May 2015 - Grandeur of the Seas to Bermuda
My husband and I and our 16 month old daughter just returned from our 7 night cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda. This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. Overall, the cruise was just ok (way better than no cruise at all, though!) although the staff and service were absolutely outstanding.
Staterooms: We had an oceanview on Deck 3. The room was small, which we expected, but there was plenty of closet space and cabinets. You could probably fit two medium to large suitcases in the closet standing upright, and some smaller suitcases under the bed. There were hangers and a hair dryer, but no refrigerator so we used an ice bucket to store our daughter's milk. The shower pressure and temperature were actually very good, but the shower is quite small. And, the shower curtain will stick to you if you don't prop up a shampoo bottle or something else to hold it in place. Our stateroom attendant was fantastic: always pleasant, made time to talk to us, prompt and professional, and just an all around nice guy. The housekeeping staff were very nice as well and worked hard to make people happy.
Guests/Activities: This was not a very family friendly trip. A schedule was provided for the upcoming day, and there were plenty of activities around the ship. However, many of the activities had an extra cost and there were limited activities for children. Most of the guests appeared to be older adults, some of whom were not very patient with our daughter. On the first night, we received a phone call from Guest Services informing us of "neighbors' complaining" about a baby crying "all afternoon". Again, the staff were very accommodating and patient with us and seemed to enjoy the little ones on board.
Dining: A big disappointment. The quality of the food was just not good. Understandably, cooking for a large groups of people with varied dietary issues and preferences has got to be challenging. I was just hoping for food with more flavor instead of feeling like it was all processed and reheated from a box. The coffee was undrinkable and the scrambled eggs were inedible. After the first few days, I learned to go to Starbucks for coffee and to stick with the omelet station instead of the scrambled eggs, so that helped. Sadly, the ice cream machine made ice soup instead. I wound up getting ice cream from the Ben and Jerry's though, so that worked itself out. There was only one late night option (I think the Park Cafe closed at 10:00 or 11:00) but there was nothing open 24 hours. There were also very few snack options besides fresh fruit (a plus) and nachos or sweets, so I would suggest bringing your own snack stash. Our waiters were again very helpful, pleasant, and personable and did their best to attend to us and accommodate our needs. And, the crew at Starbucks and Windjammer was excellent as well.
Port of Call: Bermuda was just stunning. We docked in the afternoon and didn't realize that to really explore Bermuda, you had to get out of the dockyard via ferry, bus, or taxi. We did not do any excursions as they seemed to be pretty pricey. There is a ferry right near the cruise ship that goes to Hamilton pretty much once every hour, but the ferry to St. George was much more infrequent so we wound up missing that opportunity. Everything in Bermuda was incredibly expensive and the restaurant we tried in the dockyard was not good (although the check for lunch for two was $77.00). We ate at a restaurant called Muse in Hamilton that was so delicious which was a welcomed change ($87.00 there for lunch, by the way). The craft market in the Dockyard was a really good place for handmade souvenirs. There is a frozen yogurt place by the ferry that offers 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi with a purchase, which is much better than paying onboard to use the (very expensive) Internet.
Overall, the staff were the best part of the cruise experience and we loved Bermuda. It was nice to be treated like family and get to know others. The ship itself could use some tweaking that would make a big difference in the overall experience.