Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Here's a tip if you have a balcony room... cut the air conditioner down as low as it will go... we're talking "hanging meat" cold... then leave your balcony door open at night. Man, the warm breeze drifting in and the sound of the waves crashing in the wake of the ship are better than Valium. It's worth the price of a balcony alone.
To help you find your room...
The number of the floor is woven in the carpet in front of the elevators.
The port (left) side rooms are all even numbers and the hall carpet is RED. The starboard (right) side rooms are all odd numbers and the hall carpet is BLUE. Just look for your color coming off the elevator and you won't look like a tourist.
In the l...o...n...g hall to your room, find a point of reference, like an exit sign or balloons (you'll understand this tip after you get on board). (grins)
To find a public room, other than sports, always start on Promenade Deck (7). Most are located there or within one or two floors.
The Wheelhouse Bar is a great place to relax, have a drink, listen to some good music and have some crunchy snacks before dinner. Keep in mind that it may have been more than two hours since you've eaten last and you don't want to appear to be a glutton at that five course evening meal. Those bar snacks will help curb your appetite slightly. (HUGE grin)
Always use the stairs. The elevators are overused and a little slow; plus, you burn up a couple of extra calories, which is a bonus when you're eating every two hours. (he,he,he)
If you want to have you have your formal portraits taken, go EARLY at 5:15-5:30 PM in the Atrium area and beat the long lines. We were able to be first or second at three different posing stations.
Do not go outside before you have the photo portraits taken with your formal gear on. The wind plays havoc with your "do." (that assumes of course that you are not "follicly challenged") (grins)
If a piece of clothing needs pressing or you forgot to pack the extra undies, no fear. There is a Laundromat on every other floor with washing machines, dryers and lots of irons. They are well hidden but your room steward will be happy to direct you. I actually used this a couple of times to press some shirts and my tux after the first formal night.
Public restrooms. Now this is a problem! They are there, but VERY well disguised. The best-kept secret on this ship is the restrooms near the Princess Theater. The men's is hidden in the photo gallery hall immediately to the left of the photo counter. The lady's is down the same hall just to the right of the Explorer's lounge. REMEMBER THIS... you will thank me when you return after seeing the lines at the "single seaters" next to the theater.
Repeat after me... Food in back, shows in front... food in back, shows in front... food in back, shows in front...(okay, I know there are exceptions to this rule, but this covers the main dining rooms and the Princess Theater where the headliner shows are held.)
A very important rule for all men with wives... Be careful about staring and gawking at the scenery around the pool. Those snaps across the back of the head can be very painful. I recommend the afternoon tour around the pools while the bride is napping. (wink, wink)
Speaking of tours. If you are on the ship when they give the Navigational Bridge Tour (usually between 1:00 and 3:00 PM while in dock) do not miss it. It is really neat and informative. You can stun your tablemates with your newly acquired knowledge at dinner that evening. (e.g., Did you know that it is the weight of the chain not the anchor that holds the ship in place?)
If you want a good seat in the Vista Lounge for a show, get there 20 minutes early. If you want a beverage there, stop at the bar on the way in. The bar service is very slow there. No problem with seats in the Princess Theater, lots of them and all are good. No bar service there though; if you want a drink, bring it with you.
Do NOT miss the stage shows. They are fabulous! The production shows, Rhythms Of The City and Lights, Camera, Action, are unbelievably well done. The singers and dancers are first class! It's worth your time just to hear and see the state-of-the-art audio and lighting systems.
The showers are very good, but unless you are in a mini-suite or larger, there is only room for one at a time... if you get my drift. (wink, wink)
Another shower tip, the upper knob sets the temperature. Set it and leave it. The lower knob controls the water volume. There is a stop built in at the halfway point. If you mash the little button and continue to turn the knob to the left you get the full blast.
Remember... you have not successfully completed the cruise unless you have eaten from all the available food venues. This task is slightly easier if you are on first seating but must be completed nevertheless. A club sandwich or a chef's salad at midnight will usually fill the bill.
Caramel flan. The best kept secret dessert on the Grand Princess. The only place to get it.... room service. I found that it goes down smoothly after that midnight snack. (grins)
You will have a door hanger to complete every night for room service delivery in the morning. It has times to check for delivery starting at 7:30 AM. If you are an early riser like me, ignore that. Just right in the time you want your coffee, juice, Danish, etc. delivered and the room service attendant will appear at your door at the prescribed time. Don't forget to make his palm a little green; there are not many people who will bring food to you in your underwear that time of the day. (he,he,he)
Do NOT try to run two miles on the track after a glass of juice, three cups of coffee and two Danish. Whew... I speak from personal pain.
Speaking of Danish... whether by room service, in the main dining room or the Patisserie, do not miss them. As a matter of fact, could you bring me a sack back? (smile)
This is a true story. Several days into the cruise, I was ordering room service late one night. After I finished, the person taking my order was about to hang-up, so I asked if he wanted my room number. He said with kind of a chuckle, "No, we KNOW who YOU are." I busted out laughing. It's pretty bad when the room service personnel recognize your voice.