New Orleans is a marvelous port to embark/disembark from.
However, Grandeur of the Seas is the poorest excuse for a cruise ship I've ever been on.
The dining room service was the ONLY redeemable aspect of this cruise I can find. Our waiter Bellage and his assistance Gideon were marvelous, as was the head-waiter and our bar service person. The food was well-prepared, if not exactly 5-star.
The rest of the ship was what I would have expected if Southwest airlines decided to open up a cruise line.
The entire lower half of the ship reeked of sewage, so unfortunately the areas around the stairwells and elevators also constantly smelled. I was lucky enough to have a stateroom on the 7th floor. I can only imagine how the experience was for those poor souls having to sleep in that.
Public restrooms were often closed due to problems with plumbing, making lines for the restrooms unbearable. Your best bet was often to head to your own stateroom.
At any given time, there would be at least 2 elevators (and often more) that were out of service. I found myself stuck on the elevators numerous times. At night, however, the stairs are not an option because of the gangs of roving, bored teenagers who hang out on the stairwells and make catcalls at the adults walking by. It was like being in a dangerous neighborhood many evenings. Obviously whatever teen entertainment they had fell short of capturing their attention.
Our steward was conspicuously absent. I know he existed because we hunted him down the first evening to ask for help with something. After that, we never saw him again, except once: the day they dropped off the tip notices. He was all smiles and handshakes, then.
Nothing was ever delivered properly. I received other people's excursion tickets and tip vouchers (you think they would have at least gotten THAT part right, hah!). I would have to go to the purser's desk to get mine, which had obviously been delivered to someone else.
At every port of call, there were mistakes in the anticipated dock time, so many excursions had to be cancelled. Ports of call where were supposed to dock, we ended up having to tender, with long, long waits for the tender boats. More cancelled excursions.
The windjammer cafe rotated between tolerable and abysmal, yet getting a table there at any time was virtually impossible. Breakfasts there were hideous concoctions of EXTREMELY watery eggs and frightening meat substances, cold toast, and gluey cereals. At lunch-time, it was impossible to navigate the crowds, who were often rude to each other and jostling, cutting, and pushing. I'd never seen such a rude class of passengers on any ship.
The food at the Solarium was worse than amusement park food, and largely inedible. However, the Solarium is the one beautiful oasis on this sad ship. If you're looking for a peaceful and lovely hideaway, this is it.
Room service was hit or miss. Usually you would be missing something like utensils or part of your order. For a birthday, we pre-ordered champagne and strawberries to be sent to my mother's room. They lost the order. When we called to complain, they sent us the order late with six extra strawberries as an apology. Huh?
The staterooms are shabby but functional. Most days at sea the only seat to be found was on our own stateroom deck, so we spent a lot of time there.
On-board entertainment was so bad as to be funny. The main band in the South Pacific Lounge made every song they played sound like the exact same tune. The big "shows" at the Palladium were reminiscent of high-school performances. The dj'd music up in the Viking Lounge was often hip-hop music that left the dance floor empty every night. Worst of all was the Schooner Lounge, which featured alternately a sad, sad little piano man and a combo consisting of a woman with a metal washboard on her chest and an old guy playing the accordion. Really, if you were looking for a "night life" on this cruise you had two choices - hang out in the casino or just fall in bed with a good book. Then again, you could always take your chances with the roving teen gangs on the stairwells. Some of the game-style shows were entertaining, while others found the room emptied before it was half over.
So many things went wrong during this cruise that the line for the purser's desk was often at least 1/2 hour long. By the time you could make your request, submit your complaint, get replacement excursion tickets because somebody else had been delivered yours, get refunds for cancelled excursions, or ask them to ONCE AGAIN recode your stateroom key because it had stopped working, the worn-out pursers would stare at you with a blank look on their faces. At one point, they ran out of comment cards because so many people were filling them out with complaints.
This was the highest-priced cruise I'd ever taken, and the one with the lowest price-performance ratio.
I've heard other people say that Royal Caribbean is a higher-class of cruise ship. This being my only RC cruise, I'd have to wonder what people are talking about, unless Grandeur of the Seas is just an abysmal example. This experience makes even Carnival look like an elegant, posh resort in comparison. The ship is obviously so old as to not be attracting the top staff. Many were often quite vocal about how soon their tour ended and how excited they were to be getting on a different ship the next time out. It's sad when even the people who are getting paid to be there can't wait to leave.
It was my first and last RCI cruise.