I'll begin with a little background: We are a married couple, both 51, and generally cruise once a year. Our favorite ship so far has been Anthem of the Seas, we have sailed on Oasis, Liberty and Grandeur as well. This trip was our ... Read More
I'll begin with a little background: We are a married couple, both 51, and generally cruise once a year. Our favorite ship so far has been Anthem of the Seas, we have sailed on Oasis, Liberty and Grandeur as well. This trip was our third time on Grandeur. We picked it for the itinerary (mainly length of it - LOVE 12 nights), location (Baltimore extremely easy for us) and cost. As we have been on board "Lady G" before, we knew what to expect, but if you're reading this to get a feel for what the cruise will be like, the main thing to know is that this cruise really skews older. At our ages, we were definitely on the younger side. I saw only a handful of kids. This is exactly what we like - our "kid days" are done, and nothing like being surrounded by people older then you to make you feel young! ;-)
Now if you were to go in the summer or during a school break, I'm sure the crowd will change, but for a mid February, 12 night, I feel pretty safe with predicting the same type of cruisers. With that in mind, some *generalized* observations: LOTS of diamond and above members. This affects the sailing due to the size of the diamond lounge. Basically the South Pacific Lounge is booked every day from 4:30-8:00. Grandeur is a small ship, and activity locations are limited. So your options are the theater show or whatever is going on in Centrum. There may be some trivia on the early end in the Schooner bar, but that is all. Also, as this is a February cruise the first few days at sea generally tend to be cooler. The Solarium is PRIME real estate. For people who have a problem with "chair hogs" be prepared! We are early risers - like to hit the gym first thing in the morning. By 5:30am there were towels on half of the chairs. Completely filled by 7:00 am. We just chuckled to ourselves and shook our heads. Earliest observation was one morning at 4:30 am - towels in place! And same folks all the time- recognize the hats - not necessarily the people, because of course they don't show up until much later... But as I said, we just shake our heads - doesn't bug us as much as others. At the end of the cruise did observe someone complain and staff actually pick up some things, but won't happen as a routine.
As to the ship itself, Grandeur is older and smaller, but still offers a wonderful trip for us. Kept extremely clean, large emphasis on hand gel - always staff on hand at Windjammer entrance ensuring people "washy-washy". One of the aspects I love best about the ship is that it is easy to "find the ocean". My biggest disappointment with the Oasis is that while it is fun to have all the different venues and activities, everything faces inside, making it hard to see the ocean. As we usually book interior cabins, we really appreciate all the windows and views that Grandeur offers. Also, be prepared to feel the ocean more. Especially during this time of year. If there are any waves, you will feel them.
The food and service are pretty consistent with other ships, with the exception of the fact that a smaller ship allows the staff to get to know you quicker. Especially for us, the bartenders were extremely friendly. We buy the drink package, and LOVED that we never had to sign a slip of paper with each drink order. We prefer to give our additional tips in cash, so appreciated not having to deal with signing. Not sure if this is just for Grandeur or not, but on previous cruises have always had paper slips to sign. We ate breakfast and lunch at Windjammer, and it was fine. Pretty standard buffet - nice selection, and appreciate the breakfast egg/omelet station. The dining room is where you see the most change. I appreciate Royal's attempt to keep cruising affordable (at least for us) and acknowledge that some things have to give. So don't expect it to be a "high-end" dining experience. The staff has been cut, and while they work extremely hard it is noticeable. The menus reflect it as well, with fewer choices (my parents always loved the chilled soup appetizers - on this sailing only 1 soup offered 1 evening). But the food is decent - some items better then others - but certainly not anything a true "foodie" should expect. We do not eat at the specialty restaurants, so can't offer any info on them.
We were at sea during the Super Bowl. It was our first full day at sea, which is usually the first formal night, but they rescheduled it to the following night which I really appreciated (I like dressing up :-). They showed the game throughout the ship, including the theater, outside screen and bars. They had some different food stations set up, but were standard buffet choices, nothing special. Prior to this cruise I was curious about room service as I had never ordered it, and was searching for some good "bar food" to eat during the game. I can now recommend the chicken fingers and burger. Far better then buffet offerings. The chicken wings were ok, but hubby wanted them spicier (more bar-b-que then hot). Room service does have a fee - but it is a standard fee, can order as much as you want for set amount.
We love cruising, and Grandeur is a nice ship. In my opinion if you do a little research, and have an idea of what to expect, it will only help make your trip a success. Don't expect to be waited on hand and foot, or be looking for exotic, over the top food - if that is what you want, look for a higher end line. Read Less