121 Tampa Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Reviews

While planning our first European Cruise for this summer, to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, the long Buffalo winter, along with the desire to be Diamond members of the Crown and Anchor Society for that special cruise, was all the ... Read More
While planning our first European Cruise for this summer, to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, the long Buffalo winter, along with the desire to be Diamond members of the Crown and Anchor Society for that special cruise, was all the incentive we needed to add in a short and relatively inexpensive getaway during my Spring Vacation. A five day escape on the Grandeur of the Seas fit the bill. During our extended anticipation we were able to convince some good friends to join us on what would be their first cruise. Chris and Orvis really helped add to the excitement as we recalled being "first time cruisers." We flew Southwest Airlines to Tampa with no problems at all. I took advantage of the on-line check-in, which did help us to get better seats. We came down two days early and were able to enjoy two relaxing afternoons in the courtyard of the Tampa Double Tree Westshore. The hotel was very nice. They accepted my State Retirement System card as sufficient evidence that I was a Government Employee, and we were able to book the balcony room, with free breakfast buffet for just $100 per night. They provided free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel, and anywhere within 2 miles of the hotel. We had them take us to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner on Thursday; I had their BBQ Salmon, YUM. I got up early Friday morning and used the fitness center. It was small with a limited number of Precor machines. I used free weights instead of Lifefitness machines I'm used to using at Bally's. Later that morning we had them take us to the local grocery store, Sweet Bay, where we purchased two small 8 can cases of soda to bring on the cruise. I was also able to have their pharmacy call my home pharmacy so that I could be supplied with the cholesterol medication that I forgot to pack. The pharmacist there was originally from Jamestown, NY. She worked hard to get my medicine for me. Thumbs up for Sweet Bay! We had dinner on Friday night at Charley's Steakhouse, right next to the hotel. Double YUM! Our friends arrived at the Double Tree sometime long after we had called it a night. EMBARKATION We had breakfast and then called a cab to bring us to the pier. It was $20 for the four of us. We arrived at 10:15, and dropped our bags with a porter (including the soda). We had to wait outside for about 15 minutes. I spent most of that time talking with a new cruiser who seemed very concerned about how it all would go. She asked me lots of questions and I tried to set her at ease. She seemed very grateful for my advice. At 10:30 we were allowed to enter and check in. After checking in, we waited for another fifteen minutes to be allowed to board the ship. Now on my first cruise, five years ago, we had some delays after flying down on the day of the cruise. That time I was literally the last person to board the ship. This time I was the first in the priority boarding area and thus, at 11:00 AM, I was the very first passenger to board the ship! Because we were so early and still full from breakfast, we changed into our swimsuits in the spa's locker room, and enjoyed an empty solarium for about two hours. At 1:00 PM we went to our room, changed back into regular clothes, headed up to the Windjammer for lunch, and enjoyed watching other people arrive. At 4:00 PM we had the, now lifejacketless, muster drill. This was followed by Champaign and Chocolate Covered Strawberries on the pool deck for the Sailaway! Everything about the day was stressless and smooth. Embarkation gets an A+. ENTERTAINMENT I many ways, I know the cruise has really begun when the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers come out for that all time favorite: "Voyage to Adventure." Cruise Director, John Blair, was exceptional. While I've never had a cruise ruined by the CD, I don't think I ever realized how much a good CD can add to the experience. Opening night he set the tone of the whole cruise. His Neil Diamond routine was spot on, and really got us revved up. From there he just took up notch after notch, by the time he was done he was walking across rows of chairs high fiving nearly everyone in the theater. We were ready for a great week. The comedian that night, Al Romas, was the funniest I've seen: absolutely side-splitting. Night two was a production show, that was just OK. I'm not a big fan of these shows; the musical selections were good as was the singing. It seemed like the dancers were technically spot-on, but the choreography was uninspired. There was a "love story" theme to it, but it just didn't do much for me. Night three's entertainment was a fantastic Young Elvis impersonator. Travis Ledoyt. While the show was a little over the top in its sexuality, it really was the women in whose laps he was sitting, more than Elvis himself, who crossed the line most often. The show was very high-energy and entertaining. We skipped the night four production show. It was a tribute to musicals called "Rhythm and Rhyme." On the last night of the cruise we had the joy of seeing "Los Pampas Gauchos" and "Fluorescence." We had seen them a few years ago, but the show is just as fun as ever with a lot of wow factor laughter. If I heard that they were playing here at home, I'd pay $30.00 or $40.00 to go see them. The night ended with "late night, adult comedy" by Al Romas again. Though the language and themes were a little rougher, he was still hilarious. Believe it or not, another entertainment highlight of this cruise was Captain Rob's daily updates from the bridge. He always had several humorous comments hidden among the facts and figures. Entertainment gets an A-. FOOD/DINING ROOM With this being my sixth Royal Caribbean cruise, I have developed some favorite items on the menu. All the meals were up to my standards. Now, I'm not as picky as some, but I've had a few duds along the way. Everything was good this time around. Of particular note: The Prime Rib was especially tender and done to perfection, I love the Eggplant Mozzarella Tower, the Lamb Shank was superb, Lobster was good, Prime Rib with was just as good as the first time, The NY Strip Steak was probably the weakest beef of the trip. I may upgrade to Chops steak on my next cruise. Our service was good. Headwaiter, Samuel, was the most involved headwaiter I've seen: stopping at every table every night, helping with bread and refreshment service. He was very outgoing and energetic. The same may not be said of our waiter and especially assistant waiter. The waiter was OK, just nothing especially memorable. But the assistant waiter really seemed to be neglecting our whole table. He'd give us each one piece of bread, unless we asked for more, a few minutes later he'd come back with our drinks, and then we didn't see him until dessert. If we want refills on drinks or more bread we regularly had to call him back to us and even then it was difficult. Overall I'd give our dinner service a B-. EXCURSIONS/PORTS Our first stop was in Costa Maya. We loved the Jungle Beach Break there last year, and since we always have one beach day, we figured, "why mess with success." For $40.00 per person the price was right and we knew what we would be getting. The escort on the half-hour bus ride out did not provide as much local cultural information as our previous stop. We were also advised that the high winds were creating some dangerous conditions for the wave runners and kayaks. Upon arrival, everything was as we had remembered it. Comfortable, clean, friendly, free drinks and affordable food. It was delightful. I'll give this excursion an A. I've been on six cruises and been to Cozumel six times. Last time I tried to go on the Bottom Fishing excursion, but it was canceled due to low participation. It was not cancelled this time even though there were only four passengers. The cost for this excursion is $80 per person. The experience was as advertised, though the fishing was not very good. We had a bout a half hour ride to the fishing area where we drifted from shallow 30ft. water out to much deeper 150ft. As we got away from land the wind and the swells picked up considerably. The other three guys each caught a fish; I got skunked, though I lost the most bait to bites and nibbles. Unfortunately after about two hours of fishing (we should have had three) a Mexican Coast Guard vessel pulled along side and commenced a 45 minute inspection of the boat. While I'm glad that the boat's safety is assured, we essentially just drifted further away from the fish while the inspection was carried out. It was certainly not the fault of Royal or the Tour Company, but I did feel as though I was shorted on my time. When I returned to the ship I went to the Excursions desk, explained what happened and with minimal haggling negotiated a $25 refund. Given that the service on the trip was good, and that they can't make the fish bite, and Royal compensated me for the lost hour I'll give the experience an A-. I would try it again. DISEMBARKATION The process was flawless. We went to our meeting location a few minutes before the scheduled 8:30 departure. Our group was already leaving. We were off the ship by 8:40, got our luggage by 8:50 and through Customs by 9:00. We were able to get into a taxi immediately and for a $25 fare the four of us were driven to the airport by 9:20. Our 11:15 flight left on time and we were home as scheduled by 4:00PM. ODDS AND ENDS Being away for Easter Sunday did bother me a little bit; I wasn't sure how the day would go. I was very glad when they announced that there would be a non-denominational service at 9:00 AM. I woke up early, used the fitness center, and took some pictures of the Easter Sunrise at sea. When I walked into the lounge it was my surprise to see the woman I had talked to on the pier, getting ready to lead the worship service. She is the pastor of a small congregational church on Cape Cod. Before we departed I had told her to relax and enjoy the cruise, and that she was on vacation. Turns out, I guess that she wasn't exactly away from her line of work! It was a lovely service, just right for a diverse group of people who all wanted to celebrate the same thing. I noticed a much stronger enforcement of chair saving and keeping children out of the solarium than I had ever noticed on any cruise before. CD John reported that there were 724 children on this sailing. While the number of kids was noticeable, I did not see them causing any real problems; they certainly didn't have any negative impact on my enjoyment of the cruise. On the first day or two there were some young ones running around the solarium, and Captain Rob did make an announcement about parents observing the ship's rules. That seemed to be enough. Every day I saw Royal Caribbean employees taking items off of chairs and bringing them to the towel station lost and found. The towel sign in/out was not as burdensome a process as I had expected. Tux Rental for formal night worked just fine, except that the cummerbund they gave would have fit a guy about 150 pounds bigger than me. I called and the tailor was at my room with a properly fitting replacement within 20 minutes. Diana and I got some gorgeous pictures using the "Lifestyle" white background. It was a lot of fun taking the pictures and we really got some nice results. I recommend that anyone who can get down on the floor give it a try. A lot of the information in this review will become outdated very soon. Grandeur is moving to Ft. Lauderdale at the end of this month. Captain Rob and Cruise Director John are leaving her shortly after that; they are both going to the Enchantment out of Baltimore. We sailed Enchantment last year and loved her. The addition of the Rob and John team will have me taking a serious look at sailing her again. Next up for us... Rome 8/29 on Navigator of the Seas! To celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss! : ) Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
First, we live near Tampa so getting to the port and embarkation was a breeze. Valet park for the extra $15..totally worth it if you have several bags. The ship was nice, a bit outdated. Our Jr Suite was OK. The private balcony was a ... Read More
First, we live near Tampa so getting to the port and embarkation was a breeze. Valet park for the extra $15..totally worth it if you have several bags. The ship was nice, a bit outdated. Our Jr Suite was OK. The private balcony was a must. The room had small sitting area, fridge, hair dryer, 2 bathrobes, small TV, plenty of hangers and storage. This was on deck 8. Deck 9 has the pool, solarium, late night food, etc etc. Lots of activity and you hear it all night from deck 8. Sleeping was impossible. Surprised I never read that on any other reviews of this ship. We rent homes or condos when we vacation. We were concerned the ship would become confining and we would get bored. Well, that is exactly how we felt after completing the trip. There were activities that didn't suit our tastes on board. We felt that if you had kids and teens this was a great way to have them entertained day and night in a controlled environment so parents could enjoy themselves. Food was good. I was very disappointed with formal night. This was no more than any other night on the ship except you had to wear a suit, formal attire, etc. I thought there would be some differentiation but nothing. The shrimp cocktail had the smallest shrimp I've seen. And yes, people were coming to meals dressed as they pleased. I suppose it is time to eliminate most of the dress code written on the web pages. No one sticks to it anyway. The price of the drinks were no worse than any hotel and sometimes, cheaper than as well. The quality of the drinks was very good as well. However, the soda pkg was a rip off. You had to find an open bar every time you wanted a refill. The crew was very attentive and polite. The casino was small but I found a few slots that were paying. Table limits low entry as well. We just wanted to share with others that are contemplating taking a cruise for the first time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Well, let me say that this was my 3rd time with RCCL and 9th time cruising overall. I will say that there were many positives to our cruise, but alas there were some negatives. The positives were: 1) The embarkation process was fantastic ... Read More
Well, let me say that this was my 3rd time with RCCL and 9th time cruising overall. I will say that there were many positives to our cruise, but alas there were some negatives. The positives were: 1) The embarkation process was fantastic (leaving out of Tampa). We arrived at the Port of Tampa at 10:40 a.m. and had our drinks in hand on deck by 11:10 a.m. It was one of the fastest and most efficient embarkations that I have had to date. 2) The ship was very clean, especially for an older ship. 3) My wife and I thought the food was very good. 4) The service from all of the crew was excellent. The crew was very attentive and very friendly. We did not have one negative experience with any crew... and this was the first cruise that happened, as we usually have one crewmember who is not so nice. Great job RCCL 5) Crew listened to our concerns. We noticed some kids that were harassing some guests on the cruise (why they were not supervised by parents... who knows?). I went to an attendant, who immediately got security and addressed the matter. There were no further problems. This is also the first cruise where they took immediate action on a problem. Another great job! 6) Individuals that stood out: Captain Rob (love this guy... finally an American Captain that I can understand what he is saying), Jose (stateroom attendant), Rosario (Champagne Bar attendant... mixes a great drink), Rodolfo (team headwaiter), Harbinder (waiter), Rose Jean (assistant waiter), and many other unnamed personnel. 7) Debarkation was very efficient and fast. Now... for the negatives: 1) The rooms are entirely too small. 2) The Television is old and antiquated. Very limited TV programming. I know that we are on a cruise, but when you do stay in your cabin, one would like a little more in this area. 3) The bathroom is tiny! Some fixtures were showing their age. 4) At times there was a sewage smell when we walked down the hall from our cabin. 5) The entertainment was lousy. The comedian was not very funny. The dancers and singers were average at best. The show production was sorely lacking. 6) I did not care for the cruise director Clo. She was hard to understand at times with her accent. Her voice at times was like listening to nails on a chalkboard. She had the right "cruise director energy," but was on the PA system a little bit much for my liking. 7) On RCCL there is a charge for everything!!! Plus, the prices have increased on board. Otherwise, this was a decent cruise and could have been worse if it wasn't for the positives listed above. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My husband and I decided to use some Christmas money to splurge on a cruise. The 5-night, Western Caribbean trip fit our budget, so we booked the trip and then began reading Cruise Critic almost daily to get ready for the trip. Being ... Read More
My husband and I decided to use some Christmas money to splurge on a cruise. The 5-night, Western Caribbean trip fit our budget, so we booked the trip and then began reading Cruise Critic almost daily to get ready for the trip. Being first-time cruisers, we had no expectations but were mildly concerned about some of the negative reviews we read. However, our experience was wonderful and we've decided we definitely want to cruise again in the future. A few disclaimers: We are pretty low-maintenance people; our past vacations could never be described as luxurious; and we consider dinner out at Applebees "fine dining." So perhaps it is no surprise that we thoroughly enjoyed our time aboard the Grandeur of the Seas. We stayed in an interior cabin which was snug but adequate and had lots of nooks and crannies for storage. Our cabin attendant was friendly and efficient, and having someone else make the bed and straighten up the room was a real treat for me. We were very pleased with the food: breakfast and lunch buffets provided plentiful offerings, and the evening meals were superb and our waiter was excellent. Remember, I measure my dining experiences against Applebees, so being addressed as "Madame" and being able to order an appetizer, main course AND dessert without guilt was the height of decadence! Items we especially enjoyed: the sea bass, the New York strip steak, the tempura shrimp and Mahi Mahi, the cream of pumpkin soup, the Vidalia onion tart, the Key Lime pie....I could go on and on. Eating all that good food motivated us to spend some time each day in the exercise facility; I rode a recumbent bike, my husband used a treadmill, and we both lifted weights. We exercised around 8:00-9:00 each morning and seldom had to wait to use equipment. During the days it was cloudy and cooler than normal in the Western Caribbean, so often we camped out in the beautiful solarium. When we wanted to sit out on deck, we never had trouble finding a deck chair, although we didn't try to sit near the pool (it had loud music blaring and was pretty much taken over by college students on spring break). Speaking of college students, they were pretty well-behaved except for a couple nights when they woke us up as they passed noisily through the hall outside our stateroom. We stopped at two ports--the first was Costa Maya. The day was cool and rainy, so we just walked around the shopping area near the port and then went back to the ship to relax. We had a better day at Cozumel, where we took an excursion booked through Royal Caribbean. Our excursion was Cozumel by Jeep and Snorkel, led by Sunshine Tours and an excellent guide, Felix, who was funny, informative, and concerned at all times with our safety and comfort. We rode around the whole island, stopping at Punta Sur Park to see an ancient Mayan weather station and a lagoon where saltwater crocodiles live, then going to tour a lighthouse and navigation museum (we are just geeky enough that we really enjoyed this), and finally ending up at a beach where we spent about an hour snorkeling along a reef, again guided by Felix. We saw a lobster, a starfish, a stingray, and some beautiful tropical fish (yes, the colors really are as vivid as we've seen in pictures). The outing ended with lunch at FiestAmericana. I found a necklace and some earrings back in the port area of Cozumel that were much less expensive than similar items I'd seen in Costa Maya. We also enjoyed the entertainment aboard the ship, including the Grandeur of the Seas singers and dancers, who presented an array of Broadway show tunes one night; two different comedians, one of whom did fantastic impressions; and 3 Argentine dancers who were a real hoot. We also watched the "Love and Marriage" game show one night, which was hysterical (warning: probably not for young kids); and my husband enjoyed a karaoke contest and the "Let's Make a Millionaire" show on other nights. The cruise director Chlodagh was outstanding, very enthusiastic, and the captain's daily announcements over the PA system were really amusing. We didn't buy any beverage packages, since water/iced tea/lemonade were always available. We treated ourselves to an occasional beer or glass of wine, bought only one picture taken by a photographer during our excursion, stayed out of the casino, and overall spent very little above and beyond the cost of the cruise itself. Meeting people from all over the world--both fellow passengers and the ship's crew--was really fun. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our time aboard the Grandeur of the Seas and we look forward to cruising again someday. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Wife and I did a quick 5 night cruise last week onboard Grandeur from Tampa. This ship was the 1st I ever cruised on back in 2000, and my 11th cruise overall. We booked it because it was affordable, fit our schedules and we found a ... Read More
