First of all, let me say that in spite of all the unruly minions allowed to free run the ship, I did really well not throwing each and everyone of them overboard! We will not sail in the summer again...unless it is FREE! I refuse to pay to be a babysitter!
We had sailed the Grandeur several times before she left Baltimore several years ago...we loved her then, and we love her now. The renovations had many good points and only one or two not so good. Let's start with what we thought was good. We really like the open Centrum. It is open, pretty and there is no gaudy artwork hanging from the ceiling. Many functions, for instance the Captain's corner, was held here allowing for easy viewing, easy questioning...seemed more personable. The 70's party was very cramped in the Centrum, but the partying was on all decks! The aerial shows were good (there were only three) but they were not what I expected...and generally very short.
We liked the bright white bathrooms...and we even liked the new bowl sink. The cabinetry was much more spacious than the glass shelves in the previous bathrooms. One of the bad points, the shower curtain issue has not been totally resolved. One side has a ribbing that is tucked into a track leaving only one side to deal with. Two clothes pins at the bottom worked well for us. We also had clothes pins to hang wet suits rather than just draping them over the line.
The new Diamond Lounge is VERY NICE! We were served cocktails as well as wine/beer...and really nice nibbles...something different each night. We had fried wings, shrimp, scallops, various cheeses/crackers, veggie crudite, chocolates...something for everyone. Diane LOVED the coffee machine. For breakfast there were pastries, cheeses, cereals, bagels/lox...again, something for everyone.
Two of our new friends who are D+ (and about to become Pinnacle) took us into the CL. Very small, odd shaped (it is one former corner of the Viking Crown). Many of the D+ came down to the DL because it's layout is much better for conversation. The service was impressive in the DL! A huge shout-out and thank you to Abraham and Melecia!!!
The specialty restaurants offered a deal that we decided to do (food in the MDR really didn't appeal to us). For $55pp you can visit Chops, Giovani's Table and Izumi. It is about a $15 savings per person. I will be happy to explain how it works if anyone wishes to email me with a question. By far, Izumi was our favorite. Neither of us have ever tried sushi...it just didn't appeal to us. Izumi offered a crispy shrimp sushi that was heavenly!! We also got to cook our entree on lava rock. The wait staff and the chef were and incredible. It was an experience well worth the $$. The MDR did have a couple new items that were good...a smoked fish rillette as an appetizer and the horseradish crusted fillet of salmon.
The Park Cafe became our favorite spot for lunch. The roast beef on weck and the Cuban Pannini were our favorites. We rarely ventured into the WJ because of the monumental crowds that had the unruly minions attached to them.
Unfortunately we only got to see one movie and that began at 9:30pm. Generally, the movie started at 7pm while we were at dinner...go figure!
Captain Tron and his staff were wonderful. John Perry, the Cruise Director, was no Richard Spacey...but I suppose he thought he did his best. Darryl, the Activities Director was OUTSTANDING and adopted us as his American sisters (he is from Canada). He will out due Richard one of these days!!
Our stateroom (8511) was located directly under the pool deck...close to the pool bar. OMG! was it noisy! You could hear every heavy-footed minion that stomped across, not to mention the dragging of chairs or whatever. The room was oddly shaped and not my favorite. We don't usually do inside cabins but when we booked this was all there was. Our attendant, Mary Joy, could not have been lovelier!
Since this was our first B2B and not familiar with the process, the Hotel Director (John Rae) invited us to lunch in the MDR to explain the process. It was extremely easy. We met at the RBar at 9:15a.m. Then we were led off the ship thru customs then right back on again. Since we had to change rooms, all we had to do was pack up what was in the drawers/bathroom. Our attendants moved everything out of the closet and our luggage. Since we got our keys the night before, we were allowed to enter our rooms as soon as we reboarded.
As usual, my favorite activity is the Quest. Since it was held at 11pm, I got into the South Pacific Lounge at 9:30 and managed to get a close seat. We had an awesome team (mostly our CC friends)and had a blast...and yes, we took 1st place. GO TEAM #4!!!
There are so many good memories made on this trip...we met wonderful people and hope to cruise with them all again!
Feel free to ask questions and hopefully I will be able to answer them for you.