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MacTarheel April 7th, 2002 04:58 PM

Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
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.

Room service…

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.

MacTarheel April 7th, 2002 05:28 PM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Sorry for the error again, folks... The Message Board Tricks in the link at the bottom of the page say that the [ul] and [li] HTML list creating codes are allowed on this board. They lied. I tested this message off line and it worked perfectly. The webmaster needs to correct this error or delete that information from the tricks instructions page.

Donna April 7th, 2002 07:13 PM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Hey Bob,
How does it look now?? Hopefully those HTML codes will work at some point :-)

MacTarheel April 8th, 2002 03:33 PM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Thanks for fixing me up, Donna. It's looks much better without all those loose HTML tags floating around.

dot April 9th, 2002 08:32 PM

Re: Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
My husband and I are leaving in 3 days for the Golden and after reading your tips I am sure we wll have a great tme. thanks.

MacTarheel April 10th, 2002 08:59 AM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Thanks, Dot. I know that you will have a wonderful cruise. Please let me know if any of my tips were useful on the Golden. Bon Voyage.

Tricia... I'm glad you enjoyed my "tips." Hopefully they were a little humorous as well as informative. We leave on the Grand this Sunday for our third cruise on her. I'll see if I can pick up a few more tips for you. (grins) I know you are really excited about your first cruise.... and believe me... you will be just as excited about your tenth as we are. Please post a message or drop me a message if you have any questions.

norm April 11th, 2002 08:22 PM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips

That's much too complicated. Just book your cruise aboard MV Sun Princess, MV Dawn Princess, MV Sea Princess, or MV Ocean Princess instead. Most people who have travelled on ships of both classes agree that these are vastly superior.


Wendy April 12th, 2002 10:18 AM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Thank you so much for your tips. My husband and I also printed your list out to take with us. We are on the Grand May 26th and very much looking forward to it. I had a question if you don't mind. I love to use the stairs on cruise ships. I had read on someone's review of the Grand that they were hard to find. Is this true? Are any located near the elevators?

Thank You,

MacTarheel April 12th, 2002 10:41 AM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Hi Wendy... I'm glad you found my Grand Princess tips of interest. The stairs are conveniently located everywhere there are elevators and they are easy to find. By using the stairs, you get a little extra exercise plus you get the bonus of seeing some interesting art work hung in the stair wells.

I know that you wlll have a marvelous cruise. When you return, please let me know if the tips were useful.

Ed A April 12th, 2002 09:09 PM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips

Great tips! These are truly valuable tips - as opposed to usual mundane ones. In fact, for anyone who reads this, hears a packing tip. In your carryon, all you need are:
1. Travel documents (top priority).
2. Swim attire, suntan/screen, sunglasses. (just as important).

Anything else is easy enough to get.

Yes, I know some of you out there are saying items #2 are easy to get too, but, if you have them with you you won't miss any valuable sun-time. You can get the other stuff after the sun goes down.


MacTarheel April 13th, 2002 07:01 AM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Thanks, Ed. Yes, I was trying to post some information that was from my real experiences and hopefully useful to some of the readers who may be cruising on a Grand class ship.

Your travel tips are very good and essential. I would also add to that carry-on an extra set of undies... sometimes the luggage is late arriving to your room.

MissyLou April 14th, 2002 12:22 AM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Amen on sleeping with the balcony door open.

Gloria April 14th, 2002 08:01 PM

Re: Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Just back today from our 2nd Grand cruise, and I have to say that Bob is right on all points except I don't believe they are offering bridge tours anymore (since 9/11) and caramel flan was available one late evening on the buffet---also a milk flan in Sabitinis. Only close the balcony door when you need to open the outer door---the vacuum can be immense and you have to be really strong, plus it will blow all your "stuff" around if you don't.

Beverly April 17th, 2002 02:15 PM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Have printed off your great tips, we are going on the Golden on 4/27 our second Princess cruise (first on the Sun) and 13th overall. We are traveling with a our "table mates" from a cruise of 7 years ago. We have made at least one annual cruise all together since. really can make some wonderful friends at dinner.

