My sister and I flew into Heathrow and spent two days in London before the cruise. We enjoyed the ride on the London Eye, visits to the National Gallery and the British Museum, a cruise on the Thames, and walking around the city. We also saw two wonderful shows in London. Billy Elliot, a musical version of the movie, was very lively and entertaining - great dancing, singing, and a good plot. Woman in Black was a thriller, done with basically two actors, and very suspenseful and a great play. We stayed at the Doubletree Westend London. It was convenient to the "Tube" and within walking distance of some of the sights. On the day of the cruise, we took a train from London to Southampton. This went very smoothly and we got a good deal through Megatrain.com.
Embarkation onto the Grand Princess was very easy. Our cabin was ready when we got onboard.
The Grand Princess is a beautiful ship. Even though the ship is large and reportedly was full, it did not feel crowded. We did the anytime dining which was very convenient. We usually shared a table and did not have to wait. The two dining rooms for the anytime dining were equally attractive and good. We do like to try different options. One night we ate at the sit-down pizzeria Alfredo's. That was a very good dinner for us. The hamburgers and hotdogs on the pool deck were also pretty good. The buffet was a good option for breakfast. We also enjoyed room service breakfast (cold items only) on a couple of mornings.
Cabin C519 - The balcony is larger on the Caribe deck than on other Grand Princess decks - part of it is covered, and part is open. Being on the starboard side was a great advantage for the sailing into ports. The room has twin beds that do not make up into a queen, so it is great for two people who are not a couple to share. Caribe is Deck 10, so it is a convenient location to go up to the pool decks/buffet, or down to the dining rooms, lounges, and promenade deck.