26 Norfolk Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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 June 2009
It's not like we are really old-old.....like scooters and walker old.  My husband and I are in our mid-sixties and in the past have enjoyed Holland America cruise ships.  We had never cruised with Royal Caribbean before, however, ... Read More
It's not like we are really old-old.....like scooters and walker old.  My husband and I are in our mid-sixties and in the past have enjoyed Holland America cruise ships.  We had never cruised with Royal Caribbean before, however, since the port of departure was Norfolk, only a few hours from our Virginia home, we decided to throw caution to the wind (and the seas) and try Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas.  We were pleasantly surprised.Midship is the Centrium with multi-decked openness and glass elevators.  Vast, panoramic windows and lush seating, provides opportunities for reading, ocean-watching, and quiet conversation.  It seemed to be a general meeting place prior to dinner and after shows.Our favorite part of the ship, however, was the Solarium.  This glass enclosed area offers an abundance of lounge chairs, tables for a quick snack of pizza and hamburgers, and most of all it provides quietness.  The adult-only swimming pool and hot tubs were not crowded and were a pleasant alternative for those of us not interested in the traditional family pool area with the loud music and predictable pool games.The food was continual.....from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.  However, please note that the 24-hour room service is not fully complimentary.  There is a small fee (less than $4.00) for service in the wee hours of the night/morning.  However, my thought process is if you cannot sustain yourself with food for 21 out of 24 hours a day, you have some major eating issues anyway.Sometimes the quantity of food does not mean quality and this was the case on the Grandeur.  I won't go into details of specific foods, but there was a definite blandness to many dishes in the Windjammer buffet.  The Gatsby dining room menus were varied and tasty.  I can't say enough good things about our waiters.  They were the best we've had on any ship.Minor annoyances - no chocolates on my pillow at night!  It's "cutting down expenses"...or so I hear.  Another bother or waste of time was the port shopping talk by Cruise Director John.  In order to receive "free" gifts in port, we were advised to purchase a $25.00 coupon book,  (some cruise lines give these coupons away for free).  i.e. Diamond International, Del Sol. etc.  Supposedly, the $25.00 also enabled one to buy the drink-of-the-day a half price.  Well, what a waste of drinking time.  Someone waved a cork over two gallons of fruit juice and pronounced it a tropical drink of the day.  The only thing that changed daily was the color of the juice and the name of the drink.  I definiately think the cork was reused all nine days.  The evening entertainment and shows were great fun and we looked forward each evening.This ship will be relocated to a Florida port soon and for that I am definitely disappointed.Samana, Dominican RepublicFirst of all you have to remember that the D.R. is  third world country and desperately poor.  I was very disappointed that Royal Caribbean did not provided any local information on Samana.  No geographical information, no history of the area, and no local points of interest for those of us wanting to explore on our own.  It was almost as though this port was an afterthought.  I even went to the tour desk and asked for information on Samana.  I was told the only information they had were for excursions. This meant that hundreds of people, unable to spend big bucks on excursions, were left to the mercy of gypsy cab drivers for varying fees and makeshift vehicles.  Labadee, HaitiRoyal Caribbean owns a portion of land which they over glamourize as "paradise".  It's nice, but saying it's paradise is a bit much.  There are oodles of beach chairs.  Two of the beach areas were small.  The larger one was nicer but the ocean bottom was loaded with sharp coral which made walking tricky. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We sailed on the Grandeur of the Seas on May 21 out of Norfolk, Va on a 9 day Eastern Caribbean trip with stops in St. Juan, St. Thomas, Samana (Dominican Republic) and Labadee, Haiti, returning on May 30th to Norfolk. It was a ... Read More
We sailed on the Grandeur of the Seas on May 21 out of Norfolk, Va on a 9 day Eastern Caribbean trip with stops in St. Juan, St. Thomas, Samana (Dominican Republic) and Labadee, Haiti, returning on May 30th to Norfolk. It was a wonderful cruise. We had a junior suite on the starboard aft side that was quite roomy and spacious for both of us, even though I missed the walk-in closet I had on the Explorer of The Seas. I thought the Gradeur was a lovely ship, just the right size, and felt more "ship-like" and less "floating hotel-ish" than the Explorer. Our stateroom attendent, Anthony, was a joy I wish I could take HIM home with me! He kept our room spotless and brought us anything we needed or wanted. Every evening he delighted us with a hilarious new towel creation and insisted it was the work of "The Magic Man".We had the breakfast buffet every morning in the Windjammer Cafe, and were pleased with the selections everything was hot, fresh and tasty. The fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, and bacon were always my choices. Luch was always from the Windjamer as well, and although I usually didn't eat much, I tried to taste a tiny bit of the interesting dishes. The curries were always good. The soups were great! The desserts could be hit or miss, except for anything mousse-like those were excellent! Mango mousse was sooooo good. I usually had a very light afternoon snack at the Windjammer as well, and they always had hamburgers, hot dogs, good french fries if they were fresh and hot (they do a good job of keeping them hot and replenishing them), and taco fixings, plus deli meats and cheeses, salads, soups, desserts, and something different every day, such as wings, fried fish fingers, assorted hot meals, etc. I was very impressed.We had dinner every evening in the dining room and the first night, we were seated at an assigned table with a waiter who was a complete jerk. We complained to our headwaiter, Kirk, who was fantastic, and signed up for My Time Dining instead. After that we had the most wonderful waiter, Romar, and assistant waiter, Christopher. They truly went out of their way to turn around what could have been a horrible 9 day dining experience. Absolutely totally without complaint, except for the first night (plus that first night, my pork medallions were inedible). In San Juan, we actually arrived early, around 9:00 a.m. instead of 2:00 p.m., as there was a medical emergency on board and we had to get to San Juan as fast as possible.  We enjoyed walking around San Juan, and we were able to attend Sunday Mass at the Cathedral. We also walked through El Morro, which was fine, but I most enjoyed exploring the streets of Old San Juan and eating lunch in a little hole in the wall restaurant with wonderful food and sangria. In St. Thomas, we took the Ocean Racing excusion with On Deck and really enjoyed crewing and racing on the 40 foot Farr racing yacht. Afterwards, we walked into the downtown section to the shops and I was disappointed with how ticky-tacky St. Thomas was.In Samana, we went on the San Limon Horseback Ride and Hike to the waterfall, which was a tremendous experience, but it is EXTREMELY STRENUOUS and is not a sedate little ride on a horse on a level dirt path although you have a guide, the "path" is barely there; it is strewn with numerous, big, muddy and slippery rocks and mud holes; it is steeply pitched up and down; and you ford a river at least three or four times on horseback. Once you get near the waterfall, you go by foot down a slippery, muddy, rocky path to a stream that you wade through to finally reach the waterfall which is gorgeous and cooling. After resting, you have to do it all again in reverse. I LOVED this excursion (well, I didn't like the tender ride and the bus ride) and I highly recommend it IF you are ready for it: wear long pants to protect your legs from the saddle; wear cotton socks (for under the rubber boots they recommnd you wear and they supply, which are like Totes rubber boots very thin); bring an extra pair or two of cotton socks to change into AFTER you are through wading the stream on foot and fording the river on horseback so you have something dry to wear; bring a small backpack with a towel to dry your feet, your spare socks, a change of clothes if you want a dry set after you swim or after you finish the excursion, and a bottle of water; bring some cash as you might want to buy chocolate, your photo on the CD-DVD, and to tip your guide and you really SHOULD tip the guide. They work so hard but aren't supposed to ask for any money. I gave mine $20, as he not only helped me with my horse (although he also gave me more freedom once he knew I was comfortable with her), he walked/ran every step of the way with me over that horrendous terrain, wearing tattered, flimsy Totes rubber boots, and held my hand and guided me as I made my way slowly down the hill to the stream and waterfall and back again.Another highlight of the Grandeur is Captain Rob he has the BEST personality. His afternoon announcement were so humorous, and his "Nautical Notes" presentation on the last day of the cruise was very informative and worthwhile. He took the time to talk to anyone who had questions afterward and also posed for photos. Just a super guy.The entertainment (live shows) on board were okay, except for Al Katz, the comedian who was REALLY funny. As for the live music and music for dancing, we loved Johnny and Take Four his voice was amazing, and we loved dancing to his band. I climbed the rock wall, took Tai Chi, had a piano lesson, and my companion did the Sudoku Challange (and came in second). We took a dancing lesson as a brush up; the couple who taught the classes was very good. The library is beautiful, although there isn't a great assortment of books. We found a few (but we brought a lot of our own). The shops onboard were okay; I didn't see anything I really had to have. If the prices had been lower, I might have considered a few things. I thought the Activities Director was annoying, and the Cruise Director seemed nice, but wasn't that funny. (They are married to each other.) I'm sure they are very nice people, but she came across as just too fake. They did a good job of providing information for disembarking via the stateroom television channel, however.We didn't participate in the Belly Flop Contest, or the Mr. Sexy Legs contest, or the Love and Marriage Game show, or BINGO, or The Quest. There were two late night (midnight) buffets that we passed on as well. We didn't go to the Casino because it was horribly smoky.  