Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Review by Matti
- Sail Date: March 2010
- Destination: Western Caribbean
Cabin The cabin that we were staying in was a junior suite on the eighth floor right next to the main staircase. This turned out to be an amazing location. After getting on the ship, we actually came up the main stairway and then took a bit of a roundabout path to it, only to find that the cabin was about 10 steps from where we came up. Naturally, due to the Grandeur's size, the cabin was a bit on the small side, but it was nice enough, had a good sized balcony, and fit the four of us comfortably. On the first day during departure, it was a bit worrying because the balcony doorway seemed to creak while the ship moved, but it went away that evening and never came back. It seemed like the shower had a bit of a problem keeping a constant temperature, but otherwise the bathroom was good. Our stateroom steward was nice, though less personal than the one on Princess. Towards the end of the cruise, some cool towel animals started showing up. The location was one of the best parts of the cabin. Being right next to the stairs, we could get anywhere on the ship in just a matter of seconds, with the pool deck being just one deck up. In regards to this, we could hear some clomping and very light music from upstairs every so often, but normally not at night, and certainly not enough to be a bother.
The Ship The ship was great, even despite being by far the smallest that I've ever sailed on. There was nowhere that I noticed any signs of the ship's age. Certainly Royal Caribbean has been doing a great job of maintaining it. One area that I especially liked was the Viking Crown Lounge. During the daytime, there were almost never any people there, except for when teen activities were hosted there, making it a great "secret" place to just relax, play cards, or watch the ocean go by. A couple members of our family made frequent trips to the gym while on the ship, which they seemed to enjoy well enough. There were no fitness classes in the gym, since there was no instructor aboard the ship, but I assume that this is temporary and it wasn't a problem regardless. Unfortunately, even with how small the ship was, none of us managed to make it to the rock wall at all during the cruise. I guess that's something to do in the future . At some times, the forward part of the top deck got windy, especially on sailaway and during the sea days, but the aft of the ship was well protected from the wind, as was the "observatory." The front of the ship was a great place to watch the departure from Tampa, and it was surprisingly not crowded at all. Three of the four of us stayed out there all the way until we passed under the Skyway Bridge about two hours into departure.
Food After cruising on Princess and NCL, I was very pleasantly surprised by the buffet. The layout of it was certainly much better than either of my previous two cruises, and the food tended to be very good as well. I only ate there a couple times, and never for dinner. Of these times, a waiter came by to get us drinks only during the first lunch. Not a problem at all, since there was a bar just outside and the buffet offered some drinks like lemonade, water, and orange juice. The pizza in the Solarium was good, and the fries got very good reviews from many.
Breakfast in the Great Gatsby Dining Room (the only one aboard the ship) was excellent, so I ended up eating there most of the time. Unfortunately I made it to the Great Gatsby for lunch only one time during my five days on the ship, which was certainly not enough. The lunch that I had there on the final sea day was by far the best lunch I had eaten on the ship, especially the dessert, for which I had an orange flan. Service during this lunch was great, making me all the more disappointed that I didn't come to eat this meal there earlier in the trip. On the morning of our stop in Cozumel, we had breakfast delivered to our stateroom. As usual for this cruise, the food was nice, especially the pastries.
By now, you can probably guess what I'm going to say about dinner. This was the first time that we had tried traditional dining on a cruise, and we were not disappointed. 8:30 served as a very nice time for dinner. Dinner ended every day between 9:45 and 10:15. We enjoyed the service each night in the Great Gatsby Dining Room, especially our assistant waiter, Arnold. There were no disappointments among the meals that we ate, although I heard some not so great things about the sea bass on one of the earlier nights. I didn't try it myself, but I talked to more than one person who was disappointed by this dish.
Ports The first stop on this cruise was at Costa Maya, where we took the ship's excursion to the Mayan ruins. We had a good guide on this trip and it was a nice excursion. At first, we were disappointed when our time was moved from the afternoon to the morning, but as it turned out it was hot enough in the morning when we went. The bus rides on either end of the excursion were a bit long, but the guide was very informative on the way there, while on the way back we had time to relax and watch Mexico go by. Besides this, we didn't do anything else at Costa Maya.
The next morning we arrived at Cozumel and enjoyed breakfast on our balcony before leaving the ship to go snorkeling. Once again, this was a RCCL tour. At the end of the pier, the herded us onto a small boat with everyone else who was going snorkeling and we headed out. The boat ride to our snorkeling location was a bit long, which was compounded by the fact that they hadn't managed to put enough snorkel masks on the boat for everyone who was snorkeling. As a result, the guides spent a little while going up to other snorkel boats and asking for masks. Once in the water, we were following one of the guides who frequently pointed things out, but only the few around him were close enough to hear what we should be looking at. Regardless, we all had a great time snorkeling and we thought it was pretty cool to see the stingrays (we saw two), a couple big grouper, and the ocean dropoff. When finished with snorkeling, they herded us over to Playa Mia, where we had surprisingly good sandwiches for lunch and then relaxed on the beach for an hour. When this hour was up, the boat took us back to the pier, and we headed back onto the ship with a few hours left until sailaway.
Overall the activities that we chose to do at the ports were great, but we didn't manage to see any of Mexico besides just the excursions we took. It seemed like both of the ports were just tourist traps, with shops and whatnot all around and not a whole lot to see or do. This meant that on our Mexican vacation, we didn't see much at all of Mexico, but we had fun with what we did see.
Other Comments Overall we all felt that this was a great vacation. The family as a whole couldn't come to an agreement on what we liked best about it. Some said the ports while others said that everything was great. I certainly agree. We would certainly recommend this ship and this itinerary, because we had a blast even with the smaller size of the ship and it not offering all of the amenities that RCCL is known for. As for if we'll sail RCCL again in the future, we did sign up for Crown and Anchor, but much to the dismay of the kids we checked the "12+" box for when we plan to sail again. Maybe a cruise will come our way again sooner, and we wouldn't hesitate to book it on RCCL if that's what worked out.
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The location was one of the best parts of the cabin. Being right next to the stairs, we could get anywhere on the ship in just a matter of seconds, with the pool deck being just one deck up.
In regards to this, we could hear some clomping and very light music from upstairs every so often, but normally not at night, and certainly not enough to be a bother.