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Sail Date: May 2004
Where do I start? Ok, embarkation was breeze but then again we live nearby and did not have to worry about parking. But it went smoothly. We had a wait of about an hour to get to our room and were less than pleased. The ship is in need ... Read More
Where do I start? Ok, embarkation was breeze but then again we live nearby and did not have to worry about parking. But it went smoothly. We had a wait of about an hour to get to our room and were less than pleased. The ship is in need of a facelift! The carpet was worn through in places and the bedding and curtains were biohazards. The room size was fine for us but it smelled. We were spoiled by the Carnival Triumph, if this had been out first cruise it would also have been out last. The food was absolutely terrible with the exception of dessert. Even though the food was awful we were distressed that we couldn't find enough to eat! We were hungry the entire time. The buffet and the grill were closed at dinner leaving only the dining room, alt. dining room, and room service as options. Sometimes you want a burger for dinner! Our assistant waiter was a gem, but our waiter was condescending. The children program was disappointing but they worked with what they had. Our 11 yr old son enjoyed the program but there was ever only one or two children participating and probably 10 on the entire ship. The average age on our ship was about 65....making it feel like an assisted living facility. Especially since many of these guests were "cranky", pushy, and rude to anyone under 45 or with children. The shows were mediocre at best. BUT we loved Bermuda. We did a helmet dive in St George and walked the quaint little town for gifts. We also walked over the the beach there. In Hamilton we took the bus to Horseshoe Bay and the view was so beautiful it made me misty. There we had the best meal of our trip. We each had a $3.00 hot dog that seemed pricey until we bit into it. That was the best hot dog any of us had ever had. We walked up the the light house near there and took in the breathtaking view. Getting around by bus was easy and efficient. We didn't rent a moped but out friends that did had mechanical trouble. We will go back to Bermuda in a heartbeat! But never on the Horizon. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
This is a must do cruise! The ship may be small by todays standards, but it was just as nice as the mega-ships. Stateroom was well laid out and never felt cramped. Room attendants couldn't have been nicer or more attentive. Food = ... Read More
This is a must do cruise! The ship may be small by todays standards, but it was just as nice as the mega-ships. Stateroom was well laid out and never felt cramped. Room attendants couldn't have been nicer or more attentive. Food = Excellent! Better than Carnival & Disney. The waitstaff were superb; funny, knowledgeable & willing to go out of their way to get you anything. And I thought Disney went overboard keeping their ships impeccably spotless, Celebrity is just as selfconscious. Bermuda is, in one word, beautiful! St. George is small enough to just get off the ship & walk around. Check out Tobacco Bay and St. Catherine's Fort, very cool. Hamilton was much larger than I had anticipated, but there are a lot of shops & restaurants along Front Street. Try the catamaran & snorkel cruise excursion on the big pink catamaran, it is a blast! And Joan will tell you everything you've ever wanted to know about Bermuda. Or grab a bus to Horseshoe Bay, it'll cost you $2.50 each way. I only wish that the Palladian Theatre showed movies during the day for those who don't gamble or are too sunburnt to lay out anymore. Otherwise, the Celebrity Horizon is a great way to get to an island paradise all your friends will ooh & aww over. Go ahead, make 'em jealous! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
Celebrity's Horizon to Bermuda—May 29 to June 5 This is our second cruise on the Horizon and our third visit to Bermuda. I will probably just focus on what was new to us. The parking lot in Norfolk opens at 11 A.M. Since people ... Read More
Celebrity's Horizon to Bermuda—May 29 to June 5 This is our second cruise on the Horizon and our third visit to Bermuda. I will probably just focus on what was new to us. The parking lot in Norfolk opens at 11 A.M. Since people can board at or before 11, it should open earlier. The cost is $60.00. There were lots of attendants to show us where to park. The porters came right up to the line of cars, unloaded the luggage and transferred it to the buses. The ride to the ship is about 10 minutes. We got in line immediately and were one the ship at about noon. There was no big holding area as we have encountered in Florida. When we embarked we were given a choice of a glass of champagne or a mimosa. We were directed to the casual dining area on the 11th floor where a complete buffet lunch was available. Our rooms were ready for occupancy at 1 P.M. We were in outside rooms (6031 and 6035). Although we were convenient to an elevator, we still did a lot of hoofing it up and down the stairs. I feel that rooms are well laid out and have plenty of storage space, but need refurbishing. The drawers were extremely noisy and the furniture was a bit worn. My packing suggestion is to leave clothes on hangars. There are not enough hangars and it would be easier to just pull the outfits out of the suitcases and hang them up. Interleaf plastic bags between your outfits and they won't wrinkle. We came on the ship recovering from viruses, so we didn't see every show going. The Celebrity singers and dancers are very good. The lead female singer was fabulous. If the party band "Exodus" is still onboard, you are in for a treat. They play at the pool and other occasions. Celebrity has improved their daily activity sheet. It is now on heavier paper with a crease for folding down the center. Be sure to visit the Guest Relations desk if you want to read summaries of news from a couple of sources. Also, there are free copies of the local Bermuda newspaper available. Since we've been to Bermuda before, we took no shore tours. A lot of people were buying bus tickets. These could also be bought on board. The shops on Front Street in Hamilton are fun to browse in. I bought three pairs of gold earrings in Crisson's. The prices seemed reasonable enough! There is a golf pro on board. He gave an interesting clinic. We felt that the food was even better since our last cruise on the Horizon (1 ½ yrs. ago). The desserts, especially chocolate ones, were better. They now have some very good pastries for breakfast. When you go to the Coral Seas (casual restaurant), be sure to check out all of the food stations. In addition to the buffet line, they have an area that has pasta, sandwiches, and nicer salads. Outside is the grill that serves pizza, baked pasta, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Both homemade ice cream and yogurt are available. They are in different locations. Just ask. Celebrity now allows you to charge your tips. You can only do this if you want to give the recommended amounts (or more) to the suggested personnel. Disembarkation was very easy. Apparently Norfolk's disembarkation is the smoothest of all the East coast ports. We were back at the parking lot before 9 A.M. We would have been off sooner except we waited to the time we were given! Any questions? ill be happy to try to answer them. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
We cruised on the 9/5 Bermuda cruise on the Celebrity's Horizon out of Norfolk, Virginia. This was our ninth Celebrity Cruise and our second to Bermuda on this ship. We flew in the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport. It ... Read More
We cruised on the 9/5 Bermuda cruise on the Celebrity's Horizon out of Norfolk, Virginia. This was our ninth Celebrity Cruise and our second to Bermuda on this ship. We flew in the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport. It was reasonable and included breakfast the next morning. At 10:30 A.M. we took a cab from the motel to the ship, cost $14 plus tip. Embarkation: The embarkation process started at 11:00 A.M. and went smoothly as we were directed to a table for CC and Suite guests and were on the ship sipping champagne by 11:15 A.M.. Our room was ready and we stayed the until lunch in the Lido at 12:00 A.M.. Found free bottle of champagne on ice in room which we finished latter in day. Cabins: The cabin 1049 (cat. CC) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The shower was large and has grab handles and a hose and wand arrangement which we like. Sink had several areas where finish was chipped and you could see a black background. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. If you want you little snacks at night in this class do not put up "do not disturb" sign because they will pass you by. Fresh fruit and flowers also included. The bed was comfortable and they offer you a choice of four pillow types in this class. Our cabin was in the middle which minimized walking and rocking in rough seas. Public Areas and Entertainment: The public areas were nice and never felt crowded. We had a Cruise Critic gathering in Michaels club on the first sea day with 9 coming. The bar was not open so we just talked for an hour. The production shows were fine, the comics were passable. The rendezvous Lounge got busy with adult Karaoke several times during the cruise. They had a buy 5, pay for four on Heinekin that we took advantage of a the deck bars, there is a bottle opener in the bathroom. We went of Captains club parties twice since we are select members. The second was small and intimate with all ships officers there. They had an elegant tea also for select and elite members and for those in CC or Suites and they even had scones so it was fine, didn't bring them till I asked. Also got to go to a wine tasting (free) and a back stage event with the performers. They had music all over the ship and you can find something to meet your taste if you look. Had no complaints with entertainment. Dining : We were at table 101, second seating in the Starlight Restaurant. Michael our waiter was the best we have had in 41 cruises. He made recommendations for all courses and was never wrong. Extra portions appeared upon request. Dinners were all excellent, but avoid the lamb. We had a table for eight that was never dull. We ate all our meals here when the Starlight Restaurant was open. The breakfast and lunches were all good here with open seating. Formal nights in the dining room seemed to be well-adhered to, on both Tuesday and Thursday. The buffets in the Coral Seas dining room were O.K., but sometime crowded. We had pizza several times which was passable and had hot dogs from the grill on a day that we got back late for our Ferry ride to St. Georges. They had soft serve ice cream daily here and at night they had a sushi bar and casual dining are for those who chose not to dress up ($2 tip required). Bermuda: This is the nicest island in the Atlantic or Caribbean. It is Clean and no one hounds you. The people are prosperous and friendly with a 2% unemployment rate. Good bus and ferry service. Avoid morning and evening rush on buses or you will stand. Ferry is better, modern and lots of seats. Ferry takes 30 minutes to dock yard vs 62 minutes on bus. Do buy a 3 day bus and ferry pass for $28 at the bank on deck 5 of ship. At night the set up booths and have music on streets of Hamilton. We were there for 3 days and did not go to St. Georges as planned. I was in the dock yards just after the Empress of Sea had her accident. The front of one of the tenders was smashed in. All were taken to hospital, one serious with spine injury. Police were all over the place investigating and the ship left port with one less tender. If you have never done Bermuda, do and Celebrity is the only way. Disembarkation: Everything went smoothly. We were all assigned lounges and they came to our lounge when it was time to go. Off the ship and through customs before 9 A.M. Taxis close to port and are a $21 ride to airport plus tip. Overall, I was completely satisfied with Horizon, no complaints. Bermuda from Norfolk is a breeze and pleasure. It is a shame Celebrity is not doing more cruises out of this port next year or I would be back, if price was right. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
CELEBRITY HORIZON TO BERMUDA Sept. 18-25, 2004 The remnants of Hurricane Ivan chased my companion Barbara and me all the way from Charlotte, NC, to Norfolk where we were scheduled to embark aboard Celebrity's Horizon for a ... Read More
CELEBRITY HORIZON TO BERMUDA Sept. 18-25, 2004 The remnants of Hurricane Ivan chased my companion Barbara and me all the way from Charlotte, NC, to Norfolk where we were scheduled to embark aboard Celebrity's Horizon for a week's cruise to Bermuda. The good news was that we were driving, not flying. In fact, that was one of the major attractions of this cruise: the opportunity to drive rather than hassle with airports, security, crowded airplanes and schlepping bags to and from the ship. Also, the Caribbean was a "been there, done that" destination, while Bermuda was a new and different experience. We spent the night in Norfolk at the Downtown Radisson, within walking distance (assuming you like to walk) of "Nauticus," the catchy name for the pier area from where the cruise ships depart. Having lived in the Tidewater area some 30 years ago, I thought the hotel seemed familiar. Lo and behold, a little research revealed that it was, in fact, formerly a Holiday Inn that had a gourmet restaurant that used to attract locals out for a special occasion. A Holiday Inn gourmet restaurant is somewhat of an oxymoron, but even more mind boggling is the question "who buys old Holiday Inns?" Obviously, Radisson did, probably for the excellent location in a reviving area of downtown Norfolk, but the bucks were apparently spent on the property, not maintenance to the hotel. The upside was that they let us park there for the duration of the cruise (actually they wanted to charge, but I had been told by an employee prior to booking the room that parking was included, so they honored that). If you want to drive in the same day, there is a lot right across the street from the Radisson that charges $10/day to park and has a shuttle (for those who don't like to walk) to the pier. Embarkation the next day was a breeze - literally and figuratively! After dropping off Barbara and the bags at the pier, I returned to park the car at the hotel and walked back to the ship, fighting the drizzle and headwinds from the lingering presence of Hurricane Ivan. Norfolk was a great place to sail out of. With only one ship in at a time, getting on and off was simple and quick. Plus, Celebrity lets you board before the rooms are ready, so you can hang out in a lounge and have the buffet lunch rather than waiting in an uncomfortable boarding area. Our room was ready shortly after we finished lunch, and our bags were waiting for us. Our room was an obstructed view, outside cabin on the Bermuda deck. This was a great deal for a Bermuda cruise. The location was optimum, amidships, up high and close to everything. The lifeboat obstructed the view, but not completely. Plenty of light still came in, and since Bermuda is the attraction on this cruise, the lack of view was no big deal. Can't beat the price, either! By today's standard, Horizon is a small, older ship without many of the features of the newer ships such as verandah cabins, rock climbing walls or ice rinks. Having sailed almost exclusively on large "new builds" lately, we were curious to see how we would react to this 1990 vintage ship. Actually, we were quite pleased. Horizon had a facelift in 1998, adding several new public rooms and spiffing up the interior look. The ship is in a good state of repair, and is kept scrupulously clean. The smaller size made it easy to get around, and the fewer number of passengers simplified logistics such as getting on and off the ship. The crew was unflaggingly friendly, and overall, the ship and crew operated with the efficiency of a well broken in machine that has long since had the "new" bugs worked out. But, there were also examples where the Horizon showed its age. The rooms, for example, while adequate in size were woefully lacking in soundproofing. You wanted to respond "Gesundheit" when the neighbors sneezed, because it sounded like they were right in the room. The problem was particularly acute in the bathroom. On the first night out, we encountered some choppy seas, and unfortunately, we were forced to share our neighbor's misery in the bathroom. The seas eventually smoothed out and the neighbors were quiet, so the poor soundproofing was not a major problem, but having inconsiderate neighbors or noisy kids next door would have been miserable. Next, the mattresses were worn to the extent that you could feel the springs. The room steward did add additional padding, but it wasn't the same as a good mattress. Other than this, the cabins were satisfactory, with adequate storage and good sized (if noisy) bathrooms. We departed Norfolk on schedule with the effects of Ivan producing low clouds, rain and wind. The ship pitched some the first night, but by the second day the weather started to clear and sun shined on the pool deck by afternoon. Interestingly, the lingering effects of Ivan produced a northwesterly wind, exactly opposite from the southeast winds that usually blow between Norfolk and Bermuda. The effect of this aberration was that the natural wind completely cancelled out the wind the ship made while sailing. Thus, you could stroll around the weather decks without being windblown or losing your hat. Or, you could have a quiet romantic moment on deck in the evening without a hair being blown awry, just like it always was on episodes of "The Love Boat." On the return trip from Bermuda, the winds were back to normal, from the southeast, and the same phenomenon existed as we sailed to the northwest. Unfortunately, the wind was still blowing hard as we prepared to enter St. George Harbor in Bermuda, our first scheduled dock. So, the decision was made to bypass the St. George docking and proceed straight to Hamilton. The "Town Cut" that the ships have to sail through to dock at St. George is quite narrow, and these cancellations are quite common. But, Hamilton was certainly an acceptable alternative, although it would have been fun to go through the narrow entrance into the scenic harbor at St. George. Bermuda is a real jewel, with much to see and do. Even with 3½ days in port, we didn't get to see and do all the things we wanted, despite a well planned and ambitious schedule. Nevertheless, we saw most of the island, and in no particular order, here are some of the things we enjoyed the most: the Crystal Caves, Gibbs Lighthouse, the South Beaches, Somerset Village, the railroad hiking trail in Sandy's Parish, Fort Hamilton, the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, and the Somerset Bridge. The Dockyard had some interesting exhibits in the museum, but we felt the area was over-commercialized and the least desirable of the 3 docks used by the cruise ships. Horseshoe Beach was certainly beautiful, but was by far the most crowded of the many beautiful beaches and not necessarily worth seeking out with so many wonderful alternatives, Warwick Long Beach, for one. Getting around the island can be done by moped or public transport. We had initially planned on renting a moped for one of the days, but the traffic was considerably heavier than I had anticipated, so we opted for the