This was my 7th cruise, and second with Princess. First time sailing to Alaska. I was extremely pleased with every aspect of the cruise except the weather. But after all it was Alaska, and you cant do anything about the weather anyway. I read some of the early Grand Princess reviews prior to booking, and I have to say that the negatives that are pointed out really are no big deal, and non existent unless your a fault finder.
We booked last minute Friday before the Sunday June 27 sail date. It was sold out prior to that and some rooms opened up so Tally Ho and away we went. Last minute was because we wanted to go that week, and it was sold out but we were ready so we did it. We came from Portland Oregon, took the "Bolt Bus" up to Seattle, Only 50$ round trip, and it dropped you in downtown Seattle. We then to public transportation to the dock. Dropped us right at the bridge, and we walked down, and met a shuttle that took us the rest of the way to the pier. Pretty awesome, better than having to fly.
Food: It was really good in my opinion. I sailed with princess before, and my fellow passengers had mixed reviews. On the Grand Everyone said the food was excellent. Princess really stepped up their game on the chow! Some memorable meals were Pheasant, Beef Wellington, and Lobster, Spiced Cod, Orange Roughy in the Michelangelo dining room. Then the Buffet always had Indian curries on hand. Pretty much always had salmon on hand. I would take the fillets of salmon and mix them with the Indian curries MMMMMMMmmmmmm. Only negative was that in the buffet they tried to get creative with the salmon and put BBQ sauce on it, and one day at breakfast KETCHUP . I am sure that if someone liked those condiments on the salmon they could just put it on themselves. Anyway the curry worked for me.
Entertainment: This is another area where princess has stepped up their game. The musical production / dancers musicals were great. Mostly one hour shows but they were fabulous, probably the best I have seen on a cruise. Costumes were first rate. They also had a Magician that was off the hook good, we are talking David Coppertone level of player. Comedians were good and kept us in Stitches. Cruise director Gavin was brilliant, probably the best of any I have had in my past cruises. He was quite witty, real corker, and his support staff did an amazing job as well. Sail away was kind of ho hum, unlike the Florida ones where you have conga lines etc.
Staff was super nice, and friendly. First time I ever had the staff fetch drinks in the buffet, it was great. All crew were friendly, and were sincerely glad you came along.
Embarkation had a line but moved well. I know some have complained but from the time the city bus dropped us off it only took 45 minutes before we could go to the DaVinci dining room for a nice lunch. Luggage handling was great.
Disembarkation was the easiest I have ever had. It really worked out well.