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286 Royal Caribbean Baltimore Cruise Reviews

liked the size of the ship. easy to get around. stayed in a balcony, deck 7, port side , about 2/3`s the way back. room nice size. mattresses were noticeably sunken in. still, i slept well. room just a tad bit warm although the a/c was on ... Read More
liked the size of the ship. easy to get around. stayed in a balcony, deck 7, port side , about 2/3`s the way back. room nice size. mattresses were noticeably sunken in. still, i slept well. room just a tad bit warm although the a/c was on max cooling. a couple of the singers were slightly out of key in their performance. cabin steward excellent. (Raul) .i did notice several times a slight odor of a combination of ``diesel fuel oil & a sewage vent`` . once was in my cabin about 7pm. also several times, as we entered the hallway from getting off of the elevator deck 7 in the later evening. also noticed it one evening walking back to the `south pacific` lounge . it wasn`t obnoxious , just a hint of this gaseous odor. one day i walked to the upper deck near the back of the ship where the large tail fin extends vertically. on this tail fin there are air intake vents. near this tail ,i noticed a square vent on the side of the fin. in that area i encountered the fuel oil smell /sewage odor combo. . possibly when the wind changes, this vent gasses gets sucked into the ship`s supply vent??? also ,the couple at our table had an aft deck 3 cabin. they said the room smelled like old cigar smoke. after 3 nights of complaining they insisted to be moved. finally they were moved out of the aft area. this ship had an aft fire a couple years ago around decks 5, 6, i believe. the residual smoke must be still in the ventilation system to this cabin? in summary, if the price was really good, i would go on this ship again. just avoid aft lower deck cabins. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and I were very interested in taking a cruise without having to fly and didn't want to spend a lot of money. A cruise out of Baltimore seemed like a good choice. The Good: (1)Embarkation and Debarkation in Baltimore was ... Read More
My husband and I were very interested in taking a cruise without having to fly and didn't want to spend a lot of money. A cruise out of Baltimore seemed like a good choice. The Good: (1)Embarkation and Debarkation in Baltimore was super quick and easy. We left our house in suburban Philadelphia at 9AM and were having lunch on the Grandeur by 11:45. They are very organized at getting people on/off the ship quickly. (2)The service was very friendly and tried to be helpful. Sometimes a language barrier made it difficult but everyone tried their best. (3) Cruise Director's staff was high energy and they did a good job at getting people involved. Loved Andre and Gizzy! The comedy shows, Love and Marriage and The Quest were all fun. The Bad: (1) The food was very hit and miss. We had some good meals in the MDR but we also had some lousy meals. After a few dinners I learned to avoid the seafood. Same with WJ, some food was good some was bad. Every morning my husband found coffee grounds at the bottom of his cup. Park Cafe roast beef on wick was a great sandwich. (2) Some of the shows are bad, especially the song and dance shows. There were not quality shows. (3) The constant upselling of specialty dinning and expensive excursions got old fast. The Ugly: (1) The solarium has seen better days. The pool had rust on the bottom and much of the decor is peeling off. (2) Rugs are worn and the ship overall needs a makeover. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We just returned from a 7 night sailing out of Baltimore heading to Bermuda. Our party was my husband and I, our two young daughters (3 and 5) and my parents. All of us are experienced cruisers. This was my older daughter's 4th ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 night sailing out of Baltimore heading to Bermuda. Our party was my husband and I, our two young daughters (3 and 5) and my parents. All of us are experienced cruisers. This was my older daughter's 4th cruise and my younger daughter's 3rd. My parents had previously booked this cruise when we decided to tag along. Baltimore is a four hour drive for us, so we were happy to save on flights and hotel. Embarkation was a breeze. All of the good things we had heard about cruising out of Baltimore were true - they take your suitcases right out of your car as you enter, and you park so close to the dock. We waited literally 60 seconds to check in and were on the board in no time. We headed up to the Windjammer. This is alwasy our least favorite part of a cruise- breakfast on the first day. The WIndjammer is so crazy and packed, and it is always difficult to find a table. CABIN Our cabin was 4532, a large oceanview cabin. The cabins were made available a little after 1pm or so. We loved the location of the cabin. This is a small ship, and it was easy to access everything from our cabin location. We started off with a small problem, though. Our travel agent has assured us that we would have a pull out couch for the girls to sleep in- I had specifically brought this up because they are too young for the pull out berths. When we got into the cabin, I immediately noticed the loveseat (not couch). I pulled up the cushion to verify it wasn't a pull up. I went to the guest services desk to see what could be done- our 3 year old old only stopped sleeping in a crib about six months ago (plus I had always been told by other agents that kids must be 7 to sleep in the bunk-style beds). Guest Services could not have been less accomodating or caring. Basically told well, that's what you booked and we don't have any other rooms. Our room steward was awesome. He understood our concerns and wedged some pillows against the railing for our younger kid. In the end, the kids loved it (though they needed help getting up- the ladders to the beds have rungs that are widely spaced). We thought that our steward was awesome. He knew our schedule and slipped in like magic to make up our rooms. The room itself is small, no doubt about it, but we had expected it. LIke many others, we were quite annoyed at the lack of under-bed space for suitcases. I don't know why they didn't resolve this the last drydock. Two issues with the cabin bathrooms. First, it is a shower curtain, not sliding door. The curtain would blow in and stick to your body while showering and we thought that was gross. The other issue is that the toliets were the worst-flushing that I have experienced after 6 cruises. It took multiple flushes to clear waste, even in the public restrooms. One afternoon around naptime we noticed a strong odor coming into the room of paint or paint thinner. It didn't go away, and it was giving my husband and I headaches. I told our room steward about it and also went to guest services. They moved FAST on this issue and had a fan blowing in our room almost immediately. The problem with that is that they leave your door propped open, which makes me uncomfortable. We also had follow up from the housekeeping supervisor in person, and the front desk in two phone calls, to make sure all was alright. The issue resolved. KIDS ACTIVITIES Our last cruise was on Oasis, and I knew that there would be a let-down going to a small ship. However, we were very suprised at the lack of family friendly activities. The crowd on this ship was very old- more like a HAL cruise than Royal Caribbean. This was our fourth RCL cruise (third with kids) and this was the first time we ever felt like our kids were out of place and somewhat unwelcome. I do have to disclaim that Adventure Ocean was wonderful. Both of our kids loved it and were constantly asking when they could go back up to the "kids' club." Part of the reason that they wanted to go up there was the lack of family friendly activities to do outside of Adventure Ocean. The weather throughout the at-sea days was fair. This ship only has 2 pools- the main pool and the solarium. There is no kids' pool, and the solarium pool is adults only. We got out in the pool one day, but it was windy and cold so we weren't out there long. The kids love swimming, and were disappointed that they couldn't go in the Solarium pool. I totally understand the need for adult areas, but there are no options for kids. We went to two shows, both of which were mostly okay for kids (a few questionable dance moves and lyrics, but went over the heads of the kids). There were comedians most nights, which even when not an adult show don't tend to be family-friendly. The activitie on this cruise are mostly extra costs (spa, shopping, etc.) or adult focused (trivia, bingo). There was very little we could do with the kids (they did enjoy the belly flop contest). To tell the truth, my husband and I were bored out of our minds sometimes. The crowd on this cruise mostly sat around and read- they would camp out in seats in the atrium all day. DINING We tend to prefer eating in the main dining room for most meals because it is easy. We ate dinner there every night except one night that my husband and I went to Giovanni's. We ate lunch there all of the at sea days and for most breakfasts. Breakfast- though I prefer the atmosphere of the dining room, the food was better in the Windjammer. The omelets are made to order there, and are way tastier. In the dining room, the omelets were obviously older, and the hashbrowns were tough and hard to cut with a fork. We also had a lot of service issues at breakfast- the servers taking forever to come take our orders, then slow delivery of the food. Lunch- we love the main dining room for lunch on non-port days. The salad bar is great, though the ingredients are inconsistent from day to day (like several days bacon was missing). The food is overall very good and we generally had good service. One strange thing is that straws seem to be like gold- asking for straws for our kids' milk was like asking for gold. We took to grabbing straws elsewhere and bringing them with us. Dinner - our main waitress was experienced and very competent. Her assistant was brand new to the dining room (previously had only been in the Windjammer), but was awesome. My husband joked about his constantly full glass of iced tea. One thing that was missing on this cruise overall was warmth from the staff. They were efficient and got the job done just fine, but it was a much more distant kind of service. From what I understand, a lot of staff transfer to a small ship thinking it will be less work, but they come to find out that the cruise lines are throwing all of their resources at the big ships. So on the smaller ships they are doing more with less. Our team served 5 tables, which is the most I recall from prior cruises. One other dinner complain was with the kids' menu- they brought fries with EVERYTHING, even when we specifically asked for them not to be brought (our 3 year old will eat nothing but fries if you let her). They also did not have the apple chips listed on the menu. PORT/SHORE EXCURSIONS Bermuda is unlike other cruise ports. Very very clean. Shopping is a bit of a walk from the ship. Very expensive. We did a ship excursion to Crystal Caves and the Aquarium/Zoo which was good. The bus ride was long, and then it dropped us off in Hamilton. The shopping there is very expensive. The bus system and ferry are very efficient and easy. We also went to Horseshoe Bay Beach on our own, and it was great, especially for kids. There is a cove to the right of the beach that is shallow with facilities nearby. DISEMBARKATION This did not go as smoothly as we thought it would. Our time to meet was at 8:40, but we didn't get off the ship until an hour or so later. We were told by one staff member that the delay was caused by all of the wheelchair and scooter-needing guests, who have to disembark from deck 1. That jives with the age range of guests on board. Overall, even a so-so cruise is WAY better than a week in the office. However, we will not being going on any smaller ships in the future. We took a vacation to spend time as a family, and weren't able to do that. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
