Shore Excursions and Private Balcony on Grand Prin
I want to thank many of you who responded to one of my previous questions about private balconies on the Grand Princess. I think I understand the stateroom plans, but am still a bit unsure.
One person indicated that all mini-suites on the Dolphin deck are not totally private, only private from side to side but not from above. Others have told me the private suites are totally private. Someone suggested we should not get a mini-suite because of the lack of privacy and get a double stateroom in the BA-BF categories because they have a larger bgalcony and are totally private. They mentioned the Caribe deck. I still wonder what deck or decks truly have private balconies from side to side and from above. Would the Caribe, Aloha and Lido decks all be fine? Do we avoid the mini-suite and try to change our cabin, since we have already booked mini-suite D-420 on the Dolphin deck and go to the small double stateroom with larger deck, and if so, are all of these double staterooms private no matter what deck their on?
Finally, who do we contact and is it possible to book a shore excursion before we actually take our cruise? Or do we have to wait to get on the ship, then book it after we see the sheets listing all of the excursions? Where can we get a list of what excursions are offered on this cruise? Can we do it 0n-line, do we have to call Princess, or does our travel agent know?
In regards as to whether the mini-suites balconies are totally private or not, I can't be of much help. I will say that my wife prefers to have the balcony open at the top so she can get some sun.
You can book your shore excursions online. You will need to have your booking ID number, in order to log in.
You can pre-reserve your shore excursions after you have logged into the url above. Princess suggests that you have the printed Shore Excursion brochure you received with your cruise documents and your passport handy to use as a reference.
I should add two points of clarification to the answers to your initial post. Whoever said that the balconies of the minisuites are smaller than those of standard cabins was completely wrong on that point. The balconies of the minisuites do extend under the balcony above, and they are much larger than the balconies of the standard cabins. The balconies of the minisuites have enough room for deck lounges in addition to the patio table and chairs, whereas the balconies of most standard cabins have only a small plastic patio table and two chairs.
As I said earlier, the balconies of the minisuites are private -- which means that each minisuite has its own balcony that is not accessible to other passengers. Nonetheless, the balconies of the minisuites on the Dolphin Deck protrude beyond the balconies on the Carib Deck. Thus, the outer couple feet of those balconies are visible from the Skywalkers night club / observation lounge and possibly from the balconies above. Of course, this is only a consideration if you plan to use your balcony for nude sunbathing or outdoor sexual exploits -- which I would not recommend anyway because the balconies are visible to personnel passing ships and to "eye in the sky" satellites anyway.
Just got off the Grand today. The balconies are not private from above or side by side. Each level has a smaller balcony than the one below. You have to be on the Aloha deck before having privacy from above. There is no way that anybody can see your balcony from the Skywalkers disco. As for side to side, you have a partition, but it does not go all the way up. Each balcony has a side door also that can be opened -- in fact -- crew do come by periodically to clean the windows by opening all the side balcony doors. I know I was quite surprised one day to see a crew member walk by the balcony to the blacony next door -- in fact, he had opened all the doors for about 20 cabins -- people walked through the balconies to get to friends' rooms as opposed to using the hallways. (Just a note of warning!)
My wife and I as well as two other couples are booked for 4/1/01 and we all have rooms on the Dolphin deck. Let me know when you are booked for and let me know how you like or didnt like it.