Number of Cruises: 18
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Grandeur of the Seas
Sailing Date: February 22nd, 2002
Itinerary: Circle Caribbean
My wife and I just completed our 18th cruise, this first time on a Royal Caribbean Ship. We booked a Category B Suite on the Bridge Deck # 8014. Whatever you do, DO NOT select a cabin on the Bridge Deck Forward as you will be under the Windjammer Cafe.
That sounds like a minor problem but believe me it is not! We were located Port side under the outdoor portion of the Windjammer Cafe which opens for breakfast at 6:00 or 6:30 AM. It really did not matter exactly when because the Coffee machine was outside the cafe and early risers started attacking the coffee at about 5:45 every morning although I don't understand the attraction since the coffee frankly SUCKED. But nevertheless, promptly every morning in the midst of our beauty sleep were we awakened by the god awful noise coming from people dragging the heavy wooden chairs and benches around to suit their needs. Further these chairs and benches naturally have "anti-skid" pads attached to their legs which adds to the racket!
Apparently this is a know problem which cannot be addressed until the ship is sent to dry dock and some serious insulation is added above the ceiling. Our cabin steward says he hears this complaint every cruise for every cabin. We complained to the Guest Relations Manager, who while apologetic, could do nothing since the ship was full and only a few emergency inside cabins were available. She did provide us with an onboard credit of $200 - big deal.
And that was not all! The band - "The Caribbean Four" played on a wooden platform on the Port side near our cabin. All the time, all day, and until 12:45 in the morning on some days! Lots of Bass and very loud, to the point that you could not even enjoy the balcony which was very nice and quite large although very noisy.
So as long as you do not sleep in the morning, afternoon, evening, or before 1:00 AM you will be fine, otherwise it WILL suck. Sorry to be so blunt, but I find it incredulous that the Premium Suites would be located in such a poor location. We would have been better off down a deck in a Category C and saving the money and aggravation. It borders on Fraud to charge premium prices for that batch of cabins given the conditions. I am waiting to hear from Guest Relations regarding some sort of adjustment, but I am not holding my breath (but then neither is my attorney).
Now that I scared you away from those Suites let me say that the ship itself is very nice and the service throughout is generally very good to excellent. Certainly our cabin steward, waiter, busboy and Headwaiter were attentive and excellent. The Headwaiters, by the way, are now also your Wine Stewards so that is why they are constantly around. This is a nice improvement over never seeing them, eliminates an unnecessary position, and give the Headwaiters an opportunity to earn gratuities as evidenced by the pre-printed envelopes provided. No problem - they earned their money this trip.
The ship is showing some signs of wear although it is fairly new - built in 1997 I believe. It is easy to navigate, has sufficient deck space for sun bathers and good public areas. The "Welcome Duo" in the Atrium are very good and the entertainment throughout is good.
The food was not excellent in the Gatsby Dining Room. It definitely needs improvement. Having sailed on 6 HAL cruises where the food is always well prepared although somewhat bland, I can safely tell you that the RCL food was sub-par. Our waiter took to recommending only one entrée every night and when we selected something else we found he was correct. It was difficult to find a really good meal each evening and the beef dishes were absolutely terrible and so was the fish and the pasta was really bad! The lamb was good - and the final night prime rib was passable. Desserts were great, breads wonderful, salads disappointing and veggies mediocre. The escargot were pitiful!
The food in the Windjammer was generally OK for lunch and breakfast. The Hamburgers and Pizza at the Solarium Pool were OK to good depending on the day.
The Islands were great although we have been to all of them with the exception of Curacao which was really nice. We enjoyed sitting on the esplanade having a couple Amstel Brights and watching the pontoon bridge swing open and closed for various ships. Very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I still wonder why any cruise ship stop in Jamaica - there are constant stories about busloads of tourists being accosted and robbed at gunpoint. I believe they are true - when will these natives learn about tourist dollars?
Embarkation was a slow line that took about an hour and then of course you must suffer the built-in pause for the ship photographers...oh well. Getting off was silly since they called the baggage tag colors too close together and created a huge line in the Atrium for no apparent reason since everyone was already out of their rooms.
Too bad about the poor food quality and whatever you do save you money and avoid the noise problems we suffered!
RCL need to either fix the problem with the Suite or stop selling them. I suppose they could use them for complimentary "upgrades" and hardly anyone would complain. Whatever happened to honesty in advertising?