Location: Wisconsin....about 100 miles south of the Frozen Tundra and 70 miles east of Camp Randall
Grand or Sea? Carib or Hawaii?
Just wondering what you all would choose if you had to between sailing on the Grand in March to the East Carib or on the Sea Princess to the Hawaiian islands in May? This is assuming of course that you couldn't do both!<g>
Maui WowieKuki wrote:
> I've cruised on the Grand, and I've done a Hawaii cruise,
> though not with Princess. Hawaii for certain! I loved the extra
> sea days on the Hawaii cruise as well.
It's no contest. I like MV Sea Princess (and her sisters) much better than MV Grand Princess, and those four or five consecutive days at sea would be absolutely wonderful!
By way of amplification, my idea of the Utopian ship would be the basic deck plan of MV Sea Princess with the cabins of MV Grand Princess. Although she's a beautiful ship in many ways, MV Grand Princess has several boneheaded design flaws that are very annoying to me as a passenger. I really like the positioning of the closets in the cabins of MV Grand Princess to form a hallway leading to the head, such that the light in the head does not shine directly into the room (read: the eyes of a sleeping roommate) when the door to the head is open at night. Nonetheless, this feature is far outweighed by bad design in areas such as the following:
>> Several of the public spaces aboard MV Grand Princess seem almost claustrophobic, incuding both the atriusm and the Vista Show Lounge, due to squatty overheads.
>> Some public spaces aboard MV Grand Princess, such as the Wheelhouse Lounge and the card and game room, are too small and confinng for the number of passengers aboard the vessel. At bridge gatherings, for example, the organizers had to set up additional tables in the atrium -- where they did obstruct passage to some degree -- to accommodate all of passengers who wanted to play.
>> The public spaces aboard MV Grand Princess seem too disjointed, such that there's really noplace that can satisfactorily accommodate "all passenger" events such as the Captain's Cocktail Party (usually held in the atrium aboard MV Sea Princess) and "Island Night" (held in the main pool area aboard MV Sea Princess).
>> If you are walking laps on the Promenade Deck of MV Grand Princess, you have to ascend and descend about three flights of stairs near the bow to connect from one side to the other. (There is a jogging track around the lap pool in the upper level of the fitness center, but you will do many more laps per mile.)
>> The Botticelli Dining Room aboard MV Grand Princess is in a very awkward location.
>> The promenades on the Pomenade Deck of MV Grand Princess are too narrow, and thus don't have the magical teak lounges that you will find aboard MV Sea Princess. (Caution: Always use the lounges on the shaded side of the Promenade Deck, as they may make you completely oblivious to the passage of time and thus very susceptible to severe sunburn.)
>> The Horizon Court aboard MV Grand Princess is divided into two separate areas that interconnect only via the outdoor seating area by the aftmost swimming pool. You can plan to meet somebody on the Horizon Court and not find each other if you enter on opposite sides.
>> The pizzeria at the top of the atrium aboard MV Sea Princess is a personal favorite, as both the pizza and the atmosphere are extraordinary. Neptune's Pizzeria aboard MV Grand Princess is out on deck, its offerings more limited (two pizzas at a time, served by the slice), and any semblance of "atmosphere" is totally lacking.
As to choices, MV Grand Princess may have more choices of activities -- but when you can't do everything that you want to do aboard MV Sea Princess, what difference does "more" make?
Would I refuse to cruise again aboard MV Grand Princess? No, but I certainly would choose MV Sea Princess (or any of her sisters) over MV Grand Princess any time, all things being equal!
I agree wholeheartedly with your critique of the Grand. I sailed on her in November 1998 and the Sun in Feb. 1996. I am sailing on the SEA the week of November 11 and can hardly wait. The Grand was indeed a beautiful vessel, but awkward to get around and cramped in all the wrong places it seemed. We had a wonderful time but I found myself silently comparing her to the Sun much too often throughout the week. I am anxiously looking forward to the SEA - with so many new ships out I struggled with choosing between her and several others.
With all of this said, I would sail on the Grand again - heck, I've never met a cruise ship I didn't like (just some I preferred over others).
I'm sailing on the Grand in December. Am I going to be disappointed? I've sailed many times and have looked forward especially to being on the Grand. Because my "cruisemate" has never sailed and I wanted to assure that he would enjoy it so much and want to do a return trip, I chose the Grand (he has reservations even about sailing).
I bet you and your cruisemate will have a wonderful time on Grand Princess. Just go and enjoy all the activities on this ship! It is a favorite for a lot of cruisers, don't worry, it will be fun.
I doubt that any of the flaws that I mentioned in an earlier post are of a nature that would get in the way of having a good time. There's much to recommend aboard every Princess vessel -- a shore excursion program that consistently gets rave reviews, cullinary excellence, fantastic production shows that you positively won't see anywhere else, talented entertainers, and enough activities so you could not possibly be bored even if you spend a whole week at sea.
Just got off the Grand on its last European run-Istanbul to Barcelona -now it heads to the Caribbean. I found the ship VERY easy to get around, tho the walks are LONG if you happen to be astern and want to go the the most forward areas; in fact I found it LESS confusing than many ships; you will find a little card thingy in the pocket of your "Hotel" amenities book/stationary book that you can carry with you; the key is that odd numbered rooms have BLUE background carpet & even numbered RUST background!!!!
Another very strong plus in my book was the Captain, Andrew Proctor -formerly on the Royal Princess [ we sailed with him on a TransAtlantic 2 years ago!] He is a HUGE plus; soft voiced Scotsman with a genial sense of humor. We rode out the remnants of Hurricane "Bonnie" -and he kept us informed at all times of how we were doing, and did it VERY calmly & efficiently on the Royal! I am a REAL fan of this man's.
If you have never been to Hawaii, cruising may be your best choice; but after going to Maui -by choice - many times, a cruise we took on the old "Star" Princess left us frustrated in Hawaii because one day costs to go where we wanted to go [secluded beaches] were cost prohibitive. If I were going to Hawaii to STAY, I could SURELY cruise there and enjoy it a lot; but the one-day-in-port left me wanting. The Caribbean ports aren't like that; one day is plenty in most ports there. Enjoy the Grand; it is a large ship with a small uncrowded FEEL.
I do not think YOU will be disappointed and I'm certain your cruising partner will not. The Grand is indeed something else. The critique is merely constructive contrasts between her and other ships. I would definitely sail on the Grand again. I remember my first cruise - looking back, it was like an OLD, ready for the scrap yard tug boat. BUT, I fell in love with cruising and still hold the memories dear. Fear not, you are in for a wonderful cruise experience onboard the Grand.