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37 Royal Caribbean Norfolk Cruise Reviews

CRUISING WITH A FAMILY OF 107 KIDS PLUS AN INFANT 7 RCCL cruises, and I'd have to say this might have been the best one yet! I'm trying to think of something negative to say, but there's really nothing worth complaining ... Read More
CRUISING WITH A FAMILY OF 107 KIDS PLUS AN INFANT 7 RCCL cruises, and I'd have to say this might have been the best one yet! I'm trying to think of something negative to say, but there's really nothing worth complaining about. Its sad that anyone reading this will get no help from embarkation and dis-em info because the last RCCL cruise from Norfolk has left for the season - Norfolk was a beautiful port to cruise from, and the ship had a true air of Southern hospitality from all the Virginians, Kentuckians, No. Carolinians on board. Pre-Cruise: Spent a night in a local hotel, had friends drive us to the port in the morning, left our two cars in the hotel lot for free. Spent $100 for a hotel room which included a dinner and breakfast, as opposed to spending $135 to park at the port. For anyone reading this, wherever you cruise from, if driving, look into hotel deals that will include parking - many offer such deals, they just don't advertise them. Embarkation: A breeze except for traffic. Arrived 11:30AM - minor lines, onboard within 15 minutes. Up to the Windjammer to begin a week of 5 to 6 meals a day. Cabins were available at 1PM. Cabins: Minor disappointment that nothing noticeable was done to cabins at Drydock. There was some wear to the woodwork, but everything was spotlessly clean and in perfect working order. We had a D1 balcony stateroom. The balcony is about 4 by 6 - very small with two chairs and a table, but useful. Two cabins (7626 & 7628, adjoining) for the six of us which included a 1 year old. Very comfortable beds (even the sofa bed - futon) in my opinion. Our pre-night stay was in a very nice 3 star hotel with very soft mattresses which messed up my back - it took a couple of nights on RCCL's fine bedding to get it back to normal. Typical RCCL bathroom with a shower curtain. If you bring some small weights (fridge clip-on magnets worked great) and attach them to the shower curtain it stays in place. Otherwise the shower curtain will be your best friend throughout the cruise. Storage space was more than we've had in other cabins - quite sufficient. RIDDLE #1: Why do wives appreciate the toilets on cruise ships? Answer: Because husbands have to close the lid to flush and therefore can't leave the seat up. Food: No complaints here. The five adults among us were totally pleased with all our Dining Room dinners. Our 1 Year Old granddaughter was treated like an absolute princess everywhere onboard, but especially in the DR. After our first night a bowl of diced fruit was waiting for her every night as we came to dinner, and they truly fawned over her (and all of us for that matter), at each dinner. We had one lunch (last day) in the DR, and my wife is very sorry we didn't utilize it more - a killer Salad Bar, along with many unique lunch choices. Had several Room Service breakfasts, and some excellent Spinach/Artichoke dip from RS also. Note to Readers: this review is kind of rambling all over the place - you might want to fasten your seat belt. While I"m thinking about it, I wanted to mention some items I brought: duct tape, bungee cords, super glue. I actually used them all. The bungees and duct tape held my Yankee flag on the balcony. The super glue was used by a fellow M&M'er who broke her glasses and used the glue for a temporary fix. Oh: clothespins too. Handy on the balcony and in the shower (the showers have a little clothesline for hanging wet suits, etc.). RIDDLE #2: Why did my cruise remind me of a book I was reading, THE TRAGIC HISTORY OF THE SEA? Because it was a tragedy that the cruise only lasted nine days! We never did more than a 7 day before. I was wondering if 9 days was overkill. NOPE! I'm still trying to figure out where the time went - it was over way too quick. Entertainment: Best Variety of any cruise I've been on. CD Keith Williams was excellent and very personable; I admire a CD who acknowledges me and remembers meeting me days earlier. Assistant Irky: all I can say is "Heh, Heh, Heh!". (You'll understand if you meet him). The opening show had a comedian (haven't totally unpacked and can't find Day 1 to remember his name - Barnhart maybe?). Other nights had Comic Pianist Glenn Smith (great show), Comic Juggler Charlie Peachock (my favorite show of the cruise), Comedy/Magician Farrel Dillon, Horizon (Motown singing trio with an excellent performance), Vocalist Dolores Park, Comedian Chas Elstner. Lots of activities onboard (trivia, Nintendo Wii tournaments, live music, dance lessons). Don't miss The Quest (unless you're a 17th century Puritan). RIDDLE #3: What was the most popular animal at The Quest? A Zee-Bra (joke stolen from Sub or Yoga - can't remember who told it first, but thanks). Excursions: Our three younger ones (22, 21, 19) did the Segway Tour in San Juan. They all enjoyed it and my son insists he's buying one when he gets home. In St Thomas we did the Champagne Catamaran. Good snorkeling, great beach, great Rum Punch (it must have had tranquilizers in it because I got back to the ship and slept for 14 straight hours!). Several of our M&M'ers did the Turtle Cove snorkeling, and if you're into snorkeling that was probably a better choice, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed our excursion. In Samana many of us booked directly through Tours with Terry (easily found on CC threads). That was an advantage of reading the M&M thread for our cruise - all 35 or so people on the two excursions were M&M'ers! We had about 17 horseback riders, others did the ATVs through Terry, and myself, wife and daughter were taken to a beach with our granddaughter where everyone met up after their rides. We had our own private Caribbean beach for two hours before everyone got there - it felt like being a millionaire - no one else around, lying in the sand with no one in sight, being able to scratch my arse without worrying who's watching (Oops! TMI!). At Labadee we did a snorkel excursion, and the snorkeling was the best I've seen in four Caribbean cruises. More Rum Punch, but this was a shorter ride so I handled this one better. A note on Samana and Labadee: these are very, very poor areas. Several of our M&M'ers brought clothing and school supplies to give to locals. If you have room in your suitcases, please consider doing the same - they can really use it. You can very easily find someone who will take the items and give them to someone in need. Cruising With An Infant: I asked a lot of questions on CruiseCritc about cruising with infants, and many posters said we were crazy for trying it. WRONG! Our granddaughter had a great time (she's 13 months). She's a smart little cookie who looked forward to her fruit bowl and bread at dinner each night (not to mention great kid's dinners and trying everything we had), and she learned what elevators do. Some spare time was spent following her into an open elevator, following her off as she explored a new deck, following her back on when they opened again.... We brought our own Pack'N'Play for her to sleep in (we drove, making that easier), but RCCL does provide them. She slept all night every night, and enjoyed seeing the ocean and beaches for the first time in her young life. No regrets at all about bringing her. What helped was having five adults (grandparents, parents, aunt), who could take turns, sometimes missing an excursion or show to stay with her (a very small price to pay for the great memories we now have). Meet & Mingle: If your cruise is seven days or longer, DO sign up and attend the M&M. We had 107 sign up for ours, probably 60 to 70 present. RCCL gives out several prizes and our group also brought our own prizes (little samples of our hometown areas - marinades, mustards, trinkets, shirts). We had so many items brought that every family present won at least one thing; we had to re-draw for the last several items because everyone had already won something, so we started again. We were quite well represented throughout the cruise (10 of 12 Belly Flop contestants, members on the 2nd & 3rd place Quest teams, a majority of the Sexy Leggers) - yeah, we had a fun group. Corresponding with each other beforehand added to the pleasure of getting to know each other, and feeling like a family before we even met. I shall keep my Pink Mohawk wig as a fond memory of my M&M friends. RIDDLE #4: What does my title mean,"Cruising With 107 Kids Plus an Infant"? This was a very "young-at-heart" group (I'm 56 but haven't grown up yet). I swear this cruise was almost like a Fountain of Youth! Our age range was from a 1 yr old to numerous teens to late-late-late 50's. And all 107 kids played together very nicely. Debarkation: As Platinum members we had a private lounge to wait in. Only problem was the lounge couldn't hold half the people who qualified for it. Finding luggage was easy unless you were like one poor person whose tag fell off their bag, thereby meaning their bag could be anywhere in the terminal. Tip: if you have extra luggage tags put more than one on each bag - that way, in case one accidentally gets ripped off, your luggage can still find its way to the right location. RIDDLE #5: Why am I sitting at my desk typing this instead of sailing someplace on a relaxing, enjoyable cruise ship? Sorry, I don't have an answer for that one myself!!! Thank you, RCCL. Thank you, my many M&M friends - we really do miss you all (and for you many Southerners: we really do miss y'all). Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We are Diamond level cruisers on Royal Caribbean and have been on many of their ships. We had one previous cruise on a Vision Class ship, the Spendour of the Seas, and did not care much for that ship. However, since this cruise was leaving ... Read More
We are Diamond level cruisers on Royal Caribbean and have been on many of their ships. We had one previous cruise on a Vision Class ship, the Spendour of the Seas, and did not care much for that ship. However, since this cruise was leaving for Norfolk, Va, about 3 hours drive from home in Raleigh, NC, we decided to take the cruise even though we had reservations about the ship. It was a nine day cruise and listed at a good price. It even had a price reduction that we got shortly after the booking. Then I read that the ship had just come out of dry-dock and I figured it would be in good shape. Our drive to the port was quick and easy, a little over 3 hours. I had Googled map directions so I knew exactly how to get to the port and to the parking. Since there will be no more Royal Caribbean cruises from Norfolk there is not much need for a long explanation of the shortcoming of cruising out of that port, i.e., no port side parking, small terminal building, etc. We parked at a lot across the street from the port rather than use the lot the cruise line recommended which was about a mile away and a short shuttle bus ride to the port. It was the same price, $15 a day, and made it a lot easier to get into and out of the port area. Check-in was quick and easy. It actually took us longer to get through the security check point than to check in. That's because we happened to be behind a person in a wheel chair and there were some passengers who apparently had never gone through a security check before. They did not know how to put things from their pockets on the scanner belt. There was a question on the Royal Caribbean Facebook discussion board about bringing bottled water and soft drinks on board. I had a six-pack of each in my carry-on back pack and there was absolutely no problem with this. The only question they asked was whether we had an open bottles. When I got to the cabin I asked the cabin steward to remove stuff from the mini-refrigerator so I could put my water in and he simply said just take the stuff out and put it on a shelf, which we did. Then we put it back on the last day of the cruise. We liked the cruise and really enjoyed having 2 at sea days going and coming back. And the last port stop was at Labadee, Haiti, an all day beach stop. The other port stops were San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Thomas, US VI; and Samara, Dominican Republic. We had been to all of these places before except the Dominican Republic so we did really have a need to do tours. We walked around the Old San Juan area a bit and then went back on the ship. We went to Sapphire Beach in St Thomas. Due to travel alerts from the US State Department about crime in the Dominican Republic we had not planned to even get off the ship there. But after all of the tour and most of the people had left the ship we decided to at least go ashore. There is really not that much to see, just a market area selling the usual trinkets. We had no problems but we did hear that a couple from the ship was taken for a ride in a taxi and robbed at knife point. We heard this from another passenger but got no official confirmation of it. Our cabin on the ship, a junior suite (8090), was really nice. It appeared that the furniture in the cabin (soft, 2 chairs and hassocks) had been replaced or re-upholstered.. The carpet was also in great shape, not showing any wear. The cabin had more than enough room for all of our clothes. The balcony was very large. We were provided a coffee maker and Seattle's Best coffee and a hot pot for making tea, plus mugs, creamer and sweeteners. The cabin bathroom was standard size and had a bathtub. The air conditioning system in the cabin was really good. If you turned down the temperature it got colder pretty quickly. We had no complaints about the cabin at all. Our cabin steward did his job but I wouldn't say he did anything exceptional. We were completely satisfied with his service. NOTE ABOUT CABINS: This ship has some cabins that have a support pole in the middle of the cabin at the foot of the bed. The pole is about 8 inches round. I first found out about this from reading a blog about the ship. Then when we got on the ship we discovered that the cabin next to us, number 8092, was one of the cabins with this pole. Then I also saw the same thing in a cabin down the hall, 8056 if I remember correctly. So beware and ask when booking this ship if it would bother you to have a pole in your cabin. My best description of this cruise and ship is it's the bottom of the line of what Royal Caribbean provides. The ship lacks the many activities available on RC's newer ships. It has a rock climbing wall on the very back of the ship, but there is really no room for people to watch. The ship has a bungie-jump trampolines on the front of the ship but these were closed the entire cruise due to high winds; that's what the closed sign said. My question is what would you expect with that activity on the front of the ship. The only other activities were shuffle board and table tennis. The ship has a gym on the back of the ship, rather than on the front as with RC's newer ships. The gym provides the minimums. Its not that large and while it has elliptical, tread mills, free weights and some weight machines, its very small and crowded. I made just one trip there. The ship has a good walking track but it has a slight hill in the middle on each side where the ship was stretches several years ago. Walking on the promenade deck was good except that you could not circle the ship. The front section of the promenade deck is closed to passengers. The pools and hot tubs were good, including the solarium area. There were plenty of chairs available most of the time. The show room was not large enough to accommodate people for the shows. You had to get there about 30 minutes before the show to get a seat and the few shows we attended there were people standing in the back on both sides of the showroom. We missed a few shows because we couldn't find a seat. In addition, the sight lines are not good because the seats in the back of the showroom are not elevated enough for you to see well. The casino was satisfactory. It had some multi-line penny machines and well as nickle, quarter and dollar slots and table games. But the slots were not the latest that you'll find in Las Vegas and other on-shore gambling places. As usual we requested a table for two and they put us at a table for 10 or 12. So the first order of business when we boarded was to get that changed. We had no problem getting a table for 2 and even got one by the window. The dining room service was good. The menu's were standard RC fare. But we found the soups very bland and every day there were curried vegetable dishes that was not very good. The Food in the Windjammer was standard RC fare and it was good, but there was not much variety. Breakfasts and lunches had the same things each day. The Windjammer was about the only place to get a cup of coffee, tea, or iced tea and lemonade most of the day. The other eating places had limited open hours. The ship has what are called "automatic doors" that do not open automatically. You must push a button to open them. This caused problems for many guests who didn't know how to get the doors open. The elevators next to the atrium are a problem because they do not all go to all of the floors and they are not on the same call button. So you must puck the bottom for elevators on each side of the hallway. There are two elevators serving the Viking Crown Lounge and they were really hard to get. We went to the Cruise Critic/RC sponsored Meet & Mingle but didn't meet anyone. It appeared that a lot of people had conversed online and met on ships in their groups. There was no effort to have everyone meet everyone else. Very disappointed in this. On our stop in Labadee we heard from another passenger not to buy any of the canes or walking sticks. This was after I had already bought 3 of them. He said there was some type announcement on TV and/or in the Cruise Compass. Although I expected trouble the ship's security people did not raise any questions. I was a little perplexed by the warning as we had been on Labadee on a Celebrity cruise just a couple months ago, bought a cane and had no problems bringing it back home. However, we found out the real story when we got off the ship in Norfolk. We were directed to the APHIS inspectors, initially not told why, and then told because we had the canes. The Aphis person was really helpful in explaining that the problem with the sticks is they can sometimes have bugs. So she inspected them very closely and gave us a go ahead with them. This is a problem that RC, APHIS and the Haitians need to address by first of all explaining the whole issue with a flier that passengers will see, then arrange to have the canes sprayed before they leave Haiti, or tell the Haitians to stop selling them. So my bottom line on this cruise is I know that Royal Caribbean can do better and I will just not go on another Vision class ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
