew and staff did do their best to see to the passengers needs during this time. Friends our ours on 8 (ocean view) said the waves actually complete covered their windows and they were under water, which I could understand since we could see tops of the waves all the way up to our balcony. The next morning was beautiful, calm, and cool. Our balcony had tons of trash from who knows where. Cabin was typical, but carpet needed cleaning as did the chair, showing stains. There were some paint flaking in bath room, and grout needed good cleaning. Room steward NEVER refilled body wash or shampoo the entire trip (it wasn't full when we boarded either). I think our steward must of been on the end of his tour, seemed grumpy and not friendly at all. He never responded to my calls for towels or robe. Never gave us the usual pool towel or towel for excursion, we had to go to pool ourselves and get one. He even fussed at me when we placed our dirty plate outside room (we don't like our room smelling like food). I think this ship is scheduled for dry dock in April, and its time. We could smell sewer ordors right outside princess theatre on 6 and 7 and as you walked toward middle of ship. My daughters room on 11 inside cabin had same sewer smell. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! The Jewel is a bit older, and seems geared to an older crowd. We chose a cruise that was after school spring breaks and of a length that most working adults could not get away: hence, it was nearly all retired people. While we are younger, that pace was ideal for us. We don't drink or gamble or need spectacular shows to keep us entertained: spending the day reading, talking together, meeting a few interesting people and having a menu of possible but not pressing events was just ideal. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but having a cabin steward make up our cabin every morning and return to tidy it before bed was heavenly! We had cute towel animals whenever we got out of the cabin for turn down. Some people have complained about the food on Jewel, and I will admit that one of the meals we had at Chin Chin during lunch time was cold: the tea was cold, the entree's were cold, it was like some piece of equipment had failed. However, everything--even the too cold food--was prepared artfully, creatively with fresh and appropriate ingredients, inventive recipes with influence from multiple cultural traditions. While I will grant that there were repeat dishes on the menus and buffet, there were many choices and specials to keep it interesting. It was also easy to eat a delicious and healthy diet--many fresh fruits and vegetables, sugar free desserts, multiple protein choices. While there were tempting desserts and breads, if you wanted to avoid them, there is no need to feel deprived. A few days into the cruise, we discovered that the Italian Restaurant next to the Garden Cafe is open for overflow seating during breakfast and lunch! So we took our buffet plates in there, where the tables are charming wood, the walls real brick arches, and the viewing of the ocean is ideal. We enjoyed long brunch conversations while watching sea turtles, porpoise, and flying fish go by. I enjoyed dragging my husband to the dance lessons offered most days. There were several kinds of linedancing, swing dance, waltz, square dancing salsa and merangue. The one thing I did wish was that the instruction was more geared to just dancing with a partner to music rather than doing a routine. Those teaching are show dancers and seemed to relate more to teaching a dance to perform rather than teaching how to lead/follow and a vocabulary of moves. I had heard that there would be sales at the store just before the last day but that did not happen. Rather, there were specials on various items throughout the cruise and not everything went on sale at any given time. I was also surprised that the number of things like games offered at the store was limited. However, if you wanted any toiletry, candy, t-shirt, underwear, clothes, luggage, etc it is a good (if expensive) option. I liked shopping there. We booked ship excursions in all but one port, where we had a private guide. You do lose a little time when the ship first docks when you choose to do this--you have to wait until the tour operators are ready for you, and wait your turn to disembark. This means an extra two hours on board sometimes. In Cabo San Lucas, we were able to grab an early tender and meet up with our tour at the pier instead of waiting to be dismissed from the ship with our group. This allowed us to do some shopping that we would not have had time to do. I loved that you just don't hear "no" on board. No one tells you when to eat or sleep or where to be or what to do, it is completely relaxing. The staff is laid back and friendly and really good at making you feel welcome. They have also apparently toned down some of the selling that perhaps has happened on other ships or in other times, because we did not feel pressed to buy drinks or anything. Yes, you can definitely spend a lot of extra money: but no one is going to make you feel bad if you choose something else instead. We stayed at the Best Western Suites in Seabrook before we boarded. It has a free shuttle to the cruise port and is a terrific place to be the night before a cruise. I wish there had been more educational opportunities on board, lecture series or the like. Don't miss the Spinnaker Lounge, even if you don't drink! It has the best views and the most unusual furniture. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
