I’m not going to call this a review, because I’m really going to try to keep this one short…difficult for me at best, and it may prove impossible…we’ll see.
A little about us…this was our 23rd cruise – our 10th with Royal Caribbean, and we’ve also cruised on Princess, HAL, Celebrity, and Carnival. We cruise without children, so the children’s club and family activities aren’t important to us. We don’t usually go to BINGO, we’ve never rock climbed, and cruise ship pool games don’t do much for us either. We seldom use room service, don’t eat late at night, and make a game out of Windjammer avoidance – the more we can avoid it, the higher our score! The things that matter and that we judge a cruise on are good service, a comfortable cabin with as much private outdoor space as possible (yes, I’m a balcony snob), good wine, reasonably good food, and some decent entertainment and activities sprinkled in there. We used to be die-hard late traditional diners, but now prefer MTD at an earlier hour, and we eat more in the specialty restaurants than we do in the MDR. We seldom go to the production shows any more, and we’ve never been big fans of cruise ship comedians, but we do often enjoy guest performers, spending time in the Schooner Bar for the piano player or listening to whatever entertainer is in the pub, and some late-night gambling. The other thing we usually do a lot is join in on trivia, but for some reason that never happened on this trip – I guess our timing was off.
Pre-Cruise – We stayed at the Hampton Inn on St. Charles (in the Garden District) and it worked out perfectly for us. I liked being a little bit away from the action, and the very reasonable price of our room included parking for the cruise! We actually changed our plans and stayed two nights instead of one, since the price was so reasonable. We were upgraded at check-in, and we had a huge room overlooking St. Charles with a seating area and dining area. I would stay here again and recommend it as a great choice for cruisers who want a quieter location than the hotels in the center of the action. The cab fare to the port is fixed, so it will cost you $7.00 per person regardless of location.
Our cabin – GS 1554 was very conveniently located and a little different from the other Grand Suites. It was a bit smaller because it was on the hump, but we had a full outer wall of glass with double sliding doors that basically served to make the cabin and the balcony seem like one space.