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Grandeur Perfect Day Thanksgiving sailing - Nov 23-30, 2019


spiralqueen
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Since I really enjoyed doing a liveblog this past May when I was on Allure, I thought I would give it another go on Grandeur. It will be as live as Grandeur's internet will allow so fingers crossed! 

Pre-cruise report:


Sailing:  November 23-30, 2019, Grandeur of the Seas, 7 Night Bahamas Perfect Day cruise

Sailing with:   Me (32), and my parents (not my age to tell)

Flying from:  NOWHERE! Baltimore means that we get to drive to the ship for once and don't have to worry about liquids or carry on sizes, or luggage weight. Happy day! 

Pre-cruise hotel:  NONE! Again, Baltimore means a 2 hour drive thus eliminating the need for a hotel. We plan to leave around 8:30 am so even if we run into traffic issues, we should be able to get there with plenty of time. (knock on wood)

 

The itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 – Baltimore
Day 2  – At Sea
Day 3 – Port Canaveral, FL
Day 4 – Coco Cay 
Day 5 – Nassau
Day 6 and 7 – At Sea
Day 8 – Baltimore

Not the most exciting itinerary in the world, but we were just looking for a nice easy get away for not much money. 
 

Cabin:  Interior for this trip. Since it's the second one this year, it's our cheap quick and dirty cruise. No need to get fancy for this get away! 

Pre-purchases: We got a really great price on an internet package at around $8/day and my mom and I will have the refreshment package. I also managed to snag a Chill Island cabana before prices ballooned so I'm really looking forward to that since I am a ghost of a human being and burn just looking at a cartoon of the sun. Since Grandeur is a tiny ship and will be the only one docking at Coco Cay, tickets to the waterpark were only $32 so I figured it would be fiscally irresponsible to not at least check it out on this sailing.You know, for research. The last thing we pre-purchased are day passes to the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau so I am quite curious to see what it's like. I've heard mixed things, so we shall see. 

Random Pre-cruise thoughts:

  • Please let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to check out or take pictures of for you. I am open to requests.
  • I'm very curious to see what the crew is like for this sailing since Grandeur has long been celebrated for the family like atmosphere. I have tempered my expectations though as I've heard that some of the crew are already leaving due to the pending sale. 
  • Forewarning that my idea of cruise fun is lounging and reading when on board so you won't catch a review of the rockwall from me! I do fully expect to burn through 5-8 books on my kindle though. So excited to make a dent in my "to read" list. 
  • I promise future posts will have more pictures! 
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I believe you will enjoy Grandeur.  She's a little lady with a big heart.

Don't forget to try the Park Cafe.  It's all the way aft just before you get to the Spa area on Deck 9.  It's an especially nice place to eat on embarkation day.  I think it opens up around 11:45.  Many people never even know that it's back there.  They often serve the kummelweck sandwich and cream of mushroom soup on embarkation day.  Yum, yum, yum.

Unless you've been on a Vision class ship before, it can be hard to get used to having the Solarium and the Windjammer reversed in location.  The WJ is on the front of the ship and the Solarium and spa are aft.  I have been on that ship at least a half dozen times and I STILL get mixed up on which way to go.  Once you get your bearnigs, though, it is very easy to get around.  It is noticeably smaller with much less walking than the bigger ships.

With the cooler weather, my guess is that they will have the sailaway party in the Centrum.  I would recommend that you get there early and plant yourself so that you will have a good seat for the music.  I love the Centrum areas on the Vision ships.

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving with your parents.

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3 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I believe you will enjoy Grandeur.  She's a little lady with a big heart.

Don't forget to try the Park Cafe.  It's all the way aft just before you get to the Spa area on Deck 9.  It's an especially nice place to eat on embarkation day.  I think it opens up around 11:45.  Many people never even know that it's back there.  They often serve the kummelweck sandwich and cream of mushroom soup on embarkation day.  Yum, yum, yum.

Unless you've been on a Vision class ship before, it can be hard to get used to having the Solarium and the Windjammer reversed in location.  The WJ is on the front of the ship and the Solarium and spa are aft.  I have been on that ship at least a half dozen times and I STILL get mixed up on which way to go.  Once you get your bearnigs, though, it is very easy to get around.  It is noticeably smaller with much less walking than the bigger ships.

With the cooler weather, my guess is that they will have the sailaway party in the Centrum.  I would recommend that you get there early and plant yourself so that you will have a good seat for the music.  I love the Centrum areas on the Vision ships.

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving with your parents.

Thank you! One of the things I forgot to mention in my first post is that we sailed on Enchantment right after Thanksgiving last year so I like that we will have a little bit of a head start in knowing the layout of the ship. I'm very much looking forward to the Viking Crown lounge again. Those views! And yes, I will be making amble use of Park Cafe there since the Solarium is basically my home base on sea days. 

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On 11/21/2019 at 4:35 PM, PRebecca said:

I love the idea of relaxing low key on a cruise vacation

 

Can't wait to read about it, thanks for bringing us along!

