The Missus and I last sailed on the Grand Princess on a 2020 New Year's cruise to Hawaii and back. A couple of voyages later, the ship wound up in the COVID headlines. We thought we would never get to sail on her again; at the time of our cruise, Grand Princess was headed to Southampton later in the year for Mediterranean cruises. At least, that *was* the plan.
Cut to 2021. The Grand is now based out of San Pedro, and Princess is returning to West Coast cruising. We examined the itineraries and saw a mixed schedule of coastals and Cabo overnights. We thought we would try a four-night coastal, just to get the feel of cruising under Princess' current COVID protocols.
We liked the almost-empty feel of the ship. It was sailing only one-quarter full, and the lack of vaccines for children at the time meant this was almost an "adults-only" cruise. Corridors that would normally be jammed with cruisers on a full ship were mostly vacant. We found the lack of hustle-bustle (and no kids afoot!) refreshing.
F305: Window Suite on Fiesta Deck, midships across from the Casino. We have always liked the semi-private hallway to these Suites, and the big, airy feel the Window Suites have (even though they lack balconies). We love the central location. The front desk and our dining room are just steps away. Double sinks in the bathroom, jacuzzi tub and a shower stall, and closets galore.
This section of suites has its own steward staff, but no butler. One nit to pick: 305 is right across from the steward's locker and the passageway can be obstructed by service carts. Stewards do tend to congregate at that locker and their conversations were sometimes overheard by us in our suite.
The Suite is in remarkably good shape for a nearly 25-year-old ship. However, we never could quite get the heat to work for us and (despite a visit or two from Maintenance) the suite could get cold. There is also some noticeable corrosion around the bathroom door next to the shower stall - the area collected a lot of water every time a guest used the shower.
Another nit to pick: the Window Suites used to be named after explorers. Now there is no Explorers' nameplate - just a touch screen and the number of the Suite, for Medallion purposes. The Grand and Caribbean Princesses are the last Grand Class ships to have these suites, and we will miss them terribly when these vessels are eventually pulled from the Princess fleet.