Grandeur of the Seas
February 28, 2008
I love the Vision Class Ships! Not too small nor are they so huge you feel lost. This was our second cruise and the first for three of our four kids; two adult age, one in Jr high. Our youngest daughter couldn't join us as her military training was extended.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn, Stadium on N. Dale Mabry. It is very clean, friendly, inexpensive and RIGHT behind Sam Seltzers -- best steak house in Tampa. The cab fare (which included the driver getting a ticket) was the same as from the airport. $25 including tip.
The Grandeur was a couple hours late returning to Tampa due to weather, so we had a bit of a wait even after arriving at the port at 10:30. Once we were ready to board, the processing was fast and efficient. And they had cookies, water, and tea to keep us amused while we waited.
We didn't have to go to a bar for our soda cards as they had a table set up in the atrium. We also bought a couple of drinks of the day and the poor bartender kept having to run up one deck to get some supplies.
The food was good all around, but no lobster on the shorty cruises. They did have seafood available most evenings. I had a pumpkin soup that was outstanding. The Wind Jammer? It's a buffet, good for a quick bite if you are short on time or just looking for a snack. Don't expect five star food if you eat here, but it is good enough. We preferred breakfast in the dining room. Better food and it's hot. As we never docked before 10 AM it was always a relaxed morning. If you choose this option, be sure and carry cash to tip your wait staff. Many didn't seem to leave a tip.
The Grandeur has a Seattle's Best Coffee shop. Good coffee and pastries!
The jazz bands in the atrium seemed to draw a pretty heavy crowd. Standing room only on formal night.
The teen activities were not well attended. My son tried a couple of times, but what young people there were tended to be pretty stand-off-ish and clique-y. They had to scrap the movie/swim night because the screen and projector were in the conference room with the Frigidaire people. My son gave up after a couple of tries and just spent money in the arcade or hung out with us.
The arcade has a machine that you put cash into and it loads up your Seapass card to use in the machines. Great way to keep an eye on what the kids are spending.
Adventure Ocean, on the other hand, seemed to be rocking most of the time. There are windows that you can see in and the smaller kids were having a blast!
The time in Key West was too short. A fellow pax said it best, "We are stopping in Key West for lunch." But enough time for a private excursion on the Liberty Schooner -- under full sail and we were the only five onboard. Dolphins were seen off to starboard a couple of times. Off to Ripley's and then it was time to get back on board. Extra security measures (DL, passport AND Seapass) slowed things down a bit.
We were a bit late getting into Cozumel. Then we had to wait while they docked Celebrity Century next to us, so in all we were an hour and a half late getting off the ship. Spent the day at a private beach through a private excursion where there were only two dozen of us on a huge beach. They never take more than one hundred at any rate. The service was stellar and the food even better. Then off to San Miguel to barter with the shop keepers. A good time for sure.
The only downside to this whole trip was the conflict of events with second seating supper. We missed a LOT of stuff that we wanted to do because we were eating dinner; i.e., wine tasting, C&A welcome back party, karaoke to name a few.
Disembarkation was much smoother than our first cruise. We were some of the last people off the ship and were at the airport by 10:00. Another bonus to being last off the ship is it is REALLY easy to find your luggage.