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124 Baltimore to Caribbean - Western Cruise Reviews

My wife and I took our first cruise and had an excellent time on the Carnival Pride. The ship was delayed 2 hours and embarkation was not pleasant. We were given very little information and waited in line an extremely long time. We had ... Read More
My wife and I took our first cruise and had an excellent time on the Carnival Pride. The ship was delayed 2 hours and embarkation was not pleasant. We were given very little information and waited in line an extremely long time. We had previously tried to sign up for FTTF but that option was sold out ( do it early ! ). Once we boarded things improved quite a bit. We were on deck 6 with a balcony. The views were beautiful from the balcony.The room was clean & comfortable and our attendant was very professional and polite. Food quality varied depending where you ate. Guy's burgers were excellent , pizza was some of the best we ever had. I enjoy eggs benedict , the eggs were done perfectly but the English muffins were very tough to cut and the hollandaise was average at best. Other items on the buffet were very good. Lunch was always good and the selections were fantastic. We ate dinner in the main dining room and our waiter Oka & his team were absolutely the best. The staff remembers your name on the first night and they always greeted you by name. Food was very good. We only tried to go to one comedy show but that did not work out. We waited in line for the second show and when they allowed us in , nobody had left from the first show. There were no available seats, so we left. Carnival should empty the room after the first show. We only got off the ship in Nassau & Freeport. We walked around Nassau and took a beach excursion in Freeport which was nice. The best part about the trip were the people you meet. My wife and I smoke so we were segregated in certain areas where we met some of the nicest , interesting people. Disembarkation went smoothly. We enjoyed the cruise so much we are making plans to go on another Carnival Pride cruise at the end of October 2017. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was my 8th cruise. 3 with Royal Caribbean (LOVE LOVE LOVE)....and 5 (including this one) with Carnival. Up until this cruise, I would have recommended Carnival to anyone..but that has changed drastically. This cruise - from the ... Read More
This was my 8th cruise. 3 with Royal Caribbean (LOVE LOVE LOVE)....and 5 (including this one) with Carnival. Up until this cruise, I would have recommended Carnival to anyone..but that has changed drastically. This cruise - from the planning stages through the actual cruise itself was a series of disappointments and deep frustrations with a cruiseline who had no respect for their customers, who treated you as an inconvenience and rude beyond belief. There were 37 of us traveling and they screwed up one thing after another and NO apologies...just rude treatment. The customer service staff prior to our cruise was TOTALLY unaccommodating....I thought it would be different on board - but that same attitude carried through. The "Guest Services" people rarely had a smile, the staff up in the buffet; miserable. No smiles, no greetings...just miserable. No offers of help with anything. To start our cruise off, I ordered a bottle of champagne to be delivered to our room prior to our boarding. I also ordered Chocolate covered strawberries and a birthday cake. The champagne was there....WARM, sitting on the desk - not in ice. No strawberries....no cake.....NO APOLOGIES. I requested a cold bottle of champagne or a refund....they would give me neither!!! Finally on the second day - I had a meltdown at guest services (I was nice but VERY STERN) then FINALLY, the guest services representative sent us a new bottle of COLD champagne on them. The shops NEVER acknowledged nor apologized. Awful!! OUr room was dirty - sticky handprints all over the mirrors. While the room stewards were super sweet....I think they were grossly over worked. We estimate that our room had the sweeper run maybe 2-3 times all week and the sheets changed maybe once. Our one roomie dropped a pizza on her bed and those sheets stayed stained for 3 days. Crazy. I NEVER saw my cabin steward except for early evening when I guess they were doing rooms. NO TURN DOWN SERVICE. First time ever on a cruise we did not get turn down service. Our dining room waiter and assistants, WI & Denis were AMAZING....I will say they made a difference for me. On the other hand - David's....the steakhouse was HORRIBLE. I cannot stress that enough....HORRIBLE. The food was bad, the service was bad. There were 16 of us and they had us broke up into two tables FAR from each other.....I made those reservations one month ago so no reason they should have done that. Had to argue with them to get us moved closer together...and then the attitude was disgraceful. We always eat at the steakhouses onboard Carnival and have always had an amazing experience with amazing food. This place was kinda like a fast food steak place. Awful. The food overall was not good. Same things every single day......Even the dining room food was unremarkable. Desserts were buffet desserts with the precut cakes and dried up puddings. Horrible. Not one cookie - Needless to say I didn't eat much so that's the good news. This was the general view of most of our 37. Many first time cruisers saying they would never cruise again. Carnival is turning into a low budget cruise line (but not at a budget price). It was such a disappointing week and sad to say we will never cruise with carnival again. My only complaint about embarkation at Baltimore was no vending machines with soda or snacks and you have to sit packed in like sardines for a very long time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My wife and I booked this cruise based on her limited availability and a port within driving distance. We had never cruised Carnival before but the price was good and it seemed like a good itinerary. Overall, we had a wonderful time ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise based on her limited availability and a port within driving distance. We had never cruised Carnival before but the price was good and it seemed like a good itinerary. Overall, we had a wonderful time and felt we got good value for our money. The staff was excellent, professional, cheerful and hard working. The ship was surely older, but the room was big, balcony big and very clean and nice. The adults only Serenity pool was our home and it was wonderful. I wish it was a bit bigger but we eventually would get a lounger or even a hammock if we were patient. The comedy club was excellent and the comedians were top notch. The fast food was the best we’ve had on a cruise. Awesome pizza, Guy’s burger bar and the burrito/taco bar were great! The drink prices were comparable if not less than a “normal bar” and they were generous with the pour. We didn’t do the beverage package because you had to do it per cabin and I don’t drink – at $100/day that would be a lot of alcohol. There was nothing WRONG with the cruise at all. Really nothing. Were there areas for improvement, sure. The list below is really aimed at Carnival for ideas to make it better. We might opt for a more luxury cruise in the future, but faced with a tight schedule and limited departure port choice, I wouldn’t hesitate cruising on Carnival again. Here’s a list of possible improvements: • There should be a pasta course for every dinner. There was an awesome pasta meal for “brunch” but I was usually at the earlier end of time and had breakfast. There was one or two nights of pasta, but every night might be better • A fresh pasta bar at the buffet would be awesome as well • Breakfast in the restaurant was never hot. Not sure why dinner was OK but breakfast was always cold. It seemed during breakfast in the restaurant was not as organized as dinner. Maybe we should sit at our same tables for Breakfast? Not sure what the issue was • Cheese never melted in the omelets. This is bizarre. Even in the buffet omelet bar the cheese never melted. Other guests commented on this as well. • Having only one outlet in the room, especially none by the bed was a problem. Phones are often used as alarm clocks but maybe having them on the desk is better – forces you to get up. • Dian in the Serenity lounge was great she needs more help. Was alone a lot which made for long waits for soda which brings me too… • I did the bottomless bubbles program. On NCL, once the people got to know you, they’d just fill up your glass. Here, I had to wait on line with all the people getting mixed drinks to get a soda. They should figure out a way around this. Maybe a soda only station? • The one night the Red Frog lounge was really packed and the band was smoking, midnight came and the band wanted to play more, but they closed the bar and stopped the band. Seems like it should have gone later. • Texas Holdem contest was a disappointment as it was $150 buy in for a $500 pot. That seemed quite expensive. This shouldn’t be for serious gamblers but more like a fun activity. $30-$50 buy in would have been better. • The overall temp of our room and the boat was on the warm side, except the casino which was always comfortably cool. Strange. • The smoking areas of the casino might be better away from the aisles as walking through the smoke was tiresome. Ventilation should be improved (considering how cool it was in there, it’s surprising that it wasn’t better) • If you were on the late dining, there was more of a conflict between comedy and the shows. There should be more opportunity for the late eaters to see both. • We had some bad weather and we so appreciate Carnival doing their best to give us some shore excursions at alternate ports. I did take issue with their “warning” about staying in Nassau after dark – especially since we were booked there until 9PM. It seemed it was geared more toward pushing us toward the Carnival brokered tours vs just taking a cab. The licensed cab driver we took was actually on a Carnival cruise the week previously and was warned about “himself” and was quite insulted. The people of Nassau’s whole life revolves around tourism. The people there do everything to try to protect tourists as any crime would impact the whole economy. If it is that dangerous, Carnival should have not brought us there at night. Also, it would have been helpful to know that all stores close at 6PM as we didn’t get to the port until after 2PM. • The PA system should be upgraded as it was often difficult to hear in Serenity and for the movies on the Lido deck. • The photographers were pretty rushed and not too talented. We didn’t buy any photos. How about linking the photos to our app so we can see them digitally and then only print them if we want them. Seems like a lot of waste of paper and ink. • I’ve seen other people post about this. The ship constantly vibrates. That was livable but annoying. • Another great idea would be a “happy hour” for ½ priced drinks. They make so much on alcohol this might be a good give back to get people to buy more drinks later. • Our first port stop was confusing about where to disembark and the second, everyone was lined up at the wrong door. They announce “port”, “aft” and things but what does that mean? They should have had staff stationed or at least more signage. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I will start with a little back-round, we are Diamond cruisers with over 17 cruises behind us. We prefer drive up ports due to luggage and usually purchasing large amounts of alcohol to bring back with us. We are active people and like to ... Read More