bus and ferry service. You can buy multiple day tickets for unlimited travel, and this proved to be cost effective and relatively convenient. There were, however, periodic long waits between busses, making it difficult to see multiple sights in one time period. Also, be mindful that if the buses are full, they will bypass the bus stops and keep going. This is always a problem on the South Road in the afternoon as tourists leave the beaches to head back to Hamilton. Since the Horseshoe Beach stop is the most crowded, if you get on the bus before that stop, you will be assured of getting a seat! The cruise ship as a hotel is a great way to visit Bermuda. Bermuda is expensive, yet Bermuda cruises are relatively inexpensive. A 4-day package in an average priced Bermuda hotel costs about as much a 7-day cruise. When you factor in the food costs, transfer fees and other airport costs, the cruise wins out, hands down! Plus, you get the bonus of the days as sea! We found the food on Horizon to be excellent, as was the service. Horizon still has the standard two-sitting arrangement with assigned tables, which we like. Tips are also dispensed based on service, not allocated via credit card, as is the current vogue. All in all, Celebrity is a notch above other "main line" cruise ships, in my opinion. The trip back was relaxing, smooth and uneventful. We were off the ship by 9 a.m. and on the road back home by 10:00. Bermuda is a beautiful destination, Norfolk is a great port to sail out of and this is a cruise that should be on everyone's list. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
We cruised on the 8-day 10/23/04 sailing of the Horizon to Bermuda, the last visit by the ship for the season. This was our first Celebrity cruise: prior cruises on RSSC (3), Windstar (1), Windjammer (1), Princess (2), and RCI (1). Our ... Read More
We cruised on the 8-day 10/23/04 sailing of the Horizon to Bermuda, the last visit by the ship for the season. This was our first Celebrity cruise: prior cruises on RSSC (3), Windstar (1), Windjammer (1), Princess (2), and RCI (1). Our expectations were high, having been influenced by Cruise Critic reviews & comments, and by Celebrity's marketing focus on food & service. Embarkation was quick and efficient. We were onboard and in our cabin in about 20 min. Concierge Class probably contributed to this (there was a separate check in area for us C Class folks), and also the fact that we arrived about 1 ½ hour after embarkation began (we noted a rather large line waiting for the Noon start of embarkation for the next itinerary). Champagne was handed out as we boarded, as well as the C Class bottle waiting in our cabin. Our cabin was neat and clean, but it did show it's age just a bit. The closet door latches were noisy and hard to operate, and the door to the bathroom was also noisy. Engineering service to fix the problems was prompt, but not completely successful. The 3 music channels did not work, but we didn't need them anyway and did not request repair. This was our first cruise without a balcony in quite a while, but because the ship was docked overnight for 4 out of 8 nights, we did not miss the balcony as much as we expected. The size of the cabin was good, and storage was more than adequate for two. The decor was pleasant and the fresh flowers (placed on the desk and in the bathroom for C Class) were a nice touch. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. Our room steward was friendly, very efficient, and fulfilled our requests very promptly. The Public areas were nice and never felt crowded (reported 1307 pax out of 1354 cap), but some of the carpets in hallways and stairways looked quite dirty/stained/spotted. The rest of the public areas were clean, but we did notice a very slight sewer odor in some of the stairways in the last half of the cruise, and the smell of dishes being cleaned was frequently present in part of the buffet line (Coral Seas Cafe). Our dining table for dinner was in the elevated center section of the dining room and was not crowded, but we noted the tables a bit tighter on the sides when we dined there for breakfast a couple of days. Entertainment was good to very good, and there was a very good variety: Comedy, solo singer, jazz/pop pianist, and the usual music/dance/singing with lots of costume changes (a.k.a. Broadway variety shows). There was also a very good variety of music entertainers (5 total) and they generally performed at different venues each night, giving us the opportunity to experience all the different bars as well as the variety of music. There were two party nights out on the pool deck, one 50's/60's theme, one "Island party". Both were well done. Our big disappointment was dining in the main dining room. Disappointment #1: The food was often just barely warm, not hot as it should be. This detracted from what was otherwise a very good selection each night--the choices were a notch or two above the usual cruise fare. Exception: dessert was always excellent. Disappointment #2. Our waiter was quick and efficient, but that was it. He was not engaging with our table, as most waiters are. All business and no flair. Our asst. waiter however, was great. The good news was the buffet. Good variety, good flavor, and hot. Best was the made to order section at the aft end of the Coral Seas Cafe. Good omelets, waffles, etc. for breakfast, and great sandwiches, pasta, and salads for lunch. We highly recommend checking out the selection at this section before doing the standard buffet line. The Grill, serving burgers, dogs, & pizza was also quite good. Service in this venue was very good. All bar service was good, friendly and prompt. We used room service only for morning coffee, and it was very prompt—never more than 5-minute wait. Late night buffets were two: one an abbreviated version out on deck, one with the usual carvings, and all the treats in the main dining room. Both well done. We booked 5 shore excursions. Two were cancelled due to weather, one cancelled due to lack of participation, one was re-scheduled due to weather, and one operated as planned. The two that operated were well run, on time, as described in the pre-cruise info and had good guides. We used the services of the spa for a "hot stones" full body massage. One of us has had this treatment before, and it was just fine (but not outstanding, as was the case with the previous experience on Princess). The staff was friendly and courteous. We found the Concierge Class to be worth the extra charge. Especially nice was the priority embark and disembark (see below), and the services of the special Concierge at our disposal. We used the Concierge to obtain info about our independent shore activities, ferry service, bus service, and to make reservations for dining on shore. He was prompt, accurate and very friendly. We had read numerous postings on Cruise Critic about the dress code on Celebrity, and as a result, adhered to the guidelines provided by Celebrity in the pre-cruise documents (including the number of formal, informal, and casual nights). However, we were disappointed to learn upon embarkation that one of the informal nights was changed to casual (we try hard to pack as light as possible, and changes to the plan can make it a bit tricky to be properly dressed according to the "code"). The situation was almost further complicated by the cancellation of the first formal night due to very rough seas between Norfolk and Bermuda, but, two days later, it was reinstated, apparently due to passenger request/demand. As such, we ended up with only one "informal" night. As has been the case with others posting on Cruise Critic, we too noted the inconsistency with the descriptions of each class of dress in various documents, and in addition, were confronted with a new class, "elegant/casual" in the daily newsletter that was on board when we embarked. This came without detail description, but fortunately was deleted when the formal night mentioned above was changed. Celebrity should get it's act together on this topic. With respect to service staff not mentioned earlier (such as shore excursion desk, guest relations desk, boutique staff, etc.), all were helpful, friendly, and went out of their way to please. The Captain dealt with the weather problems on our particular cruise in the best way possible, and with a good explanation over the PA system and even more detail on the closed circuit TV. (We had very rough seas on the trip out, which the Captain tried to minimize by slowing down the ship and altering our path to Bermuda. This caused us to be 4 hours late in arriving at the entrance to St. George sound. Then, high winds and a very narrow entrance to the sound kept us from docking in St. George, so we proceeded directly to Hamilton for the first day in Bermuda). Of interest to those traveling to Bermuda (on any cruise ship, not just the Horizon). October is tricky with respect to weather. Our trip out was rock, roll and bump due to a strong storm to the north, a problem that apparently had occurred for the three previous weeks. While in Bermuda, frequent overcast & wind during the day kept us from enjoying the beaches as we would have liked, and the cooler waters this time of year make snorkeling a less than pleasant experience. We selected this particular itinerary because of five full days in port (St. George & Hamilton), and even then, did not get to do everything we would have liked. We followed Frommer's for our independent tours of St. George, Hamilton, and Sandy's and found all three to be very accurate, quite good, interesting and enjoyable experience. Bermuda was quite clean in all areas we visited (and we visited most). Never once saw a street vendor trying to sell you something. But beware: food, drink and taxis are very expensive (making a cruise to Bermuda a very good value). We will return, but definitely in the summer months. Disembarkation was smooth and efficient. Unlike our experience with other cruise lines, each colored tag category was directed to a different public area to await departure, with no loud announcements over the P.A. system. We were the second group off the ship, luggage waiting with no problems, another benefit of C Class. We like the Celebrity system. Overall, it was a good, but not great value. Had the dinner meals been hot, and the waiter more friendly and engaging, this ship would have been a great cruise for the money. 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Sail Date: October 2004
