January 2017 - Grand Princess to Mexico
It was just an ok cruise. Best thing was the itinerary. Though 4 ports in a row is exhausting when you do an excursion in each port, we loved 3 (four if you count the day we left) sea days in a row. Great chance to relax. Loved all ports except maybe not Manzanillo . That was a very unpleasant excursion and port in general. All other ports were great and excursions too. The Ship in dire need of some TLC. Very shabby in areas. Angry about enormous fee tacked on for Serenity area. $40 a day just to be in the adults only quiet area!! Never on any ship had there been a charge for that! Not stated on their website description of the ship either. Food was well prepared but not variety. By end of 10 days was tired of the same thing everyday. Buffet food was never hot enough. Cold waffles with cold syrup! Yuk! Many other foods as well were cold. Wonderful desserts on Lido, but not in dining room. Why was that? Coffee very good, which is rare for cruise ships, so that was a plus. Also a plus, ate more salads because had good dressings. First time I found French dressing on a ship. Loved that. First formal night, menu was terrible. We are use to extra good food on formal nights. Second formal was good. Lobster night and Beef Wellington. Not a Lobster person, but husband enjoyed it. I would of preferred a good steak or Filet Mignon as we were use to on other ships. In general, feel they went cheap on food with a lot of chicken dishes. No milk in little cartons for breakfast and milk in pitchers was not cold. Even had meatloaf featured on a formal night! Seriously, not impressed. All the staff was very attentive and on top of things. Loved our dining room waiters. Room steward too did a very good job. But their superiors, specially in the food areas, hawked and scowled over them to the point they appeared nervous and didn't take time to chit chat or have fun with the passengers which happens on Carnival and keeps a fun comfortable air to things. I know Princess wants to come off as a little classier than Carnival, but I felt sorry for the employees that always had a hard watchful eye on them. We were bugged to death in the buffet area with every staff member trying to get us drinks or grab our dishes almost before we were done with them because they needed to appear busy at every moment. Room was smaller than usual, but did the job and bed was amazing comfortable. We were sad that there were no towel animals. Weird that we had no stairs by the set of elevators by our room. That annoyed us, because we often prefer taking stairs. Seemed unsafe as well. Entertainment was so-so. Singers and dancers were good, but not that many shows by them. Magician was amazing. A few shows we had to miss because they only offered one show and it was right during our late dining time. That annoyed us too. Karaoke was only for one hour a night and not every night. That is not near long enough for those who like Karaoke. Most ships dedicate on lounge for that and it lasts a few hours. Other house bands and singers around the ship were good and did a nice variety of music. Loved they had a country western night, but again, lasted a little over an hour! Why so short? I will say that although Princess caters to an older crowd, I was happy to see they had a decent amount of activities to do during the sea days. Most fun to do or watch. Didn't fault them for lack of pool activities because the weather wasn't good enough for that most the time. It was an older ship so the atrium and theater didn't have that wow factor of the newer ships, but had several nice lounges and we loved the back 3 deck area of the ship, which we didn't know till about day 4, was an adult only area, so that was nice. Although didn't have the nice cushioned chairs Serenity would of had. Some cushioned chairs in that area, but it was were the smokers hung out and stu nk in there. And it was dark for reading. Speaking of dark..Library was dumb. On a main hallway near atrium, with 3 walls, so completely open to the noise of the hallway and very dark inside. Much too dark to read or play board games. Useless to be used as a library. Back to dining experience...the dining room during our late dining was almost empty, yet we were put back in a tight corner by a large noisy table of 12 or more people. Because that table was so demanding, our table sometimes got our food slow. Not blaming the waiters. They did amazing considering what pressure they were under. And our fondness for John and Ronald, the waiters, is why we didn't ask to be moved to a different area. But honestly, we shouldn't of been there to start with since most tables were unused. Plus engine vibration was terrible where we were sitting. I think in the middle of the room or front area, that would not of been as bad. Again, we could of asked to move, but liked our waiters and didn't want to hurt their feelings. This was our first time on Princess and we have done pretty much every cruiseline. We were so excited to try Princess. We had always heard it was a step above all the rest. So very disappointed with what we experienced. We are trying to keep in mind it is a very old ship and maybe their newer ships would be better. But honestly, the Serenity policy alone would probably keep us from booking another cruise with them. They really need to eliminate or greatly reduce that fee or they may find others like us will go to other cruise lines. We cruise every year at least once a year, and I was hoping to be a loyal customer. We may give them another try in the future on a newer ship, but as of right now, I don't see it. Sticking to Celebrity or Carnival from now on.