As we live not far from the port of Houston, taking all our needs for 29 days worked fine in 4 large suitcases. Everything from swimsuits, shorts & tee's to heavy coats and earmuffs was packed along with needs for our whole ... Read More
As we live not far from the port of Houston, taking all our needs for 29 days worked fine in 4 large suitcases. Everything from swimsuits, shorts & tee's to heavy coats and earmuffs was packed along with needs for our whole cruise. Embarkation was fine, as we arrived just after noon, had lunch in the main dining room and found our cabin to be ready after lunch, with bags arriving within an hour or so - muster drill was a breeze, then on to Sail Away party by the pool. Great fun and we even won a free drink The whole crew was made to be high quality by the staff and crew - activities we attended were fun - sailing through Panama Canal interesting. We had a really great private tour in Costa Rica, going to see POAS volcano, oxcart factory and lunch at a local restaurant suggested by our guide. A great day for our group of 8. The cabin was small, with no room to walk on either side of bed, but bed was fine and there was enough storage areas in this inside cabin we used just to sleep and occasional nap. All directors attended our Meet & Mingle party on day 2 - they gave us their phone numbers and told us they aim to please, which they did. We saw directors everywhere, every day. The shows were good, just had some duplicated during the last 9 days. Dining was not over the top, but quite good on most days, with so many ways to fix chicken, it was amazing. Got cake on my birthday, chocolate covered strawberries and wine without asking, just because we were there. Mints on the pillow each night & towel animals continued throughout the cruise. Our private tours in Cabo, Victoria and Seattle went really good too, not missing a beat and even a nice private airport transfer. Great people made our longest cruise to date enjoyable for us - We should have signed up for another cruise, but waited until we got home to book with our discount broker for 2016 Grand Med Cruise - come along and join us on May 7, 2016 from Barcelona - NCL included the Ultimate Dining Package at no added cost expect the 18% gratuity added in advance. Not sure why they don't share the $12.95 per day that we will pay when cruising, but guess others have those funds earmarked - shame on you for not sharing. At least NCL does not claim to give all of the service charges to the crew, but I guess they can hash that out and hope to have other good crew members, even though the cruise line pays too little and many work around the clock to keep everyone satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Just returned and wanted to give some feedback on the Jewel. She is still a Jewel. We sailed her back in 2005, transatlantic repositioning, Barcelona to Miami. I thought she was so different then and still is today. The colors are bright ... Read More
Just returned and wanted to give some feedback on the Jewel. She is still a Jewel. We sailed her back in 2005, transatlantic repositioning, Barcelona to Miami. I thought she was so different then and still is today. The colors are bright and airy. Very Caribbean. Not the usual cruise ship. Very clean ship with lots of "washy - washy" being promoted. This cruise we had the family suite # 11024. Very roomy for just the two of us. We could have fit two or three grandkids in the spare room with no problem, but would have been tight for teens or adults. Not a lot of closet or drawer space in the room, but we were able to utilize both rooms and had an extraordinary amount of storage. A very pretty flower arrangement was in the suite, three bottles of champagne (which I was happy to give to others celebrating on this cruise) were delivered on day two with a bowl of fresh fruit and Godiva chocolates, ( (we hoarded the chocolates). Canapés were delivered every afternoon. DH loved the chocolate chip cookies. Also delivered were chocolate covered strawberries (twice), finger sandwiches, assortment of chocolate confections, cheese and crackers, cake, and canapés. We really didn't need to go out to eat with all the food the butler brought us. We didn't use the butler Teodore, but he was always there just in case. Anthony, room steward kept the room tidy. We had the ultimate dining, ultimate drink packages. The dining was great, we ate in all restraunts except Le Bistro (heard it was real good). Cagney's was so good we ate there twice..... The Italian food was just average. Moderno should not be missed, we ate at Chin Chin's twice also, but the best was Tapanyaki, a must also. Unless you want to get plastered every night the drink package is not a good deal. We received the drink and dining packages as incentives for getting a suite so we did not purchase them. I do not understand why you cannot get bottled water or coffee bar items on the drink plan instead of alcoholic beverages. We received a bottle of wine for being platinum members and several other perks which we were able to give to another couple traveling with us. NCL was very accommodating in letting us include them in on our perks such as embarking and disembarking early, a meet the crew get together in The Haven, using my drink card to get them soft drinks, special seating in the theater, free dining coupons, etc. We did purchase the thermal spa passes and found this very relaxing. We did the dune buggy/snorkel in Cozumel. Highly recommend but not good snorkeling. The old Belize River /Altun Ha in Belize, nice but long and the catamaran/snorkel in Honduras, very very good. The entertainment was good for the most part. Really enjoyed the "de je vous" couple. Our cabin was located under the pool area. Quiet most of the time. Did hear the band some nights, but only till mid night or so. Really not a problem. A few chairs being moved around, but again not a big deal. A curtain between the master bath area and the bedroom provided little privacy. Toilet flushing resonated through the sleeping area. We decided to use the 2nd toilet in the other bedroom to not disturb one another at night or naps. Glad to have the second bathroom. