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JennyJenny

Do Over! Grandeur of the Seas - April 24 - May 1, 2020 - 7 Night Bermuda

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I've taken a look at the dates on the other blogs so that I am not too early to start mine.

I figure there is at least one blog already for the same week I am going, I have already got my set sail pass, and luggage tags (allegedly) will be up for print some time today, I am well within my window to begin blogging? Part of the early start is so that as I prepare and pack, I can pick up last minute tips, hints, advice, and guidance from folks out here. You all are a wealth of information and even though I don't post often, I do read daily and feel like I have gotten to know so many of you 🙂

Itinerary: Baltimore to King's Wharf, Bermuda back to Baltimore.

Prologue: I had always wanted to go on a cruise but my former spouse (key word being FORMER) would pitch a fit if I suggested it. I won't list his complaints, I have seen you all are familiar with all of them. FINALLY during our 12th year of marriage, my parents offered to take the family on a cruise. Our daughter was 5 at the time and I was so looking forward to it. Without going into detail, the cruise was awful. Wait. No. My x was awful which made the entire trip one that I remember with just sadness. We went for the Thanksgiving week that year and on the 6th of December (a few weeks after) I was escaping in the middle of the night with two packed suitcases and my baby girl. I share this so everyone knows that "cruise" has held such unpleasant memories and feelings for a very long time for me and there was a time that I swore I'd never go on one again. (I thought I had gone on RC but I found my old card in a box of papers a few months back and turns out we'd taken a line that must not be named...)

Fast forward ten years. Yup. Ten years. December 2019 was my 10 year anniversary of sneaking those packed suitcases out of the house in the dead of night. I celebrated last year with my daughter (we are both doing amazingly well, are incredibly happy, and have not once regretted the decision to evacuate) and by deciding that I would like to try another cruise because it's not fair to let that one bad experience taint an entire vacation option. To be fair, the cruise was miserable because I was stuck with a falling down drunk x who was being a jerk face and refused to do anything other than drink endless Grey Goose martinis and sleep in the dark room. There were a few highlights like taking my daughter to swim with dolphins but overall.... 😔

The universe sent me a sign last year in the form of a Fraternal organization that I am a member of decided to take a group cruise. It was so spur of the moment and the price was so good and there is another single lady that has a similar background to me as it pertains to the x so I had a room mate to share the cost and I just decided to, as they say here, "YOLO Book It!"

I am really excited for this cruise. We will be going to Bermuda, which I have never been to. (The previous one was to the Bahamas). Sailing out of Baltimore MD which is right near where I live in Washington DC (NOVA) area. Last weekend, I had breakfast with the group who is going. There are 32 of us! Our travel agent is the wife of one of our members (it's an International organization) as well as a member herself. The "core group" that is going from my Chapter is myself and my single gal pal and two other married couples we are quite chummy with.

I have been slowly preparing since we booked so have been buying a few cute outfits and other goodies. For Xmas, Santa gave me a huge box of those Chlorox with Hydrogen Peroxide wipes and the special luggage tags and a charger thing that I have seen recommended out here by many so my gal pal (GP) and I can charge our stuff up.

Side note: we are all a bit on the older side (40s, GP is in her 60s, etc) and no kids coming with. Many of us work long hard jobs so we are looking forward to relaxing and decompressing versus "party all the time".

I hear the Neil Diamond Cruise Director guy has left this ship so I am a bit sad about that.

Things I am looking forward to:

Not working. Although I will stress a little about leaving my assistant in charge without me there for a full week. Prepping her now. She can do this. It will all be fine. (Right?)

We are going to be touring the Crystal Caves on a special tour our TA set up for us. We are docked in Bermuda for three days so there is no worry about missing the ship if it runs late.

I hear we are going on a pub crawl. I don't drink but I adore a nice pub (there were some gorgeous ones in London when I went).

Karaoke and Trivia.

Mocktails by the pool.

Sunshine.

This will be my first real vacation in over ten years. (I think y'all know what I mean when I say that I have gone on holiday but have ALWAYS had either my daughter or parents with me so that's not always a "vacation"....)

