I took the Grand Princess with my 13 and 14 year old and 72 year old active parents.
This ship is old, and it doesn't compare to the Royal Carribean ships we have been on.
The private island was very nice. We enjoyed beach volleyball, banana boats and a great band at the bar.
Get off the ship and walk the short walk across the bridge to town. Be sure to see the floating market (a block or two to your right) where the Venezuelans come over to sell their tropical fruit!
Then take a taxi to the beach. The taxi costs $3 per person here, and $5 per person off the ship. Our party was 8 people, so it all adds up! We also learned that you can take the city bus for $1.5 each.
The beach costs $3 per person to get in, but has shops, bars, restaurants and a hotel or two. It's the same beach excursion the ship offers, next to the aquarium. Nice place to swim and relax-no cost for chairs.
From the ship we could see the Renaissance Hotel with a gorgeous infinity pool. After our beach time we went to their beach bar for a sunset cocktail---what a treat!!!
Taxis here are a standard price, all posted as you get off the ship. On the advice of crew members, we just told all the families with kids to meet at the Marriott. Taxis will take 5 people max for $14. All of the beaches are public, and the hotels are all located on a strip of beach.
The place where the cruise ship takes you to snorkel is the next beach over.
We negotiated lower rates for everyone to use the water trampoline and banana boasts.
The water was calm, and we all enjoyed swimming. Lounge chairs were $10 each, and we found shade under a palm tree.
We asked the taxi driver home to drive us by the light house....kind of a waste of time except it's at a higher elevation and you can see the whole island. It was 5 minutes or less from the Marriott, but we were billed a whopping $40 return trip price instead of the $14. I figured I would just tip him better, but I clearly made a mistake by not nailing down the price up front (and I knew that I should do that!!)
The ship claims to be nonsmoking, but smoker continued to be a problem. They allow smoking in the casino at the slot machines...and you can't get away from it. Additionally, one side of the pool area allows smoking, and the breeze blew the smoke into the indoor pool area. Gross!
We tried walking around the Promenade deck for exercise but they allowed some of the crew to smoke there...gross again! The beauty of walking the ship is the fresh air! The gym was too warm.
Went to the comedy and hypnotist show....very good! The stage shows are lame at best. Even my Dad walked out.
Rooms seemed smaller on this ship than some of my past ships. The mini-suite was the same price as our balcony cabin--I wish I had gotten that one. Each of the rooms has a mini fridge, but none of them were cold. Considering that we had NO DRAWERS and a teeny closet I would have like some drwers instead of a fridge that doesn't work.
Food was good, staff was nice.
Teen program was great!
If you get the unlimited drink package, remember that there are 2 tiers: One is just for soda, the other is for pina coladas etc.