Note: The Eastern Caribbean cruise is also on the Golden Princess, the Grand' sister ship and sails to St-Martin first before going to St-Thomas.
General impression of the ship and embarkation:
Six month before taking this cruise, my husband (Justin) and I (28 at the time, Justin is 35 and our first cruise for both) were in Fort Lauderdale for the weekend. Our hotel was not far away from Port Everglades, Princess's main port of call. As we mentioned it, the concierge told us that a lot of ships were leaving on Sundays and it was well worth a glimpse. We took his words. It happened that we were thinking of sailing on the Grand and, surprise, there it was! I have never seen a ship this huge. My jaw dropped at her sight. Not only was it massive, but it was also elegant with the nightclub hanging over the water like a whale's tail. Other people were there to enjoy the show. And what a show, Once the anchor was off, this huge ship backed up a little, turned around, put her nose toward the sea and sailed away, all of that seemingly without an effort, just by gliding. It was so awe-inspiring that I dreamt of it the same night.
Needless to say we were exited once we arrived at Fort Lauderdale. The taxi ride from the airport is not expensive, the harbour being so close. If you have a car, know that parking doesn't come cheap (12$/day) so you might as well find some kind of arrangement if possible. Now, we bought our ticket online at the price of the lowest level inside cabin, having a guaranteed reservation but we didn't choose our room yet in the hope we might be upgraded. And surprise, when we received our ticket, we were indeed upgraded to an outside stateroom with a partially obstructed room. So that is a thing to remember when you book a cruise. Once you arrive at the terminal, there are employees who are taking charge of the luggage you'll be checking in (don't forget the tip).
The embarkation is quite similar to what happens at the airport. You show your Id, your ticket and you receive your cruise card, which you must have at ALL INSTANT. It will be your embarkation card, your credit card on the ship (and on Princess Cays) and, of course, your key-card to your room. You go through the metal detector thing and you are on your way. Despite the number of passengers the ship was sold out which means they had to process 2600 passengers), we didn't wait too long and everything went smoothly. Just before the gangway, a photographer is already there, prompt to immortalize the smiles on all those happy faces. My heart raced as I climbed on the gangway then stepped down on the boat for the first time. I could already feel a gentle rocking. And how beautiful! You access the ship via the Atrium which is quite "Grand" with lovely tones of beige. The first thing you do is of course, go to your room and drop your stuff. We were quite in a hurry and exited. We took the glass elevator to our stateroom located on the Emerald deck (deck 8), approximately mid-ship. Since the atrium is in front of the ship, the corridor was quite long and it was quite impressive to see. The room was just the right size, not too small but not big either (actually bigger than I expected) with two beds put together and forming a queen size bed, a mini-fridge, a desk on the right of the bed with a chair and a big mirror above (the old trick of the mirror to make a room loom bigger. And of course, a TV (which broadcast CNN, Discovery Channel, TNT, a Movie Channel (with movie that have not been released in video yet), the Princess Channel - which gives you information about what's going on on the ship), ESPN... We also had a big enough closet (in which there is a little safe ) and a smaller one for T-shirts and underwear. The bathroom is small but that didn't bother us. However, if you're tall and/or large, fitting in the shower may be a little tricky. The ship has its own water-recycling unit and the water is probably one of the best I have ever tasted. Our window was partially obstructed indeed but, of course, it didn't matter and we were not there to spend the day in our stateroom. Shortly after we entered our room , our stewardess came to greet us. Her name was Ana-Maria and it was her first time on the Grand Princess. She explained to us some of the basics of our cabin and the ship, showed us how the safe was working and asked us if we had any special request. Nice lady but I was able to notice a hint of authoritarian character. But she will be impeccable during our whole trip. The great thing for those who like to eat is, as soon you embark, you can go straight to the buffet. Having had one of those deli-style bag on the plane from Chicago, we were quite hungry and headed for the Horizon Court.
Hopefully, one of the first thing you notice in the room is a little plan of the ship you can carry in your pocket because it is quite easy to get lost in the first couple of days. The Horizon court is located on the Lido Deck (or deck 13) on the aft side of the ship. It was really crowded as a lot of people have the same idea as soon they embark: eat! The buffet line was ornate with watermelon and ice sculpture and everything looked REALLY appetizing. Especially the dessert. We will soon discover they're the best part of the buffet. I tried not to stuff myself already because I really wanted to enjoy my dinner in the main dining room. I was so excited I caught myself dancing on the island beat that filled the restrooms and the corridors. At 4:00 PM, it is the mandatory Safety Drill. You won't escape it since the stewards are checking every room. After the drill (you will be pleased to know that there is enough lifeboats to fit all passengers in the improbable case you'd have to abandon ship). We decided to carry on visiting the ship.
