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What's Crowded, What's Not?



We sail 4-9-05 on the Grand and the help from this board has been fantastic.

Some more questions have come to mind. We hate standing n lines (who doesn't?) but we also know sometimes it can't be helped. For those times it can be helped, how can we avoid some lines on board?

How early can we make dinner reservations for anytime seating? Do the lines thin out at the later part of the meal time? Does food quality suffer?

How good is the buffet? Is it really 24 hour?

Money is not a problem (thanks to a very healthy bonus from work) but are the steak house and Italian place worth the up charge? Are they crowded every night?

The Grand has Movies Under the Stars, how crowded are these? I know you have to reserve a lounge seat or spot in a hot tub in advance, how far out can you reserve these seats? What are the best seats? Is the hot tub too much to take for a full length movie?

If you reserve a seat for a movie under the stars, do you have to be on time, early or can you be fashionably late as befits a vacation and still have your seat waiting?

Are the stage shows worth seeing? What does it take to get a seat in a balcony? Looks like only a few seats are available, is it reservation or first come first seated?

I've heard about some participation games like "The Not So Newly Wed Game" and others; I know these will be listed in Princess Patter, any advice on attending these events?

We're renewing our vows and one of the opportunities offered as part of the package is a tour of the bridge while in a port. Can we take a camera with us? Has anyone done this, any advise on this tour?

Are the ship tours worth the time? I'm just plain nosey and like to poke around. i know they won't let us roam freely and certain areas are off limits but is the ship tour a fun time? How long does it take and how often is it offered?

Anything else anyone can offer concerning getting into special events on the Grand?

Wow, this has gotten much longer than I meant, thanks for reading and any replies will be greatly appreciated.

I promise to bring back and post lots of photos since we purchased a second digital camera and extra memory cards plus we're taking the laptop to download all the shots when we fill the memory cards.

Cruise cutie

Food does not suffer in quality the later in the meal service..
the Horizon Court really is open 24 hours..=clap..free ice cream hand made by Princess from 3:30 -4:30 PM.each day..and free in dessert serving each night on desset menu..their ice cream is awesome.....

The pizza and grill stuff at Pool side is too die for..enjoy...
we do not do shows, but do go early..no reservations, although people have laid sweaters , wraps etc to claim them....
The lives are lines, but man it's vacation, so smile, relax , and enjoy!!....:thumb..

the ships tours I did never lasted more than 30 or 40 minutes and were cool to see...:chef..especially the kitchen galley one..

never had MUTS yet...( Movies under the stars),so cannot help you there...

please check the ghost bookinngs deal onboard as you will NOT regret it..
best of all, relax, enjoy, and please have a frozen thingee for me..=sad..I was on the Grand's sister ship 3 1/2 weeks ago..and *sniff* ...it feels like foreverrrrrrrrrr..Enjoy!!..:daisy..Joanne


The food quality has never seemed to suffer at anytime dining no matter what time you go...always seems to be the same to us. You can make dinner reservations for anytime seating, just need to call. The # will be in a book on the desk in your stateroom. Going later in the evening will give you a better choice of seating and be much quieter. After 7:30 PM seems to be the best time to go, not nearly as many people after this time.

The buffet can be anywhere from ok to good depending on your personal taste and what is being served. We usually eat breakfast and lunch in the buffet. Sometimes at lunch we get pizza, hamburgers or hot dogs from the grill instead. We never go to the main dining room for breakfast/lunch because it always seems to become an event and we don't want to sit there for 1.5-2 hours. The best food is always in the main dining room. Don't pass on the dining room dinners to go to the buffet. The 24-hour Lido buffet is a real question mark....Over the past several years all Princess cruise ships we have sailed would serve a "dinner" menu in the buffet until breakfast was served in the morning. The one exception, the Grand. They would serve "dinner" until 10 PM, then switch over to a "snack" type menu until breakfast. This was one of the few things I didn't like about the Grand. We sailed her during the summer of 2003 and hopefully this situation has changed.

The cover charge restaurants are usually not crowded but I would still recommend reservations. Many of the passengers are too cheap to pay the extra cover charge. We are not italian fans so we always pass on Sabatini's. The Sterling Steakhouse is excellent and would definitely go there one night. Take a look at the dinner dining room menu each morning (they are posted near the dining rooms) then go that night where the standard menu doesn't appeal to you.

Can't comment on movies under the stars. They seem to look us up in the computer to see when we booked our cruise, then install the screens just after we get off!!!

We like the comic shows. We don't bother with the stage/dance shows at all. Keep in mind that we are only a rock's throw from Las Vegas/Reno/South Lake Tahoe area and once you seen a couple of those productions the cruise ship dance shows don't come even close to the quality of what we can see at home. Seats are on a first come, first serve basis but if you get to any venue 20-30 minutes prior to show time there is no problem with getting a seat. The late shows you can show up 10 minutes prior and usually get a seat.

Many of the participation games and functions are great and shouldn't be missed. You named one ("The Not So Newly Wed Game"), others are pool olympics, island night and the 50's-60's dance party. Just beware, the cruise staff seeks out participants and it can be quite embarrassing at times. Having been on 10+ Princess cruises we usually go to these events just to see the passengers whom have no knowledge of what they signed up for get tortured!!!

Go on the bridge tour if they still allow you to. Since 9-11 they stopped these tours and you can't go there anymore unless you have a special invite. Prior to 9-11 you could take pictures, now I don't know but don't see why you couldn't? Nothing in this area is top secret....

Only other ship tour we have been on is the galley tour. Pretty cool but sometimes it’s a madhouse to get through. I think it is only offered once per cruise but don't quote me on this.

As a new cruiser the Princess Patter is really your guide to the ship. It will be delivered to your stateroom every evening for the next day’s activities. If you’re not dead tired take some time and read it that night (we read it in bed) just so you don't miss any of the activities you want to do in the morning.

For some reason I thought you sailed this past February but I guess I was wrong. Hope you have a wonderful trip and you should give yourself a pat on the back...I have been following your posts for sometime now and you really have done your homework about this ship. Cruising is an awesome experience!!!! Have fun!!!!!


Don't miss the bridge tour, if you have the opportunity. It's a rare treat. The kitchen tour is interesting, too.

We ate at Sabatini's on the Star last June.( Vencie to Barcelona)...the food was delicious, but it was absolutely ridiculous how much of it. You choose one entree, and receive everything else that's on the menu. Much too much!!! We wouldn't do it again.

We also tried the steak house, and it was delicious. The service was super, and we really felt that the extra cost was well worth it. We will probably do this again on our cruise this June ( Baltic)

We typically have breakfast and lunch at the buffet, but we've also been known to have dinner once or twice also at the buffet after a long shore day. Just didn't want to dress....or we were late back on board, tired and hungry. The quality is very good, but there is some pushing and shoving at times. Just be patient with those little ladies who have to get to the pastry! The shows are, by and large, well- done, and if you like show tunes, and song-and-dance routines, you should try it out. You'll know soon enough if it's for you. Also the pizza and hot dogs and hamburgers on deck are must-haves in the food department. And, yes, you can eat 24 hours a day in public....or via room service.

The games are usually very funny to observe or to participate in. We did a Not-so-newlywed game, and ended up looking silly, but, hey, we'll never see these folks again! It's just what ever you want to do. This is Adult Camp, without having counselors telling you what to do. Also, if you like spa treatments, now's the time. The spa on board the Star and Grand are beautiful , and the services worth it. Hope you have a wonderful time!! Safe travels. Andrea