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Well! I am a cruise-convert! My first ever cruise was a wonderful trip around the Western Mediterranean, taking in Palma de Mallorca, Cannes, Cinque Terre, Rome and Sicily. As this was my first time on a cruise, I was unsure of what to expect. Luckily my friend is a veteran at this stage and was able to inform me of what cruising entails. Now, having experienced the joys of travelling by ship, I'm not sure how I'll ever go back to a 1-destination holiday!So to start; we booked our trip with only a few weeks notice and got an excellent deal through the RCI website. We organised our own flights to Palma de Mallorca and boarded Grandeur of the Seas on Sunday 12th June 2011. Our stateroom was a large interior room, which we believe may have been upgraded from the small interior room that we paid for because my friend is Gold Member of the Crown & Anchor club. Note to self: must join! Embarkation and security couldn't have been more straightforward, so we found ourselves lying on the pool-deck in the glorious sun within an hour of boarding.The stateroom was small, but perfectly adequate and pleasantly decorated. There is lots of storage so it never felt cramped for 2 people. I don't think the photos of the staterooms on the RCI website do them justice, they are much nicer and brighter in reality. Our stateroom attendant was a lovely jolly lady called Korinne who was extremely nice.I loved the effort that she made decorating the room when I celebrated my birthday on board.The food on Grandeur was delicious and I was very impressed by the variety of dishes served in the Windjammer and in the dining room every night. Though some might have found the portions in the dining room to be on the small side, I found them adequate - particularly considering the amount of food we grazed on throughout the day! I would recommend purchasing one of the wine packages if you enjoy wine with your meal. The price per glass is exorbitant, particularly compared to the very reasonable price of the cocktails. We chose a 7-bottle Gold package, which worked out at approximately $30/bottle, when you consider that a glass of wine is $9 + tax - you can see how this is the better option! Cocktails were very affordable and delicious.Our first day on board was a cruising day, which I loved. The activities by the pool were entertaining (if somewhat cheesy...), and you couldn't help but laugh along. The cruise director Rico and assistant cruise director Abel were excellent. It is a pity that the pool is quite small. A disproportionate amount of space is dedicated to a children's pool, which I found frustrating because the children preferred to play in the "adult" pool - leaving the kid's end unused. On very hot days the pool was too full and I was very conscious of how dirty the water must have been... I also would have liked to see some supervision of the use of the pool to prevent the more boisterous children from ruining other people's enjoyment of the pool facilities. We attended a very well-run pub quiz a couple of times but didn't partake in many other activities. The shows in the Palladium Theatre were hit & miss. The team of dancers were clearly very talented and you could tell that a lot of effort had gone into the choreography of their dances. I found the singers mediocre, but this may have been in part due to the poor sound-quality on certain microphones. The first night's show was a good idea but the production quality was poor; costumes and stage design were not good. We found the last night's show particularly bad; a magician/mime act struggled to impress the crowd and the result was a cringe-inducing shambles. I felt it was a bad note to leave guests with on their last night and the week really should have ended with a bang.Service across the board was fantastic and very consistent. I really liked that all the staff were super obliging and always incredibly polite. You really got the impression that the staff enjoyed their work and this is a rare thing to see these days.I have heard that Grandeur of the Seas is due for a refurbishment next year. This surprised me, as I found the fittings and fixtures to be in reasonably good condition. Particularly the beautiful atrium; the Centrum, and the stairwells were very nicely finished with lovely artwork and panelling.My friend and I booked a hotel in Palma for the day that we were due to fly home on an evening flight - as we knew we would be docking in Palma early in the morning. We were disappointed to learn that we could have stayed on board the ship until 15.30 on the final day, by paying an additional $35 late-check-out fee. This would have been well worth our while and something we would definitely have done if we had been made aware of this facility. Maybe this is an option the company would prefer not many guests to avail of and therefore fail to bring it to their notice?I will go into more detail on the various Ports that we stopped in (Cannes, La Spezia, Civitavecchia & Sicily) in my port reviews. However one top tip that I would urge anyone going on this trip to consider is: go it alone! Don't book the over-priced tours, but explore the beautiful coastal regions for yourself. We found this method not only much cheaper, but very enjoyable as it gave us a much better feeling for the local area and its people.In conclusion, the Western Med cruise with Grandeur of the Seas is a fantastic holiday which I would highly recommend to anyone. What a fab way to see some beautiful places!!

Fantastic Experience on Grandeur of the Seas!

Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Review by First Time Cruiser

Trip Details
Well! I am a cruise-convert! My first ever cruise was a wonderful trip around the Western Mediterranean, taking in Palma de Mallorca, Cannes, Cinque Terre, Rome and Sicily. As this was my first time on a cruise, I was unsure of what to expect. Luckily my friend is a veteran at this stage and was able to inform me of what cruising entails. Now, having experienced the joys of travelling by ship, I'm not sure how I'll ever go back to a 1-destination holiday!So to start; we booked our trip with only a few weeks notice and got an excellent deal through the RCI website. We organised our own flights to Palma de Mallorca and boarded Grandeur of the Seas on Sunday 12th June 2011. Our stateroom was a large interior room, which we believe may have been upgraded from the small interior room that we paid for because my friend is Gold Member of the Crown & Anchor club. Note to self: must join! Embarkation and security couldn't have been more straightforward, so we found ourselves lying on the pool-deck in the glorious sun within an hour of boarding.The stateroom was small, but perfectly adequate and pleasantly decorated. There is lots of storage so it never felt cramped for 2 people. I don't think the photos of the staterooms on the RCI website do them justice, they are much nicer and brighter in reality. Our stateroom attendant was a lovely jolly lady called Korinne who was extremely nice.I loved the effort that she made decorating the room when I celebrated my birthday on board.The food on Grandeur was delicious and I was very impressed by the variety of dishes served in the Windjammer and in the dining room every night. Though some might have found the portions in the dining room to be on the small side, I found them adequate - particularly considering the amount of food we grazed on throughout the day! I would recommend purchasing one of the wine packages if you enjoy wine with your meal. The price per glass is exorbitant, particularly compared to the very reasonable price of the cocktails. We chose a 7-bottle Gold package, which worked out at approximately $30/bottle, when you consider that a glass of wine is $9 + tax - you can see how this is the better option! Cocktails were very affordable and delicious.Our first day on board was a cruising day, which I loved. The activities by the pool were entertaining (if somewhat cheesy...), and you couldn't help but laugh along. The cruise director Rico and assistant cruise director Abel were excellent. It is a pity that the pool is quite small. A disproportionate amount of space is dedicated to a children's pool, which I found frustrating because the children preferred to play in the "adult" pool - leaving the kid's end unused. On very hot days the pool was too full and I was very conscious of how dirty the water must have been... I also would have liked to see some supervision of the use of the pool to prevent the more boisterous children from ruining other people's enjoyment of the pool facilities. We attended a very well-run pub quiz a couple of times but didn't partake in many other activities. The shows in the Palladium Theatre were hit & miss. The team of dancers were clearly very talented and you could tell that a lot of effort had gone into the choreography of their dances. I found the singers mediocre, but this may have been in part due to the poor sound-quality on certain microphones. The first night's show was a good idea but the production quality was poor; costumes and stage design were not good. We found the last night's show particularly bad; a magician/mime act struggled to impress the crowd and the result was a cringe-inducing shambles. I felt it was a bad note to leave guests with on their last night and the week really should have ended with a bang.Service across the board was fantastic and very consistent. I really liked that all the staff were super obliging and always incredibly polite. You really got the impression that the staff enjoyed their work and this is a rare thing to see these days.I have heard that Grandeur of the Seas is due for a refurbishment next year. This surprised me, as I found the fittings and fixtures to be in reasonably good condition. Particularly the beautiful atrium; the Centrum, and the stairwells were very nicely finished with lovely artwork and panelling.My friend and I booked a hotel in Palma for the day that we were due to fly home on an evening flight - as we knew we would be docking in Palma early in the morning. We were disappointed to learn that we could have stayed on board the ship until 15.30 on the final day, by paying an additional $35 late-check-out fee. This would have been well worth our while and something we would definitely have done if we had been made aware of this facility. Maybe this is an option the company would prefer not many guests to avail of and therefore fail to bring it to their notice?I will go into more detail on the various Ports that we stopped in (Cannes, La Spezia, Civitavecchia & Sicily) in my port reviews. However one top tip that I would urge anyone going on this trip to consider is: go it alone! Don't book the over-priced tours, but explore the beautiful coastal regions for yourself. We found this method not only much cheaper, but very enjoyable as it gave us a much better feeling for the local area and its people.In conclusion, the Western Med cruise with Grandeur of the Seas is a fantastic holiday which I would highly recommend to anyone. What a fab way to see some beautiful places!!
First Time Cruiser’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7655
Small but perfectly formed, tv is too small, very comfortable beds, great storage.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cannes
    Cannes was a great place to stop. I expected it to be more "grand" and possibly intimidating, but in reality it was a beautiful and inviting city. We enjoyed a walk around the old part of the town, a stroll around the shops and then lay on the beach for some people-watching.
    If I were to go to Cannes again, I might consider getting a local train to Grasse or Monaco.
    View All 497 Cannes Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Florence (Livorno)
    La Spezia was my highlight of the cruise. I enjoyed the walk through the town to the train station, it was lovely to mingle amongst locals and check out the shops on the main street. Then we took a 2 euro trainride to the most beautiful beach at Monterosso, which is part of the magnificent Cinque Terre coastline and well worth a visit. I would definitely like to go back again to do some more exploring. Lunch was a ridiculously cheap feast of salad, bread and wines all served up in an idyllic setting.
    I was curious why hardly any mention was made in the ship's literature about the beauty of Cinque Terre. And then it struck me: it is not in RCI's interest to inform guests of the ease at which they can explore the local area for a fraction of the price that an organised tour to Florence or Pisa would cost. Florence is 2.5 hours by bus from the port of La Spezia, my friend and I had no interest in spending 5 hours on a hot and sticky bus when the raw beauty of Tuscany was right in front of us. I would highly recommend exploring the Cinque Terre region and leaving Florence and Pisa for a different trip.
    View All 1,094 Florence (Livorno) Cruise Port Reviews
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