We are (or were) planning a cruise on the Grand Princess in either Oct or Nov of this 2003. Almost everything I have read is very positive regarding the Grand Princess. However, when I talk to my travel agent, he said the reports his is getting back from his clients who have taken recent cruises on Princess are not very flattering, Princess is trying to increase thier bottom line to make the company more lucartive for purchase by either Carnival or RCCL. Thus, the service and quality of food has deteriorated. The good thing is the cruise prices are lower but then so is the service. Has anyone had any recent expierences on Princess?
I was on the Grand Princess on March 30-April 6 and the service was WONDERFUL! You had the same waitress and waiter the whole entire time and ours did a fabulous job! Her name was Noni (the waitress) and she was from Romania..you should see if you can get her table...she is the best! And they bring you sooooo much food during the main dining seatings. What was also nice was if you did not like what you ordered, they would take it back and bring you out something that is much better! The bar service was a little on the slow side, but we sailed on a packed cruise so that may have been the situation..they can get busy at times, especially by the pool areas, but that wasn't really a major issue or anything with our cruise. The food service courts and buffets areas were fabulous also! I thought that we had excellent service and the ship was just perfect!! Hey check out Skywalker's Nightclub too..good dancing!!
I have heard nothing but positive responses from Princess customers in the last year. A friend was on the Golden in March and the cruise was great. Our Grand cruise one year ago was also wonderful. Service has been top notch, as has the quality of the food.
Some people somehow think that the automatic tipping has somehow decreased the level of service, but I have found that to be that opposite. It's not like people are being forced to do automatic tipping. Every passenger has the option of having it removed and to tip on their own. Ship staff knows this and would be hurting themselves to deliver sub-standard service.
Nick, your TA might want to get with the program. The P&O Princess - Carnival merger is a done deal. RCL has been out of the picture for quite some time. We cruised on the Grand Princess about a month ago, and had an excellent cruise. Auto-tipping has not resulted in a noticeable lack of service. You can be quite confident that you will have an enjoyable time on the Grand Princess.
>Auto-tipping has not resulted in a noticeable lack of service.<
Although I'm not a fan of auto-tipping, I used it on our last cruise (we just returned May 8th - Coral Princess) and also gave some cash for the excellent service our head waiter, waiter and assistant waiter provided. However, I would have thought that the auto-tipping would assure those that do the breakfast and lunch in both the dining room and buffet, that they wouldn't be left out as they share in those automatic tips.
I was thus disappointed when a waiter tried to take my entire order in the dining room at lunch time, including making my dessert choice at that time. I refused and told him I'd decide that later. Later I asked the head waiter about this and he said the waiter was wrong and shouldn't have done that. I would not even have mentioned this except that I heard from a number of passengers that this seemed to be happening to a lot of them. They thought they had to order that way and ended up not even hungry for dessert so it went to waste.
Now that's a very minor item but it is what I would have expected if auto-tipping was not in place. Of course, not every person working on a ship will be top notch and one will run into less than perfect wait people and after working 7 days a week for all those hours, one might expect a bad day now and then. I just mention it as I'm wondering if this has happened to others on different Princess ships as it may be some kind of trend.
We were on Grand 4/13/03 & had a Great time. We had some of the best service in the dining room ever on a cruise - opted for traditional first seating & loved it. We had done personal choice on Golden a year earlier & liked that, too, (the convenience of going when you want, especially on port days), but you can't beat the staff getting to know your preferences. After the first night, our entire table had cappucinos every night w/out asking. We also found the service in the dining room for breakfast & lunch to be outstanding (which, again, was different from our experience a year earlier on the Golden).
The ship was beautiful, we had a great time & would highly recommend Princess. (On the other hand, we've been on Carnival & RCL & would also recommend any of them. They all have good, and probably, bad points -- but overall so far, the highest marks would go to Princess).
I was on the Golden for Thanksgiving 2002, a very full ship and everything was super.
I did not notice any difference in the dining room service even though I used the auto tipping, we had excellent servers and we were at a large table. I thought the food was very good.
All cruise lines have gone to the "extra revenue" routine and there is no getting around it, I just ignore the art auctions, the "extra peddling, etc. I just got off the Brilliance of the Seas and it was great, too! Good service, good food, great cruise. RCI, just like Princess does the extra revenue items, too.
One thing on Princess you could get certain specialty coffees after dinner in the diningroom, no charge, whereas RCI was charging for those.
I'm always suspicious of a travel agent that steers you one way or another, I've used different agents over the years and they will not talk or steer you from one line to another. Only thing they might do, if you are brand new, is try to find out your interests so you don't have a mismatch. Why bite the hand that feeds them???
I don't quite know how to answer this. Personally, I have decided to abandon Princess Cruises for the foreseeable future due to the recent merger of the parent company with Carnival Corporation because I really don't like what I have seen in the way of evidence of neglected maintenance on vessels owned by that company. Nonetheless, it will take some time to implement Carnival Corporation's policies in this regard across the Princess Cruises fleet and even longer for such policies to take their toll.
That said, I would not have chosen to return aboard MV [i] Grand Princess [/i[ even before the merger happened because I discovered are some problems in her layout that I found to be quite annoying (and which I have described in many past threads on this message board). Unfortunately, Princess not only built two sister ships (MV Golden Princess and MV Sar Princess) but also has ordered two subsequent classes of ships (MV Diamond Princess and MV Sapphire Princess from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and MV Caribbean Princess and a sister to MV Caribbean Princess that remains unnamed) that appear to replicate nearly all of the same problems. I have found the layout of several other Princess Cruises vessels, including MV Sun Princess, MV Dawn Princess, MV Royal Princess, MV Tahitian Princess, and MV Pacific Princess to be far better. If you elect to stay with Princess Cruises, I would recommend choosing any of these vessels over MV Grand Princess..
I have been on several ships in the Princess fleet including Grand and Golden and I personally am a fan of the Grand Class ships. I have had nothing but great experiences onboard, including my encounters with crew and staff. I for one will continue to sail with Princess and on the Grand Class ships - as well as other classes.
Just came back from the Grand on May 4 and cannot say enough. We were travelling with our two-year old and she loved it too!
I'll be interested to retrace my steps to read one of Norm's threads on the layout, but I didn't not experience any problems. We were on the Aloha deck and I found everything fairly convenient. Any extra walking to get to thinngs was much need excercise (I ate like there was no tomorrow, and despite jogging each morning on the outdoor track - 20 laps= 2 miles - I still gained 5lbs.!)
Just returned from the Grand on 6/8. This was our 5th time aboard this wonderful ship and we would be on it in a heartbeat givin the chance. Service everywhere on board was the best ever. We did personal choice for the 6th time and we still love it. Tipped over and above the gratuities charged to our shipboard account. Hope you get a chance to enjoy this ship too!!!