Wife and I did a quick 5 night cruise last week onboard Grandeur from Tampa. This ship was the 1st I ever cruised on back in 2000, and my 11th cruise overall. We booked it because it was affordable, fit our schedules and we found a fairly cheap flight from the Northeast to Tampa, originally was nonstop until Delta cancelled our direct flight and we had to transfer both coming and going in Atlanta. Since first Cruising with RCCL back in 2000, we feel that they have gone downhill. Food quality was the worst we've seen on a cruise, not sure if this is because it was s short cruise or RCCL is trying to cut some corners. Dinners were "fair" breakfast I would rate as "poor" and lunch "fair" as well. If not for a great salad bar, not sure what my wife would have had for lunch. Desserts were poor all around. I know food taste is subjective, but I know quality food and trust me this wasn't it. There was plenty of food just none I really wanted. Pizza/hotdogs/hamburgers were horrible in the solarium. Also noticed RCCL is really trying to nickel and dime you at every corner. Drinks are now about $8.00 with tip, they're constantly pushing you for spa services, art auctions, gold by the inch, tshirt sales, bingo, etc etc etc more so than usual. Even pushing selling $3.95 a glass "fresh squeezed orange juice" Fellow cruisers were a good mix of everyone, from spring break college students to seniors and everyone in between. Some families with kids too. Everyone got along fine. Ship itself was in decent shape for being 15 years old, clean and well kept. Doesn't have all the bells and whistles of a newer ship but was o/k. Crew in the dining room aimed to please. Crew in the Windjammer were really nice as well. Cabin steward was just o/k. Purser's desk was good as well. Overall I don't think we'll be going back on RCCL again. Last cruise in September was on their premium line, Celebrity, and to us it was night and day. Just my humble opinion. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
After reading many of the reviews, we went in with an optimistic open mind. It still didn't help. Embarkation: Very easy. We arrived at 11am and were on the ship in Windjammer by 11:30. They had lemonade water and cookies available ... Read More
After reading many of the reviews, we went in with an optimistic open mind. It still didn't help. Embarkation: Very easy. We arrived at 11am and were on the ship in Windjammer by 11:30. They had lemonade water and cookies available for us while we waited to get on the ship. My husband tried the cookies and to him they were stale. I wanted to save my calories for the good stuff. Our Room: We loved the size of the closet- larger here than in other ships. They had our bed together and it was bigger than our regular queen, which was nice when we were sunburned:) The safe was the old version that required a magnetic strip to lock it. We used our SeaPass card (or whatever it's called) and ran into an issue the first night but we didn't have another card that we felt comfortable leaving out (only carried credit cards not library cards or grocery cards) Windjammer: The made to order omlettes were fantastic. I wish I could have one every day. Some of the desserts at lunch like the napoleon were great, the jello custard blocks were ummmm interesting... We did not eat dinner in the Windjammer. MDR: I will say that this was the first time that we had such contact with our Head Waiter. He was always around, came to talk to us 1-2 times a night and took interest in us. He was fantastic. Our Waiter on the other hand dropped the ball- a lot. We were in the late seating and often after our appetizers were finished, we waited 30-45 minutes before we got our meals that were not cooked properly- I like a med-rare steak but can handle med-well if need be. Our steaks and prime ribs were so well done that they were overly chewy. I actually had to be rude and spit it out at one point. The appetizers were the better part of the meal by far. On formal night, the table next to us had finished their meal and were leaving for the show (which we missed) when we heard from our waiter that our food would be right out. 10 minutes later we got 1/2 of our food. Those that ordered lobster waited another 10 minutes. The lobsters were rubbery. It was a terrible experience. Worst food experience (cruise or not) that I have had in a while. Bartenders: They don't like to serve water (even if you have cash to give a tip) They ignored our water orders in the Schooner bar, the theater and in the centrum. I understand they don't usually get a tip, but I was prepared to give one. At one point the waiter came as close as the table next to me with the water but when they ordered drinks he went back to the bar to get their drinks and didn't walk the extra 10 steps to drop off my water. When he came back, he didn't have my water either. I was VERY disappointed. Drinks: They were ok. I would say the best bang for the buck was the Long Beach Iced Tea- for $8. THe drinks of the day were watered down and rather disappointing. Cigar Lounge: Don't get excited about this, it was TERRIBLE. It's in the upper level of the viking lounge and so it's not really the cigar lounge type atmosphere that you expect. It's got loud hip hop and rap playing. Not at all relaxing as a cigar lounge should be. DH would have liked to be able to smoke his cigar in the Schooner Bar, but that wasn't allowed- better atmosphere for a cigar if you ask me. Entertainment: Clo was our cruise director and she was great- I will say that I didn't see her/hear her as much as I had heard from others in the past, but that was ok. She was a lot of fun when we did see her. Loved her Irish accent- very easy to understand. The shows were OK. The first was a flouresence and whip tricks show- not very entertaining with the whips, but the flouresence was. The NY Vagabonds were ok, one guy was rather off key, but after a drink he was more bearable. We missed the crew show... Love and Marriage is always funny. The Quest was... I can't tell you any more. The pool deck dance classes were fun, but if we were just sitting there it was a bit obnoxious to hear the same song/beat over and over- wish they put those elsewhere. Viking Lounge Dance Club: Not very good. The DJ wasn't really playing danceable music. We were disappointed in this. The dance floor was also VERY small. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This cruise began at the Port of Tampa, which is a very easy port to begin and end your trip, once you get there, the signs leading to the port once you exit the highway, are a little difficult. So if this is your first trip to this port, ... Read More
This cruise began at the Port of Tampa, which is a very easy port to begin and end your trip, once you get there, the signs leading to the port once you exit the highway, are a little difficult. So if this is your first trip to this port, make sure you google, mapquest, or have a GPS, the area on the way to the port is a little rough. You do have the option of using a valet service at the same area everyone drops off their bags before driving to the parking garage across the street. The extra $30. was worth it to us. The ship is mid sized, there are 2 pools, one under a glass roof called the Solarium, and a main pool outside. I like the idea of an inside pool in case you get unlucky with the weather on a cruising day. I was told they could open the roof to make 2 outside pools, but they never did this. There are multiple whirlpools near both pools, but they always seemed full, and it seemed like on all cruises we've taken, these people never get out! The ship is designed like a 1930's gangster movie, or if you prefer, a 1930's movie set, which looks a little odd considering everyone's dressed for the pools! But even though the Grandeur is 15 yrs old, this ship is a good looking movie set. The meals in the dining room were good, but not something I would go out of my way back home for. I would grade the food in the Windjammer buffet the same way, but you had the option to eat inside or outside, with a terrific view. We enjoyed our meals in the Windjammer the most because of the views. This cruise only had one stop at Cozumel with 2 cruising days, and on a ship this size, if your don't enjoy sitting at the pool, or gambling, you're going to get a little antsy on the second cruising day! We took this ship out of Ft. Lauderdale in May 2010, and with the added stop at Key West, the trip was more enjoyable! Cozumel, if you like beaches off the beaten path, you'll love Cozumel. We rent a car right at the port for about $50., and drive about 17km to Playa Palancar. I would also recommend Mezcalito's which is on the opposite side of the island.Both of these beaches have sand, and snorkeling areas, you'll need booties cause there are sharp rocks under the water. The food at both of these beaches is good, the beer is cold, and the prices are very reasonable. A warning to those a little more adventurous, stay away from the moped rentals, there are a lot of accidents on the road away from the port, and there are a lot of speeding taxi's too. A taxi ride to Playa Palancar is about $20. plus tip. Key West, everything is within walking distance of the port for the most part, and if you want, you could always rent a scooter. The sunsets are great, bars are loud, and fun, the food is decent, but a little expensive at some places, so be wary. And best of all, you're in America, and it feels a little safer. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We booked this cruise for my son's spring break from High School. We sailed with another family who has two girls who are in Elementary School. There was a nice mix of young and old on board and there were a lot of families! We had ... Read More
We booked this cruise for my son's spring break from High School. We sailed with another family who has two girls who are in Elementary School. There was a nice mix of young and old on board and there were a lot of families! We had priority check in so we didn't have to wait long at all during the boarding process. For sail away we met on the top deck and enjoyed the views and music as we set sail at 5PM. We had the early dinner so we all got ready and met in the dining room. We were thrilled to discover that we had a great table right next to the window looking out over the water...perfect! We had a fabulous view of the Skyway Bridge as we sailed under it during dinner! The food each night was very good and there was always a good variety with healthy choices available each night as well! Juvi was our waiter and Jorge was his assistant, they were great! They learned our names and our likes/dislikes quickly. We ate all of our dinners in the formal dining room and ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Buffet. The food there was very good as well and there was a nice selection. We spent our days at the pool and the kids enjoyed taking part in some of the Adventure Ocean activities. The teen activities on the first day were great, but as the trip continued the number of kids showing up was inconsistent so some events were cancelled. We had a great time playing bingo and also in the casino. We went into port in Cozumel for about an hour just to walk the shops. We have been there before and didn't really feel like doing anything else. We got back on the ship and enjoyed the pool as there was hardly anyone on board. We also visited the spa while in port. $149 for a top to toe massage and facial....so relaxing!! We saw all of the shows on board and all were really good. We arrived back in port on Monday morning and we had a check out time of 9:10 so we took our time and had a nice breakfast at the Windjammer before heading down to the Palladium to wait for our color to be called so we could disembark. This also went very smoothly and we were off and on our way home in no time. To be honest I found this cruise so much more relaxing than our 7 day Freedom of the Seas trip because we were not rushing to get off in a port everyday! Thanks Grandeur for a great spring break!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
First let me give you some background. My husband and I have been on four other cruises. Two on NCL and two on Disney. We know alot of people who have cruised on RCCL and had wonderful experiences and were looking forward to our first ... Read More
First let me give you some background. My husband and I have been on four other cruises. Two on NCL and two on Disney. We know alot of people who have cruised on RCCL and had wonderful experiences and were looking forward to our first "childless" vacation in over 11 years :-) Here's the good: Embarkation was a breeze. My husband and I were together. We met alot of wonderful people. Our wait staff (Ricky & Ariel) Saula and Michael (bartenders at the Viking Crown Lounge) John Blair...the new cruise director The Capt.: He was a laugh a minute...make sure you listen up when he comes over the loud speaker :-) Here's the bad: The food. I know this is a subjective area, but I must say this was our biggest disappointment. It was obviously mass produced and mediocre, at best. We love steak, it was horrible. I was served prime rib instead of a filet (maybe they ran out as we had the late seating). On the other lines (especially Disney), the food was fabulous and although it too was mass produced, it never tasted like it. Just awful! Wear and tear. She really needs to go into dry-dock. As an example, the carpet around the pool was worn and the seams were coming apart. The TV in our stateroom was as old as the ship and needed duct tape around the cord as well as to be jiggled to work properly. Our remote stopped working on day two (probably just needed batteries) and although we let our stateroom attendant know, he never brought us a working one. Debarkation: This comes with the territory...just typical problems clearing the ship at the port. We were delayed over an hour and friends of ours missed their flight home. Misc: I would not recommend this ship for children. It was spring break when we went and there were not enough activities to entertain the kids. Most were bored to death. Also, there is no slide or water play area for them. If you need a sport bar, skip this ship too. They don't have one. We had to search for TVs to watch March Madness basketball. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My Wife and I just got back from a great trip on the Grandeur! I've read all the reviews about how old the ship is and how the service was mediocre at best so my expectations were not the highest. I can't believe how wrong these ... Read More
My Wife and I just got back from a great trip on the Grandeur! I've read all the reviews about how old the ship is and how the service was mediocre at best so my expectations were not the highest. I can't believe how wrong these people had it!!!!! Cabin - Our room wasn't the biggest but it was a nice, inexpensive ocean view on the 2nd deck and we thought it was perfect for the little amount of time we spent in it. Yes the TV was a bit outdated and you needed a Credit Card to open the safe, but that didn't bother us at all. We only watched TV before we went to bed and while we were getting ready, and I had no problems hiding a credit card for the safe. I'm a pretty big guy at 6'0 250 and my only complaint on the room was the shower was a little tight. On Deck - We didn't spend much time out by the pools, but the Solarium was the place to be for relaxation. It's an adult only pool and the only time kids really go in there was to go to the grill in the back for Burgers and Pizza (this should probably be moved to a part of the windjammer) The regular pool was nice as well, and it was relaxing to have some decent music playing over the PA for some background noise. Entertainment - The Cruise Director John was a trip. We wound up getting to spend some time talking to him and his wife and had a great time with them. I could do without the Royal Caribbean Dancers. They were terrible. They started the show with some girl lip singing her part and she was WAY off! We had an Elvis impersonator who was spot on for young Elvis and played really well with the crowd. We missed the adult comedian but his opening was pretty good so I'm sure he was funny on that last night. Dining - The Windjammer was OK, they had the usual sandwiches and salads but they had some odd things thrown in every day as well. Some I liked, some I didn't but all in all the food there was ok. The Main dining room was great. This was our Honeymoon cruise and I had a table for 2 set up. When I got on the ship, I checked and they put us at a table for 6. I went down to see if we can switch and was told they didn't have any more 2-tops available but I should go check out My Time Dining to see if they could accommodate us. Alexis was Awesome!!!! I told him what was going on and he let me know what time to make reservations for every night so we had a table by ourselves. After the 1st night with our Waiter and assistant, I went to Alexis and asked him if he could work it out were we had the same crew every night and he did. Edward and Joseph (our waiters) along with Alexis really made this cruise for us!!! They took exceptional care of us the whole time and all their recommendations were spot on.....the food was fantastic! Lastly, the Bar's - I've been on a bunch of cruises and never has a bartender remembered my 1st name after me getting only 1 drink from him and not seeing him again till the next day. All of the Staff aboard was like this!!!!! The Bar service was great. I was drinking Capt and Cokes the whole trip and I don't know why but I hated drinking out of the round, bowl shaped glasses they were serving Margarita's in.....I'm usually not like that but for some reason I hated those darn glasses. I would ask them once to poor my drinks in Pint (beer) glasses and they knew that was what I wanted for the rest of the trip! I have never sailed on RCL before, mainly Carnival and a few others, but I can assure you that if I can at all help it (Meaning the trip is paid for by someone other that me) I will never sail on Carnival again. RCL was 1st class from Start to finish!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Last summer, my wife and I traveled on the Bahamas Celebration for a 2-night cruise and had mixed feelings about the experience. So, we decided to go with Royal Caribbean this year and see how we liked it. After reading many reviews about ... Read More
