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Julie Pomerleau

Age: 29

Occupation:teacher

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Grand Princess

Sailing Date: December 14th, 2003

Itinerary: Western Caribbean


Hi!
We sailed with Grand Princess on Dec.14 2003 and this was our first cruise.

Embarkation was very nice, as it did not take a lot of time. We then went to our room to find out that we had been upgraded, instead of an inside cabin we had a outside cabin with a large window looking out the ocean. A couple minutes after we entered the room, someone knocked on our door to deliver a complementary bottle of wine, courtesy of Cruise.com (we booked our cruise online within 7 days for 444$). We had already brought one bottle of wine in our suitcase without any problems. While waiting to sail away, we enjoyed a nice buffet onboard. The food was pretty good. But I will get to that part later...Let's talk about the ports...

Princess Key: really relaxing
My husband and I were really tired when we got on the cruise so we really enjoyed that day at the beach... There is nothing to do but to relax. You can snorkel a little around the rocks. We had brought our own snorkeling equipment, it is pretty expensive to rent it. We enjoyed pretty good weather.

Grand Caymans: Excellent time at Sting Ray city.
When we got out the ship we booked an excursion with one of the people holding signs at the port: Sting Ray City and Snorkeling 35$. It was a lot less expensive than the Princess excursion that sold for more or less 60 $. We had a blast at Sting Ray City and saw a lot of beautiful fish while snorkeling. After that we went back to the town, don't expect to see a nice island like Key West, the architecture is absent. There are just a lot of jewelry shops and rum shops. You can buy diamond and tanzanite.

Costa Maya: excellent excursion
There is nothing to see at the port is it just a modern port with not much Mexican culture in it. We saw a nice dance show. We took a taxi to the little town of Majahualt. This is a small village that probably looks more like the real Mexico, we think it is worth seeing. The best part of the day is when we did an excursion to the mayan ruins of Chichoben (something like that) we had a wonderful Mexican guide (Diana). We had booked this tour in the ship with princess for about 60 $. Seeing the ruins was breath taking. We arrive late at the ship, but since the excursion was booked with Princess we had no problem.

Cozumel: Good time!
We had booked again a tour with Princess to see Tulum and Xel-ha for around 125$. These two places were great but we did not have time to enjoy them that much because we only spent about 1 1/2 hours in each of them. If you can I would visit only one. Tulum was my favorite. In Tulum we saw other mayan ruins, very different from the others we had seen in Costa Maya. In Xel-ha we snorkeled in a beautiful lagoon. The only thing I did not like is that we were rushed back to the ferry to go back to Cozumel because apparently there were too many ships and we might not be able to take one later. It was about 3:30. I think we should have been able to spend more time in our excursion and come back a little later.

Food: Excellent!
We had all our dinner in the dinning room with personal choice dinning. We shared our table one night and then ate just the two of us the rest of the nights at the time we felt like eating. We had a lot of good food: seafood, lobster tail, veal, duck, shrimps, snails, .... My favorite dinner was the one with the French theme. We did not eat at the two restaurants where you pay extra because the menu at the dinnig room was always appetizing. We ate most of our breakfast at the buffet as well as lunch. It was always very good.

Pictures
On the ship, they take a lot of pictures of you, we bought very nice 8*10 black and white pictures of us on the formal night. A good thing to know is that I went to Wal-Mart to get them scaned and make copies and apparently there are no copy rights on these and you can make as many copies as you want after you come back...

What else? We wore little patches behind our ears the whole trip, we did not feel sick at all. Don't believe people who tell you that you don't feel the ship moving. You feel it.
The only really bad thing about this cruise was disembarkation. It was a nightmare!!!! I don't think this happens a lot after talking to a woman who did 20 cruises, but in this case is was really bad...

We had the bad idea of leaving our car at a friend's house in Hollywood to save on parking. We were going to take a taxi from the port to his house. Bad idea!!! 15 ships were disembarking at the same time, that is about 30 000 people. We had to wait in the parking lot for 2 1/2 hours for a taxi... We did not get one, after that time, a lot of people were about to miss their flights home, so Princess made us take some buses which brought us to the airport. From the airport we finally were able to take a taxi... Next time we will pay the parking.

We talked to a lot of people on the ship who had done many cruises. Some of them told us that they preferred Royal Caribbean, while others told us that Princess was the nicest, I guess we will have to do more cruises to know!

One more thing, we felt dizzy for about 3-4 days after we had come back, you feel like the floor is still moving... But it is bearable.

I would really recommend this cruise!

Sorry if I made some spelling mistakes since English is not my first language!
I hope this was helpful!
Hasta la vista!
Buen crucero!
Julie Pomerleau

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