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10 Norfolk to Bermuda Cruise Reviews

We are 65 yr.old fit seniors who booked this when first offered since Norfolk is 2 hours from home. We self-parked in the closest Main St. garage across from the Port at 10am for a flat cruise rate of $105. Convenient with easy walk across ... Read More
We are 65 yr.old fit seniors who booked this when first offered since Norfolk is 2 hours from home. We self-parked in the closest Main St. garage across from the Port at 10am for a flat cruise rate of $105. Convenient with easy walk across the street for embarkation. Service fast and courteous in the terminal. Onboard by 11:15am. First time on Carnival so wandered the ship. Older ship but clean. Once we figured out the layout it was easy to get around. Yep, lots of pink as well as smoke in the casino, but we knew that before arrival. Very friendly crew most everywhere. Were impressed to see constant cleaning - swabbing floors, wiping tables, walls, stairs, everything which continued throughout the cruise. Had "anytime" dining so were relegated to the Black Pearl Restaurant on deck 3 for dinner unless we chose Lido buffet or other Lido options. Dining room salmon and beef were fine. Enjoyed shrimp, spring rolls, salads for appetizers, all were good. Breads were quite tasty. Melting chocolate dessert was excellent, but the cheese cake was surprisingly "plastic". Other food was good enough in the Black Pearl but nothing to rave about. Interesting scramble for best table assignments each night but seems to work. Enjoyed the "intermission" dancing/singing by waitstaff! We had breakfast early from the Lido buffet. Mostly had omelettes (good) and cereal with good coffee. Lunch was often from the Deli at the stern (deck 9). Very good "to order" sandwiches. Note: lots of seating for Lido (deck 9) if you also include the convenient deck 10 mezzanine areas which overlook the buffet areas. Our cabin 7354 was fine even though it was just across from a crew service door. We found it to be quiet and comfortable with the best steward we've ever had (10 cruises). Pandita (and his team) were attentive, friendly with big smiles, careful to accommodate our "early to bed, early to rise" routine and had everything refilled and sparkling despite a bit of age on the room. What a treat! From our room we easily used stairs up or down to keep up our physical activity instead of using the gym. In Bermuda we bought passes (bus/ferry) and one day rode the bus from the Dockyard all the way to St. Georges, getting off in Hamilton to walk around and sightsee, again at the old Swizzler Inn, then on to St. Georges. Nice area with cobblestone streets and shoppes. Took the ferry back from St. Georges to the Dockyard. Another day we spent strolling the Dockyard and touring the national history museum which was very interesting! The rainy, windy third day we took the ferry to Hamilton and returned by ferry. Fun, easy trip to get us off the ship on that last day. Weather on the return to Norfolk was quite windy but we enjoyed sitting at the stern holding onto our hats, as did many others. Fun in the sunshine and hot tubs. We enjoyed some of the music offered in the atrium, laughed at one early comedy show, but otherwise did not participate in onboard entertainment. Mostly enjoyed reading, walking about, people-watching, and drinking beer/sipping wine at the stern or on our balcony. Disembarkation for us was a breeze. We didn't buy liquor onboard and were glad we didn't. Pickup was on disembark morning! and the line was very long which slowed many people down. We carried our own luggage and were off, in the car and on the road by 7:30am! We were glad to see Bermuda - clean, polite, saw no panhandling - and may visit there again, and would easily choose Carnival to get there. All in all, a good, comfortable, pleasant cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Just returned from a Bermuda cruise on the Splendor. We had a blast! Yes, it's the pink biscuit ship that needs a facelift, but everything was great on our trip! Our stewart Gede was fantastic! Our inside cabin was small of course, ... Read More
Just returned from a Bermuda cruise on the Splendor. We had a blast! Yes, it's the pink biscuit ship that needs a facelift, but everything was great on our trip! Our stewart Gede was fantastic! Our inside cabin was small of course, but had everything we needed. The food in the dining room was terrific as was our head waiter Jose. There were only 2 elegant dress nights and the rest were cruise casual, which was new for us and a nice addition. The Lido had Mongolian, Tandoori, Pizza, Bruger station, Rotisserie station upstairs and the poplular Burrito Bar. Everything was great and the staff were all very friendly! The shows were great, especially in the Punchliner Comedy Club! We had 2 comedians on the way to Bermuda and 2 new comedians on the way back to Norfolk. They were hysterical! They have PG shows early in the evening and 18+ shows later in the evening. Kevin the Cruise Director was very funny!! The pools and hot tubs were very popular! The last sea day, they had Towel Animal Theater....towel animals filled the Lido Deck in front of the movie screen! It was adorable! We loved getting a new towel animal every night! Bermuda was fantastic! We went to the Crystal Caves and Sea Glass Beach, which we had not seen on previous trips there. The bus rides were very long, but the drivers were always helpful and looked out for us so we would get off at the right stop. The locals were very friendly was well. We have already booked our next Carnival cruise to Alaska! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I sailed the Carnival Glory, from October 16 -â€" 22, 2011. This was our 19th cruise, our 13th on Carnival, and over our 13th Wedding Anniversary. We have also previously sailed on Celebrity, Cunard, Holland and ... Read More
