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Ship I’ve been on well over 35 cruises with many different cruise lines so I’ve seen a lot of ships. The Grand Princess is one of the most poorly designed ships I have ever been on. The first few ‎days were cold which eliminated the use of outdoor areas. This resulted in interior spaces being ‎quite crowded. The covered pool area was not as well sealed off like it is on many ships. This ‎resulted in being just cool enough that it wasn’t usable for the cold days thus increasing indoor ‎crowding. The doors at the buffet, Horizon Court, rarely closed so during the cold days it was ‎like a frigid wind tunnel blowing through the buffet. There were constant complaints about how ‎cold it was in there; you really needed to wear a jacket to eat there. ‎ Many ships I have been on have an observation deck in the front where you can sit and look out. ‎This is very prevalent on Holland American and Viking ships. Royal Caribbean ships have an ‎observation bar up in the back were you can sit and look out. The Grand Princess did not have ‎this. There was an area called The Sanctuary that may have filled this need but it was at a very ‎high additional daily rate. This makes the ship to be avoided in the future. There were no places I ‎found where you could get a great view of where we were going. Actually, the best view was ‎from the gym which was below the costly Sanctuary. ‎ The ship was very tired. It was maintained but heavily worn. In my view the elevators are a ‎disaster. Several elevators required a card key to activate, I assume for suite passengers or the ‎more elite level returning cruisers. This meant the regular passengers were limited in the number ‎of available elevators. Taking elevators out of service for regular passengers was then ‎compounded by the number elevators that didn’t work and were out of service. One specific ‎elevator was out of commission the entire cruise. In the center of the ship where most traffic was ‎focused there were six elevators. One was restricted. One was out the entire cruise and another ‎was out of order for more than the majority of days. This meant there were only three elevators ‎serving the busiest area of the ship. Long waits were the norm and passenger grumbling was the ‎norm. ‎ The elevator problem was compounded even more by the number of people in walkers, wheel ‎chairs and electric carts. There were a limited number of elevators but then it was then ‎compounded by the walkers etc that took up a large portion of the space inside the elevator. This ‎meant fewer people could get on these small elevators. Future ships must be designed with larger ‎elevators to accommodate the needs of passengers with disability vehicles. One temporary ‎solution is to make interior freight elevators accessible to wheel chairs and electric carts. I’m sure ‎there may be liability issues involved and they aren’t very luxurious but it could be one resolution ‎to this problem. The elevator problem on this ship and the lack of a quality observation deck will ‎be the two main factors that will keep me from ever booking this ship again. ‎ Food We booked this cruise to travel with my son and daughter-in-law. They had taken a couple ‎Princess Cruises and raved about the food. I was disappointed. ‎ The first morning I went to the buffet for breakfast. I couldn’t find any half grapefruits. I had to ‎ask a kitchen attendant to get me one. He then went down 9 floors to the main dining rooms to ‎get a half grapefruit. Then I searched for ham. On every ship I’ve ever sailed on there were ham ‎slices (and usually English bacon) and/or a large ham that is carved on request. On Grand ‎Princess I asked one of the people in the Buffet with the high chef’s hat, “where is the ham?” I ‎got a look that made me feel like it was the most incredulous question he had ever heard. I said ‎‎“ham steaks are from a large ham that is sliced. It is baked ham that you would get on a ham and ‎eggs breakfast.” He pointed me to a counter that ham luncheon meat ham folded in neat slices. I ‎wondered, didn’t they know what baked ham is? But, then I discovered they served little ham ‎steaks in the dining room so why not in the buffet? ‎ We went to the Crown Grill one night. The appetizers were mediocre at best. I love shrimp ‎cocktail but they had some other type of “scampi.” So, I ordered them with cocktail sauce. At ‎the specialty restaurant on Royal Caribbean and Holland America the scampi are huge. On ‎Princess they were about the same size as the shrimp in the regular dining room. Very ‎disappointing. The Chocolate Molten Cake was mostly “molten.” It was undercooked chocolate ‎syrup. However, I had the rib