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.