314 Baltimore Romantic Cruise Reviews

Overall thoughts: We went as a couple in our early 30’s. No children. I have cruised before. Barring the poor room service and the overcrowding of the pools, this cruise is probably the best you are going to get for a ship of this ... Read More
Overall thoughts: We went as a couple in our early 30’s. No children. I have cruised before. Barring the poor room service and the overcrowding of the pools, this cruise is probably the best you are going to get for a ship of this size. Overall we had a good time and very few complaints. We did find that we had a lot of downtime where the ship did not have any activities planned before 5pm. We sat by the pool for several hours during this time, which was relaxing as long as the hordes of kids running around weren’t too obnoxious, which they generally weren’t. After 5pm, there were plenty of things to do (see below). Daily Routine: Generally, you could expect your day to look something like this if you have the late dining time: 10am - Breakfast 11am to 6pm - Sit by pool (read/ “swim”). Other activities during this time include small things such as trivia, the gym, bingo, etc. 7pm – Comedian show or movies on the lido deck 8pm – Dinner 10pm – Production show 11pm – Comedian show 12pm – Nightclub 1pm - Casino The Ship & Crew: Condition – The overall condition of the ship was very good. Although it was built about 15 years ago, it didn’t look more than a year or two old. This is likely due to the 2014 update. Even areas of the ship that did not receive the update were still in very good condition. Crew – I tend to be a harsh critic of service in general, and I found the crew to be extremely attentive and polite. Very impressed. Staterooms: We had an extended balcony stateroom. The rooms have not been renovated since the ship was built. They are kind of an old orange color. There was wear on the table and the couch, but other than that the room was in excellent condition. TV’s – The TV was a 20 inch tube TV. Not impressive. Activities: Comedians - Four different comedians on a 7 day cruise. All were professional comedians, and funny. They did two to four shows per day. Production shows - The main show theater was about average for most cruises. Mediocre musicals and other shows. Nightclub - The nightclub was cool. Casino - The casino had every table game and slot machine you could want. Table games were at a 5 dollar minimum bet. Pool – There were three pools on the ship. At all times of the day each pool was so crowded that you could barely move in it. Generally, the pools were full of loud children. Waterslides – There were two on the ship. Neither fed into a pool. Waterslide 1 was open, but slow and boring. Waterslide two was closed for the entire trip with no explanation. Not impressed. Adult Area – On the lido deck there was an area designated for “adults only”. This area was relatively quiet, but featured a TINY pool. Most adults in this area were middle aged to elderly. Room TV’s – The TV received two news stations and a max of ten other channels. There was nothing worth watching. You were able to buy new release movies to watch for 5 dollars. Gym – In excellent condition. Enough machines to accommodate the demand. Whirlpool in gym was nice. Sauna and steam room available and functioning normally. Other activities – Throughout the day, there were other things you could do including: trivia, bingo, shuffle board, Ping-Pong, or karaoke. Truth be told, most of these extra events were not up to par with what I can find in a local bar. Dining: Room Service – Pathetic. Four cold sandwiches and some cold vegetables on the menu. We tried several items. Tasted gross. Took over an hour to arrive. Planning - We had the late dining time. This allowed us to eat in the dining room every night, including nights that we were in port. The tradeoff is that we had to miss all of the “dive in movies”, projected on the lido deck as well as some of the shows that were running at the same time as dinner. I would recommend getting the early time if I were you. Main dining room – Staff very attentive and professional. Food excellent. Filet Mignon, lobster tail, prime rib, escargot, frog legs, etc. All cooked well and tasted delicious. Buffet – About average for your typical American buffet. Variety of foods, but nothing extraordinary. The buffet was not 24 hours. It had set times each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The only 24 hour food was the room service, the pizza station, and the ice cream. The pizza station maintained a consistent 20 minute line due to understaffing. There were two soft serve ice cream stations, but one was broken during the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This is a very lengthy and informative (positive) review for you to enjoy. My husband and I enjoyed a 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore, Maryland. We heard wonderful things about not only the ship, but accessing ... Read More
This is a very lengthy and informative (positive) review for you to enjoy. My husband and I enjoyed a 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore, Maryland. We heard wonderful things about not only the ship, but accessing the port as well. What drinks can be taken on board - We did all our research before leaving for our cruise. One question we had was - what drinks can we carry on board? We were each allowed one bottle of wine each AND in addition to that 12 cans of soda or mixers each. NO BOTTLES! NO BEER! The drinks we carried on board had to fit into our carry-on luggage...and they do go through the carry on luggage. My 12 pack of ginger ale was opened & searched. However, let me note, it was a very easy, simple, and quick process. We followed all their rules to a T and carried those items aboard. Prior to cruising, we pre-ordered what we wanted for our room to make drinks (to save $$). When we walked into our room, our bottle of gin and bottle of vodka, in addition to the cans of OJ and three 12 packs of water bottles were there waiting for us...just as they said it would be. We saved a lot of money by not signing up for the CHEERS! program by making our own drinks. It was easy to go up to the lido deck to grab plastic cups & ice, go back to our room to make drinks, and walk around the ship. NOTE...our room steward was awesome. One the first day, we asked him if he could bring us ice - we tipped him $1 - and each day we had a full ice bucket waiting for us. Needless to say, he ended up with a nice extra tip at the end of the cruise. There are two wine glasses in the cabin as well as two water glasses. Let me make another note...If one person in the stateroom orders the CHEERS! program, the other adult in the room has to order as well. That was pretty pricey. I am glad we went the route we did. Parking - It was very easy to pull up, drop off our luggage, pay to park ($105 for the week), and park - smack next to the ship! Certainly beats flying. We were told it was easy...and it was. We grabbed our carry-on luggage, walked into the building - there was a line...but it moved quickly...there were a lot of employees to take the boarding passes, ID, and then hand out the sail and sign cards. We felt like saying, "pinch us - this is too easy." And, I would like to note...everyone from the parking, to the people taking the luggage, to the people scanning / going through our carry-on luggage, and the people issuing the sail and sign cards were gems. Very nice and pleasant to deal with. First day - After receiving our sail and sign card (which is our room key & way to pay for things while on board), we walked onto the ship. So easy. We walked right into the atrium, and it was beautiful. We decided to head straight to our room to drop our carry-on luggage off One of our two checked-in bags had beaten us to our room! And like I said, all our drinks we pre-ordered was there waiting for us too. Note - within the next half hour, our 2nd piece of luggage was delivered. We unpacked, made ourselves at home in the cabin, then headed up to the lido deck for lunch. Our cabin - Room 4156 on the main floor...mid ship...balcony...no obstructed view...absolute perfect room and location - why? On the one side was a room - recessed due to them having an obstructed view - lifeboat #12 - and while there was a room on our other side, we felt very secluded & never heard a thing! If I were to cruise on this ship - or another like this of it's class -we would choose this room again. It was well-appointed with three closets, drawers, a place to sit and apply make-up & do hair, a little bar area with a mini-fridge (note - we did not use any items in the fridge, however, we did use it to keep our waters chilled), a sofa, coffee table, and a very comfy bed. The bathroom had many shelves to house our toiletries. While the common areas were updated this year, the cabins were not. HOWEVER, the room was very nice & clean. We think our room steward came in three or more times a day to straighten up...and we are clean people! I will be honest - having more modern colors would not have made our stay in the cabin any more enjoyable. We loved our room and balcony. We were on board a few hours (we were assigned a 1pm embarkation time) prior to leaving the port of Baltimore, so after we unpacked, we went up to the lido deck for lunch. We heard Guys Burgers were "awesome," so we had to check it out. Verdict? Yes, it was pretty awesome. If you plan to stay on the Pride, make a point to grab a burger there. It will be worth it. Five stars worth. Oh, and while we were sitting on the lido deck eating and waiting to leave, we looked down & could see our car in the parking lot. Like I said, you park, get your sail and sign card, and walk right onto the ship. Boom. Easy. What we recommend - Dinner with the Sous Chef - ours was named Dev. There are only 14 spots reserved - and our cruise had 2600 passengers. It does cost a few bucks - $75 per person - but let me emphasize, this was a vacation & it was well worth it. We were given a tour of the galley, tried some pretty awesome foods while there, had bottomless bubbly...then were ushered to a private area and were treated like kings and queens...with bottomless white and red wine. Oh, and a truly amazing spread of food - and a table side magician to boot! My husband and I both agree - as well as everyone we enjoyed that lovely evening with - we couldn't rate it high enough. It was worth every cent to be spoiled that night. Oh, and the gentleman next to me proposed to his long-time girlfriend during this event. If someone is planning an engagement, this would be a perfect time to pop the question. The atmosphere was perfect. While we did not choose this option, many people did & said it was well worth every dime. Treat yourself to a nice dinner at Davids. That is where they have the prime-cut beef. We had planned to treat ourselves to that...but the dinner with the Sous Chef trumped it. :) Lido Deck foods - While I cannot recall the names of each place, you will know when you get on board - We enjoyed the salad bar every day (many options to choose from & always fresh)...the asian cuisine place was always tasty (I personally loved the really thin noodles and the chicken filled wontons!), the deli was really good, the pizza place was always open (there was always a line at night - note) & would give it a 3 1/2 out of 5 (but I am a pizza fanatic & tend to be a bit more critical in this area), they had a dessert bar, and an area to grab salamis, cheeses, and breads...and there was always fruit too. For breakfast - they made omelets, had bacon, sausages, french toast, pancakes, hard boiled eggs...many items to choose from. Oatmeal too. Dining Room - The food was good. Everything was hot and presented nicely. Some dishes were better than others. Amongst the people at our table...some dishes had a major wow factor, others were good. Nothing was bad. Oh, try the chocolate melting cake. That was - and apparently has always been - the dessert of choice. It's pretty decadent. A bit over 1400 calories worth of being decadent, in fact. Things to do on board - Shows (there are many to choose from), enjoy one of the three pools as well as hot tubs, movies under the stars, late night music and dancing on the lido deck, the casino (hey, I won $62 on a penny slot!), sunbathing, eating, mini-golf, jogging, work out, have your picture taken many, many times, go shopping (hey, there's a deal every day on something!), listen to music, enjoy the sports bar, participate in trivia games, sit at a bar, enjoy your balcony with a glass of wine in hand, take in the beautiful ocean view from any of the decks, noting...you name it... Shows - We enjoyed most of the comedy shows. Some played off the audience...some were just naturals. If you are cruising with kids under the age of 18...don't try to sneak them into any of the late comedy shows...the material is not at all appropriate. There are many things for kids to do on board...and those late shows are not appropriate. There was one show late at night that was so hysterical...I believe it was called Quest. Anyway...it got pretty crude - it was an adult scavenger hunt...and I won't go into detail. Well worth going to...ADULTS! hahahaha One night, we partially enjoyed one of the dance/singing shows. Sorry, do not recall what it was called...some rock and roll thing...well, the lead singer wasn't too good. I hate saying that...but he could not hit the notes. The dancers were great! And the different elevations in the floor were fun to watch. Ship movement / vibration - Center of ship...we didn't feel a thing. The dining room, which is located at the very back of the ship - a vibration. I read about the vibration...and sitting in the very back of the dining room can be very shaky. We switched tables from the very back to the very front of the dining room and it made a a bit of a difference - it helped. Front of the ship - where the Taj Mahal and Butterflies are located (where they put on shows) - you may feel a slight rock from left to right...but very slight. We spoke with people who had staterooms on the higher decks & they said they felt what they would describe as a sway or rock. This is my 4th Carnival cruise and this ship rocked less than the others I have been on. Itinerary - We stopped in Port Canaveral - chose the airboat/alligator tour excursion & loved it. The bus ride to get there was very comfy and air conditioned. It took us roughly half an hour to get there. The tour guide chatted to us the whole time. We saw quite a few gators - then had the opportunity to sample some gator. Yep - tastes like fried chicken. Our next stop was Nassau, Bahamas. We chose the walking brewery tour. We like beer, so we liked that. After the tour, we did our own thing & visited shops near the ship. From there, we moved onto Freeport. We chose the island tour by bus - a narrated tour by Tiny (please remember his name...he is awesome!!!!!!!!). He told us all about Freeport (which, by the way, is run down..but look past that & enjoy Tiny's narration, the shopping, and