We chose this cruise because of the sailing date and the itinerary. The departure city was Baltimore Maryland, a place we had never visited before and looked forward to exploring, along with Washington DC, its close neighbour prior to our embarkation on 22nd December 2018. This went very smoothly. In fact, the most seamless we have ever encountered. Filling in all the paperwork does make such a difference.
From the outside, the ship looked fine, however, the same cannot be said for the interior. Everything looked dated, some parts shabby. The Christmas decorations at least added some brightness and cheer. Our 'stateroom' was on Deck 4 forward. I cannot believe as a seasoned cruiser that I`booked this. I was convinced I had booked midships, knowing only too well that you feel movement more at the front of the ship and as we were sailing from a cold to a warm climate, from the Atlantic to the Caribbean, I thought there might be some rough weather...and there was. The rolling was dreadful and both my husband and myself suffered with sea sickness. Also, the noise in this cabin became unbearable. As the seas rolled, the banging of who knows what became louder and louder and was repeated all night long. But this wasn't the worst bit. I complained bitterly to the deck manager, the cabin steward and the hotel manager about the cleanliness or lack of it in the cabin. It was disgusting. Dirty fingerprints and hand marks on the door, wardrobes, mirrors. Glazing on the mirror was so badly marked it wouldn't clean. There was a broken glass shelf in the vanity unit and the wooden furniture had surfaces so badly damaged that they could never be cleaned properly. The inside of the drawers were dirty so you wouldn't put anything in them. Of course we asked to be moved but the cruise was fully booked so there was no chance of that. The mattresses had to be changed because they were so sunken they nearly touched the floor...I could go on!
The menu standards continue to deteriorate with a repetitive menu that you are sick of well before day 12. Christmas dinner was all disappointing with a lack of atmosphere. No Christmas crackers anymore...something else you have to take on board yourself. There was no sommelier, the head waiter was serving water when the assistant waiter was helping to serve meals. It makes you think that the rumours may be right. Royal Caribbean lets a lot of staff have annual leave in order to free up more cabins for paying guests. I suspect that may have happened in our case. Having said that, I cannot fault our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter. They were all fantastic and gave first class service throughout.
We are diamond level guests so we are able to have some drinks for free. Thank goodness for that, they were so expensive! Cocktails seemed to be lacking in alcohol and again, very few bar waiters on deck.
Smoking in the casino? Didn't like that.
Teenagers congregating in adult areas after midnight. Wasn't keen on that either.
I don't think the ship had much for kids so it was probably the wrong ship for that run. They took over hot tubs, the pool and the lifts!
The saving grace? The Cruise Director. I think he was the best we've ever sailed with. The entertainment was good too, Some very funny comedians. I'm not a fan of all that show stuff, I think thats dated too but lots of people seemed to like it.The ports were good too. Nowhere we hadn't been before but we enjoyed our self directed excursions.
We also enjoyed the Christmas Carols around the Centrum but its not big enough for the activities that go on there and so many people couldn't get a place. There weren't enough carol sheets to go round and they took them off you when they finished. Personally I think we could have sung more and made the moment last a bit longer it was so nice. But...theres always a schedule to stick to!
So, we made the most of a cruise that could have been so much better but also so much worse. Would I go again? We will certainly cruise again but definitely not on the Grandeur and we will have to think about RCI again.
Poor. Dirty, cramped and dated.