Embark - I had heard that Baltimore was an easy port for embarkation. That is 100% correct. The only delay we encountered was getting through the security screening line. It was quite long and slow, but once we were ... Read More
Embark - I had heard that Baltimore was an easy port for embarkation. That is 100% correct. The only delay we encountered was getting through the security screening line. It was quite long and slow, but once we were threw it - it was smoothing sailing and we were on the ship within 10 minutes. Being a Diamond C&A, I got to receive expedited processing and the staff was wonderfully helpful and courteous. Easy Breezy!
Disembark - Could not have been easier. We opted to do “Self-Assist” disembarkation and we left our room at 8:15am, went down to deck 4 (Centrum) and basically walked right off. We were at Baltimore Penn Station to take the train back to NYC by 9:00am. This truly was one of the easiest on/off’s I have experienced with RCCL. Thanks to all the staff & crew that made it a great experience.
Main Dining Room - We chose to eat all but one dinner in the main dining room (a big change for me as I usually enjoy the specialty restaurants while on board). I have been a frequent floater for the last 10 years and I have to tell you that the service in the “My Time Dining” (Deck 5) was the absolute best service I have ever had on any ship Ive ever sailed on. I was truly surprised (sad to say as I have come to expect a little less than perfection in the main dining room these days) at the level of attention to detail and personalized service we got. My travel companion was a vegetarian AND lactose intolerant. It is always a real challenge for her on cruise ships - but not this time. Our waiter, Jorge, our Assistant Waiter, George and our host, Roshman were the very best dining room crew ever. Jorge worked overtime (always with a smile on his face) to accommodate the special requests and even offered some suggestions on vegetarian things that we didn’t think of. It was an amazing experience. The food was exceptionally good in the main dining room as well - we thoroughly enjoyed our meals there.
Windjammer Marketplace (Buffet): This restaurant is a staple for RCL on all of their ships. The food was pretty standard fare for WJM, but the service in this outlet was superior as well. On multiple occasions, we had managers tell us that chef could fix anything we needed them to fix to accommodate the vegetation needs. There seemed to be plenty of options already there so we never had to ask. We did both lunch and breakfast there on many occasions. I particularly like the eggs cooked to order in the morning. Nice touch.
Park Cafe - One of the best things RCCL has done for complimentary food outlets in a long time. The quality of the food is wonderful and the ambiance of the cafe is great (in the Solarium on this ship). Thank you for adding this Oasis class food outlet to some of your older ships.
Room Service: N/A
Specialty Restaurants: N/A
Vitality at Sea Spa & Fitness:
Steam Room/Sauna (Locker Rooms) - I am really sad to see the newer ships doing away with the complimentary steam/sauna options. It was SOO nice to have access to a steam and sauna when we wanted it in the Vitality Spa (8am-8pm). They were both quite large and in very good condition. There were there showers and penny of lockers for use. It was a great experience. The only problem we had was that my travel companion (female) was told on day 1 that the steam room in the ladies locker room was broken but would be fixed by the next day. It was not. In fact - at one point - she was told it would be broken the entire cruise, but about 1/2 way through - it was all of a sudden working, which made her very happy.
Fitness Center - Pretty standard fitness center for RCL. I like that it was up top and was completely windowed so you could see the water while working out.
Service - My only concern about the spa/fitness area is that the majority of the staff seemed to be quite ambivalent about their passengers. I never had any one crew member be rude to me - but it was like they were struggling to just do the very bare minimum when it came to passenger interaction and customer service. Forced smiles were the norm and most times, you didn’t even get that. You got them looking down at the floor as they passed so they wouldn’t have to interact with you (more on that in a moment).
