We started our voyage on 1/20/08. We arrived at the Port of Galveston around 1:00 p.m. and parked at the EZ Cruise lot. Getting to the dock to unload was a nightmare that I'll go into later. When we finally arrived at the dock getting on the ship was a breeze and we went up to the Windjammer for lunch until we could get access to our cabin. We always liked the Windjammer on previous RC cruises and this was no exception. Extremely friendly staff and the food is good and lots of it. The Windjammer sits at the back of the ship on Voyager rather than the front as on the Splendour, Rhapsody and Empress ships of RC that we have cruised on before.
We were able to get to our cabin on the 3rd flood right after lunch and it was an adequate size. The beds were set up as twins but our cabin attendant "Marlon" (from Costa Rica) quickly made our bed into a double. He explained his time schedule to us and we received a card with his direct number to call in case we needed anything when he wasn't on our floor or we couldn't locate him in the hall.
We then toured this massive ship. It is gorgeous. For the most part there is very little visible wear and tear. You will definitely get your exercise going from one end of this ship to the other. The Promenade is the center of activity on the ship with bars, coffee shops, and of course things to buy from clothing, jewelry or even aspirin.
The first day and night on the ship was fairly rough. I have a tendency to seasickness and wear a patch. After that the seas smoothed out and the rest of the cruise was calm. The weather was beautiful in all the ports -warm 82 degrees and sunshine.
Shows: The highlight of the entertainment was Monday's "Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme" starring the RC Singers and Dancers. The singers are the best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. Also the Ice Show is not to be missed. Get a front row seat if you can. It is spectacular. Also, Captain Gerry is the best captain we've ever seen. He is very friendly and funny. He can really play a guitar and sing C&W! Don't miss the final show where he shows off his talents.
Tours: Since we've been to all 3 destinations before we only took one tour -- in Jamaica --a bus trip to Negril Beach and Margaritaville. I wouldn't take it again. Cayman is very clean and has some great shopping. Cozumel is what it is - Mexico but we always have fun there.
FOOD: We only ate in the Windjammer as we don't like the 2 hour wait to finish dinner in the formal dining area. This is just a personal choice. We heard good reviews on the formal. Don't Miss Johnny Rockets especially if you are over 50 and remember eateries like this. All the fries and onion rings you can eat and sodas! The waiters dance for you too!
THE BAD: No hand sanitizer anywhere on the ship. We were told that RC had made a "business decision" to remove it. Be sure and bring some with you. No ice tea or water available in the Solarium or pool area. Have to travel back to the Windjammer to find any. The Solarium is open which made it too cool to use on the first day/night on the ship. We tried twice to order tours from our TV but both times it was "unavailable" so we had to go to the Excursions office. If you are an early riser you won't be able to get coffee anywhere but on the Centrum level until 6:30 when the Windjammer opens. What happened to "my pleasure?" We didn't hear it much on this ship. Also, no beach towels in your cabin anymore. You have to get them by the pool areas. Note that there is a new policy on prepaid gratuities. If you prepay your gratuities and then decide to change and only pay for certain people you no longer will be able to make that choice. We prepaid and then since we never used the formal dining we asked for a refund for that part. We were only able to get the refund because we had booked before this policy went into effect.
THE UGLY: We booked our cruise 6 months ago with an online agency and will not do so again. Their customer service is non-existent. We were originally given a lower price and a different cabin floor from their agent but 2 days later when we received our confirmation we had been booked at a higher rate and a different floor. We called and called and left messages (by email also) to complain and never received a return call. I finally wrote a letter to the CEO of and finally after a month got the original quoted price and floor.
We usually book a lower floor on a large ship as it is easier to get around when you are always going up rather than up and down. However on Voyager the location the centrum keeps floors 2 and 3 from being able to access the total ship from these floors. You have to go up to 4 before you can go across the total length of the ship.
Jamaica is very depressing. If we go on a cruise that includes Jamaica on the itinerary we will opt to stay on the ship. There is too much crime and poverty. We went to Dunn's Falls 3 years ago and we experienced the same thing this time going to Negril. Vendors are so pushy you don't want to buy anything. We were told two of the cruisers on our ship were thrown into Jamaican jail for drugs.
The fog set in on Sunday morning which delayed our arrival into Galveston. The port was closed as the pilot boats could not see to guide any of the ships into port and we sat for over 4 hours. Although this was totally out of RC's control it caused a huge problem getting off the ship. We had opted for express departure which meant we would carry our own bags off the ship rather than have to get them in the baggage area after departing the ship. We thought this would mean we'd be off the ship before any of the tagged luggage colors were called but over 4 of them were called before us which caused a major delay in getting off the ship.
THE REALLY UGLY: EZ Park. We've used them before but NEVER again! You can imagine the traffic jams when 3,000 people get off the Voyager and another close to 3,000 get off the Conquest at basically the same time. We waited over 3 hours for an EZ cruise bus to take us to the parking lot! We only saw 2 EZ Cruise busses before we could finally get on one. We were told that "It's hard to get drivers to work on Sunday." So why do you own a parking lot then? We saw lots of busses for the other parking lots go by before ours finally came. People were trying to butt up in line and fights almost broke out people were so disgusted and tired of waiting for EZ cruise.
The Port of Galveston needs to get a handle on traffic control or people will not cruise out of Galveston and the ships will leave. With people letting people off and picking people up plus the busses, taxi's, etc. it is a absolute total nightmare. They need separate lanes for busses and taxi's. We didn't see one policeman directing traffic at the port. I don't know if RC and Carnival called the people going out on Sunday to let them know of the delay and not to go to the port early or not but when we got to our car there was at least a 2 mile line of traffic trying to get into the parking lots while those getting off the ship were trying to get their cars out!
All and all the cruise was wonderful and we look forward to our next cruise on RC but probably NOT out of the Galveston. Hopefully the new port opening up in Texas next year will learn from Galveston's mistakes. If you have any questions feel free to email me.