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Old February 11th, 2006, 06:51 PM
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Default Port change for Grand

I just checked at the Princess web site and learned the have dropped the stop at Grand Caymen and added Playa del Carmen for the rest of the season. Anyone know why?
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Old February 11th, 2006, 07:01 PM
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Hi, I just got a call from Princess and they told me that due to customer feedback they decided to change the port. I was also told that we would be given a $75 voucher for each passenger.

Jennifer
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Old February 11th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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Exactly what kind of feedback was Princess getting regarding Grand Caymen? The Coral is still scheduled to stop there in March. But the port call to Cozumel was changed to Costa Maya.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 10:26 PM
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Jennifer333, I also talked to princess and they said we only had a 25.00 voucher for the first 2 people in each cabin. Are you getting 75.00 for the whole cabin or per person in each cabin?
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Old February 12th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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That is sad. I would rather go to Grand Cayman rather than Playa Del Carmen.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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I learned of the port change when I looked at my iterinery for the 3/25 sailing........ I was very upset that Caymen was dropped! Playa is 45 min from Cozumel what are we doing going in circles to waste time? I now feel like this is a Mexico cruise and not a westeren carribean. This is our first time cruising and after reading what has been going on with the Grand I am also having neverous butterflys along with the excited one. Any and all suggestions would be great. We are in a bc/b cabain does any one know what it is like?
Thanks
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Old February 12th, 2006, 11:48 AM
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From reading this and other message boards, it seems that a lot of folks are complaining about Grand Cayman because it takes so long to get everyone tendered in. If the tide isn't right, it takes even longer. I've read some reviews where people are blaming Princess for this problem. Maybe they thought it was easier to just change ports.

I was in Grand Caymen several years ago on the Mercury. There were so many ships that we had to tender into a secondary location. That worked out okay, but getting back was terrible. The tide was out so the tenders could only carry half of their normal loads. We stood in the sun for more than an hour trying to get back to the ship.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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When I got this call from Princess, I was not happy about this port change. I let the women who called me know that I was very disappointed and then she told me that we would get $75 per person credit onboard. This is my first cruise so I'm not sure how things usually work but maybe the credit is connected to the type of room we purchased.

Jennifer
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Old February 12th, 2006, 09:45 PM
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Everyone on the Grand Princess received the $75.00, but the best part is the extra time you get at each port. Originally we booked because of the Grand Caymen stop, but because of the change on the Belize stop our group of 6 tendered off early, caught a 14 passenger plane to San Pedro, did a 2 tank dive at Cypress canyons & Tackle Box canyon then had lunch caught the plane back (pilot stayed at 550ft at our request) and tendered back to the ship by 3:00pm. With a little internet work we booked all this for under $130.00 per diver. Try that with the old itinerary.
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Old February 12th, 2006, 11:31 PM
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Anyone sailing in February will receive $75 per person, and March and April sailors will receive $25 per person. This is because those of us sailing in March and April have known for a while about the likely change, and finally about the official change, so we have more time to change port plans.

I'm thrilled about the change -- I love Grand Cayman, but the horror stories of how it is now with 8 ships in that tiny port have been too much. Plus now, we have a whole day in Belize, whereas I wasn't even going to get to see it on the old itinerary. 6am to 1pm? Why even bother stopping?

I have heard several people who were not happy about the change say they had changed their minds after sailing it. (The Grand has been on this altered itinerary for over a month now.) They really enjoyed Playa, and the longer port times at the other stops.

I really don't care, as long as I'm onboard!! After that, it's all gravy.

-gina-
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Old February 13th, 2006, 08:34 AM
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Getting into Cayman seems to have become increasingly difficult in the last few years. We are booked on the April 8 sailing and it doesn't bother me a bit to be skipping Cayman. I don't usually get off the ship there anyway, just enjoy a quiet day with the ship to ourselves. The only big sight in Cayman, not available elsewhere is Stingray City. Other places have tried to emulate it but it's not the same.