I plan to live blog as the internet allows. I am going to plan my packing here as that kind of helps me focus and make sure I am not forgetting things. I am taking my fancy camera as the wife of one of the couples we will be with does photography so hoping she helps me learn more how to use the camera. And with all respect to those who like bigger ships, I am so looking forward to sailing the Grandeur before she leaves Baltimore because I feel like I prefer the smaller, quieter, less "Mall of America" ships. (Even though I have never been on any RC ships so a research project is probably called for 😉)

I've also found very little in reference to what Grandeur has with menus and food etc so I'll share that for those like me who are trying to find things and can't.

My GP also booked this as a YOLO and both of us are kind of apprehensive about our first solo vacations in YEARS. We have spent so many years taking care of others that going on a cruise by ourselves and not having to tend to children or elderly parents is like...... what do I do?

My ultimate goal is to erase that prior "incident" and make happy new memories with friends. I am calling this the "DO OVER CRUISE!"

On that note.... 60 Days to Go!!!!!!

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You will absolutely love Bermuda.  My wife and I have been there 3 times, on Grandeur (love that ship) --- wee too live within driving distance from the port so it's real easy to get to.

You mentioned Crystal Caves.  Here are a few photos to get you excited.  If you have specific questions regarding Grandeur, I'm here for you.  If you have questions regarding Bermuda, @JLMoran and I have both been there more than once and will be more than happy to share our experiences.

 

Mark

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@JennyJenny, will be watching this one for any questions you might have. As @coneyraven noted, I've also been to Bermuda (twice now with just my wife, no kids); for us it was also our first getaway in years without kids in tow, and we loved it so much that we booked the second trip as soon as we were back from the first.

I'm sure you'll have a great time! 😊 Bermuda is incredibly relaxing, friendly, and chill; and with three days there you can do all kinds of exploration and relaxation at your own pace and on your own schedule.

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Have a wonderful time!  I know exactly what you mean about vacations with kids-it is a change of scenery, not a true vacation.  I will say that I did not particularly enjoy the first cruise we took, but now I find it to be the most relaxing type of vacation.  I hope that you find the same!

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2 hours ago, Fairlynew said:

-it is a change of scenery, not a true vacation. 

🙂 After the last vacation with the whole family, my 15 year old daughter remarked to me (in regards to my mother) in a sotto voce aside: This is not a vacation. It's driving somewhere else to complain about things...

My mom isn't a horrid person but she tends to always focus on the things that aren't perfect versus the stuff that is good. That can be exhausting after a few days in that she is always polite to staff but when it's just us she wants to replay every moment and offer her critique. At least she is nice to them and only complains to us. Still. Exhausting.

 

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2 hours ago, JLMoran said:

@JennyJenny, will be watching this one for any questions you might have. As @coneyraven noted, I've also been to Bermuda (twice now with just my wife, no kids); for us it was also our first getaway in years without kids in tow, and we loved it so much that we booked the second trip as soon as we were back from the first.

I'm sure you'll have a great time! 😊 Bermuda is incredibly relaxing, friendly, and chill; and with three days there you can do all kinds of exploration and relaxation at your own pace and on your own schedule.

This may sound silly but I am making my list of gifts to bring back for folks. My gentleman friend LOVES the whole world of UFOs, Big Foot, Bermuda Triangle, etc. I want to find him a fun gift (shirt maybe? Hat? Hoodie?) that is "Bermuda Triangley". He'd get a kick out of that 🙂 I have done some googling but not really found a store that specializes in that stuff there so wondered if you recall seeing something like that or did most touristy places tend to have a handful of crap on that topic. Or will I have to hunt it down? (Or order it online from somewhere else and pretend I got it on the cruise lol)

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2 hours ago, coneyraven said:

You will absolutely love Bermuda.  My wife and I have been there 3 times, on Grandeur (love that ship) --- wee too live within driving distance from the port so it's real easy to get to.

You mentioned Crystal Caves.  Here are a few photos to get you excited.  If you have specific questions regarding Grandeur, I'm here for you.  If you have questions regarding Bermuda, @JLMoran and I have both been there more than once and will be more than happy to share our experiences.

 

Love the pics! Have you been to Luray? I hear they are better than Luray...