My family and I just got back from cruising on the Enchantment Of The Seas 6/12/10. It was a good time, food was good, shows were ok, service was good, cabin was clean, BUT it had it's issues. I would not recommend sailing in and out ... Read More
My family and I just got back from cruising on the Enchantment Of The Seas 6/12/10. It was a good time, food was good, shows were ok, service was good, cabin was clean, BUT it had it's issues. I would not recommend sailing in and out of Norfolk. Although downtown Norfolk is great with a lot to do within walking distance, the problem is the pier location to the parking. IT CAUSES MAJOR DELAYS. Boarding, I dropped the family and luggage off at the pier and drove the couple of miles to the cruise parking lot only to find out once I got there it was $15.00 per day VS $10.00 per day as advertised on RC web site. I had a long wait there as people were unloading their luggage, which had to be loaded onto the buses and transported down to the pier on the same buses, so this was not a quick process, as the family stood waiting for me at the pier for 40 minutes. The debarkation process was a complete disaster. We were supposed to disembark at 9AM, but we were not able to disembark until 10AM. Once we were able to get off the boat the luggage staging area was a mess with the disembarkation numbers butting right up to each other, people were practically walking on top of each other. And then again all luggage loaded on buses then a 2 mile drive to the parking lot and then unloaded. Needlessly to say this was why there was an hour delay getting off the ship. I have no royalty to Philadelphia (I'm from Ohio), but I sailed on Empress Of The Seas out of Philly and it went VERY SMOOTH. On the ship the Windjammer was over packed at breakfast time, with peak times not having enough seating. Deck 4 reeked of sewage smell the first 4 days, but after that I didn't smell it at all, our dining room table (412) was located in a bad spot where my shoulders got @ss rubbed all week by people passing by, and lastly I felt the shore excursions through the cruise line were way over priced for what you got in return. I know, I know, I have dwelled on the negatives with the glass half full. BUT AGAIN the food was good, the service was good, the shows were good, and the cabin was clean. Overall it was a good trip and everybody had a good time, and other than the shore excurions the cruise was a good value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Review Ship Name: Enchantment Of The Seas Departure Port: Norfolk, Virginia  Ports of Call: Norfolk, Virginia; Kings Wharf, Bermuda Sail Date: May 1, 2010 Over all this was a good trip. We had a handicapped accessible cabin deck 2, ... Read More
Review Ship Name: Enchantment Of The Seas Departure Port: Norfolk, Virginia  Ports of Call: Norfolk, Virginia; Kings Wharf, Bermuda Sail Date: May 1, 2010 Over all this was a good trip. We had a handicapped accessible cabin deck 2, inside (just about as cheap as they come). Pleasantly surprised by the cabin. It was much bigger and nicer than I was prepared for. While on board we booked another cruise on Enchantment Of The Seas for 2011. Day one, late departing Norfolk. I think that was not the fault of the cruise line. Late leaving Bermuda. I think that was not the fault of the cruise line. Arrived on time in Norfolk, but late in getting off the boat. I think that was not the fault of the cruise line. Almost all of the crew were great. Several had accents that made them hard to understand. The first thing that I did was tell the cabin steward he would get a bonus if he kept my ice bucket full. He exchanged my ice bucket for a larger one. He kept it filled; I gave him a bonus. The food overall was good, but not great. My standards are very high. Our assistant waiter, in the main dining room, did not hardly say a word to us. Did not keep water glasses full and did not keep the bread coming. We ate at the main dining room or the buffet, depending upon our schedule. Food, again was good, but not great. We ate all 3 meals at each location, at least once. Breakfast in the main dinning room had a very good cereal/fruit bar, mix your own. Lunch in the main dining room had a very good salad bar, build your own. Dinner entries in the main dining room were small. Several times I ordered 2 of them. Lots of smoked salmon at breakfast and lunch, and sometimes at dinner. I like smoked salmon. Had some unidentified fried fish on the buffet that was not good. Had some tempura shrimp & fish in the main dining room that was very good. We shared one piece of pizza in the Solarium, the crust was not thin but taste was OK. The hot tub in the Solarium, was not very hot. We did the fountain soda package. My wife did not like the taste of the diet fountain. One time the fountain was not working and we got a can of diet coke. Wife liked that better. She will not do this package on our next cruise. No choice for diet drinks. Only used the main pool twice. The first time I had the crew help me out with their chair. That was a half hour process that involved 3 men and 2 women to figure out how to use their equipment. The next time I used the ladder and did not hurt myself. Again, I have limited mobility. The shows were good. I liked the comedies better than the singer. I played a lot of Blackjack in the casino. I won. We had 2 days in port. The first one we did a private tour that I had arranged. Special handicapped van with tie downs for my power chair The second day we stayed on board and had no kids or crowd in the main pool. Nice quite day. In my power chair, Enchantment Of The Seas was easier to get around in than the Monarch Of The Seas. Things I packed and did not need: Power Strip Things that I packed, and was glad I did: Sun tan lotion Hat Swim suit. Power Chair Money An extra bag for purchases and final day's clothes Passport Sun Glasses Book Things I did not pack, but maybe I should have: Room air freshener. Crystal Light Lemonade to go Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Our first cruise was a 7 night in '09 on Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. This ship was a bit of a "step down" but thoroughly enjoyable. Embarkation: we were within a day's drive of the Norfolk cruise ... Read More
Our first cruise was a 7 night in '09 on Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. This ship was a bit of a "step down" but thoroughly enjoyable. Embarkation: we were within a day's drive of the Norfolk cruise terminal so we opted to drive this time. The terminal is in downtown Norfolk within close proximity to large downtown hotels. We did not spend the night in a hotel as we're retired military and had access to the much less expensive option of staying at the navy base 10 minutes away. The buses from the off-site parking lot began running at 10 a.m. Porters took care of the bags and we were off to the terminal several blocks away. We were the first bus to arrive but were held in the terminal for a couple of hours along with all the other later arrivals due to technical difficulties at the terminal. Since we were early we had comfortable places to sit. Others were not so lucky - they were lined out the door. We boarded the ship and headed to Windjammer for some lunch and another place to wait as our rooms would not be ready 'til 1:30. The rooms were ready when promised so we took our carry-ons to the room. Always bring your essentials (including bathing suit and gear) in your carry-on! Our luggage didn't make it to the room until 6 p.m. We retrieved it from a cart that had just arrived on the deck. Had to do that on our previous cruise as well - - again, it's small stuff. We had a balcony stateroom on deck seven. The room was very comfortable. The ship was just out of dry dock and was very clean, just like new. Only the balcony showed signs of age: a little rust, etc. Food: We reserved two nights at Chops Grill - well worth $25 (gratuity included) for the superior food. Otherwise we had dinner three nights at Windjammer as on our last cruise we were disappointed in the main dining room fare. We had breakfast and lunch in either the main dining room or Windjammer. On this cruise the buffet meats were a little overcooked so we made good use of sauces or the made-to-order stations: omelets, carving station, mongolian bbq, etc. Buffet desserts left much to be desired. Only a couple of times did we find a dessert that we wanted more than a few bites of. Service: no complaints about dining service or stateroom service. Our attendant, Samantha, was very cheerful, sweet and attentive. Always kept ice in the bucket and the room spotless. We only attended a couple of the shows but enjoyed what we did see. Disembarkation: does that ever really go right? We opted for express since we had a car nearby. At some point, a rumor spread quickly that they had called for express departure guests to go ahead and gather at 4th deck. However customs was not ready for passengers so we had a glut of people on 4th and 5th deck all gathered waiting to leave. The staff, including cruise directors, jumped in to help with luggage and try to smooth out that little bump in the road. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Embarkation - breeze, arrived at port around 11:30 and was on ship by noon. I love sailing from Norfolk. Ship - clean, easy to navigate mid-size ship. Pool area was spacious and plenty of lounge chairs at any given time. Solarium is ... Read More
Embarkation - breeze, arrived at port around 11:30 and was on ship by noon. I love sailing from Norfolk. Ship - clean, easy to navigate mid-size ship. Pool area was spacious and plenty of lounge chairs at any given time. Solarium is always a nice place on a RCCL ship. Most of the time people kept the kiddies out of the area, which was nice since we left our teenagers at home for some peace and quiet. Junior Suite was nice size, slightly larger than Carnival's balcolny rooms. Bathroom on the small size and no jacuzzi tub. Lifeboat drill was quick and the staff made it fun for once....reminded me of the Southwest stewardess'. Casino kinda small but enjoyed losing my money there anyway. One night was smoke free, which was a nice touch. Not very many activities on the ship. I found myself wondering around looking for something to do. Fitness area / Spa was ok, suprised they had no saunas or jacuzzis...missed that. Fellow cruisers - average age of 60+, but a very friendly group. Just made getting around a little slow. Very few kids as school is still in session till mid-June here. Service - Bar staff always friendly and quick. Room steward efficient, but nothing above and beyond. Dining room staff VERY slow and inefficient. After two nights of waiting almost 45 minutes to even get the appetizers, we decided to stick with the Winjammer buffet. Port - We loved Bermuda. The ability to buy a bus/ferry pass with unlimited day use for $12 and go wherever we went was wonderful. The island is clean, safe and everyone is very helpful and friendly. We even got our camera returned to us when it was left on a bus from Hamilton to St. George! Scuba Dived the second day. Good, but not our best dives ever. Food - Subpar. This is the third time I have been very disappointed with the food. The dinner menu selection is heavy on seafood, which if allergic, limits you. Steak could be ordered either med rare or med well. This really equated to raw or burnt and it was quite grizley. There was nothing that stuck out as good in the entire week except the Mongolian BBQ in the windjammer one night. The desserts were never tasty and seemed to come from a frozen Costco type variety. I have to give Carnival a huge "A" for food compared to RCCL. One more gripe. For what RCCL charges, why is the self serve ice cream only open a during Windjammer hours? Why is the drink station not open 24-7? It really annoyed me to not have basic coffee available to me unless it was during Winjammer hours...otherwise you pay for it, or need to order from room service. Carnival has this beat too. Disembarkation - great. We received our express tag given we were carrying off luggage. Started calling colors at 7:20am....ours at 7:40am. Very organized, was off ship, through customs and in a cab by 7:55am. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Weather was perfect and Bermuda was beautiful. Rode the ferries and buses to get around. The ferries were quick but the buses were slow. If you want to see all the sites, then a taxi tour maybe the best bet. We went to the Crystal caves, ... Read More
Weather was perfect and Bermuda was beautiful. Rode the ferries and buses to get around. The ferries were quick but the buses were slow. If you want to see all the sites, then a taxi tour maybe the best bet. We went to the Crystal caves, Horseshoe beach, Hamilton and the Royal Dockyards shops and maritime museum. We never made it to St. Georges but we had been there before. The staff on the boat were wonderful and the dining in the My Fair Lady dining room was very good. The buffet was OK..nothing to get excited about. I was in an inside room that looked very worn and obviously did not get any updates in the recent dry dock. It had enough storage but was basically a place to sleep and shower only. You did not want to hang out there it was so small.This room was on the 7th deck and was shaped horizontally(felt cramped) and was next to a crew exit where they brought up luggage and was a little noisy at times. If you have this room, bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper. The bed was hard and not as comfortable as I would like. I wanted to save money this cruise but it definitely was smaller than I thought it would be! Luckily this was a 5 day only. Everything needed updating including the bed, chair and TV from 1990. The public rooms were nice though and the chairs in all those areas are comfortable. This is one of the oldest boats RCL has so my guess is she maybe retired in the near future. Who knows. It is obvious they are putting their money in the newer boats and the latest built ones. The shows in the theater were very good and we went to all but one comedian show. The captain and staff were wonderful and very personable and made the cruise. Great service!! This was a good cruise and fun. I would have liked another day in Bermuda but overall I cannot complain. Best weather ever and a great time of year to go! I do believe the cost was high for the cruise overall for 5 days. I do not know if some of that was due to port fees or not. I have found cruises for 7 days with NCL cheaper then this 5 day one. We chose this one to avoid flying and it was convenient for us to drive. The price for the room I was in was definitely too much that is for sure. The spa and fitness area was very nice and they had a great waiting area where you looked out aft to the ocean in a padded lounge chair and filled out your forms. That was nice and comfortable. Lots of seating on the decks but go to the Solarium early if you want a seat in the all adults retreat. They had a fun party at 11pm on the deck in Bermuda overnight and that was fun with lots of food and ice sculptures. Remember the old midnight buffet? It was like that but on the main pool deck. We were walking through the casino to check it out and a lady was screaming and she had one $38,000 on a slot machine. Incredible! I have never seen that happen on any cruise I have been on. We did not gamble but the casino had a lot of machines if that is your interest.The piano man in the Schooner Bar could play well but singing was not his thing if you know what I mean. They had a good rock band playing in the Spotlight Lounge every night so look for them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Just a little background on my self and family, we are experienced cruises with RCCL and other companies. One cruise away from platinum on RCCL but have been on Disney, NCL and Carnival. So we have seen it all and this review is my opinion ... Read More