Last summer, my wife and I traveled on the Bahamas Celebration for a 2-night cruise and had mixed feelings about the experience. So, we decided to go with Royal Caribbean this year and see how we liked it. After reading many reviews about the Grandeur of the Seas, we were curious to see how our experience would compare. Here is a brief description of the trip: Day 1: Boarding was VERY fast. We arrived around 11:45 and we were on the ship in about 15 minutes. Parking at the garage across the street from the terminal was $70 for the 5-night trip and had to be paid when you enter the garage. Please make sure you drop-off your luggage before going into the garage at the curb, it made it easier for us since we had to pack for a wide range of weather. Once on the ship, we had to wait a couple of hours before being allowed in our rooms, but we had time for lunch in the Windjammer and walking around the ship looking to see where everything was at. There were a few activities in the afternoon and music on the pool deck. Our stateroom was a standard oceanview category on deck 2. We were pretty close to the front of the ship. If you have the choice, pick close to the elevators in the center of the ship. It is easier to access the central facilities and less noise when pulling into port or when waves hit the hull. Dinner in the Great Gatsby was nice. Our waiter Ali was great and the assistant waiter Morice was very nice as well. Ali would go over all of the specials and make sure we had everything we needed for a great experience. After dinner, we went to see the passage under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. It takes about 2 hours after leaving the dock to get there, so it was slightly after 7 when we passed through. The evening show was great and our Cruise Director Clo was wonderful. She is on vacation after this cruise, so I am not sure who will be filling in until she returns. Seating in the theater is pretty good, but plan on getting there about 30 minutes for the shows, especially the 2nd shows. There were also evening activities after the show and it was a great first night. Day 2: This was a day at sea. We woke up to some rough seas, about 3-4' high, but you could feel it. My wife and I did pretty well with the motion, but after dinner, we ended up in our stateroom because we started feeling ill. During the day, there were a number of activities around the ship, especially for kids. They do a great job with activities for kids. They even have special activities for ages up to 3 years old. My wife went to the shopping presentation, which is taped and can be viewed on the tv in the staterooms throughout the trip in case you miss it. The meals were good and it was very relaxing to just do nothing on the ship. The drink of the day does cost $7.25, but you get a really nice glass to take home. We are not sure what other drink prices are since we only drink soda. If you get the soda package, you also get a nice Coke mug to use around the ship and take home. We did not see the evening show due to feeling ill. Day 3: The first port of call was Costa Maya. At the end of the pier, there are a lot of shops, a large pool and a beach area with restaurants. This is actually all free to use and is very nice. There are options to go into town for more shopping, but there does not seem to be much outside of the pier. We chose the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins excursion. We opted to shop and eat lunch on the pier and do the 12:30 departure for the ruins. Our trip was on a very nice bus and took about hour to get there, but the tour guide we had, Lizbeth, was wonderful and gave a lot of history about the ruins. We had about 2 hours at the ruins and you can actually climb on certain ones. The area is beautiful and a lot of walking over rocky areas is required. At the end, there was free water, soda, or beer at the bus. Once back on the ship, we had dinner and enjoyed another great evening show. The acts can change on each cruise, so it is hard to say what will be on your cruise. Day 4: The second port of call was Cozumel. The morning was beautiful and we were excited for our excursion. We had purchased the Xcaret excursion, but was canceled due to a lack of interest. We wanted to change to the Cozumel island tour with beach break so we could go shopping, but the travel desk said Xel-Ha was really nice, so we opted for that. There are some major warnings about this excursion!!! The tour sheet says it is 8 ½ hours, but here how it breaks down. There is a 45-minute water taxi ride to the main land. If you get sea sick, you will get sick on this ride. My wife and a number of other passengers got very ill on the way over and the staff on the boat know this happens because they pass bags out. After getting to the main land, there is a bit of a walk to a van for another 30-40 minute ride. When we arrived, the park was closed and we did not get in until 9:50am. We had to return to the van at 1:30 to travel back. The actual park is nice, but the food was not that great. We really did not have much time to enjoy everything since the park is so large and a lot of the shows were later in the day, so we could not see any. We left the park and after another rough water taxi ride back, were actually at the ship at 3:15pm. We complained to the travel rep on the ship and did receive a partial refund for such a bad experience. Our tour guide was great and even helped my wife get the right medication for her sickness. We did not feel $128/each was worth the effort. Nobody on our trip felt it was worth the money, but possibly other groups may disagree. We relaxed on this ship and did not do much since we had a rough day. Day 5: Our last day at sea was great. The seas were very calm and the ship did not rock at all. There were a lot of activities and we relaxed and enjoyed our last day. There was a parade of nations where the staff comes out and displays their home flags. It was really fun to see the pride of the staff. The wait staff at night sang to the crowd and we also gave the staff our gratuity envelopes that night. If you pre-pay gratuities, they will give you a printed sheet to place in the provided envelopes to hand out to the wait staff and room attendant. Our room attendant was amazing and always provided the neat towel animals in the evening. Day 6: Disembarkation was fairly simple. All passengers get color-coded tags and are told where to report. We were in the last group and were off the ship and in our vehicle by 10am. The process was smooth, just be patient with the number of people. Overall, we had mixed feelings about the cruise, but mostly concerning events out of the control of Royal Caribbean. The staff is amazing and we hope to return for another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on a first cruise with Grandeur and we are glad we did. It was very imprressive. We are not picky couple and we try to be proactive on every situation that we encounter on this cruise. ... Read More
My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on a first cruise with Grandeur and we are glad we did. It was very imprressive. We are not picky couple and we try to be proactive on every situation that we encounter on this cruise. Meaning we just want to have fun and relaxing time on this cruise no matter what. We really didn't expect much. So, here's my review: The ship was well maintained and clean. Maybe not very luxurious but a very nice 15 year old cruise ship. The embarkation and disembarkation was hassle-free. There was a waiting time but it was very organized considering there were more than 2,000 cruisers. The pools, lounges and dining room are also clean and well kept. They have hand sanitizers on the entrance and exit of the dining rooms which is really good. The staff are very pleasing and hardworking. Their cruise director Clo O'connor is very informative and entertaining as well. The rest of the activity directors were good in asking people to parcitipate. The dining room staff and room steward were helpful and courteous. The activities and shows are good as well if not great. Karaoke, bingo, pool contest, comedy and production shows, lounge dancing, concerts, music at the centrum, etc... were fun. The most fun was " The Quest " and the buffet night pool party when we left Cozumel. Cruisers were mix from college students to retirees but all are gracious in the hallway, lounge, pool or in the elevators. The food was great at the Windjammer buffet. The main dining menu was just fine. Maybe because we prefer casual dining, the Windjammer cafe appeal more to us. The buffet dining has lots of food selection and the room is clean. It has an outstanding all around ocean view. I cannot comment much on the excursion because we didn't do one. I heard there is more to do in Cozumel than in Costa Maya. One thing to share is if you are prone to sea sickness do not forget to bring patches or pills. A healthy alternative is eating a green apple (which actually works for me) or drink ginger ale (which I haven't tried yet). To sum it all, we both have a great time and thinking of going again on a cruise. Maybe we will try Carnival Inspiration but we will definitely be back with the Grandeur of the Seas ..... maybe also try the Oasis ... just maybe. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My wife and I are celebrating our 20 year anniversary this year and we decided to go on a cruise to celebrate. We both had never been on a cruise before so we kinda' didnt know what to expect. I booked online and was happy how easy ... Read More
My wife and I are celebrating our 20 year anniversary this year and we decided to go on a cruise to celebrate. We both had never been on a cruise before so we kinda' didnt know what to expect. I booked online and was happy how easy everything was. I even did all of the prep paperwork so that checking in and getting set up with our cabin would be smooth. It was. I actually booked an outside stateroom and it was less expensive than an inside one. Our stateroom was clean and the attendant Richard was very helpful. The bed was nice and big and I was very surprised at how comfortable it was. I slept great. I almost expected to wake up with a stiff back and aching all over. We chose early dining (6pm) and our waiter (Marco) and his assistant (Eden) were very pleasant. The food was very tasty and the service good. We sat at a big table for 7 people but 2 of the seats were never used. We had very nice dinner companions. We booked a shore excursion thru the ship and saw Cozumel with a bus tour. The first night on the ship, I booked a massage for my wife thru the spa. She likes deep tissue massages and got the Hot Bamboo massage. She was very happy with it. On deck 9 was the Windjammer Cafe. This is where they have the buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was good although at times I found some of the dishes to be cold. You definitely cannot say that you can't get enough to eat on these cruises. My wife and I ate ourselves silly. Since we went on this cruise at the beginning of March there were some HS and college spring breakers onboard. They seemed to be well behaved, except for a couple of young girls on the sundeck on our last day at sea. It was a great day and everyone seemd to be enjoying the sun. These 2 young ladies had no consideration for others. They brought a boom box with them and tried to make everyone else listen to their music. After a little while the crew members got enough complaints from other passengers and told them they would have to turn it down or leave. The drinks seemed a bit pricey but I guess what can you expect. They have to make it up somehow. I chose to do prepaid gratuities and added a little something extra for Marco and Eden. All in all, we were very pleased with our trip and although the Grandeur is an older ship, it is still taken well care of and can carry its own against other ships of it's size. We talked with alot of other cruisers with many cruises under their belts and they stated that they liked it also. I would definitely recommend Royal Caribbean International. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
5 STAR VACATION! Service was impeccable. Food was great. Excursions were beyond great....Pool size was only negative.. We were going to be in Orlando for my husband's business trip and chose this cruise based upon the dates, itin. ... Read More
5 STAR VACATION! Service was impeccable. Food was great. Excursions were beyond great....Pool size was only negative.. We were going to be in Orlando for my husband's business trip and chose this cruise based upon the dates, itin. and cost. We were somewhat concerned after reading a variety of reviews...some great, others not so much. We had only cruised once before...a 7 day Alaskan cruise in 2006 and had not been thrilled with the whole cruising concept (note were both 37 at the time and felt like young kids with the Alaskan crowd PLUS had a rather unpleasant experiencd with NCL). Both of us are 41 now and as I said above we were not sure what to expect with RCI and the Grandeur......this was a mixed crowd. We felt as if it was good mix. Day One: We had rented a one way from Disney utilizing Alamo and it was an awesome experience. Quick and easy and the free shuttle to the pier in Tampa was great. We arrived around 11:45 and were on board the ship within 20 minutes tops. We enjoyed a nice buffet lunch at the Windjammer and explored the ship. The only things we noted were that the pool is small...I would not cruise on the Grandeur with our children nor in extremely warm weather (when I would want to get in pool)..just not enough room. Other than that the carpeting in the hallways etc. did look a bit worn, but nothing major. Our Cabin (2094) was ready at 1pm. It was a large oceanview and we were pleasantly pleased. We had a balcony on the Alaskan and were somewhat concerned about size..it was perfect for 2 people..or maybe 2 adults and a child..can't imagine more. Our location was superb--in the middle of the ship--not too far from elevators but far enough away that there was no noise. We had done the guaranteed stateroom so we were worried about our location, but it was great. I had read somewhere that there was no soap etc in oceanview cabins..soap was provided and there was a dispenser in shower with either soap or shampoo..not sure, we had brought our own so we didn't check it out. TV is small, but they had a great variety of things to watch..by the end of the cruise we had seen most of The Blind Side--just had it on when we were in cabin. We changed into our bathing suits and hit the pool deck--beautiful Tampa weather and we had a great amount of time in sun before dinner. The drinks of the day are 7.25 and you get to keep glass, BUT we only did that the first day..the regular drink was like 6.25 without glass..we had no desire to carry home tons of glasses! We did My Time Dining and LOVED it! We had the same waiter and asst. waiter each night...Thomas and Haydee..they were awesome. We did the soda plan and Haydee always had our diet cokes there within a minute of us sitting down. Food was great...it is not 5 star every night, but at the worst 3.5 and most 4 and above with the service being off the charts! Opening night show was nice..comedy by Rick Corso--we also went into the Casino and got the special $30 worth of chips for $20. My husband only bets red and black in streaks on Roulette and I play the slots. I won $375 in the 25cent slot on the second night and we played 4 of the 5 nights and came home with the 375..we never stayed more than 45 minutes a night...Casino is small and can get smoky, but for us it was nice. Day Two: We both took ginger and I wore the wrist bands and we had no issues with sea sickness. It was VERY windy on day two and it seemed as if some folks were having issues with the motion. We had breakfast in Windjammer. Nice selection, nothing fancy. It was too chilly for us to sit outside so we checked out the shops, played trivia and watched people go crazy over bingo. Trivia was our favorite--there were 3 or 4 games on day two. We don't do bingo--many people did..buying the $60 package that electronically played 30 games at once. We also watched part of the shopping show--they will try and sell you a $25 shopping guide with coupons. We passed..we were not planning on shopping. We did buy some perfume onboard--we checked the prices at Pier in Cozumel when we got there and onboard prices were a little better. Alcohol prices were better on boat than on pier as well..FIRST day/night on ship they have special deals on boat--if you plan on purchasing alcohol do it then. Prices are still good later in week, but best first day/night. Lunch in the Main Dining room..I had sesame noodles--excellent. My husband had Medit. pita and did not like it. Also, we were seated with 6 other people that we did not know and really didnt enjoy this. We went on the cruise to spend time together and are just not into sitting with people we don't know..not sure if that is how they always do lunch or not..we didn't eat lunch in Great Gatsby again. We missed the show this night--we didn't allow ourself enough time and there were no seats. Our room attendant was great. So much superior to staying in a hotel...it seemed as if when we would leave she was in right behind us tidying up. This was also formal night..there is quiet a variety of attire. My husband wore khakis, a button up and a tie, I wore nice dress slacks and a nice beaded blouse with heels--we fit in fine. Day Three: We did the Kohunlich & Danz? Mayan Ruin excursion..8 hours. The service and promptness was great. Jesus met us at pier and walked us to a super nice bus--he was a mountain of information. The Ruins were fabulous--we were able to walk/climb on many of them and tons of photo ops. You also get to see a good amount of the countryside and the poverty..very sad. The major downside to this excursion is the time in the bus. We were glad we did it, but were very tired by the end of the day. It was very warm and sunny--86 degrees. A boxed lunch was provided and it was plenty of food, but nothing special. Jesus makes unique one of a kind little mayan masks, earrings, necklaces out of the coconuts at Kohunlich and will offer them for sale on the busride back to pier..super nice souvenirs..he is not pushy at all. We arrived back at the pier with only 15 minutes to spare before All Aboard. There are shops at the Costa Maya pier and some restaurants and a saltwater pool--this would be nice if we had the time, but we didn't :). The show was a group of 4 men and a woman from Argentina who did a drumming/dancing act with comedy interwoven..we weren't sure what to expect, but were very pleased. Day 4: Cozumel. We did the Paradise Island Escape and loved it. Catamaran ride over was about 45 minutes. Our guide was Leo--he was good. Be aware of the fact that getting off the Catamaran onto the small pier/dock can be tricky..I would not recommend this for anyone who has difficulty walking or is unsteady on their feet. We were fine, but others did have some difficulty. Beach is beautiful...service exceptional. They take a picture right when you get off boat and that was the only picture we bought the whole cruise..beautiful with the beach and ocean behind you. There are 4 shops here..in our opinion they were overpriced. There are a ton of shops on the pier at Cozumel..we had about an hour to browse before leaving on catamaran and glad we did--had an idea of prices. Food was good, not great, but price for open bar (margaritas, rum punch, sex on beach, tequila sunrise, and des sequis beer) transportation and lunch was a deal. The three hours on beach were wonderful. Water was chilly..a few adults tried it out..younger kids enjoyed the water trampoline. We arrived back at the pier in time to do souvenir shopping. Lots of fun..beautiful weather. We were very disappointed in the show for day 4..it was a group of 4 men called The New York Vagabonds. They had beautiful voices, but the do-whap and tunes they sang were not geared for anyone under the age of 65. We would have escaped, but were trapped in the middle of an aisle (several younger couples did discretly escape). Day 5: At sea. Nice weather, but lots of wind. We spent most of this day in the Solarium--warm and sunny and mostly adults. Many of the tables were filled with people playing board games or cards. Lots of folks our age reading on the pool chairs. They have pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs here every afternoon. We would go there for afternoon snacks. We also did a lot of last minute shopping. Nice sales on t-shirts etc. Our last two breakfasts were in the Great Gatsby and we decided we preferred that to the Windjammer in the morning..more relaxed. We opted out of the show--it was thed first night of a musical..we did do the Late Night Adult Comedy with Rick Corso and it was good. Very adult, but funny. The parade of flags at noon was also a treat. There were 59 countries represented by crew on boat and Clo (cruise director) announced each country and some of the crew from that country were there and waved their little flags..a couple of the countries actually got out in centrium floor and did a little dance. Disembark....a breeze. We had a 12noon flight and had to trade in our original luggage tags to get an earlier disemb. time..not a problem. Our area was to leave between 8:30-8:50 and we were actually through customs and getting on the shuttle to the airport by 9:15. We used airport shuttle (10 per person) to get to airport and that was easy as well. Wonderful trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
