Background Information: I purchased this tour about a year in advance.
I made my own plane reservations but reserved the Chancery Court Hotel through Princess. They were to pick me up at the airport but that never happened. Eventually I got to the hotel & I can't say enough about it. Such luxury I was not used to & it was centrally located.
Most of the time I had a cold and a few days I spent inside my cabin. But there was plenty to do & in addition I had my Nook E Reader with me.
A727 was located on the Aloha deck, starboard side, all the way aft, the advantage to this was the exercise received when walking to the lift & the one flight walk upstairs to Horizon Court. It was a verandah & had ample room for 1 person.
This was bad the first night, which is usually the case but okay the rest of the evenings. I sat at a table of 7 with 4 people from the UK, 2 from CA, and me from Boston.
This did not apply to me as I was going on the next cruise which was transatlantic from London to Ft Lauderdale. I was amazed that we did not have to go thru customs, just remain on the ship.
Embarkation at Southampton has always been a breeze & this was no exception.
I didn't give the Cruise Director many points here. The noise in the Theater was too loud; he doesn't realize that some people have ears that are 70+ years old. The talent may have been great but with amplification should have been reduced. Some of the entertainers spoke a foreign language that I could not understand.
Port and Shore Excursions:
These are mentioned in my daily diary.
This has always been good no matter which line I have been on. Most of the employees realize that we are responsible for their income.
Although Princess has a no smoking policy, the Snooker's Cigar Bar is located just before the Princess theater on Deck 6 Fiesta. No matter whether you enter the theater on the left or right of Snooker's the smell that emanates...well if you enjoy smoke smell that's one thing, if you don't that's another. Quite a few cruisers were upset about Snooker's.
In summary I had a marvelous time and am hooked on transatlantic cruising.
Travel to Port of Embarkation:
I flew Icelandic from Boston to Reykjavik & Reykjavik to London. It was the best deal I could find. However the connecting flight was 1 hour late & when we boarded the flight it was delayed 1 hour resulting in no one meeting me in London as scheduled. In addition there was a rally or in London that tied up traffic.
This was my first cruise aboard the Grand Princess. The capacity of about 2000 satisfied me.
Fri Oct 19 Boston to Iceland h57
I finished packing this morning, am even taking a few things I do not need, & find that I have ample space. The weather
forecast is rain all day, I just hope that there will not be any delays. Much to my surprise the plane took off on time & arrived in Reykjavik about 0630.
Sat Oct 20 Iceland to London
In Reykjavik flight 450 was delayed from 0720 to 0800 & when we boarded the Captain said there would be another 1hr delay. Eventually we took off & this also was a very bumpy ride, although not as bad as the one from Boston. After going thru customs at London Heathrow airport, I looked for the person from Princess that was give me a ride to the hotel and did not see him. I called both #'s that Princess had & no answer at either one of them. So I took a taxi for 86.02 British Pounds ($142.33) but he did not know the location of the hotel so it cost me an additional 30 pounds for another taxi; these monies I hope to collect from Princess. Chancery Court Hotel is a Marriot hotel & super First Class with amenities like an iPod radio, a supersized shower enough for several people, a radio in the bathroom, Wi-Fi, just to name a few. The staff went out of their way; I stayed in room 212. Supper tonight was at Chicken Cottage, 130 High Holborn, London WC1V 6PS & consisted of a chicken sandwich with cheese, baked beans, applejuice, and French fries. After supper I purchased some baby wipes, detergent for 10 days wash, glade and antibacterial cleaning wipes.
Sun Oct 21 London 50
Today was a cloudy day with rain showers so I did nothing all day except go to McDonalds for lunch. For supper I went to a restaurant where I had a minute steak sandwich with mushrooms & fries plus a few onion rings. Then to the supermarket for some water; it's going to be interesting to see how I get all this on board. I read on cruise critic that Princess is cutting back on the number of bottles of wine & liquor you can bring aboard; does the same hold true for water?
Mon Oct 22 London 50: Sky - Overcast, Wind -- easterly force 2, Temp 59F, Barometer 1019.6hpa
Princess picked us up at the Chancery hotel then went to the Grosvenor for 30 more people. We got to Southampton around noon; going thru embarkation was a breeze, took me about 30 minutes. My big suitcase was delivered and I unpacked it along with the carry on during which my room steward Angelo gave me a difficult time about changing the beds to twins and the bathrobe and slippers ordered as I requested through Princess on the internet. The drill was held in the Vista Lounge & after that I went to One 5 Bar and Lounge for our informal meet and greet of about 15 people. As I had difficulty keeping my eyes open I went back to the cabin for some shuteye (expecting to miss supper) & awoke in time for supper after which I went to the Welcome Aboard Show featuring comedy vocalist and pianist Siobhan Phillips. She was quite good; eventually I turned in catching up of much needed sleep.
Tue Oct 23 At Sea: Sky sunny, Wind easterly force 2/3, Temp 60.8F, Barometer 1022.9hpa
I got up a 5:50am & walked the one flight to Horizon Grill for breakfast; the trouble with a la carte being that you tend to eat too much. Last night for supper I had rib-eye & the person next to me had steak medallions the difference being that his was all meat and mine was fat. I went to the M&G which was attended by about 30 people in addition to the officer's of the Princess. For lunch I had soup & salad. Entertainment tonight was the performance of Do You Wanna Dance, performed by the Grand Princess Singers and Dancers. It was great & the audience just loved them.
Wed Oct 24 At Sea: Sky overcast, Wind south-easterly force 5, Temp 64.4F, Bar 1004.8hpa
One good thing about an Aloha cabin aft is that it is one deck below the Horizon Grill. So I head for breakfast at 6am, ate, then down one level & back to sleep as I am on vacation & this is a sea day. Today was Cabin Crawl but no one showed up so lunch at DaVinci where I had soup & salad. After supper, tonight's performance was Celebrity Showtime with comedian & vocalist Berni Flint.
