Sail Date: October 2012
I would rate Venice among the top five ports to sail in or out of. Spectacular! I personally love Venice, but it is totally handicap-unfriendly as almost all the 400+ bridges are upstairs and downstairs so not easy to navigate with ... Read More
I would rate Venice among the top five ports to sail in or out of. Spectacular! I personally love Venice, but it is totally handicap-unfriendly as almost all the 400+ bridges are upstairs and downstairs so not easy to navigate with luggage or push strollers. Other reviewers have already described the challenging port, so I shall forbear. We loved the cruise (very port-intensive); the ports were all interesting; the food was very good; service was excellent; our cabin was spacious and kept spotless by Lavonie. We loved the ship, lots of natural light from huge windows, BUT.... 1. you need to use a credit card (NOT your cabin key-card) for the safe, which defeats the purpose of a safe, IMO. 2. there is no fridge in the cabin, and all the "bar" bottles/drinks were cluttering up the dressing table. (I solved that problem by stashing it all underneath the dressing table). 3. The STENCH! It was mostly in the Centrum, some days bad, other days nauseating, but always there. The captain explained that it depended on the direction of the wind, so I guess the wind was always blowing more or less in the wrong direction! We also smelled it in our corridor sometimes. Fortunately, not in the cabin. This detracted a lot from an otherwise 5-star cruise! I would be very leery of cruising on the Grandeur again because of this problem. 4. Probably correlated to the above, was our toilet which did not flush 3 mornings in a row. Maintenance replied each time that they were working "on the whole area"(?) I spoke to another cruiser whose cabin on deck 8 had problems with the toilet every day, so his "area" was even worse than mine... I imagine the ship's whole sewage system needs to be revamped. This was our third cruise with RCI, and I would definitely cruise with them again, but beware of the Grandeur! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Booked late; just needed some sun after the awful UK weather. The late evening flight with EasyJet departed and arrived on time but seating (perhaps as expected) was cramped and uncomfortable, however it got us there. We stayed at the ... Read More
Booked late; just needed some sun after the awful UK weather. The late evening flight with EasyJet departed and arrived on time but seating (perhaps as expected) was cramped and uncomfortable, however it got us there. We stayed at the Garibaldi Hotel in Venice (actually in Maestre on the mainland) which was no more than adequate but with exceptionally helpful and pleasant staff. It had the big advantage of being right by the bus stop (No.2) for Venice which was very useful. The next morning, despite some good instructions about getting to the Cruise Terminal via bus and the new People Mover we took the lazy option of a cab. Check-in was very smooth and speedy so that we were on board for lunch in the Windjammer buffet restaurant. It was interesting to note that the multitude of drinks waiters trying to sell "Cocktail of the Day" which we had previously experienced on RCI had completely disappeared. Our mini-Suite was spacious and the bathroom lived up to its name by having a proper bath! There were coffee making facilities in the room which was nice. The balcony was, however, a bit disappointing being much smaller than those on Princess, our favourite Cruise Line. Lifeboat drill was done in port which seemed a very good idea but without life jackets which seemed a bit strange. We were booked into 2nd sitting (8:30 pm) for dinner which suited us, but again would much prefer to be able to arrive when we want for our meals as in Princess "anytime dining". RCI are trying with their "mytime dining" but one still has to book a specific time which seems to defeat the point. There were fewer courses available since our previous RCI cruise on the Mariner (a great ship) but this seems to be in line with many other cruise lines that are cutting back The food was not as varied as expected and the special menus for formal days (lobster and baked Alaska) which we are used to never appeared. The waiting staff tried hard but seemed to be under pressure and the one wine waiter we saw on our first day disappeared when we declined to buy a drinks package, leaving the table waiters to deal with wines as well. They coped with this well and our wine (we bought bottles) was always ready for us at the table. We ordered hot chocolate instead of coffee after dinner on our first evening which was at no extra cost, unlike Princess who now insist on charging for it. A special word of praise should be given to the assistant waiter who thereafter brought us our hot chocolate every evening without our having to ask for it. We did not try any of the "Speciality" restaurants. The ship was generally clean and tidy and the staff throughout the ship seemed very cheerful and greeted us as we passed by. Our cabin service was adequate but by no means exceptional. There were plenty of loungers for sunbathing and the pools never seemed to get crowded but perhaps that was something to do with the near-freezing salt water they contained. The Solarium for adults only (although there were very few children to try to escape from) was a very pleasant asset with much more comfortable chairs and loungers. We find that on every cruise line the drinks are overpriced but definitely felt that the cocktails we were served on this cruise suffered from a distinct lack of alcohol compared to the last time we cruised. We, therefore, reverted to fruit juice, wine and beer, still overpriced, even without the mandatory 15% service charge, but at least unadulterated. We felt the entertainment in the Theatre was sub-standard with the Royal Caribbean Dancers & Singers only making two appearances during the ten day cruise doing unimpressive routines which made me think that I may have a career as a choreographer. The Guest Entertainers on the other hand were very good and "entertaining", although we would like to have seen much more of the acrobats than their very brief performance on stage. We prefer to attend a show after our meal and so the pre-dinner shows were not ideal for us. The "new feature" of trapeze artists performing over the Centrum area was a good idea but the performances fell short of expectations and one had to cram around the various levels and also, if one wanted a decent view, one had to stand around for up to half an hour waiting. The Cruise Director's Staff on the other hand were tireless in trying to get the passengers to participate in events but for some reason seemed to get very little response. There were events going on continually throughout the day (and night) but only a few rolled up for the Quizzes, where we generally meet most of our new friends, and getting people to enter the game shows was definitely hard work. This was very surprising and was perhaps a reflection of the make-up of the passengers on this particular sailing. We had chosen this cruise for its itinerary and were not disappointed. We did not sign-up for any of the organised tours as they, in common with virtually all the other cruise lines, were in our opinion very expensive. We either went ashore and did our own "walking tour" of the town or, if we wished to travel further afield, used the local services which were freely available just outside the dock area. On previous cruises, we had been able to listen to knowledgeable "Port Lecturers" give some history and hints about getting around in our various destinations. We were, therefore very disappointed with the information in the talks on this voyage which seemed to be just a sales-pitch for their organised tours and "designated" shops.. Despite the niggles mentioned, this was a very enjoyable and relaxing cruise and by generally doing our own thing we had a very enjoyable time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
This was our 9th cruise on RCI, we are Emerald members but if this was my first with them, it would be my last. There is an interior central area, the Centrum, that is about 6 decks high and reverberates sound, does not have anywhere near ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise on RCI, we are Emerald members but if this was my first with them, it would be my last. There is an interior central area, the Centrum, that is about 6 decks high and reverberates sound, does not have anywhere near adequate seating and smells like sewage, especially at the bar and especially in port. So this is where the "entertainers" did their thing; not a good idea! The "aerialists" were ho hum and were invisible to most of the viewers on other than deck 4. The staff were the usual great crowd,especially our stateroom attendant and the Dining room wait staff. I had recent knee surgery, I limp and use a cane, but for the very long walk from check in to where the ship was docked no one asked if I would like assistance. The Internet was very expensive and ate up time by logging me on and then waiting up to 5 min to tell me the Internet was down, 5 min I had to pay for! The South Pacific lounge had no bartenders most evenings but was the only quiet place to sit with friends. Although I like most music, I definitely do not like the decibel level that most of the areas had. The usual lobster on one night and the baked Alaska were missing but you could buy one lobster for $25 which seems to be a cut back but that is the sort of thing that turns cruisers to other lines. We did not use the extra Dining experiences, I paid for the regular menu food in the cruise price, if I want to get a "theme meal" I can do that on land. We chose the late sitting and each night ate with the same 6 strangers who became friends, one of the reasons that I like the formal dining room. The food was adequate but not as good as on other ships. All in all, not as good a cruise as it should have been. AND WHERE ARE THE CHOCOLATES ON OUR PILLOW! Come on RCI, charge another 5 bucks and bring back the chocolates! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I would like to add to the report from Scot which highlighted the abysmal registration and loading at Venice which in today's day and age is unacceptable. I was also a little concerned about the reports about the age of the ship ... Read More