START OF TRIP We left Baltimore on Tuesday April 28th - Sunny start the to trip! We don't live too far from Baltimore, about an hour north on 95. We left the house and had boarded the ship in less than and hour and a half. We did ... Read More
START OF TRIP We left Baltimore on Tuesday April 28th - Sunny start the to trip! We don't live too far from Baltimore, about an hour north on 95. We left the house and had boarded the ship in less than and hour and a half. We did have a suite (at embarkation a Junior Suite counts), which helped once at port. Weather was nearly perfect - less than 2 hours of rain in 10 days. FYI: The average guest on-board I would say was older (50+). My wife and I don't mind this crowd, but would just be aware of the time of year and cruise length in planning if this matters to you. FUN FACT TO KICK OFF WITH We had cruised on the Enchantment a few years before, so we knew the general layout on it's sister ship. After reading some reviews on here, we knew to break from the heard and go to the pool deck, towards the aft of the ship. Park Café is a nice starting spot to get a small lunch, drink and comfy seat while you wait for the room to be ready. PORTS: Labadee - We did the coastal tour through Royal. Great time, pretty coastlines, got to see local fishermen and their catch of the day. San Juan - No tour for us, but did walk with the wife for a bit of shopping and a quick CVS stop. St Thomas - Actually took a short (25 min) water taxi to St Thomas for a nice bus/tram-truck ride around the coast line. Had an option to go to a beach, but would have had to catch our own taxi back to the water taxi. So we went back and had about 1.5 hours to walk around the local markets. Uncle Joes BBQ was less than a block away and one plate was more than enough for us to share. Also found a hand made ice cream stand for desert St Marteen - Tried to do the Rhino tour, but it was canceled due to lack of interest. The tour desk was great about helping us replace the excursion - even applied discounted rates in the form of on-board credits. We did a semi-submersible boat tour. Only problem was it was a long ride by bus each way for a not so long boat ride. the people running it were really nice though, and the time underwater was a blast. Would always like more time looking at the fish and sea life, but did enjoy the time we had. CABIN - 7656 - Aft Facing JS: We had seen some photos so knew what to look forward to. Actually posted a video for anyone interested (youtube: grandeur of the seas 7656). Nice room. Plenty of space for the two of us, could hold 3 easily, four on a stretch. The bathroom was nice, tub/shower combo, only one sink (but more than enough space). First day there was a small odor, but easily fixed by using a gel air freshener - brought from home of course, just well planned. The toilet did one or two times not flush on first push. Each time, it did flush in less than 2 minutes - not even enough time to call for service. The balcony was amazing. Days at sea are just too nice, with; two deck chairs, two lounge chairs and a couple tables, wow. We got room service each day and had coffee and breakfast overlooking a beautiful sea view. Loved afternoon naps on the couch with the slider open - the wake was pretty peaceful. Stateroom attendant was a step above par. We always do pre-paid gratuities, but I ended up tipping even more on our way out. Ricardo ("Ricky) was great. DINING: Honestly, this is tough. Food was good, always well presented, never cold. Servers tried hard, smiled each time they were at the table. I would say overall experience and menu selection wasn't as nice as it used to be. *TIP* - If a cocktail or wine for dinner is your perogative, come to dinner with one in your hand. We found getting the first drink at night was tough most times. The bar servers were covering too many tables and had too long of a walk to fill orders. We ate at; Giovoni's, Chops and even the Chef Table on our non-main seating nights. Found a great deal on day one - all three (plus 25% of Izumi if wanted) - for under 100.00! If this is an option, I would recommend. All three were excellent experiences and meals. CHILD ACTIVIES: As we don't have kids, we didn't see the club nor any kids running around. As we were told, only 27 kids on the whole boat. Sorry to not have move feedback. ENTERTAINMENT: Can't talk to any of the "production" shows. We only actually made it to the Paladium two times - "Love and Marriage" night and one comedian. Laughed pretty well each time. We did spend some time in both the casino and the schooner bar. If DANE and CHARLES are running the bar, you're bound for a good time. Casino was at time both HOT and SMOKEY. Sitting on the outside by the tables helps a bit. OVERALL IMPRESSION\EXPERIENCES: The staff was really great, smiles always and very much engaging. While I won't say things on board are perfect, I didn't assuming going in they would be. If you simply set fair expectations and a vacation spirit, there are plenty of good times to be had on-board. Had an all around nice time. Could the menus be nicer at the main dinning room?, yes. Bar service at dinner faster?, sure. Could they do this or that better?, yup. So can most. We went on-board to have a fun time away and did just that. Our next cruise is already booked - with NCL on the EPIC next year. That's more me bragging than a statement about RCL. We will most likely cruise again, but we cruise more for ports, than the names on the ships. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Problems started when I first got onboard. During the initial baggage check, The crew confiscated a 16oz unopened bottle of ginger ale; I guess they were thirsty. I complained to the hotel director and he told me that the crew could not ... Read More
Problems started when I first got onboard. During the initial baggage check, The crew confiscated a 16oz unopened bottle of ginger ale; I guess they were thirsty. I complained to the hotel director and he told me that the crew could not find the unopened bottle of ginger ale ans sent me a full 6 pack of ginger ale. The second problem occurred when I tried to use a coupon book my agent gave me. I was first told that Royal no longer accepted those coupons. When I went to guest service to inquire about them, I was told I had to be a Crown and Anchor society ti use those coupons. The hotel director and his assistant came out while I was telling the guest service's officer I hate to be lied to and was told that Royal would honor their coupon and the crew would be informed. The last incident was when I went to the stores and asked two different crew member to check the store room, for a specific item and they refused to honor my request. Off to the Assistant Hotel Director to resolve the problem, which he did. The room, a fourth deck interior cabin was small, with inadequate closet space. The bathroom and shower were even smaller. The room made with the king size bed left very little, if any walking around room. Our room stewardess, Ida did a supper job and made us feel like a family member. The ship was smaller than we are used to and had no clubs, outside of the Schooner Bar. The evening dance floor was the atrium. The specialty restaurants had excellent food and the service was as good as any 5 star restaurant we have ever dined at. The food in the dining room, was very good except for the night I ordered Thai prawns and got shrimp and their were no peanuts in the food. The menu that night, even thought the recipe they showed me called for peanut oil, had no peanut notification on the menu. The other problem with the food was, it was to top heavy with salt that ruined the flavor of the meat. The wait staff was impeccable and knew us by name, which breads we liked and what beverages we drank with out meals. The mater-Di also know us by name and room number. The excursions were very nice and we felt we had gotten our money's worth on each and every excursion. Key West has always been our favorite port and the leader of the Pub Crawl, Beau, with his stores and etc made the pub crawl not only entertaining but wanting us to go on another pub crawl when we go back to Key West. The food at Hogg's Breath Saloon was once again, top shelf. The entertainment was very good and the cruise director had the personality of a dead fish. For some reason I never felt comfortable around him. We had 9 previous Carnival cruise, but the last two really sucked and despite a registered letter to the Carnival CEO, which I never got a response to, we decided to try a different cruise line. While it was good cruise, I was not overly impressed with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We are a family of 4. My husband and I are in our 40s. Kids are 9 and 3. We have cruised on Celebrity twice (pre-kids) and on Carnival at least 5 or 6 times in the past 11 years. Our home port was Houston, now, Baltimore. My review ... Read More
We are a family of 4. My husband and I are in our 40s. Kids are 9 and 3. We have cruised on Celebrity twice (pre-kids) and on Carnival at least 5 or 6 times in the past 11 years. Our home port was Houston, now, Baltimore. My review includes our 10-day Western Caribbean cruise on Grandeur of the Sea and some comparison to Carnival Pride. Both ships are based out of Baltimore. They are both the lesser ships in their fleet, if not the least (smallest and oldest). And they run similar itineraries. Our Grandeur of the Sea cruise is from 3/31/2015 - 4/10/2015. It started about 3 days before the Spring Break and covers most of the Spring Break. Stops include Labadee, San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Martin. We were in St. Thomas on Easter Sunday, St. Martin on Easter Monday. Our last Carnival Pride cruise was on Thanksgiving 2013. I read most of the recent cruise critic reviews about Grandeur of the Sea prior to sail. I found them helpful in set my expectations. After we boarded the ship, I found that I agree with most of the reviews. Even on some extremes ones, good or bad, I can see the reviewers point of views. Embarkation Since we live only about 30 min away from Baltimore, we arrived around 1 o'clock on the embarkation day. Both of my kids went to school in the morning. We registered online and had our set and sail documents printed. The process went smoothly. The embarkation process are similar on both ships. Parking at the cruise port was $15 a day. Once we pulled in the lot, we were directed to drop our luggages from our car directly, then went parking. Outbreak Control Outbreaks are the bane of cruising these days. Grandeur of the Seas had a couple of outbreaks of Norovirus in the prior trips. We observed that they are very cautious with cleanness. One example is that my 9 year old son got sea sick during dinner. He had to find the bathroom. He couldn't hold until he reached the bathroom stall and threw up right behind the bathroom entrance. They immediately quarantined him and the area. My