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Grand Princess - Cruise Ship Review - Passenger Reviews

When the 109,000-gross-ton Grand Princess entered service in spring 1998, it was billed as the biggest, most expensive cruise ship ever built. As the first installment in what came to be known as the Grand Class, the Grand Princess represented an impressive list of seagoing achievements, including the first swim-against-the-tide lap pool at sea, the largest casino afloat, the first wedding chapel at sea, and more private balconies than any other ship at the time.

But as singular as the Grand Princess was, it actually was part of a much larger family tree that included three sisters of the same tonnage and four smaller sisters that together composed the Sun Class. Its influence was felt far beyond even those original seven ships, however; even the most recent offerings from Princess right up to the Ruby Princess are generally based on the blueprint of the Grand Princess.

One of the most distinct features of the Grand Princess and her sisters was the disco in the sky—a unique structure high above the stern that some observers likened to a shopping cart handle. It was the calling card of the ship, making her instantly recognizable in any port. Most recently, the Grand Princess emerged from a major refit where the shopping cart handle was removed. A brand new nightclub called The One5 was built on the top deck of the ship, replacing the Skywalker Nightclub. Other changes in the refit were a completely new Piazza atrium, several new eateries -- including Alfredo's Pizzeria and the Crown Grill -- and Princess' first specialty tea lounge called Leaves. Also included were a remodeled casino, enhancements to the Horizon Court, Lotus Spa, and wedding chapel; and the addition of Crooner's Martini Lounge.

Dining aboard Grand Princess
Another visionary aspect of the Grand Princess design was its three dining rooms, instead of a single cavernous one, that come in handy for the line’s Personal Choice Dining Program, which allows passengers to choose from Traditional Dining with early and late seatings for dinner or Anytime Dining. The ship’s 24-hour casual restaurant, the Horizon Court, offers a buffet alternative for breakfast and lunch; at night it becomes a sit-down bistro. Sabatini’s—another Grand Princess first—is the ship’s venue for upscale Italian fare, and has established itself over the years as one of cruising’s more popular alternative restaurant concepts. New dining venues added during the recent dry-docking include Alfredo’s Pizzeria and the Crown Grill steakhouse.

Grand Princess Cabins
The designers of the Grand Princess wanted private verandahs to be available to virtually everyone, and this ship has more than 700 cabins with balconies, ranging from standard outside cabins to mini-suites and full suites. The mini-suites are among the largest of its kind, featuring a full sitting area with a large sofa, a comfortable chair, and a second TV. Mini-suites also have large balconies that extend further out than other balconies. The design means the balcony above doesn’t block the sun, but it also does not offer much in the way of privacy.

In keeping with the “Big Ship Choice, Small Ship Feel” mantra of these ships, there are a number of nooks and crannies for a little peace and quite, including a small library, writing room, and a card room. Kids, on the other hand, will find plenty of spaces just for them on this truly groundbreaking ship.

Grand Princess cruising Ship Information
Grand Princess was the first of Princess Cruises' Grand Class of cruise ships. The ship rivals the most luxurious resorts, with features such as the Lotus Spa, Movies Under the Stars®, more than 700 balcony cabins and an entire deck of Mini Suites, plus dozens of dining and entertainment options.

Ship Facts
Year Built 1998 ♦ Ship's Class: Grand Class ♦ Year Refurbished 2004 ♦ Country of Registry Bermuda ♦ Tonnage 109,000 ♦ Length 951 ft - 289 m ♦ Cruising Speed 22 knots ♦ Passenger Capacity (double occupancy) 2,590 ♦ Passenger Capacity (incl. upper beds) 3,209 ♦ Passenger Decks 14 ♦ Officers and Crew 1,100 ♦ Officer's Nationality British and Italian ♦ Crew and Hotel Staff Nationality International

Total 1,300 ♦ Suites with Balcony 208 ♦ Oceanview with Balcony 502 ♦ Oceanview without Balcony 218 ♦ Inside 372 ♦ Accessible Cabins (all categories) 26 ♦ Princess Cruises introduced the concept of affordable private balconies on modern cruise ships. For longer cruises the Mini Suites are an even better option, with a separate sitting area, walk-in closet, and bathtub. Amenties in all cabins include luxury bedding, refrigerator, extensive satellite TV programming, and complimentary room service.

Cabin Amenities
TV with music channels ♦ In-Cabin Movies ♦ In-Cabin Internet Access ♦ Private Safe ♦ Minibar ♦ Hair Dryer

Traditional 1st and 2nd Sitting Assigned Table Seating ♦ Optional Open Seating - "Princess Anytime Dining" allows you to be seated any time the main dining room is open ♦ Ultimate Balcony Dining features fresh flowers, champagne and a deluxe four-course meal featuring delicate sweet lobster tail or juicy steak among many available delicacies. ♦ Formal Nights ♦ Specialty Restaurants: Sabatini's, Crown Grill, Alfredo's Pizzeria ♦ Specialty Coffee Bar ♦ 24 Hour Food Service Available

Public Rooms
Bars and Lounges ♦ Library ♦ Internet Center

Showlounge ♦ Casino ♦ Disco/Nightclub ♦ Movies Under the Stars® ♦ Card Room/Game Room ♦ Video Games Arcade

Sports and Activities
Outdoor Pools ♦ Sports Court ♦ Fitness Center ♦ Jogging Track ♦ Promenade Deck wraps around the ship, using two decks ♦ Golf Simulator ♦ Putting Course

Spa and Wellness
Full Service Spa ♦ MedSpa Services ♦ Sauna or Steam Room ♦ Beauty Salon ♦ Yoga ♦ Pilates ♦ Fitness Assessment ♦ Health and Nutrition Evaluation

Children and Teens
Family Cabins ♦ Organized Age Specific Activities ♦ Children's Pool ♦ Outdoor Children's Play Area ♦ Youth Staff ♦ Dedicated Teen Center ♦ Teen Programs ♦ Teen Staff ♦ Group Babysitting Services

Other Facilities and Services
Duty Free Shops and Boutiques ♦ Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service ♦ Business Center Services ♦ Medical Center