8 Venice to Europe - Western Mediterranean Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Reviews

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
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
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 October 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 September 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 July 2012
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