1,586 Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Pre-Cruise: Drury Inn was a great value, all the added free extras (free long distance, free wifi, free breakfast and free appetizers/cocktails at 5:30) made it really worthwhile. Quiet hotel at night, away from the hustle of Bourbon St. ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: Drury Inn was a great value, all the added free extras (free long distance, free wifi, free breakfast and free appetizers/cocktails at 5:30) made it really worthwhile. Quiet hotel at night, away from the hustle of Bourbon St. We walked back from Bourbon St at night mostly between 9pm and 11pm and felt safe. I'm not sure how it would have been any later than that, but probably best to take a cab to play it safe. Rooms were nice and large and service at the front desk was extremely helpful. We also did a City tour with Southern Style tours which gave us a great overview of the garden district and the lower 9th ward restoration progress. Embarkation: We rolled our luggage from the Drury Inn to the Julia St. entrance as we only had carry on sized baggage, this saved some cab fare and it wasn't too long of a walk. Once at the terminal we were on the ship within 30 minutes (arrived around 11am). I'm not too sure how much time we saved since we had priority boarding with platinum, but it looked like the other line was moving quickly as well. Ship: My first time on a Voyager class ship. Although Voyager is older, they have kept up with the updates on a majority of public rooms and it still looks great. The Royal Promenade is a great way to get a frame of reference for where public lounges/dining areas are. I felt it was easier to navigate than the Radiance class ships. Entertainment: Entertainment was good to great. The two broadway style shows featured talented singers/dancer and the comedian was good as well. The ice show was not to miss, its a relatively small rink but they don't let the size stop them from performing complex routines. The parades down the promenade were fun to watch, there were two during our cruise. 70's night is also fun - although after a few cruises which feature this night, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea if RCI changed the routine a bit. Cabin: We had an inside promenade room overlooking the Cafe. I wanted to try this as it seemed a better alternative to a regular inside but still at a great rate. It made for interesting people watching and I would book one of these cabins again. You could hear the sound from the parades a bit, but since we were always up and about at that time it was no big deal. The color scheme in these cabins needs an update, the teal green color on the drawers/vanity dates the room to the late nineties. Otherwise it was perfectly clean and in good working order. Bathrooms had the round closing doors for the shower, which is a huge improvement over the often too intimate shower curtain. Food: I found the food in the dining room better than I had experienced on my last cruise on the Radiance. Lobster was offered on Day 6 and probably my favorite meal of the week. Windjammer was good, we ate there for most breakfasts and lunches. Pool buffets were offered all three sea days, and on Day 6 there was a pool buffet at night as well, this had a New Orleans theme. We looked but did not eat anything as we weren't all that hungry. Meant to try Johnny Rockets but never got around to it, next time I guess. Activities: Activities were plentiful enough so you would not get bored. We mostly wanted to relax on our sea days so we spent most time on deck 12 surrounding the Solarium, lounging and reading books. Deck 4 is great in the early evenings to catch the last rays of the sun and is very quiet/secluded. Spa/Fitness: On Day 6 I decided to use the spa and get my nails done, I phoned at 9:45am and they said they could take me at 10. It was a nice experience and while the price was higher than at home I really did feel pampered with the view of the Caribbean sea I had out the windows. We had gone on this cruise with every intention of using the beautiful fitness center but after the first day it became less of a priority. Funny how that always happens. Debark: Did the self assist and were off the ship by 7:20. We rented a car to do the plantations in New Orleans as our flight was not until 3pm. This worked out well and we managed to see both Oak Alley and Laura Plantations, and still managed to return the car to the airport in good time to catch the flight home. Overall I wouldn't hesitate to book a cruise out of New Orleans again - its a great city to spend a couple of days in before a cruise. It seems like all the delays on embarkation/debarkation from the first few cruises on Voyager have been eliminated. Can't wait until I can cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We arrived in New Orleans two nights before departure. I am so glad we did. Even though we grew up in Louisiana, it was nice to be a tourist and enjoy the ambiance of the French Quarter. Embarkation was a breeze. There were 6 of us ... Read More
We arrived in New Orleans two nights before departure. I am so glad we did. Even though we grew up in Louisiana, it was nice to be a tourist and enjoy the ambiance of the French Quarter. Embarkation was a breeze. There were 6 of us traveling. So my husband dropped off all the luggage & me, then went to get the other couples. Embarkation was delayed due to extra cleaning on the ship. (evidently the previous cruise had several cases of a virus). We were allowed to check in and get our Seapass card. But we were given a 3pm boarding time. No problem! There is so much to see nearby. Royal Caribbean made sure our New Year started happily! I was hesitant to cruise over the holidays because of the higher fare. But it was actually worth it. The New Years Eve celebration was quite an affair, complete with hats, noisemakers, music and champagne. Hundreds on balloons dropped at midnight! The first two days at sea flew by. Relaxing & fun! The hot tub in the spa area was never crowded. The guys tried out the rock climbing wall. And we ate too much. The next three days were intensive...Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel. Fun! Fun! Fun! I must mention... The day we were in Grand Cayman, we were not able to get into the regular port due to weather. Three other ships cancelled Grand Cayman that day. But the Voyager captain took us to the other side of the island & we were able to tender in from there. I so appreciate the extra effort & care he took to ensure our enjoyment! The entertainment on the ship was great! One night we had a real treat...Yacov Smirnoff! We had seen him several years ago in Branson. Everyone enjoyed his show. We had one of the best waiters and assistant waiters ever on this cruise, Michael & Sheila. They were so attentive. And oh so friendly! Each evening was a special event for us. The last day at sea was a sleep in, mini golf tournament, Johnny Rockets kind of day. Debarkation was easy. We had a leisurely breakfast in the dining room & departed at 9am. There is a large shopping mall at the port. My friends needed a few more souvenirs to take back to Germany, so we went straight there. Then we walked about a block up & caught a cab. I would do this next time also....there was a long line for taxis. It was only a five minute walk up to the next blocked and a cab stopped right away. So, I've unpacked...and already I'm thinking...When is my next cruise??? Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I recently returned from a cruse with Royal Caribbean on Voyager of the seas. The trip went well in most areas, we were very pleased with the room attendant she did an excellent job. The food was what we had expected. I took my two adult ... Read More
I recently returned from a cruse with Royal Caribbean on Voyager of the seas. The trip went well in most areas, we were very pleased with the room attendant she did an excellent job. The food was what we had expected. I took my two adult children along for one last time, My youngest daughter has been engaged and my son has just finished with nuclear training for the navy he will be surviving on the CVN72. I cannot again commend our room attendant enough for the job that she did, we left her a tip that was much more than would be normal. We did have problems. We noticed that the ship was offering a photo package that included all photos that were taken for one family. Being that I am expecting this to be the last time to travel with my two younger kids ages 20 and 24 I thought this would be a good opportunity to capture some good memories with pictures. The problem occurred when we were trying to pick up the pictures we had reviewed all pictures and they were very good pictures. We were told to return to pick up the pictures and the CD before leaving the ship. Sense our cruse level on this cruse line is platinum and we are entitled to depart the ship in the first two groups we had made early travel arrangements for the next day. My wife had already spent two hours standing in line the day before to view the pictures and confirm they all were on the CD and that we did receive prints of all pictures. After our final dinner the night before we left I decided it was time to get in line to pick up our pictures. After standing in line for over an hour and moving a total of 5 feet in a line that was 25 feet long in the photo area one of the attendants came out and said they were closing it was midnight. Several of the guest were very upset and the attendant did return and call names of the people that did have photo CDs available. I did have additional photo prints that we had already paid for. There was a big shortage of personnel to handle the guest in this area.There were guest that were threatening physical violence due to the stress the long wait had created. I heard security was being requested by on of the guest that had been standing in line, I left at this point after hearing physical threats had been made. The next morning we received our bill and it did include billing for additional photos that we did not receive. I did get up early enough to get in line before guest relations did open so that I could have the additional charges removed. I did not want to return to the line in the photo area after the night before. I feel this could have been handled differently if they had made arrangements to schedule enough personnel in this area. This was a very unpleasant way to end a cruse I have contacted Royal Caribbean and and they were not willing to compensate us in any way for the stress and innocence this did create. I question whether we will ever cruse with Royal Caribbean again, with both of us being retired at less than 55 years it should be a great loss to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We had a great time aboard Voyager of the Seas. We enjoyed the food, the service, the meet and mingle, the shows, the art auctions, the trivia games, the comedy skits, the "Quest" game, the married couples game, the parades, the ... Read More
