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OK, this is bugging me. I've been watching the winter "Southern" (c'mon Royal, no ABC islands = Eastern) Caribbean trips on Anthem since early last year, and I noticed something very small but odd:

  • For 2018, all the offerings were 12 nights, 6 port stops
  • For 2019, all the offerings are still 12 nights, 6 port stops
  • But in 2020, this cruise is suddenly 11 nights and only 5 port stops

Seems they took a day in Barbados off the itinerary for 2020. Anyone have any ideas why? I'm still seriously eyeing this trip as a 2020 50th birthday option (mainly because I have to seriously scale back the budget for that trip, and this is the only real option that will fit that bill), but why on earth would they randomly take Barbados off the port list? Especially when it was a solid two years until sailing at the time these were announced?

I did a search and confirmed that Barbados completely escaped all of last year's hurricanes, so there's no damage to the island to recover from. I can't imagine the port there has changed as far as being able to accommodate Anthem; was it a tender port, and Anthem is no longer doing tenders? Web searches aren't showing anything, either as far as other news or announcements around Royal Caribbean and Barbados.

I'm totally stumped over this, seems utterly random and I've never heard of Barbados being a bad place to visit by any measure. Why would Royal do this? Having that extra island in the list would have meant that taking this cruise would give me 3 new islands (Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados) plus 3 repeats (San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts), which would be really nice. Now it'll be 3 repeats (only two of which I actually want) and only 2 new places.

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Maybe is was Barbados?  Pier/port construction, something like that?  Are there other ships going there during the same time?  Did RCCL change the itinerary the week before or after so they had to shorten this one to make it fit? 

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Just now, KathyC said:

Did RCCL change the itinerary the week before or after so they had to shorten this one to make it fit? 

All of the "Southern Caribbean" itineraries offered for Winter 2019-20 are 11-night. Only 4 sailings: Dec 8, 2019; Jan 5, 2020; Jan 16, 2020; and Jan 27, 2020

This is also a lot fewer than offered in 2018 or 2019, where the 12-night option was available basically all winter long, from December through early March.

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Curiouser and curiouser. Check out this page from cruisetimetables.com that shows all scheduled ships for January, 2020.

Note that Serenade will be stopping there on Jan 6 for an 11-night "Southern Caribbean Holiday" sailing. And plenty of visits all month long from P&O, Carnival, MSC, Seabourn, and TUI.

Definitely not a port undergoing renovations! So what gives, Royal? Give me back that sixth port day, dammit!

 

EDIT: Looked through the whole list of port visits by Royal. In addition to Serenade, the island will be visited by Vision on a regular 7-night itinerary out of San Juan, and has Grandeur sailing down in mid-February on a 12-nighter that visits St. Croix, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Kitts.

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My best guess is that the port couldn't accommodate her on a specific date.  The port in Barbados isn't that big.  With other cruise lines adding ships it's possible they gave that slot away to another cruise line or maybe they have to do dredging operations one week.

I can only imagine the logistics of trying to plan cruise itineraries.  Calculating range, fuel consumption, ports that can take mega ships versus smaller ships, or 1 mega ship and two small ships, or 3 large ships and a medium ship, or 2 large ships plus 3 small ships, or...

At a certain point like a game of musical chairs someone gets blocked out of the port. 

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Hmmm. 🤔

Turns out that Grandeur is doing that 12-night sailing once each month from January through April, with the January sailing lining up to return to Baltimore right on my birthday (vs. Anthem being mid-way on the big day). I might have to look at that as another option, especially since it's a few hundred cheaper per person than Anthem and I doubt I'd spend anywhere close to that much to park the car there for 12 days. Just wondering if we'd find enough to do on board during 6 sea days. The kids could (and I'm sure would) use the time to keep up with homework if we took them along and it wasn't a break week for them, but the missus and I might get a little stir crazy.

@coneyraven, @WAAAYTOOO, @twangster, what do you think? And no, I won't be spending all of that time in the casino!

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Personally I love sea days for the relaxation they offer.  I don't need a cruise director loading up the schedule with hairy chest or belly flop contests to keep me occupied.  Give me sea air and a sunny day - I'm all set.

Homework, hanging out in the pool, rock climbing, maybe some trivia, bring a book book to sink into.  Quality family time without bumper cars or a flow rider.  But only you know you, and you are not me.  Nothing wrong with that.  Research the ship, if you are concerned it isn't right for you, listen to your gut.  Not every ship is right for every person.

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Ugh, more confusion and tough decision making!

Grandeur's pricing is better for suites by $400 pp at the JS level, even better with higher suites; OV / Inside rooms are better by $200. But Anthem's pricing is better on balconies, to the tune of $600 better! My game plan was either a JS for wife and me, balcony for the girls; or if the budget was just too tight then two balconies. That would put the advantage back on Anthem.