I would like to add to the report from Scot which highlighted the abysmal registration and loading at Venice which in today's day and age is unacceptable. I was also a little concerned about the reports about the age of the ship prior to booking but read the reports and watched the Royal Caribbean video's about the $48 million refurbishment in May 2012 The ship itself does look new but you can see from the design and layout that it is still dated. The problem is that in trying to develop new forms of entertainment they have in my opinion forgotten about other areas or have had to make cut backs to fit in with budgets. The entertainment in the main theatre for example was abysmal, apart from a couple of nights when there were relatively good standard singers performing. As for other nights a lad balancing on a bike and an illusionist fell way short of the mark and the guests started flooding out after about ten minutes. It looks to me that they have invested hundreds of thousands developing the central atrium with the gymnastic balancing shows. It's OK but nothing special. It has taken a lot of capital equipment to be installed and takes a team of about a dozen staff to put each show on. My own thought is that the money should have been invested elsewhere and ideally in maintaining a higher standard of entertainment in the main theatre. A great deal was made of R Bar which is also located in the centrum. Again this for me doesn't work. It's like trying to have a drink and relax in a hotel reception area. Other areas are the revamped Schooner Bar and the South Pacific Lounge. The South Pacific Lounge provided a large area for a range of game shows and the ships director was able to generate a decent atmosphere in there. To get there however you had to walk right through the middle of the Schooner Bar. On one side you have the skilled musicians trying to entertain the guests who were predominantly sat on the other side of the Schooner Bar. I am not sure why it was thought that it would be a good idea to have a thoroughfare right through the middle of what could and should be a nice relaxation area with a good atmosphere. I felt sorry for the musicians and guests trying to make the most of what is a classic design disaster! The itinerary of the Venice/Greek Island cruise was excellent. Service onboard was excellent. Drinks were expensive and the simple (unreliable) Wi-Fi service offered was extortion. In today's era of e-commerce and e-booking etc a reasonable albeit limited free Wi-Fi service should be provided free of charge to guests in my opinion. Overall though an enjoyable cruise that could have been better had it been based on one of the more modern ships such as the Voyager or similar. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
I would be remiss if I did not begin this review with a warning to avoid transferring flights between Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris and Marco Polo in Venice. I've traveled world-wide and have not found the degree of ineptitude ... Read More
I would be remiss if I did not begin this review with a warning to avoid transferring flights between Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris and Marco Polo in Venice. I've traveled world-wide and have not found the degree of ineptitude that pervades CDG. Next, I would warn anyone with mobility issues to avoid the port of Venice unless you are prepared to spend upwards of two hours waiting to be transferred to the ship. If you cannot walk down several flights of stairs, this port may not be for you. If there was another way, we were not shown it. Now for the voyage: Grandeur of the Seas is a nice looking vessel. She recently underwent drydock and the carpets are clean and in good condition as are the public rooms. The settee in our cabin could have used a re-upholster, but it was clean and just a bit more worn than I'd have expected. The beds were good. The bedding was excellent and the towels were wonderful. I had forgotten how nice Royal Caribbean's towels were after my last two sailings on Celebrity where they have scratchy towels. Our cabin attendant, Marlon, was fabulous. I was surprised to find small bottles of lotion, shampoo and conditioner as well as two bars of soap in the bathroom. The sinks have been replaced with vessel bowls and they are very nice, but be aware that there is very little counter space. We were happy to have the over-the-door shoe bag for our toiletries. A glass soap dish for the bar of soap was a nice touch. The shower did not have the usual plastic door that I was used to on other RCI ships, but I can't remember what we had on Rhapsody, which was the last ship of the Vision class I sailed back in 2007. There are new revenue generating venues on board. We ate at Chops one evening and the food and service were excellent. We did not eat at Giovanni's Table as "homestyle Italian food and service" is something we equate with Olive Garden. We weren't interested in the offerings at Iszumi, either. If I'm going to pay for sushi, it will be where I know the fish is very fresh. I could not fail to get the impression that more money was spent on revenue generating and surface items, like the giant screen TV at the pool and the people hanging from the Centrum, than on upgrading some elderly systems and the plant on a ship commissioned in 1996. The new flat screen TVs don't have the ability to show your sea pass account. The phone system is rather archaic in comparison to other ships in the fleet. The vacuum system for the toilets certainly had major issues. This was the first time we tried My Time Dining and we are in love with it. It works well with port-intensive cruises. We had a reservation the first evening and after that, just showed up when we were hungry. The amazing captain, Roshmann, knew everyone by first and last name and cabin number after the first night. What a talent! Most nights an effort was made to put us with the same waitstaff so nothing was lost by not having the staff know your preferences. They knew ours perfectly even as to saving a couple of 'savory bites' in the basket for my DH who loves them. Dining room service was exemplary. This practice is very kind to the waitstaff as it is conducive to their getting additional gratuities. We were more than happy to give an extra appreciation to John and Vinaye as well as the amazing Roshmann. The Grandeur has not gotten the new fleet-wide menu yet, but the offerings were good. The lamb chops on "Greek night" were awesome. The prime rib, one of my favorites, was perfect. The breads were too good. I ate a few more sourdough rolls than I should have. Desserts were not always interesting, which was not a bad thing for someone watching their waistline. The person in charge of the grocery list did not do such a great job. By a week into the cruise they were out of figs, horseradish, coffee ice cream and one other item that I can't recall. We managed not to starve. I was ecstatic to have two sea days with my favorite RCI meal, the Tutti salad bar. One thing that impressed me was that dress code was adhered to. What a pleasure it was to see people dressed nicely for dinner each evening and so many gentlemen in their tuxedos and ladies in their gowns on formal nights. We were not impressed with the cruise director. He was next to invisible most of the time. Many events were poorly planned. Having only one production show one evening was a disaster. There were not enough seats. Holding a progressive trivia on a port intensive cruise with only 2 sea days out of 11 days is pretty stupid and holding it at 8 PM not very clever either. We missed the two Crown and Anchor events, because of the progressive trivia commitment though I did see that the offerings were the same type that were served in the Diamond Lounge. Even the Meet and Mingle had a large variety of goodies and the door prizes were very generous. Compared to the same events on other RCI ships, Grandeur did a fabulous job at making it's loyal guests feel welcome and cherished. No cheap wine and trail mix on this ship! The young people working for the cruise director were delightful except for one. Sophie seemed to have a genuine dislike for Americans and had no problem showing it. More on the infamous Sophie later. We arrived in Venice in a cold rain after missing our connecting flight in the chamber of horrors that calls itself an airport, Charles De Gaulle in Paris. Then we faced the worst check-in of our long history of cruising. Venice is not a cruise port for people with mobility problems. We were told that there were no wheelchairs. There were two steep flights of downward stairs to negotiate with carry on luggage. We were lucky that it was raining and they provided a bus from the bottom of the stairs to relatively near the gangway. Otherwise, it would have been a significant walk. We boarded at 4:30 PM and decided to just stay on for the night. The next day was sunny and lovely. We were not prepared for the long walk to the People Mover, but my DH, with the mobility problems, managed it with a few rest stops. We later learned that there was a shuttle bus, with a fee of $18 per person. It should have been offered to us as our documentation states "problems walking." We had a great morning in Venice and the sail-away from that port is just fabulous. The best part of this cruise were the ports. Because my DH has some mobility issues, we arrange private tours. Our first stop was in Kotor, Montenegro where we and another couple from our roll call were to meet our driver as soon as we arrived. We had priority tender tickets that are issued to Diamond and above C&A members and suite guests. We had arranged to meet on deck four at the "book nook" ( a great meeting place that we used throughout the cruise) and tender together. The captain announced that the tenders were available so we went down the stairs to deck one only to get as far as deck two and found our way blocked by the infamous Sophie, who demanded we go to a "public area" and wait until all the people who had purchased ship's tours debarked first. I explained that priority "VIP" tender tickets meant that we could mingle with the tour people and get on the tender before they called the other numbers. Sophie insisted we had to wait until they called "number one". Knowing this to not be true, we approached her again to let us through when there was a lull in the stream of ship's tour folks. She again blocked our way