We had a great time aboard Voyager of the Seas. We enjoyed the food, the service, the meet and mingle, the shows, the art auctions, the trivia games, the comedy skits, the "Quest" game, the married couples game, the parades, the karaoke,everything! One of the most impressive shows we saw was a young man named Travis Ledoyt who does the BEST "Elvis" I have ever seen in my life! This young man went out into the audience and interacted with them, as I believe Elvis himself would have done if he was still here to perform. This guy looks, sounds, acts, and even moves like Elvis! If you get the chance to see him, don't miss his show. If shopping is your thing, there were tons of great deals on everything from jewelry (at Cozumel, and the other ports), to the on-board specials such as $100.00 watches for $20.00! The spa is wonderful if you would like a little pampering, the gym is great if you want to stay in shape, and the pool areas are a great place to relax and just enjoy the cruise. We felt pampered every day by the people who worked on the ship. All of them are courteous, friendly, and will do everything they can to give you a great vacation experience. Keith (the cruise director), TT, Topi, and all of the staff on-board Voyager were friendly, helpful, and could answer any question you might have about the ship, and the activities on-board. We met some wonderful people (fellow cruisers), had a great time, and have already in the process of booking our next cruise. It is well worth your money to take a vacation on a cruise ship, and Voyager is a great choice. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My travel party This trip was booked at the end of August with my parents. We tend to like cruises over Christmas, but pricing just didn't work out for us this year. We caught this voyage at a decent price (later found a military ... Read More
My travel party This trip was booked at the end of August with my parents. We tend to like cruises over Christmas, but pricing just didn't work out for us this year. We caught this voyage at a decent price (later found a military rate right before final payment which made it even better) and I found a great cabin. I am D+ and this was my parents' last cruise before becoming D+. We have left from New Orleans once before (and stopped there a couple of times on Carnival cruises) and I was fairly familiar with the downtown area after spending 4 nights there last April for a conference. Pre-cruise I can understand why the Port of New Orleans would seem attractive to cruise lines. New Orleans is obviously a tourist draw in itself and there are also plenty of locals who love having a nice, big ship like the Voyager within easy driving distance. With that being said, though, I'm not a huge fan of NOLA as a cruise port. There seem to be relatively few flights into NOLA, meaning they tend towards the pricey side. The port itself is not that well designed, causing other issues. I guess some may be enamored by Bourbon Street, but I am not ... I live in a college town, so I don't need to travel far to see vomit in the streets on a Friday night. Don't get me wrong ... there are many, many great things in NOLA, but in terms of cruising, I'd take Fort Lauderdale any day of the week. Our trip started with a Continental flight that kept getting earlier and earlier the closer trip came. It actually wasn't that bad, but I was not thrilled that we ended up with a 5:30 AM flight out of Indianapolis with a 4+ hour layover in Houston on Friday 12/30. Thankfully we got free bags checked because of using the Continental credit card. We were also given "Priority" tags on our luggage and boarding passes which made absolutely no difference whatsoever. The flight to NOLA was on a turboprop ... my first flight in about 15 years that had propellers. We landed in NOLA on time, had the usual longish NOLA wait for our bags, and grabbed a cab to our hotel. Cab rates are fixed between the airport and downtown/cruise port. 1-2 people will be $33. 3+ people (many larger taxis that were vans or SUV's ... but 5 seemed to be about the limit) run $14/pp. If you are traveling solo, there is a shared-ride shuttle that runs for $20/pp but you might have a bit of a wait. Time to downtown depends on traffic. I've had it take up to an hour during rush hour (when you are thankful for the set price), but with normal traffic, it may take 20-30 minutes. When I was first making reservations, things were very booked up for 12/30 (Friday night before NYE) and I ended up reserving the Embassy Suites Convention Center for $159/night thinking it would be a quick trip to the port (across the street) and that we would at least get a free breakfast. Closer to sail, however, I ended up scoring the JW Marriott on Priceline for a $70 bid. This moved us further from the port, but also closer to most of the French Quarter attractions. I was very happy with this hotel as all of the service we received was very friendly and the location was hard to beat (right on Canal Street). I was able to request a roll-away for no charge which is always nice. It was a very long arrival day, but we made the requisite tour of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. I had made a reservation for Emeril's using Open Table months earlier, so we headed there and had a wonderful meal on Friday night. The pricing wasn't too bad considering how easy it is to drop about $50/pp on a meal anywhere in the city. I'd definitely recommend the escargot, pork chop, and banana cream pie. They were all great. Embarkation Morning Listening to the local weather on the previous night, they warned of fog. Waking up on NYE morning, we were greeted with and dense, gray curtain covering the city. We headed to The Ruby Slipper on Magazine Street for breakfast as I had visited it previously and enjoyed it. Once again it did not disappoint and offered some great specials like Eggs Cochon (think eggs benedict but instead of ham on an english muffin, there was pulled pork on a biscuit), lemon cream stuffed pain perdue (stuffed into real French bread), and bananas foster pain perdue ... all enormous and wonderful. After a huge breakfast (which ended up being a good idea), we headed down to explore more of the fog-covered city. My dad and I took off down Riverwalk to see if the ship made it in and then met the rest of our party at Jackson Square. No issues with the Voyager making it to port, though I did talk to several people who missed the ship in NOLA because fog closed down the airport for the entire morning ... one more reason I guess to try to fly in early. At around 11 AM, we checked out of the hotel and grabbed a cab to the ship. It was probably walkable if we were all a bit more athletic, but with large bags and a few people with mobiilty issues, that just wasn't feasible. Taxis to the ship were a set rate of $10 for 1 person, $7/pp for 2 or more, or the metered rate IF it is higher than the per person rate. Embarkation After arriving at the port, I can see why there have been issues with backups at embarkation. Our taxi drove us down a few narrow alleys to reach where the porters were located. It seemed about 6 vans at a time could unload passengers in this area right outside the terminal. It was fairly painless at 11:15 or so. After dropping bags with the porter, we went into the terminal and stood in the first line to have our passports/SetSail Pass checked by security (which means they have to be out upon entering the building). After that, we headed through the metal detectors (and they were requiring laptops out of bags unlike other ports). Once past that checkpoint, we were allowed to check-in. At this point, we were told that boarding was delayed until 2:30 or so and were given a general boarding sticker. We went up to the counter, checked in, and then were told that we had the option of sitting in the already crowded terminal or exiting and being able to return through "express" lines when we came back. Let me just say that even though I know that this delay was unexpected, it was not handled well by the terminal staff. The waiting area is tiny and was already close to full by 11:30. We were told to sit or leave and, when we moved off to the side to discuss it, were yelled at by the staff for being "in the way" ... which we weren't ... and forced into "the way" where we were still trying to decide what we wanted to do (mobility issues, etc). I specifically asked if 2:30 was a "hard" boarding time (not a general guess) and was emphatically told YES (ha ha), so in the end we decided to leave instead of sitting in the crowd for 3 hours. We ended up going over to Riverwalk for a while and, while over there and outside, heard on the Voyager's PA the captain telling the crew that extra cleaning had finished and the Voyager would be boarding (about 12:30ish). It turns out that there had been enough Noro on the previous cruise to require extra cleaning, CDC handouts, etc. We headed back to terminal and found huge lines for security. We inquired about the "express" line as we already had our SeaPass cards and were essentially told to wait with everyone else. Once we cleared the first checkpoint, we actually were allowed into the handicap line to go through the metal detectors again. Once back in the waiting area, we finally worked our way through the huge mass of disorganized people to where people where boarding. We were placed in the handicap line to have our security pictures taken which ended up being 3 times as long as any other line as the ground staff said nothing while people cut under the ropes and into the wheelchair "chute" in front of us directly at the security podium. It was a mess where we were not allowed to switch lines but nothing was said to those cutting in front ... not the end of the world, I know, but still quite frustrating when you just want to get onto the ship. We were finally onboard a little after 1 (cabins did not open until 2). I've never board on New Year's Eve before and to be honest, I'm not sure I'd want to again ... flights are expensive for destination cities, hotels can be more expensive, and the first day is hectic. One major change for this cruise ... the first formal night was changed to the first night as opposed to the second. I can understand the WHY, but just barely. I typically have my tux pressed or dry-cleaned the first day so that it is ready for the second night (typical formal night). Obviously, I could not do it for this cruise, so I went formal-wrinkled and did not bother with the pressing as things would normally be a little wrinkled by the second formal night anyway. Many people did not have their bags by first seating anyway, so it was, in reality, shorts to formal night ... and this did upset some people who had purchased formal clothes that they were not able to wear. As for the NYE celebrations themselves, they started with hats and party favors being laid out on the tables in the dining room. Personally, I could go without the noisemakers at dinner because once they start, they take a while to stop. I guess I'm a fuddy-duddy, but I enjoy meals in relative peace where you can talk to people at your table without having being surrounded by kids loudly honking on their party favors. There was a special dinner with a special menu ... it was all actually quite good, including a nice, tender cut of beef. Beyond that, there were balloons ready to go in the Royal Promenade as well as many carts selling champagne. There were screens with a count-down. The Royal Promenade was completely packed ... body to body the whole way. The Ship It's been a few years since I've been on Voyager. Though she was not "new" when I went on her before, she was the first Voyager-class ship I sailed on. Obviously, after being on most of the other Voyager-class ships as well as two Freedom-class and the Oasis, she doesn't quite deliver the same WOW, though the Royal Promenade is still nice. What I found most interesting were the differences between the first ship of the class and the "changes" made afterward ... the fixed Cafe Promande bar out in the Promenade, the bar in the Back of the WindJammer instead of the front (Plaza bar), only a Portofino with a Florist instead of Chops, etc. There are definitely some spots where Voyager is showing her age. Some areas have a little bit of a "worn" feel, and she could definitely use