Here are a few observations from our latest venture on the Grand Princess. (Caribbean, 14 day cruise)
This was probably the cruise with the oldest passenger we've ever seen. The average age was reported as 67.7 years old. It seemed much older as there were many people using scooters, canes & walkers which tied up elevators most of the day. There were very few kids (under the age of 10)on board & we hardly ever saw them.
We ate in the anytime dining room (Da Vinci) and had a table for two reserved for the entire trip. Although our waiter was experienced, they had him overloaded with tables which kept him so busy that our dining times were approaching 2 hours for the complete meal every evening. He was assigned 2 tables of 4 & 4 tables of 2 and would always try to coordinate the various courses together even though we were separately seated. We finally gave up and resorted to eating at the buffet most nights which was very good except for one night when they served Indian food. I'm not sure why they even serve it since most people I saw were walking around looking for something eatable.
The Da Vinci dining room air conditioner was set for one temperature- COLD I'm not talking just cool, I mean COLD to the point my wide took her hooded sweat shirt one evening. We would leave the meal with cold noses & arms every night we ate there. The Vista lounge was similar when showing movies but when filled with people for a regular show wasn't as bad.
The ice cream served in the dining room had a marshmallow consistency similar to what was served on the Emerald a year ago and seemed tasteless although the sorbet was fine. We didn't fine that same thing on the Crown or Ruby this past Nov so I suppose it's just a recipe they decide to use. The free ice cream near the pool was great although limited to vanilla or chocolate closed at 9PM sharp except for the Superbowl evening. Also there are no bowls available at the ice cream counter so you must first get a cup/bowl & spoon at the Horizon & then go back to the ice cream bar of you don't care to have a cone.
For the first time on a Princess ship they actually served a peach and apple pie in the dining room at a few of the meals. I've commented for years about the lack of simple desserts and to my surprise they were actually very good.
The ship is getting old as can be noticed on various decks. They are in constant repair & repainting but it's obvious that there are some things that need complete replacement such as the deteriorated partitions between the balconies and mattresses. Our balcony was usually covered with paint chips form the daily paint chipping.
The smoke problem on this ship wasn't all that bad as on some of the other ships. Of course the casino was usually off limits if you didn't like smoke but they did offer a few evening with no smoking. We did luck out with our balcony as there weren't to many smokers in our vicinity.
One interesting thing did happen one evening as we were waiting for a show to begin in the show lounge- there must have been a problem with the ventilation that evening as the smoke was sucked into the showroom from the 6 th floor. (casino & cigar bar location) Only the lower section seemed to be affected but it was to late to consider changing seats.
Strange, but on the last day at sea my wife went to use the scale located in the gymnasium and it was gone. They told us that to many people were using it to weigh their luggage for the return flight so they decided to remove it for the day. I suppose they just didn't want people lugging their suit cases through the spa area so if you do want to utilize the scale do it before the last sea day.