I booked this cruise to try out solo cruising. I was pleased that they do appeal to solo travelers and do not charge a single supplement for oceanview staterooms. I was accidentally charged for double occupancy but this was quickly ... Read More
I booked this cruise to try out solo cruising. I was pleased that they do appeal to solo travelers and do not charge a single supplement for oceanview staterooms. I was accidentally charged for double occupancy but this was quickly resolved by their online customer service chat.
Embarkation And Disembarkation:
The embarkation was a breeze, I was met with very friendly staff that assisted and directed me through the embarkation processes. I do like the fact that they offer valet parking at rates lower than what it costs to park yourself compared to other ports such as the Port of Miami.There was an area where you can pre-book your dining, shore excursions, and spa before boarding. The staff was not that pushy.
Disembarkation is simplified, either you can get off early or get off late. I would recommend getting or using your passport as I was able to breeze through the customs line with a passport while others with birth certificates needed to wait in line.
The cabin was clean and spacious. It had some wear and tear but nothing worse than what I have experienced on other vessels that operate for the bigger cruise lines. The biggest issues I had was with the firm bed, the cold air conditioning, and no phone directory on the phone. If you do have multiple things to charge, it would be wise to bring a power strip with you as there is only one outlet in the room. I read other reviews prior to going and brought my own power strip.
I found the Grand Classica ship to be in very good condition with some minor noticeable wear and tear. The public areas were kept clean and I noticed the staff and crew was very quick to remove any rubbish that was found on the floor. The ship could use better quality signage as the some of the directories that were plastered over the old ones were beginning to peel off.
I found the service to be excellent. All the staff and crew that I interacted with was helpful and addressed whatever questions or needs that I had. I did have an issue with being charged for a bottle of water that I did not consume from the room and being charged for a bottle of water and a carrying case when I only purchased the bottle. This was cleared up at the purser's desk prior to disembarkation.
Breakfast: The selection and quality compared to the bigger cruise lines like Carnival and Norwegian was about equal. I did not have to really wait in line for an omelet. I stuck to the outdoor grill area in the back as I enjoy eating breakfast in the quiet area with some fresh air.
I did not really try out the lunch buffet food as I was not in the mood for anything offered on day 1. Instead I opted for a burger and fries. Not bad. On day 2 I ate lunch on the island instead of on the ship.
On night 1 I tried out Admiral's Steak and Seafood. The $33 cover charge gives you 1 appetizer, 1 soup/salad, 1 entree (some premium items cost additional), 2 sides, and 1 dessert. The food was very good and well worth the money.
On night 2 I tried out the Yellow Elder dining room. I was surprised you only get 1 appetizer, 1 entree, and 1 dessert. I sometimes like to order other items on the menu to try out. Nonetheless, the portions were proper and the food was very good. I left satisfied and not hungry. I was surprised to find out that the eating dinner in the buffet was not an option as I would have loved to try that out if it was offered too.
Entertainment and Activities:
I did not have much of an opportunity to try out many of the activities. I did see both shows which I thought were pretty good. The acrobatic pair featured in the shows was amazing.
I booked the Crystal Beach swimming with the pigs shore excursion. The beach the excursion goes to was a small and well kept hole-in-the-wall off the beaten path that was not loud and overcrowded. The food and drinks were a bit pricey and it took a while for my order to be made. The pigs were brought out halfway during the excursion and we got to spend some time with them.
Comparing how this cruise line operates versus the big league they seem to strive to operate at the big league level. They do some of the things a bit differently with their booking (couldn't look up existing booking or make reservations online), embarkation (could reserve dining, shore excursions, and spa right before boarding), dining, and disembarkation. There was a little bit of a learning curve as I have been used to sailing on the big league lines and on the newer and larger ships. It was refreshing to finally sail after all these years on a smaller vessel and not have to do a ton of walking to get to the other parts of the ship. The cruise was not fully booked, so the ship was not crowded and it was nice to not have to always wait in long lines or wait for a deck chair or dining table. While I feel there is still some need for polishing and improving, I felt what I paid for was worth it and for the most part I did have a pleasant cruise. I might consider coming back on this cruise line at a later time. Given that they now operate two ships, I would also be interested if they also offered 3 and 4 day cruises going to either Nassau, Key West, Cozumel, Havana, or just an extra day at sea. Read Less