Just got back yesterday from a relaxing trip aboard the Grand Princess. The ship: beautiful interior, well- appointed and exceptionally clean. We have been on some bigger ships with slightly better amenities that come on the newer mega ships, but this ship is very nice.
Service: Overall service was excellent. My only complaint was bar service was very slow during peak times. They named to have more bartenders available during those times as it often took over ten minutes to get served. Stateroom staff was excellent as we're the wait staff in the restaurants.
Food: Food was good, fesh and plentiful. One night I got a steak that was not as ordered. The waiter noticed I wasn't eating it and asked if anything was wrong. I told him it was over cooked but not tomworrymI wasn't all that hungry. Then as if by magic, a new plate appeared with a perfect steak. I don't know how he got it so fast. Food isn't gourmet by any standard... But well done considering the 15,000 plates they serve per day. If you're a foodie, you'll need to adjust your standards a little.
Dining Room: We opted for the Anytime Dining. Loved the flexibility of eating in main dining rooms anytime between 5:30 and 10:00 or choosing their buffets in the Horizon Court which were quite good and offered a huge variety. The buffet allows you to eat much more quickly if you're in a rich to do something else. And Horizon Court's desert selection looks like a European bakery--- lots of tasty choices. We didn't opt for the optional cover charge restaurants because I was too cheap to spend an extra $75 for the three of us.
Entertainment: This is where we were very, very disappointed. Maybe because of the time of year (week before Christmas) but there were a lot of geriatric cruisers complete with canes, walkers and electric mobility scooters... And sadly for us, the majority of entertainment options were programmed for them. I'm 62 and felt like a youngster compared to many of the passengers. The big live production shows were average. No wow factor. All a bit dated. When the cruise staff's talent show is better than the professionals on board, there's a problem. The bands on board were all very average and didn't play anything more current than the 1980's at best. The "big star" in Crooner's lounge is an "entertainer" who plays moldy oldies on the piano accompanied by a very loud karaoke track. Steel drums every day on various decks for seven days made me feel like tossing those tubs overboard. It's fun for the first day but...
Activities: Also for the elderly crowd. Bingo, line dancing, trivia contests, several 50's & 60's musical events, etc. Seems their Cruise Director is frozen in timel like the 1980's. My 18 year old was totally bored with almost no options for his age. And my wife and I weren't far behind him. They do have a huge Super Bowl sized outdoor television screen and run movies at night and have popcorn and pizzas available as well as the ability to lay on sun loungers for total comfort. They even provide blankets if it's chilly at night.
Ports of call: Aruba, Caracao and Princess Cays. Enjoyed all three. Logistics for getting on and off ship were excellent. If you like to snorkel, I highly recommend Aruba Bob in Aruba. Excellent snorkeling with this operator but you must book them online. We've snorkeled all over the Caribbean and they are by far the best. Nice, experienced and make sure everyone is safe in the water. Per our observation they are excellent teachers for beginners too.
Embark/Debark at Port: Princess needs to teach our airlines how to move passengers quickly and efficiently. They provide an excellent experience coming and going.
Summing it up: As stated a beginning of this review, we did relax, ate well but were grossly disappointed by the activities and entertainment.