Cunard’s Princess Grill; What’s the big deal?
Earlier this year, I decided to treat myself to an upgrade to Cunard’s Princess Grill stateroom. I’ve seen lots of people talking about whether this is worth the upgrade, so thought I’d share some of my experiences with you all.
What Is Princess Grill?
Cunard has a lot of grades their cabins fall into depending on size and facilities. However, they can roughly be grouped into 3; Standard, Princess Grill and Queens Grill.
Think of it a bit like the traditional ‘Standard vs First Class’ split and you’re along the right lines. Princess Grill offers suite-style accommodation, upgraded restaurants and other additional features and Queens Grill is the most richly featured tier with even more extras and more luxurious suites.
How does it differ from a standard stateroom?
This review is based on Princess Grill stateroom 5104 on Queen Victoria which is a P2 grade suite. As my voyage was only a short one (2 nights), I didn’t get the chance to experience the full range of benefits available to Princess Grills guests but I will mention as many as I am aware of!
This voyage was the second leg of a back to back cruise for me, so I didn’t experience the embarkation process. Grills guests are able to join the priority line, but be aware that so are platinum and diamond members of the Cunard World Club; of which there are many! This means there’s likely to be a wait to check in, even if you are a Grills guest.
Another important point to note is that, unlike QG guests, PG guests are NOT given priority disembarkation or priority tenders for ports that require this.
All Princess Grill suites are the same size and the grading varies depending just on the location of the suite. My suite was midship on deck 5, a very convenient location that, whilst reasonably close to the lifts, didn’t cause me any issues with noise.
First impressions were of just how much more spacious this suite was than a standard balcony cabin. There’s a lot more room and some notable differences are:
- Bigger walk-in wardrobe
- Bath in the bathroom, with shower overhead
- Seating area with sofa and chair
- Two televisions; one viewable from the bed and another from the sofa
- Illy coffee machine for ‘real’ coffee in the room – this was very good !
- Velour bath robes and slippers
On entry to the room, I discovered some lovely chocolate-dipped strawberries and a bottle of champagne. Cunard only mention this would be sparkling wine with a guarantee of champagne in QG but I’ve read numerous reports of this champagne being placed routinely in PG staterooms. In addition to this bottle, we also had a bottle of the faithful Pol Acker in the fridge! (Those of you who haven’t yet travelled with Cunard won’t have experienced Pol Acker; a sparkling wine that I think is perfectly fine, but many refer to only wishing to use it to clean their drains!)
I was slightly disappointed with the ‘fresh flowers’ in the room. I’d pictured there being a lovely bouquet to greet me but in actual fact it was 1 stem in a rather tiny vase. A shame.
Fresh fruit was provided and topped up during the voyage.
The literature suggests that there is a pillow menu. I searched for this and couldn’t locate it, but I didn’t ask the stateroom attendant for it so it may well have been available.
As well as the Grills restaurants (I’ll come onto that in a minute!) there are some other areas exclusive to Grills guests, such as:
Grills Lounge – an area with soft seating to relax and a bar in the evenings should you wish to use it. I did use this, but not excessively. Whilst a nice feature, I think it would be enjoyed more by guests who prefer a quieter environment. There’s a concierge desk available to all Grills guests; though I had no cause to use it. A special afternoon tea is also served in here with higher quality food, but I didn’t have a chance to try it during my voyage.
Grills Courtyard and Terrace – An outside area with places to sunbathe which could be very lucrative on a hot cruise, as well as places to eat outside when the weather permits; as I was travelling in January, I didn’t make any use of these!
The Princess Grill Restaurant
Here’s where the Princess Grill experience really steps up a notch.
Whilst I really appreciate the quality of the food in the Britannia restaurant, it is mass catered will means it lacks the finesse and finish of the food available in the Princess Grill Restaurant. I was incredibly impressed with the quality and attention to detail present in the food as well as the extra level of personalised and friendly service from all of the staff present who are given less guests to serve each and so can spend more time making sure everything is perfect.
One other notable difference to the Britannia restaurant is the addition of an ‘A La Carte’ menu which doesn’t change; meaning some favourites are available every evening and guests can enjoy dishes such as a rack of lamb, fillet steak or dover soul day after day. Cunard also add an element of theatre to dinner with dishes such as duck a l’orange, finished and carved at the table.
So, there we have it! A roundup of the differences you should expect when booking a PG suite. Do I think it’s worth the extra cost? Well, that all depends on many things but mostly the relative difference in price from a balcony stateroom. I really enjoyed the extra luxury and especially the improved quality of the food. I don’t have any voyages currently booked in Princess Grill, but I would definitely book one as a special treat. I’d love to be able to afford to travel in a suite every time, but funds don’t always allow! And no matter what I know I’ll always have a very special experience with Cunard regardless of my cabin grade!