the brewery!). We went on the tour of the purfume factory, shopped in their market there (and yes, they want your money...but they have some pretty cool items / souvenirs - and you can negotiate with them), then went on the brewery tour...and wow...at the end...they usher you into their private little bar area and it's bottomless beer! We had a blast. We've heard people complain about Freeport on past reviews - we did our research & with all our excursions, we chose the 4 or 5 star ones...and read the reviews, of course. I can see how people going into it without researching can be put off by some of the excursions. People need to do their homework! The ship in general - Great layout. Wow. We never felt as though we were fighting crowds. Very nicely decorated and clean. For adults - the Serenity Deck - check it out. It's quiet, soothing, relaxing, no kids, really cool chairs and hammocks & a private pool and hot tub & bar. The Alchemy Bar was our favorite to grab a couple drinks. Though we had everything to make our own...we wanted to visit this bar when we saw the martinis they were making. :) The crew - Top notched. Always smiling, friendly, and willing to assist. Disembarking - EASY! We chose the self-assist. We chose to be up early, watch the docking, grab a bite to eat on the lido deck, and head to the Taj Mahal to be called to disembark at 9:50 a.m. We ended up grabbing a place to sit at 7:45 a.m. with all our luggage (easy to manage) in tow. We were called to disembark (if we chose to) at 7:55 a.m. WOW! We didn't have to wait around and twiddle our thumbs. Thankfully we chose that option...disembarking was easy-peasy...we walked to our car, tossed our luggage in, and homeward bound we headed. The embarking and disembarking were so easy - it was ridiculous! ha ha Summary - after enjoying four cruises with Carnival - especially this one (can't beat not having to fly - I hate flying), I am looking to book my 5th Carnival cruise. I met a lot of people on this cruise who have cruised this ship many times. I thought that sounded odd...but for someone who lives within a comfortable driving distance from the Baltimore port & doesn't want to spend extra money on flying...it ends up being a good deal. A vacay is a vacay! Most of the people said they simply enjoy THAT ship...the Pride. There are two different itineraries which alternate each week. Who knows, maybe I'll try the other itinerary next. It would be nice to have more Carnival ships leave Baltimore on a regular basis. I am guessing parking may become an issue if they do. It sure is convenient for me though! Overall...I do give this ship and the overall experience 5 stars (out of 5). Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I have traveled with Carnival several times in the past and have been very pleased. This cruise boat, the Carnival Pride was very different. The staff was very rude and did not go out of there way to make you feel comfortable. Our initial ... Read More
I have traveled with Carnival several times in the past and have been very pleased. This cruise boat, the Carnival Pride was very different. The staff was very rude and did not go out of there way to make you feel comfortable. Our initial waiter was very rude on the first night and ignored us. He acted as if he were disgusted to serve us and only spoke when he took our order. The next night we changed dining times and dining rooms and ended up with a waiter who we could not have been more pleased with named Maryono who provided excellent service. He was very attentive to our needs and served us with a smile. Thank you Maryono for making our stay better! Our cabin was clean, however our cabin guy who I will not name rushed us out of the cabin a few times just so he could clean it claiming he didn't know if he would be back later so he wanted to do it then. We were sleeping one of those times when he knocked on the door wanting us to leave so he could clean the cabin. I thought this was vacation where people are suppose to be able to rest and relax when they wanted but I was wrong. He even knocked on the door on embarkation morning at 0847 claiming that we had to be out of the cabin by 0900 when the paper clearly stated 0930. He kept the cabin clean but it was very frustrating to be awaken to be kicked out of "your" cabin that you paid great money for to rest and relax. The food was not that great. I have had better on the carnival! They served us hot dogs, chili w/beans and cold ham and cheese sandwiches EVERY NIGHT for the midnight buffet!!!!...Thank God for the freshly made pizza and the "ONE" guy who was made to work nightshift and serve hundreds of people by himself (and he did it all without any complaints and did not express any attitudes towards the people due to being overworked) KUDOS to this guy!!! There was hardly anything to do on this boat besides gamble, eat or sleep!! (And the casino did not keep people there because nobody was winning anything so people did not stay long)The shows were mediocre and seem to be something you could get from a high school play. The alcoholic drinks were over priced ranging from $7.95- and up but they did offer an over priced special where you could purchase a package drink special priced at $150.00 where you could receive drinks at a special price daily but ALL parties in your cabin had to purchase the special or it could not be purchased. The guys in the hamburger area on the lido were rude. They waited on "certain" people who would cut the line instead of waiting on the people who were standing in the line under the sign that clearly states "line starts here" and when something was said in a nice polite fashion, they continued to wait on the people who had cut the line and ignored the people who not only was standing there first but standing in the correct spot to be waited on. I observed one blonde headed girl talk rudely to the guest in front of me while waiting to helped at Pixel. The people were trying to ask her questions about the packages for pictures and she kept answering them with one word answers and cutting them off asking for their sale and sign card. She cut them off several times asking for their sale and sign card instead of answering their questions like she should have. However, the guy next to her was patiently waiting on another couple and answering their questions and helping them to pick the appropriate picture package but the blonde headed girl kept interjecting into his conversation answering questions the people were asking the guy. If she took the time to show the people in front of her the attention and courtesy that he was exhibiting to his guest, I do believe the people would not have walked away frustrated because she was too busy answering select questions for people that were already being helped. I found her behavior to be quite disturbing and unprofessional. This cruise was a major let down and the staff acted as if they did not want to serve select guest. To get a courtesy smile or greeting from a lot of them was far fetched. It did not happen. A lot of the staff seem as if they did not want to be there and it showed. They did not care how they treated or talked to the guest. Carnival Pride staff need to take lessons from other cruise boat staff or this boat should change management. We chose the Pride because it was close and we did not have to catch a flight to cruise on this boat but if the service is and will be what we just experienced, the next time we will fly to catch a boat that will appreciate their guest and provide the service like they are happy to serve. After all, the guest IS the reason why they are there. Signed, A Carnival Stock Holder and Valued Customer Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This is our 4th RCI cruise, the 2nd on the Grandeur. We love her, she is the perfect size for us! It doesn't hurt that we are less than an hour away from Baltimore. It usually takes us a little over 90 minutes from door to ... Read More
This is our 4th RCI cruise, the 2nd on the Grandeur. We love her, she is the perfect size for us! It doesn't hurt that we are less than an hour away from Baltimore. It usually takes us a little over 90 minutes from door to on-the-boat and the reverse. Everyone in Baltimore is so friendly and happy that it immediately gives you a happy vacation vibe. Security and paperwork took only minutes to complete. Lunch in the Windjammer, and then up to the pool deck to relax while we wait for the cabin to be readied. The sail away party on the pool deck was a bit lackluster but that is always a factor of the cruisers, not the activities staff. Activities throughout were plentiful, if not always well-attended. Entertainers were fun, and the production team does a good job with the singing and dancing. Dining staff, service and food were all superior. I have trouble getting meal on the table for 6 people. HOW do they do this, getting everything hot and perfectly cooked, for so many people? Every single staff member/officer we encountered was cheerful, helpful and polite. I can't wait to go on another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Hubby and I went on our 2nd cruise.. 51 & 53.. Live in NY ..We left from Baltimore.. heading to the Bahamas No problems.. Arrived early at the port, parking at the ship was a breeze. On line for about 1/2 hour at 11ish and once we ... Read More
Hubby and I went on our 2nd cruise.. 51 & 53.. Live in NY ..We left from Baltimore.. heading to the Bahamas No problems.. Arrived early at the port, parking at the ship was a breeze. On line for about 1/2 hour at 11ish and once we were let in the gates we ,moved right along and boarded the ship. You can see the car from the ship. The ship is on the smaller side but still has everything that you would expect. Food was ok.. Ate in the dinning room a few times.. Ate at the steak house once. It is extra money.. 35 PP but it was good. Arrival at all ports were on time. We went to Universal.. That was fun. Arrived early and it was a wednesday..There were NO lines. We waited about 15 min to see Harry Potter.. all other lines we just walked almost right through with no wait times. 2nd stop we went to Atlantis. Many people felt it was a waste of money. yes it is costly.. 180 pp. But the cost to stay there is $$$ so now I can say I was there. The grounds are very pretty. My favorite parts were the Rapid lazy river.. lots of fun.. water warm..the beach was clean.. warm water and you really can see your feet in the water. Casino was nice.. fun machines even though I lost. The dig was lots of fun.. great looking bunch of fish.. our next stop was Freeport ..Decided to do the all inclusive Beach.. we had a blast.. 20 min bus ride.. was fun.. our driver told us a bit about the area. We felt like family when we arrived. staff was friendly.. they had a buffet.. beach.. beach toys.. oh and FREE drinks.. for 80pp.. although we only had a few hours here it was so much fun.. Our time off the ship was good.. now for some bad parts.. I paid for the premium internet service. It was ok..not fast.. took pages long to load.. while in the Bahamas I could not get connected.. was annoyed at that.. the biggest problem on the ship was that they closed the main pool for 2 days.. nothing was broken.. they were painting and doing minor repairs. That was not good at all.. to many kids and not enough pool area.. also late night snacks..not great..pizza..ice cream.. deli.. which is ok.. but no late adult desserts.. also it would be nice if the pools stood open at night for the adults.. The shows were fantastic.. these guys and gals work their butts off and it shows.. great.. the comedy acts will leave your face hurting.. u will laugh that much.. very good.. The band was fantastic.. again so much work goes into their performance and it shows.. The karaoke guys was great.. lots of fun.. Our room was well taken care of by the staff.. clean.. we were on deck 8 towards the back of the boat.. be warned.. there is a vibration on the back of the boat that may drive u nuts.. I said that it kept all the older ladies happy.. haha.. as far as buying cigs or bottles of liquor.. there are big signs that say duty tax free.. and they encourage buying many cartons and bottles.. can't go wrong with a carton of cigs for 20 bucks.. so I picked some up for my niece.. i don't smoke.. I knew you were only aloud 1000 of tax free stuff.. but what they don't tell you is. you can only have 1 bottle and 1 carton per person. yet they sell packages of cartons bunched together.. so you would have to pay tax on anything over the 1 carton.. not cool.. they did accept the return i made on the cartons.. disembarkment was easy and quick.. The entire staff at carnival were truly fantastic and they should be proud of themselves.. they work very very hard to enure that we have a great vacation.. Thank you Carnival staff on the Pride Ship Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
A little background on us--I am 42 and have cruised on the Explorer of the Seas twice, the Enchantment of the Seas once and The Ruby Princess of Princess Cruise Lines once. My partner Greg (40) has had very similar cruising experiences ... Read More
