Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Travels: Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas

Our cruise on the Grandeur remains especially memorable for two reasons; It was the shortest cruise we have taken, and also the most enjoyable. This is particularly amazing considering the food and service were probably the worst we have ever experienced on a cruise. 

That said, it is my experience that the worst day while on vacation still rivals a great day at work! Therefore, I generally can overlook quite a bit when it comes to the food quality and service. The food was not terrible...simply not as good as on other cruises. The service in the dining room, however was amazingly poor for a cruise ship. We gave our server the benefit of the doubt, and assumed he was new to his role as a main waiter vs. assistant.

The cruise was only five nights, instead of seven, and was much too short! We were having such a great time that it was almost painful to disembark after such a short time! We only went to two ports, and we had an absolutely great time at both. This cruise also had the distinction of being the first for DD's boyfriend, now I will refer to him as DSIL. And of course our DDIL came with us, so we had two young couples with us, which makes it even more special!

We spent evenings playing Hand & Foot and Apple's to Apple's. We were so hooked on Hand & Foot that we even played it during our layover times at the airports. I have never enjoyed airports as much as this trip. The family time was priceless and really added to the vacation.

We also returned to winter cruising, which I much prefer. There is nothing better to beat the post Christmas blues and the bitter Kansas cold, than a Caribbean cruise. Not to mention you avoid hurricane season that way as well.

The down side? In order to score $160 round trip air fare to Tampa, Florida, we drove two vehicles to the Kansas City Airport. What should have been a three hour drive was stretched somewhat when we encountered a snow storm just outside Topeka. Despite watching other cars and trucks careening off the Kansas Turnpike, we made it safely to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

Our flight was inexpensive because it was convoluted. We flew from Kansas City to Detroit, changed planes, and on to Florida. Luckily the weather in Detroit was better than in Kansas City, and the flights were uneventful. Upon arrival in Florida it was in the upper 40's and we enjoyed hearing the locals complain about the bitter cold...this after we left single digit temps in Kansas! After a quick bite at IHOP, it was off to bed for a few hours at the hotel. 

The Royal Caribbean pier in Tampa was the nicest I have seen, and boarding was very painless after a short wait in the lounge area. The Grandeur is a sister ship to the Rhapsody, both are Vision class, thus the layout was the same, which made navigating the ship very easy. And so began our cruise traveling to the ports of Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

Next: Costa Maya, Mexico

Bon Voyage! ~Marla

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