Grandeur of the Seas - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Grandeur of the Seas


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 379 out of 500

Accommodation: 142 out of 200

Food: 240 out of 400

Service: 262 out of 400

Entertainment: 75 out of 100

Cruise: 272 out of 400

Overall Score: 1370 out of 2000

Grandeur of the Seas Statistics

Size: Mid-size Ship

Tonnage: 73,817

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9102978

Builder: Kvaerner Masa-Yards (Finland)

Original Cost: $300 million

Entered Service: Dec 1996

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 916.0/279.6

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 25.5/7.6

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (50,400kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 11

Total Crew: 760

Passengers (lower beds): 1,950

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 37.8

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.5

Cabins (total): 975

Size Range (sq ft/m): 158.2-1,267.0/14.7-117.7

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 212

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 14

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 9

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2 (1 w/sliding glass dome)

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


family-friendly mid-size ship with multiple-choice dining

Overview. Grandeur of the Seas looks good after a 2012 makeover. It also features a varied collection of artworks including several sculptures, principally by British artists, with classical music, ballet, and theater themes. Huge murals of opera scenes adorn several stairways. The children’s and teens’ facilities are good.

The Ship. Grandeur of the Seas (sister ships are Enchantment of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Splendor of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas) has an attractive contemporary profile, with a single funnel located well aft - almost a throwback to some ship designs used in the 1950s. The ship also has a nicely rounded stern. A large Viking Crown Lounge, a trademark of Royal Caribbean International (RCI) ships, sits between funnel and mast at the top of the atrium lobby, and overlooks the forward section of the swimming pool deck, with access provided from stairway off the central atrium. This, together with the forward mast, provides three distinct focal points of the ship’s exterior profile. There is a walk-around promenade deck outdoors, but there are no cushioned pads for the tacky plastic sunloungers.

While not as large as some of the newer ships in the fleet, Grandeur of the Seas is perhaps more suited to couples and families with children that don’t need all those bells and whistles, but want to cruise with up-to-date facilities and have multiple dining choices for more convenience. In 2012, Royal Caribbean added some of the dining options found on the larger ships, and enhanced the overall onboard experience by adding, for example, ship-wide Wi-Fi (it costs extra if you use it), flat-screen televisions in all cabins, and finger-touch digital ‘wayfinder’ direction screens.

A seven-deck high atrium lobby, called the Centrum, is the real focal point within the ship, and the social meeting place. In the most recent makeover, the whole area was revamped, and new features were added. On its various levels it houses an R Bar (for some creative cocktails), several passenger service counters, an art gallery, Casino Royale (for table gaming and slot machines - and viewing the theatrical glass-covered but underfloor exhibits), the popular Schooner Bar, with its nautical-theme decor and maritime art, Café Latte-tudes (for coffee), and library. Aerial entertainment happens in the Centrum, too.

There is a good use of tropical plants throughout the public rooms, which helps counteract the otherwise rather plain and clinical pastel wall colors.

Niggles include the fact that RCI charges for shuttle buses in many ports of call; the cost of bottled water is high; and receipts show an extra line ‘for additional gratuity’ when a gratuity has been added automatically.

Accommodation. There are numerous price grades, including several grades for suites. The price depends on size, and location, with location and grade perhaps more important since so many of the cabins are of the same, or a very similar size. All are well appointed and have pleasing decor, best described as Scandinavian Moderne, with good wood and color accenting. There are, however, a huge number of interior (no-view) cabins.

Royal Suite. This is the largest accommodation, located directly aft of the navigation bridge on the starboard side. It has a separate bedroom with king-size bed, walk-in closet and vanity dressing area, living room with queen-size sofa bed, baby grand piano, refrigerator and wet bar, dining table, entertainment center, and large private balcony. The bathroom has a whirlpool tub, separate shower enclosure, two washbasins, and toilet.

Owner’s Suites. These suites are at the forward end of the ship, just behind the navigation bridge. They have a queen-size bed, separate living area with queen-size sofa bed, vanity dressing area, refrigerator and wet bar. The bathroom has a full-size tub, separate shower enclosure, toilet and two washbasins.

Royal Family Suites. These suites include two bedrooms with twin beds that convert to queen-size beds, living area with double sofa bed and Pullman bed, refrigerator, two bathrooms (one with tub), and private balcony. They can accommodate eight, and so might suit families.

Grand Suites. These have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed, vanity dressing area, lounge area with sofa bed, refrigerator, and a bathroom with tub, plus a private balcony.

Superior Suites. These suites, including two suites for the disabled, have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed, vanity dressing area, lounge area with sofa bed, refrigerator, plus private balcony, and a bathroom with tub. Although they are called suites, they really are little more than larger standard cabins with a balcony.

Other grades. All standard cabins have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed, ample closet space for a one-week cruise, and a good amount of drawer space, although under-bed storage space is not good for large suitcases. The bathrooms have nine mirrors. Plastic buckets are provided for Champagne or wine and are really tacky.

All grades of suite/cabin include a hairdryer. The room service menu is really minimal, with only the most basic selection - there are no hot items for breakfast, for example.

Dining. The 1,171-seat Great Gatsby Dining Room is spread over two decks, with both levels connected by a grand, sweeping staircase. When you book, choose one of the two seatings for dinner or ‘My Time Dining’ - so you can eat when you want, during dining room hours. A neat Champagne terrace bar sits forward of the lower level of the two-deck-high dining room.

Other dining options. A cavernous, 790-seat, glass-walled Windjammer Café is a casual, eatery for self-serve breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet items. Note that there are no cups and saucers for tea - only paper cups or plastic mugs, and only plastic plates are provided (so hot food doesn’t stay hot).

For decent (extra-cost) Seattle’s Best espresso/cappuccino, head for Caffe Latte-tudes on Deck 6.

In the 2012 makeover, extra dining options were added. These include Giovanni’s Table, an Italian trattoria (a service charge applies); Izumi (located in a delightful spot just forward of the funnel) for pan-Asian cuisine including hot-rock cooking (service charge and à-la-carte menu pricing apply); Park Café outdoor market; Chops Grille steakhouse; and Chef’s Table, an exclusive hosted event (it is located on the starboard side aft, within the dining room) with a five-course, wine-paired menu; worth it for celebrating a birthday or special event, perhaps.

Entertainment. The 875-seat Palladium Theater is the ship’s principal showlounge. It is located at the forward part of the ship, and is used for big production shows. It has excellent sight lines from 98 percent of the seats.

Another showlounge, the 575-seat South Pacific Lounge, is used for smaller shows and cabaret acts, including smutty late-night adult-only comedy.

Spa/Fitness. The Vitality at Sea spa is aft of the funnel and spans two decks. Facilities include a gymnasium with all the latest muscle-pumping exercise machines, aerobics exercise room, sauna and steam rooms, a beauty salon, and a clutch of private massage/body treatment rooms. The spa is staffed and operated by specialist Steiner Leisure.

For the sporting, there is activity galore - including a rock-climbing wall with several separate climbing tracks. It is located outdoors at the aft end of the funnel (just behind the Vitality at Sea spa). A jogging track takes you around most of the ship (it’s outside, on Deck 10)