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Sail Date: December 2006
The fastest embarkation we ever had, within minutes we were on trough the line, on the ship, and right away allowed into the cabin, no waiting time. The food was average, the buffet line was very bad in its layout, the food was often cold, ... Read More
The fastest embarkation we ever had, within minutes we were on trough the line, on the ship, and right away allowed into the cabin, no waiting time. The food was average, the buffet line was very bad in its layout, the food was often cold, and service in the Horizon Court was non-existent. The anytime dining is nice, but took forever. We celebrated a birthday on board, and I was disappointed with the acknowledgment at dinner. The ports were nice, even getting into tenders in Grand Cayman and Cozumel was nice, efficient and fast. The entertainment was not exactly overwhelming, the shows were ok, but not spectacular. The musicians were of great variety. The spa was nice, but no relaxation room, and big pressure to buy the products. The pools were good, with fresh water, and heated. The children were well contained, and not in the adult areas. The temperature on the sip, however, was cold, overly air conditioned, and the public areas required a sweater most of the time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This review is of our cruise on the Golden Princess, sailing from New Orleans to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel on Dec. 23, 2006. Embarkation was a mess. We made the mistake of arriving at the pier at 1:30, and it was truly a zoo. ... Read More
This review is of our cruise on the Golden Princess, sailing from New Orleans to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel on Dec. 23, 2006. Embarkation was a mess. We made the mistake of arriving at the pier at 1:30, and it was truly a zoo. I know many others have recommended waiting till later and I would totally agree with that. The facilities at the Poland Street Pier in New Orleans appear to be temporary, and Princess was not well-organized. The lines to check in intermingled with the lines to go through security (!), and it was literally wall to wall people. What a mess. 3 p.m. would have been a much better check-in time -- from our balcony, we could see that NO ONE was in line then. We were in cabin D308. I am always more interested in my own room than the public rooms, and the cruise line sites rarely focus much on that component of the cruise so I've tried to provide a fairly complete description of the cabin. I have a few comments about other aspects of the cruise, as well. D308 is a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck, port side, midship. We liked the location; it was very convenient to elevators but not in a high-traffic zone. A big plus: We have never been on a cruise ship when we didn't use all of the available storage! This room had 3 shelves plus plenty of counter space in the bathroom, as well as open shelf storage under the sink. There was a cabinet in the closet outside the bathroom with 6 shelves (one shelf was partially taken up by the safe), the closet had about 6 feet of hanging space with a shelf above, there were 2 drawers plus a shelf in each of 2 nightstands, 3 drawers in the vanity/desk, and 2 large drawers in the end table by the sofa. In addition, there was open shelving in the entertainment center/bar area, with a total of probably 8 - 10 linear feet. The open shelving under the bathroom sink and in the entertainment center area had railings so things would stay put. The bathroom was a nice size for a ship. I'm a bath girl, so I loved having a full-size tub. There were 2 towel bars at the end of the tub, 2 towel bars over the toilet and 2 hooks on the door, as well as a clothesline you could pull out to dry towels, swimsuits, etc. The counter was about 4 feet long. The negative about the bathroom was that it was clear there was mold around the tub and between the tiles. They had re-caulked and even put that plastic molding between the tub and the tile to cover up where they came together, but the mold was still quite visible. Living in a dry climate, I just can't get used to mold in my bathroom! We had a new set of towels twice a day which I liked, but about half the time the towels were very stiff and sandpapery. The carpeting in the room was fine, but obviously not new. The furnishings were OK, too, but again were showing their age a bit, especially the sofa. Not threadbare, but the cushions were dished out. There was a foam waffle topper on the bed, but the mattresses REALLY need to be replaced. The bedspread showed its age, but the duvet was lovely. One thing because there was only a duvet and no other top covering on the bed (unless you wanted to use the bedspread), you had no opportunity to regulate the amount of covers you could have either none or lots. It would have been nice to have also had a lightweight blanket of