Embarkation was as smooth as could be expected. I was traveling with a 70-year-old disabled woman that had very low mobility. Baltimore terminal staff and RCI crew members were as helpful as could be in seeing that this process went as easily as possible. Luggage was not delivered until about 6pm, though the cabins were ready at 1pm. We were warned of this and planned accordingly.
The first two days were EXTREMELY rough - we apparently went through a nor'easter and the ship was pitching and rolling rather violently. My companion and I weren't sick, just concerned with what was going on. From what I understand, this was a rough two days for nearly everyone, as we saw a lot of bandages and bruises on a lot of people. After the third day when we hit Portland, it eased up, but the weather on this cruise, for the most part, was pretty rotten. It rained in Portland AND Halifax, was threatening rain in Boston - the only two decent days we had in port were St. John and Bar Harbor. I realize that RCI can't control the weather, but it was a disappointment in that regard.
The cabin, #2107 (WC-accessible), was quite spacious and had plenty of room for both wheelchair and walker. The flat bathroom floor was a bit of an inconvenience, but we'd been warned about it and prepared accordingly. The public rooms were very nice - the chairs and sofas were very comfortable. We experienced no problems as far as being out and about. Getting to the Palladium through the casino was a bit of an annoyance, as it was a long walk for my companion (using a walker) and it taxed her unnecessarily.
My main beef with this ship is that it seems that if you don't a.) drink alcohol b.) gamble (that includes bingo) c.) want to eat constantly, there seems to be very little to actually do. Neither my companion nor I wished to do any of the previous three things. I made good use of the fitness center and worked out quite a bit, but my companion, being disabled, was unable to take advantage of this and as a consequence was very bored and restless. The shows were of mediocre quality - though my companion enjoyed the Johnny Thunder show (I did not), the rest of the entertainment just seemed rather generic. We expected a lot more out of the shows/things to do category than what we received - more movies would have been a nice option (they did have some), a fitness class for seniors/the disabled would have been GREAT, perhaps some art classes (beyond the general 'scrapbooking' stuff) or history classes... just something other than bingo and pushing drinks. Not everyone likes to gamble and eat constantly!
We were VERY disturbed by the apparent waste of food on this cruise. We saw enough food being thrown away by guests that would have fed two nations. As cost (and planet)-conscious people, we were just...aghast at the amount of food being thrown out as garbage. I would think that RCI, claiming to be an earth-friendly company, would find better ways of putting that leftover food to use - perhaps distributing food to the needy in the ports that they visit? The food itself was very good - some dishes were done better than others. The MDR was wonderful, and our tablemates were some of the best people ever.
One thing that I absolutely cannot find fault with, however, is the service that RCI provided. It was impeccable, almost to the point of suffocation. We were literally not allowed to exert ourselves! The waiters were extremely friendly, always ready with a smile, and offered to help my disabled companion over and over and over again, never once minding. Our cabin attendant, Lewis, was efficient and helpful, and the towel animals that he made delighted my companion to no end. Ravi and Cesar, our two wait staff in the MDR, were charming and pleased both of us mightily with their service. We made sure to tip all three quite handsomely. The staff in the Windjammer were also wonderful to us, and we also tipped them, as well as Jen and David at the purser's desk - they were more helpful than I can write about here. Service is definitely RCI's forte - they need no classes in that area.
Disembarkation was disorganized and sloppy, however. I was not pleased with how long it took us to leave the ship - over 2 hours, with the atmosphere hot and humid, and my companion becoming more and more uncomfortable by the minute. However, once we did disembark, Baltimore terminal staff whisked us through very quickly and set us up in ground transportation home.
I think my main problem with this cruise is that there was very little to do - especially for people my age (25 to 40). This cruise was over 85 to 90% seniors - which is fine, my companion had a blast - but I think for myself, I would try another cruise line. RCI has its good points, I'm sure, but I'm not confident that it's the line for ME personally. With that said, Grandeur of the Seas and the trip itself was still a good time, all in all.