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Grandeur of the Seas Review

4.0 / 5.0
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1742 reviews
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Good and Bad on RC Grandeur of the Seas.

Review for Grandeur of the Seas to the Southern Caribbean
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branole
2-5 Cruises • Age 40s

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Sail Date: Apr 2013
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My wife and her parents were excited to take a South Caribbean cruise last April. Have cruised out of South Florida before and thought that flying and cruising out of Panama would be different and exciting. The ports of call were Cartagena Colombia, Bonnaire, Curacao, and Aruba. The first red flag should have been when our travel agent called 2 weeks before the cruise to inform us that this was a "Spanish Immersion Cruise." When we booked we realized that we would probably be cruising with more Latin Americans since this cruise was out of Panama- no big deal- we all grew up in South Florida, my wife's father is Cuban and the rest of us speak passable Spanish. We didn't let this alter our plans and figured we'd enjoy our cruise anyway. Flew into Panama City and got to spend a day there seeing the sites, shopping and dining and enjoying the local culture. Our cruise left on a Sunday and we met at the airport Sunday morning to catch the transfer. Beautiful drive across the country to get to the port city of Colon. Wow- Colon and the area near the port looked to be in absolute squalor. It's the stereotypical image the comes into your mind when you think of poverty in South/Central America. Garbage strewn everywhere, old abandoned and decrepit buildings, children running around in rags- it was sad to see.

We got to the port and got in line to board. It was the FASTEST experience I've encountered boarding a cruise (this was my 3rd cruise). Within 20 minutes of stepping off of the transfer bus we were stepping onto the ship. This includes dropping bags off, checking in, going through security. It flew. I was impressed with how efficient the whole process was. We boarded, checked into our room and then went exploring. Our room was a typical balcony suite. Had plenty of room for the 2 of us. My first hint of something was off was the fact there were what appeared to be hundreds of passengers in bright green (neon) clothing. This was either the largest family gathering/cruise or it was something else. Our suspicions were confirmed later that evening when our head waiter informed us that this was a Herba-Life cruise- with over 1200 Herba-Lift passengers on board. Not that it made a difference (I thought)- but at least it would have been nice to be informed of this prior to booking this cruise (our travel agent had no idea). The Herba-Lifers spent a lot of time in meetings or receptions- so that freed up a lot of room by the pool, at the spa, dinners and the buffet. That was fine- what wasn't great- was the the Herba-Lifers and Latin cruisers in general (according to multiple ship employees) don't participate in many of the on-board activities. Countless activities were cancelled, whether in the casino, on the pool deck, bingo...you name it- they just didn't have the numbers. Every activity we signed up for was cancelled.

Our cabin steward was awesome- she was attentive and always ready to help or offer suggestions and assistance. The waiters were also incredible- they remembered what drinks we liked, what bread we each preferred and would be constantly available. A lot of them spent extra time with us because we were one of only 8 English speaking couples on the cruise. They said they missed hearing English. The food- we were actually very disappointed in the food. I could have made sandals out of the steak, the vegetables were overcooked and the selection was very small for a cruise this size. We assumed that they had to get most of their food and supplies from either Panama or Colombia and hence the lower quality of food. I'm sure it would be different out of an American port.

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