I loved this cruise. Embarkation in Southampton was a piece of cake. Showed up, checked in, went on board. Our cabin, a Grand Suite was wonderful. Yes, the ship is a bit dated and some worn spots, but it is 14 years old. It will be refurbished next year. But the service in all respects was exceptional. Our Cabin Steward, our Waiter and Asst. Waiter, and our Head Waiter couldn't have been more attendant. They were always there to make sure we were well cared for. As a "gold card" passenger we had access to a secluded dining area for breakfast and lunch. The service there could not have been better. They knew us and always catered our every desire. We didn't lunch there as much, but for breakfast we would walk in and be seated. Our juice and coffee were there practically before we could sit down. On a couple of days we opted for room service. The next day we went to breakfast and were told that they missed us.
Our Cabin Steward was one of the best ever. He worked remarkably hard to please us and was always at our beck and call. I loved our cabin. Grand Suites are great. Even considering the age of the ship, it was still in remarkably good shape.
Dining. Wonderful service. And I thought the food was very good on this cruise. We didn't experience any of the problems that others did. Our servers couldn't do enough to please us.
The Ship: I like this ship. I enjoyed the "last of the cruise ships." Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the newer class ships and all they have to offer. But this class seems to be one that you can relax on more. You can enjoy your balcony, the pool, the art auction, etc. because there isn't just "too much to do" as on Oasis. I really liked this cruise.
The Crew. No doubt the Captain effects the crew. And our Captain was a truly charismatic, hands-on type. He and all the officers were around the ship constantly. We were a group of 8. We tend to have fun and the Captain noticed that. We jokingly suggested we'd like to have dinner with him. He stated (rightfully) that there were so many high point cruises that it would be difficult, but he'd see what he can do. Later in the week we saw him at a reception and he stated he was working on it. Amazingly he remembered. Then the night before the last formal night he actually came to the Diamond Happy Hour and sought us out to issue an invitation for dinner. It was very nice.
His Officers were always about. We spent over an hour with one at the Diamond Happy Hour simply talking. The Capt. actually went to the Casino and dealt a few hands. Was a participant in a pool volleyball game, and led the "parade of flags" in the Centrum. This genuine "people person" created a mindset among the crew that made the cruise so enjoyable for the passengers.
So, bottom line. I loved this cruise. I am realistic as to expectation on cruises. Maybe that is why I didn't set them too high. I would gladly sail on Vision of the Seas again.