I have literally just walked into my home having just finished an 18 night cruise on the Voyager Of The Seas. Before I go any further, I will remove any suspense by saying the cruise was brilliant in almost every way. The ship is beautiful, though some refreshing certainly won't go amiss, due in November this year, which will include a 22 metre stretch.
I boarded in Sydney at the Overseas passenger Terminal at Circular Quay and was processed smoothly and swiftly. Went straight to my cabin, to find my luggage already there, meaning I could relax and explore the ship. I was blown away, as I had read some criticism which I can only assume came from people with an ulterior motive. The Promenade was brilliant, and I naturally went straight to the pub! Anyway, after all the usual explorations we left Sydney at around 5:30 and headed out.
I'm not going to bore you all with tedious details, but out itinerary was Sydney - Auckland - Tauranga - Napier - Dunedin - cruising the sounds - Melbourne - Adelaide - Fremantle. The weather was fantastic all of the way. Highlight? Unquestionably Milford Sound, quite possibly the most breathtaking spot on the planet. Grand Canyon? boring and brown...
Main Dining Room: Nice views, excellent staff and delicious meals. One in particular, a beef tenderloin was so spectacular I ended up having two!
Windjammer: Seeing as how the average age of the passengers was quite high the buffet s popular, but the food was good and tasty.
I didn't go to the Portofino but I am reliably informed it was probably not worth the extra cost, especially considering the excellence of the MDR.
Entertainment was very good, but the highlight for me was Ramie the solo singer-guitarist in the Pig and Whistle, who had an immaculate voice and was a great guy on top of his talent. As a musician myself, I have to say he was as good as any singer I've ever heard. Very popular young man. The band Kinetic was very good, 3 girls and one guy, wonderful harmonies and the oldies loved them for the dancing. Dave and Raul were the pianists and were good, Dave in particular is a truly instinctive musician.
All in all a great time was had by the majority. I continued my previous domination in the trivia competition from Rhapsody Of The Seas by finding a team mate who was a genius. I made the Karaoke superstar final but lost out to Mary, who defied her advanced years by trying to seduce the judges! I fell in love with Jenny, Katie and Elizabeth, part of the activities team. I had sailed with Katie and Elizabeth on Rhapsody and fell for their charms all over again. Mark and Hendrick were fun too. As a singer I enjoyed the Pop Choir especially the performance in the promenade, but I did feel more should have been made of it, if only because of the sheer enthusiasm displayed.
I found it very interesting to note , especially after some bad publicity, that there were no art sales or auctions. Thank goodness, as they are truly a blight on the cruise industry.
Downsides? Not much. I went cheap on the stateroom, but should have sprung for a balcony. The room was on the small side, but nice and clean, and kept so thanks to the attendant, Ronnie de La Cruz, who went above and beyond, especially when I caught a cold after Melbourne. The mattress was rock hard and took two toppers to be acceptable, though I am much larger than average.
Excursion prices in New Zealand were, quite frankly, extortionate, especially when you could purchase the same or similar at the quayside for half the price. The Aussie excursions were quite a bit cheaper.
In general, I was extremely satisfied with the cruise, and will not hesitate to go on VOTS again, especially after the massive refurbishment she's having in November. I only hope they don't touch the many good features in the pursuit of the almighty buck. The crew were exceptional, the only complaints coming from a few Texans who, quite frankly, very quickly made themselves unpopular with their bigotry.
Anybody who can't have a good time on this ship will never be satisfied, I heartily recommend Voyager Of The Seas to all who want a good time, great food, convivial and efficient staff and a beautiful ride.