Nov. 4th Transatlantic & Nov. 19th Caribbean: Grand Princess Cruise Review by jan44134
Overall Member Rating
Nov. 4th Transatlantic & Nov. 19th Caribbean
We have sailed on the Grand several times: before the makeover, immediately following the drydock (the infamous May transatlantic), and now 6 mos. following the drydock. While the problems out of drydock have thankfully been resolved, routine maintenance issues remain. Our balcony had flecks of loose paint on the deck and the furniture appeared dirty. Public area ladies' bathrooms had unuseable sinks and toilets (signs posted, no evidence of repair attempts during the entire trip). I was the last person off an aft elevator before it became stuck for an extended period. Later, my husband and I became stuck in a different aft elevator, but for a short time (it was VERY distressing when no one responded to the elevator phone, and the elevator alarm bell did NOT work!)
We signed up for early traditional dining, and due to its More popularity we were assigned to overflow seating in the Da Vinci dining room. For this cruise, Da Vinci was reconfigured 75% traditional/25% anytime. Food quality was uneven: appetizers were good, hot soups were nice and hot, entrees were so-so and never more than barely warm (quality suffered due to being held under steam covers too long), desserts were usually the best part of the meal! Service was very good. We ate breakfast & lunch at the Horizon Court buffet, where service has improved tremendously. There were always attendants available to assist with trays and bring beverages (sometimes immediately, sometimes with a wait). Food temperature varied -- some items hot, some not. Great salad buffet at lunch. BOTH DINING VENUES ARE DARK at night; hard to see to read the menu at Da Vinci.
Good command of English. Excellent service. I was happy to write up the "You made a difference" card on his behalf.
Compared to prior TA's, the offerings were thin. NO local folkloric shows. Perhaps due to bringing on the new cast, there were fewer production shows. All the shows they did were top-notch, even though we'd seen them before. Some nights the featured entertainer was the house band/singer moved from a small lounge to the main theater -- not very special. As always, the sight lines in the Vista Lounge are terrible, nothing works well there. As on prior cruises, the printed TV guide for movies in the cabin did not line up with what was being shown -- don't know why they bother to print it!
I ended up in "isolation" (confined to cabin) due to an upper respiratory infection with a fever. If you go to see the ship's Dr., be prepared for this possibility! Fortunately I had several books, sudoku, crosswords and enjoyed watching several movies & travelogues while in the cabin for 30 hrs. The nurse who checked on me several times was kind and compassionate. Room service was a downer -- long wait times, cold food (who needs COLD chicken broth?) There's a special food delivery team & cleaning crew in hazmat outfits when you are confined!
I particularly enjoyed the Wellness Lecturer Marlane Renner. Her talks were so uplifting! While I only went to one hands-on art session (tropical collage book mark), it was enjoyable. There were always lots of activities to choose from, no need to be bored on sea days! As always, too many activities in the 10am & 11am time slots -- tough to choose.
Because Princess E-Z air gets messed up when 2 cruises are linked, our travel agent said we should go to the desk immediately upon boarding to advise them that we were sailing back-to-back. I did so. When the disembarkation questionnaire arrived, I reiterated that we were remaining aboard for the next week in the Caribbean in the same cabin. They ignored the info, sent us luggage tags! When I called, they said they had no record of our reservation -- very upsetting. While they were "checking further" I sent an emergency e-mail to our travel agent (why I ALWAYS use a travel agent -- you never know when & which aspects are going to go wonky!) While the matter was cleared up quickly, I couldn't understand why passenger services would fail to call us as soon as the info I gave them didn't agree with their records!
Problem #2 I sent my formalwear to the laundry after the final formal night on the first cruise, expecting to have it back in time for the first formal night on the 2nd. Wrong! No laundry on turnaround day, so there's an extra day added to the service schedule -- but no one tells you this, they think you should just know! Fortunately our room steward was able to track it down and call in a favor to get it back just in the nick of time.
We didn't book anything with Princess except the transfer from Heathrow to Southampton. I do all my own research and made plans to share excursions with Cruise Critic friends. Less
Cabin review: ACD703
D703 starboard minisuite - across from aft elevators, so handy to run up to Horizon Court buffet (14), the One5 Lounge(15), down to Vista Lounge (7) and Botticelli dining room (6). Lots of vibration during arriving & leaving ports when the side thrusters are in use. I tend to think portside has better views, but we had marvelous sailaways out of Lisbon & San Juan, so I guess it all evens out!
Port and Shore Excursions
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