We chose this cruise because it's a quiet time before the Christmas cruises
The price for our Ocean view cabin was also great.
Embarkation - RC texted us the day before advising that the ship needed extra cleaning, so they asked us to arrive after noon. That meant that some passengers must have come down with the Norovirus, but there were no reports of this in the news. It didn't bother us getting there later because you can't get to your cabin until 1 pm anyway.
We arrived shortly after 1 pm and were directed to drop off our luggage and then park our car. We wondered why we didn't have to pay for parking beforehand, thought now they were collecting at the end.
There were no handicap parking spots left, but we were lucky to get a spot near the terminal a few rows down. Once inside we were given the health forms and not directed to the handicapped line, but to the full Diamond line. I Wondered why as it was obvious I had a walking handicap , I use a cane and am legally disabled. It didn't seem to matter to the terminal folks. At least the Diamond line was only about ten people, the regular linewas hundreds of people waiting. I guess they ignored RC's advice to come late. Finally we were checked in, and again we were directed up the ramps instead of the handicapped entrance. I thought it would be only two or so turns of the ramp so I didn't say anything, I should have.
For me it was horrendous. By the time I was on the fourth ramp, my legs were screaming at me. I slowed down much to the dismay of passengers following me. Some rudely pushed around me, some almost knocking me down. When I reached the next corner, I stepped aside so people could pass. I heard rude comments as some scampered by. Not a pleasant experience. When I finally arrived at the top I complained to one of the officers, he shrugged his shoulders. I went immediately to our cabin and crashed.
Embarkation - FAIL
Our cabin, an ocean view on Deck two was fine. We immediately moved the fridge from inside the spot for the desk chair to the closet. Why they don't do this automatically astounds me. Once that was set, we could sit at the desk. I had filled out their special assistance forms online and everything I asked for, the fridge, extension cord, sharps container, etc were in the room.
When our state room attendant came by I asked for extra pillows, towels, and removal of that tiny table. Sabich immediately complied. He kept our cabin perfectly, no complaints at all.
This cabin, 2106, has a divided window, with an acrylic cover to help insulate it from the cold. Climate control was fine, we really didn't have to adjust the thermostat at all.
The bathrooms are small but serviceable. Being on Deck two the smell of sewage came up from the shower drain for most of the trip. I think next time I'm going to bring something to seal that drain when it's not in use. Still, by keeping the bathroom door shut, we kept the door from permeating our cabin.
The Grandeur's showers still have a curtain, one that latches onto your body like a bloodsucking leech when taking a shower. Ugh! Oh, and one me when I turned around to detach the leech, I inadvertently knocked into the shower shampoo holder. Well it went flying to the floor and I grabbed it quickly to prevent all the shampoo from spilling. I tried to reattach it, but was unsuccessful.
One thing I noticed, the cabin was extremely quiet. This was our fifth time aboard the Grandeur, and it was our quietest cabin.
Cabin - Pass - B for its age and shower curtain leech.
We ate breakfast at the main dining room as well as the windjammer. The windjammer, if you didn't get there early, was crowded, as we had a full ship. There were 90 kids, but most times were supervised by their parents. Food was better then three years ago.
Lunch we had in the windjammer, unless we skipped it. We're experienced cruisers and know that when we eat big breakfasts, to skip lunch.
Dinners were usually in the MDR and sometimes in the windjammer. Again the food was excellent. Always hot, moist, and not dried out.
We opted to not eat in the specialty restaurants this trip. We did notice that Izumis was always empty. I predict this spot will disappear in the near future, as on many of our cruises, four this year, izumis was always empty, no matter the ship. (Brilliance, Vision, Jewel, or Grandeur).
Dining - pass, B+
Activities - the ship was full. I opted to read in my room or spend time in the casino. I didn't see any lectures, and considering we had six sea days, I thought it odd. I read a lot.
Entertainment - we didn't go to many shows. The ones we did I was disappointed. The singer's, usually excellent, were only mediocre. The dancers were however, first rate. The headliners were forgettable. I don't recall any of them and we don't got off the ship 8 days ago.
Fitness and Recreation - I advise everyone to take advantage of the free steam room and sauna on the Vision Class ships. Always excellent and the showers in the men's locker room were better then my cabins. I took most of my showers there.
Pass - B+
Shore excursions -
We stopped doing RC shore excursions. We found them expensive as well as disabled unfriendly. RC does not enforce front handicapped seating on their buses, shuttles, or excursions. I used to ask people in the front row to move, but stopped after encountering passengers who don't realize the difficulty disabled passengers have maneuvering down tiny aisles. So, no more RC shore excursions until they make them handicap friendly.
Shore excursions FAIL
Ports of call
We stopped at five ports
St. Thomas - shuttle downtown. Open air, no aisle. Not much to the downtown area. Some shops were recently opened. We had hoped the r e was a cheap way to get to a beach, but no. Fail
Antigua - nice town. We were going for a beach day, but the morning of my back began spasming. We opted to visit the town. Interesting old church and shopping.
St. Lucia - found a tour agent in the pier shopping area. Spencer tours. Sixty US for a boat trip down to Souffiere, trip to volcanic hot springs and mud bath, trip to waterfall, then back on boat to trip to beach and barbecue lunch. Was great, though at the beach there was no where to sit and eat. And since the beach was really a resorts, the resort security kept an evil eye on us all the time we were there. I'll give Spencer a B. Great price, and no extra costs.
St. Kitts - been here before. We walked around town and enjoyed the local sites. Pass.
St. Maarten. We were the first RC ship to visit the port since the hurricanes destroyed most of the town. Damage can be seen everywhere. Local shopkeepers were desperate. We stopped in the local casino. Much better then onboard where ones money gets sucked away quickly.
Casino on board. Too many smokers just hanging out. I had to ask many times, if they were playing a machine. RC needs to make their ships smoke free like celebrity.
Machines were tight. Money sucked away quickly. Machines hardly kept you going. Even the video poker machines robbed you. RC needs to make their special ten play, spin poker, etc machines to take nickels. When you're playing quarters and they want fifty or forty five coins a play. They're just too expensive. They'd get more players if they made those games nickels.
Casino - Fail.
Overall the Grandeur is still a nice, but dated ship. It's great that one can drive to its port.
See above. Okay.