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This was our 14th cruise on RCI, and our second one this Summer. We sailed on Liberty of the Seas in June to Bermuda as a family of four (two adult children joined us for that cruise). My husband and I decided to take a cruise as a couple in August, and we chose the Grandeur because of her size, and itinerary. We had booked a cruise on her 2 years ago but it was cancelled due to the fire on Grandeur that year. Anyway we chose the Baltimore - Bahamas itinerary. Embarkation: Embarkation was quite easy as we were ushered to the front of the line because we are Emerald Club at this point. Lunch at the Windjammer was the first nightmare. Even though we were fairly early to board, there were already no seats available in the Windjammer and very few deck lounge chairs either. We were lucky to find two regular chairs (no table) outside and balanced our plates on our laps. All we were able to get was salad, as all the other stations were way too crowded. Cabin: We had a Junior Suite (8088) at the far aft of the ship. We had chosen this cabin because we had read that the balconies of the aft cabins are larger than those on the sides of the ship. The fitness facility was directly above our cabin. Indeed we had a nice large balcony which we both enjoyed VERY much during this cruise. The cabin was very well maintained by our cabin steward, John. However, this Jr. Suite was MUCH smaller than the Jr. Suite we had on Liberty only a few weeks earlier. This Jr. Suite did not have a walk-in closet, and the bathroom was far smaller than the one on Liberty. The cabin itself was MUCH narrower. The furnishings looked quite worn. The sink and tub drains were often clogged, and the toilet refused to flush on several occasions. While we were sailing at night, the odor of diesel fuel often woke me up. While we had expected this cabin to be very quiet as it was at the end of a hallway, we did get a lot of thumping noise from the fitness center above us. A family of five was in the cabin next door to ours, and a baby cried for hours and hours. Since I work at a school this didn't bother me all that much, but we were surprised at how much we could hear through the walls. Dining: We ate 6 of our seven dinners in the main dining room, at early Seating. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. The head waiter made an appearance at our table every night and was extremely friendly and nice. We had requested a table for two, even spoke to a representative by phone to confirm this before sailing, but we were placed at a table for six. Two of the six people didn't show up all week. The two women we sat with were pleasant enough, but since we were taking our first trip alone together as a couple in 27 years, we had really hoped for and expected a table for two. The food was much better than cruises in the past few years on RCI. The desserts were out of this world for the most part. We paid extra for filet mignon one night, and it was not any better than the regular menu option of beef. Also the baked potato was pathetically small. The portions have REALLY gotten smaller on RCI in the past few years. One night we ate at Giovanni's, and we were extremely disappointed. The choices were very limited on the menu, and the veal I ate was worse than anything I had eaten in the dining room. However our table for two by the windows was so very nice and intimate, and our server was very accommodating. Entertainment: If you wanted to attend a show, you had to get there over a half hour early, or you would risk not being able to find a seat. Several nights there was only ONE show for both dinner seatings, and there was no way the entertainment venue could hold that many passengers at once. As a result we most often watched the show on the in-room TV the next day. The entertainment was average. Pubic Areas: The Centrum was beautiful, but many activities were held there, and again crowding was a big issue. We never actually made it into the swimming pool, as it was quite small and we could never find a pool lounge chair, so we sunned ourselves out on our private cabin balcony, which was nice, but it would have been nicer to be able to get in cool water as well. The schooner bar was a pleasant place to get a quiet drink most nights, and we were grateful for that. Bar service at that venue was average; my husband often had to go up to the bar for service rather than wait at length for a bar waiter to provide service to our table. The shops were very nice, if a bit small, and service in those was very good. The jewelry making workshop was the only "enrichment activity" we attended, and it was nice, but it was advertised as "adult only." No doubt RCI was trying to keep small children out of this activity, but certainly older children and teenagers would have enjoyed it too. As a result of the age restriction on this activity, only a handful of people showed up, and most of them were over 65. I heard several passengers later complaining that their daughters would have liked to attend this activity as they have in the past. Shore excursion: The only shore excursion we had pre-booked was the Nature Walk at Coco Cay. We had pre booked it for 9 a.m. The tickets we received were for 11 a.m.?! As it turned out by that hour we were both too hot to consider taking a 1 1/2 hour walk, so we skipped it. We did not use the Fitness and Recreation facilities. Service on this ship was hit or miss. It was much better on the Liberty. Our cabin steward and dining room service was very good, but bar waitstaff was often just goofing around with each other, or totally absent. Unless you added an additional gratuity to the 18% already included per beverage, you rarely saw the bar waitstaff again. Beverage service in the large showrooms was nearly non-existent. Ports: We did not get off the ship at Port Canaveral, as we have been to Florida many times. There were over 600 children on this cruise, and I assume that may have been because Disney was a shore excursion as was the Kennedy Space Center. We did get off the ship in Nassau, and found that more native Bahamians were bothering passengers as soon as we got off the ship, than five years ago when we went there. We did some nice shopping in the town however, and the mainstream stores were very pleasant and the staff helpful. Coco Cay was a beautiful island, but the island seems to be made of rock and is hard on your feet, even at the beach area. The little shops there are all so commercialized now; with most trinkets from China instead of locally made as they were just a few years ago. Debarkation was a hassle as usual. The public area we were assigned to was overcrowded (no surprise there, as the entire ship was such), and we had to stand while we waited to be called off the ship. RCI should take a page from Celebrity and let passengers stay in their cabins until they are called for debarkation. Being made to feel like a herd of cattle at debarkation is not a very pleasant way to treat passengers when it CAN be done in a more pleasant manner, as seen on other cruise lines. Going through customs was easy, and we got our luggage as soon as we entered the luggage area. It took some time to get the attention of a porter, even though several were just standing around doing nothing. Parking was convenient and leaving the parking lot for home was no trouble at all. Value for the money: This cruise was fairly priced due to the local ports of call, but the value for what we received was not up to what we paid, especially for a Junior Suite. Our cruise to Bermuda on Liberty was a better value, with better service, accommodations, and a nicer port than the Bahamas. It appears to us that RCI is taking much better care of their newer ships, and letting these older ones go when it comes to maintenance and service. We were very surprised that nearly everything was a step up on the Liberty just six weeks prior. This was a disappointment, as we have been planning on sailing on Grandeur for over two years, and had thought since she was refurbished somewhat after the fire, things would be nicer.

