Sailed April 3, 2011 on a 7 night Western Caribbean cruise - Roatan, Belize, Cozumel - on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas. Traveling with a group of 8, including two young kids. Three cabins in the reservation; mine was ocean view cabin #3554 (which had a connecting door to #3552). This was my first cruise with RC and only my second cruise ever. (I believe this ship is about to relocate and in the future this route will be served by the Mariner of the Seas, so this review might not be relevant for long.)
I enjoyed these ports (Roatan, Belize, Cozumel) much more than my previous cruise (Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel).
This was a great cruise. The ship is very nice. All staff were helpful and friendly and I have no real complaints. Some areas felt a bit crowded at times (the Promenade during Parades and the Windjammer on the last morning) but overall the ship has a good flow and lots of public space. I thought our cabin was pretty small and we would have liked more closet space (compared to the Carnival Conquest with ample storage and more width to the room). The ship is also very clean despite being 11 years (?) old.
We ate most breakfast and lunch meals in the Windjammer Cafe and most evening meals in the Magic Flute - My Time Dining. I found the need to make MTD reservations annoying and we were forced to reserve for an earlier time than we would have liked, but we also had 8 people in our party. I'm sure a smaller party could walk in most nights and get a table. Food and service were excellent in the Magic Flute. Windjammer was also good.
We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets' one day and it was okay. The burgers were good, but they were small and not so great that it was worth the per person $4.95 fee on a ship full of free food. We also felt it was misleading because shakes and soft drinks were extra. Oreo sundae or apple pie as desert was included. No one tried to order seconds on anything, but I did wonder if that was allowed. Servers were also not as pleasant.
Four of us ate at Portofino for dinner one night. It was excellent and easily worth the $20 per person. The service was even more personalized and it was blessedly quiet. I would make time to do this on future cruises.
The headliners were fantastic - Travis Ledoyt (Elvis impersonator) and the Spectrum (Motown) group were my favorites. I would pay to see them again and they put on good shows. The juggler comic (Charles Peachock) and the two other comics (Craig Carmean & Tom ??) were good. I really enjoyed the juggling and I laughed at every show. Tom ?? and Charles also participated in the Liars Club show.
I thought the ice skating show started a bit hokey but once they got through their very weird opening and started individual routines it really improved. I was glad we went. This ship does not require tickets for the show, however, the venue is pretty small. There were 4 show times (of the same show) and even showing up 30 minutes prior to the show, we were unable to get in on the first day it was offered. Luckily, the next day we had no issues getting in to the first show of the day (6:30) and in fact the studio had many empty seats. We saw a bit more of a line for the 8:30 show so I would recommend showing up at least 30 minutes before the show starts and be prepared to be flexible with your schedule these days. I did not free skate, but watch a group of kids one day and it looked like a lot of fun. I wouldn't book this ship just for the ice rink, but it is a nice extra.
There were only two production shows - the onboard singers and dancers - and both shows were weak. Four singers total - a male and female who also danced and a male and female who just seemed to sing. The two singers only were very good. I thought of the two singer/dancer people as filler and the other dancers really just flopped around on stage. It was okay, but I expected more. Scenery was gorgeous but it seemed a waste given that they didn't do much good in front of it. It's still always fun to go to a show, but don't expect too much.
Farwell Variety show was also a bit lacking in variety, but I suppose we were all tired by that time so it didn't matter. Loved listening to the Rosario Strings in the Aquarium Bar (no real Aquarium though), and the Mike Utley Band up in High Notes. Friends enjoyed the Derek Lewis pub show, trivia and the Phil Anderson piano bar as well.
Our cruise director was Mike Szwajkowski, recently returned from the Liberty. The first few times I saw him I didn't think he was very funny, but as the cruise progressed he got funnier and funnier, almost as though he loosened up (or maybe I did). He did Liars Club, The Quest, Behind the Scenes look, a cooking demonstration and most other shows.
Comparison to Carnival - very similar lines. Nothing on either line is so great or so awful that I would necessarily chose one over the other. On the Conquest, I enjoyed the entertainment/shows, the big screen outside, more cabin space and the big outdoor waterslide. On the Voyager, the food was superior and the Promenade was interesting. I felt the Voyager move a lot, something I don't remember from the Conquest.