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Sail Date: May 2004
The ship is nice, but not spectacular. The food was very mediocre and disappointing compared to a previous RC cruise!! I recommended they fire the chef. Very little choice, only had lobster one night in 11 nights, offered very little ... Read More
The ship is nice, but not spectacular. The food was very mediocre and disappointing compared to a previous RC cruise!! I recommended they fire the chef. Very little choice, only had lobster one night in 11 nights, offered very little seafood. The dining room had the same menu every day, with the exception of a daily special; the food was quite repetitive and boring. There never seemed to be enough tables in the Windjammer Cafe; it was always busy. The shows were okay - some were mediocre, a few were quite good. Marty Allen and his wife were quite good, as were the comedians. Many cabins had no bedspreads, just sheets covering the blankets, and the love seats did not match in color. Overall, rather disappointing furnishings. The purser's staff did not have much information on how to get to public beaches if you did not want to take a very expensive excursion. They did not generally have a map of the island, as I was given on a previous cruise each day. I suggest you always ask whether the beach you are going to is on the Atlantic side or the leeward side of the island - rough surf on the former, beautiful calm beaches on the latter. Suggest Isla Verde public beach in San Juan, Divi Resort beach in St. Martin, Magens Bay in St. Thomas, and Port Lucaya beach (Westin hotel beach) in Freeport. All can be reached by taxis ranging from $4 to $16 each way (San Juan was longest distance). All beautiful beaches. Isla Verde did not have concessions on the beach, but had little shops/restaurants half a block away. Cabs run routinely down the main street of the beach. Would not book on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
10 days of almost-paradise. That's the best way I can explain our cruise on the Grandeur of the Seas. It was just a 20 minute taxi ride from the Baltimore airport to the dock. When we arrived, the taxi driver dropped us off right by ... Read More
10 days of almost-paradise. That's the best way I can explain our cruise on the Grandeur of the Seas. It was just a 20 minute taxi ride from the Baltimore airport to the dock. When we arrived, the taxi driver dropped us off right by luggage carts and loaded our luggage onto them. Had I been thinking, I would have kept a pair of shorts with me, but before the day was done, our luggage arrived at our stateroom. Having just become Platinum members, we were whisked to the front of the line for a speedy check in. As we stepped on board, we were greeted by an Adventure Oceans staff member who gave our young son a wristband with his muster station number on it as well as a schedule of the kids events on board. One of my favorite things on all Royal Caribbean cruises is the carved beef that you can usually just get on the first day in the Windjammer cafe. It hasn't been great on all of the ships, but it was very good on the Grandeur. Leaving the Windjammer, we were accosted for about the 5th time by the bar staff trying to sell us all you can drink sodas for the cruise. While these little diabetes makers aren't my favorite, we indulged our son in one. This was our first cruise sailing out of the Chesapeake Bay and we had an extra treat of seeing one of the military boats from Annapolis anchored near the military academy. I like scotch. Good single malt scotch to be more specific. It's become a routine of mine to buy a bottle of single malt on the first day and pay the extra $9.50 to consume it in my stateroom. I like to have a drink as we get ready for dinner. Sadly, the Grandeur didn't have any single malt in the shop but they were quick to point out that they had Johnnie Walker Blue, which is an overpriced, over hyped blend. I ended up settling for a bottle of a scotch called Swing, which is another JW product, but a blend all the same. It was disappointing. Our first full day was an at-sea day. Sunny, bright and warm, we lounged on deck and indulged in pina coladas from always ready bar staff. One thing that struck me as odd was that they no longer carry the bottles of rum with them to spike the virgin drinks. They now carry water glasses full of rum and then pour some on top of your drink. The drinks still tasted great, but their method of dispensing just seemed odd to me. The pools are filled with ocean water and after jumping in I got a smile on my face. When I jump into a Royal Caribbean pool for the first time on a ship it's always the same --- that soothing, healing and comforting reminder that I'm about to have a great vacation. I'm a hot tub fan. I enjoy the conversation and the warmth. Perhaps it's because I live in a cold climate. During the days, the tubs were kept warm, but if there was one thing I would have changed, it was the temperature at night. It appeared that they turned off the heaters because whenever I would take a dip after dinner they were just barely warm. We attended a meet-and-mingle party for people who signed up through cruisecritic.com and we were pleased to make several friends who we socialized with throughout the cruise. It was funny how several of the other passengers continued to call me by my login name, Midwest Jim. Our waiter, Vener from the Philippines, was spectacular. Every night he went the extra mile to impress us with his service. Always making great recommendations, we were never disappointed. If we could assure that we could get Vener on every cruise we took, we would look at more than just the itinerary and the ship before booking. The escargot was a spectacular indulgence of snail, garlic and butter. The shrimp ravioli was a taste explosion that I have never before experienced in ravioli. The bisques - oh the bisques, were simply amazing. Our headwaiter was a charming man who made sure that even our young son felt spoiled. Our favorite bartender was at the pool. David Bassin of Nicaragua was always quick and friendly. My 8 year old son found a friend in David. Perhaps it was because he was always setting him up with his soda fix, but later in the cruise David shared that he had a son at home who was the same age as my son and as all kids that age, loved video games also. It was a pleasant reminder that the ship staff has family and we got the feeling that David probably spoils his little boy as much as he spoiled ours. Our cabin steward was efficient. Of the 10 nights, he only made three towel animals including a sting ray, a monkey and an elephant. My son got some good laughs on those three nights. The first stop was Key West. Most of the shops were closed when we got off the ship at 9am. We strolled to the Ernest Hemingway house for a tour. My son was fascinated with the 63 cats on the premises. A quick walk brought us to the southernmost point in the United States where we decided to skip the line of tourists waiting to get their picture taken with the big red painted cement icon. Then off to the Blond Giraffe for their chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. I'd heard others rave about it and it was very good, but it was still just pie on a stick - apparently the joy it gave others must have been lost on me. For lunch we stopped at my favorite place on the key - Crabby Bill's. Raw oysters and two-for-one Bass Ales keep me coming back to this place. It's right across the street from the more famous, and infinitely louder, Sloppy Joe's. Before heading back on the ship I made a quick stop at the Truman museum that was small but nice. One thing that bothered me about this stop was that we left before sunset. Seeing Key West without visiting Mallory square at sunset is a bit like climbing Mount Everest but deciding that once you get to base camp that you'd seen enough. Mallory square is the frosting on the cake for Key West. Cozumel was fantastic and the taxi service is great. Our first stop was Los Cinco Soles, a shop with silver, crafts, pottery, a little liquor store and the best vanilla you'll find on the island. In the back of the store is a restaurant called Pancho's Backyard. The day we went there were three people playing a Mexican xylophone in the restaurant. This place makes a burrito as big as your head and a wonderful margarita that's almost as big. If you like hot sauce, ask for some. It's great stuff and on your way out you can buy a bottle at Los Cinco Soles. My wife had lost the sapphire in a ring my son and I got her a few years ago so we went shopping for a replacement stone. The ship's shopping gal recommended we go to one of the Diamonds International stores. What a waste of time that was. Their prices were high and they didn't have any loose stones so they said they would take one out of an existing ring if we wanted one. We bolted and found a nice non-sanctioned jeweler just a few doors down who had a great price for a beautiful stone and they even mounted it for us. They even had a table set up where you could have serve it yourself tequila shots if you were so inclined to indulge in the salt, tequila, lime routine. After dumping our shopping loot off at the ship, we headed off to Paradise Beach which was a fabulous beach with a massive floating inflatable iceberg that my son thought was a great fun. We snorkeled and my wife got a back rub. The massage therapist wasn't really a massage therapist, but my wife didn't care. $20 bought her a 20 minute back rub and she was happy with that. As the family went back on the ship I wandered through the nearby duty free area and enjoyed $2 Dos Equis and chatted with some locals who gave me tips on where to find deals on my next trip to Cozumel. We didn't do any of the excursions in Belize but we did go on shore to visit their shops. One of the outdoor food and drink shops had a nice internet cafe so the family popped in there for a quick technology fix. We found a nice little liquor shop that had samples so we had to pick up a bottle of Belize's favorite rum, which had a unique taste and is not available on the shelves of your local liquor store. Friends who went on the snorkeling excursion shared with us that it was the best snorkeling they had ever done. Cococay is a little island that Royal Caribbean owns. It is fabulous. Fifteen years ago we went there on our honey moon and it has just gotten so much better. Snorkeling is good and the water is shallow. Lifeguards keep watch and the thousands of fish we saw entertained. We saw a stingray and I was amused that in addition to the plane they had sunk that was there during our honeymoon a large tall ship had apparently (and conveniently) been sunk there also. My son enjoyed swimming around the sunken cannons. It had a real pirate feel and RCI did a good job of making it look like it really had been there for a long time. Although much too short, Cococay was our favorite stop of the entire trip and nearly everyone we spoke to remarked how they would have liked to stay on Cococay for longer. We finished our exotic port visits in Freeport and found more shopping and some really good conch fritters and some uninspiring, but nicely cold, Bahamian beer. Our colorful taxi driver, a senior citizen calling himself General Grant, kept us laughing for the entire ride. The solarium is a great adults-only pool area. One day, in addition to their traditional pizza and hot dogs, they had a banana-jalapeno pizza on the menu. It didn't get many takers except for me, but it was great stuff. A year earlier we had been on the Rhapsody, a sister ship to the Grandeur and the Rhapsody did have a better solarium. Unlike the Rhapsody, which had stairs leading into the water, the Grandeur had straight edges down and the water was not circulating as much as the Rhapsody had been. Also, the statues on the middle-eastern themed Grandeur were of berka-clad women that struck me as being a fairly shallow, stereotypical and uninformed caricature of the complex Middle East. Adventure Ocean, Royal Caribbean's kids program, was great. My son had a ball. Their accommodating staff kept the kids busy at various times and my son made some good friends. Royal Caribbean obviously understands that if the child is happy and busy, the parents will be happy and relaxed. The Grandeur has some fun details. Pirate treasure is in the floor as you enter the casino. Tons of interesting art of nearly every type of medium decorates the walls. The library offers big leather chairs that you can get lost in as you read your morning news. Sailing out of Baltimore, we found that about 95% of the passengers were New Englanders who had driven to the ship. It reminded me of our cruise the year before out of Galveston, where 95% of the passengers were Texans. In short, there wasn't a great deal of regional or international diversity among our fellow passengers. As we were leaving, we noticed a couple of smiling faced but teary-eyed pre-teen girls hugging, knowing they would never see each other again. That image said it all. It was a wonderful trip and many friends were made. It was pure relaxation distilled into a 10-day vacation. This coming fall the Grandeur goes into dry dock for a face-lift. While we noticed a few wrinkles, the ship has been well cared for and we didn't experience any significant problems. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
What a wonderful vacation! We had last cruised with Disney in July 2002 and were a bit concerned that RCI wouldn't quite measure up, but it exceeded our expectations in all areas. The service and entertainment were exceptional, the ... Read More
What a wonderful vacation! We had last cruised with Disney in July 2002 and were a bit concerned that RCI wouldn't quite measure up, but it exceeded our expectations in all areas. The service and entertainment were exceptional, the food was quite good, the staterooms were small but VERY efficiently laid out--with so much storage space that I kept forgetting where I'd put things--and all in all we had a great time. The Grandeur is a beautiful ship (we LOVED all the glass, the Centrum, and the views from the Viking Crown Lounge), and we thought it was the perfect size for a 7-night cruise. I can't say enough good things about the service staff: our waiter, Attila from Hungary, assistant waiter Shannaz, head waiter Tahsin, and stateroom attendant Galeane couldn't have been more attentive. We felt so spoiled all week! And I have to say a huge "kudos" to cruise director Warren Melhuis, who was always a brilliant ray of sunshine and seemed to be EVERYWHERE, at all hours of the day and night. Does the man never sleep? By the end of the cruise (he was there to say farewell to everyone and even helped maneuver my mother-in-law's wheelchair onto the gangplank), we were convinced he had about 20 clones. He (and all of his staff) were just fantastic. We were: Me (celebrating the big five-oh birthday); DH (the sole male of the family); his mom, and DD and her friend (both almost 16). I'm now totally sold on cruises as the perfect family vacation--there was something for everyone to do, almost all of the time. My MIL enjoyed: the food and service (especially our darling waiter Attila); relaxing on our balcony (DH & I had a balcony cabin; the girls and MIL were across the hall from us in interior ones) watching the water go by, reading, enjoying a before-dinner drink, or reading/dozing off over her book; beating her son at a game of Scrabble; playing Bingo; relaxing in the solarium; and watching the girls, all dressed up for dinner, enjoy their (nonalcoholic) foo-foo drinks. She DIDN'T particularly like: the LONG walk down the LONG hallway to our cabins. (We booked late and the only cabins they had together were at the far aft end of the ship. Next time we'll book earlier for a more central location!) The girls enjoyed: having their very own private cabin, ordering room service (which they kept amazingly tidy, thanks to the ample and convenient storage), running on the jogging deck, staying up late, sleeping late, getting dressed up for dinner, meeting new friends (though that didn't happen until the next-to-last day), late night french fries from the solarium grill; 3 days of beach time (Port Lucaya in Freeport, Coco Cay, and Cocoa Beach), snorkeling (the Fury catamaran trip in Key West), and just "walking around" the ship. They DIDN'T like: the saltwater pools and the apparently nonexistent teen program for their age group (15-17). They complained that every time they went to the Fantaseas "teen club" it was full of little kids. When they tried to find the "411" gathering there on the first night, they were "thrown out" by the counselors for the 12-14 year old group, but not told where THEIR age group was gathering. When they DID figure out where that was, by the time they got there there were just a few older boys there... Throughout the week they occasionally tried--without success--to find group activities for their age group, but finally just gave up and started talking to kids they saw walking around. I know this is a tough age group to program for, but I think RCI could make more of an effort... DH and I loved: having our own, private cabin (last cruise we shared w/DD and my niece); leaving the balcony door open at night and listening to the sound of the water rushing by; waking up to the sea view in the morning; most of the shows; the wonderful service and meals (good banquet-quality fare, with better seafood, soups, appetizers & desserts than we expected); playing nickel slots and video poker in the casino (no big winners, but we didn't lose much either), meeting interesting new people (including fellow CruiseCritics at the Meet & Mingle), relaxing in the never-crowded solarium and swimming in the pool there, walking around decks 10 and 4, lazing away in a secluded, shady spot by the water on CocoCay (plenty of lounge chairs and hammocks--we found two of each!), the captain's "Nautical Notes" talk (very informative), and just being away from the "real world" (we avoided the news ALL WEEK!). My only real complaint was about the lack of service from the "Explorations" desk staff. The evening before we got to Port Canaveral, I asked about the Cocoa Beach Transfer, since the girls wanted to go to RonJon's Surf Shop and hang out on the beach the next day. In response to the question "Where do we get dropped off, and how far is it from RonJon's and the beach," the woman at the desk told me "I know nothing about Cocoa Beach; nobody on our staff has ever been there." She then proceeded to tell me that the bus would drop us off at Cocoa Village, an upscale shopping area. (It didn't; it took us to a very convenient location, just two blocks from RonJon's and a block from a very nice public beach--but the people who wanted to go to Cocoa Village had to take a cab or trolley to get there...) This, to me, is simply inexcusable... The focus among the Explorations staff seemed to be getting people to shop and selling the "big ticket" excursions. They could really use some basic training in customer service (like: the answer to any guest's question should be "I'll find out," NOT "I don't know"!) But I don't want to end this review on a negative note, because we really had a great time. We are not big "joiners" and didn't take advantage of any of the group activities; in fact, we adults weren't even able to stay awake for any of the late-night event, including the two midnight buffets--but we enjoyed watching the sun rise over the horizon and walking around the almost deserted ship in the early am hours. (When my dad saw our photos, his reaction was "were there any other people on the ship?" In fact, it was a full sailing!) I think this just proves that on the right cruise, anyone can have a wonderful time. And this one was just right for us. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
