5 Norfolk to Canada & New England Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Reviews

My wife and I retired early in 1999 and have enjoyed 18 cruises since then. Our cruises have been eleven on Princess, two on Celebrity, three on Royal Caribbean, and two on Carnival. On September 4, 2008 my wife and I went on the ... Read More
My wife and I retired early in 1999 and have enjoyed 18 cruises since then. Our cruises have been eleven on Princess, two on Celebrity, three on Royal Caribbean, and two on Carnival. On September 4, 2008 my wife and I went on the Grandeur of the Seas, leaving Norfolk, Va., for an eight day New England and Canada cruise. We live in Portsmouth, Va., and it was a fifteen minute drive to the port. It was a very convenient cruise to take. Checking in was no problem and went smoothly. This was our third cruise on Royal Caribbean. The past Royal Caribbean cruises were on Voyager and Empress of the Seas. We enjoyed both of them and highly recommended the line to our friends who accompanied us on the Sept. 4th cruise. There were 12 in our group. We had a balcony room. On all our past cruises we have had either a balcony room or a mini suite Our stateroom was nice. This cruise we did not enjoy our balcony. It seem that if your balcony door is not locked inside the air conditioning cuts off. If we spent anytime outside upon re-entering our room it was hot. Several times the heat came on. I reported this three times to guest relations and was told we had to keep the door locked inside for the air to work. This was another way Royal Caribbean cut back on services. Beginning with our first evening meal in the dining room we could tell the food service and quality had deteriorated since our last Royal Caribbean cruise. Not once during our 8 days was our food served hot in the dining room. Many nights other guest had finished eating and were leaving the dining room and we had not been served our entrEe. Our waitress spoke broken English and she talked so fast mostly we could not understand her. We mentioned this and she slowed down, but it did not continue. The menu was sadly lacking in choices. It appeared only one or two items were changed each night. Many night we were given the same menu as the previous night. Turkey was on the menu three times and the herbed chicken was on every night. The chicken had so much spice on it making it inedible. The steak offered was tough and stringy and always served cool. On the lobster night my wife and I both ordered lobster. When it was served, the one tail as so small it was gone in three bites. My wife also asked for prime rib for us to share. Our waitress said she did not know if she could do that. Another one of our group also asked for the prime rib to share with her husband. When everyone had finished their entrees and the table was cleared our waitress served us our prime rib which was raw. We both ordered it medium well. The meat was bloody and cold and we refused it. Food on cruise ships has always been wonderful and one big reason people take cruises. Everyone talks about it. This time our talking was all negative. After recommending your line to our friends we were embarrassed. Several said they would go back to Carnival, where the food was much better. On other cruise ships you have no trouble ordering seconds or another entrEe and it is served at the same time as your other first entree. One day at lunch we ate outside at the pizza, hot dog, and hamburger place. My pizza was cold and the hamburger my wife ordered was already cooked and under a heat lamp which was cold and pink in the middle. Other ships we have been on these foods are hot off the grill and the pizza hot out of the oven. On a plus side breakfast at the Windjammer was fine and breakfast room service was prompt and the coffee always hot. On other cruises we have been on you were always able to order a drink of choice at the Captain's Welcome Aboard and Repeat Guest parties. On the Grandeur we asked for a rum and coke. We were told we had to pay for it, which we did. The only drinks served at both parties was champagne and mimosas. Another cost reduction for Royal Caribbean? We did not participate in most ship activities. We were in a group of twelve friends and relatives and made our own activities. The shore excursions were fine. The tour guides in St. John and Halifax were both very knowledgeable and made the excursion interesting. The weather at St. John was terrible, windy and rainy. That could not be helped. It was the remnants of a hurricane. In Bar Harbor my brother met us and gave us a personal tour. We had lunch on the pier and had a great day. In Boston, we took a cab to Quincy Market and enjoyed the day. On the plus side our room steward, Courtney, was great. Very helpful and