Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by Drcar: Royal Caribbean Ultimate Baltic Russia Cruise
Overall Member Rating
Royal Caribbean Ultimate Baltic Russia Cruise
Destination: Baltic Sea
This itinerary appealed to us because we would see so many countries and ports, and three days in St. Petersburg instead of the usual two (which are not enough). I won't go into the decrepit condition of Vision of the Seas, as it's due to be overhauled soon. It's quite dirty in spots, clean in others. To be fair, the dinners and service were exceptional and we were delighted with them, and the cabin attendants were fantastic.
However, I've been on a few cruises, and every cruise line, even Carnival, has freely given port information: where we were docked, a map of the town, how to get into town, etc. but NOT Royal Caribbean! In a tricky attempt to force its guests to buy their exorbitant excursions, they intentionally withheld maps and port information. I asked daily at the desk "where will we be docked and how do we get into town?" so we could figure out what to expect. My favorite answer from the desk (in Stockholm) was "oh, there are so many places to dock I can't help you More with that." The best answer I ever got was "there is a ship-sponsored shuttle to town which costs $15." In fact, there turned out to be several ways to get into town which were much cheaper. No maps, nothing that would allow us to figure out how to get into town, not once. All the cruise lines seem to make you feel that if you don't take their excursions the ship might leave without you, but at least the other lines have always given basic information letting you decide what you want to do. The one excursion we bought from the front desk turned out to be the worst I have ever experienced on any cruise; so bad that a number of people handed the headphones back to the tour guide and left (this was in Tallin) just so we could see the town instead of getting an hour-long view of an empty choral music stadium built in the 70s which was perfectly hideous--instead of seeing the old town, the whole point of going there. ("Tallin Highlights" it was called)
The other thing which was extremely annoying is the fact that one cannot find quiet ANYWHERE on that ship except the Library--this might be a Royal Caribbean policy: no quiet, EVER. One might have found a nice deck chair to read a book when a rock band would start up at the pool, amplified to death. Even when we were in line to leave or board the ship, there was a boom-box with fake "happy music" to make us feel, uh, like we were in line and happy? That was vile and disturbing (and I like music just fine, just not CONSTANTLY).
But to intentionally withhold basic dock information is unconscionable--your bad, Royal Caribbean. Our first and last cruise with you!! Less
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Trip of a Lifetime