Just a little background on my self and family, we are experienced cruises with RCCL and other companies. One cruise away from platinum on RCCL but have been on Disney, NCL and Carnival. So we have seen it all and this review is my opinion but little things go a long way. Embarkation, Norfolk, VA, Well we have driven to many ports before, Miami, Baltimore and Port Canaveral and this was just awful. The price on the website for cruise terminal parking said 10/day well it changed to 15/day when we arrived, and we checked the day before. We could have parked across the street for the same price if we would have know, or stayed at a hotel for cheaper too. Check into that if you come to this port as there are cheaper options. We were in line out to the street at 1130am and were not parked and luggage offloaded until about 1230. Once parked we were on the shuttle quickly and this is where the fun began. The shuttle was about 1.5 blocks away with mediocre AC and just sitting in traffic. The terminal drop off was having issues getting cars and busses in and once in we were the 4 or 5th bus in line and instructed to stay on. At this point we were on the bus for 45 mins to go about 6-10 blocks and just talked our way off to go get in line for check-in. Check-in was quick and easy, but this was eased as we are plat. cruisers so front of the line pass. We were on the ship about 2pm and were able to get to the room and drop off the luggage since the delay getting on. Dining: We had requested early seating on booking through RCCL and were given late so we went straight to the DR to get this changed. Well we were not alone as we saw the list had us about 20 in line so far for a table change. The first night we were asked to eat late and then they would try and make a change. Well on day two we were notified that we were indeed moved so we made the change. Well this probably was not the best option as the room was way to crowded and noisy as the room was packed with extra tables. One thing I know they don't want to do but sometimes RCCL needs to is not facilitate the moves. Crowding the early seating had a snowball effect on other issues like show seating. We normally eat in the MDR for all meals but dabble in the WJ as well just to try other options. First thing I noticed was that having early seating was service was very slow, and I think this was to so many people being in the MDR. Waiters couldn't walk around the table because we were sitting back to back at some locations so this slowed things down too. Food was OK, but not great and some days just plain awful. There was a cod catch of the day and 4 people got it at the table and nobody finished, and my fathers had bones still in the fish. One other thing was the menu had cannelloni on Italian night yet they were out of the noodles so they substituted for tortellini. That is fine, but the very next night tortellini was on the menu and it came out as ravioli, were they not aware of the next days menu and shouldn't ravioli substituted instead. Just little things that can be corrected to make a better experience RCCL has done this same trip many times out of Baltimore so they have an idea of what is needed. Lastly by day 4 they were out of V8 juice, just not really sure how that can happen too, seems to be a staple to me. Also on the last lunch in the WJ they ran out of food items too. Entertainment: Was good and normal cruise fare, some comedy, jugglers, magician, musicians and cruise line dancers. Nothing was bad they were all good and a variety of shows so you can get whatever you like. One thing that we noticed was seating was packed every night and you needed to be there 30 mins before to get a good seat and 10mins before you were standing. I think this was brought on because they packed the early MDR and thus packed the theater with all these guests. So if you are a late person getting to shows this could be a problem, you will know the first couple of days. On to the pool entertainment was very good. The band that they have on deck was good, only wish they started earlier. They would come out around 1230 for 30 mins and would break until 4-430 and play again. Just think they should have been out there more earlier instead of after 5 as most people were getting ready to eat after 5pm. But they were very good and could play almost anything with a reggae flair. lastly the Casino was nice and as always the staff were superb. This is one department that never lets me down. Ports/Excursions: I go into this in more detail below but for us the ship is the destinations and sometimes we get off and sometimes we don't. The stops we have been to before so knew what to expect when it came to getting off the ship. There was only one tender stop in Samana and this was a little disorganized. If you have a ship excursion you meet in the spotlight lounge and get your tender ticket, normal for all cruises. But everyone on a ship excursion goes there and no matter when you tell them to go up there people will be early and crowd the room or entrance. So this caused a little trouble which the ship could change and say have half go to the theater and half to the spotlight lounge, but I think they will get this as time goes on. Even though we were anchored early there was trouble getting going and non ship excursions didn't begin until 12-1230p. So be aware, but I think they had trouble with the ships water doors and once fixed it was fine, so maybe this was isolated. Ports that we went to were nice, enjoyed the beach at St Thomas (sapphire) and Labadee. Labadee is my favorite stop and if the ship just stayed here for 4 days I would be happy but private stops are not for everyone. Disembarkation: Did the express check off and went smooth with no issues was off the ship at about 8-9am not sure on the exact time, but was smooth. They asked passengers with express to wait in the rooms until called but that didn't happen people started lining up at 730 but otherwise was smooth as checkout could have been. Once through customs loaded bags on shuttle and waited until the bus was about half full and were off to the parking. Was quick and were to our car quickly and off to our 3.5 hour drive home. Ship: Enchantment is an older ship, but we enjoy this class ship as it is not too big but has almost everything the bigger ships do as well. The ship was expanded about 5 years ago and maybe this added to some of the crowding issues but not so sure about that, we were on the Grandeur in Oct and never any crowding issues on that one so maybe so. The ship just came out of dry dock and the pool deck was all new with teak and imitation teak so that was nice, but no new pool chairs. Couldn't really tell on many other changes in dry dock as I think most occurred below the water line. Lastly there was never an issue with getting deck chairs as everyone was respectful and not many chair hogs on this cruise. Overall: Well we enjoyed the cruise and it is just little issues that can be fixed to make a great cruise. I enjoy cruising and want everyone else to enjoy it too, so when I see small things rubbing people it bugs me, because I know this isn't always the case. I don't like to hear people say they will never cruise with RCCL again, so just little details could change peoples opinion for a positive one. We will cruise again and since this ship is coming out of Baltimore permanent we will probably be traveling her again in the future. I know the review seems negative, but seems we always remember those. But there were good things as well, stops love them all, you get a nice variety and different things to do at all of them. The length and price cant be beat and that is why we like this 9nt cruise so much and the ship really is our destination when we take this cruise. Food was ok, but would like to have a variety of lunch menu, it was the same everyday in the MDR. Overall I give this cruise a 3.5/5 so not bad but room for improvement. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
The boarding process in Norfolk was clearly the worst part of the trip. It took us about 3 hours from the time we entered the parking lot (sat there for 1 hour) until we got to our cabin. It was a long, painful process! Although, as I ... Read More
The boarding process in Norfolk was clearly the worst part of the trip. It took us about 3 hours from the time we entered the parking lot (sat there for 1 hour) until we got to our cabin. It was a long, painful process! Although, as I understand it, Royal Caribbean will no longer be going out of Norfolk. Next cruise we plan to try Baltimore. Enchantment of the Seas, although clearly an older ship, was very comfortable and we enjoyed it. We ended up in the Champagne Lounge when we finally got on the ship. It turned out to be our favorite hang out in the evenings -- our waitress, Carol, knew our name from the first day on -- she was great. Our room was comfortable and clean. We had previously always requested a balcony, but this cruise elected to try an outside room with a window. We didn't regret our decision at all -- didn't miss the balcony at all. For dining we chose the "My Time" dining. It was great. We do not like to have to eat at an assigned time and this really worked well for us. We would clearly do this again. We also purchased the "wine package" which is much cheaper that buying wine by the glass in the bars. Be careful, however, because the only place you can order your bottle of wine is in the dining room or the Windjammer Cafe. The only real complaint that we had was the casino. It was so smoky that we didn't go back after we walked through on the first day. The ventilation system was terrible. You could smell the cigarette smoke in the hallways long before you got to the casino entrance. They did have a couple of non-smoking nights but the smoke was so heavy it didn't matter that no one was smoking at the time. We were a little disappointed because we enjoy the slots. The entertainment was good on the ship. Our favorite of the week was the "Tap Dancing Grannies" from Colonial Heights, VA. They were AWESOME! The food was good but not wonderful. We notice some subtile downgrades since our last cruise (6 years ago on Navigator). The deserts were dramatically less impressive. The menu for dinner seemed to have a lot of strange items -- at least strange to us. The lobster and prime rib, however, was excellent. Overall, Enchantment of the Seas is a nice ship. We will definitely go on it again. We love being able to drive to our port and not have to worry about planes, etc. We had a very relaxing trip and look forward to next summer when we plan to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
DH and I wanted to do something special for our 5th anniversary. We'd honeymooned on the QMII but wanted to try a different line this time around. Frankly, our immediate criteria was finding an embarkation port that was within a ... Read More
DH and I wanted to do something special for our 5th anniversary. We'd honeymooned on the QMII but wanted to try a different line this time around. Frankly, our immediate criteria was finding an embarkation port that was within a drivable distance from our home in Durham, NC. This led us to the port of Norfolk, VA, which in turn led us to considering Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. After poking around a bit on Royal Caribbean's site, Cruise Critic, and on-line cruise booking sites, we settled on booking EOS for a 9 night Eastern Caribbean cruise departing May 20th 2010. As it turned out, I also contacted RCI a few times as we neared our sail date with a few specific questions regarding what we could or could not pack; plus, I utilized their web site to check in, print out Set Sail Passes, purchase a wine package, make an RSVP for the specialty restaurant (Chops Grille) and order a bottle of Champagne to be delivered to our stateroom on sail day. Everything turned out as expected. Knowing this, I'll not be quite so anal the next time we cruise ("quite"!) We stayed in Norfolk the night before we sailed at a B&B called The Freemason Inn (review on Trip Advisor). In short, I would not recommend this B&B but it was close to the pier so that was good. We arrived at the pier way too early; it was a bit chaotic with passengers getting off Enchantment, cars everywhere, porters going to and fro, and other people (like us) arriving, eager to get on board! DH parked the gar in one of Norfolk's public parking garages. This one was directly across the street from the pier (Plume Street). Word to the wise; all of the public garages switch to the same daily rate on sail day. We ended up paying $15 per day and had to pre-pay it (the day before, the rates were $12!) The boarding process was a breeze. Everyone was extremely helpful and the process moved along quickly. After going through check-in, we were ushered to a roped off waiting area. Coffee, tea and cookies were provided. We didn't have to wait long; they started boarding us around 11:00. DH and I were #3 and #4 on board (after taking the obligatory Welcome Aboard picture). Since we were #3 and #4 on board, it was obviously quite empty when we stepped aboard Enchantment; thus, we had an unique opportunity to look around and really see what she looked like. Although Enchantment is on the smaller side (although larger than she was after being "stretched" in 2005), we were impressed; she is a truly beautiful ship. We liked the open atrium area, the glass elevators, all of the sparkling polished chrome; it made an excellent first impression! Plus, everything was so clean and fresh (she'd just come out of dry dock in early May). We spent that first afternoon in the Windjammer area near the pool bar waiting to get into our stateroom. We were in by 1:00 pm; very reasonable. When we first arrived, our luggage was not all there but it showed up within a few minutes. Our bottle of Champagne was there on ice waiting for us and we eagerly explored the suite and unpacked. My Fair Lady Dining Room and Food in General We had the 2nd seating in the My Fair Lady dining room. We were originally assigned to a table for 12 in the middle of the bottom level. DH is a bit hard of hearing so he went to the Maitre'd and requested we be re-assigned to a smaller table in a quieter section of the room. They re-assigned us to a perfectly delightful table for two (by a window, no less) towards the rear of the dining room. We had no problem being in the back; in fact, we preferred it. We had excellent service by our waiter, Edmond and our assistance waiter, Clayton (not to mention Placid, who brought us our evening cocktail every night!) We ate in MFL all but one evening. In general, we found the food more than acceptable. There was always a decent selection of food; including options for low fat, low calories, low sugar, low sodium, etc. Each evening we had an appetizer, entrEe and dessert. Only once did I find something not to my liking. Many times, Edmond offered to bring us more than one of whatever we'd ordered and once he brought me two desserts because I couldn't make up my mind between them. We'd arranged to have one of the wine packages (in essence prepaid for 7 bottles of wine which turned out to be a better deal than buying a bottle each night in the dining room). Each evening, we were presented with the list of bottles to chose from (we'd opted for the middle of the road selections) and only one night was what we wanted out of stock and we had to request something else. My only issue with the dining room was that the dress code was not enforced. Many times, we saw people in the dining room wearing shorts, jeans, tank tops, etc., even on formal night. We're not snobs, but, we thought more attention should have been paid to this as it sort of took away from the elegance of the evening. There is always the Windjammer for those who don't want to dress for dinner. And speaking of the Windjammer, they actually enforced the dress code better than the main dining room! I wandered in there one afternoon looking for a snack and was told I had to go "cover up" (I had come in from the pool area and did not have a tee shirt on over my bathing suit). We ate in the Windjammer a few times for breakfast and lunch/afternoon snacks. The food was really good; fresh with a lot of options but, my, the crowds; people seemed to check their brains at the door, too). Also, I found it a bit off-putting when they'd shut down one side of the buffet an hour before it closed (getting ready for the next meal, I guess). It was amusing how quickly the bus boys snatched up any unused utensil, cup, plate, etc., off the tables! Better hold on to your self or they may snatch you up, too! Many afternoons we partook of the snacks over in the Solarium; pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, fresh fruit, cookies, etc.) We don't typically eat a lot of "junk" food but, man, were those French fries good! So good, in fact, that people started picking up the bin of them and dumping the entire contents on their plates. After that, the staff moved the French fries behind the pizza counter to be meted out a bit more equally! We also ordered room service several mornings. We delighted in this, too; since it was included in the rate and normally this is a luxury we don't indulge in. However, we did have a challenge trying to get the room service staff to understand we wanted TWO pots of coffee, even though ONE pot was supposed to serve two people (it didn't, unless you only require a cup and a half of coffee in the morning!) We paid the extra $25 per person to eat