son was released once he was examined by the doctor and confirmed it only was sea sick. We heard another guest was a confirmed case of Norovirus and was quarantined in the cabin. Over the duration of the cruise, there is no outbreak of Norovirus. My 3 yearly old had fever first 2 days on the cruise. The 102F fever started around midnight the first night and ran about 2 days. Temperature was very persistent. I think it was just the younger kid has weaker immune system and was exposed to a new bug. Despite the crew try very hard to keep the ship clean, I felt the cleanness of this ship was ok. Cabins Our cabin is 3034, an foreword exterior cabin on the sea side. Room is very small though it can stay 4 people. Two pull-down bed can be dropped from ceiling. It is amazing that there is even a small sofa. The closet is very small and it is the only storage space big enough to put our 2 large suitcases. After I put two two luggages, there was very little space left in the closet to hang cloth. The beds are very low and luggage cannot be easily fit under the beds. You have to lift the bed up then shuffle your luggages in. The positives are the following. Bathroom decoration looks updated. Closet is not compartmentalized and give more flexibility in terms how the space can be utilized. On the desk, there are actually 3 120 power outlets. I never needed to use the power strip I packed. The flat screen TV is mounted on the wall. Quite a few life vests in our room were extremely gross. Compare with with Grandeur of the Sea, Carnival Pride's basic cabins are bigger. Though bigger, it was not necessarily more functional. There was no love seat in the room and a lot of the extra space was used for closet. The closet was bigger, but it was compartmentalized in a fixed way. TV and bathroom were both older. On the positive side, the beds were the right height that the luggages can be easily slid under. Dinning There are three categories of restaurants for main meals. Specialty dinning, main dinning room (Great Gatsby) and buffet (Windjammer). I feel that on Grandeur of the Sea, there is little difference in food quality between main dinning room and buffet. It is like they lower the quality of the main dinning, up the quality in buffet and found a common ground for both places. In fact, most of the food served in the main dinning room can also be found in the buffet in bulk quantity and less attractive setting. I am not sure if it was purposely done so the main dinning room would be less busy. It made the main dining room less appealing. Snacks can be found at Park Cafe when Windjammer is closed. Park Cafe's snack can be pretty good looking, especially in the afternoon. Formal dinning was on the 2nd day and the 9th day. Compared to Pride, Grandeur of the Sea's Great Gatsby opens longer time. It opens daily for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, it has smoked salmon. Both my husband and I found breakfast more relaxing in the main dinning room. On GofTS we did not experience the musical server dancing events common in the Pride's main dining room. Its just food. My husband hates when the servers run around and dance during dinner since it seems forced and demeaning to the servers with some variation of the typical announcement. On Pride, restaurants have clear gap between each category. The buffet restaurant looks similar to cheap cafeteria. Plastic cup stacked high. Food is noticeably simpler and cheaper than main dinning room, therefore not as nice as RC's Windjammer. However, food in Pride's main dinning room is better than Grandeur of the Sea's Great Gatsby. This comes as a surprise given RC's reputation and price point. Over the last 10 years we have noticed marked incremental improvements in Carnival food quality. The overall choices and presentation are now superior. My husband (a business process engineer) believes this is reflective a superior executive execution on the restaurant side of things. In conclusion, buffet food was better on GofTS, main dinning food was better on Pride. Entertainment There were not many entertaining activities on GofTS. A lot of activities related profit generation, Bingos, spa sales, workout sales, painting sales, jewelry sales, etc . Not many entertaining activities. Overall, the stand up comedians, the bands and the piano bar pianist were more entertaining on Pride. Itinerary What I enjoyed most about our cruise is its excellent itinerary. It was excellent not only because the stops were good, but also the time we stopped at the port was excellent. Arriving port early in the morning meant that we could enjoy the gentle sun in the morning at a beach. Plus, we were always the first ship arrived the port, therefore we would have a solid full day at the port and capture the best spots. Finally, there were never more than 3 ships at port. The islands were not very congested. (Carnival Pride's itinerary was subpart comparing to Grandeur of the Sea.) Labadee, Haiti Columbus Cove was the best beach for young kids because it had gentle waves. We took the tram to its last stop, took a short uphill walk and through a little village of local souvenir shops, then arrived the Columbus Cove. It was the farthest beach. The lunch line was shorter. Independence of the Sea was here the same day as we were. Since we arrived first, there was no problem for us to find a nice shady spot close to the beach to put our beach chairs. We noticed that beach chairs were out around 1 o'clock and beaches got very crowded. We read about the local people were aggressive with souvenir sales. Yes, they would try to engage you a conversation in all kinds of way. However, if you give them no eye contact, you could pass the shouts without further bothering. And they moved on to the next passengers behind you easily. In my opinion, the aggressiveness was not as bad as Jamaica where if you do not engage any eye contact at all, they would actually poke you by saying, "are you ignoring me? do you think you are better?". Overall, Labadee was an excellent beach stop. San Juan We came to Old San Juan around 3pm. We had been here before so we simply walked around the old town. The alleys reminded me of many European towns. Charming. There was a CVS close to the port. Also a Marshall in town. I forgot to pack my 9 year old kid's swimming trunk (right, how could have I?). My learning experience in this - no places sell kids' swimming suit, not on ship, not in Labadee. Marshall was my only luck and did not price gouge. My AT&T worked excellent here. ETL was at excellent speed. Pina Colada was excellent in San Juan. We found a random restaurant on the street (not even in yelp) and ordered. The pina coloda was flavorful and generous with Rum. I would not skip Pina Colada in San Juan. St. Thomas We are quite familiar with St. Thomas. Secret Harbor is our favorite so we wasted no time and went straight there. We used the taxi service, Petra's Cab, at the taxi dispatch area. $10 per person to Secret Harbor. Again, there were only two ships in port and we were the first one so we arrived the beach at a good time. Paddle boards at the dive shop ran out easily. We waited for 2 hours to get one. Secret Harbor's beach is very small. Our driver told us if there are too many ships, Secret Harbor can get too crowded. "It is no longer a secret." My AT&T worked excellent here. Please don't go there as they will need to change the name. St. Martin Last time (and first time) we were in St. Martin, we joined the cruise excursion (Celebrity) to tour the French capital of Marigot. We found the experience very expensive and lame. Therefore, I spent hours before we pulled out of the port of St. Thomas and searched fiercely for things to do in St. Martin. At the end of the 2 hours, I still couldn't come up with a decision. We docked in St. Martin on Easter Monday. It is a holiday and not many shops were open. As we walked out the terminal, saw the rental car sign and we decided to rent a car. The whole island is 35 square miles. If we drive a car non-stop, we can finish the whole circle in 1.5 hours. It turned out to be a splendid idea for us. Here is what we did. From Philipsberg, we drove northwest and stopped at Simpson Bay. Then we headed to Marigot. We first drove around the streets in Marigot. Most of the shops were closed. Those that were open were very touristy so we didn't even park and moved on to Grand Case. We almost drove passed Grand Case. From the major road, Grand Case looks like only a few stores big. Fortunately, we were curious enough (or bored enough). and drove the streets of Grand Case several times. (Streets were one way. If you missed a turn, you would have to make a whole circle back to the turn. ) Finally we found a charming spot by the ocean. There were about 6 BBQ shops overlooking some small piers. The water was tranquil. We had a wonderful lunch here. Not because of the lunch was super tasty. The view and the atmosphere was priceless. I felt like we were in a post card. Most shops were closed, but one little cloth shop next to the BBQs. This shop has the cutest dresses and is operated by a couple of French women. I love French people's taste in clothing! After lunch, we moved on to Oriental Beach. We found Oriental Beach a very exciting place (French Rivera in Caribbean indeed). It is a huge bay dotted with a lot of bars and their bright colored umbrellas. At around 2pm, the sun was too harsh for us. We also checked out the Oyster Pound and Little Bay beach then headed back to the cruise port to return the car at 3pm. For us, renting a car was the right solution. I will do the same next time. The signage on the island is excellent with signs directing you to all major destinations and cruise port. The roads layout is very simple. GPS is not really necessary. Fellow Cruisers Passengers are mainly older couples and are within 3 hour driving distance from Baltimore. We are here because kids are having Spring Break, but the whole ship only has about 200 kids. When we took the Thanksgiving cruise on Pride, there were about 800 kids. Adult to kid ratio was almost 1:1. Conclusion: Carnival Pride: Better main dining food with more silly singing and dancing. Larger rooms More small bars and dance areas. Younger demographics with may more children. More fun activities and better entertainments Grandeur of the Sea: Better buffet food choices. Older passengers Quiter ship overall. Superior itinerary with better port times. Less activities I feel Grandeur of the Sea is for people who prefer quieter environment. And I feel there is great value this kind of more classic ship can offer. I would have enjoyed the ship a lot more if I didn't have my kids with me and I, too, could enjoy quieter activities. Nevertheless, we still enjoyed our trip due to excellent itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
First, I must begin by saying that I like the newer and larger ships because the entertainment and restaurants have much more to offer. I absolutely love the Oasis and Allure The entertainment/shows on the Grandeur were mediocre and ... Read More