March 20 - 25, 2010 Tampa - Costa Maya - Cozumel Cabin 3510 We booked this 5-night cruise kind of last minute to sail with friend. It began on a Saturday so it would only be three days away from work. We have previously sailed on two ... Read More
March 20 - 25, 2010 Tampa - Costa Maya - Cozumel Cabin 3510 We booked this 5-night cruise kind of last minute to sail with friend. It began on a Saturday so it would only be three days away from work. We have previously sailed on two other Vision class ships - Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas. It had been quite a few years since we sailed on this class so we were anxious to see how Grandeur compared and was holding up for a ship now 14 years old. EMBARKATION Living within an hour of the port, this was a quick and easy embarkation. We arrived at the port and dropped our luggage off around 11:30. We parked our car in the garage just across from the pier and were through the embarkation process in less than 15 minutes. By noon, we were in the Windjammer enjoying a Sailaway lunch - honeystung chicken...a Royal Caribbean mainstay. This was a very easy embarkation process. After lunch, just after 1:00 PM, we were permitted to head to our cabins. Our luggage was already outside the cabin and within 30 minutes we were completely unpacked. This may have been one of the easiest and fastest embarkations ever. THE SHIP Cabin 3510 - Located forward on deck three, this Oceanview cabin is fairly close to the very front of the ship. There are two round portholes instead of the one large window. For a ship that is 14 years old, there was plenty of storage space. A set of drawers were on either side of the desk; another set was in the closet. There were also two pullout drawers under the loveseat across from the TV. Plenty of hangers filled the closet and a series of shelves on either side of the desk and bathroom mirrors provided much more space than we could use. The bed was very comfortable, with placement under the portholes. A nightstand with two drawers were located on each side of the bed. The only challenge was the bed was low enough that some of the bigger pieces of luggage didn't fit under the bed and had to be stored in the closet. The bathroom is adequate if a bit on the small side. The old shower curtains (instead of the newer sliding doors) graced the shower stall. If you were careful you could prevent water from running out all over the bathroom floor. A refillable shampoo dispenser is found on the shower wall. Note: the shampoo is not a conditioner and if you have hair that needs a conditioner, I strongly recommend bringing it along. The only item in desperate need of upgrading is the antique 15" TV that is tiny and on a small swivel base that doesn't swivel enough to see the TV unless you are seated on the loveseat. While TV isn't an important part of our cruise experience, the TV reminded you how old the ship really is. Public Spaces Overall, we love this size of ship and I fear she is going the way of the dinosaurs in favor of the mega-monster ships being built today. She is very manageable and easy to navigate. It's a perfect size ship for firs timers (and there were quite a few of them on this sailing). While some minor things were showing serious aging (sliding doors to the outside decks that didn't operate correctly - sometimes only opening far enough to barely walk-through, for example), overall the ship is in good shape for her age. The theater, for example, has been refurbished and is beautiful. The Schooner Bar, the South Pacific Lounge (the second theater-type venue) and the Palladium Theater were in great shape. But the pool deck and deck chairs were worn and in need of a facelift. Really, it wouldn't take much to keep Grandeur in tip-top shape. If they did, I've love to sail the older ships all the time over the newer mega-ships. The Diamond/Diamond Plus area on this ship is the aft section of the Viking Crown Lounge. It was well underutilized on this sailing and the entire area seemed like an afterthought, probably because they didn't have Diamond lounges when the ship was built. We were often the only folks that visited the lounge for before late seating dinner drinks. While David, the bar server up here was delightful, it was lacking the ambiance and enjoyment of the Diamond Lounges on the newer RCI ships. We were appreciative that they did offer this area for Diamond members....it's just different. The only area of the ship that regularly bothered me was the Windjammer. While food here was OK (the pasta Bolognese on the last day was delicious actually), the floor always seemed sticky and it appeared that it was tough to really keep this area clean. I'm sure some of this is caused by the tight, confined area that makes it hard to clean while so many people are trying to get food and find a place to sit. But it was the one spot on the ship that just never felt as clean as it should have been. PORTS OF CALL Costa Maya A new little, wonderful day resort called Costa Maya opened last October. One of our Cruise Critic roll call members put a group together to head to the resort for the day. It's a true "gem." It's off the beaten path (if there is such a thing here) south of the town of Mahahual. The owner of Maya Chan, Mark, is from San Diego and he and his son Mark, operate the facility. Here's the best thing - it's all inclusive and everything they include is WONDERFUL (OK...there is a massage therapist available for an optional charge but everything else is included). When you exit the port area, Perla, the Maya Chan representative is there to great you. She puts you in a taxi and pays the taxi fare. Within 15 minutes you are arriving and immediately beginning to enjoy your day. The resort includes four or five palapas-type cabanas with beach couches, hammock chairs and Adirondack-type beach chairs. There are a variety of addition chairs on the beach and a series of high top table and chairs for dining. There are changing facilities; extremely clean restrooms, a full bar and a dining area. Their slice of the beach is lovely and the water color is that amazing series of blues that mesmerize you all day long. We were met with trays of fresh fruit and assigned beach cabanas although we pretty much shared them all among our group. There were two other parties from our ship there that day for a total of 13 people. The resort limits guests to no more than 40 for the day so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We enjoyed our conversations with Mark and his staff (there were three or four other staff who served us all day long). Mid-morning, an appetizer of small delicious Quesadillas bites were served and the bar was open from the time we arrived. The resort offers water chairs to float in along with bicycle and kayak/snorkeling tours. They will even walk into the water to serve you drinks and appetizers while you are floating in a chair. About noon, they lit the grill and begin cooking lunch. A full meal of beef, chicken and fish was served with warm tortillas, all the fixings and a Mexican bean soup. It was amazing how delicious and plentiful everything was. After lunch they asked what times we wanted taxis to return for us so they could make arrangements for our transportation back to the ship. This truly was a new and unique way to spend the day. It's wonderful because it is small and personal with fantastic service and food. Rates vary depending on the number of people in your group ($50 - $60 average range) but for what you get, it can't be beat. www.mayachanbeach.com Cozumel After spending the entire day at the beach in Costa Maya we decided to forego the beach in Cozumel (we were going to head to Paradise Beach for the day). Instead we decided to sleep in and head out for a walk once we were up and about. Our goal after breakfast was to head out and walk towards downtown. Great workout. It's a couple of miles from the ship to town. It's a very pretty walk along the water; lots of resorts right off the pier; several dive operation line the street as well. Once in town, we grabbed a soft drink and sat to watch the world go by. High-speed ferries came and went from Playa del Carman on the Mexican mainland. The streets were bustling as there were four other ships docked in Cozumel with us; three were at our pier and two were docked right downtown. Since it was only about 11:30 when we got to town and we weren't hungry or in need of shopping, we decided to walk back to the ship as well. About ¾ of the way back, we picked a great outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea to stop for lunch. The Blue Angel Restaurant above the Blue Angel Dive shop. Terrific views and even better food. The small restaurant (maybe ten tables) was nearly full the entire time we were there. Mexican food highlighted the menu and the margarita was a killer. The bad thing was sitting down for an hour and then getting back up to walk the last mile and a half back to the ship. My feet were not happy but I was determined to make it even though there are plenty of taxis along with the way. ENTERTAINMENT I've got to hand to RCI. For one of their smaller ships on a short five-day run, I thought the entertainment overall was outstanding. The shows in the Palladium theater were great. The comedian, Rick Corso, who performed twice - once late night - was good; the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers production show, My Romance, was very good. The costumes were gorgeous, all of the lead singers had great voices and the dancers were extremely talented. Darren Bethell, the piano bar player in the Schooner Bar just arrived from Australia and was fantastic. Johnny and the Take Four dance band were great and had lots of people on the dance floor all cruise long. The only negative on the entertainment wasn't the entertainers themselves; it was the sound. The pool band, Caribbean Fusion was great. But the sound was far too loud. It was nearly impossible to sit by the pool and read/talk while they were playing. The music is much more enjoyable when your head isn't pounding while listening. Overall, Grandeur entertainment got two thumbs up from me. PASSENGERS When we booked this cruise, we knew there would likely be a fair amount of spring breakers onboard. While we have sailed during spring break many times over the years, our last spring break cruise (a five-day cruise on Celebrity's Zenith four years ago) was the worst of all our cruises. So it made me a little leery as this, too, was a five-day cruise. There was nothing to worry about. While there were a number of spring breakers sailing with us, there was a fair number of people of all ages on this cruise. All in all, the passenger mix was great and the group of college kids on this sailing (from a variety of schools) were fantastic. It was fun to be in the lounges with them in the evenings and have them enjoy the music and entertainment right along with older passengers. It was a very interesting dynamic and actually made for a very fun cruise! CREW One of my favorite things about cruising is all the wonderful crew members you meet from all over the world. From our cruise director, Clodagh O'Connor and her staff (Giovanni, Laura, Kasey) to the waiters, cabin attendants, bar servers, etc. everyone was friendly and quick to serve. These folks work so hard to make our vacation an enjoyable one. This cruise was no different. A special thanks to Marco and Lally, our dining room wait staff. They made each evening meal wonderful. DISEMBARKATION As Diamond members, we enjoyed waiting in the upper level of the main dining room for our luggage color to be called. Coffee and Danish were available. About ten minutes before our color was scheduled, we were called to disembark. We were among the first 20 people to leave the ship. We picked up our luggage, went through customs and were in our car in less than 10 minutes. It was by far the quickest and easiest disembarkations we've had in all of our cruises. Royal Caribbean gets another thumbs up for making the end of the cruise as wonderful as the rest. CLOSING REMARKS The Vibe There was a very different vibe on this sailing. I think it was the combination of first-time cruisers (there were quite a few); college-aged spring breakers; families and middle- to older-aged crowd that made this a unique cruise. Every evening, all of the lounges, casino, shows, etc were packed. People danced and sang all night long. There was an "excitement" in the air that I haven't felt on a lot of cruises lately. Perhaps the short five nights made everyone want to make the most of each moment. I know we did. For a spur of the moment cruise, we thoroughly enjoyed our five days on board Grandeur. We will definitely consider this cruise again next year when a Radiance-class ship moves to Tampa to do this run. PHOTOS To view my photo album from the cruise, click here: http://grandeuroftheseasmarch202010.shutterfly.com/ Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Embarkation We embarked the ship after flying from Washington Regan Airport to Tampa on March 27 and visiting with family in Punta Gorda for two days. Embarkation could not have been easier. Since we rented a car from National, we were ... Read More
Embarkation We embarked the ship after flying from Washington Regan Airport to Tampa on March 27 and visiting with family in Punta Gorda for two days. Embarkation could not have been easier. Since we rented a car from National, we were expecting to have to give back the car, go to the airport, and get a taxi to the ship. As it turned out, National provides a taxi straight to the port, which was very convenient. Out of my cruises, this was the quickest embarkation. We jumped off the bus to the port, gave our luggage to a porter, and walked in. After filling out the compulsory CDC sheets, we got into the priority embarkation line, which had one other group in it, and got our SeaPass cards immediately. This was a great perk of being in a junior suite, since most other lines don't offer priority boarding to their minisuites. We stopped to grab refreshments on the way into the SeaPass picture line, got our pictures taken, and walked right onto the ship. Cabin The cabin that we were staying in was a junior suite on the eighth floor right next to the main staircase. This turned out to be an amazing location. After getting on the ship, we actually came up the main stairway and then took a bit of a roundabout path to it, only to find that the cabin was about 10 steps from where we came up. Naturally, due to the Grandeur's size, the cabin was a bit on the small side, but it was nice enough, had a good sized balcony, and fit the four of us comfortably. On the first day during departure, it was a bit worrying because the balcony doorway seemed to creak while the ship moved, but it went away that evening and never came back. It seemed like the shower had a bit of a problem keeping a constant temperature, but otherwise the bathroom was good. Our stateroom steward was nice, though less personal than the one on Princess. Towards the end of the cruise, some cool towel animals started showing up. The location was one of the best parts of the cabin. Being right next to the stairs, we could get anywhere on the ship in just a matter of seconds, with the pool deck being just one deck up. In regards to this, we could hear some clomping and very light music from upstairs every so often, but normally not at night, and certainly not enough to be a bother. The Ship The ship was great, even despite being by far the smallest that I've ever sailed on. There was nowhere that I noticed any signs of the ship's age. Certainly Royal Caribbean has been doing a great job of maintaining it. One area that I especially liked was the Viking Crown Lounge. During the daytime, there were almost never any people there, except for when teen activities were hosted there, making it a great "secret" place to just relax, play cards, or watch the ocean go by. A couple members of our family made frequent trips to the gym while on the ship, which they seemed to enjoy well enough. There were no fitness classes in the gym, since there was no instructor aboard the ship, but I assume that this is temporary and it wasn't a problem regardless. Unfortunately, even with how small the ship was, none of us managed to make it to the rock wall at all during the cruise. I guess that's something to do in the future . At some times, the forward part of the top deck got windy, especially on sailaway and during the sea days, but the aft of the ship was well protected from the wind, as was the "observatory." The front of the ship was a great place to watch the departure from Tampa, and it was surprisingly not crowded at all. Three of the four of us stayed out there all the way until we passed under the Skyway Bridge about two hours into departure. Food After cruising on Princess and NCL, I was very pleasantly surprised by the buffet. The layout of it was certainly much better than either of my previous two cruises, and the food tended to be very good as well. I only ate there a couple times, and never for dinner. Of these times, a waiter came by to get us drinks only during the first lunch. Not a problem at all, since there was a bar just outside and the buffet offered some drinks like lemonade, water, and orange juice. The pizza in the Solarium was good, and the fries got very good reviews from many. Breakfast in the Great Gatsby Dining Room (the only one aboard the ship) was excellent, so I ended up eating there most of the time. Unfortunately I made it to the Great Gatsby for lunch only one time during my five days on the ship, which was certainly not enough. The lunch that I had there on the final sea day was by far the best lunch I had eaten on the ship, especially the dessert, for which I had an orange flan. Service during this lunch was great, making me all the more disappointed that I didn't come to eat this meal there earlier in the trip. On the morning of our stop in Cozumel, we had breakfast delivered to our stateroom. As usual for this cruise, the food was nice, especially the pastries. By now, you can probably guess what I'm going to say about dinner. This was the first time that we had tried traditional dining on a cruise, and we were not disappointed. 8:30 served as a very nice time for dinner. Dinner ended every day between 9:45 and 10:15. We enjoyed the service each night in the Great Gatsby Dining Room, especially our assistant waiter, Arnold. There were no disappointments among the meals that we ate, although I heard some not so great things about the sea bass on one of the earlier nights. I didn't try it myself, but I talked to more than one person who was disappointed by this dish. Ports The first stop on this cruise was at Costa Maya, where we took the ship's excursion to the Mayan ruins. We had a good guide on this trip and it was a nice excursion. At first, we were disappointed when our time was moved from the afternoon to the morning, but as it turned out it was hot enough in the morning when we went. The bus rides on either end of the excursion were a bit long, but the guide was very informative on the way there, while on the way back we had time to relax and watch Mexico go by. Besides this, we didn't do anything else at Costa Maya. The next morning we arrived at Cozumel and enjoyed breakfast on our balcony before leaving the ship to go snorkeling. Once again, this was a RCCL tour. At the end of the pier, the herded us onto a small boat with everyone else who was going snorkeling and we headed out. The boat ride to our snorkeling location was a bit long, which was compounded by the fact that they hadn't managed to put enough snorkel masks on the boat for everyone who was snorkeling. As a result, the guides spent a little while going up to other snorkel boats and asking for masks. Once in the water, we were following one of the guides who frequently pointed things out, but only the few around him were close enough to hear what we should be looking at. Regardless, we all had a great time snorkeling and we thought it was pretty cool to see the stingrays (we saw two), a couple big grouper, and the ocean dropoff. When finished with snorkeling, they herded us over to Playa Mia, where we had surprisingly good sandwiches for lunch and then relaxed on the beach for an hour. When this hour was up, the boat took us back to the pier, and we headed back onto the ship with a few hours left until sailaway. Overall the activities that we chose to do at the ports were great, but we didn't manage to see any of Mexico besides just the excursions we took. It seemed like both of the ports were just tourist traps, with shops and whatnot all around and not a whole lot to see or do. This meant that on our Mexican vacation, we didn't see much at all of Mexico, but we had fun with what we did see. Other Comments Overall we all felt that this was a great vacation. The family as a whole couldn't come to an agreement on what we liked best about it. Some said the ports while others said that everything was great. I certainly agree. We would certainly recommend this ship and this itinerary, because we had a blast even with the smaller size of the ship and it not offering all of the amenities that RCCL is known for. As for if we'll sail RCCL again in the future, we did sign up for Crown and Anchor, but much to the dismay of the kids we checked the "12+" box for when we plan to sail again. Maybe a cruise will come our way again sooner, and we wouldn't hesitate to book it on RCCL if that's what worked out. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Grandeur of the Seas Tampa, Florida - At Sea - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico - At Sea - Tampa, Florida February 6 through February 11, 2010 Cabin 8516 EMBARKATION AND GENERAL IMPRESSIONS My wife, Kim, and I did a Next Cruise ... Read More