at Chops Grille one evening. This was DEFINITELY worth it; a step up in both food and service (and since the food and service in MFL was just fine; you can imagine how wonderful Chops Grille was!) Just imagine a typical, traditional Chop House in, say, Chicago or another big mid-western city, and, you'll have an idea of the food available in Chops Grille. Also, a fantastic wine list. Wrapping up food; we did not make it to the (one) midnight buffet they had. We typically did not finish up with our dinner until 10:30 or so. We just couldn't stuff any more food done that night! We only ate breakfast in MFL the morning we got off the ship. This was fine; nicer than the Windjammer in that is was a lot more civilized but breakfast was only served in there from 7-9 (or something like that) which was just too early for us throughout the cruise itself. Drinks A lot of people were griping beforehand that drinks on cruises are too expensive, especially the drink of the day; not to mention watered down. We didn't find them that expensive and the drink of the day (typically something with rum) was $5. Additionally, if you had a good poolside server (like we did with Placid), they were more than generous with the alcohol. We got a kick out of Dr. Yummy wandering around with a tray of cocktails announcing it was "Yummy yummy time" or, "Here is the medication for your vacation". Yeah, those were a bit steep; $7 or $8 BUT he'd gladly add a few extra shots of rum and you got to keep the "glass". In general, we stuck to beer, diet Coke and rum but we did imbibe in some of those frozen drinks on especially hot days. I fell in love with the frozen Mojitos. As previously mentioned, the wine list/packages were acceptable. The only "ouch" came in the form of spending almost $40 for two glasses of Champagne in the Champagne Bar one night. We did find it a bit odd that we were not able to take our half-consumed bottle of wine (from dinner) with us back to our room and yet it was perfectly fine for us to fill up our wine glasses to the brim and leave the dining room with them. Also, we were not able to order a bottle of Scotch or Cognac to have in our room for a night cap. That would have been nice, but, I suppose the idea is for you to be out in one of the lounges (we loved the Viking Crown Lounge and the Schooner Bar) or in the casino or at a show having drinks THERE. As far as non-alcoholic drinks, there was complimentary coffee, iced tea and lemonade pretty much every day, somewhere. There were both packages for all you can drink soda, too; plus, bottled water packages (we did end up paying $32 for eight large bottles of Evian, which were delivered to our stateroom). We ordered sodas a few times; about 1/2 the cost of a beer for a can of soda. Additionally, there was a Seattle's Best on board where we could have purchased lattes and the like; plus, a Ben and Jerry's (although with all that free dessert (including soft serve ice cream, why pa extra for that?) Service EVERYONE was wonderful. All of the staff always had smiles on their faces and were extremely helpful and pleasant. Our stateroom attendant, Esther, was excellent. We sure enjoyed seeing what towel creature we'd find in our stateroom each evening! Seriously, considering these folks sign on for 7 1/2 months and work 7 days a week, RCI must definitely be doing something right with regards to their employees. Next time I'm on board a RCI ship, I'd love to chat with their HR person! The only issue we had was when one of the waiters in the Spot Light Lounge one night got my Sea Pass card mixed up with someone else's. I didn't notice it until the next morning and went to Guest Relations to get it taken care of; no problem. Fellow Passengers Around the time we booked the cruise, I signed up for Cruise Critic and met several of our future fellow passengers via this forum. What a great experience; not only did I get several questions answered by these veteran cruisers, but, we organized an excursion together in Samana. Needless to say, all of these folks were wonderful. Ages ranged from late 20s (I'd say) to 70 or older. Initially, we thought the average age of fellow passengers was going to be 60 or more but it turned out this might have been because more senior folks were on board first (again, we were #3 and #4 on board). As the days went on, we adjusted the average age to be in the mid 30s to mid 40s. We didn't experience any issues with our fellow passengers save the minor irritations that arise from simply having so many people in one confined space at once. Yes, there were a few rude, pushy, loud, annoying or obtuse folks on board, but, definitely the exception, NOT the norm. All in all we loved Enchantment of the Seas. We're sorry that she is no longer sailing out of Norfolk but hope one day we'll catch her again. The RCI experience was fantastic; truly, it rivaled the QMII at about 1/2 the price. Who needs those white gloves, anyway? We were so "Enchanted" with RCI that we've already booked our next cruise with them on Radiance of the Seas next January. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean a few times in the past and thought I would take my new fiance on his first cruise to celebrate our engagement. We saw a ship leaving out of Norfolk, VA and thought it was perfect so we wouldn't ... Read More
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean a few times in the past and thought I would take my new fiance on his first cruise to celebrate our engagement. We saw a ship leaving out of Norfolk, VA and thought it was perfect so we wouldn't have to fly. The day of, we had our family drop us off at the port and in the family frenzy, the porter took my fiances carry on bag with his passport inside. No more than five minutes went by before we told the people at the ship what happened and they told us not to worry because it happens all the time and they could bring us the bag in time for us to board the ship. Over two hours went by and by the time we were told that this was actually impossible, we were standing in the terminal watching the ship sail away. We immediately got on the the phone with our travel agent and Royal Caribbean to see what could be done. Of course, after hours on hold and talking to multiple people, they said nothing. They wouldn't even let us talk to them directly without our agent on the phone! Long story short, after 5 people teamed up to try to get an answer, we got a letter stating that the only way for us to redeem out trip would be for it to meet it in the next port of call, San Juan. At our own expense of course. None of this was met with a kind word or an "I'm sorry for your situation" from the time we were at the pier to the time we arrived in San Juan. To top it all off, we were NOT told that someone had gone in my fiance's bag to retrieve his passport and thought it had been lost when they transported it to the room, because it was in the outside pocket of his suitcase. But on the last day on the ship (which was not the greatest ship I've seen), we happened to run into the same crew member who we told about the passport issue in Norfolk and he said "Oh, yeah, hey man, I have your passport". Ridiculous! How is it possible that you can hold on to someone's property and not tell them? Not to mention if we hadn't met the ship, they would have kept our bags on the ship and we would have had nothing. We saw them turn people away in Norfolk with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and their purses, and these people had no where to go. We were lucky in that we left out of our hometown and had family to stay with. Admittedly, we have two things working against us, one being we booked through an agent and turned down the agent's insurance. However, we did learn after the fact that the insurance would not have covered our situation and we would have been out the money anyway. Regardless, what is my ultimate concern is that you can keep people's money without providing them any kind of service. They made real money off of the three days we missed of our cruise and would have made more had we not showed up. Also, what makes it worse is when you encounter sour people with callous attitudes who put you on hold for minutes on end and respond flatly with the company line, "there's nothing I can do". If you're going to put me through a hassle, at least don't patronize me in the process. I have a good many years left in me of cruising, and from what I hear, RC doesn't want you on their boat if you are going to complain about anything, so so long Royal Caribbean! And you can bet, I've told this story to everyone I ran into who sails as well. Sorry to say. And I guess I should say something about the cruise itself. The ship was okay. Wouldn't recommend it. Had some toilet problems, which happens I guess. In the public rooms and our room. Also, one of the ports, Samana in the DR was awful. Some of our cruise mates said they didn't feel safe. We were stuck on the excursion to nowhere, guess that was a blessing in disguise. I guess the silver lining is that we didn't get sick? That no one was hurt? If that's the best thing about the cruise then what does that tell you? Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and it was a post poned honeymoon that my husband & I never have had the time to take. It was just the two of us and we were definitely on a budget. We opted for one of the interior rooms, but made sure we were on one of the higher floors. We stayed on the 8th floor of the Grandeur. The room was actually bigger than I had imagined. The bed was very comfy, except that since its two twins pushed together to make a queen, sometimes we would wake up with a big crack in the middle of the bed it seemed like because the mattresses didnt sit up beside each other very well. The room was always very clean, the maid staff was great! We only saw them on the first day, so they could tell us what to do with towels and the little cards that go in the key slots on the door. After that we never saw them...only the remnants of always coming back to a clean room! The entertainment on board was pretty good. We saw a movie in the palladium theater on a rainy day. And we went to one of the late night shows in one of the lounges. We didnt see the comedian or anything like that, we stayed busy doing our own thing most of the cruise.The pool in the Solarium was our favorite...probably because its 16+ to get in (or supposed to be anyway!!!) The pool outside was always really loud with music. There were a lot of families with kids, and teenagers in that area. So we stayed in the Solarium where it was much quieter, I could read and still get some sun because they opened up the glass roof when the weather was nice. I also layed out on the top deck (deck 10) at the back of the ship by the rock wall. Its fairly quiet back there also, and not a lot of traffic because the rock wall isnt always open.The drinks were always very good, and pretty strong! Which surprised me (pleasantly). They were usually between $7.00-$9.00 (with a 15% gratuity already included in the price) so we never tipped ontop of the price. Bermuda was GORGEOUS. I cant wait to go back. We were docked in the Royal Naval Dockyard. We opted to go to the beach the first day we were there. The beach was beautiful, and not very crowded. We took the bus (which is a great way to get around there! I highly reccomend it!) to the beach for the day, and then back to the ship in the early afternoon to grab some food. Then we took the ferry (your bus pass is good for the ferry too) over to Hamilton. Unfortunately, the town was closed because of a holiday while we were there, but otherwise it looked like it had a lot to do.We were going to eat dinner in Bermuda...there are two places right near the dock, the Frog & Onion (mostly burgers...kind of a pub type place) and Bonefish. We ended up not eating at either because Bonefish was pretty pricey for dinner, and we weren't in the mood for burgers. Now, for the bad..... since this was our first cruise we had read reviews, asked friends and done as much research as we could before going. One of the main things that we were looking forward to was the food on the ship. You always hear about how good the food is and how theres always an abundance, but for us this was no where near the case.The food quality was quite poor in both our opinions. While there was plenty to choose from in the Windjammer, the food lacked taste and quality. I compared it to a low-grade golden corral (if that). Please keep in mind this was merely our experience... Even at dinner, the food was very poor. We chose the my time dining (which i wouldnt do again), and ate in the main dining room 4 out of the 5 nights we were onboard. One night I had shrimp ravioli that was pretty good, and other night we had lobster that was good. Other than those two nights, both myself and my husband left feeling not very full because we didnt eat our entire meal because of the taste. The my time dining seemed very chaotic. We had a different waiter every night, and we always felt rushed. The traditional dining part of the restaurant seemed much more calm, and we noticed that the waiters would act differently toward their tables. For instance, you always hear about people saying they had lobster one night and their waiter asked if they'd like more? Well they never asked us. As a matter of fact, we noticed a table that had traditional dining- same waiter every night, and they waiter came out with big plates of lobster tails asking his table if they wanted more. Our waiter never asked us...he barely ever came to our table! And I honestly dont think it was just that one night, each night we had someone different, and none of them were overly friendly or helpful. All in all, we had a good time. I think we might go back again.... it might take some convincing on my part though. I was very disappointed in the food quality, however... I have heard rumors from people that the food on another line has gone by the wayside as well, due to cutting costs instead of upping ticket prices. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
It's not like we are really old-old.....like scooters and walker old.  My husband and I are in our mid-sixties and in the past have enjoyed Holland America cruise ships.  We had never cruised with Royal Caribbean before, however, ... Read More
It's not like we are really old-old.....like scooters and walker old.  My husband and I are in our mid-sixties and in the past have enjoyed Holland America cruise ships.  We had never cruised with Royal Caribbean before, however, since the port of departure was Norfolk, only a few hours from our Virginia home, we decided to throw caution to the wind (and the seas) and try Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas.  We were pleasantly surprised.Midship is the Centrium with multi-decked openness and glass elevators.  Vast, panoramic windows and lush seating, provides opportunities for reading, ocean-watching, and quiet conversation.  It seemed to be a general meeting place prior to dinner and after shows.Our favorite part of the ship, however, was the Solarium.  This glass enclosed area offers an abundance of lounge chairs, tables for a quick snack of pizza and hamburgers, and most of all it provides quietness.  The adult-only swimming pool and hot tubs were not crowded and were a pleasant alternative for those of us not interested in the traditional family pool area with the loud music and predictable pool games.The food was continual.....from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.  However, please note that the 24-hour room service is not fully complimentary.  There is a small fee (less than $4.00) for service in the wee hours of the night/morning.  However, my thought process is if you cannot sustain yourself with food for 21 out of 24 hours a day, you have some major eating issues anyway.Sometimes the quantity of food does not mean quality and this was the case on the Grandeur.  I won't go into details of specific foods, but there was a definite blandness to many dishes in the Windjammer buffet.  The Gatsby dining room menus were varied and tasty.  I can't say enough good things about our waiters.  They were the best we've had on any ship.Minor annoyances - no chocolates on my pillow at night!  It's "cutting down expenses"...or so I hear.  Another bother or waste of time was the port shopping talk by Cruise Director John.  In order to receive "free" gifts in port, we were advised to purchase a $25.00 coupon book,  (some cruise lines give these coupons away for free).  i.e. Diamond International, Del Sol. etc.  Supposedly, the $25.00 also enabled one to buy the drink-of-the-day a half price.  Well, what a waste of drinking time.  Someone waved a cork over two gallons of fruit juice and pronounced it a tropical drink of the day.  The only thing that changed daily was the color of the juice and the name of the drink.  I definiately think the cork was reused all nine days.  The evening entertainment and shows were great fun and we looked forward each evening.This ship will be relocated to a Florida port soon and for that I am definitely disappointed.Samana, Dominican RepublicFirst of all you have to remember that the D.R. is  third world country and desperately poor.  I was very disappointed that Royal Caribbean did not provided any local information on Samana.  No geographical information, no history of the area, and no local points of interest for those of us wanting to explore on our own.  It was almost as though this port was an afterthought.  I even went to the tour desk and asked for information on Samana.  I was told the only information they had were for excursions. This meant that hundreds of people, unable to spend big bucks on excursions, were left to the mercy of gypsy cab drivers for varying fees and makeshift vehicles.  Labadee, HaitiRoyal Caribbean owns a portion of land which they over glamourize as "paradise".  It's nice, but saying it's paradise is a bit much.  There are oodles of beach chairs.  Two of the beach areas were small.  The larger one was nicer but the ocean bottom was loaded with sharp coral which made walking tricky. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Ok first the bad!!! This was going to be a first cruise experience; we got pet sitters, took time off from work, left early to hit Norfolk terminal on time - everything was going well and then we were told we owed $800 more. Imagine our ... Read More
