3 Princess Grand Princess World Cruise Reviews

The Princess people at San Francisco airport were on the ball and once I pulled the bags off the merry go round they were there to put them on a cart. We were a party of four so we had 4 suitcases and two rollators. My dad and his lady ... Read More
The Princess people at San Francisco airport were on the ball and once I pulled the bags off the merry go round they were there to put them on a cart. We were a party of four so we had 4 suitcases and two rollators. My dad and his lady friend were with us or maybe it was the other way around. My dad is 90 and walks slower than a turtle. Can't see out of his left eye due to a stroke and is stone deaf but wears hearing aids anyway. His friend was 84 but looked and acted like she was 104. So our job was to herd them from location to location. We all gathered at the airport to wait for the bus. All we did was walk out there and got on. Off we went to the port. The trip to the port took 15 minutes but once we got to that area it took 45 minutes to get to the terminal. It was a Friday and traffic was heavy plus it was around lunch time so there were a lot of cars and people. Once we got there we simply got off the bus and the luggage was taken care of. Reminder to future cruisers who take the princess bus transfers, TIP YOUR BUS DRIVER. I went inside and found a princess representative that took care of passengers with disabilities. They got wheelchairs for the old guys and guided us to a counter for check in that was just for disabled parties. The entire check in process was the most organized painless operation we have ever had. From getting off the bus and checking in we were in our cabins in about 20 minutes. Kudos to all of the princess staff for making this process painless. It also helps to tip the guys who push the wheelchairs around. They like tips. We herded the two turtles to the Horizon court for the noon feeding. We came from Virginia so my dads stomach clock for food was telling him that it was after 4 pm. No problem getting a table and the feeding commenced. For the next 15 days we used the horizon court about half the time for breakfast and lunch and the staff was unbelievable and very efficient clearing tables and making sure we had drinks and refills. If you prefer something other than orange juice as a morning beverage you can request others like apple and cranberry and they will bring it. We then had to go to the dreaded muster drill and even though my dads cabin was three cabins from our he had to go to a different muster station than they did. Big problem. We took them to their station and found chairs for them and explained to the muster staff about their disabilities. We then went to our location in the princess theater. I truly hate these damn drills and thought they were being phased out until the Concordia disaster occurred. I understand the reason for this drill but I can still hate it. Later during the cruise I witnessed a party of four having a private drill in one of the lounges with a crew member explaining everything because they had boarded late and missed the first one. Great that they made sure everyone was informed. We sailed away and going under the Golden Gate bridge was fantastic. A lot of picture opportunities. Then it was time for dinner. We did the 5:30 seating because my dad has a schedule for his stomach. His watch said 5:30 so let the eating commence. We then walked around to look at the ship and become familiar with every place. The ship is old but I thought maintained very well. Things are going to break down, rugs are going to show some wear and OMG there will be rust. It's a big mechanical object that sails in salt water and the mechanical systems put up with 2000 plus people every week. It's the nature of the animal that toilets will stop up and rooms might be warmer than you would like them to be. And yes there are some people who (gasp) find rust. The elevators were hot and some didn't seem to work as well as others but you know what folks I was on a 15 night cruise to Hawaii with my wife and these mechanical deficiencies that other cruisers complained about were no big deal. Put things in perspective. You're on a cruise that millions of people would die to be on. You're not at work because you're on a 15 night cruise to Hawaii. Stop complaining and have some fun. We did. The food was good to very good. My wife enjoyed the influence of native Hawaiian flavors to the new menu. The seafood was excellently prepared. Especially the scallops. She often ordered the vegetarian entree as a side dish to the usual side accompaniments that come with your meal. They were interesting and had great variety so vegetarians should not be disappointed. The only items that were not good was a soup made with goat cheese, apples and a "crusty grape" garnish. It sounded good in concept but was like drinking salad dressing and the grape was truly awful to bite into. It would have been good as a sauce on a steak or as a dressing. The gnocchi were heavy and doughy. But there was a garlic pesto pasta one night that was really great. The 5th floor cafe had some great desserts. Some better than what was on the dinner menu. One day they had pavlova with fresh strawberries which I wish I could have smuggled home. So stop by there to see there offerings. The Panini sandwiches there, however, had very little filling and not worth trying. The