Joined ship in Southampton. This was our first trip with any Princess ship. Experienced long delays mainly at security prior to boarding.
We had a balcony cabin on Aloha Deck. We found the accommodation cramped in comparison to Cunard ships which we have travelled on prior to this cruise. Storage space was at a premium. We found the electrical outlets unsuitable for use if using more than one adapter because of their closeness to one another.
Our first impression was of a less than spacious cabin layout.
Dinner on the first night in the Da Vinci Restaurant was a total shambles. It took over two and a half hours for a three course meal to be served and we left without coffee. The level of service and attitude of the waiting staff left a lot to be desired.
Having travelled a long journey we retired early to our cabin only to be kept awake all night by a continuous noise from the climate control unit situated above our bed. The same night we reported the noise to a number of stewards, one of which was the cabin steward. We also reported the problem to the Purser's office by telephone. Again, nothing was done. We eventually went to the Purser's Office and spoke with Alexandru Rusu only to be advised that the problem had not been reported. Eventually two people came to our cabin, listened to the noise and disappeared without doing anything and without speaking to us. This coming and going and listening lasted until about 4.30 pm the following day. Eventually an engineer came to the cabin and isolated the unit - as it was cold we turned the heating up and after a short while we were aware of a burning smell. The engineer returned and disconnected the unit completely (at least we didn't have any noise but neither did we have any climate control}.
One of many annoying aspects is you are not allowed, nor are you given the engineer's telephone number. You have to go through the same rigmarole to get the engineer to return i.e. you have to go through the Purser's Office. Many of the staff, including Mr Rusu, there were less than helpful and quite rude. The only person who took any notice of our concerns was Eugene who took over the matter and had it dealt with the following day (we had to vacate our cabin at 8.00 a.m. to facilitate work being carried out on the unit).
As we were less than pleased at the terrible service in the Da Vinci Restaurant on the first night, we decided to go to the Botticelli Restaurant, for fixed dining. What a pleasant change, we were allocated a table with four others and had a delightful dining experience during the remainder of the cruise. Our waiting staff, Grace and Roger, made dinner an experience to look forward to each evening.
We were impressed by both the quality and range of choice of food provided.
The ship's entertainment was very good, particularly that supplied by the on-board singers and dancers. The enlightenment programme left a lot to be desired unless, of course, you were an art lover.
We were very surprised that there was not a welcome party for new-comers such as ourselves. It would have been nice to meet with other first timers on Princess ships.
All in all, the majority of staff were pleasant and helpful.
Overall impression - aside from our own experience with climate control problems, we noticed that on our deck, there seemed to be an issue with flooding so much so that two of our dining companions had to be moved from a balcony cabin to an interior cabin.
Our opinion is that the Grand Princess should be taken out of service and completely overhauled or simply taken out of service full stop.