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Q&A: What is it like to sail on Grandeur of the Seas this week?

In:
22 Jan 2022

Are you wondering about the onboard experience on Grandeur of the Seas?

Grandeur of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

We had so much fun answering questions about what it's like to sail on Harmony of the Seas this week, that RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Keeley reached out to volunteer to answer questions about sailing on Grandeur of the Seas.

Keeley is on a Southern Caribbean cruise on Grandeur of the Seas, and answered questions about her experience sailing so far on this itinerary.

You can follow Keeley on her blog, which she describes as focusing on great food, even better booze and balanced travel. 

Can you describe the pre-arrival process for sailing from Barbados, and how difficult or easy was it to get everything?

Our flight from the UK arrived at the same time as 3 other flights so there was a bit of a wait at the first check point at Barbados airport with no air conditioning, so it was a little uncomfortable but not unbearable. The queue moved steadily for the vaccination/test staff to check our documents. We were then given a coloured wrist band depending on our test information. 

After this, our suitcases were already waiting for us and we went straight through immigration. Onto the bus to go to the port and we were there in 30 minutes. 

At the port we had already booked a time for our pre-boarding antigen tests, so we waited 10 minutes and then 30 minutes for the results. 

From getting off the plane to being in our cabin, was around 2.5 hours. 

How many passengers are onboard?

There are 630 passengers onboard. 

Have you noticed any changes to the entertainment line up?

There has been some technical difficulties with the silent disco so this hasn't happened. Roki rokie karaoke was cancelled 2 nights for the same reason.

Last night's tango show was cancelled due to potential Covid symptoms amongst the dance team, but it was replaced by the guest act, who were fabulous! 

How is Adventure Ocean operating on this cruise?

Rhapsody of the Seas Live Blog Day 1 - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

There are very few kids onboard this Grandeur of the Seas sailing, but it is open. An Adventure Ocean crew member described the current situation as follows:

Adventure Ocean is open, although there are only 11 kids in total onboard (5 are registered for Adventure Ocean).  For these kids, all sessions are there 9:30-12:00, 14:00-17:00, 19:00-22:00 + Late Night Party Zone for parents who want to leave their kids until midnight.

The Teens Club is not open because there is only one teen onboard. The staff indicated they offered the teen other forms of entertainment.

The nursery is not open all day because there is just one toddler onboard. In fact, the Adventure Ocean manager has informed parents that they can book nursery any time they seem fit, which they did a couple of times.

What is the embarkation process like in Barbados?

Smooth!

From arriving at port to boarding, was around 45 minutes. After the antigen test, we were advised that we would receive our result by email. I didn't get mine but they checked their system and were able to confirm my results with no issue.

There was ample space for people to wait with seating and water should people want it whilst waiting. 

Have there been any itinerary changes?

Before leaving the UK, we had Trinidad and Tobago changed to St Lucia and Dominica. St Lucia was further changed to Antigua.

On boarding we were advised that Colombia had been removed and changed for a sea day, so only the 1 stop to be removed completely.

Not itinerary changes but we have had a few trips cancelled, so it is worth asking excursion services which trips are the most popular to prevent this from happening. 

Any advice for someone sailing on Grandeur soon?

I'd recommend booking the antigen test required for boarding ahead of travelling as you will need to complete the same request whether you do it at the port or before, so it definitely saves time! 

In a similar vein, I'd recommend bringing a printed copy of vaccination documents so they are to hand easily to show. 

Check the itinerary carefully as some ports currently do not allow you to get off the ship without a trip booked through Royal Caribbean. 

Royal Caribbean will offer cruises from Barbados in December 2021

In:
13 Jan 2021

Royal Caribbean announced it will begin offering roundtrip cruises from Barbados at the end of 2021 on Grandeur of the Seas.

The new itineraries were announced on Wednesday, which will the first time Royal Caribbean has offered a homeport from Barbados.

Get ready for sun-soaked adventures to captivating southern Caribbean isles onboard Grandeur of the Seas, sailing from the newest Royal Caribbean home port — beautiful Bridgetown, Barbados. With its idyllic pink-sand beaches, emerald hills and valleys, and rich Bajan flavor, Barbados is an unforgettable destination in its own right. And for the first time ever, this tropical paradise unlocks spectacular shores in the southern Caribbean, Central America and beyond — including three new ports in Tobago, Trinidad and St. Vincent. Go the extra mile to go the extra isle on weeklong escapes that hit a different destination every day, or linger longer on 14-night adventures that offer late stays and overnights in top-rated ports. The adventure begins in Barbados, Winter 2021

The new sailings run between December 2021 and April 2022, although more sailings could be added if the sailings prove to be popular.