Yes! I'm really looking forward to unwinding after some stressful months at work. 

21 hours ago, Sweety said:

Following. Grandeur is one of my favorite ships. I have two more sailings on her.

Thank you for following along! I'm really excited to get to know her as I know so many people are in love with this ship. 

20 hours ago, Dan Curtis said:

Enjoy the cruise, relax and soak up some sun, we did a four day get way in September on Majesty, really enjoyed it.

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed your Majesty getaway. Nice long weekend on a cruise, what is better???

 

20 hours ago, Va4fam said:

Following along....we live about 2 hours away from Baltimore and plan to sail on Grandeur next fall or winter before she moves on.

Have a great cruise!

 

Thanks for following! I really love how centrally located Baltimore is to so many different areas. I'm so used to having to fly to a port that I'm really looking forward to this change of pace. 

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It is amazing how much realizing it’s cruise day when you wake up immediately jolts you to alertness without the possibility of going back to sleep. My (first) alarm was set at 6:30. I first woke up at 5:30am having to go to the bathroom. I was a goner after that. Lol oh well, I shall just use the extra time to double check that everything is packed and do a bit more straightening up before I leave in an hour and a half. 
 

To be fair, this little angel dropping her stick toy on my face because she wanted to play ALSO didn’t help my possibility of going back to sleep....

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We had a wonderful, relaxing week on Lady G earlier this year, you'll have a great time.  I wouldn't worry too much about the crew, as they are on contract and I highly doubt they can just leave.  The ship is around for a while, so there will be many contract changes throughout the next few months.  I'm curious what is happening with John and Katrina when Grandeur is gone.

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4 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

It is amazing how much realizing it’s cruise day when you wake up immediately jolts you to alertness without the possibility of going back to sleep. My (first) alarm was set at 6:30. I first woke up at 5:30am having to go to the bathroom. I was a goner after that. Lol oh well, I shall just use the extra time to double check that everything is packed and do a bit more straightening up before I leave in an hour and a half. 
 

To be fair, this little angel dropping her stick toy on my face because she wanted to play ALSO didn’t help my possibility of going back to sleep....

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Haha, they always know when you're going away, don't they?

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We are boarding today as well, but on Adventure. Yay!

Have a great cruise!

 

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1 minute ago, FionaMG said:

Haha, they always know when you're going away, don't they?

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We are boarding today as well, but on Adventure. Yay!

Have a great cruise!

 

Omg how adorable!!! Yes, and they always make you feel guilty! The worst is when they curl up in your open suitcase and you have to kick them out. Have a great cruise as well!

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On 11/21/2019 at 4:09 PM, spiralqueen said:
  • Please let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to check out or take pictures of for you. I am open to requests.
  • Forewarning that my idea of cruise fun is lounging and reading when on board so you won't catch a review of the rockwall from me! I do fully expect to burn through 5-8 books on my kindle though. So excited to make a dent in my "to read" list. 

I'll be sailing Grandeur in April 2020. I am curious to know how big/nice the showers are in the gym as compared to the staterooms. I'll be sharing a stateroom with a gal pal and am considering taking showers in the gym so that we are not both trying to get ready at the same time in such a small space.

I am with you on the lounging and reading. I already have a stack of books for my suitcase. I should probably consider going the e-route to avoid dragging a library of hard copies with me ☺️ Looking forward to following along!

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 Ok let’s try this at 6am instead of 9pm when the Internet was really not having it! Some of my photos are having trouble uploading, but I’ll post what I can. The internet isn’t the WORST, but it’s definitely not Oasis class WiFi.
 

Embarkation day! The drive down to Baltimore from the Philly area was a breeze once we got past Wilmington or so. Bit of traffic on 95S but nowhere near the traffic there would have been if there was summer shore traffic. We ended up getting on the road proper sometime around 9am (had a CVS pit stop for some last minute items). Arrived at the port around 11:20 and waited in line for luggage drop off. The luggage drop off process is definitely faster in some of the FL ports, but that’s just because there was way more porters there. I only saw 2 guys working through the line of cars. We weren’t waiting super long. Maybe 5-8 mins? Just wasn’t instant. After we dropped off the luggage, we were directed to go to the parking lot where it is $15 a day. I did notice a sign that said they don’t take Discover. After parked, we took our carry ons to the terminal to start the security process. Luckily my parents just hit Platinum on our last cruise so we got to go through the express security line. That definitely saved us some time. 
 

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For Grandeur they still give you your physical sea pass card at check in as opposed to in your room. When we were through security and checkin, we were able to board right away so that was nice. When we got on, we pretty much made a bee line to the Solarium to stake out some seats and grab lunch at Park Cafe. I have to say, for a small ship their roast beef sandwich rivaled the one in Allure’s Park Cafe. The rolls were incredibly fresh and I’m a huge bread snob. I’m of the opinion that bread makes or breaks a sandwich. 
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At Park Cafe in the Solarium they also had some pizza which was decent but pizza from Sorrento’s is better, and some sandwiches and quesadillas which looked interesting. I recommend going to Park Cafe with a buddy because once you have your food, it’s really hard to get your drink one handed. It helps to have one person hold the food while the other gets the drinks. 
 