They did have two smoke-free nights.  I would have like to have gone to the Viking Crown Lounge for late night dancing and entertainment, but it was so full of smoke I couldn't breathe.We would DEFINITELY sail on the Grandeur again. I hope she has some different cruises out of Baltimore, although we'd consider taking this trip again after taking a cruise to the Southern and Western Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This will be fun to write and I hope enjoyable to read. I will be totally honest and opinionated so bear with me.  This being my 4th cruise and my fiancees first it was fun to see things through his eyes too!  We had an absolute blast. ... Read More
This will be fun to write and I hope enjoyable to read. I will be totally honest and opinionated so bear with me.  This being my 4th cruise and my fiancees first it was fun to see things through his eyes too!  We had an absolute blast. And we did it OUR WAY ! Embarkation and debarkation were speedy, smooth and hardly any waiting, course we got onboard at 12:30.  I heard the lines were longer about 1:30.  Every staff member from the pool servers to the cabin stewards to the greeters at registration to the porters, were there to serve you in any way they could, and always with a smile!The cabin was the smallest I have ever had, our luggage didnt fit under the very comfortable bed, altho we had huge luggage which did fit in the closet.  Storage space was adequate. More storage behind the mirrors too, look for it!  Glad we brought a nite lite as the inside staterooms are pitch black at night.  Our steward, Wilbert and Ms. Lovelace were fabulous and kept the room spotless and the linens well stocked.  Do bring your own shampoo and conditioner as they have a combination dispenser in the shower that didnt do a thing for my long hair.  Do bring a power strip if you have things to charge. The shower is super tiny but the water pressure and temp were perfect as was the air conditioning.  The TV is very small but does come out and swivel to the bed for viewing.  Cute towel animals greet u each nite! Just precious, but no chocolate.  Towards the end of the cruise we noticed a sewage smell in the hall as well as in the cabin, many others commented on it too.The Windjammer is the best designed buffet I have ever seen, traffic moved quickly and smoothly with plenty to choose from.  Nothing real spectacular, but it was good and the seating and view is terrific no matter where you sit.  Wait staff cant do enough for you and keep it spotless in there!The Great Gatsby Dining Room was probably beautiful, I wouldnt know, somehow we got seated at a table for 8, which i had requested in January when i booked the cruise, altho we were up against a beautiful round window and enjoyed the view and the 6  very entertaining table mates, I would have preferred to sit in the big dining room with the rest of the travelers, as it was we missed the waiters singing and their parade of nations. We were at table 2, there were 24 people in the little room which did have a private entrance off the ship hallway, so that allowed us NOT to wait in line at the early seating.  My fiancee was thrilled to be in this private room and said it was much quieter and cozier than the big dining room.  Our waiter and asst. were wonderful, treated us like royalty and memorized our beverages and knew our likes and dislikes.  The food was food, nothing spectacular, we tried many new things, enjoyed them, but we have had better.  The steaks always seemed to be tough, as mentioned by everyone at the table. Entertainment staff was excellent, their ideas, games and poolside antics were fun to watch and/or participate in.  Don't miss THE QUEST ! OR THE MARRIAGE SHOW & THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES ALL IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC LOUNGE.Enjoyed the two comedians and the final show, but didnt get to watch the ship performers as we were busy in the casino. My fiancee hit the $1000 diamond progressive jackpot on the first formal nite at the penny machines.  He was a happy clam for the rest of the cruise and didnt give it back !  Being smokers we were not considered outcasts, we could smoke on open decks on the starboard side as well as in the casino.  There were many many smokers on board.First Formal Night, we had pictures taken that turned out wonderful. If you buy 4 8x10's you get the 5th one free and they put it in a big leather frame/book with a picture of the ship.  Very classy, yet expensive, but I was worth it, after all I never looked so good in all my finery!  I will always treasure those pictures, just a fabulous rememberance!  I didnt see any formal pictures being taken on the 2nd formal night.  Altho they do have a photographer taking casual fun shots on a white background or a beach background, i saw numerous people taking advantage of that fun idea, its right near the portrait store.  We tried to attend the captains champagne social but the room was filled, so we grabbed a glass and moved on to the schooner bar and listened to the piano man.Not real impressed with the shops, altho the liquor prices and marlboro prices were very reasonable.  "Inch of Gold" looks pretty but it does "turn" as I had purchased it 2 years ago on another cruise. At noon everyday, the captain gives a quick brief over the load speaker, it would get real quiet no matter where you were as all ears were tuned to his very dry humor and comical reports.  DO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS, HE'S TERRIFIC! San Juan was pleasant, the weather couldn't have been better, we docked at 2pm, were off the boat by 3pm and walked around Old San Juan,  this is my second trip and my fiancee was not impressed.  The stores closed at 5pm and it was Mother's Day, so many were closed anyway.  TIP: When you get off the boat there will be many drivers offering you a 2 hr tour of old and new San Juan, for $10 @,  definitely take it.  Its an air conditioned ride that you will really enjoy and learn a lot.  I had taken the tour a couple years ago, fiancEe was more interested in getting back on the ship, he had more fun there! Oh, well! St. Thomas, (my 2nd visit) of course is a beautiful island, but having never ventured to the beaches I still enjoyed myself at the shops along the pier and the covered flea market in town.  The tiny jewelry stores and shabby streets didn't do a thing for me.  Some friends went up to the top of the mountain and said it was a real treat to see the bird show and the view. Samana, Dominican Republic is an absolute disgrace, Royal Caribbean should be ashamed to even take their guests to this shabby port! It was horrendous, filthy, vendors practically begging  you and tour directors almost demanding you get in their vehicles even tho the only words they used were: waterfall, beach ride & $10 dollars. Most just kept showing you pictures of beaches or waterfalls and opening the door to their van.  NOT ON YOUR LIFE AM I GETTING IN THERE WITH YOU.  I did see some fellow travelers in a small rickshaw-type vehicle being dragged by a motorbike.  I don't think there are any traffic laws and the chaos was scary to watch. We walked the short waters edge to the many vendors under tents, once that was completed we were back on board within the hour.  Many of us felt very uncomfortable here. Don't miss the REMAX Realty office with laundry hanging all over the building, it will be on your right side as you walk towards the vendors. Larabee, our last port is a private island owned by the cruiseline. LOAD UP ON THE SUNSCREEN!  A two story boat came from the island to pick us up, it ran very frequently.  This is an absolutely stunning sight, very tropical, loads of  lounge chairs, which you do not have to pay to have them moved to a certain spot.  Hammocks hanging everywhere for your  absolute relaxation.  We did the $89, Zip line ride, which was absolutely fabulous, something I will never forget ! 500 ft. above the trees/ water and half a mile ride at about 45 miles per hour!  After an enjoyable lunch we walked over to the Artisian Market and outside vendors.  Wait a cool sight!  No one announced that we should have taken some money with us as the vendors do not accept your sea pass card.  That information would have been helpful.  I did have a $20 bill with me so we walked thru, what a mistake !  Each of the 50 or more vendors had exactly the same thing and were in your face and not accepting " No" for an answer, it got to be frightening and there was nothing there that I needed.  Typical island treats.  I tried once more to go in and browse but the vendors were so overpowering I had to leave.  There are many water sports on this island and just a beautiful scenery to enjoy.  BEWARE: when we came thru customs in Norfolk, every  single person who had purchased a wooden spear, mask, fan, statue, doll or anything made of wood from this island, was escorted by security into a private room.  There were about 50 people just sitting in this room when we went thru about 915 am.  Guess they were looking for drugs or bugs or something.  But the "held" vacationer didn't look too happy. Our time aboard the ship was absolutely the grandest and we are looking forward to our next trip on the Water.  My fiancEe has agreed cruising is the way to vacation: everything at your fingertips!  food, entertainment, no arranging transportation and being treated like Royalty. 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
