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rabrijumo

Grandeur Review 7/4/4-7/11/4 kinda long

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part one

 

Hello fellow cruisers or soon to be first time cruisers,

This was my first cruise. I (with my hubby) went for 7 days on The Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore to free port, key west , cococay, and port Canaveral.

 

First embarkation: It was a very rainy day ( we saw three accidents on our drive to the port) I wanted to leave by 11am but my hubby put-zed around and we left at 1230 hit traffic accidents and bad weather but arrived at 2pm. the arrangement of drop off luggage and one of you drives the car to the parking lot and gets a bus ride back was OK. the line in was not to long so I was in before hubby got back,I waited for a bit then went through without him. as the lines were getting long. the port authority person took his name so he was able to jump in and come through the line marginally faster. then lines were long but moved well. I had hopes that the junior suite would allow us to go through the empty "suite and diamond ,platinum members line" but I made the mistake of asking first and the guy said no. I could have just went through and maybe went through.

in any case we met nice people in line and saw them through out the cruise "hi Ed and Barb" It was nice to "know" someone:)

also I had placed 2 bottle of expensive champagne in my carry-on to turn in to cruise line so I could have it in our room and at dinner on our 20th anniv. I was so distracted by my hubby parking the car that I didn't say anything( I thought they would see it and take it) and so I carried it right on. I hand carried it to dinner(no corking fee was assessed, in fact our waiter offered to chill it for us if we brought it Early.we chilled it ourselves in our collapsible cooler which our steward kept full of ice).

We were on around 245 just in time to get a quick bite from the windjammer buffet. which i found OK and my hubby loved.

I talked to people who got there at 1230 and they said there was no line, they got in quick and easy( told you so hunny)

 

second: our suite(junior 8536) very nice. bed comfortable. lots of storage space, nice bathroom with tub, and lots of storage areas. let me tell you now I utilized the recommended items

1 the over the door organizer

2 highlighter 3 collapsible cooler

4 lanyard for sail and sea card

5 wrinkle release

6 febreeze

7 post it notes great for messages to steward and hubby not to mention i put invites to my fellow cruise critics for a farewell get together with post it notes on their doors( we exchanged room numbers and no one answered their phone)

8 duck tape used it to put up our anniv sign

9 power strip really needed it! only found one outlet and had to take the TV plug out and put it in my strip so i could plug in my chargers

10 underwater cameras fabulous

11 cash for tips very handy

12 pop up laundry basket awesome

13 zip locks multi uses

people at work laughed at my list but look how many things i was glad I brought :p

things I didn't use:

insulated cups once or twice only

lunch bags they wouldn't let you take food off ship

numerous bathing suits only wore two balcony dries em great

anti-bacterial hand wash didn't use it or the clorox wipes

didn't need night light but didn't bring one

flashlight didn't use but will probably bring one again just in case

 

things I didn't bring that I wish I had

clock tho wake up call feature worked fine

 

Third The ship:

looked great to me! enjoyed the centrum , the numerous comfy lounges, the adult only solarium pool and hot tub, the spa, the casino(more on that later:D ), the awesome bars, numerous, nicely decorated and comfy with awesome views.

 

Fourth the entertainment:

I didn't go to the production type shows ie singing dancing but the juggler/comedian was great "Dan Bennett". the magic show was good too. in fact we had lunch with the magician and his assistant one day in the great Gatsby dining room (open seating). the palladium was very nice. I am a big women so the triple and double couch type seats were a great alternative to the discomfort of not fitting in the standard SEATS OOPS caps lock on :o .

 

 

i entertained myself in the casino often. I won second place(265$ minus 20 $ entry fee plus a t shirt) in the black jack tourntournamentt was fun and people came up to me throughout the cruise to congratulate me. Before going on the cruise I read about craps and practiced online which turned out to be great fun and profitable in the ship casino. the dealers were very friendly and helpful.

The spa was very nice I waited a long time to set up my appointment my suggestion would be to make this an online option asap its kinda a pain to go there and stand around when all you want to do is see the ship. I was told by an rci rep when i called re the spa that I could make the appointments via the TV but that was not true on the grandeur. the TV was not interactive in anyway. she had also told me I could see my bar charges on the tv but we couldn't anyway the massages were very pleasant the staff friendly and not once did i get "pitched" to buy anything.