a bit of an outside paint job. For the most part she is kept up incredibly well, but as with any ship, if you want to find a little fraying at the edge, you can find it. Quite a bit of work was going on in terms of repair, and on one port day, they even drained of the main pools for painting. There were two design issues that I did not like. One ... there always seemed to be an overwhelming line/wait for the elevators on the aft end (to the WJ). The elevators seemed slow and on several occasions, one or more would be out of service to be worked on. Most rides had everyone packed in, waving off people on other floors. Two ... the WJ has the old buffet style lines instead of food stations. When first introduced to food stations, I did not like them as people seemed to go at the food from every which way. Now, I can see their benefit. There were cafeteria-style lines with some people waiting to get to the dish they wanted while others just cut in. Extra note: I do have an extra story to share about an experience you never ever want. On day 6 (Cozumel) which was the second formal night, my dad and I were heading up to the Viking Crown in the elevator. Suddenly the elevator began to violently shake both horizontally and vertically to the point where we grabbed the sides to hold on. The door opened early on deck 12 and we ran out. It was utterly frightening. In the end, it was the whole ship shaking (which we didn't know since it was timed perfectly to coincide with our elevator trip) as the captain tried to get us away from the pier before the Liberty in Cozumel. However, there was a good three seconds or so when I thought that elevator was going to drop. Yikes. Dining I know that food quality is subjective, but in my opinion, I found food options a little lacking. There seemed to be fewer offerings in the WJ without stations (and special areas such as Jade). The dining room menus were standard except for NYE and the lobster and shrimp keep getting smaller and smaller. I avoided most of the cuts of beef in the MDR just because I knew they would be disappointing (though the one on NYE was good as mentioned earlier). Cafe Promenade had the standard selections of desserts, sandwiches, and pizza. There was also a featured panini each day, and I saw a press on the back counter, but I was never offered the option of a hot panini ... perhaps you had to request it? I wasn't sure. Since NYE was the first night, I inquired at Portofino's about using my B1G1 D+ coupon on another night and was told I could only use it on the second night. We had also gotten a coupon from our TA for dinner for 2 that was only supposed to be available on port days. However, they accepted both coupons for our party of 5 on the second night without issue (which was appreciated). The food in Portofino was definitely a cut above anything in the MDR, but it did not seem as "spectacular" as usual ... could just be that I'm getting jaded and it is no longer "new". I ordered my usual seafood skewer and it just seemed very small with hardly two or three bites of scallop and lobster. Dress Code Much to my surprise, dress codes were actually enforced on the Voyager beyond the first night. I actually overheard waiters in the MDR telling those in shorts on the first night that they would not be allowed to enter on future nights if wearing shorts because "diners don't want to see hairy legs". Over the week, I definitely saw a few people turned away in shorts. The exception to this rule, evidently, were children under the age of 13. I also saw strict enforcement of the footwear policy in the WJ, even for women carrying very small babies (there seemed to be a lot of much younger children on this cruise than I've ever seen before). Ports Grand Cayman It was pretty rocky on the night before, and my dad and I have brief discussion of whether or not we'd actually be able to dock in Grand Cayman the next morning. It turned out we could ... kind of. In the end, the Georgetown docks were closed, but the Voyager was allowed to tender on the other side of the island. For the tendering process, I never saw anything about tender tickets or heard announcements, however the concierge had included two Tender 1 Priority tickets in the welcome packet in our cabin. In the end, we did not go ashore. However, I did hear some information about the alternative docking site. Evidently there was pretty much nothing where the ship docked. It was a $5/pp taxi ride to the main port area (and $5 back). Others reported walking a bit from the tender drop-off site, renting snorkeling equipment for $5-10, and doing some very nice snorkeling off of a close beach. Falmouth, Jamaica This has been my fourth visit to Falmouth and, unsurprisingly, the port has vastly improved each time. On this visit, the large hall facing the ocean was being utilized as the entrance/exit to the port with two large banks of metal detectors (one closed ... obviously in reserve for Oasis/Allure). Some stores were just opening and did not yet have proper signs ... these were the stores furthest from the entrance from the ship and they tended to have better prices on souvenirs over the stores that had already been more established. The craft market was still doing lively business with the occupants still exercising restraint in their salesmanship (ie, you can walk through without being accosted) and the vendors all seemed very pleasant. Cozumel Voyager docked at the International Pier next to the Liberty. The pier itself was pretty much the same as it has been (a lot of no-name shops and very crowded) and the mall across the street is not yet done (proudly announcing a December 2011 opening). For the second time (after visiting a few weeks ago on the Liberty), we hung a right outside of the gate, walked about 4 minutes, and visited Carnival's Puerta Maya pier. Again ... this is a much, much nicer shopping area than what is available at the International Pier. My dad bought a few shirts at Ron Jon there, while I bought a shirt at Cariloha (much closer than the downtown version with the same prices). We also had lunch at Pancho's Backyard in Los Cincos Soles. This is our standard stop and as always it was great ... open room with view of the (Carnival) ships, a nice breeze, and live music. I thought the margaritas were plenty strong, but some of our party had fruit ones that they thought were tasty but pretty light. Pancho's Backyard also offers free wifi, so there were several people with their laptops and I admittedly did a bit of work on my iPhone. In truth, this cruise was probably mostly booked because of the cabin. We did not book until a month or two before final payment, yet when I was searching for cruises over Christmas or NYE, I noticed that I could book cabin 1688. For those unfamiliar with this cabin, it is a corner aft cabin on Deck 10 that is sold as a D1 and not a suite. The cabin was ... well ... wonderful. Yes, it was on the back of the ship. Yes, it was under the WJ. Yes, it has a pole in it and a beam coming through the balcony. No, there is not a side view. However, I thought this cabin was a great value. It was huge with a full-sized sofa bed and plenty of open area (standard bathroom to differentiate from suites). The balcony was large as well with 2 chairs, 2 loungers, and a table. It was mostly quiet in the aft with a noticeable reduction in "running children" pounding through the hallways. I never noticed noise from the WJ above. There were only a few drawbacks. Yes, there was some extra vibration (ended up sticking a folded piece of paper into the door of the safe to keep it from rattling), especially on the first an last nights while in the Mississippi. The TV was also old, out-dated, and frankly almost impossible to use with the onboard account system. It definitely was a walk from the midship elevators (but not too bad, IMO) which also meant that our "main" elevators were the ones leading up to the WJ which made them also the busiest. Service The crew on the Voyager seemed very friendly and helpful. Our stateroom attendent Aldwin was wonderful and was very quick in responding to requests. Many of service people were incredibly quick at learning and remembering names. Servers in the WJ were fairly quick at cleaning tables and offering to get drinks (which was an improvement over my recent Liberty cruise). There was a little bit of awkwardness ... it came from our waiter at dinner. He was very polite, remembered names, and tried to make sure that everything was exceptional. Great. However, each night, we heard a spiel about letting him know if something made us unhappy, that he was only human, but that he was trying his best. One night he let us know how upset he becomes when someone laughs at his English (which we were not doing). He would tell us why he was doing something (ie, delivering a 2nd appetizer while the 1st was still being eaten) because of the long lines in the kitchen to pick up entrees. I chalked this up to a rough holiday season away from home and/or perhaps bad reviews on the previous cruise, but it seriously got to the point where it was somewhat uncomfortable for everyone at the table. I also felt in a bind ... he was obviously trying to excel and we encouraged him each night (ie, we did not complain, told him he didn't need to worry, etc). It got to the point where I wondered what we could do ... I thought that reporting this to the head waiter would only make the problem worse based on the circumstances. C&A My last few cruises have been on ships with a Diamond Lounge and, to be honest, it was slightly disappointing to go back to a ship without one. The Diamond Event on Voyager was held each night in the combination of the Cloud 9 and card room. On the positive side, there was plenty of space, the service was very attentive, and they did not care if you took a glass of wine down to dinner. On the negative, drinks still consist of either La Terre(ible) or Coke without a surcharge. One night I made the mistake of having more than one glass of white wine paid dearly for it with a headache the rest of the night. I could have gone down to the CL, but since my parents were not eligible (though they are now ), I did not. Since there is not a DL, there was a Diamond Breakfast each morning in the small, side-room of the 3rd floor dining room. They actually kept track of who visited each morning (writing down party size and cabin numbers) and they also were pretty thorough in keeping people out who did not belong, though this led to a few raised voices as people tried to bring in ineligible family and friends (BUT WE JUST WANT TO EAT AS A FAMILY .. Yes, sir, and you can do that in the dining room next door). The service was very good each morning with the same waiters getting to know your orders. The only thing I did not like were the parents who brought their younger children in and let them run around. I don't have anything against kids, but I like the Diamond Breakfast for its calm and don't appreciate children running around the table and crawling into the window spaces to play right next to me. Beyond the standard C&A parties (return guests, top tier), the Voyager also put on a lunch with staff for Diamond and above (and evidently suites). I enjoy these events as you get a chance to have a nice meal and talk with the crew. This meal was slightly awkward as we were placed with the only Pinnacle couple onboard who had specifically asked to sit with a crew member because they knew her mother. I don't think the couple was sending the vibe too strongly, but I felt like we were intruding on the time they wanted to spend with her. That's fine ... it was still enjoyable. Shows I'm not going to be very helpful here, and for that I