I assume that's because Anthem is almost entirely balconies, with a far bigger supply than Grandeur can match compared to the other room categories.

Why do these things have to be so darned difficult?!?

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8 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Ugh, more confusion and tough decision making!

Grandeur's pricing is better for suites by $400 pp at the JS level, even better with higher suites; OV / Inside rooms are better by $200. But Anthem's pricing is better on balconies, to the tune of $600 better! My game plan was either a JS for wife and me, balcony for the girls; or if the budget was just too tight then two balconies. That would put the advantage back on Anthem.

I assume that's because Anthem is almost entirely balconies, with a far bigger supply than Grandeur can match compared to the other room categories.

Why do these things have to be so darned difficult?!?

Young grasshopper, a wise man on this site once said "YOLO!,  book it!"

Discussion with girls - "We can find you a sitter for while we are gone, or you can cruise in an OV cabin.  What would you prefer?".

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Grandeur is a great option for us.  It was our first Royal cruise ship and we enjoy sailing on her whenever we can.  It is not, however, the same experience as any of the big ships.  The crowd, in general, is older and the entertainment is not on par with the big ships.  There is no ice skating rink or flow rider.  In the spirit of the older, smaller ships, the rooms are older and smaller.  The suites (including the JS) are very nice and roomy but the small rooms, particularly inside and OV, are small.  If you are planning on taking the girls with you I absolutely recommend 2 separate rooms, whatever categories you choose.

The Vision class ships are laid out differently from all of the later classes.  The Windjammer is up front and the Solarium is aft.  It takes some getting used to. There is a Park Cafe in the area with the Solarium which is a nice addition for Grandeur.  I will say, however, that you will rarely find better service or staff than on the Grandeur.  I absolutely love the staff and to be honest, that is probably (that, and the fact that I can get there in 2 hours !) what keeps us coming back.

If your girls are independent, can entertain themselves and enjoy the pools and just being out on the deck, they will be fine.  If they need a lot of external options for entertainment I think they may be bored.

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Just now, WAAAYTOOO said:

If they need a lot of external options for entertainment I think they may be bored.

Yeah, this. D17 found Freedom boring on sea days, with a rock climbing wall and flow rider and pools and all the rest. D14 was somewhat better with the cupcake decorating and other non-physical options on board, and they both tried one of the spa activities for teens (which they said was a waste of time). Now that said, if I ever took them out during a time they'd normally be in school, I'm sure they'd love having not as much to do so they could focus on keeping up with assignments and other work and not experience any FOMO. But for normal family vacation times it would definitely be an issue.

Thanks for the heads-up!

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8 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Yeah, this. D17 found Freedom boring on sea days, with a rock climbing wall and flow rider and pools and all the rest. D14 was somewhat better with the cupcake decorating and other non-physical options on board, and they both tried one of the spa activities for teens (which they said was a waste of time). Now that said, if I ever took them out during a time they'd normally be in school, I'm sure they'd love having not as much to do so they could focus on keeping up with assignments and other work and not experience any FOMO. But for normal family vacation times it would definitely be an issue.

Thanks for the heads-up!

If they were bored on freedom,  they'd be bored on grandeur.   My daughter actually liked vision in some ways better because she could find her new friends better,  but she did like sorrentos and the promenade on freedom.   We are taking her on vision next summer to the need/greek isles and she figures the 4 sea days will be a good time to rest from the busy port schedule.   6 days might be a lot.  Jane

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15 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Grandeur is a great option for us.  It was our first Royal cruise ship and we enjoy sailing on her whenever we can.  It is not, however, the same experience as any of the big ships.  The crowd, in general, is older and the entertainment is not on par with the big ships.  There is no ice skating rink or flow rider.  In the spirit of the older, smaller ships, the rooms are older and smaller.  The suites (including the JS) are very nice and roomy but the small rooms, particularly inside and OV, are small.  If you are planning on taking the girls with you I absolutely recommend 2 separate rooms, whatever categories you choose.

The Vision class ships are laid out differently from all of the later classes.  The Windjammer is up front and the Solarium is aft.  It takes some getting used to. There is a Park Cafe in the area with the Solarium which is a nice addition for Grandeur.  I will say, however, that you will rarely find better service or staff than on the Grandeur.  I absolutely love the staff and to be honest, that is probably (that, and the fact that I can get there in 2 hours !) what keeps us coming back.

If your girls are independent, can entertain themselves and enjoy the pools and just being out on the deck, they will be fine.  If they need a lot of external options for entertainment I think they may be bored.