Ok first the bad!!! This was going to be a first cruise experience; we got pet sitters, took time off from work, left early to hit Norfolk terminal on time - everything was going well and then we were told we owed $800 more. Imagine our surprise since we had paid in-full when we booked in February for a May 2 trip. What is worse - no one could tell us why. Just pay up or don't board. We had to stand there for over an hour while they even tried to get there machines to show we paid (at one point it doubled the $800 to $1600!) - which we did since we were told we would lose the $1381.22 we had already paid for the Ocean view room if we didn't pay the $800. We were then told see the finance/accounting controller on board and to go to the Guest relations desk. We get there and are told nope you can't see him because he doesn't see guests. Throughout the trip we received many shrugged shoulders for questions related about this or even as simple as "is the pool 24 hours? or "will buses take us back to the parking lot?". I can understand if they are unsure but they just shrugged off our questions and sent us on our way.  The $800 was a gloomy cloud that ruined it for us. To make matters worse the last full day of the cruise they claimed that $400 didn't go through even though we had checked our credit card accounts. They made us pay that too after they made us come back to the desk several times because most of the guest relations folks had no idea what we were talking about when we came up. The guest relations desk folks were polite but by design very, very unhelpful. Finally we got to call RCI Customer office to be told our travel agent had mistakenly taken a discount we shouldn't have. A discount by the way that should have only cost us $300 to make up for the difference (if you go by our date of booking) and no one at RCI called to tell us was in error - I mean, we gave our date of birth when we did the on-boarding almost two weeks before sailing but they said we were marked for a senior discount and never told us! Therefore Royal in my eyes will always be the pirates of the sea. They went for an extra $500 that we probably would have spent on the boat anyway but with happy, relaxed grins on our faces. Remember RCI - happy people spend more.  Instead I spent the bare minimum I had to on the ship and was sad about the sudden upcharge and lack of help. It was sad that my happiest moment was getting off the ship and coming home!  We couldn't even hear over half of the announcements in our room during the day without running to open the door to hear them. The food was the same all the time everywhere - no variety! Always Asian or mediterranean, which is fine for  a night but not the whole trip. The toilet wouldn't work half the time, the bed curtain was missing and several drawers kept getting stuck out and wouldn't go back in without a lot of effort.  When it is all said and done it is obvious Royal didn't want the business of us two 25-45 somethings, and we are now happy to oblige by taking our future wedding plans and wedding guests elsewhere.  GOOD Stuff still happened: The only fantastic persons was Wendy and Haimi (sorry if we got the name spelled wrong). They were always friendly, helpful and made us feel like we were welcome. They even gave us a quick towel folding lesson! The two Bermuda excursions were also fantastic. We did Hartley's helmet dive - Greg H. himself took our group out and even if you can't swim and don't like to go under water or get your hair wet you will enjoy this! BTW - you won't get your hair wet because the helmet you put on to go under is perfect, plenty of oxygen and no water gets in the helmet. We loved him and Rolf (sorry again if named is wrong!) Greg obviously loves the marine life and what he does. We love our CD with pictures. A few young ladies were scared to go under and he showed a great deal of patience and superb customer service trying to balance everyone's experience and ensuring we all had a chance for this great adventure. He saved our cruise trip from being a complete unhappy disaster!  The cave tour to the Prospero caves at the Grotto hotel was also fantastic - we even swam in the underground cave lagoon; a little cold but a fun experience to brag about!  It is amazing to hear about its formation but sad to see that previous tours had left trash...so please don't.  On our own we went to Alexandria Battery beach to pick up tons of sea glass (it isn't much of a beach but what fun we had picking up the glass) and Dorey snorkel park. Both very lovely - the water is so blue! It is obvious that the Bermudians care about their home and keep it very clean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
DH and I chose to celebrate our 1st Anniversary by taking a 5-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.  We sailed her for our honeymoon last year and really enjoyed the attentiveness and excitement of the crew.  ... Read More
DH and I chose to celebrate our 1st Anniversary by taking a 5-day cruise to Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas.  We sailed her for our honeymoon last year and really enjoyed the attentiveness and excitement of the crew.  I gained 8 POUNDS throughout the cruise last year and my focus this year was fitness and eating healthy.  We arrived in Norfolk, VA at 12 pm and with a quick shuttle ride to the cruise port and a smooth check in process, we were on the ship by 12:30 pm. We went up to the pool deck until the rooms were available around 1:30 pm.  We were surprised to find out that many of the crew members that made the cruise special for us were not aboard a year later.  We had another cruise party director other than Dan Dan the Party Man and Mama was no longer passing out Bingo Cards.  The cruise entertainment staff did a great job keeping us entertained this cruise but we found ourselves getting nostalgic for last year's staff.  The entertainment shows also did not change much from last year so most nights were spent up in the Viking Crown Lounge Cigar Bar.  We were so pleased the first night to find Ken still working there since he made our cruise last year.  Now on to my fitness efforts... Grandeur of the Seas has a small spa and fitness center up on the 9th floor with 4 treadmills, 2-3 ellipticals, exercise bikes, free weights, and weight lifting machines.  It also has a space for group classes.  It was very busy in the mornings between 7-10 am and although signs were posted everywhere that there was a 20 minute limit on the cardio machines, it was still hard to find an open machine.  My goal was to workout at least 30 minutes a day whether it be taking an exercise class or scaling the rock climbing wall.  It became routine for DH and I to head up to the gym first thing in the morning and then head to the Windjammer for breakfast everyday.  I stuck to the Vitality meals and ate plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  I also was amazed at the classes available now for people wanting to live healthier.  I learned how to increase my metabolism, foods to eat to keep my belly flat, and even was able to get a body composition analysis (BCA).  The BCA gave me my optimal weight, body fat percentage, lean muscle percentage, and an idea of how water is utilized in my body. DH and I enjoyed the couples warm stone massage.  I also tried the Ion Cellulite Reduction treatment that was supposed to remove toxins from the body and help you lose inches in trouble areas but didn't see any difference afterwards and I refused to purchase a $500 lotion that you apply for 60 days for increased results.  Dislikes: 1.CD skipped making it very difficult on Name that tune game.2. Purchased 2 day bus and ferry ticket at Excursion Desk which were not honored when we arrived in Bermuda. I had to purchase the 2 day pass again and had slight difficulty getting a refund from the Excursion Desk the next morning.3. Billing Mistakes: Some of the Spa Charges that should have been on my account appeared on my husband's account and the gratuities should have been solely on my husband's account.  We fill out receipts and paperwork specifically informing the purser's desk where the funds should go and it is frustrating to have to wait in line at the end of the cruise to correct billing errors.Likes:1.  The food and our dining staff was exceptional... Thanks Carlos Vasquez and Mr. Small!!!!2.  Ken in the Viking Crown Lounge.       Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Pre Cruise - D (For American Airlines)We left on a stormy evening in St. Louis.  When we arrived, our American Airlines flight was already delayed 3 hours.  By the time we ate a little dinner our flight was canceled.  The next flight ... Read More
Pre Cruise - D (For American Airlines)We left on a stormy evening in St. Louis.  When we arrived, our American Airlines flight was already delayed 3 hours.  By the time we ate a little dinner our flight was canceled.  The next flight was next morning, and it was full.  We should have been on that flight because my husband is platinum on AA, but they overlooked us.  There was no way we would make it to Norfolk, VA to meet our cruise before it left.  All of the flights to and around Norfolk were cancelled.  Plan B was to drive to Norfolk from St. Louis (15 hours!), and it was storming, as I mentioned before, and there were tornadoes on the path to VA, so we moved to Plan C.  Plan C was to use our trip insurance to pay for a flight to meet the cruise at its destination, Bermuda.  That wasn't going to work as well as we thought, so we moved to Plan D.  Plan D was to check flights again going anywhere near Norfolk.  Most of those were also canceled because of the weather.  However, there was one flight going to Reagan- D.C.  It was leaving at 11pm ish.  We hopped on that flight, and then arrived at Reagan at around 2am.  We rented a car from Hertz...who knew they were open!  We climbed into our Nissan Altima with some life-saving equipment - a Never Lost - a.k.a. GPS.  Since we had the Never Lost, we decided to do some impromptu sightseeing around Washington D.C. before driving 3 or so hours to Norfolk, VA.Norfolk, VA / Embarkation - A+We arrived at the cruise terminal via a taxi ($28 +tip for both to ride) from the airport where we dropped off our rental car.  There were no lines at all when we arrived at 11am.  We were finished with the embarkation procedure at 11:30am.  No upgrades for this cruise.   Cabin - AOur cabin was 4749 (inside cabin) and we had a wonderful cabin steward that we never saw except for the first night, which we were fine with.  He was so thorough and came in to do his work while we were not there.  We loved his towel animal creations.  The bathroom was a good size for a cruise ship bathroom, and we had ample closet and drawer space.  The bed was comfortable.  I would recommend bringing a power strip if you have a few things that you would need to plug in.  We were charging various items, and I was using a hairdryer and straightener at the desk area.  Overall, we really enjoyed the location of our cabin in terms of proximity to the elevators/stairs.  We didn't feel a lot of rocking, and we felt like we had a wonderful cabin.  Overall, this was the largest inside cabin I had ever stayed in.  Cruise Experience - ADinner was something we always looked forward to each evening.  We selected late seating and a table of two.  We were pleased to see both requests were honored.  It was such a wonderful experience to dine in the Great Gatsby Dining Room.  We ate every night in the dining room because the quality of the food was so superior, we enjoyed our surroundings, we like to get dressed up, and our wait staff was the BEST!  Our waiter was Jozef, our Assistant Waiter was Karl, and our headwaiter was Kirk.  All were excellent servers, and eventually by the end of the cruise, they learned our preferences.  I always like iced tea with my dinner, so it was waiting for me when we arrived, and Christian prefers ice water.  I also always have dessert, and I love decaf coffee with lots of cream.  We always started dinner with an appetizer like shrimp cocktail, escargot, or mushroom puff pastry.  There were so many to choose from, and the menu changed each night.  After appetizers, we always had either a soup or salad.  Our favorite was the lobster bisque, but I also liked the minestrone, pumpkin bisque and chilled strawberry soup.  Our favorite salad by far was the caesar.  After that we always had an entree.  Our favorites were the prime rib, lobster tails, shrimp scampi, and pork.  They had really fancy names I can't remember right now.  The lobster tails were the best I have ever eaten.  The desserts were to die for!  I loved this decadent chocolate/ fudge dessert.  I asked for more!  The cheesecake, pots de crème, and all chocolate desserts were heavenly!The buffet in the windjammer was above average, and we really enjoyed the variety each day and the fresh brewed Seattle's Best Coffee.  We dined in the dining room once at breakfast, and it was a wonderful experience.  Mostly for breakfast and lunch we prefer to eat at our leisure and not get dressed up, so the Windjammer was perfect for our preferences.We felt like the entertainment and activities that were offered were fair.  We didn't attend the shows because we much preferred to sit in one of the lounges or walk the promenade deck in the evenings.  We enjoyed using the Fitness facilities, and we thought the rock climbing wall was challenging and so much fun!  We did enjoy the main pool and the solarium.  There were not any children in the adult pool in the solarium, so it was easy to relax with adults if we chose.The only real complaint about my cruise experience I had was that the Internet was expensive and slow.  We had a deal going through on our home, and we wanted to see our son on Skype.  We did get to check email, but Skype didn't work.Bermuda - AThe natives are so friendly, the public transportation is wonderful, and most parts of the island are not trash-filled like other islands we have been to.  It is an expensive island, but if you do most of your eating on ship, you won't break the bank.The first day, we bought a ferry and bus pass onboard that had to be redeemed at the ferry terminal.  After we redeemed our tickets, we hopped on a ferry to St. George.  It was a nice ride, and there was a friendly Bermudian working who gave us tips about the island.  St. George is a quaint town.  The shopping isn't great, but it was fun to look.  We did make our way to Alexandria Battery Beach to explore the Battery and pick up a treasure trove of sea glass.  This was one of my favorite things we did on Bermuda.  We ate lunch at a cafe, walked around King's Square and took pictures.  We then took a bus to Hamilton.  We took pictures, shopped for some souvenirs and did a lot of walking around the city just to take it in.  The second day in port, we took a bus (which broke down) to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse.  The views were fantastic!  This is a must see.  We also went to Horseshoe Bay.  It was a little crowded, but the beach and facilities were very clean.  We then went into Hamilton to go to Fort Hamilton.  That was a great free attraction, but it did need to be cleaned up a bit.  We did some more sightseeing, took a ferry back to the Dockyards, and then ate a late lunch on the boat.Disembarkation - AThis was a smooth process.  We ate breakfast, and then we walked to the Palladium Theater for Express Walk-off.  It began promptly at 7:30am.  The only complaint we had was that people didn't fill out their declaration cards prior to getting to customs, but that was not Royal Caribbean's fault.  After getting through customs, we took a taxi to the airport for our flight, which returned us safely to St. Louis.    Overall Impressions - ARoyal Caribbean is going to be our cruise line of choice from now on, and we loved Grandeur of the Seas.  This ship was comfortable and inviting, and the staff was top-notch!  Thank you to all involved for making our cruise vacation phenomenal! 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Sail Date May 2009
Some cruising history:  HAL 11 cruises, RCCL 5 cruises - 4 on the Grandeur of the Seas.  This was my first solo.  I booked this cruise in March 2009 mostly due to the convience of the departure port of Norfok.  It's only 3 hours ... Read More