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise. Everyone working the Jewel was very friendly for the most part. I would recommend NCL.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our cabin was the smallest we have experienced in our dozen or so cruises thus far. Bathroom especially tight although the shower door was nice instead of the usual shower curtain. Ship seemed to be efficiently run and well maintained. As ... Read More
Our cabin was the smallest we have experienced in our dozen or so cruises thus far. Bathroom especially tight although the shower door was nice instead of the usual shower curtain. Ship seemed to be efficiently run and well maintained. As bad (small) as the cabin was, the crew that we encountered was among the best we have run into. Our room steward was friendly and efficient as was the representative at the internet cafe. All of the wait staff that we encountered in the Main dining rooms, the specialty dining, and the cafe were all excellent. The staff assigned for special diets was exceptional helping my wife with her gluten free dining.  They treated her like a Queen, greatly appreciated. Most of the staff in the bars, customer service, etc. were also great. The ports we visited were so-so. I guess we might have appreciated them more if we were into snorkeling, etc. Overall, a good experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Embarkation – quick, easy, priority embarkation for Haven guests Haven Experience – as background, we booked a two-bedroom suite last July for five of us girls. The prices dropped SIGNIFICANTLY and included all the great perks within ... Read More
Embarkation – quick, easy, priority embarkation for Haven guests Haven Experience – as background, we booked a two-bedroom suite last July for five of us girls. The prices dropped SIGNIFICANTLY and included all the great perks within a few weeks of sailing. Oh well! We all know how that works. For anyone who has the flexibility to wait – you cannot beat the current fares for the Haven right now. • Room Steward – OK, not great. Our second time in a suite and both times we had “lack-luster” room stewards. Kind of strange. • Butler “Erlindo” – good • Concierge “Florentina” – good • Haven Attendant “Jon” – outstanding. Took care of the Haven from sun up to late afternoon. Always had a smile on his face and the five of us loved his “copy that” and “happy” responses to all requests. He’s a keeper! • Mini gym – recumbent bicycle and treadmill. Great for me, since I cycle each morning. Deck 15 (only accessible from the Haven I think) provided the perfect spot for my stretching and core building exercises so I never had to fight the gym crowds. Food – Specialty restaurants • Teppanyaki – excellent, great quality and huge quantity. Chef was very entertaining • La Cuchina – excellent salmon, pasta carbonara – friendly service • Moderno – very good food, but extremely slow service. After 1.5 hours – decided to quit Complimentary dining • Azura – nice casual atmosphere. Fair service and fair food • Tzar’s – beautiful atmosphere. Fair service and fair food • O’Sheehans – nice casual atmosphere – good for people watching. Fair service and fair food. • Buffet – nicely laid out with a great selection that should meet anyone’s needs. Only ate there for lunch. Entertainment • “Band on the Run” – good, not great • Comedian - OK • Russian Couple – AWESOME! • Cirque – AWESOME! Splash Academy - one of us girls was my 8-yr old granddaughter - she loved Splash Academy. They put on a Circus that last sea day. It was great. Excursions • Cozumel – Fury Snorkel & Beach tour – GREAT!!! Snorkeling was good and the beach time with all the large water toys was great for all ages. • Banana Coast – Tranquility Bay was awesome. Quiet, serene, excellent massage ($45 for an hour). The name fits – enjoyed a beautiful day there. Overall – a very nice cruise. I’m a freestyle fan and really enjoyed the relaxation.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Having cruised a few times before, we were very happy with the NCL JEWEL. An older ship, but has been remodeled/updated recently. The ship holds around 2500 guests and about 1000 crew, I think. There are 14 decks.. But most of the ... Read More