Anyway, any day at sea is just grand.
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Old February 14th, 2006, 09:33 PM
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Does anyone know if the Grand will be docking or tendering in Playa del Carmen? If docking do you know where? I'm trying to look at options for shore excurstion in Playa Del Carmen.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eveline
Does anyone know if the Grand will be docking or tendering in Playa del Carmen? If docking do you know where? I'm trying to look at options for shore excurstion in Playa Del Carmen.

The Grand tenders into Playa. Costa Maya is the only port we actually dock at. As for excursions, a lot of people go to Xel Ha or Xcaret. I'm doing the beach snorkel tour through the ship, since I'm not familiar with the port.

There isn't much info for the PDC excursions on the cruise personalizer -- but when I called Princess yesterday to ask, they told me that it should be updated by tomorrow. We'll see!!


-gina-
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Old February 17th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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Yes, the port has been permanently changed, just got off the Grand last week. We recieved $75 per person cabin credit but I have read elsewhere that sailings either during or after March will get $25 each. Hope this helps.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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cnmiranda,
How was your cruise on the Grand? Can you update us with a review about the ship and ports? We are going for spring break April 1st with 4 teenage boys, 3 are 14 and 1 is 15. I hope the don't get bored on sea days.
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Old February 18th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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The sea days are my favorite part of the cruise! I've come to change mind about sea days over time.... they are sooo relaxing.

I was involved in the cruise that had the turn incident but I will go through and copy and paste all the important ship info, this is from a previous "live" thread on another website, hopefully this info will be helpful:

Perhaps I will copy it into two parts if it runs too long.

................................

Check in - we met up with a friend in Galveston so we headed to the ship at approx. 1:30, previously dropped our bags with a porter at 11:30 am, not many crowds. The luggage made it to our room at about 5:15 pm. Porters were working very hard to deliver furniture quickly.
While checking in there was not a very large line at all. For Platinum members, the Platinum line in our case was slower than the regular check in line. There were 3 agents to check us in causing a small delay, others not in the Platinum line made it onboard faster this time around.
Food - good as always. No complaints.
Cabin Steward - very friendly.
Something new - our cabin steward delived a bottle of champagne to us before we set sail. I don't know why we received the champagne, I still have to ask. Haven't had this on prior sailings. We are in an AB mini suite.
So that's it for now I think!
Will check in when we can, but as they say, no news is good news! I suspect there will be an inquiry into what happened, I forgot to mention passengers were lining up next to the purser's desk to try to depart but that didn't last too long once they realized we were not returning to the Galveston port but stopped in the ocean not far from Galveston instead.


----------Sunday, Feb 5 Day at Sea

Good morning folks!
Tonight is the first formal night with the captain's Gala Dinner party at 5:15, 5:30, 7:30pm and 8:00 pm.
There is a Mayan champagne breakfast offered for $25 that includes:
-Warm pastries
-Smoked Salmon with lingonberry cream cheese and toasted lemon brioche
-Fresh wild berries
Alaskan King Crab quiche
Lots of activities today that iclude:
-Belly dancing class
-Alaska frontier presentation
-Pool Games
- Super Bowl viewing on MUTS, Explorer's Lounge and the Schooner Bar
The ship sailed very smoothly last night and there is only mild movement at this time.
This afternoon I look forward to walking a few miles around the boat and finishing a book I've been reading
The forecast is 75 degrees and partly cloudy skies.