some type. The balcony held 4 lounge chairs, 2 arm-to-arm on each side of the balcony with a round table in between. The size was just fine for us. Balconies on this deck weren't covered, and I think I would try to book a room with a covered or partially covered balcony next time. There were 2 other chairs in the room, one at the vanity/desk and the second in the living room. We were traveling with 10 people and it was nice to get everyone in the room at once, even though we only did that one time it was a little tight! The vanity/desk area was quite functional with a large mirror; separate, bright lighting above it; and a couple of electric plugs. The hair dryer was built in above the desk. With that and the drawers, it made a great place for make-up and hair in the morning so my husband and I didn't have to fight over the bathroom. There are 2 televisions, one in the bedroom area and one in the living room area, sort of back to back. Both are on the top shelf of the entertainment center, so it was a little neck-wrenching to view them. Because of the proximity of the TVs, you certainly wouldn't want to be trying to watch 2 programs at the same time! There was also an electric outlet in the bathroom, and 2 more in the hallway from the door into the room. In the entry way there was another mirror with a small shelf great spot to leave your cruise card when you came into the room so you wouldn't forget it. The cabinet doors in the closet were also mirrored, providing a full-length view. We had a good number of hangers. I did bring a few wire hangers and was glad I had them, though. I think I caught a fleeting glance of our cabin attendant twice during the entire week. Our cabin service was excellent I just never saw him! On all other cruises I've ever taken, the cabin attendant was always in the hallway; I don't know where this one hid out. One thing I especially appreciated was that we seemed to always have plenty of ice in the ice bucket, kept in the refrigerator so it didn't melt. I'm a big ice user, so that was important to me! Also, be sure to request the robes they are waffle weave, lightweight and comfy. Well-worn and washed many times, but that just made them softer. Although we took some booze on board, I think the best way to handle that is just to use room service for it. They bring you a .375 liter and 3 sodas for $17. We didn't need the sodas, so we requested and received a very large bottle of water instead. Some suggestions I followed that I wish I hadn't: (1) bring an extension cord for extra outlets (we didn't need more than what were provided in the room); (2) bring a sweater hanger for extra shelf space  there was plenty so I didn't need that either. Suggestion I didn't follow that I wish I had: bring a roll of quarters -- the on-board laundromats were SO helpful, but required 8 quarters to wash and dry a load, not to mention additional needed to buy soap. The bill changers were sometimes out of commission or wouldn't accept a wrinkled bill, so having sufficient quarters would have been great and saved a trip to the purser's desk. If you don't use your quarters for the laundromat, you can always use them in the casino! Comments on ship amenities we used: liked the Horizon Court buffet  good food all the time and I really enjoyed getting a freshly-baked cookie mid-afternoon. I bought a soda card since I'm fond of Coca-Cola. I don't think it was a particularly good deal from a monetary standpoint, but it was convenient not to have to sign every time I wanted a soda. The photos were better than other cruises I've been on with more choices of backgrounds and plenty of spots for photos in the evenings much shorter lines. If you want a picture from formal night, consider waiting till the second one; the lines were a lot longer on the first formal night than the second. The extra-cost steakhouse wasn't worth the money; we had a good meal and the service was wonderful, but the dining room food was every bit as good. Players Lounge was way too smoky, which was a shame since we would have liked to have enjoyed the college bowl games in there. Unlike other cruises, we only went to one show probably because we were with our family, so that took up our time instead. However, the Vista Lounge was quite nice and comfortable with sofa seating available. We were in Skywalkers Lounge for sailaway from New Orleans. There were only about 10 people in the whole place besides us. The bar wasn't open so you have to bring drinks from another one, but what a great view! We had a lovely seating area with sofas, chairs, etc. all to ourselves and really enjoyed watching the city slip away behind us from that great vantage point. I would definitely recommend Skywalkers for sailaway. The food was good, a nice selection, but not the same as an excellent restaurant. I like shipboard dining though, for the portion sizes (small enough to be manageable, large enough to fill you up) and the variety. We had