I am a retired USN Captain, business consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and frequent cruiser!
Caribbean Princess out of Houston cruising Western Caribbean.Overall impressions of the cruise and the trip
We enjoyed the cruise
on the Caribbean Princess out of Houston for seven days in the Western Caribbean
visiting Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize. The weather was clear, sunny, warm, and
humid. It was totally relaxing for the most part except for the Norovirus
Outbreak, a small one, which the ship handled quickly and under the radar. This
being our fourth cruise through the Caribbean will be our last. It is different
ports, same stores or types, and same junk only with different logos. Cruising
is a great getaway, only unpacking once, visiting different ports, getting off
and touring if one wants or just staying on board and enjoying the day and
facilities. This is what we enjoy.
• highlights & top ship
The Crown Steak House
and Sabatini’s Italian Restaurants were great in food and service, but there was
a $25.00/person sur charge for them. The menu was very creative, the service
great, and the food super.
The Lido deck theater was fun
and a main attraction on the ship. A lot of first run movies plus some oldies
along with recorded concerts of various stars.
• impressions ... of
The ship had to main
dining rooms and the food went from just okay to great, depending on the menu.
Lobster night was superb which always occurs on the last formal night. Other
times, questionable. This being our second cruise on Princess, I would rate the
food as not as good as the Grand Princess, which we were on in October and
November. Service in the two main dining rooms was great. Much better than the
service we received on the Grand. The Buffet was a buffet, need I say more,
since I am not a great favorite of buffets. The food was served and not self
service due to the Norovirus. I did not experience the Caribe Restaurant Buffet
which changed ethnic venues daily. There was a pizza and hamburger/hot dog bars
poolside. Did not partake.
• impressions …of the
The stateroom we had
was a mini suite with balcony. It was totally acceptable and we enjoyed. The
one problem is the step into/out of the bathroom. At night in the dark or in
rough seas, it is an accident waiting to happen. On the Grand Princess, we had
some rough weather, more elderly people, and a lot of falls and
• impressions …of
The entertainment was
not to our standard or what we expected. The shows were sort of hammy. The
British Invasion, which we also saw on the Grand, was just a bad and not what
one expected in the way of music. The comedians left a lot to be desired and
the material seemed to be just rehashed.
• impression …of
The ship had
continual activities for all ages, just had to pick what you wanted to do. At
times, desired choices conflicted, since there were so many and ran from 6AM
• impressions …of best bets on
Cozumel-take a local
horse and buggy trip around town and through the community. Great opportunity
to see Cozumel as it is, not like the strip along the waterfront.
Roatan-The beach trip
to Tabyana Beach and the reef was a fun and enjoyable experience. The beach was
beautiful, lunch great, water warm and clear, lots of fish. Negative was that
the reef, though live coral was brown and gray.
Belize-Went on the
Altun Ha Mayan Ruins and River Trip. The bus trip to the ruins was an hour and
we had a great guide. The ruins were awesome and the guide was great in taking
the time to provide the history. The trip to lunch and the boat was another
hour. Lunch was an “It was Edible”. The boat trip down the river and back to
the boat. Nature’s willingness to cooperate is a major. From seeing crocs,
monkeys, iguanas, birds, termite nests, manatees, dolphins, and many more, time
of year and migration play a big role.
• impressions …insider
Be prepared for
Norovirus in Caribbean since there have been numerous outbreaks on various
cruise ships this year. Carry and use plenty of hand sanitizer, wash hands
frequently, and even wear latex gloves when using the railings. Be prepared to
kick back, relax, enjoy, and don’t hold high expectations, otherwise you may be
disappointed. The unpack, kick back, relax, and enjoy is what it is all about
regardless of destinations.
• impressions …what's the
makeup of fellow passengers (who's on board)
This cruise had
passengers from the recently born to the almost centurions with most being in
the 50-70 age range from all walks of life. First time cruisers to a couple
that have cruised on Princess over 800 days.
• Impressions …internet
is from the satellite and I believe through a router on the ship. Much better
than my experience on the Grand. Not what you have at home, but doable. Just
the price in the $0.50-$0.80/minute range depending on how many minutes one
• impressions …some things
that could have been better.
The embarkation and
luggage handling left something to be desired. Long lines and slow delivery of
luggage to staterooms. 60 minutes to stateroom and the luggage was almost 4
hours. Not like the Grand out of San Francisco where it was under 30 minutes
from when the porter grabbed your luggage and you were at your stateroom with
the luggage waiting there. Debarkation was a different story, under 20 minutes
from our checkout time, pick up luggage, customs, and out of the terminal.
Traveling the 2.5
hours down the channel from Houston limited the ship to what alcohols it could
serve and the casino was closed until the ship cleared Texas law and reached
international waters. Not a strong positive if you wanted a good drink or leave
a little money at the tables, but Houston is the departure port.
The distribution of
information and activities seemed to be lacking, even though most were in the
daily news paper. It just seemed secretive on some things and activities. (E.g.
the balloons in the atrium and then disappeared late in the evening and the
talent competition between the two main dining rooms was only announced at
dinner, but not in the daily news. Understand on the Norovirus since the ship
did not want to create panic.
(Along with some details
about the cruise ship name, itinerary and pricing)
out of Houston, pricing for the mini-suite was approximately $1,100/person. The
itinerary was depart Houston at 5:00PM Saturday, Sunday (Formal Night), Monday
in Cozumel, Tuesday in Roatan, Wednesday in Belize, Thursday (Formal Night) and
Friday sea days, Saturday debark starting at 8AM.
Regaent Navigator to Alaska for a second time.
Regent Navigator 21 day cruise, Ft. Lauderdale to SF
Maitai with Orchid, otherwise Gray Goose or Tito's up, shaken, no virmuth with 2 olives and an onion...