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LIVE from the GRAND PRINCESS - FLL to Southampton 5/5/11
This may sound weird, but it will eventually catch up. Just got internet. What you are about to read was written yesterday.
Welcome to the Grand Princess. Sort of. I am starting this from the waiting area where they have fed us (cookies, granola bars and water) while we cool our heels anxiously awaiting to board. We arrived at the port about 11:30, they checked in the preferred travelers at noon and here we stay until the ship is ready. We were told earliest would be 2:00 PM. Stay tuned. Real time will happen; eventually.
And here we are……………LIVE! From the “New” Grand Princess. We did in fact get on at 1:50; they started at 1:45 and we were right there. I did a cursory pass of the ship and will just give you beginning information of what I have already seen. As the days/hours pass, I’ll fill in the gaps. Our cabin is fine interiorly, though the letterbox in the corridor is missing, the blue barrel chair is not here and there’s no waste basket in the room. The balcony furniture is there, but balcony itself is filthy. Doesn’t help that it has rained most of the day, but I’m sure cleanliness will eventually occur.
A quick rundown of some of the ship’s officers:
Captain: Anthony Herriott
Staff Captain: Heikki Laakkonen
Hotel Manager: Hermann Stingeder
Cruise Director: Martyn Moss
Maitre d’: Fabio Marcotti
Captain has told us we are not leaving tonight. Clocks will be set forward one hour and we expect to sail tomorrow AM at 8:00.
Horizon Court: very interesting. Definitely less seating. The regular buffet area has not been touched, but they have added a huge exterior dessert area with a showcase. Some items are “help yourself” , but the gushy cakes and pastries are all behind glass and will have to be served to you. It’s all apportioned on individual plates and there’s a waiter to hand it to you. Behind him is an area of what appears to be an oven, but I think it’s more like a toaster. Will know more tomorrow morning when I see what they’re doing with this area at breakfast. The large dividers have been replaced with small partitions; chest high. There are still tables for 2, 4 and 6 and some round ones too. We had our small lunch in the rear section; never even tried to get seated in the front.
Internet Café: There are 21 computer stations and about 8 additional stations where people can use their own laptops. I spoke briefly with the manager who stated that there might not be any service tonight. I am therefore writing this at approximately 6:00 PM and will get it on board asap.
ALFREDO’S: Table service only, though there seems to be an area where you can eat at the bar. No bar stools were present. There are five types of pizza on the menu:
Capricciosa has artichokes, mushrooms and prosciutto cotto,
Romana has anchovies, capers and black olives
Tarantina has mussels, shrimp and capers
Grand Princess has only cheeses and ham
Vegetariana has a whole garden
Of course there is a wine list; by the glass from $6.75 to $7.75, or by the bottle ranging from $22 to $32. There are 5 whites and 5 reds. Beer is also available; regular choices. I imagine you can also order soft drinks and specialty coffees, but those are not shown on the menu.
Our muster was at 5:15 and it was in Leaves and the Crown Grill. This gave us a chance to quickly peruse this area. Crown Grill is definitely not ready for business. Lots of sawdust behind the counter and grill area, though the table area looks fine.
The new LEAVES and library combo is dark; can’t see how anyone can read in there. Perhaps it will look better in the AM. Anyhow, I’m not a tea drinker, so I don’t understand what I’m seeing. But, there are about 40 or 50 different teas on display; each in their own compartment. There’s a tea area with cups and utensils and also some pastries. This too is not self serve. Cakes are complimentary but teas are:
Tea Flights - $3.00. You can experience 3 different varieties of tea in a combination flight.
Tea Cocktails - $6.95. Cold drinks with booze. Four different choices; one with gin, one with vodka, another with scotch and one with rum
Black tea, organic tea, jasmine tea, chocolate mint tea, etc. etc. etc. Lots and lots of different tea selections and priced at $2.75.
INTERNATIONAL CAFÉ: Looks good. Didn’t get close, but there is probably no change in food. Will check tomorrow. And yes, they built a separate coffee bar which I love, and the regular bar is beautiful; has 7 bar stools for patrons, besides all the tables and chairs.
Welcome Aboard show is at 8:15 and 10:15. We will grab some dinner shortly with our friends; not the dining room. Explorer’s has dancing, MUTS is showing Another Year and Vista is showing Morning Glory. We are all unpacked; everything in its place for the next 16 days. I just tried to get on line; no service. Just like he promised. Will try again later, meanwhile it’s 7:00 and we’re hungry.
It’s close to 9:30 and internet just came up. Hopefully this will post. Since we are tired from doing nothing and since we are losing an hour, I will close for today and see you in the morning. And yes, there are still lots of workman aboard, which is probably why we aren’t sailing tonight. Oops, internet was supposedly up; not. It’s showing, but you can’t sign in. Will take a shower and try later.
It’s later. Much later. Almost 11:00 and still no internet. Spoke to the desk and was informed we will not be able to sign in until the wee hours of the morning. So folks, just another quirk with a newish ship. I will see you when I can.
Great to hear from you. Saw the Grand leave this morning and hope you had a good night's sleep. Interesting about the Horizon Court, anything interesting where the desserts used to be in the main serving area?
