June 2016 - Grandeur of the Seas to Bermuda
We chose this cruise because it was the only one that would fit with the dates that I could get away from work, and the port was close enough to home that we could use award points for our flight. We should have spent more money and taken a different cruise.
The ship is old and showing her age. Is needs to go in dry dock now, instead of waiting until April 2017. There is a ton of rust; the carpet is in bad shape, and the bathrooms in the cabins are just awful! When I read other reviews I thought people were just overly critical; they weren't! It is true that the shower curtain is about six inches too short and that you literally flood the bathroom every time you take a shower. I have to be clean and normally take two showers a day. I dreaded taking a shower on this trip because of the mess it made. They try hard to keep it clean, but with her age, the carpet is old and looks nasty and dirty. My husband got a stomach bug the last day at sea, and we both came home with colds.
The ship is very small, and there is not room for a kids pool section. Therefore, one side of the pool on the main pool deck it a kids pool, and the other is the adult pool. If you are looking for a kid-free zone, you will have to go to the Solarium to the indoor pool, but it is miserably hot in there.
The dining in the main dining room was fantastic! We had excellent service from Melroy and Alexandsar. They made our 21st Anniversary special and tried very hard to get to know us and please us during our 9-day cruise. The food in the Windjammer was cold, and the oatmeal was soupy. The coffee was way too strong and never hot. They biggest problem was they ran out of chocolate soft serve ice cream! How in the world do you let this happen? They ran out while we were in port in Nassau and didn't bother to restock the ship. You should never run out of any food, especially the ice cream. The food in Chops was amazingly good as usual. It seems like this is being done on purpose to force you to spend money on the specialty restaurants.
The entertainment was not the best we have ever seen. We only went to one show, and it was just ok. We spent the bulk of our time in the casino but were disappointed in the selection of games and payouts. The slots were very tight. We enjoy Norwegian's casinos much more. We have to get up early for work, and it is hard for us to change our schedule on vacation. The evening activities that I would like to participate in start way too late for us. Why not have something earlier for the folks that eat dinner early and go to bed a before 10:00?
The service was lacking. I am not sure what has happened to RCI, but they have gone downhill since my last cruise with them in 2014. I purchased the drink package when I booked my cruise in February. My cup was supposed to be in my stateroom when I arrived, but it wasn't there. I went to guest services and inquired about my cup. I was told that the shipment of containers had not arrived, but they were hopeful that they would be delivered before we left port. They knew there was a chance that the cups wouldn't get there on time, but they continued to sell drink packages to passengers that had not pre-ordered them. You would think that the folks that per-ordered their packages would receive their cups first, right? Wrong! After we had set sail, I inquired again about my cup and was told it would be delivered within two hours. After two hours had passed, I called Guest Services again, and they said I misunderstood and that I wouldn't be getting a cup until we reach Coco Cay (7 days into our 9-day cruise). I told them that was completely unacceptable and after raising my voice, they just happened to find me a cup. The rest of the passengers received little Slurpee cups. To add insult to injury, they ran out of ice a lot and ran out of the most popular types of soda's before the cruise was over. This issue along with running our of ice cream has made me question what sets RCI apart from Carnival and Norwegian. I can cruise cheaper with them, get better itineraries, get my beverage package when promised and all the ice cream I want!
On this trip, you arrive in port during the middle of the day instead of first thing in the morning. We decided we like coming into ports in the morning instead of the afternoon. Bermuda was beautiful! However, we felt rushed while in port. We arrived at 2 PM on Saturday. All of the stores in Hamilton and Kings Warf closed at 6:00 PM and only the stores in Kings Warf were open on Sunday. If you cruise to Bermuda make sure you dock on a weekday instead of the weekend. We wanted to go to Horseshoe Bay, but the cabs and buses didn't start running until 9 AM, and our ship was scheduled to leave at 3 PM. We opted for Snorkel Park. It was $5.00 a person to get in, $10.00 for lounge chairs and $15.00 for an umbrella. It's not the prettiest beach I have ever seen, but it was a nice relaxing day within walking distance to the ship. Beware that drinks cost a lot at this beach park. I paid $6.00 for a bottle of water and diet coke. Take your drinks and food from the ship to save you some money. Nassau was not my favorite, and I can't for the life of me figure out why the straw market is so famous. It is nothing but a bunch of junk and the same thing over and over again. No one sales anything different at this place. Market Street is way overpriced shops, but we enjoyed walking around and seeing the area. We would have gone over to Atlantis, but again we were in port from 2 PM until 12 AM. A little late for us, and we didn't feel safe walking around Nassau after dark. We got back on the ship and enjoyed a lovely dinner in the less crowded dining room. Coco Kay would be a fun place, and I hope to visit one day again. We only had a couple of hours to enjoy ourselves before the rain hit. It rained the entire day, so we ate a nice lunch and got back on the ship after trying to wait out the rain.
I can say we will not take a cruise on this ship again. As for RCI, I'm not sure. Never say never, but they are not the same cruise line they were two years ago, and that is a real disappointment to us.