Grandeur; Not as Grand as We Hoped

Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Review by Water709

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2015
  • Destination: Bahamas
This was our 14th cruise on RCI, and our second one this Summer. We sailed on Liberty of the Seas in June to Bermuda as a family of four (two adult children joined us for that cruise). My husband and I decided to take a cruise as a couple in August, and we chose the Grandeur because of her size, and itinerary. We had booked a cruise on her 2 years ago but it was cancelled due to the fire on Grandeur that year. Anyway we chose the Baltimore - Bahamas itinerary.

Embarkation: Embarkation was quite easy as we were ushered to the front of the line because we are Emerald Club at this point. Lunch at the Windjammer was the first nightmare. Even though we were fairly early to board, there were already no seats available in the Windjammer and very few deck lounge chairs either. We were lucky to find two regular chairs (no table) outside and balanced our plates on our laps. All we were able to get was salad, as all the other stations were way too crowded.

Cabin: We had a Junior Suite (8088) at the far aft of the ship. We had chosen this cabin because we had read that the balconies of the aft cabins are larger than those on the sides of the ship. The fitness facility was directly above our cabin. Indeed we had a nice large balcony which we both enjoyed VERY much during this cruise. The cabin was very well maintained by our cabin steward, John. However, this Jr. Suite was MUCH smaller than the Jr. Suite we had on Liberty only a few weeks earlier. This Jr. Suite did not have a walk-in closet, and the bathroom was far smaller than the one on Liberty. The cabin itself was MUCH narrower. The furnishings looked quite worn. The sink and tub drains were often clogged, and the toilet refused to flush on several occasions. While we were sailing at night, the odor of diesel fuel often woke me up. While we had expected this cabin to be very quiet as it was at the end of a hallway, we did get a lot of thumping noise from the fitness center above us. A family of five was in the cabin next door to ours, and a baby cried for hours and hours. Since I work at a school this didn't bother me all that much, but we were surprised at how much we could hear through the walls.

Dining: We ate 6 of our seven dinners in the main dining room, at early Seating. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. The head waiter made an appearance at our table every night and was extremely friendly and nice. We had requested a table for two, even spoke to a representative by phone to confirm this before sailing, but we were placed at a table for six. Two of the six people didn't show up all week. The two women we sat with were pleasant enough, but since we were taking our first trip alone together as a couple in 27 years, we had really hoped for and expected a table for two.

