3 Copenhagen to Europe - Western Mediterranean Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Cruise: Very good itinerary - repositioning from Copenhagen to Venice with stops in Amsterdam, Brugge, Le Havre (Normandy), Malaga, Cartagena, Malta, Split. Staff: We found the staff very friendly and helpful. The only exception was ... Read More
Cruise: Very good itinerary - repositioning from Copenhagen to Venice with stops in Amsterdam, Brugge, Le Havre (Normandy), Malaga, Cartagena, Malta, Split. Staff: We found the staff very friendly and helpful. The only exception was trying to get info on doing things on your own and the overall lack of knowledge of Cartagena. Food: Food was excellent, but lobster is no longer served on this cruise. Large prawns are served instead, and they did not meet the quality of the other meals we enjoyed. Activities: There were plenty of activities available. We enjoyed the Trivia, Name that Tune, and other such choices. Rock climbing is available on this ship and was very popular. Cabin: Our cabin had a full picture window on deck 3 (class H), centrally located. It was well maintained, but amenities are few. The TV is old, with few stations and limited American news and sports. There is also no daily newspaper on this ship to help keep you current with the world activities. Entertainment: The shows were all very well done. There was a magician/comedian that we found to be especially funny because he was so different from other acts we had seen. The Beatles Impersonation act was also terrific. Excursions - We did not use any ship excursions, preferring to do our own planning and adventures. See our port reviews for our activities. I was disappointed that the ship had little info on Cartagena. Disembarkation Day - Venice 9/24 - The disembarkation process went well. We were off the ship by 9 AM and spent an overnight in Venice and left the next day. Overall: We had a great cruise with a terrific itinerary. The ship is getting old and needs to be refurbished. The cabins need updating with more modern TV's, expanded stations, and other upgrades. I would still take this ship again, because the staff were great and the ports were wonderful. Malaga, Spain - Saturday - 9/18 Our ship docked far from town, but they provided a free shuttle to the cruise terminal, where you could pick up a shuttle to town for $6/$12 roundtrip, or walk the mile. It was a beautiful, warm day so we walked. The town is very interesting and was busy. There is also a beach near the port entrance. A Hop-On-Hop-Off bus is available for 15 euros. You can walk to most of the sites that we visited (The Malaga Cathedral, Alcazaba and Roman Theatre, Picasso' Birthplace, Picasso Museum, bullring, etc.). If you choose to visit Castle Gibraltar (great views and pictures from here), take Bus 35 (1.1 euros each way). You get the bus on Alameda Principal almost opposite City Hall. The Castle is a steep, long climb, and the euro's were well spent taking the bus. There is an internet cafe opposite Picasso's Birthplace that only cost 2 euro's per hour. As you walk the city, there are plenty of small stores and restaurants to have something to drink or eat. Cartagena, Spain - Sunday - 9/19 This was first time this ship and crew visited this port. Neither the Cruise Director or his staff had much information about the port. Since it was also Sunday, we were warned that many places could be closed. To our surprise, the town had started a 9 day celebration on Sept. 17th (the Romans versus Carthaginians Festival). People were dressed in costumes appropriate to both groups and there was music, dancing, fireworks, etc. to entertain everyone. We visited the Roman Theatre, Church of El Carmen, ruins and Carlos III Rampart near the Interpretation Center, and other nearby sights. There really is not much to do in this town, but we enjoyed seeing the people (who were very friendly) dressed in costume and we had some terrific sangria. If we stopped here again, I would probably look for a beach or something outside the city. Below, is the link to the town's brochure. http://www.cartagenaturismo.es/files/61-61-DOC_FICHERO2/generico_ingles.pdf Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We flew from Edinburgh to Copenhagen via Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. We were met at the airport by Royal Caribbean staff and a coach took us on a short drive through centre of Copenhagen to the port. Easy journey, no delays. ... Read More
