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Lisa

Age: 26

Occupation:teacher

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Grandeur of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2010-06-5

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was our first cruise. We went to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary and we had an absolutely wonderful time! We went as cheaply as possible and got an interior state room with no window but it was still very nice accomodations and nice and quiet even though we were on level 2. We made lots of new friends and enjoyed using the pools/hot tubs on the ship as well as relaxing playing cards in the card room. We also used the fitness center a lot (and as a result did NOT gain any weight!). The only shore excursion we booked was the Jeep and snorkeling tour on Cozumel which was a lot of fun and well worth the price. We saw the entire island, got to relax on a gorgeous beach and cool off in the pool, and they fed us chicken fajitas, rice, and beans which was delicious. Key West was ok, we still enjoyed walking around and exploring but a bit too touristy for our liking. CocoCay was the best as we were able to enjoy the water, play volleyball, and relax on one of the hundreds of lounge chairs sprinkled around the island. The ship was beautiful, we saw just about everything we could. We were never bored, even on our day at sea. Even though it is one of the smaller ships in Royal's fleet I was pleased with the size. Not so many people that it ever felt crowded (only exception was the outdoor pool during the afternoon) but enough so that you could make new friends. For us, it was a perfect vacation and we can't wait to go on another one!

The food was AMAZING! You could pretty much get whatever you wanted for breakfast at the Windjammer. My husband loves his bacon and eggs but I opted for a healthy fruit, yogurt, and granola some days and it is all there. You can also get omelets made-to-order. Lunch buffet was about the same every day but with different hot dishes to choose from. I usually had sandwiches since it was so warm I didn't feel like filling up and I never got tired of the array of tasty dessert items. The lemonade on the ship was excellent, not like "minute maid" or "country time" but like real home-made lemonade. We did not get any special drink package and did not drink any alcohol at all (that saves you a TON of money right there) but I never got tired of drinking ice water, tea, coffee, and lemonade. Dinner in the Great Gatsby was one of the highlights of our trip. Our waitor and assistant waitor were the best! It was like they knew what we wanted before we told them! The food was fabulous and we sat with 3 other couples who were friendly and we had great conversation every night and lots of laughs. 2 of the other couples had cruised before and agreed that Royal Caribbean's food is among the very best. Italian night was my favorite but they always had enough choices that we could always find something we liked. Desserts: WOW! Most nights I could not decide on which one I wanted so sometimes we would order 2! I think that the food was definitely a highlight and even if you are a picky eater they will have something for you. The table next to our's had a family with 2 young children and they got things like chicken nuggets, fries, cheeseburgers, etc. since they did not want what was on the menu. Some of the best food I have ever eaten was on the cruise.

Our stateroom was cozy with plenty of storage space to store our clothes and suitcases so it never felt cluttered. The tv could be pulled out and swiveled to face the bed, which was nice at night to relax before going to sleep. The bathroom was tiny but that's just how it is and honestly, I have had to use smaller bathrooms when I was in Europe so it was not bad. We never had any problems with the plumbing and our stateroom attendant kept things very clean for us. She also left little "animals" sculpted out of our towels, which kept us laughing when we found them. Each day was a different animal and we actually looked forward to it at the end of the day.

There was definitely enough activities to choose from to keep you entertained for the day! We saw a couple of the shows in the Palladium theatre. The juggler, Mike Price, was our favorite. He was humorous and did juggling acts I had never seen before. It was amazing! The singing and dancing were well done but we're just not that into it so we skipped out on some of the shows and opted to go up to the hot tub instead, which was nice because there weren't hardly any people up there at that time in the evening. The ice sculpture carving was awesome, too, I highly recommend that. It's only about 20 minutes but I loved it and got lots of cool pictures. We mostly came up with our own things to do on the ship. We don't drink at all and are morning people, not night-owls, so we didn't spend any time in the lounges other than checking them out the first day on the ship. But we talked with other people who loved the Quest game and the Battle of the Sexes game. There's really something for everyone. The cruise director truly does his job well!

We only did one excursion and we really enjoyed it. My husband likes driving "off-road" type vehicles, though, so he liked driving the Jeep all over Cozumel. Others we talked to said that the best snorkeling was in CocoCay so if you're into snorkeling you might want to bypass Key West and Cozumel. If you want to parasail I would recommend doing it in Key West and finding your own place rather than booking ahead (they overcharge if you go through Royal's excursions). One of our dinner friends informed us of that. We did not rent anything on CocoCay like the floating beach mat ($10 for the day) and didn't feel we really needed one. Although parts of CocoCay are rough to walk in bare feet (lots of shells) so if you're planning on swimming you might want some water shoes. Sand volleyball on CocoCay was a blast, find some friends and get a game going before it gets too hot in the afternoon.

Overall, we could not have been more pleased with Royal Caribbean. They had a great, easy system for getting off and onto the ship, we never had to wait. We never had to fight for a chair up on the deck or a seat in the theatre. The service by everyone on the ship was outstanding, particularly our waitor in the dining room. It was a great value for the price we paid, too, roughly $200 a night. You can't hardly stay at a nice hotel for that price anymore and we not only got a nice room but awesome food and entertainment. Plus getting to see some new places! Also, I am usually prone to motion sickness and was a little worried. I took a dramamine the first day but that was it. Only one evening did the waves get a little rough. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing. If you love trying new foods, seeing the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, and being able to be as relaxed or busy as you like on a vacation, I would highly recommend booking a cruise with Royal Caribbean.

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