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Piper934

Grandeur - May 16th, 9 Night Canada/New England

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Just got off the ship today if any one has questions.

 

Overall a great experience.  Ship is small so lacks some of the amenities of the larger ships but makes up for it with the great personalized service.

 

Embarkation Day was so easy, pulled in to the port at 10:15 and was eating my first Ice Cream at 10:45.  Didn't even have to sit and wait at any point.  Emerald so had a priority lane but didn't look like any lanes were backed up at all.

 

John and Katrina do a great job and have an amazing team working for them, especially Michael and Melissa.  The activities were well ran and very entertaining.  They were fun and engaging but not over the top.  RCCL singers and dancers were very good, way higher quality than Carnival.  The Headliner acts were very good, Olympian Lance Ringnald did a acrobat/variety show that was so entertaining, nothing like I've seen on other ships.Chris Dugdale did a great magic/mind control show.  The comedians both phenomenal. Clint Holmes and another lady sang, I was ok with those but not blown away.

 

Food and service in the Main Dining room was really, really good.  Shereen/Nikola our wait staff was excellent, efficient, courteous, kind and very attentive.  If you go on RCCL definitely get the Warm Dark Chocolate cookie, it puts their own Lava cake and Carnivals WCMC to shame.  Very nice to go on a cruise in the main dining room and not have people grossly break the dress code.  Buffet was so so, met expectations and it is what it is.  Service was real good.  Park Cafe was a big disappointment, never any glasses, ice, napkins, etc.  Seems like the forgotten area of the ship, needs some more love and attention.

 

The one event I have never seen on any other ships is the Grandeur Fair.  That was very nice event.  Carnival games with staff from all the departments, they were fun and having a good time with the cruisers.  Plus you had a chance to win some prizes.

 

Being the first trip to Canada/New England the weather was not great so kept a lot of people in doors.  Any popular events that were at Centrum, Schooner, South Pacific lacked seating.  A lot due to nature of cruise but also self inflicted as seats removed for art, picture stations, etc. that they could consider other options for versus removing seating.

 

Those are the quick highs and lows.  Solid 9 out of 10, would definitely sail this ship, itinerary and with this staff again.

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we're on the June 13th sailing.  Did you do any excursion in Saint John New Brunswick??  Still researching.  Thanks for the review.

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The Ports of call were very nice, we love going up here and it was our 3rd time.  We like to explore on our own and do a lot of walking while in port.

 

Boston is such an easy city to walk around if in good health.  This time we walked about 2 miles to Boston Common via China Town.  Chinatown was very nice, must stop and eat at the Dumpling King, see the gate, park with locals, etc.  This trip we rode the Swans for a few bucks and a nice little ride.  Freedom Trail is easy to pick up from Boston Common in you want to see the history.  Prior time we walked to the Aquarium(1.7 miles) did a Harbor Cruise and then Hop On/Off to see all the sites.

 

Portland another stop that is easy to get around.  Last two times we did a visit to the Holy Donut for their famous Maine Potato Donuts.  Get the Coffee Cake, it is out of this world.  After that we like to take the Casco Bay Mail Run.  It is about a 3 hour ride out in to the bay, that is narrated so you learn some history, see some beautiful scenery and islands.  It is a working boat so you can watch them take the cargo on and off the boat as they work through it. runs about $16.

 

Bar Harbor is another easy to walk.  They have a map of like 25 sites that you can follow the signs and the trail.  My favorite is always the land bridge, see it at low and high tide and be amazed. Takes you around the city and you learn alot about the heritage and city.  Of course walks goes through all the shops and eateries as well.

 

Feel free to ask any questions that you have.

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6 minutes ago, flpenguin said:

we're on the June 13th sailing.  Did you do any excursion in Saint John New Brunswick??  Still researching.  Thanks for the review.

Actually going to give the run down of that in a few minutes.  Stay tuned....

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Now on to the Canada Ports...

 

St. John we did something a bit different, we rented a car.  The Avis/Budget is pretty much right there.  So for about $120 Canadian for car and gas for the 5 of us.  We drove out to St. Martin to see the Sea Caves at low tide, went in the caves.  Very odd feeling seeing no water there, the boats in the fishing village just sit on the base until tide comes back in.  See lighthouses, covered bridges, the locals at information center and locals shops extremely friendly.  Visitor Center is a replica lighthouse that you can climb to top of for a great view.  Headed back in to town and went to the reversing falls.  Ran a couple errands and still enough time to get my Beavertail and browse the shops for a bit, about 5.5 hours.  Really proud of this one, ship price is $95 a person US for essentially the same thing, only difference is you get a bowl of chowder at a place famous for it in St. Martin.  Easy, easy to do on your own.

