My husband and I have taken many cruises, andlove the whole cruise-experience. Inaddition to several smaller cruise ships, wealso sailed on Princess' Star Princess in1990 and had an awesome time. The summer of1999, we sailed on Royal Caribbean's Grandeurof the Seas. This was a beautiful, cleanship and again, we had a wonderful time. Ireally wanted this past summer's cruise tobe a family reunion, but one thing lead toanother and that did not happen. So, we tookour two children, our son, just 10, anddaughter, almost 15 on their first cruise.My husband and I were so disappointed and soglad the rest of the family was not along. Iwould have been so embarrassed! We sailedthe Grand Princess on its Eastern itineraryon 8 July 2001. I expected the Grand Princessto be just that, grand. It was not. Theservice we received was horrible.We were assigned to the Botticelli DiningRoom, where we at all our dinners. Ourwaiter, Miguel from Mexico, was not friendlyat all. He would say "hi" to my husband and my son, but almost never even acknowledged my daughter or me. He would ask my husband and son what they wanted, then went my daughter and finally to me. I was insulted. I thought it was supposed to be "ladies first." Miguel waited on two larger tables and our table-for-four, and ALWAYS served the two other tables first, despite my request one night to leave a little early. Our assistant waiter, Anka from Turkey, was painfully shy; she almost never spoke a word. We ate ourbreakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court.Although the menu there was somewhatrepetitive, the food was not bad, but theservice again could have used some help.Princess has adopted a "for your convenience"by which they will automatically deduct $6.50 per day, per person for the dining staff.Unfortunately, I think this has reallycontributed to the lack of friendly,courteous service they once had. (Just FYI,this can be removed from your statement byvisiting the Pursers desk, not manypassangers were aware of this.)Our stateroom, category II, was supposed tobe the 'best' (well most expensive) insideroom. It was small and dirty. My son saidhis bed smelled like someone had thrown-upin it. You could write your name in the duston our bedside lamps and there were dustballs under our beds. This was something Ihad never seen on any cruise line, especiallynot a Princess cruise.When we docked at St. Thomas, I wanted totalk to the Port and Shopping Guide, Russell.He was scheduled in the Princess Patter to beat the midship gangway for last minutequestions from 0800-0930. I arrived earlyand waited, and waited. Finally I asked oneof the staff where I could find him, theirresponse was, "Oh, he never shows." I wentto the Pursers desk for assistance. Theyclaimed they tried to page him, but said hewas not answering. I ended up wasting almosttwo hours of shopping/excursion time justtrying to get my question answered. I laterlearned Russell was one of the first off theship and had gone in town to go shopping.That made me angry. (There were two gangways,he obviously choose the other).The ship is very big, but also very choppy.We quickly learned we had to take a certainelevator just to get to our dining room. Thegrand atrium was very small in comparisonwith other ships, only three floors and notespecially attractive. The carpeting in manylocations was worn. The Princess Theater wasnot very large and was quite plain. TheVista Show Lounge had large pillars, whichobstructed our view on several occasions.(See part II)
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