I will start with a little back-round, we are Diamond cruisers with over 17 cruises behind us. We prefer drive up ports due to luggage and usually purchasing large amounts of alcohol to bring back with us. We are active people and like to get involved in various activities going on every day, and enjoy the MDR and Entertainment each night. That being said, this was one the the best cruises we have been on yet. First time on this ship. We had 6 adults in the Royal Family Suite. Embarkation was a breeze, we swept through check-in rather quickly and were escorted to the "Suite" area to relax before gates opened to board. When they opened, we were onboard in no time where we were immediately greeted in the Centrum by crew willing to give directions to the Windjammer for lunch, as well as numerous people from venues around the ship selling drink packages, spa treatments, dining packages, etc. We wandered on our own for a while getting a feel for the ship, as this class has a slightly different layout than we are used to. Once we found our dining table, wandered through the casino and found out what table games were offered, and checked out the pool deck, had a welcome aboard drink in the sun, we made our way to the Windjammer for a nice lunch. By the time we were done, cabins were open, so we headed in that direction to check it out. Once we arrived on that floor, we saw a few of our bags already and grabbed then on our way through. We were very happy with the overall size and layout of the cabin. the balcony is huge. We were very comfortable in the room with no problems to report at all. In fact our room steward was great, we had ice refilled twice a day, and he always refilled the wine glasses to ensure there were always at least 6 clean ones there. We ate in the MDR and chose the early traditional seating. We really didn't know what to expect after reading many of the reviews prior to sailing. However, we were pleasantly surprised. Our wait staff were phenomenal, and all food was full of flavor and served hot if it was supposed to be hot, and cold if it was supposed to be cold. The entire dining experience was great every night. My wife and I did skip the MDR on one night to enjoy the Chef's Table. This is a venue that you must schedule on a night with plenty of time. It is not something to be rushed, and usually goes about 4 hours. We refer to it as a dining experience. It consists of 5 courses with full wine pairings with each course. And if you really hit it off with the others in the room (limited to 12), you have a great time, with lots of conversation, laughter, and wine. The Entertainment was thoroughly enjoyed by all in our party, especially the aerialists who were rehearsing throughout the cruise for change over with a new team. So we got to see them often. The various shows in the Theater were enjoyed by many in our group, we attended all but the one we missed due to the Chef's Table. Activities are always fun to watch and some to even participate in. There are certain ones where we always get involved and others we enjoy watching. Either way a lot of fun. The Service on this ship was fantastic!!!! The crew should be commended for such high levels of service, and the name recognition floored us on many instances. Love the smaller ships for this reason, the higher ratio of crew to passenger translates to higher service levels and higher levels of personal interaction. All ports were repeats, but we enjoyed all of them. I booked the various excursions privately with the exception of Labadee, where we got a cabana. Every stop was a treat, as we enjoyed every day of the cruise and the entire experience. In Jamaica we went to a private all inclusive resort for the day and relaxed. In Cozumel we went to another all inclusive (Mr. Sanchos) for the day and ate, swam, got massages, jetski'd, rode the big banana behind a boat. In Grand Cayman, we shopped, snorkeled, and swam with the sting rays - up close and personal. In Labadee we tried the zip-line, and just enjoyed relaxing for the day and swimming at the beach. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my 33rd cruise -- a 25th anniversary gift from my mother. She chose this cruise because it was a great bargain, and we prefer a smaller ship without the bells and whistles. We live on Long Island, so Baltimore is only 3 hours ... Read More
This was my 33rd cruise -- a 25th anniversary gift from my mother. She chose this cruise because it was a great bargain, and we prefer a smaller ship without the bells and whistles. We live on Long Island, so Baltimore is only 3 hours away. We have sailed on Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, with the most cruises on Royal Caribbean. Embarkation was so easy! You enter the port area, they take your luggage right out of the trunk for you and onto the ship, and you find a parking spot. Wonderful! As Diamond members, we got to go on a special line to embark, but it would have been just as easy if we were first timers. The ship is showing its age. I especially noticed this when we were in the tender, right next to the battered, rusty hull in need of a paint job. Other signs of aging were faded numbers on the elevator buttons and that sewage smell that other reviewers have noted. Otherwise, the ship is well maintained and the interior is as beautiful as when I first sailed on the Grandeur in 2000 (she was built in 1996). As far as activities go, if you want relaxation, this is the ship for you. Other than trivia and game shows in the centrum, plus the usual "sexist man" and belly flop competitions, most activities were either for a charge, or were free lectures connected to some sort of sales pitch, whether from the spa, the shops or the fitness center. If you want to sit and read a book or simply take a nap in the sun, this is a good ship! Actually, I shouldn't say that -- of course, you can enjoy the Quest and some fun dance parties. The Cruise Director, John, and his wife, the Activities Manager, Katrina, come across as slick and phony -- but they definitely grow on you by the end of the cruise at which time you realize they genuinely mean what they say. In fact, John puts on a Neil Diamond show near the end of the cruise as a tribute to his "mommy." Fellow cruisers on this sail date (April 17) were mostly retired grandparents in their 50s, 60s and 70s, mostly from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Very friendly down-to-earth people. Also, I have never seen so many tattoos in my life!! The service is where this ship shines, and that's why they call it "the ship with a heart." The crew was always smiling and happy and ready to help. In the main dining room, the table of 4 next to us always had their ice tea waiting for them, thanks to our terrific waiter, Endi. Our assistant waiter, Ikomang, was terrific, too -- we never knew until the last day that this was only his third cruise; he was so professional! The itinerary was just perfect -- 4 days at sea, followed by Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica (Falmouth) and my favorite place in the entire Caribbean ... Labadee! In Cozumel, my husband went diving and got his PADI certification, while I went in the water. We did not go to town to shop because we really didn't need anything and did not care to bargain. In Grand Cayman, we went to Sea Grape Beach (part of Seven Mile Beach) and enjoyed the water. In Jamaica, we went on the Rafting on the Martha Brae River shore excursion, which I did last year. It is so relaxing and enjoyable, Here's my little tip for you: at the end of the raft ride, you end up at a little bar. Give the lady at the bar $2 and ask her to get you some ackee and saltfish, which is the Jamaican national dish. I have wanted to try it for some time, and I really liked it! Finally, Labadee! My husband and I went on a jet ski, which was a lot of fun! We spent the rest of the time at Nellie's Beach, our favorite spot which I highly recommend to you. Another tip, there is great snorkeling -- at a depth where you can stand in the water -- in the reef area under the cabanas at Nellie's Beach. You don't have to go on a fancy snorkel tour to enjoy seeing sea urchins, brain coral, sea fans and loads of beautiful fish! Another tip in Labadee -- if you shop, only go to the market in the building with the orange walls and red roof. They have beautiful things in there. Please avoid the aggressive vendors at the artisan village -- or you will end up hurling curses at them. Anyhow, we were the first off the ship and the last back on in Labadee. Just can't get enough of it. Our cabin: We had Cabin 3020, an outside oceanview stateroom. Not the best but certainly not the worst. The beds were basically 2 cots put together and very hard to get the luggage beneath, and the pillows were not the fluffy cruise ship pillows I am used to. But I thought there was ample storage. The only bad thing about our cabin was when the room steward forgot to make up our room one night, which I thought was odd because that's his only job. He came to our door the next morning, feeling guilty and bearing his business card in case we needed to complain, but we did not. Dining: Again, not the worst food, but not the best either. The best meals I had were the seafood pasta and the sole muniere. The lobster on formal night was salty, and the rack of lamb on the other formal night was fatty. The duck had so much fat I had to order something else. The cold fruit soups, which I love, were inconsistent -- with ice chips one night, lukewarm the next. The food in the Windjammer was just OK, and much smaller than the buffet on a larger ship. Every day they'd have a different ethnic theme. The Windjammer closes after dinner, so if you want a snack you have to go to the Park Cafe next to the Solarium Pool, and the food there neither looks nor tastes great. But the service in the dining room was outstanding. We had 8:00 seating and never left the dining room later than 9:15!! I would also like to mention that the ship had a wonderful Passover seder on board complete with a buffet. Let me mention one small problem I encountered. I believe that, as a Diamond Member, I am entitled to a backstage tour, but my Crown and Anchor representative said that the