Hi Everyone, here is the review from my recent cruise on Voyager of the Seas, Feb 17, 2008 from Galveston, Texas. I have tried to include all of the info that will help you to have smooth sailing on your next cruise. Please email me if you have any questions or would like to see pictures of the ship.
We arrived in Galveston around 1:30p. When you drive in to drop off your luggage you enter the pier area at the end near the Carnival Conquest (there is only one entrance to the pier area) once you are in the lanes divide for the Conquest and the Voyager. After we dropped off our luggage, we parked just across the street in "Parking Lot B". The charge was $70 dollars and you prepay. The take cash and Visa and MasterCard. They do not take American Express. After we parked, the parking shuttle promptly picked us up and dropped us off right at the ship. Once inside the pier building, there is a line for security. If you are Diamond, Platinum, staying in a Grand Suite or higher, or handicapped and would like to request wheelchair assistance to board, be sure to tell the Royal Caribbean rep right away and they will direct you to the left side of the line which was much shorter and very accommodating. We are both Platinum and had one in a wheelchair. Once past security, the check in lines moved very quickly.
Our cabin was category I cabin 2342 ocean view. It was on deck 2 aft. Even though I missed having a balcony this time, this cabin worked out quite well. There was plenty of room and storage. The window was quite a large round window. The location was very good since we were only one deck down from the dining room and one deck up from where we disembarked in most ports. We were able to take the stairs at these times and not have to wait for elevators all the time. Our room had a mini fridge, which we asked the cabin steward to empty out and take all of the contents out of our room. At first he wanted to set it on the desk and we asked him if he would just take it all away and he did. This way we were able to put our own water and sodas in the fridge. This would also be good for anyone with medication that needs to be refrigerated. We also asked our cabin to steward to remove all of extra decorative and bed pillows, since we bring our own bed pillows.
Dining: Voyager in Texas has changed the dining times! The early dinner is at 5:30p and the second seating I believe is at 8:00p. We had early thinking it would be at 6:00pm. 5:30 was pretty early to be ready for dinner and I probably would not do that again. There were plenty of choices on the dining room menu as well as the always-available menu. Royal Caribbean has had these same menus for quite some time and our waiter told us they are in the process of changing them by next year. I think this is overdue if you cruise a lot and would like to see some new dishes. I wish they would bring back the Baked Alaska. The waiter said to put it on my comment card and I did.
In order to spice things up for the Texans, they offered some fun Texas style cuisine by the poolside on the days at sea. One day it was BBQ ribs and chicken and the next day it was a HUGE Chili Cook-off poolside and then open for everyone to try for lunch. Both were nice touches to offer something different from the buffet or dining room.
Now, lets talk about "Johnny Rockets!" YUMMY!!!! For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a 50s style diner located up by the Teen Center and on one of the top decks of the ship. They have both indoor and outdoor booths and a counter for dining. The waiters and waitress dance around to favorite songs and are quite entertaining while you are waiting for your food.
The cost is a modest $3.95 for ALL the food you can eat off the menu, burgers, Nathan's Hot Dogs, sandwiches, and UNLIMITED fries and the BEST onion rings with both ketchup and Ranch sauce for dipping. You also get unlimited desert which consists of an Oreo Sundae or Apple Pie! The best $3.95 you can spend! Not to mention the shakes, malts and floats available for purchase if you have room!
The Windjammer Buffet always had plenty of choices for Breakfast, including an omelet station, Lunch had lots to offer, and dinner was available until 10pm and they were always carving something and had plenty of deserts and salads.
Entertainment: The ice show was excellent! I did not go to any of the other variety shows. The piano bar was a lot of fun, and I heard from others that the entertainer in the Pig & Whistle on the Promenade was very good too. We caught a little of the fiddle player one day in the Aquarium Bar and he was incredible! I also really liked the casino on this ship. It never seemed too crowded and the roulette tables had a $1 minimum, which was a lot of fun. They had 3 or 4 roulette tables. A lot of people were also winning on the slots and said they really paid off.
Spa: The Spa and Work out area are very nice and very large on this ship. For free, we enjoyed the VERY Large whirlpool that is in the lower level of the spa, just outside the ladies locker room and then enjoyed some time in the steam and sauna, which are also very large rooms, also free! The showers in the locker room are larger than the ones in the cabin and were very nice. I have found that if you go at an off time, like when folks are in the dinner seating, you will have this area all to yourself! What a treat!
