Sail Date: June 2009
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we were on one of the higher floors. We stayed on the 8th floor of the Grandeur. The room was actually bigger than I had imagined. The bed was very comfy, except that since its two twins pushed together to make a queen, sometimes we would wake up with a big crack in the middle of the bed it seemed like because the mattresses didnt sit up beside each other very well. The room was always very clean, the maid staff was great! We only saw them on the first day, so they could tell us what to do with towels and the little cards that go in the key slots on the door. After that we never saw them...only the remnants of always coming back to a clean room! The entertainment on board was pretty good. We saw a movie in the palladium theater on a rainy day. And we went to one of the late night shows in one of the lounges. We didnt see the comedian or anything like that, we stayed busy doing our own thing most of the cruise.The pool in the Solarium was our favorite...probably because its 16+ to get in (or supposed to be anyway!!!) The pool outside was always really loud with music. There were a lot of families with kids, and teenagers in that area. So we stayed in the Solarium where it was much quieter, I could read and still get some sun because they opened up the glass roof when the weather was nice. I also layed out on the top deck (deck 10) at the back of the ship by the rock wall. Its fairly quiet back there also, and not a lot of traffic because the rock wall isnt always open.The drinks were always very good, and pretty strong! Which surprised me (pleasantly). They were usually between $7.00-$9.00 (with a 15% gratuity already included in the price) so we never tipped ontop of the price. Bermuda was GORGEOUS. I cant wait to go back. We were docked in the Royal Naval Dockyard. We opted to go to the beach the first day we were there. The beach was beautiful, and not very crowded. We took the bus (which is a great way to get around there! I highly reccomend it!) to the beach for the day, and then back to the ship in the early afternoon to grab some food. Then we took the ferry (your bus pass is good for the ferry too) over to Hamilton. Unfortunately, the town was closed because of a holiday while we were there, but otherwise it looked like it had a lot to do.We were going to eat dinner in Bermuda...there are two places right near the dock, the Frog & Onion (mostly burgers...kind of a pub type place) and Bonefish. We ended up not eating at either because Bonefish was pretty pricey for dinner, and we weren't in the mood for burgers. Now, for the bad..... since this was our first cruise we had read reviews, asked friends and done as much research as we could before going. One of the main things that we were looking forward to was the food on the ship. You always hear about how good the food is and how theres always an abundance, but for us this was no where near the case.The food quality was quite poor in both our opinions. While there was plenty to choose from in the Windjammer, the food lacked taste and quality. I compared it to a low-grade golden corral (if that). Please keep in mind this was merely our experience... Even at dinner, the food was very poor. We chose the my time dining (which i wouldnt do again), and ate in the main dining room 4 out of the 5 nights we were onboard. One night I had shrimp ravioli that was pretty good, and other night we had lobster that was good. Other than those two nights, both myself and my husband left feeling not very full because we didnt eat our entire meal because of the taste. The my time dining seemed very chaotic. We had a different waiter every night, and we always felt rushed. The traditional dining part of the restaurant seemed much more calm, and we noticed that the waiters would act differently toward their tables. For instance, you always hear about people saying they had lobster one night and their waiter asked if they'd like more? Well they never asked us. As a matter of fact, we noticed a table that had traditional dining- same waiter every night, and they waiter came out with big plates of lobster tails asking his table if they wanted more. Our waiter never asked us...he barely ever came to our table! And I honestly dont think it was just that one night, each night we had someone different, and none of them were overly friendly or helpful. All in all, we had a good time. I think we might go back again.... it might take some convincing on my part though. I was very disappointed in the food quality, however... I have heard rumors from people that the food on another line has gone by the wayside as well, due to cutting costs instead of upping ticket prices. Read Less
Sail Date: 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: May 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
Grandeur of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 3.5 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 0.0
Public Rooms 3.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 1.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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