A variety of 7-night sailings are available to book immediately. There are three different itineraries, including two separate 7-night sailings and a 14-night sailing with stops in St. Lucia, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent, Grenada, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and more.

Royal Caribbean is also working on adding  options for embarkation tours (ending at the pier) and debarkation tours (ending at the airport). These options will include panoramic bus tours and beach stops. These options are a work in progress and have not yet been finalized.

Being a Caribbean island, getting to Barbados means taking a flight, and Royal Caribbean is working on a new system that will allow guests to book outside of 11 months for certain cities that will have nonstop flights to Barbados.

This new functionality will be available in February 2021 for the U.S.

Royal Caribbean will offer transportation between the Barbados airport and the cruise terminal.

A close relationship with Barbados

Ever since the cruise industry shutdown in March 2020, the government of Barbados has been open to working with Royal Caribbean.

It has been an open port for cruise ships to use for resupply and crew member repatriation.

In addition, the Americas Cruise Tourism Task Force is co-chaired with Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley.

While Royal Caribbean did not mention it as part of their announcement, sailings from Barbados do have an extra benefit of being outside the purview of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Since Grandeur of the Seas would sail from Barbados and not visit any U.S. ports, it would not be subject to regulations and requirements of the CDC.

Special offer for repeat cruisers

In addition to today's announcement, Royal Caribbean is offering a special promotion for members of the cruise line's customer loyalty program.

A special one-day preview of  up to$450 instant savings offer, which is on top of 60% off the second guest's fare. 

The Up to $300 Off Preview Sale provides Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus, and Pinnacle Crown & Anchor Society members with an additional day to take advantage of our savings offer.

Up to $300 Off Preview Sale applies to new bookings made on 1/13/21.

Up to $300 Off Preview Sale provides instant savings of up to $300 USD per stateroom on select sailings departing on or after 5/1/21. Savings amount determined by category booked and sailing length:

  • On sailings 5 nights or less, $50 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $75 for Balconies and $150 for Suites
  • Sailings 6 nights or longer, $75 savings for Interior and Ocean View, $100 for Balconies and $300 for Suites.

Offer open to residents of US, Canada, Puerto Rico and select countries in the Caribbean.

Two Royal Caribbean cruise ships will stay in British Virgin Islands temporarily

In:
09 Jan 2021

Royal Caribbean has received permission for two of its cruise ships to remain in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in a state of warm lay-up.

The BVI Ports Authority announced on Friday that Rhapsody of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas have been given permission for technical calls and warm lay-ups in Tortola.

Strict health and safety rules were agreed to by both the Port Authority and the cruise line, which will allow the ships to remain in the BVI starting on January 11, 2021 for an initial period of thirty (30) days for a warm lay-up.

Neither ship will have passengers onboard, and the purpose of this agreement is so that the ships can remain in port and refuel, take on provisions and spare parts, and possibly other services.

Acting Managing Director, Oleanvine Maynard said, "Crew members will not be allowed to disembark and there is no access to vessels from shore-based staff during stays in the BVI."

This deal allows Royal Caribbean to take care of necessary maintenance and technical concerns, while the BVI reaps economic benefits.

The BVIPA believes that maintaining a link with and continuing to service the cruising industry in the safe manner proposed with technical calls/warm lay-ups can be a vital part of the rebooting strategy. 

What is a warm lay-up?

When cruise ships are not in use, they are either in warm or cold lay-up. This refers to which state they are in of being temporarily shutdown.

The decision to send a ship into cold lay-up depends on the long term plans the company has for the ship.

Royal Caribbean presented their plans to the BVI Ports Authority about what the ships will do and other details pertaining to a warm lay-up.

Royal Caribbean Group Vice President of Worldwide Operations, Hernan Zini, said the ships will be carrying out refueling, repairs and start-up activities.

All of Royal Caribbean's ships are in a state of warm lay-up, which means the ships can return to service quickly because the machinery, lifesaving equipment and navigational equipment are all well-kept and up to date.

The engine department and deck department remain fairly close to fully manned in a warm lay-up.

Cold lay-ups save money in the short term, but take longer to get back into service once the cruise line wants to reactivate the ship.

However, when a ship goes into cold lay-up, many of the mechanical systems are taken offline, with just the bare essentials left online to preserve the ship. A prolonged cold lay-up can even go as far as to preserve sections of the ship by hermetically sealing off rooms.

Read moreWhat does it mean when a cruise ship goes into cold lay-up?