Thu Oct 25 Lisbon 10-5: Sky cloudy with showers, Wind south-easterly force 5, Temp 71.6F, Bar 1009.8hpa
Today we stopped at Lisbon. I did not go ashore as I have been here before & will be back here Nov 7 for a tour. As the day was dreary, not many people went ashore which was a surprise. I went to the future cruise and booked 2 cruises for 2014 to the Panama Canal. Lunch was soup & salad; after that I spent time on the internet as Princess gave me 250 free minutes. Tonight's entertainment was Stardust with the Grand Princess Singers & Dancers. It appears the 8:30pm show is very well attended. Tonight was laundry night as I did not have anything clean to wear. I forgot to pack short pants & a swimsuit.
Fri Oct 26 At Sea: Sky p/c, Wind westerly force 5, Temp 71.6F, Bar 1009.8hpa
I woke up at 5:10am & was going to schedule another at 5:50am when I said to myself "self you are on vacation" so I scheduled it for 7:15am, had breakfast in DaVinci Dining Room then back to the cabin to get ready for the day. I went to the Shore Excursion Tour Desk & was informed the center of town is very close to the pier plus the weather will probably be 20c or 68f which is okay but a bit chilly to me. After lunch of soup & salad I purchased 2 t-shirts that were on sale for $27 (including the Elite discount). Tonight's entertainment was Vocal Showtime with Jason Isaacs. After trying BN.com in the afternoon without any luck, I finally connected in the evening to download my Free Friday Nook Book. Tomorrow most likely I will go ashore as the town is close to the pier & I really don't want a tour. We are in port from 8am to 11pm tomorrow, probably because Tenerife is so near.
Sat Oct 27 Gran Canaria Las Palmas 8am-11pm: Sky p/c, Wind light, Temp 75.2F, Bar 1015.6 hpa
I got off the ship & walked around town, should have taken a tour but that is for another day. Tonight's entertainment was Canary Island Folkloric Dance & Music; Motor City with the Grand Princess Singers and dancers.
Sun Oct 28 Santa Cruz de Tenerife 7-6: Sky cloudy w/ showers, Wind easterly force 4, Temp 80.6F, Bar 1013.4hpa
I met Terri Hatch at the Casino at 7:30 am; we took the free shuttle then walked about 10 minutes to our pickup spot where we met our guide Jes Joergensen manager of Tours in Tenerife. He said he's originally from Denmark & has been living in Tenerife for 2 years. I was impressed with his safe driving & his knowledge of the area. He said he does not speak Spanish that well but upon hearing him I question that. We had a nice ride through the mountains of Las Canadas del Teide National Park seeing many vans pulled to the side of the road hunting for rabbits. Rabbits, rats, & mice were introduced by the Spaniards. It was raining & pouring on & off & a rather good day for a drive. We saw the "lost town" and finally decided to change our schedule and see the Monje Winery in El Sauzal, Tenerife where we had a tour & tasted the local wine; a few people in the group purchased wine. We had lunch at an inn in Chirche an out of the way place that buses do not patronize; Jes also pointed out a few other restaurants that were not patronized by tourist busses. Tonight's entertainment was comedy ShowTime with Lloyd Hollett.
Mon Oct 29 Lanzarote 7-4: Sky p/c, Wind north-westerly force , Temp 73.4F, Bar 1012.9hpa
I met Terri Hatch at 7:45am in the Casino for the 8am tour. The guide Stephen from Italy has been in Lanzarote for 6 yrs, I am impressed with his knowledge. We spent Â½ day in the mountains visiting Timanfaya National Park, Jameos Del Agua a collapsed lava tube that was transformed into a masterpiece of environmental art complete with gardens and an auditorium, and Cesar Manrique Fundacion a house that is part underground and part above ground. The guide spent a lot of time telling us about Volcanoes, pirate history of the Canary Islands. Entertainment tonight was Comedy Vocal Impressionist Spencer Robson. He was good singing his own voice but was terrible at impersonating. Other passengers felt the same way.
Tue Oct 30 Madeira 9-5: Sky overcast w/ showers, Wind south westerly force 8, temp 69.8F, Bar 1000.8hpa
Due to high winds we did not make the port of Arrecife thus saving me about 30 Euros. I had lunch with several couples, one lady said that with the refund she got a perm; the other couple were amateur singers & a guitar player. I spent the day touring the ship & catching up on my diary. Tonight's entertainment was Jason Isaacs (see Fri 10-26).
Wed Oct 31 Halloween At Sea: Sky p/c, Wind Easterly force 2, Temp 69.8, Bar 1001.3hpa
I have a sore throat and spend the entire day in my cabin with the exception of going out for meals; did not even go to tonight's entertainment. I called Terri Hatch to inform her I would not be going on the tour but still intend to pay for it.
Thu Nov 1 Vigo Spain 8-4: Sky cloudy, Wind westerly force 5/6 Temp 65F, Bar 1003hpa
I met Terri at the meeting place (casino), gave her the money for the tour, and went to breakfast, then back to my cabin as I had a sore throat and cold.
Fri Nov 2 At Sea: Sky p/c, Wind westerly force 6, Temp 59F, Bar 1000.0hpa
On Tue 10-30 I went to Passenger Services to request a cabin amid ships. Last night I was informed that they could not do this but instead of switching to A743 I would be staying in A727. Now I received a call saying that I am moving to Caribe 328. There are 40 kids on board this voyage (Passenger Services says that is not many) and while we saw them, they were quiet.
Sat Nov 3 London
We arrived in London at 7 AM. I stayed onboard for the next cruise which was transatlantic.