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Joan Rich

Age: 46 to 55

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: 2nd

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Grandeur of the Seas

Sailing Date: February 26, 2000

Itinerary: Labadee, San Juan, St. Thomas, CocoCay

This was our second cruise. Our first was on the Big Red Boat with our children. While we had fun on the Big Red Boat, cruising without children was a whole different experience. Everyone should take a cruise once in their life. There is nothing else like it.

The Grandeur of the Sea is an elegant ship. We had a room with a balcony, which was definitely worth the extra money. The ship is so huge, we never did completely get to know our way around. The staff were always courteous and helpful.

We had most of our meals in the Great Gatsby dining room. For those who like more casual dining, there was always a buffet in the Windjammer Cafe, or hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza in the Solarium Cafe. We had late seating for dinner, which was at 8:30...a little too late, as we never finished until 10:30 or later. But the dinners were fantastic, an experience in themselves. The Waiters and assistant waiters worked very hard to make them that way (including entertaining us several times).

We never missed the evening shows. Some were great, like the Wave Review singers and dancers. The evening with the Osmond Brothers was superb. And the comedy & juggling act of Wilde and Haines was so hilarious, we had tears in our eyes. The other shows were so-so.

There were theme nights in the South Pacific lounge. From country western to 50's sock hop the band in this lounge could play anything. I enjoyed going to the South Pacific lounge. Unfortunately the dance floor was always very crowded.

Onboard the ship, there were so many things to do, my only complaint is that you couldn't do them all. I especially enjoyed the dancing lessons, the cooking demonstration, and the belly flop contest. For those who like to be active, there were many exercise activities for which you earned "ship shape dollars". These dollars could be exchanged for merchandise (such as t-shirts and tote bags) at the end of the cruise.

The ports were fun and varied. Labadee, Haiti was a beautiful beach. I recommend snorkeling as the coral reef we were taken to is large and there is lots to see. Beginners are given instructions, old pros can go off right away. If you wear glasses, be sure to ask for a prescription mask so you can see better. Take some money if you go on the island to buy hand made items from the Haitians. I didn't and missed out on these unique items. San Juan was not my favorite port. While interesting historically, it is still a big city. The streets are narrow and crowded and I was overwhelmed by the number of shops. We took the old and new San Juan bus tour, but I think we would have liked the walking tour of Old San Juan better. St. Thomas was my favorite port. This island has it all: Picturesque views, gorgeous beaches, and wonderful shopping. If you want to shop for gold and jewelry do it in St. Thomas.

CocoCay was a fun beach day. Again I recommend snorkeling. This time we saw thousands of fish and several stingrays. They have sunk an old boat and airplane and the fish congregate around them. My only complaint here is that the beach where you snorkel was very crowded. There were less crowded beaches if you walked down aways, but nothing to see if you snorkeled.

There are photographers on the boat, but I never liked the photos enough to purchase them. There also were video cameras on board and on the islands and at the end of the cruise you could purchase the week in review.

Overall, I would have to rate this cruise as excellent. If I ever cruise again, I would definitely choose Royal Caribbean.

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