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RSLeesburg

Review of Grandeur - 6 night to Bermuda (Sep 27 to Oct 3)

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Hi everyone. We just returned from a 6 night cruise to Bermuda on the Grandeur.

 

THE PARTICIPANTS: I suppose that knowing a little about us would help to frame our review. The passenger manifest for this cruise was my wife and her adoring and loving husband (that is me) and our son. We are both in our mid 40’s, and no you cannot know which one is older, but I will give you a hint, it’s not me. Our son is 3 years and 11 months. We debated sailing in late October, so he could celebrate his 4th birthday on board, but this date worked better for us. This was our first ever cruise.

 

THE PLANNING: Why take a cruise? Why take this cruise? Good questions! I shall endeavor to answer them as briefly as possible. First, we took our first family vacation to WDW last year, and it did not turn out as well as we had hoped – I think it was too soon for our son - too crowded, too loud, and too overwhelming for him. But, there were four things he did love – the pool, the beach, the Neverland Club, and the steam train. In researching a different family vacation this year, I realized that a cruise could deliver three out of four of those things. As an aside, our son did ask about the train ride repeatedly during the cruise, so I may need to factor a train excursion into any future cruises. We decided early that we wanted as stress-free and easy vacation as possible, so sailing out of Baltimore was a no-brainer. We live within driving distance, which means no flights and that my wife can over pack if she wants (she and I both did, by the way). We picked Grandeur and Bermuda because it was the shortest cruise in the fall timeframe – we were not convinced that we or our son would love cruising, so we did not want to be gone too long.

THE ARRIVAL: Driving to the port in Baltimore was very easy, as was checking in and boarding. I do have to make two comments – first, Spookwife mentioned the hard sell on the dining packages. We also experienced that. The second was that getting on early is not such a great thing, as many things are closed till 1pm. This is not an issue for most people, but my son has infinitely less patience than his parents, and it was hard finding things to occupy his time while we waited two hours to get into our rooms. I had thought to go into the pool, and it was warm enough (barely) to do so, but then I was worried about getting him back out again, dried and dressed for muster. I had planned to take him up to the arcade, but was disappointed when we arrived. I had seen some pictures of the arcade (older ones I was to learn) that showed an air hockey table – one of the few arcade games that my son loves to play. I have told him repeatedly over the past few weeks that we were going to play air hockey on the ship, but when we arrived – no air hockey table. I am guessing that they took it out to put in the nursery. NOTE TO RCI – Please find a place to put another air hockey table before we sail again next year!

 

THE ROOM: At 1 pm we headed down to our room. We booked a Grand Suite (8514) and it looks exactly the same as the pictures posted by Spookwife, except that we did not have the wrap-around couch (ours was just a sofa) and our TV was mounted closer to the bar area (there was a connecting door at the other end). We loved this room, although you did hear chairs being moved up on the pool deck. And, the only maintenance issue we had was the lock on the balcony door – it broke about day 4. You could close the door, but it would not lock. This cabin is located near the front of the ship, and is very close to everything – one flight up is pool deck and WJ, two flights up in Adventure Ocean, two flights down is Palladium and shops.

 

THE SHIP & CREW: We thought the ship looked beautiful. She is elegant and classy. We loved her. The crew was also very friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward, Mary, was super nice and very friendly. The concierge, Francis, was fantastic. We had great experiences with several other members of the crew, but I am terrible with names. One highlight was the officer’s reception in the Viking Lounge. Francis told us to bring our son, and because we did, we were able to take picture with the captain, which was very lucky, as we missed the Captain’s reception (our son was deciding where he did not want to eat that night, which caused us to miss it, but more on that later).

 

THE FOOD: We managed to eat the first night at the MDR, but part way through our main course, our son told me that he was done, and that he wanted to go right now. This is his polite way of informing me that he will likely have a tantrum if we do not leave soon. So in the interest of our fellow diners, we left before dessert. We tried to go the MDR for the first formal night, but my son would not even enter. He was adamant that it was too scary and he did not want to go, so we ended up going to the WJ most of the cruise. And I have to say, we did not mind at all – the food at the WJ was fantastic. They had a variety of things to choose from; it was clean and never crowded, and most of all, you could sit outside and see the ocean (our son loved that). We did get to eat at Izumi one night, and it was fantastic. I am not fan of sushi, so had the hot rock. My wife has sushi and loved it.