First, I must begin by saying that I like the newer and larger ships because the entertainment and restaurants have much more to offer. I absolutely love the Oasis and Allure The entertainment/shows on the Grandeur were mediocre and there were way too many comedians shows. The food was nothing special and on several occasions was barely warm (the first two days). I did not like when we had breakfast in the main dining room and the server suggested we could get our own food from the small buffet set up in the center of the dining room. I like being served breakfast and dinner. The lobster on the last night was very very small and if I had known, I would have asked for two servings. I enjoyed the Quest which was a lot of fun. Movies were shown by the pool at night but they were kids shows. The movies in the Paladdium were not very good and I did not like the movies that were shown. We could not get chairs by the pool in the Salarium except for one or two days when I got there by 8:30. Even by that time practically all were taken. Since we cruise March 21 - 31, it was too chilly on most days to sit by the main pool. My husband was unable to play poker most evenings because there were not enough players. The food at the Park Cafe in the Solarium was not very good either. The roast beef on the Oasis and the Allure was absolutely wonderful, but the crew on the Grandeur did not trim the fat or tough part off the beef I was very disappointed since we had enjoyed the Park Cafe on the other ships. The private island was nice but it was quite a long walk to get waterfront chairs on the beach. We ended up having partial shade under a palm tree but was far away from the water. The lunch buffet was over at 1:30. When we tried to go back for dessert, the food was all taken away 1:30 seemed early to stop serving. One of my biggest complaints is that we paid as much for the Grandeur as we did for the Oasis and Allure. Emarkment and disembarkment was slower than on the the larger ships which surprised me. Our balcony cabin was satisfactory except we could not put our luggage under the bed. The bed was lower than any bed we have had on our other 30 cruises. This was the first time we have not been able to put our luggage under our bed. Another unpleastant experience was that although we had signed up with Royal Caribben for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet/Mingle and received notification with Royal that there were enough people signed up and that our names were added to the group, we never received notification as to where and when it was to be held We had to go to Guest Services to find out where and when it was being held Luckily, we stopped by on our first sea day and found out that it would be held 15 minutes after we asked We will probably not cruise out of Baltimore again although we live in Baltimore. We decided to try it this time because friends were going. It is probably okay for people that like the smaller and older ships. I just say that I have never had so many complaints with the other 30 cruises we have taken Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I enjoyed the itinerary, and my outside stateroom was what I expected. I had a wonderful stateroom attendant, and everything seemed very clean. BUT, the food was institutional at best. All food is loaded in Baltimore, so what is there ... Read More
I enjoyed the itinerary, and my outside stateroom was what I expected. I had a wonderful stateroom attendant, and everything seemed very clean. BUT, the food was institutional at best. All food is loaded in Baltimore, so what is there lasts for all 10 cruise days. Nothing fresh! If you like frozen food without much flavor, this cruise is for you. HOWEVER, the fitness center was wonderful, and I concentrated on fitness. No problem with gaining weight since the food was disgusting! Embarkation was horrible. It took about 2 hours in a small overheated room winding around in lines. It was so warm and stuffy that someone fainted. I don't know if they ever made it on board. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This is a 19 year old ship that was cut in half and additional cabins placed in the middle. It sails out of Baltimore and is always filled since for many people the convenience is driving to the port and not flying. Because of the ... Read More
This is a 19 year old ship that was cut in half and additional cabins placed in the middle. It sails out of Baltimore and is always filled since for many people the convenience is driving to the port and not flying. Because of the additional passengers a problem is the main restaurant, buffet and theater that were sized for a smaller passenger load and so there is crowding. To ensure getting a seat for a performance it is necessary to arrive 30 to 45 minutes early. The shows have improved since the last time we were on this ship 18 months ago. This was a much smaller problem with dining the last time we sailed on this ship. They opened additional cost dining places and took staff from the main dining, no additional cost, dining rooms. The staff cannot keep up with their responsibilities. There were sommelier or wine stewards and persons assigned to obtain bar drinks for seated guest in the past. Now it is left up to the assistant waiter. There were persons helping with delivering food from the kitchen to the serving areas and removing used dishes. Now it is the job of the waiters to get the food and scrape the dishes and stack the, all done in the dining room. Most times you could look the length of the dining room and see 1 or 2 waiters. It is not their fault. Passengers are walking out of the dining room to go to bars to get drinks instead of waiting. We ordered 2 glasses of wine and the assistant waiter brought a bottle, opened it, had it tasted, poured it and tried to set the bottle down. When reminded it was for 2 glasses he removed the 2 glasses he poured from the table and the bottle and 15 minutes later returned with 2 glasses of a different wine. One night it took the intervention of a head waiter to obtain the discount for wine listed on the menu. Getting ice tea, water and bread served by waiters going the length of the dining room to the kitchen to get items became difficult to endure that I got up and served the bread I could clearly see, to not only my table but other tables when they asked for it. There was an effort after that to have water and ice tea on the table before we arrived. The most telling was the night there was a parade of waiters. Instead of the 1 or 2 you could see at any given time there were a large number serving tables. This only lasted for 1 night. On every past cruise we have been on there is conversation with the staff but there is no time for them to do that now. Even when assigning seats for the dining room there is utter confusion. Entering the dining room they pointed to the far side and said it is over in that direction. We were seated and a supervisor came over mid meal and asked to see our Seapass cards with table assignments with the intent to move us. They had no idea who was assigned at our table and it continued the next night when they sat someone and said there should be an extra empty seat and there was none. The time it took for ice cream to arrive at the table meant it was usually melted. That said the quality of the food was good even with the wait. The shore trips we took were above average. The adult Sand Bar boat trip on Haiti was a pleasant boat ride to a small island with refreshments you could purchase. The staff did everything they could to cater to their guest. The 4x4 Jeep trip on Saint Martin was a caravan of Jeeps with walkie-talkie communication with the leader and informative narrative of the 2 parts of the island. One stop was at the bar at the end of the international airport to get a close up view of the planes landing. A longer stop to swim was at a perfect beach and bar. Both places had Wifi. Both trips were well worth the cost. The ship remind passengers to store all valuables in safe but it is small and a laptop will not fit. We ran into a problem between the travel agent and the cruise line. The documents from the travel agency stated a $100 ship board credit per person and the ship had it listed as per cabin. The ship representative called our travel agent at no cost to us to rectify the problem. In the future I will speak to the cruise line before departure and verify the information to avoid this problem. The cabin attendant was very attentive and responsive to all of our needs.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This cruise was a mess, with the previous cruise cut short 1 day because of Norovirus, and getting a super cleaning, you would think that they would be ready for the next one. While we were told to arrive later than normal, which we did, ... Read More
This cruise was a mess, with the previous cruise cut short 1 day because of Norovirus, and getting a super cleaning, you would think that they would be ready for the next one. While we were told to arrive later than normal, which we did, it took 2 hours to stand in line and check in and our rooms were still not ready! Muster was a joke, we had to stand outside for an extended period of time in freezing weather while the crew tried to locate people that were still boarding the ship. Many people had to carry their carry-on luggage to muster because their rooms weren't ready. There was no 'festive' atmosphere on board the entire cruise, the crew was too busy washing down everything constantly to have time to do the things you normally expect, like no towel animals or chocolates at night or singing, dancing, or magic tricks in the MDR the entire cruise. Every time you turned around someone was insisting on dumping a load of purel on your hands, all the chairs, tables, rails, etc were sticky or wet. I can understand this, but we had 3 couples along that this was their first cruise and they had us stressed out with their complaints the whole cruise. I didn't even know who the cruise director was until the 3rd day. The ports of call and weather there were great in my opinion, Our friends who were on their first cruise, two of the couples had a room steward who was lousy, who claimed he was in training and didn't know anything when asked - where was his trainer? The other couple had a room adjoining ours and the last 2 days they got locked out of their room, their key card didn't work and our steward's card didn't either, so they had to put their luggage and items in our room for safe keeping - guest services said they couldn't fix it!! Then our hallway's rooms lost the ability to flush our toilets and maintenance said they couldn't fix the problem on the final day. All three couples said they will never cruise again. It was by far our worse one, but we had so many good ones before that we will go again, just be a while before we travel with Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I will make this review straight and to the point. Mave been on both the Granduer and Pride out of Baltimore. Cruise was fun. Ship was adequate. Staff was outstanding. Food was nothing special; (actually better on Carnival). Main ... Read More
I will make this review straight and to the point. Mave been on both the Granduer and Pride out of Baltimore. Cruise was fun. Ship was adequate. Staff was outstanding. Food was nothing special; (actually better on Carnival). Main Dinning Room, OK..But dinner kept being interrupted by Matre'd. "How is everything during the last 10 minutes, 5 minutes,and so on" . Hard to hold a conversation with your table mates. Stateroom...dated and well used. Matresses...Absolutly the worst. Correctional institution qaulity. Talked to you stateroom attendent, who stated that the matresses are a very commom complaint. Jr Suite matresses are no better. 50 count Alabama cottom thread count. Not the way to go. Overall value for the money...average..could go either way on this...but lean towards below average on value. Carnvial Vs Royal...Granduer Vs Pride Ship - Winner = Its a tie Staff = Granduer (But they seemed tired and run down) Food = Carnival Matress/Bedding = Carnival (By a mile). Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