The food was much better than cruises in the past few years on RCI. The desserts were out of this world for the most part. We paid extra for filet mignon one night, and it was not any better than the regular menu option of beef. Also the baked potato was pathetically small. The portions have REALLY gotten smaller on RCI in the past few years. One night we ate at Giovanni's, and we were extremely disappointed. The choices were very limited on the menu, and the veal I ate was worse than anything I had eaten in the dining room. However our table for two by the windows was so very nice and intimate, and our server was very accommodating.

Entertainment: If you wanted to attend a show, you had to get there over a half hour early, or you would risk not being able to find a seat. Several nights there was only ONE show for both dinner seatings, and there was no way the entertainment venue could hold that many passengers at once. As a result we most often watched the show on the in-room TV the next day. The entertainment was average.

Pubic Areas: The Centrum was beautiful, but many activities were held there, and again crowding was a big issue. We never actually made it into the swimming pool, as it was quite small and we could never find a pool lounge chair, so we sunned ourselves out on our private cabin balcony, which was nice, but it would have been nicer to be able to get in cool water as well. The schooner bar was a pleasant place to get a quiet drink most nights, and we were grateful for that. Bar service at that venue was average; my husband often had to go up to the bar for service rather than wait at length for a bar waiter to provide service to our table. The shops were very nice, if a bit small, and service in those was very good.

The jewelry making workshop was the only "enrichment activity" we attended, and it was nice, but it was advertised as "adult only." No doubt RCI was trying to keep small children out of this activity, but certainly older children and teenagers would have enjoyed it too. As a result of the age restriction on this activity, only a handful of people showed up, and most of them were over 65. I heard several passengers later complaining that their daughters would have liked to attend this activity as they have in the past.

Shore excursion: The only shore excursion we had pre-booked was the Nature Walk at Coco Cay. We had pre booked it for 9 a.m. The tickets we received were for 11 a.m.?! As it turned out by that hour we were both too hot to consider taking a 1 1/2 hour walk, so we skipped it.

We did not use the Fitness and Recreation facilities.

Service on this ship was hit or miss. It was much better on the Liberty. Our cabin steward and dining room service was very good, but bar waitstaff was often just goofing around with each other, or totally absent. Unless you added an additional gratuity to the 18% already included per beverage, you rarely saw the bar waitstaff again. Beverage service in the large showrooms was nearly non-existent.

Ports: We did not get off the ship at Port Canaveral, as we have been to Florida many times. There were over 600 children on this cruise, and I assume that may have been because Disney was a shore excursion as was the Kennedy Space Center. We did get off the ship in Nassau, and found that more native Bahamians were bothering passengers as soon as we got off the ship, than five years ago when we went there. We did some nice shopping in the town however, and the mainstream stores were very pleasant and the staff helpful. Coco Cay was a beautiful island, but the island seems to be made of rock and is hard on your feet, even at the beach area. The little shops there are all so commercialized now; with most trinkets from China instead of locally made as they were just a few years ago.

Debarkation was a hassle as usual. The public area we were assigned to was overcrowded (no surprise there, as the entire ship was such), and we had to stand while we waited to be called off the ship. RCI should take a page from Celebrity and let passengers stay in their cabins until they are called for debarkation. Being made to feel like a herd of cattle at debarkation is not a very pleasant way to treat passengers when it CAN be done in a more pleasant manner, as seen on other cruise lines. Going through customs was easy, and we got our luggage as soon as we entered the luggage area. It took some time to get the attention of a porter, even though several were just standing around doing nothing. Parking was convenient and leaving the parking lot for home was no trouble at all.

Value for the money: This cruise was fairly priced due to the local ports of call, but the value for what we received was not up to what we paid, especially for a Junior Suite. Our cruise to Bermuda on Liberty was a better value, with better service, accommodations, and a nicer port than the Bahamas. It appears to us that RCI is taking much better care of their newer ships, and letting these older ones go when it comes to maintenance and service. We were very surprised that nearly everything was a step up on the Liberty just six weeks prior. This was a disappointment, as we have been planning on sailing on Grandeur for over two years, and had thought since she was refurbished somewhat after the fire, things would be nicer.
Water709’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8088
Cabin 8088 is a far aft cabin on deck 8. It has a large deck which receives lots of sun, which was wonderful. The JS itself however is much smaller than other Junior Suites on several other RCI ships. The bathroom is also much smaller than other JS's on other RCI ships, and counter space is extremely limited. The shampoo dispenser is inconveniently located in the tub area. The vanity area of the cabin looked worn, and drawers got stuck easily. The cabin had a strong odor of diesel fuel on nights when we were sailing, not in port. We could easily hear the conversations and crying from the family next door. There is no walk-in closet or closet light in this JS.
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