When it debuted a dozen years ago, Voyager of the Seas was the flashiest afloat. But like an aging pop star, others have taken its place at the top of the charts. That being said, the ship – like Martina McBride – still rocks. It’s large enough to find non-crowded and appealing public spaces, and small enough that you remember your way back to your cabin after a few days.
After a week sailing in the Western Caribbean on Voyager of the Seas, and with a few days to look back at the experience, I’ve picked out my five favorite moments from the cruise — and one I could’ve done without.
The 5 Top Moments of the Cruise …
People-watching on formal night. I’m not a huge fan of getting all gussied up. But it was worthwhile to toss on a little black dress and go to the main dining room, just to check out my shipmates’ duds. One attention-grabbing troupe came to formal night in a random assortment of costumes — a dolphin, Elmo from “Sesame Street,” Fred Flintstone and a football referee among them. Some guests found this distracting, but I thought they were fun.
Casino night in the clear. On both smoke-free nights in the casino, my husband lived out his Vegas dreams, playing the quarter slots. The first night, he plunked down five bucks and won $70; the next time, it was an $80 win on just $8. How much did he actually bring home? Zilch, of course – he broke even after feeding more machines and playing blackjack.
Dinner party at Portofino. A group of newfound friends and I opted for a spirited dinner at Portofino, and Voyager’s specialty restaurant did not disappoint. The freshly made Italian fare was magnifico — so much so that after dessert, my husband asked for a second portion of the saffron risotto and prawns appetizer (and our waiter happily obliged). And unlike at land-based restaurants, the final bill won’t kill the mood for anyone — $20 per person is pretty reasonable, given the quality.
Touring the bridge. Most cruise ship honchos are too busy to give more than a quick spiel about the vessel’s command center. But our wry Finnish captain, Frank Martinsen, spent 45 minutes with me during a special media tour, answering general questions (“Ever deal with a man overboard?”) to more geeked-out inquiries (“Can you explain how the water filtration system works?”). (Bridge visits are part of the Royal Advantage All-Access Tour for $150.)
Tubing on Jamaica’s Martha Brae River. A 30-minute drive from the port in Falmouth took us to the 2,000-acre Good Hope Estate high in the mountains. Once there, we embarked on a River Tubing Safari with Chukka Caribbean Adventures ($79 per person). Thick bamboo bowed over the river, clumps of bromeliads hung from mahogany trees, and parrots and jabbering crows called out as we floated in inner tubes along the milky green river. This was nature lovers’ Jamaica.
… And One I Could’ve Done Without
Captain Hook Cruise in Falmouth, Jamaica. Immediately after the best shore excursion – the river float mentioned above – we experienced the worst: Being trapped for 90 minutes aboard a replica galleon watching a poorly acted and disorganized pirate show. The worst bits of the “Captain Hook Pirate Adventure” ($49 per person; children 12 and under free)? The hokey Jack Sparrow wannabes, the bored wenches dancing the Macarena and the never-ending hawking of eye patches, plastic swords and the like. Argh is right.
Check out Elissa’s reports from Voyager of the Seas, including a rocky embarkation day in New Orleans, the gutsiest thing a woman can do at sea and her time test pitting cruise ship elevators vs. stairs.
Find out what more than 700 Cruise Critic members think of Voyager of the Seas.
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