3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was the 2nd time we did this cruise because having taken this cruise 2 years ago, we felt there were still places we wanted to explore. Unfortunately of the 4 islands visited, only 2 of the tours were well done those being the Big ... Read More
This was the 2nd time we did this cruise because having taken this cruise 2 years ago, we felt there were still places we wanted to explore. Unfortunately of the 4 islands visited, only 2 of the tours were well done those being the Big Island and Oahu. Both Kauai and Maui tours were very disappointing. We also felt that the ship needs a major overhaul if not permanent retirement. There were several buckets placed around the ship to catch leaks and the furniture in the public rooms are literally sagging. The mini suites could use a major design renovation but the bed was extremely comfortable. The service staff were ok but not as great as on previous cruises. Other than Sabatini’s and the 2nd formal night of lobster, the food was just ok. Our server was fabulous and did all she could to make us happy. We had compatible table mates and enjoyed the lively and interesting conversations. All said there will not be a 3rd time for us with Princess to the Hawaiian Islands without some significant improvements as mentioned above. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We knew it was an older ship and before cruising were a bit puzzled that the reviews seemed quite polarized. We have been on about 45 cruises (will take time to count them up sometime when I'm not either planning a vacation, on vacation, ... Read More
We knew it was an older ship and before cruising were a bit puzzled that the reviews seemed quite polarized. We have been on about 45 cruises (will take time to count them up sometime when I'm not either planning a vacation, on vacation, or working to pay for a vacation) with 8 different cruise lines. We like Princess but if our previous cruises had been like this one, we wouldn't say that. And if our next one is like this one, it will probably be the last with them. Overall, we think Princess has a large group of loyal people in the Bay area who are so delighted to cruise without flying somewhere that they are happy with anything reasonably OK. But 'reasonably OK' is not what we've come to expect from Princess. The ship is old, but the housekeeping department overall is doing a great job keeping it looking clean and beautiful. We were in a large suite and our furniture and carpet were in bad shape. Metal staples stuck out of upholstered chairs and caught your clothes and skin. We had to have maintenance come several times about heating and A/C malfunctions. I could give many examples, but kept thinking that if this is how the large expensive suites look, what will the people in smaller cabins be faced with? Painting over the rust only works for so long. The front-line service staff were super-- cabin stewards, waiters, most of the people you saw. The exception was the passenger services staff who were rigid, argumentative, and did not listen well. We observed others dealing with them before we had occasion to do so. In any business, there will be problems. Your reputation lives or dies based on how you solve problems for your customers. These folks are the front-line problem solvers, but clearly did not view themselves as such. Three times we got information from them that was simply wrong--including being told that suite passengers were not allowed to use the Club Class dining option. The senior staff were largely absent. We have never seen so few officers and senior people around the ship. The only time we saw them was at the Elite reception.The cruise director was invisible, except when announcing the main theater shows. The evening entertainment scheduling was poor, with hundreds of people turned away from the main show every night and nothing else on between 7:30 and 9:30 most nights. The stage productions, if you showed up 30 minutes ahead and got in, were great, but the other singers and performers were not, and had little variety. Many people had trouble getting tables for anytime dining, including in Club Class where no reservations and no beepers are allowed, so you got to choose between dinner and seeing the evening show. We have never been on a cruise where it was so hard to get into any shows or entertainment events. We did enjoy the daytime enrichment lectures, especially Gordon Dedman, the Australian wilderness survival expert, who also plays the trumpet in the band. And then the food... in our opinion, a real mixed bag: Buffet was the worst we've seen on any ship. Very little choice, no freshly cooked options, no pasta station, no sandwich station, no omelette station--especially for lunch. Processed cheese rather than real cheese, very limited fruit choices, no seafood at lunch time (unless you count smoked mackerel), lunch the same every day. Pizza was awful, both up on Lido and in Alfredo's. Gooey crust with what tasted like cheez whiz instead of real cheese. Stuck to the roof of your mouth. I didn't know pizza could be that bad. Main dining room options were good, for the most part we enjoyed them very much, especially