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Sail Date: June 2011
I have been spoiled for holidays for life! Nothing is ever going to compare to a cruise! From start to finish everything was absolutely amazing. I honestly couldn't fault anything.

As first time cruisers, Mum & I had ... Read More

I have been spoiled for holidays for life! Nothing is ever going to compare to a cruise! From start to finish everything was absolutely amazing. I honestly couldn't fault anything.

As first time cruisers, Mum & I had no idea what to expect. And as a poor traveller, I was more than slightly concerned about sea sickness to say the least. Total waste of worry! Very rarely did we ever feel any movement at all!

The food was amazing. The choice in the Windjammer was astounding. If anyone whinged that there was nothing for them, then they are born whingers! There was everything you could think of. The Great Gatsby was wonderful. Our waiter, Roberto, was one of the nicest and most helpful people I have ever met. Always a smile when he saw you.

We had an oceanview large stateroom which was great. Everyone kept telling me to be prepared for how small the rooms are, but I can honestly say that I have stayed in smaller hotel rooms in London! And our Stateroom Attendant, Steven, was fab. Such a nice guy, and the room was always spotless and tidy. And he defo made the best towel animals I've ever seen! lol!

Every member of staff we came across on the boat was fantastic. Always happy and ready for a chat with a smile. It makes such a difference to a holiday.

The entertainment was great too. The shows weren't West End shows by any stretch of the imagination, but who's complaining?! They were still great, and a lot of hard work and dedication went into them. We went and saw something different every night, and it defo kept us entertained!

I honestly can't fault one thing from my experience. If I was going to be very picky, the only thing would be that I gained a few dress sizes whilst I was there! lol! ;)

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Sail Date: June 2011
Well! I am a cruise-convert! My first ever cruise was a wonderful trip around the Western Mediterranean, taking in Palma de Mallorca, Cannes, Cinque Terre, Rome and Sicily.

As this was my first time on a cruise, I ... Read More

Well! I am a cruise-convert! My first ever cruise was a wonderful trip around the Western Mediterranean, taking in Palma de Mallorca, Cannes, Cinque Terre, Rome and Sicily.

As this was my first time on a cruise, I was unsure of what to expect. Luckily my friend is a veteran at this stage and was able to inform me of what cruising entails. Now, having experienced the joys of travelling by ship, I'm not sure how I'll ever go back to a 1-destination holiday!

So to start; we booked our trip with only a few weeks notice and got an excellent deal through the RCI website. We organised our own flights to Palma de Mallorca and boarded Grandeur of the Seas on Sunday 12th June 2011. Our stateroom was a large interior room, which we believe may have been upgraded from the small interior room that we paid for because my friend is Gold Member of the Crown & Anchor club. Note to self: must join! Embarkation and security couldn't have been more straightforward, so we found ourselves lying on the pool-deck in the glorious sun within an hour of boarding.

The stateroom was small, but perfectly adequate and pleasantly decorated. There is lots of storage so it never felt cramped for 2 people. I don't think the photos of the staterooms on the RCI website do them justice, they are much nicer and brighter in reality. Our stateroom attendant was a lovely jolly lady called Korinne who was extremely nice.I loved the effort that she made decorating the room when I celebrated my birthday on board.

The food on Grandeur was delicious and I was very impressed by the variety of dishes served in the Windjammer and in the dining room every night. Though some might have found the portions in the dining room to be on the small side, I found them adequate - particularly considering the amount of food we grazed on throughout the day!

I would recommend purchasing one of the wine packages if you enjoy wine with your meal. The price per glass is exorbitant, particularly compared to the very reasonable price of the cocktails. We chose a 7-bottle Gold package, which worked out at approximately $30/bottle, when you consider that a glass of wine is $9 + tax - you can see how this is the better option! Cocktails were very affordable and delicious.

Our first day on board was a cruising day, which I loved. The activities by the pool were entertaining (if somewhat cheesy...), and you couldn't help but laugh along. The cruise director Rico and assistant cruise director Abel were excellent. It is a pity that the pool is quite small. A disproportionate amount of space is dedicated to a children's pool, which I found frustrating because the children preferred to play in the "adult" pool - leaving the kid's end unused. On very hot days the pool was too full and I was very conscious of how dirty the water must have been... I also would have liked to see some supervision of the use of the pool to prevent the more boisterous children from ruining other people's enjoyment of the pool facilities.

We attended a very well-run pub quiz a couple of times but didn't partake in many other activities.

The shows in the Palladium Theatre were hit & miss. The team of dancers were clearly very talented and you could tell that a lot of effort had gone into the choreography of their dances. I found the singers mediocre, but this may have been in part due to the poor sound-quality on certain microphones. The first night's show was a good idea but the production quality was poor; costumes and stage design were not good. We found the last night's show particularly bad; a magician/mime act struggled to impress the crowd and the result was a cringe-inducing shambles. I felt it was a bad note to leave guests with on their last night and the week really should have ended with a bang.

