Hi, new poster, long time reader.
We just finished (Feb, 2020) a 15 day cruise on the Grand from San Francisco to Hawaii and back.
Overall, my husband and I thought the food was excellent. The offerings at the buffet became a bit monotonous after 15 days, but the quality of the food was always good. The desserts were killer! We ate dinner (anytime dining) in the dining room several times and were never disappointed. We weren't overly impressed with the slices of pizza at the place by the pool, but the pizzas coming out of Alfredo's on the piazza were very good. The Salty Dog Grill produces tasty burgers and the best hotdog I've had in a very long time. We also enjoyed stopping by the International Cafe to pick up a few freshly baked chocolate chip and oatmeal/raisin cookies before heading to our cabin for the night.
With the exception of the bartenders at the casino bar, we were really disappointed with the service which surprised me because I've heard so much about how great it is on Princess ships. We found most of the crew to be polite, but not particularly friendly. More often than not, they were huddled off to the side talking to each other rather than interacting with passengers. I tried several times to engage a bartender in conversation, but he made it pretty clear that he wasn't interested. Our cabin steward did a great job cleaning our cabin, but we requested that our ice bucket be filled with ice each night. I specifically asked her if filling it would cause her any sort of difficulty, and if so, I'd go up to the buffet to fill the bucket, but she assured me it wasn't a problem. As it turned out, sometimes it was filled and other times it wasn't. One time the ice bucket had been removed from the cabin and found it's way back the next day.
The worst experience we had was at The Crown Grill during the free fish and chips lunch. The food was delicious, but the service was horrible bordering on rude. Actually, it was rude. It was so bad, that we didn't stay for dessert and went up to the buffet to have dessert instead. The bad service at The Crown Grill may explain why each day during lunch, a waiter from The Crown Grill was going around to the other restaurants (including the buffet), menu in hand, interrupting people's lunch and trying to persuade them to come to The Crown Grill for dinner! Honestly, we're not difficult, demanding or fussy people, but we do have certain, reasonable expectations of service and the Grand didn't meet them.
We very much enjoyed the entertainment, particularly the production shows. I've read in reviews that others didn't think much of them, but we thought they were great. While we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, we felt the onboard activities were lacking. I understand it's very popular, but there was way too much trivia and very little else that was of interest to us. However, I do realize this is subjective and that there we probably many passengers who did enjoy the activities.
I very much enjoyed spending my afternoons on the Horizon Terrace on the Lido Deck where there is a bar (Al Frescos) and a small pool. For whatever reason, this area didn't seem to have been discovered by most passengers so it was very quiet, peaceful and relaxing. It was so relaxing to sit out there reading, working on my computer or just reflecting. I also enjoyed the convenience of the bar if I wanted something to drink and having the buffet nearby if I wanted a snack.
The ship does show it's age. As noted above, there were leaks in the ceiling at the Horizon Court (I actually had water drip on my hair), many of the women's bathrooms had at least one stall closed for repair/maintenance during the entire cruise, elevators were out of service often and I noticed a lot of rust around the outside of the ship (although, the maintenance crew was painting while we were on board). As noted above, the carpets look worn except in some of the main public areas like around the elevators and on the stairs.
We had an inside cabin, and while it looked dated, it was perfectly fine and comfortable. We had plenty of room, the bed was comfy and the bedding new. The pillows were a bit soft, but that's a minor thing.
Overall, we enjoyed our cruise very much and it exploring the Hawaiian islands was a terrific experience. But, mainly due to the poor service we experienced, I doubt we'll sail on Princess again. We are not experienced cruisers, having only done one other which was on the Norwegian Jewel. While Norwegian didn't have near the quality of food or entertainment we experienced on the Grand, their crew made me feel like a princess from day one until the end of the cruise. So much so, that's all I could talk about for weeks after we got home.
Unfortunately, Princess didn't make me feel like a princess and I think that's one of the appeals of cruising - being pampered and having your every need taken care even when you don't know that you need or want something. I certainly don't want to throw rain on your parade, but just be aware that you may experience some service issues while on your cruise. And, then again, you may not. Maybe it was just our bad luck to be onboard the Grand during an off trip. I dunno. Regardless, I send my very best wishes to you for a wonderful cruise and a fabulous time!