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1 minute ago, JennyJenny said:

Love the pics! Have you been to Luray? I hear they are better than Luray...

I haven't been to Luray in years ..... the Crystal Caves aren't as big, not even close, as to the mammoth size as Luray.  But, what they lack in size, they make up for in beauty.  In those pictures, imagine that the water has an average depth of 40 ft.  --- A 4-STORY BUILDING!!!  Plus, my wife and I just love Grandeur.  We're def. a fan of the smaller ships.

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I do have a dancing question...

I have seen on old Cruise Compasses that they have dance "classes".

I am not opposed to taking a class but assume you need to bring a partner? (Which I do not have).

I have heard a rumour that on some cruise ships, they will have people that will dance with you in the evenings if you wish and don't have anyone to dance with but I have to wonder if that's only on ritzy lines with rich widows etc.

I have been ballroom dancing over three years and am proficient in Argentine Tango, have a Bronze Intermediate in Waltz & Rumba, and studying now for my Bronze II in West Coast Swing, Foxtrot, and Ballroom Tango.

I am not against a class but really don't want to do them if you need a partner AND all they will do is go over the very basics for those who have never done it before.

Has anyone been to the dance "classes" or know about whether or not it's easy to find a dance partner in the evenings at some of the events? (Not club dancing but Ballroom).

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9 minutes ago, JennyJenny said:

This may sound silly but I am making my list of gifts to bring back for folks. My gentleman friend LOVES the whole world of UFOs, Big Foot, Bermuda Triangle, etc. I want to find him a fun gift (shirt maybe? Hat? Hoodie?) that is "Bermuda Triangley". He'd get a kick out of that 🙂

I don’t recall any places like that in my wanderings, but I would guess your best bet for that kind of kitsch is the Clocktower Mall in the Royal Naval Dockyard area where Grandeur will be docked.

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1 hour ago, JennyJenny said:

I have heard a rumour that on some cruise ships, they will have people that will dance with you in the evenings if you wish and don't have anyone to dance with but I have to wonder if that's only on ritzy lines with rich widows etc.

Azamara has this feature, but I have never heard of it on any of the Royal ships.

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1 hour ago, JennyJenny said:

This may sound silly but I am making my list of gifts to bring back for folks. My gentleman friend LOVES the whole world of UFOs, Big Foot, Bermuda Triangle, etc. I want to find him a fun gift (shirt maybe? Hat? Hoodie?) that is "Bermuda Triangley". He'd get a kick out of that 🙂 I have done some googling but not really found a store that specializes in that stuff there so wondered if you recall seeing something like that or did most touristy places tend to have a handful of crap on that topic. Or will I have to hunt it down? (Or order it online from somewhere else and pretend I got it on the cruise lol)

There are several T-shirt shops that have references to the Bermuda Triangle.  As @JLMoran mentioned, check out the Clocktower Mall.  I seem to recall a couple of shops in there that had T-shirts referencing the Triangle.  The Mall IS within the Dockyard area.... here's a photo of it... you can't miss it.

clocktower.jpg

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8 hours ago, JennyJenny said:

I am not against a class but really don't want to do them if you need a partner AND all they will do is go over the very basics for those who have never done it before.

Has anyone been to the dance "classes" or know about whether or not it's easy to find a dance partner in the evenings at some of the events? (Not club dancing but Ballroom).

My wife and I sail on Grandeur almost every year. She takes the dance classes and I watch. It is individual. She never needed a partner to participate.

 

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@JennyJenny Wow, I am in awe of your strength and bravery to save yourself and your daughter from what sounds like a nightmare of a situation in the past. I’m really happy that you guys are thriving and that you have decided to give cruising another try! This can be like your phoenix cruise (rising from the ashes)! I was on Grandeur this past Thanksgiving and loved it. What a great little ship with such an attentive crew. When I was on, the Solarium bar staff were particularly great. They always remembered what I liked to drink and had some great suggestions for me. And I absolutely know what you mean about a vacation for relaxing. Grandeur is great for that. I also recommend checking out the Viking Crown lounge because it has some great views and comfy chairs! Also there are very few left in the fleet so it’s nice to see it while you can. 

