Grand Celebration Cruise Review by richardsh3
- Sail Date: June 2016
- Destination: Bahamas
Embarkation: We got dropped off at the port so I can't speak for the valet parking, but it was a very easy process. You go upstairs and fill out your credit card information, and from there it takes about 10 minutes to get through the line and get behind the partition where they have fruit punch, water, and cookies. They were about half an hour late opening the doors to board the ship, and there isn't very much seating so you'll most likely have to stand. There is a special section for the handicapped and wheelchairs, though people who weren't handicapped seemed to be taking up those seats and nobody of authority said anything.
Ship features: I can't complain about the decor of this ship because it is small and old, so I wasn't expecting it to be grand and beautiful. The area you enter is the guest services/shore excursion area on deck 5 which happened to be the deck our room was on, but we boarded at 12:30 and rooms were not ready until 2 pm so we went up to the buffet area. The elevators are extremely small, and you can't fit more than about 5 grown people in them.
Cabin: A lot of people complain about the cabins but overall the layout and size is not bad. I argued that the size of the cabin was actually bigger than the outside cabins we usually get on Royal Caribbean (our favorite line). We did have an issue with the air conditioner in our cabin and we called about 5 times but nobody ever came to fix it. My husband finally figured out that you have to turn the dial to hot to get it to blow out cold air. Just a warning, there is only one American outlet in the room so I would bring an extension cord if that is going to be a problem for your family. The bed was not very comfortable and we had to ask for two more pillows because they were as flat as pancakes. There's a great deal of storage space and the window is large, but the window is also dirty on the outside so if you take a picture, you have big smudge marks in your picture. The cabin I'm describing is Cabin M105.
Ocean Buffet: I'm not even going to try and be nice here, it was absolutely horrible. I am not a picky person when it comes to food, and neither is my husband. I also wasn't expecting the food to be up to par with other cruise lines when I booked this cruise, as I already knew this was a cheaper line and I should not expect the best. Well, it fell well below my nonexistent expectations. From the moment we stepped up to the buffet for the first time, the selection was limited at best. I can probably count on my two hands how many different selections they had. There were maybe 4-6 different buffet islands, but the selections were repeated on each island. Here is what was offered in the buffet each day to the best of my memory: Spanish rice and peas, zucchini and tomatoes, onion and cucumber salad, tortellini in putanesca sauce, cheeses, and a roast beef carving station. That's it. At night they have a taco bar, after that a bar of Mediterranean food, and they serve pizza pretty much all day and night. The pizza was acceptable.
Stellar Prime: This was the ships formal dining room included in the price of the cruise. It is very pretty on this inside. The selection seemed to be nice, so I ordered the spinach turnover, minestrone soup, and prime rib. The turnover was probably the best thing that we had on the ship. The soup was good too. The prime rib was awful and I couldn't finish it. I'm not sure if you could even call it prime rib, as it just resembled a piece of raw, bland, cheap meat. For desert I just had vanilla ice cream, which was good. The try to nickel and dime every opportunity they can, so of course they kept coming around and asking if we would like a bottle of wine. Our table mates purchased a bottle and we all shared. It was good but at $45 a bottle most certainly not worth it. When our table mates were asked if they would like to have the same bottle again on night 2, they declined and the lady got pushy with them, telling them if they purchased two bottles she would give a discount on both, but If they didn't buy both, she would take away the discount for one bottle. They declined again and she stormed off.
On night two, I ordered the clam chowder and they brought me out what looked like the minestrone I had the night before. I tasted it and it was indeed. When I asked the waiter about it, he insisted it was clam chowder. It wasn't a big deal because I liked the minestrone, but it was just strange that they wouldn't admit it wasn't clam chowder. Maybe they threw some clams in the minestrone batch and called it clam chowder, who knows. But I didn't have clams in mine. Weird.