Service across the board was fantastic and very consistent. I really liked that all the staff were super obliging and always incredibly polite. You really got the impression that the staff enjoyed their work and this is a rare thing to see these days.

I have heard that Grandeur of the Seas is due for a refurbishment next year. This surprised me, as I found the fittings and fixtures to be in reasonably good condition. Particularly the beautiful atrium; the Centrum, and the stairwells were very nicely finished with lovely artwork and panelling.

My friend and I booked a hotel in Palma for the day that we were due to fly home on an evening flight - as we knew we would be docking in Palma early in the morning. We were disappointed to learn that we could have stayed on board the ship until 15.30 on the final day, by paying an additional $35 late-check-out fee. This would have been well worth our while and something we would definitely have done if we had been made aware of this facility. Maybe this is an option the company would prefer not many guests to avail of and therefore fail to bring it to their notice?

I will go into more detail on the various Ports that we stopped in (Cannes, La Spezia, Civitavecchia & Sicily) in my port reviews. However one top tip that I would urge anyone going on this trip to consider is: go it alone! Don't book the over-priced tours, but explore the beautiful coastal regions for yourself. We found this method not only much cheaper, but very enjoyable as it gave us a much better feeling for the local area and its people.

In conclusion, the Western Med cruise with Grandeur of the Seas is a fantastic holiday which I would highly recommend to anyone. What a fab way to see some beautiful places!!

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Sail Date: May 2011
Having been persuaded by members of our family to take an RCI cruise we decided to dip our toes in the water with a cruise aboard what appeared to be the baby of the RCI Fleet.

And what a baby (in our opinion) she turned ... Read More

Having been persuaded by members of our family to take an RCI cruise we decided to dip our toes in the water with a cruise aboard what appeared to be the baby of the RCI Fleet.

And what a baby (in our opinion) she turned out to be.

We were delighted with the reception we received while boarding and the ship itself was in out eyes a joy to behold.

The overall layout, cleanliness and facilities were excellent.

The staff were very attentive and helpful. The cabin girl was a gem.

The food both in the windjammer and the main restaurant were of a high quality and because the ship was 500 short of capacity we never experienced difficulty in obtaining seats at Pool side, Bars etc.

Our cabin was kept spotless and with an array of animals appearing each day made from the towels which were always fresh.

The on board entertainment was very good with the Beatles tribute Band "Beatlemaniacs" being very good.

Overall we found the cruise excellent value and would return again to RCI, or recommend her to friends and family bearing in mind we have nothing to compare her against.

The only adverse comment I would make is that the coast of drinks on board were very expensive due to the fact that a Gratuity (which we had paid for up front ) did not include the payment to bar staff along with an additional Spanish tax increased the prices dramatically. We are not heavy drinkers so we had opted not to take the Drinks packages offered but never the less felt the prices a bit steep.

However it did not retract from an excellent cruise which gave us access to areas of the Med we had never visited. Excursions a bit pricey and we only took advantage of the one to Florence due to the time factor. the other Ports and cities we visited on our own and therefore saved a considerable amount of money by doing so.

Overall 9 out of 10 for the cruise and we look forward to the next one with RCI. Why go elsewhere. Better the devil you know.

John Turner

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Sail Date: May 2011
This was the Grandeur's first trips in the Mediterranean after Panama and to be honest it showed. Many of the ship literature, notices etc. and senior staff were Spanish speakers with only the (albeit) few leisure staff newly appointed ... Read More
This was the Grandeur's first trips in the Mediterranean after Panama and to be honest it showed. Many of the ship literature, notices etc. and senior staff were Spanish speakers with only the (albeit) few leisure staff newly appointed native English speakers

So on to details - first the pros. OK it's not the biggest ship on the seas but we really liked it. It was clean, lot of chrome, mirrors and well laid out. The centrum with its glass lifts and sweeping stairway was a good focal point of the ship.

We had an outside cabin the first week and upgraded to a mini suite the second. Both were good and kept clean and sparkling by the cabin steward, especially Ida on deck four. We liked the kettle, fridge and bath in the suite - but none of those in the outside cabin!

The dining room and cabin staff were excellent and so friendly. In fact most of the general staff always smiled and spoke as they passed you by. Only some of the bar staff weren't so friendly (or efficient).

Now the cons. Embarkation was a nightmare. Transfer to the ship had been arranged by Cruise1st - never again! We had to find the bus ourselves. RC had their own staff at the airport for their transfers and we would use them next time. (Coming back we gave up the fight for the bus and had a taxi- there's plenty of them waiting. Our large cab cost E27 to the airport which we split with another couple). In the arrival hall we joined the huge queues standing for an hour or so before we got on the ship. Much of this was possibly because it was the first time for many of the staff so it may improve.