After lunch, we grabbed some loungers and my mom got to her very important work of watching the Penn State vs Ohio football game on her phone. (NB: she had some issues with seeing the game once she switched to the WiFi from her data because it was saying it couldn’t show the game in that region. Could be because the WiFi shows as Miami even in Baltimore. I know sports are weird with their regional licensing). I went to keep my dad company when he went to guest services to add cash to his account as he doesn’t like keeping a card on file. The line wasn’t too bad around 12:30 when we went down but it was CRAZY after muster drill. If you need guest services on the first day, I def recommend sooner rather than later. I made a quick stop over to the excursion desk when he was in line to see if it’s 100% true they are always assigning the Coco Cay cabanas instead of you getting to choose one. It is, but we got a very good one I think. Cabana #2 on Chill Island! All the information was in our rooms when they opened at 1pm. 
 

When rooms opened, we made our way to deck 2 and found the room. We have an inside cabin this time and it was quite a shock after having a Junior Suite on Allure for our last cruise. It’s not that bad once you are used to it and everything is put away, but it looks very cramped at first. I noticed that the beds weren’t separated like we requested and my mom’s extension cord and distilled water for her CPAP wasn’t in the room so I made a mental note to mention it to our stateroom attendant after muster drill. Carry ons being dropped in the room, we went up to the Centrum to figure out what to do until muster. 
 

I should rewind a second to explain what we decided. So for Thanksgiving 2021, we had originally been talking about trying out a land all inclusive in Mexico somewhere. When Royal Caribbean bookings opened for 2021-2022, I went to make a refundable backup reservation in case we couldn’t find pricing or a location we were happy with on the land AI front. I noticed that there were some ABSURD deals for suites on the newly refurbished Oasis of the Seas over Thanksgiving 2021. I booked a refundable Junior Suite as that’s the highest room category you can still book refundable and posted in the Insider FB group about how I was having preemptive FOMO over the pricing of the 2 bedroom grand suite. 3 people in the room came out to $1,550 each. For a grand suite. A TWO BEDROOM grand suite. Well, I mentioned to my mom before this cruise that I had made the backup reservation and made a casual comment along the lines of “its a shame we don’t know what we are doing for that vacation because if we were ok with non refundable, we could get the 2BR suite for this price”. This was on Wed. Well I guess my mom kept thinking about my comment because out of the blue, while we were in the security line, she said “you know, I’ve been thinking about what you said about the 2 bed room suite”. And I POUNCED. Launched into full out selling mode, talking about the benefits that come with Sky class vs Sea class (highest we’ve done so far) and her eyes got brighter and brighter lol. I also said “let me know if you are serious, bc we can make this happen. A quick trip to Next Cruise and we can get this booked with some nice OBC as well”. Backstory done. After we put our stuff in the room, she said “so...about Next Cruise.....” and I got excited. I quickly looked the room up online to make sure it was still available and we wouldn’t be wasting a trip. I saw that the room category was still listed, but if you clicked on it, it gave an error message that it was unavailable. I vaguely remembered hearing that that can happens if a TA has a soft hold on a room or if someone was looking at it too close to when you were so we decided to try anyway since they likely have some override tools. As luck would have it, we snagged the last room in that category and even the Next Cruise guy was shocked at the price. We also got $450 in OBC which I think we will be able to spend somehow.... as a bonus we got a bottle of champagne since we booked on the first day. So my dad got a reward for sitting through the appointment that his wife and daughter dragged him to since he’s the only one who likes champagne in the group. 
 

After that, we hung around the centrum near R Bar and there were servers coming around seeing if you needed drinks. The server was super hard working and never let your glass get empty without checking to see if you wanted something else. I noticed that my dad ordered 2 beers in a row so I mentioned to him that he has the BOGO for beer/wine on his card and the server overheard and unprompted brought my dad a printout of all the C&A coupons on his card. So thoughtful! Eventually they began making their muster announcements and they went through the alternate muster drill locations since it was a bit too chilly to hold outside. I didn’t keep track of where all of them were, but I know 2&3 were in the theater on deck 5. I have to say, muster drill is much more tolerable when you are sitting in a nice theater seat as opposed to standing outside praying you don’t get sunburn (recall, ghost of a human being). 
 

After muster, we went up to the Viking Crown lounge to watch sail away. Love all those windows and omfg the seats are so comfortable!!!! I could easily see you accidentally taking a nap in one of them. It was really cool going under the first bridge. It definitely looked like we wouldn’t make it, but of course we did.