 

Halifax was cold and windy, early season so a lot of waterfront activities and shops not opened yet.  We have been before so just did a quick walk around the town, big hill to climb but manageable if in ok shape.  The highlights here that are easy, cheap or free to do on your own.  Walk up to the Public Gardens for a nice stroll through the park, head over to the Citadel to see the fort, they shoot the cannon off at noon every day, a few dollars and some interesting history there.  Walk back down the hill and you can watch the guys do glass blowing by the Ferry Terminal.  If you want take the Ferry Ride across the bay and back for a couple bucks for something to do, good view of Halifax coming back in.  Walk the Riverfront back to the ship, stop and read the signs and placards along the way, some very good history. Another Beavertail if you didn't get one in St. John or need another.  Once again we pride ourselves and do it our selfers, there is a Halifax walk and Ferry ride excursion for $40 a person, you can do it your self for like $4, you don't have narrator but you can research the history before and just read the signs.  Lastly right before the ship there are some shops, restaurants, farmers market, brewery very close if you don't want to venture far.

 

Nice thing about New England/Canada ports and adventuring is that it is very, very safe.  Very easy to navigate.  Most cell plans include Canada.  In US ports if you get tired call an Uber, or find the local bus schedules by using Maps.  Maps and bus routes work well in Canada as well.  Let me know if you have any questions.

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Interested in doing the rent a car in Saint John, I saw another review that they did this.  A few more questions if you don't mind.  Our original schedule showed us in from 10:30-9 but now shows us in at 7:00-3:30. Is that when you were in town?? Wondering if enough time to see low tide.  Also i have some mobility issues-is it really 600 steps to get down to the sea caves?? I know my husband and daughters would have no issue.  I guess if I couldn't do it at least I would have the car to sit in rather than a bus from a tour. My 17 yr old just took Marine biology so she's really interested in seeing the sea caves.

 

Also if you did the main dining room do you remember which night they served the "50th anniversary" cake??  Looks yummy.

Thank you so much for answering my questions.

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1 hour ago, flpenguin said:

Interested in doing the rent a car in Saint John, I saw another review that they did this.  A few more questions if you don't mind.  Our original schedule showed us in from 10:30-9 but now shows us in at 7:00-3:30. Is that when you were in town?? Wondering if enough time to see low tide.  Also i have some mobility issues-is it really 600 steps to get down to the sea caves?? I know my husband and daughters would have no issue.  I guess if I couldn't do it at least I would have the car to sit in rather than a bus from a tour. My 17 yr old just took Marine biology so she's really interested in seeing the sea caves.

 

Also if you did the main dining room do you remember which night they served the "50th anniversary" cake??  Looks yummy.

Thank you so much for answering my questions.

 

Yes we were in port 7:00 to 3:30 as well.  Rental Car company opens at 8:00 but I was there at 7:30 and they let me get my car at 7:40.  Low Tide was at 8:30 so we were able to catch that, the tide didn't seem to be coming in too fast, we explored the areas and shops until 11 before leaving to head back to Reversing Falls.  Those 2.5 or so hours it really didn't look a whole lot different.  If I did it again I would probably view the Reversing Falls first and then go to St. Martin.

 

I do not recall going down any "steps" for the Sea Caves, we parked in the lot next to the restaurant.  There is some walk over to the caves that is flat but you need to be careful as it's rocks and uneven.  Even at low tide you will  get your feet wet if you want to go in to the actual cave, I would equate it to a small creek, few steps across and a few inches deep, we went for it!!  If you don't get out of car you will still see cave from the lot and be able to see your family out there.

 

They did the 50th anniversary parade the last formal night.  We dine pretty quickly and our wait staff didn't tell us there was anything going on so we left, we saw there was something going on while sitting in the Centrum so didn't see that up close or a cake.  The dessert menu was same as always.

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thanks for all your info.  Unfortunately both rent a cars are sold out for our date so we'll have to do an excursion if we want to see them.

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Thanks for the review.  The New England/Canada itinerary is next on my wish list. I was wondering what we would think of one of the smaller ships.  Glad to hear nice things about it.

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34 minutes ago, flpenguin said:

thanks for all your info.  Unfortunately both rent a cars are sold out for our date so we'll have to do an excursion if we want to see them.

 

Next closest is Enterprise on Crown street.  1 mile away if that is something that could work?  Or keep checking for those cancellations at Avis/Budget.  Good luck.

 

Other thing about the tour operator saying 600 steps, that could refer from walk from bus to area to view caves from afar.  All 3 buses I saw down there parked at the visitors center and not to the lot closer to the caves, narrow road, wondering if they don't fit.  Walk around visitors center is paved and flat.

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We were on this cruise as well.  The whole seating in the Centrum area has always been a pet-peeve of mine.  They plan so many activities in this area, but pull chairs for art auction and photo opportunities.

The Centrum area, and all the centrum decks, just don't support multi-tasking.

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We were on this cruise too and it was our first voyage on Grandeur. We used to cruise Enchantment a lot when it was in Canaveral so we were looking forward to experiencing this ship again. The ship is small, but the crew is awesome. They are very friendly and are always quick to serve and share a laugh & smile.

 

Like the OP said the lack of larger interior spaces makes this ship challenging with cold and inclement weather. However, my DW and I were noting that since so many activities take place in the Centrum it was actually a pleasant experience to just be walking by and see a zany game or listen to some live music that you otherwise would not have been able to enjoy. Also of note is that the bar staff did an amazing job of keeping everyone's drinks flowing. Especially considering that in the evening most people were either in the Centrum or Schooner it was doubly impressive.

