“Holiday cruising with tweens - pros and cons”
Cruise review of Grand Princess

travelmomnc Grand Princess 3 Holiday cruising with tweens - pros and cons
Member Since 2009
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I had cruised as teenager but this was our second cruise as a family. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale the day before our Monday departure. Although a major winter storm was gripping much of the US, we still managed to make our flight. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on 17th Avenue. Standard Embassy Suites but with a lovely garden pool (too cold for us to enjoy it) and a convenient location near the port with Ross discount store, supermarket, drug store and liquor store for last minute items. The sun bus trolley stopped right in front for a quick, cheap tour of FLL.

We arrived at the dock at noon on departure day. The line moved quickly when the doors opened but then stalled as MANY senior and disabled passengers went in front. Others told us that they arrived at 2 pm with no waiting - will remember this next time. There was a MAJOR rugby scrum at the Lido deck buffet for lunch. Next time, we will eat lunch and relax in FLL rather than brave the long check in and lunch lines on the ship. Our cabin was an inside on Dolphin deck, right in the middle of the ship. We were afraid that the cabin might be claustrophobic for 4 of us (2 adults + 11 and 12 year old) for 2 weeks but that was not the case. However, if we were people who spent lots of time trying to get dressed up, the small space could have been a problem. Our main problem was the COMPLETE darkness of the cabin. We brought a night light but should have brought a "glow in the dark" alarm clock just so that we would have a sense of time when we woke up.

On the first day we began our usual routine. Espresso coffee in the Atrium coffee bar(make sure that you get a discount coffee card)and a workout in the gym. The gym did not measure up to our previous experience on Royal Caribbean - broken machines, non-functioning TVs, poor ventilation.

We were not that happy with the kids club. On the first day, our kids checked in to the kids club but it was OBVIOUS that they were overwhelmed by the huge number of kids on the cruise (over 200 under 13). The tween group was stationed in a conference room at the back of the ship and the activities were limited. However, they did do a cooking class and a bridge tour that the kids liked. Kids age 13 - 17 were allowed to roam unsupervised until their club started at 10 pm - NOT GOOD. Princess should definitely consider regrouping their kids groups - 13 and 14 year olds should not be with older kids.

Food on the whole was very good on Grand Princess, especially the fish in the buffet. We did dine in the specialty Tuscan restaurant one night which was good. There were 4 formal nights on the 14 day cruise which my husband did not like. On the whole, the Grand Princess was a pretty formal ship with many older passengers. Entertainment was DEFINITELY geared to an older crowd and not particularly good (ventriloquist, jokes about Viagra, etc.)

We stopped in 9 ports on our cruise but many were closed due to the holidays. On St. Thomas on Christmas Day, only the beaches and jewelry stores were open. On St. Kitts on Boxing Day, not even the jewelry stores were open. The highlights were: Grand Turk (nice complex and beach right near the dock), St. Thomas (Magen's Bay), Barbados (floating play structure at the Boatyard), Curacao (lovely town, beaches and Aquarium - get there by 11 am for the dolphin show), and Aruba (pirate snorkel boat with rope swing and fun bus driver).

In a nutshell, the good things about the cruise on Grand Princess were: Movies under the Stars, buffet food, discount coffee card, amazing New Year's party, Skywalker lounge (great quiet place to read with a good view during the day).

The cons of our cruise on Grand Princess were: too formal with most programming geared toward much older guests, inadequate gym, not the best ports, limited kids club activities with bad age groupings and inadequate supervision of 13+ kids, internet service was OUTRAGEOUSLY priced.

Grand Princess Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
Overall Ratings
  • Cabin
  • Dining
  • Embarkation
  • Enrichment Activities
  • Entertainment
  • Family & Children
  • Fitness & Recreation
  • Onboard Experience
  • Public Rooms
  • Rates
  • Service
  • Shore Excursions
  • Value for Money

Cabin review:

We had an inside cabin on Dolphin deck. Quiet and centrally located. Comfortable beds. Plenty of suitcase storage under the beds. Difficult to get ready with closet in front of entrance to the bathroom (hits on the head by bathroom door opening). Not enough electrical outlets - bring a strip or expansion plug. Very limited drawer space (2 small desk drawers - bring a hanging sweater carrier for more storage. Good fridge. Good TV channels.

Port and Shore Excursions

Interesting town with good shopping. It is an easy 15 minute walk into town. Took a cab to the Hilton to swim (lovely sand) but should have gone to the Boatyard for drinks and a floating play structure. Taxi situation at the dock was ridiculously unorganized. Cheap internet in the dock shopping area.

Went to Trinidad the next day. Did not get off ship. We were told that there were guides in the neighborhood near the dock that made sure that passengers did not walk into dangerous areas. Heard good things about the bus tour of downtown with the trip to Maracas beach.

Read 998 Barbados Reviews
Great port. Dock is walking distance to the charming town with the swinging bridge. Took a cab to the Aquarium which is small but really fun. Get there by 11 am so that you can seen the first dolphin show. After, we walked to the beach next door. Great restaurants and beach bars with inexpensive massages. Very European. Amazing firweorks display at Midnight for New Year's - the ship left port at 5 pm but lingered in the harbor to see the fireworks at midnight.

Went to Aruba the next day. Took Pirate snorkel cruise. Rough weather made the snorkeling difficult. Everything closed because of New Year's day.

Read 702 Curacao Reviews
Cold and rainy when we docked. New dock development with pool and beach as well as numerous shops and restaurants. Would have been fun on a nice day.

Next day we went to La Romana in the Dominican Republic. Obviously very poor. Did not leave ship due to foul weather but heard good reports of the Santa Domingo bus tour.

Read 1,364 Grand Turk Reviews
Nothing open on Boxing Day. Went to the beach at the very southern tip of the Island. Expensive taxi and VERY expensive food on the beach - bring a picnic. Very arid and dry island with large hills.

Read 1,042 St. Kitts Reviews
Docked at Crown Bay on Christmas Day. Rented a car from the airport and went to Coki Beach for snorkeling and Magen's Bay for swimming. NOTHING ELSE was open except beaches on Christmas.

Read 3,414 St. Thomas Reviews
Published 02/01/10
Thank travelmomnc
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Grand Princess Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
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