This was my first cruise but I had spent many hours reading everything I could about the ship, the cruise line, and the ports. My advice is don't bother to do all that work. RCCL has a lot of processes in place that take care of all ... Read More
This was my first cruise but I had spent many hours reading everything I could about the ship, the cruise line, and the ports. My advice is don't bother to do all that work. RCCL has a lot of processes in place that take care of all your concerns. I am a perfectionist and while I could point out a lot of little things I would do better, the fact is that the ship and the service were outstanding. Unless you look for reasons to complain you will be very happy with both the Grandeur and RCCL. We took the modified cruise on June 11th through 20th. This cruise was one day shorter than normal (10 days/9 nights) and skipped CocoCay. I wished that they had skipped Freeport and included CocoCay but you cannot have everything. The cab I had scheduled several days before never showed up and I had to drive to the port. I have lived in Baltimore since 1967 and I should have known better. It was a rainy day and the cabs make more with short runs so they just don't come. This is the second time it has happened to me (two different companies) and I will use a sedan service/limo in the future. The Seagirt terminal at Dundalk is a freight terminal and is not set up for cruise ships. The long-term parking is in-between two areas where they store freight and is not convenient. I reached the port at 2 PM and did not get on the ship until after 4 PM. They only had two lines for all the cars and a couple of porters. Very poor service on shore but that is not the cruise line's fault. The check-in area is in a big shed. No place to sit at all. Here the cruise line was handling things and it went quite fast. It only required about 15 minutes to check in despite very long lines. Well organized and lots of people doing the check-in. As we entered the ship I was impressed with the process. All the younger kids were immediately identified and given wristbands. I did not have any children with me but everyone who did was very complementary of the two programs that RCCL has in place. We had a lot of kids on-board but we rarely saw them other than at meals and they were mostly under control. I observed RCCL officers quietly adjusting the teenager's behavior a few times and felt they did a great job. The cabin was ready when we arrived and the muster drill, while a necessary nuisance, went very smoothly. The cabin had plenty of room for the two of us and could easily have supported two more people if we wanted to crowd it a bit. It had plenty of storage space. We only needed about half the cabinets and cubbyholes. And yes we brought at least twice the clothes we needed. We had a balcony mid-ships (8048) and it had two lounge chairs and two regular chairs and a small table. Very nice, pretty quiet and plenty of room to relax. Our cabin attendant introduced herself and offered extra pillows, towels etc. It was the start of the outstanding service she provided all cruise. The room was cleaner than any hotel room outside of a five star and was always made up quickly and the ice bucket was always full. Our dinner waiter was from India and was outstanding as was our assistant waiter. The RCCL process is great, the waiter had two tables. The assistant waiter also has two tables but the second table is with a different waiter. That way at least one of them was always immediately available at our table and usually anticipated our needs before we knew we had them. The food was very good. The dinner menus were varied and everyone at our table was pleased at the quality of the food. I tried every beef dish and others favored the seafood but everyone had at least one desert. Our waiter, Sanji, remembered everything and by the second night he was making suggestions tailored to the diners individual preferences. He was always offering something extra. Ice Cream with the deserts or a special salad. I don't usually eat salad or most appetizers but he was so determined to please me that he made up fruit plates (best melon I have ever had) and custom made a salad for me with just the ingredients I enjoyed. I cannot emphasize enough how pleased I was with the food and the service. I recognized both of our servers financially but even the extra most of us at the table gave, was not enough to truly reward the excellent service. I was surprised that our head-waiter (Maitre D) came to the table twice every night and spoke to each passenger individually. She remembered what we were eating and made sure we were happy. One night as a joke I told her that we wanted Filet Minion to be on the menu every night and the next night she arranged for our table to have not only the regular menu but brought Filet Minion for everyone who wanted it (We all did). Most of us ate two meals that night. It was great. She really earned her recognition. Breakfast and lunch in the dinning room were not up to the dinner standard. I tried once at each meal and was disappointed. I missed my dinner waiter but the food was still pretty good. The Muy Grande Casadia was excellent. The food in the buffet was not very good. About the same as any "all you can eat" place at home. But the Windjammer was very well maintained and the tables were quickly cleaned. The Solarium Cafe was far better than expected. The server was really fast and friendly. The pizza was food service quality but not too bad. The hamburgers and hot dogs were average but the French fries were some of the best I have ever eaten. Crisp and hot. The activities were impressive. Warren was the cruise director and he had a good staff. They were so energetic and friendly you really wanted to participate. I ended up doing all of the fitness activities and games. I earned 26 fitness dollars but gave them to a family that walked the mile with me every morning. The entertainment was great. Two comedians (Rick Star and Gary Muledear) including a second late night show for the adults. An outstanding magician named Tyler Night with his assistant Missy. Good illusions but even better staging and production. It was really interesting to see a juggler do a fantastic job on a rolling stage. He was on just as we pulled out of port and the thrusters were shaking the entire room while he juggled everything up to a bowling ball. The production shows were acceptable, not Broadway quality but energetic and fast moving. We also had an impressionist (Joey Van) and a gymnast who were pretty good. About the same level as a Vegas lounge act. We stopped at Key West first and it was very organized. I certainly believe what our guide told us that the majority of their economy was tourism. The Conch train was a good way to se the city. I wish we had been there at night to see the street performers at Mallory Square but we left at 3 PM to get to Cozumel. Cozumel was great; we did the Dolphin Swim and Snorkel through the ship. The Royal swim is better but the ship did not offer it. Either way it was a great experience and should not be missed. We tendered in Belize and the sea was extremely rough. I joked with the other passengers that I was glad I did not do the Crazy boat excursion in Key West as I got the same experience free in Belize. It was actually a lot of fun but very rough on the back from the boat bouncing on the ways. I went to the Mayan Ruins, which were OK, but not worth the long bus ride. My son did the cave tubing along with 270 people from the ship. It was too big a crowd but the tour just made it back in time and it was worth the peace of mind to know the ship would wait for it's own tour but not a private one. Our last stop was Freeport and I will never bother to get off the ship there again. They cancelled the Semi-Submarine and the glass bottom boat tours claiming rough seas but we went to the excursion pier ourselves and it was dead calm. We went shopping instead and it was the worse shopping I ever saw. A hundred souvenir and jewelry shops, all with the same items and all over-priced almost double so they could claim to give you a big discount. The worst was the taxi drivers. The ship tells you that it is $4-$5 for a taxi ride to the shopping areas and that is what they charge from the port but trying to get back is unbelievable. They insist on getting a full van before they will leave and that takes about 30 minutes in the hot sun. Our driver said he would only take us back if we paid double to make up for the empty seats in his van. We would have paid anything to get out of there and did. We left two people behind on the dock. Don't be late, the ship leaves on time. Debarkation involved the Seagrit terminal and the Customs Service so it was pretty bad. The ship arrived at 8 AM and they kept us waiting until 10:15 AM to debark. The usual luggage pile was there and they only had four porters for 2,234 people. Once we found our luggage, we had to carry it to a bus, which then took us NEAR the parking lot. To top things off, there are no signs telling you how to get out of the parking lot and back on the highway. We, and a lot of other cars, went down several apparent exits until we came to one with just cones blocking it. I was about to remove the cones when a woman came out of the guardhouse and let us out. I got home a half hour later. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
The ship was somewhat smaller then I expected but that just made it a little less overwhelming. The cabin attendant we had was very helpful and attentive and made the trip a delight. I would suggest packing your own snacks, bottled water ... Read More
The ship was somewhat smaller then I expected but that just made it a little less overwhelming. The cabin attendant we had was very helpful and attentive and made the trip a delight. I would suggest packing your own snacks, bottled water and sodas. If you have kids, a $1.50 per can soda will add up. The food was okay but nothing out of the ordinary and the portions were small on some meals. I would suggest not getting a cabin on the 8th deck unless you don't mind the scraping of chairs and tables from the 9th deck pool area. Shops were fair on board but not that great. Not much for an older teenager to do. My son expected a better video arcade. (they only had 3 games) Suggest you bring a portable DVD player. The room we had did have a VHS and a CD player. Shows were fair; had more fun with Bingo although that could add up. The excursions were the best part of the trip. Suggest doing the Dolphin Encounter and the Key West Butterfly Conservatory is awesome. Be prepared to shell out money for your onboard photos. I was disappointed that they didn't shoot more candid shots. Everything is posed. All in all it was enjoyable. We've already booked a cruise for next June to Alaska one Serenade of the Seas. This is a newer ship with more amenities Be prepared for a long Disembarkation. You need to be out of your room by 8am and you get to sit for ar least 2 hours in the lounge before they start letting passengers off. The fire drill is also long..one woman almost passed out. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
Hello fellow cruisers or soon to be first time cruisers. This was my first cruise. I(with my hubby) went for 7 days on The Grandeur of the Seas out of baltimore to free port, key west , cococay, and port canaveral. First embarkation: It ... Read More
Hello fellow cruisers or soon to be first time cruisers. This was my first cruise. I(with my hubby) went for 7 days on The Grandeur of the Seas out of baltimore to free port, key west , cococay, and port canaveral. First embarkation: It was a very rainy day (we saw three accidents on our drive to the port) I wanted to leave by 11am but my hubby putzed around and we left at 1230, hit traffic accidents and bad weather but arrived at 2pm. The arrangement of drop off luggage and one of you drives the car to the parking lot and gets a buz ride back was ok. The line in was not too long, so I was in before hubby got back, I waited for a bit then went through without him. As the lines were getting long, the port authority person took his name so he was able to jump in and come through the line marginally faster. Then lines were long but moved well. I had hopes that the junior suite would allow us to go through the empty "suite and diamond, platinum members line" but I made the mistake of asking first and the guy said no. I could have just went through. In any case we met nice people in line and saw them throughout the cruise. Hi Ed and Barb. It was nice to "know" someone. Things I didn't use: insulated cups, once or twice only lunch bags they wouldn't let you take food off ship, numerous bathing suits only wore two, balcony dries em, great anti-bacterial hand, wash didn't use it or the clorox wipes, didn't need night light but didn't bring one, flashlight didn't use but will probably bring one again just in case. Things I didn't bring that I wish I had: clock, though wake up call feature worked fine. Third The ship: looked great to me! Enjoyed the centrum, the numerous comfy lounges, the adult only solarium pool and hot tub, the spa, the casino (more on that later. I entertained myself in the casino often. I won second place (265$ minus 20 $ entry fee plus a t shirt) in the black jack tournament. That was fun and people came up to me throughout the cruise to congratulate me. Before going on the cruise I read about craps and practiced online which turned out to be great fun and profitable in the ship casino. The dealers were very friendly and helpful. The spa was very nice. I waited a long time to set up my appointment and my suggestion would be to make this an online option asap. It's kinda a pain to go there off the bat and stand around when all you want to do is see the ship. I was told by an rci rep when I called the spa that I could make the appointments via the tv but that was not true on the grandeur. The tv was not interactive in any way. She had also told me I could see my bar charges on the tv but we couldn't. Anyway my massages were very pleasant, the staff friendly and not once did I get "pitched" to buy anything. Fifth The ports of call: Freeport, not very nice for most people although since we did the dolphin excursion we had a nice boat ride and good time learning about and touching the dolphins. The drive through town not so great. The bus was hot and views depressed. Key west ok. First the new safety measures require all passengers to check in with customs authorities before anyone can get off. Thus my sleep in day was ruined and drunks got called for hours because they didn't go (on the pa system so even though we were done we couldn't go back to sleep) I would recommend cruise line excursions because I think the chances of getting screwed up in an american port is very likely with a independently purchased excursion. We had no plans for that day as it was our twentieth anniversary and we didn't want too much pressure. we walked around, ate lunch got key lime pie and because of the heat were exhausted so we went back to the ship gladly. Key west is pretty nice and