My husband and I sailed the Carnival Glory, from October 16 -â€" 22, 2011. This was our 19th cruise, our 13th on Carnival, and over our 13th Wedding Anniversary. We have also previously sailed on Celebrity, Cunard, Holland and Norwegian. This was a six day sailing out of Norfolk, VA to Bermuda. It seemed like most of the passengers were from Virginia. We drove to Norfolk the day prior to sailing, and reminisced since our Navy days... It had been about 10 - 15 years since we were there and things had changed a lot. Embarkation was a breeze, once we cleared security we proceeded to the Platinum check in and were immediately processed. From there we were provided VIP cards and allowed to move to the head of the line to board the ship. We booked an Ocean View cabin, the room was plenty big enough for us and our belongings. It also had a sofa, which could have been used to accommodate a third person. We again opted to have all of our dinners in the Supper Club. Mr. Cruise Cat and I are not foodies, we prefer the Supper Club because it is quieter and less crowded than the dining rooms. But the food is definitely better in the Supper Club. As always, the food was perfect, the service flawless and the experience wonderful. Also, it's important to mention that the service and food was as delightful on the last nights as it was on the first nights. We've been on other cruise lines where the service and food quality in the specialty dining areas hasn't always been upheld throughout the entire cruise. The rest of the meals were standard for Carnival... We had breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck each day. Breakfast was pretty much the same each day, and there was the same large assortment of lunch options. We had deli sandwiches, pizza, burgers and all that. We spent some time in the casino and came out a few dollars behind, but nothing too serious. We didn't attend any shows, as those aren't really our thing. Since we had so many days at sea, we watched a bit of television, but it was limited. We are booked on a 17 day cruise next year, from Hawaii to Sydney, Australia, and will remember to bring our laptop and an assortment of DVDs. We realized a few years ago that Bermuda is a place best visited by cruise ship. Flights, hotels and restaurants and all that for a trip to Bermuda are very expensive. A cruise is less expensive, and a better value for your time and money. There was just a day and a half in port, but that was plenty of time for us. We rented scooters in Bermuda and visited the pink beaches. It was very windy that day, which made riding the scooters kind of slower at some points, and we were not able to get in the water at the pink beaches. But it pretty fun zooming around and all that. We talked to some other passengers that used the Bermuda bus system, and we were glad we did not do that. Apparently, the busses stop every couple of blocks, and it took over an hour to get from the pier area to Hamilton. (The island is about 22 miles long.) There were a couple of negatives about this cruise, but not too much. There were some parts of the ship where you could smell garbage, but they were few and far between. I hope those odors weren't near anyone's cabin, that wouldn't have been very nice. Also, there were a couple of times when the aft pool was covered, and it didn't seem necessary. We couldn't find anyone who could provide any information on when it would be removed, so we moved to the mid-ship pool. It wasn't the end of the world, but we really prefer the aft pool without live music or kids. And finally, none of the hot tubs seemed to be working very well. They were warm, but not really hot. The aft pool, however, was steaming hot one day. I still haven't figured that one out yet! As we sail more and more cruises, these reviews get harder to write. We are pretty familiar with what we are going to get, especially with Carnival, and have yet to be disappointed. Overall, it was a lovely cruise and a great way to see Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our first cruise was a 7 night in '09 on Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. This ship was a bit of a "step down" but thoroughly enjoyable. Embarkation: we were within a day's drive of the Norfolk cruise ... Read More
Our first cruise was a 7 night in '09 on Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. This ship was a bit of a "step down" but thoroughly enjoyable. Embarkation: we were within a day's drive of the Norfolk cruise terminal so we opted to drive this time. The terminal is in downtown Norfolk within close proximity to large downtown hotels. We did not spend the night in a hotel as we're retired military and had access to the much less expensive option of staying at the navy base 10 minutes away. The buses from the off-site parking lot began running at 10 a.m. Porters took care of the bags and we were off to the terminal several blocks away. We were the first bus to arrive but were held in the terminal for a couple of hours along with all the other later arrivals due to technical difficulties at the terminal. Since we were early we had comfortable places to sit. Others were not so lucky - they were lined out the door. We boarded the ship and headed to Windjammer for some lunch and another place to wait as our rooms would not be ready 'til 1:30. The rooms were ready when promised so we took our carry-ons to the room. Always bring your essentials (including bathing suit and gear) in your carry-on! Our luggage didn't make it to the room until 6 p.m. We retrieved it from a cart that had just arrived on the deck. Had