We just completed our cruise on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, along with several friends. Our previous cruise experience had been on NCL and Cunard, and while it is difficult to make a comparison between lines based on the experience of one ship, I did come away feeling that the NCL options in the Mid-Atlantic (Mainly NCL's Breakaway and Gem) were better suited for families due to their on-board amenities and the Freestyle Dining system on NCL. That said, we did enjoy our time on Grandeur.
If you're considering a cruise on Grandeur, you'll probably hear people mention that it is an "old" ship, however everything on-board is just as new/modern as most ships afloat. The staterooms are a good size and there are some great lounges on the ship. The only notable difference between this ship and most newer cruise ships today is its size. We found the food to be good, though the dining options are somewhat limited, especially if you want a mid-afternoon or late evening snack/meal. The only place one can go to is the "Park Cafe," which is a small stand where you have to wait in a line for a server to hand you food (mostly pre-made sandwiches, pre-made salads, hot dogs and chips). As far as kid's options, there is one pool for all ages, as well as a small area for teens and young children and a rather small arcade.
The crew we encountered were largely friendly and helpful, though the crew to passenger ratio on this ship is rather high. As a result, the wait times in bars/lounges for a bartender or waiter can be rather long. Also, while I wouldn't go so far as to say the ship was "dirty," I did notice the ship was not kept as clean as past ships I've been on (mainly because there aren't enough people to stay on top of clearing tables, vacuuming carpets, polishing handrails, keeping restrooms in order, etc.). Regardless, we found that the activities crew does an amazing job of keeping people active throughout the day (you'd see them running from event-to-event), so there is PLENTY to do on this ship, even on a rainy day.
One other nice thing about this ship is the pool area is not as crowded as other cruises I've experienced, so it is possible to find a seat near the pool throughout the day.
All-in-all, I would say this is a nice ship that is super-convenient for people in the Northeast considering a cruise with a wide range of activities geared more towards adults (than families).
The room was larger than most we've stayed in on other cruises (we typically get a Junior Suite) and most of the amenities were rather modern. The ship intercom system doesn't work in any of the rooms, which is a pain and the mini-bar only contained sodas, which was odd.
Very easy to board and disembark, especially compared to NY. It took us less than 30 minutes to park, clear security and check-in.
This was our second time at Snorkel Beach. If you are considering going to the beach, skip snorkel beach and do the excursion to Horseshoe Bay or one of the many other beaches in Bermuda. This beach is convenient (we went because we were with a group of friends), but is rather unremarkable compared to Bermuda beaches. It's 1,000 times better than the Jersey shore, but if you're in Bermuda, you may as well take in the best it has to offer and Snorkel Beach isn't it.View All undefined undefined Reviews
If this is your first time on Bermuda, DO NOT take the water-taxi to St. George or Hamilton. Instead, spring for a taxi and tell the driver it is your first time in Bermuda. They will almost always offer to take you on a scenic route (and if they don't offer, just ask - They are all very friendly) to your destination. I've done this twice and both times they show you "their" Bermuda and the sights you see are breathtaking.View All undefined undefined Reviews