Plaza Deck (5): The Plaza deck is the first thing you see when entering the ship. The atrium is 3 decks high and topped with a beautiful stained glass. A piano player is entertaining guest at cocktail time and you can find lots cozy chairs. It also has a lobby bar. You'll also find one of two Purser's desk. Just on the right of the purser's desk, you can find a nicely (although small) furbished library. I recommend you go as early as possible if you don't have a clue of what to see on your trip because the travel books are leaving fast. Just beside, you have Players, the card room that features also games like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit), for those afternoon at sea, in case you really wouldn't`t know what to do. There is also a writing room. On the back of the ship, you'll also find the Michelangelo, one of the main dining room.
The Fiesta deck (6): is the host of the Botticelli (which is only accessible by a rear stairs, which is weird) and Leonardo main dining rooms, princess boutiques, the casino ( not too tacky and features some cool holographic sea life pictures) and the fabulous Princess Theatre which is 2 or 3 decks high (don't excactly remember).
The Promenade deck (7): Features well. the wraparound promenade which will become one of Justin and I's favorite place, the Painted Desert, the Tex-Mex alternative dining option, the Heart and Minds chapel where the captain can tie the lovers' knot should you decide to get married. The Explorer Lounge has a an Egyptian-Indian feel and is a venue for art auctions during the day, shows and becomes a dance-hall and karaoke performance stage (passengers can also become performers on the last night of the cruise with the passenger's talent contest). The Wheelhouse bar has a gentlemen club feel, here, the nautical theme is dominant and it's very cozy. You will also find La Trattoria, the Italian dining option and last but not least: the Vista Showlounge, one of the busiest place on the ship. During the day, you can watch movies, play bingo, attend lectures and at night, you can. also watch movies and see performances like stand-up comedians. A piece of advice, be early on performance night or you will be stuck behind a pillar that blocks your view. And going from the boutiques to the Vista Lounge, you have a big alley were the photo-service is installed. You will find your ship pictures on display and for you to purchase.
The Lido deck (13) is the second busiest deck on ship with two pools: the Poseidon Pool where all the action is and the Calypso Pool with its retractable roof (great for bad weather or cool sea breeze). By the way, you will find the Poseidon Grill by the pool which serves you the usual fast-food things (burgers'n fries) and the Pizzeria (go have a try, they're delicious and there is a special pizza everyday). There is also Scoops, the ice-cream parlor, but you have to pay, it's a haagen-dasz concession. Words of advice: if you come to the Horizon Court between 3:30 and 5:30, vanilla and Chocolate ice-cream is available (with the indispensable fudges and cream). Further back, the Horizon Court which has a 24 hours buffet and is Justin's favourite place. The aft Terrace is a very nice place to have your breakfast if you don't wake up too late (the heat sets it quickly) with the adult-only terrace pool down on the Aloha deck.
The main attraction of the Sun Deck (14) is the Plantation Spa. If you don't feel like it (or can't afford, it doesn't come cheap) to have a massage, you can use the Lap Pool, the sauna and the gym. if you are thinking about having a spa treatment, it is better you go right away there and make your appointment as it gets all booked up very quickly. It's also the area where kids are kings which the Fun Zone for the young ones and Off-Limits, a teenagers' only nook. For the kids and kids at heart, there is also Voyage of Discovery, an arcade heaven but it's not cheap! The Conservatory is a relaxing place, overlooking the calypso pool. Ideal for your afternoon tea.
The Sport deck (15) has a tennis court-volley-ball-basket ball court and a jogging track that runs all along the ship. There is a golf simulator as well, PrincessLinks. And finally, the Sky Deck (17) which has perhaps the neatest feature of the ship : the Skywalker Lounge, a nightclub hanging above the rest of the ship and which gives the Grand class ships that distinctive look. To access the lounge, there is a glass walkway (that is all lit up with neon at night). The Lounge has floor-to-ceiling windows with a superb view during the day. If you go during the day, you won't find anyone there and you can spend a quiet time.
