December 2014 - Grandeur of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
The industry must be seeing tough times, or perhaps it's just Royal Caribbean that's having to tighten it's belt. I'm not certain, but I will say that our cruise was not done in "grand" style. Our cruise was good and we enjoyed, but we missed some of the pampering that we've come to expect when cruising.
Our first disappointment was to find that our toiletries consisted of a generic shampoo in a dispenser and 2 bars of soap, one for bath and one for hands. That was it. No conditioner, no shower cap, no body lotion, and no chocolates on our pillows at night. If I had known there would be no conditioner or body lotion I would have brought some with me.
Our next rude awakening was the quality of the mattresses. Mine had a valley to rival the Grand Canyon. My husband's was not much better. After two nights of trying to sleep in the gulch, I asked for a back board. The staff had no idea of what a back board is. (Really? They must've missed this in Hotel & Hospitality school). They added a topper to my mattress. This gave a little support and the illusion that my mattress was almost flat for one night. Unfortunately my back ache (which I didn't have prior to the cruise) returned. The carpentry shop and the floor manager worked together to produce a piece of plywood to fit my mattress. The cabin steward put the board on top of the mattress and then topped it with the topper. Once the back board was correctly placed below the mattress, my back no longer ached.
I also noticed that there weren't as many staff to keep the Windjammer and pool areas clean and free of dirty dishes. In corners and other places, it was clear that they hadn't received a cleaning in a while.
Lastly, the activities are old news. When are they going to come up with some new things for experienced cruisers to do? How many art auctions are we expected to sit through?
On a positive note, we did enjoy our dining experience. Our waiter and his assistant were pleasant and extremely attentive. Another cut back to mention- the number of courses offered- you had a choice of either an appetizer, soup, or salad. On other cruises and cruise lines, we've been given all three and many times declined one or two items. While we weren't denied, our attention was drawn to the word "OR" in our menus.
We did enjoy the ports, the warm weather, and the entertainment. We ate at Chops one evening and I would highly recommend it to anyone. The food was outstanding, especially the cream of mushroom soup.
In conclusion, our cruise did not live up to previous experiences on Royal Caribbean and does not compare with Celebrity or Princess, but it was convenient and we probably will sail with them again. We will just have lower expectations and remember to bring our own toiletries and chocolates to feel pampered.