people I talked to who did the pub crawl seemed to have a great time (which they paid for the next day lol) cococay very nice, built up but private, we did the snorkeling which was awesome but next time I'll bring my own. People loved the mats although I didn't do much lounging. I was snorkeling so I didn't get much use out of mine. The shallow water was warm and not refreshing to me once I had been in deeper water. Some people said they found private areas to lay out but I went in the crowded area (although we found seats no problem and just went in the water). They provided a buffet lunch which was fine and I didn't go to any of the shops or game areas. We went back once done with snorkeling because they warned us that the late tenders were going to be crowded and if we missed the last one we would be left. Port canaveral. I have a relative here so I did a local bar with music and the pier. I did no excursions so I don't know how they are. It seemed pretty nice to me. Sixth food breakfast windjammer buffet I found overrated but again my husband really liked it. Great Gatsby dining room offered wait staff and eggs benedict(uninspired). Room service seemed to me to be the best alternative. I had it brought to me and could order omelets, fruit, coffee, breads, etc all for a tip to the server who brought it. Lunch at windjammer same as breakfast hubby really likes it but i didn't (guess i don't care for buffet that much). Great Gatsby dining room repetitive menu but food and dessert were good. The rueben was very bready with scant cornbeef but tasty according to my husband. Solarium cafe staff were unfriendly, only unfriendly ones i ever found) maybe they were hot. The fries were very good the burgers a little over cooked, hot dogs fine and good condiments provided. Dinner awesome waiter and assistant waiter, food excellent not always top gourmet but many times yes. Fun singing and dancing with staff. You can order two appetizers, entrees, desserts whatever you want. We brought wine and champagne on three occasions and were never charged a corking fee. In fact our waiter offered to chill our anniversary champagne for us. The head waiter brought us a cake with a candle on our anniversary and they sang to us. We enjoyed our table mates very much. We shared wine and excellent conversation. We had late dining which worked out well for us but the midnight buffet which was only one night was too close to our dining experience to be fully enjoyed. Although I went and got some chocolate strawberries and other tidbits and ate them with breakfast the next day. Miscellaneous. I preordered chocolate strawberries for our anniversary night and they brought white chocoloate ones. I asked the server to see if he could bring me reg ones as I don't care for white chocoloate and he tried but came back with the same ones and said no. This was a disappointment but no big deal. They were ok but still I don't know why they couldn't exchange them. Others got the reg ones and they had them 2 days later at the midnight buffet. There was so much to do that they didn't start off loading til almost 11am. We were allowed to wait in any lounge though so we were comfortable, just tired. Once our color was called we had no big wait just streamed out, got our bags, got a ported, went to the bus that took us right to our car (lucky parking some were not so lucky) and home we went...... all in all satisfied with our trip and thrilled with cruising ! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
This is my "official" Grandeur review - I hope it helps others here as much as you all have helped me. My 14 year old daughter and I sailed out of Baltimore on Grandeur July 11. I booked using an internet agency that advertises ... Read More
This is my "official" Grandeur review - I hope it helps others here as much as you all have helped me. My 14 year old daughter and I sailed out of Baltimore on Grandeur July 11. I booked using an internet agency that advertises here on CC. I booked via the internet, and had a few concerns about communication. Every time I tried to reach the Internet booking phone number, the voice mailbox was full and I could not leave a message. E-Mails took a few days to return. However, if I did get a live agent they were very helpful. The price was right and I would consider using them again if they were competitive. I would book via phone next time though. We live in CT, and took Amtrak down the day before. A very easy, relaxing 4 ½ hour trip, and far less expensive than flying. We stayed overnight at the Courtyard by Marriott, as I had qualified for a free night's stay using miles on my credit card. We also got a complimentary breakfast. We walked to the Inner Harbor, about 5-8 blocks, and had dinner at J Paul's. We stopped at the Cheesecake Factory to bring dessert back to our room. We then took a water taxi ride around the harbor to see the sites. Lovely city - would like to visit again. Sunday 7/11 We slept in, packed, and enjoyed our free breakfast. We took a cab from the hotel about 12:15 pm to the terminal. It was about a 20-minute ride. The cab dropped us off very close to the front of the terminal. We put our luggage on the carts and walked up to the terminal. I remember there being a huge line to the right, as we went to get in it one of the employees told us to come right in the door. I'm still not sure what those folks were waiting for. Standard check in, attempted upgrade, and we were in the Windjammer with the 1st Pina Colada by 1:30. We were told that our cabin wouldn't be ready until 2:30 but we took a chance and were able to drop off our carry on bags and meet one of the room stewards. Jen bought the soda card and felt she got her money's worth. Cabin 4042 was the best. We were steps from the stairs and the elevator, down the hall from the Champagne lounge and the Great Gatsby dining room. If (when) I sail Grandeur again I will request the same cabin. Plenty of storage for the 2 of us. No complaints about the cabin whatsoever. Our luggage was delivered by 3:30, so we brought it in our cabin and got ready for muster. A hint for everyone - if you have one of those hand held fans BRING IT. It was very hot during the drill, and I regretted leaving those in the cabin. Still, it was over relatively quickly and we went to the Viking Crown for sailaway. We met Herdfan from the boards up there and had a drink together. I love sailaway in air conditioning, although by then the pools were open and the pool deck was busy. We had early seating, because as my daughter says, late seating would interfere with her evening activities. Because of this we either had a late breakfast or early lunch at the Windjammer so we could enjoy dinner. We had a terrific table for 6. My DD was hoping to have teens her age, but no such luck, still. Chuck and Linda and Jeff and Megan were great dinner companions. Our waiter Lennon was fine, but our assistant Juan was even better. He got a little extra at the end. Chuck and Linda had breakfast and lunch in the Great Gatsby several times and said it was very good. After dinner it was time to unpack. I did a little shopping and we explored the ship. The little map they give you upon boarding was a great help the 1st few days. Jen went off to Adventure Ocean and I went to the Casino, where I spent a great amount of time. It's not the gambling so much as the camaraderie around the tables. The slots were very tight all cruise. We did not attend the opening show. Monday At Sea I got up and went to the Windjammer every morning for coffee and juice. If you want V8 it's free but you need to ask for it. I like my coffee very strong so I enjoyed it. Some folks thought it was too strong. I met some great folks that I would see every morning. We had our Meet and Mingle at 11:45. Of the 30 or so that signed up around 10-12 showed. We had snacks and 2 raffles. We also each got a lanyard with pockets and a Cruise Critic pin. It was nice to put faces to the names, and that way we also had someone to say hello to. Later we played bingo, went to the Captain's reception, and lazed around. I had every intention of reading on the promenade deck daily but it was too distracting. It was formal night so we had the obligatory photo taken in the Centrum. That was the only one we ended up buying. After dinner it was the Casino for me and Adventure Ocean for Jen. ( I have all the 12-14 year old age group cards for the week so if anyone wants some specifics let me know). This is the night I learned to play craps - best thing I ever did. I stepped up to the table and a very nice guy named Brian asked me if I had played before. I said no and he helped me out. I won!! It was one big family around the craps table. By Wednesday we knew each other's names, even the dealers knew us by name. At midnight I met Jen for the late night comedy show, which we both enjoyed, although she was a little embarrassed. Not much foul language but a lot of innuendo. Tuesday Freeport We had decided that we were not getting off, as neither of us wanted to shop, and I didn't want to spend money to get to the beach knowing Coco Cay was coming up. Lazy day on the ship. This also started our routine of me taking a nap in the afternoon for an hour or 2 to be better prepared to close the casino, then going to the Champagne lounge for a pre-dinner cocktail. If anyone sees Martin or Kevin in the Champagne lounge send them my best. Jen would go to afternoon tea at the Windjammer, which she loved. The show tonight was a magic show, which we both thought was very very good. By Tuesday Jen had found a nice group of kids to hang out with so my guilt about leaving her at night started to fade. Funny story - on departure day as we were waiting to leave I met some of the parents in her group. Come to find out I was playing craps with one of the dads every night! Wednesday Key West We had to be up early to clear before getting off. We went down at about 8:30 and walked right through. The line at 9:30 was through the casino to the Centrum. Go early!!! The ship cleared about 10:15. I had booked a private excursion with Herdfan before the cruise. We did a private chartered Kayak and snorkel trip. There were only 5 of us so it was very personalized. Captain Dave is a great guy. No problem getting back to the ship on time. He supplied soda and water and lunch, and we brought Corona and Smirnoff Ice on. The kayaking was excellent. The snorkeling was so so, but we did get to swim with some nurse sharks .If you go tell him Banks, Tina, Morgan, Jen and Alberta from the Grandeur sent you! On the walk back to the ship I bought snorkel gear for Jen and I, it was 1/3 paid for after Coco cay. We walked around Duvall a bit as we had never been. Banks got his replacement t shirt. We bought Key lime After Sun lotion and key lime patties at a small gift shop. I had a Key Lime pie on a stick and it was heavenly. Next time maybe the pub crawl!! This was the one night we did not eat in the dining room, as I knew after such a long day in the sun I would need a rest. I was sure to tell our tablemates and our waiter the day before so they wouldn't wait on us. We ate at the Windjammer around 8 after a nap and some Advil. I know that many people that cruise are very into the food. I enjoy a good meal but there is so much going on sometimes it seems like an intrusion. That's why I'm not talking too much about what was served. My DD loves formal dinners so much though that I make sure we do them more often than not. Thursday Coco Cay Heaven on the beach. For those that have been you know what I mean. For those that haven't it's an awesome place. I would be happy to stay there a few days. We got our lounge chairs, parked our stuff and snorkeled for a few hours The snorkeling around the farthest guard chair was awesome. We saw a barracuda and a few rays on the way out there. Once we got there we simply floated amidst tons of fish. As I told Jen we had the fish mojo going since they came up to us, pecked at our legs and goggles, and basically took us away. We decided to go back to the ship around 2 to beat the crowds, which we did. As we were coming back on the tender we saw some of the crew fishing off the back of the ship! One even had a fish on the line. Now that's an excursion idea! This was the day I discovered BBCs. The regular BBC on RCI is Bailey's, banana mix and colada mix. Very tasty. I got a special BBC from Kevin at the Champagne Lounge after dinner that had Kahlua, Vodka, and Coconut Rum added. After two of those I didn't know what to do with the dice at the Craps table!!! Friday Port Canaveral We had to be up early again to clear before getting off. We went down at about 8:30 and walked right through again. We had been to the Space Center on a land vacation and saw a shuttle launch, so we didn't plan to take any excursions. I couldn't see the point of taking an hour + trip each way to stand in line at Disney or Universal. Our tablemates Chuck and Linda went deep sea fishing and only caught bait fish. Jeff and Megan did a kayak excursion and said it was awesome. When you are in Port Canaveral, there are several transportation options to get to town or to Cocoa Beach. There is a shuttle that runs called the Fun Bus that the crew uses, it stops at a mall and also to Cocoa Beach You can ride all day for $6, which is much less than the other options. We stopped by the Loyalty Ambassador's desk and ended up booking a 9 night for Voyager for next year. I transferred to an internet only TA once we got back and saved $200 even after upgrading to a balcony cabin. We are also getting $200 shipboard credit because of some special they were running - credit for a 9 night is usually only $100. I had a facial at the spa which was very enjoyable. It was $20 off because it was a port day. Tonight was the Gala Buffet. The chocolate desserts were heavenly! Saturday At Sea Depression starts to set in realizing we need to pack. I spent a lot of time with my Casino family and Jen hung with her friends. Our tablemate Chuck won the final bingo, unfortunately it was split 3 ways. Still $2500 is good enough. We had a lovely farewell dinner with lots of hugs and e-mails to go around. Packed after dinner, then it was one more night out. Sunday Depart Up at 6, out of the cabin at 8, then hurry up and wait. Our color was called about 11 and we were at the train station by 11:30. I took several walks around the ship to say goodbye. Overall, I had the week of my life, as did my DD. The ship and crew are outstanding. I will definitely cruise the Grandeur again. Tammy from the boards is graciously scanning all the Compasses. I will post a link when she's done. Here's a link to some pics http://community.webshots.com/album/164969420vjMXGE?799 Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
I took my first cruise ever on Grandeur of the Seas this July. Leaving from Baltimore was great because of its proximity to my home; in fact, it is why we chose this particular cruise. The port itself was far from eye-pleasing. The ship ... Read More
I took my first cruise ever on Grandeur of the Seas this July. Leaving from Baltimore was great because of its proximity to my home; in fact, it is why we chose this particular cruise. The port itself was far from eye-pleasing. The ship itself was very beautiful. My favorite places included the Viking Crown Lounge, the Champagne Bar, and Deck 9 (pool deck). The cruise staff did an excellent job of providing activities for all ages and interests. The Stars at Sea program is highly commendable. The welcome aboard show featuring Dan Bennet, a Las Vegas performer, was highly amusing. Not a single complaint can be said of the service; both our cabin attendant and waiter (and assistant waiter) were excellent. The Deck 4 atrium Bartender was truly a delight as well. Food was very good, as well. The first stop, Freeport, was a great disappointment. In retrospect, I doubt i would leave the ship. We choose to take a taxi to Lucaya where we spent a day at the beach. The following day the ship docked at Key West. Luckily, Key West was a great place to vacation for a day. We walked around, then we went to the beach at Fort Taylor. Without a doubt, the third stop, CocoCay, was my favorite. Royal Caribbean's private island is truly a great place for all ages. We snorkeled, which was, in one word, amazing. The Aquapark was also fun. Day Four was spent at Port Canaveral. (Orlando) While some passengers chose to go to the theme parks or Coco Beachm (not to be confused with CoCoCay) we stayed on board. There was still plenty to do. The last day at sea was also highly enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
Booking only a week before we sailed, we wondered we if would be able to find out enough 'info' about what to expect on and about the ship. My husband was forced to change his vacation week and we wanted something special to ... Read More
