Let me state up front that this review will sound very negative, and I don't mean for it to, we enjoyed our cruise and many of the aspects of the trip, but I cannot ignore the negatives, and to be fair, I shouldn't.
Our first cruises were on the Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas and the Carnival Paradise. Both of these ships did cruises out of Los Angeles (Long Beach) to Catalina and Ensenada. Both are smaller ships of their respective lines and are the basis of any comparisons that I made when looking at this cruise.
When we booked this cruise our expectations were a little lower then if we were booking a regular itinerary for a ship because it was a repositioning cruise.
We arrived for check-in around noon, which appeared to be a good time as we were able to walk right up to the check-in desk and were promptly handled by one of the agents. A few minutes of verifying paperwork and swiping a credit card and we were directed to board the ship. We learned something new on this cruise that we suspected earlier. Arriving early for check-in works to our favor and gets us aboard quickly. Score!
We boarded the ship and headed to the Windjammer Restaurant for the lunch buffet. This was the first of a few disappointments for the cruise. The food for the boarding lunch was dry and bland, compared to the Monarch we were greatly disappointed and hoped that it was not the norm for this Windjammer. Sandie's comment: The food in the Windjammer on the Vision was way better then the Radiance. Unfortunately this did prove to be the norm for the Windjammer on this cruise but of course Sandie disagrees. Every time we ate in the Windjammer we found the food to be dry and relatively bland, there were a few dishes that broke the pattern but not many. Again, Sandie disagrees!
When the staterooms were available we visited our stateroom and while we had an interior cabin the layout of the room made it feel larger then our previous visits to the Monarch. Our stateroom was set up with the beds together in the queen configuration, which pleased us since we did not need to request it. Additionally our Crown and Anchor books and the Terry Robes that were part of our reservation bonus were in the room waiting for us. One disappointment here was that we did not see our stateroom attendant until the 3rd day of the cruise, while he was taking care of our cabin he really did not seem interested in addressing any personal cares we may have had. Fortunately we didn't have any. Sandie got a great stateroom attendant.
We loved the layout of the ship and how easy it was to get from one area to another. We were in the Centrum quite a bit and enjoyed the music that was often played in that area.
The mandatory muster drill went rather quickly and our muster leader had a great attitude and did what he could to make the whole muster drill more enjoyable then it could have been.
Dinner in the Aquarius Dining Room was fantastic; we were not disappointed once by the quality of the food or the service that we received there. We ate dinner in the Aquarius every night, breakfast every morning but one, and lunch twice. Where the Windjammer disappointed the Aquarius made up for.
The shows put on in the main theater were enjoyable, however once again we were disappointed by the shortsightedness of some of the staff. There was a large group on the cruise that needed use of the main theatre and the staff changed the show time for the second night's second show without notifying the guests. From what I understand when the curtain raised there were around 25 people in the audience because most of the audience showed up 15-30 minutes after the show started because they expected the show at 10:45 and it started at 10:15.
I took advantage of snacks in the Solarium diner a few times and was greatly disappointed by the quality of the food and the attitude of the staff. When I asked for something from the Solarium Staff I was made to feel as if my request was an imposition or annoyance, they much preferred to continue chatting with their crewmates rather than serve the guests. Sandie did not eat in the Solarium so she cannot comment but Sandie thinks the crew is AMAZING!!!
The wait staff & bartender in the Schooner Lounge was attentive of us as guests and we were impressed with how much they seemed to care about our trip. The best bartenders on the ship are Rommel, Dordi, Diego, Orlando, Nestor, Tishar, and Karl!!!
The Casino table game staff did not seem to know what they were doing, it seemed as if I constantly had to remind them that they did not pay a bet, did not remove a lost bet, or they just did not seem to understand their games themselves. My biggest disappointment in the Casino came from the Texas Hold-Em table, which was only opened once during the cruise, was dealt by a dealer that did not seem to understand the game, and had an outrageous rake of 10% to $10 per hand, most poker rooms, including the poker table on Carnival Paradise, only rake $3-$4 per hand and lower that rake when they don't have a full game.
Internet Access, both on the ship terminals and wireless was sporadic at best. I often had 5 bars when I was wireless and could not even connect to the ships server to sign in. When using the ships terminals I rarely was able to get past the login screen and was signed out several times when I attempted to go to Gmail or the Cruise Critic forums.
Lastly, Disembarking the ship in Victoria, BC was a chaotic mess, on previous trips the elevators to the gangway were disabled for the gangway deck so that guests could line up from the upper deck and not be dropped by the elevator in the beginning of the crowd allowing late comers to move in front of other guests that had been waiting patiently for the gangway to be placed and opened for disembarking. Instead guests that did not feel the need to wait in line were allowed to move in front of other guests and were being directed into place by the activities director, this really hit a sore spot for me.
While I identified a lot of negatives in this review overall we did enjoy ourselves, but we can see several areas where the crew of the Vision of the Seas could improve if this is reflective of their normal attitude. Hopefully we can schedule a trip on the Vision when it is on a regular itinerary and we can see what a trip then would be like. Personally, Sandie thinks we must have been on a different cruise, because Sandie has no complaints and thinks that the ship and its crew were fantastic!!!!!!!!!!