Explorer or Grandeur of the Seas

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#1
CT
70 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Advice sought from seasoned cruisers! Planning an anniversary cruise with another couple for May 2014....we want to sail from New England NYC/NJ/Baltimore .........is Explorer getting old? Would you recommend us driving down to Baltimore to catch Grandeur? or should we try Norwegian Gem out of NYC? any and all advice very welcomed....thanks so much and happy sailings to all! Jenny
#2
Central Illinois
97,203 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by Jakeplays
Advice sought from seasoned cruisers! Planning an anniversary cruise with another couple for May 2014....we want to sail from New England NYC/NJ/Baltimore .........is Explorer getting old? Would you recommend us driving down to Baltimore to catch Grandeur? or should we try Norwegian Gem out of NYC? any and all advice very welcomed....thanks so much and happy sailings to all! Jenny
We were just on Explorer this past April, and she is in fine shape.
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#3
Lone Wolf, OK
10,548 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by Jakeplays
Advice sought from seasoned cruisers! Planning an anniversary cruise with another couple for May 2014....we want to sail from New England NYC/NJ/Baltimore .........is Explorer getting old? Would you recommend us driving down to Baltimore to catch Grandeur? or should we try Norwegian Gem out of NYC? any and all advice very welcomed....thanks so much and happy sailings to all! Jenny
Hi Jenny,

First of all, we are RCI only with one big exception. We sailed on Norwegian Breakaway and we will not sail NCL again. I did not like the company attitude about safety, food, and on board charges.

Now about your other two choices; 1- Grandeur. She has just been thru her makeover but even with the new additions she doesn't have all the venues Explorer offers. But, with the smaller ships you get fewer people and that usually means easier moving around. 2- Explorer. RCI does a great job of keeping all things clean and in good repair so that would not be my concern. With the larger ship there is more to do at any given time so you and your friends will have more choices. On either ship you can be as active as you choose.

The personal choices are ports/excursions, cost/value, and before/after cruise activities. Either ship offers great choices. You can not go wrong with either IMHO.

So, do one this year and the other next year! . Book now while the prices are lower for next year.

Happy anniversary,

Pete
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Pete & Marilyn
#4
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
28,189 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Jakeplays
Advice sought from seasoned cruisers! Planning an anniversary cruise with another couple for May 2014....we want to sail from New England NYC/NJ/Baltimore .........is Explorer getting old? Would you recommend us driving down to Baltimore to catch Grandeur? or should we try Norwegian Gem out of NYC? any and all advice very welcomed....thanks so much and happy sailings to all! Jenny
Anniversary, well that means at least one dinner at a special restaurant. Grandeur would be my choice. Also the cruise leaving the harbor is beautiful, parking is simple and although the port is old, they run it very efficiently. Maybe after Quantum comes to NJ, they will improve port conditions up there, but right now you couldn't get me out of that port if it were FREE.
#5
Maryland's Eastern Shore
5,901 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
We love Explorer.
If specialty restaurants are a factor, the only one on Explorer is Portofino's. I think Grandeur had more choices. Baltimore port is easy to get in and out and parking is right at the terminal; $15 per day. Bayonne is $19 per day and often traffic into the port is heavy but doable.
I think for me I would base the decision on the itinerary and cost.
Have fun making your decision and with your planning.
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Jane

Past Cruises
Sept 11 2014 RC Explorer of the Seas NE/Canada
Dec 3 2012 RC Explorer of the Seas Eastern Carribbean
June 20 2010 Carnival Pride Bahamas
Sept 2 2009 RC Jewel of the Seas TA
Jan 2009 RC Voyager of the Seas Western Caribbean
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#7
967 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by RevSmith
Anniversary, well that means at least one dinner at a special restaurant. Grandeur would be my choice. Also the cruise leaving the harbor is beautiful, parking is simple and although the port is old, they run it very efficiently. Maybe after Quantum comes to NJ, they will improve port conditions up there, but right now you couldn't get me out of that port if it were FREE.
Bayonne NJ is scheduled for a complete makeover to accommodate the Quantum and additional passengers however we find it very nice compared to some others we've sailed out of. It was clean, efficient, virtually no walk from parking to baggage area and check-in. Maybe only inconvenience was the bussing from check-in to the ship. What do you find being the problem with Bayonne NJ?

