On arrival at the quayside Grand Princess looked impressive, clean and stood out from the crowd.
Once inside, after a quick photo for your security pass, the kids were met by Youth organisers and we were met by smiley staff, a great start. Sign up for a soda package for the kids we were encouraged, well our kids don't drink much pop (they climb the walls) but you can upgrade the package to cover ice creams, shakes the whole lot of kids options. Well we bought into the soda package and glad we did!
Once up on deck we found a seat by the pool, the kids were straight in splashing around and the band played, the drink flowed, what a great atmosphere.
Into the evening, found some bearings in this huge ship. We had changed into casual clothes for the restaurant, all our bags had been delivered into our reasonably sized inside cabin. The food in the Da Vinci restaurant was good, the service was excellent. This standard was kept up for the entire two weeks. The only food I could be critical of was the souflets (more like hot bread pudding!) the rest was good, bordering on very good.
In the Horizon self service had different offerings, the standard of a very good canteen, but great for the kids to eat before finding another club to go to leaving my wife and I do dine in peace and the Da Vinci!
Around the pool or in the bars there was always a waiter to get a drink, things were always 'maximised' which is something we are not used to, to get more cash out of you, but once you get used to it, it becomes a game.
The trips organised by Princess at the ports were more expensive than if you organised them independently but, we all thought they offered value for money as all transfers from boat to inland town/city were seamless with well briefed guides.
There were no signs of the previous viruses , there were hand cleansing stations all around the food areas, it was down to the individuals to use them.
Movies under the stars was excellent, as we had warm evenings. The shows in the main theatre started off average and gathered pace through the cruise, the last shows were excellent. The only show of poor standard was by Syd Little. I went more out of self daring, I knew what was coming but still went, my own fault! Could not sneak out as I was in the front row, unlike the rest of the audience that evacuated to the bar after five minutes!!! Poor old Syd, (nice to hear the fat one is doing OK though!)
The ship may be being refitted next year, however the crews work tirelessly to keep it clean and looking good, so I couldn't fault this.
Although cannot compare with other cruise lines, I can comment that our holiday was excellent, good value for money and will come back