Booking only a week before we sailed, we wondered we if would be able to find out enough 'info' about what to expect on and about the ship. My husband was forced to change his vacation week and we wanted something special to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. We were not disappointed at all in our late booking or the ship selection. Royal Caribbean Line seems to have a good, knowledgeable and helpful professional staff everywhere on the ship and at dockside, to include the friendly captain!! We loved our cabin on the very back of the ship--the views were all spectacular(especially sunrises..I sat my alarm clock for 5am, grabbed a book & my camera & thoroughly enjoyed Nature's beauty & the peacefulness every morning except one rainy morning, but that too was interesting); plus our balcony was extra large and very private with 3 deck chairs and a table. Yes, it was 150 steps from the elevator and stairs, but it helped me lose 5 lbs that week, and my husband only gained 2!! We even got all of our first-choice shore excursions, even though we had to wait to sign up for them on the ship---our only bad selection was Epcot Center---it is much, much, much too hot to really enjoy it in July. We should have chosen the Coco Beach or even stayed on the ship around the pool or done more massages. The only other suggested change I would make in the sailing schedule, would be to try to leave Key West (FL) after dark or as the sun is setting; however, by eating at the 8:30pm dinner, with out table near the window (with 6 very pleasant tablemates), we got to see the sunset almost every night....so beautiful!!! The food was ample, warm, and delicious with lots of variety in the main dining room. If you wanted more of something, it was available for ordering or if you wanted 2 desserts or extra veggies, that too one could have. Table Service was always outstanding even though we ate breakfast & lunch in the downstairs section. Room service was excellent and the room stewards were equally helpful with extra towels. Spas services were outstanding also, just wish we had signed up for even more of them and spent more time in the Relaxation Room when they weren't having classes (which is possible). The swimming pools and hot tubs were absolutely beautiful, clean and not crowded, I think due to the layout. We decided one could have an extremely pampered vacation without even ever leaving the ship!! One of our very favorite days was visiting the ship's private island...plenty of lounge chairs, snorkeling made easy by instructions and rental right there on the beach, and beautiful shallow beach that got deeper gradually plus they had great lunch with lots of different drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. We can't say enough about the EASE of being able to embark and disembark at Baltimore....it was fantastic, and we think we definitely want to do it again. Sailing under the Bay Bridge was magnificent because our son had swam between the bridges from shore to shore 3 times and it gave us an appreciation of how far he had to swim!!! This was truly one of the most relaxing and pampered vacations we have had. We've been telling lots of our friends in hopes we can get a good group to sail together next year in late May or June. For people who have young children or teens, this ship had lots of offer. When we were boarding my husband was a bit alarmed seeing so many families, but no one was ever noisy and the areas where children were not allowed was enforced. The best advice I read before our trip was to get patches for behind our ears for seasickness and bring a multi-pronged extension cord(s) for curling irons and other electronic gadgets...I am just so glad our cabin did NOT have a computer connection otherwise my husband wouldn't have gotten as much rest...checking his email once a day seemed to be enough to handle what was happening back in his office!!! I didn't even bother!!! We heard the Grandeur is going in for a "re-make/update/refurbishing", so it should be even more spectacular next time!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
Well, What can I say! This was our first time cruising. We had our almost 11 year old daughter and 15 year old son with us, as well as my mother-in-law (Who I adore!). We all had a fabulous time and can't wait to go back. Really, we ... Read More
Well, What can I say! This was our first time cruising. We had our almost 11 year old daughter and 15 year old son with us, as well as my mother-in-law (Who I adore!). We all had a fabulous time and can't wait to go back. Really, we thought we'd rather stay onboard than go back to our reality... We loved the style of the ship. It was amazing that at no time did it ever really feel crowded. I know there were lots of kids onboard, but it was never really very obvious. My daughter spent some time up in the Teen side of the Ocean Adventure club, but if you ask her, she was rather bored as they did not have enough arcade games, or other such things to entertain her for long. She did participate in a few of the activities and enjoyed them. My son is not very social at this awkward age, and preferred to stay with the grown ups. He did check out the teen lounge, but was not impressed. I think he watched "Sea Biscuit" about 7 times while ensconced in the Junior suite room 8068 that he shared with his sister and grandma. Speaking of the 8th floor, we heard chairs scraping the floor at Midnight-plus and Tile work at 7:30 or 8am as we found out we were right under the Solarium. Next time we're on the 7th floor to get away from all the noise! Food wise, we had the late seating, which worked for us as with normal activities in our reality we usually eat late anyway. The food was very good in the Main Dining room and service was impeccable. We loved the staff assigned to our table, and enjoyed the little shows they put on for us. We had a long table for 10 and met a very nice couple and their daughter, who hit it off with mine, so that problem was solved. We did find that the food service was a bit fast paced for us as we like to sit back and relax and talk at the table, not rush through our meal. We ate lunch and breakfast once on the lower deck of the dining room, and quite frankly were not impressed. We spent the remainder of the cruise eating those two meals at the Windjammer cafe, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had fun watching the pool deck activities and our cruise director was hilarious! My Dh and I snuck out one night for the 70's Disco up in the Viking Crown Lounge and had a blast, although the dance floor was rather small for the crowd that was there. We did watch the first Show in the Palladium Theater, but it wasn't really our thing. I do love broadway, but not a romp through "Broadway Rhythm and Rhyme" which was too "Vegas" for our tastes. The Comedian, Al Romas, who was on board did a great show the first night that was family entertainment. His Midnight show, however, was adult themed and very very funny. The shows in the South Pacific Lounge were Hilarious. Catch there is if you want to participate or get a seat you have to show up early! Most nights we were either having a nightcap - love my Bailey's over Ice - in the Champagne bar listening to Dance sounds with the Music Makers, or in the Schooner Bar either signing along with Fred or listening to his brilliant playing and loungey act! Are favorite band was Roots Vibrations. We always have a fondness for Claypso and Reggae music. They often played on the pool deck as well as Coco Cay. Excursion wise, we did the Freeport shopping and beach. "Biggie" drove our bus and gave a really amazing talk. Everything from politics to how each Island supports the other to school uniforms so the island people can pick up the kids if they are truant and return them to school(HA. The International Market was not worth it in my mind. Lucaya market was a bit better. Everybody but my daughter and myself bought watches there. We did buy some things on board - wait until the last sail day - things are really reduced! We loved Coco Cay. It was very hot, and we did manage to find some lounge chairs between two palm trees for some shelter. Here is the place I would definitely advise anybody like me who really shouldn't be in the sun to get on the tender early. All the good shade ares were full by the time we took our tender over around 10am. We snorkeled, which was exhausting. The fish near the lifeguards were fun, but not much else to look at if you've ever snorkeled around Beautiful reefs, brilliant in color with plentiful fish of all types as we saw in St. Thomas. I guess all the people who go there have done some damage as most of the area under the water was boring beige. There were a lot of little rocks underfoot around the main floating area. My kids had a great time with their dad at Caylana's Cove, the water fun area. They were bummed at first that they had to wear life vest, but as dad said, it became very clear why they were needed as he saw some crazy almost frightful things happen when bouncing on the water trampolines. Next time, I think we'll do the wave runners. Key West, well it is different, but on my list of "once seen/experienced" is enough. Rather crowed when we were there. But, rather entertaining street scenes like the black man painted in silver sitting still like a tree. Lots of characters there. DO take the Trolley tour - our guide told us neat things we did not know- and that was worth it. Ripley's was gross, unless your into that kind of thing. The aquarium was ok. We left too early to see the festivities on Mallory Dock. We did not get off ship at Port Canaveral this time, but will definitely make the effort next time to see the space area behind the scenes. Our table mates went and were blown away - even their youngster! However, we were tired from the back - to - back stops, and the heat, and the many late nights we had. The only bothersome thing was that we had to get up at about 7:45 to check through onboard customs. Everyone who stays onboard still has to go through tat procedure. Finally, you can't beat leaving from a local port, which for us was Baltimore, which is about a 1.5 hour dive for us. Park and go! I would definitely get there earlier next time to avoid the lines for check in. Our ship docked back in Baltimore around 8am, wasn't cleared by customs until 9:30, and our color wasn't even called until 10:30. It was one of the last colors called - even though we had an 8th floor Junior Suite. We next sail on the Voyager of the Seas out of Cape Liberty, NJ In May - but will have to change it to June as my Daughter will have SOL tests (State Standards of Learning)and her principle suggested it would be beneficial to her as well as a great way to end her years at elementary school! So In final, I would recommend this ship, and will most likely occupy it again! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
This was our second cruise ever for my husband and myself (55 and 54) both cruises taken this year. We chose Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas because it was leaving out of Baltimore, 30 minutes from our home, and we did not have ... Read More
This was our second cruise ever for my husband and myself (55 and 54) both cruises taken this year. We chose Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas because it was leaving out of Baltimore, 30 minutes from our home, and we did not have waste time and money flying to Florida. Our destination was Grand Bahama Island, Florida Keys, Cocoa Cay, and Port Canaveral Florida. (Our first cruise was last April on the brand new Caribbean Princess to Jamaica, Grand Caymans, and Cozumel, Mexico). We knew it was hurricane season, but didn't let that worry us. Well, guess what happened? STATEROOM: We had booked an inside room but were delighted to be upgraded to a larger outside room with picture window. (On the Princess we had splurged for a balcony room, so we cut back this time). There was adequate storage, but we could have used a few more hangers. Bathroom small, but adequate. Flushes were not as noisy as on Caribbean Princess! Lots of medicine cabinet space. In the main area there was a dressing table with side mirrored shelving up either side, good storage. Desk with drawers. Queen bed with nightstands on either side. The sheets and mattress were very comfortable, but the blanket was scratchy. No bedspread at all -- I guess because of summer. Our room attendant left us cute animals made from twisted towels, which was fun. SERVICES: There is no self-laundry or ironing like on the Caribbean Princess. The rates for getting shirts, suits, pants done are reasonable. Internet is 50 cents/minute, which adds up quickly. It is hard to get on and off for less than $3.00. Usually $5-6 if you write anything. On the Caribbean Princess it was 35 cents/minute. SHIP: First of all, the ship is very nice. The Centrum area is lovely with many curved marble steps with silver and gold lighted railings and appointments. The centrum was 8 decks high with visible elevators. The casino is very large, I believe larger than on the Caribbean Princess -- and I loved the entrance floor which looked like buried treasure under glass with coins, jewels, strings of pearls, crowns, and even a skeleton! Hubby lost $40 and I won $50, so we came out ahead! Public areas are very nice, roomy, with nice comfortable furniture in wonderful fabrics. The South Pacific room is where they had most of the dancing and it was very impressive, very large, with great sofas and chairs on different tiers, tables, beautifully decorated and comfortable. We enjoyed the Duxbury Cadillac band there, usually 50s-70s music, and they were excellent. They did country music one night too. They also held their "game shows" in this room. WARNING: If you are a private person, DO NOT volunteer for Newlywed Game or QUEST....the audience loved these, but questions and challenges tended to be on the racy side and were definitely PERSONAL. FOOD: The Windjammer buffet is good, with most everything you could ask for, and out of this world desserts -- but they weren't always open -- when they were closed you could get pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries from the grill in the Solarium (aft). The coffee and tea was pretty good (Seattle's Best coffee) everywhere. The dining room covered two open decks and was lovely. The food was excellent, with many choices. If you didn't like what they listed, ask for something else! Want two lobsters? Ask for it and you get it. Want one steak and one lobster, as you wish! Our waiter was from Slovakia. He was maybe 25-33 and a little crazy....in a fun way. We joked with him a lot. His name was Tomas (pronounced Tow-Mass). He aimed to please and worked hard for his tips. The waiters sang and danced on certain nights, and it was fun. We had a GREAT bunch of people at our table and laughed a lot. ENTERTAINMENT: The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers put on a fantastic musical show. Two of the girl singers were OUTSTANDING. One show was 50's music, one 40s Swing, and one called The Beat Goes On -- 50s - 80s? They had a comedian we did not see, and a juggler we did not see. Lance Ringold, gold medal olympic gymnast was there on Friday, and did a show featuring films of him in his heyday, then came out dressed as an old man with a walker, then proceeded to show us he still had the goods. He also surprised us by playing piano and singing and by doing an ariel hanging silks routine, ala Cirque de Soleil. PORTS OF CALL: Our first stop was Grand Bahama Island. We took the party boat/shopping trip. The boat was fun, music, dancing, beverages. The shopping excursion was bad -- nothing I was interested in. Overpriced junk or high-faluting expensive stuff. A bus "tour" brought us back -- "On the left is our oil refinery, here is our used car saleslot, here is our Winn Dixie...." Bleak. bleak. Bleak. Our next stop was Key West... this was great. I wish we had skipped Grand Bahama and spent two days in Key West...but as we got there, we heard they were beginning to evacuate for Hurricane Charley. Key West is beautiful with LOTS to do. We took a Catamaran Sail and Snorkel and it was very nice. We walked the streets and loved seeing all the culture and shops and quaint scenes. Not enough time. I bought lots of lotions and bath products at Key West Aloe, GOOD STUFF! Our next stop was Cocoa Cay, Royal Caribbean's private island. I was disappointed. The water was not clear, too many people? The snorkeling was hazy, not pristine like we had before. Our kayak trip was canceled due to high seas expected. The beach barbecue was nice to have, but nothing special tastewise. Our next stop was to be Port Canaveral, FLa, but the hurricane was headed right that way, so we went out to sea instead. Charley hit Florida hard...we spent one day at sea avoiding it and then started up the coast toward Baltimore. Charley started getting closer, so the captain turned us around south-east to let him pass, and then we followed him up the Chesapeake Bay to home. We did not hit bad weather, we did not have any seas higher then 4-8 feet....Captain Sven kept us out of harm's way. Sorry to miss Sea World in Florida, but it was closed anyway! We had fun watching Shrek 2 movie, having dinner with new friends, and enjoying dancing and music on the ship. All in all, we had a fun cruise. The ship is lovely. The staff was geat and aimed to please. Key West is a great town. Grand Bahama Island I could have done without. Cocoa Cay was too crowded and the swimming area was so small, I wondered about sanitation with that many people -- you know what I mean. We enjoyed the dancing on the boat and got some nice pictures on formal nights all duded up in gowns and tuxes. We even found a quiet little place high over the Centrum where the band music from down below wafted up so we could dance privately...hubby gets nervous dancing in front of people. Royal Caribbean is a very nice line on which to sail, and the Grandeur of the Seas is a lovely ship with great staff and a captain who puts safety first. I would have liked to see other activies offered, like swing dance lessons, or ballroom lessons, but only saw country line dance lessions offered. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
