We have returned, recently, from a 14 days cruise on Grand Princess (Dec 22, 2012- Jan 5, 2013). The itinerary was split in two (seven days each). First one was Fort Lauderdale, Puerto Rico, San Martin, San Thomas, Princess Cays and second one Fort Lauderdale, Aruba, Curacao, Princess Cays.
It was our first time on a Christmas & New Year cruise and we were very happy that we have been on it.
The entertainment on the ship, was excellent with several bands playing at all bars each evening. The atmosphere was festive with beautiful season decorations and everybody's mood was cheerful. Our favorite band was "Soundtrack", playing at Wheelers bar. Their singer Ana, from Colombia, has a beautiful voice, a variety of songs and always tries to accommodate the customers' requests. We have stopped most of the evenings there, before dinner, having few drinks and listening to the music. Also very entertaining evenings were a Crooners bar, where the pianist Maurizio was one man band singing crowd favorites.
We like to dance and we were pleasantly surprised that all bands played music we could dance to. It was a party night each of the 14 days we were on the ship.
We did not eat at the buffet or specialty restaurants. We ate each lunch and dinner at "Da Vinci" restaurant (anytime dinning). Their menu was great and food was very well prepared, especially fish dishes. They had good selection of fine vines, reasonably priced.
We didn't care about desserts, but we liked the pastries at International Cafe which served, also, an excellent espresso and cappuccino. That was our breakfast place and sometime afternoon coffee break. It is advantageous to purchase a coffee card at the beginning of the cruise. If one can't finish the pints on the card, it can be used on next cruise (does not expire). The service was very good at restaurants and bars with a lot of personnel ready to help and accommodate our requests.
We have watched four shows (Stardust, You Can Dance, British Invasion, Crew Talent Show) and all were very good. There are two show times, in order to, better, accommodate passengers' dinner times.
Our cabin was on deck 12 (Aloha) forward. Our cabin attendant was Joan, a very helpful attentive and courteous.
On port days we took shore excursions: some with Princess and some offered by independent tour companies, which have reps at each port.
On St Martin we did a full island tour (best stops: Marigold & Orient Beach).
At St Thomas, we did book, through Princess, a very nice tour with Magens beach, Blackbeard castle and Amber Museum stops.
This was our first time on Aruba and we were on an island tour with stopping at a rock formation and one of the beaches. The island is very dry and covered, mostly; by desert vegetation (would not be our preferred vacation spot).
We liked Curacao which we did explored it on foot enjoining Willemstad, with colorful houses, outdoors cafes, restaurants and full of shopping opportunities.
We have stopped twice at Princess Cay and had great time, as the weather was warm and water calm and very clear (best snorkeling place). However, be aware of mosquitoes. They bite in plain daylight and are not bothered by repellents.