 
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After hanging around there for quite awhile, I suggested going back to the room to see if our luggage had arrived. As we walked up to the room, we didn’t see anything so I was preemptively disappointed. My mom said “maybe they put them in the room” and I replied “I highly doubt it” as the door swung open to reveal....our bags! “Well. I take that back. That’s really nice of them to bring our stuff inside” As if on cue, our stateroom attendant Derique introduced himself, gave us his card, and told us to let him know if we needed anything. I mentioned the CPAP stuff and the beds and he assured us he would take care of it right away. We started to unpack a bit and made some pretty decent progress when my mom started to feel a little dizzy. Right around then, we heard a knock on the door and it was someone there to separate the beds and also had water and a cord in hand for the CPAP. We grabbed our stuff to clear out since there isn’t much room to hang out while someone is changing the bed configuration. At first we were going to just look at the menu for MTD that night, but then my dad suggested we just go up to the Windjammer for dinner since none of us really seemed in the mood to get all dolled up and changed for dinner. Grabbing food at the buffet while in yoga pants sounded a whole lot more appealing at the moment. 
 

The theme was American and they had things like buttermilk fried chicken, cherry cobbler, an American flag cake, etc. My favorite station was a “healthy corner” one where they were putting out freshly grilled chicken breast and grilled steak, among other things. The chicken was shockingly moist and well seasons for just being a boneless skinless breast. The steak was quite tender for how much it was cooked (looked like medium well. I’m a rare gal) and was also well seasoned. We went back to the room to finish unpacking after dinner and then decided that waking up at 5:30 am took a toll and we would just stay in for the rest of the night and read or crash early. It might be lame, but I am really happy with that choice this morning because I feel much more well rested and refreshed. 

Some bonus pictures from our room: the snack mirror (shelves behind one of the desk mirrors) and the decorated door so we can easily find our room. 
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On 11/23/2019 at 6:13 AM, spiralqueen said:

It is amazing how much realizing it’s cruise day...

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22 hours ago, FionaMG said:

Haha, they always know when you're going away, don't they?

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Beautiful cats! Have a great time!!! Following!

Yes, they know! Found this one of our Simba!

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Day 2 - Sea day 

We decided to try out breakfast in the main dining room since my mom is a big fan of a nice, leisurely breakfast. Unfortunately the service was incredibly slow for this, so maybe a bit TOO leisurely (took prob around an hour and a half for breakfast. Maybe 40 mins to get our fresh squeezed orange juice.) I’m not sure how much was due to volume or understaffing or what. The servers seemed hardworking so I doubt it was laziness. So that was disappointing and I think we might stick with the windjammer from now on this sailing. Even though it took a long time, breakfast really hit the spot in settling my stomach. I had been feeling a bit nauseous and slightly dizzy when I woke up, but I could tell it was more related to needing food vs motion sickness. Though if you WERE feeling motion sick, they had you covered in the stairwells. 
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After our very long breakfast, we decided to wander over to the solarium after stopping by the room to grab our stuff. Thought we’d cut across the pool deck to get to the aft from our cabin. Well that wasn’t going to work out too well as the wind made them shut down the pool deck.
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We had to go down to deck 8 to cut across. By the time we got to the solarium between it being 11am on a sea day and the pool deck being closed it was quite packed. Since I couldn’t find a lounger, I decided to go up to the Viking Crown lounge since those chairs are so comfy. Unfortunately it was closed for the suite party so I made my way back down to the solarium to try my luck. Thank goodness by this time a lounger had freed up so I was about to get settled in, when I noticed a free chair closer to the rest of my family so I decided to relocate. That lounger ended up being my home for the next 5 hours and I was in HEAVEN. No one next to me, had a table, was in the shade. I have no idea how I lucked out. I DID have to put on noise cancelling headphones at one point though when a table near me decided that loudly and passionately ranting about politics was an amazing idea on a cruise. Nah. I pay to get AWAY from that crap. Let me read in peace please. But no big deal, my headphones did the trick and I was perfectly happy besides that. I had a nice little stream of virgin strawberry daiquiris and 1 daiquiri with Kraken as is RCB tradition. To keep them cool longer, I put them in my yeti which worked out VERY well though I think I would bring a smaller one next time. Putting a likely 16oz drink in a 30oz container was just comical. 
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I stayed in the Solarium reading until about 4:30 (finished off one book and got started on another!) when I decided it was a good idea to go back to the room so I could shower before dinner. We had 7pm reservations, but lord knows what the shower situation is with 3 adults sharing 1 bathroom. After my shower, my mom started to complain that her phone was giving her an error that too many devices were on the internet even though we had a 3 device package. Since we had been diligently using the logoff.com thing to kick our devices off, this didn’t make sense. I decided to go to the Internet cafe to see if they could trouble shoot. On the way, instead of cutting through the smokey casino to get across the ship I went outside to walk on the deck and was it ever worth it. Please pause for what is basically an ad for the iPhone 11. These were taken without filters, fancy settings, or any adjustments. Stunning. 
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It turns out that the Voom station didn’t have an employee there so guest services it was. They tried to send me to the Voom station for help, but when I told them no one was there he went and tried paging the guy. When he asked me to take a seat, I asked if it was possible for him to just kick all the devices off the connection so we can just start over. He was able to do that with just the room number and the Internet started working again so yay. While I was there I also decided to grab some of the free sea sickness pills just in case we needed them later. So far it’s not been needed, but you never know. 
 

