We embarked on a 7-day Coastal California cruise on the Grand Princess with 8 of our friends out of San Francisco, Pier 35. The embarkation was quick, painless and professional. We were on board with 15 minutes of getting into the cruise terminal. Parking was nearby at a cost of $14 a day, which is reasonable for SF, but is about a 1/4 mile walk back to the pier. Traffic getting to the ship is difficult, as Pier 35 is near Fisherman's Wharf and other SF waterfront tourist destinations, so we would suggest public transportation to lessen the stress of getting to the ship so you don't have to park.
Once on the ship we found that the maintenance has not kept up with the aging vessel. The carpets were worn, painted wall surfaces were in need of an update, teak and wooden railings were chipping, checked and unvarnished. The ship did not have a "grand" feel in the atrium as other ships we have sailed on have had. The atrium was only 3 floors, very compact and a tad claustrophobic. There are no stairs in the center of the ship and only at the fore and aft of the boat. Even though there are many elevators, they are extremely slow and frustrating. A walk to the front or back of the ship and using the stairs were the best choice for us.
We noticed the crowd for this ship was about 70 years old, with a lot of physically handicapped and older folks. If you are looking for a younger crowd or a more "active" experience, this cruise is not for you. Most daily activities on board included, card playing, bingo, art auctions and trivia. The entertainment was sub-par and not overly talented. The production shows were good, the entertainers tried their best but nothing that would want you to return to a second show of singing or dancing.