And to the OP, the Explorer and her sister ships are by far our favorite class. Sailed on her last fall and looking pretty good for her age and too much to do with only a week to enjoy.
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SAILED:

Norwegian Dawn 01/2016 - Western Caribbean
Norwegian Star 01/2015 - Panama Canal
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas 11/2013 - Southern Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas 09/2012 - Bermuda
Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas 12/2011
Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas 01/2010 - Southern Caribbean
Carnival Fascination 9/2004 - Bahamas
Royal Caribbean Sun Viking 10/1982 - Western Caribbean
#8
112 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
We've sailed both ships. I like the Explorer over the Grandeur. I have not been on the Grandeur since it was refurbished. I have not sailed from NJ but am going next week from there. I have sailed from Baltimore. It was an easy port to sail from but I don't go on a ship because of it's sailing port. I go for the ship/itinerary. If they itinerary is the same I would go on the Explorer. I like the bigger ships, if you can even call a Voyager Class ship big anymore. It has the promenade which I love and the ice rink. Even if you don't ice skate the ice show is wonderful! Good luck with your decision. Either way you will have a great time! Both ships are wonderful!
#9
Virginia
2,087 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
You all are making me worry! We LOVE sailing out of Baltimore, think the port is a jewel. Booked on Explorer in November, worried about the port.
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Grandeur of the Seas 12/21/17
Majesty of the Seas 03/24/17
Grandeur of the Seas 12/22/16
Grandeur of the Seas 05/12/16
Independence of the Seas 12/28/15
Grandeur of the Seas 11/21/14
Explorer of the Seas 04/10/14
Explorer of the Seas 11/23/13
Enchantment of the Seas 03/25/13
Enchantment of the Seas 11/17/12
Enchantment of the Seas 03/31/12
Freedom of the Seas 04/24/11
Freedom of the Seas 04/04/10
2009 - bust... Destination trip to Montego Bay instead
Mariner of the Seas 06/15/08
Mariner of the Seas 04/08/07
Navigator of the Seas 4/15/06
Mariner of the Seas 3/27/05
Mariner of the Seas 4/11/04
Disney Magic 12/01/01
#10
967 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by Candleonwater
You all are making me worry! We LOVE sailing out of Baltimore, think the port is a jewel. Booked on Explorer in November, worried about the port.
DO NOT worry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the port short of having to take a 300 foot bus ride to get you across the street to the ship. (will explain if you or anyone wants to know why)

Fairly easy to get to. Ample, safe parking within 500 feet of the ship and a few steps to baggage area. Nice waiting area. Pretty efficient staff to make the boarding process as painless as possible.

Then..... after this decent experience ..... YOU GET TO BOARD THE EXPLORER and sail away.

We have not sailed out of Baltimore yet but I can't imagine it being any much better than Bayonne.
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SAILED:

Norwegian Dawn 01/2016 - Western Caribbean
Norwegian Star 01/2015 - Panama Canal
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas 11/2013 - Southern Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas 09/2012 - Bermuda
Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas 12/2011
Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas 01/2010 - Southern Caribbean
Carnival Fascination 9/2004 - Bahamas
Royal Caribbean Sun Viking 10/1982 - Western Caribbean
#11
Easton, Pa
2,950 Posts
Joined May 2005
I prefer explorer. Granduer is much older looking and less to do on her... Explorer has the Promenade...etc
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#12
Virginia
2,087 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
That's how I'm trying to approach it - any pain at embarkation will be forgotten as I am having lunch in Windjammer! We don't like it, we sail out of somewhere else next time.

Originally posted by mein18
DO NOT worry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the port short of having to take a 300 foot bus ride to get you across the street to the ship. (will explain if you or anyone wants to know why)

Fairly easy to get to. Ample, safe parking within 500 feet of the ship and a few steps to baggage area. Nice waiting area. Pretty efficient staff to make the boarding process as painless as possible.

Then..... after this decent experience ..... YOU GET TO BOARD THE EXPLORER and sail away.

We have not sailed out of Baltimore yet but I can't imagine it being any much better than Bayonne.
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Grandeur of the Seas 12/21/17
Majesty of the Seas 03/24/17
Grandeur of the Seas 12/22/16
Grandeur of the Seas 05/12/16
Independence of the Seas 12/28/15
Grandeur of the Seas 11/21/14
Explorer of the Seas 04/10/14
Explorer of the Seas 11/23/13
Enchantment of the Seas 03/25/13
Enchantment of the Seas 11/17/12
Enchantment of the Seas 03/31/12
Freedom of the Seas 04/24/11
Freedom of the Seas 04/04/10
2009 - bust... Destination trip to Montego Bay instead
Mariner of the Seas 06/15/08
Mariner of the Seas 04/08/07
Navigator of the Seas 4/15/06
Mariner of the Seas 3/27/05
Mariner of the Seas 4/11/04
Disney Magic 12/01/01
#13
967 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
The "next time" you are ready to cruise Bayonne may be retrofited for the Quantum. Will be a totally new experience with what should be a beautiful ship.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Forums mobile app
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SAILED:

Norwegian Dawn 01/2016 - Western Caribbean
Norwegian Star 01/2015 - Panama Canal
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas 11/2013 - Southern Caribbean
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas 09/2012 - Bermuda
Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas 12/2011
Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas 01/2010 - Southern Caribbean
Carnival Fascination 9/2004 - Bahamas
Royal Caribbean Sun Viking 10/1982 - Western Caribbean
#14
Wrightsville, Pa.
7,463 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by mein18

We have not sailed out of Baltimore yet but I can't imagine it being any much better than Bayonne.
Oh, but it is a lot better than Bayonne. But, it doesn't stop me from sailing from Bayonne. I love the Explorer and don't mind the hassle, but Baltimore is so much more organized than Bayonne is. But, it isn't the port, it is the cruise itself. You are spending more time on the ship than at the port. I can put up with the hassle because I know I am sailing.

I will be on the Grandeur for the first time after it's refurbishment in Oct. I love both class ships and really don't know which one I would prefer. I guess it depends on the cost and itinerary. All ships have their own special features and it is a matter of preference.

To the OP. You will enjoy your cruise no matter which one you choose. It is up to you. Make the best of it.

Gwen
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#15
New York
18 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
I have been on the Explorer nine times, two last year. The ship and crew are great. Some of the crew remember my wife and I each time we are on it. It feels like old home week.
The only part that is a negative is the getting to the port and dropping off your luggage. Sometimes there is a large back-up getting to the drop off area. This is due to tight quarters were the cars pull in. You have cars trying to pick up passengers and cars trying to drop passengers off at the same time. It can be chaos at times.
I have someone drop us off so we sometimes pull over and park before the drop off area and wheel the luggage the ½ block to the drop off area and then the wife and I walk over and go to check in.
We have done this many times and it saves waiting on the car line.
But it is all worth it once you get on board.
I will be on the Explorer 8/22/13 and a GS 12/2/2013.
I will doing the Grandeur 2/28/2014.
Joe
#16
Long Island, NY
16,346 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We've cruised out of Bayonne several times, and I have zero issues with the port at all. I'm quite shocked at the negative comments!

I would choose Explorer over Grandeur. I like Voyager-class ships. Explorer is showing some small signs of age, but is still quite well-maintained.
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~Donna

132 nights at sea (74 with RCI):
RCCL Anthem of the Seas (5 nights NJ to Bermuda) 4/30/16
RCCL Anthem of the Seas (3 nights sampler NJ cruise to nowhere) 3/4/16
RCCL Liberty of the Seas (5 nights NJ to Bermuda) 10/17/15
RCCL Quantum of the Seas (3 nights inaugural sampler NJ cruise to nowhere) 11/18/14
Celebrity Summit (7 nights NJ to Bermuda) 8/17/14
Celebrity Summit (7 nights NJ to Bermuda) 8/25/13
RCCL Jewel of the Seas (7 nights Southern - Barbados route) 5/25/13
RCCL Explorer of the Seas (9 nights NJ to Bermuda, Labadee, San Juan and St Maarten) 5/24/12
RCCL Explorer of the Seas (7 nights NJ to Bahamas - New Years cruise) 12/30/11
RCCL Allure of the Seas (7 nights Eastern Caribbean) 8/21/11
Caribbean Princess (9 nights NY to Bermuda, St Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk) 7/29/10 REVIEW
Caribbean Princess (7 nights Canada/New England) 8/24/08 REVIEW
RCCL Mariner of the Seas (7 nights Western Caribbean) 8/26/07 REVIEW
RCCL Mariner of the Seas (7 nights Eastern Caribbean) 8/20/06
Carnival Miracle (7 nights NY to Bahamas) 6/26/04 REVIEW
RCCL Adventure of the Seas (7 nights Southern - Aruba route) 8/24/03
RCCL Explorer of the Seas (7 nights Western Caribbean) 8/17/02
Costa Riviera (7 nights Western Caribbean) 5/90
Cunard Countess (7 nights Southern Caribbean) 6/89
Home Lines Atlantic (7 nights NY to Bermuda) 7/88
#17
2,390 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by Jakeplays
Advice sought from seasoned cruisers! Planning an anniversary cruise with another couple for May 2014....we want to sail from New England NYC/NJ/Baltimore .........is Explorer getting old? Would you recommend us driving down to Baltimore to catch Grandeur? or should we try Norwegian Gem out of NYC? any and all advice very welcomed....thanks so much and happy sailings to all! Jenny
Live near both ports and would sail on either or ship to be honest. Both ships have a great crew, for myself I would flip a coin!...you can't go wrong IMHO with either ship, happy sailing and enjoy your anniversary!...K.O.
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#18
Orange County, NY
3,859 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by plaidside
I have been on the Explorer nine times, two last year. The ship and crew are great. Some of the crew remember my wife and I each time we are on it. It feels like old home week.
The only part that is a negative is the getting to the port and dropping off your luggage. Sometimes there is a large back-up getting to the drop off area. This is due to tight quarters were the cars pull in. You have cars trying to pick up passengers and cars trying to drop passengers off at the same time. It can be chaos at times.
I have someone drop us off so we sometimes pull over and park before the drop off area and wheel the luggage the ½ block to the drop off area and then the wife and I walk over and go to check in.
We have done this many times and it saves waiting on the car line.
But it is all worth it once you get on board.
I will be on the Explorer 8/22/13 and a GS 12/2/2013.
I will doing the Grandeur 2/28/2014.
Joe
I agree. BTW you should come on over to the 12/2/13 meet & mingle boards. We have a nice friendly crowd.
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Anne Marie