entire princess staff was helpful and wonderful. We enjoyed interacting with the cruise directors staff when we played trivia or made leis with fresh flowers. We were told we weren't going to be able to take the fresh flower leis off of the ship so we threw them away and then saw many people walking right off of the ship wearing them. Would have liked to wear this souvenir a little longer. They were made with beautiful orchids. Try and get a ticket for this activity. One day they did ribbon leis which looked interesting and the next time they used fresh flowers. It would have been nice to learn a little more about the history of leis during this activity but I was still happy with the result. They were all nice and seemed to really want us and other people to have fun and enjoy yourself. We got to snorkel in Maui and eat the best nachos with island bbq pork we ever had at Dukes bar at Waikiki beach. They were really good nachos. When our order came there were about 8 other couples sitting around the bar and once they saw and smelled what we had they all ordered some nachos. The only negative comment I have is about going to Ensenada Mexico to satisfy the Jones act. Don't get off if you can help it. It's a dirty little town and the street vendors will hassle you to death. The worst part is the mothers laying or sitting on the sidewalk begging for money and their children are also begging. It's sad. There is a small area right next to the ship were you can buy stuff. I felt like I needed a shower after walking around that hole in the wall. I guess if Tijuana had a deep sea port princess would probably go there. Just a word to the wise, don't get off at Ensenada. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
There is so much to say about a cruise of this length, being on the same ship, the positives like the itinerary, the food, the entertainment or the negatives - the wait in line at the embarkation process, missing some ports, excursions, ... Read More
There is so much to say about a cruise of this length, being on the same ship, the positives like the itinerary, the food, the entertainment or the negatives - the wait in line at the embarkation process, missing some ports, excursions, many delays and the integrity of some parts of the ship -- so a rather long review! My Grand Adventure begins: Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale embarkation was a mess, unlike any other we have experienced. The Captain was apologetic and tended to blame everyone but the ship. The port authorities relegated this ship to one of the least desirable piers and the delay was so bad, everybody was complaining for days after sailing. No shade, no creature comforts like water or towels until guests had been standing for 2 hours in the sun. Cabin: C103 forward, Starboard side one from the bow: This cruise was booked out some 2 years before sailing and this cabin was one of the last choices at the time for all three sectors. I couldn't find too much information about this cabin anywhere even on Cruise Critic. So I will give a thorough description for future reference. Size: Normal interior size no bonus space. Layout: Same as all other balcony cabins, lacks decent wardrobe space for extended cruising, cupboard space half that of other ships we have been on. Brought my own plastic hangers to double up. Good sized mini fridge with soda and water to buy. Cramped writing desk, as both chairs were located in that area. Balcony: Larger than Baja or Aloha, room to move around with footrests, reclining seats and one of the best features on this deck. Overlooks the mini suites below but C103 had no neighbours above only crew quarters - more on that later. The usual rubber matting has been removed on all balconies leaving the water to slosh around when wet. The bridge is above, indirectly adjacent cutting out some sunlight and direct forward views but otherwise OK. The wind whistled and blew more this far forward on some days. Bathroom: A bit more space in the shower than other ships to alleviate the risk of falling out through the shower curtain to pick something up! Bought my own cheap plastic baskets to use underneath the vanity. This space is difficult to use, as the bottom shelf is too far back to reach down in comfort - a bad design fault. Had a few loud gurgling noises in the shower drain but it wasn't everyday. LCD TV: this is much better viewing than the old box type. It took quite a few days to get Scan on the screen to see where we were etc. A few random days of dodgy satellite reception both in calm or rough conditions which also affected BBC, FOX etc Internet: Depending on your onboard status and if you can afford it, there is useable Internet in the cabin with your own device. Routers are along the corridor but even that was useless and appalling on some days throughout the 49 days. People were sitting in the corridor just to see if logging on was better. There were lots of Elite and Platinum passengers and with each having a truck load of free time, some days were congested for Satellite use. Too bad if you had value added or had a prepaid plan -- very agonising! Noise: Gripe one - Most annoying neighbours ever-on one side -- thumping around, slamming drawers all throughout the voyage. Should have politely asked them to be more considerate but didn't have the courage! Gripe two -- Didn't find out until three quarters through the voyage that even