We board the Vision of the Seas in Santos ( located about 50 min from Sao Paulo). Embarkation started on schedule and we were able to board the vessel at 11:30 ( staterooms were ready by 13:00).The windjammer cafe ( lunch buffet ) opened at 12:00 for the early embarked guests. Our stateroom , an outside stateroom on deck 2 was clean and spacious. Tough the beds were placed separately and the fridge requested to store special medication was not there , we were pleased in general ( bed and fridge were placed as requested after a call to housekeeping). A few calls to the Purser's Desk was placed in the early afternoon and again and again the lines were busy ( usually you're put on hold automatically if lines are engaged) so that gave me the impression that in Brazil during embarkation day, pursers leave their phones out of the hook due to amount of guests at their desk. We sailed from Santos in full carnaval atmosphere . Pool bar was overcrowded as there were not enough bar staff to deal with the demand of guests trying to buy drinks. Speaking of bars, The Service at Schooner bar and the Viking Crown during early evening was horrible. At the Schooner bar twice we had bar staff greeting us by the door and disappearing right after. so at the end nobody would take our order. Same bar tender would appear to say good-bye to us. It seems he was there to greet people instead of making money. At the Viking Crown , we actually had to go to the bar and ask the bar tender to come to our table and serve us. It would be understandable if the Disco was packed but we were the only ones there as guests were partying by the pool deck. Best choice was the champagne bar them . Superior quality on drinks and impeccable service .
D. Room : My time dining is the best thing you can ask for. Dining seats in Brazil are later than usual ( 07:30 pm and 10:30 pm ) We had a nice table for 2 by the window using the my time dining system . It worked perfect and we were there at 8 om every day. The service at the Dining Room was impeccable... real gold anchor standard as they like to call . 2 Brazilian gents waiter ed our table during the whole cruise and they just went above and beyond all the time compensating the lack of taste in some of the dishes offered on board.
Public Areas : Unlike other RCCL ships, vision was quite dirty in public areas. Not only the elevators but all golden metal on board were filthy , greasy and full of fingerprints . Not the normal cleanliness standard that RCCL had in the past.
Ports: Sunny weather helped us during the cruise. Ports were amazing for those who likes to eat fresh seafood and enjoy pristine beaches. Buzios was the top of the trip and Salvador was worth it by its architecture and colonial beauty . Many people left the ship to go dance and enjoy carnaval in Salvador as the ship overnight ed there but we decided to enjoy one of the many parties held by the pool deck.
Overall : We enjoyed this cruise and the carnaval atmosphere on board. It was a nice way to celebrate it and fell safe at same time. Tough 20 different nationalities were on board, 99% were Brazilians so bare in mind that Portuguese is the spoken language on board ( even tough most of the announcements are done in English too)