The Royal Promenade: This is the newest feature on all Royal Caribbean Voyager and Freedom Class ships. It is a street size atrium area that is lined with shops, cafes, and bars. The pursers desk and shore tours desk is in this area too. They have parades and gift shop sales along the middle of the street from time to time and there are plenty of places to sit and have a snack or relax.
This ship also has a two level library as well as an Internet cafe. There are wireless packages available for those who bring their laptop. Just a reminder at this point, the rooms only had one outlet by the desk so, be sure to bring and extension cord and an outlet strip, so you can plug in your chargers for your phone, mp3, digital camera, curling iron, video camera, etc...
Also, this is the first time on a cruise that I have used my cell phone. I had checked with my provider (Verizon) in advance and they told me it would be 99 cents a minute to call from Mexico and $1.49 a minute to call from Cayman or Jamaica. The charge to use it when the ship at sea is $2.49 a minute if you are connecting to the ships tower. I found that I was able to send text messages back home pretty easily and if I could not get a call out, I could text and then receive a call back. This worked out pretty well and was a great way communicate rather then spend .55 cents a minute in the internet cafe.
The ports: Montego Bay, Jamaica: There are several excursions available for this port, I would recommend picking one if you have not been to Jamaica before. We opted to take the "Hot Spots Trolley". This is available for purchase in the port building. It is $15 and has three or four stops. The stops were the craft market, the downtown shopping, Margaritaville, and Doctors Cove Beach and restaurants. This worked out fine for us to go shopping and have some lunch. The beach was nice, but we decided not to get all sandy.
Grand Cayman: There are also plenty of tours offered for this port. We decided to take a taxi and go to the "Sea Grape" beach area on 7-mile beach. We had been to this area on the last trip to Cayman and knew that it was clean and had a restaurant with shade, bathrooms and showers, and all kinds of beach rentals. The water was warm and clear and the sun was bright. Just a note, don't forget the sunscreen on your shoulders....they burn quickly! Also, water shoes are very helpful on this beach since there are a lot of shells in the sand. The taxi ride was about $5.00 each way in a shared mini van, of which there are plenty of lined up just after you get off the tender.
As far as the tenders in Grand Cayman, Royal Caribbean gives out tender tickets for about the first two hours the ship is in Cayman, approx. 8a to 10am, after that time, they will announce that tender tickets are no longer necessary and you can proceed right to the gangway and disembark. By the time we were finished with our late breakfast and gathered our things we were able to go right off and not mess with any tickets.
Cozumel: Cozumel is one of my favorite ports. I been there many times and taken many different tours. Email me if you any questions on the tours or beaches. This time, we had many things we wanted to see and do. The Voyager docked on the rebuilt International pier. Amazing that the last time we were in Coz, this pier was underwater from the hurricane! They have managed to rebuild it, along with all the shopping spots on the pier. The Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas, was parked right next to us on the other side of the pier and was a sight to behold! Email me if you would like pics of the ships! We visited with some friends in Cozumel and went to a hotel inspection of the new "Cozumel Palace" formally the Plaza Las Glorias. We are travel agents, and wanted to see the renovation of this hotel that we have always enjoyed with its great location. All I can say is that it is better then ever! Beautiful rooms, all with Jacuzzi tubs and balconies over the water! Stunning pools, and restaurants. After we left the hotel, we went into town and had a few braids put in our hair and had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants downtown, "Casa Dennis" if you go, order the Sampler platter, you won't be disappointed. After lunch, we stopped off at the NEW Cozumel Starbucks! Amazing Starbucks is now in Cozumel and was very spacious and the drinks are just the same as home! We got back to the pier with just enough time to take some pictures of the ships, do a little bit more shopping, and sail off into the sunset!
The last day of this week was at sea, always a good chance to relax, get in some walking around the deck. It was great to walk both on the outside promenade on deck 4 as well as the walking track on deck 12. We tried to play Scrabble in the card room, but each time we tried we were always told they did not have any games available and that they would try to get one from storage, but never did. Wish we would have know this, because we could have brought one from home. Packing up and putting the luggage out was a breeze....just toss it all in!
Disembarkation was very easy. Since we live in the Houston area, we were called off by color tag after all the people with fights were gone. We took our time and just stayed in our room, our steward never bothered us. When it was our turn, we just walked right off. The customs area was a breeze and there are plenty of porters available to help you get through with all of your luggage.
Now that we are back, I miss it already, and know that the only cure for "Post Cruise Blues" is to plan the next one!Bon Voyage!