Embarkation was a little off because ship was 3 hours late coming in. But we managed largely because we were Captain Club members. There seem to be a lot of first time cruisers on Celebrity and first time cruisers in general. So we got to ... Read More
Embarkation was a little off because ship was 3 hours late coming in. But we managed largely because we were Captain Club members. There seem to be a lot of first time cruisers on Celebrity and first time cruisers in general. So we got to use the priority embarkation area. No balconies took away from the overall comfort of the ship, but otherwise the crew and the food was first class. Entertainment was OK, but nothing special. We were diverted from our itinerary by a cold front and had to leave St. Georges after a short day for the Royal Boatyard. Then we had to leave for Norfolk early due to a storm between Bermuda and Norfolk. But the Captain spent a lot of time explaining to us the how, when and why. Another example of the quality of the crew. They were all great. In ports, we took a taxi tour of Hamilton and then came back for lunch. This was our first ever overnight, so we hit a couple of bars and watched game 6 of the ALCS. In St. George, we took a brief taxi tour, toured Fort St. Catherines and then spent the day at the beach next door. Nice area with beach, bar, music, toy rentals. At the Royal Boatyard, the day was so short that we only had time to shop at the shops nearby, have a rum swizzle at the Frog and Onion Pub and then get back on the boat. The ride back was pretty rough. Lots of barf bags were put in the hallways and many were used. This is a small ship by today's standards, so we were bumping, thumping and bobbing and heaving for most of the last 24 to 36 hours. The dining room was less than half full the last night. But mrtractor and the bronzegoddess hung in there - as did every member of our table of eight! Any questions, don't hesitate to email me! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2005
My wife and I took the 7 day Celebrity Horizon cruise from Norfolk to Bermuda on May 20, 2005. We arrived at the recommended parking lot, a few miles from the dock, at 10:15. We had planned to board early and have lunch. However, the ... Read More
My wife and I took the 7 day Celebrity Horizon cruise from Norfolk to Bermuda on May 20, 2005. We arrived at the recommended parking lot, a few miles from the dock, at 10:15. We had planned to board early and have lunch. However, the recommended parking lot ($10/day cash or travelers check paid up front) was not run very well. We had to wait in a holding area for over an hour until they emptied the lot of the cars from the previous cruise. When we tried to drop off the luggage we had to wait for the porter to find luggage tags for us to fill out. We parked quickly and then got on an overloaded bus. The bus drove to the dock where we had to wait for 15-30 minutes for them to unload one bus at a time. This was very inefficient since the bus could have easily unloaded from where it was parked. The boarding process went fairly quick which was good since there were very few seats in the area. It looked like a temporary building set up for boarding. We were on board by 12:30 and went right to the lunch buffet on deck 11. The lunch buffet was just average in selection and quality. This was a disappointment since Celebrity is known for great food. About 1:30 they announced that our rooms were ready. We had upgraded to a Concierge Class room. It was the same large size as a standard cabin but had extra amenities. The window made the cabin seem larger but the light in the morning woke my wife up earlier than she was used to. We had luxurious bath robes, fresh flowers, a fruit basket, and a complimentary bottle of champagne. There was lots of storage space. An extra hair dryer was in one of the drawers. There were only a few electric outlets so we used a 15 ft extension cord with extra outlets that we brought with us. The bathroom was large for a ship but the shower curtain was the usual very lightweight kind that attacks (clings to you). Don't turn your back on it. The shower head was large with a forceful stream of water. Some of the passengers did not have very hot water but we had no problem. Each day fresh hors d'oeuvres were delivered to our cabin. We had a choice of 4 types of pillows (feather, isotonic, etc.). Some of the channels on the TV were a little fuzzy but still viewable. Some of the information (e.g. Weather) was out of date sometimes but there was a lot of good information about the ship and ports on some of the channels. The TV also had both free and pay per view movies. The first night we placed a request for a wake up call. However, the phone never rang. Then we discovered that the phone ringer was turned off by a switch on the side of the phone. We discovered that some cabins have beds aligned with the front and aft of the ship and some have beds that are aligned with the sides of the ship. This was the first time we had a bed where the head pointed toward the bow of the ship. When the ship rocked from side to side so did the bed. The rocking motion seemed much worse then when the bed was facing the side of the ship. The Horizon is the oldest and one of the smallest Celebrity ships and they will be selling or leasing her to another line later this year. Her age shows but she is kept extremely clean. Because she is small, she has fewer public areas than the midsize and larger ships. The Spa and exercise room were very small but there were still plenty of choices. Some of our tablemates liked smaller ships but we prefer a larger one. Because the ship is older, the room key was different from the Seapass which was slightly inconvenient. We had a credit card associated with the Seapass and we could charge almost everything (including the tips) on it. One notable exception was the Bermuda Bus passes which had to be paid in cash. We had to be careful walking around the ship since there were metal thresholds sticking up from the floor that were easy to trip over. More modern ships seem to have less of these. A daily list of activities was left in our room each night. We read it carefully since it had lots of good information on the next day's activities. They did show a movie every afternoon in the showroom - but only when we were in port. The movies appeared to be fairly recent. We had requested a table for 8 so that we could meet more people. However, when we arrived at the dining room we were seated at a table for 4. We immediately went to the maitre d' and we're moved to a big table. Next time we will check as soon as we get on board. We had great tablemates at dinner and we shared a lot of information. Each dinner was a real learning experience. Both couples were very interesting and great conversationalists. Their backgrounds were very different from ours and each other which made it even more interesting and a great opportunity to learn and share thoughts and experiences. We would be thrilled to travel with either couple again. We were glad that we requested a table for 8 even though one couple never showed up. The first night dinner was exceptional and up to Celebrity high standards for quantity and quality. Even the food on the casual buffet was great. However, we preferred sitting down with others at all meals. That way we learned more. We placed a special order for a shrimp cocktail every dinner and it was accepted without question. If you don't like the dinner choices on the menu you can order one of their standard alternatives of steak or chicken entrees that are not on the menu. I did that one night and it was great. Quite frequently I ordered more that one appetizer or dessert. I had to exercise more just to make myself feel good the next day. It was worth it - the food was fantastic. One of the nights my wife ordered something that was too spicy for her. They gladly brought her another choice. There was a complimentary sushi bar every night from 6 to 10 for those who liked their food still moving. Then of course there is Pizza and Pasta available until 1am if 6 meals a day is not enough. The pasta bar has fantastic sauces each day and at least one is changed daily. Most nights at 11:15 they had gourmet bites (hors d'oeuvres) provided in the lounges. The third night they had a fruit and Sorbet buffet at 11:15. It also included chicken and ribs and ice cream sundaes. There were group dances like a conga line and everyone seemed to be having a great time. The average passenger age seemed to be in the 40s or 50s. At 4 there was a casual tea with sandwiches and pastries that changed every day. Of course there was the hamburger, hot dog, and pizza stand which always had a special kind of pizza in addition to the classical types. My most adventurous one was a shrimp, feta cheese, and pineapple pizza. It sounded horrible but it tasted great. Lunch and dinner selections changed every day both at the sit down dining room and the buffet! I tried a Hamburger from the grill on the aft deck 11. I got it freshly made and it was fantastic. It was so juicy that I didn't even need ketchup - a miracle for me. There was a temporary (smaller ships have less room) ice cream