My husband and I took this cruise in July of 2012 for our 25th Anniversary. We never sailed on Royal Caribbean before, but this cruise had the right number of days for us (9)..7 days we felt were too short and 12-14 days too long. Also, the itinerary took us to 4 ports in Italy, which is what we most wanted to see. The Grandeur of the Seas is an older ship, but to our good fortune, had just been refurbished. It looked pretty good. No noticeable flaws. It was clean and bright and small. We liked the feel of a small ship, having always cruised with our kids on the mini-cities. It was easy to get around and we didn't get lost. I booked this cruise via the Royal Caribbean website. I was looking for a balcony cabin, which we always take. If you can afford it, the extra couple of hundred dollars is well worth it. I feel that a balcony cabin gives you a little extra room and a spacious feeling. It is nice sitting on your patio just having a drink or reading a book without the hustle and bustle of the public areas. At the time of booking, I was offered an upgrade to a Junior Suite for $9 per person per day more. At less that $200 for the whole cabin, this was a bargain. The extra room was nice, but the best was having a full-sized shower and tub!
We booked our excursions through the cruise line because, not speaking the language in any of the countries we visited, we didn't want to run into trouble. As it was, the day we were in Pisa, another tour group came back two hours late because someone got lost and the ship had to wait. Imagine if you got lost while taking your own side trip. You'd be stuck! The tours were very good and fairly priced. We packed in full days wherever we went! The ports we visited were Venice (We came in a day early so that we could experience the beauty of Venice-walk the streets, take a gondola ride, eat the local cuisine..Our full day excursions included lunch and I was expecting maybe a slice of pizza, but we had whole meals with wine and dessert! Italy has fabulous food! Our next stop was Dubrovnik, then on to Montenegro (a country I had never heard of, but absolutely beautiful. We were supposed to go to Corfu, Greece, but the cruise line changed the itinerary about a month earlier. They never said why,
Montenegro was a happy surprise! Then, on to Naples, where we took tours of Capri, Sorrento and Pompei (all on one excursion), next day Rome, where honestly we could have done two days and still not have seen everything. After Rome, Pisa and Florence. I would recommend going to both Pisa and Florence, as Florence is a beautiful city and the only thing in Pisa is the Tower which takes a few minutes to see. Off again to Marsailles, France where we chose to go to Aix-In-Provence, another lovely small town and very French. We heard that Marsailles itself wasn't too safe. I don't know if this is true or not.