Some cruising history:  HAL 11 cruises, RCCL 5 cruises - 4 on the Grandeur of the Seas.  This was my first solo.  I booked this cruise in March 2009 mostly due to the convience of the departure port of Norfok.  It's only 3 hours ... Read More
Some cruising history:  HAL 11 cruises, RCCL 5 cruises - 4 on the Grandeur of the Seas.  This was my first solo.  I booked this cruise in March 2009 mostly due to the convience of the departure port of Norfok.  It's only 3 hours from my home and no air travel involved.  DH could not make this trip due to work, so I decided to go solo.  This was my third time on this ship with the same itinerary.I arrived a bit early in Norfolk, about 10:30 am and proceeded to the Cedar Grove parking lot.  To my delight they were letting some early birds in for parking and by 11:00 am I was at the terminal checking in.  The terminal check in process was painless.  The agent's and rep's were all very nice.  Was only in holding mode for about 10 minutes.  That was great!By 11:15 am I had a bloody mary in hand and as I looked around the ship I knew that something was very different from my last trip on GOS in August 2008.  The ship was gleaming and the crew was all so happy!  Last August that was not the case.  Off to the Windjammer for lunch and at exactly 1:00 pm the stateroom's were ready.  I hurried to see my balcony stateroom and I was delighted, to say the least.  I was on deck 7, my stateroom was about the fourth from the front of the ship.  I must tell you that this location had me a bit worried, but the sea days were fine.  No major "rocking".  We did have calm seas throughout the ship.  I went to the champagne bar and ordered a bottle of wine and took it back to the stateroom and enjoyed sail away sipping on it.  I must also mention that I met another solo traveler, Kate, and we did have the first lunch together and it was wonderful conversation.  My stateroom attendent, Angela was great!  She had an assistant named Margaret that was great also.  This was Margaret's last run before returning home to Costa Rica and her son.  She was very excited to get back to her native country and family.  I hope that she made it home safely.The first evening I put out the order form for coffee at 5:30 am (I'm an early riser!) and it was there on time with a quick call to the stateroom before delivery every morning.  The room service attendent was Claudia and after the first morning I never had to place the order form on the door again.  She was there every morning with my order and a very happy morning greeting.  She would bring little extra's like juice and pastries also.  She was a delight!  Her home is in Brazil.The first 2 days were sea days.  I attended the Meet & Mingle and met a few of the online poster's.  Natalie from RCCL hosted the get together.  Was a nice layout of cheese's, fruit and coffee and other light beverage's.  Was nice to put some of the face's with the name's.  I only wish that we had a stand up and introduce yourself type of thing.  The lazy, sun filled day's were great!  No schedule - just vegged out!  The solorium was really nice,  Spent time there in the hot tubs and reading.  I must note here that I did not go to the diningroom on this trip.  I went to the Windjammer for all meals or had room service.  Both were great.Ran into Captain Rob many times.  He is a very visable Captain and I find him to be a true delight.  The last sea day he held an informative gathering in the theater.  A must for all to attend!The production show's were okay.  Just okay,IMHO.  I truly enjoyed the comedy show's.  Chas Elstner is so funny!  Antonio Salci was wonderful.  A great sing along show.  Horizon, Motown and More was delightful!  Do not miss this!  Earl was a hoot with water!  Thanks to Smoke and Earl for the dance's!  Watch where you sit when these guy's are doing their show because for some reason I got zero'd in on twice with them.  I wish that I purchased their CD's.The port's were:San Juan - same as same.  We docked in there at about 2:30 pm on Sunday.  I walked and walked.  Went to the Coach and Dooney & Bourke stores, to find them closed.  It was Mother's Day and a Sunday, so perhaps that was why they were not open.  Still the walking around Old San Juan was nice.  The evening brought a lot of congestion on the streets.  Carnival Victory was also in port beside of us, apparently loading passenger's, and now I understand why they call Carnival the fun ship's!  She was quite a sight to see!St. Thomas - my favorite!  Went to the downtown shopping area and made a few deposit's at my favorite store's.  It was slow downtown.  The economy has been hit hard there as with other area's.  The Coach store is now located at Yacht Haven and by the time I got back to there, well, I was spent out!Samana, DR - been there, done that.  Not one of my favorite places, so I stayed on board and enjoyed the hot tub and a spa treatment.  Oh, so nice!Labadee - BEAUTIFUL!  They are proceeding with the new pier and it looks good.  A relaxing day at the beach!The last 2 day's were again sea day's and I made sure that I spent my OBC.  That was not hard to do!All in all, the trip was great!  I enjoyed running into a few of the ladies from M&M and meeting new people.  Would you believe that I actually ran into a couple that I had met my August 2008 trip?  I was shocked!  They too, love to cruise and said that they are doing a lot of it these days.  The food, the drink's and the crew were all wonderful on this sailing!  I highly recommend it!  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My boyfriend and I traveled on the Grandeur of the Seas with RCI in May 2009 to the Eastern Caribbean. This was our first cruise and it a fun experience with a few setbacks. Norfolk Cruise Port: Easy. I believe parking was $10 per day, ... Read More
My boyfriend and I traveled on the Grandeur of the Seas with RCI in May 2009 to the Eastern Caribbean. This was our first cruise and it a fun experience with a few setbacks. Norfolk Cruise Port: Easy. I believe parking was $10 per day, secure lot less than a mile from the dock. Tour buses run between the two free of charge. We arrived at noon to the parking lot and were on the ship at 1pm. Overall ship experience: My boyfriend and I are in our early 20's and we felt this ship didn't have a lot to do on it. I know it is an older ship in RCI fleet, but with 4 days at sea there were not a lot of activities that we were interested participating in. We did however enjoy the ballroom dancing class that was held daily. The ship seemed worn, but still modern. Food was great. Stateroom: We had an interior stateroom on deck 2. Plenty of space for two people. Itinerary: San Juan, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas and Haiti. We did not purchase a shore excursion for San Juan. Dominican Republic: We purchased a horseback riding tour to a waterfall. Please do not purchase this excursion if it is still offered. I feared for my life the entire time. We were placed on mules, not horses and traveled on very dangerous paths. I could not relax the entire trip. The animals looked like they had not been fed in months. A very stressful experience. St. Thomas: We had booked a 1pm snorkel tour that never showed. We found out our trip had been canceled since it was not full. This was after we waited 45 minutes for the tour to show up. We wasted a lot of our day in St. Thomas. After leaving St. Thomas the excursion desk told us we should have received a letter telling us to join the 9am snorkel tour. At this point they walked back into their office and gave us the letter that we should have received. So why did they have it and not us? We were refunded our money and told to book a snorkel tour in Haiti. We asked if we could get some type of discount for the inconvenience they caused us in St. Thomas. The excursion desk could have cared less. (Note: I emailed RCI after the cruise about this situation. They never responded to my complaint) Haiti: Beautiful, private area for RCI. We booked a snorkel tour and had fun in the aqua park. Our favorite port. Our eastern Caribbean cruise was good, even with a few setbacks involving the shore excursions. My boyfriend and I plan to travel on larger ships from here on out that provide more activities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
About Us- We have been on 10 cruises with Carnival and this was our very first cruise with Royal Caribbean. There were 12 people in our group, which included 8 adults ranging from 40-72 and 4 kids ranging from 9-17. There was an older ... Read More