Royal Caribbean will keep Grandeur of the Seas in the fleet

In:
26 Aug 2020

Royal Caribbean will keep Grandeur of the Seas in the fleet instead of transferring her out to another cruise line.

The cruise line informed travel agents on Wednesday that it has cancelled plans to move Grandeur out of the fleet in Spring 2021 and send her to Pullmantur.

"With the recent news surrounding Pullmantur, Grandeur of the Seas will remain as a part of our Royal Caribbean International fleet. Once we have more information, we’ll be sure to share the details and look forward to many more memories to be made sailing on her!"

Royal Caribbean had planned to move Grandeur of the Seas, with the announcement made in October 2019 she would leave the fleet.

Since then Pullmantur Cruises has filed for bankrupcy protection and sold her ships off to be scrapped.

In light of this financial turmoil for Pullmantur, the move of Grandeur seemed unlikely to some, but today's news confirms Grandeur of the Seas will remain in the fleet.

The final sailing of Grandeur was scheduled for March 26, 2021, but new sailings will be announced.

Grandeur of the Seas is a Vision Class ship, and has been sailing out of Baltimore.  It is unclear if Grandeur will remain in Baltimore, or move to another port.  In conjunction with the announcement Grandeur was leaving the fleet, Royal Caribbean said it would move Enchantment of the Seas to Baltimore to replace Grandeur.

Grandeur of the Seas to leave Royal Caribbean fleet

In:
16 Oct 2019

Royal Caribbean announced today it will transfer Grandeur of the Seas out of its fleet and will join sister brand, Pullmantur Cruises in spring 2021.

In a statement to travel agents, Royal Caribbean talked about the decision for Grandeur to leave the fleet:

"As we continue to grow the Royal Caribbean brand and develop new offerings, we will begin retiring our more seasoned ships. We know this news is bittersweet, but we’re excited that she’ll join our sister brand, Pullmantur Cruises in the spring 2021. Her story isn’t finished yet!"

Grandeur of the Seas’ final sailing with Royal Caribbean will take place on March 26th, 2021. Thereafter, she will transition to Pullmantur. Enchantment of the Seas, will return to Baltimore to replace Grandeur in spring of 2021.

At this time, there are two sailings impacted by the transition timeline. Grandeur of the Seas’ April 3rd, 2021 and April 15th, 2021 departures will be canceled and all booked guests will be re-accommodated. Impacted guests and travel partners will be contacted shortly with the details.

Grandeur's final sailing for Royal Caribbean International will be March 26th, 2021.

Hurricane Florence causes Royal Caribbean cruise to stay in Florida until storm passes

In:
10 Sep 2018

Royal Caribbean announced that due to Hurricane Florence's forecasted track, Grandeur of the Seas will wait out the storm in Port Canaveral, Florida until it is safe to return to Baltimore.

Grandeur of the Seas is currently in the Bahamas and sailing on a previously modified itinerary to avoid the path of Florence.  Royal Caribbean issued an update for the September 8th sailing today, "The ship will have a full day in Nassau, Bahamas on Tuesday, September 11th, and will then set sail to Port Canaveral, Florida where she will be in port on Wednesday, September 12th and Thursday, September 13th. We expect Grandeur to arrive in Baltimore no later than Sunday, September 16th."

As a result, the scheduled September 13th Grandeur of the Seas sailing is being finalized pending the return of the ship to Baltimore, "The departure date and time, as well as the itinerary, are currently being finalized. We do not expect the departure date to be later than Sunday, September 16th."

Another update by Royal Caribbean on the status of the Grandeur of the Seas upcoming sailing is scheduled for 7pm EDT on September 11th.

Royal Caribbean alters Grandeur of the Seas itinerary to avoid Hurricane Florence

In:
07 Sep 2018

Royal Caribbean has made a slight modification to an upcoming Grandeur of the Seas sailing to keep the ship out of the path of Hurricane Florence.

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet issued an update today that the September 8th sailing of Grandeur of the Seas will switch to an overnight in Nassau, Bahamas itinerary to, "ensure we stay out of any potential NorthEast Quadrant, if the track of Florence unexpectedly shifts."

This means Grandeur of the Seas will skip a scheduled stop at Kings Wharf, Bermuda and instead sail to the Bahamas.

Florence became the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season.  Weather forecasters say it's too early to tell if the storm will make landfall somewhere on the East Coast, or if it will turn harmlessly back to sea.

Royal Caribbean announces enhanced online check-in process

In:
07 Aug 2018

Royal Caribbean announced today an easier online check-in process that aims to cut down the check-in process by 25%.

