BERMUDA 7 NIGHT CRUISE 10-25-2013
First and foremost let me say that the staff that we interacted with were fantastic.
Our Room Steward George Cayasso, Waiters Mark Brown and Fredrick Pecson, and Guest support staff Ricardo Sanchez, Lourdes Mendoza, Tiela Hagan, and Luz Maria Lucana. They were always cheerful and helpful in all respects and need to be recognized for their superior performance by Royal Caribbean International.
As far as our personal opinion of the ship goes, that is a whole different matter.
The Grandeur Of The Seas is a 916-foot-long, Vision-class ship that was was built in 1996, refurbished in 2001, and again in 2012. It is the Oldest and Smallest in the RCCL fleet. It is approximately 50 feet shorter than the Millennium class Celebrity ships.
During its revitalization, the Atrium which is a six story venue in the center of he ship is used for an Aerial Acrobatic show nightly during which some of the elevators are disabled. No matter where you want to go on the ship you probably have to go past the atrium and contend with people trying to watch the acrobats and deal with the ships photographers around it. The sound level of the music or public announcements in the atrium as well as everywhere on the ship is up around 150DB (Jet engine noise). If I turn my hearing aids off it is still too loud.
When we go aboard Celebrity Ships we are handed a glass of champagne and a warm greeting. On the Grandeur we received a nod and a "Welcome Aboard”.
We were told we could board at 10:00 AM and we had to wait in the terminal until 11:00 and told we could ho to our staterooms at 1:00. The fire doors to the stateroom passageway was locked until 1:30.
The shows were very good with the exception of the first night. There was only one show and it was at 7:15 which was in the middle of the dining times and it was full and Standing Room Only. I guess it cut down on the main dining room guests.
The Elevators were never all operational at the same time. Various elevators were constantly inoperable, slow, or locked out of operation during the entire cruise.
The food in the Windjammer Buffet was sub par in every sense of the word for all meals. Unless you consider Tater Tots and McCain Ore Ida hash brown potato patties standard cruise ship items. The lunch hot dogs were boiled to within an inch of their life and became 6 inch rubber sticks. A Chef would have grilled them, a cook boils them. The traffic flow is an abomination with everyone wandering everywhere. There is no rhyme or reason to the layout of the stations. Just a confused mess. The desserts such as cookies are store bought as are the rolls.
In the Main Dining Room, The Great Gatsby Escargot is no longer served and only has French Onion soup on the last night, but is inferior to any I have had elsewhere. My Medium-well steaks were VERY WELL DONE and dry. Lots of consume and the cream soups taste like thick watered soups, not cream soups, The rolls appear to be store bought and are just heated prior to being served. I had Fettuccine Alfredo one evening and the Alfredo was a white sauce that did not appear to have even gotten close to Parmesan cheese.
The Eggs Benedict one day were runny with a teaspoon of what someone thinks is a Hollandaise Sauce
and the next time were like hard boiled eggs. Neither serving was remotely acceptable to be served anywhere, let alone on a cruise ship.
.....It does not matter if you are going on a first time cruise for a 2 night inside cabin at $122 each or a diamond member for a 17 night cruise at $12,230 each, The cruise should be outstanding in all respects.
I booked a Junior Suite Stateroom for the Cruise. I was booked into 8576 and told by RCCL that my stateroom was a Handicapped Accessible Suite with a roll in shower and grab bars, which I require.
It did not appear to have that designation so I contacted RCCL again and asked specifically if it was indeed a handicapped accessible suite. I was emailed a reply that stated again that it was handicapped accessible, with a roll in shower.. When I boarded the ship and went to the stateroom it was a standard bathroom with a bathtub and a small tub height grab bar.
I immediately went to Guest Services and spoke to a Guest Services Officer. I showed him the copy of my confirmation for the Accessible Stateroom and he made a copy to send to RCCL . He informed me that all staterooms were booked and that there were no shower only staterooms available. I stayed in the stateroom and with extreme difficulty and in a perilous manner, was able to at least get clean when I tried.
If I had known a few days before boarding, that I would have to contend with a tiny bathroom and a BATHTUB I would never have accepted the booking. Cancel for any reason travel insurance will allow that..
