This was our 7th cruise; 2 on Norwegian and 5 on Princess. We primarily eat at the buffets do to the variety, speed and informal dress codes; so my comments apply primarily to the Horizon Buffet. The food consistently varied from weird to strange and was generally awful. It was by far the worst food we had ever found on any cruise ship. Desserts and breakfast were "ok", but lunch and dinner were awful. They even managed to sabotage simple foods like potato salad by adding weird things to it like salmon. Biscuits and gravy for breakfast, sound good? How about herb biscuits and cheese gravy or mushroom gravy for breakfast? Still hungry? Lots of lamb, lots of broiled fish, lots of undercooked meats, no fried seafood to speak of, no fried shrimp, no lobster, very little fried food period, etc. There was very little "normal" food to speak of. Many times I walked through the buffet only to leave an empty plate on the counter at the exit on my way out because there was nothing on More
the buffet I cared eat. My wife will eat just about anything and even she was struggling to put together a meal. This was by far the worst buffet food I have ever seen on a cruise ship or even a road-side truck stop. By the end of 14 days, I was thoroughly tired of below average hamburgers and bad pizza from the pool grill. I could write several pages on how bad the food was, but I won't bore you with the sad details. Just consider yourself forewarned. The whole thing reminded me a lot of bad hotel food with an element of weirdness thrown in. Honestly, the best meal we had on the whole trip were chili dogs and onion rings at the Varsity on our way through Atlanta.
I don't know why the buffet food was so bad on the Grand Princess; we've had great food on Norwegian and Princess buffets in the past. Before our trip I read cruise reviews stating that Princess was lowering the food quality in the "free" restaurants to drive more people to the "pay" restaurants. I did not believe it before our trip, but know I would have to say that is a possibility. But my gut feeling is that whoever sets the buffet food selection is trained in classical European culinary arts, stuck in his way of doing things and is totally clueless as to what most "normal" Americans eat.
The ship condition was fine. Yes, if you perform a detailed inspection you could probably find a rusted weld or bolt here and there. But overall I thought the ship was very clean and in great visual and mechanical shape. The showers are definitely larger than any of the other cruise ships we have been on. Movies Under the Stars was great as usual. The crew was great and all were very friendly and helpful. Our room steward Meilani was one of the best we've had. The waiters on the back of the ship around the rear pool were the best on the ship and very friendly and helpful. We did the snorkeling on St John's Island and the St Marten party boat excursions; I would recommend both.
The bottom line is that this was our last cruise on Princess because of the extremely poor food selection/quality. I will be doing a lot more on-line research before we book our next cruise. Less
Great balcony and view. Shower is larger than normal cabins. A/C worked great. Bathroom worked great. Safe worked great. Closet smaller than normal. Mattress needs replacing. Everything was clean and worked without any problems.