By Maria Harding, Cruise Critic contributor; updated by Gina Kramer, Associate Editor
Vision of the Seas Overview
When Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas launched in 1998, it was the last in a class of vessels whose design represented the freshest and most innovative at that point in the company's history. (It followed Legend, Enchantment, Grandeur, Rhapsody and Splendour of the Seas.) The key? Each of the ships, albeit in the mid-size range, also offered big-ship touches.
During Vision of the Seas' dry dock in fall 2013, this concept was taken even further; the ship received its Oasis-class makeover, which included six new dining options (Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table, Izumi, Park Cafe, Chef's Table and a menu of small bites at the already existing Viking Crown Lounge and Nightclub), R Bar, the Centrum Experience (an aerial-aerobatics performance), club members' lounges, Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, an outdoor movie screen, bow-to-stern Wi-Fi, digital signage and cabins updated with new bathrooms, flat-screen LED TVs, carpeting and furnishings. Vision of the Seas' cabins, albeit slightly smaller than some on its sister ships, evoke a modern yet cozy feel that's just right for the ship's size.
The heart of the ship is the Centrum, a six-deck atrium. There's always something going on, whether it's a cooking class, family games, a live band, an art auction or, at nighttime, a jaw-dropping aerial performance. Since you have to cross the Centrum to get just about anywhere on the ship, it's easy to get sucked in -- or at least stop to enjoy the view -- on your way to some place else.
Another appealing aspect of Vision of the Seas is the use of lots of glass walls in public areas to bring the views of the outside in. In fact, more than two acres of glass was used in the ship's construction to make the sun, sea and sky part of the ship's interior as much as possible.
If you're a mega-ship junkie looking to test out a smaller size or want big-ship amenities without the crowds, Vision of the Seas would be a good place to start.
Vision of the Seas Fellow Passengers
Vision of the Seas attracts a broad range of ages, made up of couples, singles and families looking for a more intimate version of Royal Caribbean's typically active, innovative and affordable cruising experience. However, families might prefer Royal Caribbean's bigger ships with more activities and larger family facilities.
The ship also homeports in Panama on select Caribbean itineraries. On these sailings, passengers will notice a slight alteration to dining menus and activities to accommodate the greater number of Latin Americans onboard.
Vision of the Seas Dress Code
Overall, the vibe is quite casual during the day. Evenings see smarter outfits, especially at gala dinners, but there's no need to go all-out unless you enjoy putting on the style (as many do). Depending on the length of the cruise, there are three distinct types of evenings onboard. Casual nights (the most common) suggest shirts and slacks for men and sundresses or dress pants for women. Smart casual sees men with jackets and ties and women in dresses or pantsuits. Formal nights offer a chance for passengers to flash fancy outfits, hairdos and accessories. Suits and ties or tuxes for men and cocktail dresses for women are the recommended attire.
Vision of the Seas Gratuity
Royal Caribbean passengers are charged $12 per person, per day ($14.25 for suite passengers). Gratuities can be prepaid or will be added on a daily basis to passengers' SeaPass accounts during the cruise. Passengers can modify or remove gratuities by visiting the guest services desk while onboard. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar tabs.
We had a very nice cruise which was both exciting seeing all the new ports and experiencing the Latin American culture and also relaxing as for us there wasn't a lot to do on the ship so there was no guilt in going to bed early!
We stayed ...continue
February 2014 bellevillecruiser
My wife and I took this "Cultural Awareness" cruise last week. Although the majority of the passengers were from Latin America, as English speaking Canadians, we felt no discomfort whatsoever. All of the staff onboard spoke English, and Royal ...continue
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A month before we departed I got the email about a repo cruise to Panama. Because that was on the 'proverbial' Bucket List, I examined further. The cruise would leave Miami on a Wednesday and arrive in Colon Panama on a Saturday morning. I ...continue