Sorry everyone for the vague description of my horrible Princess Cruise. I don't want to bore you with the details, however, a couple things that made it bad were #1 - Galveston. What a nightmare. First the distance to the port doesn't sound like much, however, on a Saturday morning or afternoon the traffic can get pretty backed up. For future passengers my advice is to (1) Get Princess transportation from IAH, NOT HOBBY. There are several buses from IAH, however, 1 or 2 the entire day from Hobby. (2) Be careful inside the terminal. If your used to Fort Lauderdale you are in for quite a shock, its dirty, gloomy, not well lit, etc. You think your in there for a short time, however, it does matter, beware of the flithy bathrooms too. On both the embarkation and disembarkation the men and women in our party were disgusted.
My understanding is that only 2 weeks out of the year Princess has to use a hotel to check in their guests (I was in the lucky 2 week time frame). It took over 7 hours to check in (2 1/2 hours at the airport)(1 hour at the pier dropping off our bags) (3 hours out in the 40 degree temperatures standing in line outstide of the hotel waiting to get in).
Anyway, we finally got on board, the seas were very rough, this of course was not Princess' fault, however becuase of the embarkation we left Galveston 4 hours late and arrived in Costa Maya late and several shore excursions were canceled.
The tenders, that was another nightmare, for whatever reason Princess used local tenders for 3 of the 4 ports and we literally waited 1 - 2 hours to get ashore after getting a tender ticket. Once on the tender they were incredably packed. Most people on the tenders were expierenced cruisers and had never seen anything like this before. We survived though.
Service - It was amazing how different the Grand was from the Caribbean Princess - the same line but yet like night and day. The staff at the Pursers desk was painfully impolite and unaccomadting, although their lines were huge most days of the cruise.
The service in the 2 personal choice dining rooms was adequate, however nothing to write home about.
The disembarkation, that's another nightmare, first everyone had to wait for the "walk off" passengers. We had no idea what that was or would have done it. The "walk off's" took more than 2 hours, there were over 750 people who did that (we knew that becuase they kept calling the ticket numbers).
Anyway, i am a huge fan of HAL, and have been on the Zuiderdam, and have booked the Oosterdam in September.
I guess I want more out of a cruise, besides the weather problems and and the fact that the city of Galveston is not willing to spend any money to upgrade their facilities, i won't be taking Princess agian, or ever going out of Galveston.
Grand Princess 12/05
HAL Zuiderdam 07/05
Caribbean Princess 08/04