Cruise Review 12/7/2013
Just the Facts:
Ship: Caribbean Princess
Captain: Girgio Pomata
Cruise Director: Brett Siborne
Ports: Houston, Cozumel, Roatan, Belize
I am sailing with the Dear Wife (DW) and a group of 9 good cruising friends. We all like Princess Cruise Line and are very happy that they are sailing again from Texas. This is my 21st Princess cruise, first time on the Caribbean Princess, and 83rd cruise overall.
Friday / Travel
North Texas was experiencing a major ice storm so we wanted to leave a day earlier than we would have, but didn’t leave soon enough. It took us more than an hour to get down our mountain and off our property as it was solid ice everywhere. We finally got to Clifton and once to State Highway 6 the roads where much improved. South of Waco it was fine and soon we were beyond the ice line and in a few hours at our friends house in Cypress. After some good Texas BBQ we were resting for the big day tomorrow.
Saturday / Embarkation / Houston / Day 1
Piazza - Caribbean Princess We were up early and soon on our way to our group meeting point in Alvin, Texas. We have a special plan today for transport to the cruise terminal. Our group of nine are all riding together in a very nice motorhome. In the MoHo
we had breakfast snacks and morning cocktails so it was a very fun hour drive to Bayport and the party started very early. In addition to the nine we have two local friends doing the Bon Voyage experience
. This is unique to Princess and allows BV guests to board for the day, enjoy lunch, have a complementary welcome photo, tour the ship and receive a future cruise credit. This also allowed the entire group to board early so we were through security, check-in, and on the ship about 11:30 am. After dropping our bags we all met for a welcome cocktail in Crooners, the martini bar on deck 7. We all had lunch in the Coral Dining Room, one of three Main Dining Rooms (MDR) located on ship and open for Bon Voyage, Platinum & Elite guests on embarkation day. Lunch was fantastic I ordered the Shrimp Salad, Beef Tenderloin, and Orange Cheesecake. After lunch we toured the ship visiting: Lido Deck (quickly as it’s cold outside @ 34°), International Cafe, Skywalker’s on deck 18 aft, the various Public Lounges on Promenade Deck, and ending in the Princess Theater. Our Bon Voyage friends left about 3:00ish as Boat Drill is scheduled for 3:30. Our bags were delivered by now so we unpacked and then had a nice quick nap. We did not sail until after our scheduled time getting way about 6:00 pm. Some went to the 7:00 pm Welcome Show, but since we were in the Houston ship channel I was getting some last minute internet use as we had phone service for the two+ hours it took to get into the Gulf of Mexico. It was now time for our first dinner in the Palm MDR, the designated set time dining room located on deck six aft. We have a nice nine-top table and the waiters were very nice. Dinner was very good, I ordered The Red Snapper Cerviche Cocktail (Red Snapper, Shrimp, Mango, Rum, Lime, Avocado garnish served chilled in large cocktail glass.) Fettuccine Alfredo, Sliced Pork Tenderloin with Potato & Vegetables, a Crayfish Étouffée to sample, and two desserts: the Passion Fruit Souffle and the Creme Brûlée. After dinner we saw Seth Gibson the piano player in Crooners for a short time before retiring for the evening.
Sunday / Fun Day at Sea / Day 2
Caribbean Princess Aft Pool area - our HQ for the week A little bit of choppy seas overnight as we broke through the cold front, but I slept very well. We now have very welcomed warm weather. I had breakfast in the Coral MDR and ordered the days special: Blueberry Pancakes with a side of bacon & ham. It was very good. Afterward I saw some of the group heading to the International Cafe for one of their signature Cronuts (combination donut & croissant), I did sample one just to say I had. We are very conveniently located next to the aft pool so it’s very easy to lounge here as many did this morning. Since the Pub Lunch
is limited and it was available today in the Crown Grill some decided to meet there at 11:30. We got a nice larger table fairly easily and ordered beer and lunch. I had a Fish & Chips and a Ploughmans Lunch. The afternoon was Casino, more deck time, or NFL football for the group. Some in the group attended the Matre’D premium Wine Tasting and said it was very good. Six of us attended the Captains Circle event 4:00-4:30+ in the Princess Theater. This was my first time to see the Cruise Director and they had a nice small show with the Caribbean Princess orchestra and feature singers. What I really liked was that in lieu of being served a ‘cheap’ cocktail we were given drink vouchers good for a cocktail of our choice in any of the cocktail bars. Wonderful idea. We went strait away to see our cocktail server Kelvin in Crooners. I had a Hershey’s (chocolate) cocktail. As it was now sundown, we went directly to the aft for our own wine party. We had wine glasses, our own music, and went through 5 bottles of wine while enjoying the sundown+. This is the first formal night and we went to see the Champagne Waterfall and Kelvin made sure we got a complementary champagne. Dinner was good, I ordered the Crabmeat & Monterey Jack Cheese Quiche, Farfalle alla Rustica, French Onion Soup, and the Golden Medallions of Beef Tenderloin. For dessert I had a very nice Bananas Foster prepared by the head waiter and also sampled an Oreo crusted Chocolate pie. DW, a vegetarian, had the Mixed Greens Salad and Crustless Spinach & Potato Flan with Spicy Tomato Sauce. After dinner most attended the feature show: Do You Wanna Dance
in the Princess Theater. It was an enjoyable show and we had a great view from our third row seats. It was a FUN sea day on the Caribbean Princess.
