This cruise was booked for one main purpose-to make sure my other half can endure higher waves. He has only been on only two cruises so far, and on those, the waters were very smooth. I, being a meteorologist, figured that booking a ... Read More
This cruise was booked for one main purpose-to make sure my other half can endure higher waves. He has only been on only two cruises so far, and on those, the waters were very smooth. I, being a meteorologist, figured that booking a cruise in the Atlantic during January should give us a chance to see if he can handle the high seas. That we did get.
First of all, Delta lost a bag when we flew to Baltimore the day before sailing. Thankfully, the bag was delivered just as we were checking in at the port. While this was no fault of RCCL. it did make our embarkation a bit stressful, as we had delayed embarkation due to cleaning after illness on the previous cruise. After getting our seapass cards, I had to go back out beyond security to meet the luggage driver, tag the bag, give it to the porter, then come back in, wait in line, go back through the scanner/TSA, then was finally able to board the ship. I was for sure ready for a cocktail when all of that was done.
Simply put, the Grandeur has many positives. While the first night at dinner. we found the service to be lacking. We just didn’t think the staff and use were a good fit. So, on the second night, we asked for a different section (MTD) and it made all of the difference in the world. Every night from that 2nd night, the dinner service was right on point. Dexter, the waiter, and his assistant Rohab, and section leader, all of them did an excellent job.
We booked a JS on the aft #8588. We were very happy with it, however I was a bit disappointed in the condition of the cabinetry and night stands. They look old and worn. The stateroom attendant, Dominic, was perfect. One day we were gone for lunch for just 45 minutes, he came in and cleaned up our stateroom and left. We were amazed as we did not even see him when we left.
When we left Baltimore, I knew there was going to be a very strong storm developing. in fact, after looking at the weather charts several times, I was fully expecting some kind of itinerary change. With every new forecast model run, I kept saying to myself, sure we will not sail right into this. Remember, the main purpose of this cruise was to experience some high seas, so I can't say that I was completely disappointed about the storm, but I was a bit surprised there was no change in our itinerary.
The first day was a sea day, we were heading south and the seas began to build a bit, no surprise. At one point I tweeted RCCL asking them if they were watching the storm, they assured me they were. By the 2nd night we were in 10-12 foot waves. OK, not the worst possible, for sure, but this was exactly what we needed to accomplish our mission. Also, by the evening, it became obvious to me how the Captain was handling this storm. The ship sped up to 20 knots around the coast of North Carolina. I am sure this was to meet the storm while it was weaker (the storm was quickly strengthening as it moved north (the RCCL meteorologist commented on this move on his facebook page). and became the meteorological "bomobgenesis". This term refers to an area of low pressure that sees a drop in atmospheric pressure of at least 24 millibars within a 24 hour period. It ended up being one of the top ranking "bombogenesis" ever recorded. It became obvious to me by evening that Captain "Thor" knew exactly what he was doing. By sailing south quicker, we would pass the storm when it was weaker, vs. passing it when it was stronger, further north. In the end, that plan worked well. We got our seas we were looking for, but didn't get in worst like another ship further north (Norwegian Breakaway).
Our first scheduled stop was on Day 3 (Day 1 embarkation, Day 2 sailing) and scheduled for Charleston South Carolina. The "bombogenesis" storm gave this southern charming city a rare 4" of snow. It was beautiful, but the streets were covered in ice/snow, many businesses were closed, we even had a delayed arrival due to the harbor pilot having difficulty getting to his/her boat. We decided to stay on the ship, we were having a great time and I did not want to risk falling on ice and breaking something just to get off the ship. I admit that I was thankful to see such a rare event, snow in Charleston.
Day 4 was Port Canaveral, we have been there many times and had already planned to just stay on the ship and enjoy the solarium, which we did.
Day 5 was Grand Bahama. It have been there many times, we just walked off the ship for a few minutes and started to have Windjammer withdrawals, so we were on land a very short period of time. At least the weather was nice.
Day 5 was Nassau, here again, been there several times. We got off the ship briefly to walkaround.
Around 5pm I heard the announcement chime in the cabin, this got my attention as all announcements were in public spaces so far. It was Captain Thor telling us that due to the weather, we would not be sailing to Cocoa Cay that night, so we would just stay in port at Nassau another day before starting our journey back to Baltimore.
Day 7- instead of sailing to Cocoa Cay, we stayed in port at Nassau. We decided to go onto land for a bit just to check the area out and for a change of scenery. When we returned onboard to fix our Windjammer withdrawals, we found the crew serving the food. Even the entertainment staff pitched in and helped. They were working hard trying to get everyone served quickly. I am sure this was due to reported norovirus cases.
Around 5pm we begin heading back out into the open Atlantic. Just before bedtime, I checked my radar app to see what the south Florida radars were showing off the coast in our path. There was lots of rain so I knew the weather sailing out would not be too nice. As typical, I woke up around 6am, as I sometimes do when I am home, I picked up my phone and looked at radar, if for reason, just to see home much progress north we had come overnight. My location detector on the radar still showed us in the Bahamas, in fact, not far from Freeport. I immediately thought the location detector in the radar app must not be working properly and I would just dismiss it for now. About 30 seconds later, I heard an announcement being made in the hallway. I jumped up to open the cabin door to hear the captain saying we were headed back to Freeport due to a stuck rudder on the port side. Obviously, my phone was correct about our position. About 3 hours later, the Captain came on and said we were now headed for Port Canaveral for repairs and we would arrive there by morning. Later he announced that RCCL was flying a team of engineers from Baltimore on a private jet to meet us so they can come on board and fix a leak in the steering hydraulics. It was becoming more and more obvious to us that we would not make it back to Baltimore as scheduled on Thursday. Later in the day, the captain said we would not make it back until Saturday.
At this point it became obvious to us that we would need to disembark at Port Canaveral, rent a car, and just drive home to Alabama. It was that or try to schedule a flight out of Baltimore and get home at least 2 days late, possibly more.
I went downstairs to find a line at the GR desk wrapped half way around the Centrum. Later in the evening, there was a note on our door saying that if we wish to disembark Port Canaveral to let them know by 8pm. I went downstairs prepared to wait in a long line for more than hour but I was happy to find several crew members/officers working the line and actively get everyone’s questions answered or what else thy needed. I was in line maybe 8 or 9 minutes. I was greatly impressed by how the crew was handling this and seemed to be on top of the situation. There were some very upset people and they were dealing with them the best way they could.
We did disembark the next day and headed home, our cruise was cut short by two days, but it was that or get back at 3 days late. The choice was easy. I would say around 300 guest disembarked with us, as you can imagine, it was a bit crazy as we had all of our luggage, but here again the crew were working hard to keep the line moving and get everyone off the ship that was planning to disembark. One thing that I did not understand or like, is that they kept our seapass cards. I enjoy collecting mine.
Overall, we were very happy with our time on the Grandeur and would sail again. Despite all of the trouble, I still gave the cruise an excellent rating. Since we now know David can handle the waves, we have booked a 14 night Transatlantic on the Grandeur’s sister ship, Rhapsody for next year. Thanks for reading my review, I hope you find it helpful while planning your next cruise. Read Less