accommodating. Also we enjoyed Captain Rob's daily messages. He had a great sense of humor and entertained us. The magician's show was great and also the Motown group, "The Horizon's", were excellent. This was our eighteenth cruise in nine years on four different lines, mostly Princess, and the worse one we have ever been on. We had already booked another cruise on Grandeur of the Seas, April 25, 2009, leaving San Juan. Upon returning home we canceled it. We also were thinking of trying the newest ship next year Oasis of the Seas. Right now that is up in the air. We took a British Isles cruise June 2008, on Princess. Service and food was great as always. I am sure there was cut backs but they were subtle and unnoticeable. We were really looking forward to this cruise and was greatly disappointed and embarrassed after speaking so highly to our friends about Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
This was our 6th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean on September 4th. Our previous experiences were with 4 previous trips with Holland America (HAL) (Hawaii 15nt, Alaska cruise tour and 2-Caribbean 10-11 nt) and one cruise with NCL 7nt. ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean on September 4th. Our previous experiences were with 4 previous trips with Holland America (HAL) (Hawaii 15nt, Alaska cruise tour and 2-Caribbean 10-11 nt) and one cruise with NCL 7nt. We were traveling with 40 others from the Outer Banks of NC and it is telling that the ship is large enough that we only occasionally saw others in the group except at dinner or in passing in the Casino. Embarkation: A pleasure and wonderfully efficient in comparison to our first cruise in 2006 now that Norfolk has completed its cruise terminal. We went prepared with our completed Sea Pass, credit card and passport and got into the ship before noon (after arriving at 11:45) and the fastest experience we have ever had. Travel: We arrived by bus with our group and avoided typical plane and parking issues. This started the trip on a wonderfully relaxed note from the beginning. Cabin: We were in an outside cabin on Deck 2 forward of midship chosen for stability and cost reasons. This turned out to be a good choice with hurricane Hanna following us all the way up the coast and finally overtaking us in St. John, NB. The cabin is smaller (154 sq. ft.) vs. our experiences on HAL (184 sq. ft) for a similar cabin but huge compared to our one experience on the NCL Majesty. Similar cabins on HAL have a bathtub not present on the Grandeur but we rarely (if ever) used the bathtub anyway. As noted by other reviewers, there were plenty of drawers, adequate but not generous closet space and just barely enough room under the bed to force our suitcases. If you have a rather thick suitcase, expect that it will not fit under the relatively low bed. Only one plug in the cabin as on most ships so remember to take an expander plug or strip. Finally, I saw other reviewers comments regarding a sewer gas smell in the halls. I also experienced this through most of the cruise primarily in the hall near the crew access door on Deck 2 across for Room 2064. I recommend caution in selecting that room and rooms 2063 and 2067 that are next to the offending source of that real unpleasant odor. Food: It is unbelievable to hear on the ship and read other review that say that the food in the Buffet is always the same. We found a wide assortment of food at lunch and dinner and cannot name one possible choice at breakfast that was possibly missing. I don't agree with the comments that the food was always the same except at breakfast...but what possibly could be added with all the options available from fresh cooked omelets, eggs, melon(s), cereals, sausages, pastries, etc.etc. The only criticism I can think of is the incredibly overcooked bacon and that is it. Dining Room: We ate all dinners and most lunches in the dining room. The quality of the food is only average in my opinion. Fish in the buffet was actually better than in the dining room (?) and one evening I sent back by fish dish which was tasteless and had a poor texture. Steaks are particularly poor and our dinner companion had to replace his sirloin which he considered inedible. I had one prime rib that was actually tough if that can be imagined. Drinks: We had no alcoholic drinks and can't comment. One disappointment was the poor choice of fruit drinks at breakfast where the only choices in the buffet were apple juice and orange drink (real orange juice was listed as $3.95 + 15% gratuity next to the orange squeezing machine at the entrance). Service: Friendly but spotty and not up to par with our previous experiences. Waiter and Asst. did not ever remember choice of beverages (except for alcoholic drinks). Refilling