A little background on us--I am 42 and have cruised on the Explorer of the Seas twice, the Enchantment of the Seas once and The Ruby Princess of Princess Cruise Lines once. My partner Greg (40) has had very similar cruising experiences (before we met). Neither one of us has been on one of the mega-ships but we're not even sure we'd want to. We are definitely partiers and love to have a good time! We'd rather be at the pool bar at 6:00pm having drinks and grabbing "bar food" from the Windjammer than getting all dressed up and going to a 2 1/2 hour dinner in the main dining room. So hopefully that gives you a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from in this review. Overall, we had a wonderful time going to Bermuda on The Grandeur. We both agreed we'd likely give the overall cruise (Grandeur and Bermuda) an 8/10. This cruise definitely had an older demographic--lots of scooters and wheelchairs--but that's to be expected due to the ease of travel for those people. The Port of Baltimore couldn't have been any more convenient for us. We live in Annapolis so we left our house at 11:30 and were on board the ship by 12:15! SHIP- We both agreed that although there were some ways that she showed her age, overall, she was very well maintained. We both actually loved the size of her--we never felt "lost" or exhausted when we had to go from one end of the ship to the other. We also enjoyed seeing the same people and crew often throughout our week-long cruise. Having sailed on The Explorer, Enchantment and on a Princess ship, I can honestly say I didn't "feel" that much of a difference between them all. Had my three sons been with us, I'd likely feel that there wasn't as much for them to do on this ship as compared to Explorer, but since it was just the two of us, it was perfect for our needs. We found the large majority of the staff to be very pleasant and helpful and only a few who seemed like they needed to possibly find a different job--but that's going to be the case anywhere you go in the world. Maybe those workers were at the end of their stint on the ship and just wanted to get back home? ROOM- We had a Large Interior stateroom on the 8th floor (room 8521). We LOVED this location! Not only was it super-close to the pool and Windjammer, but it was one of the rooms in the middle of the "H" shaped hallways so it was very quiet! Yes, the bed was very low but we knew that going in so we both used a large rolling duffle to pack and these both easily slid under the bed when empty. I did request an egg crate the second we me our cabin steward and it was on the bed in less than an hour. Not sure how much it helped--the mattress was definitely NOT new and there was a definite hump in the middle of the two beds, but neither one of us thought it slept all that horribly. I wasn't a fan of the pillows but I also didn't want to carry my own on the ship and lug it around until our room was ready. They were do-able. Yes the bathroom is small. Of course we live on our 34ft Chris Craft boat part-time so it was all relative to us :) When I needed to shave my legs, I did throw all caution out the window and fully opened the shower curtain and put a leg up on the toilet. I just made sure there were no towels on the floor at the time and then used a few small ones after to wipe up the floor. Our toilet flushed perfectly every time so no need to play "toilet roulette" as some others spoke of. I will say that the room toilet seats are SUPER uncomfortable! I have three teenaged boys at home so I have accidentally sat on plenty of toilet rims when the seat hasn't been put back down....that's exactly what these toilet seats felt like! I would lose all feeling and circulation in my lower legs every time I sat on it! The public toilets around the ship weren't like this though. FOOD- Let me start this section by saying that we had very little desire to get all dressed up for dinner, let alone in formal wear, and sit for 2+ hours every night. It's just not how we choose to spend our time in the evenings. I am also gluten-free so the buffet in the Windjammer was nice for me because I could get as much of whatever food I wanted without having to make much of a fuss. I lived off of that salad bar with some protein on top! We did eat at Giovanni's one night and GREATLY enjoyed it! I had a gluten free pasta with shrimp, garlic and olive oil and Greg had the Filet that was cooked to medium-rare perfection! We also ate at Izumi one night and also found it very good. As a gluten-free person, I was a bit dismayed at how many of their sushi rolls had deep friend components to them...I guess we are a bit more of sushi purists. They were very willing to make whatever we wanted in the rolls though and we had some yummy nigiri. We really enjoyed breakfast in the Windjammer--you really can't beat the made-to-order omelets! We did eat breakfast in the main dining room one morning and the omelet and potatoes were horrid compared to what was in the Windjammer! The roast beef in the Solarium was yummy and I enjoyed it over my salad with blue cheese dressing numerous times. The only thing lacking was gluten-free dessert options in the Windjammer--there basically were none besides Jello. Overall, I was very satisfied with the food. DRINKS- We both decided to go for the Premium drink package and it was well worth it for us! We usually start the day with a Blood Ceasar or Mimosa and then have pool-side drinks throughout the day, some wine with dinner and maybe an after-dinner drink. It sucks that they have raised the drink prices so much that spending an extra $800 on drinks made sense, but it is what it is. Our favorite bartender was Noel at the pool bar! ENTERTAINMENT- This was another area where we really didn't take advantage of the offerings. We tend to hit the sack early and usually didn't finish dinner until 9 or so. We did watch the arial show and were very impressed! We didn't attend any of the shows in the Palladium theatre so I can't speak to those. BERMUDA- This was my second time to Bermuda and while I think it is a very beautiful island with gorgeous beaches, it's just a tad to "formal" for us--not to mention VERY expensive! We're much more the type to enjoy finding a small, hidden gem of a tiki bar on the beach somewhere in the islands serving great drinks and civiche where we can sit in our bathing suits. We went to Horseshoe beach for part of the first full day there. We took a private cab there, then one to Hamilton and then grabbed the ferry back to the ship. We should have just used the ferry from the beginning! Much more affordable and very pleasant. We had some fun times at Calico Jacks floating pirate ship right next to the ship and also went on the Sunset Rum Swizzle cruise through Restless Native...a first-class act with a beautiful sunset and no shortage of Rum Swizzles! OVERALL- Yes, we would go on this ship again in a heartbeat--mostly because of how convenient it is for us. We probably wouldn't do Bermuda again though...as I said earlier, gorgeous but just not really our style. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My DH and I sailed from Baltimore on May 24th -- we were in Balcony Cabin 6239. Our cabin was mid-ship and just off the elevators. The cabin location couldn't have been better. Cabin Service -- The cabin attendants were just ... Read More
My DH and I sailed from Baltimore on May 24th -- we were in Balcony Cabin 6239. Our cabin was mid-ship and just off the elevators. The cabin location couldn't have been better. Cabin Service -- The cabin attendants were just great. This was our first cruise so we had no idea what to expect. Our room was good size with three closets and several drawers -- enough space for luggage under the bed. Although -- wish I had brought a power stripe -- there is only one outlet in the room:) Activities: GYM -- Classes -- We wanted to work out and do spin classes while on the ship, but we missed classes for the first few days because they filled up immediately -- there are only 10 slots per day for the spin and yoga classes. If you want to do spin or yoga while on the ship, go to the gym in your first hour on the ship and sign up. Also, the spin bikes are "locked up" and can't be used other than in classes. The gym is really well equipped with treadmills, elliptical machines, weights and a hot tub. Also, bring a plastic water bottle -- the gym has a water fountain but no cups. Hasbro Game Show -- Really a fun time -- loved the energy. Beach Musical Taj Mahal-- I guess it was okay if you like "Show Tunes" type shows -- a little corny for my tastes. Casinos -- Enjoyed the slots -- won $10 bucks and quit! Seminars -- We attended a "How to Flatten your Stomach" seminar with two of the trainers. All I can say about this is -- RUN -- do not attend any of the seminars -- they are just an uninformative preliminary warm up for trying to get you to buy an expensive Algae Supplement. At the seminar they tell you to get a Body Fat analysis with the trainer at $50 -- this leads to a very heavy handled sales pitch from the trainer for a $300 Algae supplement. I didn't buy the supplements and I was really upset about wasting my time and money for a worthless Body Fat Analysis that I didn't trust. SPA -- We had a one hour couples hot stone massage that was superior. We regularly get massages and this one on the ship was perfect. We had our massage on a Sea Day and paid full price -- you can get them 1/2 price if you book for a port day. Dive in Movies -- Really nice watching a "Big" screen movie by the pool at night. FOOD -- The food was either really good or really bad. The good first -- 1. David's Steak House -- Wow -- it was really, really, really good. There is a $30 charge per person, but it is worth it. No crowds, no waiting, great seating, wonderful servers and the food is just perfect. We went two nights -- I had the Sea bass both times and my DH had the Filet Mignon both times. The second time I skipped the salad course because I wanted to have room for dessert. 2. The second best food on the ship was the Iguana Breakfast Burritos on the Lido deck -- just super. They also have a fresh toppings bar and fresh sliced fruit. 3. 24 hour pizza place on the Lido deck. The pizza is thin crust and really good -- but there is always a line . . . 4. At Sea Brunch -- Normandy Room -- good smoked salmon, bagels, pastries, eggs -- servers are cheerful and good service. 5. Room Service -- We ordered room service twice after shore excursions -- We came back to the ship tired and just wanted snacks / lunch in the room. The food didn't disappoint -- it was simple and good -- sandwiches, pizza, sushi rolls. We also ordered breakfast before the early morning Freeport excursion and it was good -- cereal, toast, fruit, coffee. The bad -- 1. Buffets on the Lido deck -- all the food is just awful. Think Golden Corral -- everything is low quality -- but there is plenty of it. 2. Dinner in the Normandy Room -- we had "Your time" seating so we would show up and wait for a table. We learned that sitting on the second floor was a bad idea -- the servers were rude and rushed -- the good servers and tables were on the third floor. We would wait for a third floor table. The food was plentiful, but low quality -- someone else compared it to Applebys and I agree. Although, the desserts were okay. Excursions: Grand Turk -- None just walked over to the Margaritaville pool -- but I wish we had done the "All you can eat and Drink" at Margaritaville Pool for $50 each -- each drink was $10 and lunch was about $25. The drinks were really good :) and i could have drank several. Half Moon Kay -- 2 hour Bike Tour -- nice tour and very informative. Freeport -- Swimming with the Dolphins. Nice Excursion -- there is a 20 minute bus ride from the ship, then a boat ride to get to the dolphin area --- the trainers were awesome and well worth the price. Pools -- these were just a crowded mass of humanity. If you want a chair by the pool, be prepared to get there by 9am. We just never wanted to get to the pool by 9am so we only went to the pool one afternoon at port -- the Adult pool area was empty at 2pm on the Half Moon Kay port day. The double pool lounger was really nice. Never did get in the hot tubs -- they were always full. Other info -- Parking -- easy at the Baltimore port. Soda -- We brought on 2 six-packs of soda per person in our carry on luggage. Also bought the Bubble program and it was well worth it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Cavin was small but clean, food in dining room very good with the exception of the strip steak which tasted like cardboard. Windjammer was boring. Same breakfast every day, lunch unappetizing. We found the park cafe excellent! We had ... Read More
Cavin was small but clean, food in dining room very good with the exception of the strip steak which tasted like cardboard. Windjammer was boring. Same breakfast every day, lunch unappetizing. We found the park cafe excellent! We had breakfast and lunch there every day. Entertainment was great. The crew worked very hard. Bermuda was fantastic! First time there. Loved the pink sands and turquoise waters of horseshoe beach! Loved my cruise! Loved royal Caribbean!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
A special 40th anniversary cruise to Bermuda where it all began! Drove to the port, and did not have any problems with traffic or entering the port. Dropped the bags, paid for our week's parking and off we went. We had a very ... Read More
A special 40th anniversary cruise to Bermuda where it all began! Drove to the port, and did not have any problems with traffic or entering the port. Dropped the bags, paid for our week's parking and off we went. We had a very easy embarkation, and headed to Park Cafe for a nice Beef on Weck. Booked a Mother's Day Sea Brunch before entering the ship for a discounted rate of $25 each. Lobster, Shrimp, Caviar! Truffled mushroom risotto. Potatoes with cream and procuitto. Desserts. Oh, and Champagne, Mimosas, and Bellinis.This was also our actual Anniversary, and the servers brought us a Chocolate dessert and sang to us! This was repeated by our MDR servers that evening! We enjoy a quiet relaxing time while on board, so we hung out in the Solarium most days at Sea. Get there early if you want a lounger as they were full by 0830 daily. Lots of (older) folks sitting at tables playing games, talking, reading, etc. Only last day had server coming around with drinks. Alternated between Park Cafe and Windjammer for lunch. Ate daily dinner in MDR. People complain about the food. None here. We are so happy to not have to cook, clean, or be responsible for a thing that we can Always find Something to eat. Granted, all food is not to our liking, but we don't care. We did not starve. On shore Bermuda, we only ate Seafood Chowder and had Rum Swizzles at the Pickled Onion. All of our other meals we ate on board. Bermuda is very expensive. Took the Pink Bus to Horseshoe Bay. They ran special buses to and from Dockyard. This means that there are no locals on the bus, and no stops. Same fare. At Horseshoe Bay, we rented two chairs and an umbrella. The restrooms had changing areas in the Ladies. Very clean and beautiful beach. Take the To the Top $2 bus! We felt that there were not as many overhead announcements as on most other of our cruises. The most pushed activities are Art and Bingo. We don't do either. Did go to the Shore talk. No Freebies. We took advantage of the onboard movies. Saw two in the Palladium and two poolside. Disembarkation was delayed for about an hour. Not sure why. Didn't matter, as we were only driving home to a couple more days of vacation. We had a very relaxing time this cruise. We had been on Grandeur in 2009, before the refurb. Was nice to see the Bones of the ship are intact, and nice to have some of the newer features we enjoyed on Oasis and Allure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Despite a few unfortunate incidents reported about this ship (such as nori virus episodes as well as the fire they experienced, this is still a very nice ship. The artwork around the ship speaks of the elegance of the older ships, as this ... Read More
Despite a few unfortunate incidents reported about this ship (such as nori virus episodes as well as the fire they experienced, this is still a very nice ship. The artwork around the ship speaks of the elegance of the older ships, as this is an older ship. At the several meet and greets we were invited to, being platinum members, the captain told us that the design architecture on this ship cannot be seen in the newer ships, so he has a special fondness for the a Grandeur. The crew on this ship are phenomenal, very friendly and accommodating. The food is very good, not everything "spoke to me" but I certainly didn't go hungry. We had cabin 2805, in front of ship. We could hear the anchor being raised and lowered, pretty neat actually. Since we were going to Bermuda, the Atlantic can be pretty rough at times, but being on lower level helped withe rolling at night. Leaving from Baltimore was great, a very easy port to get to, and they move you through very quickly.since we are from Philadelphia area, we drove to Baltimore, which saved on airfare. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I’ll start by saying that, for the most part, we had an excellent time. Was it perfect? No, but what in life is? Here goes…. Baltimore and embarkation. Getting to the port and parking ($105) was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal ... Read More
