This was the area where we were very impressed. We were unsure about staggered boarding but it obviously works. We arrived at the terminal at 12:55 and were sitting in our cabin at 13:10 which was the quickest time we have ever boarded a ship.
As this was a short cruise we were not too bothered about which cabin we had and settled on E208 on Emerald deck. This is one of 4 cabins on each side towards the bow which has a balcony overlooking the promenade on the deck below. There is mirrored film on the glass to keep the balcony and cabin private. The cabin is well laid out with sufficient storage and was comfortable enough. Now for the downside particularly if you retire early - the Princess theatre is on the other side of the corridor and the soundproofing isn't too good as you get a lot of sound and vibration in the cabin particularly when there is a production number on.
This is a problem area in my view as it is only two decks high and therefore became very congested in the evenings particularly when the officers were introduced in this area.
We ate in the Boticelli which is the one used for traditional dining. This restaurant does not have direct access from deck 6 and can only be reached via the aft stairs or lifts. Very pleasant environment and waiting staff very attentive. I require gluten free meals and had no complaints regarding the meals where there was varied and tasty.
The Horizon Court is the main buffet area and there appeared to be plenty of variety throughout the day with sufficient places to sit. Only drawback is that at busy times queues are likely to form as space between counters is limited.
There are plenty of areas to sit and relax and although this cruise was full there were still plenty of places to relax.
The Grand looks very good for her age obviously benefiting from an upgrade last year and even the areas that were not touched still look good. All staff we encountered were polite friendly and courteous and it was always nice to be acknowledged which doesn't always happen these days.
Overall we were very impressed with the overall product Princess provide and would certainly not hesitate to book another one.
I also used this cruise to scatter my mums ashes and I only have praise for Maria from passenger services and the other crew who were kind and thoughtful in providing an area on the stern for us to carry out this task, again I have nothing but praise for Princess for their organisation from the first e-mail a year ago to the night itself.