Princess ask you clear your room by 9am but it leaves plenty of time to get ready to dismbark. The Leonardo dining room is open and so is the buffer so you can pig out one last time before going back home. Disembarkation is done with little color tags. And top decks go first. For us, mere passengers, it takes a little longer. But Princess provides you with coffee, tea and water. Funnily enough, it was pouring rain, like a revenche from the sky because we were leaving. If you want to beat the disembarkation blues, I recommend you spand a day at Fort Lauderdale or Miami before going home, that helps smoothing the transition to normal life *;o)*.
After the cruise:
The least you can say is that I am now hooked. And I have been able to put up only one pound despite the abundance of food aboard (and that’s something). The itinerary of this cruise is really good for someone who has never been to the Caribbean because it gives you the occasion to try three different cultures here.
Princess catered to our every needs (not that we are that demanding), I came back with 30 dollars more from playing the roulette at the casino (Justin stuck to black-jack and got out with 60$). Because your only worry is: what am I going to do today? Cruises are a very relaxing experience you can only find at all inclusive. We went during early May, which is the start of low-season, and didn’t regret it. The weather was great and at at each of our ports of calls, we were the only boat there and hopefully avoided the crowd. Tipping is not necessary since a gratuity is calculated automatically from your account (which you have to settle on your last full day aboard) but you may do so if you find the service is worth it. We gave a good tip to Ana Maria, our cabin-sterwardess and one of the waiter in the Michaelangelo dining room who surpased himself. You can also make adjustment to your gratuity (even remove it) if you wish. Our fellow passengers were mostly aged between late 40's and late 60's but you have some younger passengers as well.
The staff on the ship was very friendly and I didn't have any single complain against anyone. They really make you feel like you're a VIP.
About the food... the buffet was OK. Not excellent but of good quality, especially the desserts. It's always great to know that you can go there and grab a bite to eat in case you've got the munchies. Highly recommended: the 3:30pm ice-cream and the 5:30pm tea time "sandwich buffet" were the staff is making sandwich to order. For fine pallates, there are of course the main dining rooms where breakfast, lunch, tea-time and dinner are organised.
Downs: Only one actually: No free ice-cream parlor which is a little weird when you know that ice-cream is free on other ships BUT, as mentionned earlier, ice-cream (vanilla or chocolate) is available from 3:30-5:30pm at the Horizon Court.
I didn’t know Justin and I would be back on the Grand six months later for a much different cruise. So come back later for the rest of my stories…