Having last sailed on the Grand in Dec.2001 we were curious to see how the ship had been refurbished.The public rooms looked impressive but clearly our cabin had not been updated.
Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Staff were friendly and whole process took less than 30 minutes.
The cabin was smaller than expected and a little tired looking and surprisingly the carpet was badly stained. The balcony was rusty in places but of a good size. The cabin steward was excellent, efficient and nothing was too much trouble.
Food varied from good to superb and the waiting staff were excellent, if not a little too attentive on occasions. To be fair we mostly ate in the dining rooms as Horizon Court looked a bit of a bun fight on occasions.
Entertainment was varied in both content and quality.We would have welcomed a day time programme that was not so heavily reliant on trivia quizzes and bingo etc. Princess should look at the scholarship at sea programmes offered by some other cruise lines.The entertainment director seemed to have come straight from a 1950's holiday camp. We found him patronising and very long winded. However, a superb guitarist, an amazing acrobat, an amusing comedian and energetic shows with very high production values redeemed the experience.
Ports of call: we missed Bruges (foul weather!) but did venture into Blankenburge (free bus) - quaint and friendly small seaside town. We made the best of our time in Copenhagen by having pre-bought Copenhagen cards which gave entry to various attractions and the public transport system which was easy to negotiate. However Tivoli was a disappointment and we were glad not to have paid the excessive price Princess were charging for this excursion. Having visited Helsinborg previously and not being keen to queue for a tender we disembarked late and were limited to a short stroll which was, nevertheless, pleasant.
The sail into and out of Oslo is extremely picturesque and worth being on deck for. The ship docked very close to the city centre and we quickly found a tourist information office(close to the Radhus - town hall) with staff who were friendly and spoke fluent English from whom we purchased 24 hour Oslo passes(270NOK). These proved excellent value (Oslo is very expensive!)as they provided free admission to many attractions and also free transport including the ferry to Bygdoy where the Fram and Viking museums are a must see.We managed to visit 5 museums in our time in Oslo but we were not impressed by the Nobel Peace Centre (glad we didn't pay 80 NOk each for it.)
Diembarkation was the most efficient and quick that we have ever experienced. Well done Princess!
To sum up a good value for money holiday on a friendly ship with staff who really tried to look after us. We will travel with Princess again.