Some cruising history:  HAL 11 cruises, RCCL 5 cruises - 4 on the Grandeur of the Seas.  This was my first solo.  I booked this cruise in March 2009 mostly due to the convience of the departure port of Norfok.  It's only 3 hours from my home and no air travel involved.  DH could not make this trip due to work, so I decided to go solo.  This was my third time on this ship with the same itinerary.I arrived a bit early in Norfolk, about 10:30 am and proceeded to the Cedar Grove parking lot.  To my delight they were letting some early birds in for parking and by 11:00 am I was at the terminal checking in.  The terminal check in process was painless.  The agent's and rep's were all very nice.  Was only in holding mode for about 10 minutes.  That was great!By 11:15 am I had a bloody mary in hand and as I looked around the ship I knew that something was very different from my last trip on GOS in August 2008.  The ship was gleaming and the crew was all so happy!  Last August that was not the case.  Off to the Windjammer for lunch and at exactly 1:00 pm the stateroom's were ready.  I hurried to see my balcony stateroom and I was delighted, to say the least.  I was on deck 7, my stateroom was about the fourth from the front of the ship.  I must tell you that this location had me a bit worried, but the sea days were fine.  No major "rocking".  We did have calm seas throughout the ship.  I went to the champagne bar and ordered a bottle of wine and took it back to the stateroom and enjoyed sail away sipping on it.  I must also mention that I met another solo traveler, Kate, and we did have the first lunch together and it was wonderful conversation.  My stateroom attendent, Angela was great!  She had an assistant named Margaret that was great also.  This was Margaret's last run before returning home to Costa Rica and her son.  She was very excited to get back to her native country and family.  I hope that she made it home safely.The first evening I put out the order form for coffee at 5:30 am (I'm an early riser!) and it was there on time with a quick call to the stateroom before delivery every morning.  The room service attendent was Claudia and after the first morning I never had to place the order form on the door again.  She was there every morning with my order and a very happy morning greeting.  She would bring little extra's like juice and pastries also.  She was a delight!  Her home is in Brazil.The first 2 days were sea days.  I attended the Meet & Mingle and met a few of the online poster's.  Natalie from RCCL hosted the get together.  Was a nice layout of cheese's, fruit and coffee and other light beverage's.  Was nice to put some of the face's with the name's.  I only wish that we had a stand up and introduce yourself type of thing.  The lazy, sun filled day's were great!  No schedule - just vegged out!  The solorium was really nice,  Spent time there in the hot tubs and reading.  I must note here that I did not go to the diningroom on this trip.  I went to the Windjammer for all meals or had room service.  Both were great.Ran into Captain Rob many times.  He is a very visable Captain and I find him to be a true delight.  The last sea day he held an informative gathering in the theater.  A must for all to attend!The production show's were okay.  Just okay,IMHO.  I truly enjoyed the comedy show's.  Chas Elstner is so funny!  Antonio Salci was wonderful.  A great sing along show.  Horizon, Motown and More was delightful!  Do not miss this!  Earl was a hoot with water!  Thanks to Smoke and Earl for the dance's!  Watch where you sit when these guy's are doing their show because for some reason I got zero'd in on twice with them.  I wish that I purchased their CD's.The port's were:San Juan - same as same.  We docked in there at about 2:30 pm on Sunday.  I walked and walked.  Went to the Coach and Dooney & Bourke stores, to find them closed.  It was Mother's Day and a Sunday, so perhaps that was why they were not open.  Still the walking around Old San Juan was nice.  The evening brought a lot of congestion on the streets.  Carnival Victory was also in port beside of us, apparently loading passenger's, and now I understand why they call Carnival the fun ship's!  She was quite a sight to see!St. Thomas - my favorite!  Went to the downtown shopping area and made a few deposit's at my favorite store's.  It was slow downtown.  The economy has been hit hard there as with other area's.  The Coach store is now located at Yacht Haven and by the time I got back to there, well, I was spent out!Samana, DR - been there, done that.  Not one of my favorite places, so I stayed on board and enjoyed the hot tub and a spa treatment.  Oh, so nice!Labadee - BEAUTIFUL!  They are proceeding with the new pier and it looks good.  A relaxing day at the beach!The last 2 day's were again sea day's and I made sure that I spent my OBC.  That was not hard to do!All in all, the trip was great!  I enjoyed running into a few of the ladies from M&M and meeting new people.  Would you believe that I actually ran into a couple that I had met my August 2008 trip?  I was shocked!  They too, love to cruise and said that they are doing a lot of it these days.  The food, the drink's and the crew were all wonderful on this sailing!  I highly recommend it!  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
About Us- We have been on 10 cruises with Carnival and this was our very first cruise with Royal Caribbean. There were 12 people in our group, which included 8 adults ranging from 40-72 and 4 kids ranging from 9-17. There was an older ... Read More
About Us- We have been on 10 cruises with Carnival and this was our very first cruise with Royal Caribbean. There were 12 people in our group, which included 8 adults ranging from 40-72 and 4 kids ranging from 9-17. There was an older crowd on this ship than we are used to seeing which didn't affect our cruise at all. Embarkation- We live on 30 minutes from the Port of Norfolk so we had my brother drive us over. We arrived at 10AM and he was able to drop us off right in front of Half Moone Cruise Center. The porters were right there to take our luggage right from our van. Said goodbye to my brother and we walked right inside the terminal. By 10:45 they began processing and by 11AM we were walking on the ship. Easiest and best embarkation ever! Cabin- Most of us had a D1 balcony cabin on deck 7 except for one family that had a JS on deck 8. Our cabin was 7574, which was 4 doors down from the Centrum. Noise was never an issue and it was a perfect location. There was more than enough storage and the balcony was perfect for the two of us with two chairs and small table. The a/c worked great as we love having our cabin on the chilly side. Beds were a little firmer than we are used to but didn't keep us from a good night's sleep. The bathroom was adequate but what is up with the shower? Could it have been any smaller? It really was the smallest we have ever experienced at sea but we still managed. The cabin itself was a decent size and provided more than enough room for us. Service- Our cabin steward Kenny and dining team of Mehmet and Oswald were all outstanding. I couldn't find a complaint even if I tried. Thanks guys! Woman down at the Solarium Cafe was downright rude and nasty. The rest of the crew was simply the best! They had hand sanitizer stations spread throughout the public areas of the ship. Entertainment- John Blair is the cruise director on this ship and he was as good if not better than any we have sailed with. Always out and about and would always speak to us if we saw him on the ship. We went to all the shows each night and everyone seemed to enjoy each one. Of the Broadway style shows we thought Rhythm & Rhyme was the best. If you have comedian Gary Muledeer on your ship you have to go see him. He was absolutely hilarious! We also loved Los Pampas Gauchos during the farewell show. We are pool deck kind of people so we spent a lot of time soaking up the rays. Kool Vibes was the band up there and they were excellent. Couldn't help but get into the groove when they were playing. Also check out Take 4 if you sail this ship. Their lead singer Johnny is really good and has some dance moves to go with his voice. Late night comedian Al Romas was also hilarious at both of his shows. We also attended our very first Quest. It is not to be missed. What a riot. Food- We ate all breakfasts and lunches in the Windjammer. We ate dinner each night in the Great Gatsby except for the days we were in San Juan and St Thomas. Everything we had was either good to very good. We like Carnival's menu a little better but the food really was good. Didn't order room service at all so I can't comment on that. Ports- San Juan: Been there enough and could take it or leave it. We just walked around and headed over to San Cristobal. Then did a little shopping and was back on the ship by 6PM. St Thomas: It was raining when we arrived so we shopped for a few hours at Havensight. The sun finally came out at about 11 so we grabbed a taxi over to Megans Bay. After 4 trips to St Thomas this was our first trip to Megans. We usually go to either Trunk Bay or Sapphire. Really enjoyed Megans and would go there again. Samana: I think this was our favorite port on this trip. We booked the Cayo Levantado Beach Break through the ship and loved it! What a beautiful beach. It's on a little island not far from where the ship anchors. Highly recommend this excursion. Last stop was Labadee. I know it is a favorite on this board but I could take it or leave it. Maybe after the pier is finished and the water clears back up it would be better. It wasn't really my idea of a tropical beach. We did have some that did the zip line, my daughter included, and they really loved that! Debarkation- We did the express debarkation and carried off our own luggage. We were off the ship by 7:30 but got held up at Customs due to a rose that my daughter had bought her mom for Mother's Day on Sunday. They sent us over to a special room and searched our luggage for other "contraband". We weren't the only ones over there and after 20 minutes we were on our way out of the terminal. Waited a few minutes outside for my brother to show up and we were back home before 9AM. Aside from the Customs hassle it was the easiest debarkation ever. Bottom Line- Overall, I would rate this cruise as an "A". It was right up there with one of our best ever. Very relaxing and fun filled from start to finish. We will definitely be sailing with Royal Caribbean again in the very near future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We sailed from Norfolk, VA (easy as we live nearby in VA Beach, VA). New embarking center a breeze to board the ship. We parked in the parking area at Cedar Grove for $10.00 a day; I guess a bargain compared to other cities?Room ... Read More
We sailed from Norfolk, VA (easy as we live nearby in VA Beach, VA). New embarking center a breeze to board the ship. We parked in the parking area at Cedar Grove for $10.00 a day; I guess a bargain compared to other cities?Room wasn't ready when we boarded at around 11 AM, however, was ready around 1 PM, gave us time to go to the Windjammer for lunch. Grandeur is showing her age but in a beautiful way, she is still grand though, and small enough to enjoy. We opt for the early diner at 6 PM (we don't like to eat late). Very good food, well served and our waiter, from India "D" and our ass't waiter from Jamaica "Terry" were superb.Windjammer was good, seems like the same menu most the time, but enjoyable. Not a crowded area that I have noticed on other ships, especially Princess (in November, 2008 we were on a 2 week Hawaiian cruise and the flow traffic in their "windjammer" was horrible, believe me). The waiters were exceedingly attentive, they would go out of their way to please you. My wife likes tomato juice, and it wasn't available in the windjammer, but lo and behold just ask for it and it appeared.All in all an excellent cruise, excellent entertainment and the cruise director and his wife (Mr. & Mrs. Blair) were just great people. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Hello, this is a review of our 9-night, Eastern Caribbean cruise, from May 7th-16th, aboard The Grandeur of the Seas. My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. This is our third cruise on the Grandeur, but first time ... Read More
Hello, this is a review of our 9-night, Eastern Caribbean cruise, from May 7th-16th, aboard The Grandeur of the Seas. My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate our anniversary. This is our third cruise on the Grandeur, but first time doing the current Easter Caribbean 9-night run. We are in our late 20's and early 30's. Embarkation- We had nearly a 4-hour drive to the Norfolk terminal, from central Virginia. This is nothing when you consider the fact that drive was going to get us to the Caribbean, we like homeport cruising. I was very skeptical of the park here, take bus, arrive at cruise terminal approach Norfolk has setup. Overall this worked quite well and we arrived at the Norfolk Half Moone terminal about a half hour after arriving at the parking lot. Our previous Grandeur cruises was from Baltimore, which allows you to park right at the cruise terminal, but charges you about $5 more a day to cruise from their facility. Once at the cruise terminal the biggest hold up was only having two metal detectors for everyone to be screened with, one or two more and the lines would have moved much quicker. All things considered, from the actual time we pulled onto the Parking lot, got bused over, cleared security, checked, and walked on the ship wasn't much more than an hour. Overall I did not think this was very bad. Day 1- We got our luggage within the first couple hours of being on board, about the same amount of time as our other cruises. We missed lunch in the Windjammer, as we got to busy showing the ship to several others that traveled with us. Muster drill was at 3:30 and lasted about 20-25 minutes. Sail away was just a few minutes past 4:00, we stayed on deck 10 and watched until we sailed past VA beach into open Ocean. I enjoyed sailing past some of the industrial areas and Navy ships along the way. Once the ship speed picked up on the ocean, the top decks were very windy and a little cold for most. Day-2 This was a full day at sea. We spent most of it between the pool deck and solarium. It was still cool today, as the ship was only as far as Cape Hatteras, NC. This was also the first formal night of the trip. We took pictures, since we were all dressed up; we usually take at least one picture worth $20 during the trip. Day-3 This was another full day at sea. We again spent our time between the pool and solarium, with some time on deck 10 lying out and reading. Today, I lost my XM radio signal, so just the pre-recorded stuff and mp3's I loaded onto my Inno radio. We stayed up late and partied the night away in the Viking Crown. Day-4 We slept in some from the late night partying. We hit the gym for a while, since two solid days at sea had us feeling we needed some exercise. I got an awesome salad in the main dining room, from salad station set-up in the middle. We made sure we was up on the top deck about 45 minutes prior to arrival in San Juan, this way we could take pictures of El Morro from the ship.  