apologize. Frankly, I've gotten sick of standard cruise fare, though I do appreciate the trends in shows started by the Oasis/Allure. With that being said, I only saw one show in the theater which was the headliner, Yakov Smirnoff. I thought his show was a little aged and hokey, but was a pretty good time and beats most of the "guest" entertainers I've seen. I heard rave reviews about the Motown group (which I think I've seen). We had tickets for the last performance of the ice show on Tuesday night at 9 (ice show was the only entertainment for that night). Unfortunately we hit some waves and that show was cancelled and moved the last day. You had to get tickets for the ice show and they were available a couple of different times throughout the first few days. They handed them out in the casino at 3 PM on boarding day (walked right up and got them). They also handed them out in front of Studio B the first sea day and the line was quite long. I thought that the ice show (Ice Odyssey) was very good, though it was not my favorite compared to some of the others on other ships. I'd definitely recommend it however. One odd thing ... on Voyager, they have both "corner" sections roped off for suites instead of just one ... something I found surprising. Other Random Things (good and bad) -I thought that this ship had many more trivias than the other ships I've recently been on. For me ... a big plus. This was also the first week (evidently) they had a progressive trivia. On the second formal night, there was actually a Crown and Anchor trivia about RCI and RCCL in general. -Lines were generally long at guest services. I had to go down near the end of the cruise because of a mistake on my bill ... this made me mad. I went to the pub on the promenade to use my B1G1 coupon on a larger selection of beers. I asked the bartender what I could get with coupon, he asked to see my card (I'm guessing to verify I was actually D+) and then he said anything on the menu. I ordered two beers and, when he returned with my charge slip, he had charged me for both. I showed him he had made a mistake and he re-rang the beers correctly, but did not give me back my card. I asked for it, he said he gave it back, went over and looked, found it, then handed it back. When I checked my account later, the incorrect charge had been removed, the correct charged added, and then the incorrect charge added again. Guest services corrected this without too much hassle, but it was still irritating. -While waiting at guest services, two other guests came up and were help. In my evaluation, the guest services rep told both completely wrong information (one was about paying down the onboard account with cash and one was about luggage for a post-cruise tour). -For the snack time in the WJ, they prepared sour kraut. I'm sure this is a personal opinion, but that stunk up the place so bad it was hard for me to go in. -The men's restroom outside of the WJ on 11 is pretty amazing with its view and design. -The captain seemed overzealous when it came to using the PA that went into cabins ... especially on New Year's Eve. I heard a few speculations from passengers that they thought he was drunk ... I don't buy that, but I can't imagine that a captain should act in such a way where passengers would speculate that. I guess he was just excited. -Can I mention again that being in the elevator during a ship shudder on sail-away scared the heck out of me? -I really hate it when they set up formal pictures in the entrances to the dining rooms ... especially when they use those drops when people are trying to get in to eat. There were lines at open every night made worse by the crew making sure everyone used the hand sanitizer. -Early seating was 5:30, late was 8:00. I'm not sure why, but this seemed early. -Did I mention that they were vigilant, after the noro outbreak, to make sure everyone sanitized upon entrance to every eating establishment? However, napkin twirling in the MDR was still encouraged. I still don't get that one. Debarkation We were in no rush to leave the ship with a 12:30 flight, but we didn't really want to linger either. I believe self-assist was set to leave a little after 7 AM. In actually, they actually called self-assist before 7. The first tags (1-4) were scheduled for 8 AM and that is when they were called. We headed up to the WJ for breakfast which was, as usual, crowded on debarkation day. We then retrieved our small bags from our cabins (I hate taking them to the WJ which is already crowded enough) and headed to the Magic Flute dining room (deck 5) for the Top Tier lounge (Platinum and above). Though the debarkation flyer announced that those in the lounge would have priority debarkation with a special call for guests in the lounge, this was of course not the case. We heard our call over the PA like everyone else. The elevators were completely jammed, again as usual, but we were able to manage one floor down to deck 4. The line backed up a little out on the open deck, but then they finally opened up a second check-out stand and we were dinged off. While the facilities in NOLA are not as bad as some of the old terminals at Port Everglades with a long outside walk, once you collect your bag, you do have to walk it quite a ways. The porters were advertising a "priority" line they could take, but by the time we found bags (lined up on the floor) and got to where the border patrol officers were located, there was virtually nobody in line (4 officers helping people and no one behind them in either line). Then it was quite a wheel around to the outside of the port where we had a taxi called for us (same rate back to the airport as from downtown ... $33 for 2, $14/pp for 3+). We ended up at the airport by a little after 9 AM. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This is my third cruise but first with Royal Caribbean; the others have been with Celebrity so that is what I can compare to. This 7 night cruise out of NOLA was average to below average compared with my experiences on Celebrity. ... Read More
This is my third cruise but first with Royal Caribbean; the others have been with Celebrity so that is what I can compare to. This 7 night cruise out of NOLA was average to below average compared with my experiences on Celebrity. Embarkation- We arrived at the port around 11:30 and it took about 30 minutes from the time the taxi dropped us off to the time we were on the ship. It went very smoothly. Ship Appearance- Even though the Voyager of the Seas is an older ship, she looked just fine. I didn't notice much wear and tear. The decor was not always to my liking, lots of pastels, but the quality was okay. The one thing they could improve on was that many of the chairs were not that comfortable. The ship was decorated for Christmas. One of the other noticeable issues of this ship was the long wait for elevators. As much as possible I recommend taking the stairs. You could be waiting for an elevator for 15 minutes sometimes... Stateroom- We had an inside stateroom on deck 9. The room was small, as expected but had adequate storage. We found putting our empty suitcases under the beds worked best. The couch was not very comfortable to sit on (shallow with a low back), but luckily we were only in the room to sleep. Our room had a flat screen TV, and looking in other rooms it seemed some had older televisions so maybe they are changing them out when they break. Service- Our stateroom attendant was very friendly. He took good care of the room and left us towel animals every night except the first night. I asked him for extra towels and ice on the first day and he delivered them everyday after that without being asked again. We had My Time dining, so our waiters were different every night. Some were better than others- we had a few that we placed a drink order with and the drink never arrived. Food- The food was very disappointing. I am not a picky eater at all, but there were some nights I struggled to find something to eat on the MDR menu. They didn't have much variety, usually offering 4-5 dishes to choose from with one being an Indian dish. I had pork, chicken, steak, veal, pasta- and none were very good. The Chicken marsala was particularly bad- like microwaved chicken covered in brown gravy. The one dish I did like was the Onion Tart we had on the first night. The Windjammer was okay, but the selection was the same EVERY DAY! No variety. We went to Portofino one night. The service was attentive, but I didn't really care for the veal dish I ordered. I wish they had an outdoor grill like Celebrity has. Also I wish they had drink stations near the pools like Celebrity. When you are in your swimsuit you don't want to walk into the buffet to get a glass of water. Entertainment- The entertainers were talented, but some of the material they chose was bizarre. The broadway and movie music shows picked some of the most obscure songs to perform. We had 3 comedy shows. The first one was really bad, I forget his name. We had another guy named Milt who was pretty funny and Yakov Smirnoff (yes, that guy from the 80's). We left the juggling show early- it was pretty bad. There was also an Elvis show that was okay, although he spent a lot of time roaming the audience. The ice show was interesting, we had two, one for Christmas and then a regular show. None of the ice shows we went to were filled. It is pretty amazing what they can do with a small ice surface and it being on a moving ship. Excursions- We took the Maya Ruins Express tour in Cozumel. It was incredibly disorganized. And at the end they dropped us at the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel which deposited us 3+ miles from the ship, with only 30 minutes to get a taxi and get to the ship. I don't understand why they would take ~100 people on this excursion and then just dump them on a ferry with no guide to meet them at the pier. The ruins themselves were interesting and the view to the sea was gorgeous. So overall, we had great weather and enjoyed relaxing, but I think if I cruise again I will go back to Celebrity. There were just too many things that I didn't like about VOS and Royal Caribbean to spend that amount of money again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Transportation: we drove from Indiana to New Orleans to catch the cruise. Going down, terrible rain resulted in a 14 hour trip. After the cruise, the weather was fantastic and because it was New Years Eve, the roads were empty - no ... Read More