rudely telling us that "people had paid a lot of money to take those tours" inferring that I hadn't paid the ship so I did not count. I did inform her that I had paid €100 for my tour, but that didn't mean anything to her. My DH had the brilliant idea to just hop on the elevator and go to deck one, which we did, finding Rich, the CD there and affirming with him that we were indeed permitted to embark on the tender as early as we wanted with our VIP tickets. After that, we just took the elevator to deck one on tender port days and avoided confrontation by "Sophie-bar-the-door" . I did one tour with the ship in Mykonos as it was a Monday and the museums are closed so there was no independent way to get to Delos. The ship offered a tour and I took it. I was not disappointed. Delos is remarkable. We were taken by boat from an area not too far from the ship, but returned to the town where we had free access to the shuttle bus. A rather unique twist on "exit through the gift shop". The worst part of the sailing was the stench aboard the ship. We were on deck three below the Centrum. There was an odor that some called cabbage or broccoli cooking but we recognized as sewer gas. It was not coming from the toilet. Our bathroom was fine, though the toilet decided to flush on its own schedule half the time. The smell seemed to be in the air ducts. I called guest services and they returned my call to tell me that they knew there was a problem but were not permitted to tell me what it was. They were working on it. They never did get it fixed. It was mostly in the Centrum and mid-ship area and it hit you like a two-by-four over the head when you got on the ship via the gangplank or tender entry on deck one. I finally got to someone who sent our cabin attendant to spray something and vacuum each time we left the cabin, but there were several mornings that I awoke with tears streaming from my eyes, coughing furiously from the fumes. We had a little visit with the head of guest relations to complain about the boarding process, so debarkation was much easier. Someone came to our cabin with a wheelchair and delivered us directly to a small lift-equipped van that took us directly to the airport. We tried to budget plenty of time as we were still under the influence of the bad experience at CDG, but Air France did not allow check in until 2 hours before the flight and we were an hour early for that. We got a wheel chair for DH and waited. The weather was wonderful. The ports of call were positively awesome. The crew, with the exception of Sophie, was stellar. Despite the bad odor, we managed to have a wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We chose to cruise on the Grandeur for the second time, not because we found it brilliant the first time, but because of the itinerary and bargain price! We booked last minute "cruise only" and arranged our own transport and ... Read More
We chose to cruise on the Grandeur for the second time, not because we found it brilliant the first time, but because of the itinerary and bargain price! We booked last minute "cruise only" and arranged our own transport and transfers. We used Ryanair from Stansted to Treviso and arrived quite early on day one. We were pleased that boarding had commenced, but were a bit miffed that we were steered away from the priority boarding "lanes" as we were Emerald Crown & Anchor members. Eventually we were allowed priority and got aboard reasonably quickly. We had a midship port side outside cabin which was spacious enough for two and well maintained by our cabin attendant. The bed was comfortable, the flat screen TV a bonus and there was plenty of storage space. We were on the first sitting on a friendly table of eight in the Great Gatsby restaurant. The waiter and assistant waiter were excellent, the food was pretty good, although the choices had been somewhat restricted. No lobster or baked alaska etc. The Windjammer was of a good standard we thought "buffet-wise". We tended to use it for breakfast and midday snacks. The shows were of varying quality. The resident singers were not up to the standard of other RCL cruisers and the guest artists were fine. RCL still charge too much for drinks and add 15% for service! We hardly indulged except for taking the "Wine Package" when dining. The excursions arranged through RCL remain ludicrously overpriced and they have started charging OTT for transfers from dock to centres. The Casino was smokey and not much fun. We can't praise too highly most of the crew we encountered - always friendly and helpful. It was nice to meet the Captain and be welcomed back as Crown & Anchor members. Lastly, there is a need to mention the nastly smell which affected the Centrum and the erratic performance of our toilet, which seemed to have a mind of its own when it came to flushing. We believe this is an ongoing problem that may be resolved later, rather than sooner! Overall we enjoyed great weather for mid-October, met some great fellow guests and called at some great ports. Whether we will cruise on the "Odeur of the Seas" is questionable! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
Overview: In our opinion, RCCL does not quite measure up to Princess and Celebrity. Some differences that we find are as follows: 1) There is an extra charge for upgraded meals, and lobster and filet mignon are never served (even on ... Read More
Overview: In our opinion, RCCL does not quite measure up to Princess and Celebrity. Some differences that we find are as follows: 1) There is an extra charge for upgraded meals, and lobster and filet mignon are never served (even on formal nights) unless one pays a significant upcharge. 2) The fitness room on this ship, though well-fitted out with the latest equipment, was tiny and inadequate for the number of people. 3) Much of the ship had been redesigned to be given over to special lounges for suite and Diamond guests, creating two classes of service. Also, lots of space was given over to expensive upgraded restaurants. There was constant pressure to buy upgraded packages 4) The ship is totally devoid of any daytime activities for thinking persons. No photography, computer, port history, or other classes of any type; all activities were oriented toward generating revenue (constant Bingo, spa "seminars", etc). There were no tours of the ships galley, bridge, or backstage theater unless one paid an exorbitant fee. There is no daily tea and no wine tasting or food seminars. Other than bingo and swimming and the rock climbing wall, there is nothing to do on sea days. On the positive side: 1) We find that entertainment on RCCL is usually top notch and the Grandeur's new aerial shows in the central atrium were quite impressive. 2) Food quality was fairly good. The soups and sauces were especially amazing; the sous chef should be promoted to executive chef. 3) There is plenty of room in the beautifully designed public spaces and it was always easy to get a deck chair or chaise. 4) This ship has recently been completely refurbished and the cabins and public spaces were very nice. Embarkation: We were told to show up at 11, but were not allowed to board until noon. We waited in the Gold member lounge but no one ever came up to tell us when boarding started, as they had promised. The lines for Gold Members were longer than the lines for non-Gold members. The process took an hour and was moderately disorganized, with long lines both to check in and to board. Cabins: Our outside cabin was at the very front of the ship, right next to the anchor locker and above the bow thrusters. Every morning we were awakened by vibration severe enough to throw things off of our counters. The cabin was very strange, due to the curvature of the ship at the front causing our window to be in a little bay about 10 feet from our cabin. The rooms had all been nicely remodeled, with 30 inch flat screen TVs with a reasonable selection of movies and TV. Internet was horribly slow (why can MSC have great internet for 1/5 the price of all of the American cruise lines?), but was available wirelessly throughout the ship. The cabin steward was excellent, though we didn't see much of him. Food: Food was very good, though an upcharge was required for almost everything except one cup of coffee and water. The cafeteria was unusually good and often had even better food than the dining rooms. The buffet food was of high quality and very attractively presented with several good selections, and may have been the best of any of the 22 ships that we have been on. The breakfast and lunch in the dining rooms was tailored to British tastes with kippers, bangers and mash, blood pudding, English sausage, and the greasy, fatty bacon that Brits love. Dinner options in the dining room were fairly limited, usually with just 2-3 items in each course. The waiters and assistant waiters were too busy to really get to know you or your preferences. Activities and Entertainment: As mentioned, the activities were very limited, but entertainment was excellent, of near Las-Vegas and Broadway quality. The theater was amazingly beautiful and comfortable with plenty of seating and state of the art technical setup. Disembarkation: Messy, with long lines and not enough exit lanes. At the end of a long walkway, you had to carry your carry-on bags down two flights of stairs. Ports: The choice of ports is excellent and is well-described in my review of our other cruise done on this trip, the MSC Armonia. Overall, I would give this ship an A-, with 4.5 stars out of 6. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
We were in a rarified world on this cruise because two weeks before departure to Venice, we were offered an upgrade from an owner's suite to the Royal Suite for an additional cost per person that we didn't consider exorbitant. ... Read More