But the time to sail away was near and quick, we ran to the lido deck to see our departure. Justin and I thought we'd have the Loveboat theme. Alas! I guess since they've been bought by P&O. But, with a LoveBoat cocktail on my hand (with the colours of Princess: blue, green and white), sun in my eyes, music in my ears. Anchors off! We saluted Fort Lauderdale as we left and waved at people at the parking lot that was watching us . thinking that only 6 months ago, we were the ones standing in the parking lot!
The ship slowly backed up in channel and we were gone, everybody gathered at the back of the ship to see Fort Lauderdale disappearing with the setting sun.
On Princess, you have the choice for your dining option: fixed seating (at 6 or 8) or Personal Choice Dining (you can come anytime you want). At first, we had chosen to have a fixed seating at the 6PM service, just to try, knowing that you can change your mind afterwards. Because we would miss the sunsets if we carried on with the 6PM dining, we decided to go on Personal Choice. But for our first dinner, we went ahead with the fixed seating. It's always a gamble because you never know with what kind of dining companions you will end up. Ours were pleasant enough but that didn't stop us from choosing PCD. You can even end up booking a table for PCD, in case you ended up with nice waiters and wanted to keep them. Anyway, the question you are probably asking is : how is the food? First, you have to know that the menu is changing everyday: French, Italian, the Captain's Gala Dinner. and if really, you really don't like what you see on the menu, you can always order from the permanent menu. The food is very tasty and well-presented although not exceptional. Each time we were there, the service was impeccable but if you come at a busy time, you might wait longer than you'd want for your food and drink (although it's part of the experience of dining in any fine restaurants). The Maitre D' (they are all Italians in the three different dining rooms) are all great, using that Italian charm (especially with the ladies, but it's part of the game) to put you at ease. So, no complains from that point of view.
We spent our first night aboard watching Ocean's Eleven in the Vista Lounge and after that, we went to take a look at what was going on in the Princess Theater, we just arrived in the middle of a stand-up comedian's act. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name but he was really good. Not being a fanatic of Las Vegas style shows, we haven't seen any but the comments I heard were very positive, I even heard "dazzling". We also went to the Skywalker Lounge which is really great at night, lots of people, nice light work, good music (we were just there for a "disco-mix, they have theme-parties too). Finally, exhausted, we decided it was time to go to bed.
Days at sea:
The days at sea are REALLY relaxing. And there is so much to do you hardly have the time to get bored. Everyday, the Princess Patter (the ship's newsletter delivered in your room the day before) keeps you informed of what's going on on the ship, the ship's maneuvers, the staff, technology information about how the ship works. First thing first: breakfast. You can go either in the main dining room or at the Horizon court for a buffet style breakfast. The, it's off to the pool. You're not supposed to hog a lounger (if a lounger is unattended for more than 30 min's, the staff can free it but I've never seen anyone doing it). In the middle of the morning, it's quite difficult to find a place around the Poseidon Pool so, you have been warned. Hopefully, people come and go. I tried the gym as well, it is small but has all the essential to keep you in shape. I shamefully have to admit I gave up, the appeal of the pool and sun was too strong. Another advice, although it seems obvious: don't forget the sunscreen and take a high-number screen. Being from Mediterranean origins, I never needed any screen that was over SFP 4. After spending an hour in the sun with an SFP 4, I was burnt. Yes, that tropical sun is harsh!
In the early afternoon, a band will come to entertain you with some island music and the cruise director also organizes poolside game and yes, I'll say it, I took part in one of them. My only reward was a medal (I thought they'd give us some shipboard credits, cheap!). But there are lots of things to do during those days at sea: catching up on that book you wanted to finish, go see an after-lunch movie, take part to a trivia game, attend an "How to make your complexion brighter" lecture, play a game of Monopoly, be pampered at the spa or just bake in the sun. You will barely realize it's almost time for dinner. Which means more activities! A country dance lesson? Ballroom dancing? Magic? Casino? Shows? Movies? It's your pick! The first complete day at sea was "formal night" which Justin doesn't like much. I, on the contrary, couldn't wait to put on one of my gown.
