Australia's Top Cruise Site

Passengers Booked

2 2 0 0 0 0 +

Grand Princess

3 Passengers have reviewed this ship

  • Excellent

    2
  • Very good

    1
  • Average

    0
  • Poor

    0
  • Terrible

    0

Rating summary

  • Food

    4
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    4
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    3
  • Value

    4

3 reviews sorted by:

Contributer image placeholder

Anonymous

Contributer

  • 0 Helpful votes
  • 0 Cruise reviews
  • 0 Cruises

Grand Princess

View deals
  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    4
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    4
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    4
  • Value

    4

"A Grand Experience of the Mediterranean!!"

Aug 2011

We boarded Grand Princess on the 10th of November for a 12 night cruise of the Mediterrancean. I was dreading the boarding since our experience boarding Pacific Star in Brisbane. There we lined up for 3 hours in the hot sun dragging our luggage all the way. On this day we had our driver from RomeCabs collect us at 1100 to go to Civitavecchia, Rome's port. It takes about one hour to get there so we thought this would be good since boarding commenced at 1200. The brochure said, board after 1300 for a faster check in. Anyway we go there at 1230 and as we got out of the car, a port worker took our luggage straight to the ship, we did not see it again until it arrived in our mini suite later that day. We then went to check in. We lined up for no longer than 20 minutes, got our cruise cards, and were on board in 30 minutes flat. How great was that! It does not have to be complicated, maybe the Brisbane port should take some hints from these guys. Grand Princess is truly a grand ship. Built 10 years ago it was Princess' flagship and still is. It is 109000 gross tonnes and is like a massive floating palace. You can hardly believe you are on a ship. Every space looks huge and although there are near 4000 people on board including crew, you could never tell. After boarding the ship on Sunday, we got settled in and the very next day the ship was alongside in Naples Italy. This was a good stop for us because we were looking forward to seeing Pompeii. A once in a lifetime experience to see a city frozen in time after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. Pompeii was roman installation and looks similar to the others we have seen so far. All the towns had similar characteristics, a theatre, baths, public piazzas, shopping areas and wide streets and of course a very important thing, underground plumbing!! We went on a Princess arranged tour with an English speaking guide so we did not have to do anything. This time it was me getting on a tour bus outside the port terminal instead of watching passengers at Outer Harbor do it as I have always done. It is nice to be on the other side for a change and to see how the different ports operate their terminals/embarkation points. When we arrived in Naples by bus it was hard not to notice the mighty Mount Vesuvius towering over town still so dangerously close for an active volcano that is likely to erupt again. This monster must have instilled some fear in the inhabitants of Pompeii back in the day when they hear the mountain rumbling. Believe it or not they left their city for days and after the rumbling and trembling stopped, they returned only to be sitting ducks for the explosion of deadly gas and ash that they had no idea was to follow. This eruption preserved life at a moment in time like no other. We had a perception though that our tour of the city would show the people in their homes preserved at that moment in time but unfortunately, in order to preserve them forever, the people have been removed from their original place and placed in a central viewing area as well as artifacts like pots, plates etc. This was probably our only disappointment. The city is huge as it used to have 20,000 inhabitants. A funny thing we walked through was a two storey brothel. In those days many foreign merchants would come to Pompeii to sell/buy products and of course they would visit the brothel. Because of the language barrier, the locals depicted pictures of certain "services" as a catalogue on the walls of the brothel so that foreign visitors could just point to the service of their choice. Apparently they were a very open civilisation when it came to these things. The anguish on the faces of these people frozen in timde, quite chilling. Another important Port of Call on this trip was the visit to Athens. Athens, the centre of the ancient Greek empire, was the centre of the ancient world after Rome. If you ask the Greeks, Rome was second to them!! We took a ship's tour again in this port that covered the city of Athens and the Acropolis. After a coach tour of the city, we headed up to the Acropolis. Acropolis is the term used for the entire area on the mountain that includes the Parthenon and other monuments. From the mountain top we could see the whole city which is probably why the ancient Greeks built it there, it was a fortress. For those who are considering cruising, this is the life! Wake up when you want, or if you have an early tour, get a wake up call! We booked all our tours in the afternoon that way we had plenty of time to get organised in the morning. We go to breakfast to Horizon Court, the on board 24 hour buffet. The selection is great, cooked breakfast, freshly baked pastries, breads, jams, muffins, fruit galore - it is a paradise of food selection for any taste. After breakfast we would take Michael to Kid's Club (more on that in another post) which he absolutely loves, then go to the Grand Atrium coffee lounge and get a Capuccino. I bought a Coffee Card on board which gives you discount on coffee, hot chocolate and espresso whilst on board. Remember that drinks and real coffee are not free. After the coffee fix it would generally leave us time to go for a walk, check out the photo board or sit in a lounge and just relax. The photo boards are good to look at. The ship employs photographers/videographers who go along on tours, take photos at dinner, do formal portrait photos and theme photos. Then each day the photos of everyone are put on the boards, you can then select any you want to buy. They also use the video they shoot to create a cruise DVD that you can buy at the end of the cruise with all the ports of call, special ship events, and lots more. We had a family formal photo done on formal night when we were all dressed up and purchased the photo. For US$260 we are also getting a canvas print of it in a huge size framed and shipped directly to our home. Even in AU$ we would not get that for the same price. It was a good opportunity to get a family portrait because we would never get around to it once we got home. Lunches are served in all the dining rooms (there are three main dining rooms), the buffet, the Pizzeria and the Grill. Lots of choice for everyone whether you want a light lunch or a big sit down affair. After lunch on a sea day, we have had the choice of movies in the theatre, trivia, wine tasting, shopping on board and much more. Princess is good at their sales. They have jewellers, clothes, perfumes, and much more on board. They time their sales well with sea days and they hold the sales in Grand Atrium or in one of the dining rooms. The prices are tax and duty free and heavily discounted at times. Some stuff is junk but lots of good opportunities for good gifts. They had my Guess handbags and Svarovsky jewellery, watches (which I bought many of) and of course lots of trinkets and cruise junk but must haves!!! Money on board. When on board a cruise, all transactions are cashless. When you get on board they give you a cruise card which is your stateroom door card, ID for getting on and off ship and your method of payment for those items which are not included in the cruise fare. Great not to have to carry money around! Don't get me wrong, a lot of stuff is included in the fare: Accommodation Gym facilities Pools and all lounges All shows and entertainment Food in all dining rooms, dining areas except two alternative dining areas (the Steakhouse and the Italian restaurant but here you pay a $20 cover charge only) The ice cream parlour is also extra The Lotus Spa is extra for hair and beauty appointments as you would ashore Room service Really the only extras are: Drinks Shopping Tours if you book any Other special things on board are: The Princess Patter - this is the daily ship newsletter, every cruise line has one. Each night you receive one in your stateroom and it has all the activities for the next day on it. It includes shows, games, movies, weather, sales etc. It is a lot of fun to look at each night and plan out your next day. Michael even gets one for the Kid's Club and he loves reading it to find out what he is going to do each day. Dining There are many dining options on the ship. When you book your cruise with Princess they ask you if you want traditional fixed dining or Anytime Dining. Traditional is a set time each night at the same restaurant, same table, same people. Anytime is basically just that, you turn up anytime and have dinner. If they have no places at that time, they give you a pager and page you when a table opens up. This has only happened to us once so we went to a bar to get a drink and I did not even get to finish it because they paged us so quickly. We love anytime dining. It is good because you do not have to worry about what time your tour gets back or if you want to have a later dinner, you can. The alternative restaurants like the steakhouse and Italian restaurant are good too but you need to book there to get a table. They charge a cover charge of $20 but it is really good value and the food is great. The cost covers entree, main and dessert a la carte. Kids are not forgotten either. There is a kids menu and there is always the grill or the pizzeria!! We visited Mykonos on a half day visit. I had not booked any ship tours because we decided to go ashore on our own. We went ashore and took a shuttle bus to the main part of town. Mykonos is a very famous Greek Island. It is made of granite and all the homes are painted white with blue or red shutters. This is what you typically see in paintings and postcards of Greece, very different to Athens and the mainland. This place is truly unique, with tiny streets and walking areas, it is a place where progress seems to have missed. No typically evident things like satellite dishes or other modern things, whilst I am sure they have them, they have been very good at hiding these from tourists so as not to spoil the impression of this island. Well for us this port of call was the most important, seeing the great pyramids. The ship docked in Port Said which is a 3 hour drive from Cairo. We booked a ship's tour which included motor coach transport to Cairo, a visit to the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, a visit to the Pyramids and the Sphinx. We got up at 0500 and had to meet at 0630 in the Casino to go to our bus. Believe it or not there were 120 motor coaches going on this tour on this day so a logistical nightmare for the ship, the port and the Egyptian authorities. They value tourism as a natural resource and it is extremely important to them as a source of income for the national economy so when you have 120 tour buses travelling in motorcade for 3 hours to Cairo, the military escort the motorcade all the way. Seeing people with machine guns was a little frightening but apparently it was for our safety. We waited on board our bus for what seemed like ages (1 hour) so that all the 120 buses could be loaded as they all had to travel together. We travelled for 3 hours to Cairo with very little air conditioning so it was hot and uncomfortable. Princess insists on air conditioned coaches and inspects them all prior to departure when our driver had it on but during the trip he turned it off, probably to conserve fuel. We were then told not to use toilet paper in the on board toilet and it did not flush so take a guess what that meant - cross your legs!! We got to Cairo finally and arrived at the Museum. Imagine over 1000 people converging on the museum at once plus the people who were already there!! Anyway we had around 45 minutes in the museum and we were rushed through it with our guide yelling, "faster, faster", Imagine all these elderly people (most of the passengers on this trip are retired, there are some younger people but not many for this itinerary) trying to scurry around. Anyway we saw very little. We did manage to get a glimpse of Tutankhamen's famous gold mask that was found in his tomb along with many other treasures. His mask is made of solid gold and weighs over 11kg. I would show you a photo but that was not allowed. After the museum we went to lunch at the Intercontinental Hotel were they put on a huge buffet for all 120 coach loads of passengers in their banquet room. Of course we were warned about eating/drinking certain things in Egypt as you can get sick not being used to their water etc. Last cruise apparently over 400 passengers got sick. You ask me why? If you saw the rubbish in the Nile you would understand. The Nile is the lifeline, no other source of fresh water around and it is polluted, dirty and even has sewage in it!! Imagine washing you veggies in it!! Anyway we stayed away from certain foods and still had a nice lunch. Then rush rush to the next location, Giza for the Pyramids. We crossed the Nile to go to the Giza area which believe it or not is just on the outskirts of Cairo. You don't see that in the movies!! We had 30 minutes at the Pyramids and between walking to and from them, we had a few minutes only to get pictures, another disappointment about this tour. The Egyptian hawkers are really pushy. They make it really difficult to enjoy the place. We then all piled in to the 120 coaches and set back for Port Said another 3.5 hours away with no air conditioning and no toilet!! All the buses arrived at the port at around 2000 and the ship and port authority did little to arrange our re-entry, it was a free for all with 1000+ passengers trying to get through gates and into the ship. There was only chaos and we had to pick Michael up or he would have got trampled. Everyone was very tired by this stage, a 12+ hour tour!! It was a real pity by my view of it all was that the tour company was far too ambitious to fit all this in one day and the result was a very rushed, uncomfortable tour. We went, we took our photos and left but had little time to soak it all in. The next day the line at the complaints desk on the ship was very long needless to say!! The next day we visited Alexandria also in Egypt. A very important city if you are a history buff. This is where Cleopatra and Mark Anthony spent a lot of time, a very important port, the biggest for Egypt (excluding trade through the Suez Canal). We loved the Pyramids and Sphinx, pity for the lack of time. The next few days were spent travelling back to Rome where we ended this 12 day trip. What a great experience!!