After that, it was back to the room to toss on my dress for formal night and make our way to the MTD reservation. We ended up with Jorge as our waiter and he was super efficient without rushing us. We were in and out in just under an hour. He also would come around and ask if we wanted second helpings of anything. He also came around after my dad had the lobster bisque to see how he liked it and to see if he wanted something else because apparently it’s very common for people to find it too salty or too fishy and prefer something else. Overall he was great and we requested to have him if possible for the rest of the week. The host said he put the note in and will do their best to accommodate the request so we shall see. 
 

After dinner we went up to the Viking Crown lounge where my dad was delighted to find out about the buy 1 beer get the other 50% off happy hours sale (I think it ran from something like 7:30-10:30?) We hung around there for a bit until our signal that it was time to go in the form of a very toasted group of women behind us who had whipped out a Bluetooth speaker to play their own Rihanna concert. I mean, good for them. They were definitely having a blast and living their best life, but I was too tired to cope with it lol. Back at the room Derique left us a...bird? Penguin? Some sort of towel animal with sunglasses and it was very cute. Very nice ending to a cruising day!  A3976BBE-40F2-4326-9DB7-2B11069B8AC8.thumb.jpeg.86128c8fae3a4884c26be3bf83bed477.jpeg

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55 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

We were on Grandeur in October and I have to say, we had the same experience in the MDR for breakfast. They have a Diamond breakfast area (throwback to an earlier time) but that did not matter.  We went once and that was enough.  It was WJ for us for the rest of that cruise.  Very disappointing 

We also tried the Diamond breakfast area in the MDR in March.

It was one and out for us. Back to the WJ. Not very impressive.

 

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Day 3 - Port Canaveral! 
 

On Day 3 since we had such a slow experience in the MDR for breakfast we decided to go with the Windjammer for breakfast and boy was that the right choice. The WJ on Grandeur is probably the freshest food I’ve come across in a Windjammer on any ship I’ve been on. We have found that going around 8am is the best time to go because as we were leaving closer to 8:45 it was really starting to get crowded. I went with an omelet which was way better (fresher) than the one in the MDR and some yummy, crispy hash browns. There was also this unpictured sweet bread I got that was pretty good on its own, but amazing if you added a sprinkle of cinnamon from the container next to it. The cinnamon roll was meh though. I’m picky about pastries. CFDB202C-2A95-47A7-B230-F8765FF1D4F6.thumb.jpeg.68175d0ac3c3a5f590df413586a2d5b7.jpeg
 

After breakfast you will be SHOCKED to learn that it was.........SOLARIUM TIME!!!!! I DID warn y’all when this blog started that this would be a Solarium heavy cruise. We got there around 8:45 and scored prime loungers near the bar and the pool entrance where we had a great seat to watch the lifeguard drills. The doll they used was delightfully creepy. 

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As I was reading I could tell that we were getting vaguely close to land since I had a little friend join me! 
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Around 10am which was about half an hour before we were supposed to arrive in Port Canaveral, the Captain (I think) came on the speakers to tell us that we were going to be delayed getting into Port Canaveral but that they would extend when we had to be back on board. It went from something like 10:30-6ish to 2-10. This didnt affect us at all since we were treating it like a sea day and staying on the ship, but I felt bad for people who wanted to go to Disney for the day. I had originally planned to walk off the ship and get lunch and some drinks at Fish Lips or Grills or whatever the restaurants right next to the pier are, but then I did some research and found out that we would be docked in terminal 10 across a bridge that didn’t have pedestrian walkways since Mariner was launching that day and using RC’s main terminal. 
 

At some point after noon I relocated my seat in the Solarium since it suddenly was directly under the sun and thus very hot. Luckily because the pool deck was open it wasn’t as crowded today and I could easily find another lounger. A quick dip in the pool helped me cool off before I got settled to read some more. The salt water in the pool was good and bad. Bad for the eyes, but nice in that I barely had to tread to keep myself floating. It was mostly to keep myself upright. I felt like a cork just bobbing there in the water lol. 
 

I went back to the room around 4:30 to take a little rest before dinner in hopes that I could stay up later than 9 since I apparently turn into a grandma on cruises. Lounging is so exhausting. WOE. Dinner was nice, though I was really longing for my spice rack when my spaghetti bolognese came. It desperately needed some garlic, Parmesan and red pepper flakes. The royal chocolate cake was surprisingly good though. YUM. 
 