About Us- We have been on 10 cruises with Carnival and this was our very first cruise with Royal Caribbean. There were 12 people in our group, which included 8 adults ranging from 40-72 and 4 kids ranging from 9-17. There was an older crowd on this ship than we are used to seeing which didn't affect our cruise at all. Embarkation- We live on 30 minutes from the Port of Norfolk so we had my brother drive us over. We arrived at 10AM and he was able to drop us off right in front of Half Moone Cruise Center. The porters were right there to take our luggage right from our van. Said goodbye to my brother and we walked right inside the terminal. By 10:45 they began processing and by 11AM we were walking on the ship. Easiest and best embarkation ever! Cabin- Most of us had a D1 balcony cabin on deck 7 except for one family that had a JS on deck 8. Our cabin was 7574, which was 4 doors down from the Centrum. Noise was never an issue and it was a perfect location. There was more than enough storage and the balcony was perfect for the two of us with two chairs and small table. The a/c worked great as we love having our cabin on the chilly side. Beds were a little firmer than we are used to but didn't keep us from a good night's sleep. The bathroom was adequate but what is up with the shower? Could it have been any smaller? It really was the smallest we have ever experienced at sea but we still managed. The cabin itself was a decent size and provided more than enough room for us. Service- Our cabin steward Kenny and dining team of Mehmet and Oswald were all outstanding. I couldn't find a complaint even if I tried. Thanks guys! Woman down at the Solarium Cafe was downright rude and nasty. The rest of the crew was simply the best! They had hand sanitizer stations spread throughout the public areas of the ship. Entertainment- John Blair is the cruise director on this ship and he was as good if not better than any we have sailed with. Always out and about and would always speak to us if we saw him on the ship. We went to all the shows each night and everyone seemed to enjoy each one. Of the Broadway style shows we thought Rhythm & Rhyme was the best. If you have comedian Gary Muledeer on your ship you have to go see him. He was absolutely hilarious! We also loved Los Pampas Gauchos during the farewell show. We are pool deck kind of people so we spent a lot of time soaking up the rays. Kool Vibes was the band up there and they were excellent. Couldn't help but get into the groove when they were playing. Also check out Take 4 if you sail this ship. Their lead singer Johnny is really good and has some dance moves to go with his voice. Late night comedian Al Romas was also hilarious at both of his shows. We also attended our very first Quest. It is not to be missed. What a riot. Food- We ate all breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer. We ate dinner each night in the Great Gatsby except for the days we were in San Juan and St Thomas. Everything we had was either good to very good. We like Carnival's menu a little better but the food really was good. Didn't order room service at all so I can't comment on that. Ports- San Juan: Been there enough and could take it or leave it. We just walked around and headed over to San Cristobal. Then did a little shopping and was back on the ship by 6PM. St Thomas: It was raining when we arrived so we shopped for a few hours at Havensight. The sun finally came out at about 11 so we grabbed a taxi over to Megans Bay. After 4 trips to St Thomas this was our first trip to Megans. We usually go to either Trunk Bay or Sapphire. Really enjoyed Megans and would go there again. Samana: I think this was our favorite port on this trip. We booked the Cayo Levantado Beach Break through the ship and loved it! What a beautiful beach. It's on a little island not far from where the ship anchors. Highly recommend this excursion. Last stop was Labadee. I know it is a favorite on this board but I could take it or leave it. Maybe after the pier is finished and the water clears back up it would be better. It wasn't really my idea of a tropical beach. We did have some that did the zip line, my daughter included, and they really loved that! Debarkation- We did the express debarkation and carried off our own luggage. We were off the ship by 7:30 but got held up at Customs due to a rose that my daughter had bought her mom for Mother's Day on Sunday. They sent us over to a special room and searched our luggage for other "contraband". We weren't the only ones over there and after 20 minutes we were on our way out of the terminal. Waited a few minutes outside for my brother to show up and we were back home before 9AM. Aside from the Customs hassle it was the easiest debarkation ever. Bottom Line- Overall, I would rate this cruise as an "A". It was right up there with one of our best ever. Very relaxing and fun filled from start to finish. We will definitely be sailing with Royal Caribbean again in the very near future. 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
We are a married couple (in our 30's) and this was our 3rd cruise: first with Royal Caribbean.  The cruise overall was nice.  I won't go into detail regarding everything about the cruise; I will only detail the things that ... Read More
We are a married couple (in our 30's) and this was our 3rd cruise: first with Royal Caribbean.  The cruise overall was nice.  I won't go into detail regarding everything about the cruise; I will only detail the things that stood out to us.  Our first two cruises were with Carnival and we had a blast! Dining: we really enjoyed the My Time Dining option and had a table for 2 ready, whenever we chose to go to dinner. The food in the Dining room was okay-to-good in my opinion, and terrible in my husband's opinion.  The food quality seemed to get better as the week progressed though.  My biggest complaint: lack of seafood dishes! That's really all I want to eat on a cruise.  Besides formal nights, the only seafood main course was tilapia (the cheapest, farm raised in china, fish you buy at Walmart). We only went to one formal night, and we had excellent lobster (the waiter actually offered us an extra tail each - to which we took him up on it).  The Windjammer was okay, but in no way comparable to the food on Carnival's lido deck buffets.  The Solarium pizza/hamburger joint on the Grandeur had really poor pizza (like cheap frozen pizza).  The fries were really good though.  The pizza on Carnival cruises is excellent in comparison. Ship:  very beautiful and classy.  The ship is a smaller ship and doesn't offer as much as the larger ones.  There was really only one night club, and each evening it started off with an organized group of cigar smoking - YUK!  I loved the promenade on Deck 5.  You can actually walk around the entire ship except when tendering (they block off the from for the anchor crew). The aft of Deck 5 has lounge chairs and this was probably may favorite spot on the entire ship - very majestic looking at the ships wakes in the infinite sea. Ship activities: really, really geared to the older crowd.  In fact, I guess 80% of the guests onboard were over 60.  A funny story:  in San Juan, about 1 hour before we were leaving, out of boredom, we decided to go play shuffle board. Up on the top deck, we saw another couple sitting in deck chairs looking at the action going on at the adjacent Carnival Victory ship.  There was a huge movie screen playing videos and a "fun" party time going on over there.  The other couple, in their thirties, looked at us and said, "I wish we were on that ship".  I said "Me too".  We have sailed on the Carnival Victory before and it was a blast. Our ship was calm, relaxing, and mature.  Not crazy and fun.  On the flip side, we were always able to find a pool deck chair, while on Carnival it's hard to find a prime location. The indoor Solarium pool was almost empty all the time and you could get some peaceful whirlpool tub time. Entertainment:  Your basic ship shows.  The guest comic jugglers and the Argentina drum dance/comedy team were great! San Juan - we arrived here about 4 hours early for a medical emergency of a passenger.  Old San Juan is nice and we walked around exploring. St. Thomas - A beautiful and clean island.  We took a 2 hour tour of the island and stopped off at Sapphire beach for about 3 hours.  I loved the snorkeling there and got some excellent underwater photos with my camera. Dominican Republic - I loved it there.  Why?  Because I love the cultural shock.  My least favorite ports are always the commercial beaches that look like a Florida beach, just somewhere else.  We took the ATV excursion through RCI.  I was amazed by the poverty in the county. We rode through villages where some of the kids were actually unclothed.  The children came out of the 'houses" to wave at our ATV caravan.  I had brought a backpack of toys for the kids and handed them out.  They appeared thrilled. We even stopped at a small waterfall and a nearly-secluded beach.  The beach was absolutely gorgeous! Labadee - nice beach, but there was construction going on at both sides of the peninsula. It wasn't actuall peaceful, as we constantly heard the heavy equipment scraping and dropping boulders.  Beware of the Haitian flea market: severe haggling and pressuring.  But the Artisan Market was nice and peaceful and sold many of the same things and at good prices.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We sailed from Norfolk, VA (easy as we live nearby in VA Beach, VA). New embarking center a breeze to board the ship. We parked in the parking area at Cedar Grove for $10.00 a day; I guess a bargain compared to other cities?Room ... Read More