We arrived at San Juan right at 2 p.m. and people actually started getting off about 2:30. I needed to check e-mail, since we had data in port I did this until around 3:00 pm. By then we only waited in line to exit the ship for about 10 minutes. Since our ship arranged shore excursion of San Juan was canceled due to Mother's Day, we did our own. Once off the ship we found a tour driver that charged us $10 per person for a small tour of old and new parts of San Juan. At the end of the tour he dropped us off at El Morro. El Morro closes at 6 p.m. on Sundays, which still left us plenty of time to get off the ship, see parts of the city, and make it here. We spent about an hour and a half walking though the fort and taking pictures. I really enjoyed this; it was one of the highlights of my cruise. With the tour of El Morro complete, we decided to walk back into the part of old San Juan that was closer to the ship. All of this was more or less downhill, so we walked it. We looked in shops and browsed for cool things we might want to take home. Originally, we thought about eating ashore in old San Juan, however we found most restaurants' very busy. This may have been due to at least partly by it being Mother's Day. So, we decided to head back to the ship and grab dinner in Main Dining room. We thought we may have had time after second setting dinner to head off the ship for a little bit, but we didn't. Instead we stayed up on the upper deck for sail-away and pool party. As a side note the Carnival Victory left at 10:00 for anyone wanting to watch it sail away. Day5- Our Anniversary, spent in St. Thomas! Ship arrived very early at 7:00 a.m. to a light mist or rain. We had breakfast, and headed off the ship around 9. We had already decided we wanted to do the Paradise Point sky ride that looks over the harbor. It was still a little cloudy, but the rain had stopped. My wife looked in the shop; while I watched the cloudy skies give way to a bright blue sky. We drink several drinks out on the patio and took some amazing pictures. My wife, found out she loved the 'Bushwhacker' frozen drinks from here. About lunch time we headed to Megan's Bay to enjoy the beach. We had a nice day swimming and relaxing at the beach. We headed back to the ship around 3:30. Once back on the ship we had a snack in the Windjammer and watched sail away. The Carnival Victory followed us to St. Thomas, and sailed right after we did. I got several good pictures of her leaving. Even though this was our second time in St. Thomas, we can't wait to go back, maybe even for a week. Day6- Samna, Dr  We arrived to dark overcast clouds. However by mid-morning these where gone. We booked the RCCL shore Excursion, beach break on Cayo Levantado. This was very nice with a beautiful beach and water. I like this beach because it had waves, not monster ones but much bigger than Megan's Bay. The worst part about this island was the appearance of flies, they would come and go, and when they came around would drive you made. This was not enough to ruin the trip, but something you should be aware of. Mixed drinks and beers ranged from $3 -7, Hot dogs, and burgers from $4 and up. You could get grilled lobster for $20. Day 7- Labadee This was our first trip to Labadee, we had heard so much about it. Lots of construction going on here, the new pier, beach expansion, and new buildings, all of which we are told is to be ready for Oasis. This really did not impact our time here, no loud noises from machines, just an occasional hammer in the back ground. The BBQ lunch here was good; the burgers taste much better grilled. One note here is, the Haitian flee market is filled with so many people wanting you to buy their items. We tried to tell them just let us look, but this did not work. We left when we got tired of being haggled. Also, if you decide to walk all over Labadee, be sure to wear shoes that you don't mind getting dusty. My sandals had totally changed colors when I got back on the ship. Also, take some money off the ship if you want to buy anything from the local markets, they are not taking your sea pass card 'yet':) Day 8- Was at Sea, we spent the day by the pool sipping on assorted mixed drinks. Tonight was formal night, so we took some more pictures. Day 9- Our last full day of our cruise, spent by the pool and solarium. We ate lunch in the Main dining room to avoid the crowding at the windjammer. We sorted thought the pictures we had taken during formal night and packed our bags. Disembarkation- This was our first time trying the 'new' disembarkation process. On paper I could not see much that had really changed, except for a few extra 'relax' and 'enjoy' added to the process. We got up early enough to do breakfast in the windjammer. Then proceeded to our stateroom until 8:30, when we was to head to the Theater for our group number to be called. We must have got lucky; as soon as our elevator arrived at deck 5 they were calling our group number. We never did have to wait in the theater, and was off the ship in less than 10 minutes from leaving our stateroom! Once off the ship we collected our bag on our own and headed out. The line for porter service was fairly long, but lots of porters were available and being put to use as fast as the line could move. Once out of the facility we caught the bus over to the Cedar Grove packing lot. The worst part about this was during our drive over it started to rain heavily. Once we arrived at the parking lot, the porters started taking all the luggage off the bus. However, before the bus driver would allow us to get off the bus, they had to have the luggage unload first. Our luggage was one of the first off, and got SOAKED. I could have taken it to our vehicle and saved it from five minutes worth of rain if the bus driver had allowed us off sooner. This was the biggest flaw in this system I saw, and think a canopy could have fixed this. Food- Since this was our third time on the Grandeur, I had a good idea what the food would be like. I did feel that many of the main dining room dishes were a little better. We particularly enjoyed several of the soups like the onion soup and lemon grass with shrimp. The Windjammer had a new layout since we was on the ship the last time and seemed to have a little more variety, although I didn't think that was the case for breakfast. Our main dining room waiters were very good and always professional. I would like to think Sijeit our main waiter and Roderick our assistant waiter for the good service. Ship- Well, we know the Grandeur pretty well by now, and she did not disappoint. Even though this is now one of the smaller ships in the RCCL fleet, we think it's still a very nice size with most amenities we needed. We did think the cosmetics of the ship have gone a little south. Examples include the deck 10 matting, tile work in solarium, and some of the carpeting. Did this mess our trip up? No, just things we noticed. On a positive note the dent repair to her side look good. We also thought the staff did a much better job cleaning after people that left plates and cup all over the ship, especially the pool area. During our last cruise, we had to often move plates and cups to use an area. We also were lucky enough to have the humor of Captain Hempstead on our cruise once again. Many enjoy his dry humor and easy to understand American voice. Thanks for reading we had a great time aboard the Grandeur. We have already started looking at the Enchantment Itineraries out of Norfolk and Baltimore. RCCL keep up the home port cruising. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We sailed on the Grandeur of the Seas on May 21 out of Norfolk, Va on a 9 day Eastern Caribbean trip with stops in St. Juan, St. Thomas, Samana (Dominican Republic) and Labadee, Haiti, returning on May 30th to Norfolk. It was a ... Read More
We sailed on the Grandeur of the Seas on May 21 out of Norfolk, Va on a 9 day Eastern Caribbean trip with stops in St. Juan, St. Thomas, Samana (Dominican Republic) and Labadee, Haiti, returning on May 30th to Norfolk. It was a wonderful cruise. We had a junior suite on the starboard aft side that was quite roomy and spacious for both of us, even though I missed the walk-in closet I had on the Explorer of The Seas. I thought the Gradeur was a lovely ship, just the right size, and felt more "ship-like" and less "floating hotel-ish" than the Explorer. Our stateroom attendent, Anthony, was a joy I wish I could take HIM home with me! He kept our room spotless and brought us anything we needed or wanted. Every evening he delighted us with a hilarious new towel creation and insisted it was the work of "The Magic Man".We had the breakfast buffet every morning in the Windjammer Cafe, and were pleased with the selections everything was hot, fresh and tasty. The fresh fruit, yogurt, eggs, and bacon were always my choices. Luch was always from the Windjamer as well, and although I usually didn't eat much, I tried to taste a tiny bit of the interesting dishes. The curries were always good. The soups were great! The desserts could be hit or miss, except for anything mousse-like those were excellent! Mango mousse was sooooo good. I usually had a very light afternoon snack at the Windjammer as well, and they always had hamburgers, hot dogs, good french fries if they were fresh and hot (they do a good job of keeping them hot and replenishing them), and taco fixings, plus deli meats and cheeses, salads, soups, desserts, and something different every day, such as wings, fried fish fingers, assorted hot meals, etc. I was very impressed.We had dinner every evening in the dining room and the first night, we were seated at an assigned table with a waiter who was a complete jerk. We complained to our headwaiter, Kirk, who was fantastic, and signed up for My Time Dining instead. After that we had the most wonderful waiter, Romar, and assistant waiter, Christopher. They truly went out of their way to turn around what could have been a horrible 9 day dining experience. Absolutely totally without complaint, except for the first night (plus that first night, my pork medallions were inedible). In San Juan, we actually arrived early, around 9:00 a.m. instead of 2:00 p.m., as there was a medical emergency on board and we had to get to San Juan as fast as possible.  We enjoyed walking around San Juan, and we were able to attend Sunday Mass at the Cathedral. We also walked through El Morro, which was fine, but I most enjoyed exploring the streets of Old San Juan and eating lunch in a little hole in the wall restaurant with wonderful food and sangria. In St. Thomas, we took the Ocean Racing excusion with On Deck and really enjoyed crewing and racing on the 40 foot Farr racing yacht. Afterwards, we walked into the downtown section to the shops and I was disappointed with how ticky-tacky St. Thomas was.In Samana, we went on the San Limon Horseback Ride and Hike to the waterfall, which was a tremendous experience, but it is EXTREMELY STRENUOUS and is not a sedate little ride on a horse on a level dirt path although you have a guide, the "path" is barely there; it is strewn with numerous, big, muddy and slippery rocks and mud holes; it is steeply pitched up and down; and you ford a river at least three or four times on horseback. Once you get near the waterfall, you go by foot down a slippery, muddy, rocky path to a stream that you wade through to finally reach the waterfall which is gorgeous and cooling. After resting, you have to do it all again in reverse. I LOVED this excursion (well, I didn't like the tender ride and the bus ride) and I highly recommend it IF you are ready for it: wear long pants to protect your legs from the saddle; wear cotton socks (for under the rubber boots they recommnd you wear and they supply, which are like Totes rubber boots very thin); bring an extra pair or two of cotton socks to change into AFTER you are through wading the stream on foot and fording the river on horseback so you have something dry to wear; bring a small backpack with a towel to dry your feet, your spare socks, a change of clothes if you want a dry set after you swim or after you finish the excursion, and a bottle of water; bring some cash as you might want to buy chocolate, your photo on the CD-DVD, and to tip your guide and you really SHOULD tip the guide. They work so hard but aren't supposed to ask for any money. I gave mine $20, as he not only helped me with my horse (although he also gave me more freedom once he knew I was comfortable with her), he walked/ran every step of the way with me over that horrendous terrain, wearing tattered, flimsy Totes rubber boots, and held my hand and guided me as I made my way slowly down the hill to the stream and waterfall and back again.Another highlight of the Grandeur is Captain Rob he has the BEST personality. His afternoon announcement were so humorous, and his "Nautical Notes" presentation on the last day of the cruise was very informative and worthwhile. He took the time to talk to anyone who had questions afterward and also posed for photos. Just a super guy.The entertainment (live shows) on board were okay, except for Al Katz, the comedian who was REALLY funny. As for the live music and music for dancing, we loved Johnny and Take Four his voice was amazing, and we loved dancing to his band. I climbed the rock wall, took Tai Chi, had a piano lesson, and my companion did the Sudoku Challange (and came in second). We took a dancing lesson as a brush up; the couple who taught the classes was very good. The library is beautiful, although there isn't a great assortment of books. We found a few (but we brought a lot of our own). The shops onboard were okay; I didn't see anything I really had to have. If the prices had been lower, I might have considered a few things. I thought the Activities Director was annoying, and the Cruise Director seemed nice, but wasn't that funny. (They are married to each other.) I'm sure they are very nice people, but she came across as just too fake. They did a good job of providing information for disembarking via the stateroom television channel, however.We didn't participate in the Belly Flop Contest, or the Mr. Sexy Legs contest, or the Love and Marriage Game show, or BINGO, or The Quest. There were two late night (midnight) buffets that we passed on as well. We didn't go to the Casino because it was horribly smoky.  They did have two smoke-free nights.  I would have like to have gone to the Viking Crown Lounge for late night dancing and entertainment, but it was so full of smoke I couldn't breathe.We would DEFINITELY sail on the Grandeur again. I hope she has some different cruises out of Baltimore, although we'd consider taking this trip again after taking a cruise to the Southern and Western Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This will be fun to write and I hope enjoyable to read. I will be totally honest and opinionated so bear with me.  This being my 4th cruise and my fiancees first it was fun to see things through his eyes too!  We had an absolute blast. ... Read More
This will be fun to write and I hope enjoyable to read. I will be totally honest and opinionated so bear with me.  This being my 4th cruise and my fiancees first it was fun to see things through his eyes too!  We had an absolute blast. And we did it OUR WAY ! Embarkation and debarkation were speedy, smooth and hardly any waiting, course we got onboard at 12:30.  I heard the lines were longer about 1:30.  Every staff member from the pool servers to the cabin stewards to the greeters at registration to the porters, were there to serve you in any way they could, and always with a smile!The cabin was the smallest I have ever had, our luggage didnt fit under the very comfortable bed, altho we had huge luggage which did fit in the closet.  Storage space was adequate. More storage behind the mirrors too, look for it!  Glad we brought a nite lite as the inside staterooms are pitch black at night.  Our steward, Wilbert and Ms. Lovelace were fabulous and kept the room spotless and the linens well stocked.  Do bring your own shampoo and conditioner as they have a combination dispenser in the shower that didnt do a thing for my long hair.  Do bring a power strip if you have things to charge. The shower is super tiny but the water pressure and temp were perfect as was the air conditioning.  The TV is very small but does come out and swivel to the bed for viewing.  Cute towel animals greet u each nite! Just precious, but no chocolate.  Towards the end of the cruise we noticed a sewage smell in the hall as well as in the cabin, many others commented on it too.The Windjammer is the best designed buffet I have ever seen, traffic moved quickly and smoothly with plenty to choose from.  Nothing real spectacular, but it was good and the seating and view is terrific no matter where you sit.  Wait staff cant do enough for you and keep it spotless in there!The Great Gatsby Dining Room was probably beautiful, I wouldnt know, somehow we got seated at a table for 8, which i had requested in January when i booked the cruise, altho we were up against a beautiful round window and enjoyed the view and the 6  very entertaining table mates, I would have preferred to sit in the big dining room with the rest of the travelers, as it was we missed the waiters singing and their parade of nations. We were at table 2, there were 24 people in the little room which did have a private entrance off the ship hallway, so that allowed us NOT to wait in line at the early seating.  My fiancee was thrilled to be in this private room and said it was much quieter and cozier than the big dining room.  Our waiter and asst. were wonderful, treated us like royalty and memorized our beverages and knew our likes and dislikes.  The food was food, nothing spectacular, we tried many new things, enjoyed them, but we have had better.  The steaks always seemed to be tough, as mentioned by everyone at the table. Entertainment staff was excellent, their ideas, games and poolside antics were fun to watch and/or participate in.  Don't miss THE QUEST ! OR THE MARRIAGE SHOW & THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES ALL IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC LOUNGE.Enjoyed the two comedians and the final show, but didnt get to watch the ship performers as we were busy in the casino. My fiancee hit the $1000 diamond progressive jackpot on the first formal nite at the penny machines.  He was a happy clam for the rest of the cruise and didnt give it back !  Being smokers we were not considered outcasts, we could smoke on open decks on the starboard side as well as in the casino.  There were many many smokers on board.First Formal Night, we had pictures taken that turned out wonderful. If you buy 4 8x10's you get the 5th one free and they put it in a big leather frame/book with a picture of the ship.  Very classy, yet expensive, but I was worth it, after all I never looked so good in all my finery!  I will always treasure those pictures, just a fabulous rememberance!  I didnt see any formal pictures being taken on the 2nd formal night.  Altho they do have a photographer taking casual fun shots on a white background or a beach background, i saw numerous people taking advantage of that fun idea, its right near the portrait store.  We tried to attend the captains champagne social but the room was filled, so we grabbed a glass and moved on to the schooner bar and listened to the piano man.Not real impressed with the shops, altho the liquor prices and marlboro prices were very reasonable.  "Inch of Gold" looks pretty but it does "turn" as I had purchased it 2 years ago on another cruise. At noon everyday, the captain gives a quick brief over the load speaker, it would get real quiet no matter where you were as all ears were tuned to his very dry humor and comical reports.  DO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS, HE'S TERRIFIC! San Juan was pleasant, the weather couldn't have been better, we docked at 2pm, were off the boat by 3pm and walked around Old San Juan,  this is my second trip and my fiancee was not impressed.  