Prior to the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Plus at Seabrook. They provide parking and breakfast as part of the room charge and the Port is less than five minutes from the hotel. They move passengers back and forth with cheerful ... Read More
Prior to the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Plus at Seabrook. They provide parking and breakfast as part of the room charge and the Port is less than five minutes from the hotel. They move passengers back and forth with cheerful efficiency. I plan to stay there again. Waffles were great!
This was my first time going through the Port Of Houston Cruise Terminal. I am used to the hell and confusion at other ports, the snaking lines, the cranky people, the whole messy obstacle course of getting to my vacation on the ship. I have never experienced such easy embarkation/disembarkation. It was like silk. The logistic arrangement is primo. Drive up, drop the bags, drive 150 yards, park the car, walk in. Drop off the health questionnaire, check in, and I think we sat for maybe fifteen minutes before walking on board, and getting off the ship was even quicker. We walked off the ship at 750 am, caught a shuttle and at 810 am were already on our way out of town. This is a wonderful terminal, new, clean and attractive and compared to the Galveston chaos, it's a dream. Goodbye Galveston, I love you Port of Houston.
This was my first Princess cruise and given the fact we were coming out of Dallas and the big ice storm, the ease of boarding was a relief. We didn't even care that there were delays due to fog. And some geniuses among the passengers thought you could/should do something about fog. Big fans? Fairy dust? Yes we were delayed but the Princess staff rearranged our port schedule and we missed nothing. Impressive.
Safety drill came up. Instead of the dire, subliminally worrisome drills I have experienced on other lines, we took our life preservers to our muster stations, inside not on deck, and actually learned to on a life preserver while the supervisor explained that we would stay in a safe area and that if there was a problem we would be shepherded to the boats. Impressive.
We took a tour of the spa and prices are much, much higher than other lines I have travelled on. A massage was 50 percent higher than I have paid on other lines. Perhaps Lender.com and Princess should talk. Even a mani/pedi was $100. Impressive price, but totally ridiculous.
Dinner service in the main dining rooms was pleasingly prompt. (I nearly starved on Holland America waiting for courses that seemed to take forever and we sometimes ran out of our appointed dining time before dessert was even ordered. ) the wait staff were helpful, quick and attentive. Prettiest desserts I have ever seen. A richly red sorbet heart filled with chocolate mousse with a chocolate decoration was gorgeous. Second place went to a dark chocolate dome with a solid lime sorbet center and white chocolate printed with lime green designs was also breathtaking.
Lest you think I am just puffing Princess, I do have one thing to ding them on. The food in what they call Horizon Terrace is awful. Instead of long, easy access, well lighted serving lines, they have little pods behind wrought iron gates that you enter a cramped and congested maze that contains tasteless pasta salads, soggy half-sandwiches, pale pieces of chicken drowned in a sauce that was inedible, and very few choices. I guess the lighting is poor to keep you from really seeing what you are going to consume. Other lines I have been on have large mainstream and international selections that are attractive and delicious instead of the dry Indian roti wraps and lasagna standing in puddles of oil. Ick. Hard to get to, hard to see, congested and irritating because you feel trapped in a maze with dozens of other equally confused guests. Half the time I didn't eat what was on my plate and instead raided my store of protein bars in my suitcase.
The staff is better than this and should not be represented by such awful food in the Horizon Terrace.
The Crew Culinary Show is not to be missed. The Maître d' is a very distinguished looking gentleman who hides his comedic talents. He, the Executive Chef, and a Deputy Cruise Directory, along with the rest of the wait and kitchen staff put on cooking demonstrations that had cooking information, side splitting goofy pranks and pratfalls, and great singing and dancing.
There is a Shopping tutorial about vendors in the various stops that includes discount cards and information about safety.
We saw none of the rotten behavior we have seen on Carnival. Announcements were made telling parents that they needed to be attentive to their children's behavior and one nearly inebriated passenger in the process of embarrassing himself was cautioned that he would be put off the ship if he repeated his drunken behavior. The general demeanor of fellow passengers was pleasant, genial and friendly.
Our room was well set up so that it felt bigger than it was, there was ample storage and our steward, Efren, was wonderful.
We enjoyed the shows, the games, the Movies Under the Stars.
Belize City and Costa Maya were not great. Cozumel, we loved the shopping, the atmosphere, and attractions.
I have never experienced such a relaxing cruise and except in one case, every Princess crew member showed great willingness and generosity to meet customer needs. So Trivia Hostess who was talking smack about Texas and being snarky to some guests you were mad at, take a clue. No matter what they were doing or how annoyed you were, your insults at them were not camouflaged by the big fake smile and the "hey I am just kidding" nonsense. We really didn't like your attitude and felt it was ill-advised.
All in all, I am impressed by Princess, it's programs, the cabins, and the overall service. Really enjoyed my trip and will be traveling on Princess again in October.