Editor's note: Grandeur of the Seas is not currently sailing to Bermuda, but Royal Caribbean has other ships heading to the island.
One of the most memorable parts of our quick weekend getaway to
last April was a visit to the Royal Naval Dockyard where a
ship, I think it was, happened to be berthed.
We tested the theory in October. Sure enough, our roundtrip five-night sail from Baltimore to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean's
cost $1,557 compared to $1,086 in airfare for our two-night respite. And the latter, of course, didn't include lodging or meals.
A Homeport Advantage
Here's what CNN tells us: A tropical depression called Noel, now a tropical storm, is positioned over Haiti, threatening 30 inches of rain there and heading north. Here's what our captain reports at noon: We're just off Cape Hatteras and, on the open decks, the wind is blowing a serious 45 knots. What's more, the winds aren't expected to die down until late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Here's what I'm thinking: Glad we didn't splurge on a balcony.
Noel, that spoiler, resulted in the cancellation of many of the day's events. No belly flop contest because the pool is closed. No rock wall climbing competition. No men's adorable legs contest. (No loss.) Some people are wearing parkas, others shorts. Some of the most interesting action, oddly enough, is taking place in the ship's handsome card room where 21 bridge players -- the Sharp Minds Bridge Club from West Virginia -- have convened. They play twice a day, party bridge and duplicate, and this is their third time out with Royal Caribbean. As one woman put it, "The only way I can get a vacation is if I let my husband play bridge."
By noon, we were checking out lunch in the formal Great Gatsby dining room. Unlike a lot of newer ships, there are no alternative restaurants on Grandeur, so we were lucky Great Gatsby performed well overall at both lunch (14 selections, imagine) and dinner, which excelled particularly in the area of seafood.
With just one other couple, our guide Nigel led us across more than a third of the old train route, which closed in 1948. One noteworthy stop: a climb up to Fort Scaur, part of a ring of fortifications built in the 19th century with a commanding view of Great Sound and, in the distance, Grandeur of the Seas.
Our Last Sea Day
We had signed up for self-assisted disembarkation, which means we would walk our bags off ourselves. Efficient, right?
We were so happy when our group was called that we all but fled.