Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Grand Princess
Sailing Date: March 11th, 2006
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Embarkation on the ship was great. It helped that we got there early. We left San Antonio at 3 am. and arrived, after breakfast, at about 10. The arrangements and boarding were great.
Our first obstacle came when we had a message asking us to leave our bags in our cabin and proceed to a lounge for at least four hours. We went to Horizon court and had a "decent" meal. I parted company with my fellow travellers and found a bar. After a few drinks, I noticed we were leaving the harbor. I went down to the cabin and found a note telling me they still weren't ready. When I barged my way in anyway, I found a refrigerator repairman and no A/C. Signs of things to come.
The ship was gorgeous, but everytime I got near the elevators, I smelled what could only be described as a septic system.
Our steward, if you'd call him that was an overworked worry-wort. He walked in on us sleeping more than a few times. He pretended to know English, but had been strategically taught to say "yes" to every question we asked. He stayed in the way mostly and if you dropped anything on the floor or the bed it mysteriously diappeared.
The seas were rough and we rocked and rolled for the first few days. Luckily, my family is not prone to sea-sickness. We were alright, but many people did not show up for dinner.
We went to the movies under the stars on the Lido Deck and watched "walk the line." It would have been a good movie if we could hear it. Fourty knot winds tend to make sound carry away. I also recommend you bring a regular chair. Those chaise longes become quite uncomfortable after about an hour. I also recommend a blanket or jacket as well.
Dry dock the Grand and completely refit it.
Replace most of the A/C units.
Don't varnish the ship while tourist are on it.
Teach the crew English.
Learn what bad seating is.
Stay out of the western Caribbean until proper docks can be rebuilt.
Vent the septic tanks above the 15th deck.
Oh yeah, when I book a cruise that is going to Grand Caymen, I expect to go there!
All in all we were able to salvage the trip, but Princess did not help. If you want to travel for all-inclusive-resort-rates on a floating Motel 6, then by all means, take a cruise. Me...next time I'll fly to the islands for half the price and stay where I'm appreciated.
P.S. We all came down with "some kind of virus" by the time we got home. Just what you want to pay 2 grand a person for.