Sail Date: January 2019
Embarkation in SF: Wonderful experience. We are local to the area so we used a parking structure within walking distance to the pier, dropped our luggage with a porter, and made it very quickly through security and into the terminal. ... Read More
Embarkation in SF: Wonderful experience. We are local to the area so we used a parking structure within walking distance to the pier, dropped our luggage with a porter, and made it very quickly through security and into the terminal. Check-in was a breeze and personnel were friendly and helpful. Boarded almost as soon as we checked in and since rooms weren't ready yet (we boarded before noon), we were free to explore the ship/have lunch. Alfredo's: One of the first places we checked out on embarkation day and we loved it! Pizza was delicious and service was wonderful. We visited frequently over the course of our cruise. Only downside: if you order wine or beer, be prepared for it to take FOREVER to get your beverage...I'm assuming they don't have a dedicated wine/beer fridge and have to go across the ship to the closest bar to fulfill drink orders. On one of our visits it took longer to get the first beer I ordered than it did to order the pizza, have it made, then brought to the table. Room: An announcement was made over the PA system that all staterooms were ready at 1PM on embarkation day. We meandered our way up to our room (Caribe 514 balcony) and were pleased to find all of our luggage waiting outside the door. Things went downhill from there. Upon entering the room, I immediately noticed there were small pieces of trash/paper and pistachio shells all over the carpet. No luggage mat(s) on bed(s). Walked out onto balcony and noticed patio furniture was covered in paint splatters and/or bird droppings. As we began to unpack our luggage, our room steward came in and the first words out of his mouth were, "I haven't vacuumed yet!" (while I was relieved that he hadn't vacuumed and he was apologetic about the mess, it still made me wonder what else may not have been done since the room all-clear had already been given by the cruise director). He never introduced himself, the only reason I knew his name at all was because later that night when he knocked on the door, I read his name tag aloud and asked if I was pronouncing his name correctly (either I was or he was being polite). The next day we asked that our patio furniture be either cleaned or replaced due to the unknown stains on the chairs, but our room steward advised that the stains were permanent (not bird droppings, but unremovable paint/other substance) and there were no replacement chairs available. We didn't spend too much time on our balcony this trip (for other reasons outside the ship's control, e.g. loud neighbors regularly playing card games on their balcony, someone on a nearby balcony above ours that insisted on cutting their fingernails and/or toenails outside on an almost daily basis, etc.), so the stained furniture ended up not being a huge issue but definitely not ideal. On one of the few afternoons that we did sit on the balcony, I saw what appeared to be a dried chicken/animal bone (perhaps from a chicken wing) just under the balcony railing. I wasn't about to touch it so can't say for sure, but again, not ideal. Mattresses seemed worn; way too soft for our taste and no support. Flat sheets were used in place of fitted bottom sheets so everything came untucked quickly every evening and (if you move at all while sleeping) became wrinkled and bunched uncomfortably while sleeping. Pillows were feather (or down alternative) and offered no support whatsoever. We didn't get a good night's sleep any night of the cruise. On a positive note, the mattresses, pillows, and linens on Princess ships will give you a newfound appreciation for your own bedding at home! There were rusty screws hanging out of the cabinet facing around the refrigerator; I tightened them by hand so as to not snag our clothes or legs (it's one thing to get Montezuma's Revenge while in Mexico but I didn't want tetanus too!). Room steward was efficient throughout the cruise; other than the patio furniture, we made no special requests but he cleaned our room well every day and supplied us with plenty of towels and ice. Space in shower and bathroom is serviceable and comparable to other ships (i.e. not large). Plenty of hangers in closet/wardrobe area and lots of shelving for folded clothing. TV was tiny, not many choices, remote worked only intermittently or only if standing right in front of TV (and battery cover was sloppily taped on), and no on demand or PPV options (I realize this is tricky while at sea/depending on satellite reception, etc.). Room slept hot every night, air conditioning (if you can even call it that) basically non-existent; no specific temperature control in room (only "warmer/cooler" adjustments could be made, but even on the lowest "cooler" setting, room was stuffy and warm at all times). MDR: Food was same or worse quality as buffet so we only ate in the MDR three times (two times for dinner, once for lunch). Surf and turf was supposed to be filet mignon and prawns and while prawns were good, the "filet" was brown rubber and didn't even taste like beef, let alone a filet. Salmon was delicious and is an everyday selection so is a good go-to if your unsure of night-specific selections. Ordered