the shrimp, prime rib, and steaks. We had major problems with a food allergy (which we usually can deal with easily after lots of experience doing so) because the kitchen wasn't communicating well with the waiters, but it was resolved the last few days. And that doesn't affect most people, so I will post separately about that for those interested, in the Princess forum. Our dining room service, dinner and lunch, was very good. We do think they should find a few people who know a little about wine, and should provide better wine glasses in the dining room, even if not the expensive and fragile Reidel ones. Crown Grill was OK but service there was not as good as we expected-- we always do the steak house at least once on a cruise and this was the first time we've been disappointed. Sabatini's dinner was a big disappointment. They are using a new 'innovative' menu which is not Italian, heavy on herbs, light on quality ingredients. They make fresh pasta which is nice. I am pretty sure we have previously gotten complimentary 'good' coffee in the specialty restaurants but not now--if you want a cappuccino you'll pay. As Suite passengers, we got the special Suite breakfast which we love--it's a highlight of our day and was on the Grand. The morning Crown Grill staff get to know each passenger and make you feel special and very well spoiled. Fresh berries, real orange juice, beautiful eggs benedict, you name it. Yum! And the best coffee on the ship. Speaking of coffee---it was worse than usual, and even in the International Cafe when you pay extra, was weak. If you get a 'large' it seemed to me they just put more water in the cup. After asking for an extra espresso shot, it was still weak. I'd say about 1/3 the flavour of a Starbucks regular--at about $4 extra cost. Come on, Princess-- give some value to the coffee drinkers. I gave up and had tea other than at the Suite breakfast. Overall, I hope the food and entertainment issues we encountered were unique to the Grand and not an indication that Princess. Fitness room was great, lots of equipment and well maintained. San Fran provided good embarkation and disembarkation, though the promised 'priority' for suite passengers didn't really work out. Getting on and off the ship at ports was smooth, including tenders. Port information on Princess is good and you can download their PDF port guides to your phone. And I am sure you're sick of this long review by now! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We live in Sacramento one and a half hour drive to the San Francisco pier. $100 parking for 10 days with Parking Panda. Ten minute walk to ship. Embarkation a breeze one of the best ever, Debarkation was even better, got off early and NO! ... Read More
We live in Sacramento one and a half hour drive to the San Francisco pier. $100 parking for 10 days with Parking Panda. Ten minute walk to ship. Embarkation a breeze one of the best ever, Debarkation was even better, got off early and NO! lines, baggage where it was supposed to be, no more than 15 minutes from off the ship thru immigration to baggage, to outside:) Now for the bad news: ship is 20 years old and recently refurbish but she is tired old lady. there were wet spots in several places, presumably from pipe leaks, repaired places obvious, the theater seats were threadbare. Circulation on the the common area decks was poor, very hard to find a quite spot to relax and chat or read. Library is across from a specialty restaurant and noisy...and why four pools? The food in the main dinning rooms was good to great.Wait staff excellent as were other staff. BUT, the Horizon (breakfast and lunch) cafe is still the old style cafeteria and food selection was limited and not great. Drinks limited to coffee and tea; orange juice only for breakfast. Ice cream came from a dispenser: choc., vanilla or combo. There were no educational/enrichment programs on sea days (we had 5). Night time dinning was 5:30 or 7:45 and shows started at 7:00 and 9:00, sometimes! Either enjoy your meal and dinner companions or rush like hell to get to a show. For anytime dinning wait could be 30 minutes, if you were no there when the doors opened. Dress code was not enforced...way too casual, but then I'm old school and like to dress for dinner. The cruise was geriatric, We are retired and old guys but not as old as many. We used open seating and on three different occasions one of our dinner companions was over 90. Lets hear it for us old guys and gals. Lots of scooters, wheel chairs and walkers; those using them were well taken care of by staff. Excursions and on-board entertainment was not amended to cater to the clientele. Sorry Princess; staff was good but you should retire the Grand old gal. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I've read many reviews saying the Grand should be decommissioned because she's "old". You are correct the she does not have the shiny bells and whistles of the Royal or Regal but she has been very well maintained. Every day I ... Read More
