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mooie74

Grandeur 9/24 review

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Hello everyone, first time poster....

 

My wife and I returned earlier this week from the 10 day Grandeur of the Seas cruise out of Baltimore.

 

I had been keeping a careful eye on weather and itinerary in the weeks leading up to departure, so I was not surprised to see the change. We were really looking forward to Cozumel (booze cruise!), but overall I felt better about avoiding Jeanne.

 

Absolutely no problems boarding the ship....we live 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore. Left the house at 12:15, were in our stateroom (a deck 7 balcony, portside forward) at 1:15. Our only other cruise was on Voyager for our honeymoon last year, so our first step was to explore Grandeur. Although obviously smaller, Grandeur seemed to be a much classier ship. The art onboard was fantastic, especially on the staircases. The other bonus to getting on so early was that our suitcases arrived by 2:30 or so, so we were completely unpacked before the muster drill. I had read some bad reviews on the embarkation process, so all things considered we were pleased.

 

The departure and cruise down the Chesapeake was great, especially passing under the Key Bridge with just a few feet to spare. We had the first of several wonderful dinners, and after a few drinks went to bed until....

 

As our first stop was Bermuda, after leaving the bay we headed ESE into open water. I have spent my entire life on boats, but the combination of 8-13 foot waves and our direction combined for some nasty ship motion. I didn't sleep too well Friday night, and felt pretty icky most of Saturday. I never got physically ill, but it was close. Seemed like quite a few people were having similar problems. Two each of Dramamine and Tylenol PM's Sat. night took care of everything, and I was fine for the rest of the cruise. Although the seas were never as rough as the first day, there was almost always some decent wave action.

 

Bermuda: Was great! We took a snorkeling excursion on Sunday. That was the day to do an excursion since Everything was closed up for the day. The snorkeling was just OK, the boat (Longtail) was kinda scummy, but at least we saw a few fish. I heard that the Restless Native excursion was much better. On Monday we went into Hamilton for a few hours, found a beautiful park off the beaten path, and had lunch in a little cafe called the Lemon Tree.

 

Labadee: After a day at sea, we arrived in Labadee, Haiti. This was our only repeat stop from last year's cruise, and the experience was wonderful both times. Yes, there were pangs of guilt concerning the problems Haiti is having, but we were still able to relax and have a wonderful time. We spent most of our time at Dragon Tail (open sea facing) and Hidden Cove beaches. Although there was plenty of space on the property, it seemed like Royal Caribbean could have had more staff on hand for food service. The lines were long and slow moving.

 

Nassau, Bahamas: Probably our favorite stop. We had planned on buying the $29 pass to see the Dig at Atlantis and use their beach. Upon arrival at the resort we were told we could get a room for the day for $150 (total, not per person). This seemed a bit steep, but this meant having a room to use, and being able to use EVERYTHING, not just the beach. I went down all the waterslides way too many times for a 30 year old. The aquariums of the Dig and the other viewing areas throughout were truly amazing. A side benefit of getting the room was that after a week of somewhat cramped cabin living, we had a pillow-top bed to relax in for a bit, and a large shower to boot. People we talked to later on about the $29 pass were extremely disappointed. Add in the fact that many of the other resorts still had hurricane damage, and we felt pretty good about the money we spent. One more thing, the daqueries and pina coladas are probably the best we've ever had. After checking out at around 5:15 we went to get a cab into town...all they had was limos, which we got at the same price! Back in town we stopped at a restaurant recommended to us, Conch Fritters. Besides trying the namesake fritters, we also had a tasty Conch soup and a lot of Kalik (the local beer). We highly recommend this place, it is across the street from the British Hilton.

 

The days at sea were ok, just too many of them for a 10 day cruise. A lot of activities were repeated it seemed. We went to a few of the art auctions. Bought three inexpensive pieces and won a fourth in a raffle. One strange occurrance, Thursday while at sea we had our balcony door open, and the smoke alarm started going off! I called maintenance, they said "is your balcony door open?". Closing the door took care of the problem...apparently the temperature difference between our room and the outside air was enough to set off some kind of temperature/fire sensor.

