Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Grandeur of the Seas
Sailing Date: February 19th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
My first cruise. We went with another couple who like us, had never been on a cruise. I did a lot of research on the internet and eventually booked through a travel agent, mostly because of her knowledge and experience.
Ship - From the very start we were impressed by the ship. It exceeded my expectation. It was ornate with wood and marble. We quickly discovered that we could feel a great deal of movement because of the waves of the gulf. My wife put on a motion sickness patch for just in case. It seems in her particular case the patch made her feel ill and blurred her vision. She removed the patch and her vision cleared the next day and she felt much better. No more problems for the rest of the cruise.
State rooms - Our rooms were kept very clean and made up twice a day. The couple we traveled with did not have the good service we did. They noticed that only the bed was made and not much other attention to detail made. The rooms were small, with lots of storage. I did not feel especially crowded. Other reviews noted a sewer smell on the lower decks and state rooms. I found this to be true. There was a hint of odor in the hallways of the 3,4 and 5 decks the day we departed and I awoke to as serious sewer smell the next morning. My wife says she could not smell it. The couple we traveled with avoided their state room on the second day because of the foul smell. I reported it twice and was told they would look into it. From the 3rd day on it had mostly gone away. I asked a few other passengers on lower decks if they noticed and they all said no. This was probably the only note worthy complaint of mine. Loved the window!
Food - The food quality ranged from average to excellent. The service in the main dining area was exceptional and friendly. I resented having to pay $42 for a soda card and could tell the bar tenders were hoping for a tip, which I did a couple of times even though gratuities are part of the card price. I soon accepted that we paid $84 a couple so we could have cola and had a good time. Steak, lobster etc. every night helped me forget about the soda cards!
Entertainment - The entertainment was very good and was every where. We were never bored and spent a lot of time in the Solarium hot tubs ( 16 yrs or older ). The pools were salty and cold, the hot tubs nice and warm, somewhat crowded from 10am - 6pm. Since the weather was great you were hardpressed to find a lounge chair after 8am. Met a lot of nice people.
Noise level - there were a few states that had winter break which attracted families with kids out of school seeking off season prices. Therefore there were lots of kids running around. They would run the halls and stairs non-stop which you could hear from your state room. I had brought a Sleep mate ($40) with us that makes a rushing air sound and it masked most of the corridor activity. We slept well every night. The kids obviously had a great time and were mostly just being kids.
Cozumel - The nicest port. The little shops by the pier are cheaper than any place on the whole cruise. However, the gift shops on the ship seemed a better bargin for what they had as the days went by. Cabs are fairly inexpensive. We went to Chankanaab (pronounced; shock-n-knob) and snorkeled (great snorkeling), then to downtown Cozumel for shopping. Great picture opportunities.
Grand Cayman - The water was surreal in color and we found it to be a nice port quickly rebuilding from Ivan. We took a trip to Stingray City and snorkel with Capt'n Marvin. Was worth the $35 pp. The shops are basically American prices. Tender boats were no problem for us.
Costa Maya - Cool looking port with pushy Mexican shop keepers. Very high prices. We took the Chacchoben ruins tour which I enjoyed. My fellow travelers did not like it because what should have been a 3 hr trip stretched to 5 hrs, leaving no time for snorkeling at that port. We booked through RC and had a nice modern air conditioned bus.
Overall - I like Royal Caribbean and would definitely cruise with them again. I like the Grandeur of the Seas too, but would book higher to decrease the chance of the smell incident. I assume it is a problem they will eventually conquer. The weather definitely played a part in our lovely experience. For the money spent I feel it was a great value. They really do try very hard to pamper you. I tipped some of the attendants above suggested because of their efforts. Hope to sail again with RC.