Sailed from Baltimore on 29 November 2015 for a 10 day Western Caribbean cruise thanks to my parents who wanted to spend some extra time with their (one and only) grandchild. They also invited my mother-in-law (her first cruise); and a cousin and his wife. With all the ingredients for a comedy (or a horror) movie…it actually went very well. I can’t say enough good things about the Kids Adventure Ocean program that Royal Caribbean has. My five year old had a great time every time he went, they had his favorite toys, played games with him, had activities, read stories, saw movies, there were a few kids his own age so he had playmates. He was sad to leave the ship because of the fun he had so kudo’s to RCI for a great program. The rest of cruise was also very good.
Is the Grandeur of the Seas showing her age? Yeah…if you look hard for it. But it IS an intimate ship, we saw people multiple times a day and made good friends on board. It was nice not to feel like we were walking a marathon to go from one end of the ship to another. The food was OK, not spectacular, but it was plentiful and my family enjoyed the dinners. The cabins were small and the mattress and pillows were kind of thin, but overall I didn’t have much complaints, the showers were clean, the hot water plentiful and the stateroom attendant was great! The shore excursions were pricy, not sure if they were fully worth it; but mainly chosen for duration (five year old remember?) So we did the Mayan Chocolate Company and Tequila tour in Cozumel Mexico; the Glass-Bottom Boat and island tour in Grand Caymans; a 1700 Plantation and lunch tour in Jamaica and the beach at Labadee Haiti.
The Cozumel excursion was good and as advertised, we saw the making of traditional (Mayan) chocolate and got to try some, as well as visit a Tequila store where we had a tequila tasting as well as finding out how tequila is made. The glass bottom boat tour was sort of a disaster since my mother-in-law and wife got sea-sick. The rest of the tour was fun including the visit to the town of Hell. We had our best weather in Jamaica, the plantation tour was wonderful with a great tour guide. Lunch was jerk chicken and it was as delicious as you would expect. The Haiti excursions was at Labadee, the RCI owned peninsula where they have their activities. My parents sprung for a cabana at Nelly’s beach which made sense since we were a party of 8; the cabana was right over the water and it was great. Lunch was outstanding, and catered by the ship. Wife and MiL went beach combing and shopping. I paid 150 dollars for the “full ship tour” and I was definitely impressed, it took almost 4 hours and we went to the Bridge, Engine Control Room, Laundry, Theater, Kitchens (both 4th and 5th deck), and the Provisions - cargo area.
The cabins were small and the mattress and pillows were kind of thin, but overall I didn’t have much complaints, the showers were clean, the hot water plentiful and the stateroom attendant was great! We got adjoining cabins so my wife and i had a cabin and our son slept with his Grandmother in the adjoining room. It would have been very cramped with the fold-down bunk bed so I was glad we had this option.
Point of embarkation was great, the port folks were very helpful and very cheerful.
This is the Mayan Cacao Company, which had the recreation of a Mayan village and some village life as well as explaining ancient cocoa production, how to make chocolate, a demonstration of chocolate making and tasting of ancient cocoa drink (which you could flavor with additions)
Good talk from the owner about his families tequila making process, what goes into tequila production and how it is rated and how to judge tequila and how to drink it. Samples of tequila were very very good.
Because there was 8 of us in the party, we rented a cabana overlooking Nellie's beach and had a great time. The food was brought in off the boat and was fantastic. The shipping was hit-or-miss. The shopping int he buildings was fine but when you went to the artist crafts area you pretty much had to fight off the pushy shopkeepers. Although deals could be had if you are the bargaining type.