Read more
  • Cruise Name: Grand Princess
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Sailed: November 2008
Contributer image placeholder

Anonymous

Contributer

  • 0 Helpful votes
  • 0 Cruise reviews
  • 0 Cruises

Grand Princess

View deals
  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    4
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    4
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    4
  • Value

    4

"Med/Eqypt cruise"

Jul 2011

The ports were great, it was the first time they had been to Egypt and despite warnings people ate what they shouldn't and strict hygene rules were put in place after that port. There was food 24/7 thanks to a round the clock buffet, the restaurant food was better than the buffet but it was still very good. Next to the pool there was complimentary pizza and burgers (on other ships you have to pay). The shore tours were very expensive (as you would expect) but not waiting in a line for hours was great. We didn't have to worry about being ripped off or getting lost. We worked out that it cost about NZ$300 per person per night. The ship was beautiful with three pools and seven spas. The staff were professional. Nzers may not be as comfortable on a Princess Cruise as on a P&O (despite Princess being more luxurious) as the feel is very different. On P&O the crew and passengers are much more laid back and friendly - but if you are travelling with people this won't bother you at all on a Princess Cruise.

Read more
  • Cruise Name: Grand Princess
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Sailed: October 2008
{"IS_TEST_ENV":true,"PAGE_READY":{"hitNationality":"us","siteCurrency":"AUD","siteEnv":"Testing","siteLang":"en","sitePageType":"princess\/grand-princess\/reviews","siteProduct":"cruise","siteReferrer":"http:\/\/cruisesalefinder.com.au","siteRelease":"NS","siteType":"responsive","userLoggedIn":0}}