Monday / Island of Cozumel / Day 3
Chen Rio area on east side of Cozumel Very smooth seas overnight. Weather is perfect 82° with a breeze. We docked at the Puerta Maya pier
by the scheduled 9:00 am arrival. The Carnival Dream is also docked and the Carnival Triumph is next door at the International pier. Several went to the MDR for breakfast, the daily special was a Mexican omelette, but I had Eggs Benedict this morning. A group of eight of us arranged a private van to do our own tour and bar crawl on the eastern shore of the island. We met our driver at 10:00 am, stopped at the 7-11 to get some Bohemia beer & water and were on our way to the “wild side” of the island. First stop was Rastas
bar with our first view of of the Caribbean and Bush Beach. The wave and surf were very high. After a round of drinks, a very nice mojito for me, we were on our way. Next stop was Playa Bonita
that used to be our favorite stop in years past, Unfortunately time has taken a toll, the beach here is basically no more. Still a wonderful view and very good guacamole. The waiters did a bit of a raunchy show along with free shots of tequila. Chen Rio
was the next stop and it was super with a small bay that allowed us to swim as the surf broke on the large coral rocks just beyond us. They also had Bohemia beer and beach massages. Next stop was the chichi bar Coconuts
located on a bluff overlooking the coast line. This is one of the most famous bars on the island and I had a mojito and enjoyed the view. Final stop was at Punta Moreno
and as it’s later in the day we had the place and it’s saltwater pools to ourselves. They also had a nice beach, hammocks, swings,and more. The mojito here was the best of the day. We then headed to San Miguel and after a pit stop at Woody’s Bar we went to a pharmacy to get our medicines needs fulfilled. We arrived back at the pier about 4:30 in time for some shopping at Cinco Sole and shops. From the balcony we watched the Carnival Dream docked next to us depart with the usual waves and horn blasts between ships. Always fun. We sailed about 6:00 pm. Hot shower and rest time until dinner. Half our group did the Monday Night Football Party
on Lido deck where they were showing the Dallas Cowboy Game so we had small group for dinner. I ordered the Warm Crab & Artichoke Dip with Baguette Chips, Cock-a-Leekie Soup, Fettuccine Alfredo (they have this on the menu every night), Surf & Turf (filet mignon and jumbo shrimp) and Ice Creme for dessert. A great day on ship and in Cozumel.
Tuesday / Island of Roatan / Day 4
We snorkeled around these! A little bit of rolling overnight just enough for a good sleep. The weather is perfect in the mid 80’s. I went to the MDR for breakfast and ordered the day’s special: The Lumberjack Breakfast (steak & eggs). We arrived at Mahogany Bay in Roatan a little late and that always causes a back up for those wanting to leave the ship. Our group arranged for a Catamaran private excursion with Radical Adventures
, rated #1 in Trip Advisor. Their van picked us up at the Mahogany Bay entry and we were off to Oak Ridge on the east end (south shore) of the Island of Roatan. The Catamaran was very nice with a crew of five and they provided snacks, soda, beer, or piña coladas. We sailed to the Cow and Calf islands and had some great snorkeling completely around the small island. We saw great coral reefs, fans, lot’s of colorful fish, lobster, and even a small octopus. We enjoyed the water and scenery as we were served a very nice grilled lunch and dessert before sailing back to Oak Ridge. After returning to the dock we were taken back to Mahogany Bay in the same van. It was a great excursion and perfect for a group. It was a good day for balcony or deck time with the perfect weather, we have a view of the bay and shipwrecks from our balcony. After a hot shower I relaxed and enjoyed a good movie in the cabin, White House Down until dinner time. This was the night I was looking forward to for dinner as it’s Italian Night. I ordered: Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmesan), Iced Peach Bellini Soup (in a glass), Spaghetti con Polpette in Sala di Pomodoro Fresco, Scaloppine di Vitello al Marsala, Saltimbocca di Pollo (pan seared chicken breast topped with parma ham) and Cassata alla a Siciliana (ice creme with candied fruits) for dessert. The waiters were are dressed in Italian uniforms and the assistant Matre’D sang several traditional Italian songs, it was an outstanding dinner. Several went to the casino or listen to music after dinner, but after a long day including snorkeling I retired soon after dinner.