I took my first cruise this past January 11 on the Grand Princess. It was a last minute vacation that was booked through my local travel agent less than one month before leaving. The reason for choosing this cruise line was because it allows adults under 21 to travel without someone over the age of 25. We originally were booked in a room without a window, but because my friend was a previous cruiser we got upgraded about 2 weeks before leaving to one with a window.
Embarkation: We flew into Ft. Lauderdale from Newark with no problems. We chose to the package which allowed us to be picked up and brought to the port. We had to wait in line to give them our credit cards but the whole process took about 1/2 hour and we were on the boat by 1 pm. We found our room Emerald 622 and decided to explore the ship. We ate at the buffet and then hung out by pool and had a few drinks until the boat left the port around 6pm. The first night was casual and we had chosen the late seating at 8:30, which was in the Botticelli Dining room. When we arrived to dinner, we were the only 2 people at the table (this stayed this way the entire week.) We invited a guy from the table next to us to join, since he was the only person at his table also! The waiters were just as confused as we were, but i suppose the other people just chose to eat in one of the other dining rooms. Afterwards there was a show in the theater with a preview of what was to come the next week. We also went to the casino where my friend won $50 in Black Jack.
Day 2 This day we made our first stop to Princess Cays. We were awoken very early by the sounds of the lifeboat being lowered into the ocean! Here we just laid on the beach for a few hours and had some food from the huge barbeque they have there. There wasn't much to do here, so we stopped in the gift shops and then went back to the ship. That night magician James Michael was performing in the Vista Lounge, which we enjoyed very much. For the second night in a row we went to check out Skywalkers, but it was not very busy and did not stay very long.
Day 3 We were at sea this whole day and we took advantage of the adults only pool area to sunbathe and test out the current pool. We also ate in the Da Vinci Dining Room for lunch, which i liked much better than the buffet. Most of this day was spent hopping from one hot tub to another (however, at least 2 or 3 were closed every day throughout our vacation.) That night was the first formal night. The dinner wasn't anything more special than any other night.Hyptonist Alexander put on a show this night, which unfortunately we missed because we fell asleep.
Day 4 We arrived early into Grand Cayman. We didn't book any excursions, so we were not in a hurry to get off the ship. When we did we just did a little shopping and ate at a restaurant called Breezes By the Bay. After ordering we received our drinks but our food never came! We were told the order got lost and that something would come free on our bill. We didn't mind though and the shrimp I got was great. Plus they took off the $17 in alcohol we had bought! Later on that night was a casual night, but we were told to dress carribbean! After dinner there was a huge deck party in the back of the boat and I had the best time! They even made pina coladas in a real coconut! I had a great time dancing and the band was excellent (though I can not remember who they were.) Afterwards we ventured up to the night club with some people we had met and partied there until around 4 am. I got to meet some employees of the ship (band members and casino dealers) which i thought was great.
Day 5 After waking up a little late we eventually made our way out to Costa Maya. This place was not very appealing and every shop had the same things. Even the mexicans knew they were selling junk when they told us to "come buy my junk." Needless to say we didn't stay here long. Instead we chose to hang out by the adult pool and fell asleep until the sun set. Before dinner we checked out the horse racing and London Pub night, which was funny, but our new found friends from Scotland found it hilarious! We also chose to eat in Sabbattini's that night which I thought was excellent. I ate everything, including the caviar! And eventually we made our way back to Skywalkers and partied until the early morning once again.
Day 6 This was our last Port of Call, Cozumel. We took a taxi for $6 downtown where we went shopping and ate at Senor Frogs. I recommend anyone who wants to party to eat here and they will definitely make you dance on your chairs! Back on the boat we saw the comedian Scott Wyland and The Magician James Michael again before heading off to the champagne toast. We could not see much because it got very crowded very fast. This was another formal night and we got our pictures taken which was fun for me, but not my friend. That night was also spent at Skywalkers till the early morning.
Day 7 We were at sea this whole day and also very tired and worn out at this point. I checked out the Culinary demonstration and tour, but the tour itself was not very long. We spent most of the afternoon by the Neptune's Reef pool. At dinner that night they had all the waiters come out with flaming baked Alaska. We saw the hyptonist that night. It was an adult show with "adult humor", however we felt there were sexual comments made in everyshow we went to on the ship, which was hilarious and went to skywalkers but headed to bed early since we had an early flight.
Disembarkation We had a red luggage tag which meant we were the fist off the ship. It took about 30 minutes from the time we were called until our bus left and we made it to our flight on time, no problems.
I highly recommend this ship to anyone. There was enough to do for each age group that everyone could be happy. FYI be prepared to spend a lot on alcohol because uless you have a drink in your hand, they will keep asking you for one until you buy one!