backstage tour was only for Diamond Plus members on the Grandeur because it is a smaller ship. I think this is unfair ... a perk is a perk! Nevertheless, we enjoyed the Diamond Lounge and its amenities, but thought the concierge, Inna, was either cold or ditzy -- we couldn't figure it out. Entertainment; The production shows were high energy, and there was always a live band, but some of the song choices were poor. The Tango Buenos Aires show was kinda boring. There were singing and comedy acts -- most of which I had seen before -- like Karen Grainger, the female impressionist, and the ventriloquist with the dinosaur dummy in the egg. The Rosario Strings duo were very, very good, as were the other bands that performed. I avoided the piano player in the Schooner Bar whenever possible -- he was pathetically awful. He could not take requests, and did not know tunes or lyrics. He inevitably always had a guest standing beside him coaching him. This was unfortunate. Since a new group of aerialists came onboard, they performed once in the centrum and were incredible. Also, the farewell crew show was the best I had ever seen! Another beautiful touch was, on the final night, a tribute to Baltimore and the Star Spangled Banner, and a salute to our veterans and first responders. It all ended with us singing "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me" and shaking the hand of the person next to us and wishing each other a safe journey home. Disembarkation was as quick and easy as embarkation! Quick and orderly! In summary, this is a friendly ship with excellent service. Take advantage of the homey, relaxing small ship experience while you still can! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I choose this cruise to celebrate my birthday, and the convenience of leaving from close to home. This is one of the smaller ships we have been on, it was very nice, but showing its aging in different areas. One of them were the pool and ... Read More
I choose this cruise to celebrate my birthday, and the convenience of leaving from close to home. This is one of the smaller ships we have been on, it was very nice, but showing its aging in different areas. One of them were the pool and hot tub areas. Very hard for anyone a little older to get in and out of them. The food was good, nothing exceptional, we went to 2 specialty restaurants, Chop Grille, the food was terrible, the steak was look shoe leather. Giovannis was much better. Our room on Deck 4 was small, but very surprised at the storage it had. Plenty for 2 people. The bathroom I nicknamed the torture chamber, I can't even imagine how anyone that is a little bigger can fit in the shower. I am not that big and when I stretch my arms my elbows hit sides, and it was a constant tug of war with the shower curtain sticking to you terrible.We also were in the middle of boat close enough to Centrum was afraid it might be noisy, but once you closed your door you really didn't hear anything,that is until morning when they were moving somethings around above us. The entertainment was wonderful, and the crew was fantastic. Getting on was a breeze, getting off a little hectic. Don't think I would go on this boat again, but I would go on Royal again. All-in-all it was a great time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The port in Baltimore had organized embarkation and debarkation. I was not prepared for the VERY long uphill walk to the ship. Using a cane, it was difficult. The up-selling began before the long walk to the ship and continued throughout ... Read More
The port in Baltimore had organized embarkation and debarkation. I was not prepared for the VERY long uphill walk to the ship. Using a cane, it was difficult. The up-selling began before the long walk to the ship and continued throughout the cruise. That was a huge turn off. We came out on the 4th floor about 11 AM and had lunch later at the Park Cafe near the Solarium on deck 9. Our suite was ready around 1 or 1:30. Our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Lots of elevators were being used by the crew for luggage so it was hard to find one to get to deck 8 with carry on case and a cane. We had suite 8014, which was spacious and lovely with a big balcony that had table, chairs and 2 padded chaise lounges. Our cabin attendant was Dennis P and he was extremely attentive for the duration. We had dinner nightly in the dining room except for one night when husband was seasick. I found the food to be uninspired. Taste is very subjective and some might have loved it, but I cook well and, in my opinion,the food was not spiced well with herbs. I am used to being wow'd on cruises by food and this was a disappointment. The food in the Windjammer for lunch at least had some tasty choices. Even the hamburger and fries were a nice change. The desserts were nicely prepared and presented. Our waiter in the Gatsby, Ronell, was great. The casino paid me nicely. Shop prices weren't too bad. We skipped Grand Cayman due to rough sea. Refunded a little over $10 each in port fees. Ship is perfect size. Nice selection of entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was a family first time cruise with a group of 18. We didn't know what to expect when picking ships so we went with the Grander. When first boarding the ship you could tell that this was a very OLD ship with a lot of use. We had ... Read More
This was a family first time cruise with a group of 18. We didn't know what to expect when picking ships so we went with the Grander. When first boarding the ship you could tell that this was a very OLD ship with a lot of use. We had 5 children teenagers who could not find any other children on board to hang out with.The teens club was very old and boarding they were to say to us. They spent most of there time in the indoor pool and just hung out in the hot tubs. This was a cruise with a lot of OLDER people on-board who did not understand manners. When going to get things to eat at the windjammer they would just think that they could just go in front of you because they were older in age. As you can tell this did not go well when we had to correct them on what they were doing. We didn't get to stop in one of are ports because of the weather. Not saying that this was their choice but still could have done something to make up for it. They made a new Cruise Compass for the day to make it more enjoyable. I would say they didn't add anything that really made us stick out and have a fun day. We all just did are own thing that day. Other then that we all just did are own things on this cruise because there was nothing to do for the younger age. Defiantly would not go on this ship again!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 3rd family cruise. First two were on the Disney cruise line - so Disney will be my basis of comparison. Our traveling party included my wife and I, our 17 year old daughter, our 25 year old son and his friend. We had two ... Read More
This was our 3rd family cruise. First two were on the Disney cruise line - so Disney will be my basis of comparison. Our traveling party included my wife and I, our 17 year old daughter, our 25 year old son and his friend. We had two staterooms on the 7th deck. The expectation for a cruise is that everything is perfect - so I wont elaborate on all of the good things....only those that were negative, different from Disney, or should be considered by others. I have broken it down by section for easy reading. Embarkation (Baltimore). Of note here was the flow and drop off of bags. The port is easily accessible, right off I-95. Once on the port, you are guided into multiple lanes where your bags are dropped off - right from the vehicle - without having to unload them and drag them to the terminal building. Definitely an attaboy for the Maryland Port Authority. NEGATIVE - we had to fill out a health form that could have been / should have been available online so that we could have done it ahead of time. Staterooms. NEGATIVE. Half the time, the toilet would not flush and we had to repeatedly activate it to get it to flush. There was NO PRIVACY CURTAIN. On the Disney ships, there was a privacy curtain that spanned the room between the master bed and the convertible couch/bed. The lack of such a curtain made it awkward for changing clothes. I have sleep apnea which requires me to use a breathing machine at night. There was no AC outlet anywhere near the bed. I had to obtain an extension cord from the stateroom attendant. The mattresses on the master bed (actually two beds pushed together) were EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE and lumpy. No exhaust fans in the bathroom meant it was constantly fogged up during showers. Locking mechanism on closet door did not work so door kept bouncing open with the waves. The sliding glass door to the was very difficult to open. There was no AC outlet in the bathroom which meant my wife and daughter had to use their blow dryers and curling irons in the room (could not watch TV at same time). Our stateroom only had 3 towel animals for the entire 10 night cruise - and those that we did get were not very good. POSITIVE. The shower water pressure was very good and there was ample hot water. There was more closet space than on a Disney ship (you give up two bathrooms that the Disney ship gives you to get the extra closet space). The thermostat in the stateroom actually worked. Food. NEGATIVE. Windjammer - Powdered eggs for scrambled eggs were terrible. The "fresh fruit" was lacking and not ripe. No variety day to day - exact same food. Park Cafe (in Solarium) - No variety day to day - exact same food. Most days they had no ranch dressing for the salad bar. Physical layout makes it extremely difficult to walk between the salad bar and the buffet table. Room Service - extremely limited options, especially for breakfast. POSITIVE. Windjammer - eggs to order were great. Great Gatsby Dining Room - food was excellent. Variety was great. Waiter service was exceptional. Coke Machines - great concept and good value. However, the density of machines is limited (only in Windjammer) and one on deck 6. The one of deck 6 was broken most of the time. You are able to refill the cups at the bars, but the bartenders treat you as stepchildren and service "paying customers" first. More machines are needed dispersed in a variety of places on the boat (one should be placed in the solarium). Ice cream machines on the pool deck are also very good, except that a lot of the time, the cones dispenser was empty. Onboard Activities. NEGATIVE. The pools were treated with salt instead of chlorine. Both the main pool and the adult only pool in the solarium were extremely salty. We were not able to enjoy using the pools. No basketball court. Shuffleboard? Remove the shuffleboard and put in a basketball court. No evening/adult deck dancing. On the Disney ships, there were evenings when a small string group/orchestra was on the deck to provide an evening of dancing