After dinner we went to the Pacific lounge to watch this show called “60 seconds or less game show” and it was really cute. People volunteered in sets of 2 to go up and try and complete various tasks within 60 seconds or left and one of them was declared the winner which was just bragging rights since everyone was given a little prize for participating. People of all ages took part and the host was good about matching up ages so it’s not like a 50 year old was against a 10 year old. Some of the tasks included blowing up a balloon and using the air to knock over some cups, throwing a paper ball into a trash can and the best was one where they tied a pair of tights that had tennis balls in the feet around their waist so it dangled between their legs and had to knock over some bottles. It was.....quite a sight. I think some of the kids didn’t understand why the adults were laughing so hard. It was one of those things that sounds silly and dumb, but ends up being a lot of fun. I’m really glad we went. 
 

After that though it was bed time because the next day (aka today in real time) is Coco Cay day!!!!! 
 

- this post brought to you from inside a chill island cabana. ?

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Day 4 - COCO CAY DAAAAAAY! 

After a yummy breakfast in the Windjammer, it was time to get ready to go to Coco Cay. The delay in Port Canaveral slightly pushed back our Coco Cay time from 9-5 to 10-6. We wanted to be some of the first off the ship since we had a Chill Island cabana and I wanted to spend as much time as possible there. We were super super lucky and Grandeur was the only ship docked there that day so only like 2,100 people on the whole island. There were TONS of free chairs and umbrellas all over. I’m super glad we had the cabana (especially for the price we paid) but if we didn’t, it wouldn’t have been an issue at all. The weather was GORGEOUS, calm seas, clear skies, and a high of low 70s. 
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People dressed up in junkanoo costumes were hanging around for pictures and a live band was playing “Perfect Day” as we walked down the pier. 
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We made a bee line for Chill Island to drop off our stuff at the cabana and get settled. We could have taken the tram, but decided to walk since I wanted to take in the sights on our way. I’m really glad we did because we got to see some stuff a tram ride would have missed. 
 

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Hammock grove 

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Both sand wheelchairs and strollers (I had heard of the wheelchairs but not the strollers) C71FBB78-3B46-4FFD-88FB-6E856703F77D.thumb.jpeg.c63080483706f90370341eb675cfd28a.jpeg

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And we finally got to the cabana concierge! They had fruit flavored water and cold eucalyptus scented towels waiting for us when we checked in. Heaven. 
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We had cabana number 2 in the front row of cabanas which I was super happy about. Even though there were cabanas on either side, it felt very private the whole time. I also noticed a wheelchair ramp up to all of the cabanas that I hadn’t heard people talk about. Not sure if these are new or just not mentioned as much. 
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And the drink and food menus: 

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Our cabana attendant was Silver and she was amazing. Super attentive and nice and had suggestions if you were waffling between things. I also lucked out because at one point I ordered a watermelon margarita and the bartender accidentally made a watermelon mojito first. Well both made their way back to me but I was only charged for the one I ordered. BONUS DRINK! 
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You can see the NCL Island from the cabanas

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Around 1 I decided to take a little stroll around the island and check things out. 
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Directional signs are already up for South Beach and Coco Beach Club

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Some of the construction that I could see. Pretty sure this is the beach club

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And I think this is the portion of South beach that is still open through construction. There was a sign that there was no WiFi there. 

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Around 1:20 I got a message in our family Whatsapp chat that lunch had arrived. I was almost back anyway so I was only 5 mins or so late to the food. We got crispy chicken sandwiches (we could specify if we wanted things like tomato or lettuce omitted), fries and mozzarella sticks. No pictures of the fries because they were demolished too quickly. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the food traveled. 
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At one point a seagull came to visit, but he didn’t come closer than this so the food was safe. About an hour after lunch came, Silver brought over some fruit skewers and a bunch of cookies. Again, no pictures of cookies because they died an honorable death before I could snap one. 
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There was WiFi on the island and it was amazing compared to Grandeur’s. My mom took the opportunity to download a bunch of shows to her iPad and I watched the latest episode of His Dark Materials on HBO (armored bears!) The WiFi acted like you needed a login, but if you tapped on “use without internet” from the login screen, you still had access to the internet. No clue how long this will last. Middle test is Coco Cay. Others are from our room on deck 2 on board and the Solarium. In general, I’ve noticed the WiFi is best early in the morning in public places. It was like 2.5 down on the deck 5 chairs around 7am. 
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Anyway, all aboard was 5:30 and we started packing up around 4:50. We were one of the last cabanas to leave so we got to chat with Silver a bit before we left after tipping her thank you. She said she’s been with the company for 2 months and came from working at Atlantis. She lives in the housing they have on the island and she said she works something like 6 weeks on, 1 week off. If people live farther away like her coworker from Kenya, they work longer but have longer off. It was funny hearing how they have different impressions of the various ships. They were really happy today was just Grandeur because first of all fewer people, but also apparently Grandeur guests tend to be more laid back and not as demanding. I complimented her in how she was tactful in keeping people out of the cabana area since I had seen her greeting a man without a wristband with a huge smile and a “hello sir! Are you staying in a cabana with us today?” Knowing full well he wasn’t. She said that really meant a lot to her because that’s one of the toughest parts of the job. Apparently some people very very confrontational and aggressive about it which is a shame. 
 

