View Full Version : Just back from Canada/New England Grand Princess Cruise
October 10th, 2004, 07:10 PM
If anyone has any questions, I will try to answer them. We had a GREAT cruise, FABULOUS weather and FANSTASTIC excursions. Our only disappointment was that we couldn't do the Fenway Park excursion because the Red Sox were playing at 4 pm.
October 10th, 2004, 08:09 PM
We will be on the Grand a week from today :)
Is the "Movies under the stars" done yet?
What did you do in the ports of call?
October 10th, 2004, 08:36 PM
They installed the big screen while we were in Saint John. They had to close off our balcony for the entire day and we received strawberries and champagne for our inconvenience. They said it would not be inoperation until the Caribbean cruises.
We did all Princess excursions.
Halifax - Peggy's Cove and Hop and Splash - Both were fantastic. I would defintely advise getting to Peggy's cove as early as possible. We were the 4th bus to arrive and by the time we left there were probably between 10 & 15 buses there and the place was packed. Do shopping first if you get there early because that store becomes packed.
Saint John - St. Martins Getaway and Horse-drawn trolley - Again totally enjoyed both.
Bar Harbor - Whale watch and Acadia Park and Rinehart Pavilion - If you do the Whale watch take a winter coat, gloves and hat. It was very very cold on the water even though it was a beautiful day on land. We only saw 2 finback whales and from what i understand that is about the norm. Beautiful scenery on the Acadia park tour.
Boston - Duck tour - It was ok but i enjoyed the Hop and splash in Halifax more. Guess it depends on the guide you get.
Newport - Doris Duke's Roughpoint and Vanderbilt's Newport (Breakers and Marble House) Both were beyond my wildest dream and I would highly reccommend both. (We again had a great guide)
If you have any specific questions about these feel free to ask.
October 11th, 2004, 10:15 AM
I just got off the Grand Princess yesterday too. Marvelous cruise, only tour I wouldn't recommend is Salem & Marblehead tour in Boston. Both Salem and Marblehead are beautiful and fascinating and I loved seeing them. Unfortunately, because this tour starts with a quick (supposedly) driveby city tour of Boston (which had BAD traffic tie-ups the day we were there and took well over an hour) you may not have any time to get off the bus to walk around in Salem. Our group got about 1.25 hours off the bus for eating lunch and walking/shopping at the wharf area in Salem.
Due to the Boston city traffic we also did not get to visit Hovey Park in Marblehead.
Also, there were no restroom stops, just the stops for lunch and the Salem Witch Museum. So, if you are someone who likes frequent stops for restroom breaks, this might not be the tour for you.
This tour would be better if they skipped the Boston part and spent all of the time in Marblehead and Salem.
But this is a great cruise! I highly recommend it!
October 11th, 2004, 10:39 AM
How did embarkation/debarkation go? How early did debarkation start? Were cabs easy to get at the pier?
Did either of you have PC dining? What were your experiences? (This is my 6th cruise, but my 1st Princess cruise and my experience with PC dining.)
October 11th, 2004, 12:02 PM
We used Princess air and Princess transfer from LaGuardia. So lots of planes were arriving at the same time that Princess was picking up and we circled the airport picking up passengers from various airlines, but that was to be expected. The lines were pretty long checking in since so many passengers were arriving simultaneously.
Once you get to the port, and get in line, you will receive a health questionnaire. Fill out one questionnaire per cabin. You will go through a security screening (x-ray of hand carried items and metal detector). Then the line continues to pick up your cruisecard and have your Welcome Aboard photos. Then its onto the ship! You will present your cruise card and have a security photo taken.
As for disembarkation, we were called approximately 1/3 of the way down the list and their were plenty of Princess reps to point you toward your luggage group. After picking up the luggage, you get in line to hand in your immigration paperwork and then on to the terminal exit. Ask what line you should get in for Princess airport transfers or independent travel. We had arranged for Princess transfer to LaGuardia and this line took about 20 minutes to get to the elevators and down to street level. There appeared to be cabs available for hire, but you might want to check into a private car transfer to make sure one is waiting for you.