under the stars. Not so with this cruise. There were several shows and activities that were only offered once - and the time that they were offered interfered with the second dinner seating. We would have to decide between having a sit down family dinner during our scheduled dinner seating or see the show during its single offered time. This should not be the case. The seats in the Palladium theater are very uncomfortable. There is no "snack bar" to purchase popcorn and snacks for the afternoon movies. The was an "behind the scenes" ship tour that was offered but it was extremely overpriced. Spa. Extremely overprices and overly hiped by the constant TV adds, the cruise staff, and the daily Cruise Compass. Too much pressure. Teen Center. My daughter was very dissatisfied with the teen center. She stated that there was essentially no planned activities there and it was quite boring. POSITIVE. Ballroom dancing. Great idea, well received. Good instructors. However, the logistics was very poor. The dance floor was very small and some of the floor space was consumed by art displays for the art auction (art auction on a cruise ship??? Ridiculous waste of limited deck space). There was also no evening music and dance floor where we could perform the dances that we had learned that day. Karaoke was very popular. Should be available in multiple venues (ie teen center) as well as for adults. Solarium is a great idea. Private adults only area with complete skylight ceiling. No kids were allowed (although we did see several that accompanied some non-English speaking families). It had its own pool (though it was too salty to use). It also had two hottubs that were actually hot and not just lukewarm. Aerial Shows in the Centrum. NEGATIVE. Poor logistics. The only people who get to see the show are the few people that ring the railings on each deck or are able to occupy the limited seating on deck 4. On days that there were shows scheduled, people would "camp" in the chairs and reserve spaces along the railings for hours before the show began. POSITIVE. The aerial shows are a good concept and make use of this otherwise wasted space. Shows. NEGATIVE. The first comedian (Max Dolcelli) was terrible. POSITIVE. The magician (Levent) was great! Excursions. NEGATIVE. Labadee is the "island" owned by the RCI line. Towels should be made available to guests without having to take towels from the ship. The food at the BBQ was terrible. Shopping was uncomfortable as the Haitians constantly harassed you as you walked through the artisan area. RCI should know a year out what excursions will be available for the cruise. However, the excursions are not available on the web site until about 6 months out. RCI should be able to publish information about which excursions only take cash and which will take credit cards. Our 17 year old daughter was not allowed to debark the ship with 25 year old friend of the family that was part of our party as he was not a family member. We were told that to allow her to depart for an excusion under his care would require an authorization form. After 3 days of being bounced between guest services and the excursion desk, I was finally told that there was not such form. We had to rearrange our plans to escort our daughter off the ship. RCI needs to relook this policy and/or develop an authorization form. POSITIVE. All of the excursions that we took were great. The tram on Labadee is very useful. Stores. NEGATIVE. Extremely overprices. Need more options. Less emphasis on watches and jewelry. Professional Photography. NEGATIVE. Package prices were extremely overpriced. If you bought the package for the entire cruise and then later found a photo or two that you missed the first time, you had to pay separately for them. If you pay for ALL pictures, you should get ALL pictures, whether you missed them on the display boards or not. The poses were always the same and did not vary. POSITIVE. There was a lot of availability to have pictures taken. Next Cruise Desk. NEGATIVE. Did not have information about the other ships in the fleet and the excursions that they had. Makes it impossible to make an informed decision. Internet Service. NEGATIVE. Extremely overpriced and unreliable. Due to circumstances, we were forced to purchase the package mid cruise to send essential emails. We could not get the service to work nor could the guest services. We were refunded our money. Hand Washing stations. POSITIVE. They were all over the and outside of each eating establishment. There was also a "commercial" that ran on the TV. Art Gallery and Art Auction. NEGATIVE. Who comes on a cruise ship to buy art? It consumed too much valuable deck space. Art auctions should be onshore in auction houses, not on cruise ships. Ship appearance and condition. NEGATIVE. From first pulling into the port in Maryland, the ship looked old. You could see rust lines on the outside hull from the parking lot. Next to our table in the Great Gatsby were torn curtains over the porthole windows. The carpets were worn and dirty in places. There were many rust spots that needed attention and painting. In the solarium, my wife and I made a game of counting the lights that were not working and the tiles that were missing from the walls. Marketing. NEGATIVE. There was too much pressure to use the pay services, particularly the spa and the specialty dining rooms. At seemed like every day we were approached by staff members pushing flyers into our faces and trying to convince us to eat at Chops grill or one of the other restaurants. You could not watch a single channel on the TV without being constantly bombarded by ads for the spa. Distribution of Information. NEGATIVE. Why cant we be told beforehand about special events and theme nights that will be taking place on the ship? RCI knows well beforehand - they must know in order to ensure that crew has costumes, that choreography has been developed, music is available, etc. Why cant they let the guests know so that we can bring onboard specialty clothing (for example, 50s, 60s, and 70s, themed clothes). Miscellaneous. NEGATIVE. NO FIREWORKS. This was a New Years Eve cruise - why were there no fireworks? When we asked, we were told it was a safety issue. I dont believe it. At midnight on New Years Eve we were far out into international waters. On both Disney cruises, they had fireworks each time. No availability to have your passport stamped at the ports. Would be nice for those who want to collect these stamps. There was no WIFI phone system to keep track of family members. On the Disney ships, each statement had a wireless/WIFI capable phone that was integrated into the shipboard phone system. This was an exceptional way to keep in touch with other family members on the ship. RCI had no such capability. POSITIVE. The electronic navigation aids that were mounted on the walls next to each elevator bank were very useful. Elevators - quantity was good, but they were very slow. Disembarkation. POSITIVE. I liked the staged concept of debarking. It make getting off the ship quick and finding luggage much easier. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We traveled from our home on Long Island to Baltimore by Amtrak, which wasn't bad, total time about 4 hrs and, stayed overnight at the Residence Inn Marriot ,than took a cab to the pier , I little bit of a pain because of hauling the ... Read More
We traveled from our home on Long Island to Baltimore by Amtrak, which wasn't bad, total time about 4 hrs and, stayed overnight at the Residence Inn Marriot ,than took a cab to the pier , I little bit of a pain because of hauling the luggage ,but doable. Since we were cruising in a suite and are diamond members embarkation was painless, no waiting in line we were on the ship in 10 minutes. This was our 34th cruise ,so I guess you can call us veteran Cruisers. 2nd cruise on the Grandeur ,which I consider an elegant ship ,but it's getting time to be refurbished ,as a lot of the areas appear dirty and or faded . The quality of the food in both the main dining Hall and the pay extra restaurants was good to excellent . One thing I can say that they go out of there way to make sure your satisfied ,more so than most of the other cruises we've been on. Our junior suite at the back of the ship was really looking worn ,stained carpet ,worn looking furniture ,and one of the worst room attendants that we've experienced in our previous 33 cruises . I don't know weather he couldn't understand or just didn't care ,daily forgetting to refill my Ice bucket ,,one night he forgot to service our room, not to mention a few other problems, I felt bad, but had to complain to the Hotel manager ,hopefully he'll get his act together . Not to sound like a snob but when I pay for a suite or a junior suite we expect a certain level of service ,which we didn't receive on this cruise . We still like this ship and have another cruise booked in early 2016 on the Grandeur. A few things I didn't like ,Black Jack played with 8 Decks ,lost every night ,but ended up coming in 2nd in the black jack Tournament ,recovering some of my losses . Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Sailed from Baltimore on 29 November 2015 for a 10 day Western Caribbean cruise thanks to my parents who wanted to spend some extra time with their (one and only) grandchild. They also invited my mother-in-law (her first cruise); and a ... Read More