We flew from Edinburgh to Copenhagen via Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. We were met at the airport by Royal Caribbean staff and a coach took us on a short drive through centre of Copenhagen to the port. Easy journey, no delays. Security clearance and registration was also efficient and quick. Fantastic. The Ship The Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas was built in 1998. I was told that at the time it was one of the largest in the world. Now days, it's one of the smallest in the RC fleet. Looking at the RC website I was fascinated to discover it is 78,491 tons and the beam is 32.2m. Ok I wasn't fascinated and it probably doesn't help you either. I will try again. The ship is white. It is 23 double-deckers long and weighs the same as 17,063 African elephants. The passenger capacity is 2400. (1950 on our cruise). The Cabin My wife and I were on the lowest deck at the back. We were expecting the worst if truth be told. In fact, I had thought being so close to the engines would mean there was a distinct possibility that I would be asked to lend a hand. I don't know, perhaps to tighten a huge oversized bolt or something like that. Anyway it wasn't to be, the cabin steward proudly told me that there had never been any complaints from previous occupants and the lower down and further back you are, the more stable the ship is. Incidentally two of our dinner companions were also on the second floor but in the middle of the ship. When the ship used its side propellers the vibrations were so bad that my friend's watch bounced off the shelf above the bed and hit his wife's head. Luckily there was no damage. The watch was fine. The cabin was roomy enough and very clean. The dressing table and bathroom looked a bit dated but all in all, very pleasant. The cabin steward was friendly, changed the towels twice a day and provided us with animal shaped towel every night. Full marks for the elephant and the scorpion, I will admit to being less impressed by the headless monkey! The Facilities The ship was well laid out, the centre of the ship being a fantastic huge shopping mall like atrium which stretched vertically from the 4th deck to the 9th deck. The pool deck at the top had four hot tubs and a small swimming pool. There was also a solarium which housed another small swimming pool and two hot tubs under its glass roof. There was a gym and sauna, a two tier theatre, a casino and let's not forget the all important rock climbing wall. Talking of which, I would love to have been at that marketing meeting when they concluded that what customers really needed was a big jaggy wall with wee holes in it! (I used the wall several times and really enjoyed it, but it does make you think, what's coming next? What are they dreaming of right now in the RC board room? ......well maybe on second thoughts, we don't need to know). Food There were two restaurants, one formal waiter serviced and one buffet. There was also a room service option. Room service: There was no charge unless you ordered food in the middle of the night. And why would you do that? We used it three times for breakfast. First time they forgot a bowl, the second time they forgot milk. Third time, I had a croissant. Buffet: Good choice and good quality. There was also an endless supply of water, ice tea, lemonade and tea and coffee to wash it all down with. The desserts were a bit hit and miss. Also the buffet restaurant closed between 11am and noon. Not good for the late sleepers. Formal dining room: We were allocated a rather late 8:45pm dining time (the second sitting). We probably could have switched to the earlier sitting if we'd asked, or we could have paid extra for any time dining but 8:45 worked out perfectly. We were on a table with two American couples and it was great to meet up with them to swap stories and to have a laugh about the day's events. The menu was excellent every night- always a choice of about 8 starters, 5 or 6 mains and a few desserts. The rare steaks came rare, the fillets of fish came large. All dishes well seasoned and well presented. Our waiter Edvin was brilliant. He was happy to chat and he provided us with a number of little puzzles over the course of the voyage. He was good at his job too. Drink If you like wine with your dinner, a pre-cruise booked wine package is a must. Wine is very expensive on board RC ships (£25 and upwards). Choice is also an issue, the Argentinian Malbec ran out after the first 4 days, and when the waiter managed to track down suitable alternatives these inevitably ran out as well. This brings me on to the bars. There were 5 including the one in the casino. All alcohol was expensive, cocktails about £6 and pints of beer about £5.50. So if you consider yourself a moderate social drinker, (yes, your friends are heavy binge drinkers, but not you) then factor these prices in to your budget. If you are a heavy drinking compulsive gambler then you may as well put your budget calculations in the bin. Maybe you should wait until RC add Las Vegas to one of their itineraries, so you can really go for it (perhaps that's what they are dreaming of in that board room!...Las Vegas). Entertainment Excellent during the day, quizzes and dancing lessons were always