We were in a rarified world on this cruise because two weeks before departure to Venice, we were offered an upgrade from an owner's suite to the Royal Suite for an additional cost per person that we didn't consider exorbitant. How could one resist? My description of the Royal Suite can only be superlative. Imagine 1,200 sq. ft., including balcony, with a white baby grand piano! There were, however, quirky things. For example, our cabin attendant, while very friendly when we chanced upon him in the hallway, didn't stop by once to see if we needed/wanted anything. When we required more ice, we had to track him down. The bathroom in the Royal Suite is actually two rooms, one of which has a two person shower and Jacuzzi tub. There are three sinks in total. Yet, there were only amenities like shampoo, etc., for one person. When I asked the cabin attendant for additional, he scooped up a bunch from his cart and handed them to me. I'm certainly not a fussy type, but I thought that he could have just deposited them in the suite...as in "service." The living room drapes were missing hooks so they didn't close properly, but the suite supervisor had them repaired promptly. My traveling companion resolved the player piano situation (missed keys at lower volume settings) himself, after the tech staff tried and couldn't figure it out. The suite had one toilet flushing issue which was quickly resolved. These are minor things and hardly worth mention, except they indicate a lack of attention to detail -- something RCI needs to focus upon. The room service staff was exceptional. They provided first class service for breakfast on the balcony each morning, a dinner party and a cocktail party. We were impressed with the attractiveness of the public areas, the overall cleanliness, and found the informational touch screen panels for navigating the ship quite useful. We can't comment about on board activities or entertainment because with the exception of the aerialists, we didn't do/see a thing. We looked at the offerings and they had no appeal. As a previous reviewer said, there wasn't anything for thinking people. Why not offer some first-run movies, stimulating lectures or practical seminars, such as using computer software programs? Cunard does. The Great Gatsby dining room food was a huge disappointment in comparison to our March, 2011 cruise on Explorer of the Seas. The limited menu this time leaned heavily on Asian and vegetarian dishes and thus, we had a difficult time choosing appealing entrees. While the presentation was generally attractive, the preparation was dreadful, particularly the dry, overcooked beef and seafood. And how many times can you send it back? The appetizers and desserts were far superior to the entrees. We only had lunch in the Windjammer a few times, but there is a heavy emphasis on ethnic cuisine and fewer choices than on Explorer. The unremitting pressure to buy packages for the specialty restaurant dining was irritating and we didn't opt for them. Our sole ship's excursion was in Athens to the Acropolis and it was fine. We chose this cruise for the seven ports of call, which we thoroughly enjoyed, and because it was round-trip Venice. We will continue cruising with RCI, perhaps not exclusively, because they do offer good value for the dollar. The Santa Chiara Hotel in Venice is an ideal overnight-before-cruise location. Take the AVTO bus from Marco Polo airport (buy ticket in the arrivals hall outside baggage claim; the bus is just outside) direct to Piazzale Roma (20-25 minutes, six euros). The hotel is just around the corner with no steps to navigate with heavy luggage. The next day, reverse steps back to Piazzale Roma, ride the People Mover (one Euro) to the Marittima Basin in three minutes and it's a short, flat walk to the embarkation area. The Santa Chiara, a former palazzo, has true Venetian ambiance (gleaming marble floors, gigantic mirrors, high ceilings and original beams), is impeccably clean and reasonably priced (for Venice). The substantial complimentary buffet breakfast caters to both American and European tastes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
We were a little wary of this ship having read mixed reviews, but gambled on the recent re-fit having addressed some problems. We needn't have worried- everything, from staterooms to dining and public areas was in pristine condition. ... Read More
We were a little wary of this ship having read mixed reviews, but gambled on the recent re-fit having addressed some problems. We needn't have worried- everything, from staterooms to dining and public areas was in pristine condition. The embarkation at Venice was a nightmare- a terminal official actually told a group of us to follow her, walked a few steps then turned and asked why we were following her. You couldn't make it up! Comments from other trevellers suggested that this was normal at Venice, and the 2 and 1/2 hour process was about par for the course. Once on board though, all was well. Must get the negatives out of the way first though. The Windjammer Restaurant is nicely appointed, but very badly laid out, creating a smash and grab atmosphere. Food quality was average, and nothing was really hot. The honourable exception to this was the Egg Harbour- simply superb. The staff were also great, as in every other area of the ship. The other moan is about the cabin safe. It's free, but you have to swipe your nominated credit card through through the slot to open and lock it. I had planned to leave the card in the safe most of the time, but this was obviously not possible. Safes in other cabin grades apparently used conventional keypads. We had a large ocean view stateroom, beautifully finished and with lots of storage. The power shower was excellent, with a reasonable amount of elbow room. There was a certain amount of noise when they fired up the power for anchors and thrusters, but it wasn't too bad. Slept very well. Not a huge choice of TV channels, but who needs it anyway. No fridge, but security very tight so no chance of bringing drink on board anyway. Cabin attendant a friendly and attentive lad from Ukraine called Viktor. The Grandeur isn't too big- around 1900 guests, but big enough for old fogeys like us to get lost in, so the touch screen cruise compasses scattered around the lift entrances were very welcome. The ship is beautifully appointed, with lots of pictures and decorative touches, and the 6 deck Centrum is spectacular with some very good entertainment. The Schooner Lounge featured the best singer/pianist we've ever heard aboard a ship or in any hotel. His name is Patrice Doucet, and he is the only performer we've ever heard attempt (successfully), Elton John's "Funeral for a friend/Love lies bleeding". He hands out a play list and all you have to do is tick your selections and he'll play them. There is also the Palladium Theatre, very impressive with very good 9 piece band and some good acts. There is also the South Pacific lounge which specialises in what we call "victim entertainment" from Karaoke to Mr & Mrs. Not for us, but hugely popular. The main restaurant is the Great Gatsby, laid out on 2 levels, for breakfast and dinner, and also lunch on sea days. Both food and service are superb. The solarium on deck 9 is lovely, with a tepid pool and 2 jacuzzis. There is a sliding roof, so it's weatherproof. The Park Cafe adjoins the solarium, with snacks and salads, and hot and cold drinks. There are 3 speciality restaurants which looked very nice, but we didn't try them so can't comment. Deck 9 also has the Windjammer reataurant, with indoor and outdoor seating, and two swimming pools. It is overshadowed by a truly horrible, enormous TV screen, and entertainment is by a duo who are quite good but only play reggae. My favourite spot was the promenade deck (5) where there are chairs and loungers, and where you can just watch the sea slide past and pretend you're a millionaire on a 30's liner. We did the Corinth trip, having been to the Acropolis already, and it was excellent. We also did the Pyrgos trip on Santorini, which was very expensive for a 3 hour trip, but difficult to attempt on your own. Theyra is spectacular, but a word of warning. Many people (including us) opted for the footpath down to the port for the tender transfer back to the ship as a way of avoiding long queues for the cable car. It starts off well enough, but becomes increasingly slippery due to the polished stone, and donkey droppings. There were several nasty falls, and some near collisions with the donkeys. There were 2 formal and 1 semi formal evenings, but a suit or blazer and slacks would have been as acceptable as a tuxedo. We had different dinner companions every evening, and it worked well. We found the American guests to be friendly, and as curious about us as we were about them. It was our first time on American soil, so to speak. The recent re-fit didn't seem to have included the running gear, and the ship, which was very smooth at speed, was clunky and noisy at low revs. This became less noticeable in the forward areas. We've never been on a newer ship with propulsion pods, so can't compare. This felt very like the Thomson Destiny and Ocean Village in this respect. To sum up, this was a very enjoyable cruise, with wonderful staff and engaging guests. We had an extended breakfast one day with a German couple, putting Europe and the rest of the world to rights- us with no German other than being able to order a beer, and them with not too much English! Disembarkation was as smooth as embarkation was shambolic. Venice airport is bursting at the seams, and they've been trying to get permission from the Italian government to extend for about 11 years- there's even an electronic scoreboard showing the exact number of days. The Grandeur moves to Panama in November 2012, then between Baltimore and Florida for summer 2013. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