Having cruised a few times before, we were very happy with the NCL JEWEL. An older ship, but has been remodeled/updated recently. The ship holds around 2500 guests and about 1000 crew, I think. There are 14 decks.. But most of the activities is on 6-7,12-13. Embarkation was fine..standard security ,etc.. No real problems in Houston. Our room was fine..see below.. Food was good..and Plentiful! The Garden Cafe buffet had decent food..not fantastic..but they did vary the menu with themed nights. Tsars palace and Azura ..main dining rooms were fine also.. Freestyle cruising..eat anytime..never really had any long wait times to find a table. o'sheehans pub was also a nice change of pace diner..all those are included in price.. their Premium restaurants are nice! We only ate at Cagneys Steakhouse, on our anniversary.. Food there was Great! Highly recommend. The ship has a lot of options in eating. The lounges/bars were nice too. spinnaker lounge had great views of the water..and was spacious ! Some great game shows,etc.are held there! Dont miss the white hot party..tons of fun..and wear white! But the highlight of our trip was the Amazing shows in the Stardust Theater.. Don't miss one, if you go, because they are high production events. The Cruise Director, Jamie walker, is fantastic! She is very personable, helpful,funny, and amazingly she seemed to be at most events during the day! Great asset to the Ship! The pool area was nice, although I'm surprised it's not larger, as a lot of people congregate there during the day.. Ports were fun, especially the NCL Party atmosphere when boarding the ship! All in all, we had a Fantastic Vacation! Highly recommended for first timers, families, and those wanting to get away from the stress.. the. Jewel is Not a ship for those looking for lavish living, although I heard the Haven Suites are amazing! We will cruise again on NCL, for sure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was my first trip on a Norwegian ship (NJ). Previously, I have cruised on Royal Caribbean ships (RC). So, I will make some comparisons. Contrary to reviews I had seen here previously, the NJ was in good shape, clean, colorful and ... Read More
This was my first trip on a Norwegian ship (NJ). Previously, I have cruised on Royal Caribbean ships (RC). So, I will make some comparisons. Contrary to reviews I had seen here previously, the NJ was in good shape, clean, colorful and refurbished, with a welcoming crew. The NJ passengers are a much broader age group than the RC ships overall and had fewer scooters. Unlike RC in Galveston, departure and return were very smooth from Bayport Terminal and occurred on Deck 7. Shore excursions used Deck 4, easily accessed as compared to RC which often requires the use of interior stairways. Tendering to Trujillo on the lifeboats was exciting, especially the return journey which occurred in heavy tropical rain and rough waves due to the swollen river currents meeting the incoming sea currents. However, the pilots of these tenders did an outstanding job for long hours. I enjoyed the historical tour of Trujillo and the shopping area at the dock. I had been to Belize and Cozumel previously. The overall layout of the NJ was quite different from the RC ships and I prefer the RC layout. NJ hallways in cabin areas were more narrow and the cabins are smaller overall. Dining rooms are all over the ship and the major shopping area is at one end of Deck 7. There are plenty of elevators (3 sets, forward/mid/aft) but some of them only go to certain floors. The very rear area of the buffet facility (the Garden Room) on Deck 12 is outdoors, largely covered, has good seating and a smaller food service area which made it my favorite place on the ship for relaxing, people watching, and reading. Unfortunately, the very windy weather often hindered the use of Deck 7, but you could walk around the entire ship on that deck. There do not seem to be as many deck chairs on the NJ as on RC. I prefer the RC pool deck facilities and the RC miniature golf. The meals on NJ were adequate, better in the dining rooms than in the buffet, but the meals on RC are much superior with a more formal service from the waiters which I enjoy (and can still wear rather casual clothes). My friend and I never had a problem getting a table in the NJ dining room anytime we walked up (and at varying times each night). I think the NJ entertainment was better scheduled and higher quality overall than what I have seen on RC. The magician and the comedian on the NJ were interesting and there was a very good aerial performance, as well as good singers in various club areas. Guest services is on Deck 7 and in a bad location as lines of customers and photography sets and club patrons and people just walking thru all compete for floor area near that desk area. Additionally, beware if you have one name (usually determined by the government) on your passport and a somewhat different name on your credit card (usually determined by you and used by your bank). Although NJ takes your credit card info when you book, giving it plenty of time to check your credit (and names), it may send a letter to your room, once you have sailed, telling you that you must pay in cash. You will have to dispute this and listen to the guest services worker tell you that "booking" and the "financial" departments do not share info about you, which I find absolutely ridiculous. Certainly, I had no intention of having to "stand in a long line" at the guest services desk to clear this up and there should have been no need for it. Good think I did carry a credit card with at least part of my name the same as on the passport. NJ insists your passport name and your banking name must be the same, something I have never heard from two other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife and I just returned from the first Norwegian cruise out of Houston. It was a 7 night R/T Western Caribbean cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and the "Banana Coast" in Honduras. This was our third cruise with Norwegian and ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the first Norwegian cruise out of Houston. It was a 7 night R/T Western Caribbean cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and the "Banana Coast" in Honduras. This was our third cruise with Norwegian and our 11th cruise overall. The ship