CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews


Princess Cruises Grand Princess Western Caribbean January 29, 2005

We are both 56, well traveled, and have completed 13 cruises on five different lines.

We arrived in Galveston two days early and stayed at Islander East Condos, a great alternative to a hotel. We parked there free during the cruise, taking a taxi to and from the terminal.

The embarkation process in Galveston was swift and painless, We used Princess' advance interrnet registration for all of our pre-cruise information. As a result, the counter time was only 2 or 3 minutes.

Passengers are mostly middle aged, largely from Texas and surrounding States. They were friendly and pleasant.

Our cabin was a mini-suite on Dolphin deck. It was clean and in good condition. Our steward, Roy, was efficient and always very friendly. The price for this cabin was a phenomenal $899 per person with a $150 shipboard credit. Doubt I'll ever see that low price again!

Food was good and seemed to us to have improved from prior Princess cruises. I would rate the dining room a good solid 8, and I am particular. If Olive Garden (and it is good) is your idea of a big night out, Princess would improve to a 10. The buffet is a 6-7, and was fine for breakfast and lunch. Service in all areas was efficient, polite, and cheerful.

The ports included Belize (we arrived 2-3 hours late due to currents), Costa Maya, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Belize is a great port for snorkelling or diving, otherwise a waste of time! Most travelers are familiar with the other locations, so I won't take space discussing them.

Entertainment was good. In addition to the normal large cast reviews, there were good individual performers including a great singer, comedian, magician, and hypnotist. We enjoyed the entertainment in the Wheelhouse Lounge where the servers were friendly, and remembered our names and our drinks.

Disembarkation was good. We were in a later group, but off the ship by 9 AM. Luggage was well organized by group and there were attendants to help locate bags. By the way, Princess tells passengers numerous times that taxis are "limited". We needed a taxi for local travel and found a long line of taxis waiting with no passengers in the taxi line!

We had two minor complaints about our experience.

First, we were very disappointed in the art auction. There was way too much talk and not enough "auction". The art selection was not good by our standards, although this may be an individual opinon. Despite my wife placing request cards on numerous pieces, they never made it to auction. The auctioneer seemed to have a tendency to want to sell a few very expensive pieces as opposed to many moderately priced ones. The Park Galleries auction on Holland America was far superior.

Second, we tried "Movies Under the Stars", a terrific concept. On the night we attended, the sound was so loud and the bass so high, it was nearly painful. A number of people left as did we. Other nights, when we walked by, it was much better. Someone needs to better monitor this.

Overall, this cruise was excellent and rates a good solid 8-9.

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