of glasses, butter and bread dishes was not good most nights. Our wait staff was obviously overworked and the Asst. had 3 tables of 8 diners which explains why there may have been a less than stellar performance. Royal Caribbean is more at fault here than the wait staff. Public Rooms: Very clean and well kept for this older grand ship. The 7 deck high "Centrum" is the most impressive we have seen on any of the ships in our limited experience with smaller vessels. The number of various congregating spots is impressive as noted by others and represents a challenge to find them as the elevators are not keyed to rooms on various floors and you have to find that darned ship map statue to see where you are and where you need to be going....this was a bit vexing as we consider ourselves pretty good cruisers. Library is practically non-existent. No attendant, few books, no newspapers or magazines and a real disappointment compared to our experience with HAL. Internet services were adequate but expensive as is typical. There were package deals but no reduced rates later in the cruise as we have seen on other lines. Ports of Call & Excursions: Bar Harbor, St. John, NB, Halifax, NS, and Boston were a new experience for us that we and others on board enjoyed thoroughly. With hurricane Hanna tailing us from the South, this caused a minor change in the itinerary for a first stop at Halifax rather than St. John which we visited the next day post Hanna. Locals recounted the severe wind and heavy rains we missed but saw part of during our tours in Halifax. In Boston, look for small Irish bars that serve 1 1/4 lb lobsters for lunch for $8.95 with purchase of any beverage (price in Bar Harbor varied from $18.95 to $22.95 with potato and coleslaw expensive side dishes is seems). Ship excursions are generally too expensive. In St. John, a city tour from the ship was $79 pp. We found a city bus tour on the way from the ship to the City Market that was only $17 pp and went to all of the same places (Plus the Imperial Theatre) as the ship excursion for much more. Peggy's cove in Halifax was scenic but so rainy that we would have to go back to properly review. Our trip on the Grandeur of the Seas was pleasant and memorable enough to want us to go back on this ship again. I hope that RCL can secure a better source of higher quality beef and more choices of juice in the AM as my only disappointments from this otherwise great trip up the east coast. Yes, I am hooked on cruising after resisting my wife for all those years and this was our 6th cruise since September 2006! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
We loved the 9 night cruise to Canada and New England. This is my first Royal Caribbean cruise with my last 2 being with Carnival. It was just my husband and myself in a balcony room. The room was very spacious and had plenty of storage. ... Read More
We loved the 9 night cruise to Canada and New England. This is my first Royal Caribbean cruise with my last 2 being with Carnival. It was just my husband and myself in a balcony room. The room was very spacious and had plenty of storage. The service across the board with Royal Caribbean beats Carnival hands down in our opinion. Duvall our room steward took great care of us... we never lacked for anything. Everywhere we went it was just seconds from someone asking to serve or help us. I love this ship... it is older but I love the smaller ships and it was immaculately cleaned throughout the nine days. This cruise definitely played to an older crowd but there was plenty of non stop fun and parties for those who wanted to partake. The entertainment and shows were far better than Carnival... more headliners and quality entertainment. We loved Marty Allen, the comedians... especially Al Katz... David Haines the magician and a wonderful juggler. We did most of our meals in the Windjammer and found ourselves pleasantly surprised by the quality and selection. The setup also allows for easy access and very little "waiting in lines". We did enjoy the Great Gatsby but found ourselves very port oriented and too busy for a 5:30 seating. Plus, we are not ones to go on vacation and get dressed up and preferred the more casual atmosphere. We still received fantastic service for drinks and whatever. The ports were great- Portland- we took the Best of Portland and Kennebunkport bus tour- nice trip- 6 hours but would have loved more time in Kennebunkport- but a great way to see a lot. Bar Harbor- Our FAVORITE port- Acadia National Park is a must see- we did the excursion through RC- Best of Acadia and Mount Desert Island- included a full Lobster lunch- great photo stops- good information- and the scenery cannot be beat- one of the most beautiful spots in the country St.Johns- Reversing