Guests will be asked to enter fewer data fields and can apply information, like credit card data, to multiple parties on their reservation. These improvements help guests move through the check-in process faster and easier.

The new online check-in features:

  • Fewer steps needed for check-in completion
  • Option to check in one person or your entire party simultaneously
  • Ability to edit previously entered information without repeating any steps
  • Easy add-guest or remove-guest functionality from check-in process
  • The ability to stop and save at any point
  • Easily pick up where you left off on either the website or the Royal Caribbean mobile App check in
  • Convenient digital SetSail pass for mobile use at terminal

The new online check-in process is already available for sailings onboard Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas. Royal Caribbean plans to expand this functionality to other ships "in the near future".

Guests can check-in from 90 days to 72 hours prior to the sail date. If a guest misses the check-in window, the guest has the option to check-in at the Port.

Royal Caribbean announces immediate repairs to Grandeur of the Seas

In:
09 Jan 2018

Royal Caribbean informed guests scheduled to sail on Grandeur of the Seas, that the next sailing will be delayed due to an immediate repair need.

In an email to guests, Royal Caribbean indicated that Grandeur of the Seas is currently experiencing a technical issue which limits the operation of one of the two rudders used to steer the ship.

The cruise line went on to explain, "While the ship is fully operational, in an abundance of safety, we will be making the repairs immediately." Moreover, Royal Caribbean apologized for the schedule change, "We are very sorry for this impact to your vacation and thank you for your patience."

As a result of the repairs, the January 11, 2018 sailing has a new departure date of Saturday, January 13th.

Royal Caribbean is actively working through the details and will have another update today at 12:30 PM EST. This update will include boarding times on Saturday, compensation details and all other necessary information.

1:00PM EASTERN UPDATE: Royal Caribbean has provided an update on the shortened Grandeur of the Seas sailing.

Compensation details

Royal Caribbean will offer guests sailing on the shortened Grandeur of the Seas sailing a 50% refundable Onboard Credit to their account.  This amount will be based on the cruise fare portion paid, non-inclusive of taxes and fees.  If their onboard spend does not reach this amount, the remaining balance will go to the credit card on file.

If guests are unable to travel and need to cancel their cruise, Royal Caribbean will provide them with a refund to their original form of payment.  

For guests flying in

For Air2Sea guests or guests that purchased air directly with Royal Caribbean, Royal Caribbean will be reaching out to work through new travel arrangements.

If guests purchased air on your own, Royal Caribbean will be reimbursing change fees of up to $200 per person for Domestic flights and up to $300 per person for International flights (change in airline reservations must be like-for-like cabin class and a faxed/email copy of air fees assessed must be provided for reimbursement).  Please submit receipts to [email protected]

Pre-purchased items

If guests have a pre-purchased beverage package or an internet package, Royal Caribbean will provide them with a refund of the prorated 2 days.

Itinerary update & check-in

Day

Date

Port Name

Arrival Time

Departure Time

Sat

1/13/2018

Baltimore, Maryland

 

4:00 PM

Sun

1/14/2018

Cruising

 

 

Mon

1/15/2018

Port Canaveral, Florida

12:30 PM

9:00 PM

Tue

1/16/2018

Nassau, Bahamas

2:00 PM

11:59 PM

Wed

1/17/2018

Cococay, Bahamas

8:00 AM

5:00 PM

Thu

1/18/2018

Cruising

 

 

Fri

1/19/2018

Cruising

 

 

Sat

1/20/2018

Baltimore, Maryland

7:00 AM

 

Grandeur of the Seas to be first cruise ship to return to St. Maarten

In:
12 Oct 2017

Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas will be the first commercial cruise vessel to return to the destination post-Irma on Sunday, November 5th.

A delegation from Royal Caribbean recently met with Port St. Maarten Board, Management and Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher, to discuss the recover efforts that underway.

The Royal Caribbean delegation discussed the state of various infrastructure on the island with the Port St. Maarten Management and Board.  They also got an update on the Great Bay Beach Promenade, the commercial center of Philipsburg, Front Street and other areas of interest from a tourism perspective.

Royal Caribbean carried out a site visit as part of their destination readiness assessment to accept cruise passengers, and the availability by early November of tours, shore excursions, shopping, beaches, and other cruise tourism related amenities.

Following the visit, Royal Caribbean praised the Port St. Maarten Board, Management and Government with respect to the diligence carried out by the aforementioned to get the country ‘cruise ready’ for November in order to bring in much needed foreign exchange into the economy that would kick-start the economic engine of the country – (cruise) tourism.

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