though no passengers above, there are crew quarters. Spoke to Pursers desk, they couldn't find the solution. Went up one deck to see for ourselves and yes, two crew cabins, and one directly over us. Early morning, midnight thumping and dropping things suddenly got a lot better once we told the Purser's Desk about our sleuthing work. Gripe three: C103 is one cabin from the bow and we knew that we would get some noise or rolling motion in swells. What we hadn't expected was the shudders heard and felt starting at the feet up through the legs during a cross swell - a huge bang each time. Positives: quiet corridor area except for the whistling noise from the adjacent crew door (plus some paint smells). In the fire drill we were sent down that way to the Theatre. The laundry is about 12 cabins away, stairs half dozen or so and easier then making the long trek from the middle of the ship. The Grand only has stairs at either end of the ship -- no middle stairs only elevators. Loved the extra space on the balcony. Conclusion: If you are desperate for an Itinerary and this cabin is the only one left -- go for it. If you have a choice and want a bit of levity, more stability or a quieter cabin -- pick something else. True, you can't choose your neighbours but a cabin you can -- for us, never again on this ship. Shows, Entertainment, Food: Food: Apart from one meal in Da Vinci (nothing special) we dined entirely at Horizon Court and the incredible International Cafe. We did not tire of the self-serve effort and to be honest; the food was the best quality with so many choices of hot and cold items. One of the good features of this ship is the ability to have a Panini, soup, sweet dessert or decent espresso 24/7 or a good little continental breakfast in the morning at the Cafe! The only problem was, it's so popular there is not enough table and chairs! Entertainment/Shows: Did not go to one show with the Showtime dancers etc. Saw a violinist, and a Brazilian troupe in the theatre and the rest we watched in the Atrium and the bars. Thought the Tango duo were great (on the ship until last) and a Tango Quartet (best entertainment for us) and one or two excellent piano players. Bingo was run well, the Casino should have more non- smoking days (seemed to have them on Formal nights only. Topside deck parties seemed to be about the crew dancing all over the pool area rather than getting the passengers involved. Nearing the colder areas, it was not possible to have many open deck activities anyway. Itinerary, Ports, Tours, Ship, Crew, Delays: Itinerary: One word -- fabulous - except for the last leg in the final week of the cruise. Not enough ports, too many sea days. Tours: With the exception of one tour being below standard due to a late arrival in Port (reimbursed - small percentage) and another major tour dropped because of possible airport delays, we found the tours to be of a high standard - Coquimbo and Lima stood out the most for us. Be sure to book early online once available, you can cancel most with no charge and you can save some angst and wait time at the tour desk. There was a never-ending line and waitlist for 99% of tours on offer. Ports: Two huge disappointments - not unusual - missed the Falklands (Malvinas) due to tender conditions as well as Nicaragua. Otherwise the selected ports were great. Even got into Buenos Aires and Ushuaia without too many hassles due politics (that we heard about). Exception - once our tour to Quito was cancelled for airport reasons, Manta was a 14 hr wasted day with little to do. We were there to wait for passengers on tours to Machu Picchu or the Galapagos. Ship: It's an older ship, refurbished in the Atrium area, not in the cabins except LCD TV, the ship design is for some, a bit of pain with no stairs in the middle, the integrity of the pool area was awful at times. Many leaks from somewhere meant sloshing through soaked carpets inside Aloha deck on Starboard and many other leaks around the interior corridors. The smell was what you would expect wet carpet to be even though there were fans blowing it dry. Many times we had to walk gingerly across the pool deck to get to Horizon Court. No wonder the Grand was used for a cruise of this length! Crew: For the most part all crew were polite, courteous and helpful in some tougher situations. Had a change of cabin steward during the cruise and the difference was significant. Purser's desk exceptional but it's the Showtime dancers & singers, casino and some concession staff that were the most inconsiderate. On trips ashore that needed a shuttle off the pier, these folk ignored some passengers with infirmities and did not give up their seat. They were also first off the shuttle with little regard and treated their employment as their own personal vacation. Call me old fashioned but courtesy and kindness is valid anywhere. The most well mannered staff along with the hospitality guys were the 'below decks crew' that are never seen from day to day. Delays: Late out of many ports for one reason or another with some like Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires quite significantly delayed. All care, no responsibility by the Bridge but some did affect the quality time in the next port. Finally: Thanks for staying the course with this review. It was a long cruise with a lot to comment on. Hope it helps in some way next time you cruise the Grand. There are some negatives but overall this was an exceptional cruise both in length and itinerary. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We booked this cruise for 23 days, but Princess considered it two back to back cruises. That had its advantages and disadvantages. The first cruise, on the 18th of Sept, that went to Vigo Spain, Lisbon Portugal, La Rochelle France, and St. ... Read More