I just took the 7 night cruise from Baltimore, MD to Florida and the Bahamas. Overall, I had a wonderful week! There are a few things that I would like to elaborate upon. I am in my mid-twenties, and I traveled with my boyfriend. There ... Read More
I just took the 7 night cruise from Baltimore, MD to Florida and the Bahamas. Overall, I had a wonderful week! There are a few things that I would like to elaborate upon. I am in my mid-twenties, and I traveled with my boyfriend. There were not a lot of other people our age on the cruise. There were a lot of families with young children and older couples. Embarkation took about an hour and a half total, which I did not think was bad at all. I was expecting much worse. The ship itself was beautiful. The one negative review I have is the sewage smell that often seeped into public areas of this ship. The first night, we found out that Royal Caribbean had done a wonderful job of choosing our dinner-mates. We were seated with two other couples in their twenties, which definitely eased things. We ended up becoming friends with one of the couples and spending most of our free time with them. Dining was excellent. You can order as much food as you wish, so by the last night, we were all ordering two entrees and three desserts each. Great food! A tip: order two lobster tails on lobster night. The shows were wonderful. Especially good was Blair Shannon - a singer/comedian. If he is an option on your cruise, I would definitely go. The other shows that I attended were excellent as well. The fitness center was a nice treat. From eating all the food, at least I felt like I was working some of it off. There are about 7 treadmills, 5 elliptical machines, and many fitness classes. There is also an outdoor track, which I used once. The gym is open throughout the day. I liked that both the Casino and Viking Lounge were open until about 3am. It gave us something to do late at night when the other activities had ended. The Solarium was also a favorite, relaxing place of ours to just sit by the pool without the distraction of little kids. I thought the cruise had great value for its price. Some things were overpriced, like $35 per Bingo game, but if you won, it was worth it. (I didn't, unfortunately.) The ports: Freeport - I would never go back again. It was run-down, and the shopping was not very good, unless you like a lot of straw hats and bags. The Highlights tour was ok, but it was too rushed. I do not recommend it. Key West - Great! We went on the Pub Crawl and had a great time. Well worth it! We didn't go to the famous bars, but it was certainly memorable. Coco Cay - Beautiful! Jet-skiing tour was excellent, and the beach was so relaxing. We did not get to go to Port Canaveral because of the hurricane. I liked that the captain kept giving us updates on the weather situation. Overall, I had a great week, and I would definitely choose Royal Caribbean again, but maybe a newer ship. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
Hey Everyone... Here is my review for the Grandeur of the Seas. Sunday we drove to the pier in Baltimore. This is very easy. Once you drive up to the guard they ask to see your tickets, after verification you are allowed to proceed ... Read More
Hey Everyone... Here is my review for the Grandeur of the Seas. Sunday we drove to the pier in Baltimore. This is very easy. Once you drive up to the guard they ask to see your tickets, after verification you are allowed to proceed forward. There are plenty of people/workers directing you to the ship. They will stop and ask you "Are you leaving the Ship or are you boarding the Ship"? Once you have been directed to the ship, your car is unloaded by a "Long Shore Man" You are then asked to park your car. A shuttle was there to pick up hubby and bring him back to me at the ship. (I waited with the carry on's). Boarding was VERY VERY easy. We walked right through, showed our passports, tickets, and then received our Sea Pass... After we were then directed to get a picture, asked to see our Sea Pass & ID one more time and then was allowed on the ship. We got on the ship at 12:30. Our room was ready! Hubby and I went to the Windjammer and had lunch (which was very good)... First day at Sea was nice. There were lots of Activates for you to do. We pretty much wanted to take everything in so we walked around the ship a few times... The ship is very beautiful. It did not seem crowded considering there were SO MANY PEOPLE on this ship. Beautiful Pictures, Glass Windows every where and the waiters are very very nice. I would have to say the ship does need to be "Dried Docked" for a upgrade, which I'm pretty sure the captain said that this was going to happen soon. It was a little worn, BUT on the same note, the crew members did a great job keeping it clean. The dinners were really good... We had everything from seafood to duck. Our waiter was so funny. I gave him a nick name (Giggles)... All he did was Laugh! We had a port hole cabin on the 2nd floor. At first I was like "Oh MY, how am I going to fit all of my clothes in this tiny room" BUT, RCI did a great job making space. "You'll See what I mean" The life jackets are on the bed and a muster drill is done ASAP. (I forget the time)... What bothered me about the muster drill is that No One was taking it seriously. The kids were blowing the whistles on the jacket and the parents were not saying any thing to them. I finally had to tell the parent that this should be taken very seriously, and with all 5 of her kids blowing the whistles I can not hear the instructor! Well, she told them to stop.. (BOY OH BOY) Okay back to the room... We had a king size bed. It was very clean. The bathroom was very very small and the shower needed some TLC. Our Room Attended was very good. He came in every day with fresh towels and then at night to turn down our bed and also brought more fresh towels. The room attended also kept the room very clean. Monday second day at sea... I was not feeling to well so I did miss the MEET AND MINGLE. SORRY GUYS! By night I was a little better so hubby and I just went and ate... The shows are GREAT! We seen a magic show, piano show, USA world metal Gymnasts show, Captains Q&A, etc.. I can go on and on.. Don't miss the shows, you will miss out! Tuesday we arrived at Freeport. Tuesday morning around 1AM we hit a lighting storm. The captain went around it so it only lasted 20 minutes. Some people on the ship didn't even know we had one... OH BUT I DID! Hubby and I did an excursion... We had fun... Our bus driver was very nice and cracked jokes the whole time. The bus was air conditioned and the tour was nice. We went to a straw market; there Hubby and I went into the perfume factory. He got after shave called "SAND" and I got Perfume called "Island Promises"... All of the products are made at the perfume factory and they are under US$20.00. They take you on a little factory tour, and then they give you samples. It was cool... We walked around the straw market some more then we headed to the next stop, the MARKET PLACE in Freeport... There were a lot of little stores and places to eat. It was not that bad. I kept an open mind and walked around. The people at the Bahamas were very nice. Of course they ALL wanted to braid my hair! I wanted to hold up a sign that said NO BRAIDS! We then went to the beach. The water was so pretty BUT, the beach was very dirty... The people did not keep it... The sand was dirty all along the shore (soda cans, cig butts, wrappers, seaweed) I'm surprised they didn't have someone raking the edge of the waters... Oh well... So that was Freeport... We made the best of it... Very Poor Island, with a lot of nice people! Wednesday! Be ready to go through Customs.... US Customs comes on the ship and they have to clear the whole ship before any one is allowed off... WO HO... Key West was the BEST... We had such a good time.. Hubby and I decided to do our own pub crawl.. We were going to hit as many bars as we could and then CRAWL back to the ship.. This is just what we did... We went to several bars, but the best was "Irish Kevin's"... They have a guy who plays the guitar and sings... Every time someone new walks in the bar, the singer stops him music and says "Where are you from" the people would respond and then the whole bar would scream "NO S***!" I guess you had to be there! It was so funny! 2 guys came running in the bar with their underwear on... That was not a pretty sight! All and All Key West was the Best! Thursday - Coco cay... B E A U T I F U L and F U N !!! If you love the water and beach you will have a great time here... The ship is tendered, which means it sits out at sea. A boat comes over every half hour and picks people up and drops them off, visa versa. One bad thing did happen though... One of the passengers was running (Oh by the way it was HOT) and he had a heart attack. He was only 45 years old. They had to air lift him from the Island to a hospital. Now, A women who fell and was getting medical attention from the doctor told this story. The doctor had to leave her to attend to him. But I did see them taking this poor man off the ship with an IV... I'm not sure if he is ok! I hope so! Friday - Port Canaveral... Another US Customs Clearing... Hubby and I took a 45 minute ride to MGM studios... We had a great time.. The only down side is that it was SOOOO HOT! I got heat sick.. It kind of ruined my day... At least I got to go on a few rides! Getting back on the ship at Port canaveral was NO Joke. Customs was very strict. I can understand this and did not question any thing. Just be prepared to take your belts and shoes off. I kind of made me nervous but I knew they were only protecting us. Saturday - Okay.. Have you guys heard of the Tropical Storm "GASTON" Yeah well, we were in it. The captain said that they knew about GASTON on Friday night but it was not suppose to turn into a Tropical Storm so quickly... I woke up around 7 am and we were getting hit HARD. I looked at my port hole and there were WAVES higher then you could imagine. I was so scared. Soon after that the captain come over the intercom and said "We are in a Tropical Storm, The storm is moving south of us and we are heading north. The storm is hitting Charleston SC area. We should be out of this is a few hours" I was crapping my self... I guess the seas at that time were around 16 to 18 foot... as we got out of the storm they went down to 8 to 13 foot... OK FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO GET SEA SICK.. I AM A VICTIM OF IT. I DID NOT TAKE ANY MEDICATION, I WORE THE "SEABAND" IT WORKED GREAT! Unfortunately I had to go through a Tropical Storm to give you this update. Other then that storm the Waters were so calm! Saturday around 2:30/3:00 the Sun came out... HAPPY TIMES!!! We sat by the pool bar and listen to the reggae band "Roots" good band! Saturday you have to pack and put your luggage out side of your cabin. They give you luggage tags (Colors) ... We were Lavender Sunday, you have to be out of your room by 8:00am, so they say... I didn't leave my room until 9:30am... Hey, I wasn't ready and I didn't feel like rushing... After we left the room we went up to the internet cafe. We sat there until around 11:15... This is when the ship was finally cleared. They announce your colors then you can leave. It was very easy leaving. We looked for our color, got our luggage, they directed us to a bus and then the bus drove us to our car. That simple. Overall this was a great trip. I would cruise with RCL again .... I hope I didn't bore you and I hope you all have a Safe and Fun Trip! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2004
We traveled on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, from Baltimore, leaving on August 29th and returning on September 4th, 2004. We booked through Cruise.com, getting a rate of $654 per person for 6 nights, for a Category F outside ... Read More
We traveled on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, from Baltimore, leaving on August 29th and returning on September 4th, 2004. We booked through Cruise.com, getting a rate of $654 per person for 6 nights, for a Category F outside cabin on the 4th floor. I tried to get this same rate booking directly through Royal Caribbean, but they told me they could not match it and suggested I book through the other agency. First a note about what we expected from this vacation. We were not especially interested in shore excursions...after a very hectic and stressful summer, we wanted to get away to rest and relax before my husband started school in September. This vacation fit the bill exactly. Sailing from Baltimore was a definite plus. The port was less than an hour from our home, and not having to deal with the hassle of air travel added to our enjoyment of the trip. We arrived at the port around 12:30 p.m., dropped off our luggage at the ship, and I waited while my husband parked in the long-term lot, where he caught a shuttle back to the ship. We were checked through very quickly, and assigned a number and told to wait in a roped off waiting area. This area was very crowded, without enough seating, and some improvements could definitely be made. When boarding began (probably about 15 minutes from the time we entered the waiting area), Platinum and Diamond patrons were boarded first, then they began calling numbers...all the passengers holding one's boarded, then the two's etc. We had number 13. In total, we probably waited about 30-40 minutes from the time we entered the waiting area until we boarded the ship. We were very happy to find we had been upgraded from our category F outside stateroom to a balcony stateroom on the 7th floor - something that we would not have been able to afford on our own. In addition to the bed, the room contained a seating area with a sofa bed and vanity area, and sliding doors out to the balcony...very comfortable. The balcony contained two chairs and a small table. We did notice the rocking of the boat, which may have been due to being on a higher floor and in the rear of the ship. It was not enough to be uncomfortable, though, except for one night near the end of the trip when the sea was rough enough to make the dresser and cupboard doors keep opening and closing (the rough seas may have been due to Hurricane Frances which was in the Caribbean). We also noticed some vibrations from the engine when we were docking or leaving port, and there was some noise from the nightclub below, but again, not enough to bother us or keep us awake. I imagine if you were on a lower floor the engine vibrations would be louder. We read numerous reviews on this ship before we left, and we had high hopes. The ship exceeded our expectations. We had only sailed on Carnival in the past (Fantasy and Imagination from Florida), and we felt this ship was definitely a step above. The ship's decor was beautiful, with numerous comfortable spots to sit and watch the scenery go by. There was a nicely stocked library, and a game/card room, as well as a small putting green, shuffleboard, ping-pong, and rock climbing wall. At night you could wander from place to place easily, enjoying a band, show, dancing, game, etc. If we were not in the mood to go out, we were able to pick from a variety of late run movies on our in-cabin tv, in addition to a good number of television stations. The movie selection changed through the week, so there was always something to watch. We very much enjoyed this, something that was not offered on Carnival. One spot where we felt Royal Caribbean lacking versus Carnival was in the shows put on in the theatre. We felt Carnival's shows were much better. Food was very good, and service excellent. However, some portions were small, and when my husband and others tried to order a second entree or appetizer, it was delivered, but the servers did not seem happy about it. On Carnival it was never a problem...Carnival was always happy to serve as much as you wanted. Food in the Windjammer Cafe (casual eatery) was much better than the food served in Carnival's casual restaurant. Food was also available in the Solarium cafe - burgers, hot dogs, fries and pizza. One note: We called one night to find out if the Windjammer was serving the same menu as the formal dining room, and we were told they were. So, we skipped our assigned dining time and went to the Windjammer instead. Turns out they were serving a different menu. This was a disappointment as we had both been looking forward to that night's menu, and had we known we would have made plans to eat in the dining room. There were two very nice swimming pools - both larger than found on Carnival. In addition, each pool had a border of very shallow water where you could wade or sit on a bench and get your feet wet. One pool was in the Solarium, and this was a very nice area with padded lounge chairs, as well as tables and chairs. This pool was for adults only (16 or older), which was nice to have when the outdoor pool was crowded with children. This was also a nice place to swim when the outdoor deck was windy or when it was cool. The Solarium also had two good size hot tubs, and a roof that could be opened in nice weather. We spent a good deal of our time in one or the other of the pool areas. The outdoor pool area also contained two hot tubs. In comparison with Carnival: On Carnival we often had a hard time finding a deck chair on the days at sea. This was never a problem on this ship. Also, Carnival closed the pools when docked. This ship kept them open, which we really appreciated since we usually did not leave the ship. (A note: In Nassau we docked next to the Carnival Fantasy and it appeared the pool may have been open, so Carnival may have changed their policies.) We were sailing at the time Hurricane Frances was brewing in the Atlantic, so our itinerary was reversed - instead of Port Canaveral, then the Bahamas, we went to the Bahamas first. We had no problems, and the weather was beautiful. Our third stop at Port Canaveral had to be cancelled, though, when they closed the port to prepare for the hurricane. Royal Caribbean was able to arrange for a stop in Charleston, SC instead, which I was very happy about since it was a city I had always wanted to visit. When we returned, we were happy to find the debarkation procedure much better than what we had experienced with Carnival in the past. Our luggage had to be in the hall between 7:00 and 11:00 p.m. the night before we left. We had to vacate our stateroom by 8:00 a.m. the following morning. We had a leisurely breakfast outside by the pool, and were able to wait for debarkation in any public area including the outside decks. roar those interested, family tv was playing in the theatre. Debarkation started at 9:30 a.m. when our ship was cleared by US customs. We were off the boat and in our car by 10, and home by 11:00. Like I said before, not having to go through a day of air travel to get home was pure heaven. In contrast, Carnival made us go to an assigned point (usually an indoor lounge), and wait until our color was called, and this was usually a lengthy and boring process. It seems to me that we also had to vacate our cabin much earlier than 8 a.m., but I may be remembering incorrectly. I also seem to remember that actual debarkation occurred much later in the morning on Carnival. I would definitely travel with Royal Caribbean in the future, and would recommend this ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