We sailed from Norfolk, VA (easy as we live nearby in VA Beach, VA). New embarking center a breeze to board the ship. We parked in the parking area at Cedar Grove for $10.00 a day; I guess a bargain compared to other cities?Room wasn't ready when we boarded at around 11 AM, however, was ready around 1 PM, gave us time to go to the Windjammer for lunch. Grandeur is showing her age but in a beautiful way, she is still grand though, and small enough to enjoy. We opt for the early diner at 6 PM (we don't like to eat late). Very good food, well served and our waiter, from India "D" and our ass't waiter from Jamaica "Terry" were superb.Windjammer was good, seems like the same menu most the time, but enjoyable. Not a crowded area that I have noticed on other ships, especially Princess (in November, 2008 we were on a 2 week Hawaiian cruise and the flow traffic in their "windjammer" was horrible, believe me). The waiters were exceedingly attentive, they would go out of their way to please you. My wife likes tomato juice, and it wasn't available in the windjammer, but lo and behold just ask for it and it appeared.All in all an excellent cruise, excellent entertainment and the cruise director and his wife (Mr. & Mrs. Blair) were just great people. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Hello, this is a review of our 9-night, Eastern Caribbean cruise, from May 7th-16th, aboard The Grandeur of the Seas. My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. This is our third cruise on the Grandeur, but first time ... Read More
Hello, this is a review of our 9-night, Eastern Caribbean cruise, from May 7th-16th, aboard The Grandeur of the Seas. My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. This is our third cruise on the Grandeur, but first time doing the current Easter Caribbean 9-night run. We are in our late 20's and early 30's. Embarkation- We had nearly a 4-hour drive to the Norfolk terminal, from central Virginia. This is nothing when you consider the fact that drive was going to get us to the Caribbean, we like homeport cruising. I was very skeptical of the park here, take bus, arrive at cruise terminal approach Norfolk has setup. Overall this worked quite well and we arrived at the Norfolk Half Moone terminal about a half hour after arriving at the parking lot. Our previous Grandeur cruises was from Baltimore, which allows you to park right at the cruise terminal, but charges you about $5 more a day to cruise from their facility. Once at the cruise terminal the biggest hold up was only having two metal detectors for everyone to be screened with, one or two more and the lines would have moved much quicker. All things considered, from the actual time we pulled onto the Parking lot, got bused over, cleared security, checked, and walked on the ship wasn't much more than an hour. Overall I did not think this was very bad. Day 1- We got our luggage within the first couple hours of being on board, about the same amount of time as our other cruises. We missed lunch in the Windjammer, as we got to busy showing the ship to several others that traveled with us. Muster drill was at 3:30 and lasted about 20-25 minutes. Sail away was just a few minutes past 4:00, we stayed on deck 10 and watched until we sailed past VA beach into open Ocean. I enjoyed sailing past some of the industrial areas and Navy ships along the way. Once the ship speed picked up on the ocean, the top decks were very windy and a little cold for most. Day-2 This was a full day at sea. We spent most of it between the pool deck and solarium. It was still cool today, as the ship was only as far as Cape Hatteras, NC. This was also the first formal night of the trip. We took pictures, since we were all dressed up; we usually take at least one picture worth $20 during the trip. Day-3 This was another full day at sea. We again spent our time between the pool and solarium, with some time on deck 10 lying out and reading. Today, I lost my XM radio signal, so just the pre-recorded stuff and mp3's I loaded onto my Inno radio. We stayed up late and partied the night away in the Viking Crown. Day-4 We slept in some from the late night partying. We hit the gym for a while, since two solid days at sea had us feeling we needed some exercise. I got an awesome salad in the main dining room, from salad station set-up in the middle. We made sure we was up on the top deck about 45 minutes prior to arrival in San Juan, this way we could take pictures of El Morro from the ship.  We arrived at San Juan right at 2 p.m. and people actually started getting off about 2:30. I needed to check e-mail, since we had data in port I did this until around 3:00 pm. By then we only waited in line to exit the ship for about 10 minutes. Since our ship arranged shore excursion of San Juan was canceled due to Mother's Day, we did our own. Once off the ship we found a tour driver that charged us $10 per person for a small tour of old and new parts of San Juan. At the end of the tour he dropped us off at El Morro. El Morro closes at 6 p.m. on Sundays, which still left us plenty of time to get off the ship, see parts of the city, and make it here. We spent about an hour and a half walking though the fort and taking pictures. I really enjoyed this; it was one of the highlights of my cruise. With the tour of El Morro complete, we decided to walk back into the part of old San Juan that was closer to the ship. All of this was more or less downhill, so we walked it. We looked in shops and browsed for cool things we might want to take home. Originally, we thought about eating ashore in old San Juan, however we found most restaurants' very busy. This may have been due to at least partly by it being Mother's Day. So, we decided to head back to the ship and grab dinner in Main Dining room. We thought we may have had time after second setting dinner to head off the ship for a little bit, but we didn't. Instead we stayed up on the upper deck for sail-away and pool party. As a side note the Carnival Victory left at 10:00 for anyone wanting to watch it sail away. Day5- Our Anniversary, spent in St. Thomas! Ship arrived very early at 7:00 a.m. to a light mist or rain. We had breakfast, and headed off the ship around 9. We had already decided we wanted to do the Paradise Point sky ride that looks over the harbor. It was still a little cloudy, but the rain had stopped. My wife looked in the shop; while I watched the cloudy skies give way to a bright blue sky. We drink several drinks out on the patio and took some amazing pictures. My wife, found out she loved the 'Bushwhacker' frozen drinks from here. About lunch time we headed to Megan's Bay to enjoy the beach. We had a nice day swimming and relaxing at the beach. We headed back to the ship around 3:30. Once back on the ship we had a snack in the Windjammer and watched sail away. The Carnival Victory followed us to St. Thomas, and sailed right after we did. I got several good pictures of her leaving. Even though this was our second time in St. Thomas, we can't wait to go back, maybe even for a week. Day6- Samna, Dr  We arrived to dark overcast clouds. However by mid-morning these where gone. We booked the RCCL shore Excursion, beach break on Cayo Levantado. This was very nice with a beautiful beach and water. I like this beach because it had waves, not monster ones but much bigger than Megan's Bay. The worst part about this island was the appearance of flies, they would come and go, and when they came around would drive you made. This was not enough to ruin the trip, but something you should be aware of. Mixed drinks and beers ranged from $3 -7, Hot dogs, and burgers from $4 and up. You could get grilled lobster for $20. Day 7- Labadee This was our first trip to Labadee, we had heard so much about it. Lots of construction going on here, the new pier, beach expansion, and new buildings, all of which we are told is to be ready for Oasis. This really did not impact our time here, no loud noises from machines, just an occasional hammer in the back ground. The BBQ lunch here was good; the burgers taste much better grilled. One note here is, the Haitian flee market is filled with so many people wanting you to buy their items. We tried to tell them just let us look, but this did not work. We left when we got tired of being haggled. Also, if you decide to walk all over Labadee, be sure to wear shoes that you don't mind getting dusty. My sandals had totally changed colors when I got back on the ship. Also, take some money off the ship if you want to buy anything from the local markets, they are not taking your sea pass card 'yet':) Day 8- Was at Sea, we spent the day by the pool sipping on assorted mixed drinks. Tonight was formal night, so we took some more pictures. Day 9- Our last full day of our cruise, spent by the pool and solarium. We ate lunch in the Main dining room to avoid the crowding at the windjammer. We sorted thought the pictures we had taken during formal night and packed our bags. Disembarkation- This was our first time trying the 'new' disembarkation process. On paper I could not see much that had really changed, except for a few extra 'relax' and 'enjoy' added to the process. We got up early enough to do breakfast in the windjammer. Then proceeded to our stateroom until 8:30, when we was to head to the Theater for our group number to be called. We must have got lucky; as soon as our elevator arrived at deck 5 they were calling our group number. We never did have to wait in the theater, and was off the ship in less than 10 minutes from leaving our stateroom! Once off the ship we collected our bag on our own and headed out. The line for porter service was fairly long, but lots of porters were available and being put to use as fast as the line could move. Once out of the facility we caught the bus over to the Cedar Grove packing lot. The worst part about this was during our drive over it started to rain heavily. Once we arrived at the parking lot, the porters started taking all the luggage off the bus. However, before the bus driver would allow us to get off the bus, they had to have the luggage unload first. Our luggage was one of the first off, and got SOAKED. I could have taken it to our vehicle and saved it from five minutes worth of rain if the bus driver had allowed us off sooner. This was the biggest flaw in this system I saw, and think a canopy could have fixed this. Food- Since this was our third time on the Grandeur, I had a good idea what the food would be like. I did feel that many of the main dining room dishes were a little better. We particularly enjoyed several of the soups like the onion soup and lemon grass with shrimp. The Windjammer had a new layout since we was on the ship the last time and seemed to have a little more variety, although I didn't think that was the case for breakfast. Our main dining room waiters were very good and always professional. I would like to think Sijeit our main waiter and Roderick our assistant waiter for the good service. Ship- Well, we know the Grandeur pretty well by now, and she did not disappoint. Even though this is now one of the smaller ships in the RCCL fleet, we think it's still a very nice size with most amenities we needed. We did think the cosmetics of the ship have gone a little south. Examples include the deck 10 matting, tile work in solarium, and some of the carpeting. Did this mess our trip up? No, just things we noticed. On a positive note the dent repair to her side look good. We also thought the staff did a much better job cleaning after people that left plates and cup all over the ship, especially the pool area. During our last cruise, we had to often move plates and cups to use an area. We also were lucky enough to have the humor of Captain Hempstead on our cruise once again. Many enjoy his dry humor and easy to understand American voice. Thanks for reading we had a great time aboard the Grandeur. We have already started looking at the Enchantment Itineraries out of Norfolk and Baltimore. RCCL keep up the home port cruising. Read Less