I’ll start by saying that, for the most part, we had an excellent time. Was it perfect? No, but what in life is? Here goes…. Baltimore and embarkation. Getting to the port and parking ($105) was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at about noon (big mistake), waited about an hour just to get through security, and then another 35 minutes to get through the line to check in. Next time we’ll arrive earlier (or later) to avoid the long lines. The ship. Although she’s up there in age, she’s in remarkable shape. Clean, well-kept, great passenger flow, no long lines, plenty of open deck space, and easy to get around. The 2.0 enhancements, while becoming a bit generic throughout the fleet, were welcomed additions. I’ll not go into the décor as there are plenty of photos of the ship on the internet. Let’s just say that Italian Renaissance is the central theme. Service. The crew was extremely pleasant, accommodating, and always had a smile on their face. The cruise director, Jase, was personable, approachable and pretty funny. He does have a tendency to talk very fast during announcements, and it wasn’t always easy to understand him, but he seemed pretty down-to-earth, and wasn’t at all obnoxious. Service throughout the ship (at bars, guest services, the MDR, steakhouse, etc.) was excellent; no complaints. Food. Except for a night at the steakhouse (which was a wonderful meal), we ate dinner in the MDR every night. No complaints. The buffet at the Mermaid Grille was about as expected, and it was just fine. At breakfast, the scrambled eggs were much better than on previous cruises. Guy’s was typical Guy’s, and The Blue Iguana for both breakfast and lunch was as good as ever. We ate at Chopsticks one day and it was ok. The pizza was hit or miss, but leaned mostly to the good side. Room service was about as I remember (love the B.L.T. and chocolate cake); we did not try any of the new pay items. I tried sushi for the first time and, well, that’s enough of that – not a fan. Entertainment. There was live music throughout the ship: in the atrium, out by the pool, in the Red Frog Pub, one night in the Taj Mahal, etc. Happy to report that, even though they still had a DJ, his selections were more in line with what’s appropriate for a Caribbean cruise; in other words, no obnoxious Hip-Hop. The production shows were, eh, okay (actually, the sound system, light show and video wall were all very cool, but some of the singers were just too annoying for me). Hasbro the Game was fun, and the two comedians we saw were VERY funny. We didn’t watch any of the Dive-In movies, but they seemed to be well-attended. They had trivia games, bingo, dance lessons, etc. Previous comments about the casino smelling like smoke are spot-on, but, hey, it’s a casino. On the last night they had a passenger talent show in the Taj Mahal; it was great. Two of the three guys who played acoustic guitar and sang were better than any of the singers from the production shows. Itinerary. Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, & Freeport. Grand Turk is always fun: nice, clean beach, and no one bugging you about buying this or that. Love the fact that all you have to do is walk off the ship, go across the jetty, turn left or right, and you’re at the beach. Half Moon Cay: spectacular. I’ve been to RCI’s Labadee & Coco Cay, NCL’s Great Stirrup Cay, and Princess Cruises’ Princess Cay; HMC puts them all to shame. The beach, water, landscaping, etc. are fantastic. The BBQ wasn’t all that great (sort of disorganized) but, oh well. Freeport really isn’t our thing, so we just got off the ship to take some pics, and then got back on again. One cool thing while we were there was a series of waterspouts that could be seen in the distance. Fellow passengers. For the most part it was a great group. Didn’t see any chair hogs, obnoxious drunks or fighting. I personally, however, did have a few ‘encounters’. We had an extended balcony room on deck eight – 8159 to be exact – and the guy next door was forever slamming his balcony door; and I mean over and over again. One day I was trying to take a nap, and he slammed his door fifteen times (I counted). I finally went outside – just to let him know that I was in my room – and he actually looked though the gap in the partition and laughingly said, “Sorry”….but then he just kept on doing it. Even at one in the morning, he would slam the door and turn his balcony light on and off. What an obnoxious clown. A few days later, another guy in a room a few doors down on the other side of us thought it would be a good idea to put on headphones, sing at the top of his lungs, and pound as hard as he could on a set of bongos that he brought with him (I saw him with the bongos while we were waiting to disembark a few days later. That’s how I knew what he had been pounding on). He went on and on. It sounded like a street performer pounding on the bottom of an empty five-gallon bucket with drum sticks. I was trying to sit on my balcony and read, but, no go. I finally called security and they came to our room. The guard went out on our balcony, and when he heard the guy, he said, “Really? Gees!” He went to the guy’s room and took care of it. The next encounter was when we were walking on the promenade deck, and as we were heading around the stern, there were three guys – who looked like they were in their late fifties – smoking pot. Really? Isn’t it time to grow up already? I could care less what people do on their own, but on a cruise? Ridiculous. Not wanting to get into it, we just turned and went the other way. Tidbits. Had a medevac on the stern during the last day…the Coast Guard airlifted a man off. Sure hope he was okay. Read another member’s comments about excessive vibration in the Normandie Dining Room. Several times during the trip we were traveling at about 23 knots – pretty fast – and at no time did we experience anything remotely close to an annoying vibration or rattle. Unlike a lot of ships I’ve been on, the PRIDE sailed like a ship: she pitched and rolled, creaked and moaned just like a ship should…I loved it. Other than a few encounters with a handful of rude people (which is to be expected), I really have nothing negative to say. The PRIDE is a nice, albeit older ship that has stood the test of time and has aged gracefully. If there weren’t so many ships out there to sail on I wouldn’t think twice about sailing on her again. Once again, Carnival, well done. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and I sailed out on April 10th our 33rd wedding anniversary aboard the Grandeur. It was our second time on the ship, the first one being in 2010. We LOVE this ship. It may be small when sitting beside the Explorer docked in ... Read More
My husband and I sailed out on April 10th our 33rd wedding anniversary aboard the Grandeur. It was our second time on the ship, the first one being in 2010. We LOVE this ship. It may be small when sitting beside the Explorer docked in the Nassau harbor but you couldn't tell from inside the ship! We had a large outside cabin with a nice large window. The bathroom was a bit small and the shower hard to navigate but you expect that on a cruise. The dining staff, activities director, cabin steward were exceptional in hospitality and service. I can't say a bad thing at all towards the crew, they were phenominal! My only complaint would be the lack of hours spend in each port, especially Key West and their private island, Cococay. I wish we had more time at those ports. I would NOT recommend taking the garden/zoo tour in Nassau, complete waste of money. In fact, unless you are going to Atlantis, don't bother getting off the boat. Nassau is a poor and dirty place. I was also upset that there were smoking sections on the pool deck and on some of the only complete walking decks. As a non-smoker, I found that walking amongst a bunch of smoke or just sitting on the top deck with smoke drifting up, a BIG turn off, in fact we never went into the casino because of all the cigarette smoke which also allows smoking. Lastly, I wish the DJ would have played a better variety of music in the Viking Lounge, the only late, late, night life party place. It was all the rap and crap of today's music that I dislike. Had a great time watching movies on the big screen at the pool deck, met some nice folks and had my every desire taken care of by the crew. Would do this again in a heartbeat since I live just 20 minutes away for the port! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We just returned from the Eastern Caribbean cruise out of Baltimore. The ship is small, but the crew is great and they really try hard to make your cruise a great experience. The crowd on this crews was 60+, but it did not bother us. We ... Read More
We just returned from the Eastern Caribbean cruise out of Baltimore. The ship is small, but the crew is great and they really try hard to make your cruise a great experience. The crowd on this crews was 60+, but it did not bother us. We did realize that we prefer a bigger ship, but the convenience to leave from Baltimore and the itinerary is hard to beat. We had great weather, great ports and good food at MDR. Food in the Windjammer was just mediocre. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My husband booked us on this cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday...Best Husband EVER!!!! First, our stateroom attendant was OUTSTANDING! He was friendly, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. He greeted us daily and made ... Read More
My husband booked us on this cruise to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday...Best Husband EVER!!!! First, our stateroom attendant was OUTSTANDING! He was friendly, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. He greeted us daily and made sure we had everything we needed, He even anticipated before we asked for some things! And the towel cake he made for my birthday caught me quite off guard...it was an awesome surprise! Second, our dining room waitstaff, (table 326) were WONDERFUL! We were at a table for 6, but only one other couple showed for the first evening's dinner (turnaround day), We always expect a hiccup or two on the first evening because of all the things happening...ran a bit behind, but no big deal. We were there every evening, except for my birthday at Izumi, and our waitstaff went to great lengths to ensure that we we happy diners! Our Waiter made great suggestions for dinner choices and he was always right! Our Asst, Waiter was always right there making sure we had everything we needed or wanted! Our Head Waiter came by each night to greet us and make sure we were happy...and we were! VERY HAPPY! They remembered my birthday with a cake and our anniversary, too! Also, Bar Service waiter was right on the spot every evening with our 'usual'! I can't say enough about our dining room staff! The food was delectable! The choices were excellent! And the service was PHENOMENAL! We hope to be seated at their table again in the future! We spent a few evenings alone and a few very nice evenings with another lovely couple from PA! We spent my birthday evening (March 6) at Izumi's for dinner. YUMMY! Everyone was friendly and helpful particularly our waiter! The Hot Rock ROCKS!!! I was so impressed and raved so much, it enticed a couple next to us to try it and they loved it, too! We also took the sushi making class and for the life of me, I cannot understand why there was no ship photographer at this event...it was so much fun! And DELICIOUS, too! Everyone had a blast! Also, we'd like to give VERY honorable mention to some of the bar service staff (they were ALL terrific, by the way) who took great care of us on this cruise...in the Schooner Bar, in the Centrum, and of course in the Dining Room! They remembered our names and the drinks we liked...we very much enjoyed our experiences with them. We loved the Shows, Bingo, Texas Hold 'Em in the Casino, Evergreen Trio, Casablanca Band, Derek in the Schooner Bar...Rockaroke was a great idea! This is our second cruise on the Grandeur and we will keep coming back to Baltimore....short drive to the port, very efficient staff, and the perfect size ship for us! We just LOVE the Grandeur of the Seas and everyone who works on board! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This is our fifth cruise on Grandeur of the Seas. The crew have been exceptionally helpful and pleasant. The attention to detail in the dinning room is terrific. Head waiters and waiters are very attentive and eager to please. Bar ... Read More
This is our fifth cruise on Grandeur of the Seas. The crew have been exceptionally helpful and pleasant. The attention to detail in the dinning room is terrific. Head waiters and waiters are very attentive and eager to please. Bar tenders have a heavy hand. I like that. The Grandeur is just the right size to be somewhat intimate and easy to learn your way around. The galley tour was exceptionally interesting. Sail the Grandeur, you’ll love it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Parking and Security:  This was our second cruise on the Pride and second departure from Baltimore. We arrived at the terminal about 10:20am and were directed to a short line of other vehicles. Parking lot opened about 10:50am and we were ... Read More