anytime dining and really liked it. We had a to wait once for a table, but even with 10 of us we were able to be seated quite rapidly in one or the other of the dining rooms. Since we generally ate during prime time (between 7 and 8 p.m.), I thought that was more than reasonable especially since the ship was completely full. The Martini lounge was wonderful; the service was lovely and both the bar and the seating area were extra-comfortable. It had much better service than the Lobby Lounge, where the bartenders and waiters were way more interested in visiting with each other than providing good or prompt service. The casino was OK, but smoky and a little dated looking. I had terrible luck there, though, so maybe that colors my opinion! We didn't spend any time in the Wheelhouse Bar, or in the Explorers Lounge. Both looked like great places to while away an evening, though we just ran out of time, I guess. I used the spa a couple of times. Something I learned on this cruise - there are other services than the ones on the menu. Since they didn't have an opening for a pedicure at the time I requested, they provided me with one that wasn't the spa pedicure  it was the same as I usually get on land and cost about 60% of the pedicure that is advertised. Also, I wasn't able to get a full manicure because of a late return from the shore excursion in Grand Cayman, but they were willing to repair a nail and do a polish change for a very reasonable price. I always assumed that the printed menu of services was all that was available, but I guess those are just the most expensive ones! We weren't hassled as much as we had feared in Montego Bay. Certainly, there was a plethora of cabs wanting our business and the shopkeepers invited us into their stores as we walked by, but I never felt uncomfortable. Some of the younger members of our group, though, said that they were hassled by people wanting to braid their hair or show them Bob Marley's Club, apparently a real dive that's less than safe. Here's a BIG hint for those who may be affected: DO NOT buy drugs. I know that should be obvious, but 8 people on our cruise were detained overnight in Jamaica. We are too old for that sort of thing and were hardly screened (except for x-raying our bags) when we were ready to re-board but others were patted down. Also, the dealers are apparently in cahoots with the police. When certain people were ready to board through security, they were pulled aside without any sort of screening and sure enough, they had drugs on them. The police knew exactly who they were looking for. We took only one shore excursion, in Grand Cayman. The tour was around the island to the usual tourist spots: Hell, the turtle farm, the rum cake place, Stingray City. OK, but no big deal and it was a pain having to wait on people who couldn't figure out that we weren't providing a limo service just for them. Plus we had the opportunity to hear our bus driver complain about his tips or lack thereof. I wouldn't take that excursion again; I'd get a cab or rent a car and have a private tour on my own schedule. Cozumel was pretty, although we didn't wander too far off the main drag. (Shopping and sightseeing aren't our favorite parts of cruising we really like being on the ship instead.) We were hassled much more there, by people trying to get us into the jewelry stores, than we were in Montego Bay! We had lunch at La Choza, which I can highly recommend. The margaritas there are the best I've ever had, and among the strongest! If you want to access the internet and don't want to pay the ridiculous charges on-board the ship, there's a really nice internet spot diagonally across the street from La Choza and the rates are only $1 per hour. They have plenty of computers and fast access there. Just be aware that if you've had those margaritas at La Choza, you might not be able to see the computer screens! We enjoyed this cruise, and would go again. This was our first time on Princess, and we thought they did a good job. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was our first time cruising on a Princess ship and we were very impressed overall. Having sailed with RCCL, HAL MSC and several others over the past 16 years we decided that the crew members on the Golden Princess were the friendliest ... Read More
