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Grand Princess Cruise Review by Supt

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Grand Princess
Grand Princess
Member Name: Supt
Cruise Date: September 2012
Embarkation: Southampton
Destination: Western Mediterranean
Cabin Category:
Cabin Number:
Booking Method:
See More About: Grand Princess Cruise Reviews | Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews | Princess Cruise Deals
Member Rating   4.0 out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Cabins 4.0
Entertainment 3.0
Spa & Fitness 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 1.0
Embarkation 4.0
Service 5.0
Value-for-Money 4.0
Rates 4.0
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Ship Facts: Grand Princess Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Grand Princess Deck Plans
Family Wedding Cruise
Sorry for the longish review but hopefully some info will help decisions of future cruisers onboard Grand Princess. We have just returned last weekend from our Western Med cruise. Our party consisted of 17 of us who travelled as a family for our son's wedding which took place on September 23rd .Ages ranged from our sons one year old baby to my wife's parents who are sprightly Octogenarians. 7 of the group were complete newbie's and the rest all either Princess Platinum or Elite members. The cruise was very enjoyable and all had a good time, however there were disappointments.

The disappointments may seem trivial to Newbie's but they effected us more as this was a large group which as said included newbie members all of whom we had raved to regarding all of the facilities and experiences that they would have onboard. As regular cruisers with Princess the disappointments were particularly noticeable. It seems that the cruise lines now cater more for new passengers who will not notice the many aspects being chipped away from the products on offer.

As will be appreciated with this being a wedding cruise planned over a large period there were lots of pre cruise meetings and discussions on what would be experienced.

The wedding itself went very well indeed, and staff involved did a great job to help make the special day go well, and the service in the restaurants ,food presentation and service all up to the normal Princess good standards, Cabins were clean and in good repair (Except the balconies)

We all travelled separately to Southampton but the largest group all travelled down the day before and stayed at the Southampton Hilton taking advantage of their time to cruise package which offers Bed and Breakfast, travel to and from the ship and 15 days car parking all at 169 pounds per room. We found this good value but beware Restaurant prices and bar prices at the Hilton are very high, the Hotel is quite far out and you are forced to use cars if you want to go out from the hotel.

We left the hotel at 11.00am hoping for prompt boarding having priority boarding status. On arrival at the Terminal we were quickly checked in and went through to priority wait area. Boarding did not commence until shortly before 1300hrs due to an ongoing MCA Inspection which was keeping the entire ship's crew busy at drills. The terminal was quickly bursting at the seams. We though were very lucky, having been amongst the early boarders we arrived in our cabins and the view from the balcony was of a huge queue snaking its way out of the terminal waiting ,to even enter, made worse by the arrival of the Eaves way buses. All of the above it must be said was out of the control of Princess or the terminal Staff.

On sailing the Capt announced that the Bay of Biscay was expected to live up to its reputation and in his words we could expect plenty of rock and roll on our way out to our first port of Cadiz. This did not bode well for the wedding which was scheduled for the Sunday afternoon at 1530 hrs. Overnight Saturday was the worst and thankfully calmed down during

Sunday morning as the ship progressed southward. The Wedding service was very nice indeed, at first Capt Herriot seemed a little abrupt and aloof but was quickly dispelled and he proved to be very genuine and pleasant. The walkabout of the ship for the photo session was much appreciated by the bride and groom who were made to feel like royalty, the photographs including ones taken on the bridge are marvellous(Though expensive). After the photographers were finished with us we had a champagne reception in the Wheelhouse bar followed by excellent full reception in the Crown Grill, all in all a brilliant day.

After the wedding the cruise relaxed into the normal pattern and as said all had a good cruise. Food and general service was as good as ever .We took fixed early dining in the Botticelli which was in fact too early for most of us but we took this both as it was easier as a large group to get together in the evening and for the sake of the children in the group. Our wait staff as was our entire cabin steward's great, the weather after Cadiz was overall very good the exception being the day of Cannes which was a tender port and aborted due to the weather conditions, but hey you can never book the weather.

Grand Princess is despite her much publicised refit is definitely tired in many areas. That said all of our cabins were fine, clean and in good order. (Not the balconies) It is obvious that soft furnishings and carpets are regularly renewed as and when needed. Open deck areas are getting shabby with many broken tiles around the pools etc..

Yes compared with some other newer ships cabins are a bit dated but if this is said for Grand it must be said for the whole Princess fleet that generally have all of the same decor and design both in soft furnishings and carpets. It had previously been said that nothing had been spent on the cabins and we were a little concerned after the reviews of the cabins being dated and shabby. This was not the case for any of the seven cabins that we occupied.

The wardrobe area in Grand's balcony cabins is smaller than the newer ships. On joining in Southampton there was a definite pong coming from the bathrooms in both of the Caribe balcony cabins, this our steward much improved by putting chemical down the drains and this was further improved when my wife diluted a bottle of TCP and poured this down the drains.

We always go for Caribe deck balconies for the bigger balconies. This time we were a bit further aft than usual being just off the aft elevator stairwell.BB Grade (Previously travelling further forward in midship BA Grades). Was initially a little concerned as to noise from the lift area but this turned out ok and only occasionally when it was very quiet did we hear the bing bong from the arrival of a lift. What we did notice much more than previous cruises was the vibration from the ships aft thrusters entering and leaving port.

As far as we could see all of the balconies were the same as ours....Shabby. New furniture on the balconies looks lost. The traditional blue matting on the balconies has been removed and now have only the bare blue painted steel deck, on ours and the adjoining balcony of my wife's parents both had large knuckles of rust. Also the aluminium frames were heavily corroded. In Hot weather the bare steel deck gets very hot...Watch you don't burn your feet!

