The Palladium Theatre has excellent sight lines, seating on fixed banquettes and drink holders on armrests. Expect several performances by the ship's singers and dancers (while the caliber isn't the greatest, it's nice to hear a live orchestra backing them up), as well as specialty acts, like an a cappella band, a rock violin player or a comedian. Shows are generally at 7 and 9 p.m.
* May require additional fees
Grandeur of the Seas entertainment staff works hard to keep things moving, particularly on sea days. Multiple trivia sessions, some of them themed and others general knowledge, are held throughout the day. In addition, you'll find dance classes, paper airplane competitions, art auctions, wine and whiskey tastings (extra charges), napkin folding seminars, fitness seminars and shopping sales. Bands perform poolside, as well as in the Centrum, starting around 3:30 p.m.
If shows aren't your thing, there's usually a music trivia around 7:15 p.m., followed by a game show in the South Pacific Lounge. Stalwarts such as the Love and Marriage game show and the Quest adult scavenger hunt take place around 10:15 p.m. The Centrum has bands for live dancing, and various theme nights, such as a 70s night, are hosted here as well. Deck parties can also have a theme, such as tropical or the 80s.
The Casino Royale is fairly large, and winds through midship on Deck 5. It's a smoking venue, and sometimes the odor bleeds onto the rest of the deck. Slots open at 8 a.m. on sea days and tables open at 10 a.m.; everything goes late. There's a very cool glass section in the floor as you walk in from the Centrum that shows glittery pirate booty below. Tournaments take place throughout the cruise.
Part of Lady G's homey feel comes from the fact that there aren't as many bars onboard as you might think; once you pick your spot, you end up seeing the same people again and again. Although bars are technically open until 1 a.m., Grandeur of the Seas tends not to be a late-night ship. We found it dead by midnight.
R Bar (Deck 4): The lowest level on the Centrum serves up classic martinis in a setting that's supposed to be 1960s mod decor. The bar and additional comfy seating surround a small dance floor and bandstand; there's almost always someone sitting here. The R Bar is where much of the ship's action takes place, including cooking demos, dance classes and themed dance parties.
Casino Bar (Deck 5): Located within the casino, this bar is one of the few that's open late. The casino does allow smoking.
Schooner Bar (Deck 6): The clubby yet whimsical Schooner Bar has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that look onto the outdoor promenade one deck below. Here, the floor by the bar is actual teak decking, varnished and polished to a rich, glossy mahogany sheen. Several tables feature ersatz bits of masts and rigging sprouting from them like transformed umbrellas. A piano with sing-along seating is there for evening entertainment and trivia game purposes.
South Pacific Lounge (Deck 6): This lounge is the ship's secondary performance venue, but it's strangely off-the-beaten-track, as you must walk through the Schooner Bar to get to it. It plays host to art auctions, game shows, bingo games, dance lessons and dancing to live bands, karaoke and various presentations, from future cruise sales to shopping talks.
Pool Bar (Deck 9): The pool bar provides drinks for sunseekers, mostly of the tropical nature. It was a little too close to the smoking area for our taste, but when you need a pina colada to quench your thirst on a hot day, it's your closest option.
Solarium Bar (Deck 9): The adults-only Solarium has its own bar, although we rarely saw anyone here. It's convenient if you want to stay within the confines of the Solarium, which is almost always covered, despite having a retractable roof.
Viking Crown Lounge (Deck 11): High above the rest of the ship, the space age-style Viking Crown Lounge is undoubtedly the coolest bar onboard. So why aren't more people here? It's quiet during the day, offering spectacular views for readers who make it up there. Before dinner, private events are often held here and late at night it becomes the disco (which on our cruise was mostly a bust).
Grandeur of the Seas has two pools, and they are both a nice size. The outdoor main pool is salt water and has a ledge where you can sunbathe without getting all the way in. We also appreciated that of the four whirlpools out here, two on each side were specifically designed for either kids or adults; this seemed enforced on our cruise. Lounge chairs surround the pool on two levels. Live music plays out here during the day, and there's also pool games like the Hairy Chest contest, officers versus passenger pool volleyball and Connect Four. The outdoor movie screen shows fun videos during the day and usually two movies in the evening, at 6 and 9 p.m. A soft serve ice cream machine is located near the entrance to the Windjammer Cafe.
