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Steven Pierson

Age: 43

Occupation:Travel/tourism

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Grandeur of the Seas

Sailing Date: February 25th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was my 8th cruise, but first cruise on RCI. I have previously cruised on Holland America, Princess, Disney and Carnival. Myself and my two companions were very pleased with the Grandeur of the Seas. While the ship is now 10 years old it still looks great, with only minor “wear and tear” issues in the public areas. There is an unpleasant moldy sewer odor on the 4th deck! I cant believe they cant find a way to fix that. There were also a few times on the ship in different areas where we got a wiff of that same foul smell. The same smell also seemed to get in our bathroom from the drain in the bathroom floor a few days. It was most noticeable when the bathroom door would be shut all night, the next morning upon opening the door you got hit by the smell!

The use of white marble, glass and marble in the Centrium area gave it an elegant and timeless look and the abundance of glass windows always gave the ship an open and sunny feel.

We boarded in Tampa and only had the stand in line for about 15 minutes. Check in was smooth, as we had done the online pre boarding check in. This was our second cruise out of Tampa and both times it was pretty quick and painless.

Cabin

We had a junior suite, cabin #7154, which was on the back of the ship. The cabin was perfect for 3 adults. We had plenty of closet and drawer space. The bathroom had a small bath tub. I am guessing the bathroom was about the same size as in the other balcony cabins, but with a tub instead of shower. There was very little counter space around the sink, but plenty of shelves, tucked away behind mirrors on each side of the sink. There was a small fridge, surprisingly small TV, and a safe in the room. The best feature was the large balcony, which is larger then balcony’s of the JS cabins on the sides of the ship. It had 2 chairs, a small table and 2 lounge chairs with room to spare. While there are glass frosted dividers separating the balconies, you can clearly hear the conversations next to and above you. Thankfully the people on both sides of us rarely used their balcony. Our room steward Carlos did a great job keeping our cabin clean and neat, our bathroom was always spotless. He was happy to oblige with any special requests.

Dining

The Great Gatsby 2 level dining room is very attractive and has a variety of table sizes. Our waiter Vladimir was great, with a friendly and professional manor. Our assistant waiter who handled a number of tables in our area was a hard worker and very efficient. The head waiter for our area Geraldine, from the Philippines was exceptional! She went out of her way to make sure that all of the tables in her area were well taken care of. She knew our names after the first night and never failed to stop by our table, addressed us by name and made sure all was well. She even had a special dessert made for one of the persons in our party. The food was very good and we enjoyed all of our meals. This is coming from three New Yorkers who eat out a lot at some of NYC’S top restaurants! Our only complaint was the cheesecake, we have had many types of cheesecake, NY, Italian, no bake etc. but the cheesecake on the ship was truly awful! It was like a tasteless paste, made with a lot more flour then cream cheese. The other desserts were OK, the warm chocolate cake with a gooey center was a favorite. The chocolate crème brule served at lunch was also delish!

We had breakfast in both the main dinning room and the Windjammer Café, the sips buffet area, nicely positioned in the front of the ship. Both were good with all of the standard breakfast offerings. At the buffet they have an omelet station where you can get fresh omelets or fried eggs. The only negative was the French Toast on the buffet which was always rock hard. In the dining room I had the Eggs Benedict which was good and did not taste like it had been setting in a steam table all morning like other ships.

We ate lunch or afternoon snack in the Windjammer Café. I am usually not too impressed with cruise ships’ buffet lunches but I found the lunches enjoyable, with a good variety of food from curries to fried chicken with a pretty good quality. Not the leftovers from last nights dinner like on some ships.

We did have lunch once in the dinning room, the food was good the service was not! Our waiter from Jamaica was grumpy and was not having a good day, which I have an idea he seldom does when has the work the lunch shift! The lunch menu in the dinning room does not change, however there is a daily special. The curry chicken special was delicious!

Service in the dining room for breakfast and lunch is not at the same level as for dinner. It is open seating which means you are rushed in and seated with others, and you are rushed thru your meal rather briskly. It is apparent the waiters are not working for tips from their assigned dinners like at dinner, as the smiles and caring attitude seem to disappear. I have encountered this on every cruise I have been on, which is why I tend to avoid the dinning room for breakfast and lunch.

Activities

My favorite area of the ship during the day was the Solarium. This are is for guests 16 or older so there were no small children running around screaming like by the main outdoor pool. It is covered by a glass roof, so on a rainy day you can still enjoy the pool (saltwater) and 2 Jacuzzis in this area. There was classical music playing in the background, which lent to a nice relaxing area. The lounge chairs in this area are also covered by nice thick cushions, which was a nice touch. Also in the Solarium area is a bar, grill for pizza, hot dogs and burgers (never too busy) and the entrance to the spa.

The spa area was very nice, and the gym area was on the second floor of the spa area. The equipment in the gym area was all new and just like in a top gym. The only drawback was that the area was a bit warm and stuffy and there was no music. I have never been to a gym where there was not high energy music playing for that extra “boost”. The men’s changing area was spacious, and clean with lockers, a nice sauna and steam room, neither very busy when I visited. There were also a few showers. I was surprised that there was only one pedestal style sink in the whole area, so after working out or getting a treatment in the spa there really was not an area with counter space and mirrors to fix yourself up afterwards. I am guessing that in the ladies area there must be a better set up.

The casino was OK, typical cruise ship casino. They did not over promote the casino, it was there if you wanted to visit. You have to walk through the casino to get from the Palladium theater to the Centrium or upper dining room level, how clever of them!

Entertainment

We went to the 2 productions shows in the attractive 2 level Palladium theater. Because I am a frequent Broadway Theater goer I try not to compare cruise ship productions to the standard. However I must say that the 2 lead singers in the productions were outstanding. The shows themselves, one a Broadway review, and the other a Jazz review were a bit flat. There was a team of dancers who seemed to do a lot of the same simple dance steps over and over. The stage often seemed a bit empty by the small amount of dancers, fewer then I have seen on other ships.

The cruise director, sorry forgot her name, was a nice change from the usual overbearing cruise directors, who repeat the same corny “cruise” jokes over and over. She seemed a bit more current and “fresh” then most I have encountered.

Over all we were very pleased by this cruise, and I would certainly cruise on this ship again and recommend it to others. To me it is a perfect size, there were never long lines for anything, even though it was a sold out sailing. I look forward to cruising with RCI again.

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