--------------------Feb 6 Costa Maya

Hello cruisers, had a great day in Costa Maya. We started disembarking at around 12:30 pm and my spouse and I enjoyed a trip to the Chicobbean (sp) Ruins. Since we are from Las Vegas it was great to see lush vegitation and many different types of tall trees. The ruins are in excellent condition, if anyone is thinking about this tour go for it! We stopped at a tourist trap store on the way out and picked up a few items. One can try to negotiate the price a little bit here.
Prices at the pier were significantly higher that the shop en route to the ruins. A Mayan Pyramind was priced for $15 at the Princess stop, at the pier I was quoted $38 for the same item. I did buy a few items at the pier and talked the owner/employee down a bit but I still paid a high price
I noticed on Previous threads cruisers were asking what shore excusions were availible in Playa, here are some examples. You may notice some of these trips have been listed originally for Cozumel.
- Tulum - Lost Civilization of the Mayans
- Tulum & Xel - Ha Lagoon
- Tulum & Sian Kaan Jungle
- X-Caret Archeological Park
- Caverns exploration w/ lunch
- Golf at PDC Country Club
- Dolphin Encounter at Puerto Aventuras
- Royal Dolphin Swim in " "
- Coba Mayan Ruins
- PDC beach horseback riding
- Beach Snorkel
- Discover Scuba
- Snuba Diving
Dinner tonight was the Caribbean Menu, I had a lentel burger with fried egg and cheese, it was excellent!
We sat in the same table tonight as the "incident" we told the waiters we felt safe because the ship wasn't moving yet
Rumor mill - I repeat, this is a rumor. I heard a couple telling another couple there was a line out the door for the medical center after the incident. My spouse and I were nowhere near the area so I have no way of verifying if this was true or not. Spirits are much higher after exploring this port, lots of laughter
So tomorrow we have the Baboon Sanctuary scheduled and we are to meet in the Explorer's lounge at 7:45 am. I believe we will be among the first off the boat. Also with the schedule changes it appears that most of the excurions will be early morning departures, we were looking for a second afternoon excursion but non are availible at this time.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention, Go Steelers! We watched the game in our cabin. I'm originally from PA There is also a second TNT channel now availible, TNTLA. This station has different programming from the other TNT station, a LA channel with spanish speaking commercials but the programming is in English.

---------Tuesday, Feb 7th Belize

Weather was raining in Belize today for most of the day. We did the Baboon (howler monkey) excursion. We met in the Princess theatre at approx. 7:25 am and were called to the tender about 15 minutes later, arriving at shore apporx. one hour later. We saw 2 adult howler monkeys and a baby. We stopped at a tourist shopping center on the way back. Tonight is the Chef's dinner.
Tomorrow is Playa Del Carmen. We reserved a room at a hotel through a Mexico travel agent, paying about $25 less than the room's rate.

BTW, as others have posted in previous threads I too have noticed if you venture outside of the pier you will find much cheaper pricing.
And for the ladies, along some of Princess' excursions loo stops there are female attendants, you may want to bring a dollar or two with you if you are doing Princess excursions, we had bathroom attendants at the Chichobbean(sp) Ruins. None today at the Howler monkeys.

Hello cruisers, I have a few minutes before dinner and hubby is relaxing in the room so I have a few minutes to recap today's travel log.
I forgot to mention yesterday that if you go on an excursion that travels to the outlying city areas don't forget mosquito repellent! Hubby has a few bites on his face where we forgot to apply the bug spray.

to be continued.....
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Old February 18th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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-----------Wednesday, Feb 8th, Playa Del Carmen


Today we are in Playa Del Carmen. The temp is approx. 79 degrees according to our hotel's television.
After breakfast we picked up our tender tickets in the Vista Lounge. We boarded the tender at approx. 10 am the tender started going ashore at about 10:15 and disembarked at about 10:30.
Our first stop was the post office! No more room in our luggage! The Princess patter told us of a post office location so we grabbed a ride from a gentleman on a passenger bike and traveled several blocks to the post office. We did not have a box, the postal employee told us the shop across the street could sell us some. So we went to the adjacent sundry shop and an employee gave us a bok for free. We in turn purchased several snacks and such plus tape. At the post office it cost us approx. $33 to send 8 pounds of items back home to Las Vegas.