to do that on our previous cruise as well - - again, it's small stuff. We had a balcony stateroom on deck seven. The room was very comfortable. The ship was just out of dry dock and was very clean, just like new. Only the balcony showed signs of age: a little rust, etc. Food: We reserved two nights at Chops Grill - well worth $25 (gratuity included) for the superior food. Otherwise we had dinner three nights at Windjammer as on our last cruise we were disappointed in the main dining room fare. We had breakfast and lunch in either the main dining room or Windjammer. On this cruise the buffet meats were a little overcooked so we made good use of sauces or the made-to-order stations: omelets, carving station, mongolian bbq, etc. Buffet desserts left much to be desired. Only a couple of times did we find a dessert that we wanted more than a few bites of. Service: no complaints about dining service or stateroom service. Our attendant, Samantha, was very cheerful, sweet and attentive. Always kept ice in the bucket and the room spotless. We only attended a couple of the shows but enjoyed what we did see. Disembarkation: does that ever really go right? We opted for express since we had a car nearby. At some point, a rumor spread quickly that they had called for express departure guests to go ahead and gather at 4th deck. However customs was not ready for passengers so we had a glut of people on 4th and 5th deck all gathered waiting to leave. The staff, including cruise directors, jumped in to help with luggage and try to smooth out that little bump in the road. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Pre Cruise - D (For American Airlines)We left on a stormy evening in St. Louis.  When we arrived, our American Airlines flight was already delayed 3 hours.  By the time we ate a little dinner our flight was canceled.  The next flight ... Read More
Pre Cruise - D (For American Airlines)We left on a stormy evening in St. Louis.  When we arrived, our American Airlines flight was already delayed 3 hours.  By the time we ate a little dinner our flight was canceled.  The next flight was next morning, and it was full.  We should have been on that flight because my husband is platinum on AA, but they overlooked us.  There was no way we would make it to Norfolk, VA to meet our cruise before it left.  All of the flights to and around Norfolk were cancelled.  Plan B was to drive to Norfolk from St. Louis (15 hours!), and it was storming, as I mentioned before, and there were tornadoes on the path to VA, so we moved to Plan C.  Plan C was to use our trip insurance to pay for a flight to meet the cruise at its destination, Bermuda.  That wasn't going to work as well as we thought, so we moved to Plan D.  Plan D was to check flights again going anywhere near Norfolk.  Most of those were also canceled because of the weather.  However, there was one flight going to Reagan- D.C.  It was leaving at 11pm ish.  We hopped on that flight, and then arrived at Reagan at around 2am.  We rented a car from Hertz...who knew they were open!  We climbed into our Nissan Altima with some life-saving equipment - a Never Lost - a.k.a. GPS.  Since we had the Never Lost, we decided to do some impromptu sightseeing around Washington D.C. before driving 3 or so hours to Norfolk, VA.Norfolk, VA / Embarkation - A+We arrived at the cruise terminal via a taxi ($28 +tip for both to ride) from the airport where we dropped off our rental car.  There were no lines at all when we arrived at 11am.  We were finished with the embarkation procedure at 11:30am.  No upgrades for this cruise.   Cabin - AOur cabin was 4749 (inside cabin) and we had a wonderful cabin steward that we never saw except for the first night, which we were fine with.  He was so thorough and came in to do his work while we were not there.  We loved his towel animal creations.  The bathroom was a good size for a cruise ship bathroom, and we had ample closet and drawer space.  The bed was comfortable.  I would recommend bringing a power strip if you have a few things that you would need to plug in.  We were charging various items, and I was using a hairdryer and straightener at the desk area.  Overall, we really enjoyed the location of our cabin in terms of proximity to the elevators/stairs.  We didn't feel a lot of rocking, and we felt like we had a wonderful cabin.  Overall, this was the largest inside cabin I had ever stayed in.  Cruise Experience - ADinner was something we always looked forward to each evening.  We selected late seating and a table of two.  We were pleased to see both requests were honored.  It was such a wonderful experience to dine in the Great Gatsby Dining Room.  We ate every night in the dining room because the quality of the food was so superior, we enjoyed our surroundings, we like to get dressed up, and our wait staff was the BEST!  Our waiter was Jozef, our Assistant Waiter was Karl, and our headwaiter was Kirk.  All were excellent servers, and eventually by the end of the cruise, they learned our preferences.  I always like iced tea with my dinner, so it was waiting for me when we arrived, and Christian prefers ice water.  I also always have dessert, and I love decaf coffee with lots of cream.  We always started dinner with an appetizer like shrimp cocktail, escargot, or mushroom puff pastry.  There were so many to choose from, and the menu changed each night.  After appetizers, we always had either a soup or salad.  Our favorite was the lobster bisque, but I also liked the minestrone, pumpkin bisque and chilled strawberry soup.  Our favorite salad by far was the caesar.  After that we always had an entree.  Our favorites were the prime rib, lobster tails, shrimp scampi, and pork.  They had really fancy names I can't remember right now.  