Grand Princess Cruise Review by CruiseGents
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Interior
I know the Grand is not a brand-new ship, but she is aging gracefully, and has plenty of amenities. I never felt that I was cruising on a tired or worn-out ship. While the Grand is large, she still looks and feels like a ship,which is more than I can say for some of the newer ships (for example RCL's Harmony of the Seas). That ship just looks like a shopping mall from the pictures I've seen.
Our cabin (A507, large inside) was spacious and had excellent storage. I do wish they would find a way to keep the king-size bed (two twins pushed together) from separating during the night, but that's a very minor quibble and happens on every ship I've ever sailed.
I like the fact that your cruise fare still includes most everything you need for a lovely vacation. I purchased a soda and more package, since I don't drink, and that was a good move. It would be even better if bottled water was included, but I didn't mind buying a bottle or two of water a day. In general, I get tired of all the "upselling" that the cruise lines do, and have no interest in onboard (or portside) shopping or art auctions, so I just tune that stuff out. I would have liked more games shows and trivia contests as far as entertainment goes. And I love to play board games, so some organized game nights would be fun, too.
Food and service were generally excellent in the Da Vinci Dining Room (where we had Anytime dining), though some nights service was better than others. Since we ended up dining around the same time every day, next time I think I will go back to Traditional Dining, so I can get to know my waitstaff and table mates. We also enjoyed the Crown Grill, Sabatinis, and Alfredo's alternative dining. The Horizon Court and Trident Grill were also quite respectable.
Being a cigar and pipe enthusiast, I was grateful for the retreat provided by Snooker's Bar on Deck 6. The staff (particularly waiter Emil) took excellent care of me and I felt like it was my very own little corner of the ship. I love that the room is available even when the bar is closed, so that I could enjoy my pipe or cigar any time. I urge you to continue including this feature on your ships, as it makes a huge difference in my enjoyment when I can have a great cigar after dinner, or get away from the crowds for a pipe in the afternoon. Back when open-deck pipe/cigar smoking was permitted, it was basically impossible because of the wind and elements. Having a comfortable indoor spot where pipes and cigars are allowed is a major consideration for me when I book a cruise.
Alaska, was of course beautiful. We found Glacier Bay to be the highlight of our trip (just like the first time I cruised on the Dawn to Alaska in 2000). We also found Victoria to be a surprisingly lovely port. I wish we had been given a little more time there.
I would highly recommend both the itinerary and the Grand Princess to anyone who wants to cruise to Alaska from California.
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