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Making an attempt Royal Caribbean’s oldest & smallest ship, Grandeur of the Seas, was higher than we envisioned

Royal Caribbean is thought for having the most important, most technologically superior cruise ships at sea. The cruise line’s commercials are full of households having adventure-packed holidays on Royal Caribbean’s most enjoyable ships. Every little thing in Royal Caribbean’s advertising and marketing is colourful and upbeat, with the promise of providing a fun-filled cruise trip in your entire household. 

In truth, the cruise line’s latest ship, Icon of the Seas, shall be making her extremely anticipated debut in January 2024. The large ship will take the coveted title of being the most important ship on this planet, clocking in at an astonishing 250,000 gross tons and holding shut to eight,000 passengers. 

With all of the hype across the latest and largest ships, you would possibly neglect that Royal Caribbean affords cruises on considerably older and smaller vessels. The fleet’s oldest ships may be discovered within the Imaginative and prescient Class of cruise ships, which supply a completely totally different Royal Caribbean expertise than you may think. 

Presently, the oldest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet is Grandeur of the Seas, which was constructed practically 26 years in the past in 1996. Though Royal Caribbean introduced in 2019 that the ship could be bought, the pandemic altered the course of those plans. Now, Grandeur of the Seas will proceed to sail for Royal Caribbean for the foreseeable future.  

Given her age and measurement, many are fast to scoff on the considered cruising onboard Grandeur of the Seas. Who would need to spend their money and time crusing on a ‘rust bucket’ or ‘worn down’ cruise ship?

Properly, I took one for the workforce and determined to ebook a brief crusing onboard Grandeur of the Seas. I used to be hesitant to spend my money and time on a cruise ship that many wouldn’t even contemplate crusing on. However, I’ve sailed on Grandeur’s sister ships, Imaginative and prescient of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, so I had some real looking expectations in regards to the expertise.

After crusing on Grandeur of the Seas, I discovered this previous and small ship to be fairly charming, properly refurbished and effectively maintained. Others on the cruise shared how the ship holds a particular place of their hearts, fondly referring to Grandeur of the Seas as, “Girl G”. 

Right here’s how our expertise onboard Royal Caribbean’s oldest and smaller ship was higher than we envisioned.

Whereas Royal Caribbean has been recognized for its ship design and development, it’s arduous to imagine Grandeur of the Seas was modern at one level in historical past.

Royal Caribbean has been pushing the boundaries in terms of cruise ship measurement for many years. In truth, the cruise line has held the title of largest cruise ship on this planet since 2006. 

Most agree that Royal Caribbean’s push in direction of innovation is among the largest contributors to the cruise line’s success. This has undoubtedly helped set up the corporate as one of many world’s main cruise strains. 

However, again within the Nineteen Nineties, innovation seemed lots totally different than it does right now. Almost three many years in the past, Royal Caribbean was constructing ships for its new Imaginative and prescient Class. These vessels would debut as a number of the largest cruise ships on this planet, measuring a modest 73,000 gross tons. Whereas nonetheless not tiny for right now’s requirements, these ships provide a completely totally different cruise expertise.

When Grandeur of the Seas was first constructed, the ship was recognized for its glossy ship design, which featured a thoughtfully-designed format. Different options included superior know-how onboard and widespread, panoramic views of the ocean. 

We learn many detrimental critiques about crusing on Grandeur of the Seas in 2023, which had us questioning whether or not we wished to ebook our cruise or not.

Trying on-line, it appeared as if individuals both cherished crusing on Grandeur of the Seas or they completely hated it. Many web sites cite Grandeur of the Seas because the worst ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, comparable to US Information & World Journey.

Many felt the ship was boring and outdated. One individual described the ship as, “previous and raggedy” on Cruise Critic. One other felt just like the ship solely catered to an older crowd onboard with out a lot to do. 

“The Grandeur of the Seas is the more severe ship I’ve ever been on by FAR. It was rumored that this ship was going to be retired just a few years in the past and it ought to have,” mentioned one upset reviewer.

I’ve additionally heard rumbles from different cruisers that Grandeur of the Seas was the worst cruise that they had been on. Even our very personal Matt from Royal Caribbean Weblog mentioned he considers Grandeur of the Seas to be Royal Caribbean’s worst ship!

Evidently, my sister and I had been a bit of hesitant to ebook this cruise. Nobody desires to spend their time or cash simply to expertise a disappointing trip. It had additionally been greater than 5 years since my final time crusing on a Imaginative and prescient Class ship, so I used to be additionally desirous to see what the present expertise was like.

My sister and I booked a 4-night crusing from Tampa to go to Cozumel; our itinerary additionally featured two sea days. This was loads of time for us to expertise every little thing Grandeur needed to provide, together with eating, leisure, actions and extra. 

From the minute we stepped onboard, we had been welcomed into the nice and cozy and welcoming Centrum. 

The Centrum is a glass-covered atrium on the coronary heart of Grandeur of the Seas and options a number of locations to take a seat, most of which supply stunning views of the ocean. My sister and I discovered the Centrum to be one in all our favourite locations onboard throughout the cruise. We by no means had a difficulty discovering a spot to take a seat, even throughout boarding day. 

