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Travel from Hobby airport to Kemah a day early, close to terminal took over 2 hours and $80+ on I45. This was twice what we expected at 3pm on a Saturday. Traffic was bumper to bumper the whole way. Perhaps the cab driver took advantage of our situation. We pulled up multiple other routes on Google but he did not change his route. The return to the airport from the port only took 35 minutes on the Princess shuttle so clearly something was askew. Check in was simple and quick after we arrived at the port around noon. We were boarding by 1230 and able to go directly to our room. Our luggage also arrived quickly. We were in room A603 on the Aloha deck. The room certainly needed updating and the shower had the flimsy curtain rather than the enclosed shower doors seen on NCL and Celebrity. The bathroom smelled of urine or sour laundry which we try to overlook as we are on a ship with special plumbing. The room, however, had a very strong sewer smell. We put up with it the best we could but by the next day it was unbearable. We noticed the smell was also strong in the corridor starting around cabin 517 and lasting to well past ours. We called the front desk several times with no one answering. It would ring once then immediately go to a busy signal. After several attempts we walked down to the desk. Apparently you cannot push the pre-programmed button on the phone that says ‘front desk’ but have to dial 6000 to call. The first person contacted at the desk said they were aware of the problem and were working on it. He would follow up with us shortly. This was around 10 am I believe. After returning to our room late in the afternoon we had received no follow up and the smell was worse than ever. We immediately went back down to the front desk to inquire of the status. The next person trying to help us, Owie, had no idea of the situation and there were apparently no notes on our account. We were very upset and to his credit he stayed very calm and said he would contact a supervisor to see what could be done and would call us in 10 minutes. We went back to our room and within 10 minutes he was at our door with a service technician to inspect the room and vent. Since they were unable to figure out what was wrong and it was now after 9pm, he said we could move to another cabin on deck 14 for the night. He would be back on duty at 9am the next morning and would have more information then. We went back down to the front desk at 9am and Owie looked in the computer, spoke to a supervisor and said we could stay in the new room on the Riviera deck for the remainder of the cruise. This room had no smell, however, since it was directly under the Lido deck it was extremely noisy. This was not a good location but we figured it was better to put up with the noise than continue to be exposed to sewer gas. We asked that they move the beds together while we were in port then we would call for assistance to move our things. We returned from port in the late afternoon. The beds had not been moved together as we had asked. However, we wanted to get our things moved before dinner so we called the porter then called the desk again to inform them of the bed situation. It took several more calls to get the bed situation resolved. My husband finally physically moved the beds himself but we still needed the appropriate bedding and mattress topper. Staff could not locate a mattress topper so after a couple more hours of waiting we finally just told them to add blankets under the sheets to help cover the seam and make it more comfortable. One would think the staff could have thought of this solution on their own. We were very disappointed in the number of calls it took to get our room situation resolved. We later spoke to others on the cruise that also experienced the sewer smell but were on different decks. Our assumption is that this issue flows up the decks in the cabin section from 500-700 on both sides of the ship. One would do well to avoid these cabin numbers if possible. If we had not been able to move, we may have had to abandon the trip. Owie did send a bottle of red wine to our room as an apology for the entire situation which we did appreciate. We do not drink wine so thought we would just take it home with us in our carry on. When we got off the ship back in Houston we had to pay a $3 tax on the gifted wine. When we got to the airport they would not allow us through security with it so we had to throw it away. Although the thought was nice, it created more of a hassle for us. It would be nice if Princess inquired with guests before providing such items as there may be something else more appropriate. In hindsight we should have just returned the wine and thanked them for the gesture. Now for the good points. The food was very good in the dining room. Probably some of the best we have had. The buffet was decent although not as good as the dining room which is to be expected. There was a special chocolate dessert featured each evening which was always delicious as well as multiple other non-chocolate selections. The featured magician, Alex Ramon was exceptional as well as the comic Carl Strong. The production shows were ok but we much preferred the magic and comedy shows. Previous reviews said to get to the shows 30 minutes prior to get a seat. We arrived 40 minutes early in some cases and were still not able to get seats in the early shows. If you can stay up late you may have more success with the late shows. While the cabins needed updating and were very small (we had a balcony), the common areas seemed to be very nice. More of the understated classical style rather than glamour and glitz but very comfortable. There was always good entertainment in the main piazza area to enjoy throughout the day and evening. Now to the ports… We only walked around in Cozumel, no excursions. We walked from the ship to the historic part of town. Quite a trek but doable. We did opt to take a taxi back for $8 as we were hot and tired. Roatan was beautiful. We took a 5 hour excursion with Vic Bodden to the interactive monkey experience then to West Bay for a couple hours on the beach. West Bay was extremely busy but still very nice. The water was crystal clear. We unfortunately did not snorkel but heard from other cruisers it was exceptional. We then walked around the Mahogany Bay area and it was also very nice. We could see spending the day there, however, if you have never been to Roatan before you should see more of the island to get a feel for the culture. In Belize we did a 1.5 hour city/country tour. There really was nothing to see. Very poor, dirty city. We walked through the old town right by the cruise port and it was dirty and depressing. Other parts of Belize may be beautiful but this area is not. We had beautiful weather every day. All in all an enjoyable cruise. The Caribbean Princess is going to be refurbished in 2017 so would wait to sail on it again just because of the cabin situation. Gave it three stars just because of the cabin odor. Otherwise would consider it a strong 4.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by Jackwes

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Travel from Hobby airport to Kemah a day early, close to terminal took over 2 hours and $80+ on I45. This was twice what we expected at 3pm on a Saturday. Traffic was bumper to bumper the whole way. Perhaps the cab driver took advantage of our situation. We pulled up multiple other routes on Google but he did not change his route. The return to the airport from the port only took 35 minutes on the Princess shuttle so clearly something was askew.

