We traveled on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, from Baltimore, leaving on August 29th and returning on September 4th, 2004. We booked through Cruise.com, getting a rate of $654 per person for 6 nights, for a Category F outside cabin on the 4th floor. I tried to get this same rate booking directly through Royal Caribbean, but they told me they could not match it and suggested I book through the other agency.
First a note about what we expected from this vacation. We were not especially interested in shore excursions...after a very hectic and stressful summer, we wanted to get away to rest and relax before my husband started school in September. This vacation fit the bill exactly.
Sailing from Baltimore was a definite plus. The port was less than an hour from our home, and not having to deal with the hassle of air travel added to our enjoyment of the trip. We arrived at the port around 12:30 p.m., dropped off our luggage at the ship, and I waited while my husband parked in the long-term lot, where he caught a shuttle back to the ship. We were checked through very quickly, and assigned a number and told to wait in a roped off waiting area. This area was very crowded, without enough seating, and some improvements could definitely be made. When boarding began (probably about 15 minutes from the time we entered the waiting area), Platinum and Diamond patrons were boarded first, then they began calling numbers...all the passengers holding one's boarded, then the two's etc. We had number 13. In total, we probably waited about 30-40 minutes from the time we entered the waiting area until we boarded the ship.