The primary morning, we sipped on our espresso whereas watching the ocean go by. I had forgotten this design function on Imaginative and prescient Class ships – and it is the most effective elements of Grandeur of the Seas. The glass panels enable a lot pure mild. You received’t neglect that you just’re on a cruise ship, in contrast to Royal Caribbean’s largest ships. I discover that on Oasis-class ships, it’s very simple to neglect that you just’re crusing on a cruise ship as a result of it’s so large and the indoor areas lack pure mild. 

Within the evenings and through sea days, the atrium remodeled into an leisure venue for reveals and reside music. I keep in mind my cruise on Imaginative and prescient of the Seas featured an aerial, acrobatic present within the Centrum, which was beautiful! Throughout our crusing, there was no atrium present supplied and it seems these reveals are now not working on Imaginative and prescient-class ships. This can be a disgrace, because it was a singular leisure choice and utilized the expansive area. 

Our crusing appeared to host a rowdier crowd, maybe as a result of Grandeur of the Seas affords low-cost sailings.

One of many largest surprises for this crusing was how rowdy our cruise was. Everybody was there to get together! Actually, you may have fooled me that this was a Carnival cruise with how many individuals had been on the cruise to let unfastened and have a very good time. I’ve by no means seen so many tables full of empty beer and booze glasses!

This isn’t essentially a foul factor, however I used to be stunned to discover a get together crowd onboard. Whereas many individuals fear about cruising throughout spring break, I had by no means thought of bachelorette and bachelor events seeking to cruise earlier than the autumn wedding ceremony season begins. My sister had simply returned from a cruise the week prior, and he or she additionally discovered many wedding ceremony events onboard celebrating the bride and groom. 

As such, the bars had been continuously packed and I felt just like the bartenders couldn’t sustain. Everybody appeared to have the drink bundle, which stored the bartenders scrambling. Since Grandeur of the Seas solely has just a few bars general, this meant they had been at all times packed! 

However, the ambiance onboard was additionally very energetic with a youthful demographic onboard. All the interactive occasions – just like the Love and Marriage Recreation Present and karaoke – had been very enjoyable and entertaining with this crowd. 

I envisioned that Grandeur of the Seas would possibly entice an older crowd, however this wasn’t the case in any respect. Maybe it’s because our crusing was very low-cost, round $466 every. For locals, this can be a low-cost getaway and the dates could be excellent over the weekend. 

I used to be notably involved about our stateroom’s situation, which we envisioned could be very outdated.

Final summer time, I sailed onboard Carnival Ecstasy, which was the oldest ship in Carnival’s fleet on the time. The ship was in-built 1991 and our cabin was very outdated. The worst half was the lavatory, which featured blue, squishy flooring and a rest room that was so near the wall, we needed to sit sideways. 

We had booked an inside cabin assure for this crusing and ended up in cabin 3505. Our stateroom was positioned on the very entrance of the ship on Deck 3. Inside cabins are sometimes barebones, though you’ve every little thing you want for a snug keep.

My sister and I had been pleasantly stunned by the cabin’s good situation. The stateroom was 142 sq. ft, which is comparatively small. The beds had been very snug and we appreciated having a loveseat for added seating. There was loads of storage between the self-importance’s drawers and the closet; we had greater than sufficient area for our 4-night crusing.

The lavatory was the most important shock – in a great way! I used to be stunned to see the lavatory with mild woodwork and white flooring. A lot of the older ships that I’ve sailed on from the Nineteen Nineties have colourful, but outdated, bogs for his or her staterooms. For instance, I sailed on Norwegian Solar this spring, which is one in all Norwegian’s oldest cruise ships, and our lavatory was lime inexperienced!

The bathe was the worst a part of the lavatory, because it was oddly formed like a trapezoid. The clingy curtain made the bathe really feel much more cramped.

After all, it was additionally comparatively small and we seen there was little counter area to share close to the sink. As a result of our lavatory additionally lacked any shelving, the counter turned cluttered shortly. Actually, the lavatory in our stateroom was in nice situation and exceeded my expectations. 

The meals onboard Grandeur of the Seas didn’t depart us upset, a lot on the contrary of others. 

One of many largest complains we noticed on-line was in regards to the meals onboard, with many complaining in regards to the Windjammer’s high quality and choice. “The meals tasted prefer it was prepackaged. Horrible meals choice,” acknowledged one assessment.

Throughout this crusing, we dined one night at Giovanni’s Italian after which the opposite three evenings in the primary eating room. Our specialty eating expertise was wonderful – my sister and I each cherished our meals. We heard from many others onboard that the primary eating room had a tough night on the primary evening, with many individuals complaining in regards to the meals.

After we tried the primary eating room for the primary time, we had been hesitant to see what others had been speaking about. Nonetheless, we had scrumptious meals and nice service. Our neighbors, who didn’t like their meals on the primary evening, mentioned the second evening was a lot better. We additionally preferred our meals on the opposite evenings within the eating room. 