 

The Self Assist departure, which I call No Asist departure, was chaotic and again attributed to the lack of gathering spaces, which were compounded by the fact that you disembark through the Centrum. However, once you exited the ship, the final sea pass boing is always depressing, the winding walkways down to the terminal was great because you could roll your suitcases along and not encounter the Escalator Nazi that stalks the Tampa port ... One hand free or wait 20 minutes for the elevator!!!!

 

🙂

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1 hour ago, Ubiquitous Cruiser said:

We were on this cruise too and it was our first voyage on Grandeur. We used to cruise Enchantment a lot when it was in Canaveral so we were looking forward to experiencing this ship again. The ship is small, but the crew is awesome. They are very friendly and are always quick to serve and share a laugh & smile.

 

Like the OP said the lack of larger interior spaces makes this ship challenging with cold and inclement weather. However, my DW and I were noting that since so many activities take place in the Centrum it was actually a pleasant experience to just be walking by and see a zany game or listen to some live music that you otherwise would not have been able to enjoy. Also of note is that the bar staff did an amazing job of keeping everyone's drinks flowing. Especially considering that in the evening most people were either in the Centrum or Schooner it was doubly impressive.

 

The Self Assist departure, which I call No Asist departure, was chaotic and again attributed to the lack of gathering spaces, which were compounded by the fact that you disembark through the Centrum. However, once you exited the ship, the final sea pass boing is always depressing, the winding walkways down to the terminal was great because you could roll your suitcases along and not encounter the Escalator Nazi that stalks the Tampa port ... One hand free or wait 20 minutes for the elevator!!!!

 

🙂

 

I forgot to include disembarkation in  my review.  The guide said self assist was to leave between 7:30-8:00.  I know some cruises they completely don't allow you on deck 4 at all until it is cleared.  I did a scouting mission at 6:30 to check the lay of the land and people were already lining up.  I went back up, grabbed the family and bags, and was in line about 6:45. There are 2 lines, we were about 10th in line in one of them.  Bad news was that we didn't start getting off until 7:45, good news I was first to pull out of the parking lot and on way home by 8 AM.  I believe the delay was a medical issue, there was an ambulance and police cars down below.  That Key Club thing and other high level priority must have met on 1 or 2.  I can see some leaving at the same time down below.

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Several times, when arriving in Baltimore, there was a hearse in the parking lot. Before others are able to disembark. Seems like that is the fastest way to get off of the ship.

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I might post this question separately as well..... but hoping those of you who were on this cruise are still reading this thread.   We were also on this same cruise and are seriously thinking of booking it again for one of the Caribbean island itineraries.  Only one issue that I couldn't get a straight answer to while on the ship.

 

We were in balcony cabin 7066.  From the moment we stepped out on our balcony in Baltimore to the second to  last sea day there was a noticeable sewage like smell.  Our cabin was perfectly fine - the smell was only on the balcony.  Obviously on this cruise we weren't concerned about sitting on our balcony except for the last sea day (when the smell mysteriously disappeared).  We spend a lot  of time in our cabin and on our balcony for Caribbean cruises.  I couldn't be out there even for 15 seconds without putting my hand over my nose to try to block out the smell.   Anyone else notice this?

 

For those of you who have sailed Grandeur before - any comments about this occurring on your cruise(s)?  I'm trying to figure out if it is something that occurs on that side of the ship at that particular section.  We also slightly noticed  the smell when walking on the promenade and on the "track" when we would get to what we figured was near our balcony location.   Trying to figure out which location to select for a future cruise.

 

BTW at this point in our cruising life - we only eat in the buffets (Windjammer in this case).  My husband said that the carved meats were some of the best he has had (better than Royal Princess).   We are pretty plain eaters so we stuck to the basics but people who are more adventurous eaters would probably love the way they change the "speciality" each night.  Actually the only thing we didn't like about our cabin was the extremely small shower.  I am 5'5" and 128 pounds and barely was able to function.   Lots of storage space everywhere in the cabin.  First room steward (Roy) that we ever had on any cruise that actually serviced our room EVERY time we left.   Missed the music walk area like on the Royal Princess as I didn't care much for the music choices on this cruise or the band that played in the Centrum.    We didn't participate in any activities but I don't think I have ever seen a daily schedule jammed packed with so many of the typical cruise activities.  People who like trivia, games, etc., would love this cruise IMO.  We liked having a real promenade deck and the "track" on the upper level was also nice.  The desserts were pretty terrible as usual BUT the soft served ice cream machine has the BEST creamy soft ice cream on any ship we have sailed - none of that grainy junk.  

 

Judy

 

 

 

 

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Hi Judy ... I did notice a faint sewage smell on the promenade on the first sea day. Could not tell you if it was port or starboard side though. However, on the last 2 sea days I was one of the insane cigar smokers on the promenade the last 2 sea days and did not notice anything on the port side.

 

Hope this helps!

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