We just completed our first cruise with Princess on the Grand Princess. We have made four cruises with Cunard. The embarkation procedure in SF went surprisingly well in tight quarters at the San Francisco Cruise Port. Wendell, our cabin steward did an excellent job in maintaining our cabin. He knew when went to breakfast and dinner, and inspite of having 18 additional cabins he always had ours ready. We were Anytime diners, which we found easy to work with. The dining room staff were very attentive and friendly. Friendly was the key word on the "Grand" not only in the dining room, but in the Horizon Court (buffet) as well. Unlike a previous review of this cruise, we were at sea for four days from SF to Maui and four days from Hilo to Ensenada. During the sea days we had a number of excellent presentation from the ship's Naturalist. There was a lot going on all the time, pretty hard to get bored while at sea. The Hawaiian ports were good, with our highlight in Kauai. "the Garden Island" certainly lives up to it's nickname. We did not go ashore in Ensenada, but we understood the requirement to stop there. Foreign flag ships must stop in a foreign port after visiting US ports. This obsolete US law (Jones Act) requires this visit.
Several things about Princess that we noticed: Many more smoking locations and smoking rules are abused (cigars and pipes are suppose to be limited to the smoking room, but were observed in all smoking areas. Far too may activity announcements were made. No enforcement formal nights for men, we would have expected at least a tie and jacket.
In view of the very busy schedule of cruise ships, especially on a ship that is 15 years old,there is continual maintenance going on. Sometimes this caused some inconvenience
especially on the Promenade deck for walkers.
Our general view was that this was a very good cruise, with an excellent crew, and a great way to see Hawaii.