We cruised on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas on a repositioning itinerary, Boston to San Juan, 10/31/03. It appealed to us because it sailed from our hometown. There were 4 of us: my wife, our almost 2-year-old daughter, her grandmother, and me. My main reason for writing is to provide a heads-up to others with very young children: Royal Caribbean isn't for you.
I've had bad luck relying on travel agents, so I tend to research our vacations myself pretty thoroughly in advance. Before booking this trip, I looked up RCCL's website, other cruise websites & reviews, brochures, etc. to get as much info as I could. I noticed that there was a rule that the indoor pool/solarium was adults only, and that the organized Club Ocean programs were for kids 3 & up toilet trained, but couldn't find any other rules regarding diaper-aged kids, so I contacted RCCL directly. I asked if our daughter could at least use the outdoor pool, and use the playroom if supervised by us, and was told yes for both questions. Once on board, we encountered many large, boldly printed signs with stern rules clearly stating that children in diapers or pull ups were not permitted in any pool or playroom under any circumstances, period, even with swim diapers and parental supervision. Ouch. The Club Ocean supervisor simply handed us a bag with a couple of plastic toys in it to use in our cabin, as if this would solve everything for 8 days of sailing.
I'm not criticizing the rule. They can make any rule they wish and I respect that (although we've been to many resorts, health clubs and even public pools that don't have such a restriction. I don't know about other cruise lines). But it was frustrating that while they had no trouble stating this policy very clearly once on board, it is not written anywhere in any company literature available before booking/boarding. Further, their own people seemed to be unaware of this rule when I contacted them. Bottom line: If you have diaper-aged kids, find another vacation. I don't think RCCL wants or deserves your business.
Other comments about the cruise: Food: Fair to good banquet quality food. I was surprised that dinner offerings in the Windjammer buffet were about the same quality as in the main dining room. Service in both the dining room and the Windjammer at dinner (which we found easier with a 2 year old) were both outstanding. They treated our daughter like she was their own. At least the staff actually seems to like kids.
Cabin: Excellent. We had a 2 bedroom family suite Aft, which had a large living room with a glass wall overlooking a huge balcony facing the rear. Highly recommended. Since our daughter had limited recreation options on the ship, we used the balcony a lot and improvised water games with a beach pail and squirt bottle. (Of course, we could do that at home for free!) The cabin, and the ship in general, were in good condition. Itinerary: Boston/Bermuda/Antigua/St. Maarten/San Juan. A nice itinerary if you like lots of at-sea days, which we do. I found the port days rather stressful. In St. Maarten, for example, we shared the pier with RCCL's megaship Adventure of the Seas, plus the nearly as large Brilliance of the Seas, and another smaller ship, the Pacific. All together, this meant that about 7,500 passengers were descending on the Island at one time, total chaos. Just try to get a cab any place. by the way, Bermuda is in remarkably good condition considering they had a major Hurricane only about 5 weeks earlier.
Finally a minor gripe.I know that Main dining room seating isn't necessarily based on cabin price, but c'mon. We had the 2nd most expensive type of accommodation on board, and we were relegated to a dining room table in a dark, low ceiling area in a far corner of the room, next to a noisy busboy station. Couldn't they save those tables for folks paying bargain basement fares for inside cabins? I felt like we were being punished for something.perhaps for bringing a 2 year old on board, Royal Caribbean?