 

fifth The ports of call

Freeportwas not very nice for most people although since we did the dolphin excursion we had a nice boat ride and good time learning about and touching the dolphins. the drive through town not so great. the bus was hot and views depressing.

key west OK first the new safety rules require all passengers to check in with customs authorities before anyone can get off. thus my sleep in day was ruined and drunks got called for hours because they didn't go ( on the pa system so even tho we were done we couldn't go back to sleep) I would recommend cruise line excursions because I think the chances of getting screwed up in an American port is very likely with a independently purchased excursion. we had no plans for that day as it was our twentieth anniv and we didn't want to much pressure. we walked around ate lunch got key lime pie and because of the heat were exhausted so we went back to the ship gladly. key west is pretty nice and people I talked to who did the pub crawl seemed to have a great time ( which they paid for the next day lol)

cococay very nice ,built up but private, we did the snorkeling which was

awesome but next time i'll bring my own . people loved the mats although I didn't do much lounging. i was snorkeling so I didn't get much use out of mine. the shallow water was warm and not refreshing to me once I had been in deeper water. some people said they found private areas to lay out but I went in the crowded area (although we found seats no problem and just went in the water). they provided a buffet lunch which was fine and I didn't go to any of the shops or game areas. we went back once done with snorkeling because they warned us that the late tenders were going to be crowded and if we missed the last one we would be left.

port Canaveral I have a relative here so I did a local bar with music and the pier. I did no excursions so I didn't know how they are. it seemed pretty nice to me.

 

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part two

Sixth food

breakfast windjammer buffet i found overrated but again my husband really liked it. great Gatsby dining room offered wait staff and eggs Benedict(uninspired) room service seemed to me to be the best alternative I had it brought to me and could order omelets fruit coffee breads etc all for a tip to the server who brought it.

lunch windjammer same as breakfast hubby really likes it but i didn't (guess i don't care for buffet that much). great Gatsby dining room repetitive menu but food and dessert were good. the Reuben was very bready with scant corn beef but tasty according to my husband. solarium cafe staff were unfriendly 9only unfriendly ones i ever found) maybe they were hot. the fries were very good the burgers a little over cooked, hots dogs fine and good condiments provided

dinner awesome waiter and assistant waiter, food excellent not always top gourmet but many times yes. fun singing and dancing with staff. you can order two appetizers entrees desserts what ever you want. we brought wine and champagne on three occasions and were never charged a corking fee. in fact our waiter offered to chill our anniv champagne for us. the head waiter brought us a cake with a candle on our anniv and they sang to us.

we enjoyed our table mates very much. we shared wine and excellent conversation. we had late dining which worked out well for us but the midnight buffet which was only one night was to close to our dining experience to be fully enjoyed. although i went and got some choc strawberries and other tidbits and ate them with breakfast the next day.

miscellaneous I preordered choc strawberries for our anniv night and they brought white choc ones. i asked the server to see if he could bring me reg ones as i don't care for white choc and he tried but came back with the same ones and said no. this was a disappointment but no big deal. they were OK but still i don't know why they couldn't exchange them. others got the reg ones and they had them 2 days later at the midnight buffet :confused:

 

Seventh Our Meet and Mingle

In a word nice! we met in the viking lounge the time was convenient, the greeter was nice we got pins, holders for id that went around your neck, raffle ticket for a bottle of champagne, canapes that were delish.the cruise director Warren came and gave a short speech which was very informative about the plans for the grandeur in dry dock and about the new mega ship. I met up with a bunch a ccers and thoroughly enjoyed myself as did my hubby who doesn't go online at all lol. we met up with people we now "knew" throughout the cruise, played cards with one person, played with others in the casino. In fact some wanted to see a balcony room so i had a "cocktail party" (drank the champagne that one person won at the m&m and donated to the cause) in my room after dinner our first formal night. we chatted away and missed the headliner show and the first half of the midnight comedy. then i put post-it's on the doors of as many people as i had room numbers for . it was for a cruise critic farewell get together. most came and a good time was had by all. i would suggest a room number exchange prior to sailing so the invites could have been more inclusive.

 

Eight Disembarking

Not to bad we were supposed to be out of our rooms by 8am:( but there was so much to do that they didn't start off loading til almost 11am. we were allowed to wait in any lounge though so we were comfortable just tired. once our color was called we had not big wait just streamed out got our bags got a ported went to the bus that took us right to our car(lucky parking some were not so lucky) and home we went...... all in all satisfied with our trip and thrilled with cruising !

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wonderful review! only 5 more days till we sail same ship, same itenerary! now have an idea what to expect except no balconly :( maybe next time ... at least we will have a window!

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I've got an enbarkcation question for you ....

 

I'm going on the Grandeur on 8/8. I just received my cruise docs today. (Yipee!)