This was our first time cruising on a Princess ship and we were very impressed overall. Having sailed with RCCL, HAL MSC and several others over the past 16 years we decided that the crew members on the Golden Princess were the friendliest we have ever encountered. It seemed that each and every crew member we had contact with had a genuine smile and a gracious "hello" for us every time they saw us. EMBARKATION: This was the only bad part of our entire experience. Leaving from the Poland Terrace dock was a mess. The entire procedure was held in a tent, it was hot and muggy and the process took a long time. There was absolutely no direction from the staff and the lines for checking in and security became intermingled at one point making the process even longer. THE SHIP: Once onboard we made our way to our cabin which was on the Aloha Deck towards the stern. Even though we were situated towards the rear of the ship, we were surprised that the ship's movement and vibrations were very minimal in our cabin. The ship itself was showing some age but otherwise was very clean and comfortable. There was a very good mix of ages among the passengers on our cruise and everyone we spoke with seemed to be very pleased with their own experiences onboard. One nice feature I'd like to mention which we especially enjoyed was the cell phone service that Princess provided to the cabin areas. It was fun calling our friends back home and more or less "rubbing it in" about the wonderful time we were having. OUR CABIN: Our cabin was nice, not extremely large but certainly not small, we found it to be very comfortable especially with the balcony. Our Cabin Stewart (Stewardess) MAGDA who hailed from Poland was an absolute angel. Not only did she keep our cabin spotless and well stocked with everything but she was also very well informed on just about everything concerning the ship. She also never failed to let us know when she was about to go off duty and always asked us if there was anything we needed before she left. We would definitely give her 5 Stars for her service and great attitude. THE FOOD: We primarily ate in the Horizon Court Buffet during our voyage and found the food to be excellent in almost all respects. Even though it was a buffet, it was good enough to deserve a 4 Star rating. Our experience in the dining room was wonderful. Although we had decided to use the "open seating" option we found the wait staff we encountered were very attentive. The food itself was very good and we would give it 4 Stars. PORTS OF CALL: The ports were very typical for a Western Caribbean cruise, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. We did not avail ourselves of any on-shore excursions since we were already very familiar with all the ports. In Montego Bay we rented a car, went shopping and visited the Half Moon Resort which is one of my wife's favorite places on the island. ENTERTAINMENT: I can't comment on the quality or variety of the entertainment in the theatre since we did not attend any of the shows. However, the Atlantis Casino onboard was excellent and again we found the staff to be extremely friendly. One drink waitress in particular named OLEANA from the Ukraine always made us feel at very much at home whenever we patronized the casino. NATALIE from the UK who worked in the cashiers cage also impressed us with her smiles and her questions about how we were doing in the casino that evening. DISEMBARKATION: We must say that the disembarkation process we was the best we had ever experienced. It was relaxed, smooth, and quick. Even the passengers luggage left in the passageways to be collected on the last night of the cruise were removed almost immediately. On previous cruises we were always left with such a sad feeling (cruisers will understand) as were walked down the passageway from our cabin to go somewhere the last night. Not seeing all that luggage sitting there made the sad feeling of having to leave our ship the following day just a little bit easier to take. It's funny how little things like that do seem to make a difference. Kudos to Princess! OUR OVERALL EXPERIENCE: On a scale from 1 Star to 5 Stars we would definitely give our experience aboard the Golden Princes a 4 1/2 Star rating and we are very "conservative" when it comes to rating any ship we have sailed on in the past. We would definitely sail on the Golden Princess again in the future and would not hesitate to recommend her to our friends who cruise. CONTACT US: If anyone wishes to contact us with specific questions about the ship or our experience onboard please feel free to do so. We would enjoy hearing from you. My name is Patrick and my wife's is Patricia. Our e-mail address is NuHomes@aol.com. HAPPY CRUISING TO ALL!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Our 10th cruise, 1st on Princess. Couple of broad observations about any time dining...BEST we've ever experienced. Took us 1 night to determine which Waitress/Jr.Waiter combination we wanted for the rest of the cruise and we made ... Read More
