My worst RC cruise was on the Grandeur, I know some people did millions of cruises on her from Baltimore but as an overseas traveller I just felt unwelcome starting from check in when they saw my British passport and asked if I was a visiting entertainer and finishing when no end of cruise excursions were offered. I deliberately booked a cruise from Barbados though and correctly assessed that a new port would revive the ship. Not physically of course, Grandeur is an old ship and showing its age in places. Getting on the ship was chaos with poor arrangements for the lateral flow test required to board and the flight arrangements organised through RC fell apart when Virgin Atlantic rescheduled both of them back by two hours. Entertainment was generally poor, and with the RC cast mostly from the UK I can only apologise for them, the visiting "stars" were normal cruise fare that you had probably seen a few times before and the cruise director invisible. The casino was poorly arranged with machines of the same type put together so with smoking returning if you have a favourite type then you may have to hold your breath to play it. I will say though that they were cleaning the machines regularly. What lifted this cruise was the dining room where there was no sign of the reported lack of staff and being solo I was in and out in under an hour each night, the Windjammer though was not open for dinner. They were still trying to seat you in parties so if you are solo you will most likely be eating alone.
Talking about the Windjammer it was jam packed most mornings with opening at 7am and and most ports opening up at 8.15 on the final day though the dining room was opened at the same time as the Windjammer 6.30 which was welcome for those of us who read that. The ports despite the disappointment of not visiting T&T went out of their way to make you feel welcome despite restrictions. Most of the ports were open to vaccinated passengers but others were under covid rules still, there has to be a special mention for Dominica who closed the road alongside the dock to provide an enclosed port area for those who had not booked a RC tour. By the by the crew were all masked, though I was told that another week and they wouldn't be and passengers could mostly do what they wanted on the ship, some ports had mask requirements.
I was in an ocean view cabin, I was solo in a room you are meant to be able to fit four though I would never try it. The cabin wasn't totally clean on arrival, moving the sofa cushion to tip a nail clipping off I found crumbs down the sides and when doing a final check before leaving I found a scrunchie that had been there a while between the bedside and the bed. It also shows the same aging as the rest of the ship with ripped panels and even chips out of the bathroom floor but it is okay. But the worst fault was that they had to failed to inform anyone that they were using the stern of the ship as an isolation ward, just one cabin down the watertight door was closed. You have to take a lateral flow test to leave the ship the end of the cruise in most cases and if you fail well let us just say that you face 10 days shut in a stern ocean view cabin on the third floor. This expanded at the end of the cruise with some passengers being ordered to move cabins at an hours notice to allow for additional covid cases.
I have been here many time, even stayed on the island and the number of closed shops was a worrying sight
Barbados is one of my second homes and despite restrictions hosted a good cruise, I was disappointed with the lack of choice for excursions
As I mentioned in the main review Dominica went out of their way to be welcoming, closing the main road in front of the port to provide a shopping area
Grenada is known as the spice island and once you get out of the port it is in the air, generally unspoilt. Must buy is some of the locally produced chocolate.
Losing it's attraction for me anyway, please do not interact with the guys trying to get you to pay for photo with monkeys.
Beware of the roads which are steep and potholed but still a charming stop
The only stop that I hadn't been too before and one I am due to go back to later in the year. From what they showed us you would never have known about the recent volcano eruption.