That was not the case on our recent Grandeur OTS cruise. The cruise was unremarkable in almost every aspect. Everyone always raves about the food that is served on a cruise ship.
HOW ABOUT ORDERING ONE OF THESE IN THE MAIN DINING ROOM?
Some menu items were:
COLD SOUPS.... Watermelon Raspberry Soup, Banana and Rum Soup, Chilled Mango Soup, (They should be served with a swizzle stick and a little umbrella)
HOT SOUPS.....Lamb Broth, Chicken Consomme, Asian Coconut Seafood Soup, (Bullion Cube Short Cuts)
ENTREE.....Soft Shelled Tortilla with vegetables and Soy Chili, Pork Scaloppine Oscar with Veal Reduction (NO Hollandaise Sauce)
DESERTS.....Low fat Panna Cotta, Low Fat Mango Pudding, Sugar Free Chocolate Charlotte,Low Fat Ice Cream, Low Fat cookies, Sugar Free Chocolate Terrine. Royal cheese plate of assorted cheeses and crackers.
Those were some items from just 3 of the 7 nights and the other 4 nights were just the same abysmal quality and selection.
The wines are served by the waiters, not a sommelier who knows the wines and can offer suggestions based on knowledge, not guesses.
The menu for the entire cruise is something that should be addressed by an Executive Chef, not a Cook.
The Diamond Lounge is not a lounge. It is a small corner of The South Pacific Lounge with a few dining tables separated from the main area by a free standing wall that goes up about 8 feet.
The Captain's welcome aboard party was held from 4:45 to 5:30 on an in port day. Probably not that many attendees. Maybe it was on purpose that way.
There were two formal nights and other than myself, on the first formal night I saw Five other men in tuxedos, a few in suits with a tie and the rest in a coat only or just a sport shirt. At the Captain's table when the First Engineer hosted dinner there was at least one man in a short sleeve sport shirt which showed disrespect for who he was dining with. If you do not want to enforce a Dress Code, do away with it. Then you can advertise Casual Sloppy sailing.
In the Suite, the hair dryer was furnished, but no outlet in the bathroom to use it. The only accessible outlet was at the writing desk. The mattress was thin and bed was very low with no storage underneath it. The laundry service had individual items for 'wash and iron', 'iron only', and 'dry clean' as the only options. No wash and fluff dry for 20 lbs. The carpet looked like it had seen better days and appeared to be very dirty.
We were on the port side and even though no smoking is allowed the stateroom next to ours was furnished with a ships ashtray and smoking was allowed at the Verandas as well as in the stateroom. Smoking was rampant over the ship, not in just the designated areas.
The medical office is open from 8 to 12 and 4 to 7. No band-aids or medical items were for sale in the shops. There was a dispenser outside the medical office but the $ .50 each band-aid portion was empty as well as most other items. Extremely poor upkeep.
However there was a hard sell on the ship through out the cruise except when in port where everything is prohibited from being sold except drinks.
All in all, the Grandeur Of The Seas is a very old and tired ship that needs to go through a through renovation, not another refurbishing. Or better yet, let Pullmantur Cruises have it. I think they could do wonders with it.
Upon Disembarcation the Port people were as discourteous as they could be. Not the ships people or the customs people, but the port people. If Baltimore goes the way of the other ports that have been abandoned by the cruise companies for other reasons it will not be a great loss.
If this were my first cruise ever, I would more than likely would have thought it was a good cruise. However I have sailed on Azamara, Celebrity, and RCI so this review is in relation to the RCCL family of ships and no other cruise lines. All of our other cruises were absolutely fantastic. The food, accommodations, the venues, the entertainment, the staff, from the Captain to the most junior person on board have always been superior and the staff officers were always visible during the cruise. I rarely saw any officers on the Grandeur.
Since the cruise I have received two discounts of $250 each with an explanation that "Although the request for an accessible stateroom was received, your sailing did not have any accessible staterooms available. While our onboard staff did all that they could to assist you, we truly apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced during your vacation.
However well prior to the cruise I received this: We have gone ahead and made the appropriate notations in the reservation. Kindly note that you are confirmed in an accessible cabin.
Will I cruise again, yes, just not with Royal Caribbean International. It will be with the classy Cruise line Celebrity and not out of Baltimore.