Number of Cruises: 10
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Grand Princess
Sailing Date: December 9th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was the tenth cruise for my husband and I, and our first cruise on Princess Cruise Line. We have taken four cruises on Carnival, three on Norwegian, one Royal Caribbean, one on Holland American.
Embarking went well in Galveston. We waited in line for about 75 minutes, which is very normal. We took our luggage with us on board so we would not have to wait for it.
I got motion sickness on the second day. The waves were only about 5 feet high but the ship was rocking too much. I think the stabilizers were not in use. Many people were complaining. We have been on seas up to 20 feet high and I did not get sick. I took medicine and it helped a little. So that started my first Princess cruise.
We spent our third day at Costa Maya, Mexico. Our ship docked at this port. We took a 3-mile taxi ride to Majahual. The taxi cost was $5 per person plus a tip. Majahual is a quaint little town. We did some snorkeling and walked the beach during the morning. We ate lunch on the ship, took showers then headed out for some shopping in Costa Maya. Costa Maya is very touristy and new looking. A Carnival ship showed up around lunch time but could not port because the wind had picked up too much. The Carnival ship left the area after about an hour. I have not seen that happen before.
We arrived in Roatan, Honduras on our forth day. Our ship docked at port so we just walked off the ship. We took a taxi to West End Beach. We swam out quite a way to some coral reef and did some great snorkeling. The fish were abundant. The round trip taxi cost was $15 per person plus a tip. We were dropped off at 9:30 and we asked to be picked up at 11:30. Our taxi was right on time. We returned to the ship for lunch and a shower then we did some shopping near the ship and a walked along the beach.
On our fifth day, we tendered from the ship to Belize City, Belize. We signed up for a shore excursion through Princess. The cost was $49 per person plus a tip. The Princess shore excursion desk told us that our tickets would be delivered to our room the night before the tour but the tickets did not show up. The tour was suppose to the leave at 6:50 am and the shore excursion desk did not open until 7:00 am. We could not get any help from the purser’s office either so at 6:30 am we were first in line at the excursion desk. We got our tickets at 7:00 am and ran down several flights of stairs to catch up with our tour group. We took a tour of Belize City and the Atlum Ha Mayan ruins. The ruins are located an hour drive northwest of Belize City. We had a great tour guide and the ruins are beautiful. It rained for a short time while we were touring. I wrapped up my cameras in a plastic bag and kept walking. After the tour, we walked over a swing bridge, toured the old parliament government area and watched the sailboats come and go. We had a great time.
We spent our sixth day in Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel was our favorite port stop. We took a snorkel trip with six other people off a glass bottom boat. The cost was $30 per person plus a tip. No one snorkeled except my husband, our guide and me, so we had a private tour in the water. As soon as we jumped into the water, there was a big fish about 3 feet long and 2 feet tall. That was a little scary. We saw lots of colored fish, an eel, starfish, coral and a stingray. We saw the remains of a cruise ship dock under the water. It was a very large mess of concrete and steel. The late season 2005 hurricane really made a mess of Cozumel. The trees were broke over but the greenery on the trees was coming back. For lunch, we returned to the ship for food and a shower. There were seven cruise ships at Cozumel that day. Two ships were docked, the Queen Mary 2 and Caribbean Princess. Two Carnival ships, two Royal Caribbean ships and our ship (the Grand Princess) had to park a short distance from the Island so we tendered in. After lunch, we tendered back to the Island (again) and did some shopping and sightseeing.
We spent our seventh day at sea. We played miniature golf, chess (with pieces about two feet high), shuffleboard and watched a movie on the ‘drive-in’ screen by the main swimming pool.
When we arrived back in Galveston, we debarked the ship easily and headed for the beach. We fed the seagulls, walked the beach and collected some seashells.
The Grand Princess is a big ship. It is 17 stories tall and has four large swimming pools, about twelve hot tubs, several nightclubs, nine hole miniature golf course, lots of other games and a casino. The outdoor theater movie screen was huge. We watched one movie during the day while we floated in the pool and watched another movie under the stars.
The food on the breakfast and lunch buffet was good and there was a good variety. We looked at the ‘sit down and order’ lunch menu and were not real impressed. The food served in the evening in the formal dining rooms was ok but nothing to write home about. The lobster tail was great but the prime rib wasn’t. On our other nine cruise, there was a dessert buffet just before midnight on one night but not on the Grand Princess. We were looking forward to that. Princess had a free champagne fountain one night.
We had an inside room on this cruise. Our room was clean and neat but was not organize as well as some rooms we had in the past. We could not open the door to the bathroom and open the closet at the same time, which caused a traffic jam for my husband and I. There were lots of huge mirrors in our room to make the room seem bigger. I was surprise to see a refrigerator in the room but it did not work. We did not need it anyway. The walls were not sound proofed. For the first time on a cruise ship, I could hear the people next door talking, so my husband and I whispered during the trip.
The evening shows onboard were abundant. There were two different shows going on at the same time and twice a night for each. That was a new experience so we attended more shows on Princess. The shows were average compared to other cruise lines. The theaters were smaller and the ceilings were shorter. There were no columns to block anyone’s view. Nearly every night, about 30 people stood along the walls to see the shows. I have never experienced crowded theaters before. Some shows were singing and dancing, some were comedians, and one night we saw a hypnotist. The shows were good except for the hypnotist.
The atrium was pretty but not impressive because it was the smallest ship atrium we had seen. It was always crowded. The onboard shops were about average.
The clubs were great. There were many open every night. Some had live music and some with a DJ. The Skywalker night club with the DJ stayed open the latest. The music was a good mix. They played 1960’s – 2000’s. Our last couple cruises played mostly rap so we were pleasantly surprised on this cruise.