There are plenty of entertainment options aboard Vision of the Seas. Each night of the cruise features live shows in the 870-person Masquerade Theatre (Decks 5 and 6, forward), from comedians to Broadway-style productions featuring the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. Tiered seats with few obstructions are comfortable and have cup holders. The space is fairly simply decorated in blue, green and tan hues.
On our cruise, shows included "Boogie Wonderland," a throwback to 1970s hits featuring singing and dancing, and several comedians. The main evening production is usually performed twice to accommodate the two main dinner seatings. There is often another late-night performance, as well, such as an adult comedian, or the "Love and Marriage Game Show."
The comedians and audience interactive shows were popular, though it wasn't typically difficult to snag a seat or two.
On some sea days, the Masquerade Theatre hosts afternoon movies.
To stay on top of all the activities offered on Vision of the Seas, check out the Royal Caribbean app. You can also pick up a printed Cruise Compass at guest services.
The daily schedule usually begins with a variety of fitness and recreation activities in the morning, such as water aerobics or morning stretch, and a poolside movie. Later in the morning and into the afternoon, the cruise director's crew hosts several line dance classes, either poolside or in the Centrum. These Vision of the Seas activities are particularly popular with younger passengers and families.
Around lunchtime on sea days, there is usually a poolside event. When there's not an event going on, you can usually hear live music throughout the afternoon. Doesn't sound like your cup of tea? Head to the adult-only Solarium, where it's a whole lot quieter.
Some of the most well-attended activities during our cruise onboard Vision of the Seas were the trivia and quiz games hosted in the Schooner Bar several times a day, typically in the morning, afternoon and evening. Families and groups traveling together really seemed to enjoy hanging out in this space, enjoying a cocktail and working together on games such as a Michael Jackson music quiz, blockbuster movie trivia and Harry Potter trivia.
Feel like staying inside? Check out the live string music played in the Centrum throughout the afternoon and evening. There are usually a few open play card games scheduled in the Aquarius Dining Room, while bingo is frequently offered in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge.
Passengers can attend classes on napkin folding, cooking or learning a new language. The spa and art gallery also hosts several talks promoting various services or upcoming events.
Besides the theatrical productions onboard Royal’s Vision of the Seas, evening entertainment abounds throughout the ship. Before or after dinner, start out with a round of evening trivia in Schooner Bar, followed by a whirl around the dance floor in the Centrum to tunes from the live band performing there.
After that, consider taking in a poolside movie. Or join the cruise director staff for the latest wildly popular passenger-powered game, from "Finish That Lyric Game Show" to "The Quest Scavenger Hunt" to the "Love and Marriage Game Show."
Karaoke lovers will want to take their singing skills over to Some Enchanted Evening Lounge, where karaoke welcomes young and old each night. Microphones at the ready onstage and lyrics on the big screen, the dance floor is transformed into a place where adoring karaoke fans can join in on the chorus.
Vision of the Seas’ casino offers a range of gaming offerings, from roulette to craps, Texas Hold'em and dozens of slot machines. Complimentary gaming lessons are offered here regularly, as well as poker tournaments (check the Vision of the Seas Cruise Compass). There is a bar inside the casino and smoking is allowed.
R Bar (Deck 4, midship): This bar is located on the bottom floor of the Centrum. The granite-topped bar has just a handful of high-top chairs arranged in front of it but there is plentiful seating throughout this area, which comes alive in the evenings when the cruise director's team leads games, dance events and more. R Bar tends to stay busy during these times, but is quieter during the day.
Schooner Bar (Deck 6, aft): Your prime location for all things quiz- and trivia-related, this nautical themed bar also hosts piano entertainment, and has several intimate tables and booths to cozy up in and enjoy a drink.
Solarium Bar (Deck 9, aft): Located at the Solarium pool, this bar continues the antiquities-themed decor of the rest of the Solarium and stays busy serving up ice cold beers, daiquiris and other frozen poolside creations.
Pool Bar (Deck 9, midship): The Pool Bar gets a lot of traffic during the peak hours of midday sun, serving cold drinks to all the sun worshippers.
