Our arrival into Rome was flawless and our B&B had arranged transportation from the airport. As we exited the baggage area the driver was there waiting and our trip was uneventful except for the Rome traffic. The B&B we chose was located close to the Vatican and our hostess met us at the door and helped us get settled. Our accommodations were excellent but small. Breakfast was served daily in our room and consisted of sweet rolls and yogurt. There was free Wi-Fi which was a terrific bonus in staying in touch with those back home. Our travel agent did a great job with all the arrangements. Embarkation was flawless, we arrived at the ship around 2pm and were in our cabin 45 minutes later. The cabin was clean and our luggage arrived within an hour. No complaints at this point! The lifeboat drill was the easiest I have ever experienced so no complaints here. The Grand Princess is old and is showing her age in lots of ways. The venues for entertainment were dated and the public areas were small. I understand what happens with age though so I am willing to be a little forgiving in this area. Crew. This was the first ship I've ever been on where the crew went through the buffet line with the passengers and sat in the passenger areas to eat. There were several times I saw crew members sitting in a bar, smoking a cigarette and drinking a drink. I knew they were crew members because they were wearing uniforms and or name tags. There was no professionalism! We were in one of the theaters waiting for a show to begin and a waiter approached the passengers in front of us. He was wearing jeans, a casual shirt and a name tag. I would have been a little hesitant to give him my cruise card to order a drink. The cruise director and staff were less than friendly and it seemed that anytime you were participating in an activity you were imposing on them. They were also quite sarcastic and offensive at times. The staff in the Horizon Court were acceptable but there were many times that you couldn't get anyone to stop and help you. They would walk by with eyes downcast to avoid making eye contact. Our waiter and his assistant in the dining room were acceptable but didn't make you feel special as I am used to. Food. The food choices at Horizon court never did improve. I can't really complain about the quality here, but I will say it was nothing special. The choices for free drinks were tea, coffee and water. We did ask about lemonade after the second day and found out that they have it but you have to find a server in the dining area to go get it for you. I asked once and watched the server go pour a glass of water and squeeze lemon slices into it. Needless to say this wasn't lemonade and I could have done this myself. The food in the dining room was just OK, nothing remarkable. I will recommend the pub lunch in The Painted Desert, one of the specialty restaurants. The lunch doesn't require a cover fee and the food was consistently good. The service here was the best we had experienced the entire cruise. Entertainment. The guest entertainers were good and the ships entertainers were also very good. The production shows were flawless but the venues need updating. No complaints here. Ports. We chose this cruise based on itinerary and we had no complaints here at all. I wish we had more time in each port but then we wouldn't have been able to visit as many great places. Tours/excursions. Because these ports were all unfamiliar we decided to book excursion through Princess. As always they were quite expensive but we were assured we would make it back to the ship in time for departure. The day we visited Istanbul the Eurasian marathon was being held and streets were closed to traffic. This resulted in much more walking than originally anticipated but we were notified ahead of time and the day was still great. We had wonderful guides on all of our excursions as well. Disembarkation. No problems and baggage was just where it was supposed to be. I wish I had more good things to say but overall I was disappointed.
The cabins are small on this ship. We were lucky to have an extended balcony and we used it quite often. There is no sitting area in the cabin, only a desk and one extra chair. The bathroom is typical for a ship but there was no bodywash/shampoo dispenser and Princess only provided shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. We had requested a cabin mid-ship but were "upgraded" to this cabin which was Aft. There was a lot of engine noise and more movement when the seas were rough than mid-ship. Not an ideal location, especially for an "upgrade".