My name is Kelly, 23 years old, and I reside in Clear Lake, TX. This is my third time cruising, second time to cruise with RCCL, but the first time on Grandeur of the Seas. I guess you can say that my hobby is to research cruises. I traveled with my boyfriend and parents. We drove up Friday night and stayed in Baton Rouge. I do not recommend that because the area was not safe and I recently found out that the crime rate there was horrendous. Saturday morning, we headed to New Orleans, arriving around 1 p.m. I actually have cruised out of New Orleans the previous year (pre- Katrina), so I was familiar with the area. Unfortunately, since Katrina the parking situation had changed.
We followed the directions to Terminal 2 parking (which is where you park for the RiverWalk Mall) located in your cruise book. That parking lot has NO SECURITY or FENCING. I DON'T ADVISE PARKING THERE. When we called RCCL, they could tell us if there was another parking garage (very disappointing) so we drove around for an hour. Take my advise and park in the new parking garage ($97) off of Julia St., to the right of the port and convention center. You'll be happy you read my advise because someone's car was broken into in the other parking lot. BUT before you drop your car off, you have to drive up and drop your luggage off at the terminal. I was very angry at the point because the previous year, when you parked there was a parking attendant to take your bags for you. Then, you just hopped on a bus and they took you to the terminal. NO ONE informed us that it had changed. SO, after we dropped off the luggage and parked the car, we walked about 2 blocks to the terminal to check in. Before leaving Clear Lake, we completed the online check-in process and printed out our Set Sail passes. I highly advise doing this because it will make the check-in process go faster. Another aspect that cost me was the fact that RCCL told me I HAD TO HAVE a passport, but when I got there and $100 later, I find out I don't until 2008. Next, once on board we proceeded to our cabins: third floor, interior room. The rooms were a lot smaller compared to my last cruise on Carnival Conquest. The service was excellent and I always enjoy the towel animals!! Only had a few problems with remote and safe not working, but they fixed it right a way.
FOOD: the food was excellent in the dining room. The service was great and the entertainment was hilarious. I have no complaints about the dining room. The Windjammer was good, but nothing compared to the dining room. I ate there for breakfast and once for dinner. It's a buffet so there wasn't much service. The Solarium was interesting. I only ate there after our long night in Cozumel (I'll get to that), but when you are exhausted from drinking and dancing, food is food.
ACTIVITIES: Unfortunately, there weren't too many hot sunny days. I don't advise going in January if you like to bake in the sun all day. I think I had one full day to lay out and the rest of the time was WINDY and cloudy. If you love to laugh or be laughed at, don't miss the poolside games like Sexy Legs Contest. ITS GREAT! The comedy show was funny, but I did not enjoy the dancers. I have been dancing since I was 6 and from an experienced dancer perspective, they were no professionals. For the older crowd, but young at heart, you should definitely check out the 70's night in Viking Crown Lounge. As a younger woman, I did not fully enjoy the Viking Crown Lounge because they played music that I am not into. Ever so often they played hip hop music from this decade (ha).I was disappointed that the Calypso band (which I love ) only played for an hour or two a day. The Teddy Band played in the Centrum in the evening romantic time for ballroom dancing or snuggling up on a couch and enjoying the music.
GRAND Cayman This was my third time to the Cayman islands. My parents have been on the Tour of Cayman and Seven Mile Beach Break. They went to hell (the town) and the turtle farm. They said it was okay but very long. My boyfriend and I went shopping in town (VERY EXPENSIVE) and of course MARGARITAVILLE. It's fun for all adults (have to be 18). The margaritas were $12 and the shots were $10. We actually ran out of money. There is a slide and pool inside the rest./bar. The d.j. and games they play are a little sexual, but all in good fun. After that we took a taxi ($4 a person one way) to Seven Mile Beach where we laid out for a few hours. Definitely worth seeing! Later, we went PARASAILING!!! I got a little sea sick because the water was rough, but we had a blast. You can see the entire island from 450 ft in the air. COSTA MAYA We did not get to dock there because the water and waves were too rough. We actually had like hurricane winds. That was a bummer! We spent that day on the ship inside gambling and sleeping. The cruise staff was not prepared for that to happen and did not compensate AT ALL for it. There was nothing really to do during the day ( since we were supposed to be in Mexico), but they did refund our excursions for Costa Maya.
COZUMEL (at night) Since we didn't dock in Costa Maya, we continued that day to Cozumel. We ended up docking there around 6pm. I was actually excited about that because I had never been to Cozumel at night. They let us stay there from 6pm to 5 pm the next night. If this happens to you, take advantage of Carlos and Charlie's. CHEAP MARGARITAS, FREE SHOTS, GREAT music from every era, and FUN STAFF. I bet you can guess what we all did that night. BE AWARE of the TEQUILA Congo Lines , and if you don't like to get your boobs grabbed by random ladies (most don't), don't take a shot from the shot lady with the whistle.
COZUMEL (next day) After a long night, we woke up at 8 am to get breakfast, then tender to the island. We took a taxi to Playa Mia Beach Break -- $15 for the taxi ride one way, the taxi drivers cruise at about 90 mph (YIKES). Playa Mia was beautiful!! There were so many activities going on like paddle boats, volleyball, swimming in the pool or ocean, water trampoline, kayaks, and so much more. We laid out for two hours and then did the paddle boats. If you're a beach person, definitely go to Playa Mia. The only complaint I have is the cost of the taxi ride. We ended up spending about $30 to get around. We went shopping in Punta Langosta after the beach. Bargaining is fun and if you are into fashion, check out Tara Moss (jewelry store). She is an up and coming designer from Mexico and the prices aren't too bad.
OVERALL- It was the least amount of fun I've had cruising. There wasn't enough to do and the (ship) size does matter. I don't advise anyone to go in January. I went in August for my other cruises, which was awesome, but also hurricane season. I think I'll try May next time.