Next, we continued our ride down to the hotel. The gentleman taking us asked for tips only, so we paid him about $20, spent about 30 minutes with him. The hotel room we rented for the day is the Illusion boutique. We paid a rate of $145 for the day for use of their facilities. I wanted a private shower and such and hubby got to catch up on some more American tv programming. There are hotels you can get much cheaper just in front of the dock. I booked this room through a Cancun online agency, direct room rate was $145 for the day vs. $187 direct. So after checking in to the hotel we headed to the beach. I was hoping it would be a little less crowded but the location was pretty much in the center of all the activity. We paid an additional $12 for a beach umbrella. Swam a bit, read a book After that we went back to the hotel and changed, relaxed and such before heading back to the pier.
On other threads I saw travelers ask if there is any nudity on the beaches. Yes, we had 3 topless sunbathers very close to us. One English speaking couple, a few French speaking visitors, German(clothed) , and Italian(clothed) tourists or crew members? at this spot.
So later that afternoon after leaving the hotel we browsed the shops a bit. I stuck to the stores with priced displayed. Picked up several items...oh no, do I need to go to the post office again?

We got in line for the ship's tender back at about 3:10pm. The tender back took a little longer. Tonight is Italian night onboard in the dining room. I saw someone asked for menus earlier, you can see many of the Princess menus at www.cruiseclues.com. Our Caribbean night menu was the same as the eastern Caribbean menu.

So tomorrow is Cozumel. We have mostly a free day except we will be doing a Princess excursion of semi-sub ride with under water viewing. I really don't want the vacation to be ending so soon. After the incident I have absolutely no complaints. I think the staff this time around is better than all of our other cruises. And I can say the same thing for the natives of all the ports we've visited.
Hope everyone is having a nice week.

-------Wednesday Feb 8th Playa continued.....


Oh yes, for Spa lovers I wanted to add today's spa specials.
Spa Combo 3 for $89
-Rejuvenating Eye Treatment
-European Booster Facial
-Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment
-Scalp, Neck, and Shoulder Massage
-Moisturizing Hand Spa
- " Foot Spa
Choose 5 for $119, choose all 6 for $140

-------Thursday, Feb 9th Cozumel

Hi cruisers! Pulled into Cozumel at approx. 8am this morning. Okay, yes, I am overeating at this point Hubby and I joked this morning because at the beginning of the week all the treadmills were taken in the morning, the first few days after departure. Tomorrow the sign in reservation sheet is empty.

Tonight is the second formal night, so formal nights are Sunday and Thursday at this time. Also the Captain's Circle GTG is tonight. We won't be doing formal night, but will definitely have the farewell dinner tomorrow. The Young Tom Turkey is one of my spouse's favorites.

So this morning hubby and I will tender ashore and hang out a few hours before our semi sub ride at 1 pm. The weather is partly cloudy which is good because I got burned yesterday! With age my complection is becoming weaker I guess:embarassed:

Let's see, have I forgotten anything....

So anyways we are about to leave shortly for Cozumel. This is a first time visit for us. We will probbly hang out on the shore for a while and browse shops, try to call our parents and inlaws.

Regarding cellular service, we are TMobile and have not had service in any port. There was a gentleman using his phone in the 15th floor of the ship yesterday, good cell phone carrier!

I think temps today will be the same in the 70's to low 80's, perfect walking around temps.

Any questions please post here or you can email me at cnmiranda@yahoo.com. We'll be back home on Saturday, I'll be a little busy unpacking and such over the weekend but will try to get to all questions by monday at the latest. Darn, reality check!

Thursday Spa Specials:
-Oxygen Lifting Facial $89 (save $45)
-Ionithermie Slimming Treatment $109 (save $36)
-Aromaspa Seaweed Massage $140 (save $36)
-Chakra Stone Therapy $140 (save $35)

-------Thursday, Feb 8th Cozumel continued......

Tenders took a bit longer today, we gathered our tender ticket in the Vista Lounge and headed down to the gangway at approx. 10:10 am. We made it back to shore at approx. 10:55. Some people commented they had been waiting on the tender boat about 15 minutes prior to us.

