8 issues to like about Royal Caribbean’s smallest ship, Grandeur of the Seas – The Factors Man

Royal Caribbean lately opened bookings on its largest ship ever. When it launches in 2024, Icon of the Seas would be the largest cruise ship afloat and loaded prime to backside with all the things from an ice rink to a number of splashy slides. The 21-deck-high ship will tower over the 12-deck-high Grandeur of the Seas, the smallest ship within the Royal Caribbean fleet. So who’s going to need to cruise on the littlest ship? Me — and presumably you, too.

First, let’s make clear what “little” means in terms of the cruise line recognized for its record-breaking ships. Grandeur of the Seas is on no account a small ship, carrying 1,992 friends at double occupancy (2,440 passengers at most occupancy). It’s really fairly giant, measuring 73,817 gross tons and stretching 12 decks excessive (11 of these are for friends). Although it launched in 1996, the ship has been extensively refurbished and frequently maintained. It boasts a mountain climbing wall, children membership with nursery, and spa and health middle.

I lately cruised aboard Grandeur and located loads of individuals who loved this smaller measurement of Royal Caribbean cruise ship. On my crusing, Grandeur was at full capability, however I discovered that the bigger ship (belonging to sister firm Movie star Cruises) parked subsequent to us in Cozumel was not even near capability. Which means Woman G, as Grandeur is commonly fondly referred to as, have to be doing one thing proper.

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This is what I beloved in regards to the smallest ship in Royal Caribbean’s present fleet — and what you may get pleasure from as nicely.

Grandeur of the Seas is intimate

Solarium on Grandeur of the Seas. MELINDA CROW/THE POINTS GUY

Grandeur of the Seas provides off a sense of intimacy as quickly as you step on board. Clustered seating areas scattered across the round four-deck-high Centrum beckon you to take a seat and chat or benefit from the stay music typically taking part in there. The adults-only Solarium with a bar for refreshments was my go-to quiet spot as a result of I by no means needed to look ahead to a free lounge chair within the calming house. The small measurement additionally makes it easy for crew members to get to know friends. By day two, the server at Park Cafe (additionally within the Solarium) already knew that I’d need a cup of fruit to go along with my two slices of pepperoni pizza.

It is also easy to fulfill fellow cruisers on board smaller ships. It is just like the distinction between a go to to a playground at your native park and a go to to Disney World. You will see the identical folks day after day aboard a smaller ship, making it far simpler to strike up fascinating conversations.

The principle eating room expertise is a spotlight of the cruise

Shrimp cocktail in the primary eating room. MELINDA CROW/THE POINTS GUY

A meal in the primary eating room is all the time a cruise expertise to not be missed. From service with a flourish to a menu inviting you to attempt a couple of entree, meals in the primary eating room are an iconic a part of what makes a cruise enjoyable. However amongst right now’s largest mainstream ships, these gala dinners may be the very first thing that falters.

I didn’t discover that to be the case with Grandeur. My husband and I loved the meals and repair a lot that we missed it on the nights we dined elsewhere. We lingered over lunch in the primary eating room on sea days and had ample time for a waiter-served breakfast even on our port day. In contrast to current cruises on bigger ships, we discovered ourselves contemplating the primary eating room as our first alternative for all meals, slightly than our final.

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Spur-of-the-moment specialty eating is feasible

Giovanni’s Desk on Grandeur of the Seas. MELINDA CROW/THE POINTS GUY

If eating in the primary eating room is like settling into your longtime favourite restaurant, having fun with the deal with of a specialty restaurant on board is the equal of a once-a-year birthday or anniversary evening out on the fanciest eatery on the town. However in contrast to with these in style eating places at dwelling — or the choice venues on Royal Caribbean’s larger ships — reservations for Grandeur’s extra-fee eating places weren’t exhausting to get.

We dined at Giovanni’s Desk and Chops Grille and each have been scrumptious treats that lived as much as the requirements we have discovered throughout the Royal Caribbean fleet. The very best half is that in contrast to on larger ships the place most specialty eating venues fill to capability, Grandeur’s small measurement means you possibly can virtually all the time get a reservation, even on the final minute. Our Giovanni’s reservation required nothing greater than a fast cease by the restaurant throughout the lunch hour on the identical day we wished to have dinner. We obtained the precise occasions we requested at each eating places — no must eat overly early or late to get a desk.

It is simple to get across the ship

Centrum on Grandeur of the Seas. MELINDA CROW/THE POINTS GUY

Grandeur’s small measurement and simple navigation make it a good selection for a number of varieties of cruisers. New cruisers don’t have to fret about getting misplaced and vacationers with mobility challenges will discover that almost all of the ship is accessible and distances between cabins and public areas are comparatively brief. The ship’s smaller measurement additionally simplifies issues for households with kids. It’s simpler for older children to search out their approach round, and much easier for folks to search out them when they should. As for the tiny tots onboard, each step that folks can save whereas carrying or strolling with little ones, or pushing a cumbersome stroller, is an enchancment to the cruise expertise.

