Grand Princess Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Contributor Level: Deck Hand

Experience
7+ cruises

Review
1

Helpful Votes
4

3 out of 5

Princess Not as "Royal" as Expected

Sail Date: December 09, 2006

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

Already having sailed on Celebrity, NCL, Disney and Carnival, I was particularly expecting a better than average level of service. Prior to the cruise, during the cruise and following the cruise (via several email solicitations), Princess continuously states their impeccable level of service which I (and many follow passengers) found to be lacking in many areas.

The embarkation process was very slow. I don't know if this is the port at Galveston or the cruise line, but got in line at 12:30pm and took over 2 1/2 hours winding in and out of the port building to get thru security, registration, pre-boarding photo (it's required) and to board.

We signed up for shore excursions at each port (total of 5). Two of them were cancelled but not until we got to shore which was inexcusable. The ship should have known and prepared us before we took the 45 minute tender at 6:30am (Belize) as the river flooded several days earlier. In Costa Maya, we walked down the large pier (about 3/4 mile) to learn that our tour was cancelled due to rough sea conditions. Safety first, but they should have notified us before we left the ship so that we could have had time to make alternate plans and bring the appropriate items with. Another tour (the Space Center disembarkation tour to the airport) was delayed over an hour as we were waiting at the port for the bus - and no communication, just waited in the sun with 50 other frustrated people.

The service at the Purser's desk was terrible!!!! They shut off our charge account (after we signed up online before the cruise and again as we registered at embarkation) with no explanation and then waiting in line 30 minutes towards the end of the cruise to verify our bill (it was ok then). On the last day, we got the final bill on our door and were overcharged $28 for a bar charge in a restaurant on the last day (when we spent the day on the pool deck). I went straight to the Purser's Desk where I missed breakfast and almost missed the disembarkation tour as I waited over an hour to talk to a desk clerk, who slowly went through all receipts (3x), then went away to talk to her manager (manager didn't dare come out in public) before they'd credit the account. I left the ship SO FRUSTRATED and vowed never to cruise with Princess again. There were dozens of other people (before and after me in line too) that were extremely irate too.

For the spa services, I opted for a 50 minute massage during the first day at sea (about $120). The massage therapist told me that this was his first cruise (as I asked about him wearing the motion sickness bands) and that he just got out of training the prior week and it was very obvious. I ended the massage halfway through as it was probably the worst that I ever had.

I talked to many people that were dissatisfied with the service and a lot of the "little things" which caused frustration (when you are supposed to be relaxing on vacation). We ran into many people that cruised Princess before (including 2 couples that were previously on the same ship), and most of them were very disappointed as well.

Would I cruise again? You bet! Princess? Very unlikely! I think NCL is the best in overall quality, food choices, ship amenities and service.

Pros: The onboard entertainment and ports of call

Cons: The poor service!

Recommends Grand Princess? Yes!

Majahual, Mexico
We had booked the 2 person speed boat to a snorkel location, but we learned that this was cancelled when we walked off the pier. This location was built for cruise ships and there is a nice shopping area with restaurants, bars, two pools and several chairs along the rocky coast. Despite our tour cancellation, we loved just relaxing in this area.
Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Beautiful island (not overly tourististy, yet). Booked the Tabyana Beach day with lunch through the boat and it worked out great. Several other tours end here - so there are a number of buses that you can take back to the boat. Beach was pristine, lunch was ok, bar service was available, and great massages ($25 for an hour!).
Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
Beautiful island (not overly tourististy, yet). Booked the Tabyana Beach day with lunch through the boat and it worked out great. Several other tours end here - so there are a number of buses that you can take back to the boat. Beach was pristine, lunch was ok, bar service was available, and great massages ($25 for an hour!).
Cozumel, Mexico
There were 8 ships in when we visited ... but we didn't feel that crowded in town. Once we took the tender in (we were anchored the farthest from shore), there are lots of shops and restaurants to visit. We took a catamaran tour to two snorkeling sites (they were just average) and then to a "private beach". The private beach was very large but used by multiple ships and tours, so it was crowded. But we found chairs, had lunch, enjoyed the open bar and had a good time. The sail back was calm and we saw three dolphins swimming alongside the boat.
Majahual, Mexico
We had booked the 2 person speed boat to a snorkel location, but we learned that this was cancelled when we walked off the pier. This location was built for cruise ships and there is a nice shopping area with restaurants, bars, two pools and several chairs along the rocky coast. Despite our tour cancellation, we loved just relaxing in this area.
Belize City, Belize
Because of the reefs, large ships need to anchor far from shore and you take a tender for about 45 minutes to the pier. Locals are very aggressive and Belize City is very poverty stricken. Once you get out of downtown, the jungle areas are beautiful and the locals were nice. Our tour got cancelled here again - so we rebooked on a cave tour with the boat. It was nice - but it took 90 minutes each way on a bus (about 1/2 was unpaved).
Belize City, Belize
Because of the reefs, large ships need to anchor far from shore and you take a tender for about 45 minutes to the pier. Locals are very aggressive and Belize City is very poverty stricken. Once you get out of downtown, the jungle areas are beautiful and the locals were nice. Our tour got cancelled here again - so we rebooked on a cave tour with the boat. It was nice - but it took 90 minutes each way on a bus (about 1/2 was unpaved).
Cozumel, Mexico
There were 8 ships in when we visited ... but we didn't feel that crowded in town. Once we took the tender in (we were anchored the farthest from shore), there are lots of shops and restaurants to visit. We took a catamaran tour to two snorkeling sites (they were just average) and then to a "private beach". The private beach was very large but used by multiple ships and tours, so it was crowded. But we found chairs, had lunch, enjoyed the open bar and had a good time. The sail back was calm and we saw three dolphins swimming alongside the boat.


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