Voyager of the Seas - Sydney to Tasmania 5th January - 13th January 2013 8 nights
I was dropped off at Circular Quay by a family member. I dropped off my 2 pieces of luggage at the bottom of the escalators which was easy and proceeded to line up to embark the ship. Embarkation took over one and a half hours at Circular Quay and with an energetic 4 year old boy, as a single mum this was not easy especially when you a trying to handle a child, a heavy back pack and tickets/passports. Whilst it took a long time, the line seemed to be slowly moving along. I was on Deck 8 so my embarkation time was 1.30pm. I did not arrive until 3:00pm so despite the fact that my embarkation time was earlier I still had to line up. (This was my own fault so I expected it). Talking to people in the line they said the line had been this long since this morning). This is understandable as they are trying to load over 3000 passengers. As Voyager of the Seas was staying in Sydney overnight there wasn't a rush to get onboard for me. Once I stepped foot on the ship staff saw that I had a child and issued him with a red wristband which has his lifeboat number on it in case there was an emergency. I was impressed by this however, when I registered for the kids club the next day there were a lot of children that were not issued with their wristbands.
Stateroom -- 8559 -- Inside Promenade State Room mid Ship
This ship is huge so it is very daunting when you arrive onboard and are trying to find your stateroom. When I arrived to my room, the room was fine and had everything I needed. Storage was adequate for me and my son, the bathroom was a bit small but it was good for what we needed it for. There was a mini bar in the fridge stocked with soft drinks but was not switched on so you could not keep milk or drinks cold. There is a kettle in the room which was a surprise and came in very handy for my morning coffee first thing in the morning. I just used the UHT milk that was provided. Don't expect any toiletries; there isn't any only a small bar of soap and a soap dispenser in the shower. There are also no bath robes in the cabin. My cabin attendant Lee was excellent and went out of his way to really look after my son. He made up our room twice a day morning and night and anticipated our needs. He was excellent.
Dining Room -- Table 267 -- Carmen Dining Room - Deck 3
Arriving to the dining room you are greeted my staff with hand sanitisers they are everywhere on the ship and you are expected to use it when dining anywhere on the ship. Once I used the sanitiser trying to find my table was a nightmare. There is no one to escort you to your table and I had to ask at least 4 waiters where my table was, they showed very little interest in trying to help me find my table. When I arrived at my table I requested a table for 2 as I know my 4 year old is very active but was placed on a 4 person table. That was fine but I actually felt very sorry for the couple who were absolutely lovely and understanding Anne and Steven who had grandchildren of their own, so they understood. My dining time was at 6.00pm so I arrived at around 6.30/6.45 to try and give them time to start their dinner without my son running around the dining room.
My waiters were excellent Elpidio and Amit as well as all the other waiters in that area who attended to my needs and more so to my son. They anticipated his needs and when they saw he had finished dinner they had his favourite ice cream ready for him. The food was ok, some dishes were great and other dishes were just terrible. My advice to any one ordering food, DO NOT ORDER SEAFOOD ON THIS SHIP in the main dining room. I ordered a Mediterranean Seafood medley and a large fresh king prawn on top with seafood extender underneath. This was also the case with Crab cakes that I ordered one night, it was made with seafood extender and not crab. This turned me right off as I know what seafood extender is made of and is certainly not fish.
Specialty Restaurant -- Portofino
Food was excellent and well worth the $20 that I paid for, waiters were excellent, if they had room every night I would go there.
My 4 year old loved it, it is gimmicky waiters dancing it was good for its $4.95 price tag which does not include shakes or drinks.
Ben & Jerry's
The staff at Ben and Jerry's were all from China which is nothing wrong with that however, they could not speak or understand English very well and were very rude. I asked for a white tea (which I was paying for) so they put the tea bag in the cup of hot water with the milk already in it. For those of you that drink tea know that the tea bag does not extract tea when it is filled with milk. When I tried to explain to her that I wanted another cup with no milk in it and to put the milk in after she gave me a filthy look abruptly gave me back my sea pass and started talking Chinese to the other 2 girls that were working there. I should have gone just around the corner and made myself a cup of tea for free. Another time I ordered an ice cream in a cone for my son and they hadn't placed the ice cream on top of the cone properly so his first lick, the ice cream went straight on the floor. When asked for another one and tried to explain that they hadn't put the ice cream on the cone properly yet another filthy look and spoke in Chinese to her work colleagues. These issues weren't anything major but did contribute to my overall experience of the ship.
Only ate there twice for breakfast and twice for lunch. It is the same old same old when it comes to buffets. Nothing too exciting standard bacon, eggs, sausages, toast etc. Lunch was the same with various salads, cold meats, hamburgers, fries, chicken and rice dishes.
As my son seemed like the energiser bunny most mornings, it was much easier to order room service breakfast. They always forgot something on the tray, I normally ordered the same things every day, cereal with a banana for my son with milk and toast with butter and jam and coffee for myself. They forgot the bowl for the cereal on 3 mornings and never included a spoon to eat the cereal with. I had a spoon with me that I brought from home for my Nescafe which I brought onboard so my son just used that every morning. The toast was never toasted properly so I just ate it the way it was.
Ordered room service one night for a late snack the spinach and artichoke dip with crackers was great as well as the cheese platter however you received 5 different cheeses which were delicious and only about 6 crackers. When I rang up and requested for more crackers they never turned up so I just left it.
My son loved the spa baths and children's water slide it was great for the kids. There was also an adult's only swimming pool which seemed nice and peaceful.
Activities were fine on board, standard cruise ship activities, bingo, movies etc. I did go and watch the new Madagascar movie with my son which was in 3D. It was a great movie for the kids and I also enjoyed watching it myself.