Transportation: we drove from Indiana to New Orleans to catch the cruise. Going down, terrible rain resulted in a 14 hour trip. After the cruise, the weather was fantastic and because it was New Years Eve, the roads were empty - no truckers. We got home in a little over 12 hours. Hotel: We stayed 2 nights prior to the cruise at the Hampton Inn Convention Center in New Orleans. This is not your typical "chain" hotel. Local ambiance, great fitness center, breakfast was wonderful, self laundry, exceptional proximity to pier - we walked to it. Valet parking only - $29 per night. Less than a mile walk to French Quarter. Parking: We parked at Fulton Street parking garage for $12 per night for cruisers. It is a 1 block walk from the hotel to the parking garage. It is 2 blocks from the garage to the cruise port. Easily walkable with rolling luggage. Cruise Embarkation: So very easy - took perhaps 15 minutes to get registered, etc. Waited for about 15 minutes to be allowed on the ship - we were in the first group to board the ship. Went right to Windjammer and "camped-out" while we ate and explored the ship. Note: the stateroom hallways were blocked off 'till 1:00pm. We could explore all of the public spaces though. It was way too cold to use the swimming pools, but we saw a few brave souls in the hot tubs! Security/Luggage: Luggage did not arrive prior to first seating dinner. We got 4 of the 6 bags around 8pm. I packed a clothes steamer on one bag and held my bag. I scoured all of the travel documents and nowhere did it state that I couldn't bring a steamer - it says no irons. I was so angry that I didn't get my luggage because of this. The security people wanted to keep my steamer, I said No Way! I told them that I use it for medical reasons to steam my nose and they let me have it back. This is a completely stupid rule from RCCL and is a reason that I may not travel with them in the future. Cabin: Small, inside, no natural light. This is exactly what we paid for so we were not disappointed or surprised. There as so many cubbies and places to store stuff. Our family of 4, over-packed, and still fit everything in the small room. We stored our luggage under the bed. We took giant trash bags to keep our dirty clothes in. Made great use of the in-room safe. The coffee table was in the way so we just stored it in the closet and gained additional storage room by doing this. Took command 3 storage clips to hang on walls for extra storage but didn't end up needing them after all. Cabin Attendant: Wonderful! So nice. The first day he met us and even presented us with his business card. We got towel animals every night. He had to work extra hard because we had an accident on the bed. No problem, he took care of everything and told us not to worry about a thing. Food: MDR food was not so good on the first few nights but got better at the end of the week. Best meals were, Garlic Tiger Shrimp, Onion Tart, Angel Food Cake with Strawberries. Overall, the appetisers were great and the desserts were not so great. The main meals were hit and miss. Did not eat lunch in the MDR. Ate breakfast in the MDR 1 day - not so good, we preferred Windjammer for breakfast. Windjammer had typical buffet food. Totally enjoyed the french fries! Also, on one afternoon around 3pm they had chocolate croissants that were great - never saw them again. Promenade: learned late in the cruise that on level 5 during lunch they have lunch stations. We enjoyed the Nachos, Ribs, and Bananas Foster! Yum. The Cafe Promenade is open 24 hours a day. This place is really strange. You can self serve for drinks but have to ask for someone to give you muffins, pizza, pudding, etc. One guy who worked here in the morning was a total jerk - the only employee that we came across the whole week who was like this. MDR Service: Exceptional! No other way to say it. They work so hard to please you. Could not have been any happier! Best part of the entire cruise was the service we received from the MDR staff! Great Job!!!! Drinks/Ice/Ice Cream: Wish you could access water, tea, lemonade at more places around the ship. We drink tons of water and had to go to Windjammer or Cafe Promenade to get it. Also, we like ice in our stateroom - you get this through room service - sort of strange to do this. Coffee stations at the ends on floor 11 ran all day. We get up really early, like 4am, and had to go to Cafe Promenade to get coffee. Ice cream stations also at the ends of floor 11 - for some reason these are only open from around 11am to around 6pm or so. Bar service was good. Servers continually walk around the pool decks to get your order. Drinks were good - average price. Entertainment: Really bad. Most shows say that they were produced by the Cruise Director so perhaps he just isn't that great of a producer or something. Ice skaters were ok. Movie musical review was horrible. Last night performance was really bad. I've seen tons better at Club Med!!! On-board Activities: Sports court: Always busy, this place could use some love and refurbishment. They need drinking stations here. The water fountain is useless when the boat is moving the water just sprays in the air and not in your mouth. Rock climbing was the best. Basketball courts were always in use! The putt-putt is in need of renovations and is a bit dangerous when small kids don't know how to play. They can and do drive the ball from the putt-putt course clear to the rock climbing wall. They had a funky roller blading area that was never open when we went there. Demonstrations/Talks: We attended the napkin folding session - was pretty lame. The talk with the crew was really good though. Ice skating rink was cool, really enjoyed this. Santa came to visit, this was a nice touch and all of the kids got a little present while the adults got loaded on eggnog! Arcade: Always busy and fun. Children's club: Easy enough to register for, my son just didn't want to be there much - he went 2 times and had a good enough time. Getting off the ships for ports-of-call: Cozumel and Jamaica both have piers so it is easy and quick. Grand Cayman uses small boats and let's just say that RCCL needs to improve this whole process. First, you have to wait in line for an hour to get a "number" to get off the boat. Then, you have to go sit in a public space for over an hour before your number is called. We were in the 2nd boat to leave the ship and we didn't get off the boat 'till after noon! This should and absolutely could be a better experience for all. Disembarkation: We took our own luggage off the ship. They began letting this group off at 7:15am. We were through customs, met by the Fulton Street van, driven to the parking garage, in our van and exiting the parking garage at 7:36am. So easy! Would I cruise on this ship again? Probably not - we've been there done that now. If I ever cruise again it would probably be on one that has more ports of call like Alaska. With 3,600 guests and over 1,200 employees, it was a crowded cruise. Too much time waiting around and hideous on board entertainment. I was happiest when I was at the port of call. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
The Good: This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and was so excited after hearing about their reputation. Voyager is an absolutely beautiful ship, very nicely laid out with many good shows and several things to do on board. The music ... Read More
The Good: This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and was so excited after hearing about their reputation. Voyager is an absolutely beautiful ship, very nicely laid out with many good shows and several things to do on board. The music was good and getting on and off the ship in New Orleans was easy. The Bad: Food: My food rating is a C the food was just okay, but access and selection was very limited and I give a D. Food was not available 24/7 except by room service and that came with an additional charge late at night. Coffee at best was very bad, in fact we went to their coffee shop and had to pay for coffee that was better than what was free, but still not great. Here is one day actual menu in the Flute dinning room: Potato Gnocchi, Roasted Turkey, Grilled NY Strip Steak, Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Calzone, or Panner Makhanwala. This was a typical menu for this dinning room. The buffet hours were very limited and the menu was limited compared to other cruises I have been on. They had specialty restaurants, that require additional charges like Johnny Rockets which is just a classy McDonalds with hamburgers, fries, and milk shakes. The Ugly: It was very hard to get answers from any RCI staff including from corporate office. Leaving New Orleans a big percentage were Saints fans. Many fans including my wife checked more than once before booking the cruise to see if the Saints game would be aired on board and was told yes. When we got to our room we noticed the game listed was the Giants game, but the staff on ship said the Saints would be on. Who Dats filled the sports bars ready for the game and were not happy to find out they were lied to by everyone at RCI. My wife and I ended up paying 60 dollars just to listen to the game on WWL online during the second half. Two of the ports were not good, Jamaica and Grand Cayman there was very little to do outside of finding a beach. Jamaica was scary and not safe. We heard many times to be very careful and stay with large numbers or get robbed. Cozumel was fantastic as always. The ship could have just docked there for 3 days and saved a lot of fuel. With all things considered it turned out to be a disappointing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
The New Orleans Voyager of the Seas departure was smooth & simple 12/3/2011. We easily parked at Fulton Place Parking Center http://fultonplaceparking.com on Convention Center Blvd. The parking structure takes up the whole block ... Read More
The New Orleans Voyager of the Seas departure was smooth & simple 12/3/2011. We easily parked at Fulton Place Parking Center http://fultonplaceparking.com on Convention Center Blvd. The parking structure takes up the whole block from Fulton to Convention & you can enter from a few sides. Cruise parking is $84 paid in advance & they accept credit cards. (Condo Parking Services, (504) 566-7275 was on our receipt.) After 11a, there are guys holding signs with a picture of the boat trying to direct you. You can park anywhere in New Orleans. I found the price reasonable for the week. They have shuttle service to the ship & guys to help with luggage, if needed. If you have special needs, this location is helpful. Fulton Place Parking is walking distance from the New Orleans port for a healthy person & kids. If you can't wait for all your cruise food, you can eat at Subway located in the parking structure. If you stay on Convention you can take a coffee break at Starbucks in the Marriott hotel. You'll walk down to Julia St. & head toward the biggest boat you can see. Guys on the street close to the boat will take your luggage. I hope you ordered your luggage tags in advance to properly I.D. your luggage. Hang on to your carry on with your necessary documents. Once you enter the terminal, you're almost there. I had read NOT to arrive early, but we were in the terminal before noon & after looking at the shop photos they take pre-boarding, others were onboard as early as 11:30a. The line moved steadily. The first check point checked I.D.s & the printed Set Sail Pass. You'll secure your Set Sail Pass after you do the online check in www.royalcaribbean.com > Before you Board > Online Check-in. Simply input your last name, reservation #, departure date & ship name. You don't need to have a username & password. That's something different. After the first check point, you'll go through what looks like airport security, only you can keep your shoes on & you won't be molested. I heard about water/liquids being confiscated. Still, I had a Monster Energy drink in my backpack. It wasn't confiscated & I noticed a number of other people with water bottles in their packs, too. Everything moved smoothly & quickly. Before check point #3, everyone is given a health survey. You're on the honor system to verify you're in good health & not a threat for spreading disease. You'll head to a big check in area, like the airport where it's one long desk with a ton of agents waiting to help you. This is where you present all your docs again & confirm your credit card information for you onboard purchases. You'll see security flyers about liquids & sharp objects, but there are no more security check points. By this time, if it hasn't been confiscated, you can keep it. One more stop, as you leave the port terminal they'll take your picture & create your Seapass card. This card will be your charge card & I.D. for the cruise. This is why they try to sell you lanyards with the plastic holder in the terminal. If you have one, bring it. If you