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Old February 22nd, 2004, 08:51 AM
Scott & James
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Default We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing

RCCL Grandeur of the Seas...Western Caribbean from New Orleans...

Well, we are back and thank goodness for that.

No doubt you have been watching CNN this morning. Two ships collided at the mouth of the Mississippi River...5 are missing and it has been delaying the cruise ships from leaving...including the one we got off yesterday morning...the Grandeur of the Seas.

Here's a quick summary of our trip:

Ship: wonderful, elegant and well kept.

Cabin: Inside...very nice, clean, comfortable and fresh looking.

Service: very good...efficient but unobtrusive.

Food: Edible but totally dissapointing. The beef and poultry dishes were bland as was almost all of the meals served on board. No taste whatsoever. If you like seafood you do have an alternative for the meat but even the seafood dishes were simply OK and hardly worth discussing.

Entertainment: Comedians were simply awful but the two production shows and one juggler, Chuck Gunter, were very good.

Ports: Cozumel - tourist destination. Grand Cayman was wonderful but busy as seven cruise ships were tendering at the same time. We couldn't dock in Costa Maya as the winds were too strong..happens allot apparently...the Carnival Inspiration couldn't dock either. RCCL did take us to another port which I thanked them for. The alternate was Progreso, Mexico which is located on the inside of the Yucatan pennisula...which we loved..we took an excursion to Merida. I think we really lucked out by not being able to go to Costa Maya as it is simply a beach and there is not much else there to do.

New Orleans Airport/Transfers: Airport easy to navigate, airport staff were ok but not really good at customer service. Transfers were fine but we arrived at 1250pm and never got to the pier until 4pm because of the Mardi Gras parades taking place all over the city. I would suggest taking a cab instead of the cruise transfers.

Embarkation/Disembarkation: Both were fast and east. We were off the ship by 830am when we arrived back in New Orleans.

Who does it appeal too: younger couples, younger families. This cruise caters to Americans from the Central part of the USA... Roughly about 100 kids on board...a couple who we met on the plane had just returned from the Carnival Triumph Eastern Caribbean...told us that they had 3400 passengers of which 1100 were kids...thank goodness we weren't on that one..they were apparently climbing the walls.

Overall rating: 3 stars. The ship itself was excellent and staff were good but the miserable food and boring entertainment really left a bad taste in our minds for Royal Caribbean. We probably will not sail on Royal Caribbean again as we prefer Celebrity and Holland America as they are more our style.

Feel free to ask any questions!

Scott
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 10:05 AM
Jacque
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Default Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing

Thanks Scott & James. Can you please elaborate on what you liked better about Celebrity and Holland America than RCI? Obviously the food and entertainment were better, but what else set them above RCI in your opinions? Thanks
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 11:00 AM
Lml
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Default Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing

Hey, Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I am a little nervous, we are first time cruisers with two teens departing N.O. on Gradeur, March 27. Did you notice was there ping-pong, basketball, and tht sort of activites. I have been told yes and i have been told not on this ship. It seems hard to get a straight answer. I cannot believe I did not hear about the collision. I just returned to the midwest after a visit to N.o. for mardi gras, and to see family. Please let me know the other positive aspects and other advice you feel would be helpful. Thank you.
Lynn
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 11:08 AM
Scott & James
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Default Re: Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th saili

Hi there,

I wouldn't hesistate to take a Royal Caribbean cruise at all if your going as a family. I think it just wasn't our type of cruise. My only real complaints were the food and the entertainment. There were lots of sports activities for all ages including mini-golf, ping-pong (the ship also had an excellent gym facility), rock climbing and other activities..the rock wall is in the stern of the ship on Deck 10...I'll try to post some pictures of it soon...I'm downloading them now as I'm typing from the digital camera. I don't remember seeing any basketball but there was shuffleboard.