Parking and Security:  This was our second cruise on the Pride and second departure from Baltimore. We arrived at the terminal about 10:20am and were directed to a short line of other vehicles. Parking lot opened about 10:50am and we were able to drop luggage and park within minutes. Once in the terminal it was time to go through security. We learned from our first cruise that security at Baltimore will inspect all drinks, soda, water and wine so this time we packed a small suit case with our soda, water and wine to make it easy; open suit case, clearly see each can of soda, each bottle of water and the two bottles of wine were in travel diaper bags; security guard removed each can of soda and looked at both ends then shook each bottle of water and completely missed the two bottles of wine. Of course she had a lot of trouble getting everything back in the suitcase. Those who were carrying 12/24 packs of soda or water had the packages opened and each item checked, replaced and the packages taped. Once in the terminal we found that no changes had been made from our last trip. The terminal is older, smaller and could use some updating. The wait wasn’t very bad and we were boarding just prior to 1:00pm and decided to check to see if the cabin was ready; it was ready and we placed our carry on bag inside and headed for lunch. Food: On our last Pride cruise the food was, we’ll say, not very good. This trip we found the food to be fair to very good both in the buffet and the dinning room. One complaint that remained from last cruise was the salt shakers especially those on the outside tables. We found on the first cruise that many were not dispensing salt, so we removed the caps and found them clogged with rust and salt, the result of using aluminum capped containers. We made a point of checking as many as we could and leaving the rusted caps on the table for the food staff to see. This trip we found the exact same problem and even noticed that several salt shakers had rust actually inside the class which indicated that the containers themselves had not been cleaned/washed in some time. We also found, like with out first cruise, the “sauces” are very watered down; cheese sauce at grill, chocolate/caramel and butterscotch at desert bar. Not very appetizing. Salad bar we found to be wonderful and with lots of variety. Deli had the best sandwiches and pizza was fair. Breakfast made to order omelets were very good as was the rest of the normal breakfast meats, pancakes etc. Coffee could be hit and miss. Sometimes very bitter and other times good but several machines were not working. Cabin: We actually had the cabin next door to the cabin we had on our first cruise so knew what to expect concerning room size, balcony etc. Cabin appeared not to have been “thoroughly cleaned” in a long time. Wife went to move the phone and realized that the frame of the mirror was literally “caked” in dust. Rubbed a finger along the edge and it covered the tip of her finger. Several other areas of the cabin were the same including the headboard. We dusted. The balcony is small but adequate for the two of us and we enjoyed our evenings (with exception as noted below). Room steward was very nice and kept us supplied with ice as requested. Bed was confortable and the location of the cabin great. Now there is still a policy that allows smoking on the balcony, which will be changing in October 2014 and again we knew what to expect. We did have one neighbor who smoked a couple of times but we just went in until he finished and then went back out; however, several cabins down and we don’t want to repeat the names we heard (cabin 6192) were the worst. At least four adults, two older, and at least one child and I concluded they were from Pennsylvania. The younger male adult had a vocabulary, which consisted of the use of the F word, MF word and S word. The older adult male would follow with the same language followed by the two adult females and none of them knew that the purpose of placing two door handles on a door. Simple, one handle inside and one outside, designed to hold the door and close it quietly, a process that eluded all of them. On Thursday of the cruise someone finally had enough and called security. As we were leaving for dinner they were at the cabin (6192) door. The rest of Thursday evening and night was quiet. Friday leaving Freeport the occupants of (6192) the cabin had apparently partied a little too much again and it was worse then before. Apparently a second complaint was made to Guest Services and Security apparently made a more lasting impression, as we heard nothing further from the occupants for the remainder of the cruise. Entertainment: We attended three of the production shows and three of the comedy shows. The comedians were pretty good and kept the crowd active in the act. The production shows were, subjective I know, but not very good. The main male and female singers were not good together on most songs and the male was not good with most songs. The dancers appeared to be not coordinated in their movements and in two shows dancers fell (not ship movement as seas were like glass). Staff: Very pleasant and helpful and most were always smiling and greeted you as they approached. Disembarkation: Chaotic. We were “Self Assist” and told to be on deck 2 by 9:15am. We arrived at 8:45am and were told to wait in the theater. At 9:15am they called for “Self Assist” from deck 1, thirty minutes later, deck 8, later deck 4, then 7, then 5; finally at 10:30am deck 6 finally got the call. Ship: The ship is older and is in need of cosmetic work, scraping, fresh paint etc. I understand that the ship will undergo rehab in October 2014 and receive some of the new upgrades. All in all we had a nice 7 day cruise and will do this trip again once the upgrades are made.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Sept 21-18, 2014. This was our third time on the Pride. We really enjoyed the cruise, we love the Pride and it feels like home. We cruised with several friends we met on the Pride a few years ago so most of the cruise was a positive, fun ... Read More
Sept 21-18, 2014. This was our third time on the Pride. We really enjoyed the cruise, we love the Pride and it feels like home. We cruised with several friends we met on the Pride a few years ago so most of the cruise was a positive, fun experience. There were a few notable differences this time on the Pride. Embarkation was painful but was the first poor embarkation for us in Baltimore so hopefully a one-off. -Balcony cabin 6283 was as expected and overall we were satisfied with it. Our Cabin Steward was 'ok', but he was the first we did not give an extra gratuity to (normally tip an extra $25-$40). He never did introduce himself to me (he did introduce himself to my Wife), I called him the first night and asked for ice and asked him if he could make sure we had ice every day when he did the room (we had no additional special requests). He had room service send us a beer bucket full of ice which melted all over the place. Daily we would ask either for ice or glasses as he wouldn't replace the drinking glasses in our room after taking dirty ones. In our opinion he did the bare minimum. -Food: Room service was pretty quick but as expected, cold sandwiches nothing fancy. Pizza bar was a good quick fix but the guys working the pizza bar are the most miserable we have ever encountered on a ship's crew. These guys should be moved to laundry duty or someplace out of the way if they don't like interacting with passengers. Buffet was hit and miss, loved the Caribbean dishes, but a lot of the food was cold and/or pretty bland. Dining Room was as expected, quality food, usually pretty good. Tried the steak house option from the MDR for $20 but was not the same as eating at David's. Do yourself a favor and just go to Davids and spend the extra $$$. Most MDR staff were very pleasant and good at their jobs. Comedy Brunch was as we remembered, very good and enjoyable. Didn't hear a comedian this time so maybe Carnival is listening. -Entertainment: Comedians were very good, we saw two (BT and Cee-Jay). Karaoke we usually enjoy even though we rarely sing. While there were some very talented singers on board, why is Carnival hosting karaoke in the Ivory bar??? Constant stream of people walking between the singers and the spectators. It needs to be moved back into one of the lounges ASAP. The band on board was pretty entertaining. -SPA: Wife and I enjoyed the best relaxation massage we have had on a ship yet. Hayley and Bianca were amazing and really gave a good relaxing massage. If we had gotten the massage earlier in the trip we likely would have booked a second one with them. -Ship: Really glad she is going in for upgrades as she is showing her age in several areas. Panels from the underside of deck 9 rusted and/or falling off (one panel missing altogether-looked u from our balcony), some fluid ?? dripping on us from the ceiling in Beauties night club while we sat downstairs against the back wall. Air conditioning in cabin was barely working, go to bed and its hot, wake up it's cool, wake up later on and it's hot again. Mattress on bed closest to the TV was old and sloped downwards towards the TV (presumably from people sitting on it all the time over the years). They need to spin these mattresses each cruise IMO. Gym equipment not working or damaged. Looks like they are not bothering with repairs or replacements as they are upgrading soon anyway. It's a shame because we paid 100% of our cruise fare and do not want a ship that is no longer being maintained because they don't want to waste money on repairing a ship going in for an overhaul soon. -Ports: Grand Turk, great beach day as always. We walk down to Jack's and grab some drinks, food and an umbrella and relax...water was so refreshing and cool. Half Moon Cay: Was our first time here and is now one of our new favourites! We were lucky enough to be part of a group who had the Grand Oasis Cabana and was worth every penny! The bartender in the Oasis (Dante from the crew bar) was awesome! He was better than any bartender we had on the ship. Freeport: first time we have not explored a port. We have done Freeport a few times and not interested anymore. Gold Rock Beach is a paradise but no time to do it so we stayed and hung out at Senor Frogs and getting silly. Next time I think we will look to hire a taxi for 5 hours and have them take us to Gold Rock and wait for us. Experience: As with every cruise we had fun and will do it again. If we hadn't been sailing with such a bunch of great people, the drop in service and condition of the ship would have given us pause before sailing her again at least until after 2.0 upgrades. A great cruise is usually a result of the people you are with and not the cabin stewards ability to get ice etc., so of course we will be back. Having said that, we hope Carnival steps it up soon and reminds us why they are (were?) our favourite cruise line. A recent cruise on the NCL Breakaway has us considering another trip with NCL when we book next. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was the smallest ship I have ever been on in 4 cruises. Not necessarily a bad thing but I like more choices and more to explore. The good thing about the size is that we had a big wedding party (it was my sister's wedding on the ... Read More
This was the smallest ship I have ever been on in 4 cruises. Not necessarily a bad thing but I like more choices and more to explore. The good thing about the size is that we had a big wedding party (it was my sister's wedding on the ship) and it was very easy to locate people from our party. There are also ample amounts of public phones around the ship so we could call around to everyone's stateroom if we needed to get a hold of anyone. I cruised Freedom of the Seas back in May 2008 so this review will be comparative to my experience on that ship. Food: For some reason RC must have had some big problems with sickness on the ship because EVERYWHERE you went where there was food they basically forced you to use Purell from their dispensers. The dining in the main dining room (Great Gatsby) was good. Just good. Not great. Escargot was basically garlic and butter soup with pieces of snail in it. They have a decent menu, nothing was too appealing. They offer some great dishes for extra $$. The wait staff was excellent and friendly, aside from a mix up on the first night where they had split up the wedding party into two separate parts of the dining room when we had asked to be all seated in the same area. After my sister (the bride) threatened to unveil Bridezilla to them they fixed the issue that evening and we received an notice of table change the next day. Windjammer Cafe was mediocre, about Golden Corral standards. Not nearly as good as Freedom's buffet but better than food on Carnival cruises I have been on. Breakfast syrup was disgusting. The scrambled "eggs" were powdered (unless you go boiled eggs) and OK and so was the bacon. We decided to stick to the main dining room for lunch and dinner after the first day. Room service was same quality of Windjammer. We had room service delivered to the stateroom every morning, which is a nice feature, but the food was mediocre. Childcare Don't cruise with a child under 3 or a child that is not potty trained on Royal Caribbean if you can help it. Wait a few years or find someone to watch your child while you are away. There is nothing for them to do except babysitting for 6/8 dollars depending on the time of day. Anyone with a diaper may not use the pool facilities. There is no splash area on Grandeur. That being said everyone LOVED our son and most of the staff was calling him by name the 2nd day. The people in Royal Babies and Tots are wonderful and he was well taken care of when mommy and daddy needed some alone time. We usually dropped him off for just a few hours a day (2-3). The full day we were in Bermuda we dropped him off for the entire day just after breakfast. He enjoyed it. I just don't like the fact that we had to pay normal price for a 2 year old when there are no free activities for him and then had to pay daycare fees on top of that. My nieces and nephews LOVED Adventure Ocean (they were ages 5 through 11). Pools Average seawater pools. There's one small main pool and one small adult only pool (solarium). I was bummed that they closed the solarium pool so early at night. My wife and I went by at 9 after dropping off our son for some alone time in the quiet adult pool but it was drained for cleaning. Entertainment I wanted to do more physical activities other than the gym. Rock climbing was great and the attendants are very fun to talk to. Fitness Center was PACKED in the morning. Freedom had treadmills that faced the sea at the front of the ship right in front of the windows. The fitness center had limited window visibility. No Flow Rider on Grandeur. There were a number of dancing shows and live music, not really my cup of tea. I think I heard "No Woman No Cry" about 50 times. I used to love Bob Marley before this cruise. Overall I think the ship was too small for my liking. I will cruise RC again, but I will try Freedom Class, Oasis Class, or Quantum Class probably. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
2nd time w/RCI & this was horrible. The balcony suite was small & decorated from the 70's. The bathroom smelled like a septic & was very tiny. Elevators were slow and the toilet lines were blocked several times so toilets ... Read More
2nd time w/RCI & this was horrible. The balcony suite was small & decorated from the 70's. The bathroom smelled like a septic & was very tiny. Elevators were slow and the toilet lines were blocked several times so toilets could not be flushed. Nothing to do on the ship and too many kids running around unattended by there parents. On deck 9 you can see chipped paint and many layors of paint. This ship is outdated and not worth money. Do not book the Atlantic Water Park excursion for the Bahamas. You arrive around 2:30 & then taken on a tour of the hotel & shopping areas. They seem to be just interested in getting you to buy from their stores. By the time you get to the water park you have less than 3 hours to use it because it closes at 6pm. Was not worth the $129 per person. The cost of the food is also ridiculous....paid $21 for 2 hot dogs, fries a drink. The safe in our room would not open several times so maintenance was call often. I am just really disgusted because our 1st 5 day cruise was fantastic. We paid too much money for a longer and boring trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Family of five, 16, 50+ couple, 21 and 24 year old. 12 cruise 4th Carnival...... arrived at port 10:30, too early...we waited on line in our car for about 1 hour. prior cruise was departing, once they were almost gone we were allowed to ... Read More