 

I'd like to fill out the Bahamas Immigration paper work ahead of time... Was there

any special instructions they give when filling out the form (ie; length of stay (1 day, 3 days?) I assume Bahama address = MS Grandeur of the Seas?

 

Any other gotcha ya's on that form?

 

Out of curiosity, in Key West, when were people supposed to go see US Imigration? Was it Wed. morning? What time were the 1st people allowed to go ashore? Was there a delay at Port Canaveral?

 

Did you have to present yourselves again in person in Balitmore?

 

Thanks,

John

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Thanks for the info

We are on the 8/15 sailing

 

Boarding: When would you recommend arriving at the ship?

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We were on the same cruise w/Rachel, and we arrived about 12:30 p.m. There were a lot of people, but things went smoothly. The lines to process all the initial paperwork weren't too bad and moved right along. By 2:15 we had already unpacked all of our bags (I was surprised how quickly they delivered them to our rooms) and were enjoying a leisurely lunch in the Windjammer Cafe.

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jcl,

 

the Bahamas Immigration paper are filled out as you thought i put grandeur as address and length of stay was one day since thats all we stayed . i dont know how long you are staying but even if its two days the grandeur is your address. have those cards and the pages in your booklet all filled out as thats what they collect when you embark.

re key west we arrived eary hmmmmmm7am and it took 2-3 hours before evryone was checked by immigration we were scheduled for 815 am and got through quickly but i heard them paging and paging a couple people who obviousley didnt show up i saw people getting off after 930-10 am.

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rabrijumo -

 

Thanks for the info... I was over thinking the Bahamas question. We are on the exact same itenerary. One day in Freeport. The part that confused me was that Coco Cay is also in the Bahamas. <shrug>

 

The wait for imigration in Key West sounds bad, but I was once on a cruise where the Imigration officials boarded the ship with the Pilot at 5am. We were not cleared to go ashore until 10am. (Without the officials seeing any passengers!) (FYI - it was Singapore)

 

Aloha,

John

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Hi...I was also on the cruise with Rachel and had a great time. I enjoyed the Windjammer Cafe (ate there all but 2 nights)...

 

Wasn't all that impressed with Freeport, did buy a nice ring for myself. Spent some time on the beach in Port Lucaya. Cococay was my favorite stop. I found a nice private area on the other side of the island and had a little bit of home with the roosters crowing!! lol

 

Met a wonderful family from Baltimore & PA...Gus, Edie, Frank and Nicky. Miss them a whole lot. I also miss my stateroom attendent, he was wonderful!! Perhaps you could say hello to him for me. Our cabin was 2578 and his name is Adan. Also at the pool, Deck 9, say hello to Martin from Bulgaria!!

 

Lisa

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rabrijumo,

 

Sounds like you had a great time. My fiancee and I are planning to sail Grandeur for our honeymoon next May. I was curious about the lunch menu in the dining room...

Is it just a little repetitive or the same exact menu every day?

Do you have any menus from Grandeur that you saved? I'm dying to see one!

We are so excited. A little sad about what I keep hearing about the lunch menus...although I have heard mixed things so I'm not sure what to think. I just hope the lunch menu varies every day...at least a little. Please tell me what you found it to be like.

On past RCI cruises I have been on, the menu changed completely every day.

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On the June 11 sailing, the lunch menu in the dining room was the same for the duration with the exception of the daily special which changed daily. There was also a pasta option where you chose what to add so you could make that different each day if you like. There was quite a bit of variety even though it was the same menu.

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That's a shame. I liked the daily changing menu. I can understand the Windjammer doing the same selections...or the breakfast in the dining room...but the dining room lunch? I think they should go back to the old way. I wouldn't want to eat in the same rest. every day with the same menu every day. I like variety. Food is so important. =)

 

I hope they change this soon!

Something like that could change my mind for future bookings.

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You mentioned the cruise director said the ship was going into dry dock. Do you know when that will be. We are doing a 5ngt Bermuda sailing out of Baltimore next June and I am curious if she will be all gussied up for us. Thanks.

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soccermom: yes, the Grandeur is going into dry dock before the end of the year, so she should be all spruced up for your sailing next summer. When we cruised last month the captain mentioned that the Bermuda itinerary is HIS favorite... hmmmm... we had such a great time on the Grandeur that we might just have to try that one too!

 

tlbesser: while the lunch menu doesn't change much, we found there was enough variety that we enjoyed eating lunch in the dining room most days. And there is an advantage--that wonderful brownie sundae is always on the menu!

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