Let me begin by saying that we were on Grandeur 12 years ago on a transatlantic cruise back when she was one of the most special ships afloat. She has been refurbished a few times since then and is now one of RCI's oldest and smallest ships. Her appearance is fresh and has many of the new amenities we've come to expect, but there seemed to be almost too much added in an attempt to keep to keep the Grandeur relevant in today's cruise marketplace. The large outdoor screen by the pool and the rock climbing wall are two examples. The screen is too big for the space and strangely under-utilized while the climbing wall is too small and no one seemed interested in it. The food was great and the specialty restaurants were awesome.
But the big disappointment was Bermuda. We toured the whole island and it just doesn't have the same excitement that it once had. Many of the great old resorts are closed or shadows of there former selves. The people are warm and friendly but seemed stuck in an economic rut that they haven't been able to pull themselves from. We had a nice lunch in St. George's at the White Horse Pub but again, there was very little to see or do. Yes, there are some beaches and a few stores for souveniers. The aquarium and zoo are tired and expensive. The forts were OK but again, expensive. The ferries from the dockyard to Hamilton and St. Georges are GREAT! Timely, HC accessible and FAST! If Bermuda is one of several ports on your cruise its OK, but if its the only one...don't get your hopes up.
Finally, a word about RCI's new automatic gratuity policy. Our party of four experienced cruisers noticed a slight reduction in service levels from our stateroom attendants and dining room staff. They were certainly pleasant enough and provided adequate and required services but that was it. There was no feeling, as there had been in the past, that they were there to make certain that our every need was foreseen and would be taken care of. Co-incidence? Perhaps, a few more cruises will be needed to make the final call on the new policy.
Overall, the cruise was great but a bit less than hoped for.