albondigas soup (Mexican meatball soup) and salad at lunch and there was no meat in my soup, only green beans, a few bits or carrot, and peas. Chef's salad was room temp and lettuce was limp. Sabatini's: One of the highlights of our trip was our dinner at Sabatini's. Food was amazing, service even more so. Our waitress, Liudmyla, was so personable, knowledgeable, and efficient. We were stuffed by the end of our main course and were not interested in dessert, but she insisted on bringing us the sampler so we could at least try a bite. So glad she did as there were some delicious bites we would have missed out on! She even brought us complimentary limoncello (made in-house) digestifs. We ate here on the first formal night as per the Patter, formal dress was only required in the main dining rooms and were happy to see that others dining at the same time were also only adhering to the "smart casual" dress code. Crown Grill: We attempted to make a reservation for this restaurant on the second formal night of our cruise, but the maître D' insisted that we must be dressed formally to dine in "his" restaurant that night. We pointed out that we had eaten at Sabatini's on the previous formal night while only dressed "smart casually" and that the Patter indicated formal dress was required in main dining rooms but made no mention of other areas of the ship, but he said formal dress is supposed to be observed "everywhere" on the ship (his words). We got the sense that he just didn't want US in the restaurant so we gladly accommodated him and left without making a reservation. Other dining (Prego's, Trident, buffet, International Café, etc.): Prego's pizza was always good (especially enjoyed the BBQ chicken) and service was fast, Trident Grill almost always made burgers fresh to order (and the grilled buns were a nice extra) so not as fast as Prego's but worth the wait for a freshly grilled burger, buffet was as to be expected most mornings/nights and we particularly enjoyed "Italian Night", and International Café always had a nice selection of sweets, sandwiches, salads, and soups. We enjoyed the specialty coffees and teas at New Grounds next to the IC and service was wonderful there. Pub lunch: This was offered three times on our 10-day cruise and we had three wonderful lunches. Husband ordered fish and chips all three times and every time they were tender, flaky, and had a crispy coating. I ordered the bangers and mash twice and the Scotch egg once; all delicious. Dessert on the first and last pub lunch day was bread and butter pudding (just the right amount of sweetness and caramelized, crunchy bread) and for the life of me I can't remember what the middle pub lunch day dessert was (apparently not remarkable). Entertainment and Activities: House band (Finesse) was great; we made it a point to see them every chance we could. We didn't see any shows in the theatre as production shows really aren't our thing. We would have done more trivia events but the theme/genre/category was never disclosed in the Patter, it was always just "morning" or "afternoon" trivia. On our previous Princess cruise, trivia info in the Patter included more details (e.g. "'90's music trivia" or "geography trivia"). Bingo was fun up until the last day when we arrived 45 minutes early to the final game to purchase our tablets only to find out that all tablets had been reserved much earlier in the day. At no point was it announced that this was possible; tablets had been sold just before each game leading up to the final game, so we had no reason to think otherwise. Service: Other than the rude maître D' at Crown Grill, all of the service on the ship was good to top notch. Ports and Shore Excursions: This was our second time cruising to the Mexican Riviera and we enjoyed every port for different reasons. We love PV and Cabo for exploring on our own; in PV we walk the malecon, cross the river, and visit some local craft breweries in the Romantic Zone and in Cabo, we walk the marina and meander our way to Medano Beach, eat/drink at The Office, then take a glass bottom boat out to Los Arcos and all those spots before being dropped off back at the marina to catch the tender back to the ship. The excursions we booked (through Princess) in Manzanillo (turtle sanctuary) and Mazatlán (estuary cruise) were educational and fun (plus we got to hold a baby sea turtle at the sanctuary!). While we had some disappointments, snafus, and downright gross-outs on this trip/ship, we enjoyed ourselves enough to put a couple future cruise deposits down, but I will not sail on Grand again until she undergoes MAJOR refurb. The dry dock she is currently scheduled for in March 2019 is mainly for public areas so I don't expect any improvements to the cabins (which desperately need it) anytime soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise as we live in San Francisco and it is so easy to take. Embarkation was a breeze and could not have been made easier. Once on board, for the second time, we noticed how friendly this cruise was. The first thing I did ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we live in San Francisco and it is so easy to take. Embarkation was a breeze and could not have been made easier. Once on board, for the second time, we noticed how friendly this cruise was. The first thing I did was go down and make friends with the Coffee baristas at