What a great cruise!Embarkation at Baltimore could not be easier -- you park your car only a few yards from the ship, check in and walk onboard.
The Grandeur is showing her age -- stains on the rugs, numbers rubbed off on the elevator buttons, dents in the doors -- but she is still spectacular and classy.
And I can't say enough about how wonderful the crew is -- always ready to help. There are lovely, smiling people in the shops ... the waiters get to know you by name and bring you what you want without asking ... the guest services people go out of their way to assist you.
The food is wonderful, both in the Great Gatsby restaurant and in the buffet -- plentiful, delicious and a great variety. The only flaw here is the same lunch menu every day with a daily special -- many of the offerings are very spicy. The lobster we had on the 2nd formal night was the best I've had in 15 sailings. The fruit soups are yummy, too.
Another brilliant touch is the Cruise Compass daily program. There is a tear-off to take with you in your pocket, so you don't have to stuff a whole 4-pager into your shorts. I assume RCCL has this feature on all ships, and it is just great.
The rooms were decent. We had 2 adjoining rooms on deck 3. At the beginning of the voyage, the air conditioning worked poorly, but by the end it was perfect. There was a slight problem with flushing the toilet due to inadequate water pressure, but this didn't happen too often.
The ship was "ruled" by bands of roving teens, but I've come to expect that. After all, where are they going to go? This is their "mall" for 10 days.
If you are going to try the rock climbing wall, being in good shape (which I am not) is a definite plus. It is really strenuous!!!
The entertainment was just so-so. The cruise director, Drew Devine talks too fast. The comedians onboard were not terrific, just OK. The best act of all was the acapella group, Mosaic. They were amazing! Unfortunately, I was not impressed by the production shows, especially the 2nd one, "Broadway Rhythm and Rhyme." It was a bastardization of Broadway, modifying just about every number to a disco beat!
The ports: Freeport: Not impressive at all. Freeport is NOT Nassau. Oil refineries, decaying boatyards, decaying hotels -- not at all pretty. We took the semi-submersible submarine shore excursion, but it was just OK. You can see the same fish snorkeling, and it's hot down there.
Coco Cay: Shall we call this Hot Coco Cay? They really should supply umbrellas in the sweltering heat. But the good points are, the buffet has a big selection and the water is gorgeous. Go get extra hamburger buns and feed the fish!
Key West: A nice port. I enjoy its funky attitude. Luckily, the weather was cloudy, so we could walk the streets in comfort.
Cozumel: If you don't mind the natives trying to lure you into their shops every 5 feet, there is good shopping. My husband had gotten a bad sunburn in Coco Cay, so we couldn't return to our favorite beach, Mr. Sancho's -- a place I highly recommend.
Port Canaveral: We didn't make it here on this particular sailing because the captain wanted to avoid Hurricane Katrina. However he handled it, it was done brilliantly, because we got around the storm with miniscule rocking. You could hardly feel any motion on this ship. So, anyhow, we had a nice day at sea -- which I prefer anytime to a day schlepping through DisneyWorld in 90-degree heat.
One special feature I could appreciate on this ship was the crew's sense of being a family. The entire staff, right up to the captain, goes by a first name basis. And the nice part is, they make you feel like a family, too.