This cruise left from Baltimore, which worked for the four of us because we drive down from New England. This is our third winter Grandeur cruise; we stay and park at the Holiday Inn Express Stadium view. Boarding was efficient.
This year, we noticed that the grand of Grandeur is fading. Hopefully an April refurbish will bring the sparkle back.
The Grandeur's crew is sterling and makes this cruise better. The crew members are willing to answer our questions about their home and ship experiences. They share pictures of spouse, children, parents, and home and are eager to welcome us into the Grandeur family. Over the years, we've seen a favorite dining room waiter promoted to Chops and on this cruise, he was supervising the Windjammer as a lead waiter. He even recalls our names and at one port stop, he shared videos of his new born son! Our waiter, Rolando (aka Rollie) and Assistant waiter Adi enhanced our main dining experience with their professional, efficient, and friendly skills. On the last evening, we discovered Adi was promoted to waiter for the next cruise. Our cabin steward Jerold was a shining light for sure! The room was always serviced twice a day and most evenings we discovered a fantasy towel animal! He managed to keep the bathroom area spotless even though we seemed to flood it with every shower.
Paint is chipped and rust is showing in several places - signs of 20 years of use. The windows in the Diamond Lounge and Windjammer were in need of a deep washing and as a result, it was difficult to catch all of those sunset views. I did however catch a rainbow hovering on the ocean one day during lunch in the Windjammer. Since the Captain was eating his lunch at the lunch counter, I was able to personally thank him! The Captain, Cruise Director Bobby and staff were exceptionally accessible daily!
The 3 main production shows were repeats from last year's Jan 2016 cruise. I wish RCCL did a better scheduling job for repeat customers/itineraries - which is the majority of this ship's passengers. Most of the headliners were exceptionally entertaining, but one magician-comic was way past his prime and was not entertaining at all! Actually, he was rude and missed most of his setups!
The Diamond Lounge was an exceptionally busy place and Grandeur allows it to expand to include the entire South Seas Lounge area. Most nights, we were in the Diamond Lounge proper and had excellent service. The two nights we sat in the South Seas area, services was not nearly as good. The Concierge did work to keep the appetizers and utensils moving. We were disappointed to learn that the coffee machine broke down on the first day of the 12 day cruise…. no lattes or cappuccinos for us! And no gesture was made to enable us to order gratis in the main dining room.
Sunday Mass was not available. Unfortunately RCCL no longer participates in the Clergy at Sea mission… this also means that the Catholic cruise staff is not able to attend Mass for weeks on end! This continues to be a disappointment.
The Main Dining Room experience was saved by the service! The menus were a major disappointment! Food preparation was not the issue - the issue was in food selections! This area had declined somewhat rapidly. More and more, specialty restaurants at an additional cost are a must for decent food choices. One night, a Potato Tart was offered as a main course item - not as an appetizer or side dish but as Main Course!!! The Stroganoff was dry and appeared to be mystery meat. The onion soup had maybe five pieces of chopped onions in broth! Steak was not offered every evening - even roasted chicken was not offered every evening! Gone are the days of flambéing bananas foster table side or walking the room with Baked Alaska. No, Caesar salad is no longer made table-side here! The food in the Windjammer was unusual - the burgers were perhaps frozen and tasteless…. the large woks of food were often indescribable… a huge disappointment. Although we do not wear ball gowns, we do dress up…. many people were in the main dining room in jeans, t-shirts, hats, and even jogging pants! Seriously, casual does not mean sloppy!
We opted to arrange our own shore excursions as it is so much more cost effective. For several years now, we use Trip Advisor as a valuable resource. We have met some wonderful people and tour opportunities.
Overall, we were pleased with our cruise, because we leave determined to be happy, and because the ship's crew was so very pleasant and helpful! Obviously we are not novice cruisers and this was our 52nd since 1987; we have four additional ones reserved. I have seen RCCL change over the years… I miss the little things - the chocolate on the pillow; the assortment of bath products n the vanity counter; the presentation of food as an art; the welcome aboard gift (a fanny pack; travel mug; beach excursion bag; etc/) … even our Diamond premium plate was not 6 fabulously fresh chocolate covered strawberries - it was one chocolate covered strawberry, two squares of cake, and one - believe it or not - Rice Krispie square! But, I would do it again in a heartbeat!!!
Cosol Tours provided and richly diverse day of activities, food and beverages in the safety of their van. From the moment Batiste greeted us, the day was splendid! We toured so many places, ate bananas in the midst of a plantation, rode a water taxi to the beach, swam between the Pitons, used the mud baths, drove through a volcano, and dined on warm french bread!!! The vistas are phenomenal and the knowledge of our tour guide made the adventure exceptional. Arrived back on time for departure after a full day of TOUR!View All 300 Island Tour Reviews
The taxi/tour leaders that bombard you as you arrive off of the ship is OVERWHELMING! We opted to ignore their aggressiveness and walk into town. Along the way, we were approached by Bertram who arrived the four of us a van ride around the island for a very nominal fee. Something about his pleasant, non-aggressive demeanor, and his "uniform" won us over. He took us from tip to tip in ST Kitts with a stop at the Fort, the Romney House of Batik, and the point where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean sea! He initially offered a three hour tour which because of his expertise and pride in the sites of the Island turned into a four memorable trip.View All 293 Island tour Reviews
Water taxi to downtown and walked the shopping street,
Walked the pier shops, but disappointed we were not at the Havenseight pier.