was nice but could use some updating in the public areas. Our cabin was very nice and I especially liked the layout of the bathroom with a real shower door and a real private commode area. The crew on this ship, like the other Norwegian cruises we have been on, was outstanding. The only issue we saw was that the dining rooms seemed to be understaffed thus the service was slow. The food was about average for this category of cruise ship. The entertainment was probably the best we have ever seen on a cruise ship. The embarkation and disembarkation were easy and fairly fast. Parking was $80.00 far the week which I consider to be a little steep. The ports of call were Cozumel, my favorite on this itinerary, Belize with crystal clear waters for snorkeling but you have to tender there and the "Banana Coast" in Trujillo Honduras which you also have to tender to get too. This was the first ever visit to this location by a cruise ship and it showed. They simply aren't ready for prime time and probably won't be for years. Very little shopping or anything else to do there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Our ports were Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize. The ship is lovely, well laid out, and spacious. There are many comfortable seating areas around the ship to hangout in when you want to get out of your cabin. The Computer Cafe/Library had many ... Read More
Our ports were Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize. The ship is lovely, well laid out, and spacious. There are many comfortable seating areas around the ship to hangout in when you want to get out of your cabin. The Computer Cafe/Library had many computers and someone there for computer support most of the time. We ate most of our meals at the Horizon Court buffet and found the food to be very good. At dinner time most nights the Horizon Court buffet was closed and you had to eat at the Cafe Caribe buffet. Cafe Caribe was a single line buffet and therefore the line moved very slowly. We much prefer Horizon Court where there are food islands and you can move between the "islands" without getting bogged down in a single line. The public areas of the ship like the lounges and theater were kept very chilly. A sweater or jacket was a must to be comfortable. The lifeboat drill was done promptly and was very organized. The only drawback was people carrying on a loud conversation over the announcements. The ship's staff did not attempt to quiet them so that the rest of us could hear clearly. What a lovely and spacious cabin. This cabin was very difficult to find since there are only 9 of them and they are located on Deck 6 near the Front Desk in a private hallway with unmarked doors. Even though we had studied the ship's layout carefully, we still had to find someone to show us where the cabin was located. The location was very good for the Front Desk, Shore Excursions Desk, the Plaza on Deck 5, and the International Cafe/Coffee Cafe. It was very quiet and we never even saw or heard our neighbors in the other Window Suites. The cabin was basically square in shape with 2 large windows. There were three separate closets and many many drawers. The bathroom had two sinks with a separate glass walled shower and jetted tub. The shower pressure and temperature was good on 3 days of the cruise. The other days had almost no water pressure and barely warm water. The temperature in the cabin was cool bordering on cold. We had to set the thermostat to the highest setting to be comfortable. A maintenance technician spent almost an hour working on it but there wasn't any change. Since this was a Suite, we had a DVD player already hooked up to the TV and we could have two movies at a time from the movie library. The TV could be swiveled to face the bed or couch. The bed was very comfortable and there was a hideaway couch. The big problem with these cabins on Deck 6 was the noise from the ship's stabilizers. The seas were slight to moderate but you could hear the stabilizers every time they moved. This was not a constant noise but it would come and go on a irregular basis. There was lots of vibration and clanging to go along with the noise. The price for this cabin was between the cost of Balcony Mini-Suite and a regular Suite. While I really loved the space and set up of the cabin, I would not stay in a cabin on that low a deck again.  We had a problem with the safe in our room that didn't work because the batteries were dead. We notified our cabin steward and he suggested we tell the Front Desk for quicker service. We ended up talking to the Front Desk twice and it still took a 1 1/2 days and 3 maintenance visits for the batteries to be replaced. There were 3 days at sea during this 7 day cruise. This was entirely too many days at sea for this length cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We took this Cruise on the Occasion of our 45th Anniversary with the whole Family. The Staterooms were very well laid out. However, the Ship itself is not very handicapped accessible. The Doors leading to the Smoking Area outside on Deck ... Read More