The DreamWorks characters eg. Alex the Lion, Shrek, Fiona, Kung Fu Panda etc appeared throughout the cruise for 20 minutes at various parts of the ship where you could take a photo with your child. My son loved this. The promenade shows were great especially the opening night.
What a disaster this was. I booked my Shore excursion the day before for a 4 hour tour of Hobart which seemed easy. On the ticket it said to go to the theatre La Scala at 8.50am on the day of departure. I turned up there was issued with my bus number sticker and was told to sit down on the left side of the theatre. The excursions manager was constantly yelling at the excursion girls on the ship and seemed very unorganised. Nobody knew what was going on. Anyway after a half hour wait sitting in the theatre, the group was told to exit the ship via Level 4, I followed the group with my son. In the meantime, my friends that I meant on the cruise were already on the bus as they decided not to go to La Scala as stated on the ticket. She had saved 2 seats for me on the bus, and the tour guide said the bus was now leaving. My friend told her to wait as I was on my way to the bus with a group from La Scala however, she said don't worry she can get another bus. Well, when I arrived there, there was no other bus and they left without me. When I tried to get some information from the cruise ships excursion staff who were from China and spoke very little English said that I had missed the bus. I said that I wanted to speak to the Excursions Manager, he came after a half hour wait and was so rude and accused me of not paying attention when the bus was being called. I told him, the bus was never called and all I heard was him screaming at his staff. After a 15 minute discussion I asked for a refund and he refused to give me a refund then when I explained that this was my 52nd cruise and I have previously worked for Royal Caribbean International that he decided to issue me with a refund. I ended up just walking around Hobart myself with my son. I found a Target store bought a pram and off I went.
As I have seen most shows at seas I didn't bother going to see any as my son wouldn't stay up that late, however the musicians that I heard passing through various sections on the ship were great eg. Acoustic guitarist, trio with violin, piano and double bass. There was an excellent African duo were sang all your standards who appeared at Pool side and on the promenade. The ice show was fantastic and is a must see on this ship.
Warning, if you have a child that is a little over excited and doesn't listen to the kids club carers you have a three strikes policy and your child will not be welcome back! That is what happened to my son. Yes, I'm the first to admit that my son gets over excited and sometimes doesn't listen, however I'm not sticking up for him as I'm a school teacher, however he is 4 years old and he is a child. I was told that he was not welcome back so I decided to utilise the baby sitting service. The Adventure Ocean Club seemed clean, good activities but for some reason my son never really liked going there. It seemed to work for other parents that took their children there and they swore by it. However, didn't work for me. Registration to the club was a bit of a nightmare, one person trying to register 900 children took 2 hours to do so. Children were running everywhere and was not organised. I lined up and was told I had to fill out a form. Ok, filled out the form and had to queue at the end of the line again to submit form. These forms should have been left in the cabins to be filled out prior to registering kids or should have been made available online to fill.
Another disaster. On the second last night I decided to have some time for myself so I thought I would utilise the baby sitting service. PLS NOTE IT DOES NOT COST US $6-8 per hour as stated on the website it is US$19.00 per hour which I later found out. I went to the front desk at 17.10 to organise a babysitter for that night, from 8-10pm or 9-11pm, they told me that I was too late to book a babysitter but they would try and if they could get one that they would leave a message on my phone. As I didn't hear anything from them I decided to go to dinner with my son at 6:30pm as it was casual night I really didn't make a big effort to getting dressed up. When we returned to the room at 8.00pm my son wasn't ready to go to sleep so I decided to put him in the pram and just walk around the ship. We finally returned to our cabin at around 9.05pm and there was a young lady and a young man waiting outside my cabin. I said hello and they said hello we are your baby sitters. OMG, if I had known that babysitters were going to turn up I would have organised my night better, no message left to inform me that babysitters had been booked. I was told that I would still have to pay as I had pre-booked the service. I didn't want to get into an argument and could hear that they could not speak English very well, so decided to go out for an hour or so. When booking babysitters you get 2 of them for the price of 1 so I was told when I queried as to why 2 babysitters turned up to my room. Also you do not pay them direct it is charged to your sea pass account. They were becoming defensive at the front desk so I just let it go.
Remarkably was easy compared to embarkation I was off the ship in approximately 10 minutes at Circular Quay went to the baggage area to collect my bags. The night before you are issued with 2 tags to place on your baggage and this ticket informs you of your disembarkation number and time. My number was Green 26 and my disembarkation was 8:40 on Deck 1. Arrived ten minutes before the time and walked straight off. When I arrived to the baggage holding area there were porters there to assist you. This was a great help as I had my son in a stroller and 2 suitcases. He assisted me outside and you are required to tip them. I gave him AU$5 as was suggested by staff. I was then picked up by a family member at Circular Quay.
Note: Circular Quay is chaos when passengers are disembarking the ship as there are guests are also embarking the ship. There are buses, cars, etc etc , security trying to control vehicles so be patient. My advice is to walk to the train station and catch a train to your destination or at least out of Circular Quay if you can manage it.
Whilst there were incidents that occurred, I really didn't feel like I had a holiday. The service, food, facilities were either HOT or COLD there was no in between. I wish I could have written a better review however having worked on various cruise lines I know how they work and am very tolerable for this reason. But this ship was beginning to look its years, had rust in a lot of places, and had not so pleasing smells in a lot of places. I think if I had to go on another cruise I will look at Celebrity Solstice also owned by Royal Caribbean International departing from Sydney or Holland America who are great.
Good Luck All and Happy cruising!