My husband and I just returned from spending three weeks in Europe and while there we took an 11 day cruise on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas. The ship has recently been renovated and was lovely. Our balcony cabin was very nice and ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from spending three weeks in Europe and while there we took an 11 day cruise on Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas. The ship has recently been renovated and was lovely. Our balcony cabin was very nice and we enjoyed the new furniture, the decor and the layout of the furniture in the cabin. The crew - the dining room staff, My Time Dining, the Guest Services crew, our cabin steward Louis Clovis were all outstanding and made the trip for us. They treated us like family and if we had any concerns they were addressed immediately. Louis, our cabin steward, was so kind to us and we appreciated his care and friendliness. Our "My Time" dining staff on the 5th deck were 100% and it was a pleasure going to dinner each evening. We always looked forward to seeing them each evening. Each day we ate our breakfast in the dining room on Deck four and Brenda and John looked after us. Again they were great and offered us personal care and the greatest of service. Each morning we would go to their table as we knew we were going to be greeted with a smile and well looked after. The entertainment on the ship was very good and the theatre was lovely. We loved the ports of call and have no complaints. However we do have one major complaint and that is the fact that Royal Caribbean allows passengers to SMOKE on their balconies. It was totally unbearable to have a couple right next to you smoking at all hours of the day and night. We always book a cabin with a balcony because we enjoy the fresh air and do not like and are allergic to air conditioning. When smokers are right next to you their second hand smoke drifts over to you and also comes right into your cabin - you cannot get away from it. Just because you are sailing does not mean that the smoke is not bothersome. It is very disappointing that we pay the same amount of money for our balcony cabin but due to the smoke cannot use and enjoy it as much. My husband and I enjoy sitting out early in the morning and also during the late evening hours but these passengers were always there puffing away with no consideration for us. I am allergic to smoke so my only avenue was to go in the cabin and close the door - so much for having a balcony. Royal Caribbean has to change their rules and band smoking on the balconies. If they do not want to do this then they should put all the smokers on one side of the ship. Smokers are selfish - they are not allowed to smoke in the cabin so they come out on the balcony and smoke non stop. Passengers should be asked when booking if they want smoking or non smoking. That is an easy question and saves the non smokers a lot of headaches. This is 2012 and everyone knows smoking causes cancer as well as many other health problems. Come on Royal Caribbean lead the way and band smoking on the balconies. The staff at Guest Services wanted to make a courtesy call to our neighbours in the next cabin but I did not want that to happen so I put up with it. Our other neighbours were in the same situation - both of them were non smokers but they had to put up with two smokers on their other side...so here you had two cabins of non smokers and we both had smokers right next to us - how crazy is that. Think about it. We have done most of our cruising with Royal Caribbean - we like their ships, we like their service and think their crews are outstanding but we hope they soon realize that smoking on balconies has to go. I look forward to the day when this become a reality. I have no problem with those who want to smoke but I do have a problem when it involved me, my husband and my family. Our family is booked on the Allure of the Seas in November and we are travelling with our 12 year old granddaughter - I hope we will be lucky enough to have non smokers on each side of our cabins. We will be keeping our fingers crossed. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Hello: We just came back from a 10 night cruise in the Mediterranean, Greek Islands on board of the Grandeur of the Seas. We are first time cruisers and did not know what to expect. The ship was recently renovated, June 2012 and it looked ... Read More
Hello: We just came back from a 10 night cruise in the Mediterranean, Greek Islands on board of the Grandeur of the Seas. We are first time cruisers and did not know what to expect. The ship was recently renovated, June 2012 and it looked fantastic!! The room: We got an ocean view room, on Deck2 on the back. Room was big enough for two people, no more than that. It had a security box, a flat screen TV, a sofa, dresser and the bathroom was bigger than what I expected. Shampoo and soap is provided, but nothing else. People recommend rooms in lower decks to avoid seasickness. You do feel the rocking of the boat from time to time, so be ready. My girlfriend has really bad motion sickness, even on a bus...she wore a patch for preventing getting sick and it worked beautifully. In addition, we were close to the engines, and some reviews say that you may get extra vibration in the room; however, we did not feel it at all. The boat vibrates from time to time, which you would feel regardless where you are. The food: You will not starve!!! Three options are included: Buffet restaurant, snack coffee place, and main dining room. The buffet is good always for breakfast. Lunch and dinners are good only for meat eaters; however, if you are a vegetarian you would be disappointed, since the veggie options were very limited. Thankfully the main dinning room was amazing. We had dinner there every night. The food is fantastic, many options for vegetarians, lactose intolerance and meat eaters, do not limit yourself to order only one dish, order as many as you want. They are very flexible with the dress code, so if you do not feel like dressing up during the Gala nights, you could get away with it. The snack place is good too, great salads and a good option for late "lunch", if you came back to the boat after 3 pm. There is a menu for room service which is good too, especially for a late night snack. They charge after midnight for room service...There are specialty dinning options, which we did not try since we were happy with was what included. Drinks: We live in Canada, and drinks here are very very expensive. Most of the prices of alcohol on the boat are similar than what we are used to, so we did not feel that much difference. Be ready to pay 5.5 dollars for a beer bottle, 6-8 dollars per cocktail. They had a 750ml beer can, for 8 dollars which to me was the best option. Wine is expensive. RC has an all you can drink package for 45 dollars per day, but you have to buy it per cruise and for all the members of the room, so this option could become really really expensive, if you do not drink that much. Also, we were told this option does not include the wine at the main dinning room. The all-inclusive option was too much money for us, so we paid per drink. Each drink has an extra charge of 15% tip. Water, coffee, tea, lemonade, and flavoured water was included. You had to pay for pop/soda, specialty coffees, and natural juices. The cruise amenities: We were there as a couple celebrating the anniversary. We are a young couple and were looking for a quiet, romantic, and childless cruise experience, and we FOUND it!!!!! These particular Mediterranean cruise was very couple oriented. There were almost no kids, because it was late September, and the crowd had an average of 50-65 years old. The cruise offers many activities for all kinds of tastes: casino, shopping, shows, programmed activities, bars, etc. We specially enjoyed the sauna, gym, and solarium. They have a spa you had to pay for. The ship has a Centrum, where they had live music and it looked beautiful. Despite the fact that there were 2000 people, it would never feel crowded (maybe sometimes on the main pool). The music on the pool was OK and not loud, and you could not hear it, even if you were in the solarium!!! GREAT :) Ports and Shore excursions: You get a seecard pass which works as your passport. Be sure to be back to boat on time for departure, we were told they will not wait for you!! Shore excursions were ridiculously over priced for us. You could do most of their tours for a 1/3 of their price on your own. Our recommendation is to do a research of each port before hand and choose the option that suits you better. Overall experience: This cruise and the Mediterranean route are highly recommended, especially for couples looking for a romantic and relaxing get away. The service was excellent and the experience unforgettable. Do not hesitate to try. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
This was my honeymoon and I planned this trip for the itinerary and not for the boat. Royal Caribbean is my favorite cruise line but I knew this was an older smaller ship. I was very excited to find out that they had remodeled it and it ... Read More
This was my honeymoon and I planned this trip for the itinerary and not for the boat. Royal Caribbean is my favorite cruise line but I knew this was an older smaller ship. I was very excited to find out that they had remodeled it and it was like being on a new ship. I actually prefer the smaller ships now because of our experience. Venice is a little different port so when you get dropped off there was quite a ways to walk and I do not pack light. We at the time were platinum members of RC so they have a special line which was extremely quick. Room was an ordinary balcony room (we splurged because it was our honeymoon but normally we do the inside cheap cabin because you are never in your room) with a nice closet and couch. They were almost brand new so I was happy! We always choose the late dining time so we have enough time to see everything and not be rushed. The first night when we went to our assigned table there were no seats. The sat us at a different table but the only problem was they spoke little english. It ended up being great because they were all amazing people and I ended up practicing my Spanish and my Italian! The food was probably the best that I had and the service was amazing. The one thing I can say is everyone from the waitresses to the customer service desk really was all about customer service. I love banana daiquiris and a few of the ports where they are suppose to pick up supplies did not have it so a few times I ordered it the bartender would run around the ship trying to find the banana mix. Great experience and can't wait to go on this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
My husband and I took this cruise in July of 2012 for our 25th Anniversary. We never sailed on Royal Caribbean before, but this cruise had the right number of days for us (9)..7 days we felt were too short and 12-14 days too long. Also, ... Read More
