Our family spent Spring Break aboard the Caribbean Princess (Princess Cruise Line) sailing from Port of Houston. This was my first sailing out of the new Bayport terminal over on the Houston Ship Channel. (Due to heavy rain it took nearly as long to get there as we spend driving to Galveston to board ship.) We sailed for 7 days to the Western Caribbean ports of Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize City. These are all ports I’ve been to at least once before, most many times before.
Despite a cold front and rain moving thru on our departure Saturday things went pretty smoothly. We ended up a few hours delayed on departure due to a combination of loading luggage taking some extra time due to the weather and traffic in the ship channel. We did get out and on to Cozumel on time as planned. Ultimately all ports were on time arrivals and our return to Houston was a few hours early to ensure any fog that developed did not delay our arrival. We encountered a lot of overcast skies during the trip but that was ok as the ship and ports kept us having fun despite the clouds.
Given we were on a Spring Break cruise I expected lots of kids but the count I heard was about 600 which is generally around 20% of the passengers aboard. There were around 3300 passengers aboard for the cruise along with approximately 1200 crew members. The ship tends towards the larger ships built 10 years ago, but still much smaller than many of the new builds including even fleet sister the Royal Princess. Still there was enough space on the ship I never felt crowded except twice, once walking thru the centrum area during the egg drop competition and once again in the same space after a show let out and many were passing thru all at once.
The ports of call were typical Caribbean ports of call with land and water activities available thru the ship as well as independent vendors. We used one of my vendors who specializes in port excursions to get all we took. (Saved money and had more personalized attention on the excursions.) We enjoyed some zip-line riding (video of it here) along with snorkeling and shopping. All of these were fun activities to enjoy in the Caribbean. Everyone we ran into during the excursions were friendly and helpful.
Service aboard the ship was very good. Our family had three cabins spread across three cabin attendants and the two attendants who cared for the other cabins were fantastic. I wish I could say my attendant was as good, but he was adequate just not impressive. The food service staff on the ship, in the main dining rooms, and specialty dining rooms provided great service. The food was good, better in the specialty dining rooms than the main dining room.
The ship itself is well maintained. I did see some chipping and painting needed on my balcony but not badly enough to complain about it. Given the ship is nearing its time at the dry dock we know it will come out all updated in a few months, so complaining about a maintained ship is not necessary. All of the venues were operating properly the entire cruise.
Entertainment on the ship was adequate. The music being played around the ship (live bands ect.) was always enjoyable. Saw more of that than anything, and it’s worth seeking out while on the ship. Of course they play several good movies on the big screen out on the open deck thru the cruise. Grab a slice of pizza and a beer at the pool and watch a movie.
Overall the ship does well serving the needs of the cruising public. I’d pick it again for the good crew and well maintained ship. For me the ship is the key to the cruise when repeating ports like I do in the Western Caribbean areas.
For handouts given each passenger including the daily planner click here.
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