the International Cafe. Always big smiles on their faces. During this entire cruise, the dining room staff bent over backwards for us. Our cabin steward was amazing for the ten days... I would like to commend the person who does the hiring for Princess Cruises as they do an amazing job of finding talented people for their ships. The ports are ok, and nice to walk into town for some local cuisine. Coming home, it was the first trip where I want to stay on board... Bravo Princess This cruise will make us loyal to Princess Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I loved sailing out of San Francisco even if they were having terrible weather. We had our first suite ever and how can I ever go back? We were escorted on the ship, what a lovely perk This ship is old and I don't care. I ... Read More
I loved sailing out of San Francisco even if they were having terrible weather. We had our first suite ever and how can I ever go back? We were escorted on the ship, what a lovely perk This ship is old and I don't care. I don't look for rust and tears so if they were there, I didn't care. We were in D737 and oh the balcony! We chose to have breakfast on it 8 out of 10 mornings, loved being able to choose from the larger menu. Club Class dining was wonderful and we had the best waiter ever. Loved the extra choices. Did the Chef's table and it was worth every penny. I wish they would serve the rolls in Club Class on formal nights as one can't eat them during the Chef's table since there is too much food. Had wonderful dinners in both the Crown Grill and Sabatini's Hadn't been to Mazatlan in about 25 years and loved to see how they've cleaned it up, the malecon was beautiful. We did the Luxury Sail in Cabo and enjoyed it immensely. Just wandered around PV, I had my banana dacquiri and guac on the beach like I always do at Cuates y Cuetes. We didn't do any of the entertainment. We entertain ourselves and just relax. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Princess has the fastest embarkation of any cruise line. No wait, walked right on. Great balcony room. Tv programming needs work. Helpful staff. Princess patter was loaded with activities for seniors. Don’t miss sea adventure tour in ... Read More
Princess has the fastest embarkation of any cruise line. No wait, walked right on. Great balcony room. Tv programming needs work. Helpful staff. Princess patter was loaded with activities for seniors. Don’t miss sea adventure tour in Puerto Vallarta with speed boat, horseback riding to waterfall, snorkeling and beach relaxing with tour guide Ceasar!! Awesome! Ship headed for much needed refurbishment in spring 2019. Also visited Manzillo, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán. Also did Salsa and salsa and it was better than I expected! You won’t miss anything if you don’t get off the boat in Manzillo. We did a tour in Cabo through Princess, will definitely arrange something on my own next time! So many options, it’s a true tourist town. If buying Mexican blankets do it in Cabo where you could get 2 for $10. My husband and I traveled alone and wished that there were activities geared for Gen Xers. Visit large hot tubs at rear of ship for privacy and views. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we live in Northern Cal and wanted to avoid the hassle of air transport. Getting on the ship was a breeze as embarkation staff were a delight, but things began deteriorating quickly. We made our reservation ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in Northern Cal and wanted to avoid the hassle of air transport. Getting on the ship was a breeze as embarkation staff were a delight, but things began deteriorating quickly. We made our reservation six months before sailing and had a confirmation of a table for 2 at dinner. However, we were seated at a table for 12. We protested and were given a table for 2 for the first night and on the following night we were shown to a table for 2 which had been set up so that one of the chairs was actually in the entry corridor. We declined this table and thereafter took our meals at Anytime dining. Not wishing to make this any longer than needed I will make a partial list the problems we encountered. (1) worn out or poor quality mattresses in cabin (we turned them upside down to get added support}. (2) poorer food quality in the dining room than on previous cruises (sorbet that was akin to a snow-cone). (3) carpet replacement in the cabin above us beginning at 8:30 AM which sounded like barbells being dropped on our ceiling. (couldn't we have been advised the day before?) (4) a loud metallic hammering which lasted for 2 hours on the last day and which destroyed the ambiance of a balcony breakfast. Our cruise last year on Princess was our Gold Standard for cruising and we had expected a similar experience this time. We were disappointed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Booked an interior room less than a week before embarkation. This was our fourth time on this ship and first time ever in an interior cabin. Found the cabin adequate for a ten day cruise to a warm weather destination. We spent very little ... Read More