Scott
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 11:16 AM
Lml
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th s

Thanks for the info....I tend to worry a little about the unknown. I am one that whenever we travel, I have researched and over planned and booked us to death. so relaxing on a cruise is a new experience...I just don't want anyone bored. My 14 year old of course is a big basketball player and golfer, he doesn't want to travel with out his clubs, and his basketball...so I hope he will find down time enjoyable.
I look forward to your pictures. I will keep looking. Thanks again.
Lynn
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 11:19 AM
Scott & James
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Default Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing

Hi Jacques,

Two answer your questions about RCL vs Celebrity/Holland America.

Celebrity had MUCH better food and better overall service. The food actually did have taste and also there was lots of choice. The entertainment was a little better too...more production shows instead of the unknown boring comedians. There customer service was wonderful and the staff were always upbeat and ready to help you with a smile. The RCL crew seemed tired, testy and over-worked. Some of them were right-out rude.

Holland America was more peaceful and relaxing. They tend to have older passengers so there is normally few kids taking over the ship. The service on Holland America has always been wonderful and the "no tipping policy" does not affect the level of service you get in the least (even though the tips are always appreciated anyway). HA also tends to have 4 ports on there 7 day sailings instead of the three norm on other lines.

In my humble opinion, the food and service are very important and I just don't feel that RCL can compare to other lines in this respect. In all honesty, RCL seemed to be just a Carnival cruise with a glossy image. The Grandeur is a stunning ship...reminded me of the Crystal Symphony but take away the ship, and there was nothing to sell me on taking a cruise with RCL again.

Hope this helps!
Scott
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 11:23 AM
Scott & James
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14

Hi Lynn,

I don't think you have worry. For a first time cruise or hundreth cruise, you won't be dissapointed.

Scott
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 06:34 PM
Scott & James
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Default Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing/now t

Section Front


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Ship Collision Closes Miss. River

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 22, 2004



A U.S. Coast Guard vessel, right, searches for survivors from a ship collision in the Southwest Pass, about eight miles south of Pilottown, La. (Photo: AP)



The 178-foot offshore supply boat Lee III sank early Saturday and blocked the Southwest Pass, seven miles south of Pilottown, the only channel into the river that can be used by oceangoing vessels.



(AP) The entrance to the Mississippi River was closed to oceangoing vessels including cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers for a second day Sunday while teams searched for the five-member crew of a supply boat that sank after colliding with a container ship.

There was no way to tell when the river may reopen, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan McCool.

"Probably later than sooner," he said. "It's going to be a complicated evolution. And it's going to hold things up for a while."

The 178-foot offshore supply boat Lee III sank early Saturday and blocked the Southwest Pass, seven miles south of Pilottown, the only channel into the river that can be used by oceangoing vessels.

The collision came just a day after the river had been reopened following a collision Thursday between a tanker and a freighter.

Searchers on boats and in aircraft searched for the supply boat's five missing crew members while Navy salvage divers examined the damage to help investigators learn what caused the wreck.

Commercial divers were en route to look inside the partially submerged hull of the Lee III for its crew, McCool said.

At one point, about 40 ships were backed up, including at least three large cruise ships carrying some 7,900 passengers, McCool said.

Two of the cruise ships scheduled to dock Saturday found alternate ports on Sunday: The Carnival Conquest took 3,600 people to Gulfport, Miss., and the Norwegian Dream cruised up the alternate Mississippi River Gulf Outlet to a cargo terminal where a temporary U.S. Customs station was set up.

But the Grandeur of the Seas, with 2,600 passengers, was too big to leave its New Orleans dock by any other route.

The Grandeur had been scheduled to leave Sunday. The delay was fine for passengers who wanted to see parades during the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras, but not for those who booked the cruise to escape Mardi Gras frenzy.

The cruise ships were full because of the Mardi Gras celebration: "It couldn't have happened on a worse weekend," said Gary LaGrange, chief of the Port of New Orleans.

