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WVHillbilly

Grandeur of the Seas – 9 Day Bahamas Cruise December 13-22, 2018

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This was our second cruise, the first being on Oasis of the Seas this past April.  We were so excited to take our first cruise that we booked the Grandeur several weeks after booking the Oasis.  The Grandeur was chosen for several reasons (1) less than 2 hour drive to board; (2) wanting to experience a smaller ship; and (3) hearing all the great experiences many have had on this ship.

DW and I are in our mid 60’s, recently retired and enjoying our new found love of cruising.  We are not what you call foodies, so the MDR, Park Café, Café Latitudes and the Windjammer are where we will be eating.  A good cup of coffee for me and a Latte for the wife is a must every day and we enjoy a couple adult beverages when on vacation, so we purchased the Deluxe Beverage Package at a great price for $39 per day.  I did not purchase the internet package so this is a post cruise review, maybe one day I will do a live review.  I had intended to do this review as soon as we got back but with the holidays and unpacking time got away from me.

I have learned so much reading other’s cruise reviews, I wanted to try and give a little back by writing about our experience.  I enjoy taking photos so expect a lot of pictures of the ship and the ports.  So here’s the itinerary for this cruise:

Day 1-Baltimore

Day 2-Sea Day

Day 3-Port Canaveral:  Will be staying on the ship, as we will be returning for a Disney/Universal vacation with some of our kids and grandkids next year.

Day 4-Miami:   Purchased the Hop On/Hop Off Bus Tour, must see will be the Art Deco District and Lil Havana.

Day 5-Freeport:  Will either stay on the ship or just meander around the port for a couple of hours.

Day 6-Coco Cay:  We have a clamshell reserved and this will be a relaxing beach and bbq day.

Day 7-Nassau:  Have an excursion to the Forts and Queen’s Staircase tour planned with Cheryl’s Bahama Taxi.  After the excursion, a walking tour of Nassau and the Pirate Museum and Pompey Museum is planned.

Day 8-Sea Day

Day 9-Sea Day

Day 10-Baltimore

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Day 1-Baltimore

Embarkation day, the morning was a flurry of activities, first order of business was to drop our dogs at the boarders, breakfast with Son #3 and DIL in exchange for the “taxi service” to the port.  

We arrived at the port at 10:30 am, dropped bags at the porters, thru security and check-in.  We were on board at 11:00 am; this was a pretty smooth and seamless embarkation. Had a short wait to unload the bags, and then walked straight into the building.  Had to remove my belt and empty my pockets (always a hassle) before going thru the magnetometer.   Then redress because I wear a belt for functionality not just appearance.  Walked straight thru to check in, picture taken, received our see pass and walked onto the ship.  I will say that everyone was polite and helpful from the porters, security and check in personnel.

 

Stepping from the gangway onto the ship is a great feeling, love hearing that ding from the sea pass card and the cruise is underway.   We boarded on deck 4 and stepped into the centrum, the ship was decorated for Christmas.  First order of business was to order our first drink of the cruise a Lava Flow; even though this is only our second cruise I have declared that the Lava Flow is our traditional embarkation day first drink.  Next order of business was to do a little exploring, checked out the Schooner Bar, pool deck, Solarium and stopped at Park Café for a lunch.  We each had a cup of cream of potato soup and we split a carved turkey sandwich.  It was a bit cool that day so that hot soup really hit the spot.  At 1:00 pm the announcement came that the rooms were open, after finishing lunch we went down to our room on deck 3.    

Below are photos of the Centrum on embarkation day.

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Day 1-Baltimore (cont.)

We had originally booked an inside room located mid-ship port side as we were concerned with how we would handle ship movement, remember this was only our second cruise.  Neither of us had ever suffered from motion sickness but we didn’t want to risk it on a 9 day winter cruise.  I kept checking prices and decided to upgrade to an ocean room, we settled on a port side room 3090 just off the rear elevator lobby on deck 3.  The room was very convenient being next to the elevators and easy access to other parts of the ship. The large window in this room was really nice.  I liked to leave the curtain open so I am awakened by early morning light also it provides some light for those night time bathroom runs.

 

I had viewed numerous photos of the rooms so I was familiar with the layout of the room.  One thing that I never was able to figure out was the clearance between the bed and the desk and the love seat.  I can report that there was sufficient room to walk around the bed, only stubbing my toe once.  As stated above the location was very convenient to all the areas that I wanted to be.  I will mention that the gangway entrance on deck 4 is directly above the room.  The gangway is loaded with barricades and other equipment, we were late leaving Port Canaveral (11:00 pm) so there was some noise associated with them putting all the equipment away after sail away.  I would also hear a little noise on other nights or early morning if someone was in the gangway room.  I’m a light sleeper so it may not bother others, it wasn’t a big inconvenience. 

