Coming from CT and not wanting to fly, we chose Grandeur and Baltimore. We have little interest in RCI’s monsters from Bayonne, and NCL’s product is simply unacceptable on many levels. It is too bad HAL and Celebrity abandoned the huge NY market,
Amtrak to Baltimore beats a winter flight, and Grandeur’s reasonable size was enticing. While food quality and service level show the same deterioration which is damaging mass market cruising across the board, Grandeur’s staff are friendly, competent and seem to care about delivering a good experience. The cruise director needs a hard “slap upside the head”. A number of activities got re-scheduled/relocated; he failed to show up at one venue because he didn’t reset his clock for time change; he neglected to schedule anyone to run another activity - he had a glib tongue, but needs to do his job.
The ship was clean, but showed age and careless maintenance - many rust spots on balcony, the hinges on the doors between balconies were inoperable, doors were sloppily locked in place with metal straps - meaning that cleaning had to be done by going through each cabin. RCI is obviously getting maximum mileage with minimal upkeep.
Comfortable, well laid out, good storage space.
Comfortable stay at Hilton Garden on South President