 

Other quick highlights: The piano player, Fred, in the Schooner Bar. Had a lot of fun singing and listening at night after dinner. There are some great photos of us singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"; Our tablemates were fantastic! We didn't keep in touch with anyone from last years cruise, I think we will stay much closer with this group. Part of the reason, obviously, is the closeness of everyone since a majority of the cruisers were from our area; the Quest game is always fun...2 cruises...2 times I end up with my pants off; the casinos on cruise ships seem very friendly..I did very well last year, this year my wife played blackjack for the first time and cleaned up.

 

A few quick cons: Yes, there was a sewage smell. People on deck 4 said it was simply unbearable at times. It did seem to be a cumulative thing...the smell was much more noticable at the end of the cruise compared to the beginning. Everything else said on this topic has been accurate. As mentioned before...going from 5 ports to 3 made for too many days at sea. But, that is the price you pay for cruising during hurricane season.

 

Hopefully this review provides a bit of info for future Grandeur cruisers...any questions, feel free to post a response.

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HI! Thanks for the review. We will be on the Grandeur in December. I am really excited but a little worried too, after all the post on the sewer smell. Did they give any explanation for it?

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Hi Mooie74!

 

Thanks for the great review. We were on the Grandeur with you. I agree with a lot of your comments.

 

You're right about the food service on Labadee. They should have had the 3rd cafe open. It was open the last time we were there and that made all the difference in the world. We like Hideaway Beach so it was inconvenient to enjoy that beach and get lunch.

 

Also agree about too many sea days for a 10 night cruise.

 

We enjoyed Fred in the Schooner Bar as well.

 

We were on Deck 4 and the sewage smell seemed to be concentrated in the Centrum area. We always smelled it when we were passing through. Thank goodness we couldn't smell anything in our cabin area. Some folks weren't so lucky.

 

We felt the same way about our table mates. RCI has always done a good job matching us up with our dinner companions. We had a great time this week with those folks and laughed all week long!

 

Thanks again for your review. Enjoyed reading it.

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Grandeur is going into drydock sometime this month - I hope they fix the "sewage smell" during this maitenance period. We are on the November 20th cruise and that sounds like something I'd like to miss out on!

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Hopefully they fixed it for the passengers that are on the ship after that sailing... Instead of putting it off until drydock! There's a lot of people that are going to be using the ship before it goes into drydock... it would be a shame if they kept that smell lingering. :D

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Great trip report!

 

How did you manage to get the $150/room offer at Atlantis?

 

Right after I read your trip report, I went to the Atlantis website, and the cheapest room they have during our cruise is $600+. For a second there, I was excited about the possibility of getting a room there as well. It would've made our day so much nicer because this time, we're traveling with our boys (ages 4 & 7).

 

Yvonne

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The Atlantis thing happened entirely on accident, I had never heard of this before.....we walked into the main lobby and asked for the pass to see the Dig and use the beach. The man at the desk said another option was to get a "day room" which we could stay in until 6pm. (we got to Atlantis about 9:30am). This price may fluctuate, I didn't really ask. I think one of the things that worked to our advantage is that it was a Friday...conceivably they could have rented us the room till six, got it cleaned, and had a late arriving group get the room later that night. As you mentioned, no mention of this on the website...btw, they will try to have you upgrade to a Royal Tower room for an extra 50 bucks or so, don't bother. Take the Coral or Beach tower room and spend the extra $50 on food and pina coladas. ;) But to summarize.....I think the day room rentals are a kind of "show up and see what happens" kind of thing. Might be worth it to call ahead and ask. Some may say it wasn't worth the money just to use the pools and waterslides, but my wife and I felt it was definitely worth it.

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