mare73 Posted October 14, 2013 #1 Share Posted October 14, 2013 I can't call this a review because I've seen what some of you put out there and I couldn't possibly do as well a job. However, I wanted to give a brief rundown for anyone interested and if you have questions, please ask. A little background - we live in northern VA and this was our second cruise with RCI. The first was on Enchantment last year for eight nights to Bermuda and New England. Before that, we had cruised once with Disney on the Dream for a four-nighter to Nassau and Castaway Cay. We had an aft-facing JS on Enchantment, deck 7 and a corner aft on Grandeur, JS 7150. I think we saw four kids on this cruise. We didn't notice anything to suggest the recent fire, the ship looks good. We did smell sewage every day on deck 7 when walking the port-side hallway between our room and the mid-ship elevators. One evening, our toilet didn't flush for about 30 minutes - we weren't too worried as I had read other reviews mentioning rare delays. Like others, we love the convenience of cruising from Baltimore. The location is right off the highway, bag drop-off is quick, parking is a short walk to the terminal, fast check-in and boarding. Last year, we arrived just before 10:30am. This time, we didn't even leave home until after noon, arrived around 2pm. Still just as easy. Since rooms were ready, we dropped off our carry-on and headed to the WJ. After eating lunch it was time for the muster drill. After that, we relaxed in our room until dinner. It's been a rough few months at work for both of us, so we spent a lot of time relaxing in the room and on the balcony. Our stateroom attendant was Jorge and he was great. We didn't go to any shows in the theatre or the centrum, but spent a little time in the Schooner Bar. Didn't enjoy the piano man as it seemed way too loud. We didn't have breakfast or lunch in the MDR, but did have one breakfast and one lunch in the Solarium. We spent a little time in the casino, losing money but having fun. We had MTD with the same wait staff each night and they were fantastic (Indra and Igede). We never made reservations, but usually showed up around 8pm each night. We had one dinner in Chops and one lunch in Izumi and Giovanni's. The MDR food was good and the specialty restaurants were great. We also had the soda package and the wine package. The itinerary included three sea days and four back-to-back port days. In Portland we booked on our own with Portland Discovery for a trolley tour and boat tour of the lighthouses. There was a trolley waiting to pick us up at the pier to take us to their ticket kiosk. The kiosk is located right where you'll catch the trolley and the lighthouse cruise, very convenient. We did the trolley tour after the boat ride and enjoyed both. The trolley driver gave us the option to stay on after the tour ended back where it started so he could drop us back at the pier. Bonus. While on the trolley tour, we made a brief stop at Portland Head Light park. There was a small vendor cart with a guy selling lobster rolls and hot dogs. In Bar Harbor we booked on our own with Acadia National Park Tours for a morning bus tour and booked with RCI for an afternoon lobster-catching and nature cruise. I was worried that the park tour would be cancelled due to,the shutdown, but the drivers took us on a tour using state roads. Even though we missed going to Cadillac Mountain, I have to give credit to the knowledgeable tour guide who still worked out a great tour of Bar Harbor with several stops to take photos. Heather was great! Be aware that it's a short walk up a fairly steep hill to get to the ticket kiosk for Acadia National Park Tours (inside Testa's restaurant). After the bus tour, we popped in to Geddy's for a quick lunch (lobster roll for him, crab roll for me and blueberry pie for both) and headed back down the hill to the pier to meet up for our ship-sponsored boat tour. The tour was okay, but I can't say I would recommend it. It simply wasn't very eventful. In Saint John we took the city transit bus tour. I can't remember if I read about it on these forums first or just found them on Trip Advisor, but it was a great tip. I can't imagine any other guided tour would have been any better. The big draw here is the reversing falls but we stopped by at the wrong time. Not really in the driver's control and I feel like you'd need to be there for the better part of a day to really get the whole picture. After the bus tour, we walked around a little, had a forgettable lunch and returned to the ship. In Halifax we booked through RCI for a combo trip to Peggy's Cove and hop-on/hop-off double decker pink bus tour. This was perfect for us as we got to visit beautiful Peggy's Cove while also getting to have narrated tours of Halifax. We were taken by coach bus out to Peggy's Cove where we spent about 45 minutes walking around and snapping photos. The ride is about an hour each way. Once back at the pier, we were given stickers to wear indicating we had paid for the hop-on hop-off buses. They had three different routes, each about thirty minutes. When you came back from one, you could hop on another bus doing a different route. We did all three routes, only getting off once to visit Alexander Keith's. It was a great cruise with a lot of doing nothing while on the ship, but it's just what we needed. Disembarkment sucked. Next time we'll carry our own luggage off rather than wait for our number to be called only to wait in a ridiculously long line snaking through the casino and centrum where you're asked to wait some more. It's like peeling off a band-aid slowly. If you're going to insist that I leave the ship and throw me back into reality, make it snappy. Don't allow me to linger while the B2B folks rub it in, enjoying coffee in the centrum while I stand there looking pitiful. The only negative, if you can call it that, was that there was no shortage of folks on this cruise and the tours that felt their time was more valuable than everyone else's. Line-cutters. Everywhere. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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