I'm a "big ship" type of girl. Independence of the Seas, Oasis, those kind of ships. My husband booked our ten day cruise on Grandeur because of the 30 minute drive to the port in Baltimore. And, the cheap price for hopes of warmer weather after our long snowy winter. After reading so many negative reviews of the "tired looking ship" I had thoughts of my husband wasting our money for a few moments of sunshine. But folks, that wasn't the case. I now reread those negative comments and think: Come on folks, what were you expecting for such a cheap price? Here's my "take" on the Grandeur of the Seas". Good and a couple "what the heck".
We got to the port around 10:30 which turned out to be a Huge benefit as the line behind us was much longer than what was in front of us. Even so, we stood inside the terminal line for 40 minutes. Time we got thru security we were allowed to board the ship.. We headed to the Park Cafe for their roast beef sandwiches. They were just o.k., not as good as the ones on the Oasis. It was quiet there. Park Cafe is usually opened for breakfast with bagels, breakfast sandwiches, yogurt and a few pasteries, some lunches which included hot dogs, hamburgers, a small salad bar and a few premade sandwiches. Every evening for snacks which included pizza, chips and dip, cookies and sugar free cookies. There is a coffee, hot tea and hot coco station right there.
Our room (2018 Ocean View) was ready at 1pm. The room was very doable with enough storage for your clothes. We put our suitcase in the window space. Big space. The "what the heck" was the bathroom. It is small folks. The shower was really tiny with a shower curtain that danced to its own tune. If you are on the "bigger" side you may have trouble. I would recommend doing what we did: Bring your own shampoo and soap. Water pressure was o.k. Another "what the heck" moment was no hot water for several days. Actually, I started shaving my legs outside the shower. The bed was fine. We brought our own pillows. Thank goodness, as their pillows are pretty darn flat. This all being said, our room was nicely located for "quiet". I would book this room again.
Food overall was pretty darn good. Eat in the dining room any chance you get. Formal nights were the first sea day and the next to last night. Most people dressed nicely. Might have to do with the average age of the passengers being in their 60's though there were a few children on board.
Lunch in the dining room offers a salad bar where you tell the guy what all you would like in your salad. Very fresh.
We ate at the Italian restaurant and were very pleased. The food was really good. I would recommend NOT prebooking any specality restaurants. They quickly start offering discounts.
I got the soda package. There are 4 soda machines in the Windjammer and one located by starbucks on level 6. It is marked on your sear pass that you bought the soda pass. Any bar will give you a glass of soda too. It's a good soda product.
There, as previously mentioined, a Starbucks on board on level 6 for a fee but you can get them to give you free pastries that they serve. They are on some days better than the "sweets" served in other areas.
Smoking was allowed on decks 5 and 9, starboard side. The one on deck 9 is covered which is good if it rained. The Casino is mainly smoking with just a small section set aside for the nonsmokers. If smoke bothers you....stay away as smoke doesn't know to stay on its side. The casino is small. Really small. They do not really have a system in place to reward playiing. There is a $30 rebate but, by gosh, you have to remortage your house to get it.
If you are interested in seeing their nightly shows get their early. Every night it filled up. A couple of shows we heard were really good. They were always the non dancing shows. Look, its the Grandeur of the Seas, it is not Broadway. You want broadway quality go on the Oasis of the Seas. The Grandeur's entertainment is meant to give you something to do at night. Keep your expectations low and just enjoy being somewhere else but home.
Liquor sales were offered when we first entered the ship. We should have bought then. It was the cheapest prices we saw the whole cruise including the places we visited. Apparently, ten dollar watches are the "thing" now along with two for twenty T-shirts. Those sale days brought out the completitive shopping people.
We are walkers. So, we decided just to walk in each port. Cozumel required a three mile walk to town and of course three back. There are condos just across from the port that on a previous trip we visited. Listen to their 60 minute speech and we were allowed to use their stuff all day. Free lunch, free liquor, free special beach. You even get a free bottle of tequila to take with you. Yes, it's a timeshare but 60 minutes, no buy, worth the stop.
In Falmouth, Jamaica we asked a local (yes, you take a chance) to walk us arouind the Island. He was great, we felt safe and saw housing areas and locals we might have been too scared on our own. Locals protect us. We are their bread and butter. We paid the guy $14 for just over an hour.
We had rain and wind for part of this cruise and several really hot sunny days. I only experienced sea sickness (my hubby said I was a whimp) one night and that was near Florida heading back to Baltimore.
We had no trouble using our credit card to pay for the $150 parking. Rumors have it the machine breaks quite a bit. We had no problem getting our luggage tagged at the port. We had our paper work filled out. Very easy experience.
Getting off the ship was not bad. We did self assist and met on deck 4. Be prepared for lots of self assist at this port due to most living in close proxmity. We had our claims form filled out and the whole process took around 30 minutes.
This cruise is for people looking for a cheap alternative to get away. The ship looked fine to me. Is it the Oasis, no, but fine for the price. People on the 10 day cruise seem to be on the older side and this is coming from a woman in her 50's. People seemed to dress nice and didn't eat at the winndjammer like it was going to be their last meal ever.
A better group of people than on the lower fare Carnival ships. Service throughtout the ship was really good. People were nice. I was impressed for the amount of money we spent to book this cruise and what services and food we received.
Give it a shot if you are older. If you are still in the partying stage then I would recommend the party ship of Carnival Cruises. Whatever you choose, go with the right mindset. Expect to get what you paid for.