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  #1 (permalink)  
Old May 13th, 2001, 10:48 PM
Fay
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Default Cruising on the Grand

Hi,

My husband and I will be cruising on the Grand June 10. This is our first with Princess and I am not sure after reading these comments that it was such a good idea. This will be our 15th cruise and so far Celebrity and Royal Carribbean are our favorite lines. We cruised on Holland America and Carnival, also.We really enjoy cruising. We are also booked on the Millenium in November. I was really looking forward to this cruise because it is our first experience with Princess. Now I got to tell you that just because I do not have a Butler means I wukl not have a great cruise. I don't have a Butler at home and my life isn't too bad. On the other hand, the food is a definitely dererming factor as to how I will rate the Ship. I also like good service.

For those experienced cruisers, how would you rate the Grand, if you were comparing other lines such as Carnival, Royal Carribbean, Holland America and Celebrity?
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Old May 14th, 2001, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

Hello Fay....My wife and I are going on the Grand May 20th (This weekend). It too, is our first time on Princess. We have been on Royal Caribbean several times and love everything about their ships and service, especially the extra TLC and pampering they seem to give you. We have also been on Carnival once.

I will post a review when we get back and it will be very inbiased because I know what I like or dislike might be entirely different from what someone else likes or dislikes.

We are also in mini-suite on the Emerald deck. The things that I have listed in previous postings as being somewhat disturbing to us about Princess may not be the end of the world and it won't ruin our vacation, but it's just the point of the matter and how Princess has handled it, or I should say has not informed anyone.

I was concerned that our mini-suite, listed as having a Private Balcony was only semi-private because people could see down onto the balcony. Norm, another experienced cruiser explained to me about the definition of those terms and I guess I can live with it. I do have a problem with the following. The brochures say that the mini-suites come with Butler Service. Well, they have elminated the Butler Service without informing any passengers or travel agents. If people didn't post their cruise experience on this site, we would get a big surprise when getting into the room. Then last week, they eliminated the mini-bar in the mini-suites which had some complementary bottles of soda, water and liquor. They do not put robes in the room anymore unless you ask for them, and they do not give you fresh fruit in the room daily unless you hound them for it.

Not major things they will kill me, but it's just the point. If I am paying extra for this mini-suite and they have elminated so many things, what am I paying extra for besides the balcony. And to me, they are false advertising by not informing us ahead of time about this or at least informing travel agents.

In any event, I guess that is my beef. We leave Sunday and we will enjoy it and I'm sure you will too. I will comment on our experience when we get back.

Dave
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Old May 14th, 2001, 10:23 AM
Su & Tony
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

Hi Fay,

Just got home last nigth from a great week on the Grand and we can't wait to sail on her again.

We have 10 cruises under our belt now 5 on RCCL and 5 on Princess and now we lean towards Princess.

The food was outstanding and so was the service.

Have a great trip.
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Old May 14th, 2001, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

Fay,

My wife and i also just got back from the grand yesterday, we were not quite as happy as we had hoped. We had a good cruise, except for the weather being alittle cloudy most of the trip. The food we found to be okay, we were hoping for something better than we got. Food on rccl has been better than we had on the grand. That is in the dining room, the horizon court which is their version of the windjammer cafe is definatley better than rccl. We found the food on the buffet to pretty good, much better than your usual buffet.We chose traditional dining,second sitting, we like meeting table mates and having the week to get to know them. This did not work out to well, we ate in the two alternative rest. and then our table mates found a large table in personal choice dining( there was 12 ladies traveling together). That left us alone at a table for six. The same thing happened to the couple sitting beside us, we had the same waiter so we moved to there table for the last two nights.I think that you lose a certain part of the cruise not getting to know your table mates. Our service was okay but not has good as we have had prior, ( she was leaving the ship for a two month vacation the day we disembarked, that may have had something to do with it).The waiters usually learn what you like and what you ask for every night, our waiter never seemed to catch on. It might be stupid little things like having ground pepper, on other cruises the waiter always would ask and grind the pepper for you. Our waiter left the pepper on the table and you were on your own. That never happened on our other cruises. We also missed the announcements to let you know what is about to take place, they do not make many announcements on the grand. We like hearing from the captain every day, telling you where you are and what island you might be going by, you do not hear from the captain much on that cruise.
We really liked the ship itself, there are plenty of pools and hot tubs, the pool in the aft of the ship is an adult pool which is a great place to go and relax.The lounges and bars were very nice, most of them are non-smoking which we were very happy about. The fitness room was nice and had treadmills, stair climbers, and bikes. You have to sign up for the treadmills but it works out very well. they leave the sign up sheet out for hte current day and the next day.
I guess i am rambling but it is a big ship and there is alot to tell about it. We did not have any problems with princess and we have no axes to grind this is just our opinion and nothing else.We talked to quite a few other multiple line cruisers and found that they had the some opinion.The first time cruisers loved everything about it. I guess if i had to sum it up i would say that the size of the ship and the amount of things to do keeps you from becoming a part of the ship, our feeling like your a part of the ship. If you have any questions don't hesitate to email. I would not cancel your cruise it is a great ahip it is just different than what you are used to on rccl.