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 May 2009
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
This being our seventh cruise, and our daughter's fourth, I would consider us to be seasoned cruisers having sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. Overall, this was our most boring cruise, the reasons of which you will ... Read More
This being our seventh cruise, and our daughter's fourth, I would consider us to be seasoned cruisers having sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. Overall, this was our most boring cruise, the reasons of which you will see below. We enjoy cruising out of ports that we can drive to, so Norfolk is about the furthest we will go to from our home in Kitchener, Ontario. The first thing that was immediately apparent was that even at 50 years of age, my wife and I were to be younger that the average cruiser on this voyage. This did not please our 15 year daughter, and set the tone for the whole cruise. The embarkation process was efficient and prompt, even the shuttle ride from the parking lot about a mile away was good. If I were to sail out of Norfolk again, I would definitely consider staying at the Sheraton across the street from the cruise terminal and leave my car there for the duration of the cruise. Indoor parking, convenient, and save $90 parking fee. Ship Info - The Grandeur of the Seas is an older ship, but I must agree with most reviewers that they have done a great job in keeping her clean, and in great condition with no real wear visible in the public rooms. I wish they had done the same in the staterooms. Stateroom - Our stateroom was on deck seven aft. Its location was perfect for us because it was two decks below and two and three decks above all the activity on board. The cabins are small, and with three of us in the room at the same time, it felt cramped. The television is tiny (9") and the bathroom is the type where you can do most everything while sitting on the toilet. The tap on the sink was not supplying cold water, and even getting the staff to repair it did not work. Closet space is at a premium on this ship, so if you are a packrat, you may be in trouble, especially since some larger luggage will not fit below the beds. Speaking of the beds, they were OK, but not as comfortable as other ships we have been on with Princess and Carnival. Our cabin steward was efficient, although he never introduced himself, and did not see much of him. Dining - There are primarily three choices to dine on board the Grandeur. The Great Gatsby Dining room, the Windjammer Marketplace, or Room service. The dining room is a very pleasant space, airy and inviting, service was efficient, but not overly friendly. The food, although presented nicely, was a disappointment. Portions were small, lacked flavor and diversity. The Seafood was the worst of all; the shrimp cocktail looked like it came out of a supermarket $5 shrimp ring. The Windjammer is on level 9 in the front of the ship, not what I would consider the best location for a dining area. A great view, but you feel every rock and roll of the sea. The food here was of fair quality, and being a buffet, quantity is not an issue. Biggest problem, it was the same menu everyday for breakfast and lunch. Can't comment on dinner as we used the dining room every night. I wish we had gone there for dinner, because we had late seating (we had no choice) and if you leave the dining room hungry after late seating, you have a choice of room service or a small Solarium grill that served Ok fries, but really lousy pizza, burgers and hotdogs. We used Room service for the majority of breakfasts, and its' service was prompt and the requested time, but limited to the same things every day. Activities on board - If you have taken at least one cruise, you will be familiar with the usual games and activities available on board. Well all the same stuff happens here, pool games, horse racing, belly flop and hairy legs contest, all predictable and boring for repeat cruisers. Do you like Bingo? That's an expensive pastime on this ship. $21 for a 3 game card for four different games and $31 for six games per card. And the payouts to the winner is 100 to 180 dollars. Lousy when there are 300 people in the room playing. Kids Clubs - Our daughter is 15, and this area was a major disappointment for her. The Fantaseas club is basically a room with video games and arcades for kids to spend their parents' money on the Sail card, there was no music available for kids to enjoy, and the staff member there basically left them on their own. This can lead to big trouble, which at the end of the cruise it did for some kids, as the managed to get some young adults to buy alcohol for them, and partying and some destruction occurred. This was reported to the crew on the last night and the affected parties were promptly arrested by Norfolk police. Who knows, maybe a better on board program may have prevented this. Fortunately, our daughter made fast friends with a good group of kids, and they had fun together, exploring the ship, and hanging out. Service - Overall service on board was good and professional. I found the stall were not friendly with passengers, with minor exceptions of our assistant waiter and the odd bar waiter. Boy, were they pushing the drinks on you, everywhere you went. Most of the staff went about without a smile and basically ignored you when you told them you did not want any alcohol. The cure for this was to bring a glass of water or iced tea with you when you go to the lounges and order your drink when ready. Entertainment - Well, what can I say here, predictable and somewhat boring. Comedians, a juggler, magician, Elvis impersonator, Ship's dancers and singers, Cruise director and staff. They tried to do their best, but let's face it, we have heard the same jokes for years, corny, boring stuff. If you are a Karaoke fan, this was probably the most enjoyable part as some of the folks were actually pretty good, rivaling the singers on board. Ports of Call and excursions - We preferred to take our own excursions on the Islands, one to save money and two to get a better flavor for the local culture. Our tour guide in San Juan was Victor Reyes and he was very good, showing us Old and New San Juan like we have not seen before. He was very pleasant informative and best of all unhurried. Great value at $25 per person for a 3 hour tour, and air conditioned too. Our guy in Saint Thomas was Patrick, another good guy that took us on a 4+ hour tour all over the Island, with a one and a half hour stop at Emerald Beach. A very nice quiet, non-crowded beach near the airport that belongs to the Best Western Emerald Beach resort, but allows cruise passengers to use it's beach at no charge, including the umbrellas and lounge chairs, sweet. We really enjoyed this tour. On this trip, the ship docked on the northern side of town at a dock named Crown Bay, shopping there is very limited and a cab ride to downtown. Personally, I prefer the dock by Havensight mall with all the shops right there. Samana in the Dominican Republic is a different sort of place. If you remove the facts that the area is very poor, there are crappy motorcycles everywhere, the roads are horrible, and the general living conditions are almost unbearable to our standard of life, the countryside is very beautiful and for the most part unspoiled. I was told by the locals that things are improving, but progress is slow. It seems that this ship is the only one that stops there. Everyone on our tour gained a greater appreciation for our way of life at home. Hurricane Gustav forced the cruise line to change our itinerary, so our last stop was their private Island in the Bahamas, Coco Cay. This was a great stop offering good beaches, snorkeling, parasailing and souvenir shopping. Disembarkation - This process was fairly well organized. We were off the ship and on our way to the parking lot by 10:30. It seemed really slow getting off the ship, but they did a good job in not congesting the customs and terminal area. Summary - We rated this voyage as fair, but not memorable. 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 August 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
Our 9 day Caribbean cruise on the Grandeur was overall positively wonderful. My boyfriend and I drove from Richmond, Va to Norfolk. Easy. We found the port without a problem, parking was easy. We arrived around noon and next time I would ... Read More
