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Grand Princess Review

3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1510 reviews
12 Awards

Can I get a do over?

Review for Grand Princess to the Southern Caribbean
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Outdoorguy236
First Time Cruiser • Age 70s

Rating by category

Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin

Additional details

Sail Date: Jan 2013
Cabin: Balcony

First of all this is actually 2 back to back 7 day cruises not 1ea 14 day cruise as is sold. This equates to being at sea for a large amount of the time because the ship has to return to Ft Lauderdale in order to disembark some passengers and the taking on of new passengers for which ever leg of the trip that will start anew. Alone that's a 2 day at sea trip coming and going (4 days). Now add on the days, not shown in the itinerary as "at sea". Those days would include your departure day and days between ports of call. So for example after you've experienced your first 2 at sea days you have 60 hours out there and the clock can still be running as you haven't reached your port of call yet, that's shown as an arrival day.

The con to this package is that because of the travel time some ports of call end up being rather useless. Example: San Juan Puerto Rico. We arrived at about 4:30pm local time, by the time we got clearance to disembark, port officials got there, and we were allowed to leave the ship we had just over 2 hrs of day light left and all of the historical sites close at 6:00pm local time. How much of such a wonderful place can you see under those conditions? Next time I sail I'll be looking at the 10-12 day packages where the ship doesn't have to report back to their home birth every 7 days.

No Smoking rules: While many of you will applaud the new onboard smoking rules for us smokers it's like being placed in a less then second class pier group. Yet I do agree with some of the rules and was able to abide by them but it came at a real cost in enjoyment. On the Grand Princes there were only 4 smoking areas available to less than Platinum card holders or Suite occupants (they have one more in a restricted lounge) and on at least 2 occasions all of them were closed, blocked off, clear on the other end of the ship and more often than not un-manned with no onboard services what so ever (drinks/food etc.). Another really annoying issue is that when reading their policy on Princes.com it states that permitted smoking areas are well marked. Sorry they are not. Like most of the information one can obtain aboard ship your best and most reliable source of information comes from follow passengers thru trial and error. When I asked a Senior Purser (Officer) about their "well marked smoking areas" he told me that they were marked, by ashtrays. The most centrally located smoking area was on deck 7 Portside of the ship also known as the Promenade deck. The ashtrays are hung on the bulkhead just outside of very heavy outward swinging doors but hidden from view by large equipment lockers. One can look up and down that deck and not see one of the 3 ashtrays located there. Oh yes, 5 percent of the passengers crammed around 3 ashtrays being pelted with heavy doors and knocked to the bulkhead. Did I mention there is no seating around these ashtrays? Additionally, and somewhat funny, there were ashtrays on some of the elevator landings which are definitely not located where you can smoke or anywhere close to one. Tell me again about the clearly marked smoking areas. If you're a smoker I'd look at other options as all of the Cruise Lines owned by Carnival have the same policies in effect. Other independent Cruise Lines have retracted these restrictive rules due to the loss of revenue.

Cabin Review

Balcony

Cabin BA

Room with Balcony was dated, contained broken bedside lamp and shelf railing. Chunks of wood missing from furniture. Carpet overdue for replacement. Plenty of storage and hangers. Bath a bit small. The bed was like sleeping on a short slab of granite.

Port Reviews

Aruba

First of all we were lucky enough to see the most rain they've received in 12 years. Downtown was flooded...lol The main street was loaded to the gills with Jewelry Stores each with their hawkers in front and not much in the way of local flavor. Odds are that other visits were much more fun I'd like to try it again on a sunny day.

Princess Cays

Nice sunny day at the beach. Great music, food and beach. Plenty of activities.

But once was enough as we were actually on 2 7 day cruises so we ended up there twice.

San Juan

To be fair we only had a couple of hours of daylight when we got there. Did get to see one of the main forts. Very interesting. Million Dollar views.

St. Maarten

This was without a doubt the most fun on any of the excursions we took.

We went out on one of the Golden Eagle Catamarans, #4 to be exact. The excursion was inexpensive and included snorkel gear, lunch/snack, Champagne and all the rum punch you could hold (for the adults)plenty of virgin punch and soft drinks for the kids. The crew didn't loose a step. They were entertaining, funny and just a blast to be around. You could tell they loved their jobs. The beach was beautiful the water was just cool enough, the snorkeling with the Angel fish was an true experience. For those less inclined to snorkel or unable the skiff took those to shore for the beach and a swim. For under $30.00 a head it was worth every penny of it. This was what it's all about!

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