The lobster tails were the best I have ever eaten.  The desserts were to die for!  I loved this decadent chocolate/ fudge dessert.  I asked for more!  The cheesecake, pots de crème, and all chocolate desserts were heavenly!The buffet in the windjammer was above average, and we really enjoyed the variety each day and the fresh brewed Seattle's Best Coffee.  We dined in the dining room once at breakfast, and it was a wonderful experience.  Mostly for breakfast and lunch we prefer to eat at our leisure and not get dressed up, so the Windjammer was perfect for our preferences.We felt like the entertainment and activities that were offered were fair.  We didn't attend the shows because we much preferred to sit in one of the lounges or walk the promenade deck in the evenings.  We enjoyed using the Fitness facilities, and we thought the rock climbing wall was challenging and so much fun!  We did enjoy the main pool and the solarium.  There were not any children in the adult pool in the solarium, so it was easy to relax with adults if we chose.The only real complaint about my cruise experience I had was that the Internet was expensive and slow.  We had a deal going through on our home, and we wanted to see our son on Skype.  We did get to check email, but Skype didn't work.Bermuda - AThe natives are so friendly, the public transportation is wonderful, and most parts of the island are not trash-filled like other islands we have been to.  It is an expensive island, but if you do most of your eating on ship, you won't break the bank.The first day, we bought a ferry and bus pass onboard that had to be redeemed at the ferry terminal.  After we redeemed our tickets, we hopped on a ferry to St. George.  It was a nice ride, and there was a friendly Bermudian working who gave us tips about the island.  St. George is a quaint town.  The shopping isn't great, but it was fun to look.  We did make our way to Alexandria Battery Beach to explore the Battery and pick up a treasure trove of sea glass.  This was one of my favorite things we did on Bermuda.  We ate lunch at a cafe, walked around King's Square and took pictures.  We then took a bus to Hamilton.  We took pictures, shopped for some souvenirs and did a lot of walking around the city just to take it in.  The second day in port, we took a bus (which broke down) to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse.  The views were fantastic!  This is a must see.  We also went to Horseshoe Bay.  It was a little crowded, but the beach and facilities were very clean.  We then went into Hamilton to go to Fort Hamilton.  That was a great free attraction, but it did need to be cleaned up a bit.  We did some more sightseeing, took a ferry back to the Dockyards, and then ate a late lunch on the boat.Disembarkation - AThis was a smooth process.  We ate breakfast, and then we walked to the Palladium Theater for Express Walk-off.  It began promptly at 7:30am.  The only complaint we had was that people didn't fill out their declaration cards prior to getting to customs, but that was not Royal Caribbean's fault.  After getting through customs, we took a taxi to the airport for our flight, which returned us safely to St. Louis.    Overall Impressions - ARoyal Caribbean is going to be our cruise line of choice from now on, and we loved Grandeur of the Seas.  This ship was comfortable and inviting, and the staff was top-notch!  Thank you to all involved for making our cruise vacation phenomenal! 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Sail Date May 2009
On August 2 my wife and I cruised on the Grandeur of the Seas for 5 nights. I was a little apprehensive about cruising with RCL. I am not a big fan of brand names that are constantly running commercials or are too mainstream. However, RCL ... Read More
On August 2 my wife and I cruised on the Grandeur of the Seas for 5 nights. I was a little apprehensive about cruising with RCL. I am not a big fan of brand names that are constantly running commercials or are too mainstream. However, RCL exceed our expectations. There was a total of 8 of us and we had a smashing time! For those of you who were on the cruise, we were the ones with the t shirts! We called ourselves project inebri(eight) and we definitely achieved our objective! This was our first time on Royal. I previously cruised with my wife on the Crown Princess for our honeymoon. My wife cruised with Celebrity in the past. Every aspect of the cruise was a good experience. Embarkation- Norfolk, VA was an easy port to cruise from. We live on Long Island in NY and flew from LaGuardia to Newport News. We had almost no wait to board the ship. The employees of RCL even volunteered to film us with our video camera, while we were checking in. Food- The food quality and variety was quite good and I think better then the food on the Crown Princess. There was a lot more variety on the menu. Even though I like anytime dining, I had a great experience with traditional on this cruise. The Lobster was exceptional and I honestly did not taste anything that wasn't good. The food in the windjammer cafe was very good considering it is buffet. We ordered room service for breakfast almost every morning. Try the smoked salmon and brie sandwich!!! Drinks- We had quite a few drinks on this cruise and every drink was of good quality. The Bloody Mary special is a must! My wife particularly enjoyed the Lava Flow, it was a drink special! My friends warned me that drinks would be astronomical in price, I could not disagree more. Considering the fact that we are used to bars in NYC, we felt he prices were reasonable. Service- The service was quite impressive. Our assistant waiter, Amel, was hysterical, he really went above and beyond to entertain us, even though he did pretend