Our 10th cruise, 1st on Princess. Couple of broad observations about any time dining...BEST we've ever experienced. Took us 1 night to determine which Waitress/Jr.Waiter combination we wanted for the rest of the cruise and we made reservations for our table for 2 in their station for the balance of the trip. Quite easy, just pick up the telephone and ask for table and time and give your cabin number and number of persons dining with you! By the 3rd night we were receiving off-the-menu desserts, 2nd entrees to sample, and superb service and we ate at different times nearly every night; as early as 6 and as late as 8 and we NEVER waited on any line because of our advance reservation. If you like Northern Italian food, you'll love this ship. DO NOT MISS THE CULINARY SHOW; it was in the Princess Theatre and the theatre was packed. Horizon Court was exactly as expected; cafeteria food with coffee, tea, and milk cart-service at breakfast BUT you could get made-to-order eggs at the counter and omelets at the omelet station. One surprise, the pizza at the pool-side pizza restaurant was VERY ordinary (but there were NO Italians making THOSE pizzas.) Our balcony cabin was immaculately kept by the room stewardess and her assistant even though we kept messing it up at odd times during the day and early evening. Embarkation was a breeze as was disembarkation. On the other hand FINDING the Poland Street Terminal was an unguided tour of the Lower 9th Ward Katrina destruction. We drove our car about 5 extra miles trying to get to the terminal BUT once there, parking was both easy and plentiful if expensive; $14 a day for unpaved dirt and rocks is considerably more than Miami, Port Canaveral or Fort Lauderdale all of which are paved. Haven't talked about shore excursions as we took none; been to all these ports at least 3 and as many as 20 times in the past. We did get off the ship and walk around in Cozumel; it appears to have recovered from prior hurricane damage in the shopping district unlike NOLA which still looks like the lowest slum area of a 3rd world country. Overall, we booked another cruise while aboard so we were more than pleased. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
We based our decision to sail on the Golden out of New Orleans on three things  1.) The pricing was extremely reasonable. 2.) We wanted to sail with Princess, as we had never done so before, and 3) My time off was limited to the week of ... Read More
We based our decision to sail on the Golden out of New Orleans on three things  1.) The pricing was extremely reasonable. 2.) We wanted to sail with Princess, as we had never done so before, and 3) My time off was limited to the week of Christmas, and since we'd never sailed during the holidays, we thought we would give it a try. This was our 9th cruise, and we have visited Cayman, Jamaica and Cozumel several times before. Embarkation  I won't go into great detail here for the simple reason the ship sailed out of the Poland St. Temporary Cruise Terminal in New Orleans, and this terminal isn't widely used; as a matter of fact, I don't see any sailings in the near future out of the terminal. We had no problems driving into the terminal, parking was painless, and we had the luggage unloaded and were onboard the ship is less than 35 minutes. Luck was with us timing wise, as after we boarded and were on our balcony, we were looking down onto a huge line that was barely moving. Cabin  Our cabin was C316. We had originally booked a BF, Guaranteed balcony, so we were extremely pleased with the upgrade. I had requested the beds be pushed together, robes in the stateroom, and an egg crate mattress pad (All requested online on myprincess.com)  and everything was done as requested. We were very surprised at the large balconies on Caribe deck  much deeper than those below and above us. With four large chairs and table, we would have had ample room for four people. The bathroom was well designed; space was never an issue for us. Princess provided Lotus Spa Shampoo (which I might add I enjoyed a great deal), Conditioner and Hand Lotion. The shower maintained a good pressure, and was also enjoyable. Storage space was ample; the hanging area was large and LOTS of coat hangers were provided. There was also plenty of space for luggage in the clothes hanging area. There were also individual shelves in a closet that also housed the safe. The safe was large enough, with the combination of four numbers that the cruiser sets. The bed appeared to have new bedding, and was very comfortable; the best yet I have had on a cruise. The cabin was well laid out with access to the lighting at different points, and swing away night stand lamps. Our cabin steward, Rudolfo, was very attentive, and took care of us. No complaints or problems at all with the cabin. The Ship  I have heard many positive comments about Princess and in particular the Golden, and I must say I was impressed with the line and the ship. The ship was particularly clean with workers continuously cleaning and wiping down surfaces. There were automatic antibacterial stations at the entrances to the Horizon Court Buffet, and people for the most part were using them. The ship is large and takes a bit to get used to and we found the dining room layouts in respect to the elevators a little strange, but easy to navigate once you'd been there a couple of times. The ship was full (according to the purser's desk), but never seemed exceptionally crowded unless there was a popular event going on. With so