Many of the cargo ships were scheduled to dock during the weekend but not unload until Monday, LaGrange said.

However, the longer the river was blocked, the more chance of delays for cargo bound for south Louisiana and other ports upriver. Dockings are reserved ahead of time, so missing one means missing more, LaGrange said.

"It's like a chain. Once you take one link out of the chain, the whole system is disrupted."

The river from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico was first closed Thursday when a Chinese freighter hit a moored oil tanker at Norco, 30 miles west of New Orleans, puncturing its fuel tanks and spilling 22,000 gallons of oil. The tanker's cargo tanks remained intact.

The Coast Guard reopened the river Friday afternoon, but had to close it again Saturday after the Lee III and the 534-foot container ship Zim Mexico III collided in fog.

The container ship's crew reported damage near the bow but no injuries.

LaGrange said sunken vessels have blocked Mississippi River traffic only twice in the last 40 years, and both were at New Orleans rather than at the outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. A tanker hit a commuter ferry in 1976 and a Chinese ship blew up in the river in 1963, he said.

The Lee III is one of six vessels owned by Ocean Runner Inc., an offshore supply boat company based in Houston.

The Zim Mexico III is registered in Antigua and Barbuda, owned by B. Rickmers GMBH Cie., and operated by Zim American Israeli Shipping Co., McCool said.
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing

Just saw your pictures in the photo gallery. Great shot of the Solarium Pool. Those seas look pretty rough from the Promenade deck; was that picture taken near Costa Maya?

__________________

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Old February 24th, 2004, 04:16 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th s

Scott,

My fiancee and I will be getting married through RCCL in May while on the Grandeur of the seas. i am trying to get a good nidea what all the Grandeur has on it. It sounds like it has a lot more on it than what I have been intially reading about it. So, they have added a mini gold course? I already knew they updated it with a rock wall. Any new additions other than these? Also, what would be the best advice for a 1st time cruiser on the Grandeur?

Thanks



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Old February 24th, 2004, 08:40 AM
CJH CJH is offline
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Default Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing

Hello, cruisers -

We sailed Grandeur January 10-17 2004, and there is NOT a mini put-put. There is one little spot (I think it's out by the rock wall) where there's one hole to practice in, but that's all the golf we saw.

We had a wonderful cruise. I think if you go on a cruise for the food you're setting yourself up for disappointment. They do a wonderful job of preparing for the masses. But it just can't live up to going to a restaurant where each dish is prepared to order. So just relax and know that you're getting great value for your dollar. In the dining room the food is presented beautifully and service is bend-over-backwards great! In the Windjammer the food is hot and very good for buffet type service. In other words, you're on vacation! You can choose whether or not to dress for dinner or go eat in your bathing suit. Whichever you choose, you'll have good (not superb), hot food, with varieties to suit every appetite, no hassle about wondering where to go to eat, what to wear, etc. It's a cruise! Enjoy the scenery, the ocean breezes, the beauty of going to sleep and waking up in a new place, meet some new and interesting people (or just curl up with a good book and ignore everybody). Have fun! We sure did!

My prayers are with the victims of the accident though, and what a hassle for those who were to sail on Grandeur this week, huh?

CJH
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Old February 24th, 2004, 06:38 PM
Scott & James
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Default Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14th sailing

I have more pics which I will be adding soon. There are lots of things to do on the ship as I mention above. The rough picture was taken at sea on our way to the Caribbean.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 06:43 PM
Scott & James
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We're back...Grandeur of the Seas Feb 14

The mini-golf is as CJH mentions...very small...for kids almost but at least it's something. As for CJH's comments on the food....well, I disagree totally. A cruise is not some all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean where people drink themselves silly and don't care how the food tastes. A cruise is about the experience...including food and service. If food isn't an issue, then why was it so much better on Holland America and Celebrity? The food on the Grandeur was miserable and the only reason you would think otherwise is because you were drinking and didn't notice that the food had no taste.
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