We booked this cruise for 23 days, but Princess considered it two back to back cruises. That had its advantages and disadvantages. The first cruise, on the 18th of Sept, that went to Vigo Spain, Lisbon Portugal, La Rochelle France, and St. Peters Port embarked with no problems. We had sailed on the Grand before, but still wanted to familiarize ourselves with the ship again before heading for the Horizon Court for lunch. It was like coming home. Later that day and all the next day I noticed that there was a long line at the purser's desk. I asked what that was about and was told that they were all cancelling their automatic gratuities. Talking with our room steward, he said that is a common occurrence when the ship leaves Southampton (the Grand's homeport). I just wonder how many people under-tip or don't tip at all. Anyway, the stops were great except for St. Peter's Port which was cancelled due to high winds. We encountered some strike problems (nothing violent) in La Rochelle, but the tours finally went on. One returning bus was delayed by the strikers and didn't get back until 2 hours after our scheduled departure. I expect the Captain wasn't very happy! On the 25th we departed for the crossing to Ft. Lauderdale...the second back to back cruise for us. Most of the Brits had disembarked and were replaced by primarily Americans and Canadians. We stayed on board to avoid the embarking crowds. I guess the embarking was a nightmare with down computers and too many people arriving at the terminal at the same time. The ports were the main reason we booked this cruise. We went to Bergen, Norway, Shetland Islands, Faroe Islands, two stops in Iceland (we swam in the thermal pools there!), and on to Sydney, Nova Scotia. It rains 300 days a year in Bergen, but not that day. The only rain we got was in Nova Scotia. INTERNET: Those of us who get free internet were told that we were supposed to get 500 minutes of internet, but in actuality, we only got 400 minutes and even that was a struggle as the system deleted any usable minutes when we started the second cruise and then deleted the entire account. We worked, without much success, with the manager of the Internet Cafe and the Captain's Circle manager, Lola. It was very frustrating, to say the least. DINING: We had traditional dining in the Botticelli dining room with some great table-mates. The service was impeccable, but I found that the food selections had gone downhill from the Princess cruise we took last summer and the eight others that we had taken in the past. As the Grand is usually home-ported in Southampton, maybe the menus changed to accommodate that clientele. Not sure. The food in the Horizon Court was good, but it is always a hassle to find a table. LOUNGES: Our favorite lounge was the Wheelhouse Bar. The place is quiet, intimate, and with great service. They also make great martinis! I just wish that they could have found more peanuts to put on the table. The Skywalker Lounge was a great place to read and just watch the water go by. It was quiet during the day and I understand it was even quiet at night on this trip. Every evening they served tapas and discounted drinks of the day to Platinum and Elite members. Loved that. STATEROOM: Our stateroom, this trip, was an inside one on the Baja Deck. It was perfectly adequate, but we had to ask for a blanket as just the sheet was too cold and the comforter was too warm. Edgar, our room steward, provided great service. ENTERTAINMENT: We passed on some of the entertainment. A couple of times the cruise director, Billy London, had to cancel performances due to the rocking of the ship and schedule something else. Most of the entertainment was adequate to good in my estimation. The ship is old and falling apart. The maintenance crews were busy, but nothing was down enough to inconvenience anybody. You can see lots of wear and tear which is why the ship is scheduled for a 6 week, $60 million dry dock this spring. The Captain stated that we will not recognize the ship when she comes back out. We are looking forward to the first trip out of dry dock. I believe it is scheduled to head back to Southampton on 5 May. NOTE: I noticed that there were more short-tempered passengers on this cruise than on others that we had taken. Spouses were at each other and even strangers were getting testy with other strangers. Most of the passengers were veteran cruisers so there was no explanation (or excuse) for it all. The "Walk-off's" had congregated in the Michelangelo Dining Room for debarkation. When they finally allowed the first group to depart one older man pushed his way to the door and someone pushed him. He came up swinging and apparently connected with the person who pushed him. The fight only lasted seconds, but seems to be typical of the temperament of the people all during the crossing. Maybe these people need to fly next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Grand Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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