I particularly love that Grandeur has a standard outdoors promenade alongside the perimeters of Deck 5, good for friends with out balconies (on decks 2-4) looking for a close-by quiet place to step outdoors for recent air or to look at sail away. The promenade has deck chairs and shade. Regardless that Grandeur’s promenade doesn’t full a full circle across the ship, you possibly can nonetheless stroll laps by reducing by means of the stairwell lobbies. In contrast to some strains, Royal Caribbean has saved outside promenade decks on all its ships, although on a few of its latest ships, they’ve morphed into areas with restricted views which can be much less inviting for merely hanging out than the basic promenade on Grandeur.

Grandeur can go to ports which can be off-limits to bigger ships

The largest ships can’t go to sure ports, usually as a consequence of restrictions positioned on the variety of each day guests or precise docking measurement restrictions. Grandeur’s small measurement places it in an elite class amongst Royal Caribbean’s ships as a result of it will possibly name in locations its bigger fleetmates can’t. The ship at present has stops scheduled in idyllic ports like Bonaire; St. Croix; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; and Key West, Florida, all of which place limitations on bigger ships.

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What it lacks in top-deck thrills, it makes up for in old style enjoyable

As a result of Grandeur doesn’t function an array of rides and slides, its actions crew makes its personal enjoyable, together with egg drops within the multistory Centrum, emotional flag parades with the crew members and well-attended origami classes. I discovered extra trivia classes and recreation show-style occasions on board the ship than I’ve skilled in a very long time. It is the form of enjoyable households need to have collectively as a substitute of scattering throughout a number of venues all day, solely to see each other at bedtime — and also you by no means really feel wired attempting to do all of it earlier than the crusing ends.

Cabin decisions are finances pleasant, with alternatives to splurge

Ocean-view cabin on Grandeur of the Seas. MELINDA CROW/THE POINTS GUY

Grandeur has a mere 996 cabins. (For comparability, Icon of the Seas may have 2,805.) But its mixture of rooms presents loads of alternative for budget-conscious vacationers, plus choices for splurging on nicer and bigger lodging.

On the inexpensive aspect, 40% (399) of Grandeur’s lodging are inside cabins, offering a bounty of low-cost rooms. I checked a couple of of those out and although they’re small, ample storage makes the tight quarters extra manageable. Ocean-view cabins make up the next-largest class, with 381 rooms starting from Deck 2 porthole cabins to an enormous Oceanview Suite on Deck 8. These cabins supply an inexpensive resolution for many who actually need to see the sunshine of day. My favorites on this group are the centrally positioned spacious ocean-view cabins on decks 7 and eight.

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Cruisers used to balcony cabins on newer ships must guide early to snag one of many 127 common balcony cabins, all on Deck 7. For one thing larger, a complete of 72 junior suites on decks 7 and eight embody cabins that face aft, with stunning views looking over the ship’s wake. This premium location is normally reserved for a lot bigger and dearer suites on new ships, so aft lovers can discover their completely happy place for much less on Woman G. Talking of suites, Grandeur has 17 well-appointed suites on Deck 8, together with 4 two-bedroom Grand Suites and 5 beautiful Proprietor’s Suites with bathtubs I may have spent your entire cruise soaking in.

Fares are decrease than the road’s averages

Grandeur of the Seas. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

It would not take a math wizard to determine that smaller, older ships have decrease fares than the shiny new behemoths. I ran a couple of searches of seven-night Caribbean cruises and decided that the hole may be as excessive as a number of hundred {dollars} per particular person between Grandeur and its bigger Royal Caribbean fleetmates, relying on the itinerary, cabin class and dates. The common distinction is over $100 per particular person.

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These lower-priced sailings are nice for vacationers on a finances or new cruisers undecided they need to make investments lots in an untried trip kind. However they’ll additionally assist loyal cruisers attain the highest tiers of Royal Caribbean’s Crown and Anchor Society loyalty program. I chatted with a pair who have been deliberately utilizing the Grandeur of the Seas’ cheaper fares to assist them transfer as much as the Pinnacle stage of Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program extra rapidly. Their purpose is to succeed in this standing earlier than their 87-night phase of the road’s 2023-2024 World Cruise as a result of that stage would give them far higher perks on the lengthy voyage. It’s an excellent technique.

Backside line

Grandeur of the Seas just isn’t a ship loaded with splashy sights, however I discovered it to have unbelievable service, fabulous meals and value-priced cabins. I favored not having to pay for extras to totally benefit from the cruise as a result of there’s lots to do — plus house to do nothing, as nicely.

I would fortunately sail on Grandeur of the Seas once more — I’m really eyeing a couple of of the ship’s longer itineraries scheduled for late 2023. Who else may get pleasure from Grandeur the way in which I did? The listing consists of loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers who don’t make the most of all the flowery sights on board the larger ships, new cruisers hoping to leap in on a small scale first, and households who could make their very own enjoyable or who would get pleasure from old style video games and onboard actions. Funds-conscious cruisers will love the ship’s comparatively inexpensive fares, solo cruisers could make use of the ship’s measurement to fulfill new cruise pals, and long-time cruisers searching for new ports to discover will respect itineraries stuffed with locations the bigger ships can’t go to.

However Woman G just isn’t for everybody. Cruisers who’re drawn to the bells and whistles of the larger ships — together with water sights, extra leisure venues, further meals decisions and extra cabin choices — ought to most likely skip Grandeur and persist with Royal Caribbean’s newer ships. On this age of megaships, I’m simply glad the cruise line remains to be holding a few of its smaller ships round for these of us who actually do respect them.

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