I've read many reviews saying the Grand should be decommissioned because she's "old". You are correct the she does not have the shiny bells and whistles of the Royal or Regal but she has been very well maintained. Every day I saw the crew polishing the brass, painting the deck rails and working behind the scenes to keep her in the best shape possible. Some folks were put off by seeing this work. My question is, she's got passengers every day so when exactly should they do this work? It certainly can't all be done on turnaround day! Besides, it shows me that Princess cares for its ships. Yes, I had nicks in the woodwork of my cabin and saw " flaws" elsewhere - did this affect my enjoyment of the cruise? Not one bit!! The ports were fine. Out first time to the Mexican Riviera. The excursion options in Manzanillo were lacking so we just walked around the streets nearest the dock. I liked that this town is not yet commercialized. There was a visibly heavy police presence which made me feel comfortable. Again, we stayed to the main area. The other ports were as expected and like all other commercialized port cities. The Cruise Director's staff were great. All very friendly and upbeat - even a little quirky. They did fun activities and appeared to enjoy their jobs. I think the best one was Officers Lip Sync one night in a lounge. Six of the ship's officers did elaborate lip sync interpretations. It was hysterical and gave you a glimpse into their personalities. The only negative I can give is that the food quality is slipping. On previous cruises, there has been a small steak on the "always available" menu. This is now gone. The menu overall is very fish/seafood heavy - especially in the starters - which is great if you like that. I don't eat fish or seafood so that really limited my options. But even more than that, flavor was lacking on many of the dishes. The food highlight for me was Alfredos , the pizza restaurant (no charge). Their thin crust, lightly topped pizzas were wonderful - I could have eaten here daily. And Princess does bread very well overall. Give the Grand a chance. The Princess crew are all eager to help and accommodate your requests. They all seem happy to be there. We rarely waited in any lines and the late show always had empty seats. There's plenty to do or just watch the waves go by. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We really like leaving from SFO (so there are no flights necessary, since we live in the Bay Areza). This is the third time we have taken this cruise, and we love heading to Mexico during the winter. We would prefer there to be port ... Read More
We really like leaving from SFO (so there are no flights necessary, since we live in the Bay Areza). This is the third time we have taken this cruise, and we love heading to Mexico during the winter. We would prefer there to be port days interspersed with sea days, but we still enjoy this cruise a lot. We like the ports, the wild-life viewing opportunities. I love our balcony cabin. We rearrange our twin beds, so that we have one bed along each long wall. This creates a a little living room, and makes for a very nice in-room experience. We like this ship. It's big enough to have plenty to do, but rarely feels crowded. Every member of the staff that we dealt with was pleasant and helpful, and we particularly liked our room steward(ess) and our room service server. He was a really pleasant person, who helped to get our day started on a positive note. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise as it was out of San Francisco as there was no flight involved. We arrived at the Pier around 1245 and we were on board at 130pm. Princess assigned us a number and when that number was called, we were allowed to board. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was out of San Francisco as there was no flight involved. We arrived at the Pier around 1245 and we were on board at 130pm. Princess assigned us a number and when that number was called, we were allowed to board. Overall , really easy system to board. Our cabin was ready, Aloha deck near the aft. Nice cabin. Everything was clean. One thing I will say is the crew on this ship went over and above. They killed us with kindness which was nice to see. This was an older crowd ship and an older ship. The ship is in very good condition for 20 years old, and the crew keeps it in fine shape. The good was good to very good most of the time. The Italian restaurant Sabatinis was wonderful and the food excellent. The International cafe always had something tasty to eat and the Baristas are second to none. The shows were fun and entertaining, from comedy, to magic to musicals and dances.. The only drawback is if you expect all the bells and whistles , you will be disappointed. If you want to relax, have fun and enjoy a nice ship, then she is for you.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We thought this was perfect since we only Iive 80 miles from the port. As others have said, it does show its age a bit. But tried and true can be better than fluffy new. And certainly nothing was in bad shape. The captain and chef were ... Read More