Family of five, 16, 50+ couple, 21 and 24 year old. 12 cruise 4th Carnival...... arrived at port 10:30, too early...we waited on line in our car for about 1 hour. prior cruise was departing, once they were almost gone we were allowed to empty luggage, then park. Had faster to the fun and signed in, waited a bit and we were on the ship and bought our shore excursions at 12:24, drink package at 12:54, first burger at 1:10....well worth the $$$ so far! Had three cabins 8202, 8240 and 8244. 8202 was a balcony and the hallway did not connect to other cabins we had, you had to walk out by the elevator then walk back in the hallway. We always do a balcony but this time we were discouraged, couple next to us were smokers and it seemed every time we went on our balcony they were out smoking so we went back in (cannot tolerate the smell). Guess we could have said something but it was their vacation too and they were permitted to smoke on their balcony (next time we do an inside!) DO NOT BOOK 8240 OR 8244, right under the Serenity and the kids heard them putting the chairs out every AM at about 6:00 then all day long the sliding of chairs. There was also a very intense sewage smell in the hall. Cape Canaveral: did the shore excursions with Carnival and it was great. We saw everything, truly an experience everyone should have. Long day though, be prepared to take a nap when you come back Nassau: some of us did the kayak tour, they loved it. The others sat by the pool and sauna and loved it Freeport: beach stop without food and drinks was perfect. pack water and maybe take some cereal or snacks for munchies. They give you umbrella's and chair's , beach was great! Serenity Deck: Yes we all hung here BUT BE WARE!!!! Soot from the engines periodically spits out all over the deck and yes you will have soot all over you, your bathing suit, your towels and the deck....so much for serenity! Serenity pool was our spot though....get there early, not only are chair spots hard to come by but pool space was also challenging. DO the sea day brunch....EXCELLENT We did our time dinning, was fine, waited no more than 10 minutes at various times and had a table with just 5 of us CHEERS program VERY worth it for me and hubby, the 21 and 24 year old was short about $100. Massage: we booked right away, wait till the end of the cruise they offer discounts and specials Arcade was very hard to find...but fun, good luck in finding it ! David's steakhouse totally amazing, so sorry, yes do it, go for the $$$ worth it! PIANO BAR: Roger is the best, we closed the place EVERY night! Don't try to find food after 11:00, there ain't none except for pizza (I am lactose in-tolerate this did not help me). Yes you could order room service but we found that at that hour ....after closing the bars....3:00 am, it took a little too long for them to deliver. TIP: get something from the buffet after dinner, bring back to your cabin then you can have a snack with your last cocktail Casino: adequate Never went to the disco/club....now I regret it BUFFET: it was just sad, not enough choices, never enough seats, always long lines at the good stuff....very disappointing and we have had better on Carnival as well as Royal and Princess and NCL! TIP: if you cannot find a seat, go out to the serenity, they have table there and it is quite relaxing. DEPARTING: with faster to the fun....we think it helped. those who carry out there own luggage go first, all decks. Then they start calling the other categories, including faster to the fun we were #1. Took about 2 hours....but we WERE one of the first ones off. DINNING: Service was for the most part good but most of the time slow. No fault of staff, CARNIVAL you need more HELP! All in All I probably will not sail the Pride again will try another Carnival soon!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Boarding at Baltimore was very smooth, we had a Jr. Suite and that included express check in…..which was in itself worth any extra paid. I know we walked right by a few hundred people at least waiting in line. We drove to Baltimore and ... Read More
Boarding at Baltimore was very smooth, we had a Jr. Suite and that included express check in…..which was in itself worth any extra paid. I know we walked right by a few hundred people at least waiting in line. We drove to Baltimore and stayed at LaQuinta Inn the night before and parked our car there for the week. I think it was $129, not bad for parking also. This was only our 3rd cruise, the first 2 on Princess. We are in our 50s traveling alone. Comparing the cruise lines I would have to say that we enjoyed RC more. However, we would not hesitate to cruise Princess again. This cruise was completely booked. Except for a few times, it was not over crowded. There are 2 pools, the main and the Adult, which was much smaller but nice. However the typical pool chair hoarders were annoying as usual. Just a Note to any of you that do not have any common sense….when you leave your chair for good, don’t leave the ships towel on the chair. Remove it and drop in the dirty towel bin. What are you trying to do…..reserve it for the next day?? I directed a few poor souls looking for a vacant chair to ones that I saw people gather all their personal items but left the towels. I despise rude self-absorbed people, which there was no shortage of, as usual. Food- We found the food to be overall very good and service excellent. We ate in the main dining room all but 2 evenings. All of the MDR meals were exceptional. We ate at chops one evening and while very good, I am sure we would have enjoyed the MDR just as much, especially since finding out that you can get the chops filet mignon in the MDR for $14.95 extra. Much cheaper that the $30 pp extra for chops. We had one dinner, breakfast and lunches in the Windjammer which had a great selection, obviously some better than others. We frequented the Park Café a few times also, which was very limited, but good. It was very convenient to our cabin which was right below it. Good for late night snacks. We used room service for a few breakfasts, also very good. Although breakfast on your balcony overlooking the ocean can make even a bowl of cereal much more enjoyable, right! Bottom Line, take advantage of the Main Dining Room. We ate at 7pm each night which worked well for us. Entertainment was very good, some better than others. Some were kind of corny, but still a good time. Ports- Well, they are what they are. Port Canaveral and Nassau. We missed Co Co cay due to Tropical Storm/Hurricane Arthur. But kudos to our captain for turning around and out running the storm. Turned probably 3 rainy days into only 1. Thanks Capt. All in all a very nice time. Leaving from Baltimore is a huge perk for us. We are from West Virginia, but my wife has a standing business meeting in Baltimore every 6 weeks or so that we drive to. Makes it nice not to have to fly to a. So we would probably take the same ship, maybe Bermuda next time.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was mine, and my girlfriends, first cruise. We took the trip with 28 other people ranging from toddlers to 60 year olds for a wedding of friends. Traveling with a large group made the trip even more fun then expected. Boarding the ... Read More
This was mine, and my girlfriends, first cruise. We took the trip with 28 other people ranging from toddlers to 60 year olds for a wedding of friends. Traveling with a large group made the trip even more fun then expected. Boarding the ship was fairly easy, checking in took the longest and we were told some miss information about not needing our passports for the rest of the trip, that was false and almost prevented people from boarding again in FL. Checking into the room was a breeze and luggage was delivered before dinner. The food on the ship was amazing, every single meal between the Windjammer cafe, to the dinning room for breakfast and dinner and the sushi and steak restaurants was out of this world good. The events on the ship were fun and numerous, at no point could anyone say they were bored. Ports, FL, Nassau and Coco Cay. Problem #1 There wasn't enough time in Coco cay for anyone's liking. It took almost an hour to get off the ship, and almost as long to get back on at 430 pm, Most in our group agreed that we could have skipped Nassau and went directly to Coco Cay for longer. Problem # 2. The wait time to get drinks can get up to 20-30 minutes, the bar tenders poured great drinks and had very heavy pours on EVERYTHING so that was nice, but it took FOREVER to get a drink, at dinner, at any bar and god help you if you were on the deck and ordered one. The time to get served was obnoxious compared to land based bars that would have served 15 people in the time it took to get me one beer. Problem # 3. They have KIDS ONLY hot tubs. This became very annoying for the adult guests who paid good money to use pools and hot tubs only to be told a group of 6 year olds, with no parents, had the hot tub and adults could not use it. Kids don't need hot tubs, its not safe, they are provided a very nice pool to swim in. As you have read my complaints are very few and not bad at all, the trip was amazing, the food was better then anything I have ever had, the service, outside of bar tenders, was incredible. Take the trip, enjoy every second. GET A BALCONY ROOM, we regret not spending the extra $ to upgrade and enjoy the sea air at night and sunrises in the morning. Also, if you drink and beer or alcohol at all, buy the premium package, its a life saver and makes everything much more convent when you don't have to worry about drink prices when you are drunk and ordering your 6th drink of the day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I cruised with my husband for our 1 year anniversary. I was incredibly impressed with Carnival and the cruise in general. We are from Philadelphia and found that embarking out of Baltimore was painless. We arrived at the terminal at ... Read More
I cruised with my husband for our 1 year anniversary. I was incredibly impressed with Carnival and the cruise in general. We are from Philadelphia and found that embarking out of Baltimore was painless. We arrived at the terminal at 12:00pm, parked, waited in lines and were on the Lido Deck eating lunch by 2:00pm. It was surprisingly efficient. We had a balcony room on the 5th floor. After that room, we will never go back to not having a balcony. It was fantastic eating breakfast on the balcony and watching the sunrise. The room was much larger than I expected and cabin steward (Giddins Fitzroy) was great. Every night we looked forward to coming home, reading the new "Fun Times" and seeing what towel animal was left for us. I was most impressed with wide variety of activities on the cruise. There was something for everyone. This cruise is 100% what you make of it. If you want to drink and party all day, you can but there are so many other things to do besides that. There was trivia, guess the song, murder mysteries, bingo, casino, spa,karaoke and many pools. Our favorite things to do at night were the comedy shows and the piano bar. There were also many activities for kids. The staff works really hard to cater to a wide variety of interests. Grand Turk was a lot of fun. The beach is nice but the major attraction here is Margaritaville. If you are a drinker, this is the place to be. They open as early as the cruise ships come in and it is a giant party the entire time. We had a blast here and met so many new friends. Grand Turk also has shopping and cute little beach bars as you walk further down. I wish we were able to stay here longer. The swim-up bar and wrap around pool were something to remember. We were only in Grand Turk 8-1:30. Half Moon Cay was the most beautiful place I've ever been. It was breathtaking. The beach was pristine and the water was gorgeous. This is Carnival's private island so only people from your cruise fill the beach. There are many chairs that line the beach and beach bars as well. Carnival also puts out a huge buffet for all of the guests, which was a nice touch. This was a beautiful relaxing day. Freeport was nice to see but it was a little bit boring for us. The location that the boat drops you off is filled with shops that all sell basically the same thing. I wish we would have done our research at this location because if we would have known it was just shopping, we would have booked an excursion. There were many neat excursions at this location. We only stayed here about 2 hours then went back on the boat because there was nothing to do. If you want to go to the beach you have to take a bus or taxi to the beach. We were only there for a short time and weren't prepared to book an excursion with an outside company in fear of not getting back in time. We were bored with this location, but there are ways to make it as fun as the 2 other ports. The food was awesome. I really enjoyed the food in the main dining room. There was a lot of variety and we ordered things we would have never tried if we ate at a restaurant. We ate in the main dining room almost every night. We had "Your Time Dining" and really enjoyed the flexibility. We had to wait about a half hour one time. We had no problem with this at all. We just went to the bar and had a drink before dinner. They buzzed us when our table was ready. The next day we received a dessert tray and a card delivered to our state room apologizing for the wait. Even though we didn't mind, I thought that was a nice touch. We really liked planning our dinner time around the shows and activities that were planned so if we book another Carnival cruise, we will do "Your Time Dining" again. The pizza on the Lido Deck is the best. It's thin crust and made to order. It sometimes takes time to get your pie but it is well worth the wait. This was the first cruise I've been on that has left out of Baltimore. My previous cruises have left out of Florida. I had major issues with motion sickness, which I'm prone to, but this was by far the rockiest boat I've ever been on. We had perfect weather, it was just extremely rocky. I had sea bands, Dramamine, essential oils... nothing really worked. Finally someone on the boat gave me one of their prescription ear patches. That helped a lot. Just a warning, if you are prone to motion sickness, this boat rocks like crazy. You have to hold on to the railings at all times. They don't sell the ear patches in the gift shop. If you get motion sickness, go to your doctor and get the patches just in case. They are worth every penny. The only complaint I had with carnival was that their drink prices are not standardized in every location. My husband ordered a double Maker's Mark in the main dining room and was charged $3 extra to make it a double, in the casino, he was charged for 2 drinks. When we asked about this, the person in the casino said the prices are different at each place. He said they are "special" prices at certain locations. It really didn't make sense to us, since it wasn't an advertised special and the prices at those locations were always those prices? We'd prefer to know how much it costs before ordering it. Just always ask the price, some of their specialty drinks in souvenir glasses can run close to 20 dollars. A Stella was 4.95 while a specialty cocktail (martini/mojito) was usually $8.75. Overall I thought the prices were reasonable. I just didn't make sense that they weren't consistent. Overall our cruise was fantastic. The room was perfect. I think the staff goes above and beyond to provide a great experience. I would cruise Carnival again and again!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My mother, husband and two 17 year old twin boys and myself just got back yesterday from this cruise. The ship was supposedly given a makeover in 2012, but there were many things that shouldn't have been an issue if this was the case. ... Read More