 

THE ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES: We only managed to catch three shows – correction, my wife managed to catch three shows – Beatlemania, the Rythym & Rhyme show, and the comedian on the last night. I saw the last two, and was babysitting during the Beatlmania show (our son fell fast asleep on the sofa, and I did not want to wake him just to take him to AO, so I let him sleep and let my wife go to the show alone). All the shows were great. NOTE TO RCI – Please work on adjusting the schedules for some of the activities – I found that there were many things scheduled to start at 9am or 7pm, but that is drop off time for the kids club. Kids are never on time (no sense of urgency), so getting them up there, signed in, and then to get from there to the activity locations takes some time, so starting things at 9:30am or 7:30pm would be so much better.

 

THE KIDS CLUB & ACTIVITIES: We knew that there would be relatively few children on board, and there were. I would estimate that there were less than 25 children under 11 on board, and perhaps about that many teenagers. Our first time dropping off our son at AO was fine, but he was the only one in there for about 2 hours, so he was not that enthused to go back in again until he met some of the other kids, and after that, if there were other kids in the club, he could not wait to go back in. He also loved the pool – he met almost every child his own age, and a few of the older ones at the pool. The Grandeur has a section that is very shallow and fenced off from the deeper portion, and most of the younger children just played in here. And you would think that there is not that much to do in a little splash pool, but when you are sailing, there are waves in there and the kids loved it. One note of caution, you need to keep your eyes on them. The fence is not that high, and the taller ones can easily climb over it and then find themselves in the deep portion of the pool. One child climbed over while we were there, and although he could swim, once the other kids saw him do it, they all wanted to try it too.

 

THE JOURNEY & PORT: We discovered that we are “sea days” people. We loved being at sea! The first day out we hit rough seas, and many people were feeling under the weather – but we loved it. My wife and I agreed that we could easily do a transatlantic with lots and lots of sea days – of course, we do not have enough vacation time to do many of the RCI TA’s, and we think Cunard may be too adult for our son, so we may need to wait on that. Bermuda is beautiful. We hit some rain the first and second days in port, which limited how much time we spent on the island – ok, we did not do much beyond walking and shopping in the dockyards, but we saw enough to know we want to go back again someday.

 

COMING HOME & LEAVING: This was a piece of cake. We went up to the CL, and Francis walked us off around 8am. Even with heavy traffic on 95 and 695, we still managed to get home by 10am. My wife and son did not want to leave, so pulling them off the ship was the hardest part.

 

IN SUMMARY: For our first cruise, we did not know what to expect, but we all loved it. Our son had so much fun in the pool, meeting other kids, eating at WJ and watching the waves, and the kids club – and if RCI installs another air hockey table and a steam train, it will be his most favorite place on earth…lol We are already looking at sailing again, on Grandeur, next year for Thanksgiving. We debated going on one of the larger ships with a H2O zone, as we think our son would love that even more, but he is still young, so maybe we can get by one more year on the Grandeur, and maybe try Freedom or Quantum or Allure the following year.

 

Well, I am sure I have taken up way more of our time than you anticipated, so please let me know if you have any questions. I have all the Cruise Compasses and AO Daily Planners somewhere in my as yet unpacked luggage.

Edited by RSLeesburg

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I agree with LBumb. Well done.

Glad you enjoyed your "first",... but not last cruise. :)

We sailed her a few years ago, and are booked for this Nov., very curious to see the changes. :)

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I agree with LBumb. Well done.

Glad you enjoyed your "first",... but not last cruise. :)

We sailed her a few years ago, and are booked for this Nov., very curious to see the changes. :)

 

I just got off the phone with RCI - we booked again for Thanksgiving 2014 cruise...lol The guy asked if we had ever sailed with Royal Caribbean. I said, yes - we just got off the ship yesterday. :D

 

PS: Sorry for the small font - I tried to write this before, and got timed out and lost everything. So the second time I wrote it in Word, and it defaulted to the small font.