Falls- interesting phenomenon- a must see- was a rainy day so we went back to ship early- Halifax- We did the double decker city bus tour- it was OK- if you are in decent shape you can walk to most places- the Maritime Museum with the Titanic exhibition was terrific- easy walk from ship Boston- we hiked the Freedom Trail on our own- which allows you to see many parts/sights of the city- 2 and one half miles but took us most of the day. Fitness Center/Gym- we are active people so we used the gym often as well as the walking track on Deck 10. The track is quite large with 5 laps equaling a mile- made it easy and fun...and you can't beat the scenery- we saw many dolphins and a few whales. The gym was a decent size with most of the standard equipment and machines that you would expect- we always had an open treadmill and never had to wait. They offer many classes as well from spinning, yoga, nutrition, etc. I highly recommend this cruise- Norfolk is a nice port for embarkation and a 5+ hour drive from our home so easy in and out for us... we loved not dealing with the hassle of flying. We self assisted on debarkation and were off the boat by 7:15 and in our car by 7:30- it was a breeze! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
As I said, the service was excellent, servers friendly, loved our dining room staff, they went above and beyond. Had a problem with a bottle of champagne that we purchased as part of a package, we brought it to the table to share, but the ... Read More
As I said, the service was excellent, servers friendly, loved our dining room staff, they went above and beyond. Had a problem with a bottle of champagne that we purchased as part of a package, we brought it to the table to share, but the wanted to charge a corking fee, this was quickly rectified by a visit to the front office, but we shouldn't have had to take time out from our cruise to do this. The cruise director and his staff were outstanding! Cabin Steward and cleaning staff good. There was a terrible sewer smell affecting a dozen or so rooms at the beginning of a long hallway from the dining room to our rooms. This got better at times by the smell of febreeze, but an hour later, the sewage smell was back. There was not enough room for everyone on the ship to enjoy the things that only have one showing, suggest several karaoke, several quest games, etc. The flowers for our honeymoon package were not delivered until the end of the next day (after several calls from us) - the champagne not delivered until midnight the next day and several days later (again after repeated calls from us) our robes were delivered to the room. The stores set sail with 4 medium t-shirts in one style and limited sizes in other styles, most of the merchandise on the ship was caribbean themed and we were on a Canada/New England cruise. The food was awful - nothing was that great, the desserts tasted like Little Debbie cakes, the steaks were tasteless, the best thing on the whole ship was a breakfast banana/fruit bread. Embarkation was delayed, tedious, the cruise terminal was hot. We were delayed getting off the ship at one port because several passengers couldn't be found The "adult only" areas had teens in them, no one did anything about the kids running all over the ship pushing elevator buttons, or the kids who brought their guitars and solicited "tips". This was the worst cruise we have been on, we have sailed several times with Celebrity, Holland America and Disney. The best thing about this cruise was that it left from Norfolk, VA (which is a 15 minute drive from home). We will be driving to NJ and FL to catch future cruises on Holland America, Celebrity and Disney - too bad..... Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We returned yesterday (July 19, 2008) from the 9-night New England and Canada Cruise on the Grandeur of the Seas. There is much to share so here we go. Despite being 12 years old, the ship is in fantastic condition. This is my third ... Read More
We returned yesterday (July 19, 2008) from the 9-night New England and Canada Cruise on the Grandeur of the Seas. There is much to share so here we go. Despite being 12 years old, the ship is in fantastic condition. This is my third cruise with Royal Caribbean and I enjoyed the Grandeur much more than the other two ships. The public spaces were well maintained and the Grandeur has the best library and game room I've seen yet. The lounges were typical of a cruise ship with the exception of the lack of a cigarette smell. Our interior room was small, but very clean and functional. We basically used it for sleeping so we didn't much care. There is no way a person can get bored on Grandeur so I wouldn't be overly concerned about spending time in your room. The food and service in the Great Gatsby dining