We really enjoyed our cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas (cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas Jan 31 - Feb 08). The Grandeur is still the friendliest ship in the fleet.
4 out of 5
We arrived at the Cruise Maryland Terminal around 11:30 am, dropped off our suitcases at the baggage carts, paid $120 for parking ($15/day for 8 days) and walked to the terminal building. While the port team in Baltimore is well organized and always does a great job, we had to wait outside in the cold for about 20 minutes. We’re not sure why, but the initial screening for the Coronavirus was done at the door, which caused a backup outside. Additional screening was done for anybody with a Chinese passport or for anybody who had been in China in the past 14 days. They also screened for anybody with flu-like symptoms. After we got inside, we were through security and check-in in about 10 minutes and we were eating in the Windjammer buffet within 45 minutes of our arrival.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Main Dining Room: Waiter JC (that’s his name..he said it’s for his mom and dad’s first initials) and Assistant Waiter Argee were very good. They remembered what we drank during dinner (iced tea), that my wife liked using a straw (well, Argee remembered after about 5 nights of us asking) and provided adequate service. The slow service trend continued (we first noticed this last year on other cruises) as the wait staff seemed busier than before. There were a couple of nights when it took an hour (5:30 - 6:30) before we received our entrees. We were told that the line in the kitchen was backed up. So, we missed the early show in the theater twice. Also, early in the cruise, we asked for coffee and tea after dinner, but we rarely were offered or even asked again.
We also ate breakfast in the main dining room several mornings. The service was also slow and uneven. In my opinion, the wait staff has too many tables to serve and the kitchen staff may be inadequate to handle the load. RC needs to re-evaluate where they are making cuts. Everybody else at our table of 10 told similar stories of slower service at breakfast and were upset with the slow dinner service.
Windjammer Buffet (Breakfast and Lunch): Good food, not great. Breakfast was better than lunch. Burgers were no match for Guy's Burgers on Carnival. There did not seem to be as much variety from day to day as on previous cruises. At times, the buffet got very crowded, and we often had a problem finding a seat. The staff working in the buffet were very friendly. (Tip: We used hand sanitizer at the entrance to the Windjammer and brought a small bottle of our own, so we could use it every time we returned from the buffet. )
Park Cafe (Breakfast and Lunch): This is located in the back of the Solarium. We had a light breakfast and lunch in the Park Cafe several times. It was seldom crowded and is a nice alternative to the busy Windjammer. The Main Dining Room is also open for lunch on some days, but we did not eat there.
4 out of 5
The casino was still smoky and smelly, regardless of where we sat (in smoking or non-smoking). It’s time for RC (and all other cruise lines) to ban smoking from casinos. We never won, but we did enjoy playing and there were some newer machines to choose from.
5 out of 5
New cruise director Clo (Hello Clo) was great. We appreciated her energy and humor. She did a great job in shuffling things around due to the Super Bowl (the theater was jammed!) and some rough seas. She still managed to provide a couple of matinees (packed shows!) to make up for the schedule changes. The entertainers were also much better than on our previous cruise on the Grandeur in September. Comedians, singers, RC dancers and singers were enjoyable. The Tango show (matinee on Friday due to weather postponement) was outstanding. See this show if you get a chance!
did not bring kids on the cruise
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Outstanding. The best characteristic of Grandeur of the Seas is the people. This is the friendliest ship we've been on. Everyone seemed to take great pride in satisfying the passengers. We only had pleasant experiences with everyone, from the port (luggage handlers, security, embarkation staff), to housekeeping, to guest services, to the food staff (several of them talked to us for a while in the Windjammer) , in the spa, etc. Really, the friendliest ship in the fleet, and despite my minor complaints, they made the cruise wonderful.
Special thanks to the captain and his crew. We had some bad weather later in the cruise, due to a storm working its way up the east coast. We left Nassau a few hours early to beat the worst of the weather, but we still had 25’ swells on Thursday afternoon and overnight. The captain did a great job in keeping us safe and as comfortable as possible during the storm.
3 out of 5
although well-maintained, this is a very old ship.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Our room was ready as advertised at 1:00 pm and our suitcases showed up about an hour later. We had an interior cabin in the middle of deck two (cabin 2063). The room was small, but had plenty of room and storage space for two people. An extra person would have been a challenge. There is enough room under the bed for a couple of large suitcases. The closet had about a dozen wooden hangers for our clothes. We ordered some bottled water, which was in the room when we arrived. We briefly met our cabin steward and saw him almost every time we left our cabin in the morning and before dinner each night. Our room was always clean by the time we got back from breakfast and after dinner. We had towel animals in the room several times (but not every night) during the cruise. Even though the seas were very rough (especially the 2nd to last sea day, with 25’ swells), being in the middle of the ship reduced the rocking a bit. The bathroom was fine, except for the shower curtain (always annoying). As on most cruise ships, there are only two power outlets in the cabin, located on the desk, just to the left of the TV. ANd, speaking of TV, it was still not great. Not that we wanted to watch a lot of TV, but half the channels were Royal Caribbean’s content (daily show, cruise shopping, shore excursions, etc..) which repeated endlessly. There were a couple of sports channels, a few news channels (either ends of the spectrum - Fox & MSNBC), a few channels for kids, a music channel with nobody I’ve ever heard of, a couple of channels that showed very old TV shows and a couple of movies, etc… I seem to remember better choices on past cruises (and on other cruise lines), so this must be a cost-savings measure for RC.
We took a bus to DIsneyworld and spent the day in the Magic Kingdom. We were dropped off and picked up in the bus area of the transportation and ticket center. We still had to take a ferry boat to the Magic Kingdom. Others on the bus went to EPCOT (via monorail). Even though we had limited time inside the park (11:00 am to 6:00 pm), we took advantage of fast passes, so we were able to see and do a lot. My advice is to plan ahead carefully if you sign up for the bus.
This is a fun stop. The weather was great (sunny in the upper 70’s, not much wind) and we spent most of the time on Chill Island. The free food is a step up from typical cruise ship island food. Besides normal barbecue food (hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken), there were sandwiches, salads, tacos, lots of fruit and deserts. My wife even tracked down some fried dough w/powdered sugar.
Again, we just walked around. We have been to Nassau many times and have done excursions here before. My wife likes to shop, so we worked our way up and down Bay St. We were back on the ship by mid-day.
4 out of 5
Waited in the main theater for a little over an hour. Got off the ship and to our car about 20 minutes after our number was called.
*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency,
and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners
(travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our
users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or
prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site
for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on
external web sites.
Need help from a personal vacation planner?
Find the perfect cruise with weekly tips and cruise deals for as little as $30/night!
Sign up for weekly cruise deals
Join other subscribers and get the best
cruise deals of the week in your inbox every Thursday.