We took this Cruise on the Occasion of our 45th Anniversary with the whole Family. The Staterooms were very well laid out. However, the Ship itself is not very handicapped accessible. The Doors leading to the Smoking Area outside on Deck 7 were very hard to open. My Husband, who uses a Walker had Problems with this. On several Occasions he also had to fold up his Walker to be able to navigate the Hallways, since there were Service Carts parked and no Cabin Stewart in sight.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our first cruise with Princess, and probably be our last with them. Our ninth cruise overall. Picked it over the Norwegian Jewel out of New Orleans, because Bayport was closer and we got a mini suite here, cheaper than a balcony ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Princess, and probably be our last with them. Our ninth cruise overall. Picked it over the Norwegian Jewel out of New Orleans, because Bayport was closer and we got a mini suite here, cheaper than a balcony there. A lot shorter drive for us, too. The service on CB was very good. Our cabin attendant Ryan was ok. Remember to put the DO NOT DISTURB in your key slot. They can still come into your room, even if the lower dead bolt is locked. They knock first, but come in shortly after knocking. We had late seating, table 109 in the Palm Dining Room. Our waiter Michaela was GREAT along with her assistant. She was always bringing us extra stuff to try. But the evening dining menu was heavy towards Italian entrees, which is not my favorite. Mostly same deserts every night. The coffee after dinner was terrible. It was like they wanted you to buy a latte or cappuccino, after your meal. We did celebrate two birthdays (son & daughter-in law) and our 38th wedding, 3 different nights while dining in the Palm Dining Room. Michaela brought the "special little cakes" out each time with candle lit, and she got all her tables around us to join in signing to us. The CB also puts balloons and a big card on your cabin door, on your special day. That was the first time that has happened to us on a cruise. It was very nice of them to do this! Also, I got a $100 onboard credit for just being a Veteran from Princess Cruise lines. THANK YOU!!! You have to go to their web site and sign up before your cruise. Another thing worth mentioning, Disabled Veterans get to park free in the official Port Of Houston parking lots, both Galveston and Bayport. I just show them my Disabled VA card. Thanks POH. The buffets are laid out badly having to go around in a circle. The omelets served at breakfast were very dry. The lunches in the dining room were good. The shows were ok. No late night adult comedy. Except for one the last night in an over crowded bar. The pizza was very greasy. After 11:00 pm it seemed like nothing there was nothing going on. If you wanted any thing you had to go to the 5th floor, to the coffee bar. You had to pay for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lattes, fraps, etc. The deserts and sandwiches were free. We did the ATV in Cozumel thru CB, private tour and extreme zip line with Steve Bush (Roatan Trips & Tours), and river boat and Altun Ha ruins thru CB. The ATV was very rough riding over the rocks, zip line was great, the boat ride was boring and we only got to spend 1 hour at the ruins. We would like to have had more time at Altun Ha after the long and bumpy bus ride to and back to ship. Embarkation and debarkation were good. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We sailed on Caribbean Princess on 12/14/2013 and were really looking forward to getting away and enjoying some warm weather! We'd been set to sail with RCCL out of Galveston that week, but changed when we learned that Princess was to ... Read More
We sailed on Caribbean Princess on 12/14/2013 and were really looking forward to getting away and enjoying some warm weather! We'd been set to sail with RCCL out of Galveston that week, but changed when we learned that Princess was to be sailing out of the Port of Houston, and it's significantly closer to where we live in NW Houston. For whatever reason, the Houston area’s been unseasonably cold ever since Princess first got here in November, and the 14th was no different. We had some last-minute errands to run, so we left our house around 9 a.m., thus missing the email that warned us that boarding would be delayed – about the only true message Princess sent out during the cruise! We got to the Port of Houston around 12:30 p.m. since we board early due to my disability and were directed to a loooonnnnngggg line of cars that ultimately reached the auxiliary lot, where we started Row 6. No reason was given, but at 2:00, we were told that if we wanted, we could go into Kemah for lunch because there was plenty of time before boarding would begin as the passengers returning had not yet been cleared to leave the ship! We decided to wait because it was sprinkling and nasty out, with a bitter cold wind blowing as well. We finally began moving around 3:45 a.m. but once we parked, it took little time to go through embarkation and board the ship. Our Cabin was A303, a disabled cabin with no threshold and enough space for “Nascar Nellie” my scooter – who was wearing her Christmas Finery and twinkling with LED lights – one set of batteries lasted the week…thanks QVC! We had ordered a soda card for my husband but that was it. Next time, if there is one – we’ll also get a coffee card, not because he drinks specialty coffee but because except for the dining rooms and buffets, you had to pay for the privilege of getting not only coffee, but also tea and hot chocolate, UNlike our prior experience with RCCL. Once again, just as I said with our last trip on Princess, we felt as if they nickelled-and-dimed us to death on the cruise. It seemed like everywhere, something cost extra, and it's amazing how much those little things add up. We chose Anytime Dining because my husband is diabetic and is used to eating at 6 p.m. so we felt that would give us the chance to eat close to the same time. WRONG! The first day, since