to spill coffee on me. The bartenders and servers all knew our names by the end of our cruise. They especially remembered my brother and his friend, I think they really enjoyed the libations! On the last night of the cruise, we ordered a special cake for one of our friends who was cruising with us. When the cake arrived, it was frozen. Even though the head waiter explained that is how the cake is supposed to be served, he removed the $12 charge for the cake. That is what I call good service! The whole crew on the Grandeur did a good job and went out of their way to provide personalized service. Public rooms and facilities- Even though this is one of the smaller and older RCL ships, the public rooms were clean and kept in good condition. The Solarium was a nice place to get away from the crowd and go for a swim. The spa was very clean and I definitely enjoyed it. The lounges are nice and the dining room is well decorated. Maybe this ship is not quite as glitzy as others,however, it is in good condition and has a lot to offer. Cabin- Our cabin was a balcony stateroom. For a cruise cabin, it was of decent size and had a good amount of storage space. The bathroom was a little bit worn but was clean. the balcony was a decent size,however, they could have fit a bigger table on the balcony. I highly suggest going for a balcony stateroom. Port of call- This cruise docked at King's Wharf, Bermuda. People who have cruised to Bermuda have told me it is better to dock in Hamilton or ST. George. While this might be true, we enjoyed our port of call. Snorkel Park is right next to the dock and they had a fun beach Party the night we were in port. The band was great and the beach and walls of the fort make for a great setting. There were a million stars in the sky the night we went to the beach party. Overall, I had a good experience at this port and the ferries are ready to take you to Hamilton and Saint George. We took a bus to Horseshoe Bay beach. This was one of the nicest beaches I have been to. I probably liked ST. Thomas and Puerto Rico a little bit better,however, Bermuda is safe and very nice. Cruising is my new favorite way to vacation. Even though I was first turned off by the ubiquitous RCL brand,I am hoping to cruise on a larger ship in the RCL fleet. I hope the level of service and attention to detail is as good on the rest of the ships as it is on the Grandeur. This was a great cruise and an overall great vacation! Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
This was our very first family vacation, let alone a cruise. Things went so perfectly smooth, it was almost unbelievable. We live local to Norfolk, so we drove to the ship about 11:30a.m. to check in. There was no line, which was amazing ... Read More
This was our very first family vacation, let alone a cruise. Things went so perfectly smooth, it was almost unbelievable. We live local to Norfolk, so we drove to the ship about 11:30a.m. to check in. There was no line, which was amazing to me. The ID check and boarding was so fast. Once we were on board they did tell us our rooms would not be ready until 1pm, so we took that opportunity to check out the ship and buy the soda package. The ship was so beautiful and there was staff everywhere and so willing to help and always with a smile. I wish people on land were like that. Anyway, once in our rooms, we took the time to unpack. The room was much larger than I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it was small, but after researching every day, I was expecting it to be the size of a closet and really it was much nicer than that. The bed and pillows were fabulous. The bathroom, on the other hand, was extremely small. After we unpacked, we headed out to the top deck where the pool was. The entertainment staff was all ready to go and trying to get everyone involved in dancing and just having a great time. They did have a band on the pool deck and they were just fabulous as well. The staff was always attentive and ready to serve drinks. We went up the the Ocean Adventure for the kids. We have a 7 year old boy and knew he would want to be up there playing with other kids. My son loved it and if he wasn't in the pool with us, he wanted to be in the Ocean Adventure club house. He didn't even want to go to the magic show. They had so much entertainment. Bingo, trivia games, belly flop competitions (which my husband entered), talent show for kids, The Quest, Marriage and Love Game, Party Zone for kids, Clubs for adults and teens. We were never bored. We did spend a lot of time by the pool as well (it is salt water, which I was not aware of) So, we got to Bermuda around day 2.5, I think. Anyway, I wasn't too impressed with the town, but the waters were amazing. Perfectly clear. You could see fish swimming next to you as you would be swimming. We didn't do any excursions, we did take the bus and ferry over to St. George's and walked to Tobacco Bay. It was all so beautiful. The cruise director and staff put on a show with the locals off the ship and it was as well very nice. Oh yes, the food was wonderful. I think the only thing I would have to complain about is the coffee. We did have a formal dinner, which the dinner was amazing as always, but you were just dressed up. The wait staff knew us by name and had drinks and fruit ready and waiting for us when we arrived. Perfect service!!!! One more thing, I did have one of the spa treatments.....Ladies Night Out....Wonderful.....but is costly. I don't know if I would say worth the price, but if you have the money, go ahead and get it.....it was very nice. Have a wonderful time.....I sure did!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Arrived in Norfolk via limo after a short hour and a half ride. Embarkation was a breeze and we were eating lunch in the Windjammer shortly after noon. Travelled with DH who is handicapped and in wheelchair so I had the regular worries ... Read More
