Let me start by saying I am ashamed to be British today! Compared to embarkation on our previous cruise (from Vancouver) the embarkation process was a shambles; but that won't spoil our cruise in any way.
We received both an email and phone call from Princess informing us that embarkation was delayed until 2pm for disinfection due to Norovirus on the previous sailing. We had valet car parking booked so we decided to arrive just after 1pm. We were directed to a holding area and told that even though embarkation would commence from 2pm, we would not be going anywhere until 2.45 at the earliest. Fortuntely, I drove away from the cruise terminal and was told that if we returned at 2.30 we could proceed directly to the ship.
Upon returning I was directed back to the holding car park - I flatly refused and drove in the opposite direction to join the queue for the ship. Fortunately we were out of the car within 15 minutes. There must have been 1,000 people in the queue to embark - fortunately having access to the priority line meant we had just 6 people in front of us.
After clearing security, we were given a number and told to wait as priority boarding was only for platinum/elite and we had a gold card. I pointed out we were in a full suite and could we board - the lady on the door said she had no idea and to ask her colleague; fortunately we were waived through on proceeded directly to the pursers desk to sign up for the Ultimate Ship Tour (we are first on the list - hope they get another 10 people!).
We stopped to get an Ultimate Soda Card for my wife who will drink mocktails this week, and a soda card for me as I will be on Whiskey & Brandy mostly! We finally arrived in our suite (D737) where our bags were already waiting for us. We were met by our steward, Noel, who has so far been superb.
Our Cabin - D737
I have promised a couple of people on here photos of the suite. They can be viewed here:
The cabin is in excellent condition - the balcony perhaps a little worn (the rails could do with a lick of varnish) but really nothing to complain about.
There have been lots of posts recently about the condition of the Grand. We have had a good look around so far and found perhaps a few areas where carpet is a little worn etc. but really, you would have to be looking for things to complain about... get a life and enjoy your cruise!!
In a word, the Grand is still, Grand.
Off to join my wife sunbathing on our balcony now as we are basked in glorious sunshine as we sail along the Solent. (wireless connection excellent in the cabin but patchy on the balcony - speed is excellent although may be due to location at the moment).
I shall try to update this thread a few times over the course of the week.