sean
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Old May 14th, 2001, 11:04 PM
pam / tennessee
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

we too just returned from this cruise. it being my first cruise, i did love it and found it all wonderful ! but next time we are going for the traditional seating - we want to get to know the people a little better. the shows were wonderful, food was really just ok to me, but i'm a very picky eater - husband tho loved the horizon court ! haha ate at "sabitinis" and found it comical as we are not into that type of food - first time for caviar, but we did try all they put on plate and when the lobster came i was ready for it ! haha just a new experience for both of us with all that food - and not sorry we tried it - just won't do it again. the rough waters sun and mon night sort of had me concerned - just didn't like it !!! didn't get sick tho. was glad rest of trip was smooth sailing. slept like a baby !!! we are going to also try royal carib and want to try a smaller ship. by the way - that group of 12 woman were wild !!! haha met up with some of them at the pool! they did have a good time!

pam
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Old May 14th, 2001, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

Dave,

I hate to "make your day" again, but...

I do have a problem with the following. The brochures say that the mini-suites come with Butler Service. Well, they have elminated the Butler Service without informing any passengers or travel agents. If people didn't post their cruise experience on this site, we would get a big surprise when getting into the room.

I checked the Princess brochures to see what really was advertised and what was not. Princess's Fall 2000 & Winter 2001 Caribbean brochure does indeed adverrtise butler service in suites and minisuites aboard MV Grand Princess, but the last itinerary listed in that brochure is the 22 April departure for the Eastern Caribbean. Princess's "Caribbean Summer 2001" brochure, which lists all cruises aboard the same vessel departing from 29 April through 30 September, does not mention butler service. If Princess eliminated butler service on 29 April, as previously reported, it appears that the company is not guilty of false advertising. I'm sorry if your travel agent gave you the wrong brochure or was not aware of the change and thus misrepresented the product, but it appears to be your travel agent's error rather than Princess's.

BTW, all of the major cruise lines, including Princess, do send frequent notices of changes in their product to travel agents. Unfortunately, many travel agents don't read them very carefully and thus are not really aware of their content.

Then last week, they eliminated the mini-bar in the mini-suites which had some complementary bottles of soda, water and liquor.

The previous explanation was that the minibar was stocked once on a complementary basis, but that the daily restocking was billed to the passenger's on-board account. In other words, if you used anything out of the minibar, you paid for its replacement so it was not really free.

They do not put robes in the room anymore unless you ask for them, and they do not give you fresh fruit in the room daily unless you hound them for it.

This does not seem like a big deal. Princess still provides robes and fresh fruit in your stateroom at no extra charge. The company changed the fresh fruit to "upon request" about three ago simply because they were throwing out a lot of rotten fruit that was perfectly good when it was left in passenger cabins a few days earlier. Likewise, they were laundering a lot of bathrobes set out in cabins for passengers who did not use them at all. By providing these items upon request rather than automatically, the line has cut down on a lot of senseless waste -- for which we all paid though higher fares.

If I am paying extra for this mini-suite and they have elminated so many things, what am I paying extra for besides the balcony.

Basically, by booking a minisuite you are paying for more space with fancier furnishings. A minisuite has a parlor or sitting room in addition to the bedroom, it has a full bath with tub and shower. Additionally, the minisuites aboard MV Sun Princess -- and I presume that MV Grand Princess is the same in this regard, though I can't say for sure -- have marble trim and original artwork rather than prints.

I do hope that you can move past being irked before Sunday so it won't get in the way of your enjoyment of your cruise.

Norm.
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Old May 15th, 2001, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

Fay,

Given my druthers, I would choose any of Princess's "four sisters" -- MV Sun Princess, MV Sea Princess, MV Dawn Princess, or MV Ocean Princess -- over MV Grand Princess any time because the public spaces of the "four sisters" seem to have a much better and more functional layout (I have posted specifics many times on this site, so I won't belabor them again).

That said, MV Grand Princess is a beautiful ship. Her standard cabins have a great layout and plenty of storage. I spent twelve nights aboard her in the Mediterranean nearly two years ago, and would not hesitate to take another cruise aboard MV Grand Princess if none of the "four sisters" were going where I wanted to go.

Princess has an outstanding shore excursion program that consistently gets raves from reviewers. The food gets less inconsistent reviews, with some passengers (like me) thinking that it's outstanding and others complaining that it's not to their liking. I will say that cuisine can vary more from ship to ship on Princess than on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean because Princess seems to give a lot more latitude in planning menus and preparing foods to the executive chef aboard each vessel than other lines.

Princess's service is also legendary, and the staff handle special requests very routinely. If you want anything, just ask. If it's at all within reason, it probably will happen.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old May 15th, 2001, 09:22 AM
Ed Ed is offline
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

My wife wanted the mini-suite for the bathtub, I wanted it for the sitting area. So now while she is soaking I can be sitting by the ocean, relaxed and content, getting ready for the next adventure.
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Old May 16th, 2001, 02:31 PM
Pam Pam is offline
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

We just got back from the Grand--this was our first cruise with Princess, and 8th cruise overall. Our others have been with Carnival (4) and NCL (3). The service on Princess was exceptional-better than the other 2 lines. As far as the food is concerned, I thought the breakfast and lunch buffets far exceeded either of the other 2 lines; however I thought dinners on the Carnival Triumph (last year) was better than on the Grand. The buffet lines didn't seem as long on the Grand (a big plus in my book!)