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10 hours ago, coneyraven said:

I haven't been to Luray in years ..... the Crystal Caves aren't as big, not even close, as to the mammoth size as Luray.  But, what they lack in size, they make up for in beauty.  In those pictures, imagine that the water has an average depth of 40 ft.  --- A 4-STORY BUILDING!!!  Plus, my wife and I just love Grandeur.  We're def. a fan of the smaller ships.

Oh wow! Four stories! I am really looking forward to seeing them. I am really looking forward to Grandeur after all I have heard about it!

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8 hours ago, coneyraven said:

There are several T-shirt shops that have references to the Bermuda Triangle.  As @JLMoran mentioned, check out the Clocktower Mall.  I seem to recall a couple of shops in there that had T-shirts referencing the Triangle.  The Mall IS within the Dockyard area.... here's a photo of it... you can't miss it.

Clocktower Mall! Check!

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On 2/24/2020 at 7:57 PM, spiralqueen said:

@JennyJenny Wow, I am in awe of your strength and bravery to save yourself and your daughter from what sounds like a nightmare of a situation in the past. I’m really happy that you guys are thriving and that you have decided to give cruising another try! This can be like your phoenix cruise (rising from the ashes)! I was on Grandeur this past Thanksgiving and loved it. What a great little ship with such an attentive crew. When I was on, the Solarium bar staff were particularly great. They always remembered what I liked to drink and had some great suggestions for me. And I absolutely know what you mean about a vacation for relaxing. Grandeur is great for that. I also recommend checking out the Viking Crown lounge because it has some great views and comfy chairs! Also there are very few left in the fleet so it’s nice to see it while you can. 

Awww. Thanks! I just do what I do. Definitely a phoenix moment, for sure!

I am looking forward to finding a good bar that can help me with some mocktails. I will probably have a glass of wine with dinner but for the rest of the day, coffee, water, and I am going to indulge in one scrumptious mocktail while lounging by the pool (I try not to go overboard on sugar etc.)

I keep hearing about the Viking Crown Lounge. Do I have to be a certain level of passenger to go into that?

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On 2/24/2020 at 9:04 PM, Srp431 said:

Holland America also had gentleman for dancing. 


And Azamara (could not figure out how to quote both!)

So then my hazy assumption about it being the ritzier lines with the rich old widows 😛 appears to be right.

 

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On 2/24/2020 at 9:34 PM, Andrew72681 said:

Following along. Glad to see another DC area live blog (I’m in a Frederick) maybe one day @coneyraven and others will convince me to take a cruise out of my home port. I just can’t get out of being a big ship person. 

I have gone to Las Vegas every single year for work for OVER 20 years. When I look at the "big ships" they kind of remind me of that (Las Vegas). Nothing wrong with Las Vegas. There are definitely things to enjoy there but it reminds me TOO much of "work". Definitely a perception thing for me. Some people want bright lights big city for their get away. Others prefer quiet, cozy, and less crowded. It's all good!

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2 hours ago, JennyJenny said:

I keep hearing about the Viking Crown Lounge. Do I have to be a certain level of passenger to go into that?

Not on Grandeur! Some of the other ships have converted that space into a suite lounge or other restricted access space, but Grandeur has it open to all passengers. 

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7 hours ago, JennyJenny said:

I have gone to Las Vegas every single year for work for OVER 20 years. When I look at the "big ships" they kind of remind me of that (Las Vegas). Nothing wrong with Las Vegas. There are definitely things to enjoy there but it reminds me TOO much of "work". Definitely a perception thing for me. Some people want bright lights big city for their get away. Others prefer quiet, cozy, and less crowded. It's all good!

That makes lots of sense. I’m the opposite. Go out for work once or twice a year to Vegas and always extend the trip. Did it just last week to watch the Capitals out there and get in a few extra days of time at the tables. 

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On 2/24/2020 at 9:34 PM, Andrew72681 said:

Following along. Glad to see another DC area live blog (I’m in a Frederick) maybe one day @coneyraven and others will convince me to take a cruise out of my home port. I just can’t get out of being a big ship person. 

I'm 2 hours west of you, if I can cruise out of Baltimore, so can you.

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