steak and it was a excellent piece of meat, one of the best I’ve ever ‎had. ‎ We did the anytime dining and it worked out very well. About 50% of the time we made ‎advance reservations and requested Natalia. She is one of the best servers we have ever ‎encountered. She has high energy and is extremely efficient. She is all business yet maintains a ‎vibrant personality. If I owned a high class restaurant I would try to hire her as I’m confident she ‎could run the entire operation. She is an amazingly gifted young women. If I weren’t retired I ‎would try and hire her and find a job for her, whatever the job is I’m confident she would soon ‎master it; she is just one of those special people. ‎ The food in the main dining room was adequate. I had to send a couple entree’s back because of ‎taste and I was surprised that the everyday items didn’t include a NY Strip Steak. There were a ‎few days I didn’t find anything appealing and would have had the steak, if it were available. ‎Overall I’d rate the dining room food in the lower quartile of all the cruises I’ve taken. Again, the ‎service was exceptional, the food wasn’t. ‎ The Pizza Parlor was quite good, the best of any cruise line I’ve sailed on. I’ve been to Naples ‎many times and the grand Princess pizza is the closest to authentic I have ever experienced on ‎a cruise ship.‎ The Grill hamburgers were good. The best I’ve had were on the Maasdam. All Grand Princess ‎needs to do is make a smashburger type burger, grill the buns and it would be a great hamburger. ‎ Crew Overall a good crew. Our cabin steward, Raymond, did a very good job and we ‎appreciated him. But, I didn’t connect with the crew as I normally do on a ten day+ cruise. ‎Returning on the tender in Cabo I sat next to the Cruise Director who was buried in his cell ‎phone and didn’t even say hello. I’m not a crew member but out of courtesy I always ‎acknowledge people who sit next to me. It’s just common courtesy. Most of this crew just ‎seemed to on auto-pilot. ‎ Delay and Insult: Embarkation Our embarkation was delayed until 9:00 pm. An ill passenger required the ship to detour for a ‎medical drop-off. I am not angry about the delay because someday I may be the passenger with a ‎medical emergency. We were notified in advance so we located a place to store our luggage in ‎San Francisco ($50 for four passengers). We were then able to be tourists in San Francisco for the ‎day (making lemonade out of lemons). We had dinner at a favorite restaurant ( $200+ for four of ‎us). We were then informed we’d get $25 each per room credit to “help cover our dinner.” ‎Seriously? I believe there was only one comment by the leadership on the ship about this ‎inconvenience and that was it. We arrived tired and late and got one comment and $25: totally ‎inadequate. The $25 credit was a joke among every passenger we encountered. It would have ‎been much better if we had been offered a drink on-the-house when we arrived to help us all ‎relax; just a way to say thanks for being patient (maybe two drinks.). The next night at the shows ‎the Captain could have appeared to thank us all for our patience and understanding. Just ‎basically say “I appreciate all of you.” But unfortunately nothing was done. We had a great day ‎while waiting for embarkation but many passengers were extremely inconvenienced and that ‎should have been acknowledge much more effectively than it was. Prior to retirement I taught ‎organizational leadership at a major university in the masters and doctoral program. I believe this ‎was a real failure on the part of the leadership team on Grand Princess. Ports The port talks were very uninformative. Other than the explanation of tours we got very little ‎information about the ports. I didn’t mind as I’ve been to those ports many times before. But, for ‎people new to these areas it was like their only option was to take ship tours. I know the tours are ‎a big profit center but I’m confident you can give insightful information and still sell tours. ‎ Entertainment We always enjoy the entertainment. The specialty acts were OK. Anne Martinez was exceptional. ‎She is a star and since we live in Las Vegas we will try and catch her as her career progresses. ‎ The singers and dancers, frankly, were horrible in the British Invasion Show. Their voices just ‎didn’t sound right doing the songs. But, they redeemed themselves with the show featuring the ‎‎“oldies” like Stardust. Their voices excelled at these songs. The piano players and lounge singers ‎did a good job. There seemed to be a lot of music on this ship which was a real plus, but we ‎didn’t listen often as there was very limited seating inside and we don’t like standing for 20+ ‎minutes.‎