Sailed from Baltimore on 29 November 2015 for a 10 day Western Caribbean cruise thanks to my parents who wanted to spend some extra time with their (one and only) grandchild. They also invited my mother-in-law (her first cruise); and a cousin and his wife. With all the ingredients for a comedy (or a horror) movie…it actually went very well. I can’t say enough good things about the Kids Adventure Ocean program that Royal Caribbean has. My five year old had a great time every time he went, they had his favorite toys, played games with him, had activities, read stories, saw movies, there were a few kids his own age so he had playmates. He was sad to leave the ship because of the fun he had so kudo’s to RCI for a great program. The rest of cruise was also very good. Is the Grandeur of the Seas showing her age? Yeah…if you look hard for it. But it IS an intimate ship, we saw people multiple times a day and made good friends on board. It was nice not to feel like we were walking a marathon to go from one end of the ship to another. The food was OK, not spectacular, but it was plentiful and my family enjoyed the dinners. The cabins were small and the mattress and pillows were kind of thin, but overall I didn’t have much complaints, the showers were clean, the hot water plentiful and the stateroom attendant was great! The shore excursions were pricy, not sure if they were fully worth it; but mainly chosen for duration (five year old remember?) So we did the Mayan Chocolate Company and Tequila tour in Cozumel Mexico; the Glass-Bottom Boat and island tour in Grand Caymans; a 1700 Plantation and lunch tour in Jamaica and the beach at Labadee Haiti. The Cozumel excursion was good and as advertised, we saw the making of traditional (Mayan) chocolate and got to try some, as well as visit a Tequila store where we had a tequila tasting as well as finding out how tequila is made. The glass bottom boat tour was sort of a disaster since my mother-in-law and wife got sea-sick. The rest of the tour was fun including the visit to the town of Hell. We had our best weather in Jamaica, the plantation tour was wonderful with a great tour guide. Lunch was jerk chicken and it was as delicious as you would expect. The Haiti excursions was at Labadee, the RCI owned peninsula where they have their activities. My parents sprung for a cabana at Nelly’s beach which made sense since we were a party of 8; the cabana was right over the water and it was great. Lunch was outstanding, and catered by the ship. Wife and MiL went beach combing and shopping. I paid 150 dollars for the “full ship tour” and I was definitely impressed, it took almost 4 hours and we went to the Bridge, Engine Control Room, Laundry, Theater, Kitchens (both 4th and 5th deck), and the Provisions - cargo area. So the negatives, yeah the ship is smaller and older. While not obviously visible, the age is there and reflected in the increased vibrations of the engines that could be felt throughout the ship. She is also smaller and so the wave action was more pronounced. There was also the occasional whiff of odors…but it was mainly on the lower decks. There are also serious flow issues in how they route people around the Windjammer buffet and around the ship in general; I generally chalk that up to Grandeur being a smaller ship. Bottom line: I enjoyed cruising out of Baltimore, it’s a half hour from my home. Embarkation and Dis-embarkation were great! I would love for the ship to be larger or newer; but for what it is, the Grandeur of the Seas delivers a good, solid cruise. The Service is top-notch, the cabins are presentable, the food is average to excellent, it is a great family ship to sail on and I highly recommend the Adventure Ocean kids program. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
In short, great food, great staff, nice but small ship, and lots and lots of very old people with walkers, and scooters. And 10 days (9 really) with 5 at sea is just too long. Having been spoiled on the newest and largest ship of 2010 ... Read More
In short, great food, great staff, nice but small ship, and lots and lots of very old people with walkers, and scooters. And 10 days (9 really) with 5 at sea is just too long. Having been spoiled on the newest and largest ship of 2010 (Oasis of the Seas) we were in for a shock on Grandeur. Grandeur is a SMALL ship. There is only one theater with rotating shows. Most activities are in the "Centrum" which is sort of like a nice hotel lobby and not terribly big. The dining rooms were nice and spacious. There is one small pool on deck, and another in the adult only, covered Solarium. There is no central promenade or courtyard. Only a few small shops, and one Starbucks-like venue. Unlike the bigger ships, YOU WILL FEEL THE MOTION OF THE SHIP, and even in 9 foot seas many people complained of seasickness. This particular cruise was populated mostly be seniors. Literally only a handful of children on board, and it seemed like only a dozen or so families age 50 and under. Accordingly, things tended to shut down early. Except for one bar (Viking Crown Lounge) playing club music with a DJ for about 6 dancers, the place became a ghost town after 11 or so. Early dining times were packed. DINING was the HIGHLIGHT of the cruise. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the dining room were always great experiences. We loved our wait staff, and the food was always EXCELLENT. A new full menu was offered for every meal with some favorites (e.g., Steak, escargot, creme brûlée, etc.) always available. Lunch has a wonderful full-service salad bar. Portions were generous and the waiter encouraged us to order multiple appetizers, entrees, etc. For example, one night when lobster was on offer, he ordered two entrees for everyone without asking, just to make sure everyone had all they wanted. I can't say enough good things about the food and dining experience. Entertainment was both sparse and weak compared to our previous cruise. Lots of seniors enjoyed ballroom dancing in the Centrum in the evenings. Live entertainment was good, but frequently a lively party of dancing and happy people were interrupted by the staff who would stop everything for an "official" dance party, where everything was turned into a line dance. A few people got into it --the same people throughout the cruise. But most of us got so tired of the same refrain of "left foot, right foot, shake it, shake it..." that we would leave. The piano bar singer (Graham) was enjoyable, though his repertoire seemed a bit weak (he's young). Broadway and dancing performances were good, though we were not fond of the song choices or arrangements --very unrecognizable for a collection of songs and dances from hit shows. We noticed a larger than average ratio of very large people on this cruise, many of them on scooters. Our hearts went out to them, as we have no idea how they managed in the tight stateroom accommodations. And clearly none of the chairs around the ship were comfortable for anyone beyond average size. The usual Western Caribbean ports were nice, with Labadee Haiti being the highlight. Cozumel was nothing special. We did the Playa Mia beach day excursion and I would not recommend it even if the weather were sunny (which it was not). Although it has a nice water-park area for kids, the beach had a run-down feel. The lounge chairs were hard, uncomfortable plastic. And don't bother paying extra for the open bar. The open bars are few and have only a small selection of unpalatable local spirits. Any name brand or halfway decent liquors are only available at the "cash bars", which are prevalent, and not covered by the prepaid package. Having visited Cancun several times, I have seen nothing in Cozumel that comes anywhere close. Falmouth Jamaica offered a fenced in shopping town, feeling very much like a theme park. Which was fine. But we were encouraged not to venture outside into the city at large, as the locals were "aggressive". Seeing the shanty towns just outside the gates, it's no wonder, as the very poor local people see all the (relatively) rich Americans invade their town. The shore excursions were not terribly appealing to us. We had walked Dunns River Falls before, and the local drivers were crazy and people were aggressive, begging, and constantly trying to sell something. Guides complained if tips were too small. Better to do a little shopping and spend the day in the sun on the ship. Georgetown, Grand Cayman was OK. At least you could walk around the town and visit the hordes of tacky souvenir shops and jewelry stores. There were a few restaurants. Beware of low end jewelry shops. Not only are salespeople aggressive and there's lots of fine print in all the "free" offers. But in one instance the proprietor put a ring on my wife's finger as she was looking in the glass cases. He said walk around the store with it and see how it feels. She smiled and after a few seconds took it off, placing it on the counter in front of him. As we left the store a few minutes later he came running out claiming we had left with the ring. After some threats (his) and shouting (mine) we walked off, and the threatened police were never called. But clearly there are scams to avoid. Labadee, Haiti however was AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL, even if it is an RCI owned, manufactured haven, with a much more depressing Haiti just out of sight. Tons of interesting shore excursions, from zip lines to downhill coasters were on offer (but obviously not heavily used by our geriatric compatriots). Several picturesque beaches, both on the ocean side and the bay side were available (free), so it never felt crowded. Everything was staffed by people from the ship, and the lunch buffet (free) was provided by the ship. Bar inventory and staff were also from the ship. We enjoyed this so much we wished the entire cruise had been spent here, with the ship acting as our hotel. It helped that the weather was beautiful, even a bit hot for the first week of December. A side note: If you're a fan of frozen drinks on the beach (e.g., Pina Colada, Daiquiri, etc.) don't get your hopes up. We never saw a blender at any beach bar, and ice drinks were the norm. Embarkation was smooth and easy. Disembarkation was a bit clunky. Make sure you have your bags outside your room by 11PM. Don't think you can go to the final 10:30 show and get back in time to put your (hopefully packed) bags out. If you snooze, you lose. The ship docks early and you're encouraged to go to your waiting point (e.g., the Palladium Theater) to wait for your number to be called. Coffee and danish are available, but the wait can be long as the line through customs is not very speedy, so it seems to take about 15 minutes for each group to be called (we were group 19). In summary, we are big fans of Royal Caribbean. And if you are older and move at a slower pace, this is a great cruise for you. If you have a family, or are 50s or younger, or want a romantic getaway, choose one of the newer, bigger ships. And come hungry. :) Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My mother and I did a back-to-back cruise to Florida, Nassau, Cozumel, Haiti, and Falmouth. We have done this cruise before, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Embarkation in Baltimore is still not quite as professional as Bayonne, but ... Read More
My mother and I did a back-to-back cruise to Florida, Nassau, Cozumel, Haiti, and Falmouth. We have done this cruise before, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Embarkation in Baltimore is still not quite as professional as Bayonne, but it is getting much better. Our cabin was a junior suite and was very comfortable with good drawer and closet space. Our cabin steward, Lamberto, took good care of us. The dining room staff did an outstanding job. From the restaurant manager Natividas Montero (Monty) to the headwaiters, Glen, Tuncay, Dwaine to the waiters and assistant waiters Sophia, Igor, and Endi to bar server Lyndon to Chef's Table staff Karl and Dan--each of them worked hard to provide a marvelous experience. To each of them and anybody I might have forgotten--thank you. One day my mom did not feel well, and we did not go to the MDR for lunch as was our custom. They called from the MDR to see if we were OK. How special is that! In Falmouth, Jamaica, we there was a man singing my dad's favorite song last year. He was still by the crafts and sang "You are my Sunshine" for us again. Then we went to Margaritaville and mentioned this to our waitress. She asked the DJ ro play it. Everyone was clapping and singing. We had quite party! Wheelchair disembarkation was the only fly in the ointment with an not very empatheetic young lady in charge. Otherwise we had a fantastic time! We caan hardly wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I chose the Carnival Pride for our honeymoon and first cruise. The basis of its appeal was the fact that it was inexpensive and allowed for a flexible itinerary. We had days where we kept ourselves busy with activities and ... Read More
