December 2015 - Grand Princess to Mexico
Every crew member did an excellent job. They always had a smile and warm welcome remembering our names and our preferences.
We had traditional dining (5:30) and loved it. The only thing I ordered off the "Available Anytime" menu was the shrimp cocktail a few nights. Chef Joel's choices for the new nightly menu were always fantastic. I had an apple, celery soup that was so good I still want another bowl! The fish, steaks, lamb were always cooked either perfectly or nearly so. The appetizers and desserts were superb. I had a chocolate mouse cake and toasted coconut cake with raspberry that I am still dreaming about. Our waiter, Melchor and his junior waiter, Ferdinand were a welcome delight each evening. The head waiter Nicola and the Maitre d'Hotel Rui made us feel like we were coming to a good friend's home for dinner each evening.
The food at the International Cafe was simple but delicious and well made. The pastries in the morning were fabulous....I could not resist the freshly made daily raspberry filled donuts.
The Coffee at the International Cafe was very good as well. Armando is the best barista on board. He will make you anything you want. I had double caramel machiatto (sp?)! Tip: get the salted caramel cappachino then walk next door to the Piazza bar and get a shot of Jameson's. Put the Jameson's in the coffee for a great Irish coffee.
Alfredo's has wonderful wood fired pizza and they will take special requests.
Arnie at the Vines bar was outstanding. He has the best wine selection on board and is very Knowledgeable. He would see us going into Alfredo's next door and bring us our favorite wine. Even coming back to refill our glasses. He would go to International Cafe or the Piazza bar to get us something if we so much as hinted that we would like something from there. We really enjoyed his food and wine pairing and I highly recommend it.
Ramil at the Crooners bar was his own entertainment venue destination. He had magic tricks, puzzles, riddles, and man.. could he juggle those shakers! He balanced two bottles nose to nose with a bill in-between and then pulled the bill out and the bottles stayed balanced on top of each other. And he did all this while filling orders and making drinks quickly. I never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a beverage.
Steve Morris of the Beach Boys, did two completely different and equally wonderful shows (comedy and music) on the first half of our trip. I like that Princess has the entertainers ship hop at ports. Steve got off halfway and another comedian Derrick Cameron (Tonight Show) came on and did two different shows as well. There were so many great choices for entertainment that we simply could not get to them all. Everything we did get to we thoroughly enjoyed.
We liked the piano lounge singer Funch, the Static Band, Tempo Quatro, the mariachi band, the Piazza demonstrations, Martini making, vegetable and fruit carving, cooking with chocolate..., the "Newlywed" type game show Marriage Match with passenger contestants, the Princess Pop Choir (all passengers who practiced for 10 days), the Princess Pop Star (American Idol type contest with passengers), the stargazing, the guest lecturer Dr. Greg Autry and even the trivia games (short entertaining interludes in the afternoon). There may have been something we didn't like but there was so much we did like I don't remember it.
We had massages, body scrubs, mani/pedis and cut/color at the spa. All were wonderful.
Embarkation at disembarkation at SF and each port of call was effortless, remarkably smooth.
We both bought the beverage card and highly recommend it. I drank $10 of coffee and $15 of bottled water (still and sparkling) each day. I preferred the wines that were $10 a glass and had two at lunch and two at dinner. Add a night cap (Manhattan) and a few non-alcoholic tropical slushies during the day while lounging by the pools and the $56 a day price tag on the card is well worth it. Plus I just liked not having to think about what I was drinking or how much it cost. I could have whatever I wanted and did not have to deprive myself of anything to save money. We saw some people cheating and thought it was deplorable. Do not buy a beverage card and then pass off your drinks to someone who did not buy it.
The front of the ship by the spa and Sanctuary had very few people and is adult only. The aft pool is also adult only. The front of the ship had people who were just wanting to chill and have peace and quiet, while the back of the ship had the happy hours, mariachi singers and the group who were wanting to interact and have a bit of fun. We loved both. We did not go to the mid ship pools since kids just aren't our thing.
I am sure people will find things to complain about. Everything was not "perfect". I feel really sorry for people who expect life to be perfect.....they are always disappointed.