This 2,606-passenger ship may be nearly 20 years old, but it has been upgraded (the last time was in 2011) and continues to offer a classy, low-key cruise for all ages. The decor on Grand Princess is pleasant (think Pottery Barn) and the dining and entertainment options tend towards the traditional — Italian food and steaks, classic song-and-dance revues. For many, therein lies the appeal.
What We Love
Alfredo’s Pizzeria: Head to this sit-down pizza restaurant for hand-tossed, personal-sized pizzas made with creative topping combos — and at no extra charge.
Wraparound Promenade Deck: It’s an old-school feature that you find on fewer and fewer ships these days (it takes too much precious real estate away from bars, shops, and restaurants), but this deck is a wonderful place for breezy strolls or jogs, where you can soak up both the fresh sea air and views of the upcoming ports.
Best Known For
Striking a Balance: Neither too frenetic nor too dull, Grand Princess manages to offer mega ship cruises that hit just the right notes for families and couples of all ages who don’t want to be shocked or awed by jarring decor, gimmicky bars, or amusement-park-like rides.
Alaska Cruises Round-Trip From San Francisco: The 10-night itinerary includes four ports of call (Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria on most) and four days at sea — two on either end as the ship steams past British Columbia to the Inside Passage. The chance to spend a day or two in San Francisco is another plus.
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Who It's Best For
Families: Besides playrooms geared to different ages, there is an outdoor basketball court, ping-pong tables, and pizza (which can be delivered to your cabin) to keep your kids very, very happy.
Couples: There are multiple romantic lounges (including Vines Wine Bar, Crooner’s Lounge and Bar, and a fusion tea bar), the adults-only Sanctuary for relaxing, and flexible dining for better chances of securing tables for two. There’s even a wedding chapel if you want to tie the knot or renew your vows.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Cozy Cabins: The smallest inside and outside cabins are compact at 160 to 163 square feet, though the design is efficient and the closet space is decent.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.