We were impressed with the embarkation process in Oslo but a little alarmed when one of our suitcases didn't arrive. After several hours trying to find out what happened, we were told that it was being held by security. As another reviewer mentioned, a phone call or message from the steward would have been nice. We were told the message service on the phone system was not working that day (and many other days by the sound of it). The problem items in our suitcase included a bottle opener that Cunard had given us (OK for them but not Royal Caribbean apparently) and a pocket knife with a blade about a third of the size of the steak knives used in the dining room. What a fuss and waste of time as we were sent on a wild goose chase around the ship and then no security officer around for the people waiting. Not a great start to our first (and most likely last) cruise with Royal Caribbean.
We ate supper in the Aquarius Dining Room and our waiters (especially Clifford) were quite More
good. Forget about eating in the dining room for other meals though as service is terrible. Staff are hard to find and are quick to direct you to buffet tables for many menu items and never offer a refill on coffee. So that means you have to head to the buffet. Find a table first or you will be wandering around while your food gets cold. And be prepared for the extremely bad manners and gross behavior of some of the other 'guests' at the buffet. One man ahead of me in line at breakfast practically crawled under the sneeze guard to help himself to a dish. Gross. After getting his head and shoulders all the way under the guard he grabbed the dish and dumped most of it on his plate (dude, I think that was a garnish). Needless to say, I went to another section of the buffet to get my meal. We found the public areas of the ship to be very pleasant and bright but got confused getting around occasionally. Entertainment was generally OK except for the last night when it was absolutely terrible. The Entertainment Director and his staff were great - better than some of the headliners! Please do yourself a favor and don't ever bring that unicycle rider back! Our inside cabin was pretty shabby and the decor is definitely dated. Storage was a bit of an issue.
We booked this cruise because of the ports and we really enjoyed them all, especially Paris, Liverpool and Edinburgh. We were upset with ship staff that insisted there was no alternative but their shuttles and tours from the pier in Dublin and Edinburgh. Always a lie and an expensive one as well! The ship is built for fair weather cruising and we felt a lot of motion even when the seas were slight.
This cruise worked with our schedule (fit right in between two transatlantic crossings) but we were not impressed with Royal Caribbean. Less
Vision of the Seas Cruises to the British Isles & Western Europe
We were happy to have some time in Dublin even though the weather was grey and cool. Shuttle from the ship dropped us off near the center of the city. We walked around, did a little shopping at Marks and Spencer and had a Guiness in a pub. It would have been a good idea to get on one of the hop on/off buses at the beginning of the day but by the time we thought of that we didn't have enough time left to complete the tour which would take up to 4 hours. Maybe next time!
We spent too much $$ on the ship's shuttle to the center of the city as they insisted there was no other option. But there were other shuttles at the pier (this was a tender port) and taxis too so feel free to venture out on your own. Edinburgh is a fabulous city and I wish we had more time there. The Royal Mile is an easy walk with lots of interesting shops and sites between these two landmarks. Prices for woolens and souvenirs (like Heather Gems jewelry) vary quite a bit so don't buy at the first store you see.
I don't regret that we took a bus trip with lunch and a tour of Paris with time to view (but not enter) the Eiffel Tower. But it was quite expensive and lunch on the closed barge meant very limited views along the Seine. So use your time better and book a different tour or work out a plan ahead and do it on your own.
We really loved Liverpool! The ship docks right in the heart of the city and is served by lots of hop on/off tours which are very reasonably priced. Queen Elizabeth II was visiting the docks that day so security was evident around the port and the buses were a little diverted but still offered a great tour of Liverpool for only 5 pounds. We got dropped off the second time around near The Cavern Club and I was thrilled to visit the street where the Beatles got their start. We walked a lot, did some shopping and toured the Liverpool Museum on our way back to the ship. Museums are free so you can make a day of it and not spend much at all (except at Marks & Spencers and Debenham's and...)