I have recently returned from two back to back cruises [one week Italian Coast one week Spanish Coast] on the Grandeur of the Seas. The ship was old and far too small for the amount of passengers. I was very disappointed in everything about this cruise. The stateroom had several faults i.e. ill fitting cupboards which caused the wardrobe door to fall open when the ship was in choppy waters, and banging against the wall during the night. The fridge didn't close fully, so items were not very chilled and ice melted quite quickly. The back of the mirrors on the bathroom cupboards was scratched. There was nowhere to store our empty suitcases and the Air Conditioning failed when in port. On the upside our stateroom attendant was superb. He was caring and fastidious about everything.
The Windjammer buffet was a total shambles. The food was mediocre. There were only cold plates available for hot food at breakfast and only hot plates available for salad meals at lunchtime. Items were laid out in an uncoordinated fashion eg. toast, butter and jam were not adjacent and this meant walking around all the time looking for items amongst so many passengers all doing the same. After taking food finding somewhere to sit was impossible as there were so many people all trying to find a seat. The only available cold drinks were water,lemonade and ice tea which is something I normally like but it was tasteless. Tea and coffee were available, but on one occasion when there were no cups I was told by an assistant that I would have to go around the other side to find one.
We chose My Time Dining, but when I went online to reserve as suggested, the only time available was 7.30pm. I booked only to discover that it clashed with many evening events that we would like to have attended. The menus were very ordinary,[nothing special for a cruise] There were many Indian style dishes to choose from, but nothing outstanding. Also the meals were tepid and consisted of only three courses. We were forced to complain to customer care when were were kept over two hours for a tepid three course meal, which caused us to miss the show one evening. The seating was so crowded that it was impossible to pass between tables in some places and the waiters were having difficulties getting through to some diners. Though they all worked very hard and were completely polite and helpful, there were many duties they carried out in a less than professional manner. The dress code was totally ignored by many diners, even on formal nights men were being allowed in wearing t.shirts and cropped trousers drinking from cans of beer as they entered the dining room.
Although there were free teas and coffee available from a machine outside Windjammer, this meant making a journey to deck 9 from wherever you were. Coffee was not available from the bars and Ben and Jerry's sold it in paper cups and closed at 11.00.pm. Room service brought us coffee one night but it was disgusting, very strong and almost cold.
The decks were overcrowded on sailing days. We felt like sardines in a can when sunbathing on loungers that were so close together, and there were only two swimming small swimming pools. One in the Solarium which was stained and shabby and one on deck which was better designed for children as it had more shallow features than swimming space.
There wasn't a cinema onboard but films were available in our Stateroom on a very small screen TV, which meant we would have to stay in if we wanted to watch one. Pirates of the Caribbean was on every single night. Rugby World Cup was being played in New Zealand and many passengers were interested in the action but none was available anywhere to watch. I should have thought that a world sporting event such as that would warrant some coverage.
The excursions were absolutely superb the destinations were good and the guides were excellent,in so far as they were very knowledgeable, friendly and informative. And the shows that we managed to see were also extremely entertaining and enjoyable.
All the crew were most courteous and helpful, it was a real joy to be amongst them, nothing was too much trouble and they made every effort to make us feel special.
The transition between cruises wasn't as smooth as it could have been. The last night of the first cruise we were invited to a cocktail party with the other consecutive cruisers where we were told that if we would be issued with new sea passes later that night and if we left the ship the following day we should use our old sea pass to leave and our new one to return. If we were not leaving the ship we didn't need to do anything. We should just use the new sea pass when next leaving the ship. However when we did this at the next port of call we were asked for ID which we had not taken with us, as were told that we would not need to go through security.
I had heard such wonderful things about Royal Caribbean Cruises but I m afraid I will not being sailing with them again. I felt that it was not value for money in any way.