4th day: St-Thomas, US Virgin Island
Finally, our first port of call. We arrive early at St-Thomas. The first thing I do (right after taking my shower), is going down on the Promenade deck and admire the view. It is beautiful indeed. There is a feeling of joy in men when they see land after some time at sea. I could feel it. Everything was very quiet, the harbour filled with boats like little patches of white on the blue sea. On the opposite side of the bay, a vision of white and red: Charlotte Amalie, the island's capital. As soon as breakfast is eaten, we go ashore. The first stop is the tourist info but I already know where we should be going: Magens Bay, supposed to be one of the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean. Taxis are waiting (they are in fact mini-vans that can carry like 9 people and they won't leave until they are full). Ours is a very outspoken guy. "Now, you gotta have my name, just in case you forget something in the car. If you ask for Albert, people don't know who it is. If you ask for small Albert, people don't know who it is. If you ask for Fat Albert, people don't don't know who it is but if you ask for Uncle Albert, now people know it's me!". That may give you an idea. And here we are on our way to Charlotte Amalie. Once you're in town, it's a tricky stuff. The streets are VERY narrow and steep. Uncle Albert describe us the main points of interest along the way, like that park dedicated to the Slaves freedom and were you can see sculptures of important people of the island. Then, we're driving up towards the other side of the island to Magens Bay, as the car climbs up, we have a great view of the harbour and the city below and you can have a clear idea of how big the Grand is. May being the start of low-season, we were fortunately the only cruise ship here and Magens bay will probably be empty. We can get a glimpse of it through the dense tropical foliage and it looks promising.
Finally, here we are. Magens Bay is a park but it'll only take you one dollar to get in. The view is stunning. Imagine, a crescent shape beach of powdery sand, a sea of intense blue, further away, an inhabited islet, coconut and palm trees, flamboyant and mountains surrounding the beach. It would be hard to find a beach that can fulfill one's Caribbean fantasy. Magens Bay is being protected from harsh current and is very safe to swim. But Justin and me like waves but what the heck? *lol* The water is warm, fishes are swimming all around. It's a dream. Justin and I have a chitchat with the lifeguard on duty, I go for a little walk around at the end of the beach to have another perspective. Swim some more. As I get thirsty, I decide to go to the snack stand and have a drink. This adds more to the intense feeling of bliss: a book in my hand, a cold drink, in the shade, surrounded by colourful flowers, with the soothing sound of the sea. But unfortunately, after a couple of hours, we have to go. If we want to have a chance to explore some more of the island. We head back to Charlotte Amalie. As I said, Charlotte Amalie is a city of white and red: white for the walls, red for the roofs. It is a cute town which sometimes reminds me of Italy. It used to be a Danish possession and the streets bears 2 name (their Danish and English names). It also have some very distinctive architecture (like the clock tower). At a pub, I have my first taste of Caribbean brew. let's say maybe I didn't choose a good one. Charlotte Amalie is shopping heavens but Justin and I, not being really interested by jewelry, made-in-China pareos. skip it and walk through the city streets, past the tourist area. As soon as you live that little shopping area, the town changes, it is more poor but it is real life. People walk in a slow pace, a police woman in front of a school is controlling traffic, sheltered from the sun by an umbrella. It's indeed time to get out of school for these kids.
A group of majorettes, twirling their batons and babbling walk past us, another little girl on her way back home has to climb stairs that doesn't seem to have an end. Further away, a market is folding. A shame we weren't here earlier. We have a little talk with a man who who was sitting here. Aaaaaaaaaaaah. the legendary Caribbean outgoingness! But it's time to go back to the ship. Unfortunately, the only drawback of a cruise is that there is not enough time for discovery ashore. One our way back, we'll bring some rum bottles, that is mandatory when you go to the Western Indies! As the sun goes down and the evening settles down, leaving the beautiful bay and Charlotte Amalie behind, I hope it's not a farewell.
In short: St-Thomas is very pretty. Those amongst you who don't feel comfortable with a lot of exoticness, be reassured: this is the US Virgin Islands. They even have a baseball park. It is probably too touristy for my taste but Magens Bay really blew my mind. Would I go back? Yes, but I'll take a ferry to St-John this time although I really wouldn't mind staying there a few days.