Our 9 day Caribbean cruise on the Grandeur was overall positively wonderful. My boyfriend and I drove from Richmond, Va to Norfolk. Easy. We found the port without a problem, parking was easy. We arrived around noon and next time I would go a bit earlier. We did have to wait for a while but they served cookies and lemonade while we waited and made sure we had all of our paperwork filled out correctly. As I have read on many previous reviews, the Grandeur does show a little age. However, she is kept very clean for the most part. The tables up on Deck 9 by the pool could have used more attention. Other people's dirty dishes were often left on the table longer than I cared for. The ship is decorated very nicely with some interesting paintings. The service on the boat was superb! From the Great Gatsby Dining Room to the Windjammer to the lounges to the stateroom attendants- they were all wonderful. To me, the excellent service was one of the main things that made our trip a true vacation. There were many fun activities on board. You can do them all or do none of them but plenty are offered. The Quest was the most hilarious thing ever- all adults with a good sense of humor should attend! The bingo was fun, although a bit pricey, but I guess that is to be expected when playing for an $8000 jackpot! The RockWall was fun and we never had to wait. Okay- I didn't climb it but my boyfriend did a few times. We also enjoyed the Love and Marriage game show, the Mardi Gras party and the Casino was a big favorite. All four of our ports were great. We did not book any excursions through RCI and not only had a great time but also saved a lot of money. We went on a tour of San Juan ( Juan Carlos was our guide- truly hilarious- and they were waiting to take people as soon as we got off) The city itself is pretty dirty and smelly but the mountains and beaches were nice. Definitely go see the Capitol Building and the two forts. St. Thomas is good for shopping. Prices are very reasonable. We took a van to Megan's Bay which is pretty. We snorkeled there and saw a few fish, but loved the clear warm water. The Dominican Republic had to be my favorite stop. We found George who took us on a tour of Samana on the back of his scooter/motorcycle type thing. We took along a few beers and thoroughly enjoyed it. He dropped us off at a local restaurant where we had a delicious red snapper and fried bananas lunch. Knowing a little Spanish here was definitely a help. Out last stop was in Labadee. I thought this was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen- it was quite rocky but once you went out a little it became sandy. The water was as clear as could be and very warm. If I ever go there again I would definitely do the zip line. That did look like an awful lot of fun. The Haitian market was a little much for me with all the please come see my things, they are the best, etc......... I know they are just trying to make a living but I have a hard time shopping in that kind of environment. Be sure to haggle with them as they will come WAY down from what they originally ask for. Our stateroom was perfectly fine. The bed was so comfortable and I guess one of the benefits to having an inside room is that it gets completely dark- we slept like babies! Out attendant, Alvaro, was fabulous. The bathrooms are small, which we expected, and I never really did master the shower thing without flooding the floor. It was always clean and Alvaro got us everything we could have needed. Our one disappointment was dining in the Great Gatsby Dining Room. The service was fabulous ( thanks to Eva) but the food wasn't all that tasty. Meats were tough and to me tasted all the same. We went there for dinner 3 times out of the 9 nights. We ate in the Windjammer or ordered late night room service instead and were perfectly happy. The Windjammer has so much stuff to choose from- good soups, salad bars, stir fries cooked to order, yummy omelets in the morning. We were also pleased with room service getting Caesar salads, chicken wings, and a turkey sandwich. They were also quite prompt. We ordered coffee to be delivered in the morning which made waking up easier as we could relax and watch Dan's Morning Show before heading out for the day. Getting off on our last day ( we were so sad!!) was extremely easy. We chose to carry off our luggage and were back in the car by 8:10 am. Stopped for breakfast on the way home and were back at the house by noon for a 3 hour nap!! A few suggestions- we took along big insulated cups which we could use for coffee or ice water. You can fill up your cup anytime on Deck 9 by the Windjammer. Definitely carry off your luggage- if you can manage it. Get to know your favorite bartender- they will know your name after Day 1 and know exactly what you want and how you want it. Load up on spinach salads and steamed veggies ( they were very good). We left the ship without gaining a single pound! Take advantage of all the activities, but don't bother buying the $30 dollar video. It was not worth the money. Definitely go to Deck 5 to watch the sunsets. It was a very relaxing, memorable vacation- have fun :-) 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
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
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
Well, as I sit here drinking my coffee that I picked up in Puerto Rico, and deal with facing reality, I struggle to come up with enough positive words to cover my review of our 9-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We only have about ... Read More
Well, as I sit here drinking my coffee that I picked up in Puerto Rico, and deal with facing reality, I struggle to come up with enough positive words to cover my review of our 9-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We only have about a 4-hour drive to Norfolk, but we arrived the day before, and stayed at the Marriott Waterside just a block away from the terminal. Though it is a little bit pricey, it is still a very nice hotel, and very comfortable! We actually boarded the ship around 1:30 and our cabin was ready, so we dropped off our carry-on paraphanalia, and headed out to start enjoying our vacation. We went on the Grandeur two years ago to the Western Caribbean out of Baltimore, and really enjoyed this ship. We actually felt like we were coming back home. Service and Crew I can't say enough wonderful things about our waiters and cabin steward and all of the crew who really go out of their way to make you feel at home! Joseph and Arnel were our waiters in the dining room, and they were just exceptionally attentive. Bahattin, our head waiter, always made a visit by our table to check on us. The food, in my opinion, was FANTASTIC!! Our cabin steward, Mr. Lindsay always had the room in tip top shape, and we always enjoyed his towel animal creations! I just hope that the powers-that-be from Royal Caribbean will see this review, and feel moved to give these guys that I have mentioned a promotion! They just work so hard, and never seem to tire of wanting to please their clientele! Cruise Director Dan was a stitch and could certainly keep you entertained! My dh and I are still snickering at his humor and the funny things he said. Belle, the activities director was always very perky and friendly, and really seemed to enjoy her job. Captain Jim Oleson was the man in charge of the vessel. We were lucky in that our balcony was not too far from the bridge, and had the pleasure of watching he and his officers maneuver the ship into various ports. He is a very down to earth gentleman. We had the pleasure of running into him occasionally on the ship, and he always smiled and acknowledged us. Our ports of call were San Juan, Puerto Rico, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Samana, Dominican Republic, and Labadee, Haiti. San Juan - We had heard how easy it is to do your own walking tour of San Juan, so that is what we did. We walked up to El Morro, and took a bunch of photos. It was so neat to enjoy the local flavor as we watched the natives out on the lawn flying kites and just enjoying their families. After touring the fort, we walked back through old San Juan, and stopped in some shops to pick up some local souvenirs. St. Thomas - We had booked our own tour through T.J.'s Terrific Tours for the sightseeing, beach and shopping tour. We were a little bit concerned when he showed up an hour late, but he was a nice fellow, and we were still able to see the main attractions. He took us to Sapphire Beach, which was absolutely gorgeous, and not too terribly crowded. After spending about an hour and a half, we left Sapphire around 2:00 and had him return us to Havensight for shopping, and we are really glad we did as the traffic was horrendous. Next time around, we will likely just get a taxi to take us wherever we want to go, as they were plentiful there at the dock and around the island. Dominican Republic - We did the RC excursion to Cayo Levantado. That was a gorgeous beach as well and a wonderful day! We took the earlier tender, and were able to find lawn chairs under some palm trees, which was good for my dh who burns at the drop of a hat. That was a fairly popular excursion, as the chairs seemed to fill up by noon. The water was beautiful and felt great. There were some merchants selling local crafts and souvenirs. I brought home some locally made cigars (no Cuban cigars, don't worry!) Also, there are opportunities to have your picture taken with birds, a monkey, a boa, and a sea lion. I enjoyed having my picture taken with three out of the four. The sea lion will give you a kiss. He was a sweetie pie! Labadee - Another perfect beach day! We did the RC WaveRunner excursion, which was a BLAST! My dh and I each drove our own jet ski. That was a wonderful little adventure. Afterwards, we just enjoyed the buffet and hanging out on the beach under some sea grape trees. There is a flea market and an