My husband and I chose the Carnival Pride for our honeymoon and first cruise. The basis of its appeal was the fact that it was inexpensive and allowed for a flexible itinerary. We had days where we kept ourselves busy with activities and days where we lounged and relaxed. This review is from the perspective of a first time cruiser but we hope it is helpful to others considering a cruise for their vacation. -Affordability-We booked the cruise through a travel agent and paid for the gratuity upfront. I recommend this as it was one less thing to worry about during our vacation. The drinks and restaurants on the ship were fairly priced. -Atmosphere- We enjoyed the "theme" that the designer created for the ship. Personal preferences aside, there are areas that appeal to all interests. We loved the fact that we could find quiet places to lounge at any time of day. The sunset garden around the theatre is almost always empty if you're looking for a nice table by a window. -Rocking the boat- We read a lot of warnings that cruise ships could be noisy from the guests, decks, and ship motors. A smaller ship like the Pride could mean a rocky cruise in the waters are rough. We stayed in an aft room on deck 6. You could hear the ship running however if you are use to white noise when you sleep this won't bother you. It was noticeable but not obnoxious. We traveled in late October and did experience some waves. During the day I found myself distracted to notice it however it did keep me up a few times at night. The only time I felt nauseous was the night we went to David's Steak House on the very top of the ship. Since we were up high we felt the effects of the waves even more. As far as noise from our guests and the decks, being on deck 6 we never heard anything from our neighbors or the crew. -Crowds- We traveled in late October and did not see a lot of children on the ship though there were a few. A majority of the guests kept to themselves. On occasion you'll enviably be disturbed by a noisy group of intoxicated guests. We found the lido decks to be the most crowded. The Serenity Spa also filled up fast but guest seemed to be more courteous to share their time. On one of the sunniest days the decks were packed with lounge chairs. Getting two and from the ship on port days was not as bad as expected. It was crowded but not very time consuming. Getting off the boat on debarkment was the worst. It took a long time, was not well organized and extremely crowded. -Dining- The free dining areas include the Normandie dining room, the Mermaid grill, the Blue Iguana and Guys Burger Joint. The Normandie has different time-frame dining options. We choose not to have a set time for our meals and never had to wait for a seat with the exception of formal nights. During those nights our wait was 20-30 mins but you were given a buzzer and could walk around the ship. The Normandie always had dinner menus outside their doors so you could plan when you'd prefer to eat elsewhere such as the steakhouse. During sea days the Normandie also offered a brunch between 8:30am-1pm. We always ate dinner at a table for two. During the brunch you might be seated to a table with others. Breakfast is also served during port days but is different from the brunch menu. We didn't care for it as much. The Mermaid Grille was open for all meals and had different cafeteria style stations. We loved the large windows so we could watch the ocean while we ate. I usually only ate here for fresh fruit and coffee. They have a pizza selection that is open all night. I got a slice during a movie night and it was delicious. The other food was nothing special so I chose to eat most of my meals at the Normandie. The Blue Iguana was a build your own taco or burrito bar which was delicious. We chose this for lunch once or twice. Guys Burger Joint didn't appeal to us as much. We would ask for a small portion of fries for a snack. On the same deck there are ice cream machines the guest can use at any time. Being an early morning person I would be at Mermaids around 6 for coffee and start with a walk around the ship. I went to the gym often and would stop at mermaids again for fruit and water. I brought my own water bottles and could fill them up at mermaids throughout the day. My husband would have time to sleep in and by the time he woke and showered we would go to the Normandie for brunch. The brunch is only on sea days and we went to every single one. The food was delicious and it was nice to meet other guests on the ship. We usually would snack or have a late lunch at Mermaids or Blue Iguana. Dinner was between 5:45pm-9:30pm as we choose "your time dinning". We both enjoyed the food served here. The dinner menu will list starters and appetizers that are served every day. The other half of the menu are meals specific for that day only. There is also a section on the menu labeled didja ever which offers a unique dish for guests far braver than myself to try. The dinner ends with a selection of desserts to choose from as well. We were tipped to have the bitter and blanc dessert when offered and offer the same advice. We both enjoyed the atmosphere of the Normandie as well. It was beautiful and we were lucky enough to be seated at a large window one night. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This cruise was the first cruise with my daughters. They are 3 years and 1 year old. Arrival/embarkation: We drove from home which was about a 4 hour drive. Not too bad and certainly better than flying such a short distance. We ... Read More
This cruise was the first cruise with my daughters. They are 3 years and 1 year old. Arrival/embarkation: We drove from home which was about a 4 hour drive. Not too bad and certainly better than flying such a short distance. We left home with plenty of time and at that point my only worry was traffic from the Raven's home football game that day. As we got closer, it was already after kick off so the traffic from the game was a non issue. We did encounter total and horrific gridlock traffic 1/2 mile away from the port parking lot. Apparently, the ship encountered rough seas coming back to port and was late getting in. The parking lot was closed to the arriving cruisers until the exiting cruiser could leave. We sat, parked, in the road for 3 hours all the while having the ship in out sights - 1/2 mile away! Once the gates were opened, it was total chaos. The port employees has no idea what they were doing. You could tell they were totally overwhelmed. We eventually dropped the luggage off and parked then headed to the security. Security/check in: Somehow we arrived to port early before the traffic. We ended up towards the end of the people boarding the ship so we were in the end of the line. Since we had 2 young children, we purchased the "FASTER TO THE FUN" pass. Please note, this only gets you moving "faster" after the initial 2 lines. The first line checks you passport against your ticket then it goes in to security screening. Only after security does the faster to the fun get you in the shorter line. This is where you get your sail and sign cards. Ship: Once on the ship everything was fine. Our luggage was in our room when we go there (another perk of Faster to the Fun) although since there was total chaos getting in, many employees said the Faster to the Fun pass dint matter anymore because there were "extenuating circumstances". Anyways, we go to our room and headed to dinner. We set sail about 2 hours later than scheduled but dinner was right on time. Pools: Entirely too small. People cram in to these like sardines. You can't even move. My toddler did enjoy the water slides and kids area. I enjoyed it better too. Not very crowded. Main dining room: The staff was amazing. We had William, Dedang, and Jesson taking care of our family. All together, we had 8 family members. They catered to the kids with high chairs, booster seat, and always having cold milk for my toddler. They would sing and dance with her too. Simply amazing. We almost cried on our last night eating with them. The food was ok. Smaller portions but you could order as much as you wanted. (Before someone reads this and says I am some fat overweight hog complaining about portions, I am not. I am 5'-9" and 180 lbs.) The options were nice. They had a daily menu that never changed then there was a "today" menu for that day only. Of course the warm chocolate melting cake was amazing. Buffet: The food on lido deck was great. So many choices. Asian food, Guy's Burger Joint, pizza, tacos, burritos..... Honestly, if you find this food terrible you are too picky. Jeez people. Cmon. Room steward: We had 4 balcony rooms on the 7th floor. Jessica was out steward. She was amazing. Always happy and smiling and would greet us by name. Great!!! Room: We spent the money of booked back to back rooms that connected inside. This allowed the kids to sleep in their own room while my wife and I had our own room. I would do this again in a heartbeat. We also opened the balcony divider which was nice. I heard they have limited hardware so if you want to do this ask for it ASAP. We had a Baby Jogger City Select stroller. It would fit down the halls OK but if there were room service trays laying in the hall you had to maneuver around them. Also, it was too wide to fit through the door so you have to fold it up in the hall. Not a bid deal. Kept it in the closet all cruise because we never got off anywhere to need it. It fit in the elevators fine. They are long and narrow elevators. Shows: Shows were great, fast paced. They had to dull things down because of the rough seas but we loved them still. My toddler is still dancing around pretending to be one of the girls. Dr. Suess: We attended the Dr. Suess breakfast with my toddler. She loved it. Most of the breakfast foods are normal just with a creative Dr. Suess name, but she had green eggs and ham. The characters joined everyone for breakfast and there was picture time too. Very nice and only $5 per person! WEATHER WEATHER WEATHER WEATHER WEATHER: Sailing from Baltimore in late September is not something I would do again. The weather was in the 60's leaving which causes you to lose a day leaving and a day coming back to catch some sun and be outside in the water. HURRICANE JOAQUIN: Yes, there was a hurricane and it caused us to miss 2 stops in the Bahamas and we left early from Grand Turk. They weather was bad at Grand Turk anyways. Basically, we sailed from Baltimore to Grand Turk, stopped for 4 hours