Good and Bad Cruise

Grand Princess Cruise Review by pmhewitt

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2020
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Interior
Ship

I’ve been on well over 35 cruises with many different cruise lines so I’ve seen a lot of ships. The Grand Princess is one of the most poorly designed ships I have ever been on. The first few ‎days were cold which eliminated the use of outdoor areas. This resulted in interior spaces being ‎quite crowded. The covered pool area was not as well sealed off like it is on many ships. This ‎resulted in being just cool enough that it wasn’t usable for the cold days thus increasing indoor ‎crowding. The doors at the buffet, Horizon Court, rarely closed so during the cold days it was ‎like a frigid wind tunnel blowing through the buffet. There were constant complaints about how ‎cold it was in there; you really needed to wear a jacket to eat there. ‎

Many ships I have been on have an observation deck in the front where you can sit and look out. ‎This is very prevalent on Holland American and Viking ships. Royal Caribbean ships have an ‎observation bar up in the back were you can sit and look out. The Grand Princess did not have ‎this. There was an area called The Sanctuary that may have filled this need but it was at a very ‎high additional daily rate. This makes the ship to be avoided in the future. There were no places I ‎found where you could get a great view of where we were going. Actually, the best view was ‎from the gym which was below the costly Sanctuary. ‎

The ship was very tired. It was maintained but heavily worn. In my view the elevators are a ‎disaster. Several elevators required a card key to activate, I assume for suite passengers or the ‎more elite level returning cruisers. This meant the regular passengers were limited in the number ‎of available elevators. Taking elevators out of service for regular passengers was then ‎compounded by the number elevators that didn’t work and were out of service. One specific ‎elevator was out of commission the entire cruise. In the center of the ship where most traffic was ‎focused there were six elevators. One was restricted. One was out the entire cruise and another ‎was out of order for more than the majority of days. This meant there were only three elevators ‎serving the busiest area of the ship. Long waits were the norm and passenger grumbling was the ‎norm. ‎

The elevator problem was compounded even more by the number of people in walkers, wheel ‎chairs and electric carts. There were a limited number of elevators but then it was then ‎compounded by the walkers etc that took up a large portion of the space inside the elevator. This ‎meant fewer people could get on these small elevators. Future ships must be designed with larger ‎elevators to accommodate the needs of passengers with disability vehicles. One temporary ‎solution is to make interior freight elevators accessible to wheel chairs and electric carts. I’m sure ‎there may be liability issues involved and they aren’t very luxurious but it could be one resolution ‎to this problem. The elevator problem on this ship and the lack of a quality observation deck will ‎be the two main factors that will keep me from ever booking this ship again. ‎

Food

We booked this cruise to travel with my son and daughter-in-law. They had taken a couple ‎Princess Cruises and raved about the food. I was disappointed. ‎

The first morning I went to the buffet for breakfast. I couldn’t find any half grapefruits. I had to ‎ask a kitchen attendant to get me one. He then went down 9 floors to the main dining rooms to ‎get a half grapefruit. Then I searched for ham. On every ship I’ve ever sailed on there were ham ‎slices (and usually English bacon) and/or a large ham that is carved on request. On Grand ‎Princess I asked one of the people in the Buffet with the high chef’s hat, “where is the ham?” I ‎got a look that made me feel like it was the most incredulous question he had ever heard. I said ‎‎“ham steaks are from a large ham that is sliced. It is baked ham that you would get on a ham and ‎eggs breakfast.” He pointed me to a counter that ham luncheon meat ham folded in neat slices. I ‎wondered, didn’t they know what baked ham is? But, then I discovered they served little ham ‎steaks in the dining room so why not in the buffet? ‎

We went to the Crown Grill one night. The appetizers were mediocre at best. I love shrimp ‎cocktail but they had some other type of “scampi.” So, I ordered them with cocktail sauce. At ‎the specialty restaurant on Royal Caribbean and Holland America the scampi are huge. On ‎Princess they were about the same size as the shrimp in the regular dining room. Very ‎disappointing. The Chocolate Molten Cake was mostly “molten.” It was undercooked chocolate ‎syrup. However, I had the rib steak and it was a excellent piece of meat, one of the best I’ve ever ‎had. ‎

We did the anytime dining and it worked out very well. About 50% of the time we made ‎advance reservations and requested Natalia. She is one of the best servers we have ever ‎encountered. She has high energy and is extremely efficient. She is all business yet maintains a ‎vibrant personality. If I owned a high class restaurant I would try to hire her as I’m confident she ‎could run the entire operation. She is an amazingly gifted young women. If I weren’t retired I ‎would try and hire her and find a job for her, whatever the job is I’m confident she would soon ‎master it; she is just one of those special people. ‎