don't, find a friend who frequents conventions. Definitely, keep your Seapass away from anything magnetic. I killed my card twice because my camera case seals with a magnet. I think this whole check in process took less than an hour. Once you've dropped off your carry on, head to the 5th floor Cafe Promenade where all coffee & desserts are included with your cruise. The Cafe is open 24/7. If you like your designer creamer, bring your own. I read about the Royal Caribbean Cruise Compass & was dying to look at one while I was doing my homework. Since I can't upload one, I'll do my best to describe it. This is the daily newsletter with important cruise details, trivia, the forecast, activities, shop hours of operation, the dining schedule & more. Your stateroom attendant will put one in your room each night he turns your bed down. You can also find a copy in the Windjammer entrance (11th floor) & by client services (5th floor). The front page has the Day (DAY 1, Saturday,Dec. 3, 2011) on the front which comes in handy about Day 3. I'm a planner & wanted to plan the whole trip before boarding. Not seeing this more than the night before will keep you spontaneous. Day 1 & 2 you'll want to take advantage of the Cruise Compass to insure you find the most fun for your time. Day 1, we changed our dinner time to 2nd seating, 8p. Your dinner time, dining room & table are noted on your Seapass card issued before boarding. La Boheme was our dining room & it was perfect. There are less people at 2nd seating & even less people in La Boheme. The other dining areas had seating for about 300 more people which lead to longer lines going in for dinner. We also set up our water & soda packages. I waited too long to do it online. Chad received a FREE no sweat cooler cup with the soda package. I did the smallest water package because I figured out I can bring h2o back from the ports. Chad & I drank so many bar drinks, we don't think he really took advantage of the soda package. I definitely drank all my water. Day 2, secure your tickets for the Ice Show. That's the only show requiring a tickets. We could only pick up tickets on Day 2 in the a.m. It was too windy on Day 2 for rock climbing. We earned a Gold Medal in the scavenger hunt. HINT: Knowing how to add was our edge. And, knowing what 'par' means would be helpful. Later on Day 2 we earned a Silver Medal in the pool relays. It would have been gold if I would have listened to the rules of the tie breaker. Shame on me. Tons of activities every day! napkin artistry, dodge ball, basketball, dance lessons, trivia, ice skating, roller blading, mini golf, art lessons, bingo, ice carving, & more. BE SURE TO TUNE IN. Every morning the cruise director does a morning show. He's very entertaining & informative. It's one or 2 channels from the main menu. Female comedian, Etta Mae, was on our ship. Sorry you missed her. She was the best show we saw. Being LSU fans, we were thrilled to watch the SEC Championship in the Theatre. Awesome! Thank you RC! The gym was well equipped & full to capacity with eager fitness dreams. Day two, it looked like a normal gym. Chad had the Thai Poultice massage & LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I had the Fire & Ice Pedicure & was VERY DISAPPOINTED. Our table mate had the pedicure earlier the same day from a different lady & had no complaints. I think I'm spoiled my local lady. Shame on me for having the same expectations for a process that cost 3x what I normally pay. Tips: Take the stairs if you can. Work out day 1 & 2 because odds aren't good that you will after that. Book your spa treatment for Day 6, that's when you'll need one. Pick up the daily Sudoku & Quiz in the library. Enjoy the drink of the day & the after dinner shot of the evening. Order what you want from the dining menu. If you want 2 entrees, order them. Tips are included in every onboard service transactions. The extra tip line on your receipt is for those people who go over & above. You can buy fun watches for $10 on the last day & other fun jewelry sales are regularly held on the Promenade. There's so much more I haven't noted. Jerry McLeod from The Times-Picayune has some great articles about the Voyager on NOLA.com. Click on my name to see if I figured out how to post my To do & to pack list. I also wrote about each port, Falmouth, Jamaica, Grand Cayman & Cozumel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Starting with embarkation it was the fastest we have ever experienced. We arrived at the terminal at about 11:15 AM and were on the ship around noon eating lunch in the Windjammer Cafe. Meals aboard the ship were outstanding as was the ... Read More
Starting with embarkation it was the fastest we have ever experienced. We arrived at the terminal at about 11:15 AM and were on the ship around noon eating lunch in the Windjammer Cafe. Meals aboard the ship were outstanding as was the service. We ate breakfast on Deck 3 in the Carmen each morning so we could order eggs benedict or whatever from a daily menu or choose from a complete breakfast buffet. Orders not on the menu were allowed as well. For lunch we ate at several locations. The Windjammer Cafe was your typical buffet and we ate there only twice. We did Johnnie Rockets one day for lunch which was okay but there is a $4.95 per head cover charge plus any beverage requires payment which could be $4-plus for a malt or shake. Our favorite lunch destination was on Deck 3 in the Carmen where a varied menu was offered in addition to a very classy and loaded salad bar. We chose My Time Dining for dinner and were seated in the Magic Flute on Deck 5. Every meal was elegant in both choice and flavor and the service was truly outstanding. Our overall meal experience was outstanding. We are basic beer drinkers and found the prices a bit higher than any other cruise. You can expect to pay a minimum of $4.75 for any beer selected and that does not count an automatic 15% added to your bill. Plus, before you get 12 miles off the Louisiana shore there is another 9% added. There are no "bucket" prices but I will say there is an enormous variety of beers available at the Pig & Whistle on Deck 5. Also, our beverage server was called Cat and he was from Romania and he was truly outstanding. The room was quite nice, being a bit larger than we had on other cruises. The shower was round and definitely gave more leg room. The couch was an added plus and the balcony was larger than on other cruises. The cabin steward was extremely efficient and helpful. All shows ran from good to excellent. Since they vary from cruise to cruise I will only say they are all worth attending. The one definite don't miss is the ice show. Get your free tickets in advance as you don't want to miss it. Other items of interest were the snack and beverage availability in the Cafe Prominade, the cheap prices in the General Store and the available music at several locations nightly. Gambling was interesting although we only made two short trips to the Casino. All machines are coin return which we didn't realize at first. If you put a $100 bill in a machine and play $10 you'll get $90 worth of quarters back as a cash out. The really only drawback to the trip was disembarking although it wasn't terrible. The system for getting off is well organized and moves quickly until we got to customs. With five customs booths but only two attendants it was a holdup, and the only one in the process. Even with that it took only about 45 minutes to complete the process. With sufficient customs agents it would have been a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
RCL Voyager of the Seas - 7-Day Caribbean Cruise -- 24 to 31 December 2011 Executive Summary On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would rate this cruise a 15!! I am a 55 year old male and did this cruise ... Read More
RCL Voyager of the Seas - 7-Day Caribbean Cruise -- 24 to 31 December 2011 Executive Summary On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would rate this cruise a 15!! I am a 55 year old male and did this cruise solo. I did three cruises last year -- Carnival Conquest out of Galveston for a 7-night Caribbean cruise in May, a 10-day eastern and southern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess out of Ft. Lauderdale in October and the Voyager of the Seas 7 --day Caribbean cruise on 24 December out of New Orleans. Of the three, this last cruise was about as perfect a cruise experience as one could hope to have and I would highly recommend Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas to everyone. Pre-Cruise I arrived in New Orleans via an American Airlines, independently-booked flight from Dallas about 1:30 p.m. on the day before the cruise, 23 December, and stayed the night at the Hampton Inn Convention Center, 1201 Convention Center Bld., 504.566.9990. This hotel is only three blocks from the Julia Street Cruise Ship Terminal and was filled to capacity. Two other cruises were departing New Orleans on 24 December -- the Carnival Conquest and a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. The hotel was outstanding for the price. I paid $99 plus tax for my room -- very clean and comfortable. The Hampton Inn always had fresh coffee and tea, and an outstanding hot breakfast. For dinner I went to Rio Mar Seafood, 800 South Peters Street New Orleans, 504.525.3474, just a five minute walk from the hotel and it was good but expensive -- about $40 just for me alone without drinks or wine. This restaurant offer Brazilian fusion seafood. The owner was very nice and helpful. The next morning early I walked up to Cafe du Monde, 800 Decatur St., (504) 525-4544, for some of those fabulous beignets and a cup of their exceptional coffee. If you have not been to New Orleans or are not familiar with Cafe du Monde, it is a must do in New Orleans. New Orleans is one of my least favorite cities in the US, but they do have some neat attractions. The National World War II Museum is located about five blocks north of the Hampton Inn, 945 Magazine Street, , (504) 528-1944; EMAIL: info@nationalww2museum.org, and has a very impressive collection of WWII displays. The opening film you see on the tour done by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg is really incredible -- a great place to take your kids if you are ever there. The French Quarter holds no appeal for me. It always smells extremely bad (yeah, you know why) and the people there are most unfriendly. Plus, the merchants do their best to pick your pockets with high priced food and drink. Another option for a restaurant close to the Hampton Inn is Harrah's Casino. They have an incredible buffet that is not too expensive. Last time I was there in May, I think it was about $18 per person, and it is only a short cab ride or a good stretch of the legs from the hotel. Two other restaurants I like in New Orleans are The Court of the Twin Sisters and Commander's Palace. Both are expensive, but I really enjoy the food and ambiance. Embarkation Even though the cruise terminal was only a few blocks from the hotel, I did hire a cab to take me and my three bags to the cruise terminal. Pay the ten bucks for a cab as you have to weave around to get to the bag drop and if you are toting bags and get lost, it will be a real pain. I arrived at the terminal at 10:42 a.m., waited until 11:00 am for the counters to open, and was on the ship at 11:16 a.m. Best and fastest embarkation process of the three cruises I have done, but I did have all of my SeaPass papers completed beforehand and had all of my travel documents in order. The Ship Voyager of the Seas was built in 1999, can carry over 3,000 passengers and has a crew of about 1,100. It has an ice skating rink, a rock