Viking Crown Lounge (Deck 11, aft): Appointed in rich red and gold, this lounge is located near Izumi and goes basically unused during the day, so it's a great quiet place to curl up and read or enjoy a quiet conversation while overlooking the ship and ocean. At night, it's the hot place to dance and enjoy a cocktail.
There are two pool areas on Deck 9: the louder family pool and the adults-only Solarium.
The main Vision of the Seas pool features four hot tubs near the shallow ledge of the pool. There is no splash area, so this ledge is where most of the younger kids play. The deeper end of the pool is where passengers swim and occasionally play water volleyball.
There are lounge chairs encircling all sides of the pool, as well as tables and chairs in the shade on both sides, and loungers on the upper deck. We never had a problem finding a lounge chair, though if we needed more than two together, it could be challenging at peak times.
The Solarium on Vision of the Seas is a designated pool space for passengers ages 16 years old and up. The area is enclosed in glass, with a glass roof and decorated with faux pre-Columbian artifacts. The pool has soaking ledges on either side, and there are two hot tubs. The lounge chairs here are padded, and as with the main pool, it's usually quite easy to find a spot to sit.
Note that Royal Caribbean ships ask cruisers to sign out pool towels using their SeaPass card to avoid lost or stolen towels. There is only one station on Vision of the Seas, located at the main pool area, which can be a little inconvenient if you're lounging at the Solarium.
Passengers line up daily for a shot to get to the top of the rock-climbing wall (Deck 10) aboard Vision of the Seas. The wall is 40 feet tall, and there are different levels of challenge. Climbers must be at least 6 years old, and a waiver is required.
There are several shuffleboard courts on Deck 10, and table tennis tables are near the main pool on Deck 9.
Stay tuned to the daily Cruise Compass printed schedule for programmed games of pool volleyball, line dance classes, balloon tennis and other fun outdoor games.
Deck 10 features plentiful lounge chairs directly above the pool and also a few near the shuffleboard courts at the ship's forward. These tend to be quieter and less popular than the chairs closer to the pools.
Tip: If you want an even quieter space, head to the door just near the spa, on the starboard side. There are several lounge chairs there facing the ocean that we found to be a great spot for relaxing.
Passenger services are mostly grouped together near the Centrum area on Decks 4, 5 and 6.
Starting at the Centrum on Deck 6, you'll find the Photo Gallery and Art Gallery, as well as the shops, offering a wide range of fashion and logo goods, jewelry, perfume, and chinaware -- actually at quite reasonable prices.
Head down a level to Deck 5 and you'll see the Shore Excursion Desk and Guest Services Desk side by side. On Deck 4, behind R Bar, you'll find the NextCruise office, a small space staffed with sales agents to entice you to book your next cruise before you leave the ship.
Self-service laundry facilities are not available on Vision of the Seas, but washing and pressing services are available -- ask your stateroom attendant for details and pricing.
The ship has three dedicated conference room facilities; other public spaces are available for reservation by large groups as well.
Vision of the Seas is equipped with bow-to-stern Wi-Fi; all Royal Caribbean ships now have StarLink satellite internet. Internet packages include the Voom Surf + Stream Voyage Package and the more basic Voom Surf Voyage Package, which is only good for texting, browsing the web, and sending emails.
Added during the refurb, the Concierge Club and Diamond Club are exclusive hangouts for top-tier loyalty program members. The Concierge Club is accessible via the Viking Crown Lounge. Although spacious and surrounded by windows bringing the views in, the decor is not as impressive as that found in the new Diamond Club, located off the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge on Deck 6, exclusively for Diamond members (and higher).
Considering the ship's smaller size, Royal Caribbean really took advantage of the Diamond Club space. It's sleek, sophisticated and easy to move around. The decor is neutral -- from light woods and beige chairs to mahogany leather booths -- with pops of turquoise that complement the ocean. It's located just steps away from Giovanni's Table and the line's signature steakhouse, Chops Grill.