much space it seemed one could always find someplace that wasn't so busy. The Terrace pool deck 12 Aft was a very nice adult only pool, with great views. You can access this area easily by going straight through the Horizon Court to the very end. The wave pool, adjacent to the Lotus Spa, forward, was adult only as well. The Atrium was decorated beautifully for Christmas. The passenger mix on the ship was anywhere from months old to pax in their nineties. It was wonderful. The kids had a great time, but were so well behaved. I never encountered a rude person on the ship the entire time. Maybe because it was Christmas. Smokers (and yes, I am one) were very well behaved; only smoking on the port side of the ship. Dining  We had open seating any time, Princess Personal Choice, and we really liked it. There was one night, and one night only we had a long wait. We opted that night to dine in the Horizon Buffet, and the food was acceptable. The other six nights we dined in the Bernini dining room, and had a different waitstaff each night. The waitstaff offered excellent service the six nights we dined in the Bernini. Also, there are pagers available when the wait is over twenty minutes. Bar/Room Service  We enjoyed good service from the bar staff. We ordered a liquor package from room service  Bourbon and Coke the menu states, however they kindly substituted Sprite, and the Bourbon was Jim Beam. The bottle is 375 ml. The package was quoted as 17.95 and after tip, it is slightly over $20.00. The beer special  order five, get one free, basically, is only available for room service for US domestic beers. By the pools, this package was only good for Dos Equis. The service was prompt. The continental breakfast available for room service was quite yummy. Entertainment  Deep Blue was the band of choice, performing all over the ship. They were very good, in my opinion. There was also a New Orleans jazz band, never quite figured out their purpose as they didn't seem to fit in as well as Deep Blue did. We enjoyed a comic show, but didn't go to any other shows. We heard good comments about most of the shows, especially the magic act. Activities  I especially enjoyed Princess Links. It's not your normal putt putt course, but very challenging. Played in a qualifying round, and barely missed the final tourney. We were well entertained by the rest of the activities, not a boring ship! The survivor competition was great! The cruise director was David Cole. Ports  In Jamaica, we visited Margaritaville, where there are good photo ops. The seas were high in Grand Cayman, and only the Golden and the Navigator of the seas were able to tender off in Spott's Bay. A taxi ride to Georgetown was in order where we were able to visit the new Margaritaville. Cozumel was another tender port. Not a lot of fun on these tenders as they are very large, and it takes forever to fill them up. Cozumel has done wonders in San Miguel  new buildings, beautiful renovations to the downtown square. There are probably a lot of things I've missed in this review. I hope it helps you, and enjoy. Oh, and disembarkation was just as painless as embarkation was. A LOT of folks chose the new walk off/carry your own luggage off feature. They pretty much got off first. Also, you will be given a chart to show when your color will be called off, so there's not much guessing. We got very comfy seats in the library to set in while we waited. A perfect end to a perfect cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
Background Information: This was our seventh cruise, the second with Princess. We sailed on the Grand at this time last year and were so impressed we booked on board with the Future Cruise Consultant. This time we talked my BIL and SIL ... Read More
Background Information: This was our seventh cruise, the second with Princess. We sailed on the Grand at this time last year and were so impressed we booked on board with the Future Cruise Consultant. This time we talked my BIL and SIL into going. Their first cruise but definitely not their last. They are hooked! We drove in so no hotel info; but the drive once we got into NOLA was quite interesting. Getting to the Poland St. Terminal was an experience. Street signs were hard to see or non-existent, so we ended up taking more twists and turns than we should have. It was interesting to see the houses still marked with the info from the Katrina searchers. Parking and Embarkation: We parked right at the ship in a gravel parking lot - $98. Porters were easy to obtain. I've heard that eventually the Poland St. terminal will be improved but at this time it is just a series of tents. I sure am glad it wasn't cold or rainy. That would have been a miserable experience. We arrived a little after 11:00 and since we had a mini-suite, we had priority boarding and were onboard and in our cabins before 12:00. As our cabin was portside we got to watch the poor passengers that waited in very long lines to