Admiralty Club: This is the ships premium restaurant. It was also very pretty. We paid $15 a piece for a "Champagne Breakfast" upon arrival to the Bahamas. When we purchased it, we were told that we would be able to have all the mimosas we could drink. That turned out to be a lie. The maximum is 3 per person. It was very quiet and we were one of about 5-6 couples. My husband had an omelet and I had Eggs Benedict. My dish was pretty good, but I have never had it before so I have nothing to compare it to. I was under the impression that it is supposed to have Hollandaise Sauce on top, but mine didn't have it. It had what looked like to be a piece of cheese thrown on top. The mimosas were not good. You had a choice between Mimosa, Bellini, or Roseau wine. I had one Mimosa, and then thought maybe the Bellini would taste better. Nope, they just gave me straight champagne. I know what a Bellini is supposed to taste like, and that was not a Bellini. One thing about the dining on this ship is that they always gave the same response when you had a complaint about the food. "That's how it is." or "That's how it's made." If you're a first time cruiser, please listen to this: Any other cruise line would fix it and bring you what you ordered immediately. Other lines really strive to make the customer happy.
Pool: Please be aware that the main pool on this ship is a saltwater pool. There is no warning (that I saw) advising of the saltwater, so be careful when you go underwater that it will burn your eyes a bit. The hot tubs were lukewarm and didn't have an accessible temperature gauge.
Entertainment and activities: We didn't attend any shows, gamble, or partake in any activities so I can't comment on how that was. We would have liked to see the adult comedy show, but it costs extra so we decided not to.
Service: Mostly poor. The crew members looked like they were tired, mad, and overworked. They never stopped to greet you, and they were even taking up the elevators at inopportune times. Keep in mind, the elevators we already small and slow. I mentioned this earlier, but most of the waiters didn't care to fix an issue if one came up. On the second night, one of our table mates happened to not like what he ordered. The waiter looked at him annoyed and said "You ordered it, that is how it's made." It is totally unacceptable to speak to a customer this way. We only saw our room attendant once, but he was very nice and he even called us by our names without us telling him what they were. What I do not like is that they deliver your invoices in the middle of the night, and by the time you take it out of your door in the morning, they have already charged your card on file! What if I had a discrepancy on the invoice? This is a completely ludicrous practice.
Disembarkation: Chaos and one of the worst parts of the trip. We waited in line to get off the ship for half an hour. Everything else was OK until we got to the front of the line to go through customs. They asked us if we had left our suitcase outside the door the night before and if we needed to pick it up. We said yes and they pulled us out of line to go wait for our suitcase, promising we would be back at the front of the customs line when we were done. We sat down on the bench and with the first round of suitcases came ours. We saw it so we got up to go get it and get back in line, but all the men yelled out that we could not get our suitcase that was five feet away until ALL of the suitcases were brought out. I asked why on earth this was the case but I was ignored. We sat there for 20 MINUTES while they leisurely brought out all the suitcases, yelling at each new person that tried to pick theirs up. Everybody was becoming a bit upset, especially when we realized that we weren't waiting for the suitcases to be brought out, we were actually waiting for them to fix a warehouse door that was broken! How that had anything to do with us getting our luggage is beyond me, but they were so adamant and angry. 20 minutes. I'm still fuming a bit.
Shore excursions: I saved this for last because it was the single best part of the trip and the only thing that happened without a hitch. We booked a day at the Grand Lucayan Resort with lunch. The resort is absolutely beautiful, with many pools and great access to the beach. One of the pools had a swim up bar with seating, and nice music playing. It was very relaxing. Once again, the food was not good but at this point I was almost used to it and expecting it. The beach was very nice and it had a lot of options for activities and rentals. The bus rides were about 15 minutes but provided good scenery.
All in all, if we were ever to take this cruise again, it would strictly be for the purpose of staying a few days at the Grand Lucaya.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BeachI'm not sure if you can book this excursion online but we booked it at the shore excursion desk. It is a nice relaxing beach/pool day at a beautiful resort. The lunch is mediocre at best, but it is still worth the money. I advise you to bring money with you because there is a swim up bar in the pool.View All 137 Beach Reviews