Five Things to Know About Princess Cruises' Grand Princess Cruise Ship
Best for: Couples, families, and anyone who loves traditional cruising
Sails: Alaska, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Mexico
At a Glance: This 2,594-passenger ship manages to balance modern touches (crowd-pleasing specialty restaurants, resort-style pampering, outdoor movie nights) with traditional cruising rituals like formal nights and a main dining room with set seating times.
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Formal Nights and Other Traditions Live On
While many other lines are loosening their dress codes, Princess Cruises continues the tradition of formal nights. (Note, however, that men are more likely to wear suits than tuxes and women tend to stick to cocktail-party attire.) Those who like to stick to cruising traditions at dinnertime can choose to eat at Botticelli Dining Room, which serves passengers at a set time and a set table—and with the same waiter—each night. Two other dining rooms offer open, anytime seating.
Romantic Touches Abound
Couples hoping for a little Love Boat-style magic won’t be disappointed. There’s stargazing on the deck (part of the line’s Discovery at Sea program); couples massages in the Lotus Spa; and the option for a four-course candlelit meal served on your cabin’s balcony. (Think steak, lobster, and champagne.) You’ll even find a wedding chapel on board—unlike on most lines, Princess’s captains can actually marry couples at sea. Don’t miss Movies Under the Stars, when passengers cuddle under blankets on lounge chairs by the pool and watch films while snacking on popcorn.
The For-Fee Restaurants Impress
The best meals onboard are at the two specialty restaurants. If you’re in the mood for Italian, make a reservation at the excellent Sabatini’s, where you can order everything from penne with braised short rib to lobster three ways. (Don’t miss the roasted veal rack with mushroom ragout.) Or head to Crown Grill for generous portions of Kansas City or New York strip, or one of five kinds of thick center-cut chops.
Quiet Time Is A Priority
Grand Princess is a family-friendly ship, so there may be times when you want to escape to the adults-only Sanctuary relaxation area to decompress. Sanctuary Stewards walk from lounge chair to lounge chair, offering Evian spritzes, chilled towels, fruit skewers, and MP3 players with noise-canceling headphones. And if you’d like an outdoor massage, that can be arranged, too.
The Entertainment Is Worth Staying Up For
Princess is known for its live shows, and this ship is no exception. Don’t miss Voice of the Ocean, a passenger singing competition based on NBC’s The Voice, which runs at the Princess Theater. Rather not commit to a full-blown production? Sit down in the ship’s elegant Italian-style Piazza atrium, order a glass of wine at Vines Bar, and wait to see who shows up: One day it might be acrobats, the next a string quartet.