My mother, husband and two 17 year old twin boys and myself just got back yesterday from this cruise. The ship was supposedly given a makeover in 2012, but there were many things that shouldn't have been an issue if this was the case. The first thing we noticed was, the large outdoor screen that they used for evening movies and daytime entertainment had large blackout rectangular bars in it, obscuring the picture. It made watching a movie very annoying--like a block of pixels were dead, only it moved around the screen. The second bit of inconvenience was, the top deck had railing that was missing, so a large section of it was blocked off. This made trying to use the track to jog very inconvenient. The windows looked like they'd never been cleaned since the ship was launched, and the dining room carpet looked as though it rarely got vacuumed. For the first three days of the cruise, the Windjammer restaurant was very crowded and it was difficult to get a table. If I did manage to procure a table from another family leaving, I could not get anyone to bus the table, even though the crew were sanding around not doing anything. In fact, one guy I asked, who was just standing at the dirty dish station gave me a dirty look as though I had some nerve asking him if he would bus the table. Halfway through the cruise, this changed because 600 people had come down with norovirus. Gee, go figure. Then dining did a complete 180. We were no longer allowed to take ANYTHING for ourselves, not even a box of cereal. They had people handing out everything, including butter, salt, pepper, creamers, everything. It was so annoying, because if they'd been more diligent to begin with, it wouldn't have happened. For that reason alone, I will never sail on that ship again. That was not the only place the crew was a let down. Organizing the port of call tours was a disaster. On the first port, people were lined up at the stairs, and the girl working that station would not let anyone off, even when the captain came over the intercom and announced we could disembark. I can't count how many people called her names, and then she wondered why. People just unhooked the rope and walked around her while she called us rude. We wondered if she was deaf, or did not speak english. In either case, she shouldn't have been stationed at that job. When we took a cruise several years ago on the Navigator, people just got off, and found their groups once off the ship. This ship attempted to organize people on the ship and let them off according to group. It was complete chaos because there simply wasn't enough room. It was a ridiculous way to handle this. In Key West, they assigned us times to get off the ship, according to tour. We utilized this procedure and found our group neglected once outside for almost an hour. No one knew the correct times for restaurants either. We had a suite and supposedly could dine for breakfast in the Italian restaurant. However the hours for this are not posted anywhere. And when we asked, not once, but three different occasions, we were told the wrong times--BY THE RESTAURANT STAFF. The last time was the return to Baltimore yesterday, and I think they just opened late. We were told 6:30, but when we arrived, they were not set up, and claimed they opened at 7. The food in the main dining room, the Great Gatsby, was fair. It was what I expected, not fantastic, but not bad either. I was promised a private table for 5, but when we showed up were seated at a table for 10. This would have been fine, had it not been for the one single traveler who was so obnoxious that both our group and the other party of 4 showed up the next morning asking for separate tables. We were accommodated with a separate table, but the service at that table was AWFUL! It was consistently 2 hours for every dinner. We were always the last to get a menu, the last to have their order taken, and the longest for it to be delivered. The last evening in the main dining room, we watched as the waitress spent 15 minutes laying out dessert spoons and serving water before entering the meal orders in the computer. She had three tables, and all three tables received poor service. It was only the second to the last night when the waitress and the guy that is supposed to handle refilling water and passing out butter that they became super friendly and eager to please. When she asked how we would rate her service when we received our email review did it become clear why she suddenly cared. Too little too late. The other issues were the amount of effort they put into trying to sell us extras. One day at lunch were were pressured to buy a cookbook and a tour of the galley, and I saw similar tactics at dinner as well. This was not a simple, "here is our cookbook, and a tour if you'd like," it was high pressure, stand over your table not taking no for an answer. It was truly obnoxious. The same thing happened when we got a massage. High pressure sales for massage oils for 200.00. Ridiculous. The gym is very small, which make the out of commission jogging track even more sorely missed. The other thing I don't get is, I had read that the entertainment was very good on this cruise, yet it was almost non existent on our sailing. I think there was one comedy act the first or second day. Other than that, it was mostly contests, and showing movies. It was quite dull. My other complaints don't really have anything to do with the cruise line; the weather was chilly most of the time--I think there were only 2-3 days that were actually warm enough for a bathing suit, the water is very rough sailing until you get down to Port Canaveral. I think it's the wrong time of year for these destinations--Key West, Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Coco Cay. The water was so cold at Coco Cay the boys asked to come back to the ship--and they can tolerate pretty cold water. Spending the day at Atlantis was probably the best day, but that was a little chilly as well. The Chops restaurant, and the Italian Restaurant, Giovanni's is ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE EXTRA MONEY. The service is very good, and the food is just fantastic. If you book as suite, I would take the extras with a grain of salt. They will tell you how worth it it is to pay the extra for a suite because you get all the extras, but the fact is, there really aren't much in the way of extras. If you need the space it's nice to have, but don't be lured into thinking you're going to get something for it in return. The whole, you have your own butler. Personally I don't think it's that big a deal (I mean why does anyone need their own personal valet anyway), I just don't like being told it's a perk when it's a lie. He did bring us a cheese plate on the third day, and filled our ice bag from coco cay for two days after. He was efficient, but twice forgot to leave a compass of the next days activities, and twice did not replenish the shampoo and soap. All in all, I would not do that itinerary again, nor that ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My husband and I just got off our honeymoon cruise on Grandeur of the Seas. We're both experienced cruisers with Diamond status on RCCL. We'd never sailed out of Baltimore before. I didn't keep day-to-day notes, so ... Read More
My husband and I just got off our honeymoon cruise on Grandeur of the Seas. We're both experienced cruisers with Diamond status on RCCL. We'd never sailed out of Baltimore before. I didn't keep day-to-day notes, so let's do things by topic instead: BALTIMORE PORT/EMBARKATION: Small but effective. This was by far the least busy port I've ever embarked at. It hosts only two cruise ships, if I recall correctly, and as a result the facilities are small and streamlined. We hopped out of our shuttle, dropped off our luggage with some very helpful porters, and were on the ship ten minutes later without ever having to wait or sit down. As usual, the staterooms were closed off until a bit after 1pm. When we arrived at our room then, two of our four suitcases were already waiting for us, but by dinnertime that night, we still only had two suitcases. A call to guest services informed us that they were holding our other two suitcases in the "naughty room" behind the purser's desk; though we didn't have any contraband, they required us to come down, open our suitcases for them, and demonstrate that the wine-bottle-shaped things in our suitcases were indeed the two bottles of wine RCCL allows us to carry onto the ship. The staff handling this were all very nice and the matter was handled quickly and with no accusations, but we found it a bit odd - the only thing I can think of is that perhaps the padded sleeves our bottles were in made them look enough *not* like wine bottles that they needed to verify it. STATEROOM: We booked an interior guarantee stateroom and were put in 3519, deck 3 forward. Sadly, if this were my first RCCL cruise, I'm not sure I'd be returning to the line, solely because of how unpleasant our stateroom - especially its bathroom - was. I'm not particularly room-snobbish, and I'm quite used to the usual kind of "you can brush your teeth, pee, and shower at the same time" cramped bathroom on cruises, but this bathroom was nearly unusable. Let's talk about the shower first. The shower was, to my eye, half the size of a comparable stateroom shower on ships like Explorer or Allure; rather than a circular or curved stall with sliding doors, Grandeur's shower was a narrow rectangle about 4 feet long and two feet wide, with the shower head on the narrow end and one corner chopped off, all edged by a shower curtain (oh, yeah, Grandeur still uses shower curtains, some of which are six inches too short and some of which are six inches too long, none of which appeared to be waterproof or hung on a curved curtain rod and all of which *really* wanted to get up close and personal with you). Area-wise, imagine cutting a circular-style shower in half, then shaving off the rounded part. It was physically impossible for me to wash my hair inside the shower's boundaries because raising my elbows made me wider than the shower, and I heard the same thing from every woman I spoke to onboard. Most of us eventually hit on the same solution: pushing aside the fabric shower curtain and using the entire bathroom as a shower stall. Luckily for us, the non-shower portion of the bathroom has a drain. With a few days' practice, one perfects the art of leaning sideways to wash your hair or shave your legs, then using your towel and the bathmat to squeegee the pool of shower water down the outer drain when you're finished showering. There was nothing about this shower that made me think a human had been put into it at any point along the design line, to see if it was actually usable. And now, the toilets. Yes, those famous Grandeur toilets did not disappoint, as long as "did not disappoint" means "were every bit as bad as I'd heard." My husband described our stateroom toilet as a random-number generator. You would close it, push the flush button, and then at some random time point ranging from immediately to five minutes afterward, the toilet would flush. The average time seemed to be about 45 seconds between button pushing and actual flushing. Our room steward told us about this on day one, and we assumed she meant that there was a problem that was being fixed and she wanted to warn us in the meantime. Nope, this is normal on Grandeur. When I advised guest services the next day that our toilet still seemed to malfunctioning, Cara (a lovely woman who worked hard to help people out in any way she could!) replied that unfortunately, that was just how the ship was, due to low vacuum pressure. Cara did promise to ask maintenance to take a look, and it seemed like the flushing got a bit more reliable after that, but at no point during the week did the toilet flush normally. The bathroom sink, like many in the fleet, has a tap that sits too low to the sink bowl to actually fit hands under, and the water pressure in it (oddly, given how blastingly strong the shower pressure is) is very low. Not the hugest deal, but in combination with everything else it rendered the bathroom essentially useless for all three of its main functions: shower, toilet, sink. In contrast, toilets and sinks in public washrooms on the ship had none of these problems - their toilets flushed on command, and their sinks had adequate pressure and hand room. All bathrooms on the ship, both in my stateroom and in public areas, were prone to exuding unpleasant odors at random times, ranging from stale urine to "I could swear there's raw sewage flowing across this floor right now, if the smell is any indication." The bedroom portion of the stateroom was less terrible, though I wouldn't go so far as to label it adequate, either. The room was cramped, which is par for the course, but I did find it a bit odd that it was *so* cramped that there wasn't enough room to walk alongside the bed without dodging protruding furniture. I had assumed these rooms were designed so that everything fit alongside each other, but in this case it didn't quite work, and more than once either my husband or I got up during the night and bodyslammed either the television (which is on a swivel arm) or the corner of the dresser (which projects into what would otherwise be the walking space next to the bed). The bed itself was little more than two cots; the mattresses were about an inch thick and dipped in the middle, funneling both people sleeping in it toward the center of the bed, where we had to fight it out for sleeping space (I usually won!). We asked for a mattress pad, which we got, but it was a scant improvement. I woke up most mornings with serious back