Grandeur of the Seas Tampa, Florida - At Sea - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico - At Sea - Tampa, Florida February 6 through February 11, 2010 Cabin 8516 EMBARKATION AND GENERAL IMPRESSIONS My wife, Kim, and I did a Next Cruise booking on the Monarch in November 2009 where we simply said we would go in the future, but did not pick a particular cruise. We saw the pricing on this cruise in early January and it seemed to be quite a bit less expensive than the same itinerary in the weeks before or after. Not certain, but thought perhaps the Super Bowl lowered demand for this time period. In any event, we decided to take advantage of the attractive pricing and splurge on a cruise. We had been looking at the Grandeur out of Tampa for a couple of reasons - ability to drive in less than 9 hours and thought the chance to see the Mayan ruins near Costa Maya was a great opportunity. We arrived at the port at 11:21 AM, the porter unloaded our bags, the valet took our car and we walked into terminal and headed straight for the check in counter. There was no waiting and we simply walked up to the first available agent. Apparently, where you check in does make a slight difference and if they had been busy perhaps we would have caused a difficulty. As it was, another worker behind the counter ran to the other counter and returned with our sea passes. When I say ran, I mean he ran. Check in was absolutely painless as we were through security, across the gangplank and on the ship at 11:32 AM. A total of 11 minutes from turning from the street into the terminal to walking onboard the Grandeur. I like this time to explore the ship and we were impressed by the Grandeur. It is very clean and well laid out. The Centrum is larger and taller than the Monarch (I think - the experts can correct me.) and more attractive. Almost immediately we went to the main dining room (The Great Gatsby) which is a true two level room with a two story open center and a balcony running the perimeter of the room. We found our table and it was an eight top way in the back. My wife and I chose the main seating and a large table as we enjoy the "Forced Camaraderie" of having selected tablemates. Even though our table location seemed to be less than ideal, our thoughts are let everything fall as they may. Why second guess an unknown? We then walked around the Centrum and then up through the Schooner Bar and into the Palladium Theater, before eventually wandering toward the pool deck, Solarium and Viking Lounge. By this time 1:15 PM rolled around and we were ready for lunch. Off to the Windjammer. I eat a lot of fresh fruit and my lunches through the week were heavy on the fruit, bread and basics more than the actual menu selections. I can give nice reviews of the main dining room food, but I will not be much help on the lunch. For me we had a nice selection of melons, bananas, apples and oranges all week. I also enjoyed the smoked salmon, tomatoes, capers and cheese readily available. The honey stung chicken was on the buffet the first day. I tried that as I hear so many references on Cruise Critic and found it more tender and fresh than when we were on the Monarch in November. My wife enjoys Indian food and I do not. She said the majority of the Indian food presented in the Windjammer was fresh, well seasoned and tasty. There were some exceptions, but we always were fairly late in the servings for lunch - we were never there before 1:30 after the first day. After we ate our cabin was ready and our bags were delivered. So we explored the room (exploring as one could in such a space) and found it remarkable how much space they can create in so small a footprint. I am continually saying our home is 500 square feet too small; after cruising I think our house simply does not have every thing in its right spot! We were in a "Superior Ocean View" cabin on the Monarch so it was interesting to see the differences. Our cabin was in the middle of the starboard fore section between the Centrum overlook/Crown & Anchor study and the main forward elevator group. It was very quiet and we rarely heard anything. The Royal Family Suite was right by us with a large group using that as their base. They held several gatherings of fairly large groups and they never disturbed us through the cruise. Walking down the hall and seeing their door open and people spilling out was worrisome at first, but in reality there was never a problem. Through the course of the cruise we spent very little time in the cabin. We unpacked and met our room steward. She was very attentive, friendly and professional. We really did not have any needs through the week outside of the normal expectations. Our room was clean, the linens were fresh, we never lacked for towels, the ice bucket was always full. She replaced the little packaged soaps daily. We forgot our soap from home so this was useful - not premium quality, but comparable to most normal hotels; we used our own shampoo etc. She gave us her business card and telephone number. Regrettably, I misplaced it somehow and can not remember her name. One example of her prompt attention - we left the room without seeing her in the hall and went up to the pool deck after waking one day. I realized I forgot my watch and returned to the cabin about 15 or 20 minutes later: our room was completely ready, bed made. I don't know where the exit signals come from but the stewards are certainly efficient. It was readily apparent the Grandeur attracted an older crowd for this cruise. I don't know if that is across the board with Tampa and the Grandeur or specific to this cruise because of timing, lower costs or whatever. Seeing the many scooters, walkers and canes lined up became a running joke. We knew we were in the right quadrant of the ship for our cabin because of the red scooter blocking the hallway. We did find out that Ron was celebrating his 75th birthday on the cruise and many of his friends were onboard as a surprise. Later in the week we heard a funny story about how all of Ron's friends were waiting for him in the Centrum holding Happy Birthday Ron posters when he and his wife boarded. Unfortunately, Ron didn't notice his friends and scooted on past them. We attended our muster drill at 4:30 per requirements and had the first encounter of several that was amusing if a little weird. While we were standing in our neat, orderly rows for muster the older man (mid-70s as an estimate and wearing a Happy Birthday Ron button) next to me was very impatient. He was using his combo walker/seat and kept huffing about hurrying up. There was a little lag time and our muster leader started to talk about the ship and herself. She was from Canada and was one of the dancers - she had just graduated from a performing arts high school and this was her first professional contract. My new muster friend called out asking if she knew Madame Venus - apparently the name of a local strip club. It seemed to work to his advantage because shortly she dismissed him and his wife while the rest of us had to wait a few more minutes. Our Cruise Critic unofficial meet and mingle was scheduled at the pool deck immediately after muster. It took us a few minutes to get there and did not arrive until right at 5 PM and did not see anyone obviously with Cruise Critic. There was some talk of wearing beads so we could easily recognize each other. I didn't see any beads, but I can't complain as I did not wear beads either. So we did not have a Meet and Mingle, or I failed to recognize it or I was just late..... We really wanted to see sail away so we headed up from the pool deck to deck 10 and then to the bow of the ship. It was chilly and very windy so not a lot of people stood there but saw enough to know something fun was happening! Can't say Tampa is the most beautiful sail away as it is rather industrial with an iron recycling center, a cement plant and the like along the shore. However, it really is addicting to feel your cares and concerns drift away as the ship pulls out from the terminal. The little shudder as the engines power up. The flags flapping in the breeze. The satisfying beep as your cell phone turns off. What fun! FIRST NIGHT DINING IN MDR Soon it was time to get ready for our first dinner. It was chilly and windy and I knew my wife would want to go on deck after dinner so I dressed in a pair of slacks, black sweater and shirt and tie. The Compass said casual, but I had worn a jacket and tie every night on the Monarch. I was over dressed for this first night of the cruise. I am quite certain I was the only passenger wearing a tie that night! Oh well, I was warm while strolling the outside decks later. My wife has an innate ability to use the most basic clothes and accessorize upward or downward with jewelry, scarves, shoes. I am jealous! We met our tablemates. It was an eight top table in the rear of the deck four main dining room. All week only six of us showed up for dinner - we didn't know if Number 7 and Number 8 just chose to forgo the MDR, missed the cruise due to the weather or saw the table location and requested a change. When we arrived at the table Larry and Peg from outside Cincinnati were already seated. Shortly after we sat down, Jon and Tracy from Indianapolis arrived. Both couples were a lot of fun. Larry and Peg were a little a bit older than us - in their mid-60s - and Jon and Tracy were similar ages to us. Both couples have cruised a fair amount - about 20 per couple on various lines. J & T had done Alaska, Mexican Riviera and a lot of Caribbean cruises. L & P had done those plus several in Europe especially one in the North Sea across to St Petersburg, a TA and several in the Mediterranean. I have travelled a lot, but this was only our second cruise. Jon was our "social director". He is naturally funny and easy going and really helped break the ice. It was a very natural, relaxed table after just a few minutes and we all stayed late over coffee chatting and laughing every night. We even attended some of the shows as a group, and had a fun time with Jon and Tracy on the Mayan excursion Monday. Our waiter was Beatrix from Hungary and our assistant was Roque. Both were very attentive and professional. The service was prompt and Roque kept our plates full of savory bites. I found those small poppy seeded breads very delicious all week. I can almost see why opium is so addicting. The actual service was better on the Grandeur than on the Monarch. While our wait staff was very attentive on the Monarch, little things like reaching in front of you to get your neighbor's glass or the inability to fill a glass of champagne on Formal Night without foaming were distracting. (How obnoxious that seems when written down!) We had a very professional wait staff on the Grandeur and those distractions were not present. Our headwaiter was always present and attentive. He would stop by our table several times during each meal. For whatever reason, we would run into him at other locations on the ship and it was always "Mr. William..." so I believe he was really interested and involved with his tables to remember my name without crib notes. I never met the Maitre d'. WELCOME ABOARD SHOW The Welcome Aboard show was held at 7:45 for both seatings. The Palladium Theater was very crowded and we had a hard time finding a place to sit. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers performed and we were introduced to the cruise director, Clodagh O'Connor - Hello Clo! The singers and dancers had a brief performance that was OK - nothing particularly special. The most fun for me was picking out our muster leader. The comedian was a man named Rob Magnotti who specialized in voices and impressions. This show did not do much for me and he seemed to lose the crowd sometimes as well. There was not a lot of interaction from what I heard although he did seem to loosen up with a few poop jokes mid-act. My wife says he was funny and I was just tired and being a grump because we had cruddy seats. Since he was funnier the next night at his late night comedy show, I suppose I can agree with her. THE CASINO The casino opened after the show (during the show?) and we walked through. It seemed like a nice casino with a lot of slots, several table games including roulette, Caribbean stud poker, blackjack, craps. They also had a video game that was blackjack for five or six people with a digital dealer that seemed to be popular. We always saw a lot of people around the game. This was the smokiest place on the ship (the second smokiest was the Schooner Bar). The first night there was a special -- $20 to the cashier gave you $30 dollars in unique pink chips to use at the table games. There were some restrictions - you had to bet in $5 increments, only good on even odds bets, etc. We are not big gamblers and do not budget much for the casino so this was a way to play with a little extra. We played roulette and won the first six times with the special chips - and eventually we ended up with real chips that we can cash in. We used the ships money all cruise long - we left with $80 more than the $20 we started with and played at least some every day. I played roulette in my tuxedo for about two hours on Formal Night - give some, get some all night. For those two hours I could have been James Bond in Monte Carlo - haha! We each put $20 in to the 25 cent slot machines - we lost both our 20 dollars without ever winning a single time. I would have thought at least we would have got one quarter back or something, but we never won once. There was a slot tournament on Day 2 my wife entered. It cost $25 per entry and the goal was to get 70 players and the winner would receive a free five night cruise on Navigator of the Seas. We had never been in a slot tournament before and it sounded like fun. She was Slot Five in Round One. For whatever reason she just racked up the points - more than triple anyone else in her round. We were thinking, ok this is easy! She was still leading through the third round. I had signed up the second day to go to the wine tasting so I had to leave after the fourth round where she slipped to third place. Eventually, the last rounds were run and she was in eighth place so she got to go to the semi-finals. Mrs. Consistency came in eighth place in the semi-final rounds too! While she didn't get to compete in the finals (only the top three move up) she viewed it as a success because she got to play twice. There were not enough players to compete for a cruise, so there were cash prizes for first second and third. If I remember correctly from what she told me, the winner won $326 in onboard credit. Our net result in the casino - cashed in $100 in chips the last night, but we spent $20 to buy in, spent $25 for the slot tournament and wasted $40 in the regular slots. So we netted $15 bucks! WINE TASTING While my wife was pounding the slot machines, I attended the wine tasting they held in the main dining room on the second day. They served three white and three red wines with a nice assortment of fruit and cheese. The Cellar Master gave some history about wines onboard Royal Caribbean and gave some background on his interests and wine education. He also explained the difference between a cellar master and a sommelier onboard the ships. He told one story that may or may not be well known: When RC started the Vintages wine bars there was a fleet wide attempt to upgrade the selection of wines with rarer and older vintages. They brought on board some Lafite Rothschild and Margaux bottles from the 1960s that were costing in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars per bottle. The Cellar Master stated quite simply "It was a disaster". The changes in humidity and temperature going from location to location, not to mention the constant movement of the ship destroyed entire cases of rare wine. That is why no wines onboard are older than the late 1990s and are relatively young and inexpensive. The wines I tasted were nice, it was a fun time and for $9.95 I got the equivalent of three (maybe two and a half) glasses of wine! LUNCH IN THE MAIN DINING ROOM We only went to lunch in the main dining room once - the first sea day. It was nice and my food was tasty. Having had tremendous luck with our dinner tablemates on both of our cruises, the forced companionship for lunch was an eye-opening event. No one was terrible, but 4 of the other 6 people at our table were loud, obnoxious and rude. One man proved the axiom "If someone prefaces a statement with 'This is interesting...' 