board. We always arrive around 11:30 and I'm glad for that. If you arrived at the recommended time of 1:00 you were in for quite a wait. Staterooms: Our cabin, D724 was nicely appointed, clean and ready for us, even at that early hour. We tipped our cabin steward, Nino, an extra $20 and had excellent service the rest of the week. We requested a foam mattress topper and it was on the bed by the time we went to bed that evening. The bathtub was deep and comfy. Our balcony was roomy with two loungers, two chairs and a small table. The drawback for a Dolphin Deck balcony is that they are completely exposed to the three decks above. I don't think we will book another cabin on that deck, unless of course if it is a deal we can't refuse! Dining: We ate our embarkation lunch in the Horizon Court on the Lido deck. It was disappointing but we gave it a chance, maybe it was just the first day. We only ate there one other time. The food was just so-so, confusing lines and not a lot of selection. The rest of the time we all ate in the dining room for every meal and were never disappointed. The second formal night we scheduled an Ultimate Balcony Dining for the four of us in our cabin. There was enough room for a table for four and we had a wonderful meal and excellent service. Shore Excursions: BIL and SIL reserved the Canopy experience in Jamaica. My DH and I had done it previously in Belize and this one outdid the one we did. There were 8 traverses; the last one was 1,000 feet. The guides took pictures of everyone and when the excursion was finished you had the opportunity to choose pictures and they burned them to a CD for you. For health reasons we weren't able to take advantage of it this time but next time we will definitely take this excursion. We all took the Passion Island beach excursion in Cozumel. I fell right after getting off the ship. We were still in the plaza area standing in front of a bar called Fat Tuesday and an umbrella stand just jumped out of nowhere and I tripped over it ending up with a bad scrape on my knee. The excursion guides were wonderful and patched me right up. The people at the bar, responsible for leaving the umbrella stand out to trip unwary excursionists, just faded into the background and didnt do a thing! Passion Island ROCKS! It is as beautiful as it appears on the Corona beer commercials! White sand beach, plenty of shade and tables and chairs, a few hammocks, and loungers right at the waters edge. A delicious buffet with mahi-mahi and Mayan chicken, all the usual Mexican side-dishes, free Corona beer and a sweet concoction called Sex on the Beach and a cash bar. There were organized games on the beach and piñatas for the kiddos. A few tents with souvenirs at inflated prices. Excellent restrooms. I'll never miss this excursion again when we are in Coz. Entertainment: The only show we attended was to see the magician. Third-rate, don't waste your time. The musicians in the lounges ran the gamut from tolerable to great. We didn't go to Skywalkers, except to check it out for a place to curl up with a good book. The karaoke was a good draw every night with a grand finale on Friday night patterned after American Idol. Interesting story: The third evening something I ate for dinner didn't quite set with me and DH and I had to hurry back to the cabin. Didn't quite make it back to the cabin and I ended up tossing my cookies in the hallway. Thank goodness no one witnessed my embarrassing moment, except for one cabin steward still working. I got to the cabin and got into the tub and the phone rang. DH answered and it was the Purser's Desk, saying that there was a report of someone in our cabin vomiting! DH said it was just some rich food that didn't quite set right, but they said if I vomited two more times he was to call back. He looked out into the hall and . . . there was a guy in a white HAZMAT suit, complete with tape sealing between his wrists and sleeves, shoe covers, a hood and a clear face shield! He was cleaning up after my embarrassing moment. Both sides of the clean-up area were taped off with yellow caution tape! Appears that they take the noro-virus threat quite seriously. Turned out it was just something I ate but it was actually nice to hear they are so pro-active about the virus. At every entrance to a dining venue there were hand-cleaning stations offering antibiotic hand-cleaning gel. Disembarkation: Hopefully this too will improve with the development of the terminal area. The luggage was set out in tents, someone had dropped and broken a full bottle of rum, the glass was picked up but the rum was tracked everywhere! We found our 5 pieces of luggage in three different areas! Summary: Will I do it again? Yes! Don't particularly like having to drive to NOLA. Would rather sail out of Galveston. If you are interested in photos, mine are available at http://community.webshots.com/user/sharkaymon. Read Less
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