by K. Cohne
March 11, 2006
My husband and I took our 4 kids on a Western Carribean Cruise for Spring Break out of Galveston. We live in West Houston so we drove down to Galveston (about 1 1/2 hours) about 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning. We got there around 11:30, and it was incredible how smoothly the embarkment went. From parking, to checking in...everything was a breeze!! I beelieve the whole procedure from start to finish (ending with us in our cabins was 30 minutes). Our luggage was delivered within an hour. The had the 24 hour restuarant opened and we went and had lunch after we checked our our cabins. The disembarkment went as smoothly as the embarkment. Princess has it down pat!
Our original destinations included Costa Maya, Grand Caymens, Belize and Cozumel. They had repaced Grand Caymen a few weeks a\\before our cruise due to ship some problem, and replace with Playa Del Carmen. They had such a positive paanger report to the port, they kept it. WHen we set sail,the water, due to high winds, was rough the first 3 days of our trip, making the kids sea sick (but nothing that dramamine...I recommend the non-drowsy kind) didn't take care of. The waters were still rough when we were supposed to dock at Costa Maya, and unfortunatley it was too dangerous the Captain said to do it. SO unfortunately, we were not able to dock and sailed right by it. We were VERY disappointed, but ending up having a great time on the ship that day.
We had a great time! My husband and I were looking more for a relaxing vacation, but with our 4 kids, and all the activities the ship had, we needed another vacation after the cruise! One thing we did note, was that the staff on the Grand Princess were very professional and hard workers, but they never showed the enthusiasm and welcome that we have expereinced at all-inclusinve resorts that we have stayed at. I think I realized why after talking to some of the waitstaff...they have long hours, and no days off for months at a time. They go back to Galveston and then turn right around and do the whole trip again...and again and again....
Notes for other first time cuisers with kids that might be helpful:
1. With kids that are older-bring Walkie Talkies. We had a hard time getting reception when we were in our rooms, but for on the decks and main public areas, they were great.
We would go back to the Grand Princess, but next time we would take an extra week after the cruise just to recuperate!!!