As for the ship looking old, well I guess my eyes didn't catch what others saw. It looked great to me, though in April for three weeks the Grand will go through a $65 million facelift.
One thing I wished I didn't do, though no big deal, was purchase the all you can drink pop deal. I'm not a pop drinker. As a solo, it wasn't worth it, but if you were with others, then one can buy it and use their card to get their travelling companion a pop. Who'd know?
Both the embarkation and disembarkation (I was sad to leave) was a breeze!
Cabin: I received an upgrade. I was on Lido deck 14, inside cabin. I loved my home away from home. My cabin steward was great.
Food: I'm not a fussy eater so anything I ate I loved. The Horizon Court was fabulous when I went for breakfast and dinner. I had late dining sitting in Botticelli. My tablemates were fantastic. Two couples from Chicago, and one couple from Manitoba. I enjoyed their company! Our waiters were pleasant and always knew what we wanted.
Service: Service was outstanding everywhere. I never had a problem. Listen, most of these staff such as the waiters/waitress, bar people, cabin steward, work long hours. 12 hrs. a day for approximately 8 to 10 months contract work. Give them a break. How they can keep smiling and be so pleasant is beyond me especially when some passengers can be so miserable!
Entertainment: Was Ok. It's like most ships so I'm not overly thrilled. It's mostly the same type of entertainment, musicals and stuff (not to take away the talents of the people). The comedian Kevin Hughes was funny. There was also a hypnotists, ventriloquist.
At the promenade bar there was a piano player/
Couple of bands played in different lounges at night.
You can watch Movie under the stars every night. The lounge chairs have blankets. Tried to watch "Social Network". The music parts got way too loud. Popcorn is made where they make the ice cream during the day. The bar is open. They need to turn the volume down for the movie as scenes got too loud, I couldn't stand it.
Best entertainment for me was the sunsets every night.
Ports of Call: All the stops were great, except for one.
1. Aruba: The local buses are located across the street from the ship terminal. The bus called "Hotel Area" goes to Eagle Beach for $2.30 return (try to have as exact change or small bills). Beach is just before Palm Beach (nice beach but has loads of high rise hotels on beach). No hotels on Eagle Beach, just two low-rise hotels across the road, which looked nice.
After lunch on the ship, I headed into Oranjestad, the capital. Nice colourful place to explore and shop (shopping is not my bag), I looked for historic stuff, went into a museum at Ft. Zoutman for some history of Aruba then headed to The Paddox, sat outside, drank a beer enjoyed the harbour view, saw my ship.
2. Curacao. My first visit here and certainly not my last. I just enjoyed the colourful capital Willemstad. There were some historic buildings such as a Synagogue to see. I loved the floating market. Vendors come from areas like Venezuela. Later, I enjoyed a frozen margarita at Iguana Cafe while relaxing with the view of the other side of Willemstad across the water with the colourful buildings.
3. Grenada. For $4.00 return, it was a 15-minute water tax ride to Grand Anse. I spent about two hours enjoying the white sand and crystal clear water. I had a five-minute rain shower the same time the sun shone. I was treated to a spectacular rainbow. There are some places you can have a drink. There are washrooms but you'll have to pay such as Grand Anse craft & spice market down the beach. There are restaurants will let you use the washroom as long as you buy something.
After lunch I headed into St. George, the capital. It was Sunday so not a lot was open. Inside the terminal shops were open. No Internet for me was open to use a computer. That's OK. That's the way Sunday should be. I headed to Ft. George. For $2.00 I headed up the steep climb for a gorgeous view of the habour.
I walked along the Carneage. There is a restaurant at the end where I had a local beer and enjoyed the view of the water and the colourful houses on a hill before I called it a day and headed back to the ship.
4. St. Vincent. I took the ships tour included a visit to Ft. Charlotte built 1806. A beautiful view of St. Vincent. After we went on a garden tour and saw a variety of plant life such as garlic tree, Hawaiian tree (our tour guide quipped that Tarzan and Jane swing on the vines at night), Cannonball tree (where flowers that grow only live 24 hrs.), rubber tree (gum, pencil erasers, latex and (our tour guide quipped) condoms are made from). We also saw the national red flower called Exora (can also be yellow). After the tour I planned on touring the capital Kingstown. The town was kind of chaotic, and I think there was a demonstration of some sort going. I actually didn't feel well so I passed and relaxed on my ship.
5. St. Kitts. It was a spur of the moment decision to book a tour outside the terminal with Pereira Tours, a local company. For $20. it wasn't bad. Visit the Italian consulate. Beautiful residency with Palm Court Gardens. Passed by an 18th century sugar mill. Also saw some low-income housing that looked quite nice and colourful. Went to Romney Gardens and Caribelle Batik.
After the tour I headed to Ballahoo Restaurant by the Clock tower for strawberry daiquiri. I sat upstairs overlooking the Circus (where the Victoria Clock is).
6. St. Thomas. I've been before on tours around the island and outer islands. Very nice. I decided to concentrate on Carlotte Amalie and no, not for shopping like some. I loved visiting historic sites such as Hotel 1829, Ft. Christian (unfortunately closed for hopefully some renovations, depends on money), Frederick Lutheran Church, and the St. Thomas Synagogue. I walked around enjoying the morning. Stopped in Enid A. Baa Public Library (I work in a public library). Used their Internet for $1.00 for half an hour. Before heading to the ship, stopped in at Blackbeard Ale for a Heineken and watched the harbour action.
7. Santo Domingo. Now this is the port that could be replaced. And it will be next year with St. Lucia. I took a Princess tour of the Colonial zone. It was interesting but I would have liked to explore myself. The highlight was the 45-minute free time. I headed to a cafe across the cathedral. I had the local Presidente beer and people watched. It's not the safest place to go, especially for a solo. I heard some unpleasant stories ( there are two sides to every story). But I didn't feel that safe in 1984 on a tour and today was the same deal.
8. Princess Cays. The private island Princess has in the Bahamas. Unfortunately the white sandy beach held a lot of empty chairs since it was only 20 C (68F) and cloudy. People went out but maybe a handful sat on beach chairs. I saw a lone snorkeler. I had no complaints of the weather knowing the next day I'd have to face my dreaded yucky cold winter! At least I still got to wear shorts even though I needed a top with long sleeves over my T-shirt.
The entire cruise was excellent. Would I cruise on Grand Princess again? Yes. But there are so many ships out there; I'd like to try other cruise ships.