We were able to catch a tram back to the ship and I saw that the sun was setting. It was so pretty that I had to stop like 10 times to get pictures. I’m sure I annoyed those around me lol 

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When onboard and back to our room I went to go check the MDR menu for the night to see if we wanted to go there or WJ. Guess who I happened to see when I was there? CRUISING DUCK! I left it there for someone else to find after taking pictures

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I recognize those names and I think they might be in the FB group for this sailing. So fun. We ended up settling on WJ for dinner and it was nice and quick but filling. We returned to a cute elephant in the room and then it was some more reading and passing out. 
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Day 5 - Nassau 

I woke up quite early today so around 6:30 I went up to grab some hot chocolate from Cafe Lattitudes and brought it out to the outdoor seating on deck 5 to enjoy the weather and sunrise. 
 

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My little set up with my hot chocolate, flip flops, and kindle

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We were set to arrive in Nassau around 8am so pretty soon I started seeing land 

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and our little pilot boat 

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I also spotted our destination on Nassau

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In past cruises we have done, Nassau has always been treated as another sea day. I wanted to switch this up this time so I booked us day passes at the British Colonial Hilton that is a really straightforward 10 minute walk from the pier. I think the price was something like $82 pp and that included a pooled $40 food and drink credit. People have mentioned that the food and drink credit can’t be used for the tax and gratuity, but that wasn’t the case for us. We were enough under the amount that the $120 we had total could be applied for those things and we didn’t owe anything further. Didn’t even have to sign anything since we were under. The day pass also included a code for free WiFi. It wasn’t as fast as Coco Cay, but it was still better than the ship. 
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They have a beach (excuse the deformed shapes of people walking through the panoramic shot)

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And a pool 

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And the pool was surrounded by shaded day beds that were included in the day pass. These replaced the hammocks that used to be in the shaded tree grove. An employee told me too many people would hurt themselves on the hammocks. 
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It is on one of these that I camped out for the day. Because I need shade for survival. I somehow still managed to get burnt though. Talent! The view from the day bed and my little set up. 
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We brought some towels from the ship and I’m glad we did since the day pass only comes with 1 towel each and my family lives by the “1 towel to lay on, 1 towel for drying” rule. 

We ordered lunch sometime around 11:30 or so and it came quite awhile later. I will say this. The server was very nice and quite friendly, but she was a bit slow. I don’t think it was necessarily her fault though since she seemed to be the only server helping everyone and she can only be in so many places at once. 

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I ordered the jerk chicken quesadilla and while the tortilla wasn’t anything special, the chicken was amazing. It really hit the spot. 
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They also had a little plaza where you could play ping pong or giant chess. 
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Overall, I really liked it and it was a nice change of scenery. According to our server, the work on the condos next door are almost done and could be completed as early as the end of this month. I thought it was unrelated, but she was talking about it like it was owned by Hilton and would also be included in the day pass. She mentioned it would have a lot more servers and let them spend more time with those they are helping. 
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We left the resort around 3:20 and all aboard was 4:30. There was quite a bottleneck at security and I was surprised at how little help they had to manage it for what a big port it is. We finally got through after about 30-40 mins. Def dont head back last minute! Looking at the time stamp of something in my phone, we made it to the gangway at 4:04. Way too close for comfort. 
We all went up to the Solarium to hang out some more and unwind from our very strenuous day of lounging. I was a bit annoyed since there was a big family up there with kids and they were being VERY noisy and no one said anything to them. Some employees did a double take but no one asked them to leave. After about an hour, we went over to the Windjammer to grab some food and were greeted with some sort of demonic Disney melons. 
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After dinner, went back to the room to crash and found that Derique left us with a....dolphin??? I think? Maybe a seal upon closer examination.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry guys, I definitely dropped the ball on finishing this live blog. Honestly, part of the reason I let it die was because the internet speed on Grandeur at night in my 2nd floor room was ATROCIOUS. As in could not even connect to a text based website let alone upload pictures, etc. I don’t regret getting internet, but if you are going on Grandeur, definitely adjust your internet expectations. Hell, the fact that it can’t even cope with the app should be a sign. Love the ship and crew, but it is NOT very tech savvy. 
 

Anyway. Day 6: Thanksgiving and Sea Day! 
 

