Friday & Saturday-Precruise
My family includes (husband 43, myself-41, daughter-17, and son-15) we began our trip with a 2 night stay at the Marriott Harbor Beach in Ft. Lauderdale. The hotel was beautiful and the beach was so pretty, nice white sand and warm blue water. We did have a couple of rain showers, but that's par for the time of the year. The kids were so excited as the New York Yankee's were also staying at the hotel.
We arrived at the cruise terminal around 12:15, and we were in our cabins by 12:30. We had booked a minisuite and were planning on the four of us sharing that cabin. Then about 3 weeks before the cruise I was checking prices, and found that the cabin prices, had gone way down. We were able to get the kids, an outside cabin on the same deck without paying any more money! I am so glad we did that, as we are not on the same schedule. Our kids had the time of their life, without parents and no curfew! We were in Emerald 720, and the kids in Emerald 229 (way down the hall on the opposite side). We loved our minisuite, our balcony was covered, and it gave us a lot of privacy. We had breakfast every day on the balcony. We found that room service was terrific. You can order items, which are not on the menu, and they will bring them. After getting settled in our room we explored all over the ship. We were so surprised about the size of the ship. It was raining so, we had a little lunch, and continued to explore.
Had dinner and then when to the cabin and set on the balcony and continued to have a wonderful evening.
We were very happy with this stop. A day at a beautiful beach! We loved just swimming, and snorkeling around all day. Had a BBQ, and then more swimming. Headed back to the tenders around 2:00, and took a nap, showered, and then got ready for dinner. Had dinner and then went to the Marty Allen and Kate Blackwell show. It was okay; I could of easily done without the show, but still entertaining.
Tuesday-Day at Sea
Slept late, then had breakfast on the balcony. We went around to all the different pools and found that the adult pool aft on deck 16 was best suited for us. We found loungers on the sun deck and soaked up the sun and read until we decided it was lunchtime. Our daughter came and found us, and we had pizza with her outside by the pool. Then went back to deck 16 and swam and read the rest of the afternoon. This was the first formal night, my husband and son were all decked out in their tuxes, and my daughter and I had long dresses. We had our pictures taken but they turned out horrible! We shared a table with four other people and had an enjoyable dinner. Then the kids left to hang out with all their new friends, and my husband and I walked around the ship, did a little shopping, and then went to the casino for about a hour.
My husband was scheduled to dive, and the kids and I had schedule the stingray and snorkel trip with Captain Marvin. The kids and scheduled the 10:00-1:00 trip. This was absolutely the best excursion of all time. We were the only 3 on the boat, with two guides. I could write pages and pages about this excursion. My daughter and I were a bit scared of the stingrays, but got over it with the help on our encouraging guides. They also took us to three different places to snorkel. We saw all kinds of different boats just loaded with people. We were able to snorkel all by ourselves without people floating on top of us. My husband also reports that the certified reef dive was terrific! After we arrived back from the trip, did a little shopping, but we were ready to get back to the ship and shower.
Sat on the balcony with my husband, had a couple of beer and just relaxed until it was time to get ready for dinner. The kids decided not to have dinner with us tonight, as they needed to rest before another long evening. We joined a table for eight and had a lovely evening with these people. After dinner, we went to the London Pub Night Comedy show put on by the cruise director. This show was somewhat entertaining, but again I could have easily skipped it.
My husband went on his first ever drift dive and just loved it. He has been diving in Hawaii, St. John's US VI, British VI, and he thought this was his been ever diving experience. I wish I could be as positive about my excursion. The kids talked me into book an ATV four-wheel excursion over the Internet before we left home. This was a three-hour trip over huge rocks and rough terrain. The kids loved it, so I guess it was worth it. The trail was along side the ocean, and the whole time I just kept thinking about spending time at the beach. We did stop halfway through the tour for about a 10-minute swim. If you were young you would also enjoy this trip. Both of the kids drove their own ATV'S and I rode with each of them half of the time. It was really hot in Cozumel, but not too bad on the ATV'S as you are moving along pretty fast. We arrived back at the ship, showered and met up with my husband, and went back into town to shop, and stock up on our drinks. We did not last very long in Cozumel shopping, as it was just too hot. Went back and sat on the balcony and had a few beers before dinner. Had dinner and then went to the casino. I played the slots for a couple of hours and lost $40.00, my husband stayed longer at the craps table and was ahead about $120.00.
Friday-Playa Del Carmen
We took the tender to shore about 10:00, with our daughter who wants to get her hair braided. We walked around and found a lady to do her whole head for $20.00. She has had her hair braided before, and we paid a lot more. While she was getting her hair braided, my husband I did some shopping. Again we really didn't find anything we needed to buy. My son stayed on the ship and swam with his new friends. My daughter went back to the ship after her hair was braided. My husband and I then went to the beach. We loved this beach; there were restaurant and bars along it. We swam, then would have a drink, swam some more and so on. We went back to the ship around 4:00. We stayed on the balcony for a couple of hours before getting ready for dinner. After dinner we just walked around and then went back to our room.
Another lazy day, at the pool. We had lunch on our balcony, because we didn't want to change out of our suits for lunch. They have a great chicken ceasar salad, they we order a few times from room service. We had a nice dinner and then went to the casino for about a couple of hours. We were so sad to be packing our luggage. But then again we knew that we were so fortunate to have had the opportunity to cruise on the Grand, and to have such a wonderful experience to remember.
Overall- fantastic trip, will go on other cruises with Princess, loved their service. Food was so so, but that didn't bother us. Entertainment was always available if you want it. My husband and I preferred to spend most of our time alone together. Our children loved the trip and have been chatting to their new friends non stopped since we arrived home.