This was the first cruise with Princess and we sailed on the Grand from Southampton to Guernsey and then on to Le Havre and back to Southampton. It was a quick 3 night break.
Boarding was organised and quick and our suitcase was waiting at the cabin when we arrived. We were originally given a staggered boarding time of 12:30 but when we arrived at the check in they were simply accepting people as they arrived. Cards were issued in alphabetical order according to when you arrived and you were called by this. We were then called at 12:40.
We occupied balcony cabin C753 on Caribe deck. A lovely cabin with it's own private bit of corridor so very quiet. The only thing I was puzzled about was the fact that very early every morning (around 4:00) the ship started up its engines ready to dock and it was very noisy waking me up each morning. I was unsure whether or not this was due to the position of the cabin as having done around 10 previous cruises I could not recall this happening mid ship before. Regardless of this the cabin was lovely, shower room fine and the balcony wonderful albeit the furniture sligtly uncomfortable. A padded seat would have been gratefully received. Cabin service was good but it always is on any of the ships we've stayed on. My gripe with the cabin was the pillows. Gee gods they were dreadful. I asked my cabin steward if they could be swapped and he said they had no others. They supplied a hard one and a soft one, so you could decide which one to place on top. Neither were comfortable. I ended up having the soft one on top (which was all lumpy and bumpy) as opposed to the hard one which was harder than a house brick. Absolutely awful. Mattress was firm (I'd read reviews stating this, so was prepared for it) but was only slightly firmer than mine at home, so this didn't bother me. It was those darn pillows. Toiletries in the shower room were not the best. The shampoo was of poor quality and in fact it didn't even feel as though my hair was washed. Must remember to take my own next time.
Food was ok. Not really any different to any other cruise company we've sailed with other than to say food was available all day until midnight (which RCCI stopped doing). Did notice that the food for evening meal was fancy. Too fancy for me. Fancy names for this, that and the other. Unnecesssary. We don't want all that fancy stuff on our plate, white beans, green beans, sauce instead of gravy. Just give us a basic meal on the menu so we all have a decent choice. Had the wrong meal given to me on the last night, but just ate it. Did find the soups the same night after night....mushroom! It was nice, but could have been varied.
Entertainment. The dancers were fantastic. Watched one dance show and one music/dance show, both wonderful. The comedian however was dreadful. Just not funny and in fact some people walked out of his show. Was the worst I'd ever seen. Don't renew his contract Princess!
Liked the fact that you could take aboard your own wine. Nice idea. Took advantage of this. Was good to have a glass on the balcony.
Was disappointed with the price of the alcohol in the shops,. Was no cheaper than me shopping in my local store at home, so didn't purchase any.
Got fed up with constantly being pestered with staff wanting to take our photos. Was not interested. Already have a load from previous cruises dumped in the cupboard. Other people were refusing too. Looked at the pix taken when we boarded when walking through the room to the theatre and thought they looked tacky. No class at all to the background but bright orange and pink colours on the background. Dreadful. Glad we never bothered.
Used the pizza place opposite the International cafe on the lower floor but did think it would have made more sense to have put pizza on the menu in the Horizon Court. If I wanted a pizza and hubby didn't then we ended up eating in 2 different places.
Ported at Guernsey on a Sunday when the shops were closed. Next port was Le Havre. Both ports were not the best we'd visited on any cruise, but we knew what we were booking and where we were going, so if we felt disappointed then we only had ourselves to blame.
Getting off the ship was quick and simple. For us with no flights it was a bonus.
Overall yes I was happy with the Princess cruise, but didn't think it was any better or worse than any other cruise I'd been on. Service, entertainment and food was just the same. I think I'd been expecting more having read reviews on here. That's not to say I'd not cruise with them again because I would but I'd probably book my cruise on the ports as opposed to the cruise company.
Had a good time and if I had to rate Princess out of 10 then I'd probably give them 7.5.