99 out of 100 times the statement will not be." multiple times during our lunch. The salad bar was very nice with custom made salads and a wide selection of greens and vegetables. I had the Singapore noodles with chicken and shrimp and the noodles were just the right texture with a nice spicy coating. My wife had an Indian curry dish that I paid no attention to at all. Our headwaiter for dinner was working the lunch area we were in. I did look at the menu for the MDR lunch on the second sea day and it was exactly the same. COOKING DEMONSTRATION I have a thing for cooking and enjoy learning new things and seeing how food is prepared and enjoyed. I wanted to see the cooking demonstration. The one on the Monarch had a head waiter and a baker showing how to decorate a cake. It was actually not presented very well, the attempts at humor were off and it was kind of boring. The Grandeur had the same premise, but what a different outcome and production. The demo was hosted by the Cruise Director Clo O'Connor and was attended by the Executive Sous Chef Norman, The Captain Rune Johnsen and the Hotel Director Sanjay Kumar. This brings up another difference between the Monarch and the Grandeur - onboard the Grandeur you saw and met and interacted with the executive officers of the ship. Chef Norman was everywhere and very friendly, we saw the Captain and Staff Captain numerous times. I ran into Sanjay by the elevators and he reached out and wanted to make sure everything was fine with our cabin, was there anything he could do, was there anything I needed. I did hear some complaining that the Captain did not attend the Captain's Reception and sent the Staff Captain in his stead. I guess I am neutral on that - we were late for the reception and missed the picture opportunity anyway. I regret that - its my favorite photo from the Monarch. Of course, the cooking demonstration is staged and the same every cruise, but it was a lot of fun. The Captain kept joking around and put more and more Kirshwasser liquor in the cake (at the end his bottle was 2/3 empty!). He pretended to have more and more trouble icing the cake until he finally just started smearing it with his hands. Then he and Sanjay started throwing cherries at each other culminating in squirting frosting through the air. Clo was right there in the middle of it with Chef Norman looking across like a mild disapproving school marm who really just wanted to join in. I will say the cooking demo was very well attended by the Scooter Crowd and let me warn you - do not get in between them and a piece of the captain's cake. SUPER BOWL The first sea day was also Super Bowl Sunday! Traditionally, the second night is also Formal Night, but Formal was moved to the third night to accommodate the Super Bowl. I know this was a topic on Cruise Critic if they would or would not move Formal Night. Well, they did. As un-American as it sounds I don't really care about football or the Super Bowl. We were eating in the main dining room at kickoff time anyway. After dinner, we went - our new friends Jon and Tracy are from Indianapolis after all. The Super Bowl was being presented on a large main central screen and the two smaller flanking screens in the Palladium Theater. There was a large crowd, but not as large as at the Welcome Aboard production the day before. It was a subdued crowd I think - maybe having to sit in rows and aisles took some of the spontaneity out of the party. The game was direct feed from the satellite and did not include commercials. We arrived in the Palladium with about three minutes left in the first half. When they cut to commercial, Daughtry and Steve Winwood were playing music instead of seeing commercials. We did arrive just in time to see the half time show. I can not comment on whether the Who were appropriate or the right choice for half time, but the presentation was hard to watch onboard. The video and the audio did not sync up - there was about a six second delay. It may seem minor, but it made it almost unwatchable. My wife, Kim, stayed with Jon and Tracy for most of the second half. I wandered off and talked with the future cruise consultant and hung out on the pool deck and relaxed. I met back up with them just before the Saints intercepted that final play. LATE NIGHT COMEDY We wandered around after the Super Bowl, relaxed, browsed through the Centrum shops, looked at our boarding photos and generally wasted time until it was time for the late night adult comedian at 10:15. It was a funnier show than the night before, but very similar. Nothing adult about it - I think the strongest word was poop. In general, the comedian we saw on the Monarch was hilarious and his adult show was adult. There really is no comparison. The act was not my favorite on the Grandeur, but others seemed to really like him. We saw Rob sitting in the Windjammer the following day and several ladies were with him telling him he was the best thing they had ever heard. So to each his own. WINDJAMMER BREAKFAST We ate in the Windjammer for every breakfast during the cruise. No particular reason why we did not go to the Main Dining Room other than convenience. On our Costa Maya day we had an early excursion planned; the other days we were lazy and rolled out of the cabin when we wanted and it was so much easier to simply walk up one flight of stairs on our own schedule than to go to the MDR and adapt. The food met my expectations. Like I said earlier, I eat a lot of fruit and bread. The Windjammer had plenty of both. I enjoyed the smoked salmon combined with capers, cheese and tomatoes. There were two disappointments in the Windjammer. I truly disliked the scrambled eggs and detested the scrambled eggs mixed with smoked salmon. I don't know why I thought it would taste good, but to me it didn't at all. I guess the cruise line is experiencing limited demand for eggs and salmon because the platter with that was much smaller and looked largely untouched. The other disappointment was the made to order omelet station. The cooks were actually preparing frittatas not omelets. I prefer thin omelets. I did not eat a frittata so I can't say yea or nay, but the line was long and people seemed to enjoy them. I will say they always had a nice selection of ingredients for custom orders in addition to the "Omelet of the Day". The first sea day I did have the cook prepare me two over medium fried eggs. It was kind of funny; he was cooking the eggs and tried to flip using his wrist. Unfortunately, the eggs folded and both yolks broke. The cook was discouraged and went to discard the food and start over. I stopped him and said they would be fine - made me feel at home as I usually break my yolks trying to flip them as well. My wife ate the oatmeal a couple of days and said it was good and filling. She also ate some of the breakfast meats and said they were buffet good. We attend meetings at hotels occasionally and breakfast is often served before the meetings - the prepared foods and breakfast meets were comparable to hotel banquet room style breakfasts. COSTA MAYA, MEXICO One of the main reasons we found this cruise was an interest in visiting the Mayan ruins near Costa Maya. Having read a little about the Temple of the Masks, selecting our excursion for Costa Maya was easy - the double trip to both Kohunlich and Dzibanche. We did book through Royal Caribbean before we left - thinking that we were safer and more protected by sticking with the "official" excursion. I know a lot of people can book on their own, but I could not find substantial savings and any excursion that included both sites seemed to really cut it close on time. As it turned out I had good reason to be worried about cutting the all aboard time too close. And in all honesty, I preferred Royal Caribbean having my credit card number instead of someone in Mexico who simply put together a neat looking website. The excursion was scheduled to meet at the end of the pier at 8:15 am We were about the last people to join the line. Since we did not have much time we did not see much of Costa Maya except for what we saw through the bus windows. Our tour guide, Jesus Rivero, greeted us and led us to a large bus. The bus was clean, had no odors, air conditioned and as comfortable as a 56 seat upright bus could be on very bumpy roads. The excursion operators handed out a box lunch as we boarded the bus and they were very determinably making certain we knew the lunch came from the ship not the tour operators. With good reason. Our lunch was a package of tuna, 6 crackers, a small packet of mayonnaise, a small packet of relish, a chocolate chip cookie and potato chips. Again one of those circumstance where nothing is really wrong, but.... Our trip to the ruins took a little over two hours and we saw some absolutely desolate areas with a few small settlements. Many of the small towns, maybe villages would be more apt, seemed beset by poverty and had a generally run down, littered appearance. Then out of nowhere there would be a nice home, freshly painted with a lady sweeping the front porch with a neatly maintained yard. This contrasted with the cinder block construction with simple openings for the windows doors and the only furnishings would be hammocks hanging from the walls. There were lots of chickens and goats hanging around. The people sitting behind us in the bus were from Iowa and apparently knew a lot about chickens. We had a running commentary on the type and quality of the chickens - it was pretty funny to me. My wife didn't find as much humor in it as I did. They were a group of friends and family making the trip and were very friendly - they helped my wife and I get some "together photos" throughout the day. The landscape for the majority of the trip was similar to Texas - low scrub trees across fairly flat land. We did see a lot of sugar cane fields including some they were burning. We were told the farmers burn the sugar cane fields prior to harvesting for several reasons - chases snakes from the field, makes the plant more pliable and easier to harvest with a machete, and the burning actually adds to the sweetness of the resulting cane syrup. I don't know. I did learn that I like Mexican Coke much more than the Coke here in the United States. The recipe in Mexico still uses sugar cane while in the US the recipe uses corn sweeteners. Apparently, I was the only person on the ship (and probably Cruise Critic as well) who did not know that! Oh well, I drink maybe a half dozen Cokes a year. We passed a couple of militaristic looking checkpoints and on the roads leading to the Federal Highway there were a lot of road bumps to keep vehicles from speeding. The bumps were made with the ropes that the cruise ships tie to the pier with two or three ropes stretched across the road. DZIBANCHE & KOHUNLICH I have heard through the grapevine that a cruise review is not the place to review excursions. So this will be brief. If the grumpies think even this is too much, tough - there are thousands of other posts you can read! I really enjoyed the ruins - just as much as I expected. Our cost for the dual trip through Royal Caribbean was $98. I did a brief search to book the trip independently, but could not find anything comparable. There was a Kohunlich single tour for $76 (compared with $82 through Royal Caribbean). We were able to climb the main pyramid at Dzibanche which was a treat. Our little group marveled at the ability to climb and explore the ruins - in the US the lawyers, insurance companies, environmentalists, etc. have all made it impossible to get close to anything. Hopefully, the access provided to the Mayan sites are not damaging them. The views were very impressive and we had a lot of fun. It was nice that we were the only group at the ruins. Our tour guide, Jesus, knew a lot about the ruins, the Mayan history and you could tell he took a lot of pride in his heritage. He was born and raised a short distance from the ruins and drives the two hours to Costa Maya to give the tours. The ruins were still partially unexcavated and it was actually very cool to be able to see the way the stone work emerges from the soil. Many of the ruins have trees growing from them and only the major pyramids are completely open. At Kohunlich we really felt like we were in the jungle. Seeing 50 or 60 or 70 foot palm trees with all the under brush made me really feel like we were on an adventure. I can not imagine what it was like before the roads were cut in and the jungle was kept at bay. Officially it was called a sub-tropical rain forest, but whenever there are monkeys jumping around wild in the trees... I'm in the jungle baby! Seeing the ruins was addicting. I really want to study more about the Mayan civilization and in particular these sites so I know more about what I am seeing. The rocks are impressive in and of themselves, but knowing more about the history and evolution of the civilization will make them even more interesting. TEMPLE OF THE MASKS This temple was everything I imagined it to be - a pyramid, in the jungle and incredible 6 feet tall stucco masks carved into the side of the steps. Very cool. From the top of this pyramid, you could look across the field and see the tall trees and palms in the distance. As you panned across the horizon sticking out of the top the jungle canopy were the tops of other ruins and pyramids. This was the quintessential National Geographic moment and was the view we selected this cruise for. I have a 1 minute 30 second Flip video that I can email you a link to view if anyone is interested. THE MONKEYS Everyone I told about our cruise before heading out heard about my "need" to see monkeys in the wild. This trip did not disappoint. When we arrived at Kohunlich, we walked a narrow earthen bridge toward the complex. Apparently, the Mayans built their communities on rises and used the natural slope of the rises to collect runoff and rainwater in huge cisterns. The jungle has filled these slopes and the earth bridge was what gave us access to the site. As we were walking this loud rumbling, screech roar was coming up out of the tree tops. Its hard to describe the sound as it was not a roar, not a screech. It sounds silly, but the only thing it reminded me of was how I imagine dinosaurs sounded. This, of course, was the sound of a large male howler monkey trying to attract a female. When we approached the first complex here, we saw the male jumping and roaring. Then we saw two females in an adjacent tree. My quest was complete! JESUS RIVERO Jesus was our tour guide and he also had an assistant with him named Manuel. He was a good guide, very proud of his heritage and quite sincere in his desire for us to have a good and informative time. His banter (or as he called it, his "blah, blah, blah") was light hearted. He gave the mile high view of the ruins for the general tour, but if you asked him a specific question he knew the material inside and out. On the way back to the port after visiting the ruins, he started to show us the coconuts that the natives get coconut oil out of and then adapt for various uses. They are quite small and do not look like a coconut here in the states. He was very slick in how he started to show a few items of personal jewelry he had carved from the coconut material - three times harder than mahogany he claimed. By the time he finished he had four zip lock bags of little Mayan huts and Mayan masks each carved from a small coconut being passed down both aisles of the bus. Then out came the three ring binders of key chains, money clips, swizel sticks, page markers and the like that were all for sale. It was harmless fun and I will never fault anyone for taking an opportunity to earn some cash. There was one moment where I paused to reflect on this as I watched about 3/4 of the passengers buy a trinket ($5 each American). We were seated at the back of the bus and the Mayan masks sold much quicker than the Mayan huts. One of the ladies from Iowa wanted a mask, but by the time the baggies reached us they were sold out. Jesus came toward the back of the bus timed with the baggies. The lady was disappointed and Jesus kind of shrugged, apologizing that he was out. He then said that he had six hundred of them last week and sold them all. I did a little double take and asked if I heard right - he sold six hundred masks in one week. "Si amigo" came the answer. The quick math: 600 masks X $5.00 each = $3000.00 a week and that doesn't count the Mayan huts and all the other pieces. I told my wife I was moving to Mexico with my pocket knife and getting a supply of coconuts. FORMAL NIGHT I like to dress nicely. Formal night is a fun time for me and I wear a tuxedo. My thought process - I have one so I need to find any opportunity to wear it I can find. As stated before, Formal Night was moved to the third night to accommodate the Super Bowl. We had early seating for the main dining room. Our difficulty came as we got back onboard from Costa Maya a little after 5:30. Not quite sure how, but we showered, dressed and were in the dining room only a few minutes late. We did catch a break with the elevator - we boarded on the first deck and after we cleared the minor security (I forgot my cellphone in my pocket) we walked through and an elevator door slid open. There was no one else around, so we jumped on and went straight to Deck 8. Jon and Tracy were with us on Costa Maya, and they arrived for dinner shortly after we did so we all hoofed it some how! Dinner was excellent for Formal Night. It was the best all around meal I had onboard the Grandeur. All of us ordered an assortment of appetizers - I had the shrimp cocktail and the Escargot Bourguignon. My wife had the lobster bisque and escargot. The escargot was delicious - I am embarrassed to admit I used a roll to sop up some of the decadent sauce. The shrimp cocktail was fine - six common shrimp arrayed on a bed of frisee. The assistant waiter then spooned a thinner than normal but still tasty cocktail sauce at the table. The lobster bisque was much better on the Grandeur than on the Monarch. It may be subjective, but the Monarch bisque had a strong "fishy" odor about that carried over into the taste. The Grandeur bisque was flavorful, rich and buttery. For my entrEe I selected the roasted duck that came with shredded sweet red cabbage and sauced with a black currant reduction that was delicious in and of itself. The duck was plated with golden potato croquettes. I could have stuffed myself and ate another one. Others at our table had the filet with green pepper corn sauce that seems to be a traditional, long-term favorite of many on Royal Caribbean's ships. There were a lot of ohs and yums. My wife, Kim, chose the shrimp ravioli. It was tasty and standard with a lobster sauce and wilted spinach and garnished with sautEed leeks. Then we had the best news of the cruise. Reading the boards on Cruise Critic it seemed that some of the ships in the fleet no longer offered the Grand Marnier soufflE for desert. I had prepared myself for it and on the first night there was a Grand Marnier flavored mousse that I assumed was the replacement for the soufflE. I looked down at the desert menu and there it was.... Grand Marnier soufflE. Once again I came very close to ordering two. It was as delicious as I remembered it on the Monarch. CAPTAIN'S RECEPTION Essentially we missed the Captain's Reception. The Captain was unable to attend because of the sail away from Costa Maya and the Staff Captain was there in his stead. We arrived in the South Pacific Lounge about 5 minutes after 8 which technically should have been within the window, but the reception was definitely winding down. There was a nice crowd - maybe 250 people or so in the room. The band was playing, I believe it was the Metroline band (going by memory on this one), and was very talented. Of course at this event the songs were geared toward Big Band and jazz standards. It all felt very cruisy. Our dining table attended together. As we walked in the ship photographer was packing away his camera. I was a little disappointed as the photo with the Captain was the photo I was going to purchase. Oh well, $19.95 set aside to save for the next cruise! I looked at the pictures the next morning in the Photo Shop and only saw about 20 photos for sale. This event was again an older crowd and I suppose everyone who attended had enough photos with the Captain. We did stay for a glass of champagne (OK, I had two, the others had one) and saw the introduction of the staff officers and other crew members. There was not a lot of "oomph" for the introduction and the crowd was thinning through the event. Our little group dispersed and Kim and I headed to the casino. I played roulette off and on for about two hours and had fun pretending the chips were $100 and $500 instead of $1 and $5. It was secret agent night and a lot of the staff dressed in white dinner jackets. There were a handful of guests in tuxedos, but many changed out of their formal clothes. I stayed in mine until the bitter end. THE DIVAS OF MOTOWN We met back up with Jon and Tracy for the evening production. The show was titled "Supreme Divas Of Motown" performed by The Divas of Motown. The ushers brought us to some excellent seats for this performance which was very appreciated. This was really a nice production. There were three singers with excellent voices and were very beautiful in their stage clothes. The performances were what you would expect - singing the female hits of Motown. The songs were heavy on the Supremes of course, but also included Martha and Aretha and Tina. One of the hits of the evening was from Dionne Warwick - that was definitely a crowd pleaser. The fourth member of the group came out playing the saxophone on a number and absolutely just wailed. I could not believe someone could dance and play the sax like that at the same time. Amazing. I would not be surprised if some of this show was tracked, but if it was who care? It was a spectacle and we all had a good time. It was my favorite show of the cruise COZUMEL We did not plan any excursions in Cozumel. We thought we would play it by ear and just see what the town was like. Our tablemates both booked excursions - Jon and Tracy selected the Jungle Buggy Trek across the island. This excursion had side by side Polaris RZR ATV rides across the dunes, along the shore, up over hills and through the jungle. They were the only people who selected this tour so they had a unique experience. They even had a real adventure! Since usually the tour has a 6 to 10 or more RZR drivers the Mexican police saw just two and became suspicious. They were really in a remote, uninhabited area and the police thought they were either drug smugglers or sea turtle poachers and sent a squad to intercept and see what they were doing. The police arrived in full body armor with automatic weapons. That is such a cool story even I had to write about it! Larry and Peg went to one of the beach clubs along the ocean and relaxed with one of the all-inclusive packages. Kim and I got up late, had a late breakfast and meandered off the ship. We took a few pictures of ourselves in front of the Grandeur, walked through the pier shops and took a taxi to San Miguel. We did absolutely nothing except wander around, laugh at the barkers. We wandered into several of the jewelry shops and every store offered us tequila. I thought now this is the way to shop. The malls at home would take on a whole new attraction for me if there was an open bottle of tequila on every counter. Like a lot of tourists we ate lunch at Palmeras right downtown. We watched the police raise the gigantic Mexican flag that is such a landmark. After lunch we stopped in a little open air bazaar with vendors selling trinkets and toys and bought some inexpensive