It is an easy trip for us to sail from Baltimore. This is the second time from this port and first time on RCI. We were meeting 2 other couples on board. It went smoothly enough. My only wish is that there was some place to sit and wait ... Read More
It is an easy trip for us to sail from Baltimore. This is the second time from this port and first time on RCI. We were meeting 2 other couples on board. It went smoothly enough. My only wish is that there was some place to sit and wait for the other parties so we could give them a hand with the boarding process. At age 67 and 77 we were the youngest of our group! We applied for a refund of $15 from the port authority due to our returning a day early and it was approved. Due to an outbreak of norovirus onboard, which started about the third day at sea, many activities were curtailed, cancelled or disrupted. We wound up skipping our last port of call, Labadee Haiti, and headed directly home from Jamaica, arriving back in Baltimore a day early. I think there were several serious medical cases on board. Luckily, none of our party got sick on the ship, thanks to the due diligence of the sanitation crew. Food was very good (not excellent) and our stateroom attendant was impeccable. Disappointing that we could not serve ourselves from the buffet at the Windjammer, but we understand, given the situation. Crowds there were heavy and the older folks struggled. We tried to eat all meals at the Gatsby but it was closed at times, probably disinfecting. Movies were OK, most of them we had already seen. One show in particular, we really enjoyed: Kelly McDonald's standup comic routine left us in stitches! Piano bar with Anthony Michael was also entertaining but apparently not to most people, as it remained less attended than other events. Another disappointment was the cancellation of the aerial act in the centrum. Something to due with malfunctioning equipment, but it was never fixed! Why doesn't RCI allow pre-ordering liqueur in the stateroom, like other lines? We were allowed to bring the usual 2 bottles of wine aboard and were pleased that no corkage fee was charged when we brought an open bottle with us to dinner. This could have been a great cruise had it not been for the illness onboard. I feel we should have received more compensation than was provided. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This is my 20th cruise, on varied lines. I would give this ship and 5 out of 10/average rating. Relevant points: - RC, like other lines, has given up much of their "public space" to private revenue restaurants and VIP spaces. ... Read More
This is my 20th cruise, on varied lines. I would give this ship and 5 out of 10/average rating. Relevant points: - RC, like other lines, has given up much of their "public space" to private revenue restaurants and VIP spaces. On the Grandeur, this impacts passengers as the cruise is out of Baltimore, and weather and seas can be rough / more inside use. - Grandeur had the worse "table cleaning/ bussing" I have ever seen on a ship. Consistent problem. Hard to find a table that was available due to this. Passengers would move dirty dishes to another table. Many bars had so few waiters, that many folks "ran" their own drinks. Food debris/ bannana peels and cups/glasses at the elevator trash receptacles seen many mornings on way to Windjammer. - Park Cafe in the Solarium area, was not good. Customer "flow" was horrible, lines often very long (understaffed and supervisors must know when there would be a "rush" their due to port times), often out of napkins or glasses.....or food. When they run out of food, they just stop providing it. At their lunch time (2:30-5:30) they have chips ( in bags) for about 20 minutes....and when they run out.....no more provided. Park Cafe is also the "late night" snack area.....again bad food choices, primarily hot dogs and pizza. This area needs MUCH IMPROVEMENT. - No outdoor food service / burgers, pizza, etc....outside on the pool area, as is typical on most ships. This leads to huge traffic inside the Windjammer, where the "burger line" is. Understand this might be due to ships route/inclement weather, but the ship should of been remodeled to provide food service on outdoor pool area upon arrival in the warmer Caribbean. They did cook Paella outside one day. - Entertainment was good and varied. However, holding so many events in the Centrum area is tiresome. Limited seating and access. Who wants to stand for 45 minutes? Passengers move all the furniture to the rails, and all others stand. Also, if you are not interested in the activity in the Centrum, the only other entertainment option often is the piano bar. Grandeur lacks entertainment in multiple lounges....it is in the piano bar ( which is poorly designed, a "walkway" with no personal feel) or the Centrum. The South Pacific Lounge is used for Karaoke, etc/ a nice space which is underused for live entertainment. - I had set dining time....service is good. Wait staff are efficient and well trained. Not as good as in the "old" days, but better than many currently. - Ship has no real library or game room (again, lack of "public spaces"). Has one set of cabinets with some books/games in them. - Solarium Area was nice. Fun to use in evening. Parents did a nice job of keeping their small children out of the area. Opening and closing of the roof/exposure worked well. - Cabin Steward was excellent. - Main Dining room food is average to good. They repeat the lunch menus in the dining room. - Ship does NOT have mini-fridges in many (all?) of the cabins. I use them and like to have one. - RC allows you to bring on two bottles of wine per cabin, but always puts this info "in small print". - Ship does have a promenade deck with chairs for sea watching/ reading. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Several plusses and several negatives. Long time cruiser on RCCL (Diamond Plus) and generally have liked our cruises, but this one was near the bottom. There were 2 major problems. The first was our cabin, a Grand Suite. Being below the ... Read More
Several plusses and several negatives. Long time cruiser on RCCL (Diamond Plus) and generally have liked our cruises, but this one was near the bottom. There were 2 major problems. The first was our cabin, a Grand Suite. Being below the Windjammer/Pool area, our ceiling was the floor of the Windjammer/Pool. We had the sound of scraping chairs from 6:30 AM until 1:30 AM throughout the cruise. We had multiple problems with our sea pass cards not opening the cabin door (5 times in the first 3 days) until maintenance fixed the electronic lock. We had problems with the toilet not flushing, until maintenance fixed the pressure. In the evenings, while in the Caribbean, we could not get out cabin cool enough for our taste. The second major problem was the food. We were on Grandeur in August and the main dining room food was terrific, this time, other than New Years Eve, was below par. We ate in all of the specialty restaurants and Chef's table. We like sushi and loved Izumi and the chef's table was great. Giovanni's was pretty good, but we had a very bad experience in Chop's Grille. We both ordered the bronzino and the fish smelled and tasted fishy, maybe because it was old. We both turned our food back. The ship is old and despite having been in dry dock recently for updates, the updates seem to be for the specialty restaurants and the aerial shows in the Centrum (which were pretty good, but this being our third trip on Grandeur, we didn't watch them as having seen them twice previously). The ship could use some repair, particularly the Solarium. Paint was peeling continuously (collecting on the lounges and the people sitting on them), tiles missing, the fountains inoperable, cushions seams open, etc. There were not attendants picking up used towels, plates or glasses. Tons of people saved lounges and them disappeared for hours. Disembarkation was a bit messy. As Grand Suite occupants, we were supposed to get priority, but when we left the ship, there were already tons of people already picking up their luggage and we had a difficult time getting a porter. On the positive side, there was a great deal of entertainment. Music all the time and plenty of time to dance. The Centrum parties were high energy and NYE was a blast. The only downside were the passengers with very small children who did not have the common sense to keep their tots off the dance floor with all of the adults jumping around. I'm surprised that no one got hurt. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We are family Cruisers, Husband and wife and 3 daughters 13-11-1. in age. this was our first time cruising. CONS- Nothing to do with our little cruiser. there are no family activities planned that include children under three on the ... Read More
We are family Cruisers, Husband and wife and 3 daughters 13-11-1. in age. this was our first time cruising. CONS- Nothing to do with our little cruiser. there are no family activities planned that include children under three on the boat. there is baby sitting for a fee and open play in the very small tots and babies area for a few hours each after noon. but nothing else to keep a toddler engaged on this ship. this of course is not the ships fault it is the direct fault of the booking staff not being honest with us when i asked repeatedly if this cruise would be appropriate for our 1 year old as well as the rest of us. There where several problems with the forward elevators. many malfunctions. The shops where grossly understaffed during flash sales, resulting in near riot conditions,( i wish i was joking) Pushing, shoving and horrible attitudes where the order of the day in the shops. Missed Key West due to wind? self Disembarkation back at Baltimore was a total cluster with no order or direction. on to the pro's Pro's- Our room Steward Dwayne was just about as awesome as a steward can be. Pro's- Chops grill was great and the staff was amazing our older daughters enjoyed the teen club RCCL Excursions where easy, fun, and well done. the ship was neat and orderly, and her crew was very nice and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We stopped at 4 ports on our Western Car. cruise. We took advantage of 3 tour excursions. Pros: Have always cruised in an inside cabin - our location was the best - Cabin 7605.........Our waiter, assistant waiter and cabin steward were ... Read More
We stopped at 4 ports on our Western Car. cruise. We took advantage of 3 tour excursions. Pros: Have always cruised in an inside cabin - our location was the best - Cabin 7605.........Our waiter, assistant waiter and cabin steward were #1...........food was varied - plentiful and tasty....Sat with great people - enjoyed all the activities poolside - enjoyed all that was offered..........Cons: problems with non-flushing of toilet. Apparently, this was not an isolated event - one night - from 1:00am to 5:00am - all water was shut-off on ship to correct plumbing problems. Ending event: our luggage (3) was not at pier in Balt - filled out an incident report. The staff at pier was trying to give us assistance - no luggage. After arriving home last night, we received a call from another passenger, living in Wilkes Barre, PA that our 3 pieces of luggage, marked with our name and tele number were taken to her charter bus. We live in Phila........I called the cruise line - -gave them the info -it's now over 24 hours - haven't heard from the cruise line and I have spent hours on the telephone trying to make sense of this - even gave them number of the nice person who contacted me. Heard nothing. Bottom line: was told that insurance bought through the line will not cover any expenses since it doesn't cover the end of the trip for delayed luggage. Meanwhile, missing 11 days of clothing (changed 2x daily) and all of our personal items. Some customer service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was the smallest ship I have ever been on in 4 cruises. Not necessarily a bad thing but I like more choices and more to explore. The good thing about the size is that we had a big wedding party (it was my sister's wedding on the ... Read More
