This was our sixth cruise overall and our fourth with Royal Caribbean. We traveled with my wife's parents (first timers,) our two daughters, ages 17 and 20, and their 20-year old friend. We haven't cruised in six years, so I was a little concerned after reading some of the reviews listed here. I was expecting the food to be like an Old Country Buffett and this ship to look rather shabby. I do consider myself to be an amateur foodie, so we do have pretty high standards. This was our second cruise on Voyager, the first being in 2003 when she was only a couple of years old.
New Orleans -- My wife and I have traveled to most of the major cities in the US and this was our first trip to New Orleans. The most remarkable thing about the city is the constant smell of great food cooking all over the city. Embarkation was an absolute breeze compared to our previous cruises. We booked a Springwood Suites just off Julia St. near the convention center. We only had to walk two blocks to get to the terminal and arrived about 10:15. We experienced absolutely no wait going through check-in, and had to wait only a short time until 11am to board the ship.
Food - Expecting average food, we were impressed with the meals. Most meals in the dining room were excellent, although some were mediocre, but you could always find something delicious. Lamb Shanks on Day 6 were my favorite, and stuffed shells and prime rib were excellent. Appetizers were the highlight of every meal; some should be turned into main courses. Windjammer breakfast was outstanding, featuring a huge selection and high quality. Over light eggs were always available at one station, and my wife really liked the made-to-order omelets. On our last cruise I had to wait in the omelet line to get over-light eggs. Our waiter, Neil from the Philippines, was attentive, excellent and fun. We also bought the wine package which gave us a bottle per night and each selection was very good.
Entertainment -- Opening night comic Tom Mctigue was a highlight; even my daughters were in tears from laughing so hard. However he was the same comic as our last cruise and did some of the same jokes, but we loved it. My girls have quoted his "British humor" joke for the last six years (why would anyone shoot a bush). Singer Kenny James was by far our favorite entertainer. We would pay to see his concert again. Ice show was excellent. Gymnast Lance Ringnald was a surprise; he was funny and incredibly amazing. What do you say about the production shows? I felt sorry for very talented singers and dancers struggling with very poor productions.
The Ship -- As beautiful now as it was 9 years ago. Well maintained and very clean. Room Steward Terry was fantastic. One negative was the photo center. We bought a $399 all-inclusive photo package including prints and all digital photos on a CD. We struggled with them to get all the photos on our disk; You can see all of your digital pictures on kiosk in the photo center, but if you find printed ones that are NOT on the disk, it is your responsibility to pull them and have them added to the disk. After we got off the ship and put the disk in our computer, we found out that they gave us someone else's disk. I waited for over an hour in the terminal and someone came out and apologized and said they would get me the right disk, but I won't hold my breath. Many people had pictures lost.
Overall - Fantastic cruise, we are still asking ourselves why haven't we cruised since 2006? Some of the worst weather we ever had on a cruise, because the ship was really rocking for the first 4 days. The crew said it was the roughest they have had in the Gulf. But, overall we have an amazing experience and just love Royal Caribbean.