I had a vague memory of sort of this time the other leg of the cruise (aka on the way down) that the weather meant the Solarium was SUPER crowded due to the pool deck closure. So that meant early morning Solarium stakeout and thus breakfast in Park Cafe vs Windjammer. Breakfast was an egg and Canadian  bacon sandwich and a breakfast burrito. Honestly???? I love the WJ for breakfast, but this rly hit the spot. The fact that it was put through a panini press helped matters greatly. 
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Honestly, my solarium stakeout wasn’t necessary because I think I was thinking of the 2nd day down/tomorrow in liveblog time for pool deck closure and solarium crowded level. At some point I realized that “oops” I forgot my yeti cup in the room and I really was missing it because it makes a huge difference in how long my drinks and ice lasts in my solarium bumming around. So I decided to pop down to the room to grab it. Normally this isn’t an issue because everything is hella close on vision class ships and in normal circumstances I can go from aft solarium to forward 2nd floor stateroom and back in 6ish minutes. Except today. When I boarded the elevator I realized belatedly that some (hopefully) small children decided that pressing every button on the elevator was a great life choice. 
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I was alone in the elevator when I took this picture after the 8th floor. When I say I abused mashing the “door close” button. I mean it. Anyway, after that, I was able to retrieve my yeti cup with minimal interference. Once back up there,  I stayed camped out in the Solarium for quite some time until it started getting to the point of dinner time. It was formal night, but also thanksgiving night. One annoying thing was a lack of lobster for the second formal night. I’m sure this isn’t normal for a standard sailing. 
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For dinner I ordered ham with normal mashed potatoes substituted for roasted sweet potatoes and a side of the beef Wellington so I could give it a try. I also decided to try the pumpkin pie.  In the interests of full honesty about the MDR experience, there were multiple disappointments. 1. The mashed potato instead of sweet potato substitution was ignored. 2. The beef Wellington side didn’t include its sauce so it was weirdly dry 3. As a pumpkin pie aficionado I was legitimately OFFENDED by the pumpkin pie offered. It most closely resembled yam baby food. There was no spice.  I had no taste of the cream cheese angle of it. Please. I beg of you. If you like pumpkin pie in anyway. Don’t order it on RCI. Anyway. Despite my complaints, im still glad I tried the MDR for thanksgiving bc it was a nice experience and made me appreciate the food of other MDR nights and Coastal Kitchen. When we got back to the room, Derique had made us an adorable turkey towel animal!

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Day 7: Sea Day! 
 

I woke up pretty early this morning feeling a little queasy. The following video was taken at 7am and was from the  seating area near the deck 6 Cafe Lattitudes. The outside decks were closed due to weather.

That noise you hear in the background is the ship creaking. The hot chocolate was amazing but the banana muffin I didn’t bother taking a picture of was again, offensive. I have to believe that Royal is allergic to cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, and ginger judging by the banana muffins and pumpkin pie. 
 

That muffin didn’t do quite enough in settling my stomach. I could tell I needed carbs and grease. Aka hash browns and sweet raisin bread with a sprinkle of cinnamon on it. This called for Windjammer.  That really hit the spot. Post- WJ, I went to the Solarium where there were a bunch of spots. But many of them were in direct wind blow of the doors and thus VERY chilly. I went to the back to camp out and it worked out really well. The return trip was a bit turbulent. This was the pool. Shockingly it was quite vacant for most of the day.  


I wonder why. Anyway, I read in the Solarium for quite some time until it was dinner time. Because of the thanksgiving disappointment, we went with the WJ and it was much better. Nice little cheese wheelbarrow display 

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A food officer came around to our table while we were eating to semi subtlety fish for top marks on the post cruise survey. We expressed to him that it was our best WJ experience across the fleet. That was not ass kissing. Grandeur has an amazing WJ IMO and except for the first night and formal nights, we went there for dinner and had no regrets. 

After dinner, I realized that it  was the last night on board and I hadnt visited the casino yet. This had to change. Now I’m a roulette gal. I know the rules of blackjack, but it requires math and I despise when I get dealt my hand and the others react before me to my hand. No ty. I’ll take random chance over feeling like an idiot tyvm. Anyway, I went down to the casino and there was only 1 roulette table and it was packed. I did a couple of laps to see if anyone would move or if there were any video roulette machines. Nay to either of those. I then remembered the primary rule of cruising. If you don’t ask, they can’t help. So I approached the casino host and mentioned that I was looking to play roulette but the open table has been packed and I couldn’t find a video roulette machine. Was another table going to be open at some point? I was told to wait at an empty table and it would have a dealer in 5 minutes. I gladly did so. Now this request didn’t require me to be some high roller. I have a superstition where my buy in for roulette is $60. It has never served me wrong. I went to that table and I was alone for some time until some some adorable teenagers came over to join me. I really liked them because they made me feel like a high roller. When they were buying in at $5 total, me playing the inside and outside in the same turn felt like some sort of Monte Carlo nonsense. My buy in superstition served me well and at some point I had more than doubled my money. Right when I was a bit more than doubled my buy in, the dealer changed and I followed my golden rule. Give the new dealer 2 rounds. If you lose both, walk. Anyway, no one cares about my winnings, but I mainly wanted to share that if you want to give Royal money and the tables are full, talk to the casino host. It can’t hurt. 

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