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Princess Cruises aboard the Grand Princess
Above: Princess Cruise Lines Grand Princess Cruise Ship.

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Ship Details
Began service: May, 1998
Guest capacity: 2,600
Total staff: 1,100
Length: 951 feet
Passenger decks: 18
CDC inspection score: 94

Grand Princess Overview

The Grand Princess cruise ship departs from Galveston, TX, Venice, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain. Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to Europe and the Caribbean.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Europe and Caribbean.

Grand Princess, one of the world's largest passenger ships, is very distinctive-looking, with its 159-foot bridge across the bow and a unique nightclub suspended across the stern 150 feet above the water. Inside, the ship's decor is casual yet sophisticated, with an upscale ambience.

Her charm and abundant activities appeal to first-time cruisers and seasoned veterans as a seagoing resort -- a cut above her mass market competitors.

Cabins - more than half with balconies - are fairly spacious and very attractive with a small sitting area near picture windows or balconies.

With three dining rooms and three alternative restaurants, plus room service, a pizzeria and a fast food grill, eating is a constant pleasure, filled with variety and options (the dining rooms alone have 450 different items on their menus during the week). With the launch of Personal Choice Dining, passengers can pretty much eat what they want, when they want.

Entertainment is equally varied, with three different shows running simultaneously most nights.


Standard outside staterooms with balconies (the most numerous of all the ship's cabin categories) are 215 - 255 sq. ft., including balconies. Twin beds can be pushed together into a queen and closet and drawer space is adequate.

Balconies on the Caribe Deck are almost as large as the stateroom but unfortunately are tiered - passengers can look into them from above, eliminating any privacy. Biggest pluses: a vanity with excellent light and built-in hair dryers and a corner console with refrigerator and television. Biggest disappointment: small dimly-lit bathrooms with only room for a stall shower, sink and toilet. Mini-suites and deluxe suites are decorated similarly but have significantly more space, including larger sitting areas and much bigger bathrooms, plus butler service. Inside cabins are small but adequate at 160 sq. ft. Grand Princess is ADA-friendly, with 28 staterooms - 240 - 385 sq. ft. - located primarily near elevators and available in several cabin categories. Gangways have wheelchair transport mechanisms and ADA kits with aids for hearing-challenged guests are available by request. Coin laundries with ironing boards and irons are located on every passenger deck.


The Grand Princess' three main dining rooms - Botticelli, DaVinci and Michelangelo - have ocean views, murals, and tables for two to ten diners. Each evening the Continental cuisine menu changes, including healthy choice and vegetarian selections. Other dining options include The Painted Desert (southwestern cuisine) and Sabatini's Trattoria (Italian). Both are open for lunch and dinner and require reservations. Sabatini's includes a service charge of $3.50 per person. With Tuscany-inspired decor, it is constantly busy and very good. The Painted Desert is rarely filled. Service at both can be spotty - Princess seems to put its less-experienced staff in the alternative dining rooms and it shows. The Horizon Court, with the best sea views on the ship, is a 24-hour-a-day buffet and turns into a sit-down bistro with waiter service after 7:30pm. Other daytime dining options include the Trident Grill for burgers, hotdogs and chicken, and Poseidon's Pizzeria. Room service menus for non-suite guests are limited to sandwiches and salads. An ice cream bar sells Haagen-Dazs by the scoop and British-style tea is served every afternoon with finger sandwiches, scones and white-glove service in DaVinci Dining Room.


With three show lounges presenting different shows each night, plus casino action, Karaoke, cabaret acts, in-cabin movies, dancing to live music (or a talented DJ in the Skywalkers disco), passengers have a varied choice of evening activities. Comedy is a staple (some cruises have as many as five comics, including a big-name "headliner"), along with some of the best-produced Broadway/Vegas shows at sea. Grand Princess has a huge cadre of entertainers, musicians, dancers, singers and cruise staff providing one of the industry's most extensive entertainment programs. Daytime activities onboard range from movies to bingo, from art auctions to cooking demonstrations, with table games, sports tournaments, lectures and video games and virtual rides for the youngsters and the young-at-heart. The casino, open when the ship's at sea, offers blackjack, roulette, craps and slots.