Also the heat that radiates from the bare dark painted steel deck also makes sitting out rather uncomfortable as you cook from both above and below!

The main disappointments of the cruise were aspects of the entertainment and the children's facilities. In our group we had our one year old grandson, our eight year old disabled grandson and the brides' two younger brothers aged 9 and 13. We had sailed on Grand Princess three years ago before the refit and the area above the kids club where the paddling pool is was a designated area for families and children. This is not the case anymore and Grand unlike all of younger sisters now has no designated area even though the paddling pool is still there.(Not related to being out of season)

This area was full of adults and the usual bed hogging brigade, there was even a woman topless bathing up there, which is inappropriate in any part of the ship let alone near the paddling pool. The occasion was however lightened when one of group commented "Cover em up love or tuck them in your knickers"

(We didn't see any enforcement of the promised moving of towels from unused beds by the ships staff) what made it worse was that for the first part of the cruise the nets were on the two main pools and only the aft lido pool and the sanctuary pool were in service, these both designated as adults only. The kids were dying to get in the water! (Should also be said that all of the Jacuzzis were in service but the bubble action was not working in any of them!)

On boarding the kids received their entertainment highlights from the kids club but most of the times we took them (During advertised hours) the club was closed and the doors locked. When we did get in there was always only one member of staff there who just continued working on her computer, only once was ever any effort of interaction made with the children, this by a lovely Canadian girl .All of the above was very very disappointing especially as we had ourselves hyped up all of facilities to newbie members in the group. Grand Princess can definitely not be recommended any more to families regardless of the time of year. The club itself is tiny compared with the newer ships and the grand's identical sisters the Star or the Golden.

The second disappointment were aspects of the entertainment and the cruise director could only be described as dire more akin to a spiv used car dealer than cruise director, he was awful. Apart from introductions in the shows and his morning appearance on the morning TV channel he was never to be seen although it was said he liked to hang out in the Crooners bar.

Many of the cruise events which turn out to be highlights of the cruise due to the input efforts and personalities of the cruise directors this guy was just cringe worthy when he did appear.

As said many highlights of the cruise are made by the senior cruise staff but due to lack of input and personality turned out to be damp squibs especially the deck parties and sailaways. Again all we had previously hyped up to newbie members of our group.

The singers and dancers were actually pretty good but the shows (although no fault of the onboard staff -- even cruise director) were with the exception of


The main disappointments of the cruise were aspects of the entertainment and the children's facilities. In our group we had our one year old grandson, our eight year old disabled grandson and the brides' two younger brothers aged 9 and 13. We had sailed on Grand Princess three years ago before the refit and the area above the kids club where the paddling pool is was a designated area for families and children. This is not the case anymore and Grand unlike all of younger sisters now has no designated area even though the paddling pool is still there.(Not related to being out of season)

This area was full of adults and the usual bed hogging brigade, there was even a woman topless bathing up there, which is inappropriate in any part of the ship let alone near the paddling pool. The occasion was however lightened when one of group commented "Cover em up love or tuck them in your knickers"

(We didn't see any enforcement of the promised moving of towels from unused beds by the ships staff) what made it worse was that for the first part of the cruise the nets were on the two main pools and only the aft lido pool and the sanctuary pool were in service, these both designated as adults only. The kids were dying to get in the water! (Should also be said that all of the Jacuzzis were in service but the bubble action was not working in any of them!)

On boarding the kids received their entertainment highlights from the kids club but most of the times we took them (During advertised hours) the club was closed and the doors locked. When we did get in there was always only one member of staff there who just continued working on her computer, only once was ever any effort of interaction made with the children, this by a lovely Canadian girl .All of the above was very very disappointing especially as we had ourselves hyped up all of facilities to newbie members in the group. Grand Princess can definitely not be recommended any more to families regardless of the time of year. The club itself is tiny compared with the newer ships and the grand's identical sisters the Star or the Golden.

The second disappointment were aspects of the entertainment and the cruise director could only be described as dire more akin to a spiv used car dealer than cruise director, he was awful. Apart from introductions in the shows and his morning appearance on the morning TV channel he was never to be seen although it was said he liked to hang out in the Crooners bar.

Many of the cruise events which turn out to be highlights of the cruise due to the input efforts and personalities of the cruise directors this guy was just cringe worthy when he did appear.

As said many highlights of the cruise are made by the senior cruise staff but due to lack of input and personality turned out to be damp squibs especially the deck parties and sailaways. Again all we had previously hyped up to newbie members of our group.

The singers and dancers were actually pretty good but the shows (although no fault of the onboard staff -- even cruise director) were with the exception of British Invasion old and dated. These again excepting the newer British Invasion have been around for many years and boring to regular Princess cruisers, Show entitled star dust was awful even for older Members - so called Stardust promises better songs than Doris Day med lies. Motor city is well past its sell by date.

Guest acts were pretty good and those we saw we thoroughly enjoyed including X factors Macdonald Brothers and Siobhan Phillips. The ventriloquist was absolutely hilarious.

Daytime entertainment was poor on seadays which included Knitting get togethers, napkin folding and many unhosted events. So , those were our two main disappointments.

Would we sail Princess again ? --

Yes as we know standards of the other ships in both entertainment and children's facilities have been much better. It was so sad that the cruise was let down in these departments as generally the Grand has a hard working and friendly staff.

Yes - the wedding experience was very good and a memorable occasion and thanks to all involved.

Is it time for a change? After 6 consecutive Princess cruises in the last 5 years Maybe return to P&0 or Try Celebrity

Publication Date: 10/14/12
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