I had read many reviews of Vision of the Seas but decided to try it anyway due to ports of call. I had both positive and negative experiences while on this cruise.
The biggest negative was the Shore Excursions desk. They were continually changing things without informing you. I totally understand that things occur and plans have to be changed however if you have booked an excursion they have you cabin number and could call and leave a message to inform you of such changes. For example: We had booked to go to the Russian Ballet. On the form it says that an early dinner would be provided for guests before leaving for the ballet. I called the day before to see what time and where we were to go to eat. I was told 5:45 pm at the Windjammer. My daughter and I show up at 5:40 and no one is there. The Windjammer is closed. We call Guest services and were told plans had been changed we could order room service (20-40 minute wait) or go to Solarium (again depending on how busy could be long wait). But that we needed to be on the bus now at 5:45. So we didnt eat and went to Ballet. There was nothing at the Ballet to eat. We arrived back on ship at 9:20. Both the Windjammer and dining room was closed. They were offering a evening buffet at 11:15 pm (by the way, the only evening buffet that was offer on the whole cruise!) so we ate hamburgers from the Solarium. Again it wasn't so much that the plans had changed it was just that we werent informed so that we could plan alternate eating plans. There were many people (elderly) that had not eaten since 12:30 - 1:00. Some people have to take medications etc and should not be expected to go that long without access to food.
2. Were told you needed to catch a shuttle into Riga for $8.00 one way or $16.00 round trip. It was then changed to $4.00 /8.00 because the ship had gotten to anchor closer to town. It was literally a 5 minute walk and possibly a 2 minute bus ride. Again I understand changes but it wasnt posted anywhere except at guest services on a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and unless you went by guest services you were unaware of changes.
3. When booking excursion for Russia it was very confusing. If you book any excursions be sure of price and what you are getting ie car or van.
4. I bought my daughter a drink card for soft drinks. I think about $48.00. It is fine for the most part but all the bars close around 2 am and her being a teenager usually hangs out talking with friends until later there is no access to soft drinks. The solarium doesn't have them and you can't use your drink card with room service.
5. Room service... The times I used room service it was good. The con was if you used room service from midnight or 5 am you had to pay $3.95. When asked why was told because people would order too much food and not eat it so to curb waste they started charging...seems to me punishing others.
6. Internet... I bought a package for $55.00 for 100 minutes. It would have been great had the Internet worked. There again I realize we are not in USA but internet service was horrible. If you got service it was so slow it could literally take up 6 or 7 minutes to get signed on. In one of the ports which we stayed like 8 hours we had no internet the whole time. So I ended up having like 40 minutes that I couldnt use because of no satellite. Guest services did refund partial amount. I think with the service being so unreliable it should be free or at least cheaper.
7. My sister and Mother traveled with us. They had more problems than we did. My sister had purchased 4 tickets for airport shuttle on return and only 2 were charged. She went to check on them and was told they would have to check with Miami. She waited 2 days. Finally was told she would need to repurchase even though it had already been posted on Mom's credit card. Sunday morning when leaving attendant didn't have their name on shuttle. My sister had a copy of print out showing charge and attendant said it didn't say airport shuttle and said she would have to check with guest services. My sister said no way and the attendant wrote her name down and they were allowed on the shuttle.
8. Room Stewart... We were in cabin 3648. Our room steward was fine but we always had to ask for ice. I know it was in Europe but we are Americans and like ice and when we ask for it the first day that should have let him know we wanted ice every day. My sister and Mom were in cabin 3027 and their room steward wasnt as good. Don't remember exact details but I know they had some problems.
9. Food I thought the food was really good. I felt there was enough variety. Some was strange to my taste but I felt they covered many tastes. I just thought that food wasn't offered late at night. Once the Windjammer closed at 9 which I think is early the only option was hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and pizza at the Solarium.
10. This has nothing to do with cruise ship but I do want others to know. I had read reviews making fun of Americans for wearing white tennis shoes and being loud. I will take a loud American wearing white tennis shoes over many of the people I met on this cruise. I have never come across such rude people. They were always pushing, shoving and breaking lines. They would stare at you with contempt and then when you would smile or nod they would turn their head. I know that every nationality has rude people but it was ridiculous!!!! It almost ruined my cruise but I decided I wouldnt let them have the pleasure. It was funny.. they would cuss you in their language then turn to the next person and speak English like we wouldnt know they were talking about us!! My Mom and sister were on an elevator and when they got on it had body odor from previous person two people got on looked at them wrinkled their nose and said something. My sister looked at them and told them it stunk when they got on...they dropped their eyes and never said anything else. Also saw a European man take a drink from glass on tray and set it back on the same tray for someone else to get instead of setting to be discarded. Saw a European man with fork in his mouth waiting for about 2 minutes then took fork and stuck into fruit bowl. My sister was waiting in line at to pay and European lady ask sales clerk about a scarf she was holding and clerk said yes she had so the lady took her credit card and reached around my sister who was in front and waiting her turn to the clerk. As I mentioned before I don't hold the ship responsible for guests but if asked would I recommend the cruise I would just warn of the rude people that they could encounter. Also Europeans have a hard time going in single file. Always seem to block doors and wouldnt let you enter. Also when walking and would pass (facing) they seemed to move over to the right to block your way. Never understood that. There were 500 Americans on this cruise. Talked to about 25 and they felt the same way. I know cultures are different and that is one of the reasons to travel but rudeness is rudeness no matter the culture!!!!!
Im sure I am forgetting something but if you have read this review and have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.