Activities onboard were poor. Major highlights being the Belly Flop competition (honestly!), Mr & Mrs Show (passengers again), Karaoke (passengers again), Bingo - get the pattern? The ship's 12 piece main band were good and the 8 singers and dancers were obviously talented but they only did 2 real shows which were reasonable - the choreography seemed too frenzied to us. Two visiting acts - Motown group and Journey South (from The X Factor) showed how it should be done.

Excursions - we booked 4. One was cancelled Ibiza. The Monte Carlo trip was OK but unknown to us all part of it was by public transport. Imagine 40 of us crammed into a service bus, strap hanging and not knowing where to get off. It spoilt it a bit for us. City tour of Barcelona was OK. Pisa trip was not good - many disabled passengers and a double decker bus was provided! Due to delays on the transfers we only had 15 mins in Pisa - our guide couldn't extend the time as she had to get back to the harbour to take another wine tasting trip at 1.30. As we didn't get back until 2.10 or so we suppose they were a bit rushed too. After all this we did our own thing each time and enjoyed it more.

Other cruises we've done give port talks the day before arriving, explaining transport, shopping, suggested thing to do - not on this cruise. They didn't even tell us if there would be shuttle buses or not - must do better RC.

Most of the problems seemed to revolve round the organisation and senior staff. The queues at the pursers counter towards the end of the week had to be seen to be believed. It's not rocket science to realise that people would be paying their accounts or pointing out mistakes (lots of these!)and increase the usual 3 slow staff up to say 5 for the last two days.

Another example of poor management occurred when we tried to talk to the excursions manager about Pisa trip. We left a message - he didn't get back to us. When we eventually cornered him he said he was going to a meeting so didn't have time to see us. We put in a letter of complaint and finally on the last day received a letter (not signed by him)agreeing that the trip was not up to standard and refunding half our money. We were satisfied with this but it could have been handled so much better and by the way, people who didn't write and complain about this "unsatisfactory" trip got nothing!!

So overall, did we enjoy the trip? - yes we did - nice boat, nice friendly (junior) staff, good food, interesting ports, blue sea, sun. Pity about the poor management and organization but it wouldn't stop us trying RC again.

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Sail Date: May 2011
This was our first cruise and we thought we would try it with an American company and heard that RCI GOS was coming to Western Europe for the first time in May.

Amazing price we only paid £460 inc Gratuities...! ... Read More

This was our first cruise and we thought we would try it with an American company and heard that RCI GOS was coming to Western Europe for the first time in May.

Amazing price we only paid £460 inc Gratuities...! Plus flights for an outside stateroom with balcony!!

It was a bit of a faff checking in, but really not much different to an airport so can't complain, however I think there is a great assumption that you have been on a cruise before... (are airports any different?

We got to our cabin, chilled out for half hour and then decided to check out the ship... Surprised that the ship was smaller than we thought it would be.... however this turned out to be a nice thing as everyone on the ship seemed to be great fun apart from a select few.

The Windjammer restaurant is my worst nightmare, apart from the amazing views!! I hate buffets and the mad rush you have fighting over food, cannot be dealing with it!! To be fair you could have in room dinning for free so it was our choice!

That evening we were shown to our table which was 8.30pm seating (which i prefer, although the earlier seating do seem to benefit slightly better for the entertainment (however didn't really rate it so suited us fine!)

The people on our table were fantastic, great fun, telling jokes and stories about their travels and experiences.... i think this made our trip more than the ship/excursions. One of the people on our table won the Karaoke prize!! Simply outstanding she was!

Enjoyed the trips we had out, very well organised, some of the places you visit are stretching it a little in terms of whether you would want to visit or not!!... however in Ibiza we did old town and that was nice. Barcelona we had been before and walked all the way up Pasieg De Gracia to Gaudi's houses and then up to Park Geuill *excuse spelling* and the segrada!! Amazing place. Then Malaga we visited Marbella and Puerto Benus which were nice. I quite enjoyed Gibraltar although i do understand the ENGLISH, comments!..

Food was OK, its like comfort food, its not amazing its not awful its just average...

Alcohol isn't overly cheap at $40 a round for 5 people.... however if you do like to drink a lot then go for the packages as they pay for themselves pretty quickly. My Wife and I drink a lot of diet coke so we bought the soda package and stuck to that for most of the time....

Great Atmosphere in the evenings in the Schooner Bar... fully recommend it and Steve Zakin (i think his name was) was great fun and very good... some people even joined in or did solos...

All in all thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise.

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