We sailed on the Vision of the Seas April 29 Lisbon to Oslo itinerary. The unusual combination of ports intrigued us did an unbelievably low price. Having already done five Med itineraries as well as Northern Europe/Baltic this combination of ports seemed like something different. And it was! Lisbon was a great city to depart from, interesting and full of character. Our other stops included Vigo and Gijon Spain, Portland UK, Zebrugge Belgium and Amsterdam- each one offering something different and unique.
In Vigo- we joined a great group of Russians (thank you Kosko from the Roll Call for putting together the transportation at a price substantially below what the cruise ship was offering) on an excursion to Santiago de Compostela. Based on the recommendation of a roll call member we watched the movie "The Way" before we went. It really put things into perspective especially seeing all of the people taking photos in front of the church after having completed the walk.
Gijon was a charming city-we just took the complementary shuttle into the center of town and just enjoyed walking around as well as sharing a few pitchers of sangria at an outdoor cafe. (the only really nice weather day)
Portland UK is the quintessential English port town- we just explored ourselves. Our friends went to Salisbury and Stonehenge (we had already been before)
Zebrugge was great- again Kosko put together a transfer with his Russian friends for 10E pp to Brugge. Brugge is an absolutely stunning medieval town full of lovely sites to visit.
Amsterdam was a personal highlight for me. I had always wanted to get to the Keukenhof Gardens for see the bulb gardens and to see the tulip fields. It was glorious- luckily the winter was colder than normal so we hit the bulbs in their prime on May 05th.
Now about the ship- we primarily choose our cruises based on itinerary and price. It was our fourth RCCL and we've been on similar Vision class ships before. The inside cabin was exactly the same layout as we had on the Grandeur and the Splendor. It was very clean and well maintained but of course a little bit dated.
The food and service were terrific. Having sailed on NCL last year and being completely disappointed in both the food and service, I was concerned that RCCL would be the same. Not so!
Entertainment good but the cruise director, while nice, did not seem to have the engaging personality that one comes to expect on a cruise.
Very interesting mix of people from all over the world on board made the voyage memorable.
The only down side was the weather. Most days were cloudy, breezy and cool. But, given that the forecast had called for 80% chance of rain most days we lucked out.