Check in was simple and quick after we arrived at the port around noon. We were boarding by 1230 and able to go directly to our room. Our luggage also arrived quickly.

We were in room A603 on the Aloha deck. The room certainly needed updating and the shower had the flimsy curtain rather than the enclosed shower doors seen on NCL and Celebrity. The bathroom smelled of urine or sour laundry which we try to overlook as we are on a ship with special plumbing.

The room, however, had a very strong sewer smell. We put up with it the best we could but by the next day it was unbearable. We noticed the smell was also strong in the corridor starting around cabin 517 and lasting to well past ours. We called the front desk several times with no one answering. It would ring once then immediately go to a busy signal. After several attempts we walked down to the desk. Apparently you cannot push the pre-programmed button on the phone that says ‘front desk’ but have to dial 6000 to call.

The first person contacted at the desk said they were aware of the problem and were working on it. He would follow up with us shortly. This was around 10 am I believe. After returning to our room late in the afternoon we had received no follow up and the smell was worse than ever. We immediately went back down to the front desk to inquire of the status. The next person trying to help us, Owie, had no idea of the situation and there were apparently no notes on our account. We were very upset and to his credit he stayed very calm and said he would contact a supervisor to see what could be done and would call us in 10 minutes. We went back to our room and within 10 minutes he was at our door with a service technician to inspect the room and vent. Since they were unable to figure out what was wrong and it was now after 9pm, he said we could move to another cabin on deck 14 for the night. He would be back on duty at 9am the next morning and would have more information then.

We went back down to the front desk at 9am and Owie looked in the computer, spoke to a supervisor and said we could stay in the new room on the Riviera deck for the remainder of the cruise. This room had no smell, however, since it was directly under the Lido deck it was extremely noisy. This was not a good location but we figured it was better to put up with the noise than continue to be exposed to sewer gas. We asked that they move the beds together while we were in port then we would call for assistance to move our things.

We returned from port in the late afternoon. The beds had not been moved together as we had asked. However, we wanted to get our things moved before dinner so we called the porter then called the desk again to inform them of the bed situation. It took several more calls to get the bed situation resolved. My husband finally physically moved the beds himself but we still needed the appropriate bedding and mattress topper. Staff could not locate a mattress topper so after a couple more hours of waiting we finally just told them to add blankets under the sheets to help cover the seam and make it more comfortable. One would think the staff could have thought of this solution on their own.

We were very disappointed in the number of calls it took to get our room situation resolved. We later spoke to others on the cruise that also experienced the sewer smell but were on different decks. Our assumption is that this issue flows up the decks in the cabin section from 500-700 on both sides of the ship. One would do well to avoid these cabin numbers if possible. If we had not been able to move, we may have had to abandon the trip.

Owie did send a bottle of red wine to our room as an apology for the entire situation which we did appreciate. We do not drink wine so thought we would just take it home with us in our carry on. When we got off the ship back in Houston we had to pay a $3 tax on the gifted wine. When we got to the airport they would not allow us through security with it so we had to throw it away. Although the thought was nice, it created more of a hassle for us. It would be nice if Princess inquired with guests before providing such items as there may be something else more appropriate. In hindsight we should have just returned the wine and thanked them for the gesture.

Now for the good points. The food was very good in the dining room. Probably some of the best we have had. The buffet was decent although not as good as the dining room which is to be expected. There was a special chocolate dessert featured each evening which was always delicious as well as multiple other non-chocolate selections.

The featured magician, Alex Ramon was exceptional as well as the comic Carl Strong. The production shows were ok but we much preferred the magic and comedy shows. Previous reviews said to get to the shows 30 minutes prior to get a seat. We arrived 40 minutes early in some cases and were still not able to get seats in the early shows. If you can stay up late you may have more success with the late shows.

While the cabins needed updating and were very small (we had a balcony), the common areas seemed to be very nice. More of the understated classical style rather than glamour and glitz but very comfortable. There was always good entertainment in the main piazza area to enjoy throughout the day and evening.

Now to the ports… We only walked around in Cozumel, no excursions. We walked from the ship to the historic part of town. Quite a trek but doable. We did opt to take a taxi back for $8 as we were hot and tired. Roatan was beautiful. We took a 5 hour excursion with Vic Bodden to the interactive monkey experience then to West Bay for a couple hours on the beach. West Bay was extremely busy but still very nice. The water was crystal clear. We unfortunately did not snorkel but heard from other cruisers it was exceptional. We then walked around the Mahogany Bay area and it was also very nice. We could see spending the day there, however, if you have never been to Roatan before you should see more of the island to get a feel for the culture. In Belize we did a 1.5 hour city/country tour. There really was nothing to see. Very poor, dirty city. We walked through the old town right by the cruise port and it was dirty and depressing. Other parts of Belize may be beautiful but this area is not. We had beautiful weather every day.

All in all an enjoyable cruise. The Caribbean Princess is going to be refurbished in 2017 so would wait to sail on it again just because of the cabin situation. Gave it three stars just because of the cabin odor. Otherwise would consider it a strong 4.
Jackwes’s Full Rating Summary
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