Edited by RSLeesburg

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Good for you!. :)

 

No apology needed. Could read it fine. ;)

Edited by WetToes

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Very nice review. Glad you had a pleasant cruise.

The wife and I are getting ready to go on our first cruise. We leave a week from today on the Grandeur to go to Bermuda as well. Between your review and Radio's review, I feel as if I have already done the cruise.

 

Craig

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Very nice review. Glad you had a pleasant cruise.

The wife and I are getting ready to go on our first cruise. We leave a week from today on the Grandeur to go to Bermuda as well. Between your review and Radio's review, I feel as if I have already done the cruise.

 

Craig

 

Don't worry. There is so much more to experience that is not covered in the reviews. You will have an amazing time!

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Great job on your review! sailing on the GOS 11/26, glad to hear you had a great time on her.

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Don't forget to join the Crown and Anchor Society.

Each one may have their own membership for free.

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Don't forget to join the Crown and Anchor Society.

Each one may have their own membership for free.

 

We signed up while on board, but my wife did not decide that she wanted to take another cruise till we were driving home...lol

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As an aside, our son did ask about the train ride repeatedly during the cruise, so I may need to factor a train excursion into any future cruises.

 

look at the GR NE/Canada cruise. it was either Portland or St John, but literally right in front of the terminal was an antique train that left hourly(ish) and took a short hour long or so ride around the tip of the bay. It looked like a lot of fun and from what I recall of the sign, priced pretty reasonably.

 

now where are your pics?! c'mon, it's a moral imperative to provide pics!

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look at the GR NE/Canada cruise. it was either Portland or St John, but literally right in front of the terminal was an antique train that left hourly(ish) and took a short hour long or so ride around the tip of the bay. It looked like a lot of fun and from what I recall of the sign, priced pretty reasonably.

 

now where are your pics?! c'mon, it's a moral imperative to provide pics!

 

Thanks. I would love to do New England, and have one more reason to go :D

 

I am downloading pics today; however, many have my son and/or other people and children in them, so do not want to post those. Here is a few of Bermuda and the Grandeur.

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Was Francis just back from his time at home? We loved him in the diamond lounge and so we are very glad to have just made D+ so we can see him again.

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Was Francis just back from his time at home? We loved him in the diamond lounge and so we are very glad to have just made D+ so we can see him again.

 

You know, he did not mention if he just got back. We did trade emails the week before our cruise, so I assumed he was already on the ship. He was great - we are relatively low maintenance, so did not use his services that much. Maybe we will next time if he is still on board...

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You know, he did not mention if he just got back. We did trade emails the week before our cruise, so I assumed he was already on the ship. He was great - we are relatively low maintenance, so did not use his services that much. Maybe we will next time if he is still on board...

 

Francis was JUST back on our cruise( 19 September) in fact many days he was absent the CL as he had training.

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Loved your review! We are also boarding Grandeur on Oct. 11th and can't wait. Eating at the Windjammer with outside tables sounded very nice. I agree with you that sea days are wonderful.

Lenore

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Thanks for the review. Grandeur holds a special place since she was our first long cruise. Our boys were 5 & 7 & I think the air hockey was there :D. We just had a really nice time. I think she has enough to do without all the bells and whistles of something like Freedom.

 

My husband & I are going to go solo on her this April & I'm excited to see how she looks.

 

If you do decide the Canada trip, I think its Halifax which has a Theodore tugboat that greets the ship when it comes in. Plus you can ride on it, kind of a harbour tour.

 

If you do go to a bigger class of ship I would wait a little. I think ours were 6 & 8 when we did Freedom. My older one loved the wave thing and my younger one loved the splash zone.

Edited by hansolosmom

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We are sailing for the first time with RCI, on the Grandeur, leaving 11/26! Excited for a ten day Thanksgiving cruise.

We have cruised three times on Carnival ships, twice on the Pride, once on the Victory!

Anxious to see the difference between the two cruise lines.

Thanks to your review , I am even more excited, ESP. The food reviews, hubby tends. To prefer not to eat in the MDR, so glad the WJ, was great.

