Overall: I had an enjoyable vacation. I was never "wowed" on board, nor was anything terrible on board (well, except for the coffee, which was about the worst I've ever tasted).
This was my 6th cruise in 7 years, so I do not fall into the category of avid cruiser. Previous cruise experiences included 3 Celebrity, 1 Royal Caribbean (Radiance), and one NCL.
Embarkation: Embarkation in Istanbul was fairly quick, and the agents were pleasant and friendly. Our luggage was delivered to our room quickly.
Ship: The ship seemed well maintained, sailed smoothly, and everything seemed to be in working order. I could not feel engine vibrations. There are tons of windows and acres of glass, which I believe was the prime design element in the Vision class ships. I believe the ship is beautiful, although this is subjective.
Stateroom attendant: She was extremely friendly and personable. She always kept the room clean and tidy. I rarely saw her though. The attendant for neighboring cabins always seemed to be around. Whenever I needed something, I usually found myself asking the other attendant, as she was usually present.
Stateroom: Large outside category. The furniture is old, with many nicks and blemishes, and the drawers didn't exactly glide in and out, Most of the drawers seemed as though they had been broken and repaired, requiring special care to open and close them. Nearly one third of the "vanity" under the mirror in the stateroom was covered with over priced "mini-bar" items, including $4 bottles of water. On previous cruises I recall the stateroom attendant leaving ice and a pitcher of water at least once daily. It seems this practice has been discontinued in an attempt to get passengers to pay $4 for a drink of water. I would rate the stateroom as satisfactory overall.
Public areas: The public areas of this ship are beautiful and well maintained. I was impressed with how nice everything appeared in the centrum, on deck, and in the lounges. The appearance of the public areas is the one area in which this ship was above expectations.
Pool areas: There are two main pool areas, one outdoors and one inside a solarium. The solarium pool is supposed to be reserved for adults only. There were not many children on board, however, those that were on board were often found in the "adults only" pool in the solarium. If these children were even somewhat well behaved, it would not have been too big of an issue. Unfortunately, the children often found in the solarium pool (usually with their parents), were very poorly behaved, constantly screaming at the top of their lungs and running around the deck disturbing the mostly adult crowd trying to enjoy some peace and quiet. One day it got so bad that a father of some of these children nearly came to blows with another passenger who was rightly complaining that the children should not be using the adults only pool. Numerous signs are posted stating this pool is for adults only. Complaints to the staff members were ignored, they clearly didn't want to enforce the rules nor get involved. This was a major failing of Royal Caribbean. Security should have intervened and enforced the rules set by Royal Caribbean.
Dining: There are not many dining options on this ship, the MDR and the Windjammer Buffet being the only places one can have a meal. There were also small sandwiches and terrible burgers and pizza usually available from a grouchy cook at a small corner of the solarium.
Main Dining Room: Service at dinner was very good. Menu selections were adequate, but not impressive. Feed seemed to be of hotel banquet quality. Cheap cuts of beef (a nice cut of beef was available for an extra $15), no lobster, no crab, shrimp was available a couple of evenings. Nobody ever left hungry, as there was plenty of food, and if the waiter ever sensed I didn't like something, he quickly brought something else. The quantity was definitely there, but the quality was lacking. I would gladly trade quantity for quality. The appetizers were typically the best part of every meal. Service in the MDR for breakfast or lunch was terrible. Nearly impossible to even get a glass of water. After enduring the poor breakfast and lunch service in the MDR a couple times, I decided to eat those meals in the Windjammer only. Also, dining times are inconvenient, either 6:00PM (too early, especially when in port) or 8:45 (too late, making dinner last until 10:30). In the cruise compass (daily program) and posted on the video boards near the dining room, there were always announcements for Royal Caribbean's "My Time" dining, which allows passengers to eat when they want to eat. The announcements all said to see the head waiter to be moved to "my time" dining. On the third day, I waited in line to see the head waiter to inquire about "my time" dining, his response "that has been full for two months". If it has been full for two months, please stop advertising it, or better yet, there is clearly demand for more - open a larger section for "my time" dining".
Windjammer Buffet: The food here was pretty good for a buffet. Nothing to get excited about, but I never had any trouble finding something good to eat. Finding a table, or getting a beverage was another story. My guess is that most passengers learned that service in the MDR was terrible for breakfast and lunch, therefore opted to take those meals in the Windjammer. Two large buffet lines emptied into one small area for getting juice, coffee or water and always resulted in a terrible traffic jam.
Coffee: The coffee on board was TERRIBLE. Likely the worst I've ever tasted. I mentioned it to several crew members in the restaurants, and the response was always the same, "Yes, I agree - the coffee is terrible and I wouldn't drink it. " Several of them added: "it is American coffee", so it would seem that if the crew told any of their superiors that the coffee was bad, they were told "that's American coffee". Coffee was for sale at a small "Seattle's Best Coffee" stand. I don't think I'm being cynical in believing that the reason for the TERRIBLE coffee in the restaurants was to force passengers to pay extra for a decent cup of coffee.
Ice Cream: On Celebrity ships, home made (ok, ship made) FREE ice cream was available in the afternoon. On the VOS, passengers could PAY for Ben and Jerry's, no free ice cream anywhere.
Orange Juice: In the Windjammer Buffet, I saw a machine making fresh orange juice. When I went to get a glass, I saw that they were charging $4 for small glass of juice. I stuck with the free reconstituted frozen orange juice.
Entertainment: I was impressed by the almost constant live music. This was a pleasant surprise, as the musicians were talented. The band in the main showroom was very talented as well. The live music was a highlight of the cruise. Guest entertainers were also very good. I give the entertainment 5 out of 5 stars. Great job here!!
Overall: I enjoyed myself, the ship was nice and there was plenty to eat. I pick cruises by the port calls, rather than by the ship. The port calls were outstanding, and the ship was fine. Next time, my first choice would be a Celebrity ship, but if all that was available going to the ports I wanted was Royal Caribbean, I would do it again.