My husband and I took this cruise in July of 2012 for our 25th Anniversary. We never sailed on Royal Caribbean before, but this cruise had the right number of days for us (9)..7 days we felt were too short and 12-14 days too long. Also, the itinerary took us to 4 ports in Italy, which is what we most wanted to see. The Grandeur of the Seas is an older ship, but to our good fortune, had just been refurbished. It looked pretty good. No noticeable flaws. It was clean and bright and small. We liked the feel of a small ship, having always cruised with our kids on the mini-cities. It was easy to get around and we didn't get lost. I booked this cruise via the Royal Caribbean website. I was looking for a balcony cabin, which we always take. If you can afford it, the extra couple of hundred dollars is well worth it. I feel that a balcony cabin gives you a little extra room and a spacious feeling. It is nice sitting on your patio just having a drink or reading a book without the hustle and bustle of the public areas. At the time of booking, I was offered an upgrade to a Junior Suite for $9 per person per day more. At less that $200 for the whole cabin, this was a bargain. The extra room was nice, but the best was having a full-sized shower and tub! We booked our excursions through the cruise line because, not speaking the language in any of the countries we visited, we didn't want to run into trouble. As it was, the day we were in Pisa, another tour group came back two hours late because someone got lost and the ship had to wait. Imagine if you got lost while taking your own side trip. You'd be stuck! The tours were very good and fairly priced. We packed in full days wherever we went! The ports we visited were Venice (We came in a day early so that we could experience the beauty of Venice-walk the streets, take a gondola ride, eat the local cuisine..Our full day excursions included lunch and I was expecting maybe a slice of pizza, but we had whole meals with wine and dessert! Italy has fabulous food! Our next stop was Dubrovnik, then on to Montenegro (a country I had never heard of, but absolutely beautiful. We were supposed to go to Corfu, Greece, but the cruise line changed the itinerary about a month earlier. They never said why, Montenegro was a happy surprise! Then, on to Naples, where we took tours of Capri, Sorrento and Pompei (all on one excursion), next day Rome, where honestly we could have done two days and still not have seen everything. After Rome, Pisa and Florence. I would recommend going to both Pisa and Florence, as Florence is a beautiful city and the only thing in Pisa is the Tower which takes a few minutes to see. Off again to Marsailles, France where we chose to go to Aix-In-Provence, another lovely small town and very French. We heard that Marsailles itself wasn't too safe. I don't know if this is true or not. Our last stop was Palma de Mallorca, where we went straight to the airport. I wish we had stayed an extra day there. The only thing negative I can say about the trip is that the food on the ship was hit and miss. We ate in two specialty restaurants (at my husband's insistence) which were good, but not worth the extra money, but the food in the dining room was sometimes good and sometimes just passable. The staff of the entire ship couldn't have been nicer. It was the first time the maitre d ever came to speak with us on any cruise we've taken. He was a very likable guy , very helpful and accommodating and we were even going to tip him, but on that last night at dinner, he was so busy, we just didn't see him. I would take Royal Caribbean again because for the value, it was definitely worth every penny! Hope this helps anyone interested in going. We LOVED Venice. We flew in a day before the cruise left so that we could experience the many things Venice had to offer. Although exhausted because of the time change, we took a city tour which I booked via VIATOUR that included a gondola ride. It was amazing. If you have the time, spend at least two days in Venice. We barely got to enjoy the Piazza San Marco because we were so tired. The water taxis are easy to use and you can buy an all-day ticket. This little gem surprised us. We first took a bus ride, about 35 minutes, to a small town (I don't remember the name, it begins with a P), did a little walking, had pastry and coffee and then proceeded to a small church on an island, whose story was fascinating. Took the bus back to Kotor where we did some additional siteseeing on our own. Beautiful town and very nice people. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Guests on this trip were: my mum, dad, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin & me. Saturday 30th June we drove to Edinburgh airport where we boarded a Jet2 plane to Marco Polo airport in Venice. We took our booked water-taxis to beside St Marks ... Read More
Guests on this trip were: my mum, dad, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin & me. Saturday 30th June we drove to Edinburgh airport where we boarded a Jet2 plane to Marco Polo airport in Venice. We took our booked water-taxis to beside St Marks Sq where we went to the Castello Hotel where we put cases into the ready rooms before going out for lunch at a cafe then we walked to St Marks Sq then to the Rialto bridge,went back to hotel then went out for supper then retired to the hotel. Sunday 1st July after breakfast in the hotel we walked to the pier beside St Marks Sq where we took the Vaporetto(water-bus) to Murano Island where we watched them making a small jar then walked around before having lunch then we took the Vaporetto back to St Marks Sq then looked at shops on way back to hotel to relax before going for supper. Made sure everything was in the cases then retired. Monday 2nd July after breakfast we put our cases in a storage room then went to St Marks Sq and went inside the basilica then had drinks before collecting cases and heading to the pier where took a water-taxis to the 'RCI' pier where some guys took our luggage to the ship while we went through check-in/security before boarding 'Grandeur of the Seas' cards got beeped then we went our cabins before going to the 'Windjammer Cafe' for lunch. After my cousin and sister got changed they sunbathed by the pool while I read via my kindle. Back in cabin we got changed and went to the 'Great Gatsby' dining room for supper then we had an early night. Tuesday 3rd July Had breakfast in 'Windjammer Cafe' then read by pool before going to the safety drill then went to the pool deck to watch the ship leaving Venice then had lunch before looking at shops and having B&J's ice scream. Then got changed for supper. After we went to the 'Palladium Theatre' where we saw an ABBA tribute which was very good and fab outfits then went to the 'Schooner bar' where a pianist was playing/singing we had drinks before retiring for the night. Wednesday 4th July After breakfast we met the others on deck 6 to watch the ship coming into port at Dubrovnik Croatia. had lunch before going ashore where we got the shuttle-bus to the walls of the old city where we walked around it and in a church then had drinks before taking the shuttle-bus back to the ship. Thursday 5th July After breakfast sat by pool reading then had lunch before wandering around the ship then got changed and went to the 'Great Gatsby' dining room for supper. Then we had drinks in the 'Schooner bar' while playing cards then we retired for the night. Friday 6th July After breakfast we went ashore to Piraeus Greece where got on a trolley-train(hop on/hop off) the first stop was a shopping centre so we got off and had a look around then got back on the train to Archaeological Museum where we looked around then took the train back to the port. Back on ship we had food & drink. Saturday 7th July After breakfast we went to the 'South Pacific' lounge where we got stickers with number 22 and went ashore in Kusadasi Turkey where we got on the number 22 tour-bus to 'Ancient Ephesus' we looked around the fascinating and well preserved ruins then we were taken to a carpentry shop in Kusadasi where we saw how they extracted silk to use in them also got drinks and bread with goats cheese while they showed us different styles & patterns. Once back at port we looked around some shops then we back on the ship. Sunday 8th July After breakfast we went ashore in Bodrum Turkey where we got on a boat to the 'Castle of the Knights of St Peter' where we got head-sets and saw around the castle then my mum, aunt, sister, cousin and me all took the boat back to the ship while my dad & uncle walked back. Later my mum & sister went back ashore with the men to look in shops. Monday 9th July After breakfast we took the tender-boat(TB)to Skala port then we took the cable car up to Fira where we had a look around and in a church then w had lunch before browsing shops on the way back to the cable-car station. Back in Skala we took a TB back to ship where I went to Starbucks with my sister & cousin then we got ready for supper. After we listened to the karaoke in the 'South Pacific' lounge then had drinks and played cards in the 'Schooner bar then retired for the night. Tuesday 10th July After breakfast we met the others then got a TB to Mykonos pier then looked in some shops before meeting tour-guide and got on bus to a monastery of Ano Mera we looked inside then tried local starters at a restaurant in the square then we stopped at a popular beach then went to the bay of St John before heading back to the port. We saw the famous pelican on our walk back to the TB. Back on the ship went for Starbucks before getting ready for supper. Wednesday 11th July After breakfast in the 'Solarium' dipped feet in pool before going to 'Broadway Rhythm & Dance' in the Palladium theatre then joined the others in the 'Solarium' for lunch. After supper my mum, sister, aunt, uncle & cousin all went to see 'The Zoots' in the theatre meanwhile dad & me got us seats in the centrum for watching the aerial show which was really good then we went to the 'South Pacific' lounge where they watched a daft game-show. I retired to our cabin. Thursday 12th July After breakfast we took a TB ashore to Split Croatia we had a walk around and had drinks before walking back to the TB's. Back on ship we read in the 'Solarium' before having lunch then we packed our cases and changed to go to 'Great Gatsby' dining room for supper then put tags on our cases and put them outside our cabins then found space to watch the aerial show again this time at the end the captain and crew all came out then we sat down while my mum, aunt& uncle had coffee then we went to the 'South Pacific' lounge and played cards. I retired before the others. Friday 13th July After breakfast we went to the 'South Pacific' lounge where Dad and me left the ship with group 5 so we waited outside the building with our cases for the others who left with group 7 then we went to the water-taxis pier and took one to near Canaletto hotel where we left our cases and walked to St Marks Sq where mum & me went into the 'Dodge's Palace which was stunning and had lots of gold then we met the others and went for a drink & sandwich then went back to the hotel took our cases to our rooms then relaxed before getting ready for supper then walked around before having drinks then retiring to the hotel. Saturday 14th July After breakfast we took a water-taxis to Marco Polo airport where we boarded a jet2 plane to Edinburgh Airport where got the mini-bus to secure car park and headed for Aberdeen stopping at Peggy Scott's on the way. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
