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★★☆☆☆

“Grand Princess -- Mutton dressed as lamb, or the...”

Written on: 30/05/2010

Grand Princess -- Mutton dressed as lamb, or the Emperor's New Clothes? Take your pick....

We were anytime dining and did not wish to 'partake' in the two formal evenings. Ate all meals in the Horizon where the system is chaotic, two ways in, two ways out, so for every item you put on your plate you then give way to someone coming from the other direction. You find curry at one end, need to find if there's rice, go to the very far end and find rice, then back to get your curry. Food is tasty, but rather dry. Sometimes tempted to put a ladle of soup on the plate for lubrication? Puddings are tempting, but also dry - no cream or sauce available. Just hot custard or maybe chocolate blancmange - goes well on delicate fruit tarts? The plastic plates start off warm, are lukewarm while you chase round finding food, then the plate and food are tepid by the time you find a table. Stone cold before you are halfway through. Absolute scrum at peak times in Horizon - comical seeing folks in their bow ties and sparkly evening dresses struggling to find somewhere to sit - and ending up outside on plastic tables by the pool in the fresh air.

Drink prices are ridiculous - over $11 for two cans of Boddingtons. There are no pricelists in any of the bars that we could see.

In the bathrooms they have fixed shower heads - but no shower caps, so take your own. They DO supply shower gel/shampoo, conditioner, and a body cream, but the bottles are so hard that you can't squeeze them even when you take the top off.

Aloha deck midship cabins are VERY noisy under the pool areas, from 6am to midnight. No daytime peace or afternoon naps!

In the cabins (sorry, staterooms) there are NO TEA-MAKING FACILITIES. We've been with Ocean Village, Thomson and NCL and they all did. You had to PAY for coffee around the ship!! Maybe I'm wrong, but I didn't find hot drinks 'on tap' anywhere outside Horizon. Take a flask with you?

Which other cruise lines have two formal nights, but offer bingo and karaoke? Who else encourages people to dress up but doesn't have enough seating for them in the restaurant? Possibly good food but you never ever get to eat it hot.

In SEVEN days we only visited THREE ports, Zeebrugge for Bruges (they caught us for 6 Euros each for shuttle bus just to get out of the port, but it was only 7.5 euros each by shared taxi to get right into Bruges!). Copenhagen (where I'd been before) and Helsingborg (over the water from Copenhagen, so close you could see it in the distance). Oslo visit was aborted due to possible port strike action.

And as for the norovirus........

(Zero stars for value for money, not the 1* shown on chart)

Princess again? Not me.