We went from Majorca on the Grandeur of the sea's down the Spanish coast to Gib and back on 25th September. I must say that after reading a number of reviews about this ship and it's age etc. which were not very positive, I was pleased with what I saw and in general, experienced. Also, the food on board was great and plenty of it. I suppose it all depends where you are coming from ie. what class of ship's you've experienced in the past! This was our 14th cruise (mainly consisting over year's of Ocean Village, Thomson, Star and Sun cruises) and as far as we're concerned this ship's facilities and catering were as good, it not better than most of the one's we've experienced. We eat in the Windjammer most of the time as we like to see and pick what we'd like to eat and found plenty to choose from throughout the cruise.
The gripes I do have are: The drinks package, I wanted the the beer and wine package and my wife who is Tee-total wanted the soda package (which is great value when purchased online before you cruise), so my wife phone up RCI and asked if it was possible to have two separate packages of this nature because she doesn't drink alcohol. The nice lady on the phone at RCL said yes that would not be a problem just go to the Guest Relations desk on board and explain this and they will arrange for a single beer and wine package for me! She even said she had the same problem as she didn't drink alcohol either and her husband liked a drink and it was all sorted for her by Guest Relations when she went for a holiday on this ship! Great we thought, so we purchased the soda package online, which is in £ sterling (so no exchange rate to worry about or 15% tip and 8% Spanish tax), good value! When I got on board I was told this was not the case, both of us would have to purchase a beer and wine package if we wanted one! I went to Guest Relations but no joy there either, so I asked to speak to the Manager. The Bar Manager came down to see me but again no joy, I was told RCL rules are fixed on this issue. I stood my ground and demanded to know why we were told differently by RCL UK Head Office? In the end he agreed to e-mail the UK Head Office the next day (Monday) as nobody of importance would be at the UK office on a Sunday. He said he would leave a message the next day on our cabin phone. Guess what, no message so I went back down to Guest Relations who in turn paged the Bar Manager only to be told the answer from RCL UK Office was no, rules are rules! The moral of the story is, don't believe anything RCL tell you verbally before you go!
The 2nd gripe I have like many others is the gratuities, I was always brought up in believing I pay for the service I receive when I book and yes if someone exceeds that service I'm only too happy to reward that person with a tip of my choosing, not to be pressured into pre-paying a set amount up front for a service I haven't yet received and this as many have commented in the past, continues throughout the cruise! RCL pay your staff the going rate for he job and stop pressuring your customer's!
The 3rd and slightly lesser gripe was what seemed to be the amount of unnecessary time this cruise spent at sea. I know we knew the itinerary before we booked but I didn't realise how slow the ship would travel between ports. We even came to a floating stand still on the evening between Malaga and Gib. and we must have gone well past the island of Ibiza from Barcelona to kill time as on in the morning the sun was on the opposite side of the ship that it should have been if we'd have sailed direct (yet we didn't pull into port 'til 1.00pm!), are these cost cutting measures ie, saving on fuel and port berthing fees! Also on reflection, I don't think I'd pick another 7 day cruise which has it's last day at sea.
But overall, even with my gripes we had a good holiday and if this is RCL's oldest ship, I'm still very impressed and if the there was another RCL cruise which went to where I wanted to go I would certainly not rule them out.