cart with hard ice cream and sorbet. It was at the end of the cafe near the pool and hard to find. The last day they had both a casual tea at the buffet and a formal tea in the restaurant. We went to the formal tea. Lots of sandwiches and desserts (including scones) served at the table. It was great and was another opportunity to eat. The waffle bar on deck 11 aft outside and behind the cafe was awesome. The waffles were hot with fresh whipped cream and 3 types of berries. We will really miss these. The Grand Midnight Buffet was awesome. They had cold dishes like shrimp and lobster and tons of desserts. They even had a hot carving station. There are two sides to the Buffet on deck 11 for lunch and dinner. Usually one side has more people than the other side and the outside lines have more people than the inside lines. Opposite the dessert end of the Buffet were a sandwich station, made to order salad bar, and a pasta station that were not labeled well all of the time and easy to miss. The shows were great. The first night was a comedian. I laughed so hard the tears were rolling down my cheeks. The next night was a musical show. It had lots of energy and talent (singing and dancing). The third night was a singer and he received a standing ovation. The stage was a little small but we didn't really notice it with all of the action. The showroom was mostly level and sometimes it was hard to see over the people in front of us. Two activities that were NOT provided were a behind the stage tour and a kitchen tour. Too bad, we would have enjoyed them. The first day on the sea and the last day on the sea were windy and chilly. Good thing we brought jackets. One benefit of a smaller ship is that you see and greet people that you ate with much more often then on a larger ship. It can give you a more familiar and homey feeling. One of the benefits of Concierge Class was that we were able to disembark early - at 08:30. The downside was that we had to get up early and have breakfast early. Celebrity is known for great food and with few exceptions this cruise lived up to expectations. It appeared that for most of the better activities you had to show up 15-30 min early for a good seat. It was great that we could charge our tips. They were $11 per person per day. There were quality of life lectures and cooking demonstrations. We would have liked to have had more of them. We took a short dance class taught by two of the Celebrity dancers. It was great even when we took extra steps because of the ship’s movement. I don't know how the performers do those shows while the ship is lurching around. Bermuda is a very clean and well kept island. We noted that our cell phone and Blackberry (for email) worked but don't know if there will be extra charges for being out of the country. The Bermuda dollar is equivalent to the American dollar in value and the stores would take either type. Most of the shops and restaurants were expensive but you could find some bargains if you look hard. We did not have to use tenders in Bermuda since the ship could pull right up to the docks. We were scheduled to dock first in St. George and then move to Hamilton. However, the captain decided to go straight to Hamilton since the winds were over 15 mph and the St. George passage was narrow. We didn't mind since it was only a 1 hour bus ride to St. George and it meant that the ship didn't move for almost 4 days. The 12 dollar, 1 day bus pass, 20 dollar, 2 day bus pass, and the 28 dollar, 3 day bus pass were great bargains. We used one to go sightseeing instead of booking tours. It was cheaper, more flexible, and we saw much more. The busses only take passes, tokens, or change - no paper money. 5/24 was a holiday with parades and celebrations. The parade went on for 3 hours with 59 floats and bands and groups. There was a lot of action and enthusiasm amongst the participants. We had a front row seat (high up) from the deck of the ship and it was great. Wed night there was no show since the town was going to have a bazaar set up in the dock area of Hamilton. The street was going to be closed off and there would be many crafts and performers. However, it rained and the Bazaar never happened. We took a bus ride to the caverns. The ride was fast and on narrow roads. The bus driver did twice the speed limit of 20 mph. It really got our blood pumping. I saw a car that ran off the road, through a wall, down an embankment, and into a house. The caverns were small but interesting to me. My wife was not as thrilled. The guide was a hoot and kept it lively. We took the ferry from Hamilton to the Dockyards. We did not realize that at certain times there were two ferries: one that went fast and direct to the Dockyards and one that made stops along the way. Of course no one told us about this and we got on the slow non-air conditioned one. We did see much more of the islands this way but it took an hour rather than 20 minutes. I was happy but my wife was not. We enjoyed this cruise so much that we booked cruises to Alaska and the Southern Caribbean on Celebrity. We picked the largest ships of the Celebrity line. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
I recently returned from a cruise to Bermuda. This was my 6th cruise and absolutely one of the best. Bermuda is a beautiful island. Compared to the islands of the Caribbean it has to be my favorite. The high standards and lack of poverty ... Read More
I recently returned from a cruise to Bermuda. This was my 6th cruise and absolutely one of the best. Bermuda is a beautiful island. Compared to the islands of the Caribbean it has to be my favorite. The high standards and lack of poverty on this island are definite plusses. This was my first cruise on Celebrity lines and I have to give it 5 stars. I admit I was apprehensive because of the size and age of the ship. Once aboard I was amazed at how good the ship looked. The bar areas, dining areas, shops, etc.. were in great condition. Embarkation took about 5 minutes. My hat goes off to Norfolk. The crew was the best I have ever had. Very professional and constant pampering. Our waiter Jafry and assistant waiter Iwayans were excellent. Such hard workers and they took their jobs very seriously. The entertainment was so so, although I did enjoy the comedian and the band Illusion very much. Debarkation was also very easy. The seas were somewhat rough on the way back, but any time you cruise in the Atlantic you should expect this to happen. I hope that Celebrity will consider returning to the port of Norfolk. It was a wonderful cruise and I will definitely sail with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
We found the Norfolk terminal easy to find. We were on the boat very quickly. Upgraded from a quad outside to a suite once we got on board. We found the ship to be very clean and in good condition. It is not glitzy, but we knew that when ... Read More
We found the Norfolk terminal easy to find. We were on the boat very quickly. Upgraded from a quad outside to a suite once we got on board. We found the ship to be very clean and in good condition. It is not glitzy, but we knew that when we booked it. We wanted to go to Bermuda and thought this was a good way to go. We had read the reviews regarding rough seas. This is correct. There is some rough sea just after leaving Norfolk and coming back in. Going we had clear skies, but still had some real sway. Coming back we had a storm with swells. Lots of people were sick. This is a smaller boat and you will feel the movement. During the storm, you could not walk down the hall without running into the walls. The staff was very attentive. The shows were pretty cheesy with 2 nights of a comedian we enjoyed, but found the Celebrity dancer shows the other 3 nights to be less than entertaining. The casino is small, but adequate with $5 blackjack tables. The casino is closed while in Bermuda. The food was good. It was better than on Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruises I have been on. We really liked our suite. It had a king bed, a sleeper sofa and still could handle a rollaway. Had a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, although, my family would never use a tub on a cruise. The pool area was typical with salt water pools. Had trouble getting a lounge chair at times when at sea. The water in the pool splashed out as the ship swayed. I thought Bermuda was a unique island. It is very clean and the people are friendly. We are big beach people and did not find the Bermuda beaches to be to our liking as much as those in Caymans, Virgin Islands or Mexico. The beaches are much smaller in Bermuda. The weather is great in Bermuda as it was 83 with no humidity in late June. We did the Hartley Helmut Dive excursion. Some people may find it too scripted, but my entire family loved it and would do it again. The other days in Bermuda we went to Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay beach. Tobacco Bay was very small, about 50 yards wide, but had a great pool-like cove with no waves that was great for swimming and snorkeling. Horseshoe Bay was bigger and scenic, but very crowded. We choose these two beaches because they had facilities for eating and changing and were convenient to the ship. You could easily walk to Tobacco Bay while docked in St. George. Horseshoe Bay was a $16 taxi ride from the Hamilton stop. The ship was literally parked on main street in Hamilton, very convenient. Overall, if you like to cruise, the Horizon is a very clean, nice ship, with a good staff and the food is good as compared to others. I would not go as far as others that say it compares to the best restaurants they have ever eaten at, but it is better than 4 other cruises I have been on. The burgers and hot dogs at the grill were really good as was the pasta at the pasta bar. We ate in the main dining room every night and found the menu to always have and entree we liked, but did not find any side items that were that good. If you are looking for glitzy with high octane shows, this may not be the ship for you. You also should seriously consider the rough seas issue. Even in late June, this boat did sway, and, when a storm came up, it was very tough to handle the sway on this boat. Take lots of SCOPACE (the patch in a tablet form), it works well. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