You are hooked as we are on cruising, maybe our paths will cross sometime, we got off the Pride on 9/22/13, and immediately booked a back to back for next august, I am sure we will book on grandeur again if we have a great cruise,once we get home,, it's easy to get addicted. Like your family we love sea days!!!!!!

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We are sailing for the first time with RCI, on the Grandeur, leaving 11/26! Excited for a ten day Thanksgiving cruise.

We have cruised three times on Carnival ships, twice on the Pride, once on the Victory!

Anxious to see the difference between the two cruise lines.

Thanks to your review , I am even more excited, ESP. The food reviews, hubby tends. To prefer not to eat in the MDR, so glad the WJ, was great.

You are hooked as we are on cruising, maybe our paths will cross sometime, we got off the Pride on 9/22/13, and immediately booked a back to back for next august, I am sure we will book on grandeur again if we have a great cruise,once we get home,, it's easy to get addicted. Like your family we love sea days!!!!!!

 

You need to post how Thanksgiving was on the Grandeur. We booked for that cruise next year, but its only an 8 day. :(. I was debating on whether to try Pride or go back again on Grandeur. But Pride was only doing a 7 day over Thanksgiving, and Grandeur an 8 day - same ports, but Grandeur also hits Key West. :D.

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Loved your review! We are also boarding Grandeur on Oct. 11th and can't wait. Eating at the Windjammer with outside tables sounded very nice. I agree with you that sea days are wonderful.

Lenore

 

Outside, but covered. We went out one night and it was pouring out, but our table was perfectly dry and we had the outside area pretty much to ourselves.

 

At times the WJ could get pretty busy, but when it first opened (around 6:30) or after 8pm, it was very quiet, so easy to find seats. The guy running the WJ I think was named Erikan (sp?), and he was great. On our first day, we went in after we boarded, and he asked my son what he wanted. He said Chocolate Chip Cookie. Well, they didn't have any, but he told my son that he would make sure that they had some everyday, and they did, and my son ate quite a few over the next 6 days...lol

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Thanks for the review. Grandeur holds a special place since she was our first long cruise. Our boys were 5 & 7 & I think the air hockey was there :D. We just had a really nice time. I think she has enough to do without all the bells and whistles of something like Freedom.

 

My husband & I are going to go solo on her this April & I'm excited to see how she looks.

 

If you do decide the Canada trip, I think its Halifax which has a Theodore tugboat that greets the ship when it comes in. Plus you can ride on it, kind of a harbour tour.

 

If you do go to a bigger class of ship I would wait a little. I think ours were 6 & 8 when we did Freedom. My older one loved the wave thing and my younger one loved the splash zone.

 

Thanks. My wife was thinking the same thing - wait till he is older for the bigger ships. In another year or two, the prices may come down on Quantum :).

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You need to post how Thanksgiving was on the Grandeur. We booked for that cruise next year, but its only an 8 day. :(. I was debating on whether to try Pride or go back again on Grandeur. But Pride was only doing a 7 day over Thanksgiving, and Grandeur an 8 day - same ports, but Grandeur also hits Key West. :D.

 

I will let you know how Thanksgiving was on the cruise, 4 out of 5 our kids have their own family now, and were going somewhere else for Thanksgiving, so last year, I said to my hubby, I am tired of Thanksgiving being like every other day, just the three of us, let's do something different! Well, we are! :-) our 12 year old son is the only one at home, and he loves cruisin, he makes so many friends!

If you want to sail the Pride she is pulling out of Baltimore in November of 2014! Hopefully Carnival will replace her with another ship, but no news on that yet!

So, RCI may be our only choice, that is why we are going on the Grandeur, plus we wanted a longer voyage. The Itinerary is exciting.

Now if you decide to take a cruise on the Pride, I would highly recommend Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay Itinerary! Half Moon Cay is their private Island, and what a Paradise!

Your Itinerary for next Thanksgiving sounds interesting, Key West, wow, I may have to check that out for us, I think Hubby would like to do another new England Canada cruise, sometime that was our first cruise in 2003!

Enjoy your Sunday!

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