climbing wall, three pools, six hot tubs, and a unique promenade in the center of the ship that is six or seven stories tall. There are a number of bars -- smoking and non smoking, a mini golf course, a roller blading area, Johnny Rockets -- a 50s style hamburger joint, a two story library (that didn't have many books), an internet lounge and many Wi-Fi hotspots, and a huge auditorium called La Scala. Although the ship is older, it has been well-maintained and everything was clean and new looking. It is your typical mega-ship. One of the really neat things to do was you could walk out on the Lido Deck and look into the bridge of the ship. They has a display that showed what each piece of equipment was inside of the bridge and it is the first time I have ever seen the bridge of a cruise ship. It looked more like a sophisticated game machine or an airline cockpit simulator. I found it very interesting. The Stateroom I was in 9372, a standard balcony stateroom on Deck 9, the third from the last stateroom on the starboard side of the vessel. Since I was alone, there was more than enough room for all my stuff. The interior did look a bit dated and some of the glass in pictures, doors and the Plexiglas on my balcony was dirty. Most people probably wouldn't have noticed, but being a neat nik, I spent about an hour thoroughly cleaning the room to my specifications. There was more than ample storage for two people and the bed was OK, but not as plush as I had anticipated. The mattress was a bit too hard for my liking, but I did not lose any sleep over it. Although I make the stateroom out to be average, it really was above average. The bathroom had great storage, but only had a shower, no tub, and the shower had a hard-surfaced surround instead of a flimsy shower curtain. Water pressure was excellent and the water was always hot. My stateroom steward, Darwin, was from India and was just the absolute best! He kept my room nice and tidy, always had new towels and sheets, and he left me alone when I had my Do Not Disturb sign out. The first night of the cruise I had requested a lot of ice, and from that point forward, there was always several containers of ice in my room day or night. His towel animal creations were unexpected and very much appreciated. I gave him a handsome tip for all his hard work. The television was interactive and it was very easy to access my on-line account information, order movies, change languages, had parental control, and other neat options. Most of the television stations were promotional channels for Royal Caribbean, but they did have CNN and Fox News. They did not have the Weather Channel and that would have been a nice additional. They did have two channels in Spanish, one in German, and one in Japanese. There weren't any good movies on the entire week, but the point of a cruise is not to sit in your room and watch TV so that didn't bother me. The Food When I made my reservation, I was assigned to an 8:15 p.m. seating, and since I was alone and did not want to dine alone, I took all of my meals in the Windjammer Cafe on the Lido Deck. The food was excellent, but lacked variety at breakfasts. They had the same thing each morning. But that wasn't all bad as I am watching my weight. The menu varied for lunch and dinner and everything was delicious. What I liked most about the lunches and dinners is they had drink stations with an attendant who filled glasses with lemonade, ice tea and water, and orange juice, apple juice and water for breakfasts. If you needed more to drink, all you had to do was get up and get it yourself or ask a waiter/waitress to bring you more. On Princess, it was almost impossible to get a second glass of anything at any meal. The waiters and waitresses were very attentive and always offered to get whatever you needed. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, from the wait staff to the people manning the buffets were beyond friendly and helpful. Not once did I encounter a crew member that was in a bad mood or offered poor service. On Princess, everyone on the dining room staff acted as if the passengers were annoying them if they asked for something or just said a cheerful good morning. And I must comment on the ice sculptures and food carvings. On Christmas Eve, one of the chefs had created one of the most awesome ice sculptures I have ever seen. On an eight foot table at the entrance to the Windjammer, there was this huge ice carving of Santa Klaus in a sleigh with his eight reindeer in front. It was an incredible sculpture I will never forget. Absolutely fabulous!!! On Christmas Day, there was a sculpture of the face of Santa Klaus in a watermelon that looked as if it had been carved my Michelangelo. It was one of the most detailed and ornate food carvings I have ever witnessed. On another day, a child's face had been carved in a watermelon and it was so real and lifelike, it was spooky. Definitely reminded me of something out of a Steven King novel, but it was incredible. The last night I spoke with the officer in charge of the food service and he introduced me to the sculptor and I had my opportunity to express my gratitude for these awesome works of art. The coffee on the ship was Seattle's Best -- excellent coffee! They had coffee stations throughout the ship and it was always very easy to get a cup of Joe. And it was great coffee. On the Princess Cruise I took, I don't know what they used for coffee, but it was awful -- almost undrinkable -- and tasted to me like instant. It was a real let down and I know Princess did this so you would buy the $5 a cup coffee at the specialty coffee bar. Again, Royal Caribbean did it right and didn't skimp. Multi-Lingual Whether it was the television, the daily newspaper -- Cruise Compass, or menus in the restaurants, everything was multi lingual. The first two cruises I took last year I was with a friend from Mexico who spoke very little English. Carnival had nothing written in another language and Princess only had menus in the dining halls in other languages. This was an incredibly nice touch for foreign guests on RCCL. Ice Cream!! They had six ice cream machines, two in three stations. One station was near the pools on the Lido Deck and two stations were in the Windjammer Cafe. My only complaint, and it really isn't a complaint, is that only one of the ice cream machines in each station was ever operational. Lines became very long in the Windjammer Cafe and by the pools at times. All of the machines should have been up and running. And the machines were always shut down by 9:30 p.m. at night. I wish they had left the one station by the pools open until midnight each night -- it would have been the perfect touch to an almost perfect cruise experience. Personnel All, and I do mean all, of the ship's crew and personnel were over the top on customer service and a friendly, positive attitude, whether it was other stateroom attendants encountered in the halls, maintenance personnel or the security personnel I encountered at 3 am one morning when I was entering one of the hot tubs. This security guard even opened up the towel locker and offered me a new towel -- at 3 am in the morning!!! I did hear Royal Caribbean had launched a new customer relations/service program, and whatever they did, it is working beyond expectations! The crew just seemed happy and went out of their way to help. If they couldn't help for one reason or another, they always offered an alternative suggestion. This is the way cruising was meant to be and I was thoroughly impressed. This is so unlike the Princess cruise I took where the staff would avoid passengers and were not helpful in the least. Royal Caribbean has remembered the cardinal rule of customer service -- passengers are the profit and the crew are the overhead. Royal Caribbean is doing it right! Smoking As soon as I boarded the ship, I went immediately to the customer service desk to ask about the smoking areas on the ship. I was handed this very helpful, pocket guide showing day by day all of the venues where smoking was allowed. The venues changed daily and gave the smoking passengers the opportunity to visit each of the bars and lounges with the ability to have a smoke. Not once was I chastised by a crew member or passenger for smoking in a non designated area. On the Princess cruise, no one, and I mean no one, could tell me where the designated smoking areas were located on the ship. There were only 74 seats on the entire Emerald Princess that were designated as smoking. If you smoked on chair one foot outside of the designated smoking area, the crew or passengers would let you know in uncertain terms you were violating the rules, which were totally unclear and nebulous. There was a dedicated smoking lounge next to Cleopatra's Needle on Deck 5, called the Connoisseur's Club, where cigar, pipe and cigarette smoking was always allowed, and the Club offered a fine selection of cigars and specialty liquors. Smoking was allowed along the port side of Deck 11 with more than ample chairs. I was always able to find a seat at a smoking table day or night there. The only coffee available early in the morning was at the Cafe Promenade on Deck 5. You could get a cup of coffee and have a smoke in either the Connoisseur's Club or the Scoreboard Sports Bar on Deck 5 -- nice touch. One could smoke in High Notes, the jazz club on Deck 14, and the 19th Hole, both on Deck 14 after 5 p.m. Smoking was also allowed in The Vault, a kid's night club, on Deck 4 and the Casino on Deck 6, but only during certain hour. The printed card I mentioned earlier listed where you could smoke each day and at what times -- a very nice touch for smokers. Entertainment Yaakov Smirnov had two shows one evening and he was very good. I had never seen him live before and he was pretty funny even though some of his jokes were dated. There was also a show put on by the crew that was incredibly good. High energy, great music. And there were two shows for each of these performances -- one for early dinner seating and one for late dinner seating. I'm not a gambler, but the casino was larger than the other two cruises I took last year and there always seemed to be many people there. One night they had a BBQ on the Lido Deck near the pools that was really cool. They had ribs from the grills and an assortment of picnic food at 11 p.m., and it was very well-attended and yet they did not run out of food. The food was dynamite, too! The last night of the cruise they had a parade on the Promenade at 11 p.m. that was a lot of fun. Shore Excursions Since I am a Certified Scuba Diver, I did the two tank dives in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Both were awesome! Water temp was perfect and visibility was incredible. Both dive boats were very well organized, the equipment appeared to be well-maintained, and the staff very friendly and helpful. This is the first cruise dive experience where the boat crew prepared all equipment for the divers and dismantled it all after the dives. Another very nice touch. I've never liked Jamaica and hadn't planned to get off the ship in Falmouth, but there was a relatively new shopping area that was just off of the quay, so I went down and explored all of the shops, but I did not see any good prices on anything. I then decided to go out of the secured shopping area to a super market to buy a couple of twelve packs of soda. As soon as I got outside of the shopping area gate, I was approached by no less than 25 people, all wanted to sell me pot or cocaine. There were so many people in the streets, and they all looked so poor and many of them looked like they'd slit your throat for a dollar, I honestly thought I might get mugged. I was wearing a $9,000 Rolex that was very visible because I had on a short-sleeved shirt. I normally am not too concerned about getting robbed, but I know if I had stayed in that area for more than 15 minutes I would have gotten robbed. As I was walking back into the main gate at the secured shopping area, I saw a few women getting ready to leave the secured area and advised them against it and they did not go out of the secured area. Jamaica really needs to clean up its act. I hope to never return to that dirty and destitute island. Why cruise ships go there is beyond me. Overall, it was an exceptional cruise experience. The ship was outstanding, and the crew couldn't have been any better. It reminded more of the golden age of cruise lines. Royal Caribbean is doing it right and I would highly recommend Voyager of the Seas and Royal Caribbean to anyone seeking a fantastic experience on a main stream, mega liner. Kevin M. Pearson Wichita Falls, Texas kmpearson@wf.net Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was my first Royal Caribbean cruise, although members of my familly have cruised with them before. My four previous cruises were all with Carnival, and I have to say that even though the cabin was nicer on Royal Caribbean, the ... Read More