Booked an interior room less than a week before embarkation. This was our fourth time on this ship and first time ever in an interior cabin. Found the cabin adequate for a ten day cruise to a warm weather destination. We spent very little time in the cabin, pausing there only to take care of the necessities like sleep, dress, shower, etc. Room was quiet and Steward Dennis did a fine job taking care of the cabin in our absence. The Lido deck cabin was steps from the outside pool and hot tub. A few steps more took us to the Conservatory which is why this ship is one of our favorite. The covered Calypso pool and bar means we can swim, "hot-tub", work a puzzle, and/or play ping pong in a covered area. These areas along with the Horizon Court and aft portion of the ship make four distinct areas to enjoy breakfast and lunch. Service was wonderful. Speaking of food. We were initially assigned Anytime Dining (AD) being 30 on the wait list for early Traditional Dining (TD). We walked directly to the Mater D. and asked of early TD. We took our first meal in AD and were assigned Traditional, thereafter. Our waiters were superb and knowledgeable. We often followed their recommendations. Food was excellent. We found the entertainment to be excellent. The Magician show was fun, Todd Adamson was a wonderful singer, and the band was good. The dancers were some of the best I've seen. Todd sang a wonderful duet with one of the women singers (Megan) for his second act in the Vista Lounge. The Cruise Director had a great lineup. The San Francisco Cruise Port is the best. Staff is great. Embark and Debark processes were highly organized. Easy on; easy off. Great experience. Fin. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I have never been on a Mexican Riviera cruise, so the route is right. Grand Princess is a cruise ship of good size and was last refurbished in December, 2016. In addition, I booked the cruise the last minute and got a good price. The ... Read More
I have never been on a Mexican Riviera cruise, so the route is right. Grand Princess is a cruise ship of good size and was last refurbished in December, 2016. In addition, I booked the cruise the last minute and got a good price. The food was reasonably good with decent choices and varieties. I specially liked its soups and rice porridge (congee) served daily at Horizon Court. The stateroom was clean, though slightly tight in the walk-in wardrobe area . The entertainments were interesting. The service was as expected. It is worth mentioning that during this cruise, there were 5 enrichment presentations by Dr. Gloria Auchey, entitled "Understanding Your Brain", which I found very insightful and enlightening. Each port visited offers something interesting to see and do, such as nice beaches, historic sites, animal sanctuaries, shopping, and so on. In summary, the Grand Princess Mexican Riviera is a cruise of overall good value and quite enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Enjoyed the cruise, but found the ship needs extensive renovation, not just a quick refit. I guess the cruise lines are concentrating on new ship building and not keeping the old ones up to a good standard. This is to bad because it is a ... Read More
Enjoyed the cruise, but found the ship needs extensive renovation, not just a quick refit. I guess the cruise lines are concentrating on new ship building and not keeping the old ones up to a good standard. This is to bad because it is a nice ship. Just needs some love ..... The crew where the stars of this ship! Very helpful and friendly, we used the club class for the first time and found the dining option outstanding, it reminds me of the way things used to be. (1982 was my first cruise with princess) Being elite the club class didn’t give us much more than we would already get on a cruise with princess other than the club class dining. I found that the laundry service was rationed for elite passengers, because so many elite passengers on the cruise I guess? Not impressed, the cabin steward would not refill the laundry bags unless asked? Overall this we had a great trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to spend the holidays at sea since we couldn't spend it with our grandchildren. The embarkation process was the BEST I've ever experienced. Easier than checking into a hotel on Michigan avenue. No waiting for your ... Read More
Wanted to spend the holidays at sea since we couldn't spend it with our grandchildren. The embarkation process was the BEST I've ever experienced. Easier than checking into a hotel on Michigan avenue. No waiting for your group, just go up to an empty spot and get your cruise card. No waiting to get in the room AND miracle of miracles all four pieces of our luggage were already outside our room. We've waited till late evening on some cruises. The room was spacious with a shower and a tub. Loved to soak in the tub. Room was very clean and nothing was worn out. The balcony however was a disaster. Dirty and the furniture was all rusted. Paid for a balcony and really didn't really want to sit out there. Too depressing. Room steward was a disappointment, very aloof and even had a bad attitude at times. The ship overall is tired and old despite the refurb. Very clean throughout, although some of the bathrooms could use more frequent cleaning. Time to retire this one. Very health conscious. Crew members at the entries to all food venues with sinks and soap (more effective than hand cleaner). Bathroom receptacles by the doors so you can use a towel to open the doors. A lot of the men's room doors were left open. All