Hello! We are back from our 11/13/04 Grand cruise out of Galveston. The cruise was amazing! The ports of call were mostly spectacular (except for Belize - terrible unless you have a tour). I will be posting a review sometime this week. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them.
We're on the Grand/Dec. 28 cruise, so any suggestions you have would be appreciated. How is the Port of Galveston in terms of handling a ship of this size - loading, unloading, etc.?
An earlier writer commented that many of the crew seemed new to the job and inexperienced - haven't had that happen on any other Princess cruise.
We didn't experience any kinks other than having to wait to board the ship due to Customs Personel not arriving on time. Other than that, our cruise was perfect! All of the problems I've seen mentioned from the first five day cruise were not evident on our 7 night. The staff performed like a seasoned crew who knew what they were doing. Each performed with a smile and a willingness to do anything you requested. The ship is beautiful although they are still updating a few things. We saw carpet in less active areas being changed out while we were onboard. Lots of railings being painted, etc, but it was all general up-keep type work you would expect to see on any ship. We have cruised both RCCL ships out of Galveston (along with Celebrity from FL and Cunard from NY) and found this to be our favorite cruise of all. The ship and staff are what made it so.
As for Galveston as a port of call...it's like any other cruise line who moves to a new port for the first time. There is always some confusion in the beginning, but nothing to be upset about. Other than getting on the ship late, everything ran smoothly and the personel moved us through the lines as quickly and efficiently as possible. We have no complaints and I think everyone will enjoy this cruise thoroughly! Just have an open mind and a kind heart, because the staff is truly giving their best. By the way, debarkation couldn't have been easier. We got off of the ship faster than any I've ever left. I assume embarkation for the next group of passengers went very smoothly.
I will be posting my reviews sometime today. I made two because the first one about the ship got to be so long. The second one covers the ports of call on the Grand Princess cruise out of Galveston. It has a number of suggestions. Hope that helps!
It's easy to take water onboard and I would recommend it. The surest way to get sea sick is to get dehydrated. Each stateroom has a frig in it, and it's very convenient to just pull a cold bottle of water out and drink it when you are in your room. We fill a small rolling suitcase with ours and have never had a problem getting on the ship.
As far as the steakhouse, we never ate there. The people we talked to who did, really enjoyed it. They have a nice menu of choices and for the $15 per person, seems like a good deal. Hope you enjoy!
We ate at the steak house on the Grand this past week and it was very good. The portions are huge, and the shrimp are as well. It was a nice change of venue from the main dining rooms, and the cost was not too steep, but keep in mind that the dining room food and service is also excellent. The best steak we had all week was actually in Da Vinci one night.
In terms of trips - we took the "Tale of Two Cities" tour in Belize and enjoyed it very much. Some guests, however, found the bus ride to and fro long (about 1 1/2 hours) and too bumpy, and it was very hot at the site itself, so some of the older crowd spent little time exploring and more time looking for shade or sitting in the AConditioned bus. The canopy tour was a huge hit with the more adventurous crowd, as was a cave tour with snorkels. My husband did a couple of fishing trips on the two Mexican stops and loved them both - caught barracuda and the like. On Grand Cayman we took the quick and fun Trolley Roger tour and my husband did the snorkelling. Both were fun.
When I ventured on the Grand Princess in Novemebr '04, at the Belize stop, I shopped at the mall on the pier. In Costa Maya I went on the ruins your and it was absolutely amazing. I watched the archeologists working on the digs and learned to spot uncovered pyramids. In Georgetown, Grand Cayman I went on the Jolly Roger ship. Free, unlimited rum punch, shooting cannon at the cruise ships and jumping overboard to swim! In Cozumel I went on the ruins tour there, also and had a great time. You can't go wrong with these choices!!
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Excursions not through the cruiseline and tendering
We are planning to take this cruise in March and would like to make the most of our times at ports. Do you have advise on excursions/tours, including ones offered by people other than the cruise line? I know that you can get better deals if you don't book the cruise excursions, but I am not sure how likely we would be able to make it to them in time for the tour due to tendering delays. I have seen Captain Marvin's tours out of Grand Cayman recommended on numerous reviews, but since our boat doesn't dock in this port until 12pm Central time and their excursion starts at 2pm Cayman time (or 1pm Central time), with a check-in time of 1:15pm Cayman time (12:15pm Central time), it doesn't look like we would make it. Any information on this would be appreciated!
Just returned this afternoon and they have everything BUT Splenda -- pink, blue and good ole white. I took my own Splenda as that is what I prefer too ... of course I could only hack the coffee for about 2 days so didn't matter too much ... HTH!
Smart Casual Evenings:
Passengers dress as they would for a fine restaurant at home.
• Skirts/dresses, slacks, and sweaters for ladies
• Pants and open-neck shirts for men
In the dining room, items such as cutoff T-shirts, shorts, halter tops, and jeans are not permitted; shoes must be worn at all times.
• Evening gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies
• Tuxedo, slacks with dinner jackets, or suits for men
If you are planning on eating in the buffet you could wear nice jeans, but I think you'd feel out of place, even there.
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