This review is being submitted by three Cruise Critic Members (LetsParty, Max's Mom and TedHain). Personal comments from all of us will be listed as well. ORIGINAL CRUISE ITINERARY 9-24-04 ~ Baltimore, Maryland 9-25-04 ~ At Sea ... Read More
This review is being submitted by three Cruise Critic Members (LetsParty, Max's Mom and TedHain). Personal comments from all of us will be listed as well. ORIGINAL CRUISE ITINERARY 9-24-04 ~ Baltimore, Maryland 9-25-04 ~ At Sea 9-26-04 ~ At Sea 9-27-04 ~ Key West, Florida 9-28-04 ~ Cozumel, Mexico 9-29-04 ~ Belize City, Belize 9-30-04 ~ At Sea 10-1-04 ~ Coco Cay, Bahamas 10-2-04 ~ Grand Bahama Island 10-3-04 ~ At Sea 10-4-04 ~ Baltimore, Maryland UPDATED ITINERARY DUE TO HURRICANE JEANNE 9-24-04 ~ Baltimore, Maryland 9-25-04 ~ At Sea 9-26-04 ~ Kings Wharf, Bermuda (Arrived at 12:00pm) 9-27-04 ~ Kings Wharf, Bermuda (Departed at 1:30pm) 9-28-04 ~ At Sea 9-29-04 ~ Labadee, Haiti (8:00am - 6:00pm) 9-30-04 ~ At Sea 10-1-04 ~ Nassau, Bahamas (7:00am - midnight) 10-2-04 ~ At Sea 10-3-04 ~ At Sea 10-4-04 ~ Baltimore, Maryland PROS OF CRUISE • Meet and Mingle Party. • Spending time with our new friends. • Ship had a nice layout and beautiful dEcor. • Two pools (Main Pool ~ party pool) (Solarium ~ relaxing pool for 16 and above only). • Calm seas and decent weather. • Great entertainment. • Excellent bar service in the Champagne Lounge. • Numerous activities to keep the energetic person busy. Extremely fun and friendly staff. • Ports we visited were enjoyable. • Entertainment in the dining room was pleasant. • Nice cabins with plenty of storage. • Towel art was really cute. • Snack bar at the Solarium Pool was good. • Windjammer had a decent selection of food (breakfast, lunch and snacks). • Midnight snacks were very good. CONS OF CRUISE •Changing a 10 day cruise from 5 ports to 3 ports was inadequate. At times we felt like we were just wandering around looking for somewhere to go. • Bathrooms (especially the shower) were extremely small in the standard cabins. • The smell of raw sewage in the center areas of the ship; especially on decks 2 through 4. This lasted throughout the entire cruise. Some days were worse than others. • Ship had continuous water and toilet issues. Water was slightly yellow and public toilets were backing up or not flushing. Water was turned off twice for service. • Excursions were expensive and some of them weren't worth the price. A few of them were extremely unorganized or people couldn't go on them due to lack of space. • Insufficient bar service in the Viking Crown and Schooner Bar. • No more drink cards (alcohol). • Adult soda cards were expensive. • Dining Room food was good but some portions were very small. • Service in the Windjammer was slow at times (cleaning tables). • Started to run out of food/beverage items toward the end of the cruise. • Lack of motivation from many crew members (bar service, dining room, stateroom attendants). PERSONAL COMMENTS FROM LETSPARTY: This was my seventh cruise with RCI and the second time on Grandeur. We observed a lot of changes with RCI since our cruise on the Nordic Empress last year and we were disappointed. You could tell that there were a lot of cutbacks and a change of attitudes with a good portion of the staff. Some of them had an "attitude" and were not friendly whatsoever. Not sure if we will cruise again with RCI due to this. Our cabin (3134) was located on Deck 3 near the cabin attendant's storage room. We were woken up every morning around 6:30am since they were setting up for the morning cleaning. We heard them talking, ice buckets being filled, carts clashing into each other, etc. We also think this was an area that the food service came through since there were a lot of dropping of plates throughout the cruise. The M&M party was a lot of fun and meeting those that attended was very nice. We spent a lot of time with Max's Mom/Max's Dad as well as Ted/Harriet. The Solarium Pool was our hang out during the day and we enjoyed each other's company during the cruise. Thanks to them, their friendship and plenty of laughs, our cruise was more pleasant and entertaining! DH/I kept busy with the activities on the ship and collected enough Ship Shape Dollars for two t-shirts. I climbed the Rock Wall and made it to the top which I was thrilled about. Being 190 feet above the sea was a remarkable experience. Not sure when we will cruise again but hopefully in the near future and maybe with a different company. PERSONAL COMMENTS FROM MAX'S MOM: I keep waiting for someone to cook my dinner, clean up after me twice a day, and turn down my bed - not happening here! Despite the disappointing itinerary change, we had a great time, sewage smells and all. Meeting fellow cruise critics was great. Wish we could have met up more often. We really hit it off with the Let'sParty duo and Ted and Harriet. Thanks for the tour of the Junior Suite, Ted! Our dinner partners were also fabulous. We had a great time with them all week. Our favorite spots on the ship were the Solarium Pool and the Champagne Bar. We booked another cruise on board for March and hope to do another in June. We suggested on our comment card that ALL RCI ships needed to have concierge service. We really missed that on this ship. Can't wait to cruise again. PERSONAL COMMENTS FROM TED HAIN: • Embarkation was fast and friendly. • No direction to cabin once onboard. • Junior Suite was clean but furnishings were old and tattered. • Bathroom amenities were nil. • Cabin attendant's (Marvin and Hernan) were excellent. • Found most hotel staff helpful. • Room service was timely, food quality wanting. • Luggage delivery to the cabin was slow; we found our last two bags by the elevator. • Breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer was adequate. • No assistance given to the seniors or the physically challenged in the Windjammer (spoiled on Celebrity). • Great Gatsby main seating was very good. Waiters, service and entertainment was excellent. • Entertainment in lounges was very good. • Cruise Director and staff were excellent. • Production shows, dancers and themes were good. The singers were poor. Guest performers were excellent. • Would have liked to have more time with the M&M members during the cruise (my fault, should have arranged more). • Dancing, games and parties were great. • Disappointed in not having a priest onboard, we were told there was. • Disembarkation went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
I'm not one to pull punches, and I also praise where necessary. There were four food highlights in the entire trip. Excellent Escargots, delicious Bananas Foster, Creme Brulee, and Lentil Soup that was fantastic. It was a shame that ... Read More
I'm not one to pull punches, and I also praise where necessary. There were four food highlights in the entire trip. Excellent Escargots, delicious Bananas Foster, Creme Brulee, and Lentil Soup that was fantastic. It was a shame that you couldn't have this for every single meal, because they were the only things I found to be excellent. Occasionally artistic presentations did NOT make up for lack of taste. As for lack of taste, the Art Auctions show that many people sometimes have truly crappy taste as evidenced by the prices obtained via alcohol consumption during said auctions. What a JOKE!!! Food was poor to fair. I don't eat at Hoss's or Ponderosa, but I bet it's pretty close (The Gatsby dining room that is). Gourmet food lovers should look elsewhere. (The WindJammer brought back childhood memories of K-mart's cafeteria circa 1980's). Desserts were the high point in any meal. Service was mediocre in the main dining room, i.e., two nights the waiter forgot to take someone's order at our table, and waiting for people was pretty ridiculous. Understaffed due to reductions was the reason given for closing the 2nd seating upper dining room. Our compliant about being guaranteed a private table was corrected by the next day. Many times my water glass or lemonade was empty or almost empty, but a prompt from someone at our table usually rectified the situation within 1-5 minutes. Bathrooms and facilities always seemed to be closed for either cleaning or maintenance. The gymnasium was in very good operational order compared to our last cruise on the Galaxy (few of the machines worked in that gym, but food was excellent to very good on Galaxy). Overall ship appearance was a little worn and showing its age, but as we waited to leave on the final day, the crew was already stripping upholstery and replacing outer furnishings. Entertainment was much better than Galaxy. Access to food and refreshments was unacceptable. Not being able to easily get access to lemonade was a pain, and the cafes/main dining had pretty limited access. Closed for Cleaning is a sign you need to get used to before sailing on this vessel. In contrast, the Galaxy buffet was open 24hrs and full access to all juice beverages was offered, regardless of cleaning schedules. The pizza/fries snack area was nice, but the pizza was hideous. Fries were excellent though. But this snack area is located in the ADULT OVER 16 section where we like peace and quiet, and kids running in occasionally with no parental supervision allowed them to run and jump on the chairs, scream and yell, etc. Many of the older vacationers were noticeably irritated. Breakfast: If there is one thing these people need to understand, it is that you DO NOT put ice cold fruit toppings on a warm waffle or pancake. But this is how it was served in the buffet area; the blueberry and strawberry toppings sitting on ice. Coffee however was good to very good. Strong fresh tasting brew. A shame that there was never cream to go with it, only the imitation coffee rich. The crew was helpful and showed a true desire to please the vacationers. Especially entertaining was returning to cabin after dinner and finding animal sculptures from folded towels on your bed or pillow. This truly brought me to good hearty laughing fit almost every night, and my fellow vacationers as well. The DJ was excellent. He could spin like a New York DJ. Well, I guess he was a NY DJ at one time. Dance floor is pretty nice. Drinks were fairly and reasonably priced compared to other ships. No fridge in some of the smaller cabins. Cabins were laid out very efficiently. No wasted space. Toilet seat broke on day 7 but was not fixed as of our departure. English was not spoken on this ship nearly as well as on the Galaxy, making it necessary to repeat several times, but eventually points were made and understood. I cannot understand why the LIBRARY, which contains paper and is the most flammable area of the ship, is the designated Cigar room. Even asthmatics like to read, but I couldn't go in there for more than 15 seconds without choking on the smoke. So much for evening entertainment. The Casino paid off for me on my few walks though it, and that brings up my final complaint. I should not HAVE to weave through the Casino's smoky nasty air to get to my dinner seating. You cannot walk through it either; you must weave to and fro to get around the myriad of slot machines and blackjack tables. But being a few hundred to the good thanks to cooperative machines eases my mind about second hand smoke. The ports of call: Key West, not great, not bad; Cozumel, crappy and filled with junky trinket shops everywhere; Belize, excellent tour of ruins; Coco Cay, didn't waste my time; Freeport Bahamas, yet another joke, and a rip off for the taxis. Embarkation was excellent experience; we were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. Compared to Galaxy's wait of over one - three hours, this alone made the trip worthwhile. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
This cruise was booked thru the cruise line start to finish and if you want all to go well this is the way to go. Royal Caribbean knows how to make you feel comfortable and taken care of. Thank you to all who I spoke to by phone. You are ... Read More
This cruise was booked thru the cruise line start to finish and if you want all to go well this is the way to go. Royal Caribbean knows how to make you feel comfortable and taken care of. Thank you to all who I spoke to by phone. You are great and they have picked the friendliest of people. We did the pre and post as well just to give us the extra time. This is at the Sheraton Inner Harbor in Baltimore and it was great. The east with which we got to the port and on the ship was incredible, fast and smooth. Let me say here I was a bit worried after other reviews of the Grandeur  being tired and worn. I found this to be not true and believe me we were looking for the problems. There were none. Our meet and mingle was a lot of fun and was like being with old friends. A lot of laughs and the threads are great to get to know good people. We had JS 8520 and it was a great suite. Clean and comfortable. The decor lovely and all furnishings in good condition. Plenty of room for the two of us with a wonderful bathroom that was roomy and clean. Of course it is just great if you can do a balcony. Nothing more exciting than seeing the ship arrive and depart from port, and oh the sunsets and sunrises -- unforgettable. Room service was fast and food was good. Really enjoyed that with the balcony. Our only complaint was that the mattress was rock hard and not real comfortable, but a good excuse to get up and begin another hard day of vacationing (lemons to lemonade). We had the romance package and it was there for us as well as the anniversary decorations and cake and a dozen roses (that lasted the whole ten days). Thank you Lauret and Gideon for our complete care and animal friends and your smile and good humor each day. The public rooms around the ship were clean and neat and the public bathrooms were spotless each time we used them. No bad odors. The food and dining room were the highlight of our trip. Alexandra (our waiter) and Geneive (our assistant waiter) were the best. Alexandra really made the dinners special. She is a true professional. We also were seated with four new friends from our Cruise Critic site, that we had met on the thread and felt we knew forever. hand you for that being arranged. We can say that there was not one meal that was bad and we feel that for the whole trip RCI and the chefs provide you with good and tasty meals with lovely presentation. The breads and desserts were great and that flourless chocolate cake should be a daily offering. It is delish!!! Bissoon, our bar server was wonderful and we loved each and every afternoon dinner treat he served. Our tours were good. The only problem was Belize and not having an air conditioned coach (93 DEGREES), and the tour being a bit longer than the four hours described. But tour guides were great there and in all our tours. The explorations desk resolved the issue and we thank them for that. All our tours again were booked thru RCI. We felt secure and well worth the prices......We especially loved Coco Cay. It was a day of pure relaxation and pampering. A definite not to miss. Sea days were a time to relax or be busy and we loved both choices. The entertainment was wonderful each nite with the RCI dancers and singers our favorites, and the comedian and jugglers the best as well. I apologize to Ms. Lorna Luft, who we missed, but the Red Sox were playing, you know. Of course the casino is fun and we enjoyed some time there win and/or lose, still fun. One complaint is smoke and the need for a fan system to suck it out of the casino. Also thank you to the pursers desk for getting the Red Sox on for my husband thru a Spanish satellite station. The last full 24 hours were a bit rough and rocky and the captain kept us aware of all the conditions and slowed the ship for an easier and smoother time of it as we were really rocking and rolling. We thank the captain for his expertise and competent decision making in a difficult situation. I'm sure people with connecting flights had some trouble, but that is really why we feel you need that day before and after -- for the unexpected. So all and all this is a very beautiful ship and well worth traveling on again. The whole staff was friendly and eager to please and nowhere was there a problem. For us this was the best trip and we are booked on the Jewel for next year. Thank you to RCI for their complete booking. We would do it no other way. It is easy and prices are comparable to a travel agent, we feel. Now this is the best -- because the captain slowed the ship we were delayed in getting into port. We were allowed to stay in the cabins till 11:00 a.m. Thank you. The wait to get into port and clear customs was not bad as we enjoyed the entertainment in the Schooner Lounge and food was everywhere still. We were the third group called (also a good reason to do the pre and post) and getting off the ship and thru customs was smooth and easy with everyone welcoming us home! That was really nice. From security and customs to baggage handlers, all were great....... So there you have it. The Grandeur and all who sail on her are the best and it is a beautiful ship with lovely decorations and art. Well worth traveling on her for the best vacation evah!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