then sailed around the storm and came home. The staff always kept us updated on the path of the storm and the ships path around it. They did anything they could to entertain us. Cruise director Steve had no voice left at the end of the cruise. I think he worked 24hrs a day keeping people excited and entertained. As a good will gesture, after our last port of call was canceled, Carnival gave us 50% off the cruise rate and will give us 50% off another 2-7 day cruise because of the terrible weather. HUGE thumbs up the Carnival. They didn't HAVE to do anything for us but rather than risk the bad reviews they stepped up big time. Leaving/debarkation: We packed up the bags and left them in the hall the night before we left. Our Faster to the Fun passes allowed us to skip the long winding line through the casino and get right off. You will eventually get in a line though waiting to pick up your bags. They are neatly waiting for you based on your zone. No issues here. We got our stuff with some help, packed up and drove home. NOTE: Sometimes "Faster to the Fun" can just get you faster to wait in another line. I would but it again since we have young kids. For $59/per room any time saved with kids is great. There is also a dedicated line at customer service for Faster to the Fun members but we never really saw long lines there other than embarkation day. All in all I would do it again but earlier in the summer. Our main problems (traffic and weather) were total freak things that we can not control. Guess we were just unlucky. If you have a good attitude and make the best of everything, you will enjoy it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We chose this cruise because it was a smaller ship and we could drive to Baltimore from Canada and avoid dealing with abysmal airline service. We were apprehensive after reading some previous reviews and now realise that you cannot please ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a smaller ship and we could drive to Baltimore from Canada and avoid dealing with abysmal airline service. We were apprehensive after reading some previous reviews and now realise that you cannot please some people no matter how great your service is. We have cruised on Holland America, Celebrity and RCL, previously, and have had varied staterooms from inside, outside, balcony and suites. We chose a suite for this cruise as it was a treat for a birthday and 40th anniversary celebration and I can honestly say that we will want to go with a suite again on RCL the service was superb. Our only option when we booked was the Owners Suite 8004 as all else was sold out. On reading the reviews of this suite it was suggested not to choose it because it was below the Windjammer Restaurant so the noise was unbearable imagine our surprise when we found the noise which was the occasional rolling of trolleys in the morning did not disturb us at all. The suite was fabulous. The suite concierge service is beyond reproach much better than on Celebrity I might add. The staff on the Grandeur are great always pleasant and eager to give you the best service always with a smile. My one complaint is, as usual, people who place towels on deck chairs for hours and never return to their place and deck staff seemed to be non existent or not willing to remove them even though there are signs posted to avoid this really annoying habit. The port of Baltimore was very well organised with both embarkation and debarkation although we had priority as suite guests I would hope that this applies to all passengers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We were not sure what to expect from a smaller ship. We had nothing to fear. The Grandeur indeed provided a grand experience. Embarkation at Port of Baltimore went smoothly. Once onboard the crew proved to be beyond attentive. The ... Read More
We were not sure what to expect from a smaller ship. We had nothing to fear. The Grandeur indeed provided a grand experience. Embarkation at Port of Baltimore went smoothly. Once onboard the crew proved to be beyond attentive. The smaller ship experience is more personal and very enjoyable. After initial introductions, any crew staff I met quickly recognized my husband and I, called us by name and remembered our preferences for the duration of the cruise. The Main Dining Room food was varied, well prepared, tasty and served by staff who could not have been more attentive. Royal brought back the Parade of Dining Room staff who sang to the diners during 1 evening. Sounds corny but everyone cheered and loved it. CHOPS served the best tasting filet mignon I have ever had anywhere. Giovanni's served a perfect risotto. Anyone who has tried to make this understands the work and finesse involved in the oreparation of this dish. There were plenty of movies, lectures, shows and other varied activities to keep folks of all ages occupied. The many open areas and windows all over the ship provide ample seating for relaxing with a book or Kindle while ocean gazing. This is a treat not available on the larger ships. There was a variety of music and opportunity for all types of dancing. I look forward to cruising on Grandeur again and highly recommend a cruise on Grandeur. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Booked Grandeur for the Western Caribbean itinerary and the fact we can drive to the port. We were fans of Explorer of the Seas and after having sailed on Quantum, we weren't sure what to expect from this sailing. Loved the Lady ... Read More
Booked Grandeur for the Western Caribbean itinerary and the fact we can drive to the port. We were fans of Explorer of the Seas and after having sailed on Quantum, we weren't sure what to expect from this sailing. Loved the Lady Q as a ship, but we were left wanting across the board in terms of dining, hotel service, bar service, etc. As we pulled up she looked so small, we called her "fun size" but once we were on board that didn't really matter. From the pier staff to the check-in team to the crew and officers, it was a completely different experience and we're so glad we sailed on Grandeur. Those teams were happy, nice and accommodating. Not just to my family, but we observed the crew going above & beyond for other families. This made for happy passengers, and it was a completely different vibe, one that was great for vacation. Our very first cruise was on Grandeur seven years ago, and based on the level of service we received, we changed a 2016 cruise booked on Anthem to Grandeur. We let the crew know why also, that their work made a difference. They wondered if people would come back to Grandeur now that Quantum and later Anthem will be sailing out of Bayonne. I think everyone wants different things, and if the crew staffing the Grandeur keeps delivering on the service end of things, the question they posed will be answered with full cabins and happy passengers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
First, I must begin by saying that I like the newer and larger ships because the entertainment and restaurants have much more to offer. I absolutely love the Oasis and Allure The entertainment/shows on the Grandeur were mediocre and ... Read More
First, I must begin by saying that I like the newer and larger ships because the entertainment and restaurants have much more to offer. I absolutely love the Oasis and Allure The entertainment/shows on the Grandeur were mediocre and there were way too many comedians shows. The food was nothing special and on several occasions was barely warm (the first two days). I did not like when we had breakfast in the main dining room and the server suggested we could get our own food from the small buffet set up in the center of the dining room. I like being served breakfast and dinner. The lobster on the last night was very very small and if I had known, I would have asked for two servings. I enjoyed the Quest which was a lot of fun. Movies were shown by the pool at night but they were kids shows. The movies in the Paladdium were not very good and I did not like the movies that were shown. We could not get chairs by the pool in the Salarium except for one or two days when I got there by 8:30. Even by that time practically all were taken. Since we cruise March 21 - 31, it was too chilly on most days to sit by the main pool. My husband was unable to play poker most evenings because there were not enough players. The food at the Park Cafe in the Solarium was not very good either. The roast beef on the Oasis and the Allure was absolutely wonderful, but the crew on the Grandeur did not trim the fat or tough part off the beef I was very disappointed since we had enjoyed the Park Cafe on the other ships. The private island was nice but it was quite a long walk to get waterfront chairs on the beach. We ended up having partial shade under a palm tree but was far away from the water. The lunch buffet was over at 1:30. When we tried to go back for dessert, the food was all taken away 1:30 seemed early to stop serving. One of my biggest complaints is that we paid as much for the Grandeur as we did for the Oasis and Allure. Emarkment and disembarkment was slower than on the the larger ships which surprised me. Our balcony cabin was satisfactory except we could not put our luggage under the bed. The bed was lower than any bed we have had on our other 30 cruises. This was the first time we have not been able to put our luggage under our bed. Another unpleastant experience was that although we had signed up with Royal Caribben for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet/Mingle and received notification with Royal that there were enough people signed up and that our names were added to the group, we never received notification as to where and when it was to be held We had to go to Guest Services to find out where and when it was being held Luckily, we stopped by on our first sea day and found out that it would be held 15 minutes after we asked We will probably not cruise out of Baltimore again although we live in Baltimore. We decided to try it this time because friends were going. It is probably okay for people that like the smaller and older ships. I just say that I have never had so many complaints with the other 30 cruises we have taken Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I'm a "big ship" type of girl. Independence of the Seas, Oasis, those kind of ships. My husband booked our ten day cruise on Grandeur because of the 30 minute drive to the port in Baltimore. And, the cheap price for hopes ... Read More