Ann April 23rd, 2002 11:12 AM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Thanks for the great tips! My husband and I are sailing on the Grand on May 5. This is his 50th birthday gift! He won't know about it until this Saturday. I printed this off to include with the documents when I give to him! Can't wait!!

MacTarheel April 24th, 2002 10:34 AM

Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
ADDENDUM to Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips

My wife and I returned this past Sunday (Apr. 21) from our third cruise aboard the Grand Princess. As pointed out by Gloria and my own observations there have been a few changes that I will try to update.

As Gloria mentioned, unfortunately due to security concerns, the Navigational Bridge Tour has been eliminated. (frown) However, they have added a marvelous Backstage Tour of the Princess Theater. The tour begins with a really cool 10- minute sound and light show to demonstrate their state of the art equipment and give you the details about the computers, lights and sound systems they use. Did you realize that they use a 20,000-watt amplifier to power the sound system? That's equivalent to 200 home stereo systems. That is followed by a Q&A session with the Line Manager (leader of the singers and dancers) and the Production Manager (head of all the sound, lighting and staging) as well as a male and female dancer from the production shows. This was very entertaining and informative. These kids are extremely well trained and knowledgeable in there crafts. The audience is then taken up on stage to see how it looks and feels to be in the spotlight as well as learn how the sets are moved in and out. We were then broken into smaller groups to go underneath the stage to see the dressing room and the below stage operations. Then back up on stage to see the stage manager’s operation of the sets. On our Western Caribbean itinerary, this tour was held on Saturday afternoon, the last day at sea.

Gloria also mentioned the strong wind suction when both the balcony door and the hall door are opened at the same time. You must be careful not to let money or other light items be whisked away, but it can also be an advantage... for clearing the bathroom of steam from the shower or any unpleasant fragrances... if you get my drift. (grins)

I noticed another error I made in my tips. In the section that I wrote about public rest rooms, I stated, "The best-kept secret on this ship is the restrooms near the Princess Theater. " This tip should have read "near the Vista Lounge." Those are the ones hidden near the Photo Gallery and the Explorers Lounge. The rest rooms near Princess Theater are right at the entrance and are large.

ADDITIONAL TIP Enter the Princess Theater from Plaza Deck 6. This will allow you to easily see the whole theater for your choice of seats and quickly enter the lower level if you want a seat closer to the stage. This entry also makes it easier to spot friends or relatives you may be looking for.

Another correction... I stated, "Food in back, shows in front..." This does kinda works if you are on Traditional Dining since you will be in the Botticelli Dining Room at the rear of the ship. However, if you are on Personal Choice Dining you will select either Michelangelo or Da Vinci Dining Rooms which are in the middle of the ship just off the atrium. So I guess for most it should be... "Food in middle, shows in front and back..." (smile)

Thank you, Gloria for your comments and additions... and thanks to Ann, Beverly and MissyLou. I'm glad that you found my tips informative. I trust that you will have a marvelous cruise just as my wife and I have just completed.

The attached photo is one I made of the Grand while on Princess Cays April 15, 2002.

snickers May 18th, 2002 10:27 AM

Re: Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Is this the sister ship to the new Star or is that the Crown that is the sister ship. I hope your tips will help me on the new Star.

Donna May 18th, 2002 02:52 PM

Re: Re: Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Tips
Hi Snickers,
Yes, "Star" Princess is a sister ship to both "Grand" and "Golden", so pretty much most of Bob's Grand Princess cruise tips will apply to Star also. Enjoy your cruise!

Mike S May 21st, 2002 08:35 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruise Ti
I'm so thankful for this infomation. My wife, 2 children (6 & 9) and I will be cruising on the Grand on June 2nd. Can't wait...1st cruise! A few questions to Bob or whoever...Bob mentioned that it is a good idea to pack some extra undies because your luggage sometimes arrives late. 1st, I believe the ship leaves port at 5:00 pm. How early can we get on? Then, how long does it take for the luggage to arrive in the room? Finally, what type of attire is suitable to enter the ship the 1st day?

