Friday, February 01, 2013

A "Grand" Grandeur of the Seas Returns to Baltimore

Grandeur of the Seas will be “making waves” upon her return to Baltimore this spring, replacing sister ship, Enchantment of the Seas! Grandeur of the Seas was Royal Caribbean’s first ship deployed in Baltimore from 2004 to 2009, but if you think this is the same vessel you remember from days gone by, you couldn’t be more wrong!

Last spring the Grandeur underwent an extensive $48 million bow to stern refurbishment. She emerged refreshed and revitalized, now offering amenities similar to those found on Royal Caribbean’s larger ships.  Guests sailing on the Grandeur can look forward to new dining venues, technological upgrades and amazing new entertainment on par with the newest builds in the fleet.

Cruisers have been unanimously asking for more dining options aboard ships, and they will certainly find an exciting and diverse selection aboard the “new” Grandeur of the Seas. In addition to the lovely three-level main dining room, and the casual Windjammer Café, guests can enjoy:

•Giovanni’s Table: An Italian trattoria meant to remind you of a restaurant in the Tuscany region of Italy.  It features classic dishes served family style, encouraging you to taste everything on the table. (Open for lunch, $15 per guest, and dinner, $20 per guest)

•Park Café: A complimentary deli-style restaurant, featuring customized salads, sandwiches, bagels, soups and pastries.  I recommend the roast beef sandwich, carved to order by a chef right in front of you.  The meat is tender, moist and delicious.  It is served on a salted roll and you have the option of adding au jus, horseradish and/or mustard.  (Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner,)

•Chops Grille: RoyalCaribbean’s signature American-style steakhouse, offering premium cuts and quality meats. It may be difficult, but try to leave room for dessert. Although the specialty of the house is the Chocolate Mud Pie, I must say that the Red Velvet cake is to die for!  (Open for dinner, $30 per guest)

•Izumi Asian Cuisine: The traditional Asian dishes will impress you with their pure, delicate flavors, freshness of ingredients and impeccable presentation. Diners can choose from popular sushi rolls, sashimi, Hot Rock (Ishiyaki) Plates, sukiyaki and more. (Open for lunch, $3.00 per guest, and dinner, $5.00 per guest plus a la carte menu pricing)

•Chef’s Table: An exclusive and intimate event co-hosted by the Executive Chef and Sommelier for a five-course, wine-pairing fine dining experience. Although this would be a very unique way to celebrate a special event, dinner here makes any evening a special event. (Open for dinner, $95 per guest).

Hint: If you enjoy specialty dining I recommend you purchase the Chef’s Table Dining Package.  It includes, obviously, the Chef’s Table, along with Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table, and Izumi, all for $130 per person.

Enough about food! Lets talk about the hub and heart of the ship; the newly designed Grandeur of the Seas’ Centrum!  This area has been transformed into a stylish and energetic new space featuring an array of daytime activities, as well as a unique aerial show in which acrobats fly through the multi-level atrium.  The transformation continues with the ship’s original Champagne Bar reinvented as the R Bar, a retro bar that features signature cocktails and a savvy mixologist who will create elaborate cocktail concoctions for guests.

In addition, the Grandeur now has a new Diamond Lounge for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty guests, a Concierge Lounge for suite guests and top-tier loyalty guests. The transformed Viking Crown Lounge now features a stunning new design, as well as a new menu featuring bite-size savories (there I go mentioning food again).

For those guests looking to stay connected while onboard, Grandeur of the Seas has ship-wide Wi-Fi service. She also features an outdoor video screen overlooking the pool deck (think movies under the stars), as well as an award-winning digital, interactive way-finding system that was first introduced on Oasis of the Seas.

Even the tiniest of cruisers, children ages six to 36 months old, have not been overlooked in the refurbishment. The ship now features a Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, offering parents childcare drop-off options in the daytime and evening, carefully maintaining an optimum staff to child ratio.

Beginning this spring the Grandeur’s itineraries will alternate between seven-night Bermuda sailings, featuring a two-night call at Kings Wharf, and seven-night sailings to the Bahamas, calling at Port Canaveral, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas; and CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas. In autumn, Grandeur of the Seas will alternate between six-night Bermuda and eight-night Canada and New England sailings. The winter season will consist of rotating 10-night sailings to the Eastern and Western Caribbean as well as eight-night sailings to the Bahamas.

So Baltimore, are you ready to welcome back the “New” Grandeur of the Seas?  Here at Direct Line Cruises, during the month of February, we’re celebrating her return to Baltimore by combining our highly competitive rates with an onboard coupon book, onboard credit that can exceed $200 per cabin, as well as including travel insurance for all Grandeur sailings, five nights or longer!"

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