The food in the main dining room was adequate. I had to send a couple entree’s back because of ‎taste and I was surprised that the everyday items didn’t include a NY Strip Steak. There were a ‎few days I didn’t find anything appealing and would have had the steak, if it were available. ‎Overall I’d rate the dining room food in the lower quartile of all the cruises I’ve taken. Again, the ‎service was exceptional, the food wasn’t. ‎

The Pizza Parlor was quite good, the best of any cruise line I’ve sailed on. I’ve been to Naples ‎many times and the grand Princess pizza is the closest to authentic I have ever experienced on ‎a cruise ship.‎

The Grill hamburgers were good. The best I’ve had were on the Maasdam. All Grand Princess ‎needs to do is make a smashburger type burger, grill the buns and it would be a great hamburger. ‎

Crew

Overall a good crew. Our cabin steward, Raymond, did a very good job and we ‎appreciated him. But, I didn’t connect with the crew as I normally do on a ten day+ cruise. ‎Returning on the tender in Cabo I sat next to the Cruise Director who was buried in his cell ‎phone and didn’t even say hello. I’m not a crew member but out of courtesy I always ‎acknowledge people who sit next to me. It’s just common courtesy. Most of this crew just ‎seemed to on auto-pilot. ‎

Delay and Insult: Embarkation

Our embarkation was delayed until 9:00 pm. An ill passenger required the ship to detour for a ‎medical drop-off. I am not angry about the delay because someday I may be the passenger with a ‎medical emergency. We were notified in advance so we located a place to store our luggage in ‎San Francisco ($50 for four passengers). We were then able to be tourists in San Francisco for the ‎day (making lemonade out of lemons). We had dinner at a favorite restaurant ( $200+ for four of ‎us). We were then informed we’d get $25 each per room credit to “help cover our dinner.” ‎Seriously? I believe there was only one comment by the leadership on the ship about this ‎inconvenience and that was it. We arrived tired and late and got one comment and $25: totally ‎inadequate. The $25 credit was a joke among every passenger we encountered. It would have ‎been much better if we had been offered a drink on-the-house when we arrived to help us all ‎relax; just a way to say thanks for being patient (maybe two drinks.). The next night at the shows ‎the Captain could have appeared to thank us all for our patience and understanding. Just ‎basically say “I appreciate all of you.” But unfortunately nothing was done. We had a great day ‎while waiting for embarkation but many passengers were extremely inconvenienced and that ‎should have been acknowledge much more effectively than it was. Prior to retirement I taught ‎organizational leadership at a major university in the masters and doctoral program. I believe this ‎was a real failure on the part of the leadership team on Grand Princess.

Ports

The port talks were very uninformative. Other than the explanation of tours we got very little ‎information about the ports. I didn’t mind as I’ve been to those ports many times before. But, for ‎people new to these areas it was like their only option was to take ship tours. I know the tours are ‎a big profit center but I’m confident you can give insightful information and still sell tours. ‎

Entertainment

We always enjoy the entertainment. The specialty acts were OK. Anne Martinez was exceptional. ‎She is a star and since we live in Las Vegas we will try and catch her as her career progresses. ‎

The singers and dancers, frankly, were horrible in the British Invasion Show. Their voices just ‎didn’t sound right doing the songs. But, they redeemed themselves with the show featuring the ‎‎“oldies” like Stardust. Their voices excelled at these songs. The piano players and lounge singers ‎did a good job. There seemed to be a lot of music on this ship which was a real plus, but we ‎didn’t listen often as there was very limited seating inside and we don’t like standing for 20+ ‎minutes.‎
pmhewitt’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IE
Stateroom
We had an inside stateroom which I have avoided in our previous 35+ cruises but I was ‎pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the cabin. The room was small, but very livable. ‎There was enough closet space and drawer space to accommodate 10 days of clothing. ‎
We had problems with the sink draining and the shower often backed up. Eventually it would ‎drain out: eventually. Our cabin steward, Raymond, had a plumber come and fix it within a ‎couple hours. Since the bathroom requires a step up I accidentally didn’t step high enough one ‎morning and slammed my second toe under the lip resulting in a minor cut and scrape. The toe ‎may have been dislocated and self-reduced because it became stiff and slightly swollen. I will ‎have it x-rayed when I return home.‎
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins