This was our third cruise, the second with Royal Caribbean and the second on the Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. I highly recommend the Set Sail Pass, and arriving early. We arrived at noon and there were people already on the ship! Apparently they start letting people board as soon as all of the previous passengers have disembarked. There was a very short line and we were onboard within half an hour. Tip: The drinks they offer you as you board are not complimentary! Many people thought they were, even though there is a posted sign. Also, someone told us as we boarded that our room would be ready by 1pm. It wasn't, but our room steward didn't seem to mind that we dropped what we were carrying and went back out to walk around while she finished readying our room. We had an inside stateroom, which was fine for our needs - it was just my husband and myself. There was no hair dryer in the bathroom, but I discovered one in a drawer. Also, small hand soaps are provided, and there is a shampoo dispenser in the shower. We found the soda package to be a great deal at $6 a day. My husband lives on Diet Coke, and all that is available as freebies is ice tea, juices & coffee. Even if you want soda with dinner, you need the soda package, or you are charged the bar rate. I am an ice tea drinker, but I like Equal or Splenda, which is not set out in the Great Gatsby. Just
ask, and your waiter will get it for you. There is also a supply of it set out in the solarium food area, and sometimes on the tables in the Windjammer. The food in the Great Gatsby was good. The food in the Windjammer was mediocre, but plentiful. There is a Ben&Jerry's Ice Cream and a Lattetudes, which sells Seattle's Best coffee, both to be charged on your Sea Pass Card Account, if you wish to partake. Our stay in Bermuda was two days. The first day was rainy, windy and cool. Many excursions were cancelled, as was the outdoor carnival and entertainment planned for the evening, but it was brought indoors. Some people braved the weather, many stayed on the ship. The second day was beautiful and we took the bus to Horshoe Bay Beach. Tip: Buy the bus and ferry pass onboard the ship. Tip: wait across the street from the ship for the shuttle to pick you up and take you around the circle to the bus stop. Many of us lugged our stuff up there, and there was no benefit to walking (except possible health benefits...) The busses can only take about 20 people at a time, and then they cram people in for standing room. The trip to the beach is about 50 minutes. There are lots of curves, and the drivers take them at warp speed. Standing is challenging. The island is beautiful! We've been to the Eastern and Western Caribbean and Bahamas, and nothing was prettier! The air temp. in late May is an Avg. of low 70's, but it is warm enough. The water temp. is also in the 70's, approx the same temp. as U.S. Atlantic Seaboard water in late summer. Horseshoe Bay Beach has the advantage of a bathroom, changing rooms, a cafe (expensive),beach chair rental, and a lifeguard. There was a strong rip tide the day we were there.
My husband actually had to help a woman who couldn't make it back to shore. But the beach was gorgeous. By the way, when you get to the beach you are dropped off at the top of a hill and have to walk down quite a ways to the beach. Fortunately, there is an enterprising man who charges a dollar per person to drive you back up the hill at the end of the day in a van. Well worth the dollar! We went to the show every evening and were always entertained. The Love and Marriage show and the Quest are always a hoot, and not to be missed. The Sexy Leg and Belly Flop contests are worth watching poolside. There was always plenty to do and see at any hour of the day. Disembarking was a pain. I recommend using self-assist, if at all possible, which just means you carry your luggage. The first SA's got off at 7:45 a.m. Our luggage tags were lavender and we and the purple tags were the last off the ship at 10:30! We wondered what the long lines at Guest Relations were the night the luggage tags were delivered to the rooms...I suspect people were requesting earlier departure tags. Lesson learned! Overall we had a great, relaxing time. We are hooked on cruises, so I'm sure we will be back!