Grandeur of the Seas Entertainment
The hub of the ship -- and its entertainment options -- is the Centrum, which got a full-on makeover in 2012. Its lowest level is Deck 4, where the R Bar serves up classic martinis in a setting that's supposed to be 1960's mod decor. The bar and additional comfy seating surround a small dance floor and bandstand. That's where all the action takes place, including art auctions, cooking demos, ballroom-dance classes and late-night themed dance parties. The Centrum space soars up to Deck 8 with a windowed ceiling on the pool deck above, and the upper reaches have been outfitted with stage lighting and rigging for aerial acrobatic performances (think high-flying bungee swings). The performances, some of which are publicized in the daily programs and some of which are serendipitous, vary in quality; if you go to only one, make it the farewell spectacular.
The ship has a few main lounges. The Palladium Theatre has excellent sightlines, seating on fixed banquettes and drink holders on armrests. Expect several performances by the ship's singers and dancers, as well as specialty acts. (Think Beatles tribute band, comedian, magic show and performances by aging celebrities.)
The clubby yet whimsical Schooner Bar has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that look onto the outdoor promenade one deck below. There, the floor by the bar is actual teak decking, varnished and polished to a rich, glossy mahogany sheen. Several tables feature ersatz bits of masts and rigging sprouting from them like transformed umbrellas. A piano with singalong seating is there for evening entertainment and trivia game purposes.
The South Pacific Lounge, located at the stern, is the ship's secondary performance venue, but it's strangely off-the-beaten-track, as you must walk through the Schooner Bar to get to it. It plays host to art auctions, bingo games, dance lessons and dancing to live bands, karaoke and various presentations, from future cruise sales to shopping talks.
The most recognizable public room on Grandeur of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's signature Viking Crown Lounge. With the addition of Izumi and the Concierge Lounge in the same space, the area feels less open and more chopped up than before. It's still a lovely spot to watch sailaway from indoors, and it's also the late-night disco venue.
Casino Royale on Deck 5 has slot machines and all the requisite card tables (poker, blackjack, craps, etc.).
On warm-weather itineraries, the pool deck is the place to go for belly-flop competitions, ice-carving demos and a men's sexy legs contest.
On port days, Royal Caribbean offers a vast array of shore excursions. We booked two of them online in advance of our cruise -- a seamless process. On a Bermuda cruise, we did a three-hour bike ride on a hiker-biker trail and a "famous homes & hideaways cruise," both well worth it.
Grandeur of the Seas Public Rooms
The guest services and shore excursion desks can be found on Deck 5 in the Centrum. Right above on Deck 6 is the photo gallery, where you can view and purchase pictures taken by the ship's photographers. Thumbs up to the machines that show you all photos of you when you insert your cruise card; thumbs down to the costumed crewmembers hounding you every day to take photos with them. Around the corner are the art auction desk and a mini-gallery and the Pets at Sea station (where, for a fee, you can stuff and accessorize a plush animal toy).
On Deck 4, adjacent to the R Bar, is the "Royal Caribbean Online" Internet lounge, which offers real-time access to the Web, 24/7. The ship is now outfitted for Wi-Fi, bow to stern, but some spots onboard may get better reception than others. You can pay for Internet as you go for 65 cents a minute, or purchase a package: $35 for 60 minutes, $55 for 100 minutes, $75 for 150 minutes, $100 for 250 minutes or $150 for 500 minutes. To use Wi-Fi on your own laptop, you must first sign up for an account at the Internet cafe. A library is also located on Deck 4's starboard side.
Conference rooms are located near the dining room on Deck 4 with a medical facility on Deck 1.
Grandeur of the Seas Spa & Fitness
There's no reason not to stick to an exercise regimen on this ship -- not with two pools, one indoor, one not; a rock-climbing wall and jogging track on the top deck; and an oceanview fitness center.
There's also a very pleasant promenade deck on Deck 5 that's great for walking. Jogging, however, is discouraged.
The main, open, central outdoor area on Deck 9 has a pool surrounded by four shaded hot tubs. The pool is divided, with a shallower area on one end and a depth of five feet at the other. An outdoor movie screen shows films on select evenings. Lounge chairs are your basic plastic and metal affairs. A couple of Ping-Pong tables are hidden away by the entrance to the Solarium.
Toward the stern is the Solarium, with the secondary pool and another two hot tubs. This area is covered by a retractable glass dome, and it's a warm hideaway when the weather is chilly outside. It's also adults-only (minimum age 16). You'll find nicer lounge chairs, tables and chairs for playing cards or eating snacks from the adjacent Park Cafe.
The Fitness Center, on Deck 9 next to the Solarium, is fully loaded with treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights and exercise machines. Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the gym offers complimentary stretching and firming classes. Spinning, boot camp and yoga classes cost $12. You'll also find many of the free seminars widely offered on ships today: "Burn Fat Faster," "Eat More to Weigh Less," "Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days," "Detox for Weight Loss" and "How to Increase Your Metabolism."
The physical layout of the Vitality Day Spa, just above the gym on Deck 10 is a bit bare bones, although the menu of services is robust. There are nine treatment rooms, along with a beauty salon and a fairly austere steam room and sauna. The refreshment bar consists of a bowl of fruit, hot water for tea and cold water. However, there's all manner of services: teeth-whitening; stone therapy; a hydralift facial; seaweed, Swedish and deep tissue massages; cellulite reduction; and a lime and ginger salt glow. There are also special offerings for couples, men, teens and kids. Treatments are somewhat pricey –massages from $119 to $265, pedicures for $70 -- but the spa tends to offer special deals during port days.
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