The Windjammer buffet was extra hit and miss. The primary day, my sister had some pasta and pork that tasted very bland. I loved my scorching canine, however it’s arduous to mess up a scorching canine! We went again just a few different occasions all through and agreed the standard was hit and miss. I discovered there to be ample choice, however some gadgets tasted higher than others.

We additionally tried the opposite complimentary eating spot onboard, Park Cafe. This was positioned within the Solarium and served up pizza, salad and sandwiches. We grabbed lunch and snacks right here throughout the cruise, and we thought the meals and choice was first rate. 

General, the spotlight for us was specialty eating – appropriately whenever you pay additional for an elevated eating expertise! Nonetheless, we loved our dinners in the primary eating room though this gave the impression to be a degree on rivalry for others. The Windjammer was not our favourite – and the design of the area additionally result in a scorching and stuffy environment. We didn’t spend a lot time within the Windjammer due to this. 

You received’t discover dazzling leisure onboard, however there have been nonetheless loads of actions and issues to do.

You may be used to Royal Caribbean’s ships being full of waterslides, zip strains, surf simulators and infinite onboard thrills. Nonetheless, Grandeur of the Seas is nothing like this. The highest deck options one major pool and some scorching tubs. Close by is the adults-only Solarium, which has one other pool and scorching tub. There’s additionally a mountaineering wall on the aft of the ship.

However, I nonetheless assume you will discover loads of issues to do onboard. The leisure employees is working actions and internet hosting occasions reveals all day. You could find trivia, motion pictures and recreation reveals all through the day, The ocean days additionally function the Males’s Stomach Flop Competitors and Sexiest Man competitors, that are a hoot on the pool deck. 

Within the evenings, leisure is extra restricted in terms of manufacturing reveals. Some evenings solely had one showtime for a sure manufacturing. We had been in a position to see a comic one evening adopted by a singing and dancing manufacturing by Royal Caribbean’s singers and dancers. One other evening featured an impersonator because the headlining act. 

We loved all the reveals onboard Grandeur of the Seas and by no means felt like we had been bored. Have been these reveals completely jaw-dropping and life-changing? Not precisely. However, we nonetheless felt engaged and entertained.

I can see how an extended itinerary might really feel extra restricted on this sense. A smaller ship is extra restricted usually for leisure – and Royal Caribbean is thought for having a number of the most original reveals at sea (ice skating spectacles and high-diving reveals, for instance). If you happen to’re seeking to see the most effective of what Royal Caribbean affords for leisure, you’ll need to sail on a more recent and greater ship.  

You may not discover a lot pizzazz onboard, however Grandeur of the Seas shines along with her simplicity.

I wished to maintain an open thoughts about our Grandeur of the Seas cruise. In all honesty, I’ve by no means disliked any of the 38 cruises that I’ve been on. My mother and father used to at all times say, “If you happen to can’t discover one thing you want on a cruise, there’s one thing incorrect with you and never the cruise!”

Basically, I’ve discovered this to be true. I favor to deal with the constructive elements of a cruise expertise, even when the ship is previous and small like Grandeur of the Seas. 

Even nonetheless, I had low expectations for what the ship’s situation could be, together with what sort of cruise expertise this ship would provide. Studying so many unhealthy critiques had me and my sister a bit of hesitant about whether or not we might really feel that our money and time spent was worthwhile. 

My sister and I had been principally seeking to calm down and luxuriate in being pampered for just a few days. We wished to have enjoyable and sip a cocktail by the pool. In truth, this was one of the vital enjoyable cruises I’ve had shortly. I took a nap each single day – and I really got here again feeling refreshed. I’ve sailed on some cruises the place I really feel like I did a lot that I wanted a trip from my trip, however this was not the case.

Having a extra easy cruise was simply what I wanted. There was no stress to do every little thing and see every little thing as a result of Grandeur of the Seas is extra about simply having fun with the ocean life. Typically it’s good to disconnect from actuality on a cruise and make the most of the numerous quiet areas onboard.

This was one other lesson to take critiques with a acquire of salt. I used to be impressed with Grandeur’s general situation – actually.

I anticipated that Grandeur of the Seas could be in comparable situation to my latest expertise on Carnival Ecstasy (with damaged mirrors, rust all over the place and duct tape on the home windows), however this was not the case. I’d even argue that Grandeur of the Seas was in higher situation than my final Royal Caribbean cruise on Jewel of the Seas over the summer time.

We might inform the ship had been maintained very effectively – and we might even hear the fixed upkeep all through our cruise. There weren’t apparent indicators of rust or put on and tear except you had been purposely in search of them. Basically, the ship didn’t look its age. 

Would I need to do a transatlantic cruise on Grandeur of the Seas? In all probability not. For an extended crusing with extra sea days, I’d need to be one an even bigger ship with extra trendy facilities accessible.

For a brief getaway, I assumed Grandeur of the Seas was excellent. I’d undoubtedly ebook one other cruise onboard with out hesitation, though I’d most likely search for a port-intensive or destination-focused crusing. In case you are seeking to make Grandeur of the Seas your shifting resort whereas spending most of your days in port exploring, I feel the ship’s measurement and age is completely appropriate.

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