We took the 3/3 sailing out of New Orleans to the Western Caribbean and overall had a wonderful time. We flew in the day before and stayed 1 night at the Hilton Garden Inn, which had a good location to the French Quarter. The hotel was decent, nothing spectacular. The room definitely had a temperature problem. Despite how low we set the thermostat, it was pretty warm. Also, there was a strange sawing noise as if there was maintenance work taking place in the room next to us in the middle of the night. Since we were there just 1 night, we didn't complain. Though, in the email survey they later sent us, I mentioned those issues and received a kind email from the manager who mailed us a certificate for a free 1 night stay.
We went to the cruise terminal and after a pretty smooth embarkation process, we were on the ship somewhere around 11:45. We explored the ship and eventually had a late lunch in the Windjammer. Our room was exactly what we expected as we have sailed Voyager class ships before. It was clean and our cabin steward was quite efficient.
Voyager of the Seas was just beautiful and I thought that staff was cordial and friendly. There were many activities available, but my husband and I spent a lot of time relaxing on our balcony. The only ones we participated in were bingo, the champagne art auction, mini golf, and the Secrets of the Voyager Art Tour. I highly recommend the Art Tour if you have any remote interest in art. Royal Caribbean has an amazing collection and it's great to learn more about it. I'm hoping that the activity is added to the rest of the fleet's activities. We spent time in the Pig and Whistle Pub listening to Derek Lewis perform pub favorites. That was a lot of fun. We also enjoyed some late night drinks and dance music in The Vault. We didn't utilize any of the exercise equipment or classes, but I did love the jogging track. We did lay out on the lounge chairs for some sun. It was pretty easy to find lounge chairs in a decent location in the late morning during sea days. Unfortunately, the Solarium was consistently packed, which ordinarily would be a more relaxing atmosphere.
The food was kind of disappointing. We have sailed with RCL before and honestly it does seem like it's going downhill. We had all of our dinners in the Main Dining Room, with the exception of the last night, in which we ate in the Windjammer. Our waitress, Fe from the Phillipines, and assistant waitress, Zhe Liu from China, were great. Zhe Liu was especially good and she was genuinely friendly, good sense of humor, and so accomodating. The most memorable meal items were the escargot, as usual, and the shrimp dumplings with ponzu sauce. The lobster was quite bland. Our last dinner in the Windjammer was very good and I'm always reminded of how we should just eat there much more often for dinner. They have almost everything on the main dining room menu, with the exception of lobster, escargot, etc, but we certainly wouldn't have missed the lobster this time. They also had many things that were not in the dining room, like sushi and fajitas. They had great little touches that were unexpected, for example, pickled watermelon for the fajitas. It's just such a more casual atmosphere if you don't feel like dressing up for dinner. We did not get to Portofino, but we still intend to the next time as I keep hearing how good it is. We ate in Johnny Rockets for an early lunch on our last sea day. That was good and the service was excellent. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer and lunch in the Windjammer or Cafe Promenade. The chocolate mocha tart served in the Cafe Promenade was just delicious.
This cruise stopped at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Falmouth, Jamaica. In Cozumel, we took the X-Rails jungle buggy tour to Jade Caverns. My husband was looking forward to driving the dune buggy and I was primarily interested in seeing the cenote. After the van ride from the terminal, we were taken through a small jungle trail where they had parrots you could get your picture taken with. Then, you drive the dune buggy to the cenote. On the way, you would stop and could get your picture with a baby crocodile. My husband drove and I sat in the passenger seat. He said that the power steering was shot. The condition of the vehicles could have been a lot better. The ride took way too long because one child threw a tantrum and refused to get back into the buggy and some guy in front of us drove into a tree, which we knew was going to happen long before. The cenote and the surrounding foliage was just lovely. Many people swam in the water, but we chose not to. There were lots of bats and I really didn't want to swim in bat poo despite the guide trying to say how clear the water was. I stuck my foot in and the water was quite cold. On the dune buggy ride back, we just got filthy. They encouraged you to drive super fast through a huge mud puddle. We were covered in mud head to toe. My clothes from that excursion could not be salvaged.
In Grand Cayman, we booked the Tiki Beach Break. We waited a long time to board the bus and finally get to the beach. Frankly, the driver was extremely rude. It really seemed like the people working at the cruise terminal organizing the tours in Grand Cayman were just annoyed with all of the tourists. This was my third time there and I had not felt that before. The beach and water was nice, though you could not go deep into the water due to the sharp rocks. We ended of leaving the beach early and taking a mini-bus back to the terminal, which cost $5.00 for the two of us. Next time, we will skip the excursion and take a mini-bus instead. The tendering process was pretty efficient.
We enjoyed our day in Falmouth the most. I've read many complaints about Falmouth, but I was pleasantly surprised. Having been to Ocho Rios before, I felt that at Falmouth, they did a good job at keeping out the aggressive vendors, drug dealers etc. I found that the port vendors were very friendly. We took the Dune Buggy ride at Good Hope Plantation excursion. This was a lot of fun. The vehicles were in good condition, much better than Cozumel. We didn't get too dirty, just a drop of mud here and there, and the scenery around the plantation was just lovely. We also had the pleasant surprise of pulling over to let Prince Harry's motorcade through.
Of note, the first few days of the cruise was incredibly rough. Many crew saidthey have never felt it that bad before. It didn't affect our feelings of the cruise, but it was surprising.
The disembarkation process was very smooth. We then spent 2 days in New Orleans at the Doubletree Hotel. The hotel was better than the Hilton Garden Inn and good location.
We had a fabulous time and can't wait to sail again with RCL.