We selected this particular cruise based on the very reasonable price for a "best available outside cabin" (which resulted in a cat 05), the easy access to Norfolk from our home in NC, our desire to see Bermuda as well as our ... Read More
We selected this particular cruise based on the very reasonable price for a "best available outside cabin" (which resulted in a cat 05), the easy access to Norfolk from our home in NC, our desire to see Bermuda as well as our previous wonderful experience with Celebrity on our first cruise three years ago -- It was just coincidence that our ship was again the Horizon. We were initially a little concerned over the fact that the ship would be 3 1/2 years older and scheduled to depart from the Celebrity fleet this fall but we were pleasantly surprised that the evidences of wear and tear were minimal. Embarking was a breeze as was disembarking - Our hats are off to the port of Norfolk/Celebrity as we found it much better organized than Miami. The food in the main dining room was superb at all three meals and very passable in the buffet. A very nice new touch was the excellent Sushi service each afternoon in a portion of the buffet area which made a perfect snack for we late seating diners. The standard outside cabins on Horizon are a very comfortable 172 sq ft with more than adequate storage. The service staff on Horizon were all truly excellent and upon questioning several of them they confessed that they much preferred working the smaller ships (Horizon and Zenith) and felt a sense of camaraderie with fellow staff members and more chance to get to know the passengers. This is a wonderful way to experience Bermuda with a day and a half in St. George and four days in Hamilton with your luxury hotel tied up right in the middle of downtown. With a four day unlimited bus/ferry pass at just $35 each and a good guide book there is absolutely no reason to book the overpriced ship's excursions. Bermuda is truly different from the Caribbean Islands with an almost total absence of poverty and the most friendly native populace we have experienced anywhere in our travels. In closing we have to say that this may have been the all-time best vacation we have experienced and Bermuda is on our "will return" list!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
I read many reviews of the Horizon before leaving Norfolk on June 25 for a six night cruise. I had some concerns but I am happy to report that the cruise was absolutely fabulous. We were on board the ship and eating lunch in less than ... Read More
I read many reviews of the Horizon before leaving Norfolk on June 25 for a six night cruise. I had some concerns but I am happy to report that the cruise was absolutely fabulous. We were on board the ship and eating lunch in less than twenty minutes. We had our swimsuits in our carry on luggage so we were on the pool deck in rapid time. The excellent service began immediately. The Horizon crew was truly remarkable and pampered us in every way. The food was excellent in all venues. We had the early seating in the Starlight Dining Room and were assigned to Table 61. Our waiter Jafry and our assistant waiter Iwayans were cordial, informative and professional. They were 5 star in every sense of the word. We usually had breakfast in the Coral Seas Cafe which offered a huge variety and surely had something for everyone. The entertainment was excellent. We particularly enjoyed the band Illusion. They were very versatile and we only wish they had played more. The comedian, Dave Gavin was great. Heaven must be like Bermuda. I hope to return with my family in the very near future. I am sad that the Horizon has been sold as I would take this same cruise again if available. I hope Celebrity will return to Norfolk when our new terminal is completed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
Just back from a wonderful six days on the Horizon. I was a bit concerned by some of the reviews that I read concerning the condition of this ship and the embarkation in Norfolk. But for the excellent rate we received booking this cruise ... Read More
Just back from a wonderful six days on the Horizon. I was a bit concerned by some of the reviews that I read concerning the condition of this ship and the embarkation in Norfolk. But for the excellent rate we received booking this cruise we were willing to take a chance, we are Captains Club members and booked a guaranteed category 9 stateroom, But much to our surprise we were upgraded to an outside category 6. This ship has one of the best crews we have ever encountered, Every crew member we met was a true professional, from the room steward up to the captain. The ship is small by today's standards and is very easy to get around. The embarkation took a total of 8 minutes (I timed it). we practically walked right on the ship. The room is 172 sq ft with plenty of storage for those who tend to over pack. The food was excellent in the Starlight rest. Just so- so in the Coral Seas Cafe. Yes, there were a few stains here and there on the carpets in the public areas and the mattresses in our cabin were in need of replacement, but overall we thoroughly enjoyed this ship and we would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to cruise to Bermuda on her before she is sold at the end of the season. Read Less
Sail Date: June 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: July 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: August 2008
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: May 2009
Ok first the bad!!! This was going to be a first cruise experience; we got pet sitters, took time off from work, left early to hit Norfolk terminal on time - everything was going well and then we were told we owed $800 more. Imagine our ... Read More
Ok first the bad!!! This was going to be a first cruise experience; we got pet sitters, took time off from work, left early to hit Norfolk terminal on time - everything was going well and then we were told we owed $800 more. Imagine our surprise since we had paid in-full when we booked in February for a May 2 trip. What is worse - no one could tell us why. Just pay up or don't board. We had to stand there for over an hour while they even tried to get there machines to show we paid (at one point it doubled the $800 to $1600!) - which we did since we were told we would lose the $1381.22 we had already paid for the Ocean view room if we didn't pay the $800. We were then told see the finance/accounting controller on board and to go to the Guest relations desk. We get there and are told nope you can't see him because he doesn't see guests. Throughout the trip we received many shrugged shoulders for questions related about this or even as simple as "is the pool 24 hours? or "will buses take us back to the parking lot?". I can understand if they are unsure but they just shrugged off our questions and sent us on our way.  The $800 was a gloomy cloud that ruined it for us. To make matters worse the last full day of the cruise they claimed that $400 didn't go through even though we had checked our credit card accounts. They made us pay that too after they made us come back to the desk several times because most of the guest relations folks had no idea what we were talking about when we came up. The guest relations desk folks were polite but by design very, very unhelpful. Finally we got to call RCI Customer office to be told our travel agent had mistakenly taken a discount we shouldn't have. A discount by the way that should have only cost us $300 to make up for the difference (if you go by our date of booking) and no one at RCI called to tell us was in error - I mean, we gave our date of birth when we did the on-boarding almost two weeks before sailing but they said we were marked for a senior discount and never told us! Therefore Royal in my eyes will always be the pirates of the sea. They went for an extra $500 that we probably would have spent on the boat anyway but with happy, relaxed grins on our faces. Remember RCI - happy people spend more.  Instead I spent the bare minimum I had to on the ship and was sad about the sudden upcharge and lack of help. It was sad that my happiest moment was getting off the ship and coming home!  We couldn't even hear over half of the announcements in our room during the day without running to open the door to hear them. The food was the same all the time everywhere - no variety! Always Asian or mediterranean, which is fine for  a night but not the whole trip. The toilet wouldn't work half the time, the bed curtain was missing and several drawers kept getting stuck out and wouldn't go back in without a lot of effort.  When it is all said and done it is obvious Royal didn't want the business of us two 25-45 somethings, and we are now happy to oblige by taking our future wedding plans and wedding guests elsewhere.  GOOD Stuff still happened: The only fantastic persons was Wendy and Haimi (sorry if we got the name spelled wrong). They were always friendly, helpful and made us feel like we were welcome. They even gave us a quick towel folding lesson! The two Bermuda excursions were also fantastic. We did Hartley's helmet dive - Greg H. himself took our group out and even if you can't swim and don't like to go under water or get your hair wet you will enjoy this! BTW - you won't get your hair wet because the helmet you put on to go under is perfect, plenty of oxygen and no water gets in the helmet. We loved him and Rolf (sorry again if named is wrong!) Greg obviously loves the marine life and what he does. We love our CD with pictures. A few young ladies were scared to go under and he showed a great deal of patience and superb customer service trying to balance everyone's experience and ensuring we all had a chance for this great adventure. He saved our cruise trip from being a complete unhappy disaster!  The cave tour to the Prospero caves at the Grotto hotel was also fantastic - we even swam in the underground cave lagoon; a little cold but a fun experience to brag about!  It is amazing to hear about its formation but sad to see that previous tours had left trash...so please don't.  On our own we went to Alexandria Battery beach to pick up tons of sea glass (it isn't much of a beach but what fun we had picking up the glass) and Dorey snorkel park. Both very lovely - the water is so blue! It is obvious that the Bermudians care about their home and keep it very clean. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