food venues were very clean. No pens to sign bills to keep down transfer of germs (a real good idea). The BEST front desk staff I've ever experienced. A moderate line the first day (as usual) but after that you could just walk right up. Always had at least 3-4 crew members at all times except late at night. Excellent. Food was the big disappointment. Our waiter told us they had not changed the dining room menu in 4 years!!?? Really? Food in the dining room was mediocre at best. Actually got sick by the fifth day and started eating pizza and burgers. Lido deck buffet was never crowded but the food was generally cold and severely under-seasoned. Even the soup was cold. They use overhead heat lamps instead of heating with steam from underneath so the food gets cold quickly and the tops of the dished get crusty, ugh. All fish was frozen and when thawed out was awful. All the chicken dishes were bad except the chicken strips. Salads and fruit were fresh and my wife ate this most of the time. At times they ran out of ice. BIG BONUS the desserts were as good or better than any we've had. No matter where you got one, they were exceptional. (Watch that waistline). We started eating at the up-charge Crown Grill. Steak and food there was excellent. Onion soup to die for and the meat was expertly cooked. Great experience. Highly recommended. Other than that, pack a lunch. Our wait staff was superb, really excellent. A real bright spot. Crew in general were a little friendlier than most . Drinks. We drank mostly beer since we only found one bartender that actually knew how to make a drink. Complained to bar manager. Very inexperienced in general and need a lot of training. Best on board entertainment ever!! Almost Broadway quality. Specialty acts were unique and top shelf. All the entertainers, when encountered around the ship were friendly and engaging. Don't miss any of the shows. Great New Years Eve party, a real blast. What is there to say about Hawaiian excursions. You can't go wrong. Had a great time whale watching. Saw a lot the beasts on a Maui excursion. Great tender organization with tickets. No mass of people jamming the stairs and isle ways. Ship did not seem crowded. Lots of kids running around, but hey it was Christmas and New Years. Although I saw more motorized carts than at our golf club. Had to keep your head on a swivel. Other good items were the little deli in the main atrium. Great food and never crowded. Also the gourmet coffee (extra charge) shop right next to it was great. The pizza and burger areas were never crowded and the food was good. Also the pizza restaurant off the main atrium was excellent. Debarkation was well organized although a REAL mess once at the curb. Totally disorganized. Worst I've ever experienced. Not enough cabs and no way Uber or Lyft could get through all the traffic to pick you up. Took us 1 1/2 hours to get a ride to the airport. Ugh. Use Princess transfers. San Francisco is not our favorite port to sail out of. Won't be back. When sailing domestic we like Miami, New Orleans, and Vancouver much better. Future cruise director was in the wrong job, but I did book another Princess Cruise while on board for Alaska. We've made the exact trip in the past and just decided, why not! Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The cruise route of SF to the Hawaiian islands roundtrip is great, but the amenities were not so great. We learned this ship was built in 1998 of all steel, meaning that internet doesn't work well at best. The ship is old and worn ... Read More
The cruise route of SF to the Hawaiian islands roundtrip is great, but the amenities were not so great. We learned this ship was built in 1998 of all steel, meaning that internet doesn't work well at best. The ship is old and worn and needs to either be mothballed or renovated from top to bottom. The Vista Lounge has a walk ramp to the front that is uneven and amateurishly done, making it tough to walk on open seas. Our TV was small (22" monitor) and the picture grainy; and there were only a few older TV episodes that repeated continuously - they neeed better TV entertainment, possibly some Hallmark movies and some recently released movies and they should publish a TV schedule on TV, in the Patter and on their ship app so people will know what's playing when and where. Also, the internet was practically non-existent at sea - we were told it was spotty or that the IT dept was working on it, but internet never improved.. Many customers were complaining to the Internet Cafe Manager that they took cruise because Princess promoted it as having Internet but many passengers who relied on internet for work had none. The food was better than our last Princess cruise to the Mediterranean but the menu seemed to repeat after about 7 days. Excursions on Princess website showed only positive features but excursion vouchers indicated warnings such as uneven steps or long distances to walk that might not be suitable for those with mobility issues - as disabled members, if we had known that at the beginning we would not have booked - had to cancel some excursions once we read warnings on vouchers. Entertainment was spotty. Read Less
Grand Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 3.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 3.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

Find a Grand Princess Cruise