Day 5: St-Maarten-St-Martin
This tiny island is the smallest land mass to be shared by 2 nations : France and the Netherlands. Does it show? Yes. While St-Maarten offers lively casinos, pubs and is oriented towards mass-tourism and fun, St-Martin wants to show itself like a tiny St-Tropez or a more democratic version of St-Barthélémy (the stars-studded island of the French West-Indies) with its upscale boutique and fine dining. When I wake up, we are just approaching the island. The scenery is not as dramatic. The island is more dry than St-Thomas and a little more flat. Just by sea, lies Philipsburg, St-Maarten's capital. But the sea has such a beautiful hue, I cannot wait. This time, Justin and I will rent a car. This will be the best decision we made on our adventures ashore. It's not cheap but it's worth it! The island is small and you can circle it in an hour. The first beach is really not far away (it's just in front of Philipsburg) but the most beautiful beaches are on the French side so. First of all, we had to buy some supplies for the day. On our way to find a supermarket, we cannot help but notice the KFC's, Burger King and McDonald's. sad. We come in contact with out first foreign money: the Netherlands Antilles Guilders. Euro is the official currency of the French side and US Dollars are accepted everywhere. We only had a glimpse of Philipsburg but, nothing spectacular stood out. After figuring out which way was were, we ended up going counter-clock wise. Passing the Simpson's Lagoon that was full of boat, You barely notice you go through the French-side (only a monument and a sign tells you you're in another country). Soon, here is Marigot, the French Capital, which looks very pleasant. We will have to come and visit. Then, the road goes up with lots of twist and turns and beautiful scenery, passing by Savane (Savanna) which looks like a little corner of Africa, I was expecting to see a lion coming out. Then its Grand Case with its restaurant and. here, signs for Orient Bay, the place we wanted to go. After a drive through the beautifully laid out garden of the holidays villas that are filling Orient Bay, here we are. How can I describe the color of the water? I have never seen a blue so intense it was literally glowing, like a fluorescent blue. The sea was much ore agitated than at Magens Bay, which definitely made our day. The beach is probably a mile long, soft on the feet (so soft that while in the water, my feet were buried up to the ankles in a few seconds) and dotted by cool beach clubs. A change from the secluded atmosphere from Magens Bay. We rented loungers and a umbrella (15$) and off we go to the sea. The temperature of the water was probably in the 70's (never had experienced such a warm sea water). Now, Orient Bay, besides being one of the Caribbean's most beautiful beach, is also renowned for its clothes optional area. Yep, naked people casually strolling around the beach, even out of Club Orient, the nudist part of the beach (after all, anybody can take a walk, no?). As a European, it's not a big deal to me but for some fellow passengers, their reaction was either a big laugh (mixed of unease and surprise) or a consternated look. We had a great time there but once again, it was time to leave after a few hours. We decide to carry on toward Philips burg to complete the circle around the island and go back to Marigot. The first impression of Marigot is. to really be in a small provincial French Town. Knowing France quite well, the impression is even stronger: the street signs, the stores, the cars (lots of Renault). Marina Port-La-Royale is a lovely yachts heaven with cafes and restaurants overlooking the boats. The market square (financed the European Union) is empty but seems convivial, above the harbour, on a cliff, stands Fort-St-Louis which was constructed to defend the island from aggressions. The houses are along the water are really pretty and gives a cachet to the town. Upscale boutiques are all around, beautiful houses with lush front yards. After more than an hour walk, we decide it is time to go check out Philipsburg and those famous "sweet deals" this duty-free part is supposed to offer you. Well. if you are not into alcohol, cigarettes or jewels, you might find it hard to find something worth bringing back. The prices are similar to the US, sometimes even more expansive but you don't pay any taxes. One thing I did bring back was my favourite brand of Belgian chocolate which is impossible to find in the US so, I'm not complaining *s*. Apart from the Courthouse and an old church, Philipsburg is quite a bland town, sorry to say but strangely, the population is more mixed than the French side with Arabs, Indians, Blacks, Dutch, Americans, Latinos living there. The French side is more "white". The Dutch side is livelier too and I wish I could've remained longer to see the stretch Along Simpson Lagoon coming alive at sunset. After our little walk, it was time to drop the car back and go back to the ship.
In short: I loved St-Martin, especially the French side and I definitely recommend it. This island has a lot of things for everyone: beautiful beaches, fine dining, good entertainment. And every time I'm looking at Orient Bay picture, I am still amazed at the colour of the sea. It has 2 very different flavor: the sophistication of the French-side and the laid-back attitude of the Dutch side. I would definitely come back. St-Martin/St-Maarten has another advantage: it is close from a lot of islands like Anguilla, St-Eustatius, Saba, St-Kitt's ans Nevis and St-Barths and boat trips (sometimes taking only a few hours which is great for a day trip) can be easily arranged. I cannot wait to swim in those waters again.
