By Maria Harding, Cruise Critic contributor
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.
Vision of the Seas has many of the expected Royal Caribbean features. Among them? The seven-deck-high atrium, which here of course is called the Centrum. There's a funnel-side rock-climbing wall and a solarium with sliding glass roof, indoor pool, whirlpool and cafe bar. The ship, natch, also has Royal Caribbean's signature circular Viking Crown lounge.
But what makes Vision of the Seas so appealing is the design strategy applied here (and even through the Radiance class of ships that came later) that uses 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.
The upshot is that huge windows, transparent lifts and glass roofs make Vision of the Seas one of the best ships afloat for viewing the scenic wonders and spectacular wildlife of Alaska, a region to which she returns year after year.
One qualifier, though: While Enchantment of the Seas was the first ship in this class to be significantly renovated (the ship was literally cut apart and a new mid-section was added, giving it plenty of room for more sun deck space and an alternative restaurant), Vision of the Seas has not yet gotten a major overhaul and is not on the schedule for such a project at this point. As such, it still will feel a little bit anachronistic, lacking more contemporary features such as an alternative restaurant.
Vision of the Seas Fellow Passengers
Vision of the Seas attracts a broad range of ages -- though many families will opt for its even newer ships with bigger family facilities.
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 tote a tux unless you enjoy putting on the style (as many do...).
Vision of the Seas Gratuity
Royal Caribbean passengers are charged $12 per person, per day ($14.25 for suite guests). 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.
At the time of this particular sailing, the Vision of the Seas was a 15 year-old, classically beautiful ship without some of the amenities that many cruisers seem to expect these days. However, I found that this well-designed ship is just the right ...continue
My party flew into San Diego, the morning of the cruise and took a taxi from the airport over to the cruise ship terminal area. We arrived around 10:30am walked up, dropped off our luggage and then walked to the North along the pier to have lunch at ...continue
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Having researched many Panama Canal itineraries, we were pleased with our 15-night trip on Vision of the Seas. We wanted an itinerary that actually transited the canal and also spent a day in Panama for touring. We were a bit concerned that maybe ...continue