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George Shafer

Age: 47


Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Grandeur of the Seas

Sailing Date: July 3rd, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

We cruise at least once or twice a year, and usually on Royal Caribbean because of the combination of quality and economy. We try to pick different ships each time and so we have experienced four different Royal Caribbean ships in the past three years. The Grandeur of the Seas was the least impressive of the four.

This cruise was the first time we have ever faced a change in itinerary, although the change was small. Our stay in Bermuda was shortened from 36 hours to a little under 22 hours. As a result, the cruise line promised us half off the “cruise portion” of our fare, and a coupon for half off another cruise. We departed Baltimore four hours late and endured a lifeboat drill right in the middle of our formal dinner on the first night.

The best word I could use to describe the Grandeur of the Seas and its staff is “lethargic.” It seemed that, from the cruise director (Dwayne) all the way down to the waiters and room attendants, everyone was just enduring the task at hand rather than offering service with zest and excitement. This was particularly true of our head waiter and the dining room staff to which we were exposed. They seemed to just put up with the passengers rather than to serve them. For example, when the dining room staff “sang” to us on the last night (lip sync) most of them just stood there and waved. You could tell that they were enduring the moment rather than trying to enjoy it.

In one particularly humorous moment, we were just inside the dining room right before the main seating in an attempt to change to the second seating. Someone came on the public address system in the dining hall and reminded all the waiters to “push the wine” as they were not selling enough of it on this cruise. The lady changing our table assignment whisked us out of the dining room and asked us to come back in ten minutes. She was then very helpful and we got what we wanted after a glimpse of the commercialism of Royal Caribbean’s dining facilities.

The ship was in decent shape, other than the temporarily repaired 40 by 8 foot gash on the starboard bow just above the water line. That was received in Mexico about six weeks ago according to a crew member. The ship hit the dock because someone “misjudged currents or something.”

The individual entertainers were good (we don’t attend production shows) and the quality of the food was fine, although we did not see any of the dishes that make cruising fun (like lobster, escargot, etc.). It seems to us that Royal Caribbean is all about money and will do just about anything they can to make a few more dollars off of you or to cut costs if they can get away with it.

In the end, we would probably take this ship again as we live very near Baltimore and can drive to the dock in less than half an hour, but we must say that the senior staff on this ship would benefit all of the passengers if they could get their staff members to be a little more excited about what they are doing. It could be that what we really like the least is that RCL is so obvious about their attempts to make a little more money off of each passenger that their continual selling is detracting from the cruise experience. Between the lethargy and the commercialism I would say we will probably be shopping for another cruise line to see if another one might be more customer friendly.

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