My sister and I are just back from the 9 day cruise on the Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. We had a wonderful time, the weather was great.
This is our 3d Royal Caribbean cruise, the first on the Grandeur. The port of Baltimore is so well organized, it was easy getting on AND off. My husband dropped us off and picked us up. There seemed to be only ONE gate to drive out of at the end of the cruise and everyone was leaving at the same time, so that was a bit of a pain, but otherwise the experience was fine. Plenty of very friendly porters to help you with your luggage. Well organized system where the porters line up and you get the next one in line. A representative walks around in the crowd of people to find who needs a porter, and directs one over to you.
The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The staff were all amazing and friendly. We had an inside cabin on deck 3, and it had plenty of storage space. The air conditioning was a little weak, so we went to the pursor's desk and they made arrangements to get us a fan. The lovely girl thought we
were saying the air conditioning wasn't working, but I just told her, it's working fine, we're just 2 women going through menopause. She immediately smiled, nodded knowingly and shared that "her mom was going through the same thing!" We had a fan in about 10 minutes! And it was just what we needed. The room was quite comfortable the rest of the cruise.
There was only a brief hint of sewage smell, which I read about on the message boards. But it was there and gone, no problem. Also, our toilet didn't work one night after dinner, which was something else I read on the boards. But after I called maintenance it was working fine about one-half
The beds in the inside cabins at least, are cots with thick mattresses on them, and were adequately comfortable. Plenty of pillows available. We took the bedspreads off and put them in the bottom of the closet because of the issue of them not washing them. The bed then had a fitted sheet, with two
flats with the blanket in the middle. So we felt comfortable and clean enough sleeping. We're pretty sure they do NOT wash the bedspread between cruises. We left the cabin on the morning of debarking to go have breakfast, and when we came back our steward had already made up the beds for the incoming cruisers, and we believe she used the bedspreads we had in the bottom of the closet, since they were gone. I could be wrong...but I didn't see any stewards carrying around fresh bedspreads while they were going in and out of cabins. The GOOD thing about the beds being cots, was that we could lift them to slide our luggage underneath. We did see inside some of the outside cabins and those beds had BeautyRest mattresses.
Food was wonderful. The first RCL cruise I went on was the Empress of the Seas, and the food was okay to good. The second RCL cruise was Vision of the Seas, and the food was not very good. On THIS ship, we ate almost every night in the dining room because the food was so good. Escargot appetizer
was salty and TOO garlicky...and believe me, I'm Italian and LOVE garlic. You really couldn't taste the escargot. And the steak one night had little flavor, though others at our table said theirs was good. One table mate had tough veal one night and my sister didn't like cheesecake one night. Other than those single, small items, everything was really delicious...well prepared....hot....well presented. Great lamb chops, lamp shank, steak, salmon, scallop risotto, soups, Caesar salads. The breads were excellent. Even the coffee was pretty good. We were VERY happy with the food. And the Windjammer had decent food, hot and tasty for the most part. Breakfast sausages were a little overcooked, but all else was dee-lish.
Entertainment - There were 3 comedians, we saw 1st two and didn't like them. The 1st one we saw 2x, the second time being the "adult" oriented show, and after the first 5 minutes realized he still wasn't funny. The 2d one, something FELLOWES, apparently was well known many years ago, and the only
reason we know that is because he did an unfunny tribute to himself, where he flashed old pics of himself with different members of the rat pack. It was kind of sad, really. Really felt like the cruise ship was a place that old comedians went to die. We heard the 3d comedian was REALLY GOOD, but we
missed him. The magician was pretty good as were most of the production shows that we saw. The BEST entertainment was "MOSAIC", an all male a-capella group that was just incredible. They got a standing ovation. Would have loved to see them again.
This cruise was the first time I managed to stay up for the "QUEST" game, and I will NEVER miss it again!!! It was a blast.
Ports of Call.
MIAMI was a waste to us. Got bussed to the Bay City (something line that) market place, nothing but a great big, dirty tourist trap with expensive stores and restaurants. We walked through and got back on the bus and went to South
Beach. We enjoyed walking along Ocean Drive, seeing the sites, both buildings AND people. But for the most part didn't really enjoy Miami. ALTHOUGH, an English couple we met said they walked across the bridge from the pier, and came upon a Pirate Ship that cost 15.00 a person and it took them on a fun waterway tour. That might be trying if we're ever back in
KEY WEST - We've both been there before, and love Key West. This time we walked to the Southernmost Point and then stopped in the Butterfly Conservatory which was just amazing. Butterflies of all types flying around you, landing on you, etc. It was beautiful. We got a coupon on line for a
buy one/get one free coupon so it cost us about $5.00 a piece and was well worth it. People were handing out 10% off coupons on the street so we were glad we did our homework ahead of time.
PORT CANAVERAL - We did a Florida Adventure Airboat tour through the ship. We USUALLY book on our own, but thought since we didn't know anything about Port Canaveral, and Airboats can only hold so many people, it might not be
too crowded. And we were right. There were about 30 to 40 people, each airboat held 15 to 20 people. We saw alligators, ate alligator, held alligators. It was a lot of fun. The guy who owns the place obviously LOVES alligators, and was really animated talking about them.
COSTA MAYA - This was our first time here and we absolutely loved it. The market area right off of the pier is new and very nice. The stores were nice, you could bargain for some good prices and we thought they had some different stuff. Beautiful handpainted glasses, pitchers, etc. A swim up bar in a nice pool and nice lounging area. We went to the local fishing
village that I'm not going to attempt to spell, but it begins with an "M". Snorkeled off of a little motor boat when we found that snorkeling off the beach was not possible. Negotiated a good price for 2 back to back trips out (10.00 per person each, for 40 minutes of snorkeling each trip). Was great fun. Saw lots of colorful fish.
COZUMEL - This was our 2d time there. We both love Cozumel. The people are friendly and the beaches are great. We snorkeled off the beach at Playa Ouva and Playa Corona. Both NON Touristy spots that had about 10 people at each place. Snorkeling was good, we saw an octopus at Playa Ouva, after I coincidentally got a henna tattoo of an octopus on my leg. Ate lunch, drank some beers, had a great time.
This was a wonderful ship, a great cruise, and except for Miami, we would probably do this again since it's so convenient to go out of Baltimore (I live in Delaware). If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.