(The Grandeur of the Seas docked in Bermuda)
The Grandeur of the Seas is an older ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. This is in no way a bad thing. In fact in some ways it helps. In this review I’m going to go through the good and the bad. This review is going to cover the ship , its crew, and the service they provide.
Since it’s an older vessel it’s smaller. Its size is actually a positive thing. Too often people think bigger is better. Sure bigger might have some more amenities but it also means more people are on the ship. The more people on the ship the longer it typically takes to get on and off.
Too many people also impacts service. For example: this ship has had about 40 suites that qualified to use the concierge lounge. The newer ships have AT LEAST double that. By default your experience is going to be more impersonal when twice as many people are involved.
On the downside the smaller size means the ship is going to move more if the seas get rough. If you do not suffer from motion sickness this could actually be fun. If you are prone to motion sickness this could be a deal breaker for you.
(the view from deck 10 looking across the ship)
The Grandeur is a fairly basic ship. It does not have the features of the newer boats. For example the newer ships have what is basically a shopping mall. The Grandeur has a small shopping area. The newer ships have an area where you can surf or body board. Dream on you are not going to find that one the Grandeur. The only “new” feature that the Grandeur has is a rock climbing wall.
The main dining room is themed after the Great Gatsby. Thankfully they did not go overboard this it. If no one told you what it was themed after you might not even notice. Other cruise lines tend to be garish when it comes to their dining rooms. That is not the case with this dining room. Overall it has more of an air of elegance than other dining rooms because it’s not over the top.
Everything else is about average. The bars are what you would expect, the buffet is a normal buffet area, the pools are average for a cruise ship, and the layout is your typical cruise ship. The only thing slightly outstanding is the fact that there are only two main pools and one is reserved for adults. Newer ships tend to have more but then again they need more because they try to cram so many people on the ship.
This is one area where Royal Caribbean crushes NCL. The food was much better than anything you’ll find on NCL. Then again that isn’t too difficult considering NCL served stale bread and only the cheapest food in the dining room.
I will admit that Royal Caribbean does not live up to its original standards in this area. They do reserve the best food for their specialty dining locations but I don’t think you will find much to complain about. What I should say is Royal Caribbean maintains a high standard when compared to the current trends in the cruise industry. If you haven’t cruised in the past ten years you might be a little disappointed.
Now we come to a truly mixed bag. IF nothing goes wrong and you have no complaints, the service you will receive on the Grandeur is exceptional. The service is much better than anything you will find on NCL or Carnival. Sadly if something does go wrong you might find that they fall flat on their face.
To explain where they fail I will relate an issue I ran into. Our stateroom had a door that joined it to the next stateroom. This door was not insulated. You could hear EVERYTHING going on in the stateroom next to yours. It wasn’t just our imagination either. The door was so poorly insulated that you could see light coming through the door when you shut the lights off.
So what happened when we called to complain (background: RC did not disclose the fact that we booked an adjoining stateroom)? They informed us that we could not move because the ship was full (that’s not uncommon). Instead they offered to send security. I shot that idea down faster than a fat getting in line for an all you can eat buffet. For a moment think about Royal Caribbean was really proposing. Because they didn’t disclose the room was adjoining and they did a horrific job insulating the door they wanted to punish the people in the room next to us? Excuse me but, they paid a lot of money to go on vacation and enjoy it. They were not being excessively loud. How much of a jerk would I be if I had called security on them? It wasn’t their fault.
Can you imagine what it would have been like if I had let Royal Caribbean call security on my neighbors who were doing nothing wrong? What a fantastic way to start a vacation! I know when I go on vacation I want to piss off my neighbors on day one and then spend the rest of the vacation trying to avoid them even though it’s a small ship. Maybe I could set a bag of flaming doo poop in front of their stateroom door while I’m at it!
Instead of sending security wouldn’t it have made more sense to see if maintenance could find a way to sound proof the door a little? Maybe send a guy up with a thick blanket and have his shut it in the door? At least try something, anything to show you care at least care about the problem you created.
So I’m sad to say that the service barely breaks even. I’m sad to say that because a lot of the crew work their butts off to provide good service.
Most of the entertainment you will run into on the Grandeur is so typical of cruise line entertainment it’s not worth talking about. However there is one thing that sticks out. Royal Caribbean does atrium shows. They are aerial shows that take place in their main atriums (typically where they have their glass elevators). The one we saw was called Seasons. This show reminds me a lot of Circus de Soleil. It’s a fun show that is worth seeing.
The Grandeur of the Seas is a nice ship. I’d say I’d go on it again but the issue with the room left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I don’t know if I ever want to go on Royal Caribbean again (I’ll go into detail why in a future post).
If you are thinking about going on the Grandeur, look up your proposed stateroom! Make sure you know as much as you can about that room before it’s too late. If you get a nice stateroom the Grandeur will be an enjoyable ship to spend your vacation on.