Arrived in Norfolk via limo after a short hour and a half ride. Embarkation was a breeze and we were eating lunch in the Windjammer shortly after noon. Travelled with DH who is handicapped and in wheelchair so I had the regular worries since this was our first cruise. Truly I worried in vain because EVERYTHING was totally accessible and the staff were simply incredible. If it looked like we needed help, someone was there and I never had to ask. Balcony was even accessible and room was spacious with plenty of storage. Courtney, our stateroom attendant was quite attentive and we enjoyed having conversations with him. The ship is older but very well maintained and immaculate. We did formal night in the Great Gatsby and the food and service there were top notch. Other times we ate at the Windjammer buffet and were quite surprised at the selection and how tasty everything was. Plenty of activities to keep you busy, shows were well attended and the staff was superb. Bermuda was a gorgeous island and we thoroughly enjoyed. Had a private 5 hour tour excursion which left us speechless. Bermuda is very clean and the locals are extremely proud of their island and willing to show it off. Debarkation was simple and we were off the ship by 8:00 and I was at home doing laundry by 10:30. Everyone should try a cruise at least once. It is so relaxing and Royal Caribbean has set the standard for us. It was our FIRST but we are already planning our next one. Thanks to the staff of the Grandeur for making our first cruise so enjoyable. See you next year! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This is my first review of my first cruise - Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, departing Norfolk, VA, July 19, 2008, sailing to King's Wharf/Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda, a delightful 5 night cruise for our summer family ... Read More
This is my first review of my first cruise - Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, departing Norfolk, VA, July 19, 2008, sailing to King's Wharf/Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda, a delightful 5 night cruise for our summer family vacation! What a fun adventure! This was a terrific experience for our first cruise! Prior to departure, we completed our preboarding information online at the RCCL website, and we printed out our SetSail passes, which paved the way for a smooth check-in process at the pier. Being new to cruising, we were not familiar with some of the onboard options - purchase of a soda package and limiting the dollar amount of charges allowed on our son's SeaPass cards - we were told these could not be completed online or by phone prior to boarding, but once onboard, we could visit the Purser's Office to make arrangements. Once onboard, the soda package was easy to purchase, and well worth the investment for our teenagers; we never were able to clarify that a maximum dollar amount could be imposed for onboard charging for the teenagers' SeaPass cards, but fortunately this did not cause any problems for us. A month prior to departure, we signed up for two land excursions online at the RCCL website; these included a bike tour of Bermuda and a snorkeling excursion. Our party of four included myself, my husband, and our two teenage boys, ages 14 and 16. We actually live in Virginia Beach, VA, and so we had to "travel inland" to depart from Norfolk, VA! A neighbor volunteered to drop us off at the pier at 2 p.m., and we quickly caught a taxi home upon return, creating for a smooth departure and return with no airport or hotel hassles. Wait time in line at the pier for check-in was minimal; the line moved quickly, although there was quite a crowd checking in. We opted for "self check out", where we carried our own luggage on disembarking, which went smoothly. We used the envelopes provided for staff gratuities, and delivered these personally with a big "thank you" to the fantastic RCCL staff for the wonderful personalized service provided to us during our cruise. We sailed on RCCL's Grandeur of the Seas; the description of the ship on the RCCL website is very accurate. In the weeks prior to departure, we "explored" the ship using the virtual tour and deck plans on the RCCL website. We chose adjoining staterooms on Deck 2, which were nicely furnished and always spotlessly clean! The room safe and nightly chocolate mints were nice! Our room steward introduced himself immediately, as we arrived, and always made himself available should we have need for him throughout our cruise. The Grandeur of the Seas offered two choices for dining - seated dining in the Great Gatsby Dining Room or casual dining in the WindJammer Cafe; snacks/ice cream were available in other locations. The food was outstanding, with multiple choices for every palate! We opted out of the "formal night", choosing instead to enjoy the casual atmosphere and wide array of foods in the WindJammer Cafe, as we continued to do for several meals. We chose the late seating in the Great Gatsby, and we did enjoy meeting our table mates. There were plenty of activities for all of us! The teenagers enjoyed the rock climbing wall, the outdoor swimming pool, shuffleboard, and pingpong, but didn't seem to want to participate in the ship's organized teen activities. The daily printed announcement of ship's activities provided up to the minute choices of things to do for all ages. Quiet time can be enjoyed in the stateroom, the Library, or the Card Room. The ship's channel on TV provided more details on the day's activities. We tremendously enjoyed the shows; we attended a