This was my first ship. Somehow I keep getting my blocks on this ship. I will be getting my third one this June.

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7 hours ago, Sweety said:

This was my first ship. Somehow I keep getting my blocks on this ship. I will be getting my third one this June.

Isn't that funny.  I have 4 blocks and none of them are from Grandeur !!  We will get one finally though.  Will go over 350 on Grandeur at Christmas.  YIPPEE !!

For those who are doing the math....yes, I have an extra block.  No idea where it came from but we had one come in the mail 2 years ago out of the blue.  I have never tried to figure out which one is "extra" so I just keep them all.  One of them is bogus though...

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2 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Isn't that funny.  I have 4 blocks and none of them are from Grandeur !!  We will get one finally though.  Will go over 350 on Grandeur at Christmas.  YIPPEE !!

For those who are doing the math....yes, I have an extra block.  No idea where it came from but we had one come in the mail 2 years ago out of the blue.  I have never tried to figure out which one is "extra" so I just keep them all.  One of them is bogus though...

Have a great time. They are not offering a 12 day next year. I want to do another cruise on Grandeur to Charleston. I can only wait until the deployment schedule comes out.

 

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1 hour ago, Sweety said:

This is my dream cruise. I see Grandeur has an eight day cruise December 20-28, 2019. I might Change from Explorer to Grandeur. 

 

We are doing a Christmas + NY cruise on Grandeur this year but they don’t have a long one that covers both holidays next year so we’re going to give MSC a try next Christmas. I love the longer holiday cruises. Work is deadsville during the week between holidays so that is a great week to cruise.

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I just emailed Heather at MEI to book it for me tomorrow for April 2020! @JLMoran you and wife would love the ship, it's so intimate, the girls might be a bit bored but it's a great itnerary! You get more bang for your buck too.  Parking is $15 per day versus $20 at Cape Liberty. I say go for it!

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

We are doing a Christmas + NY cruise on Grandeur this year but they don’t have a long one that covers both holidays next year so we’re going to give MSC a try next Christmas. I love the longer holiday cruises. Work is deadsville during the week between holidays so that is a great week to cruise.

Must give a review.

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On 6/1/2018 at 4:52 PM, JLMoran said:

Ugh, more confusion and tough decision making!

Grandeur's pricing is better for suites by $400 pp at the JS level, even better with higher suites; OV / Inside rooms are better by $200. But Anthem's pricing is better on balconies, to the tune of $600 better! My game plan was either a JS for wife and me, balcony for the girls; or if the budget was just too tight then two balconies. That would put the advantage back on Anthem.

I assume that's because Anthem is almost entirely balconies, with a far bigger supply than Grandeur can match compared to the other room categories.

Why do these things have to be so darned difficult?!?

Yo nailed it on why balconies are more expensine on Grandeur .... basic economics of supply & demand

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One itinerary that has us intrigued when it comes to Grandeur, is the introduction of a 7-night Bahamas Cruise.  Up till now, the only options have been 5-night Bermuda, 9-night Bermuda/Bahamas, NE Canada, or SE Coast & Nassau ...... or the longer 12-night cruises to the outer islands deep in the winter.....

Now, with the introduction of a 7-night Bermuda (we're on the first one this October) and from what I hear, a 7-night Bahamas (Nassau & CC) -- that may be the "sweet spot" for us ...... We just can't take the time off from work for anything longer than a 7-nighter, and being able to go out of Baltimore (being so close to us) to other destinations for 7-nights or less, is a real turn-on.

We already have our cruises scheduled for 2019 and 2020 --- but if this 7-nighter to the Bahamas is available in 2021, count us in.

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4 hours ago, coneyraven said:

One itinerary that has us intrigued when it comes to Grandeur, is the introduction of a 7-night Bahamas Cruise.  Up till now, the only options have been 5-night Bermuda, 9-night Bermuda/Bahamas, NE Canada, or SE Coast & Nassau ...... or the longer 12-night cruises to the outer islands deep in the winter.....

Now, with the introduction of a 7-night Bermuda (we're on the first one this October) and from what I hear, a 7-night Bahamas (Nassau & CC) -- that may be the "sweet spot" for us ...... We just can't take the time off from work for anything longer than a 7-nighter, and being able to go out of Baltimore (being so close to us) to other destinations for 7-nights or less, is a real turn-on.

We already have our cruises scheduled for 2019 and 2020 --- but if this 7-nighter to the Bahamas is available in 2021, count us in.

I couldn't agree more !  I can't wait to do this 7 night cruise to include the new Coco Cay.  It will be such a welcome change from the Bermuda run.  While I love the short getaways, I look forward to a nice 7 nighter too !

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