Weather in Cozumel was a bit windy today, when it was overcast a light jacket came in handy. We had a shore excursion, the semi-sub, at 1:50 so we just hung out at the pier and had a drink at Fat Tuesday's and did a little shopping. There is no immediate beach access from the pier, you will need to take a taxi to go downtown or to a beach. I believe the best beaches are on the south part of the island. Yes, there is still visible damage from Wilma, you can see where the docking piers once were. Repairs are taking place at this time. There were several other ships in port ... Carnival Elation, another Princess ship, a smaller ship, and I believe a Norwegian Ship?

So we met at the pier at 12:50 for our excursion. There was about a 30 minute delay, the sub excursion before ours had to wait a little bit for a space to pull up to the dock. Once we were onboard the under water viewing was great! We have done one other semi-sub excursion in Maui, this time was much better. Numerous types of fish, a few starfish, and a few sting rays. The excursion lasted approx. one hour.

So after the excursion we got back in line to board the tender. We waited a bit for the first passengers to get on as the boat was a little rocky due to the wind. The disembarkation back to the Grand was approx. 45 minutes.

Formal night - as previously mentioned we did not do the formal night but headed up to the Horizon Court for dinner. There were place mats and silverware on the table, staff members were dressed in suits. Menu items included some lamb and beef wellington, no lobster this time. There was cherries jubilee.

We have only seen one show in the Princess theatre this trip, the comedian/juggler, it was enjoyable.

------Friday, Feb 10th Day at Sea

This morning is the culinary demonstration and gally tour at 10:15 am, we have done this before, highly recommended.

We woke up at 7am. Went to breakfast at the Horizon court. All hopes of dieting are gone at this point so I enjoyed a few doughnuts. Donoughts were never a Horizon court high point for me but this time I must say they were quite tasty. Very fresh and "goey", the way I like it

At 10:55 am we headed down to the Explorer's lounge in hopes of meeting someone that could verify the identities of crew members, but to no avail. We left at approx. 11:15 and went back to the room to read and relax. I used to like the port days the most but I think I am now a fan of sea days. They are soooo relaxing. I just love watching the Law & Order reruns on tv. It was so great to sit in the open air out on the balcony. We also enjoyed some time outside on deck 7. There were no lounge chairs on the ship on this deck this time around. When we took the Golden earlier last year deck 7 was a great place to hang out and relax.

So after some general milling about the ship we headed down to the atrium at 2:15 to watch the magitian Doug Anderson's final magic show. Very enjoyable. Fun tricks. We bought his video!

On our way down to the Michaelangelo dining room we came across a ship's map on display with the signatures of the Captain and main officers. This item was up for silent auction but I don't think anyone noticed because of it's placement next to the library. We did bid on the item and waited next to the map until 6pm when the item closed, there were no competing bidders so we won the auction. We will hang the item up as for us the week was a big life event and a reminder of a personal triumph

Then we headed to the dining room and enjoyed a wonderful last dinner at sea. Our waiters were excellent this entire cruise. I had posted before that I felt sometimes the service was much less personal in the dining room as Personal Choice patrons but this was not true in our case. The crew was definitely the best of all of our other cruises combined.

After dinner we went to a different comedian (sorry I can't remember the name) in the Vista Lounge for a 7:15 show. We met a very nice gentleman who told us that his cabin had been flooded with about 5 inches of water from when the pools water overflowed during the incident. He said that Princess sent him a bottle of champagne. He told his cabin attendant that he doesn't drink and his champagne was replaced by 6 containers of bottled water. He joked because the water on the ship is free So then the show began and the comedian was pretty funny. After that we did go catch the production show in the Princess theatre but left after a few minutes as we decided to just hang out in our room before we went to bed.

The weather this last sea day was gorgeous. We saw a pod of baby dolphins at approx. 10:15 am from our balcony. At first I thought they were fish because they were so small but after seeing them up close I realized they were babies. Oh, if I only had the video camera then. It was beautiful and miraculous.

Does anyone know the name of the little fish that seem to fly along the ship when it passes? It's bugging me terrible to know what kind of fish they are.

