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M Henry

Age: 32

Occupation:stay at home mommy

Number of Cruises: n/a

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Grand Princess

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

We were very pleased with Princess’ Grand ship to the Western Caribbean. It was our first cruise, and after reading some negative reviews, I was very unsure about what experience we would have. The trip was a gift to my husband from his company, so we couldn’t pick our cruise line, ship or departure date, but I can safely say now, we will definitely cruise with Princess again!

EMBARKATION: Again, this was our first experience at everything related to cruising, so what may seem like a “long tiring wait” to some, just seemed normal to us. When we got to the pier in Galveston, we had to wait in a line, maybe 30 minutes. Didn’t seem too bad though. After we arrived on the ship we were directed to our rooms and our luggage arrived about an hour later while we were out exploring. We had several Princess employees asking us if we needed directions or anything. All very friendly and neat in appearance.

SHIP: We thought the ship was beautiful. It was so big and spacious. I am claustrophobic and was worried that I would feel cramped with all the people, because they were full to capacity, but I never at any time felt crowded. I also have a bad sense of direction, but after just a couple of days, I actually knew where I was going! We didn’t swim much, as the water was cold. The hot tubs however were awesome as were the saunas hidden in the back of the ship near the adult-only pool.

CABIN: Our steward Raul was awesome. We had an inside cabin (again, we didn’t get to pick our arrangements), but we though it was very spacious, considering we never spent much time in there. Next time, I believe we will get one with a balcony, but we were pleased nonetheless. The bathroom was trifle small, but not unmanageable.

FOOD: We ate breakfast at the buffet and were very happy with our decision each time. There were a variety of foods that we loved; it was hard to make one decision, while keeping my waistline in check! Every night we ate in the dining room, I can’t remember which one, but it had any-time dining and private tables. We went without reservations one time, but only had to wait 10 minutes. After that, we would just call to make reservations as soon as we got back from our excursions and we were always seated right on time. The food was totally awesome each night; a wonderful variety. My husband (the beef eater) and myself (the fish eater) always found something to our liking.

EXCURSIONS: Originally, when I found about the cruise, I was not very excited because I thought cruising around wasn’t for us. We love “extreme” vacations, and the idea of sitting around on a big boat for a week filled my mind with terror of boredom. However, when we found out about the excursions, we couldn’t wait to try some out.

GRAND CAYMANS: We took the Wetland Safari Kayaking and Snorkeling. Since the recent hurricane, there wasn’t much “wetland”, but our guide was very informative and showed us how the island fauna regenerated itself and began the growing process. Kayaking in the ocean was great, a couple of people in our tour turned back because they thought it was too hard, but we have kayaked before and enjoyed it immensely. We kayaked alongside the beach and then turned out to a floating platform where we put on snorkel gear and hit the water. The fish and coral were beautiful.

BELIZE: This one was the least of our favorites, as the town looked somewhat sinister. We took the Rainforest Trek and Cave Tubing adventure and had an absolute blast. We left the ship before anyone else because the tour was so long, and we even got back late (tip-if you book through the cruise line, the ship will wait for you!). Trip to the rainforest was long, but our local guide was funny and informative about native religion, local politics and answered many questions. The trekking and tubing were amazing. The water was cold, but so refreshing after a long hike.

COSTA MAYA: We took the Chachoban (sp?) Ruins tour. Being a history buff, I loved it. The ruins were beautiful and the pictures turned out awesome. We would have had time for snorkeling after the tour was over, but we just went shopping. We found better prices on everything in Cozumel, so you may want to save your money until then.

COZUMEL: We mainly wanted to shop, so we just booked a snorkeling tour. This one did not impress us as much. We were snorkeling just off of a restaurant and there were fishing boats passing by. A snorkel-full of diesel exhaust does not a happy stomach make! Throw in some hot sun and mouthful of seawater and you need to get out and dry off! We hit some shops, our favorite being Los Cinco Soles. They had beautiful souvenirs and Talavera pottery.

FELLOW PASSANGERS: I have just a few words to say about our fellow passengers. On the whole, everyone was very friendly and we had a great time, even made some new friends. But, there was one instance on the last formal night that really rubbed me the wrong way. While we were waiting in line for our portraits, there was a “lady” who was making fun of the “cowboys”. Yes, the ship sailed out Galveston, Texas and as a result carried lots of Texans; and a lot of the men were wearing their cowboy hats (my husband was one of them). But I would just like to explain one thing to this “lady”. If you saw someone of Middle-Eastern descent wearing a turban would you make fun of him? If you saw someone of the Jewish faith wearing his yarmulke would you call him “uncouth” (her actual word). For most southern men, they wear cowboy hats. It is neither a fashion statement nor an attention-getter. It is part of their natural make-up as is a woman and her purse. Never did I see a gentleman wear one to the dinner table, because southerners and most of mankind for that matter are raised with good manners. But I understand that this “lady” is the exception. This is not a “diss” to the rest of the nation, I was born in Minnesota and raised in Texas and if there was someone who wanted a red plaid hunters cap with earflaps to wear for his formal picture, so be it. You wouldn’t hear me calling him uncouth. I would probably be wearing the lady’s version while giving him a high-five.

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