My family and friends took the Grand Princess on a 15 night New Years cruise. The idea of leaving out of our home port (San Francisco) and visiting Hawaii was quite enticing. My ten-year-old is a Love Boat freak (really), so when my travel agent called and said there was a sale on this itinerary, we jumped on it. Unfortunately, we had the worst cruise that we have ever experienced. However, I am never one to judge anything by the first go, so despite what you read below, we put in a future cruise deposit and will be trying a 10-day Alaska cruise with Princess next year.
The first day was not bad. We arrived early and the embarkation was by far the easiest we have ever experienced. We showed up around 11:00 am and essentially went directly on the ship. They were great about the soda policy and allowed my kids to carry on a 24 pack of their favorites. One downside was that I have one child that is on a restrictive diet. We checked his beverages and they arrived half gone in our stateroom. I chalked that up to it probably falling and breaking open, so no big deal. He still had enough to keep him supplied for the cruise.
The views from the ship on the first day were great. We explored the ship and found that unlike many of the other cruises that we were on, this ship's layout made it Very easy to get lost. Some of the stair cases do not go all the way up/down and you need to take the elevator or else walk to another stair case. We also discovered that you cannot traverse the ship on both sides due to various lounges and restaurants. The only path that goes from front to rear is on the starboard side of the ship. We were excited for the sail away party on the top deck,and while several people turned out, the crew canceled the sail away deck party.
The cabin was pretty good and I would definitely recommend this one for an obstructed View. It’s by the top of the stair from the lower to upset promenade so there is no lifeboat blocking your view, just a bit of the railing.
Beautiful views of the city from the lido deck and the best embarkation we’ve ever experienced.
I got to put my Spanish to use and have some amazing food. Being that we had only two hours at this port, we looked for some authentic Mexican food near the ship. Our group figures that close to the oier, they would probably speak English. Nope! Good thing I speak Spanish.
The funny thing was that I had found some old pesos before we left and I took it with me, but the taqueria wouldn’t take it because it was too old! My 59 peso note didn’t have the transparent sections, so their reader rejected it. I had to go to McDonald’s to exchange it for a modern note and return to the taqueria where we had some great authentic tacos.