Good Friday morning May 6th. It’s 8:15 new time and we still haven’t moved. This may be silly, but I will continue with my LIVE because at least I am. Also, internet is still not functioning; so much for the promise of “wee hours.”
We at least are on our normal schedule. Up in the gym at 7:15; empty. I was surprised because all the eventual quitters usually turn out the first day. The new treadmills, StarTrak are beautiful, but very tender. If you look crosseyed at that red button everything stops. There’s a fan that’s nice and comes on automatically when the machine starts. However, if you don’t turn it to low it drowns out the TV sound . No wipies in the gym. Asked the attendant and his reply was “they’re supposed to be here.” HUH? Go find them!
In Horizon Ct. now. The center dessert island now has breads and pastries and muffins. What I thought was a toaster is. They’re for the toast and bagels which they then put out. And, cold waffles. The pastries, croissants, etc. are behind glass.
Hey……….we’re moving. I guess we are finally underway at the official time of 8:24 AM. Since you know this is a copy and paste, which I cannot yet paste, I’m going to get some breakfast and check in later.
Wifi only internet just arrived at 9:00. In my cabin; ok. Café has no service. Please give me a few hours to get back on track.
I will just mention the casino which I walked thru ½ hour ago. There is one Texas Hold Em’, 2 Roulette, Caribbean Stud, 3 Card Poker, Let it Ride and several BJ tables. The bar area is gorgeous and has tables and chairs besides the bar stools. Didn’t look at slots at all.
Back later. Hope all this posts and we end up in real time.
Hello again. A little something new to report regarding the Plat/Elite cocktail hours. Drink prices have gone up. Goodbye $2.99; they are now $3.99 for the watered down cocktails. Inflation rears it’s head. I presume the Happy Hour will be the same. Have not seen literature about it yet.
Our roll call Meet and Greet is scheduled for 11:00, so no trivia for us this morning. We are having a Yankee Swap; should be fun. It’s already 10:35 so I’ll give you a quick rundown of the Patter.
There’s a martini demo going on right now in the Piazza and at 11:00 in the theater a lecture is scheduled; Azores: The Forgotten Islands. At 1:00 lecturer James Brown will tell us how to have an enjoyable cruise and how to explore the things you can say or do. ?????? The afternoon movie is Black Swan.
Tonight in the theater is a singer, Eve Sherratt and in Vista is comedian Steve Bruner. We’ve seen him before and his short appearance last night had no new material. MUTS is showing The Tourist.
That’s about it for now. Just wanted to tell the those who were interested in the sauna that it is not inside. There are lockers and keys in the changing rooms inside of each Male and Female restroom.
Off to the M&G. And the answer to the pizza query is no charge for pizza.
Thanks for doing the live Pia....hubby and I are curious to hear all about the new Grand and it's newest features. Sounds like there are many things to finish. Wishing you all smooth seas and bright sunshine.
We crossed on the Star last year and had lovely seas. I wish I was on the Grand now!
Thrilled to welcome our first grandchild to the family!
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Thanks Pia, nothing like working the gremlins out of the biggest drydock princess has done. When you have a chance, what's the area like up around where skywalkers used to be?
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Last edited by Raamo; May 6th, 2011 at 10:49 AM.
Reason: Missed a word :)
Pia, perfect timing, it seems that CC is finally back to normal, or even better than normal, for you to post. Appreciate you filling us in on what you have found so far onboard. I just watched the final episode from the drydock on YouTube which gave a few visuals on what you are describing.
Hopefully in the next few days all areas will be up and running smoothly.
Looking forward to your impressions of the Horizon Court. Personally, with less seating, this might be the most interesting portion of your live from for me. There was never enough seating up at the HC before, and with less, well.................your impressions will be definitely welcomed. Enjoy your journey and check in when you can please.
Thank you Pia for all that you do. We are on the ship in November so she should be good and ready by then. LOL Will check back everyday to see what you have found new.
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Thanks for doing this Live from Pia. I'm sure this is the most anticipated Live from in a quite some time. I just looked at the photos of the Grand on the Princess site and she is looking gorgeous inside. From what I can see Princess has decorated the interior of the Grand in a more contemporary fashion that the Crown/Emerald and Ruby which is great to see.
Looking forward to more of your posts Pia, have a wonderful cruise.
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I see the Grand on Marine Traffic and you are on your way. I am curious to if you had a morining sailaway party? Did the Captain announce that you were departing late and how did they handle it? More curious than anything. Safe to assume that you should make up time and hit your first scheduled stop?
I look forward to your upcoming posts.
Wishing you calm seas,
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Watched on Port Evergaldes WebCam as the Grand sailed out this morning. It looked good, but much different without Skywalkers.
Just checked marinetraffic dot com and it says you are going 24.3 knots. Appears the captain is trying to make up the time from the delayed departure.
Have a good cruise I will just read from this point on.
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Good Morning Pia, Thank you for posting your "Live From". I too watched you leave FLL..and was surprised to learn you have already lost 1 hour. Ouch..those hours across on a TA are hard on the body clock. We all appreciate your observations of the new Grand Princess and look forward to your postings. Say "Hi" to San Diego Sue for me..By the way what is a Yankee Swap?
Thanks for starting your live from. Have a great cruise. I'm looking forward to reading your reports.....
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