The Vitality Spa (Deck 9), a light-filled sanctuary located at the ship's aft, at the back of the Solarium, is decorated in soothing cream and taupe colors and is generally open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The pre-Columbian motif of the Solarium carries through here, with stone statues, mosaics and soothing music.
You'll start your spa time with a brief stop in the Relaxation Room, with a large wall of windows facing the ocean while you sip hot tea or lemon-infused water. Treatment rooms feature warm massage tables and showers. A couples massage room features windows overlooking the ocean.
Treatment option specials onboard ranged from a 50-minute package with Swedish or deep tissue back, foot, neck and shoulder massage with eye collagen treatment, or a 75-minute full body massage with skin brushing and an Elemis facial.
There is a separate salon space that also faces the ocean and offers manicures, pedicures and hair services. There are specialty beard grooming treatments just for men. Teens can enjoy specially formulated facials and pedicures, called YSpa treatments.
Keep an eye out for regular spa specials offered throughout the cruise (particularly on the first day and port days), and you get a discount if you book three treatments at once.
Note that there is no thermal suite or pool in the spa. Everyone is welcome to use the locker room area, located within the spa, but at the base of the stairs to the gym. Here you'll find saunas, showers and changing areas. We actually preferred the showers here to our interior cabin -- the towels are fluffier and you have a bit more space to change.
Royal Caribbean earns high marks for its family-friendly programming throughout its ships, not just within the kids' clubs (which are typically very good), but also for family-friendly shore excursions, kids' dining menus and a daily slate of planned onboard activities, including family scavenger hunts and trivia games.
On Vision of the Seas, for example, one of the best family activities we saw was the egg drop in the Centrum. Families had to engineer various creations containing a raw egg that could withstand a fall from Deck 8 to Deck 4 -- with impressive and occasionally hilarious results.
Families enjoy the complimentary Adventure Ocean childcare program for kids ages 3 and up (kids must be potty-trained), plus a special teen space. Royal Babies & Tots is a drop-off nursery for kids under 3, available for a per-hour fee.
Kids must be at least six months old to set sail on Vision of the Seas, and children must be potty-trained to use the pool -- no swim diapers are allowed. For families with babies, there is a pre-cruise stateroom delivery option to order supplies like diapers and wipes.
Adventure Ocean (Deck 10, forward) comprises three age groups -- Aquanauts, 3 to 5; Explorers, 6 to 8; and Voyagers, 9 to 11. Parents can choose to allow their child to "self-sign" in and out of Adventure Ocean starting at 9 years old, but on port days, they are required to be dropped off and picked up by a guardian who is at least 18.
Port hours are usually flexible to accommodate parents seeking childcare while they go into port, with the center being staffed from the time of the first excursion to the last excursion, plus an evening and late-night session.
Programs vary depending on the day, but there is some overlap between the age groups. For the youngest children, themes such as "Little Chefs" and "Knights, Dragons and Princesses" inspire creative play like pretending to be in a restaurant or practicing not waking up the dragon. There are opportunities to make art and listen to stories, too.
Middle age children play organized games. Our 7-year-old, generally not one to join in group activities, loved the creative games here. Likewise, the oldest group also plays similar games -- and occasionally these two groups are combined.
There are also autism-friendly toys available for lending at Adventure Ocean, and onboard activities area designed to be accessible to children of all abilities -- autism-friendly activities are sometimes designated with a special symbol on the daily Cruise Compass.
Note that there are limits to the number of kids who can use Adventure Ocean at one time, and on our cruise, we bumped up against that limit several times. Be advised that during high-capacity cruises with families (such as during school breaks) you might face long lines to check your child in, and if your kiddo doesn't love crowds, this may pose a challenge (it did for us).
The teen space, located on Deck 10 on the opposite side of Adventure Ocean, has a small gathering space with a dance floor, DJ booth and a hangout space. Teenagers from 12 to 17 years old can use this space and can come and go as they wish (no signing in/out required). Anyone 18 and up is not permitted.
Staff-hosted programs generally go until after dinner. Late-night activities are available on sea days, and morning till late night on port days.
There is a very small arcade located outside the teen room on Deck 10. The game selection is quite limited -- and also expensive.
* May require additional fees