The second pool area, the Solarium, is designated for adults and has a minimum age limit of 16. It's spacious and has a retractable roof, and we saw it used by many people not only for swimming but for card games and reading. The Solarium has two whirlpools, as well as a bar and the Park Cafe. It's quiet, with no band, although since it's right near the spa, you'll see a lot of people pushing treatments and seminars.
Lifeguards were present at both pools.
Grandeur of the Seas is short on Royal Caribbean fixtures: There's no FlowRider, for example, or mini-golf. The ship does have a rock climbing wall, but you have to work to find it on the back of Deck 10. Appropriate outfits for climbing are socks and dry T-shirt with shorts/pants; not bathing suits. Children must be 6 or older to climb, and parents must supervise kids under 13 (and sign waivers for those under 18).
Shuffleboard is located outside on Deck 10. Table tennis is on Deck 9, in a protected corner of the pool area.
Most of the ship's lounging spaces are near the pool, but near the funnel in the fore of the ship, there's a small sun deck that's essentially on top of the Windjammer Cafe buffet. This is where you'd go if you want to get away from everyone, but we warn you, it can get windy.
The guest services and shore excursion desks can be found on Deck 5 in the Centrum. Right above, on Deck 6, is the photo gallery, where you can view and purchase pictures taken by the ship's photographers. Thumbs-up to the machines that show you all photos of you when you insert your cruise card; thumbs-down to the costumed crew members hounding you every day to take photos with them. Around the corner are the art auction desk and a mini-gallery.
The Royal Caribbean shops are also on Deck 6. You'll find some jewelry stores, a liquor store, a cosmetic/perfume store and a shop selling T-shirts and logo gear.
On Deck 4, adjacent to the R Bar, is the Royal Caribbean Online internet lounge, which offers real-time access to the web, 24/7. The ship is now outfitted with Voom Wi-Fi. Packages can be ordered by number of devices and come with two choices: surf, where you can browse, use social media sites and get email; and surf and stream, where you can video chat and stream movies, shows and music. At least that's the idea. We found Voom to be extremely slow and had trouble uploading photos. One device costs $12.99 per day to surf; $17.99 per day to surf and stream. If you're with a family, go for the four-device package, which is $9.99 per day, per device for surf and $13.99 per day, per device for surf and stream. A single day pass is $19.99 per day, per device for surf and $27.99 per day, per device for surf and stream.
A small library is located on Deck 4's starboard side, but we found the selection to be minimal.
Conference rooms are located near the dining room on Deck 4 with a medical facility on Deck 1. There is no self-service laundry on Grandeur of the Seas, nor are irons permitted in cabins.
The Vitality at Sea Spa is located at the aft of the ship on Deck 9. The complex includes the spa, a salon and stairs leading to the fitness center on Deck 10. Medi-spa and acupuncture hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the spa and fitness center open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.
Unlike other ships that try to cram in a lot of features like thermal suites into small spa spaces, the Vitality Spa feels roomy and spacious. Before your treatment, you're ushered into a relaxation room with aft views, water and tea, and plenty of chairs to actually relax. The changing rooms here each have a sauna and steam room; while the relaxation room is designated for people getting treatments, anyone can use the sauna and steam room at no charge.
The spa menu includes several kinds of massages (hot stone, bamboo, deep tissue, Swedish), body treatments (seaweed massage, Ionithermie therapy), medi-spa treatments such as Botox and fillers, and facials of all kinds. Prices are what you'd pay on land at a high-end resort, but discounts and packages are offered during port days and toward the end of the cruise. The spa also has acupuncture.
The salon has beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures, waxing, teeth whitening and hair services. Men's grooming treatments are also available.
