Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by brnidgrl912: Fantastic week!
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Background info - Travel with my two children: daughter age 7 and son age 13 as well as my sister. It's my 3rd cruise (2 with RC, 1 with Holland), my kids 2nd cruise (1 Holland, 1st time with RC) and my sister's first. We had an inside room mid ship.
Embarkation - Very smooth. We got to the pier around 12:15 and stopped to pick up luggage tags. Then stood in line for about 10 minutes to drop off the luggage with the pier staff. Check in and security went very well. The customer service rep for check in (Stella) was an absolute delight. We were through the entire process and on board at 12:55.
Ship Info - We didn't find the imperfections and wear and tear that others have commented on. The Centrum area was very pretty, the ship appeared clean. Our room was clean and ready as we boarded. We dropped our carryons in the room and went immediately to the Windjammer for lunch. Then we explored from level 10 - level 4. Everything was accessible and easy to find. More
Activities - We didn't participate in very many activities on board, but the kids were both very active in the Adventure Ocean programs. The Explorer Club (ages 6 - 8) was VERY well run. The staff were totally engaged with the kids and got to know each one well. They had a variety of themed activities from 9 - noon; 2 - 5pm and 7 - 10pm daily. They also had late nights, but my daughter was always too tired to stay. They had creative art projects and excellent science projects as well as terrific games. The teen program was a little lacking. While the plans looked good on paper, I don't think the teen staff did enough or had enough charisma to keep the teens interested for very long. It wasn't until I "encouraged" (forced) my son to participate that he realized the activities were fun. He enjoyed the scavenger hunt and dancing time the best. Those seemed to be the activities where many teens participated.
Service - Our cabin steward, nicknamed Stealth Bob, was fabulous! The nickname says it all. And he did a great job cleaning. He had excellent attention for detail and the kids loved to see what towel animals he left each day. One day we made him a towel chicken...he replied with a towel turkey. Very impressive. Our waiter and asst. waiter were also very attentive. They brought the kids a ginger ale one night - without charging us - and then continued each night to have one ready for them at dinner. They knew what kind of salad and rolls we preferred and were also very attentive. We ordered a cake for my daughter's birthday, and our waiter, Martin, made a huge show of it for her. He, sadly for RC, is leaving to go home to Bulgaria in 22 days. He's been with RC for 13 years. Shore Excursions - Cabo - we walked around, ate at El Squid Roe (delicious food, fun atmosphere, too costly) and took a taxi to Medano Beach. Then took a water taxi back to the Marina. We didn't see or do much there.
Mazatlan - we booked through mazatlantours online and spent the day at Stone Island with the ATV add-on. We got a 30 minute ATV ride which both kids LOVED, and then chose to do boogie boarding and horseback riding. My daughter was nervous on the horse, so I rode with her. Turned out just fine and they enjoyed their time. The one hour boat ride at the end was a complete waste of time as we didn't see anything, and the waves were so rough that most of us felt ill by the end. That was the only negative to the day.
Puerto Vallarta - we booked again through puertovallartatours online and reserved a personal driver for 5 hours. Manuel was an excellent tour guide, even though he didn't think he was. He showed us all over Downtown, up in the hills, several tourist sites as well as out of the way spots. We drove out to Mismaloya beach with did not have soft sand, and we were approached non-stop for tours. We only stayed about 20 minutes and then headed back toward town. We ate lunch at a delicious place called Los Arbolitos - a little three story place with fresh salsa, chips, guacamole and excellent service! We then shopped at the flea market, where Manuel was kind enough to help my sister negotiate for 3 bracelets. He then took us to Bing's ice cream (a local brand) and dropped us off at the Cristal Hotel. We spent a couple of hours there swimming and hanging out and then stopped at Wal-mart for more sunscreen before heading to the shops at the Marina. Dining - As I mentioned above, the service from our staff in the dining room was excellent. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer each day. There was not much variety for breakfast each day, but enough choices that we could choose our own variety if we wanted to. Lunch was nothing spectacular, but just moderate. The deserts though...we all enjoyed the cake rolls with the cream in the middle. Yum! We only ate dinner in the Windjammer one night and it wasn't anything memorable. Our family felt that in the Aquarius Dining room was great. My absolute favorite was the chilled soups. They had peach, strawberry bisque, mango, berry/buttermilk, etc. I wish I had the recipes! The on-board cookbook did not have the recipes or I would have made the purchase. We enjoyed the cod, the filet mignon, the lobster tail as well as several desserts.
Entertainment - We loved the Tony Tillman show as well as Kyle Knight's magic show. Both were very entertaining and I'd love to see them again. The two shows, however, by the RC Singers and Dancers were just awful. Take this with a grain of salt, as we are a family that grew up around the theater (my dad worked for the Boston Ballet as well as the Wang Theater in Boston) and we take several trips each year to see Broadway shows in NYC. The first show was Boogie Wonderland which I just giggled through because it was absurd. The second was a Broadway Revue. It started out ok, but they massacred songs from the Music Man as well as the entire middle section of the show. The movements through the ballads (and there were too many ballads) were predictable with the fists and the spreading of hands, etc.
Spa - I went to the spa for a deep tissue massage which was superb! My spa therapist was Donabel. I highly recommend her! She did say, however, that I'm so clearly stressed, I should have a massage weekly and expressed genuine concern. Both my sister and I also had the Ionitherape treatment which was interesting but not worth the money. All of the fitness and spa folks are skilled at teaching you about the toxins in your body and about what products they have to help. They are not, however, the least bit pushy in selling the products.
Disembarkation - This was a bit of a mess! We had early departure to carry our own bags. People were lined up everywhere with bags. We were told that only a limited amount of the early departure passes were available, but it felt like 50% of the ship was leaving early...and several had colored tags on their bags, but there was no control by RC.
Summary - Overall we had a fantastic week and would go again in a heartbeat! On a scale of 1 - 10, I'd say we had an 8.5! Less
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