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Dave

Age: 31

Occupation:Real Estate

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Grandeur of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 6th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

I took this cruise with 7 other friends. I was in a Grand Suite 4 other friends were in Junior Suites on the Same level and two other friends were in a 3rd floor room at the front of the ship ( they booked really late.) It just so happened to be Spring Break and so about 70% of the ship seemed to be college kids. Not my first choice to have, but it didn’t hamper our vacation at all.

EMBARKATION:
Super fast since we were in a suite. Total time from valet parking onto the ship was less than 10 minutes with no waiting at all. Even others that had to wait in lines had a short wait time. They really have this part of the process down in Tampa.

Grand Suite #8012: The suite was fantastic. Tons of storage, extremely nice bathroom with double sinks, marble and tile finishes that far exceeded the same class room on Carnival Fascination. The balcony was very spacious and we held our Bon Voyage party there with 8 people all comfortably hanging out. One the third day I started to notice a musty smell and looked around and found a leak from the bathroom to the staterooms bedroom area wall. I called this in and within about three hours they had it corrected and cleaned. It was clearly something that had happened before so I was a bit disappointed that a real solution was not completed and rather just a fix up for the short term.

DINING ROOM: OK - this part made this cruise my favorite ever. I have read how RCCL has better food than Carnival over all. I tend to agree in the dining room and I would say that the Windjammer was about equal to the buffet dining on my Carnival cruises. BUT - AND THIS IS A BIG BUT... We had the most amazing service ever from our wait staff in the dining room! I have always had great service on cruises but our Waitress, Jennifer and her Assistant Waiter "Mini-Me" at table 19 were amazing! Her service was fantastic and she had a great sense of humor. She told us what to order and what to leave on the menu. Several times she had plates made for us with jokes on them based on our dinner conversations with her - they were hysterical! She also didn’t wait for us to ask for a second of anything. She made sure there were several desert choices for us and if we were thinking about two different items she would bring both without our asking. She even would come to the line outside the dining room in the evening and escort us in to our table. Other people were all looking in awe wondering what made us so special. MANY MANY MANY KUDOS TO JENNIFER. If you are so lucky to get her you will be amazed! On the last night - the table before us at dinner ( all sorority girls) decided to stiff our staff on tips for the entire week. I was amazed and think that it is disgusting that someone could do something like that to someone who worked so hard all week. Our entire table had already said that we would be tipping her way over the recommended amounts since she was just amazing. We saw her the next morning at breakfast and she told us that she cried when she opened our envelopes and saw how much we had all given her and how appreciative she was. That made us feel good, but I really wanted her to have a great week with her extra gratuity, but sadly due to those stupid girls our expression of appreciation just made it a normal week for her. I hope those stupid little girls all flunk their classes in school this semester , it would be a little justice. I better stop before I get really mad.

SHIP: The ship was quite nice. The artwork and furnishings were very attractive. I had read about stains on the carpets and did not find that to be true. I liked the flow of the ship, but I did feel that there was a lack of good bar locations to get beverages around the ship. They all seemed to be concentrated in certain areas. This made it a trip to go get soda or drinks from a room at the front of the ship.

PORTS: Costa Maya was a nice stop. We took the Chacchoben Ruins tour. this 4 hour tour is a great way to see some ruins without having to take the long 8 hour trip to Tulum. Other than tours Costa Maya is quite touristy and the main area is quite small with an area of shops and a pool and a few bars. Cozumel was great as always. Got some nice spray paint art done, ate some local food further back from the tourist areas, and went on a snorkel trip for three hours. I always find it is much cheaper and better to take a tour like this once you get off the ship rather than doing the actual ship's tour. Our 3 hour snorkel for two was half the price of the ships and went to the same areas but on a small private boat with only 8 other people rather than a large boat with 40-50 people. We also went to Paradise beach ( a $14 cab ride for two people) and rented jet skis at $55 for a half an hour per ski. They let us ride for about 45 minutes though to it was a good deal in my opinion.

ACTIVITIES:
I got my friends to go to the game quest even though they were skeptical. They laughed themselves silly. We didn’t really go to any other shows.

SPECIAL SITUATION: During our cruise there was a break out of GI Illness and several measures were taken by RCCL to make sure that it did not spread. I think they did a great job and all the staff worked 15 hour days to take care of us while some of the other staff were sick. They had to serve all food in the buffet lines, as there was no more self-serve once the illness broke out on the ship. This took a lot of man hours and was greatly appreciated. They also were constantly wiping down railings and public areas. Kudos to RCCL for controlling what could have been a very bad situation.

Cruise Staff: As I said before our wait staff was amazing. Also, our Suite Steward, "Pretzel" was fantastic. It was her first time doing suites she told us. She was filling in for a sick staff member and usually did rooms much lower on the ship. It was uncanny how she just seemed to appear every time we needed something. She also made our vacation most special. She really worked so hard to make sure we were more than pleased every day with a huge smile on her face at all times!

I will say that other than our dining staff and room staff the rest of the employees on the ship had no personalities. They never smiled and seemed in bad moods all the time. That was not so on my past cruises. I am not sure if it was just due to the number of hours they were having to work due to the illness or because they assumed they would be getting low tips from college spring breakers., but it didn’t stop us from having a great time, but it would have been nice to have seen more smiles around the ship.

I would certainly recommend this ship and would take it again myself!

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