Sea Princess - Jan 2, 1999 didn't think I'd ever cruise again
Navigator - Nov 18, 2007 - OK, I think I like cruising
Explorer - Oct 29, 2009 - Yup! definately like cruising
Explorer - Jan 16, 2011 - Here We Go Again
Explorer - Mar 9, 2012 - St. Paddy's Day Fun
Allure - Nov 11, 2012
Explorer - Mar 5, 2013 - BFF Cruise
Explorer - Dec 2, 2013 - Best Cruise Ever!
Navigator - October 22, 2014 - Halloween Cruise - BFF's Cruise Again!
Norwegian Breakaway - Nov 23, 2014 - Casino Cruise and Thanksgiving with Great Friends
Quantum - Jan 11, 2015 - Cruising With More Great Friends
Norwegian Breakaway - June 14, 2015 - BFF's Bermuda Cruise
Liberty - October 22, 2015 - Reunion Cruise With Some Awesome Friends! and it was a Halloween Cruise Too!
Anthem - February 21, 2016 - BFF's Sail Again!
Harmony - December 10, 2016 - Yet Another BFF Cruise to Remember
Navigator - February 3, 2017 - Cruising With Friends
#19
Pennsylvania
2,081 Posts
Joined May 2000
Wow! The choices we have to make!

Both ports are great for anyone that lives in the NE!

If you have not done this yet...look at Radio's pics of both ships and search for his "live" threads...
http://public.fotki.com/Radio88/ You get lots of great info from Radio's experience!

Balt - port is located right off of I-95 and very easy to access. The process is very efficient. You drive up towards the ship, drop off your checked luggage, go to the parking tent and pay the cashier and then park your car and take a short walk into the terminal. Check in is easy and seating is done by C & A rank. To board you do have an uphill climb as the ramp starts at ground level. There is elevator access for those that need assistance.
The first/last 8 hours of the cruise are on the Chesapeake Bay and that is something that is unique to Baltimore! You go under the Key Bridge, Bay Bridge and over the Bay Bridge tunnel and then you are in the Atlantic.

Bayonne - the port is off of the major highway and there are a few turns that you have to make but it is still an easy drive. Again, you drive towards the ship, drop off your luggage. This is a bit more congested than Balt but it works. You then turn into the lot, pay the cashier...I believe it is $3 more per day than Balt but it is NJ. Park your car and a short walk to the terminal. At Bayonne you do have to take the short shuttle ride to the ship but this should not be a deal breaker. It is relatively painless. Once onboard the magic begins. After going under the bridge the ship is in open sea and travels a bit faster.

Grandeur is smaller since the bridges are lower. A little less to do but the ship does have a retractable roof in the solarium so in the cooler months you can be by the pool from Day 1.

We were on Explorer in May and the ship is in great shape. They have the ice rink and promenade that Grandeur does not have.

We make our decision by sail date, itinerary and price. Either ship will give you a great Anniversary cruise.
#20
Ohio
2,990 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
I've been on both ships and my choice would be the Grandeur. While the promenade is nice, it's inside (bold, exclamation point, underlined). I'd rather be in a venue where I can see the ocean. But the biggest reason why I prefer the radiance and vision class is the fact that with fewer people on board we seem to bump into the people we've connected with more often during the cruise.

I haven't cruised the Grandeur since the refit and I'm looking forward to boarding her again later this year.
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