I was very saddened to read the review by Steven of our recent cruise aboard Grandeur because my husband and I truly could not have asked for better service or food. We were so impressed with everything that my husband and I went ahead and ... Read More
I was very saddened to read the review by Steven of our recent cruise aboard Grandeur because my husband and I truly could not have asked for better service or food. We were so impressed with everything that my husband and I went ahead and booked another cruise before we got off. Therefore, I would like to respond to some of the comments. First, we found all of the food to be excellent. (Take a look at our scales and you'll see!) It was hard to choose just one appetizer or entree each night and the breakfast buffet was always a nice way to start the day. The steaks were always perfectly prepared and I had a wonderful time trying tasty new dishes. The desserts, of course, were something to look forward to every night. Our waiter and assistant waiter were both amazing. They had a diet coke ready for me every night as I sat down and kept the refills coming. They picked up on our likes and dislikes (my husband always wants freshly ground pepper and I never do) and they were both very attentive. Our waiter gave us tips about what foods to try, where to go in each port of call, etc. I have never had such great service in my life. As for facilities closed for cleaning, I hardly ever saw this occur. Occasionally I saw a sign up at the Windjammer but there was always food available elsewhere at that time. I also never had a problem trying to access food or drinks. I had no problem with the pizza and I still miss the french fries. Also, as someone who is not a big fan of children, I never once had a problem with kids running around and making noise in the snack area, or anywhere else. I never came across a crew member that didn't speak English. As for the ports, they were okay. We got to Key West so early (7 a.m.) that nothing was open yet. I really enjoyed Cozumel. Belize City was more destitute than I anticipated but I loved the tour of the ruins. I very much enjoyed CocoCay and I'm not usually a beach person. As for Freeport, our shopping excursion was on the boring side but the country is still recovering from the hurricanes. The one point I do agree with Steven is regarding smoking in the casino. It is very difficult for a non-smoker to stay in there very long. While there is a non-smoking section, it is ineffective because there is nothing to block the smoke from drifting over. I think the casino needs to be smoke-free. In any case, we can't wait for our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2005
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best I would give this cruise about 6 1/2-7. It was a nine night cruise to Freeport Bahamas, Coco Cay, Bahamas, Key West, Cozumel and Port Canaveral. My husband and I did not think the food was that great ... Read More
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best I would give this cruise about 6 1/2-7. It was a nine night cruise to Freeport Bahamas, Coco Cay, Bahamas, Key West, Cozumel and Port Canaveral. My husband and I did not think the food was that great and we did not find a whole lot to do during the days at sea. As far as the food goes, we did not find a big variety. The buffet in the Windjammer pretty much had the same things every night. The desserts we average. All the desserts with cake did not seem to be very fresh. They almost crumbled when you put your fork in them, they were not very moist. No fresh seafood was served in the Windjammer, no crab legs or shrimp. For as much as we paid for this cruise, you should have been able to get this at least one night. All the waiters were very friendly and always took away your dirty plates right away. On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best, I would give the food about 2 1/2-3. Entertainment was also just average. There was not a lot to do on days at sea. If there was a show and you did not want to go, there was really nothing else to do. They had bingo on the ship, but you had to pay an extra $35.00 just to play. My husband and I thought that was crazy! The casino was nice, but not everyone likes to spend money gambling. I do have to say that the comedian was pretty funny. On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best I would give the entertainment about a 2.75 Excursions-The first stop on our vacation was Freeport Bahamas. Basically, this place sucked. We paid about $39.00 per person for a bus trip to do some shopping at the market place. Thought this would be fun. Our first stop was to a candle shop/gift shop. My living room is not that big and it was bigger than this place. About 10 min. later everyone was already on the bus. Then our bus driver drove us around for about 45 min. looking a homes that cost 50,000 to 1,000,000.00. I can drive a few miles from my home and see houses much more expensive. We were not impressed. The second stop was a bar. We were supposed to receive a comp drink, but this never happened. Nothing to do there, so we had 1 drink which we paid for and 20 min later we were back on the bus. The final stop was the market place. Some nice items, but a lot of the same things in all of the stores. 3 1/2 hrs. later we were back on the ship. I would not recommend going to Freeport Bahamas or would not recommend this excursion, you should just take a taxi and go to the beach. Our second port was Coco Cay Bahamas. This is Royal Caribbean private island. We absolutely loved it there. You can snorkel, eat, swim, play volleyball, sit in hammocks, walk around. A really great place to just relax. Key West, Cozumel and Port Canaveral were all great. (Even though it rained when we were at Universal Studios.) Most of the people that worked in the stores on the ship, we found to be kind of rude and not very friendly. I guess they figure that if you don't buy it someone on the next cruise will. Also, the thing that surprised me the most was a lot of the Directors/Comedians and Crew Members make a lot of jokes about Carnival Cruise Lines to all the people on the ship and during a lot of the shows. Maybe they should think again and read some of these reviews before cracking any more jokes about Carnival. Hope this helps! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
When we boarded the ship and went to our room the stench of sewage was intolerable. Unfortunately the odors only became worse. When we asked the crew, they responded by saying "we smell it too "end of investigation. Decks 3, 4, ... Read More
When we boarded the ship and went to our room the stench of sewage was intolerable. Unfortunately the odors only became worse. When we asked the crew, they responded by saying "we smell it too "end of investigation. Decks 3, 4, & 5 were the worst especially when exiting the dining room. However The Gatsby was spared. The crew, absent the dining room staff, were aloof and unaccommodating. The excursion staff seemed annoyed that I would ask questions about a certain trip (they were the worst, almost confrontational F-). A side note, we traveled in a large group and tried to book a trip prior, it was a complete waste of time, RC couldn't seem to get it together to book in advance. We did take a Eureka Fishing tour and it was awesome, although it had nothing to do with RC. Bermuda was a great port, would definitely go again. When presented with the embarkation forms we relayed we had early flights from BWI, we thought we may be the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even fifth group off the ship, try 6th racing to the airport but we made it. Maybe RC thought we needed exercise after all the meals. The food was good but not excellent, although the staff in the Gatsby was very nice, they get the only A+ for the five days, the cruise overall was a C, only enhanced by the folks we were traveling with. We have cruised on RC several times and this is not what we would have expected, but things change I guess. This is a convenient inexpensive trip if you live in the mid-Atlantic but nothing more. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
Just returned on the Grandeur of the Seas as it limped back to Baltimore. The ship is not quite what I am used to. While it was in pretty good shape, the layout was different. On most ships, as you walk around you pass the lounges with ... Read More
Just returned on the Grandeur of the Seas as it limped back to Baltimore. The ship is not quite what I am used to. While it was in pretty good shape, the layout was different. On most ships, as you walk around you pass the lounges with music going on, etc. The lounges on this ship were tucked at the ends and you never saw them unless you were looking. We thought the food was just passable. Had one good steak and then it was downhill from there. Out waiter was not good. He seemed to cater to those drinking wine and we were not drinking. It is usually customary for your waiter to announce to you the activities going on for the evening and breakfast. He did not tell us about the Chocolate Buffet and I did not have time to read the Compass, so we missed it. The second night I ordered another of the (good) steaks. They substituted something that was supposed to be a New York Strip. It was mostly grizzle and was very pale looking. Bad, Bad, Bad. The food in the WindJammer was the same, day in and day out. Since we were practically ignored by out waiter, we decided to eat in the Windjammer the last two nights. The people up there were more attentive than our waiter. I talked to lots of people and they had great people in the dining room. We just got unlucky. There was a lot of congested type coughing going on on the ship and of course, my husband and I were unlucky again and returned home quite sick with some type of virus. The entertainment was good except for the ship's singers and dancers. They were just passable and I had trouble staying awake at one of their performances. The cruise director, Wayne, was pretty good. The Vybes, which is the Caribbean Band on the pool deck were not too good. In the evening, you could only find coffee at one end of the ship. At the other end was pizza, French fries and burgers, and water or tea. We are use to a place being open, (Windjammer) where you could get an evening snack like soup or something, but there was nothing open at night. On the better side, my husband was lucky in the Casino, I was not. The weather was good except for the first cruise day and it was a little rough. Lots of sick people. Our room steward was very good. He took care of all our needs and kept the room in great shape. Other than our room steward, we thought most of the staff were not as friendly as other ships. The sewage odor that lots of people have discussed is definitely there. It is not a constant odor, but when it is there it is bad. Smelled it on deck two and other enclosed decks. I have to say, this was our sixth cruise, and we really did not enjoy it like other cruises. I hope future cruisers on this ship have better experiences. We do not intend to go on any older and smaller ships. Voyager class ships or nothing. Good luck to future cruisers on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
We booked this trip as a graduation present for my son. We took the kids on a trip last year for 4 days on the Carnival Fantasy. This time we thought to try a different line. And Royal Caribbean sounded nice. We began our trip with a ... Read More
We booked this trip as a graduation present for my son. We took the kids on a trip last year for 4 days on the Carnival Fantasy. This time we thought to try a different line. And Royal Caribbean sounded nice. We began our trip with a limo ride right from our front door to the port in Baltimore. This was worth every penny. No worries about luggage, parking, driving, etc. As a previous cruise guest on Carnival 2 times before we thought the embarkation process should be a breeze, which it was. The only disappointment was the pier in Baltimore. Seemed as though they used an empty warehouse for organizing the guests. Although it was fairly clean, after seeing the port at Port Canaveral it doesn't even come close to the wonderful welcome aboard feeling you get. Baltimore should work on that pier if they intend to keep leaving out of there. The ship was beautiful, with the exception of the "dent" on the side of the ship (received in April 2005, docking into a port in Mexico). WE cannot say enough about the staff and how wonderful they were with our huge group of 12! The dinners were fabulous! From the room stewards, waiters, etc. There are only a few things that we were disappointed in. One, Royal Caribbean should work on the organization of their excursions. Being past guests on Carnival, Royal does not inform passengers clearly where to meet and exact times. With Carnival they have huge signs that you can see as soon as you get off the ship, on Royal we searched for the group leaders and got frustrated (in more than one port!). Two, the kids after dinner would have to go to the bar on the fourth floor to get their sodas. And mind you that bar did not have a fountain to dispense, they only had cans. On more than one evening the bar ran out of soda for the adults because the kids drank them all. The bars at the pool areas all close after dinner time. It would make sense if Royal would have an area for the kids to get sodas from an area with a fountain, so this does not happen. Three, every other day the entire 4th floor seating area just outside of our room was turned into a art gallery! This type of activity should be in the Big theater. Guests with a day at sea would like a relaxing place to sit, when they are done in the sun. When the art took over that area it left few places for sitting. And mind you the other bar areas had activities going on. Over all Our trip was fun. With our group it was almost impossible for us not to have a good time. If Royal could read our suggestions and change a few things it would only make the experience better! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
Ok, So I worked through most of my depression and decided to post my review. This was my first cruise ever. The first for my wife (Karen) and daughter (3 year old Zoe). I was also traveling with my parents Bo and Vicki, second cruise for ... Read More