popular. Evening shows probably worked out better for those on the first dinner sitting. For those on the second sitting some days the shows were before dinner (7:15) and other days after dinner (10:30), whichever way they did it, I always missed the start. The individual shows were of a high standard, but for me variety gave way to complete randomness. Elton John one night followed by a juggler the next! Entertainers are flown in for one night only, for a show that lasts an hour. I think the cruise director could improve things by interacting more with guests and by conducting a more coherent programme. The on board orchestra were excellent but I think I saw the singer/dancers once in thirteen days, so good ingredients, we just need a better recipe. Itinerary Copenhagen to Venice as you can guess is a transition cruise, the aim of course, to bring the ship in from the cold over winter. It makes for a fantastically relaxing holiday. Several days at sea, as well as the opportunity to explore a few well known destinations such as Amsterdam and Paris, together with lesser known places such as Cartagena and Split. We didn't go on any of the organised tours, simply because all of the places we wanted to visit were close to the ports. RC provide a lot of information on the ports and organised excursions via their explorations desk and their in house TV channel. They even had a dedicated port and shopping guide. But you should know that when the "expert" spends longer talking about where to buy Swiss watches than on the entire history of Paris, well you know he's about as much use as a (Swiss).... chocolate teapot. Unless of course you are one of that rare breed of people that finds the watch buying process so stressful that you need to build a holiday round it. The verdict RC offers a great product, but there were a few niggles along the way. Perhaps it's the commercial angle that you know RC are seeking to exploit from every available opportunity, perhaps it's the clipped impersonal language used by the cruise director and his staff, perhaps it was just the dining room staff dancing to the Royal Caribbean corporate song. I don't know. Rather than moan, which I would never do, maybe we should see it from their side. I mean how would you handle these actual customer queries? 1. How small does my face have to be for the mini facial? 2. Does this elevator go to the front of the ship? 3. The microwave in my room doesn't work? (It was the room safe!) 4. Does the crew sleep onboard? OK I take it all back. We were very well looked after throughout. Anyway all that a side, I have worked out the difference between what makes a very good cruise and what makes a great cruise. It's not the boat, it's not the itinerary and it's not the food. It's the people you meet, the people you have dinner with every night. We had a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Overall, we were very satisfied with the cruise. The itinerary was wonderful with great places to see. The staff on the Vision were terrific, food was great, and many activities were available. The ship is older and so the cabins (even ... Read More
Overall, we were very satisfied with the cruise. The itinerary was wonderful with great places to see. The staff on the Vision were terrific, food was great, and many activities were available. The ship is older and so the cabins (even though very well maintained by the staff) had old TV's, limited stations, and few amenities (e.g., no refrigerator). We had an oceanview with a full picture window. Some of the oceanviews come with a porthole or split window. We were traveling with another couple on this cruise and we divided the port research and plans between us. We embarked (9/11) from Copenhagen. Make sure you know which pier you are leaving from. We were at Frihavnen (Freeport). If you don't have too many bags, it is relatively easy to get to by train. Get your ticket (35 DKK per person - around $7) at the airport to the Nordhavn station (you will take the train from the airport to Oosterport station and change there for the train to Nordhavn - one stop past Oosterport). It is a walk of about 300 yards from the train station to the pier. Many people were doing this including the people disembarking in Copenhagen from the previous cruise. The other option is a cab if you can split the cost - around 400DKK - $80 depending on traffic or use RCCL shuttle (I believe it was about $36 per person). Embarkation was well run by RCCL, even though we arrived early (9:30 AM). We did get on board at 11 AM and our room was ready by 1 PM. Our early dinner seating (6 PM) was supposed to have linked our bookings so we would have dinner together. That didn't happen and the dining room management was unable/unwilling to move us so we could be together unless we wanted the late seating. The other choice was My Time Dining