Performers - Ive decided not to break down each of the acts on the ship largely due to the fact that nothing we experienced was over the top sensational. None of it was “bad,” but none of it was anything to write a review on. Multiple times when watching one of the performing acts, I thought to myself, “When is the cruise industry going to change with the times?” We have been watching broadway reviews, magicians, jugglers, impersonators in the main theater, guitar/violin acts in the Centrum, and Jamaican bands on the pool deck for YEARS! They all begin to sound the same and you get to a point where you don’t hear them any more. I get that the newer, bigger ships are taking it to the next level with entertainment, but on the smaller, older ships - why do we have to continue to hear and see the same old thing?
Movies - I am incredibly grateful for the number of movies they played in the main theater and on the pool deck. I got to see two movies I had been wanting to see (“The 100 Foot Journey” and “The Imitation Game”). It was great fun to lay on the deck and watch a first run movie. They generally played movies in the main theater around 2pm in the afternoon. It was a great time to watch them. Thanks!
Aerialists - Was very sad to find out that the cruise just before us had experienced some technical difficulties with the rigging for the aerialists in the Centrum so we didn’t get to see them at all on this cruise. I would far rather the safety of the performers be first, but it was sad to not get to see them.
Pretty standard fare - photographers always there to get a snap of you. They were pleasant and the pictures turned out very nice. If I could make only one suggestion - please don’t assume that when you have a man and a woman in front of you for photos that they are husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. How difficult would it be for them to ask a question right up front like, “So how long have you two been married?” or something like that to gently find out. I am not intimately involved with the woman I was traveling with yet, each time, the photographers almost forced us to “pose” in the normal “palm flat on the chest of your partner” that is so standard in shop photography. Please don’t assume anything when photographing passengers. Thanks!
Management - Please train your crew to not lower their heads when passing a passenger anywhere on the ship. I had managers do it and regular crew members do it. Walking down the hall, walking through the shops, walking across the pool deck - it didn’t matter where it was…. the majority (not all) of the crew would rather not look at you and look away than have to interact with you. To prove my point, one of those crew (name withheld) would not smile at when when he interacted with me. A very gruff and stern face was what I got each time I encountered him. I finally asked him, “Excuse me - can I ask you a question….. is there a smile underneath that frown of yours?” He immediately smiled and apologized. He tried telling me his normal demeanor is to not smile, to which I thought “Dude, you’re in the wrong business then!” From that point on - every time I encountered him - he smiled allot to me. Now, how simple is that????
Guest Relations - Hit and miss…. one guy looked me straight in the face and said, “No. That is not possible.” He didn’t offer any kind of solutions to the problem, did not offer to discuss it with his supervisor, did not offer of an alternative solution… just NO! His attitude and demeanor so showed he didn’t care in the least if he helped me solve my problem. Most everyone else was perfectly fine at the desk and quite nice. Maybe he was having a bad day - but really!!!!!!
Passenger Age - Ive never taken the time to point out the age range of a particular cruise, because Ive always been ok with the median age being much older than me. This time however, it was SO noticeable that 9/10’s of the ship was between 70-80. The captain even mentioned there were only 44 children on the ship and other crew mentioned on more than on occasion that the median age of passenger were senior.
I had sailed this class of ship (Vision Class) back in July of last year when going to Alaska (Rhapsody) and was not all that impressed with the class much. We booked this cruise in Vision Class mainly because we got a good deal on it, it worked in our schedules and it was a warm weather cruise. I boarded expecting not allot - and was pleasantly surprised. Other than the service issues we encountered here and there - overall - it was a great experience. My travel companion really enjoyed her first RCCL cruise (and she worked for a competitor cruise line for 4 years). The service and food in the main dining room will be the big takeaway from this cruise for us - but in general - it was a great experience. Would I sail this shop again - yes, if the price was right. Our many thanks to those crew members who made our trip truly wonderful (e.g., Jorge, George & Roshman in the main dining room). I chose not to talk about the ports in this review because one can find much better information about the ports on TripAdvisor.com than what I can share. I really enjoyed Grandeur of the Seas and am happy to continue to “Loyal to Royal." Read Less