We thought this was perfect since we only Iive 80 miles from the port. As others have said, it does show its age a bit. But tried and true can be better than fluffy new. And certainly nothing was in bad shape. The captain and chef were very visible and jovial. The staff were friendly and made you feel very welcome. We had a Aft cabin on Deck 12 like many other times. It was great as usual until the last day when we hit rough seas. A lower mid would have better that last 16 hours. The weather overall was fantastic. We enjoyed the normal Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cano stops. It ws s nice to visit Manzanillo. We had not been there before. We had traditional early dining. Service was wonderful and food was good. Embarkation and disembarktion was fast and so easy. Loved the new terminal at San Francisco. We feel this was definitely good value for the money. We parked nearby in the Princess suggested parking lot. We had rolling suitcases and walked the couple of blocks to the ship. I had made advance reservations for the parking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Good cruise for cheap price, ship is a little tired but staff make up for that. Lots of entertainment staff always a lot of activities even on port days. Food in dining room served hot and quick service. We made a bad choice of cabin. ... Read More
Good cruise for cheap price, ship is a little tired but staff make up for that. Lots of entertainment staff always a lot of activities even on port days. Food in dining room served hot and quick service. We made a bad choice of cabin. E114 right up front. For shortened because of walkway infront of cabin. We chose it because it says accommodates four. It was fine for two. Open cupboard only three feet long not the usual six, one shelved cupboard just safe width and three draws in desk, two draws each side of bed. The big annoyance was bunk beds folded up against wall at sides of bed, they stuck out about 6 inches my husband banged his shoulder hard and I banged my head twice. It was very noisy when we had slightly rough sea with water slapping hull. Although above and behind theater we could not hear music. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My husband and I have been on 20+ cruises and this was our third time on the Grand Princess. It has been 15 years since we sailed on her in the Caribbean. I chose this cruise out of San Francisco to celebrate my hubby's 60th birthday, and ... Read More
My husband and I have been on 20+ cruises and this was our third time on the Grand Princess. It has been 15 years since we sailed on her in the Caribbean. I chose this cruise out of San Francisco to celebrate my hubby's 60th birthday, and so we wouldn't have to fly! We live close to SF, so we took a shuttle from our home to the port and arrived at around 12:30 PM. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship in 15 minutes. We went to the buffet, had a cocktail, and when we got to our room, the luggage was already there! A new change now is that when you go to the passenger drill you do not have to bring the life vests that are in your room. They have an instruction video playing on the TV in the room and then you just go check in at your muster station. This was really easy and took at lot less time. We did anytime dining, and I think I will continue with that on cruises moving forward. I like the flexibility. We ate at both of the specialty restaurants during the cruise - Sabitini's was great, but the Crown Grill is awesome! My hubby had a Porterhouse Steak and I had a Sirloin, they were fabulous and I loved the different salts and sides that were offered. My biggest suprise of this cruise was the entertainment. We started crusing in our 40's and are now in our 60s. My husband is a musician and we have been involved in music and musical theater for years, so we are maybe a bit over critical. Well, we loved the entertainment on this cruise - the comedian was great, the Acapplla group "These Guys" from Vegas were awesome, the Princess shows and band were really good, and the "Voice of the Ocean" show was well done and very entertaining. I was glad that I packed for all kinds of weather. It was cool on the sea days heading down and back to Mexico, but once we got down there it was 80-90 degrees. We did one Princess Shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta - The Yelapa & Mahajuitas Beach catamaran for snorkeling, hike to waterfall and/or beach. I didn't do the hike, but the trip on the boat w/lunch and drinks, snorkeling & beach time was awesome. The crew on the boat does a great show on the way back. We did our own thing in the other ports and it was all fun. I had read that people think the Grand Princess is showing signs of age, etc. Well, I did see a few people having problems with their toilets, water leaks, etc. but it wasn't anyting major. I still love this ship. The international cafe, the new nightclub, the casino are all great and super nice to hang out in. I also had a great experience at the Spa, Spa pool and hot tubs. OK, someone probably wants to hear something negative...It's crowded at the buffet and dining rooms on the first night, and the last morning...Get over it, chill out, you are on vacation! Read Less
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 4.2
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 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.0

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