Thanks, Mike

Donna May 21st, 2002 08:48 PM

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bob's Indispensable Grand Princess Cruis
Hi Mike,
It does take a few hours for your luggage to start arriving at your cabin, so we always pack in carry-on a change of clothes for dinner. Its usually a "casual" night, but that still means no jeans or shorts in the dinning room, so if you wear that to travel, you may want to pack some docker type pants and a nice shirt for dinner, just in case you don't have your luggage by then. You also may want to include a swim suit if you have time before dinner to get to the pool deck.

Have fun!

Mike Sullivan May 24th, 2002 10:25 AM

Bob or whoever, questions for ya..Formal portraits, Bob said to be there early, like 5:15 to 5:30. We chose the Personal Choice Dining. We may eat at 5, 7 or 9pm. Don't really know which time. Can we still have our photos taken? Any particular time? Have any of you ever dined using "Personal Coice Dining"? I guess we would have different waiters every time? Unlike 6:30 & 8:00 having same waiters every night.

During the 5 informal nights can I wear a pair of dockers and a golf shirt? Do I need a dinner jacket?

Someone mentioned documents to enter and exit Bahamas. Someone said to fill these out early. How about Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Do we need documents and/or paperwork filled out?

Would we need to tip the room service person everytime we order something?

Is breakfast in the dining room alot nicer than in room or on deck?

Thanks, Mike

Donna May 24th, 2002 10:36 AM

Re: Questions...
Hi Mike,
They will be doing the "formal" portraits all during the dinner hours and if you do the PC dinning, I'm sure you can find some time to get some done. There are certain times though where you may have to wait in line longer than others, thats why Bob said to get down there around 5:00 to avoid the rush, but you should have plenty of time to get some taken.

Yes, with PC, you'd have different waiters every night, unless to request a certain table/section where a waiter you want to serve you works, just ask when being seated.

For the 5 "casual" nights, yes dockers and a golf shirt are just fine :-)

No, there are no documents for Cozumel and Grand Cayman, just for the Bahamas.

If you do order room service, yes, do tip the person that brings it up, its not your regular cabin attendant.

While there is plenty to coose from in the buffet for breakfast, the dinning room is a little different and you will be served with a waiter, etc. We always like to get at least 1 breakfast int he dinning room while cruiseing, but I think you will find the offerings in Horizon Court just fine.

Enjoy your cruise!

MacTarheel May 25th, 2002 12:43 PM

Re: Questions...
Hi Mike...

Donna has answered most of your questions expertly, so I'll just add a couple of things.

Donna was correct... my suggestion to have your formal portraits made early was simply to avoid the long lines. They shoot the portraits on both formal nights up to 11:00 PM. The following is a photo I took this year of one of their billboard ads in front of a posing station. The photo on the ad is one that taken last year of my wife and me and they have been using it for over a year. Didn't pay me a darn thing in royalties either. (grins)

On any night other than the two formal nights, dinner dress is "smart casual" which for guys is basically no bare legs or armpits and no jeans. I usually wore a pair of dress slacks and either an open collar long-sleeve dress shirt, short sleeve print shirt, or a knit polo shirt.

As Donna mentioned, no additional paper work other that the Bahamas Immigration form is required. Your cruise card is your passport for exit and entrance for the entire cruise. I've noticed that a lot of the kids have a hole punched in their cruise cards and wear them on necklace so as not to lose them.

As I mentioned in my tips, I keep a wad of one dollar bills in the safe. This makes it convenient to tip the room service attendants. Yes, they are the only ones that you will have to personally tip. The other tips are covered by the automatic tipping charge.

Actually, we did both breakfasts. We had juice, coffee and Danish delivered to the room as a wakeup call. Then, I went out to run three miles on the jogging track. After my shower, we went to the dining room for the real breakfast. My wife and I prefer the dining room breakfast over the Horizon Court. I can go stand in a buffet line anytime, but I just like the linens and table service. The young lady who served the Danish pastries every morning became my best friend. (grins)

I hope this was of some help.

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