Random notes to follow.....
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General comments:

Oh yes, I wanted to mention we had a very enjoyable flight home. We sat next to a Southwest Airlines flight attendant and I traded ship stories and she traded passenger stories, it was a lot of fun.

For transportation to and from the cruise we used Emerald Limousine Service. I did want to use Galveston Limousine whic also gets great reviews but my husband and I spoke to the owner of Emerald in person so we booked with them. No complaints, prefessional service. He waited an extra hour for us to get off the ship upon disembarkation this morning.

General comments:

Do bring a light jacket to wear around the ship. It was cool in some spots such as the Princess Theatre, dining rooms, and the Horizon Court as well as on deck to be expexted.

Our cabin steward was Isaac from the Philippenes. He was great. He made us an elephant towel animal and a much more challenging bunny rabbit with eyes, whiskers, and even pink lips!

Even though the temps were warm in the Caribbean our balcony was sometimes still a little chilly with winds. We did have a lot of rain on the Belize port day, it rained almost entirely that night I believe. As mentioned prior, we have been 4 months without rain in Las Vegas so I loved it!

Do bring sunscreen! I burned pretty bad in Playa even though I was only in the direct sun a little bit. I did go in the ocean when it was cloudy overhead but I burned anyways.

Jeans in the dining room.... yes, there were some. I even saw a couple wear shorts in the dining room on the Costa Maya day in the Michaelangelo dining room. Perhaps their luggage was misplaced.

If there is anything I have forgotten, please ask!
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Old February 19th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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The fish that seem to "fly" alongside the ship at times are called just that... "Flying Fish". . I had done three cruises before I finally saw them again. I saw them on the first cruise and had seen them in the surf at Galveston before.
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Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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Pick your company wisely! Hang around people who are going to help you become all God created you to be.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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luvs2cruisela-
You should join our roll call for the April 1 sailing on the Grand Princess. I have a 14 year old son going as well as a 15 year old daughter and 2) 18 year old daughters.
Karen
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Old February 20th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Imamelfan,
I looked on the meet on board forum and didn't see a roll call for April 1st on the Grand. Were else should I look?
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 08:04 PM
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Default Grand Disappointment

The itinerary change from Grand Cayman to Playa del Carmen was a huge disappointment. The "Emergency Notification" we received said that based on "increased passenger satisfaction scores based on our recent itinerary changes, the decision has been made to enhance the itinerary for the remainder of the season." Having been on several cruises and to both locations, its a joke to think that Playa del Carmen is an "enhancement". Unfortunately for my wife, she has not been to Grand Cayman, but has been to the port of Playa del Carmen and agrees it has little to offer.

Given that our ship already goes to two Mexican ports (Majahual and Cozumel), it hardly seems an "enhancement" to simply add another stretch of beach from the same coastline. Had we known that this was not in fact a Caribbean cruise, but instead was a Mexican cruise, we likely would not have paid over $5k for the same. This bait & switch was obviously known by Princess for some time, as a January 23, 2006 article referenced "technical problems" for Princess' change from Grand Cayman to the lesser port of Playa del Carmen (http://caymannetnews.com/2006/01/1013/closed.shtml) while the story had changed a few weeks later and "weather" had purportedly become an issue by February 10, 2006 (http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=1512). What would it have taken to let prospective customers know about this change before committing to a spring break trip?

When I spoke with a customer service representative on Saturday, the story continued to evolve, and I was told that the "port wasn't open" in Grand Cayman. When I inquired about the passenger satisfaction scores, the representative assured me that this too had been a factor in making the change. They first said they would send me the results of the "overwhelming response" in favor of Playa del Carmen (how this could be when the vacationers didn't go to Grand Cayman is beyond me), but then said this was confidential.

I have no problem changing a port for weather or security reasons, and have had the former happen before. However, in this case Princess should have made the change prospectively. The condescending attitude of the letters and e-mails I've received regarding the itinerary change--both the "we have the right to do it" and ludicrous/changing explanations (err lies) are what are most upsetting.

This will definitely be my last Princess Cruise.
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