Day 7, Princess Cay, Eleuthera, the Bahamas:
After a relaxing day at sea (stops two days in a row can surprisingly be tiring) and another formal night dinner (the gala dinner with the champagne glasses fountains which gave us the occasion to talk a little with Cpt. Romano who is Italian and in charge of this ship), we dropped anchor at Princess Cay, the company's private island for a day of sun, fun and farniente. Princess Cay is a corallian little cay linked to Eleuthera, one of the Bahamas islands. Tender was required so, we will have a chance to use the lifeboat, which is part of the fun. It's of course more rocky than the Grand but, I love a good adrenaline rush and it seems like the pilot was hitting the waves a certain angle on purpose. The beaches on Princess Cay are all artificial and have a rocky bottom. If you want to find more sand, go the long beach.
Want a quieter place (and have a better chance to find a lounger with a palm tree that shades it? It's better to go to South Beach. The water, once again, is a different shade here: a bright turquoise-green colour. Nautical activities are a big thing here. But so is beach volley (I probably spent more than 2 hours playing). At midday, a barbecue style buffet is organized and if there is something I like, it's eating by the sea, especially after some physical exercises. Only problem? The sand in your food *lol*. Doing nothing is also something you might want to try. Unfortunately, the ship stays here only 5 hours and in the middle afternoon, it is time to go. we embark for the last aboard the ship and we're off for Port Everglades. You might want to know that the last night is somewhat depressing, it seems like a lot of people is in their cabins. It also the night of the passenger talent search *lol*. Princess requires you have your luggage ready before 11 PM so they can be ready for disembarkation.
In short: Princess Cays is really a relaxing spot and it is really an enjoyable conclusion to the trip. No walk longer than a mile to do, if you like action, you can rent a sail boat, or play sports, you can also sleep in the shade of coconut trees (God knows how that sea sound is soothing).
Day 8, disembarkation at Port Everglades, Fort-Lauderdale
Princess ask you clear your room by 9.00 AM but it leaves plenty of time to get ready to dismbark. The Leonardo dining room is open and so is the buffer so you can pig out one last time before going back home. Disembarkation is done with little color tags. And top decks go first. For us, mere passengers, it takes a little longer. But Princess provides you with coffee, tea and water. Funnily enough, it was pouring rain, like a revenche from the sky because we were leaving. If you want to beat the disembarkation blues, I recommend you spand a day at Fort Lauderdale or Miami before going home, that helps smoothing the transition to normal life *;o)*.
After the cruise:
The least you can say is that I am now hooked. And I have been able to put up only one pound despite the abundance of food aboard (and that's something). The itinerary of this cruise is really good for someone who has never been to the Caribbean because it gives you the occasion to try 3 different cultures here.
Princess catered to our every needs (not that we are that demanding), I came back with 30 dollars more from playing the roulette at the casino (Justin stuck to black-jack and got out with 60$). Because your only worry is: what am I going to do today? Cruises are a very relaxing experience you can only find at all inclusive. We went during early May, which is the start of low-season, and didn't regret it. The weather was great and at at each of our ports of calls, we were the only boat there and hopefully avoided the crowd. Tipping is not necessary since a gratuity is calculated automatically from your account (which you have to settle on your last full day aboard) but you may do so if you find the service is worth it. We gave a good tip to Ana Maria, our cabin-sterwardess and one of the waiter in the Michaelangelo dining room who surpased himself. You can also make adjustment to your gratuity (even remove it) if you wish. Our fellow passengers were mostly aged between late 40's and late 60's but you have some younger passengers as well.
The staff on the ship was very friendly and I didn't have any single complain against anyone. They really make you feel like you're a VIP.
About the food... the buffet was OK. Not excellent but of good quality, especially the desserts. It's always great to know that you can go there and grab a bite to eat in case you've got the munchies. Highly recommended: the 3.30 PM Ice-cream and the 5:30 PM tea time "sandwich buffet" were the staff is making sandwich to order. For fine pallates, there are of course the main dining rooms where breakfast, lunch, tea-time and dinner are organised.
Downs: Only one actually: No free ice-cream parlor which is a little weird when you know that ice-cream is free on other ships BUT, as mentionned earlier, ice-cream (vanilla or chocolate) is available from 3:30 to 5:30 PM at the Horizon Court.
I didn't know Justin and I would be back on the Grand six months later for a much different cruise. So come back later for the rest of my stories.