 

After checking out the room, I located suitcase 1 of 3 in the stairwell, then it was off to explore the ship some more before muster drill.   Grabbed another drink and sat in the Schooner bar which would become our go to spot on this ship.  Muster was held inside because of the weather, we had muster station 6 and were on deck 4 port side.  Muster went fairly quickly and then we were off again to the room to check on our other luggage.  Suitcases were located in the stairwell, so we unpacked and got ready for dinner. 

 

We have early seating traditional dinning which was at 5:30 pm on this sailing.  We were at a 6 top table, met our table mates and our waiter Salmen and asst. waiter Jely.  Table mates were excellent, we had enjoyable conversations each night, we also joined the one couple at shows and the Schooner bar after dinner many nights.  Salmen was great and very entertaining and Jely was also very sweet.  Dinner was over after 7:00, but we were talking so didn’t notice the time.

 

After dinner it was off to the Schooner bar to listen to the piano player Ross Leadbetter.  I had read the many reports of how great the crew was on the Grandeur and they were right, we had two particularly outstanding waiters in the Schooner bar, Kadek and Leslie.  They always remembered our names and what we drank.  After 11:00 things were winding down including us so it was off to bed.  It was a little after midnight that we left the bay, we watched us cross over the bay bridge tunnel.

 

A few pics of a standard ocean view room.

 

 

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We are on the Grandeur 9-day sailing on 1/24! I love reading this review! It is really getting me excited for our cruise!! Can't wait for more wonderful details!

 

 

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We had an inside cabin roughly across from your cabin on our 12-day GoS.  Agree, it's a very convenient location.  We're also on the 1/24 trip, looking forward to your reports.

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1 hour ago, jennymcc said:

We are on the Grandeur 9-day sailing on 1/24! I love reading this review! It is really getting me excited for our cruise!! Can't wait for more wonderful details!

 

 

Thanks, she really is a great ship.  You'll have a great time.

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31 minutes ago, do_not_spindle said:

We had an inside cabin roughly across from your cabin on our 12-day GoS.  Agree, it's a very convenient location.  We're also on the 1/24 trip, looking forward to your reports.

 

Thanks, 

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Day 2-Sea Day

Sometime in the middle of the night the ship started rocking-n-rolling and continued into day three.  Seas were running around 15’ and the outside areas were pretty much closed off most of the day.  Learned later that lots were having problems with the rolling seas, but thankfully for us the only problems we were having was walking.

 

After showering and dressing it was off to Café Latitudes for coffee and then to the MDR for breakfast.  They were having the $10 flash sale this morning and it was a mad house, picked up a cheap watch for shore and the wife got two new purses.  After that went to the meet & mingle and veterans get together both were okay.  After lunch we went to the Family Feud Game Show and to the Solarium for a soak in the hot tub and a nap.  The Family Feud Show was funny and I began to see the difference a good cruise director can make.  The one on the Oasis was meh, but Mike is funny and very entertaining.  After getting ready for the first formal night we were off for a drink and pictures.   This was the one disappointment in the whole cruise, we had our pictures taken on the Centrum stairs and we never could find them.  Checked at the photo desk on the last sea day and the lady took the picture taken on the MDR that night as a reference and told us to come back in an hour.  When we came back she wasn’t there and they couldn’t find the MDR photo that she took. 

 

After dinner we headed back in to the Centrum and had our picture taken with the Captain by the Christmas tree.  Saw the headliner show with Rick Faugno; he is listed as a song and dance man.  His show was pretty good and in the style of performers like Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and the like.  After the headliner show we headed to the Schooner bar to finish out the night with a few adult beverages, talking with two of our MDR tablemates and listing to the piano man.

 

A few pics around the ship.

 

 

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Quite a difference isn't it, when your first cruise had 5400 people on it and your second cruise had 2400 people on it. This is when you learn whether or not you like large ships or small ships. 

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looking forward to the rest of your report, we are on the Grandeur March 22 ! The last ship I was on was Viking Orion - brand spanking new (we were the 2nd cruise) and only 900 passengers. I know RCI folks think the Grandeur is a small ship but it is going to seem like a mega ship to me.

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We have cruised on the Grandeur twice and loved each cruise. We simply love the smaller ships and the Grandeur was perfect.

 

Cheers

Len

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Jimbo   The Oasis was fun and honestly only felt crowded at the begining and ending of show, but the Grandeur seemed friendly and sitting in the Schooner bar was like going to a small intimate bar.  The Centrum was pretty crowded during shows.  Still can't decide between big or small wouldn't turn either down at the moment.  

 

cruzinwithmom   The crew on the Grandeur are fantastic and the ship is a nice size.