artisan's market. If you are not into bartering, I highly recommend going to the Artisan's Market, where everything is priced, and nobody harasses you to make them an offer. After haggling with the merchants at Cayo Levantado, my friend and I had pretty much gotten our fill, and we had a more pleasant experience at the Artisan's Market. Also, Haiti is a French speaking country. I always advise people, that if you make the attempt to speak even just a few words of their native language, you are likely to be treated that much nicer. I actually was given a better price on a piece of artwork by one of the artisans in Labadee since I spoke French to him. Besides, it's just common courtesy to try to learn and speak a little bit of the language of the country that you are visiting. We had perfect weather! The only time we saw it rain was the very last sea day. Otherwise, the skies were perfectly blue and sunny! Public areas and activities The ship was in great shape! It's very clean and well maintained. It has a certain elegance and charm that I don't know that you can find on any other ships. There were plenty of activities every day. We took part in a few, but mainly enjoyed just relaxing in the solarium. They also seem to have a great program for youngsters on board. We enjoyed dancing to the music of the quartet that would often play ballroom music in the Centrum and in the South Pacific Lounge. We don't gamble that often, but we donated a few bucks to the slot machines in the Casino. We also donated some bucks to the very last jackpot session of Bingo. The shows that we saw were of good quality. There were several comedians, a magic show, a juggler, and of course the music reviews by the RC Singers and Dancers. We took advantage of the spa services and dh and I both got massages, which felt so good. The products that they try to sell you tend to be rather expensive, but you are under no obligation to purchase them. I think the spa staff is very understanding in that aspect. That is just part of their job. We certainly look forward to going back on Grandeur, again sometime! She is our favorite ship, so far, and just love her! For us, that is the perfect size. You get so much personal attention from the crew. It's also so very nice and convenient to have a couple of ports of departure here in the mid-Atlantic, and not have to drive so terribly far or fly anywhere to catch the boat. Happy cruising to all, and may you have the same wonderful experience that we have always had with Royal Caribbean aboard the "Grandeur of the Seas"! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
This is my first review of my first cruise - Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, departing Norfolk, VA, July 19, 2008, sailing to King's Wharf/Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda, a delightful 5 night cruise for our summer family ... Read More
This is my first review of my first cruise - Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, departing Norfolk, VA, July 19, 2008, sailing to King's Wharf/Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda, a delightful 5 night cruise for our summer family vacation! What a fun adventure! This was a terrific experience for our first cruise! Prior to departure, we completed our preboarding information online at the RCCL website, and we printed out our SetSail passes, which paved the way for a smooth check-in process at the pier. Being new to cruising, we were not familiar with some of the onboard options - purchase of a soda package and limiting the dollar amount of charges allowed on our son's SeaPass cards - we were told these could not be completed online or by phone prior to boarding, but once onboard, we could visit the Purser's Office to make arrangements. Once onboard, the soda package was easy to purchase, and well worth the investment for our teenagers; we never were able to clarify that a maximum dollar amount could be imposed for onboard charging for the teenagers' SeaPass cards, but fortunately this did not cause any problems for us. A month prior to departure, we signed up for two land excursions online at the RCCL website; these included a bike tour of Bermuda and a snorkeling excursion. Our party of four included myself, my husband, and our two teenage boys, ages 14 and 16. We actually live in Virginia Beach, VA, and so we had to "travel inland" to depart from Norfolk, VA! A neighbor volunteered to drop us off at the pier at 2 p.m., and we quickly caught a taxi home upon return, creating for a smooth departure and return with no airport or hotel hassles. Wait time in line at the pier for check-in was minimal; the line moved quickly, although there was quite a crowd checking in. We opted for "self check out", where we carried our own luggage on disembarking, which went smoothly. We used the envelopes provided for staff gratuities, and delivered these personally with a big "thank you" to the fantastic RCCL staff for the wonderful personalized service provided to us during our cruise. We sailed on RCCL's Grandeur of the Seas; the description of the ship on the RCCL website is very accurate. In the weeks prior to departure, we "explored" the ship using the virtual tour and deck plans on the RCCL website. We chose adjoining staterooms on Deck 2, which were nicely furnished and always spotlessly clean! The room safe and nightly chocolate mints were nice! Our room steward introduced himself immediately, as we arrived, and always made himself available should we have need for him throughout our cruise. The Grandeur of the Seas offered two choices for dining - seated dining in the Great Gatsby Dining Room or casual dining in the WindJammer Cafe; snacks/ice cream were available in other locations. The food was outstanding, with multiple choices for every palate! We opted out of the "formal night", choosing instead to enjoy the casual atmosphere and wide array of foods in the WindJammer Cafe, as we continued to do for several meals. We chose the late seating in the Great Gatsby, and we did enjoy meeting our table mates. There were plenty of activities for all of us! The teenagers enjoyed the rock climbing wall, the outdoor swimming pool, shuffleboard, and pingpong, but didn't seem to want to participate in the ship's organized teen activities. The daily printed announcement of ship's activities provided up to the minute choices of things to do for all ages. Quiet time can be enjoyed in the stateroom, the Library, or the Card Room. The ship's channel on TV provided more details on the day's activities. We tremendously enjoyed the shows; we attended a fun wine tasting class. The boys participated in several contests poolside, and enjoyed the Teen Lounge. The "port shopping class" provided information on local shops, along with maps, and the live presentation was taped, then replayed on the ship's TV channel throughout the day prior to arrival in Bermuda. The exercise equipment in the Fitness Center was well maintained and readily available. The jogging track was my favorite place to be at 6 a.m. - wonderful to jog or walk and watch the sun rise and feel the ocean breeze! Bermuda - We arrived in Bermuda about 7 a.m. All locations in the Royal Naval Dockyard are within walking distance of the pier - be sure to take comfortable walking shoes/sandals. Our shore excursion on our first day in Bermuda was a snorkeling trip which we had booked through the RCCL website prior to departure. The boat picked us up at the pier on time, and provided drinks to and from the reef where we snorkeled. The equipment was well maintained and the staff were very helpful! We snorkeled for a little over 1 hour, then returned via a "scenic" route to the pier. The water was very clear with many fish to see! This shore excursion was fantastic - we all enjoyed it tremendously!! By the time we showered, changed clothes, and ate lunch onboard, it was late afternoon. We opted to go shopping/exploring in the Royal Naval Dockyard for a couple of hours, and then ate dinner at the Frog and Onion Pub to celebrate our son's birthday. This was fun, but by doing so, we missed lobster dinner onboard!! Ooops! A country music festival was held that evening in one part of the Royal Naval Dockyard; we stayed for awhile, then returned to the ship. Our second day in Bermuda started off with breakfast onboard, then a shore excursion of an electric bike tour of the island - this was fantastic! A real close up view of Bermuda, along with a knowledgeable guide to provide background history of the island, it's people and places!! The bikes were great - the electric motor provided enough assistance to make the ride moderately strenuous, but not intolerable for those of us who are not in tip/top physical shape!! We returned to the ship about 1:30 p.m., ate lunch, and decided to stay onboard. We didn't spend a lot of time in Bermuda, but it seemed to be just enough! We had a couple episodes of light rain throughout the cruise, but no rough water. My oldest son did experience some "seasickness" enroute one day going, and one day returning, but dramamine seemed to control it. I think he had to become accustomed to the motion of the ocean! A few tips - it's great to watch the departure from Norfolk from a window seat in the Viking Lounge!! As for shopping, there are some fantastic onboard deals the last day at sea!! Be sure to check them out!! Plan to visit some of the other cities in Bermuda, in addition to the Royal Naval Dockyard. Be sure to stop by Snorkel Bay for a refreshing dip in the ocean - it's within walking distance of the pier at Royal Naval Dockyard, and you can provide your own snorkel equipment or rent it!! This was a wonderful cruise for our family, and we will gladly travel with RCCL again!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
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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