The fitness center has quite a bit of equipment for a ship this size, although the lack of a real fitness room for classes means that the area can feel cramped in the mornings when many people are both using the machines and involved in yoga or stretching. Complimentary fitness classes include stretching and abs. Cycling, Pilates and yoga classes carry a $12 fee. Individualized personal training and body composition analysis are also available for a fee. The fitness center has an age minimum of 16, but teens between 13 and 15 can use the gym during certain hours if accompanied by an adult.
A rather nice walking/jogging path circles the ship on Deck 10; four times around is a mile. There's also a very pleasant promenade deck on Deck 5 that's great for walking. Jogging, however, is discouraged.
The kids program on Grandeur of the Seas isn't as large as what you find on Royal Caribbean's bigger ships, but it still divides kids up into reasonable age divisions. The area on the fore of Deck 10 has all of the kid and teen facilities, including Adventure Ocean, the teen club Fantaseas, the nursery and an arcade.
One thing that's special about Royal Caribbean is its autism program, which includes sensory-friendly films and toys, special diet menu options and autism-friendly Adventure Ocean staff. There's an autism-friendly toy lending program, as well as some activities; parents are encouraged to check in with the youth staff.
Lifeguards are positioned at both pools, although parents are warned to keep an eye on their children at all times. The main pool also has life jackets for small kids; no swim diapers are allowed in the pool.
Royal Caribbean's late-night group babysitting is in the form of the Late Night Party Zone, which runs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and carries a fee of $7 per hour, per child.
Royal Babies and Tots program is geared toward little kids, ages 6 to 36 months, and it takes place in the Nursery. The Nursery's main playroom is outfitted with all sorts of Fisher-Price toys, soft climbing structures and interactive play stations lining the walls. A huge flat-screen TV shows "Sesame Street," "The Wiggles" and "Thomas the Tank Engine" videos nearly nonstop. A back room has several cribs and a changing station.
The babies program works differently than Adventure Ocean. Most of its open hours are reserved for drop-off group babysitting, day or night, at a rate of $6 per hour, per child in the daytime and $8 per hour, per child after 7 p.m. Staff will change diapers, but you're expected to provide supplies (diapers, milk, bottles, sippy cups, etc.). Parents receive pagers to be buzzed if there's a problem.
During late afternoon, open-play sessions -- Fisher-Price playgroups and Crayola Beginnings art time -- older kids can come for free, but they must be supervised by a parent. The room is a wonderful place for little ones to play, and we discovered that if no tots have been dropped off, the staff will allow parents and kids to come in for additional open play time. Families can also borrow bags of toys for the duration of the cruise -- a neat idea so you don't have to pack your toy box.
Adventure Ocean is the main center for kids ages 3 to 11, and it's located forward on Deck 10. Children are placed into the following age categories: Aquanauts (ages 3 to 5), Explorers (ages 6 to 8), and Voyagers (ages 9 to 11). Children must be potty trained to participate. Only Voyagers are allowed to sign themselves in and out, with prior parent permission. There's also a limit on how many children can be in the program at any given time and only the first 15 Aquanauts and 25 Explorers and Voyagers can be signed in at one time on a first-come, first-served basis.
Adventure Ocean activities are available from 9 a.m. to noon, 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. On port days, the center opens a half-hour before the first excursion, but it's only open to families who have purchased their shore activities through Royal Caribbean. Age-appropriate activities may include finger painting, talent shows, pajama parties, karaoke, sports tournaments and scavenger hunts. Royal Caribbean also offers special kids' programs in science, art, theater and storytelling. Certain events are designated as family activities for parents and kids to do together.
During the day staff take kids to meals. Lunch is between noon and 1 p.m. in the Windjammer Cafe and doesn't require a sign-up. Dinner runs between 5 to 7 p.m.; while there's no charge, space is limited and kids must be signed up by 4:30 p.m. that day.
The teen program on Grandeur of the Seas covers those 12 to 17. Teen activity hours run from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and cover a variety of options. Think dances and pool parties, video game play, casino nights and sports such as dodgeball and organized rock wall climbs. The teen disco has a "mocktail" bar, dance floor and video game area. It's located off the all-ages arcade. Teen dinners also take place at the Windjammer Cafe at 8 p.m. Curfew for all passengers under 18 is 1 a.m.