souvenirs for our 19 month old son at home. My wife got into the haggling here in Mexico - she was not so confident at the Straw Market in Nassau. She was able to get a marionette puppet, two painted mariachi gourds and one of those painted fish line Cozumel toy guitars for a total of $10. Very proud of her! BACK TO THE SHIP Conzumel was planned to be our relaxing day in the sun. We really didn't know where to go and the beach front along the main drag was not particularly inviting so we headed back to the Grandeur. Made full use of the pool for several hours and had a good time. We watched pool games and they were funny. One of the Cruise Director Staff members (Gio) ran the games and he was having a hard time getting people to participate. Then a small group came back onboard still wearing the Carlos and Charlie's balloon hats and they jumped right in. When a group a 20-ish guys who had already had a lot of beer in the sun said what the hell, the games were on. I found one thing very funny. There was one 18-20 year old girl playing in a white bikini and when it was her turn to take the playing card across the deck without using her hands the crowd around the games stood up, took notice and faded away as soon as she was finished. We lay in the sun - the weather was beautiful - read our books and truly relaxed until it was time for dinner. RYTHYM AND RHYME The evening production was called Rhythm and Rhyme presented by the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. Billed as a salute to contemporary musicals it was well received by the crowd and both my wife and I enjoyed the show. The cast on the Grandeur really are talented. The show was heavy on the Broadway standards - Evita, West Side Story, Cats and was done very nice. The sets were very basic and consisted largely of scrims and backdrops. There were numerous costume changes - some so quick I wondered how they did it even knowing the principles of Velcro and under-dressing! As I understand it all the singing in these production numbers is live with only small tracks added - the "stars" are all live. I was impressed. The dancers have the show blocked perfectly and it was a very seamless, well integrated show. We learned the following day that this cast has been together for about seven months (six weeks in rehearsals and 5 months onboard performing) and that their contracts were ending in March. This explains some of the seamlessness we saw I am sure, but there should be no doubts about their talent and professionalism. Lighting was very well choreographed, the sound was mixed and even and I personally thought it was a through and through professional production. THE QUEST Ahh, the famous Quest. We attended the Quest game show at 10:30 in the South Pacific Lounge. It was packed. We sat on the edge of the risers to watch as there were no seats and we had arrived about 20 minutes early in hopes of finding a chair. I guess the rule to get there early is a good one. The only complaint I have about the Quest is too many people know what every item will be. No group of several hundred people in the real world will have 15 percent of them pulling out 2 dollar bills from their front pockets. Maybe, just maybe some would have to dig in their wallets for one, but that many people having them..... too many are reading Cruise Critic's cheat sheets! One lady in her sixties from our section actually pulled a black bra out of her purse. Now all that being said it was funny. Now that being said the man who got naked did not need to. The group in front of ours was led by a man who knew the Quest, had a lot of the props with him and really wanted to win. When the time came for the Quest for a man dressed as a sexy woman, he dropped his shorts, stood there nude and pulled on his bra and panties. The man who actually won the points was a younger blonde who looked like he would rather be absolutely anywhere than there, but he trooped through it. I guess it goes to show that youth will win out everytime. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Review of Grandeur of the Seas 2/20/2010 Let's just say of all the RCCL cruises we have taken, this one was spectacular. We started off on Day 1, by being dropped off at the pier by our daughter about 10:30 AM. From check-in till ... Read More
Review of Grandeur of the Seas 2/20/2010 Let's just say of all the RCCL cruises we have taken, this one was spectacular. We started off on Day 1, by being dropped off at the pier by our daughter about 10:30 AM. From check-in till embarkation was 45 minutes. We were in the Windjammer at 11:15. The ship is in great shape, showing very little wear and tear. The Captain is Rob Hempstead, the first American Captain we have ever had, and by far the funniest and most personable. Clo O'Connor is the cruise director and very involved with the guests. Welcome aboard show was the Singers and Dancers along with the comedy of Kelly McDonald. Day 2 was Key West. Warm and sunny most the day, until sail away and then the rains started. Production show was "Rhythm and Rhyme" Love and marriage show was also today. Dance music was "Johnny and the Take Four". These guys were wonderful. Day 3 was a day at sea. Rainy off and on most of the day. This was Formal night, and the Captains welcome aboard reception. Headliner was Vocal Impressionist Paul Boland. Didn't find him very good. Day 4 was Cozumel. Hot and sunny most of the day and then the rains hit and never let up until we arrived back in Tampa. Production show was All Access, with the Quest game show and Pool Party happening today. Day 5 was a Sea day, very cool and rainy with most outdoor activities cancelled. Today was Crown and Anchor reception with one lady there with 39 cruises. Positives about the cruise... almost everything. The food was great, hot and plentiful. Staff was very attentive and always a part of the happenings around the ship. They seemed to know you by name by the end of the first night. Our Waiter was Komar and our assistant was Kendrum. Windjammer never had long lines even though this was a full ship. Pool chairs were plentiful and many tables to be found. This was the very first time we have done an inside stateroom, and found it to be larger than many of our ocean view rooms. Stateroom attendant was Noel. We never had to ask for anything, and he was always there if we did. Debarkation was a breeze with the dining room being for platinum and diamond members. They do not offer self disembark, but we were off by 8:30 and on our way home. The only negative thing that we could find was the lack of seating at the shows. If you wanted a seat, you needed to be there an hour prior, plus there was a reserved section for suite guests only. The ship is leaving Tampa in April, and hope to sail one more time with her, before she sets sail across the ocean. Captain Rob is going to Enchantment, so hopefully will sail with him again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
This was our second cruise on RCCL in a year. We caught the ship in Tampa. Since we drove, we dropped off our luggage and parked across the street in the parking garage, the cost was $70. This was about 12:30p. Getting on the ship was a ... Read More
This was our second cruise on RCCL in a year. We caught the ship in Tampa. Since we drove, we dropped off our luggage and parked across the street in the parking garage, the cost was $70. This was about 12:30p. Getting on the ship was a breeze but I think this was because it was not very crowded and lines moved very quickly. We were onboard ship before 1p. The access to the cabins were blocked off as I guess they were still preparing the cabins. Soon after passengers were able to make there way to their cabin. Luggage came soon after. Our cabin was in good shape considering the ship is about 15 years old. Everything was clean and neat with plenty of storage space. To us this was a great cabin in comparing it to the cabins on the Monarch which must be the smallest of all cruise cabins. While we were unpacking, the ships maintenace was washing windows which it did need. We went to Windjammer Cafe for lunch and the food was the same as last year. The food is good and hot but by the time you walk around and put food on your plate and then find a table your food cools down. After lunch we went exploring and noticed that the ship was not crowded at all. 4:30p was the emergency drill with NO LIFE JACKETS! 5pm promptly the ship pulled out. One word of advice, as you go exploring the ship go to the dining room before dinner and check out where you will be seated as our request for a table for two at the main seating were goofed up. We didn't discover this until we went for dinner that first night. By the line waiting to talk to the head waiter we were not alone in dining table problems. We ended up having to go to the second seating to get a table of two. In fact there were several other couples that also had to switch their seating. But in the end it worked out ok and we were seated at a table on the upper level by the railing so we had a good view of the entire dining room. Our wait staff Blaise and Anabal were excellent and after they got to know us had fun with them. Food in the dining room was good not gourmet. There was always vegitarian and sugar free items on the menu. I can't comment on breakfast or lunch in the dining room as we never ate there. The second seating dining showed the ship was not at full capacity as it looked to me that the dining room was only about 70% full. There were plenty of empty tables. We didn't partake in alot of activities. I did do bingo which is still very expensive. Though I did manage to win $111.85 which did not cover all I spent. The casino was actually paying off. I only lost $30 on slots. Someone won $4000 on quarter slots and I saw other jackpot being won. The ship itself is in very good condition. I always saw people cleaning and the public bathrooms were always spotless. Walking into the Windjammer Cafe there was a standing hand sanitizer which I thought was a very good idea. Entertainment was better on this ship then last year. The RCCL singers and dancers were good and all the entertainent was good. The Love and Marriage game was hysterical and Clo our Irish cruise director was great. The cruise was great except for the weather which was cold, rainy with a morning of thunder and lighting. Our day in Key West was good but by afternoon the rain came in but Capt Rob who was funny, had warned us of the change in weather. Cozumel was our best day as it turned out to be a sunny day and was the only day after getting done with Cozumel that we went into the pool. In Cozumel we took the highlights shopping tour which was good for us since we had never been to Cozumel before. Our tour guide Casar was great. Also when it comes time to leave the ship you can swith your luggage tags to another time if the one you got doesn't work for you. Getting off the ship and going through customs was also a breeze. In all despite the weather, we enjoyed ourselves and will be taking another cruise in September. Yes the ship is older, smaller then others but sometimes smaller is better. Over all the ship was in great shape. Yes not fancy but for us it was just fine. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We stayed the night before at Hilton West-shore Tampa they had a free shuttle service and provided free parking during your cruise. We left the hotel a little after ten and arrived to the port around 1030. We planned on checking two cases ... Read More
We stayed the night before at Hilton West-shore Tampa they had a free shuttle service and provided free parking during your cruise. We left the hotel a little after ten and arrived to the port around 1030. We planned on checking two cases of water one for each stateroom but the guy at the curb made us carry them. We continued to check in everything went extremely fast. No Lines, No waits it was very nice. The boarding time was 1230. We had an hour and a half wait so we thought. Around 1130 we were boarding! We went to the windjammer for lunch they had more of a Asian lunch set up and then also cold cut sandwiches it was very good. We were able to get into our rooms around 1:00. Leaving Tampa was so easy compared to other ports. It was very neat going under the sky-way bridge at night. The top of the ship just misses the top the of bridge. The ship is incredible! We have been on two previous cruises one on Voyager and Independence so grandeur was a little smaller then the other two we had been on so we had no idea what to expect. Its truly a beautiful ship for being 15 years old it is kept is great condition. The staff is excellent. We had an interior stateroom and we found it to be smaller but it was great for the purpose of it which was sleep, and shower. You do have a shower curtain instead of the doors. Our stateroom attendant was Amelia. She was excellent made us towel animals and always greeted us with a friendly smile and told us to enjoy our day. First day at sea was nice. This particular cruise had quite a mixed crowd from older to middle age to younger. Never had any problems with getting seats on deck near the pool, or the solarium which was really nice. It was a little cloudy but nothing to stop people from the north from sitting out in the sun that was barley peeking out. The activities always seem to be going on throughout the day and they had Trivia, Bingo, Belly Flop Contest, Sexy Leg Contest so whatever your heart desires its there. We checked out the casino a few times and they have a video blackjack game that became quite addicting because it would hit so often the first two days after that it took our money :( we had a guy on our ship that hit $2,000 on a slot machine and also one that hit around $500+ like all other casinos they have there hits and misses but it was a great time overall. The fitness center we did try. A tad disappointed that they didn't have any t.vs or music playing. Other then that they did have a good selection of stuff. A couple treadmills and ellipticals, bikes, spinning bikes, free weights, and also a few machines for leg press and crunches. The selection was great for options. On our way home was the most the boat rocked. We took ginger during our entire cruise and nobody (out of the four of us) got sick. It was rather yucky out with so much rain and lighting. If I'm not mistaken I do believe the captain did inform us about 35 mph winds. When the doors open you could tell and the people were being pushed in by the wind. I would highly recommend the grandeur of the seas for any age group. It was a beautiful ship and had so much to do for each age group. The staff truly makes this ship stand out. Our main dining room staff was great! Roma was our main waiter and he did an excellent job very friendly. I forgot our assistant waiters name but he was so friendly he always make jokes and laughed. PT was our head waiter and took great care of us. Fried shrimp was a request with my husbands mom and he took great care of her to make sure it was delivered. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We just got back from our first cruise ever and were greatly disappointed with RC's Grandeaur of the Seas. Where do I start? I did not realize the "large inside cabin" would be so darn small. Wow, my bathroom at home is ... Read More
We just got back from our first cruise ever and were greatly disappointed with RC's Grandeaur of the Seas. Where do I start? I did not realize the "large inside cabin" would be so darn small. Wow, my bathroom at home is bigger than this thing. There was ample closet space, but good thing I brought more hangers and an alarm clock (serious, no clock??). The only high point was the Great Gatsby Dining Room. We had nightly dinners there that were amazing and the service was excellent. We felt like they were there to wait on us and only us. The Matre d' was amazing as well. Otherwise from the other food options, to the cleanliness, to the attitudes, I was horribly disappointed. The lack of dance floor for the "dinner music", the $7-$10 drinks, the obnoxious and rabidly aggressive pool bar hands who harrassed you about getting something from the bar, the pool being closed numerous times, the horribly loud music by the pool all lead to a very poor vacation experience. The food in the Windjammer (buffet) was like bad cafeteria food. Same food every day. No mustard other than hot deli mustard. I expected over-the-top amazing food and received bad-hospital-steamtable-food. Even the rolls for the hotdogs/hambergers/sandwiches were stale (because they were left on the steamtable as well). Service in the Windjammer was also atrocious. I chose RC because I thought it would assure me a wonderful vacation, but I was wrong. I'm not sure I will cruise will RC again. What a let down! Also, the communication was poor. We were first-time cruisers and had to go to the pursers desk numerous times to ask questions that we otherwise would have been left in the dark about. And then, were answered with an attitude, "well you need to...." Wow, amazing that i paid that much money to be talked down to. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Background: My mother is an active 65 and spends her summers in Tampa Florida so I (40yr old son) decided to escape the cold Midwest in January and take her on a cruise! I read the reviews on Cruise Critic and the price was under $400 for ... Read More
Background: My mother is an active 65 and spends her summers in Tampa Florida so I (40yr old son) decided to escape the cold Midwest in January and take her on a cruise! I read the reviews on Cruise Critic and the price was under $400 for a 5 night cruise. We like to go and do things more than lay around but some relaxing is always good. Grandeur, first impression: Neat ship! We entered the ship on deck 5 and walked around before heading up to the Windjammer for lunch which had great food in our opinion and we are picky eaters. The ship is has a nice dEcor and was very clean. The cabins have lots of storage and are laid out well. W felt the room was larger than we thought it might be from the photos. They had the beds separated as requested and a night stand for each of us for our belongings and the closet was plenty big with each of taking less than our half. A vanity and chair along with another sitting chair provided ample "get ready" space and lounging space in the room but we didn't spend much time there other than to sleep for the night and get ready to go in the morning! I was a bit worried that there would not be enough to do for us to enjoy the entire 5 days but the cruise critic reviews were so good that I thought how could we miss! I had the ship down in about 1 hour of walking around, my mom was lost about half the cruise so it was a good happy medium! Day 1 - We enjoyed the buffet shortly after boarding which was speedy and easy. I think ½ hour from the time we got the luggage off at the curb to walking up the gangway! It was a full ship but it didn't ever feel full. We boarded at about noon and our luggage was delivered almost right away. They had tables set up around the Centrum from several departments. No lifejackets were needed at the muster drill and it was fairly painless other than standing around for 20 minutes. That was done on Deck 5 and was over in about 20 minutes. We left the pier at 5pm. It was 7:10pm before we passed under the Skyway Bridge which was a spectacular sight at night and seemed the mast of the ship barely made it under the bridge by about 10 feet! We checked out dinner in the dining room but honestly the food menu was the same as the windjammer and thus we liked the casual environment of the windjammer so we left before dinner started and ate in the windjammer every meal and it was FANTASTIC! Grabbing a plate of food and heading out to the open air by the pool (which was right next to the windjammer) was so relaxing and what vacation is suppose to be in my opinion. We attended the Welcome Aboard Show which was fun. Day 2-At sea. Ahhhhhh, a great warm and sunny day away from the snow of the upper Midwest. The ship was well kept and so much fun! I'll talk about the ship here since we had a day out and a day back at sea. We did the evening shows every night and they were very well done. The RCI dancers/singers were very good. Chloe, our CD was fantastic, funny, and always full of energy. We didn't do the Quest, or Love and marriage, or Bingo, or spa type stuff. We did try the casino and ping pong and watched the rock climbing wall but then it rained. We went to karaoke about every night and it was lots of fun. There seemed to be plenty of activities on the cruise compass every day and we watched many of them or just shopped at the t shirt sales and jewelry by an inch together. When we got