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Day 3-Port Canaveral/Orlando

By morning the seas had calmed and it was warming up, due to the storm the previous day our arrival into port was delayed by two hours.  We had purchased the Chops “Lobster Brunch” on day 1 so we weren’t in a hurry to get up for breakfast so we had a leisurely morning.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the brunch.  It included fruit, cheeses, a mound of shrimp, bacon, pre-cooked eggs and, omelets.  After the help yourself buffet, they brought out lobster for everyone.  It was the same lobster that they serve on the second formal night.  All in all we were not impressed could have just had a nice breakfast in the MDR.

 

We weren’t going ashore in Port Canaveral so the afternoon was spent exploring the ship and lying around in the Solarium.  We had learned from our two D+ dining companions that if we arrived at 5:15 pm they would start serving us.  They always wanted to go to the early show so that helped all of us, as we were done with dinner around 6:45 pm.  Tonight’s headliner show was Albert Lucas a comedic juggler.  He put on a pretty amazing show and has a pretty extensive performing career starting on the Ed Sullivan show and touring with Liberace.   We ended the night in the Schooner Bar listening to the Blue Ocean Duo.  Two ladies from the Ukraine played easy listening music on the guitar and viola. 

 

We had a late departure due to getting into port two hours late.  We were scheduled to leave at 11:00 pm but didn’t end up leaving to just before midnight.  I later heard that they were waiting for an excursion to get back.  This was the night that we heard all the noise above us when they were putting away the gangway barricades and equipment.

 

The Grandeur has some great art adorning her , here are a few pics :

 

 

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I love the sunrises and sunsets at sea, so here's a sunrise from day three and a few other pics of the beautiful ship.

 

 

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Enjoying your review.  The Grandeur is one of our favorite ships.  Can not wait to be on her March 28.  Enjoy the rest of your cruise.

 

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Day 4-Miami

Warning lots of pics are coming.  Miami will be our first shore day, as I had purchased a Hop on-Hop Off bus tour of Miami.  I had gotten a great price on Group On about half the cost of their web site.  The plan was to take the Beach Loop and get off in the Art Deco district and walk around taking pictures of some of the building, and then switch buses to the City Loop get off in Little Havana and have lunch and do some sightseeing.  We were two hours late getting into port so had to make a quick decision to forgo getting off in the Art Deco district.  I was up early and took some pictures of the sunrise and the Florida shore line as we came into Miami.

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Day 4-Miami

We joined Allure and Navigator in port today, once we received the all clear we left the ship and grabbed an Uber to Bayside Marketplace.  Uber cost was $6.13 + tip, this was our first time using Uber and it went pretty well and the driver was friendly.  I found the bus stop fairly easily and we hopped on the first bus heading around the Beach Loop.  The tour guide was very knowledgeable, telling us the story behind the settling of the area and how the Art Deco district grew and subtly changed throughout the 1920’s -1960’s.  I decided that if we got off in the Art Deco district, we wouldn’t have time to see Little Havana so all the pics are taken from the bus.

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Loving your review.  Have been on the Grandeur too many times to count.  The only thing we would have done different is to have the beds separated.  Really gives you more room, but that is our preference. 

Will be waiting for the rest of your review. 

Your photos are beautiful.  Thanks.

Edited by retiredgram

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Great Pictures of the ship and Miami. Here is a picture of the Christmas tree on the Grandeur in 2009.

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Miami (cont)

 

After touring Miami Beach area we went through the Wynwood District.  It is distinguished by the wall graffiti/art adorning the walls.  Some were pretty amazing.

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Back at Bayside we hopped on the next City Loop bus, this bus took us thru Coconut Grove, Little Havana and downtown Miami.  We got off in Little Havana to walk around, the bus stop was right in front of Domino Park the park was full of domino players.  We walked to the Bay of Pigs memorial taking pictures along the way, by now we were pretty hungry. 

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I had seen the reviews for a restaurant called “El Cristo Restaurant” so we wanted to eat there.  Remember I said we weren’t foodies, well we split a chicken empanada appetizer that was like tasting heaven.  I had the Cubano “El Christo” sandwich and the wife had the Cuban sandwich.  The sandwiches were large and we couldn’t finish them no matter how good they were.  If I had it to do over again I would have a made a meal of the empanadas, it’s a restaurant I would highly recommend.

 

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Sadly it was time to head back to the ship, we caught the next to last bus back to Bayside.  Stopped at a CVS to pick up some forgotten suntan lotion and aspirin and called for an Uber ($7.37 + tip) to get back to the ship. On the ship at 5:45 pm, all aboard was 6:30 pm.  We missed our dining time and we weren’t hungry anyway so it was a quick clean up then to the Schooner bar to exercise our drink package.

A few more pics of Miami 

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