Ok, So I worked through most of my depression and decided to post my review. This was my first cruise ever. The first for my wife (Karen) and daughter (3 year old Zoe). I was also traveling with my parents Bo and Vicki, second cruise for them. I have one word TERRIFIC. This was such a great vacation, I am already planning another cruise next year. Let's start at the beginning. We got to the pier around 10 a.m. and were on the ship by 11, eating lunch in the Windjammer around that time. Couldn't ask for a better parking space, second row from the ship. Walked around the ship and got a feel for it. Got into our rooms around 2 p.m. and went up to the pool for the sail away. The first two days at sea were fun. Hung out at the pool for the most part. Zoe went to the Kids camp and she loved it. Totally forgot about the Meet and Mingle. Sorry about that. I got second place in the blackjack tournament. That was nice to win $422. I played a lot of blackjack during the 9 days. I also won a lot of money. My wife lost a lot of money in the slots so we only broke even. Casino was fun. I spent most hours there after wife and daughter when to bed. Drank a lot of Red Stripe too in the Casino and the whole ship. Freeport was ok. Took a crazy taxi to the beach. It was weird being at the hotel's beach but I guess that is what you have to do. The water was beautiful. Did a little shopping there. Not much but they did have 2 for $5 Red Stripes so Dad and I had a drink. Coco Cay was great. Water was perfect. Lunch was great. We just hung out at the beach and it was great. Saw an iguana. I could spend days there. Key West was fun. Did some shopping. I recommend that you get the shopping book if you do any shopping. You get lots of free stuff plus it tells you where to go. We also took the train ride around town. That was interesting and fun. I ate some conch fritters but was told by other people that the conch fritters at Jimmy Buffets were better. Did not get to go there as it was too packed. Key West was a pretty place. I would like to go there again. Cozumel was great. Shopping all day. Started at the top of top at the forum shops and walk all the way to the end of town and then took a horse ride back to the ship. Spend money but the wife got a lot of silver. Ate some good food at Poncho's Backyard. STRONG Margarita. My parents went to Tulalu (sp?). They had a great time. We needed more days in Cozumel. Day at sea was good. Played some Bingo. Won a shirt, wife won $50 and wife won a shirt. I also won a glass the next day at bingo. We played bingo 4 more times but did not win again. We did not get off the ship in Port Canaveral. We slept in till 12 after we went to the customs thing. Karaoke was fun. My dad got 3rd. Yes by dad is "Bo." He did a great job. All the food was great. We ate breakfast in Windjammer. My parents got room service breakfast. Lunch in the Windjammer. Every night dinner in the Great Gatsby. We had the early dinner. The food was great. The only thing that surpassed the food was the service. I could not believe how nice our servers were. They catered to our every need. Plus they took care of Zoe, which is important to us. Thank you Sudeep and Eric. We saw most of the shows. Took Zoe to them too. Did not go to the comedians. She would not like them. She loved the singing and the dancing. She would dance in the isle of the theatre. She also liked the magic show. That was cool. Pictures, pictures, pictures. All we did was pose for pictures. And we got suckered in to buying them. They were all so great. Zoe looked so cute and Karen and I looked great. So we purchased a lot of pictures. They also asked for a shot of Zoe to be put on display. We agreed. You might have noticed a cute blond girl lying on stomach with the white background that is my Zoe. We had numerous people just stop us and say how much they liked our pictures and really thought Zoe was the cutest person ever. Back in Baltimore we had to wait for Green to be called. Next time I am carrying off myself. I was easy to get the luggage. Our luggage is bright green and you cannot miss it. Next cruise we are going to carry off ourselves. I loved this trip. I would take the same trip again. Once again I am sorry that I missed the Meet and Mingle. Thanks to all the people we did met on the ship. It was fun. Thanks to the workers, especially, Sudeep, Eric, David, Bingo Boy (skip) Kelly, and all the dealers that gave me money and took my money. This is a great ship. I had so much fun. I hope you all enjoyed the trip as well and liked my review. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
Grandeur to Bermuda 7/17/05-7/22/05 We just returned from a lovely cruise to Bermuda aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas. After enduring reports of crashes (into the pier at Costa Maya), blown engines, missed ports, ... Read More
Grandeur to Bermuda 7/17/05-7/22/05 We just returned from a lovely cruise to Bermuda aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas. After enduring reports of crashes (into the pier at Costa Maya), blown engines, missed ports, hurricanes, etc....we were quite delighted to pull up to the port in Baltimore to see our ship glistening in the sunshine on the morning of July 17th! We arrived around 11:00a.m. (after a short 1 hour drive from Delaware). It was very easy to get to the port. We were directed to drop off our luggage and then to head to our parking spot (which was right next to the ship!) Parking was $10/day or $50 for the 5-night cruise, paid in cash in advance. After the very short jaunt from the car to the terminal we were checked in and ready to board in as little as 10 minutes. We did have to wait about another 10 minutes before we were allowed to board the ship. So, from our car, to our cabin was perhaps a 25 minute stretch! When we arrived at the cabin, it was not ready to receive us (it was only 11:30 a.m. after all and they say the cabins are not required to be ready until 2:00 p.m.). We were in Cabin 8588 which is an aft junior suite right in the middle of the back of the ship facing the wake. It was a nice size cabin with plenty of storage space and a comfortable bathroom (for a ship, that is) with a bath tub and with nice toiletries provided (shampoo, shower gel, lotion, lip balm) and two luscious robes. The balcony was very large. It had two upright chairs, one lounge-type chair, and a coffee table. Anyway, we dropped off our carry-on stuff and headed to the Windjammer for Lunch. The buffet was the usual stuff. Not great, but not bad either. We toured the ship. It was in very nice shape. We felt it was clean and we really liked the layout. This was my 16th cruise, but first one on a Vision-class ship. Most of my cruises have been on larger, newer ships. Grandeur is a very elegant ship and was aptly named. We met up with some friends from Cruise Critic in the afternoon which was the beginning of a fun week! We had early seating in the Great Gatsby Dining Room and had a lovely table right beside the Captain's Table (which he never appeared at). We were seated with our Cruise Critic friends which made for a very pleasant Dining experience! (Thanks Pam and David! We loved getting to know you both!) Our Dining Room crew was pretty good. Tomas the waiter was a bit of a clown. He was efficient though. Silvia the Asst. Waiter (waitress I should say) was delightful but not terribly skilled in her craft quite yet! She was fun to be around, but she was forever spilling water and iced tea when she tried to fill our glasses and made for some good laughs! She's a sweet girl though and will get better at her job in time! She tried very hard to please us! We just smiled and said, "thanks" and wiped up the puddles of water or tea from our laps when she walked away! The Dining Room food was very good (excellent at times). A few times I did have to order from the alternative menu, but only because I just wasn't in the "mood" for the selections they had to offer on those nights. The entertainment during our week was pretty good. There were two production shows which were terrific and a couple of other variety type shows with comedians, magicians, etc... All were good. We saw some game shows and attended one of the art auctions. We had a good time but these events tend to be the same from ship to ship. We skipped bingo, pool games, theme parties, etc... Others certainly seemed to enjoy them though. We lounged around the ship a lot. There are plenty of spots to do this both indoors and out. We never had a problem getting a lounge chair either although there were quite a few "saved" chairs despite the signs explaining how this practice is not allowed. One HUGE complaint I had was that they NEVER opened the retractable roof from over the solarium and it was SWELTERING HOT in there! I couldn't be in there for more than 5 minutes without starting to have difficulty breathing from the oppressive heat and humidity! I agree that those roofs are great on a rainy day or in colder climates, but geez, it was 90 degrees outside and about 290 degrees inside that oven of a solarium! We asked them why they didn't open it, but didn't ever get an actual answer. Oh well, we just didn't spend any time in there (which was a disappointment because the solarium is usually our favorite spot). After one full day at sea, we arrived on the morning of day 3 in Beautiful Bermuda and docked at King's Wharf. I had read so many reviews where people suggested that a cruise that only docked at the Wharf would be a waste of time. We were very pleasantly surprised to find that King's Wharf was a delightful port and you could easily access any part of the island you wanted. It was very picturesque at the wharf (in my opinion the prettiest of the three possible docking areas in Bermuda...St. George's, Hamilton, and King's Wharf). It was a lovely area which incorporated both history (the old Naval Fort) and local culture plus all the fun of the snorkel park, water excursions, easy access to the bus/ferry system and much more! The evening we were there they also held a Festival right at the Dockyard which was very enjoyable with live music, Gombey dancers, local vendors, etc... We really loved King's Wharf and would definitely consider it as a great destination in the future. On our first day in Bermuda, we did the Wildcat Adventure Tour. This is a speedboat which sails around the entire island in 2 hours, stopping along the way for sights of interest. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes, the Wildcat blew it's bearings and slipped a belt (or something like that...I'm not a mechanic!) anyway we then floated in to St. George's to pick up replacement parts, but got the added bonus of a closer look at St. George's along the way. We continued on with our tour only to find that we had lost our navigational capability and could not sailing into the more treacherous waters on the southshore side of the island (boo hoo, no Horseshoe bay!!!) So, we turned around and sped back toward Hamilton and toured around that bay for a while. We were disappointed that we didn't get to sail along the Southshore beaches, but it was still a nice tour all in all. After lunch on the ship, we grabbed the public bus to Horseshoe Bay (we were going to see it one way or another!) It was an easy ride to the beach (about 20 minutes). It cost $4 per person each way. We walked down the steep hill at Horseshoe and were awed by the stunning beauty ahead! I've been to many beautiful places, but this is right up there near the top for out and out beauty! The water was very rough though and made for difficulty trying to swim! The undertow was quite dangerous! We managed to survive it though! We spent the afternoon splashing in the waves and wandering from one beautiful cove to the next! The walk back up the hill at the end of the day should be reserved only for the athletes though! Hubby and I made it, but in retrospect, we should have paid the $1 and taken the little van that was available to drive us up the hill. Sometimes it's better to just admit it when you are licked! We were stubborn though, and once we got to the top of the hill....we were drenched in sweat and miserable. The bus ride back to the dockyard was much more crowded and felt like it took a lot longer. I don't think it actually did though. After dinner on the ship, we headed out to the Dockyard Festival for the remainder of the night and visited all the cute shops right there at the Clocktower Mall at the Dockyard and enjoyed the music and dancers. It was a beautiful night. The ship was all lit up and the moon was full overhead. The Dockyard was abuzz with excitement and the ship was alive with activity. It was really and awesome evening. On the 2nd day at Bermuda we did the Restless Native Catamaran Tour. This was a leisurely and educational tour around the harbor near Hamilton. We learned a lot of Bermuda history as well as a bit of marine biology of the undersea life in that region. We eventually anchored in shallow water in a private cove and spent an hour or so snorkeling in underwater caves and over various reefs. It was very nice. The tour staff was very knowledgeable and entertaining at the same time. They also served hot, homemade chocolate-chip cookies that were cooked right onboard the catamaran and rum swizzles, lemonade, and/or water. It was really a nice tour and I highly recommend it. It lasted about 3 ½ hours. After a quick lunch on the ship, we headed back out to explore the Maritime Museum right there at the Dockyard. It was very interesting and we could have spent more time there but did have to get back to the ship to prepare for our departure from lovely Bermuda. The following day was another leisurely sea day. We went to a towel-folding class, a swing-dance class, learned a few "tricks" at the magician's class, and relaxed with a good book in the Library. We had no trouble filling our time throughout the week. Whether we were active or inactive....we were enjoying ourselves on the beautiful Grandeur of the Seas! There were a few "snafu's" throughout the week, but nothing that tainted my cruise experience. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. We waited for our tags to be called in the Viking Crown Lounge (for Platinum and Diamond Members) where they had coffee, juice, and pastries. They started disembarking the self-assist passengers at about 9:00a.m. (those were the folks who carried their own luggage off the ship). We had white tags and were the first called for the "regular" disembarkation to pick up our luggage from the warehouse. We were in our car heading home by 9:45a.m. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
Well, this was my first cruise. I read lots about cruising and the ship before I left. Nothing could prepare me for it though!! We had a blast!!! Our group consisted of 21 people 14-60. We all live less than 50 miles from the port of ... Read More
Well, this was my first cruise. I read lots about cruising and the ship before I left. Nothing could prepare me for it though!! We had a blast!!! Our group consisted of 21 people 14-60. We all live less than 50 miles from the port of baltimore. most of us less than 5 miles! Embarkation:got to the port at 12:15 and were on the ship by 12:40. very easy. very organized. nice personnel. Tip: have all your paperwork handy and you will breeze right on in. Rooms: I thought they were small but there was enough space for 3 grown women to store all their things and not trip over them. Tip: save time- wash your feet in the shower,pee and brush your teeth all at the same time!! Food: Ate dinner in the dining room every night but one..service was great! Food was good- Windjammer food was ok..cafeteria style..plenty to eat -good quality. Tip: you can try anything you want and if you don't like it send it back! (great for picky eaters you just want to try something new). Ports of call: The Bahamas was ok. nothing spectacular there. all the shops sell the same thing. did the shopping excursion and Bahama mama cruise through the ship. it was fun but hot, hot,hot!!! Coco Cay: the best!! Wish I could move there! the water was beautiful.. food was good..shopping was nice...the big slide was out of this world fun!! The jet ski excursion we booked through the ship was great!! 50 miles an hour across crystal blue waters...the adventure of a life time for me!! Key West: Again..wonderful..so full of personality and fun...loved the shopping! Margaritaville was good..had drinks and food there...every person we ran into was very nice! found some excellent gifts there for the hard to buy for teenager! Walked to the southernmost point..it was worth it just to say we had been there. Cozumel: Beautiful water! Poor island! Good shopping! I felt so bad haggling with these people...they are so poor..most times I just paid what they asked. Here we did the jeep 4x4 snorkel adventure through the ship..it was awesome!! I have never snorkeled before and it was so beautiful! Our guides were the best and treated us like family. jeeping on the beach was awesome! Port Canaveral: Here we did the alligator air boat adventure through the ship. it was cool! Saw a few alligators and had the chance to sample some alligator meat (didn't like it)we got back to the ship and then took a van (11 of us) for 5 bucks each way and went to Cocoa Beach..it was beautiful there! We went to Ron Jons Surf Shop ..did a little other shopping ate at Quiznos and then walked over to the beach and swam for about 2 hours before meeting the van to go back. That is one great beach!! beautiful water and sand... The ship: I thought everything about the ship was nice..the people were great! The staff said there were more children on the ship on this cruise than they had ever had before but you couldn't tell it...did not see very many unruly children, but some teenagers were running amuck and not being corrected on the last night. I cant see how some parents would just let there kids do whatever they want...but hey I am not their parents. The service: Our wait staff was so great! Mickey from Romania and Maria from Chile...I wish I could have brought them home with us..not to serve us but just to get to know them..they were both so sweet!!! Our cabin steward was William and was very nice and unobtrusive. Cabin was always nice and clean. Sea days: There seemed to be as much or as little to do as you wanted. Chair hogs were abundant but i would just move their things...1/2 hour is one thing..but all day is another..that's just rude!! The entertainment staff seemed very efficient and the games on deck were fun. The midnight buffet on the pool deck was fun with all the dancing and stuff going on. All in all it was a great trip! I would definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. definitely the Grandeur again and definitely from Baltimore again! If anyone has any questions please feel free to email. ldubovsky @ pavsnerpress.com Read Less
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