The Vision of the Seas was an experience like no other for us. We have sailed previously on the NCL Majesty and Princess Caribbean Princess. My parents, who went with us, previously sailed on Carnival Ecstasy. We all pretty much formed the same average opinion give or take a few differences. By far, this was NOT the best cruise any of us have been on.
A) Vision of the Seas is a pretty ship. Lots of art to look at it and very pretty public areas. The ship is well kept as far as maintenance is concerned. Nothing was broke or no peeling paint did we discover. In my opinion, the most outstanding public area on the ship was the Solarium pool area. The Solarium pool is the BEST pool we have seen to date on a ship.
B) The shopping and drink prices were not over excessive. Most drinks (Pina coladas, Margaritas, etc) cost around $5.95 and you got to keep the glass. Also, we bought evening bags for $10.00 each which I thought was a fair bargain. Not to mention invested in some really nice lanyards for $4.95 for our SeaPass cards. The liqueur and perfume prices were pretty good, as well.
C) The comedians, magicians and juggler they booked independently for the ship were outstanding and incredibly entertaining. We couldn't stop laughing or talking about it even after we got off the ship.
D) We booked almost a year early and got an incredible rate. Based on what other passengers told us or eluded to on what they paid AND watching published rates after we book on a weekly basis we are thrilled we paid less then half of what (guesstimating) 80% of the ship clientele paid.
A) Vision of the Seas is a DIRTY ship. No joke we found dirty glasses and plates more then once in the buffet stacked in the clean dishes. Both my parents got sick on this ship which resulted in them getting amoxicillin when we hit Puerto Vallarta. The first 4 days of the cruise I had diarrhea. In fact, my husband had to miss work when we returned because he ended up catching what my parents had. For instance, when we took the backstage Masquerade tour the main male singer (from Atlanta) mentioned he had been sick along with some of the other ship/crew staff. He was trying to make a point no matter what, (they) had to perform come rain or shine; but invariantly reveled the staff/crew had been sick which resulted in a nudge from the main lady singer (from New Jersey). Now I understand people get sick on ships it's a contained environment and you can only do so much. But with this knowledge, at the very least, serve people on clean dishes AND keep the hand sanitizers up to par and working. Take NOTE bring your own hand sanitizer because it is pointless because the ships didn't work half the time especially getting back on the ship at ports. To prove my point, if you are booked and going within the next month (or even two) go to the buffet and right outside of it is a little statue made out of Styrofoam. This statue resembles a Mexican man in a sombrero taking a siesta leaning up against a cactus. This statue was COVERED in dirt when you got up close. In fact, if you rubbed your fingers across it your finger will turn black & no come on & can't they just take a CLEAN rag (wanted to emphasis that) and wipe it off? I am telling heed my warning: DIRTY SHIP!
B) Out of the all three ships I have been on the entertainment schedule runs a little late on this ship. Everything is late, late, late!!! I am a night owl but with the time change it even threw me a curve. I feel I missed a lot because of their late schedule. I like the night life & I like to boogie but not at 3AM.
C) The Staff was JOKE! I left no tip this time. Go ahead & call me cheap & but when you constantly have to call your room attendant for toilet paper and tissue & over and over & to the point that the fourth time you are stuck in the bathroom with (surprise, surprise) no toilet paper (or tissue even) and your husband calls and no one comes and your husband has to eventually run out to the hall to the cart they leave free standing stocked with paper items and gets you toilet paper so you can finish your business. That's when I draw the line. I am not kidding our room attendant was no where to be found ever. On top of that, she seriously left the cart parked in hallway over on the hallway side of elevators out of the way but accessible & it was a Serve yourself kind of deal I guess. To me that translated to Tip yourself kind of deal. Though, ironically, on the last night of the cruise we saw our room attendant, at least, 4 times if not more in a 3 hour period. In fact, we stuck our Do Not Disturb sign to keep her out but found out later she removed ours and everyone else's. I am assuming she did this to find 50 million ways to come to your room and panhandle for her tip. Oh and by the way she finally brought that toilet paper and tissue. A little too late for me. Then, again, in the morning like a hawk waiting for its prey she was parked outside line of rooms she cleaned waiting for her tip. We just ignored her and keep walking. Unbelievable & I am going to guess she is down to trying to intimate people because she is not service oriented but, again, that doesn't really work on us so.
D) The Adventure Club for 12 to 14 year olds was a joke. This was, without a doubt, the biggest disappointment yet. The lady who was in charge of the 12 to 14 year olds never showed up. In fact, we took our daughter down there one day and they kids where running in the halls bewildered where to go. We called the purser's desk. The lady in charge finally showed up 30 minutes later and her excuse was she was new and this was a big ship and I am quoting her might happen again. After a few times of her never showing up we gave up. My daughter had to make friends on her own and she did and had a wonderful time. Though, it was disappointing to us because children want to mingle with their own peer groups and do fun things & just like the adults like to do & break the ice. I really feel angry about this experience and just can't express my dissatisfaction with Royal Caribbean on this matter.
E) The food was so/so. No one here gained the Cruiser Five (five pounds) that is synonymous with gorging yourself on cruises. Now on Princess I did gain weight. Though the dirty plates and diarrhea pretty much keep you from enjoying any of the food. Pretty to look at - dangerous to eat.
F) Again, to emphasis my point, we spent the better part of our cruise servicing ourselves. We couldn't get toilet paper to tissue. We were wondering if there was a paper strike in world some where. Along with that we got everything from the wrong bill to the wrong luggage tags (TWICE) & to getting freebies for being Crown and Anchor members which we were not because this was our first sailing with Royal Caribbean. My husband spent every day at the purser's desk with some question about something. In fact, we bought the cruise review DVD and LOW AND BEHOLD the only shot of my husband in the whole DVD is him standing at the purser's desk (too funny & see I can laugh about something).
You would have to give this cruise away for FREE for me to go again. I think it is overpriced for what it is. This is a 9 year old ship that has average amenities and is dirty due it an obviously lazy staff. We have had better, been on better and treated better so we have something to compare it too. In all honesty, if I was to compare this to hotels I would say the try to sale it as Hilton but in all honesty it is more like Holiday Inn that was once nice but due to staffing issues and competition with newer amenities it is slowly sailing into its last hoorah and will be doing shorter cruises in the next few years as she ages into the sunset and newer ship will take her place. I can't blame Royal Caribbean for trying to get as much out of her as they can before The changing of the guard but save your money folks she just isn't worth it!
SPECIAL NOTE If you have enjoyed my honesty and so feel inclined you can read my other reviews posted on those ships mentioned above on this website under the same screen name fyfx.