Hello all. I'm new to this forum. There seems to be some good info being exchnaged here so I thought I'd join and ask for some help.
Wife and I are going on our very first cruise for 25th anniv this Sept on Grand Princess in the Med. We currently have a Vista Suite which I've been told is nice. My travel agent called me today and advised we have an upgrade opportunity for a penthouse suite on the Caribe deck right in the center of the ship, starboard side. The suite size is about the same. Seems the only difference is location. The penthouse is two decks higher than the Emerald deck on which the Vista suite is located. Also, as you are all probably aware, the Vista suite is on the stern.
I am looking for info from anyone that may have stayed in either of these suites pros/cons. Advantages/disadvantages etc... I have until 12:00PM EST Aug. 1st to make a decision.
and congratulations on your milestone anniversary; that is always nice to hear. You have picked a wonderful ship and a great itinerary for your special anniversary. We have had several members just back from Grand Princess and they say she has never looked better.
I have never stayed in a suite but I am pretty familiar with Grand Princess. The Penthouse suites are more centrally located, slightly larger and the balcony is partially uncovered which is a plus or a minus depending on who you are speaking with. You have a little less privacy; but the cabin is a little lighter and airier because you are getting more sunlight.
I happen to like cabins on or near the stern, simply because most of the places I spend my sea days are aft: the Terrace Pool is quieter than the midship pools and not as "new age" as the Lotus Spa and "swim against the current" pool. And the Horizon Court Buffet and bar are just steps away.
But I think overall the Penthouse Suite could definitely be considered an upgrade. I guess what would decide it for me is simply, "how much?". I see the difference in brochure price is $700pp. It would not be worth $1400 more to me. But if they are offering it to you for in the neighborhood of $600-$700 more total, I think I would take it.
But believe me, they are both great cabins; you can't go wrong either way.
Thanks for the info. We were wait listed for an upgrade and offered this suite for an addional $1400. The brightness of it is a good point. We like light and airy and the stern seems to always be in the shade.
Based on the penthouse location being close to elavators, do you think hallway noise would be an issue? What about the Caribe deck itself? Is there noise from decks above?
Okay, so they are not giving you a deal; they are just offering you the more expensive suite at brochure price.
The cabins at either end are the quietest simply because there are fewer people passing them. But having said that, I've never had a problem and I've never heard anybody else complain about noise near the elevator lobbies and stairs. Last summer my wife was directly across from the elevators on Aloha Deck on Golden Princess (sister to Grand Princess) and she had no problem at all.
Caribe Deck has passenger cabins above and below. Emerald deck is above Promenade Deck, with all the public rooms. You do occasionally hear noise complaints from passengers above public rooms; usually about music late at night. But the late night crowd on Princess gravitates to Skywalker's up on the very top, so it's pretty much a non-issue. Although I'm sure somebody will read this and tell us the band in the Explorers Lounge kept them up half the night.
One other thing I should mention since this is your first cruise; when the ship is sailing, the propellers churn the water and create a kind of muffled roar; and the lower you are, the more noticeable it is. I'm sure it hasen't escaped your attention that Emerald Deck is the lowest deck with balcony cabins. Now some, myself included, absolutely love this sound; but not everybody feels the same. You can close the balcony doors and mostly shut it out, but then some like to leave the doors open. You might take this into account when making your decision.
So like I said earlier, I don't think I would do the upgrade; but if you like light and airy, more room and a more central location, it might be just the thing for you. It is, after all, your first cruise and a very special anniversary.
BriC, I found a photo that may interest you; it's a view looking down at the Penthouse and mini-suite balconies. The Penthouse balconies are partially covered and have real teak furniture. I'm still looking for a photo of a Vista suite.
BriC, here is a link to some photos that I think will really help you make a choice. There are photos of a Vista Suite on Golden Princess (Grand's identical twin), the Owner's Suite on Golden Princess, and two Penthouse Suites on Grand Princess, one midship and one aft(which is mislabeled as a PH Suite--it is actually a Premium Suite). Have fun deciding.
Thanks again Rick. Your info and photos were very helpful. Based on your input and some conversations with other I bit the bullet and went for Penthouse Suite. We booked this trip at the beginning of the year and had'nt thought much of it until recently. At his point with a month to go,m I'm really excited about the trip and can't wait. I think it will be the experience of a lifetime for us. Thanks again for all your help!