Let me say at the outset that I think we are just not cruise material and that this is not the fault of Grand Princess. We are not keen on bingo, line dancing, quizzes or gambling and maybe we should have done more homework on what was available before booking. However, it was the ports of call that attracted us (Malaga for Granada, Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Naples, Ajaccio and Gibralter.
Embarkation was dreadful - we also had been sent a text asking us not to turn up till after 2 pm though we arrived about 1.30. There was total chaos and a long line of people who had no idea what was happening and how long they would be kept waiting. At no time did anyone tell us why there was a problem or what was happening about it. We were lucky and managed to get our car parked and on board within about 1 hr 15 minutes - others waited much longer.
We were not told about the Norovirus on board and someone complained during the trip that, as they were on medication and immunosuppressed the company had been very lax in not telling them, and giving them the opportunity to cancel. Having said that I could not fault the company's attempts to deal with it - sanitisation,
We found the ship rather tired and somewhat shabby and general facilities disappointing - 2 clothes shops, a small general store, the usual perfume and jewellry outlets. Food was good in dining rooms but much of a muchness in Horizon Court - it all tasted rather samey and my husband, a vegetarian, was not impressed with either Horizon Court or the dining rooms. We attempted to persuade Sabatini's to construct a vegetarian menu for him but met with total resistance.
What I disliked most was the constant pressure to spend money. It was impossible to find a quiet space to just watch the world go by or read without waiters constantly asking you for an order and making you feel that you should not be occupying the space if you were not buying. It was cool and windy on deck so many people wanted to be indoors but we felt uncomfortable without a drink in our hands.
Ports of call: Malaga/Granada a shambles because we arrived late, got rushed to the Alhambra, guides were short-tempered and at one point it looked like even though we had tickets they were not going to let us in. Guides looked harrassed and bored. Barcelona: good guide and enjoyable tour, Rome: dirty and full of graffiti which impinged on its beauty. We couldn't get into Naples as the sea was too rough and the pilot refused to come out! Ajaccio very unexpectedly pleasant and Gibralter so awful I wonder why cruises continue to go there - why not Vigo, Lisbon or somewhere better?
As I say, we are definitely not cruise material but even so I had hoped for more interesting things to do than sunbathe and play bingo (the port lecturer was particularly boring!) and, by the way, why SO MANY TV channels just playing the same endless adverts for Princess Cruises and black and white films!