We did PC dining and enjoyed it very much. It allowed us to rest in our cabin after our excursions and take our time getting ready. The only night we had to wait for a table was the first formal night (about 15 minutes). They gave us a "beeper-type" thing that lit up when it was our turn. The beeper works all over the ship and you can kill time by shopping or having a cocktail at a bar. If you can't stand to wait, I recommend dining early or around 7. You also can make reservations in PC dining, which many people seemed to do for formal night or for large groups that wished to sit together.
October 11th, 2004, 01:06 PM
Were Princess transfers to LaGuarida available for purchase onboard if you didn't have Princess air? How long did it take to get from the ship to your gate?
October 11th, 2004, 01:57 PM
I don't know whether Princess transfers are available for purchase on board.
Traffic was light in Manhattan on Sunday. It probably took us 35 or 40 minutes to get to the airport, but I wasn't paying that much attention and our bus driver was slowing down to let us get a look at some of the sites along the way. The airport was crowded b/c of the cruise traffic. We flew Delta...the line for curbside checkin was long, the line for regular checkin was long, so we used kiosk checkin (only available for etickets, I think) which had no line at all. Stood in line for the security check in for about 15 minutes and off to the gate we went.
If you are planning to arrange for your own transfer, you might want to check the NYC passenger terminal website to see how many other ships will be offloading passengers on the same day and at what times.
DCRichard - please forgive me if I am "hijacking" your thread. If I should cease and desist, please let me know and I will "butt out."
October 11th, 2004, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the info! There are 5 ships total disembarking that day, so it will probably be CRAZY!!!!!!!! And we have an early flight at noon. Which is why I'm obsessing about this.
October 11th, 2004, 08:25 PM
No problem Rag doll. We didnt do PC dining, we had a private driver pick us up & we were the 6th group called to disembark, so I wouldnt have been able to really answer any of her questions anyway. I dreaded disembarking and finding my driver but being called so early everything went great. We were on our way out of NY by 10:15 am and at home by 12:30 pm. It was a great ending to a fabulous cruise.
One question I can answer: I think debarkation started between 9:15 and 9:30.
October 18th, 2004, 11:16 PM
Just discovered this board... Thanks for info on the Grand...Booked on the 10-24 sailing...Starting to pack..Question.. Formal nights. I don't want to bring my tux from Ca. Coat and tie ok for formal nights? Ballpark! percentage, tux vs coat and tie?
Staying 3 nights prior at Grand Hyatt.
Looking forward to the cruise.
October 19th, 2004, 06:23 AM
Coat and tie is the norm. There were very few tuxes.
Enjoy the cruise! This is a great itinerary.
October 20th, 2004, 11:16 AM
You might want to check out the Roll Call for this cruise. Several CC'ers plan to get together at 4:30 at Oasis Bar on Sat. the 24th just before we sail. By the way Oct. 6 is a pretty good birthdate - mine too. Jan from Calif. :)
February 5th, 2005, 07:02 PM
We are going on this cruise on the Golden on Sept.10.I've loved this thread so far. Does anyone know what the weather will be like? We did whale watchign in Alaska. Does anyone know how it compares to this one? Thanks for the help.
February 5th, 2005, 10:57 PM
Our trip didnt even come close to comparing to our Alaskan whale watch. We saw 2 finback whales (I think that was the name.) They are not nearly as impressive as the humpback whales we saw in Alaska. It was very rough water (I got sick and I have never gotten sick before) and it was Freezing (winter coats, gloves, hat the whole bit and it was still cold)
Hubby says if you enjoy boat rides then go but dont go just to see whales. It isnt worth it.
February 6th, 2005, 08:06 PM
There are a bunch of right whales that live off cape cod in the summer. You may see them on the way.