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
DH and I chose to celebrate our 1st Anniversary by taking a 5-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.  We sailed her for our honeymoon last year and really enjoyed the attentiveness and excitement of the crew.  ... Read More
DH and I chose to celebrate our 1st Anniversary by taking a 5-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.  We sailed her for our honeymoon last year and really enjoyed the attentiveness and excitement of the crew.  I gained 8 POUNDS throughout the cruise last year and my focus this year was fitness and eating healthy.  We arrived in Norfolk, VA at 12 pm and with a quick shuttle ride to the cruise port and a smooth check in process, we were on the ship by 12:30 pm. We went up to the pool deck until the rooms were available around 1:30 pm.  We were surprised to find out that many of the crew members that made the cruise special for us were not aboard a year later.  We had another cruise party director other than Dan Dan the Party Man and Mama was no longer passing out Bingo Cards.  The cruise entertainment staff did a great job keeping us entertained this cruise but we found ourselves getting nostalgic for last year's staff.  The entertainment shows also did not change much from last year so most nights were spent up in the Viking Crown Lounge Cigar Bar.  We were so pleased the first night to find Ken still working there since he made our cruise last year.  Now on to my fitness efforts... Grandeur of the Seas has a small spa and fitness center up on the 9th floor with 4 treadmills, 2-3 ellipticals, exercise bikes, free weights, and weight lifting machines.  It also has a space for group classes.  It was very busy in the mornings between 7-10 am and although signs were posted everywhere that there was a 20 minute limit on the cardio machines, it was still hard to find an open machine.  My goal was to workout at least 30 minutes a day whether it be taking an exercise class or scaling the rock climbing wall.  It became routine for DH and I to head up to the gym first thing in the morning and then head to the Windjammer for breakfast everyday.  I stuck to the Vitality meals and ate plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  I also was amazed at the classes available now for people wanting to live healthier.  I learned how to increase my metabolism, foods to eat to keep my belly flat, and even was able to get a body composition analysis (BCA).  The BCA gave me my optimal weight, body fat percentage, lean muscle percentage, and an idea of how water is utilized in my body. DH and I enjoyed the couples warm stone massage.  I also tried the Ion Cellulite Reduction treatment that was supposed to remove toxins from the body and help you lose inches in trouble areas but didn't see any difference afterwards and I refused to purchase a $500 lotion that you apply for 60 days for increased results.  Dislikes: 1.CD skipped making it very difficult on Name that tune game.2. Purchased 2 day bus and ferry ticket at Excursion Desk which were not honored when we arrived in Bermuda. I had to purchase the 2 day pass again and had slight difficulty getting a refund from the Excursion Desk the next morning.3. Billing Mistakes: Some of the Spa Charges that should have been on my account appeared on my husband's account and the gratuities should have been solely on my husband's account.  We fill out receipts and paperwork specifically informing the purser's desk where the funds should go and it is frustrating to have to wait in line at the end of the cruise to correct billing errors.Likes:1.  The food and our dining staff was exceptional... Thanks Carlos Vasquez and Mr. Small!!!!2.  Ken in the Viking Crown Lounge.       Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we were on one of the higher floors. We stayed on the 8th floor of the Grandeur. The room was actually bigger than I had imagined. The bed was very comfy, except that since its two twins pushed together to make a queen, sometimes we would wake up with a big crack in the middle of the bed it seemed like because the mattresses didnt sit up beside each other very well. The room was always very clean, the maid staff was great! We only saw them on the first day, so they could tell us what to do with towels and the little cards that go in the key slots on the door. After that we never saw them...only the remnants of always coming back to a clean room! The entertainment on board was pretty good. We saw a movie in the palladium theater on a rainy day. And we went to one of the late night shows in one of the lounges. We didnt see the comedian or anything like that, we stayed busy doing our own thing most of the cruise.The pool in the Solarium was our favorite...probably because its 16+ to get in (or supposed to be anyway!!!) The pool outside was always really loud with music. There were a lot of families with kids, and teenagers in that area. So we stayed in the Solarium where it was much quieter, I could read and still get some sun because they opened up the glass roof when the weather was nice. I also layed out on the top deck (deck 10) at the back of the ship by the rock wall. Its fairly quiet back there also, and not a lot of traffic because the rock wall isnt always open.The drinks were always very good, and pretty strong! Which surprised me (pleasantly). They were usually between $7.00-$9.00 (with a 15% gratuity already included in the price) so we never tipped ontop of the price. Bermuda was GORGEOUS. I cant wait to go back. We were docked in the Royal Naval Dockyard. We opted to go to the beach the first day we were there. The beach was beautiful, and not very crowded. We took the bus (which is a great way to get around there! I highly reccomend it!) to the beach for the day, and then back to the ship in the early afternoon to grab some food. Then we took the ferry (your bus pass is good for the ferry too) over to Hamilton. Unfortunately, the town was closed because of a holiday while we were there, but otherwise it looked like it had a lot to do.We were going to eat dinner in Bermuda...there are two places right near the dock, the Frog & Onion (mostly burgers...kind of a pub type place) and Bonefish. We ended up not eating at either because Bonefish was pretty pricey for dinner, and we weren't in the mood for burgers. Now, for the bad..... since this was our first cruise we had read reviews, asked friends and done as much research as we could before going. One of the main things that we were looking forward to was the food on the ship. You always hear about how good the food is and how theres always an abundance, but for us this was no where near the case.The food quality was quite poor in both our opinions. While there was plenty to choose from in the Windjammer, the food lacked taste and quality. I compared it to a low-grade golden corral (if that). Please keep in mind this was merely our experience... Even at dinner, the food was very poor. We chose the my time dining (which i wouldnt do again), and ate in the main dining room 4 out of the 5 nights we were onboard. One night I had shrimp ravioli that was pretty good, and other night we had lobster that was good. Other than those two nights, both myself and my husband left feeling not very full because we didnt eat our entire meal because of the taste. The my time dining seemed very chaotic. We had a different waiter every night, and we always felt rushed. The traditional dining part of the restaurant seemed much more calm, and we noticed that the waiters would act differently toward their tables. For instance, you always hear about people saying they had lobster one night and their waiter asked if they'd like more? Well they never asked us. As a matter of fact, we noticed a table that had traditional dining- same waiter every night, and they waiter came out with big plates of lobster tails asking his table if they wanted more. Our waiter never asked us...he barely ever came to our table! And I honestly dont think it was just that one night, each night we had someone different, and none of them were overly friendly or helpful. All in all, we had a good time. I think we might go back again.... it might take some convincing on my part though. I was very disappointed in the food quality, however... I have heard rumors from people that the food on another line has gone by the wayside as well, due to cutting costs instead of upping ticket prices. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Review Ship Name: Enchantment Of The Seas Departure Port: Norfolk, Virginia  Ports of Call: Norfolk, Virginia; Kings Wharf, Bermuda Sail Date: May 1, 2010 Over all this was a good trip. We had a handicapped accessible cabin deck 2, ... Read More