fun wine tasting class. The boys participated in several contests poolside, and enjoyed the Teen Lounge. The "port shopping class" provided information on local shops, along with maps, and the live presentation was taped, then replayed on the ship's TV channel throughout the day prior to arrival in Bermuda. The exercise equipment in the Fitness Center was well maintained and readily available. The jogging track was my favorite place to be at 6 a.m. - wonderful to jog or walk and watch the sun rise and feel the ocean breeze! Bermuda - We arrived in Bermuda about 7 a.m. All locations in the Royal Naval Dockyard are within walking distance of the pier - be sure to take comfortable walking shoes/sandals. Our shore excursion on our first day in Bermuda was a snorkeling trip which we had booked through the RCCL website prior to departure. The boat picked us up at the pier on time, and provided drinks to and from the reef where we snorkeled. The equipment was well maintained and the staff were very helpful! We snorkeled for a little over 1 hour, then returned via a "scenic" route to the pier. The water was very clear with many fish to see! This shore excursion was fantastic - we all enjoyed it tremendously!! By the time we showered, changed clothes, and ate lunch onboard, it was late afternoon. We opted to go shopping/exploring in the Royal Naval Dockyard for a couple of hours, and then ate dinner at the Frog and Onion Pub to celebrate our son's birthday. This was fun, but by doing so, we missed lobster dinner onboard!! Ooops! A country music festival was held that evening in one part of the Royal Naval Dockyard; we stayed for awhile, then returned to the ship. Our second day in Bermuda started off with breakfast onboard, then a shore excursion of an electric bike tour of the island - this was fantastic! A real close up view of Bermuda, along with a knowledgeable guide to provide background history of the island, it's people and places!! The bikes were great - the electric motor provided enough assistance to make the ride moderately strenuous, but not intolerable for those of us who are not in tip/top physical shape!! We returned to the ship about 1:30 p.m., ate lunch, and decided to stay onboard. We didn't spend a lot of time in Bermuda, but it seemed to be just enough! We had a couple episodes of light rain throughout the cruise, but no rough water. My oldest son did experience some "seasickness" enroute one day going, and one day returning, but dramamine seemed to control it. I think he had to become accustomed to the motion of the ocean! A few tips - it's great to watch the departure from Norfolk from a window seat in the Viking Lounge!! As for shopping, there are some fantastic onboard deals the last day at sea!! Be sure to check them out!! Plan to visit some of the other cities in Bermuda, in addition to the Royal Naval Dockyard. Be sure to stop by Snorkel Bay for a refreshing dip in the ocean - it's within walking distance of the pier at Royal Naval Dockyard, and you can provide your own snorkel equipment or rent it!! This was a wonderful cruise for our family, and we will gladly travel with RCCL again!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Family travel - My husband and myself, our three grown children and their spouses, and six grandchildren, ages 24, 23, 22, 18, 16, and 12. After driving to Norfolk, VA, we spent the night at the Marriott Waterside, a beautiful hotel in ... Read More
Family travel - My husband and myself, our three grown children and their spouses, and six grandchildren, ages 24, 23, 22, 18, 16, and 12. After driving to Norfolk, VA, we spent the night at the Marriott Waterside, a beautiful hotel in walking distance of the harbor. We arrived at the port around 11:30am, dropped luggage and I waited at the cruise center while my husband went to park. About 45 minutes later, he arrived from Cedar Grove parking lot, 14 blocks away. It seems they don't separate the cars coming in to park only from the ones dropping luggage, so you wait in line behind those without the right change, the ones with charge cards (we were told it was cash only), and the ones who had not even put on their luggage tags! At the new Half Moone Cruise Center, embarkation was uneventful and easy after online completion of sea pass information. We were told 1pm for cabins, so we proceeded to Windjammer Cafe for lunch. What a zoo - people wandered the food stations with no direction and no clue. People came at you from every direction; enough to rattle the strongest traveler. After recent trips with Holland America and Celebrity, we were quite unprepared. We were not impressed and wondered how sanitary it was with all those hands, including many children, dipping in. We became increasingly aware that they do not provide hand sanitizing stations like we have found on other lines, not even at the dining rooms or the gangway after a day in port. We felt this was irresponsible, considering the number of recent illnesses on ships. We went to our balcony cabin on deck 7 at 1:30pm and our luggage arrived around 2:30pm. We were fortunate - others were still waiting at 5:30pm. Room steward, Al, popped in to introduce himself - he gave us fantastic service. No surprises in the cabin - nice balcony w/ 2 chairs & table. Very good storage for clothing & "stuff". Bathroom smelled pretty bad - drat, forgot my 'stick-up'. Other family members on deck 4 said there was a strong mildew smell as you went from the public areas to the cabin hall. It was obvious there had been a water problem, they replaced some carpet in public area while in port at Bermuda. Lifeboat drill at 4:30 and sailed on time at 5pm. There were plenty of sail away activities; the ship is beautifully decorated and once people got into