We took a 14 night cruise in November 2013 leaving Sydney. We have cruised two other shipping companies previously. I had my wife and two children, and also my retired parents who came along staying in a different cabin on a different deck.
We all enjoyed the cruise and I will give you some of the pros and cons about the cruise.
Embarking and Disembarking on the ship was very quick and worked like clock work. Auckland was a bit slow due to having to have photo Id - cruise card and being checked by customs officers 3 times in the cruise terminal.
The Voyager was very clean in all areas except if you go to level 5 outside down the back (aft) of the ship. The smell of rubblish can be a bit overwelling but it was a great place to take pictures and seldom used. The clock up around the main pool was faulty and never worked correctly.
The staff were always cleaning the stairwells, toilets and scubbing the decks in the early hours of the morning.
The staff were all friendly and uniforms neat and tidy.
The food in the dining room at the beginning of the cruise was slow but improved more as the cruise went on, food was good but not excellent, service was very good, the waiters went beyond the call of duty and remembered everyone's name and drinks. We have two small children, a 3 and 8 year old who got very bored with the same old format game sheet every night and no colouring pencils to draw on the sheets. However the food for the children was out within 30 seconds of arriving at our table.(cut up Fruit)
The dining room itself has chairs and tables so close together that there was no room to move for the staff or fellow passengers, it is a bit of a shame especially for the size of the ship.
The Windjammer was very good and the staff friendly. The waiters all worked hard to ensure everything was catered for. We found no problem finding tables and seating. The food covered everything from hot to cold dishes, soups, sweets, fruits, ice creams, American to Asian cuisine. It was a true smorgasboard.
The Windjammer was used by 80% of the passagers on board even the Captain and officers.
The Voyager of the seas had smooth to rough seas especially on the second day of the cruise with some passengers getting a bit sea sick. After the second day it was smooth sailing and you would never know you were even on a ship.
Drinks packages on the ship are a waste of money. Speaking and seeing first hand the passengers disappointment over ordering a drink and being told that that drink was not available at this bar & passengers having to settle for second best. The bar service around the pool areas were slow, they could rethink about getting more than two staff behind the bar for service especially when its busy.
Other bars around the ship had excellent service, the Casino and Aquarium bar, All Sports, Pig & Whistle.
The Vault nightclub was dismal having to wait 20 mins for a drink....more staff You think!!!.
The Library was always popular but could do with a couple of hundred more books and magazines.
The ships programme caters for everyone to the gym junkie, sports and arcade nut to the quiz gaming player, group events around the ship from bottom of the ship in level 2 to top in the sky chapel level 15.
You never have a dull moment if anything you miss events, Action packed all the way or you can just laze around the pool or spa treatments or retail.
The entertainment team kept you busy with competitions against other passengers such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and golfing with prizes for first second or third - gold, silver and bronze medals. There was great sportsmanship shown even when a fellow passenger kicked the soccer ball out to sea. Perhaps in the refit in October they need to look at putting nets over the basketball area to stop this from happening.
The inline skating and mini golf was great playing with the family with the only suggestion being to have more children's skates available as we had to wait 45minutes for some other children to finish using the skates. We ran out of time to do the rock climbing (note) get in early!
At Ice skating we had a ball. and fell over many times but went back for more. There are sessions but by the time your session is over you have had enough.
The Movie Theatre sits about 40 people and is always full playing different movies. The screen was very small but the shows were also on in your cabin on the television. The game's room on level 14 had heaps of board and cards games, once all tables were being used.
The Photography and videos are very second rate ...High school students could do a better job cutting heads off and service behind the counter was slow as best. The good news is you can use your swipe card and all your pictures come up on the computer monitor and you can choose what to keep or not.
I would not recommend buying the DVD of the cruise as it is a complete waste of money.
The DreamWorks parades were good and the kids loved them. We also did the breakfast with the DreamWorks stars. If you have children you have to book a table and get in early as its always booked out.
There are a lot of shows and parades in the promenade deck but get there early.
The ice skating show very good pity they have no DreamWorks characters out skating on the ice.
The Cruise director did his best but the late night early morning show was boring at best.
The shops on board were good and busy most of the cruise, the general store more like a BWS shop
than a general store it did have basic items for sale, you would think they would have more DreamWorks merchandise on board. The ship had several boutiques with high range expensive jewellery and watches. Always keep in mind everything is in US dollars.
The Kids Club was disappointing with the children not wanting to go back we found other passengers and their children did not like the kids club either. The meeting we had with the Manager straightened things up after some wrong information was given to us by some staff and the attitude of the staff not wanting to be there. That afternoon after the meeting all children came back with balloons and stickers and we noticed a remarkable turn around with the staff and their attitude to keep the children and parents happy. The numbers also increased in the kids clubs as they were being better catered for. However there is still one major problem that RCI needs to address. It has the basketball court and inline skating directly above the kids club and the thumping coming through the roof, and having a arcade at the entrance of the kids club with the children being able to used their cruise card to play the games with some games costing $1.95 USD. I would hate to be the parent's who would have to pay their bill at the end of the cruise.
Note: Remember to take a universal adapter with you that's works on a USA plug or European.
Summary: On the cruise you would never know there were 3140 other people on board and there were no problems getting to the seating in the theatre or around the pool. The Entertainment was excellent with the Voyager Band awesome and the Boys in the Band show excelling. We enjoyed the Voyager and will try her sister ships but will wait for the refit in October to see if we every sail her again.