We stayed for two nights in Venice before transferring to the port by taxi (18 euros). We could have got the People Mover (1 euro per person) from Piazzale Roma but having investigated the day before decided against it as there is a long ... Read More
We stayed for two nights in Venice before transferring to the port by taxi (18 euros). We could have got the People Mover (1 euro per person) from Piazzale Roma but having investigated the day before decided against it as there is a long walk from the People Mover to the ship. Arrived for embarkation at 11.10 am and we were on board by 11.30 am. Had a meander around the ship before heading to Windjammers around 1.00 pm when it was fairly quiet as the cabins were ready at that time. Our cases didn't arrive until later in the afternoon but no big deal as there was plenty to do in the meantime. We were quite pleased with the size of the ship and what it had to offer in comparison with the Adventure and Freedom of the Seas. Ok there was no Royal Promenade but the Centrum on the Granduer was quite impressive and there was plenty of room to relax and have a drink. We had an outside cabin on Deck 3 at the front of the ship - two small portholes rather than windows but it was OK. Cabin had recently been refurbished so was really nice. Only downside was a curtain on the shower but it was manageable. The area was quiet but oh my when the ship docked or anchored the noise was awful especially at 6.00 am in the morning. It didnt last long though and we quickly went back to sleep. Foodwise we thought the Windjammer had a great selection of quality food at breakfast and lunch, we didn't use it for dinner. We normally found a table quite quickly as the staff were clearing them as people left. We had MTD for dinner which went fairly well although the guy on the desk was a bit of a jobsworth. The menu was more or less the same as the other two ships we cruised on previously but again it was good quality, well presented and hot. Service was a bit hit and miss but nothing to complain about really. We booked a meal in Chops Grill pre cruise and it was fabulous. Well presented, excellent quality (I had porterhouse steak) and the service was great too. For dessert I had creme brulee and my husband had the Mississippi Mud Pie which thankfully he needed help in eating. Yummy, yummy, yummy. I must also mention the Park Cafe on Deck 9. What a great idea. Fabulous build your own salads, pre-packed salads and sandwiches, hot beef rolls and cakes and cookies. Coffee, tea and cold drinks were available here all day as well. No problems with finding a sunbed or somewhere to sit but we were flexible with location. Also when it got too hot in the afternoon we took ourselves up to the Viking Crown Lounge to chill out and read. The exursion we booked to Herculaneum from Naples was cancelled which I was really disappointed about and when we went to talk to someone on the excusion desk they really couldn't have cared less not did they apologise. The other grey area we found was that whilst an information sheet was put in your cabin about the ports there was no information as to how far the town was from the actual dock e.g. Marseille was a good 8km or 20 minute bus ride from the port but people were trying to walk and once you got out of the port area you were on a busy dual carriageway. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss. We saw Zoots who were a group covering sixties music who went down a storm and we also saw the hypnotist (Chris Caress - that was his name I kid you not). Also there was a talented violinist who was also good if you like that sort of music. The aerial performers in the Centrum were also good. Kareoke was well attended (room was packed) and was also good. Rico the cruise director was a bit boring and when he was doing his spiel on the TV kept flicking the program with his fingers -- very annoying. Susan McColl the Entertainment Manager was very quick witted and made sure everyone had a good time. We had a wine package which we were thankful for as drinks were expensive. I am sure if the prices were more reasonable people would drink more and I can't understand why RCI doesn't appreciate this. We were continally being asked if we wanted a drink and would like to have said yes more often. There seemed to be plenty of room on board and it never seemed busy or crowded so from that point of view it was quite relaxing. Disembarkation was a nightmare with long, long queues for taxis at Palma. Realistically we only had minor niggles so overall we enjoyed the cruise and we would definitely go on the Grandeur again or a ship of a similar size. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Our cruise started in Venice. Got the people mover from Piazzale Roma for €1 which took us to the cruise terminal. A free Royal Caribbean shuttle bus was provided to take us to check in. Our cases were taken at this stage and we were ... Read More
Our cruise started in Venice. Got the people mover from Piazzale Roma for €1 which took us to the cruise terminal. A free Royal Caribbean shuttle bus was provided to take us to check in. Our cases were taken at this stage and we were given information about the ship and what we had to do next. We were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the Port. The food on board was delicious. My husband is a coeliac and was well looked after especially by Chef Henry in the Windjammer restaurant who made a chocolate cake for him. The Great Gatsby Dining Room was waiter service which we preferred for our evening dinner. The Park snack restaurant was great for getting cookies or crisps to nibble on in the afternoon. Water on board was free from restaurants and water dispensers around the pool area, where free ice cream or frozen yogurt was also available. The entertainment was good, especially the shows. Dance, Karaoke, Quizzes, there was something for everyone. Our 15 year old son didn't think the entertainment for teenagers was great, but he made lots of friends with children his own age and he loved it, he can't wait to go on another one. We stayed in an inner stateroom which was quite small but adequate. Our last port was Palma where disembarkation was well organised and we were off the ship by 8.30. Taxis cost around €25 to the airport.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Our first Royal Caribbean experience was on the Oasis of the Seas, and it was a fantastic ship with great facilities. Our subsequent Mediterranean cruise on the Grandeur was nothing short of a let down. Our waiters, and attendants were all ... Read More
Our first Royal Caribbean experience was on the Oasis of the Seas, and it was a fantastic ship with great facilities. Our subsequent Mediterranean cruise on the Grandeur was nothing short of a let down. Our waiters, and attendants were all very conscientious and personable, and I can only say positive things about the way they treated us. Our cabin, a junior suite with seaside balcony was worn. The mattresses were sunken in the middle, and our mini refrigerator did not work properly. Despite efforts to rectify these problems, they plagued us for the entire cruise. Halfway through the cruise, the toilets started working intermittently. You would sometimes wait for 20 to 30 minutes for them to flush, great when you really have to go. We were located immediately below the pool deck, so all night, the sounds of furniture and carts being moved were transmitted through our ceiling. Our balcony was often unusable because of all the cigar and cigarette smoke that drifted down from the pool deck. Our dining room waiters were excellent. Too bad the kitchen was incapable of more than mediocre food. Some items on the Vitality (healthy) menu appeared day after day without any change. You can do a lot with a chicken cutlet, so why not create some variety by altering the preparation? There were nights when we felt like we were selecting the lesser evil rather than a favorite from the menu. We thoroughly enjoyed days at sea on the Oasis, but on the Grandeur, the facilities were so lacking that sea days were boring. Small pools, no supervision to keep kids in line, hot tubs with underpowered jets, and a lot of deck chair reserving (against the rules but not enforced). On the Oasis, the ship was three times the size with 6,000 passengers, but we never felt crowded. On the Grandeur with 2,000 guests we did. Our cruise stops were excellent except for Kotor, Montenegro, which was a total waste of time. The crew did an admirable job, but this ship lacks the facilities of newer ships, and after a major refit, you would think that some of the obvious problems would have been eliminated. They obviously "missed the boat". Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
We had a full day and night in Venice prior to embarkation, it is a magnificent city - completely different. We stayed in a hotel near Piazza Roma, which meant we were only 2 mins walk from the people mover, a monorail which for 1 euro ... Read More