Fitness & Recreation

The Plantation Spa offers the usual spa services, facials and massages by reservation (book early for sea days appointments or try a treatment on a port day). The fitness center has 12 bikes, 6 treadmills 4 stair climbers, 8 weight-resistance stations and a large aerobic room - all facing the ocean and in constant use. Best times to work out are before 10am and after 5pm. In between, plan to wait - there just isn't enough equipment for a ship this big. Between the spa and fitness center is a small pool with a strong current generator that simulates swimming laps against a current - without forward movement. There are four other pools - the largest Neptune, the quieter Calypso with a retractable roof, the Terrace Pool in the back of the ship and the Splash Pool for kids. On sea days it's difficult to get a lounge chair on deck. Other outdoor sports include jogging (four laps on Promenade Deck or 10 laps on the Sports Deck jogging track equals a mile), basketball, ping pong, shuffleboard and golf putting. Passengers can also learn to scuba dive and snorkel on board.

The Grand Princess has a large variety of shore excursions which can be booked in advance of sailing (about 50% of the passengers do). Targeted to passengers interested in history/culture or adventure or partying, some of the most popular Caribbean tours are in helicopters or on mountain bikes in St. Thomas. In St. Maarten, quick sell-outs are the "America's Cup" Regatta (racing real 12-meter yachts) and sports fishing.

Public Areas

The three-deck Grand Atrium is the heart of the ship. From here, it is easy to reach most of the public rooms. Princess did an impressive job of breaking up big public rooms into small intimate areas so passengers seldom feel that there are almost 2,800 others on board.

The Wheelhouse Bar, a Princess signature room, has the feel of an English gentleman's club, with wood-paneling, deep leather sofas and chairs and nautical memorabilia. The Explorers Lounge is delightfully whimsical in design, with a Moroccan atmosphere, Egyptian artifacts and safari-uniformed bar staff. In the Atlantis Casino, the underwater mystique is enhanced by fish swimming in holographic walls and underfoot in specially-woven carpeting.

The majestic Princess Theatre is a 748-seat amphitheater with no obstructed sightlines. Just outside the theatre is the sports bar, Snookers.

The most-used room on the Grand Princess is the 457-seat Vista Showlounge. In the day, it's a bingo parlor, movie theater, game show venue, demonstration/lecture hall and mini-horse-racing track; at night, it features cocktail dancing, cabaret and production shows.

There is no cyber cafe on board, although the Business Center offers five PCs for Internet browsing or email access (AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo) at $7.50 for 15 minutes and laptop hookups for data line access at $9.50 a minute.

The hallmark of Grand Princess' unique exterior is Skywalkers Night Club, a disco suspended 150 feet above the sea. Accessible via a neon-lighted tramway, the club's a kaleidoscope of lighting technology, pulsating music and a spectacular view of the ship's wake.


While there may not be as many kids on board the Grand Princess as other cruise ships, the line does provide a substantial youth program called Love Boat Kids. Children 3 - 12 enjoy the Fun Zone, a play area with games, arts & crafts and splash pool. A bit small compared to other mega ships, but counselors are energetic and seem to relate well with the children. Parents are given pagers for instant contact if necessary. Teens (ages 13 - 17) have an "Off Limits" disco and a private area for sun bathing. They seem to gravitate to the Voyage of Discovery virtual reality center with loads of video games and simulated rides. There's a pizza party one night when children can dine without their parents. Princess' regular "Adventures Ashore" tour program offers a wide range of excursions appealing to families, with special rates for children 12 and under (safety seats are not provided). At Princess Cays, the line's private beach in the Bahamas, a supervised play area features a sandlot and pirate ship playground. The ship also offers evening programs from 7:00pm to 1:00am. After 10pm there's a charge of $4 per hour per child. Minimum age aboard Princess is six months in the Caribbean and 12-18 months on other itineraries, depending on locale.

Expert Grand Princess reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com, an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Europe and Caribbean.


Discount Code

Grand Princess cruise reviews

Cruise Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced CDC inspection. Grand Princess Score: 94

Cruise Critic: Grand Princess
The Cruise Critic gives Princess' Grand Princess a 4-ribbon rating.

Have you sailed aboard the Grand Princess? Share your opinion with other Travelers. Write a review | Read reviews

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