Our family of four was supposed to sail the Grandeur last July, but our reservation was cancelled by Royal Caribbean last minute due to the fire. The ship sailed but they didn't have time to rehab all the cabins prior to our sailing, including our two cabins. Luckily, I had used a travel agent and she handled the mess and compensation from RCI. We wound up flying to Florida and going on the Oasis for a bargain. It was a great vacation, but I was concerned that the Oasis might ruin the "kids" (now 19 and 13) for smaller ships.
That turned out not to be the case. All four of us had a great time on the Grandeur. We're about a 90 minute drive from the Baltimore Port which was the main reason we choose the cruise last year (and again this year). Just tired of the hassles of flying. We arrived around 11am and parked easily. The port was clean and organized just as other reviewers had promised. Friendly workers as well. Check-in was fine, but slower by my own doing. I had forgotten to print the set sail pass even though I had checked us in weeks before. I will never understand why I can't print the set sail pass the night before just like a plane boarding pass. I'm fine with checking in early, but I think it's stupid that I can't print the pass whenever. So I had to fill everything out again, which still didn't take all that long, but we were in a hurry to get our vacation started.
We boarded the ship and immediately headed to the Park Cafe (a family favorite on the Oasis). Great roast beef sandwiches and salads for lunch. We had our bathing suits on under our clothes so we got down to business at the pool. From the pool deck we had a cool view of both the Key Bridge and the Bay Bridge as we sailed under them.
Service - Almost every single employee greeted us with a friendly smile. Our stateroom attendant, Wilson, was great. The bathroom was scrubbed and cleaned the way it should be. We enjoyed the towel animals of course. Monoj and Vincent were our My Time Dining Waiter and Assistant Waiter. They were awesome. By the second dinner they knew our preference for bread and drinks and what food suggestions to make. Very personable and they entertained us with magic and logic tricks. Savio our host was always smiling when we approached and made sure we sat in Monoj and Vincent's section every night we were there.
Food - Great at the Park Cafe. Very good overall in Main Dining Room. Some things were better than others. We did Windjammer for every breakfast and most lunches and felt it was varied and okay to pretty good. We did one night at Chops and were underwhelmed. My husband and I had dined there on another ship and had a great experience, but were disappointed this time. The food itself was lacking. Not impressed with the pretzel bread. Onion rings are no longer on the menu. Replaced by these tater cheese tot things that my non-picky husband declared "bland crap". The filets were cooked perfectly and flavorful, but the side dishes just did not measure up. We had mushrooms, asparagus and mashed potatoes which were fine, but only average. Nothing any better than the MDR.
Entertainment - We went to the Eric Sage Rock Show and it sucked. My husband loves rock but we left the show part way through because it was awful. We saw the comedian Dwayne Landry and he was hilarious. Loved him.
Pools - The pools were nice, but the enforcement needs to be upped. They had two hot tubs designated for kids and two for adults by the main pool, but kids were constantly in them all (without their parents of course) splashing and swimming in the hot tubs. During a few hours of the day there was an employee posted to stop this, but they really needed two employees. And they needed to be there for longer than a few hours. I'm sorry there is no kiddie pool, but parents felt that meant they could put their clearly diapered babies/toddlers in the pools and hot tubs. Disgusting. I really wish there was an employee posted most of the day to deal with this, instead of just a few peak hours. I did feel bad for the employees trying to enforce public health laws and kick these diapered children out because most of the parents verbally attacked them.
Cabins - We had a "large" interior stateroom. We prefer no windows so we can sleep in better on vacation. I think it would have had a lot more space without the club chair. The chair's position was an inconvenience at times and we never sat in it. Good storage through out though. The shower was very difficult to shave in due to its tiny size and attacking shower curtain. I really prefer the sliding doors and foot rails for shaving on other ships. Makes a big difference. Also was unhappy with the vessel sinks. The water pressure was low (which I can live with), but the spout barely clears the side of the sink instead of being positioned over the center of the sink. I have small hands and couldn't fit my hands under it. My husband had no chance. This ship was just renovated and that was very poor design. It should be easy to wash your hands. The sinks in the public bathrooms were normal and worked fine.
We were on deck 7 and our bed and pillows were very comfy. The smaller ship definitely sways more than the larger ships, but the rocking motion was great for me. It's almost impossible for me to fall asleep if I have napped, but that was not the case here. I was lulled right to sleep every night and slept better than I did on the larger, more stable ships.
Bermuda - This is my new favorite port. On day 2 in Bermuda we took the ferry to St. George, shopped, took a tiny train tour, and had lunch. Day 3 my husband and son golfed at Turtle Bay while the daughter and I chilled out at nearby Horseshoe Bay Beach. The boys joined us on the beach after the golf. The sand and water were beautiful! Really nice beach. This was the first time we have been on a ship that stayed overnight at a port and we really enjoyed it. Wish we could have stayed longer.
I would sail the Grandeur again and will definitely return to Bermuda! Overall the ship was very clean and in great condition with excellent service. We knew there would be less entertainment/activities on the smaller ship, but this was not problem for us. The 13 year old won an iPad mini in the arcade so he had no complaints :-) There was definitely more to do on the bigger ships and we enjoyed those activities, but we were always watching the clock to go to dinner or the show or whatever. On the Grandeur I didn't feel like I had to plan ahead since the ship was smaller. Personally, I felt more relaxed and rested both during and after this cruise on the Grandeur. And to me that's the mark of a great vacation.