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Age: 34

Occupation:Tour operator

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Grandeur of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 5th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

My husband and I were first time cruisers. We were not sure what to expect and were pleasantly surprised by the service we received and the care and upkeep that was constantly being done to the ship.

I am a clean freak and most things met up to my standard, my husband is a lot more laid back and did not mind or even see most of what I mention here. The outside deck chairs could have been cleaner. The looked like they had not even been hosed down for a while. There are people cleaning up garbage that gets blown in the wind but not enough. Especially on the windy days it seems garbage is always on the outside upper decks.

Some of the carpeting in the public areas as well as in the stateroom had stains, as did some of the chairs. The public bathrooms were always clean and well kept as was the bathroom in our stateroom. However our shower could have been cleaner. The floor had some mildew and it seemed as though they did not clean above a certain height. Sheets and towels were always clean and well supplied when needed. Our room was checked twice daily and things were always neat and tidy when we returned. Sometimes there was a sewage smell in the main hallway or when opening a toilet but nothing major.

We had the larger interior stateroom and were glad that we booked the larger room. Next time we will probably opt for a window as it is hard to wake up in a dark room. Storage space was ample and we had enough drawers and shelves. The only difficult thing was getting stuff out of the suitcase as there really is not a good place to set the suitcase and unpack or pack.

We were worried that the three days at sea were going to be boring, but it was just the opposite. We had plenty to do and the Cruise Director, Tom, was great! He was everywhere and kept the activities fun, upbeat and he is quite funny. The shows were good, guest entertainers were great. We laughed so hard one night we were crying. Plus we obtained quite an addiction to trivia when on board as it was everywhere, in the library and during activities.

One item for those who have not been on a cruise before is that the Windjammer has food and drinks available most of the day. Don’t buy bottled water to use on the ship, just get water, tea or lemonade from the Windjammer. The bottled water in your cabins is also cheaper as there is no gratuity included.

Our itinerary included Cozumel and we did the Tulum excursion which we really enjoyed and then had time to explore and shop in Cozumel. The ferry from the island to the mainland can be rough. Several people were sick and on the return we found there was an open second floor which was much more comfortable especially on such a beautiful day.

The second stop was Grand Caymen. We anchored early but were unable to enjoy the time as we had scheduled the Land and Sea tour. Although the turtle farm, Hell and the semi-submersible was great, too much time was wasted on the tour, showing the devastation left by Ivan. Would suggest spending time on own on the 7-Mile Beach, going to the turtle farm and Hell on own and having time to explore the shops and maybe rent a bike. The water was too inviting and we did not get the chance to enjoy it as it is a distance from the dock and we had to be back by 4:30 p.m. to catch the tender back to the ship. Tendering was easy and fun.

The third and last stop was Costa Maya. Nice because it was a dock and we could get off the ship at leisure. Good shopping but not much more to do unless you book an excursion or don’t mind being in the pool or on the beach the entire time. We took the Dune Buggy excursion, which was scheduled much too late 2:30 p.m. The fishing village was nice to see but the 10-minute stop was not necessary. The drive to the next beach was long about 1 hour over dusty, bumpy road. Beach very nice but arrived at 4:00 and only had an hour to spend time. The return trip was by “highway” and then dirt road through another fishing village with children begging as we went through. An eye opener but not necessary. Got back to dock just as the sun was going down, but too late to shower and change before the main 6:00 p.m. dinner. Did more shopping and had dinner at the Windjammer. I much prefer dinner in the Great Gatsby. Lunch and breakfast fine at the Windjammer but liked the food and service better in the Gatsby.

My husband and I are not fussy eaters and were very happy with everything we had except one dessert, which the waiter did try to warn us against. Several nights our meals included two main courses and two desserts. It is a miracle we did not come home weighing more.

Overall a great experience. We are now hooked on cruising and would defiantly book another Royal Caribbean cruise.

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