We had the pleasure to sail on the Grandeur of the Seas in its very first sailing after its month-long dry-dock. This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean and also our first time to Europe and the Mediterranean. This was also our first booking in a suite -- and it likely won't be the last now that we know what we've been missing!
CHECK-IN -- Our check-in was swift, but part of that is that we were in the priority line for suite guests. We boarded quickly after bypassing the annoying photo op on the gangway and headed straight to our room. We met our cabin steward, Robert, right away and were blown away by our suite. The bathroom was huge with double sinks and a full shower/bath. What a welcome sight after cramming into TINY showers on past cruises where we could hardly turn around. We had our two kids with us to there were two queen beds ready to go with a curtain between if we wanted to close it. We had a bar area inside the door and lots of closet space and drawers for clothes, etc.
FOOD -- We had the 6PM seating in the main dining room. Overall the food in the dining room was very good. I was happy with the selection every night and always found something enjoyable to eat. We ate in the buffet several times and the food was decent, but I was a little disappointed in the buffet quality overall. We did get the opportunity to sample two of the new specialty restaurants, Izume and Giovanni's Table, and loved them. I especially enjoyed the sushi in Izume. We ordered room service 3 times for breakfast in order to enjoy dining on our balcony and were pleased with the quality there as well.
SERVICE -- Overall I was very impressed with all of the people I came in contact with -- wait staff, bartenders, front desk, room stewards, and everyone else. I have to specifically single out the concierge club staff -- Raj and Patricia -- for AWESOME service, way beyond any expectations we had. Also our Maitre D' greatly exceeded expectations. He stopped by our table every single night and also interacted with our children every night too, which is more than I've seen on past cruises.
COMMON AREAS -- I can't compare to how the ship looked pre-dry dock, but all of the common areas looked wonderful, especially the new centrum space. I did see a few pictures in the photo gallery comparing some of the spaces before and after and the change is breathtaking. You'd think it was a totally different ship. The pool areas were nice and the rock wall was definitely fun!
ACTIVITIES -- We booked all of our excursions on our own so I can't comment on those, but we did participate in a few trivia and games and they were generally fun.
ENTERTAINMENT -- We're not huge on shows, but we did see several and they were good. Most impressive is the aerial show in the centrum, which we got to see on the last night of the cruise. The dancers were actually practicing throughout the week in the centrum since it was their first time on the ship, so we got to see them rehearsing various times as well. I imagine the centrum act will get even better as time goes on.
KIDS ACTIVITIES -- Our kids are 16 and 12 and they were in the teen club most evenings from after dinner to bedtime. We used radios to communicate and I felt comfortable leaving them alone with their friends. Both kids loved all the activities and they also had plenty of "hanging out" time too.
MY FEW MINOR QUIBBLES -- Just so you don't think this is a fluff piece...
- The Wii in the teen club didn't work. The story my son told me was they couldn't figure out how to get it hooked up? He was able to play Wii in the Schooner Bar on our sea day though.
- The hot tubs didn't have jets. I've never heard of such a thing.
OVERALL -- I've been on 8 cruises now with 7 different lines and I have to say that this was my favorite experience of all of them. I know part of that can be contributed to being in a suite for the first time and the perks that come with it. Still, for a family cruise, Royal Caribbean and Grandeur of the Seas GREATLY exceeded expectations and we're already planning another Royal Caribbean cruise. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to book the Grandeur again if we find an itinerary we like.