This was the smallest ship I have ever been on in 4 cruises. Not necessarily a bad thing but I like more choices and more to explore. The good thing about the size is that we had a big wedding party (it was my sister's wedding on the ship) and it was very easy to locate people from our party. There are also ample amounts of public phones around the ship so we could call around to everyone's stateroom if we needed to get a hold of anyone. I cruised Freedom of the Seas back in May 2008 so this review will be comparative to my experience on that ship. Food: For some reason RC must have had some big problems with sickness on the ship because EVERYWHERE you went where there was food they basically forced you to use Purell from their dispensers. The dining in the main dining room (Great Gatsby) was good. Just good. Not great. Escargot was basically garlic and butter soup with pieces of snail in it. They have a decent menu, nothing was too appealing. They offer some great dishes for extra $$. The wait staff was excellent and friendly, aside from a mix up on the first night where they had split up the wedding party into two separate parts of the dining room when we had asked to be all seated in the same area. After my sister (the bride) threatened to unveil Bridezilla to them they fixed the issue that evening and we received an notice of table change the next day. Windjammer Cafe was mediocre, about Golden Corral standards. Not nearly as good as Freedom's buffet but better than food on Carnival cruises I have been on. Breakfast syrup was disgusting. The scrambled "eggs" were powdered (unless you go boiled eggs) and OK and so was the bacon. We decided to stick to the main dining room for lunch and dinner after the first day. Room service was same quality of Windjammer. We had room service delivered to the stateroom every morning, which is a nice feature, but the food was mediocre. Childcare Don't cruise with a child under 3 or a child that is not potty trained on Royal Caribbean if you can help it. Wait a few years or find someone to watch your child while you are away. There is nothing for them to do except babysitting for 6/8 dollars depending on the time of day. Anyone with a diaper may not use the pool facilities. There is no splash area on Grandeur. That being said everyone LOVED our son and most of the staff was calling him by name the 2nd day. The people in Royal Babies and Tots are wonderful and he was well taken care of when mommy and daddy needed some alone time. We usually dropped him off for just a few hours a day (2-3). The full day we were in Bermuda we dropped him off for the entire day just after breakfast. He enjoyed it. I just don't like the fact that we had to pay normal price for a 2 year old when there are no free activities for him and then had to pay daycare fees on top of that. My nieces and nephews LOVED Adventure Ocean (they were ages 5 through 11). Pools Average seawater pools. There's one small main pool and one small adult only pool (solarium). I was bummed that they closed the solarium pool so early at night. My wife and I went by at 9 after dropping off our son for some alone time in the quiet adult pool but it was drained for cleaning. Entertainment I wanted to do more physical activities other than the gym. Rock climbing was great and the attendants are very fun to talk to. Fitness Center was PACKED in the morning. Freedom had treadmills that faced the sea at the front of the ship right in front of the windows. The fitness center had limited window visibility. No Flow Rider on Grandeur. There were a number of dancing shows and live music, not really my cup of tea. I think I heard "No Woman No Cry" about 50 times. I used to love Bob Marley before this cruise. Overall I think the ship was too small for my liking. I will cruise RC again, but I will try Freedom Class, Oasis Class, or Quantum Class probably. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This cruise was recommended by friends who traveled last year. It was very restful and the ports were quaint and lovely. Have the lobster rolls whenever you can. The staff on this cruise was the finest I have encountered. Everything went ... Read More
This cruise was recommended by friends who traveled last year. It was very restful and the ports were quaint and lovely. Have the lobster rolls whenever you can. The staff on this cruise was the finest I have encountered. Everything went smoothly from boarding to disembarkment. We were pampered from the time we boarded. The excursions were fine but priced high. There was none that stood out as stellar. I visited the salon and received a good shampoo and blow dry. The food was excellent and the specialty restaurants did not disappoint. The only negative was lack of space to sit in the public areas on the days at sea. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
From June 13-20, 2014, my husband and I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas from Baltimore to Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas. This was our 4th cruise, but our first on a Royal Caribbean ship. We had previously only ... Read More
From June 13-20, 2014, my husband and I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas from Baltimore to Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas. This was our 4th cruise, but our first on a Royal Caribbean ship. We had previously only sailed on Carnival ships. Our first cruise was on the Carnival Holiday out of Mobile, AL in 2005. We also sailed on the Carnival Pride twice out of Baltimore in 2010 and 2012. We had decided to give Royal Caribbean a try and go out of a familiar port (Baltimore) and take a familiar route in order to provide the best comparison between the two cruise lines. In terms of the embarkation process, Royal Caribbean was a clear winner. We arrived at the Port of Baltimore at 10:15 and we were through security and had our Sail Pass by 10:25. At 10:30 when boarding started, we were among the first 50 people on board and were met with friendly crew members and knowledgeable staff. While I don’t remember exactly how long we waited for our previous Carnival cruises, I know that the wait was much longer than 15 minutes. Another plus in the Royal Caribbean side was the all-you-can-drink package. This was not an option when we had cruised with Carnival (although it may be now, I haven’t checked). It was nice to not worry about how much money we were spending on drinks and to just enjoy ourselves. On previous Carnival cruises, we had charged a large bar tab by the end of the cruise and we felt that we got our money’s worth out of this purchase. Plus, the drinks were mixed much stronger than those we had gotten on Carnival cruises in the past. As an additional note, we had the Premium package that was listed at $55 per day per person and included well drinks, beer, wine, bottled water, soda and frozen drinks. We were impressed with the electronic touch-screen boards located throughout the ship to help find things to do, check out the restaurant menus, and determine how to navigate around the ship. Carnival came out on top in terms of the entertainment options. The Grandeur of the Seas was a small ship and there were very few options of things to do. While there were lots of things listed on the daily schedule, most of them were geared towards an older (50+ crowd). My husband and I are in our mid-30s. There were at least 3 daily trivia and 6 daily BINGO games, but not a lot of other options for our age group. This was especially true at night when everything seemed to close around 9 or 10 pm. This included almost all food options as well. The only place to get food after 9 pm was in Park Café which was small and not self-serve and there were few choices for food available. In terms of entertainment, the casino was open late as was the dance club, but neither of those options appealed to us especially since the nightclub was mostly attended by the 18-29 crowd. The only other option open after 9 pm was the Piano bar. Thankfully, this was something we enjoyed and we became regulars there. But, it would have been nice to have another option for food and entertainment late into the night. On previous Carnival cruises, we had access to late-night buffets and multiple entertainment options including a sports-bar, comedy club, mini-golf, and Piano bar. Sadly, there were just not many options available on the Grandeur of the Seas if you wanted to stay up past 9 pm. Also, speaking of entertainment, the Royal Caribbean website noted that the Grandeur of the Seas had a 1960’s themed R Bar, a Champagne Bar and an ice-rink. None of those existed on the ship in actuality. The website needs to be fixed to reflect this. Another issue that is incorrect on the website is the laundry costs. The website said that the fee was $1.75 for each shirt to be ironed, but the on-board price sheet was $3.95 per shirt. Again, the website needs to be updated. And, one more issue to address on the website has to deal with getting a copy of the bill (folio) following the cruise. There is no way to access this online and we were not given a copy (as promised) before disembarking. I had to call the 800 number and get the bill emailed to me after we returned. On-board advertising for entertainment was also misleading. A late-night comedy show that started at 10 pm in the Palladium was advertised to be adults-only, but was changed to be family-friendly without a ship-wide announcement and was very disappointing. Another area that was not as advertised as the Solarium (the adults-only pool and area). I was not impressed. First of all, it was not actually adults-only as it was advertised to be. There were a number of kids there at all hours, especially since the Park Café that was located there was the only late-night food option after 9 pm. But, there were even kids there during the daytime hours. Also, the room was unbearably hot and the roof was only retracted one day out of the 7 that we were on board. The other 6 days were like an oven because of all the glass that intensified the heat. On the Carnival Pride, the adults-only area and pool was strictly off-limits to children. There were no exceptions and it was quiet and peaceful and it was also open and allowed air to circulate. Carnival also came out on top in terms of the food. The Royal Caribbean food was not bad, but the quality was not up to par with the food that we’d had on Carnival cruises. There were many nights that we could only find one main entrée item of interest in the Main Dining Room. In comparison, on previous Carnival cruises, there were many nights that we wanted to order multiple entrees because we couldn’t pick just one. Also, the lack of late-night food options on the Grandeur of the Seas was a major disappointment. I attended a couple of scrapbook and card-making workshops on the Grandeur of the Seas and found them to be fun. We also