Embarcation was a breeze secondary to having "Elite" status on Princess. We chose an inside cabin on Lido deck since it is only a short trip to the deck/pool area.
We have been on the Emerald and Ruby before so the Grand Princess is definitely only "Grand" in name only. It is somewhat "worn and torn" and scheduled for refurbishing in April of 2011.
Overall the quality of the service was excellent. Several of the room stewards and dining room staff could use a "shot of personality" however. Many never smile or interact as on prior cruises.
There was an outbreak of Norwalk agent with four days remaining. Except for vigorous inspection of hand santitizers at the restaurants and the staff serving in the Horizon Court there was little problems (unless you were the one with the disease!). They should be more proactive (i.e. supervision of hand sanitizers before the outbreak) rather than reactive.
The formal production shows were excellent however we had seen three of them on prior Princess cruises. The new production show "British Invasion" was excellent. The remainder of the shows for the most part were subpar for Princess. The usual comedians, etc., however they kept them on for mutiple shows throughout the week as an obvious means of reducing costs (along with quality).
Our itinerary was changed in view of the Celebrity Mercury tour bus being robbed at gunpoint in St. Kitts and went to Antigua instead. Both ports of call are great and this problem could have easily happened in the States. The culprits have since been apprehended.
Two of the ports of call need to be removed from the itinerary...St. Vincent and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Both are extremely unsavory places, dirty and not up to the usual ports of call. There are beautiful areas in each place however the downtown areas are extremely "subpar".
Disembarcation was a breeze since we chose the walkoff at 7:15am, at the airport by 7:30 and on a Southwest plane by 9:40 am.