Hi hope that this doesn't get to wordy but we just got back last week from a Grand cruise from Galveston.
Here is what I found to be pluses & minuses
Grand has decided to elimate the Grand Cayman portion of the trip. They don't tell you this until you are aboard the ship. They will give you a $75 pp credit.
I definitely prefer the Grand over the Glory, but that is my opinion. Stately elegance over the circus colors of the Glory.
Do NOT use their transfer system from either airport to Galveston. They made us wait over 1 1/2 hrs at the port before letting us get off. Only two buses at a time can unload. The disembarkation is just as bad. Everyone whether you are going to Bush or Hobby gets on the same bus. We had to wait for a available bus for over 1-2 hrs and it was cold that Sat.
Our table companions had used a pre hotel that Princess booked and they were checked in from the hotel, no terminal lines for them.
Better to prebook a taxi to and from and pay the extra.
We booked a mini-suite. Having a larger bathroom and bigger closet was a definite plus, we also had a couch. However the balcony could use some privacy all 5 levels above looks down on you.
The computor room is very easily accesible at 35 cent per min
They are also offering Texas Holdem poker tournaments
With the exception of Costa Maya all ports have to be tendered, They changed to Playa del Carmen inplace of Grand Cayman.
All in all with the exception of the pre & post situations I would take Princess over Carnival.
Anyone who says they are uncomfortable in Belize is not looking at the real people. They really want us there. They need the tourist and for the most part will do anything for you. I found that port to be the best. Just leave the "ship tourist village" to really see the country. We took the jungle river boat trip to the Lamanai Mayan ruins, our guide was extremely knowledgeable, however do not take this tour if you have trouble walking any distance. It is about a mile roundtrip on very uneven terrain, but we throughly enjoyed and recommend it.
If you have any other concerns that I may have overlooked let me know.
RASKO aka Sandi O
Interesting point about the Grand Cayman switch. There has been lots of discussion about the number of ships in GC these days - I wonder if that sparked the decision? What a fair policy though - to substitute a port and provide a $75 pp credit - seems very generous to me.
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2005
Caribbean Princess 2005
Carnival Paradise 2004
A friend of mine recently took the Grand P and he also said it was a mess at the port of Galveston - perhaps the most confused embarkation/debarkation he has ever experienced.
Belize is a friendly country for sure, but cruisers shouldn't expect it to have the infrastructure of the more developed Caribbean port stops. The people of Belize indeed are trying very hard to attract tourism. The new cruise ship dock should help immensely.
I have traveled enough to know that when in a foreign country you should not expect it to be just like home. Otherwise one should stay in their own comfort zone. I just hope that the ship ports do not "americanize" things too much as that would take away the charm of really seeing the country.