What a wonderful cruise! We did the East Caribbean/West Caribbean as a back to back. We are Elite and embarkation , disembarkation and in-transit were all handled nicely. We were onboard by 11:30 a.m. and the in-transit part took only about 30 minutes the second week. We had a LARGE group of back to backers -- 700 passengers! The ports were nice and the weather was good except for the rain in Aruba. Even so, it stayed around 80 degrees, so who can complain ? The Grand Princess is one of the oldest Princess ships and it did not get a complete renovation,in dry dock in 2010, so it shows it's age in some places but we love the Grand. It seems to have more space than the newer ships and we love the covered pool and the wonderful veranda on the 15th deck.
The production singers/dancers were okay, but not as good as most on Princess. One lead female singer was really bad. The rest of the music was GREAT! We loved David Clarke on steel pan, Marguerite Nering on Piano (Piazza and elsewhere), and Ana and Soundtrack in the Wheelhouse. Also the Dixieland Jazz from the orchestra was wonderful. We also had Bobby Brooks Wilson (son of Jackie Wilson) entertain one night and he was very good. The Patter was accurate and informative with a nice assortment of activities that didn't (thankfully) all happen at the same time. Nice job by the Cruise Director and Music Director. As usual, the Princess staff -- waiters, junior waiters, bar staff, Horizon Food Court staff were GREAT. Special thanks for the matre d' and hostess at Michangelo's who were always warm, welcoming and accommodating. It's what we've come to expect on Princess but it still should be mentioned and appreciated. Other food info: The food in the dining room was better on the Grand than on the Emerald in September and the food in the buffet was pretty good --much better than average. The hamburgers and fries at the Trident Grill were good, the pizza on LIdo was above average, but the soft serve ice cream was hit or miss -- sometimes it was scrumptious and sometimes thin and icy. Pizza at Alfredo's in the Piazza was very good also.
We stayed in an inside room (C525) midship on Caribe deck. It was a very good location, easy to get to everything. The room was small, but quiet and had everything we needed. Our cabin steward was not great and that's the first time we've ever had anything less than great for a cabin steward. We made it work anyway. Hey, when you're on a 14 day cruise in the Caribbean in the middle of the winter, don't sweat the small stuff.