enjoyed the musical performance of “Voiceplay” and we took advantage of the big screen on the pool deck to watch World Cup Soccer games as well as a couple of movies. And, we took part in the “Art of Making Sushi” workshop on the second to last day and really enjoyed that and felt it was worth the $20 per person cost. We were impressed with the assistant cruise directors (Darryl, Desmond, Julie, etc.) All of them were young and full of energy and had a ton of personality. They were also very accessible and were seen throughout the ship at various times of the day and night. The same can not be said for the actual cruise director, Paul. He was the oldest cruise director that we have ever had and had no personality and was perceived to be a dull and boring person who was tired and worn out. I rarely saw him on the ship and, when I did, he did not seem approachable or overly friendly. Maybe he was chosen as the cruise director to more closely align with the age of the average cruiser on the Grandeur of the Seas, but he had about as much personality as a dead fish. My husband and I like to use the gym while on board our cruises. We use the gym when we are home and like to continue this routine, even on vacation. We were not impressed with the gym on the Grandeur of the Seas. There were not enough machines and the layout was odd. There was a large space that was completely empty on one side that was used for classes. When a class was in session, it was impossible to even get into the room. When a class wasn’t in session, the space was wasted. It would have been more helpful to have another space (possibly one of the rooms in the spa downstairs) to be used for the classes to free up the gym space and place some more elliptical machines and exercise equipment. On previous Carnival cruises, we never had a problem accessing a machine at the gym to workout, but there were many times that a machine wasn’t available when we wanted to work out on the Grandeur of the Seas. I am a photographer and was very disappointed in the choice of photo backdrops and the quality of the photos after they were processed and printed. Many of the backdrops looked like they’d been drawn (ex: the picture of the ship) instead of an actual photo of the ship printed on the background. Also, on Carnival cruises, the photographers had different backgrounds to choose from on the two separate formal nights, but there was no such option on the Grandeur of the Seas. Also, the placement of the backdrops was not well thought out. Many of the people getting their photos taken were staring into the sun during the picture-taking which caused them to squint and, when the photos were processed and printed, the people were washed out and over-exposed. The fact that the photos were printed rather than provided electronically using our Sail Pass card to access and review was a waste of paper and ink. Finally, the cost was ridiculous. Spending $22.95 for one 8x10 photo and then spending at least that much to get any additional sizes printed was outrageous. At that price, why not just sell the digital rights and give people a CD or thumb drive of the images they want? The disembarking procedure was smooth and without issue. We felt that both Carnival and Royal Caribbean did well in this regard. At this point, I would not be wiling to sail on the Grandeur of the Seas again. I would be willing to look into a different cruise on a larger Royal Caribbean ship depending on the destination, but I feel like I would have more fun and enjoy myself more on a Carnival cruise. At least until I am in my mid-50s or older.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Overall a good, but not great experience. Highlights: dining room in the evening, our stateroom attendant and the main theater shows. Food choices at the windjammer and Park Cafe (late night was hot dogs, slice of pizza or nachos) not so ... Read More
Overall a good, but not great experience. Highlights: dining room in the evening, our stateroom attendant and the main theater shows. Food choices at the windjammer and Park Cafe (late night was hot dogs, slice of pizza or nachos) not so good. No lavish last night buffet on this ship. The secondary entertainment was 50/50, some we liked, others we did not. The biggest complaint was with the ports of call. There were not enough activities if you choose to stay on the ship, and the late docking time at Nassau limited any Atlantis plains. The Cocoa Cay was okay but the BBQ was a big miss. The trays were empty and about all that was offered was hot dogs sitting in a pan of grease. Also soooo long getting off. They wanted to clear everyone off by 4 pm, meaning even less time. The theme shows and game shows were fun and you either like a smaller ship with fewer activities or you go for something else. For us, I would give the overall experience a B- or C+. Okay, but we would look for another experience next time. We were in an interior cabin, small, clean and quiet.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We wanted to do a RCI cruise to see what all the hype was about. We usually sail Carnival. We were very disappointed with the Grandeur of the Seas. Many, many complaints. I will list a few here, Not a cruise if you have children. There ... Read More
We wanted to do a RCI cruise to see what all the hype was about. We usually sail Carnival. We were very disappointed with the Grandeur of the Seas. Many, many complaints. I will list a few here, Not a cruise if you have children. There were only about 120 children on the ship. The pool in the pictures looks rather big, but in fact it is not. Its about 10' x 15' with about 8' of water around the edges that is about 3" deep. Makes it look big. The average age of guests looked to be about 60 years old. There were more wheel chairs, walkers and canes than we have ever seen in one place except for a medical supply store. BINGO. The BINGO games were a JOKE. Yes the games were expensive plus they had electronic BINGO boxes that kept track for you and all you would have to do is yell BINGO when you won (more money). You also received free cards. These free cards were pulled from a different pile. We did not see anyone win from the free cards, in fact we did not punch a single number called on the free cards each time we played. Really the only people who seemed to win were those playing on the electronic boxes. We played only 3 times and then we stopped. We still attended the games. On Carnival ships the BINGO rooms were filled to capacity. The RCI had maybe 20 people in the room. The price of the Jack-Pots were not announced prior to the game. I guess because so few people actually played. We requested that the room card for our autistic child not be allowed to let him charge anything to it. Well that request wasn't honored and our son charged over $500 in the game room. On-board services desk would not remove the charges but after the cruise RCI 1-800 number guest services removed the charges. Those are most of our complaints. Bermuda was Okay. Not a lot to do except go to the beach. Black Seal Rum was cheaper on the ship then out in town. And the Rum Cake factory was awesome. We bought 3 each day and commenced to get drunk off of them. RCI did not meet our expectations. All of their ships may not be that bad, but I will never know because we are sticking with Carnival, we have already booked our next Carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
First of all, let me say that the service on our ship, as with every ship we've sailed, has been exceptional. We noted from the outset the ability of our cabin steward to remake our room into pristine condition whenever we stepped out ... Read More
First of all, let me say that the service on our ship, as with every ship we've sailed, has been exceptional. We noted from the outset the ability of our cabin steward to remake our room into pristine condition whenever we stepped out for more than ten minutes. The service in the main dining room was quick, unobtrusive and efficient: glasses and bread plates were filled as soon as they became empty, while causing nary a hitch in conversation. Additionally, waiters in our area had diners in stitches with comedy routines and magic tricks, and this was the most we have seen from the head waiter on any cruise: he stopped by several times to chat and make sure service was up to par and even showed up to shell lobster tails for the table. We prepaid gratuities and then gave all our servers and stewards extra tips and they were well deserved. However, there are a few things about the past week that make us hesitant to book a sailing on this ship in the future, and also possibly with RCI. Food The best meal we had on this cruise was on dry land an hour from port, not affiliated with the cruise line. In Florida we rented a car and headed up the coast to New Smyrna to the shops and beaches and also to Spanish River Grill (please go here if you are in the area, every dish was a revelation). That said, there were some good dining experiences such as our meal at Gionvanni's table aboard the Grandeur. The risotto was perfectly executed as was the rare steak, garlic sauteed broccoli greens, and the truffle oil fries. Izumi's was just OK and turned out to be more expensive with the apparently new à la carte pricing - the bowls of ramen were good for soup noodle cravings but the fried shrimp roll was overly greasy (though still tasty) and I can't even remember the other roll we had. We can't weigh in on Chops as we never got around to it - we found the steaks at Giovanni's were more than suitable. However, no matter how competent the paid dining experiences, the food in the main dining room and buffet should at least be palatable and several times we found this to not be the case. There were off flavor pairings (olives in the roasted potato), unwashed produce (dirty lettuce in Caesar salad), sadly uninspired and falsely listed dishes (the baked Alaska was a ramekin of soft serve ice cream with a layer of blowtorched whip cream), horrible pre-prepared eggs all around (we wondered if they were imitation), other basically inedible things (turkey sausages, floppy waffles and hard pancakes, all sorts of packaged, stale and dry bread and pastries), spoiled smelling food (garlic shrimp we decided it was better to not eat), and just unappetizing looking food (the lamb skewers looked like raw ground lamb on a stick). It's sad when you are sitting in the elegant MDR and have the main dish laid before you and you wish for more of that perfectly grilled chicken they had at the outdoor pool party or the tasty ribs from Cococay. Our only saving grace (other than making every meal a paid meal at Giovanni's or Izumi) was that the items at Park Cafe in the solarium were always fresh and, more importantly, edible. CocoCay The island is beautiful and filled my memory card with wonderful pictures. However, being enthusiastic Disney cruisers, we could not help comparing this private island to Castaway Cay. Only thirty nautical miles apart but something makes a world of difference as far as enjoyment of the day. Firstly, unlike at Castaway where there's a dock, you need to tender from the cruise ship to Cococay. In seas that are rough, this could mean a delay from an hour to three or more. Our ship needed to re-position around sister ship Enchantment of the Seas several times in order to be able to launch the first tender. This means hundreds of grouchy passengers waiting on the ship's stairwells. The tender crews do not warn you either that you will be drenched if you are near the front of the