I'm a "big ship" type of girl. Independence of the Seas, Oasis, those kind of ships. My husband booked our ten day cruise on Grandeur because of the 30 minute drive to the port in Baltimore. And, the cheap price for hopes of warmer weather after our long snowy winter. After reading so many negative reviews of the "tired looking ship" I had thoughts of my husband wasting our money for a few moments of sunshine. But folks, that wasn't the case. I now reread those negative comments and think: Come on folks, what were you expecting for such a cheap price? Here's my "take" on the Grandeur of the Seas". Good and a couple "what the heck". We got to the port around 10:30 which turned out to be a Huge benefit as the line behind us was much longer than what was in front of us. Even so, we stood inside the terminal line for 40 minutes. Time we got thru security we were allowed to board the ship.. We headed to the Park Cafe for their roast beef sandwiches. They were just o.k., not as good as the ones on the Oasis. It was quiet there. Park Cafe is usually opened for breakfast with bagels, breakfast sandwiches, yogurt and a few pasteries, some lunches which included hot dogs, hamburgers, a small salad bar and a few premade sandwiches. Every evening for snacks which included pizza, chips and dip, cookies and sugar free cookies. There is a coffee, hot tea and hot coco station right there. Our room (2018 Ocean View) was ready at 1pm. The room was very doable with enough storage for your clothes. We put our suitcase in the window space. Big space. The "what the heck" was the bathroom. It is small folks. The shower was really tiny with a shower curtain that danced to its own tune. If you are on the "bigger" side you may have trouble. I would recommend doing what we did: Bring your own shampoo and soap. Water pressure was o.k. Another "what the heck" moment was no hot water for several days. Actually, I started shaving my legs outside the shower. The bed was fine. We brought our own pillows. Thank goodness, as their pillows are pretty darn flat. This all being said, our room was nicely located for "quiet". I would book this room again. Food overall was pretty darn good. Eat in the dining room any chance you get. Formal nights were the first sea day and the next to last night. Most people dressed nicely. Might have to do with the average age of the passengers being in their 60's though there were a few children on board. Lunch in the dining room offers a salad bar where you tell the guy what all you would like in your salad. Very fresh. We ate at the Italian restaurant and were very pleased. The food was really good. I would recommend NOT prebooking any specality restaurants. They quickly start offering discounts. I got the soda package. There are 4 soda machines in the Windjammer and one located by starbucks on level 6. It is marked on your sear pass that you bought the soda pass. Any bar will give you a glass of soda too. It's a good soda product. There, as previously mentioined, a Starbucks on board on level 6 for a fee but you can get them to give you free pastries that they serve. They are on some days better than the "sweets" served in other areas. Smoking was allowed on decks 5 and 9, starboard side. The one on deck 9 is covered which is good if it rained. The Casino is mainly smoking with just a small section set aside for the nonsmokers. If smoke bothers you....stay away as smoke doesn't know to stay on its side. The casino is small. Really small. They do not really have a system in place to reward playiing. There is a $30 rebate but, by gosh, you have to remortage your house to get it. If you are interested in seeing their nightly shows get their early. Every night it filled up. A couple of shows we heard were really good. They were always the non dancing shows. Look, its the Grandeur of the Seas, it is not Broadway. You want broadway quality go on the Oasis of the Seas. The Grandeur's entertainment is meant to give you something to do at night. Keep your expectations low and just enjoy being somewhere else but home. Liquor sales were offered when we first entered the ship. We should have bought then. It was the cheapest prices we saw the whole cruise including the places we visited. Apparently, ten dollar watches are the "thing" now along with two for twenty T-shirts. Those sale days brought out the completitive shopping people. We are walkers. So, we decided just to walk in each port. Cozumel required a three mile walk to town and of course three back. There are condos just across from the port that on a previous trip we visited. Listen to their 60 minute speech and we were allowed to use their stuff all day. Free lunch, free liquor, free special beach. You even get a free bottle of tequila to take with you. Yes, it's a timeshare but 60 minutes, no buy, worth the stop. In Falmouth, Jamaica we asked a local (yes, you take a chance) to walk us arouind the Island. He was great, we felt safe and saw housing areas and locals we might have been too scared on our own. Locals protect us. We are their bread and butter. We paid the guy $14 for just over an hour. We had rain and wind for part of this cruise and several really hot sunny days. I only experienced sea sickness (my hubby said I was a whimp) one night and that was near Florida heading back to Baltimore. We had no trouble using our credit card to pay for the $150 parking. Rumors have it the machine breaks quite a bit. We had no problem getting our luggage tagged at the port. We had our paper work filled out. Very easy experience. Getting off the ship was not bad. We did self assist and met on deck 4. Be prepared for lots of self assist at this port due to most living in close proxmity. We had our claims form filled out and the whole process took around 30 minutes. This cruise is for people looking for a cheap alternative to get away. The ship looked fine to me. Is it the Oasis, no, but fine for the price. People on the 10 day cruise seem to be on the older side and this is coming from a woman in her 50's. People seemed to dress nice and didn't eat at the winndjammer like it was going to be their last meal ever. A better group of people than on the lower fare Carnival ships. Service throughtout the ship was really good. People were nice. I was impressed for the amount of money we spent to book this cruise and what services and food we received. Give it a shot if you are older. If you are still in the partying stage then I would recommend the party ship of Carnival Cruises. Whatever you choose, go with the right mindset. Expect to get what you paid for. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Just disembarked from the Granduer this AM. This is the oldest and smallest ship in the RCCL fleet but it has a lot of character! Does it need some work...yes, but that doesn't mean it's not a great ship. The interior cabin was a ... Read More
Just disembarked from the Granduer this AM. This is the oldest and smallest ship in the RCCL fleet but it has a lot of character! Does it need some work...yes, but that doesn't mean it's not a great ship. The interior cabin was a tad small but it sufficed. Didn't like the shower curtain but hopefully this will change with the upcoming redo. The Centrum is a nice meeting place but I miss the Promenade. Picture prices are still insane. We should all get together and NOT purchase their pics until they lower the price a bit. $29.00 for an 8 x 10? Really? Food was good...not great. Our service was outstanding, both in the DR and Stateroom. Embarkation and DisEmbarkation was smooth. Crew is great and very helpful. Casino smelled but what else is new? Wish they had a Cigar Lounge like the Explorer. I surely miss that. I'm heading back on the Granduer in a few months with two Grandchildren. Will report back! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
What can I say … my husband and I love Grandeur of the Seas. It is actually the largest ship we have ever sailed on, but we both think it is the perfect size, even though it is one of the smallest in RCI’s fleet. We like the fact that ... Read More
What can I say … my husband and I love Grandeur of the Seas. It is actually the largest ship we have ever sailed on, but we both think it is the perfect size, even though it is one of the smallest in RCI’s fleet. We like the fact that we can get to know many other cruisers in a short time and come across each other often. We also like that many of the staff know us by name very early on in the cruise and know where to find us throughout the ship to make sure we have whatever we need. We have always had excellent service and food in the main dining room. This past cruise we tried all of the specialty restaurants and they were all phenomenal, especially Izumi. We also feel that the windjammer is very good, hey … it’s a buffet, it is well above any buffet style restaurant you might go to off of the ship. The state rooms are a little on the small side, but the only thing we do in them is change clothes or sleep. We have never had a problem with our mattresses but other people we have cruised with or talked to who did have uncomfortable beds said they just asked for an egg crate for the bed and then were good to go. There are plenty of activities going on throughout the ship at any time. There is always something going on to appeal to everyone of all ages. I know everyone has their own opinion of what is too much or not enough, or good or bad, so of course this is just my own opinion. As far as my husband and I are concerned, just cruising on Grandeur of the Seas is a vacation for us, the ports of call are a little bonus. Another big plus is, getting in and out of the port of Baltimore is so easy. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We were on the Grandeur the 21th if Feb. for 10 nights, we got the ship in Baltimore. There was a big mess up with our tables, they had my sister and her friend at a table for two, and my husband and me at a table for four, we were ... Read More
We were on the Grandeur the 21th if Feb. for 10 nights, we got the ship in Baltimore. There was a big mess up with our tables, they had my sister and her friend at a table for two, and my husband and me at a table for four, we were supposed to be at a table for ten, after two hours we got that took care of. I have been on 25 cruises with RCI, always were good and no complaints but this cruise was the pits. The WJ was dirty, had the the worst waiter in the dining room, she would forget to take people's orders, always gave everyone the wrong dish, the poor girl did not know what she was doing, if you ordered soup you were lucky to get it, the food was always cold. I seen a waiter wipe his nose on his shirt sleeve, it was disgusting. One of the bands got into it and the woman stormed off stage, we were told she was sick, I seen her get mad and storm off the stage, it was terrible. The ship had rust and dirty windows, I have never been on a cruise like this, it was a waste of money, never again on the Grandeur, the mattress was terrible, they finally replaced it, this is the first time I have ever complained about a cruise, but this ship needs more help and cleaned up, one night I ask for shrimp cocktail, was told no, RCI is cutting their budget. Ordered a grilled cheese, it was a hard piece of bread from room service, this is the truth. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015

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