which we chose (you must prepay your gratuities with this choice), and which worked out wonderfully. We were able to have a 6 PM table for 4 by a window every night with the same staff who couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. The food was excellent, however, we were disappointed that this ship no longer serves Lobster. They have replaced that with extra-large prawns which we felt were subpar. The shows on the ship varied in quality. The RCCL dancer/ Broadway shows were average. The special entertainers (comedians, magicians, and a Beatles Impersonation group) were terrific. Excursions - For most ports, we did our own planning and arranged for our own excursions. The ship and crew (including the cruise director) had never been to Cartagena, Spain, and offered "that we would all learn about the port together". We also found it difficult getting information on doing things on your own for Split, Croatia. Disembarkation Day - Venice 9/24 - The disembarkation process went well as long as you followed the instructions. When you received your luggage tags the night before leaving, RCCL was very good about letting you change your colored tag for another so you could leave when you wanted. As they warned, luggage would only be available based on the time associated with your tag. The ship docked at 6 AM as scheduled. We left the ship around 8:15 AM, our luggage was found quickly, and we headed to the airport. A short walk from the cruise terminal, is the Venice People Mover. It costs 1 euro (there is a ticket machine that takes bills and gives change) and runs like a small monorail. You take this to Piazzale Roma. When exiting, you will see a central area with many buses. Make a left at the corner and you will see the ATVO ticket store where you purchase the ticket (3 euro pp) for the airport. We were going to Marco Polo airport which is the most popular. They also sell tickets to Treviso Airport, but only a few small airlines are there. When leaving the ticket store, go straight and to the right side of Piazzale Roma looking for stop D2. When the bus arrives (make sure it says Marco Polo), load your bags underneath and upon entering, validate your ticket at the machine by the driver. The bus ride to the airport took about 25 minutes and we arrived around 9:15 AM. Unfortunately, the Venice airport was a disaster. The escalator to Departures and Ticketing wasn't working and there are only a couple of elevators available. Eventually, the escalator started running again. When reaching the Departures and Ticketing area, it was a total zoo. Five cruise ships had disembarked that morning and the airport, security, and airline personnel were totally overwhelmed and unprepared. It was chaos! Crowds were everywhere, with no room to walk. Our airline (Lufthansa) would not allow us to check-in, until their earlier flight had departed. So they had everyone standing around, making things even more crowded and chaotic. If passengers had been able to check their bags and go through security, things would have been much better since the gate areas had plenty of open space and shops to keep everyone happy. The airline agents were rude, had little information, and showed no customer skills whatsoever. We were finally checked in and through security at Noon - our flight was 12:55 PM, but was delayed until 2 PM. We almost missed our connecting flight in Munich to the US. It was scheduled to leave at 3:20 PM, we boarded it at 3:05 PM and it left at 3:30 PM. I will say that both flights and plane personnel were excellent, just the staff and airport in Venice that were horrible. People we spoke to that day said they had never seen Venice airport like this. It is usually well run, but not on this day! Next time I will see how many ships are in port, and decide if its worth staying an extra day. The ship is going into drydock at the end of November for a 10 day overhaul. It sounds like many of the open areas will be refurbished - not sure about the cabins. Improvements that I would like to see are: additional or upgraded TV stations. Those provided on the ship have limited American news or sports information. Additionally, the ship does not provide the daily newspaper shorts that other ships have to keep us informed of world activities. Even though we never used it, after 9 PM, the only food available is in the Spa lounge and consists of pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs. I would suggest they also add a small snack like cookies, to be included in the offering. Also would like the return of the nighttime chocolates that we received on our pillows on other ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Vision of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 3.5 3.8
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates N/A 4.2

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