tender on rough water, so you better put away your cameras. Also, due to the delay, Enchantment passengers were able to get the prime real estate on the beaches. However, the upside here is that we were able to find the Enchantment BBQ lines still up and running and were able to avoid the 40 minute long wait for food. The ribs and chicken were quite good. The lunch was similar to the cook out on the adult side of Disney’s island, but that’s about it. Castaway has smooth sand and clear waters while Coco has sand made up of roughly broken shells (that will cut your feet) so keeping sandals or water shoes on are a must. Finally, shade is placed in sparse clumps and umbrellas are few and far between. Unlike the colorful umbrellas on Castaway’s adult beach that were placed every few meters, the lounge chairs at Coco were crowded together under different shade trees (with many being hogged). However, the sparse enjoyment to be had at the water meant we went exploring and Coco has plentiful hiking trails and very dramatic views with water crashing against rocks that leave a multitude of tidal pools. Nature is definitely on display and it gives Coco a more organic feel over Castaway. While we enjoyed the day less, we were no less impressed with the island. The Ship The ship is showing its age despite a touted 50 million dollar retrofit. We boarded on a rainy day and there were many areas of the canvas tarpaulin in the shade around the pool deck that were moldy and leaking in gouts meaning those who had boarded had to make detours. There were broken doors and torn carpet both in public areas and staterooms and big stains on the carpeted part of walls around our stateroom in particular. We had a porthole room and the caulking near the hull was cracked/missing. We believe this is by no means the fault of any crew member but general wear and tear. Also, at certain times on the trip back areas of the ship would smell of diesel/exhaust fumes. This was particularly noticeable near the aft of the ship where the exhaust column is located including some of the otherwise most peaceful (Solarium) or most useful (gym) areas. RCI Corporate Whoever institutes fleet wide policies like terrible hair dryers and too-short shower curtains should re-do the cost savings vs customer annoyance/bad review/lost sales formula. For the first few days of our cruise we had the old, full length shower curtains. They were a little smelly but they worked very well and our steward who seemed reluctant to let them go would (we assume) helpfully spray them down with water on the hottest setting while cleaning the room to keep the smell down. It worked. However, midway through we noticed we got new shower curtains, but this time an inch short of the floor and free hanging and every time you turned on the shower they’d stick to you like glue and then douse the whole room in water. Again, not fault of any crew member here. Also what is with the pushing upgrades and products and drinks and packages at every turn? Don’t get me wrong, I know RCI is a corporation and not a charity, but you’re only going to drive customers away by trying to upsell them at every turn. You got the feeling that the crew and staff were well aware and were trying to make the best of a bad (corporate) situation and many of the drinks or products were sold somewhat jokingly (jokes shared between crew and passengers). All this upselling brings me to my last point: Value I’ve brought up my good experiences on Carnival and Disney before and people have said, “Of course you had a better time on Disney, you’re paying through the nose!” and “Carnival! How could you prefer that low rent cruise line over RCI?” Well, I had a better time and better food on Carnival. Also, considering that booking this trip with a porthole ocean view stateroom was comparable in price to our verandah on the DCL Fantasy in 2012 I’d say both statements are unfounded. I see no value here other than I went on a cruise and did not have to think about work for seven days so I’m pretty relaxed. Cheers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Out of 5 I would give this cruise a 3. We got it for a cheap price and it wasn't a far drive from New Jersey. It was my boyfriend and I who went and we are in our 20s. We have sailed with Carnival twice and this was our third cruise ... Read More
Out of 5 I would give this cruise a 3. We got it for a cheap price and it wasn't a far drive from New Jersey. It was my boyfriend and I who went and we are in our 20s. We have sailed with Carnival twice and this was our third cruise and 1st with Royal Caribbean. Reading the review prior I was regretting booking this cruise because of the negative things like too many old people and the ship being old and crammed. The ship being old was a definite. It was small and although they claimed they had over 250 activities for the week it felt like a lot of times there was nothing to do. On carnival there was always something going on by the pool and here maybe one activity all day. The shows were eh. They had 3 nights of a comedian and 4 nights of performers and it was somewhat disappointing. With carnival they had both shows at 2 different times and comedians every night following the shows so you had both on this ship you only had one or the other depending on the night. We didn't go to Chops, Izumis, or Giovannis because we didn't want to pay for something that we might not even like. We stuck to the buffet almost every night except formal night which we went to the main restaurant. We had the early seating and were disappointed when we got to the table and everybody was over 60 years old. I would have expected Royal Caribbean to be smart and put similar ages together. We would have chosen my time dining but we didn't want to pay the ridiculous gratuity along with it that which i may add carnival doesn't charge for. The food was ok and there wasn't much variety, so we went to the buffet afterwards. The buffets food was really good, it was a small buffet so you always had to go early for a table whether it was for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The main complaint was that time it closed. They closed at 8:30 for dinner which is super early. The park cafe was the only other option for food if you missed the buffet which consisted of stale pizza and nachos and nasty hot dogs. The staff wasn't friendly either. Every time I ordered a drink they would charge me for premium alcohol if i didn't specify i want the cheap one which annoyed me because I shouldn't have to specify I want the cheap one every single time. Also there wasn't enough bar staff to take drinks at all the shows and they took forever to bring me a drink.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My wife and I have cruised many times, mostly on Celebrity. This was our second RCL cruise, both out of Baltimore. We chose this cruise for its convenience as we were taking our daughter, son-in-law and 1 year old grandson on their first ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised many times, mostly on Celebrity. This was our second RCL cruise, both out of Baltimore. We chose this cruise for its convenience as we were taking our daughter, son-in-law and 1 year old grandson on their first cruise and it was only about a one hour drive to the port. We knew that the ports of Port Canaveral, Nassau, and CoCo Cay were not the most exciting, but this was about their first cruise experience. The embarkation process was very smooth and we were in out adjoining cabins within 30 minutes of our arrival. The balcony cabins were fine, exactly the same as our previous cruise on the Enchantment. We found the service on the ship to be very good. The dining room staff went out of their way to accommodate the needs of a one year old and the pool staff was also very helpful. The Diamond Lounge was very nice for cocktails before dinner. Unfortunately, the food in the MDR was barely mediocre. Except for some very nice desserts, there were not many accolades for any of the main courses. We all had a very nice meal Giovanni's Table and my daughter and son-in-law had good meals at Chops Grill and Izumi, the sushi venue. The Park Cafe in the Solarium was a good option for breakfast and lunch. Paul and Darryl, the Cruise and Activities Directors did a fine job of hosting fun events around the ship. The entertainment was pretty good. We saw two comics and a Vegas style entertainer. The two production shows were OK, with a couple very good singers. Getting off the ship was a little slower than getting on, but not bad. Not bad is a good way to describe the cruise. Nice weather, very good service, so-so food.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My husband and I took the Bermuda cruise from May 23 to May 30, 2014 out of the port of our home town of Baltimore. It was our third cruise and our first on Royal Carribean. First of all we enjoyed the convenience of leaving just minutes ... Read More
My husband and I took the Bermuda cruise from May 23 to May 30, 2014 out of the port of our home town of Baltimore. It was our third cruise and our first on Royal Carribean. First of all we enjoyed the convenience of leaving just minutes from home. Entering the ship was a very fast process. We had an inside room with just a porthole to look through. Room was cramped even for the two of us. Bathroom spotlessly clean but you have to step up to get into it and down to get out of it and this was hard for me with my arthritic knees. Bad smell of sewage as soon as we got there this did clear up within a few hours. Noisy with other doors slamming!! Water was just a trickle of lukewarm out of the faucet, hardly enough to brush your teeth with. I like the idea of having some fresh water and ice in your room but this was not the case. If you want water you have to buy a bottle for $2.75 plus gratuity. Gratuity for what, its sitting right there in the room?? Also you cannot take any soda on board you have to buy a can for $2.75 at the table. Onto the first meal, this first night service was a little slower than usual. People at next table were rowdy I did say something to head waiter did not have that problem again. I ordered my steak well done, it came almost raw, I sent it back, they were very apologetic, fussed all over me, the head waiter served the next steak. For dessert I ordered chocolate ice cream they brought pistachio, apologies all over again. Waiters are very attentive, keep filling your glasses and asking over and over if ever thing is all right, almost to the point of overkill, I would just like to eat my food without being disturbed. Fancy gourmet menu, ordinary folks like us may not understand all of the terms. but, overall, food very good to excellent. especially the beef tenderloin. shows were okay but not all that great. Windjammer café has scrambled eggs straight out of an institution, cold and bland. If you get there too late hard to find a seat. I would suggest you stick to the main dining room for breakfast.. embarkation was no problem and we did enjoy Bermuda. We will go Carnival next time because they give you a room with a balcony for the same price and you can bring cans of soda on board. $20.00 a day for a 'soda package" is a rip-off We brought dressy clothes for the formal nights but they let people in wearing casual pants just the same We prefer not to have to dress up on vacation. Irritating to think we packed all that extra stuff and we could have gotten in with just casual pants. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
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