The stores closed at 5pm and it was Mother's Day, so many were closed anyway.  TIP: When you get off the boat there will be many drivers offering you a 2 hr tour of old and new San Juan, for $10 @,  definitely take it.  Its an air conditioned ride that you will really enjoy and learn a lot.  I had taken the tour a couple years ago, fiancEe was more interested in getting back on the ship, he had more fun there! Oh, well! St. Thomas, (my 2nd visit) of course is a beautiful island, but having never ventured to the beaches I still enjoyed myself at the shops along the pier and the covered flea market in town.  The tiny jewelry stores and shabby streets didn't do a thing for me.  Some friends went up to the top of the mountain and said it was a real treat to see the bird show and the view. Samana, Dominican Republic is an absolute disgrace, Royal Caribbean should be ashamed to even take their guests to this shabby port! It was horrendous, filthy, vendors practically begging  you and tour directors almost demanding you get in their vehicles even tho the only words they used were: waterfall, beach ride & $10 dollars. Most just kept showing you pictures of beaches or waterfalls and opening the door to their van.  NOT ON YOUR LIFE AM I GETTING IN THERE WITH YOU.  I did see some fellow travelers in a small rickshaw-type vehicle being dragged by a motorbike.  I don't think there are any traffic laws and the chaos was scary to watch. We walked the short waters edge to the many vendors under tents, once that was completed we were back on board within the hour.  Many of us felt very uncomfortable here. Don't miss the REMAX Realty office with laundry hanging all over the building, it will be on your right side as you walk towards the vendors. Larabee, our last port is a private island owned by the cruiseline. LOAD UP ON THE SUNSCREEN!  A two story boat came from the island to pick us up, it ran very frequently.  This is an absolutely stunning sight, very tropical, loads of  lounge chairs, which you do not have to pay to have them moved to a certain spot.  Hammocks hanging everywhere for your  absolute relaxation.  We did the $89, Zip line ride, which was absolutely fabulous, something I will never forget ! 500 ft. above the trees/ water and half a mile ride at about 45 miles per hour!  After an enjoyable lunch we walked over to the Artisian Market and outside vendors.  Wait a cool sight!  No one announced that we should have taken some money with us as the vendors do not accept your sea pass card.  That information would have been helpful.  I did have a $20 bill with me so we walked thru, what a mistake !  Each of the 50 or more vendors had exactly the same thing and were in your face and not accepting " No" for an answer, it got to be frightening and there was nothing there that I needed.  Typical island treats.  I tried once more to go in and browse but the vendors were so overpowering I had to leave.  There are many water sports on this island and just a beautiful scenery to enjoy.  BEWARE: when we came thru customs in Norfolk, every  single person who had purchased a wooden spear, mask, fan, statue, doll or anything made of wood from this island, was escorted by security into a private room.  There were about 50 people just sitting in this room when we went thru about 915 am.  Guess they were looking for drugs or bugs or something.  But the "held" vacationer didn't look too happy. Our time aboard the ship was absolutely the grandest and we are looking forward to our next trip on the Water.  My fiancEe has agreed cruising is the way to vacation: everything at your fingertips!  food, entertainment, no arranging transportation and being treated like Royalty. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My boyfriend and I traveled on the Grandeur of the Seas with RCI in May 2009 to the Eastern Caribbean. This was our first cruise and it a fun experience with a few setbacks. Norfolk Cruise Port: Easy. I believe parking was $10 per day, ... Read More
My boyfriend and I traveled on the Grandeur of the Seas with RCI in May 2009 to the Eastern Caribbean. This was our first cruise and it a fun experience with a few setbacks. Norfolk Cruise Port: Easy. I believe parking was $10 per day, secure lot less than a mile from the dock. Tour buses run between the two free of charge. We arrived at noon to the parking lot and were on the ship at 1pm. Overall ship experience: My boyfriend and I are in our early 20's and we felt this ship didn't have a lot to do on it. I know it is an older ship in RCI fleet, but with 4 days at sea there were not a lot of activities that we were interested participating in. We did however enjoy the ballroom dancing class that was held daily. The ship seemed worn, but still modern. Food was great. Stateroom: We had an interior stateroom on deck 2. Plenty of space for two people. Itinerary: San Juan, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas and Haiti. We did not purchase a shore excursion for San Juan. Dominican Republic: We purchased a horseback riding tour to a waterfall. Please do not purchase this excursion if it is still offered. I feared for my life the entire time. We were placed on mules, not horses and traveled on very dangerous paths. I could not relax the entire trip. The animals looked like they had not been fed in months. A very stressful experience. St. Thomas: We had booked a 1pm snorkel tour that never showed. We found out our trip had been canceled since it was not full. This was after we waited 45 minutes for the tour to show up. We wasted a lot of our day in St. Thomas. After leaving St. Thomas the excursion desk told us we should have received a letter telling us to join the 9am snorkel tour. At this point they walked back into their office and gave us the letter that we should have received. So why did they have it and not us? We were refunded our money and told to book a snorkel tour in Haiti. We asked if we could get some type of discount for the inconvenience they caused us in St. Thomas. The excursion desk could have cared less. (Note: I emailed RCI after the cruise about this situation. They never responded to my complaint) Haiti: Beautiful, private area for RCI. We booked a snorkel tour and had fun in the aqua park. Our favorite port. Our eastern Caribbean cruise was good, even with a few setbacks involving the shore excursions. My boyfriend and I plan to travel on larger ships from here on out that provide more activities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We are a married couple (in our 30's) and this was our 3rd cruise: first with Royal Caribbean.  The cruise overall was nice.  I won't go into detail regarding everything about the cruise; I will only detail the things that ... Read More
We are a married couple (in our 30's) and this was our 3rd cruise: first with Royal Caribbean.  The cruise overall was nice.  I won't go into detail regarding everything about the cruise; I will only detail the things that stood out to us.  Our first two cruises were with Carnival and we had a blast! Dining: we really enjoyed the My Time Dining option and had a table for 2 ready, whenever we chose to go to dinner. The food in the Dining room was okay-to-good in my opinion, and terrible in my husband's opinion.  The food quality seemed to get better as the week progressed though.  My biggest complaint: lack of seafood dishes! That's really all I want to eat on a cruise.  Besides formal nights, the only seafood main course was tilapia (the cheapest, farm raised in china, fish you buy at Walmart). We only went to one formal night, and we had excellent lobster (the waiter actually offered us an extra tail each - to which we took him up on it).  The Windjammer was okay, but in no way comparable to the food on Carnival's lido deck buffets.  The Solarium pizza/hamburger joint on the Grandeur had really poor pizza (like cheap frozen pizza).  The fries were really good though.  The pizza on Carnival cruises is excellent in comparison. Ship:  very beautiful and classy.  The ship is a smaller ship and doesn't offer as much as the larger ones.  There was really only one night club, and each evening it started off with an organized group of cigar smoking - YUK!  I loved the promenade on Deck 5.  You can actually walk around the entire ship except when tendering (they block off the from for the anchor crew). The aft of Deck 5 has lounge chairs and this was probably may favorite spot on the entire ship - very majestic looking at the ships wakes in the infinite sea. Ship activities: really, really geared to the older crowd.  In fact, I guess 80% of the guests onboard were over 60.  A funny story:  in San Juan, about 1 hour before we were leaving, out of boredom, we decided to go play shuffle board. Up on the top deck, we saw another couple sitting in deck chairs looking at the action going on at the adjacent Carnival Victory ship.  There was a huge movie screen playing videos and a "fun" party time going on over there.  The other couple, in their thirties, looked at us and said, "I wish we were on that ship".  I said "Me too".  We have sailed on the Carnival Victory before and it was a blast. Our ship was calm, relaxing, and mature.  Not crazy and fun.  On the flip side, we were always able to find a pool deck chair, while on Carnival it's hard to find a prime location. The indoor Solarium pool was almost empty all the time and you could get some peaceful whirlpool tub time. Entertainment:  Your basic ship shows.  The guest comic jugglers and the Argentina drum dance/comedy team were great! San Juan - we arrived here about 4 hours early for a medical emergency of a passenger.  Old San Juan is nice and we walked around exploring. St. Thomas - A beautiful and clean island.  We took a 2 hour tour of the island and stopped off at Sapphire beach for about 3 hours.  I loved the snorkeling there and got some excellent underwater photos with my camera. Dominican Republic - I loved it there.  Why?  Because I love the cultural shock.  My least favorite ports are always the commercial beaches that look like a Florida beach, just somewhere else.  We took the ATV excursion through RCI.  I was amazed by the poverty in the county. We rode through villages where some of the kids were actually unclothed.  The children came out of the 'houses" to wave at our ATV caravan.  I had brought a backpack of toys for the kids and handed them out.  They appeared thrilled. We even stopped at a small waterfall and a nearly-secluded beach.  The beach was absolutely gorgeous! Labadee - nice beach, but there was construction going on at both sides of the peninsula. It wasn't actuall peaceful, as we constantly heard the heavy equipment scraping and dropping boulders.  Beware of the Haitian flea market: severe haggling and pressuring.  But the Artisan Market was nice and peaceful and sold many of the same things and at good prices.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This was our 6th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean on September 4th. Our previous experiences were with 4 previous trips with Holland America (HAL) (Hawaii 15nt, Alaska cruise tour and 2-Caribbean 10-11 nt) and one cruise with NCL 7nt. ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean on September 4th. Our previous experiences were with 4 previous trips with Holland America (HAL) (Hawaii 15nt, Alaska cruise tour and 2-Caribbean 10-11 nt) and one cruise with NCL 7nt. We were traveling with 40 others from the Outer Banks of NC and it is telling that the ship is large enough that we only occasionally saw others in the group except at dinner or in passing in the Casino. Embarkation: A pleasure and wonderfully efficient in comparison to our first cruise in 2006 now that Norfolk has completed its cruise terminal. We went prepared with our completed Sea Pass, credit card and passport and got into the ship before noon (after arriving at 11:45) and the fastest experience we have ever had. Travel: We arrived by bus with our group and avoided typical plane and parking issues. This started the trip on a wonderfully relaxed note from the beginning. Cabin: We were in an outside cabin on Deck 2 forward of midship chosen for stability and cost reasons. This turned out to be a good choice with hurricane Hanna following us all the way up the coast and finally overtaking us in St. John, NB. The cabin is smaller (154 sq. ft.) vs. our experiences on HAL (184 sq. ft) for a similar cabin but huge compared to our one experience on the NCL Majesty. Similar cabins on HAL have a bathtub not present on the Grandeur but we rarely (if ever) used the bathtub anyway. As noted by other reviewers, there were plenty of drawers, adequate but not generous closet space and just barely enough room under the bed to force our suitcases. If you have a rather thick suitcase, expect that it will not fit under the relatively low bed. Only one plug in the cabin as on most ships so remember to take an expander plug or strip. Finally, I saw other reviewers comments regarding a sewer gas smell in the halls. I also experienced this through most of the cruise primarily in the hall near the crew access door on Deck 2 across for Room 2064. I recommend caution in selecting that room and rooms 2063 and 2067 that are next to the offending source of that real unpleasant odor. Food: It is unbelievable to hear on the ship and read other review that say that the food in the Buffet is always the same. We found a wide assortment of food at lunch and dinner and cannot name one possible choice at breakfast that was possibly missing. I don't agree with the comments that the food was always the same except at breakfast...but what possibly could be added with all the options available from fresh cooked omelets, eggs, melon(s), cereals, sausages, pastries, etc.etc. The only criticism I can think of is the incredibly overcooked bacon and that is it. Dining Room: We ate all dinners and most lunches in the dining room. The quality of the food is only average in my opinion. Fish in the buffet was actually better than in the dining room (?) and one evening I sent back by fish dish which was tasteless and had a poor texture. Steaks are particularly poor and our dinner companion had to replace his sirloin which he considered inedible. I had one prime rib that was actually tough if that can be imagined. Drinks: We had no alcoholic drinks and can't comment. One disappointment was the poor choice of fruit drinks at breakfast where the only choices in the buffet were apple juice and orange drink (real orange juice was listed as $3.95 + 15% gratuity next to the orange squeezing machine at the entrance). Service: Friendly but spotty and not up to par with our previous experiences. Waiter and Asst. did not ever remember choice of beverages (except for alcoholic drinks). Refilling of glasses, butter and bread dishes was not good most nights. Our wait staff was obviously overworked and the Asst. had 3 tables of 8 diners which explains why there may have been a less than stellar performance. Royal Caribbean is more at fault here than the wait staff. Public Rooms: Very clean and well kept for this older grand ship. The 7 deck high "Centrum" is the most impressive we have seen on any of the ships in our limited experience with smaller vessels. The number of various congregating spots is impressive as noted by others and represents a challenge to find them as the elevators are not keyed to rooms on various floors and you have to find that darned ship map statue to see where you are and where you need to be going....this was a bit vexing as we consider ourselves pretty good cruisers. Library is practically non-existent. No attendant, few books, no newspapers or magazines and a real disappointment compared to our experience with HAL. Internet services were adequate but expensive as is typical. There were package deals but no reduced rates later in the cruise as we have seen on other lines. Ports of Call & Excursions: Bar Harbor, St. John, NB, Halifax, NS, and Boston were a new experience for us that we and others on board enjoyed thoroughly. With hurricane Hanna tailing us from the South, this caused a minor change in the itinerary for a first stop at Halifax rather than St. John which we visited the next day post Hanna. Locals recounted the severe wind and heavy rains we missed but saw part of during our tours in Halifax. In Boston, look for small Irish bars that serve 1 1/4 lb lobsters for lunch for $8.95 with purchase of any beverage (price in Bar Harbor varied from $18.95 to $22.95 with potato and coleslaw expensive side dishes is seems). Ship excursions are generally too expensive. In St. John, a city tour from the ship was $79 pp. We found a city bus tour on the way from the ship to the City Market that was only $17 pp and went to all of the same places (Plus the Imperial Theatre) as the ship excursion for much more. Peggy's cove in Halifax was scenic but so rainy that we would have to go back to properly review. Our trip on the Grandeur of the Seas was pleasant and memorable enough to want us to go back on this ship again. I hope that RCL can secure a better source of higher quality beef and more choices of juice in the AM as my only disappointments from this otherwise great trip up the east coast. Yes, I am hooked on cruising after resisting my wife for all those years and this was our 6th cruise since September 2006! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
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