Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Grand Princess
Sailing Date: April 6th, 2003
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was our first cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary. My wife chose this ship after reading some articles and other message boards. She did pick a great ship and we had a great time.
We stayed one night before our cruise at the Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale. After reaching the building where you go thru the boarding process, we were onboard this ship in less then 5 minutes. We did use their website to fill out all of the various paperwork to speed-up this process. Princess has this process down to a science and they got high marks from many people I talked to about this.
Our cabin was A610 on the Aloha Deck. We chose this cabin for its location to the 24 hour buffet and the pool area. The cabin was just as expected. Very clean, small bathroom, tv, desk and two beds put together to make a queen. We loved the balcony and spent loads of time out there after getting up in the morning and before hitting the sack after all of the entertainment that the Grand had to offer.
If your the type that wants privacy then select a cabin on either the Aloha Deck or Baja Deck. They are private and you can also look down on the other balconies that are not private. You also have a cover above your head that will provide you with shade on those hot sunny days at sea.
We chose personal choice dining and we only had a 10 minute wait just once on the first formal night. We always asked for a first available table so we could meet new people about this great ship. I don't think I ever heard a bad remark about the Grand the whole time I was on her.
We usually went to the Horizon Buffet for breakfast and then switched off between the other two dinning rooms for lunch and dinner.
All of the meals were great and the service from the waiters was always with a smile. Many of waiters seemed to be from either Poland or Romania. Hats off to them for their hard work to make us happy.
Entertainment was very good. You could watch a Vegas style show in the Princess Theater or take in a hyptomist show in the other lounge. Don't miss the London Pub Night and the Passenger Talent Show on the last day of the cruise. You will be amazed at some of the talent that is on your ship. We also played a little bingo and lost a few bucks in the casino. The machines did seem tight but with so much to do on this ship we really didn't spend that much time in there. A hint to you gamblers out there. Between 10 and midnight you can get 2 for 1 drinks in the casino as long as they are the same drinks. The price for drinks not really that bad. I think a Miller Lite was $2.75 and a mixed drink was $3.50.
The overall appearance inside the ship was very clean and very easy to navigate after the first day. All even numbered cabins are on the portside and odd numbered cabins were on the starboard side of the Grand. I never saw any carpet that needed repair or bad spots that needed painting.
The topside of the Grand has all the pools and hottubs. The pool in the fantail and by the spa area had the least amount of people. Although our ship was fully booked this cruise we never had a problem finding a lounger or a drink attendant. They always seemed to be around when you wanted a nice cold drink on a hot day at sea. Every day that they have a drink of the day with a special price. My favorite was the Pina Colada. WOW, that was a good drink!
We made stops st Princess Cays, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. All of these ports had some small shopping nearby, except Princess Cays which is like a small island beach area. When you stop here you use their tender service to get to the beach. When you get there they will have a very nice bbq buffet set-up. The food there was also nice. You can use your cruise card there for your drink orders, either by going to the bars or by using one of their drinks runners.
They disembark passengers by using a color code system. You then find your luggage in the terminal when you leave your ship. You must have your luggage outside your cabin before 10 o'clock on the last night of your cruise. We had breakfast in the Horizon Buffet before we heard our color called to leave the ship. Everything went fine during this process with no problems.
You will not be disappointed with the Grand Princess. We already are looking forward to another cruise with Princess next year.