As far as layout is concerned, all inside cabins aboard MV [i] Grand Princess are identical (except possibly flipped side to side in layout). The only difference in the triple or quad cabins is that they have one (triple) or two (quad) upper bunks that fold against the bulkhead when not in use. The color code indicates fare categories, with the general rule being that cabins are more expensive if they are either (1) on a higher deck or (2) closer to amidships. The difference in fares tends not to be very much, with less than $300 separating the cheapest from the most expensive inside cabins (based upon brochure fares for a seven-night cruise).
As far as the restaurants are concerned:
>> I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to pay extra to eat at either Sabatini's or The Painted Desert. The main dining rooms -- all three of which feature identical menus and service -- are advertised to be "five star" restaurants and members of the Chaine des Rotisseurs. The main dining rooms feature a different menu each evening, so they do provide pleny of variety. Thus, I would plan to eat dinner in one of the main dining rooms each evening.
>> For breakfast and lunch, the Horizon Court serves an excellent buffet with an excellent variety. Again, the selections vary from day to day. For lunch, Poseidon's Pizza and the Trident Grill (which serves hot dogs, burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, fries, knockwerst and sourkraut, etc.) also are reasonable options.
>> Be sure to go to "tea" in the main dining room at least once during your cruise. It's a very traditional English tea with finger sandwiches, scones, biscuits, etc. -- definitely a worthwhile experience!
As far as dress is concerned, Princess's guidelines are pretty simple.
>> So-called "resort casual" attire is the rule during the daytime. Swimsuits of all styles are acceptable in the pool area, but cover-ups are expected during the daytime in other areas of the ship.
>> In the evening, the Princess Patter (daily schedule) will specify whether "This Evening's Attire" is "Formal," "Semiformal," or "Casual." On Princess, "Formal" does mean formal -- about half of the men usually wear tuxedos or dinner jackets and the other half opt for dark business suits (a cruise industry concession to the fact that many men don't own tuxedos or dinner jackets these days), while ladies "dress to the nines" in formal gowns or formal cocktail dresses. "Semiformal" means standard business attire -- a business suit or sport coat and tie for gentlemen and a dress or pantsuit for ladies. In the evening, "Casual" means so-called "business casual" attire -- gentlemen wear a shirt with a collar, slacks, and dress shoes and ladies wear a nice blouse with a skirt or dress slacks.
Several recent posts on this board have indicated that MV Grand Princess was omitting semiformal nights, but such a policy could change at any time.
You will find Princess's answers to these and other questions in Princess's Cruise AnswerBook in the information package that you should receive from your travel agent about sixty days before your cruise (or within about ten days of Princess's receipt of your final payment, whichever is later).
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