Let me start by saying that both me and my boyfriend are deaf, so we will be explaining some things about how accomodating Princess was when communicating with us. My boyfriend and I had planned this vacation since August of 2001 so as you can imagine we were so excited. This was his first cruise on any ship,it was my 6th cruise and 3rd with Princess. We flew out of National Airport and landed in Fort Lauderdale saturday morning. The flight was uneventful. We were staying in a nice hotel about 10 or so minutes away from the port itself. You could see the ships from our hotel room. We saw the Golden Princess which is the Grand's sister, so it was like seeing double. That evening we went out to eat at Houston's. I recommend this restaurant, wonderful food. Anyway, Sunday morning we got up early and we were so excited. We saw the Grand from our hotel room window. Embarkation was relatively simple and it went smoothly. When we first stepped on the ship... my boyfriend had only one reaction. He said it was gorgeous and HUGE! We had already previously asked for a "kit" to be sent to our room with the things we needed- a TTY (phone for the deaf), a vibrating alarm clock for the deaf, and a doorbell that would flash the light in the room.
For us, since we were deaf, we didnt go to the nightly entertainment in the theaters, but we heard some were very good. We walked around the ship, we read, we had nice long dinners in the dining room. I already knew the headwaiter from a previous Princess cruise so we were treated like VIPs. The food was heaven. We had already decided not to eat in the alternative restaurants because I knew the food in the dining room was so good that there was no point in paying extra for food in another place. Everyone was very accomodating on the ship- both the staff and the passengers but especially the staff in terms of communication, they would send all messages to our "mailbox", which was wonderful. For me, the food was the best part of the cruise. Princess always makes sure their passengers are satisfied with the service. Now about the ports. We were unable to get off at Princess Cays because we were supposed to tender to shore and the waters were very rough, and the captain decided not to risk our safety, so it became an extra day at sea, which was nice. We swam in the pools, explored the ship some more. Our next port was Grand Cayman. We had booked our excursion through Princess.
We took a snorkeling tour to Stingray City. I had already been there two previous times and it was still great! The stingrays were fun to pick up and hold. Our next port was Costa Maya, Mexico. It was a tourist trap specially built just for the cruise ships. It was like 20 stores, thats it. around it was woods and woods for miles and miles.. it was not even a town, it was just a "shopping mall" for us tourists. The beach there was VERY VERY ROCKY. They actually had a sign saying "The cruise lines accept no responsibility beyond this point" at the entrance to the beach. We never ate on shore at any of the ports, we always went back to the ship for lunch. Our next and final port was Cozumel, Mexico. Now, this was a genuine city. LOTS of stores and et cetera. We shopped a lot and we went on an excursion (Again, we booked it through Princess). The excursion was a semi-submarine ride.. which was wonderful, we saw all these fish, et cetera. We were very sad to leave the ship. We loved it so much. My boyfriend is now hooked on cruising. I will definitely sail on Princess again in the future. I rate this cruise FIVE STARS!