Review Ship Name: Enchantment Of The Seas Departure Port: Norfolk, Virginia  Ports of Call: Norfolk, Virginia; Kings Wharf, Bermuda Sail Date: May 1, 2010 Over all this was a good trip. We had a handicapped accessible cabin deck 2, inside (just about as cheap as they come). Pleasantly surprised by the cabin. It was much bigger and nicer than I was prepared for. While on board we booked another cruise on Enchantment Of The Seas for 2011. Day one, late departing Norfolk. I think that was not the fault of the cruise line. Late leaving Bermuda. I think that was not the fault of the cruise line. Arrived on time in Norfolk, but late in getting off the boat. I think that was not the fault of the cruise line. Almost all of the crew were great. Several had accents that made them hard to understand. The first thing that I did was tell the cabin steward he would get a bonus if he kept my ice bucket full. He exchanged my ice bucket for a larger one. He kept it filled; I gave him a bonus. The food overall was good, but not great. My standards are very high. Our assistant waiter, in the main dining room, did not hardly say a word to us. Did not keep water glasses full and did not keep the bread coming. We ate at the main dining room or the buffet, depending upon our schedule. Food, again was good, but not great. We ate all 3 meals at each location, at least once. Breakfast in the main dinning room had a very good cereal/fruit bar, mix your own. Lunch in the main dining room had a very good salad bar, build your own. Dinner entries in the main dining room were small. Several times I ordered 2 of them. Lots of smoked salmon at breakfast and lunch, and sometimes at dinner. I like smoked salmon. Had some unidentified fried fish on the buffet that was not good. Had some tempura shrimp & fish in the main dining room that was very good. We shared one piece of pizza in the Solarium, the crust was not thin but taste was OK. The hot tub in the Solarium, was not very hot. We did the fountain soda package. My wife did not like the taste of the diet fountain. One time the fountain was not working and we got a can of diet coke. Wife liked that better. She will not do this package on our next cruise. No choice for diet drinks. Only used the main pool twice. The first time I had the crew help me out with their chair. That was a half hour process that involved 3 men and 2 women to figure out how to use their equipment. The next time I used the ladder and did not hurt myself. Again, I have limited mobility. The shows were good. I liked the comedies better than the singer. I played a lot of Blackjack in the casino. I won. We had 2 days in port. The first one we did a private tour that I had arranged. Special handicapped van with tie downs for my power chair The second day we stayed on board and had no kids or crowd in the main pool. Nice quite day. In my power chair, Enchantment Of The Seas was easier to get around in than the Monarch Of The Seas. Things I packed and did not need: Power Strip Things that I packed, and was glad I did: Sun tan lotion Hat Swim suit. Power Chair Money An extra bag for purchases and final day's clothes Passport Sun Glasses Book Things I did not pack, but maybe I should have: Room air freshener. Crystal Light Lemonade to go Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Embarkation - breeze, arrived at port around 11:30 and was on ship by noon. I love sailing from Norfolk. Ship - clean, easy to navigate mid-size ship. Pool area was spacious and plenty of lounge chairs at any given time. Solarium is ... Read More
Embarkation - breeze, arrived at port around 11:30 and was on ship by noon. I love sailing from Norfolk. Ship - clean, easy to navigate mid-size ship. Pool area was spacious and plenty of lounge chairs at any given time. Solarium is always a nice place on a RCCL ship. Most of the time people kept the kiddies out of the area, which was nice since we left our teenagers at home for some peace and quiet. Junior Suite was nice size, slightly larger than Carnival's balcolny rooms. Bathroom on the small size and no jacuzzi tub. Lifeboat drill was quick and the staff made it fun for once....reminded me of the Southwest stewardess'. Casino kinda small but enjoyed losing my money there anyway. One night was smoke free, which was a nice touch. Not very many activities on the ship. I found myself wondering around looking for something to do. Fitness area / Spa was ok, suprised they had no saunas or jacuzzis...missed that. Fellow cruisers - average age of 60+, but a very friendly group. Just made getting around a little slow. Very few kids as school is still in session till mid-June here. Service - Bar staff always friendly and quick. Room steward efficient, but nothing above and beyond. Dining room staff VERY slow and inefficient. After two nights of waiting almost 45 minutes to even get the appetizers, we decided to stick with the Winjammer buffet. Port - We loved Bermuda. The ability to buy a bus/ferry pass with unlimited day use for $12 and go wherever we went was wonderful. The island is clean, safe and everyone is very helpful and friendly. We even got our camera returned to us when it was left on a bus from Hamilton to St. George! Scuba Dived the second day. Good, but not our best dives ever. Food - Subpar. This is the third time I have been very disappointed with the food. The dinner menu selection is heavy on seafood, which if allergic, limits you. Steak could be ordered either med rare or med well. This really equated to raw or burnt and it was quite grizley. There was nothing that stuck out as good in the entire week except the Mongolian BBQ in the windjammer one night. The desserts were never tasty and seemed to come from a frozen Costco type variety. I have to give Carnival a huge "A" for food compared to RCCL. One more gripe. For what RCCL charges, why is the self serve ice cream only open a during Windjammer hours? Why is the drink station not open 24-7? It really annoyed me to not have basic coffee available to me unless it was during Winjammer hours...otherwise you pay for it, or need to order from room service. Carnival has this beat too. Disembarkation - great. We received our express tag given we were carrying off luggage. Started calling colors at 7:20am....ours at 7:40am. Very organized, was off ship, through customs and in a cab by 7:55am. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
Weather was perfect and Bermuda was beautiful. Rode the ferries and buses to get around. The ferries were quick but the buses were slow. If you want to see all the sites, then a taxi tour maybe the best bet. We went to the Crystal caves, ... Read More
Weather was perfect and Bermuda was beautiful. Rode the ferries and buses to get around. The ferries were quick but the buses were slow. If you want to see all the sites, then a taxi tour maybe the best bet. We went to the Crystal caves, Horseshoe beach, Hamilton and the Royal Dockyards shops and maritime museum. We never made it to St. Georges but we had been there before. The staff on the boat were wonderful and the dining in the My Fair Lady dining room was very good. The buffet was OK..nothing to get excited about. I was in an inside room that looked very worn and obviously did not get any updates in the recent dry dock. It had enough storage but was basically a place to sleep and shower only. You did not want to hang out there it was so small.This room was on the 7th deck and was shaped horizontally(felt cramped) and was next to a crew exit where they brought up luggage and was a little noisy at times. If you have this room, bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper. The bed was hard and not as comfortable as I would like. I wanted to save money this cruise but it definitely was smaller than I thought it would be! Luckily this was a 5 day only. Everything needed updating including the bed, chair and TV from 1990. The public rooms were nice though and the chairs in all those areas are comfortable. This is one of the oldest boats RCL has so my guess is she maybe retired in the near future. Who knows. It is obvious they are putting their money in the newer boats and the latest built ones. The shows in the theater were very good and we went to all but one comedian show. The captain and staff were wonderful and very personable and made the cruise. Great service!! This was a good cruise and fun. I would have liked another day in Bermuda but overall I cannot complain. Best weather ever and a great time of year to go! I do believe the cost was high for the cruise overall for 5 days. I do not know if some of that was due to port fees or not. I have found cruises for 7 days with NCL cheaper then this 5 day one. We chose this one to avoid flying and it was convenient for us to drive. The price for the room I was in was definitely too much that is for sure. The spa and fitness area was very nice and they had a great waiting area where you looked out aft to the ocean in a padded lounge chair and filled out your forms. That was nice and comfortable. Lots of seating on the decks but go to the Solarium early if you want a seat in the all adults retreat. They had a fun party at 11pm on the deck in Bermuda overnight and that was fun with lots of food and ice sculptures. Remember the old midnight buffet? It was like that but on the main pool deck. We were walking through the casino to check it out and a lady was screaming and she had one $38,000 on a slot machine. Incredible! I have never seen that happen on any cruise I have been on. We did not gamble but the casino had a lot of machines if that is your interest.The piano man in the Schooner Bar could play well but singing was not his thing if you know what I mean. They had a good rock band playing in the Spotlight Lounge every night so look for them. Read Less

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