boarding was delayed (and so was our departure), we didn’t get to the buffet for lunch until almost 5 p.m. and we didn’t feel like having another big meal. The food in the buffets was plentiful and tasty much of the time. Everywhere were hand-sanitizer units, and it was good to see everyone using them! There were even signs in the restrooms urging people to use paper towels to open the doors when leaving. I had only one gripe with the restroom facilities: because there are handicapped stalls when you first get in there, it doesn’t mean that you should use them instead of regular ones – every time I had to wait while one or more people who did not appear to be disabled in any way, shape, or form, took advantage of the extra space. There wasn’t enough space for me to leave Nellie behind, so I just waited. I could understand if there weren’t enough regular stalls, but there were, and most often, they were vacant. It’s just a courtesy thing, ladies! The second night, we were directed to the Coral Dining room, where we learned that we wouldn’t be able to dine until at least 7 p.m. (actually 7:30 before we were seated) because it had fixed seating until then. It wasn’t until Day 5 that we learned of the existence of the Int’l Dining Room, but ironically, IT didn’t have availability for us until 7:30 as well. We asked about making reservations, but were told by not only one, but two people, (and a phone recording) that they weren’t taking reservations. Each night, as well, there was a huge delay between our salads and our entrees. On virtually every night in a dining room, my meat was too tough to eat, and since we had such a delay, I didn’t ask about a replacement. Not only that, but the entrees we did get were not even warm, but tepid. This was a huge difference between our last trip on Princess. That time, we had poor service on the first day, and they switched us to Anytime and gave us the same seats and waitress for the rest of the trip – marvelous!!! Twice, we chose to eat in the Caribe Buffet and enjoyed it almost as much as the regular dining rooms. We thoroughly enjoyed our Meet & Greet event, but it was a good thing that we’d made sure everyone knew when and where because it wasn't mentioned in the Princess Newsletter that day. We had a great time and many of us exchanged grab bag gifts themed “What we wouldn’t sail without.” Some of the gifts were really clever and everyone had fun. On Thursday, we met again and swapped “Tall Tales” with prizes provided by one of the members who was from Calgary, Alberta. Raoul claimed to be afraid to sail, but seemed to be enjoying his time at sea! Unfortunately, our bad weather followed us throughout the Western Caribbean. We did leave the ship for awhile in Cozumel, but it began to rain, so we returned. Roatan, Honduras gave us some sunshine, but much of the day consisted of torrential rainfall. My husband joined another couple to go to the Cameo Factory, but Nellie and I stayed behind because she doesn’t like rain very much. We did get to go out on our balcony for awhile when they got back and we enjoyed not one but two rainbows. The second one was so close that I’d swear you could see just where the pot of gold was – and it WASN’T in the Casino! In Belize, they won’t tender scooters, so we remained onboard as well. We enjoyed people watching, and spent some time in the casino – where I actually won almost $40 playing a 2-cent slot machine! I gave $20 of it back, but spent a long time doing it. Friday the 20th marked probably the worst day of the trip. We were told to have our luggage outside our doors by 9 p.m. On other cruises, it’d disappear almost as quickly as you put it out, but not this night. We went to join some friends, and then came an announcement from the Captain, telling us that due to bad weather in Houston, they were going to make a run for it, and would hopefully arrive before it did. They anticipated a 9 pm arrival on Friday, the 20th (luggage?), but would not be disembarking guests until the regular time on the 21st. Still no luggage disappearing… About an hour later, there was another announcement from the Cruise Director (more on him later.) NOW, the fog had arrived and they told us that we could not arrive until Sunday, the 22nd, with docking taking place around 11 p.m. on the 21st. We were to retrieve our luggage. They advised anyone who had air reservations to make their changes themselves, UNLESS they had booked through Princess, same with transfers. They provided only complimentary phone and Internet service to enable this. The ship had pretty much stopped in place and that was the situation when we went to bed. We hadn’t been able to get a copy of our statement, and none was ever placed under our door. The next morning at 7:00 a.m., my husband woke up and told me that we were moving again, and that it appeared that the fog had lifted. Just moments later, the mysterious Cruise Director came on and told us that, contrary to what they and we had been told, we were now about to enter the Houston Ship Channel and would be docking, not on Sunday, but on Saturday at around 11 a.m. (or noon). We should put our luggage out as soon as possible and then go for breakfast. Disembarkation would occur as soon as possible after we docked, and wait for your floor to be called. So, we had breakfast and went to the public areas to wait for disembarkation directions. We said goodbye to our Steward, Raymond, who had been wonderful to us all week long, and we gave him extra gratuities – he was the only one we did that with. After we’d waited for almost an hour, they told everyone