The Grand Princess - Still Grand - Mostly: Grand Princess Cruise Review by Coco39

Grand Princess 5
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The Grand Princess - Still Grand - Mostly

Sail Date: September 2010
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Southampton
This was our 2nd cruise and 2nd with Princess. We cruised in Alaska in July 2009 on the Star Princess and loved every minute. This time we booked a longer cruise (14 Days) on a sister ship. To be frank, I expected the worst having read all the reviews posted here. I seriously considered changing to another ship, but the itinerary was what we wanted and we decided to go for it.

As it turned out, most of our fears were unfounded. Our mini suite was identical to the one we had on the Star and apparently smoke free. The furnishings were older but not worn or soiled. There were some broken tiles in the bathroom, but that was the worst of it. Our cabin steward Manuel was wonderful and could not do enough for us. It was the same in the dining room. Our waitress Aliena and her helper Manuel (another one) were first rate and even gave us extra desserts each evening.

The food was very good--perhaps too good as we gained weight despite having only breakfast and dinner. We More chose to eat at 8:30 and this worked out very well as we had plenty of time after exploring the ports of call to get ready, etc.

Entertainment was very nice---three production shows that were well done. A couple of the solo acts were just OK, but that kind of thing is a matter of taste.

It was a decidedly older crowd than we encountered on our Alaskan cruise. Since we sailed round-trip form Southampton, it was an easy trip for folks from UK--and there were many. There were about 100 Americans on board and the rest were from the UK.

Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. Since we were flying from the US I booked a flight that arrived in London at 6:30 a.m. and this meant we arrived at the terminal shortly after 8:00 a.m. A long wait until boarding began at approximately 11:00. We anticipated this but did not anticipate that the terminal facilities would not have restrooms or a coffee vending machine. Next time we will arrive closer to departure. Getting off the ship was amazingly easy. Porters were available and our luggage was right where it was supposed to be and the coach to Heathrow was comfortable and on time.

Negatives were few. The elevators were slow and often hard to get. This was not true on the Star so I do not know why. Another difference we noticed--both ships were booked to capacity, but in Alaska it never seemed crowded. On the Grand there were always people around and it was hard to find a table in the Horizon Court for breakfast. I think they could do a better job of crowd control on the Grand. Also, we agree with the earlier complaints about people hogging the lounges all day long by leaving towels on them. Not much in the way of enforcement there either. I heard lots of complaints about the "kids" taking over the pools. There weren't that many on board so I can only imagine how bad it was this summer. Princess would do well to consider having a couple of hours a day for adult only swimming and hot tub use.

The Grand is going in dry dock in April and I think it will be more like the Star after that. I did miss the coffee bar this time around.

All in all, it was a great trip. Less

Published 09/27/10

Cabin review: ABD610

The Princess mini suites are very very nice. There is a queen size bed and a separate sitting room. There are two flat screen TV's, a dressing table with hair dryer and a large open closet area with plenty of room. there are also some open shelves behind a set of mirrored doors. The bathroom has a tub - shower combination and a sink with space to put stuff as well as a shelf below for more bathroom things. For us, it is a perfect arrangement and we are willing to pay the extra $$ to have the space. We booked on the Dolphin Deck which is #nine. It is an easy walk up and down the stairs to get to the promenade deck where most of the action takes place. Our room was quiet, but we booked it because it was not near the elevators or the laundry. Balcony was big enough for 4 chairs. We did not mind that there were balconies above us where people could look down, but I talked to some people who did.

Port and Shore Excursions

We loved Barcelona and also Malaga which we visited on our first stop. Both places were within easy walking distance of where we were docked. We did not take tours--just spent our time walking the pedestrian streets and stopping for lunch. Our weather was perfect for the entire cruise so this was a major plus. We had hoped to take a city tour in Barcelona but the lines for the hop on hop off bus were long and we settled for a taxi to see the cathedral. Although this was September, there were tons of tourists out and about.

Read 1758 Barcelona Reviews

Another great experience. We bought cheeses and pastries at the market and they were superb.

Our least favorite port. It is a big duty free port so our fellow passengers from the UK bought tons of cigarettes and booze. We were told the prices were excellent, but since we were flying home there was no point of buying liquor. To us, the place was touristy and crowded and relatively expensive without many places to have a coffee.

This was our only tour--we booked "The Best of The Riviera" which took us briefly through Monte Carlo and then down to Cannes and Nice. It was very well done. Our guide was excellent and we got to see a lot without being rushed. It was well worth the money. this was the first time I had been to the Riviera and it did not disappoint

This was a pleasant surprise for us. We had heard all the horror stories about Naples and weren't expecting much. What we found was a very pleasant pedestrian walk although it was Sunday and many of the stores were closed. We have been to the Amalfi Coast many times so we just walked for several hours n Naples.

Read 1174 Naples Reviews

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