hungry we went to the Windjammer and ate. I had about 3 desserts every night and some spectacular shrimp and seafood bisque. We enjoyed some time by the pool everyday and I played the Capitan and crew in pool volleyball in rough seas and the pool had 3 foot waves and it was a ton of fun! They had a Caribbean steel drum band by the pool most days and it was so relaxing to soak up the rays and listen to the band while the ship gently rolled along the warm southern sun filled ocean! We skipped formal dinner, again opting for a wonderful sunset on the top deck and there was nobody around. We brought formal wear but just thought, hey vacation is for sunsets not 3 hours of getting dressed up and sitting in the dining room! On the sea day back we ran into a thunderstorm and the solarium indoor pool was a great refuge. We didn't feel any pressure to buy spa treatments or photos or anything. The ship never felt crowded, we got on and off very quickly. In almost every way it exceeded our expectations and as I talked to many others on board they all had the same feeling. Everybody seemed to be having a great time and felt the trip was well priced and there was plenty to do for everybody! Port 1 - Costa Maya I had read about the ruins tour here being quicker and easier than the one from Cozumel. While it might not be quite as good of a ruins to visit, the trade off in ease and quickness was worth it. For about $40/each we spent an hour on an air conditioned van each way...the pyramids were very neat and it was plenty of exercise walking around the ruins. Very worth visiting! Once back we shared a super authentic Mexican plate meal right there at the port (made especially for cruise ships) and while it was a bit touristy, we enjoy that stuff. We went in several of the shops, and I laid out on the beach soaking up the views of the ocean and cruise ships. A super fun day and then back on the ship in the late afternoon. Port 2 - Cozumel We arrived at Cozumel and were docked by 6:30am. The ship Didn't have us change the time and we all stayed on ships time While in Cozumel. We were happy to see it was a very sunny day In Cozumel. We Took a cab to the Chankanaab beach park and were there before it opened because while it was 9am ship time it was only 8am CST/Mexico time so we got our pick of beach chairs because we were first in the gate! Beautiful beach park, I snorkeled and saw decent stuff but being alone some aggressive silver fish (maybe people feed them?) were pestering me so I found some other people to snorkel with and in groups they left me alone! A waiter would come take our order and we had awesome nachos con carne and some pina coladas relaxing on the beach and then walked around the beach park. They had swim with the dolphins there that looked a ton of fun and a pool for families and a secluded little inlet for little ones to swim in a protected area but still in the ocean. I really liked this place, there was a lot to do or nothing at all and it was very well laid out and clean bathrooms with showers and all the facilities you could want! After lunch we took a cab into town for some shopping. We made our way through all of downtown area stopping in and out of shops. We had a great time bartering with the shops and just taking in the touristy Mexican area that is Cozumel! We took a cab back to the pier and did a little more shopping before returning to the ship. Debarkation - We were docked when we went up on deck at 6:30am. We had breakfast in the Windjammer and since we had no flight to catch we just casually got ready to leave and were still off the ship by about 10:30am. I left one of my bags in the customs area where you are to self retrieve and I thought I had everything. Within 15 minutes an RCI person had called my cell phone and told me about the lost luggage so I went back in (hadn't left yet from out front of the terminal!) and they helped me retrieve it. Overall: This was a FANTASTIC cruise for two adults to just enjoy and relax. Sometimes we split up and did separate things but mostly we were able to find plenty to enjoy together. I would HIGHLY recommend a cruise on RCI if this is typical of their experiences and I can wholeheartedly recommend the always friendly staff of the Grandeur. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Leaving cold New England we arrived in Tampa the day before departure. We spent the night at the Hampton Inn & Suites very near the port. The hotel was clean, comfortable and the staff was very accommodating. The neighbor seemed a bit ... Read More
Leaving cold New England we arrived in Tampa the day before departure. We spent the night at the Hampton Inn & Suites very near the port. The hotel was clean, comfortable and the staff was very accommodating. The neighbor seemed a bit iffy but was interesting to walk through during the day. A free shuttle was available to the ship the next morning. We arrived at the dock about 11:30 and proceeded without waiting to the sign in desk and quickly moved through SeaPass pictures and on to the ship by 12:15. Our room was ready by 1:00 so we went to the Windjammer for lunch. I must explain we have sailed 3 times in the last 12 months and this was a last minute decision. We had asked for a Oceanview mid- ship as all balcony rooms had been sold out. We were given a handicap accessible room (Neither of us needed handicap access) that was larger than expected, but was in poor shape. The bunk beds that are stored in the ceiling were bulging down, the TV was smaller than any I've seen in years, the bathroom was in poor shape(the toilets stopped working for several hours) and the handicap access options made it difficult for us but I won't go on and on. The poor old ship needs to be retired or go for a face lift. Her original beauty tried to shine through but the worn carpets, the scrapes on walls, the porthole-window that was so worn it was difficult to see through and the railing on the deck had been painted so many times the paint was bubbling in an uneven level. On the other hand, the service was excellent in both our stateroom and in the dining room. The drink prices have gone up-the drink of the day is now $7.15 rather than the $5.99. The nightly entertain seemed to be scaled back to more show by the ships singers & dancers. Enjoyed Love & Marriage and the Quest as usual. Loved the fact that Captain Rune Johnsen was not just a name but participated in the Chef's cooking demonstration and in the water volley ball tournament and showed his wonderful sense of humor. I think we will stick to the newer, larger ships where there is more to do and more elegance than this poor old girl. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
As of course we all know, the weather is out of our control. Moving on, let me say that having a nice choice of cruises that call Tampa their home is something that truly delights Mr. B. and me. We wish we'd figured it out sooner! ... Read More
As of course we all know, the weather is out of our control. Moving on, let me say that having a nice choice of cruises that call Tampa their home is something that truly delights Mr. B. and me. We wish we'd figured it out sooner! So far, we've only taken two five-days, last year on Carnival (when the weather was totally, wonderfully average) and one this year on Grandeur, when the weather was pretty bad. Ok, yes, I'll stop talking about the weather now. Embarkation day couldn't have been easier. I think you'll love it! The ship is delightful. I love the artwork, I love the carpeting, I adore the storage in the cabin, esp. the medicine cabinet and all the nooks and crannies (and drawers). I don't care for the shower, at all. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm sorry I didn't try the showers in the spa area (if that's an option, without buying a spa service -- I never thought to check). We enjoyed the shows, never ever having a problem finding a GOOD seat, despite our last minute arrival times. We enjoyed trivia. We wish we never had to hear another announcement for bingo, ever again. I guess if we switch back to Celebrity, we'll have achieved that wish -- but they don't go out of Tampa! We tried My Time Dining, and it worked fine. Four nights, we had a fabulous pair of waiter and assistant (Savio and Arvin). If you find a pair you really like, ASK for them. The only trouble with My Time Dining is working around the shows. However! this brings me to my intriguing similarity. On this cruise, and on the 14-day Panama Canal transit we took on Celebrity's Constellation, about two-thirds of the guests opted for early dining. This allowed the rest of us (late dining, and My Time Dining) to attend the shows with the choice of plenty of good seats! I really like that. I really really like that! The band playing in the Centrum all around dinner hour and after is delightful. The orchestra playing at most of the shows in the theatre is very good. The singers and dancers do a nice job, and I enjoyed the impressionist and his show very much. I love the way the Centrum lends itself to all-ship get-togethers. There are floors full of railings for nice views. It's fun! The final little good-bye show in the dining room on the last night, including all the wait staff and the kitchen staff, and the parade of flags with one or more crew members representing their own countries, were nice touches which I think guests certainly do love -- I know I did! I also thoroughly enjoyed Capt. Rob and his announcements. I am amazed at how the Windjammer buffet restaurant handles so many guests at lunch and dinner. NICE food choices (lox in two places for breakfast goes a long way to impressing me -- at the omelet station and in the line with the bagels). If you aren't tall, you may have trouble checking out all the items at the salad bar. I've already mentioned Savio and Arvin, and our cabin stewardess, Linda, was great, too. For My Time Dining, though, the maitre'd made us feel as though we'd ignored some important rule of protocol by not making reservations, even though the write-up specifically says we can either make reservations, or just show up. Just showing up worked fine, except for the disdain of the maitre d'. We were surprised how small a group of guests seemed had opted for My Time Dining. I guess we were VERY lucky to have been seated with Savio and Arvin. The food in the Great Gatsby (main dining room) was mostly acceptable and fine. It wasn't super duper fabulous, nor did we expect it to be. There were quite a few choices for all courses and some of the things were great. My favorite dinner was kabuli chana, the only Indian dish that was seasoned highly enough for my taste. The worst item we tasted was the lobster bisque, which all three of us sent back without finishing. I don't know if it was cooked too long or too short or what was the matter. Also, we just cannot be reminded often enough that the garden variety steak on the menu is often a huge disappointment. Mr. B. and I never order it but sometimes our travel companions do. The prime rib was decent, not the best I've ever had and not the worst, and a nice healthy-sized serving! It came out exactly as we ordered it. I really felt that all the staff were appropriately helpful and happy. The guests were all ages, not too many of any one age! Disembarkation was just as great as embarkation. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have so many nice choices in Tampa, and I think almost all cruisers will like the Grandeur VERY much. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Background: We were a group of 7 including ages 18 to 67. We have all cruised before but never on RCCL. We were celebrating birthdays for 3 in our group. We have cruised numerous times and on several different lines so we all had prior ... Read More
Background: We were a group of 7 including ages 18 to 67. We have all cruised before but never on RCCL. We were celebrating birthdays for 3 in our group. We have cruised numerous times and on several different lines so we all had prior experience and looked forward to trying RCCL. Embarkation: We drove down from Gainesville Florida the morning of the cruise and met the rest of the family before heading to the port. We were concerned about traffic due to the President being in town but it had no effects on traffic in the area we were. We arrived at the port at 11am. We were offered valet service for $70.00 ($56.00 for self parking) and took advantage of it. We unloaded and proceeded upstairs to check in. There were no lines and we were checked in at the same time they started boarding. We had a slight glitch as one of our groups cards couldn't be found and we had to wait 15 minutes until they finally got it printed. We then had our pictures taken and were on the ship at 11:40am. They did have drinks in the waiting area for any that wanted them. Grandeur, first impression: We entered the ship on deck 5 and walked around before heading up to the Windjammer for lunch. The ship is has a very elegant dEcor and was very clean. We loved the Solarium set up. The cabins were very small compared to other cabins we have had on other cruise lines. We had 3 in our inside cabin and were not happy that they would not put the beds together for my husband and I because our son was in the upper above the bed. I wish they would have told us this ahead of time as we may have booked a different cabin. The cabins have lots of storage and are layed out well but just very small. We did notice that the majority of the passengers were seniors. We thought it being a shorter cruise would have a younger crowd. LIQUOR POLICE: They were VERY strict on trying to sneak liquor on board. They screened all luggage and if you had anything that looked like a bottle. We walked past the room that had the held luggage and there were 50+ bags in there. We spoke with people that had tried to bring a bottle of wine on board and it was being held. I had picked up a couple travel size (6 oz) shampoo shaped bottles and filled those with rum/crown and placed them in our toiletries bag and were not caught. We thought they might pull ours because we did have an 8 pack of Diet Pepsi's in our bag but they didn't so we were lucky. Day 1 - We enjoyed the buffet shortly after boarding and didn't receive our luggage until around 4pm. They had several things going on before the muster drill. They had tables set up around the Centrum from several departments and they had a Treasure Hunt where you went to each station and got the answer. After you finished you put your name and cabin number on it and they had a drawing at the end. My husband won a free bingo package which we enjoyed using. We also did a spa tour and then went back for a drawing after we set sail and my husband won a discount on a treatment that he ended up giving to a family member to use. We had our Muster Drill at 4:30pm. No lifejackets were needed. That was done on Deck 5 and was over in about 20 minutes. We left the pier at 5pm. It was 7:10pm before we passed under the Skyway Bridge. We enjoyed dinner in the dining room every night and the food was wonderful. We tried to go to the Welcome Aboard Show but there were no seats to be found anywhere. We spent some time in the casino then headed off to bed. Day 2 - We woke up with the ship rocking very badly. We tried to eat breakfast in the Windjammer but due to the motion, we ended up going to the Dining Room for breakfast. We went to Win a Cruise Bingo and didn't win. The bingo packages were quite pricey! The smallest package was $22.00. The regular package was $32.00 and the Tracker (30 cards) an automatic bingo machine was $62.00 but you did get a free t-shirt with it. They played 4 games which included 3 cash games then the cruise game but most were won by those that spent $62.00 for the machines. We attended the Love & Marriage show which was a not miss. The couples had all of us laughing and some became the stars of the cruise and others the joke of the cruise. This was also formal night and all of us dressed up for formal pictures. We had several family pictures taken that came out very well. We enjoyed formal night dinner in the dining room. We had a fantastic dining staff. Hugo and Terri Ann took great care of us and knew our likes and dislikes by the 2nd day. We also had a Head Waiter that oversaw our area of the dining room and made sure we had everything we needed and would pitch when needed. We liked this much more than a Maitre D overseeing the dining room. We tried again to see the show but it was too crowded again. We did enjoy music around the ship. Day 3. - Cozumel We arrived at Cozumel and were docked by 6:30am. The ship Didn't have us change the time and we all stayed on ships time While in Cozumel. We were happy to see it was a very sunny day In Cozumel. The weather was beautiful but not quite warm Enough for swimming so we proceeded downtown to shop. We Took a cab all the way to the Forum and worked our way back Towards the ship shopping, and stopped at Palmeras for a morning Snack which was a nice stop. It's an open air restaurant and Enjoyed a snack before heading further down the shops. There is A Starbucks for you coffee drinkers at the Puerta Lagosta Pier Area. We made our way through all of downtown and decided to Go to Margaritaville for lunch. We did our shopping in there first Then decided to have lunch there. We were seated outside overlooking the water and the fun began! We had a live band, a Lady selling shots that were entertaining just to watch. The wait staff carried the drinks balanced on their heads and it Was so much fun out there We all had drinks and ordered the Volcano Nachos that were out of this world. There was enough for 4 easily. We all enjoyed our time there and agreed it was one of the best Margaritavilles we have been too and plan on returning there again! We took a cab back to the pier and did a little more shopping before returning to the ship. My husband and I decided to take advantage of one of the spa specials and both had treatments. We enjoyed it but have had better on other cruises. There was no pressure to buy their products. We got ready for dinner and enjoyed another evening with our dining staff. We did some shopping and bought pictures. We were not interested in the show this night and they did have a buffet at 11:30pm with a deck party which was well attended. They also had Quest which was fun to watch. Day 4 - Our last day at sea. We woke up to a rainy day and a lot of the activities were cancelled. They didn't add extra indoor things to keep you occupied and the day was kind of boring. They did have a movie in the theater at 1pm (Star Trek) and bingo again but other than that, not much else going on. The Solarium was packed and you couldn't get into the Jacuzzis all day. The weather had gotten worse and the temperatures were dropping so going outside was not happening. We got all of our things packed and finished our shopping before retiring for the night. Entertainment- We tried to see each of the main shows but were unable to get seats as an entire section was reserved for the suites which left standing room in the doorways. What little we did see of the shows were not up to the same quality as CCL. The Centrum or center common area had the party going on every day. Other lines we have cruised use this area for a more of a relaxing experience. Debarkation - We were docked when we went up on deck at 6:30am. We had breakfast in the Windjammer and had to be out of our cabins by 8am. We waited to leave the ship in the Palladium and were called at 9am. We got off the ship and through customs by 9:30. We had valet parked our car and were on the road by 9:38am! Overall Impression: We enjoyed our first cruise on RCCL but found that there were things that we like better on Carnival and other lines. We are veteran cruisers with 16 cruises under our belts. We like the food on RCCL and it did compare to CCL and HAL. The service in the dining room was better on RCCL. We liked having a Head Waiter overseeing an area of the dining room. The cabins were very small on RCCL but worked. We prefer the cabins on CCL and HAL due to the larger size of the cabins and better cabin service attendants. Activites on RCCL were geared more towards the older crowd and we found ourselves to be very bored at times. We enjoyed the activities on Carnival much more, and the people were more relaxed. We would cruise RCCL again but most likely it would have to be a larger ship with more activities and a longer trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Grandeur of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 3.5 4.0
Entertainment 3.5 3.8
Public Rooms 3.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.5 3.9
Rates N/A 4.2

Find a Grandeur of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click