We had a full day and night in Venice prior to embarkation, it is a magnificent city - completely different. We stayed in a hotel near Piazza Roma, which meant we were only 2 mins walk from the people mover, a monorail which for 1 euro took us to the port within 5 minutes. The ship has recently been refurbished and you can tell - it was fantastic. The staterooms were spacious and definitely bigger than we had expected. As we had our 15 year old daughter we had two adjacent rooms. Our attendant Jonathon, who was from the Dominican Republic was quite simply superb, he couldn't do enough for us. We ate breakfast at Windjammer each morning and whilst busy, never had a problem getting a table. In the evening we had pre booked MTD. For us this worked very well indeed as we liked the flexibility, again the staff were always helpful and the quality of the food was excellent We didn't feel we need to use any of the speciality restaurants. The Park Cafe was a real find for salads etc at lunch and we would also recommend the superb chocolate brownies! We pre booked 7 bottles of wine and wished we had booked the 9 package - although we are not big drinkers, it was quite easy to drink a bottle with dinner. We booked 3 tours with RCI - Pompeii and Vesuvius climb, Private train to Rome (best move ever after seeing the rush at the station for the public train returning to the port) and a speed boat at Kotor (our favourite by far). As 1st timers, for us this was a great option and felt that they were all good value for money. We actually cancelled the trip to Florence as we didn't want to have three consecutive days of touring. The excurions desk were most helpful and refunded us without any hesitation as we cancelled more than 24 hrs in advance. The entertainment was varied and suitable for all ages, Rico was a good host and was especially funny during "Mr and Mrs" - I haven't laughed so much for years!!. Susan MacColl was funny all week and was supported well by all her team. The bar in which the Karaoke was held was packed (in a nice way) every night which made for a good atmosphere. Our 15 year old daughter simply loved every minute of the cruise - she went to the kids club on the first night and made some very good friends and a large group stayed together for the whole cruise. It was safe and as they were well behaved, the staff were brilliant with them later in the evenings. There was never a problem getting a sunbed, even on sea days, you might have to walk around a bit, but we never had a problem with this. Overall it was a brilliant vacation and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. We met some lovely people and wished the cruise lasted longer!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We have just returned from a 10 night cruise around the Greek Islands with Royal Caribbean on Grandeur of the Seas and it was just like a floating holiday camp. For the money we paid we expected much more. The entertainment was worse ... Read More
We have just returned from a 10 night cruise around the Greek Islands with Royal Caribbean on Grandeur of the Seas and it was just like a floating holiday camp. For the money we paid we expected much more. The entertainment was worse than terrible, really boring cabaret - all American singers - you couldn't even call them singers, it was more like they were talking. You expect a luxurious relaxed holiday and instead you get a very loud experience were on a regular day to day basis most of the entertainment is the guests themselves being drawn into partaking in belly flopping, karoke and taking part in "The Quest" where they have to run around in teams looking for items at the request of the loud mouthed irritating host. Even a normal game of Bingo is turned into a long drawn out charade where inbetween calling the numbers the same host constantly tries to sell further activities to the guests. It is all about getting as much money out of people as possible all the time, everything is extra, even when you pay for a spa treatment which start at $99 you have to pay a further £20 tip which you aren't expecting. The ship had six jacquzzis and from start to finish none were working. The pools are small and one of them has constant silly games going on so it isn't possible to use it. Even paying for gratuities in advance is a let down when you get your book of vouchers in the belief you can give them out to your favourite crew members only to find you can only give them to your head waiter, assistant waiter, waiter and stateroom attendant. Bad luck if you get friendly with the barman, cleaner or anyone else as you will have to tip them yourselves at extra cost. Save yourself some money and check out your cruise to the fullest first or find a nice luxurious hotel somewhere - you will still save money! If you hate holiday camps do not try this cruise liner!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We sailed from Venice, Italy June 22, 2012. The ship, food, and entertainment are fine. However, the two rooms we were given completely ruined the cruise. We were given rooms 3644 and 3652 by an internet travel agent. These rooms are ... Read More
We sailed from Venice, Italy June 22, 2012. The ship, food, and entertainment are fine. However, the two rooms we were given completely ruined the cruise. We were given rooms 3644 and 3652 by an internet travel agent. These rooms are ocean view rooms located beneath the dining room according to the deck plan offered online. Unfortunately for us the deck plan map seems to be incorrect. My rooms are below the commercial kitchen that operates for 20 hours a day. There is no way to rest in theses rooms with the banging, clanking and thumps. The noise usually stops around mid-night and resumes around 4:30 am. I found it hard to enjoy anything during this cruise. I put up with the noise for a few nights because I was trying to be a good sport. I finally went to the guest services desk and they assured me that there were no more rooms at my level of room. I was offered the opportunity to move to an inside room which I declined because of claustrophobia issues with some of my family members. The desk clerk said he would speak to the kitchen manager and ask them to keep the noise down. Two nights later I couldn't take it anymore, I accepted and inside cabin so I could sleep. We found it hard to enjoy anything the ship offered as entertainment or food. The ports of call all ran together as a never ending nightmare of sleep deprivation. Don't worry though. Royal Caribbean sent some chocolate covered strawberries to our room and offered us 20% off another cruise(within one year), unfortunately on Royal Caribbean. No thank you. A customer service representative told me on the phone that you should research your room choice before you accept the room. I choose not to choose Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
The ship was recently renovated, and felt brand new! Ours was only the second cruise after the renovation. Improvements included essentially re-doing all the staterooms, adding specialty restaurants and many others. Before going on the ... Read More
The ship was recently renovated, and felt brand new! Ours was only the second cruise after the renovation. Improvements included essentially re-doing all the staterooms, adding specialty restaurants and many others. Before going on the cruise we signed up for the "Meet and Mingle" Roll Call. One of the best moves I have ever made! Before getting on the ship, we "knew" about 35 other cruisers! We had made plans for all the ports (none of which included a cruise company shore excursion). Positives: The ship is in excellent condition and looks beautiful. Enforcement of not bringing alcohol on board is spotty at best, which is good. We managed to have our own bottle of wine at every dinner except one, and the wait staff opened it for us with no charge for corkage! Negatives: No self-help laundry, not even an iron. Our cabin steward told us that Royal Caribbean is all about making money. Food in the main dining room good but not as gourmet as I remember from earlier cruises. I think gourmet food is now saved for the "specialty" restaurants, so RCI can make more money. Wait staff is tasked with more that I recall from previous cruises, so service is a little worse. Overall, the experience was delightful. We got along extremely well with our dinner table-mates, and enjoyed meeting new people at breakfast and lunch open seating. In addition we had our 35-strong CruiseCritics family! It was like being part of a big group and yet independent. The ports we visited were Kotor (Montenegro), Athens, Kusadasi (Turkey), Bodrum (Turkey), Santorini and Split (Croatia). We were also scheduled to dock at Mykonos but could not because of high winds. Excellent ports with lots to see. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We took this cruise primarily for the itinerary. I particularly wanted to visit Santorini and the Palace of Knossos on Crete. We were not on the cruise for the Belly Flop competition or the Karaoke or the other game shows (or the Casino). ... Read More
We took this cruise primarily for the itinerary. I particularly wanted to visit Santorini and the Palace of Knossos on Crete. We were not on the cruise for the Belly Flop competition or the Karaoke or the other game shows (or the Casino). Nor were we there to see how many Martinis we could drink or because we expected Cordon Bleu cooking. There are only two days when you are sailing all day and as we had a Junior suite with a balcony I spent most of that time on the Balcony reading my Kindle. I only used the Wi-Fi to download the daily newspaper onto the Kindle (hey you're on holiday - why take a laptop with you). But it was slow and it cost about two to three dollars of computer time each day. I did use the computers in the business centre on two occasions to conduct some essential business and because of the slow speed it did work out expensive. I think we got more or less exactly what we expected but I would say that the Dining Room staff and our Cabin Attendant were attentive and seemed caring. I certainly didn't begrudge them their tips. The guides (provided through the Greek Company 'Navigator' varied from quite good to excellent). I would single out two guides for special mention. The guide on Crete that took us around Knossos (and later as an extra in his and our free time a wonderful tour of the local archeological museum for those particularly interested). If everyone in Greece is as conscientious as he then they will be out of their economic woes in no time - I suspect that might not be true. The other guide I would single out is the guide on the tour to Corinth (which we took instead of going to Athens where we had already been). He had some idiosyncratic theories but this was entertaining to listen to. The shows on the boat were good. Not up to the standard of the Allure, of course, but one suspects that on a ship more than twice as big they can pay artists at least twice as much and getting stronger acts - but I thought what we got was at least as good as my expectations. Read Less
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

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