their cabins and settled down, the crowds were excessive only in the Windjammer Cafe. The solarium is beautiful w/ pool for age 16+ and grill w/hamburgers, fries, etc. Our 12 year-old was disappointed; the rock climbing wall was not open the 1st 2 days due to excessive winds (understandable, of course). In port, time slots were few and personnel not available. Last day, openings for 12 year-olds were limited - competitions for adults?? With this not available, arcade was about it. He ran up a $70 bill before his parents realized that this activity was not blocked on his sea pass because it was a 'leased activity'. Does this mean he could have also purchased Ben & Jerry's ice cream? We're not sure 'cause he didn't try. Dining in the Great Gatsby dining room was impressive. The food variety and quality was good; our waiter, Robert, and assistant, Margaret, were excellent. We resolved to spend much time in this place rather than Windjammer. We found lounges and special food spots everywhere. Entertainment was fair; we did enjoy Dockyard Festival put on by Grandeur on shore; street festival atmosphere w/local craft booths, a stage for music and a performance by Mark Angelo, a very funny comedian/juggler. The 1st night production number was only fair (no orchestra), so we skipped the 2nd one - mistake, everyone said it was great music from the the 70's, 80's, and 90's! Maybe they should reverse these two, with the good one first to bring folks back. We lucked out - the original Rhondells, a beach music group from the 60's, were cruising w/a group of fans and did a public performance the last evening. They were terrific and the dance floor stayed full. Viking Crown lounge was hopping every night for the young (and young at heart) adults. We arrived on time in Bermuda and disembarked easily. The first day, some of us took the ferry to meet a Bermudian friend at the Botanical Gardens which were gorgeous. Our friend gave us a first class tour with lots of information about the island life in general. Cost of living is very high w/ $8 gasoline and $4 loaf of bread. Their rain water collection system, using terraced roofing and underground storage tanks, was fascinating. Some of our group took an excursion to a beach for snuba (a cross between snorkeling and scuba), kayaks, paddle boats, and other water toys. It was enjoyed immensely. Later, 12 of our 14 went out on jet skis from Sea Venture, in Southhampton Parish (booked online but not through cruise line). This met with approval of all, saying the guides were very good. Those going should know that there is a regulation saying only 10 people per guide, so 2 members of our group went with a different guide. The second port day some of us took the bus to Horseshoe Bay Beach. ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING! The water is turquoise and clear right to bottom, sand really is pink (from bits of red coral) but not hot to touch; the rocks are beautiful, and there are life guards. Be sure to walk to the far end and go through the rocks to the other side . . crashing waves on the rocks, so pretty. Prettiest beach ever - better than Hawaii. The facilities were fair, not the cleanest. Caution: be sure to check your umbrella for working parts. Ours did not work well, but because we didn't take it back as soon as we realized that (it was a long walk), we lost our deposit - they said we brought it back broken! Chair rental was $10 + $5 deposit per chair and umbrella the same. You put up your own umbrella. It is a pretty long walk up a steep hill to the bus, but there is usually a fellow with a van who will take you to the top for $1 a head - best money I spent all day! We did not eat there, so cannot speak to that. My recommendation, bring a piece of fruit and bottle of water from the ship. We found buses and ferries to be the best mode of transportation. You can get a pass (on the ship) for $12 (one day) or $20 (two day) which covers all buses and ferries. Service is excellent with buses running about every 15 minutes and ferries departing about every 30 minutes. That said, you will need plenty of time - lots of stops take up lots of time, so it may take longer to reach your destination than you thought. Be sure to look around, the bus is like a tour if you sit near the driver and ask questions. Meet some locals - they love bragging on their country. Children are polite and courteous and were observed giving up their seat on the bus for an elderly person. Three of our group left Horseshoe Bay Beach a little late and only with the help of the $1 van and the city bus did they make it back (10 minutes before sailing)! The city bus actually brought them, and others in similar situation, all the way to the dock, far beyond their usual stop! We all found the Bermudian people to be extremely friendly and helpful. Haley, Robert and Abigail, employees at the Front Desk, were very helpful and friendly. Haley, particularly, helped us with a wine order situation and also with several other questions along the way. Our shore excursions were booked online, so we had no experience with the excursion staff on board. The staff in the photo shop were not very helpful but our party of 14 purchased about $200 anyway. I guess they knew that. Three of our group used the spa; hair salon and massage were good experiences. The 'gym' was very small and crowded, w/ people waiting in line for machines. We took advantage of the "carry your own luggage" deal and walked off the ship about 7:30am. By 8:00am we were in our car, leaving the parking lot. But, we'll be back, hopefully soon!! We rate the overall experience Excellent and recommend the Grandeur of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008

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