Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thursday - Cozumel Mexico Baby

This review is my own personal experience... if you would like more information about cruising check out my Facebook Fan Page Cruising-Princess-Cruiseline-with-Vickie where knowledgeable cruisers share their experiences.
entrance to Solarium Bistro
We wake around 8:30 and we must be docked but there is no way to know for sure.  Wish this ship had a bridge cam that showed the pier/island.  There is a channel that has a map and info but the map is not very detailed and it is very hard to read and you can see the Promenade on it, and occasional it flashes out to the water, but at night it is always showing the Promenade.  Definitely miss the detailed map and bridge cam on Princess - at least I could figure out what island we were sailing past etc.
We decide to try the Solarium Buffet for breakfast as the Windjammer is showing as being packed. 
The Solarium is lovely with healthier options and we can sit outside in the small area they have for the buffet. 
The weather outside is not cooperating, it is raining, but we decide to head ashore always with our rain jackets on, we are from Vancouver - we live in rain gear all winter long - this is nothing.
Just walking from the ship to the shops at the end of the pier we are soaked.  We wander around a few stores but we are drenched including out socks, runners, underwear well you get the picture. 

that is Bernie behind the rain drops
This won't do so we look at each other and head back on.  We peel off the clothes and squeeze out all the excess water and hope they will dry before we disembark on Saturday.  Our cabin and balcony look like a laundry mat.
Rain is not letting up!  People are all over the ship, and many are soaked.  Because of the rain a lot of people have put off going ashore or have gone and come back like us.
It is 1 pm and we try and figure out where we can get a hot lunch.
  • Room Service (menu is very limited and not many hot options)
  • Windjammer is an absolute zoo (we later understand why as it is the only dining venue that serves hot food that is open)
  • Dining room is closed
  • Park Cafe has few hot option but they are lined up out the door onto Central Park and there is no seat to be had.
  • Sorrentos for pizza is there but it was so bad yesterday we don't want it.
  • Wipeout Cafe doesn't open till 3.
We think okay well lets just go to one of the pay venues.
  • Vintages doesn't open for another hour
  • Giovanis is not open for lunch today
  • Johnny Rockets is the place we head to but nope it only opens at 2:30, same as the Seafood Shack.

We are very frustrated, we are a little upset too.  We just want to get something hot to eat, but the only option is Windjammer and it is so busy that I am prepared for them to close the doors to control the amount of people inside.  Considering how many people are on the ship I really think they should of attempted to open something to accommodate everyone. 
As we sit there in the Promenade we both look at each other and say "this ship is not for us" sure maybe I am being critical but too many things just don't add up.  Pretty sad and the first time it has ever happened in all my cruises that I actually was hungry and I couldn't get a decent hot meal.
We now know that Princess is by far a better line in regards to service/food/venues and fits us better.  For example today if we were on Princess we would have the following options for a lunch while in port:  International Cafe (similar to Promenade Cafe), Horizon Court buffet (that seems like it is the same size as Oasis' buffet and definitely has more seating), Pizza grill (with much better pizza), hamburger/hot dog grill by the pool, and room service that offers hot entrees including chili, lasagna, club house, Caesar salad with chicken, chicken fingers, croque moiseur, etc.  And of course we would not be dealing with double the passengers.
We both decide that we will try to do our best to get thru the next few days and then look forward to our trip on the Emerald in January.
After not being able to get anything on board we try again for Cozumel.  It has officially stopped raining.
We catch a cab from the pier to the main square for $7 total.  We walk away from the main drag and get a great Mexican meal and a few drinks, and even enjoy a Mariachi band.  The place is lovely and we love chatting with the owner.
We spend a short time wandering around downtown but we visit Mexico a lot and we really don't need anything so we decide to just catch a taxi back to the ship.  We are back on board a 4 pm.
We place an order for 2 cheese plates to enjoy with our champagne.
Tonight we made reservations for 8:15, we wanted 8 but we couldn't get it.  We are fine with this though.
We are relaxing in the cabin and I suggest that we watch a movie.  But we can't just watch a movie cause it isn't an option unless we pay for it.  I miss Princess' movie channels and the numerous channels of stocked shows (no commercials, expect ones for cruising).  Here we have a few regular tv channels with commercials.
We decide to watch the movie Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.  It was a lovely show but another added fee of $11.99.  So far this trip has not only cost us more initially per day we have also spent more on board, not including the dining package which we paid for ahead of time.
Here is a video of our balcony
We head down for dinner and get sat at a nice quieter table.  The tables are squished in and Bernie's seat is constantly bumped every time the server go past.
I had the shrimp cocktail and the cordon bleu for my entre.  Both were okay.  Cherries jubilee for dessert which was so so would of been much better if they were served hot over cold ice cream.
Service at this table was the best so far but still not as good as we have experience on other Princess ships.  Two times we had to ask for more wine (we couldn't pour ourselves as it was being chilled).
After our meal our server came over to explain all about the survey we will receive tomorrow and how important it is to give them all a good rating etc.  Felt a little awkward.
We have a 10:30 reservation tonight for the comedy show.  The MC was hilarious.  The two comedians were the headliners.  The first one Cary Long came out and right away we recognize him.  We have probably seen his show 5 times and his act really hasn't changed over the years, exact same jokes.  Time to drop the one pair of underwear joke Cary.  Now Cary is funny but after five times we knew all the punchlines.  The second comedian was Richie Miniervini another funny guy, who we have never seen.  I do miss Al Katz and his show!  Or I was too drunk to remember.
I will say that the venue for the comedy show is a joke (pun intended) and definitely was an afterthought.  This venue is located on deck 4 and it is small/dark and crowded.  I believe they said it holds just over a hundred people.  Did someone not send them the memo about how many people this ship holds.  Sure there are two shows a night, every night but every night there were line ups in the standby line.  This venue could never even accommodate half the ship's passengers if they wish to see this show.  This was the only black mark we noticed with the entertainment on board.


  1. I have to say all the smaller RCI ships are better and you won't have as many outlays and costs and booking issues BUT I will confess we have had problems getting a meal once as well on the Brilliance.

    I hope one day you try RCI again but I'd really avoid large ships like this, I hear so much the same as what you've said by others.

    Due to an excursion we missed our dining time and couldn't use anytime as we were set dining, the cafe didn't open til 9pm and had stock dodgy food not freshly made etc.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree a smaller ship may be. An option. But we are going to stay with princess