I don't think you'll regret booking this cruise. It is a beautiful ship with excellent service. Have a great cruise!
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Old May 17th, 2001, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

We sailed on the Grand 3/17 (largest ship =2600 passengers to date) which was our 2nd. Princess cruise with 5 on Celebrity and 3 on RCI. All of these ships/lines are equitable. Just like house comps in the real estate/mortage industry, cruise lines compare too. Princess has the best embarkation/disembarkation system out of FLL. I can't vouch for other embarkation ports. Accommodations are fine comparitive to RCI & Celebrity. Entertainment is excellent with a lot of variety (rate#1), RCI #2, Celebrity#3. Food and choices are fine on Princess; 24hr. buffet restaurant, alternative dining rooms on many new ships, pizza, grille, Italian, Southwestern plus now Princess offers the new cruiser Personal Choice. Celebrity has the best food, even menu service during regular dining room hours for room service. They still have wine stewards which Princess has dropped. Many lines (Princess) have done away or are eliminating the traditional "Midnight Buffet". RCI & Celebrity still have the beautiful Grand Buffet and "Gourmet bites" as well as 2 theme night buffets; Tropical and Tex-Mex. Gourment appetizer bites are served in lounges by strolling waiters after 11'ish. Spas, gyms, lounges, activities and even prices for like cabins and like itineraries are very similar. My next cruise is back on Celebrity on the Galaxy which we have not sailed upon to date. Princess has a good reputation. RCI is great for families. Celebrity offers a premium product to an adult cruising popluation but is improving their family programs continuously. All 3 lines could use some help in the customer service areas, but that seems to be the way in many industries today. Have a wonderful cruise no matter which ship or line you choose.
Bon Voyage
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Old May 17th, 2001, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

Dave, I wish you a wonderful cruise on the Grand. Unfortunately, many if not most of the "changes" you mention were announced both on the Princess internet site and discussed on these many cruise forums as long ago as last September 2001 especially the elimination of the butler! This is where a good cruise travel agent comes in. I know it is impossible for TA's to keep up with so much news, but these important facts are Faxed to agents and agencies daily. As in the recent RCI/Celebrity sale, many agents I contacted for comparison quotes, were not aware of the sale until I told them about it! I would take up your feelings with yoru TA. You are paying extra for your Category of Cabin; an outside is more than an inside, a regular balcony cabin is less than a deluxe balcony cabin and location, plays a big part of it. What are you getting for your money/ well that is up to you. I like Wine Steward's advice; Princess did away with them. I like to be shown to my cabin; Princess let's you find your own way! If you need help, you must ask and maybe someone will assist you. You would like some fruit, just ask your steward, etc. With so many ships in the water, prices have become very competitive. Cruise lines have to cut expenses somewhere and this is how Princess has chosen to do this. When we started cruising ( just 6 years ago- 9 cruises to date) the price of a 8x10 photo was $10; try $25 today! I just purchased a 7 night Celebrity cruise last week on the sale for $663 per person! Five years ago on the same line for an older ship but comparible season, We paid $1100 inc. port charges and taxes but not air and that was a special deal offered directly to our cruise agent for doing so much business with the cruise line. When we received the phone call offer, we hadn't even unpacked from a recent cruise! Just like the price of gasoline today, it's supply and demand. Have a wonderful time and enjoy every moment of your vacation.
Bon Voyage
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Old May 18th, 2001, 05:57 PM
oski
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Default Re: Cruising on the Grand

I really don't miss the wine stewards much because on Princess they didn't know much anyway. Many had not tried all the wines on the list and it took forever to get one to your table.Just order Moet Chandon Champagne and stick to the wines you know. I am thinking about bringing some wine this trip. Have never been charged a corckage and since we have a table for 10, maybe this would make things easier if everyone brought a couple of their favorite bottles. A magnum would be fun, wouldn't it?Usually the travel agents give each couple a bottle of champagne so that takes care of a couple of nights since not everyone drinks winI find prices on the wine list fare but the selection a little lacking with not many small wineries available. You can be sure Mondavi Fume Blanc will be on the list. It's not a bad choice.I think they also had a good gerwurtztraminer either fetzer of maybe Fogarty if we are lucky! Two years ago they had Jordan Cabernet which was excellent but I didn't see it last year,.

Part of the reason I am thinking about bringing wine is because the prices have gone up so much in California it is really hard to find something really good without pay $20 $40 a bottle retail. I find stuff for under $10, but it is tough. You know the selection will be limited on the ship. Too bad there wouldn't be a way to access the wine list online, go to some reviews and pick out what you'd like in advance. Then you'd know if you could afford what you want or you should bring something.

This is getting a little ridiculous, isn't it?
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