We sailed from Baltimore to Bermuda on Grandeur of the Seas. This was a family cruise with a wide variety of ages - 1 - 80 year old, 4 - 50 something's, 1- 30ish year old and one almost 2 year old. We selected this cruise/ship because even though we live in different states we could all easily drive to Baltimore. We found that this cruise was a great venue for a multigenerational family vacation. Getting on the ship was quick and easy. We stayed in 2 adjoining suites and one inside cabin (8014, 8015, 8016). Staying in the suites gave us the opportunity for express boarding which made getting on the ship even easier. We did carry on 2 bottles of wine for each of the suites, they only thing that didn't get through the onboarding safety check point was our wine opener (there was one in our suite).
We arrived at different times so as we boarded we headed to the Windjammer for lunch. The Windjammer was packed, this is probably the one time on the ship that all 2,000 passengers are trying to squeeze into that space. Despite this we were able to find a table for 3 adults and one small child and we all found food we enjoyed. The famous honey strung chicken was available! I was pleased to find that unsweetened iced tea was always available. The food was fine and the servers were working hard to keep the tables cleared and drinks available. Our entire party soon met up, and the cruise adventure began.
Our suites and cabin were available right at 1pm and we went to unpack before exploring the ship. The suites were absolutely beautiful with huge balconies. The only wear and tear I noticed was a little rust around the vent above the tub. Did I mention that the suite had 2 bathroom sinks and a full tub? There was more than enough storage space and it allowed us to keep our suite neat and tidy all week. Most of the week we left our adjoining door open so our little grandson could easily travel between rooms. If the hotel management crew on Grandeur were going to do one little thing to make the arrival and moving in experience better they would go through the closets to make sure the clothes hangers worked properly. Many of ours were broken and couldn't hold clothing. Our suitcases all fit under the beds and were out of sight out of mind for the week.
Next we went out to explore the ship, check our dining room table assignment and ask for a high chair. The table assignment was perfect, a table for our entire party with an ocean view for the 6pm seating. Exactly what we had requested before boarding. We learned later that the seating time had changed to 5:30, but we didn't know that and never once showed up before 6pm. There was a problem at the Baltimore port and the ship didn't leave the harbor until almost 7 pm. But the magic of a cruise vacation is that as soon as you are on the ship your vacation begins, you feel like you are in another world. We were unpacked and sitting at our 1st MDR dinner when someone looked out the window and noticed we were moving. Even though we left 3 hours late, we still arrived in Bermuda right on schedule..
I can't say enough about our MDR server Roel, he was super attentive, funny and interesting. Roel was a professional at his role, and was warm and friendly without crossing into overly personal areas of conversation. Roel teased my Mom (our 80 year old) about ordering the shrimp cocktail for her appetizer every night, and celebrated with her when she broke her pattern and ordered the French onion soup on the last evening. The entire serving team went way above our expectations to keep Simon's (our 2 year-old) happy as well as the rest of us. They had Simon's food ready to go when we arrived each evening. This was such a gift when you are traveling with an active, curious, hungry 2 year-old.
The size of the ship and the distance between places like the Windjammer and our suites, or our suites and the main dining room or the theater were perfect for our group. 2 members of our party had some difficulty walking and could easily make it from place to place on the Grandeur. We were on the 8th deck and we could definitely hear furniture moving around at the Windjammer and Pool deck above us. There was a midnight party on the pool deck that we attended from our suites. We were in Bermuda at the same time as a Norwegian Cruise Liner and Grandeur was easily the more beautiful and classic looking ship. Our Captain was Norwegian and he even mentioned that the NCL ship looked like a party boat.
We went on the spa tour and checked out the Oceans adventure club. We never really used the spa and the baby play time was never once convenient for our Grandson. All of the baby play times were offered over meals, so Simon never once got to play with the toys there. We did rent a bag of toys for our rooms. When my daughter talked to the Oceans Adventure staff about this they became defensive. This was the only time on the entire trip that the Grandeur of the Seas crew was anything less than wonderful.
During the trip my husband had a date a Chops Grill... amazing beautiful evening. Well worth the $30 up charge. I felt like we were in a 5 star restaurant! And one "at sea" afternoon we went to Giovanni's table for lunch, also a great experience for a $15 up charge. Both of these dining venues offered us a diversion from the MDR and the Windjammer. It was just enough to keep the food experience interesting. Suite guests on Grandeur can also have breakfast in Chops and we were able to do that 2 mornings, my husband highly recommends "Eggs Grandeur" with crab meat and caviar. My daughter and I spent one afternoon at the Solarium pool/hot tub and had lunch at the café in that area. Great, fresh, lighter, delicious food. Suite guests also have access to the Concierge Lounge and we went there every evening before dinner for snacks and drinks. Francis was a wonderful host and made sure we were happy each evening.
We participated in many of the ship's activities. My Mom loved the casino and spent much of our at sea time there. Some days she won and some days she reported that she lost, we never asked how much. We loved the aerial shows in the Centrum and were delighted that we got a mini show on the last day. There was only one production show in the Palladium and we thought it was excellent. We also got to hear the Motown Divas -a great energetic show and also saw two stand up comedians. The last one was a little like your uncle telling bad jokes over dinner, but when he did a skit with the audience participation we were all laughing. During the week the cruise director conducted a class to learn how to dance to Thriller. On the final night the group performed the dance... It was great fun to watch!
My daughter and I participated in the galley tour, so we got to see "back stage" at the MDR. It was really just a walk through the galley, it would have been better if there had been crew members along the way talking to us about the food production processes.
We walked through all of the ship shops and yes, we did purchase a few photos of our trip. We had hoped to purchase Black Seal -Bermuda rum, but were disappointed to find that it was sold out. We should have gotten it in the port, oh well, we will have to go back.
I also went to the Captain and Officer's question and answer session and learned tons about RCI's environmental work and how the ship runs. During this presentation the Captain mentioned that seas were unusually calm and flat for our trip to and from Bermuda, making for smooth sailing. He said we were luckily, because October can be unpredictable. If you are interested in ocean travel or how the ship works I would recommend you spend this time with the Captain.
When we returned to Baltimore the Longshore men were striking so it took us a little longer to disembark. The crew provided my Mom with a wheelchair and an attendant, that was incredibly helpful. Otherwise the trip home and back to reality was uneventful. Thank you Grandeur Crew for this wonderful cruise!