room was fantastic, easily the best I've had on a cruise. The dinners were A++, with entrees to satisfy all tastes (everything from Angus steak to lobster tails to extremely good pasta). Our waiter, Ajay and his assistant Samuel were fantastic. We sat at a table with one other family and the wait staff made the kids (8 and 11) feel very special. The head waiter, Eric Nelson (also the Food Service Manager), was wonderful. You can't miss Eric. He's about 6'-6" and seems to be everywhere at once. The Windjammer (casual dining) was very good, but by the 9th day the food selections had repeated themselves many times over. One recommendation we have is the wine service. The service allows you to pre-purchase several bottles at once (we chose the 5-bottle "Gold" service), saving you a substantial amount of money. We paid $125.00 for five very good bottles of wine, with the most expensive package ("Diamond" package) running $327.00 for 12-bottles of premium wine. We don't recommend the pre-purchased soda program. For the 9-day cruise it was $56.00. Unless you drink a ton of soda it's just not worth it. The entertainment was good and we were lucky enough to have Marty Allen onboard for several days as well as several other great performers. The Cruise Director (Dan Whitney) and his staff were the best! Dan was funny, very approachable and bent over backwards to make sure everyone was having a good time. The pools were always very clean and everything worked. I say this because on our other cruises it seemed one of the pools was closed or a jacuzzi was down for maintenance. The bar service was typical Royal Caribbean. The Drink of the Day was always $5.95 and typical drink prices were $5.95 up to $8.95 for a premium cocktail. Keep in mind a 15% gratuity is added to the bar service. The Ben and Jerrys / Seattles Best Coffee were open from wee-early until 11:00 pm and the service and quality was good. The prices were comparable to what you find on shore. The shops were small and expensive, with the exception of liquor. We're not big drinkers, but there are some great deals on premium spirits and the are tax and duty free. We took several shore excursions, some made through the ship and some we made on our own. My favorite port was Halifax, with Boston coming in at a close second. The Canadians do a wonderful job of welcoming visitors (flowers for the women, a pin for the men, bagpipe players, etc...). I don't have time to get into details of every port but here a few highlights you shouldn't miss by port. In Portland, Maine: Portland Head Light Lighthouse,Tour of the Shipyard Brewing Company (free), Three Dollar Deweys for lunch. In Bar Harbor, Maine: Acadia National Park - Incredible!!!! We used Olies Trollies (made the reservation online) and the 3 hour tour was great. In Saint John, NB: Reversing Falls. Can WALK there from the ship in 1/2 hour or take a cab for $10.00. In Halifax, NS: EVERYTHING. A beautiful City. Take the Peggy's Cove and Double Decker Hop-on/Hop-off Tour offered through RC. Well worth the money! Don't miss the Citadel and public gardens in Halifax. Our 8-year old son was in awe. I can't say enough about Halifax. In Boston, Mass: Take the trolly tour offered through RC. The price was reasonable and the guide was fantastic. Do the Freedom Trail walk if you've never been to Boston before. If you take the trolly tour through the ship you'll also receive FREE transportation to and from Quincy Market and the ship all day long. If you don't opt for the trolly be prepared to spend $14.00 pp for a round trip. The kids program. Our son is 8 and he loved the Adventure Ocean program. The program itself was a blast for the kids and the staff was fantastic. DO NOT hesitate to trust the staff on the ship. The staff are well trained and security is tight. The kids program opens at 9:00 am everyday and our son would literally run to deck 10 to get in line. The staff makes the kids feel extremely special. Daily activities are outline in the Cruise Compass, which you'll receive in your stateroom daily. If you would like a scanned copy of the "Day 5" compass please let me know. It will give you a better idea of what happens daily onboard the ship. I also have dozens of pictures of the interior and exterior of the ship, with the exception of the Adventure Ocean area (no pics allowed to protect the kids...way to go RC !!). Please e-mail me if you would like a copy of the Cruise Compass or some pics. E-mail: tpmvabch@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
Grandeur of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 3.5 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.8
Public Rooms 3.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.5 3.9
Rates N/A 4.2

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