pain. Our larger suitcases did *not* fit under the bed for storage. There was adequate closet/drawer space and plenty of hangers for our clothes, but there was extremely limited shelf space for smaller items. Two cabinets alongside the vanity mirror looked promising, but one was occupied by the contents of our minibar, which our room attendant "took away" by putting the stuff inside it (it had started out sitting on the desk, taking up about half the space there). This left one cabinet of four small triangular shelves for everything else we owned (the bathroom had one shelf next to the sink, entirely taken up by the ship-provided drinking glasses), which didn't work out terribly well. Our stateroom attendant was friendly but slow - about half the days we were on the ship, our stateroom wasn't made up in the "morning" until 1-2pm after we left it around 8:30am. Multiple days, we were unable to get room service lunch because the room hadn't been made up yet and we didn't want to be there and prevent her from making it up when she did come around. DINING/BARS: Here, things improve significantly. Let's start with what I can't talk about: the Windjammer. Other than sticking our heads in one day to see the Coke Freestyle machines there, we didn't use the Windjammer the entire week. We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches in the Main Dining Room, where the staff during those periods ranged from absolutely fantastic (we had one lunch waiter during the week who saw us on Day 2, then not again until Day 9 and somehow remembered our drink and bread preferences from the first time to the second) to solidly adequate (the worst thing I can say is that service was slow). Dinners were also in the main dining room, where we got lucky enough to have what must have been the best team in the dining room. Our headwaiter, Denise, blew us away with her attentiveness. We had previously joked that we didn't know what headwaiters did, if they did anything at all, but Denise made it her job to make our week as comfortable as possible. When she found out that we had wanted a two-person table for dinner but hadn't been able to get one (they were in such heavy demand that week that we waited in line for a table change for more than an hour the first afternoon, only to be apologetically told there was nothing left), she made sure that any time she saw us for breakfast or lunch in the dining room, a 2-top was prepared for us. When we mentioned that we were thinking about doing dinner in specialty restaurants, she took care of making the reservations for us at the best time she could talk out of the restaurant staff, and got us a 10% discount on the restaurant cover charges because they were booked through her dining room. Our assistant waiter, Wilson, was also fantastic - I had begun to think that the days of waitstaff memorizing guest preferences were past, but Wilson nailed it every time, from my nightly Diet Coke to the onion rolls I adored to the new San Pellegrino water that appeared in front of my husband every time one was finished. He also entertained our section with magic - I'm still trying to figure out how he got the chain to loop around the ring in one trick! The MDR food was quite good; while it didn't rival the transcendent experience we had at Giovanni's Table (husband is *still* raving about their steaks - even better than the ones at Chops!), the food was tasty, hot, and as we requested it. The waitstaff didn't bat an eye at special requests or our habit of ordering multiple items from each course. We particularly enjoyed both lamb dishes (lamb shank one night, lamb chop another), and the banana creme brulee dessert (offered every night) is a great addition to the menu. Every pasta I tried throughout the week was overly salty; I suspect they were salting their water too much. All dining room service was far from speedy, but it wasn't the worst we've had. If you don't mind slow meals with spaces between courses, you'll be fine. Giovanni's Table was a great experience. We loaded up on appetizers, then regretted it when we got to the entree/pasta course and realized we had almost no room left! My advice is to believe the waiter when he tells you that most people do either a pasta *or* an entree; while you're allowed to get both, you really want to leave as much room as you can for that entree, especially if it's the steak (char-grilled on the outside, perfectly cooked on the inside). The olive ciabatta and the aged balsamic vinegar Giovanni's offers as its pre-appetizer bread is simply to die for. We could eat it all day and never get tired of it. Chops was good but not nearly as good as Giovanni's; we both had to send back our steaks for being cooked wrong (he ordered rare and got medium-well, I ordered medium and got medium-rare), and mine was still more rare than not the second time around. The sides and desserts were good but not superior. Husband and I both agree that we would do Giovanni's Table on another cruise in a flash, but would need to get a particularly good offer to bother with Chops a second time around. The waitstaff at both restaurants were entirely competent but didn't make us feel particularly special or catered to. We ate in the Park Cafe a handful of times, but its hours were surprisingly inconvenient for anything resembling meals - it didn't open until 2pm for "lunch" most days, which meant that on port days (when the MDR doesn't serve lunch), the only real lunch options for passengers staying on board were Windjammer or room service. What's the point of having a Windjammer alternative if you don't open it during prime food hours? That said, the roast beef sandwiches at Park continue to be worth the trip there. I enjoyed the tossed salads Park Cafe made on Allure of the Seas a few years ago, but I was disappointed that on Grandeur there was rarely anyone staffing that area of the Cafe, and the salads were no longer chopped or tossed to order (instead, the server just plops everything you ask for in a bowl and dollops some dressing on top). Still good, just not quite as worthy-of-a-special-trip. We got two different beverage packages (Premium for me, Royal Replenish for husband). These were relatively new plans (added in December or January, I think), and it was clear that not all the bar staff quite knew how they worked, nor had procurement totally ironed out the kinks of how the plans affect demand. When we bought the packages on day 2, we had to insist to the very confused bartender who sold them that yes, the price was pro-rated based on how many days were left on the sailing. After speaking to his supervisor and his supervisor's supervisor, he found out that yes, that was the case. By day 6, nearly all the bars had run out of half-liter bottled generic-brand water (the only size/brand included in the beverage packages) and were having to give us liter bottles by charging us for them, then reversing the charges back to zero. The Coke Freestyle machines are a cool innovation, but even when carrying my purse, the bulky, handle-less, RFID-chipped cup that works in the machines was a pain to tote around. Bartenders only sometimes thought to point out when I tried to order a drink worth more than my package covered, as a result I had a few small charges on my bill that I would have avoided had I noticed the cost beforehand (we got receipts to sign for our drinks about 25% of the time; some places always gave them and some never did). We do still think the beverage packages are worth it, in general, but I'm hoping Royal works out the kinks soon. Getting a bottle of water shouldn't be a huge production that requires you to read fine print about exclusions and the bartender to do fancy point-of-sale footwork. We rarely visited any bar other than the Schooner Bar, since the casino bar was impossibly smoky and the R Bar was always packed full of ballroom dancers using the Centrum dance floor (until the entire area shut down at midnight - we saw them literally turn out all the Centrum's decorative lights one night at 12:01). We loved Abraham in the Schooner Bar/South Pacific; he always greeted us by name and he did a great job of continually surprising us with tasty drinks we hadn't thought to try that fit within our beverage packages. Oddly, the South Pacific's bar never opened for service, even when events were being held in that lounge (Quest was in there, as was Bingo). Because we were Diamonds, we spent a lot of time in the Diamond Lounge (which, on this sailing, expanded to encompass the entire South Pacific lounge in the evenings), where the staff was also eager to do whatever they could to make our week enjoyable. The nightly Diamond Event was one of the high points of each day; we had about 600 passengers on our sailing that were diamond and above, but with the expanded Diamond Lounge in the evenings, it managed to never feel crowded. Nibbles and drinks in the evenings took on a homey feel as the same passengers and staff showed up each evening, which we really loved. ENTERTAINMENT: We didn't attend most of the headline-type entertainment events on this cruise. Our sailing was very, very heavily skewed toward older passengers (I've never seen so many walkers/scooters in one place!) and the entertainment was similarly aimed toward them; we're not particularly into big band music, ballroom dancing, or do wop musicians, so we didn't bother with those. I had high hopes for karaoke and the Schooner Bar's pianist after experiencing rollicking times with those on other cruises, but due to passenger demographics the performances both those places were also heavy on the Tom Jones and Sinatra and light on the music-made-after-I-was-born. We attended only one production show, the Broadway one, and I can honestly say that it was the most solid cruise-ship production I've ever seen. I'm used to either the singers, the dancers, or both, being, well, a little iffy, but on Grandeur both companies were spot on and they *killed* those show tunes. Performances at the aerial show (which also used the singers and dancers) were similarly solid, though the show was a bit short and the musical selections were less to my taste. As trivia buffs, we showed up to the thrice-or-more-daily trivia challenges regularly. Darryl's progressive trivia competition was a fantastically good time and about as hard (in a good way) as you could hope for cruise ship trivia to get. Darryl himself was just wonderful; we loved him and would happily sail on any ship he was working on in the future. The trivia rounds led by other members of the cruise director's staff (Freida, Jimena, and Roberto all hosted at various times) were somewhat less organized and sometimes re-used questions or insisted on obviously-wrong answers (Jimena almost had a revolt on her hands one day over a complicated math question). Nevertheless, the trivia was always worth showing up for - those dinky plastic key chains aren't going to earn themselves! The Quest was not as much fun as it's been for me in the past. While I obviously can't go into detail here, I will only say that under Ricky's direction it focused heavily on a single kind of thing that stopped being funny about twenty years ago. The casino was a big disappointment. While I don't go on a cruise ship expecting to profit from the slot machines, I've never had them eat my bankroll quite as quickly and steadily. Payouts were horrible, even on the first and second days, and most of the slot machines looked like they might have been original to 1996 - only some of them had bonus games or the extra features that are common on newer slots (though some of the new ones here did have cool 3D screens). The entire room stank of smoke; since the casino is now one of the only places on board where smoking is permitted, smokers would come to the casino just to sit and smoke, even if they weren't gambling. Even the "no smoking permitted" nook smelled. And as usual, the casino is amidships, which means you will, at some point, *have* to walk through it to avoid detouring. SHIP: Grandeur is a small ship, and after sailing Freedom, Independence, and Allure over the past few years, I found going back to an older-style ship an interesting experience. Rather than a dozen themed lounges and food venues open at all hours, Grandeur had a scant handful of generalist ones that closed early or only opened sometimes to begin with; rather than acres of deck seating, Grandeur had a few dozen chairs by each pool. On the other hand, rather than "I need to run back to my room" being a half-hour, mile-long experience, it could be accomplished in ten minutes from any place on the ship, and rather than staff being anonymous, they were familiar faces who remembered us as well as we remembered them. The ship was decently-maintained; I regularly saw staff cleaning windows, patching up paint and deck surfaces, and cleaning everything (there had been Noro on the sailing before ours, so they were being extra careful). Waitstaff whisked away used glasses and plates quickly and smoothly, and other than with room attendants, I got the impression the ship was well-staffed for its number of passengers, which has not been the case on larger ships. On the other hand, it's clearly a twenty-year-old ship, and there are rust and dated features in places. Our stateroom still used a corded, touch-tone phone that looked like something out of 1994; the only way to know if you have voicemail is to listen for the phone to ring. The internet center used computers that looked about ten years old and a browser that was so heavily outdated that some websites wouldn't even load properly on it and it is almost certainly vulnerable to serious security issues; swiping your seapass on the keyboards for internet access only worked about 5% of the time, giving an error message the rest of the time. PORTS: Since we'd been to all these ports before (Labadee, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan), we only got off the ship each time to poke around dockside. No real commentary to make here. DISEMBARKATION: Smoothest I've ever experienced. By the time we'd finished breakfast and tossed the last of our stuff into our carry-off suitcase, our disembarkation number had been called. We were off the ship by about 8:45 in the morning. OVERALL: It's hard to say that any cruise where someone else is cleaning your room and cooking your food is a bad experience, and we didn't entirely *dislike* our Grandeur vacation, but this is the first time I've flatly put my foot down about going back on a ship: I would not go back on Grandeur. Period. The staff was great, but they just couldn't make up for the ship's own limitations. No ship whose toilets don't flush reliably should be taking on passengers, and while I get along with older-demographic passengers just fine, in a ship that's small enough that it only does one type of entertainment as a time, the risk of landing among a demographic whose entertainment doesn't entertain you is just too high. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014

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