to please go and wait in their cabins and disembarkation information would be provided. It was maybe 11:30-ish and we were still moving. When we got to our cabin, it had been prepped for the next cruise. We ended up sitting in the little chairs provided in the room – and it was nasty outside again, so the balcony was of no use. There we sat until 3:30 p.m. when we were told to disembark. We were among the last and by then the wind was howling and it was pouring down rain. Ed ran through it to get our car from a handicapped parking spot, but they didn’t want him to drive under the Departure Portico to load my scooter, so he ended up getting soaking wet – and so did Nellie! I had plastic covering her tiller, but everything we had ended up wet. We finally got to our home in NW Houston about 5:00 pm…and were we ever glad to be home!!! I don’t have a whole lot against Princess – it’s certainly better than Carnival. What we did see was a staff who didn’t really care a whole lot. In all our our dozen cruises, we’ve always been able to recognize the cruise director, yet this one we never even caught sight of. Due to the mess with dinner times, we didn’t get to enjoy any of the entertainment (and we don’t play bingo!) There weren’t towel animals, chocolates or so many of the little touches that we’ve come to enjoy when cruising. I won't even comment on gratuities. We didn’t get sight of the captain, either, because we didn’t get our invitation to the returning guests event until AFTER it happened. There was one person in one of the shops who was friendly. Those behind the Purser’s Desk appeared no less than surly the one time I did make a request. We’d heard so much from our M&M friends who were “Elite” but I think they were the only ones to matter to Princess. Frankly, we cancelled an RCCL cruise to be on this one and we’re sorry we did. From rumors we’ve heard, another captain has left the Caribbean Princess due to Port of Houston issues – but Princess KNEW what it was like before they ever returned there! I don’t understand why there are all these problems, but it’s affecting those who are cruising. We felt worst for those who changed reservations and then ended up having to pay for another night’s lodging if they hadn’t purchased travel and insurance through Princess. No, the weather wasn’t their fault, but the way Princess reacted TO the weather WAS. We’ll think long and hard before we sail with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Although we have cruised many times (HAL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean) we had never done a Princess Cruise. We live in the Houston area, so using the newly opened port was a breeze. Embarkation: Although you pass through a heavy industrial ... Read More
Although we have cruised many times (HAL, Carnival, Royal Caribbean) we had never done a Princess Cruise. We live in the Houston area, so using the newly opened port was a breeze. Embarkation: Although you pass through a heavy industrial area, getting to the Houston Port is not difficult and we can see they are working on the roads, so as to widen and improve them, still. Parking right by the ship is so handy. We are so used to having to shuttle back to the ship, but unloading luggage and shooting around to park is so quick, with just a short walk across the parking lot back to the ship. Check in was also quick and the wait to be called by group was painless. NOT so painless was the long slow moving line to board the ship. Our boarding pass had a number and they also placed a sticker number on our clothing. We were told the sticker had nothing to do with boarding. It happened that both our pass and our sticker number was 8. We watched countless people go up to board, using their sticker number, only to be told, NO, not time yet. It was confusing to many. The line divided when we entered the ship and in the next line, we waited until our turn to have our plastic card scanned and our picture taken by a hand held device. That seemed to be the hold up, causing the boarding process to be slower than we had experienced before. The ability to go right to your stateroom is wonderful. Not so on many other ships. We were told that no dining room was open and to go to Horizon on Lido for lunch. In the past, we have had the option to go to the dining room OR the Lido. However food was good and service excellent, with a smile. Although we had signed up for Traditional Dining (Palm Dining) we opted to move to a table with friends, thus they assigned us a table in the Island Dining Room, where they put the Anytime Diners. But they gave us the same table nightly with Marion and Igor serving, both fine young men with wonderful service. They each went our of their way to do their jobs, with ease, jokes and good information. A pleasure. Ship Appointments: Although we understand the Caribbean Princess is going in for refurbishment this spring, we think she is a Grand Old Ship and the occasional little area needing attention did not bother us at all. They are still continuing to paint the outside, at ports, reapply varnish on rails, etc. Beautiful, tasteful decor. Entertainment: The Illusionist: Jonathon Hawley is excellent, as was the comic Miguel Washington and the unusual juggler, Aaron Bonk Not so the singers and dancers. The first show was painful and we did not attend the second. We thought the food was quite good and the desserts excellent Overall, a great start to Princess and we will definitely go aboard again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013

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