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Two-Day Australia Seacation Aboard the Grand Princess

Home > Sydney > Cruises | Fun Things To Do | Travel
Published November 11th 2022
Getting a taste of ocean cruising
Two-Day Australia Seacation Aboard the Grand Princess

Grand Princess
Grand Princess


Last week marked my very first time aboard a cruise ship. After numerous experiences cruising the River Murray with PS Murray Princess and Proud Mary, we decided to take on the larger and more expansive ocean instead. Hence, a two-day seacation from Sydney to Melbourne aboard the Grand Princess was where we found ourselves - just to get a taste of what it would be like.

Ship

grand princess
Top deck


Grand Princess was the flagship in the Princess Cruises fleet when it debuted in 1998. Since then, bigger and faster vessels have been built but this old favourite remains an extraordinary choice for cruise departures from the southeastern coast of Australia.



The ship underwent its latest refurbishment in March 2019 and boasts a tranquil adults-only haven, movies poolside and a range of enrichment programs. Inclusive dining options cater for various palates while specialty restaurants can deliver that extra touch if you're celebrating a particular occasion.



Dining

chicken and sweet corn soup grand princess
Chicken and sweet corn soup


Over two days, we managed to try a variety of culinary delights located throughout the ship. The gourmet pizza at Alfredo's Pizzeria was freshly prepared in a nearby open kitchen and served hot from the oven. Those interested can actually watch the chefs create their pizzas. The multicultural waiters were pleasant and helpful too. This was the sit-down venue we opted for lunch on the first day.

cabernet-braised beef short ribs grand princess
Cabernet-braised beef short ribs


Being on the top deck the next day, we headed to The Salty Dog Grill and I ordered the classic handcrafted beef burger for a more casual lunch. The burger had tomato, lettuce, red onion and cheese in addition to a juicy beef patty. Also on the top deck is Coffee & Cones where chocolate and vanilla ice cream cones await. I could not resist picking one up after lunch.

vanilla mascarpone and blueberry cremeux grand princess
Vanilla mascarpone and blueberry cremeux


Breakfast is served from 5am each morning at the International Cafe with delivery also available right to your stateroom. Choices include croissants, danishes, fruits, yogurts and muffins among others. The buffet-style Horizon Court offers a hot breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner menus, in a very casual setting. However, queues tend to form as people make their way through, and so this venue didn't really appeal to me. The only other time we had to wait in line was at boarding.

shredded duck and pork rillettes grand princess
Shredded duck and pork rillettes


For dinner, we made reservations via the MedallionClass app to dine in one of the main dining rooms. The food was notably above average and the service could not be faulted. Out of the five available courses, I unfortunately only had the stomach for three. It is a shame that I'm not quite that big of an eater!

broiled lamb shawarma grand princess
Broiled lamb shawarma


The chicken and sweet corn soup was a great hearty start to my meal, followed by cabernet-braised beef short ribs for mains and vanilla mascarpone and blueberry cremeux for dessert. On the second day, I enjoyed both the shredded duck and pork rillettes and the broiled lamb shawarma, but the Chocolate Journeys dessert in the form of a chocolate hazelnut bar was truly indulgent. This sweet treat had a unique flavour as well as a clever and skilful design.

chocolate hazelnut bar grand princess
Chocolate hazelnut bar


Accommodation

balcony stateroom grand princess
Stateroom


Despite looking a little old, the ship has been very well maintained throughout. Our balcony stateroom was clean and comfortable having all the amenities we needed. If something's missing, you could simply request for it using the MedallionClass app. Our dedicated steward also made sure we were much taken care of. Efficient as he is, the friendly Filipino chap dropped by to welcome us and introduce himself the moment we stepped into our stateroom!



I took pleasure in the private outdoor space, which had two chairs and a table, accessible through a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door. The sea air was rather refreshing especially after being indoors for a while.

Medallion grand princess
Medallion


Upon boarding, we received a personalised Medallion instead of a key. The wearable device automatically unlocks our stateroom door each time we approach it - how cool is that! But, beware, this Medallion also allows your travelling group to locate you anywhere on the ship. Good or bad? Well, I guess it depends on where you are and what you're doing at the time.

Automatic unlocking of stateroom door grand princess
Automatic unlocking of stateroom door


Activities and entertainment

fruit and vegetable carving grand princess
Fruit and vegetable carving


The list of activities and entertainment on board literally filled a whole A4 sheet. There was live music, games, magic shows, feature films, comedians, demonstrations, classes, trivia and much much more. I actually spent some time in the morning surveying what was happening that day as well as creating my own itinerary on the MedallionClass app.

fruit and vegetable carving grand princess
Vegetable carving


The European-style Piazza with spiral staircases and glass-walled lifts was the place to be for me. A couple of highlights at this hub included the fruit and vegetable carving, martini demonstration and paper plane competition. All provided sufficient amusement and enjoyment.

fruit and vegetable carving grand princess
Fruit carving


Apparently, the art of carving fruits and vegetables is common in the Philippines, and the chefs did an amazing job. Just have a look at the photos. The skills displayed in the martini demonstration were mind-boggling too. Can you imagine someone doing a simultaneous nine pour successfully? My expertise stops at folding paper planes. But, believe it or not, our toy aircraft glided smoothly across the Piazza and we won the competition.

martini demonstration grand princess
Martini demonstration

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Why? Getting a taste of ocean cruising
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Where: From Sydney to Melbourne and vice versa
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Your Comment
Every word of your article is true Audrey. We are booked on the Grande Princess for a 14 day around New Zealand cruise in December. It is our sixth cruise and looking forward to it, especially after reading your article. You did the right thing in having a short cruise for your first one.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4476) 22 days ago
Looks like a very interesting cruise, Audrey. Am sure you enjoyed yourself.
by Bev (score: 2|153) 22 days ago
Would really really like to get back into cruising after the pandemic over.
by mytsl (score: 2|133) 22 days ago
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