Overall we felt this cruise was an excellent value. The Grandeur of the Seas is an older ship but is well-run and fairly well-maintained. This was a common Western Caribbean itinerary with stops in Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Georgetown Grand Cayman.
Background: my wife and I are in our early 50's and this was our 20th cruise. We arrange our own port activities; we like beach days and we are scuba divers. We traveled with additional family including our 16-month old grandson.
1. Cruise Itinerary. (We never take the ship's excursions; we arrange our own port activities. We like beach days and we are scuba divers.)
- Georgetown Grand Cayman. Spent a beach day with our family at Royal Palms Beach; a nice clean beach that was reasonably priced. Bus was $4 per person each way. You can get 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella for $20. Very nice place to sun and swim. Bar with snacks and drinks. Clean bathrooms. No need to reserve; just get off the ship and grab a bus. A bit crowded this day as there were 6 ships in port.
- Costa Maya. Weather was very rough so decided not to dive. Just spent the day in and around the shopping plaza. Visited a few of the shops but my wife found no good deals. (Save your shopping for Cozumel) We grabbed a Palapa by the beach and hung out all day enjoying the ocean view and breezes.
- Cozumel. Did a 2-tank boat dive with "Dive with Martin". As usual the diving was spectacular and the folks at the dive shop were great......safe, fun, and inexpensive. IMHO best dive shop in Cozumel. We dove the Santa Rosa Wall and Yucab reef; both were wonderful. Glad to see the island (the people and the marine life) are recovering well from Wilma.
2. Crew/service. Overall, good. The whole crew was professional. Our cabin service was outstanding. Our table service was OK; they were stretched a little thin with too many tables and customers. The crew did an excellent job taking care of our little grandson. Everyone will feel pampered.
3. Food. Overall, good. There were good beef and seafood options every night. Appetizers and desserts were also good. Breakfast and lunch buffets were so-so. Breakfast and lunch were excellent in the dining room. The room service food was good and was delivered quickly.
Note: there are five casual nights and two formal nights. For those guys who like me HATE to dress up......a sports jacket, dockers, and old tie works just fine on the two "formal nights".
4. Entertainment. My wife is a musician and I depend on her for this evaluation. Entertainment was good overall. The guest musicians and the juggler were excellent. The evening shows are worth going to. The singers/dancers were so-so.
5. Cabins. Ours was a standard outside cabin with window. It was small but it was clean and well-maintained.
6. Kid's programs/babysitting. These services are well organized and greatly appreciated. The Aqua Babies program was nice.
7. Embarkation/Debarkation: Embarkation was disorganized. If you drive to the pier either get there very early (11-12) or don't arrive before 2p.m. We arrived by car at the pier just after noon and there was a very long line of cars and a long wait. Next time I would wait until 2 or 3 to board. Debarkation was very smooth and everyone was off the ship by 10 a.m.
8. The Ship. Well maintained, clean and in good repair for an older vessel due for dry-dock. Good gym, with a fair amount of equipment, whirlpool, and saunas. Public areas were kept clean. I wish the smoking areas were better enforced; had to move a few times to escape the stink of cigarette/cigar smoke.
I do not hesitate to recommend this cruise to anyone: either newcomers to cruising or "old hands" like us. I would take this cruise again and I am personally very disappointed to hear that the Grandeur is leaving New Orleans.
Feel free to email questions to Bill Grier at firstname.lastname@example.org