This was my first Royal Caribbean cruise, although members of my familly have cruised with them before. My four previous cruises were all with Carnival, and I have to say that even though the cabin was nicer on Royal Caribbean, the overall cruising experience was better with Carnival. We were a family party of 10--the two of us (my husband and me) in a junior suite, my mother-in-law and a friend of hers in the junior suite next door, and my brother and grandson in a premium balcony room on our other side, and next to them our daughter, her husband, and their two children. So we had three children, ages 13, 10, and 2. Our 13-year-old grandson has cruised with us twice and didn't like anything about the children's program on this cruise. He wouldn't participate at all. The ten-year-old, a real little joiner generally, felt the same. We were also very disappointed that there was no nursery or even paid babysitting we could book for the 2-year-old. (She was only a month shy of 3). The two boys (13 and 10) felt like the ship had lots of bars but not much for them. The 12th floor with the rock climbing wall and mini-golf was closed for high winds during most of the sea days. My husband complained that there weren't enough stations with lemonade, iced tea, fruit punch (basically free drinks) available. We don't like carbonated drinks, but were pretty much forced into getting a soft drink stamp on our card for an additional fee. The food was really good and the best part of our cruise was dinner each day (our waiters made it fun), but still, there weren't the kid-friendly dishes our grandsons liked and expected. On Carnival they have shrimp cocktail and chocolate melting cake every night--shrimp cocktail only once on RC. I really liked our rooms--forward junior suite on 9th floor. Very comfortable and our steward kept it nice. We only had towel animals two of the seven nights, though, which disappointed the kids. Overall, I like the artwork and spacious feel of RC, but think I'll go back to Carnival because it really is more fun. Dinners were a bit staid in the Voyager's dining rooms (when the waiters tried to do a little show it wasn't very good, not much happening). On Carnival the waiters get guests up to dance with them and it's a lot more lively. Add that to the fact that RC is more expensive and nickel and dimes you for everything, and I think we would have more fun on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
NOLA: We arrived in NOLA around 12:30 on Dec. 23 and checked in to The Sheraton on Canal Street, where we met up with the rest of our family. We really liked this hotel, as it was convenient to everything; we walked to Jackson Square, ... Read More
NOLA: We arrived in NOLA around 12:30 on Dec. 23 and checked in to The Sheraton on Canal Street, where we met up with the rest of our family. We really liked this hotel, as it was convenient to everything; we walked to Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, The Riverwalk shops, etc. We ended up at Mulates for dinner which is right across the street from the cruise terminal and whale lot. Food was good and they had a band and dancing...very fun and festive! PARKING: Now I am a huge planner and had researched the parking situation at the port. Having heard terrible tales of traffic jams and scarce parking, we decided to park off-site and be shuttled in. I decided on Fulton Street Parking, only to find out that our 15 passenger van was too large for their facility. So, we opted for Machu Picchu and could NOT HAVE BEEN HAPPIER. They are located right by a Walmart in case you forget anything too! They parked our van in a covered area for $14.00 per day and shuttled us to the port in their 15 passenger van (there were 10 in our party). I had e-mailed ahead of time about my traffic concerns and Angel had suggested we arrive to park by 10:00. We were to the port in no time and in the terminal by 10:30/10:45 at the latest. EMBARKATION: Boarding was fast and we were up in The Windjammer by 11:15 or 11:20, I would say. I had warned my hubby to carry-on his pocketknife (a tool with scissors, a corkscrew, etc.) so if they took it he wouldn't have to go to The Naughty Room. It went through security without problem, as did my bottle of opened Diet Coke and several opened bottles of water in various backpacks of our group. My dad's wife had a pair of scissors in her suitcase (given to a porter) and it ended up in The Naughty Room. She had breast cancer surgery two weeks ago and need them to cut gauze for bandaging. My dad explained this and they actually allowed them to keep the scissors, which was nice and unexpected. THE SHIP: We loved the layout of the Voyager. It was easy to navigate and by the second day we all knew how to get to most areas. I had read some reviews about the ship being run down/not being run down. Here is my assessment: There are definitely some areas of carpet that showed wear. Our cabin (7216-a D1 balcony forward, starboard side) was BEAT DOWN. It was one of those that had the blue-green doors on the dressers, not the wood color. There were huge nicks out of the dressers on top and bottom. (I will post pictures). That was definitely disappointing. The cabin itself was very clean despite being worn. My sister's family had the connecting cabin (7214-the first forward D1 on starboard side) and her dressers were in much better shape but their sofa was very old and worn. Ours had been replaced as it was much newer than theirs and made of a different material. We smelled a moldy smell at all times in our hallway and sometimes the typical sewer smell. None of the smells bothered us in our rooms. The public areas of the ship were in very good shape: The spa and fitness center, Solarium, pools, Pig and Whistle, Cleopatra's Needle (we had Christmas mass there), the theater, etc. We loved the Promenade and found all public areas to be spotless. THE SHOWS: This was probably the most disappointing area of the cruise. One night the main show was an Elvis impersonator. Don't get me wrong; he was really good. It is just that we are in our early 40's and have kids from 8-11 years old. There were MANY songs I didn't even recognize and the kids fell asleep. This would be great as an offering on the ship, but didn't have the mass appeal a main show should have. Another disappointment was Music in Movies, a show by the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. The majority of songs were obscure or unrecognizable to us. (A 5 minute tribute to Alfie with clips from both movies...zzzz...) Before the show, Keith, the Cruise Director, told the audience to clap when they heard a song they knew and/or movie they loved. The ONLY song to garner any applause for the whole show was from Dirty Dancing (which ironically, the dancers DID NOT dance to....). We skipped the second show by this group, Broadway Rhythm and Rhyme, since this one was so disappointing. This also may sound petty, but there were two male singers and two females, the leading men and women of the show. They sang and danced. One of the males was SO awkward and pretty heavy (not trying to be rude here) that he was a distraction. The second formal night featured the comedy of Yakov Smirnoff. My husband was excited since he remembered his comedy from years ago and I guess Yakov is a celebrity in his own right. He was very funny and even joined in later that night in The Quest (let's just say we saw A LOT of him that night!). He was having a snack later in the Promenade Cafe and hubby got a picture with him. The very best show on this ship (except maybe the ice shows!) was on the final night, a juggler named Reid Belstock. He was amazing and so funny. Our kids (and most of the audience) were on the floor laughing or with mouths open marveling at his tricks. We saw two Ice Shows, a special Holiday themed show on Christmas Eve and the regular show later in the week. Both were amazing with top notch performers, costumes and great energy. NIGHT LIFE: We spend several hours with Derek Lewis in the Pig and Whistle, enjoying his "Adult Day Care." Let's just say several of us reached "Superstar" status and we enjoyed the "adult" songs and humor. Another favorite spot for us was in High Notes (formerly Viking Crown Lounge) with Chip, Barbara and the rest of the fantastic staff up there. Chip makes the best pomegranate martini! They have a music group called Pryme Tyme up there and dancing at night. It was a lot of fun. The Vault was fun too, although it didn't really get crowded until about 1:30 or 2:00 am (a bit late for us!). We went for 80's night and danced a lot. Just my opinion here, but we HATED that they allowed smoking in The Vault (and in The Scoreboard, which smelled up the whole Promenade). We are from Chicago and are used to smoke-free bars now, so this was disappointing. Plus, the ventilation in The Vault wasn't great, so one person smoking really clouded up the whole bar. Overall, we had a lot of fun at night which began for us with the shot of the day from Ronald in the dining room. We have quite a collection of souvenir shot glasses now, different colors for each day! Quest was really fun, although it was a little creepy how many people just sit in there and WATCH, but refuse to participate in ANY task. Is it that hard to join a kick line or take off your belt when you are sitting in a team section? Really? Then why are you there? Sorry, I don't get it! DINING: We were lucky to have an excellent wait staff in the MDR. Marian and Anthony were excellent and attentive. Our Head Waiter Harish was the most visible Head Waiter we have ever had. He chatted with us each night, poured wine, pitched in with the hand sanitizers...anything that needed doing. My brother-in-law was taking to him about how to say certain words in his language, so Harish made him a list of common words and their pronunciations. Marian noticed that our kids were hungry right away each night so he set our table with fruit, cheese and nut appetizer plates each night. Anthony did fun tricks for the kids. Overall our service was amazing. The food was decent as well, some great, some good, some not-as good. The pork medallions, filet mignon, turkey and most all of the fish were table favorites. Prime rib was good. Tempura shrimp/fish and veal were not the best. Onion tart, onion soup and cream of asparagus soup were also really good. We had a 12 bottle Wine Package (for 5 adults) and had one or 2 bottles each night with dinner. This was very convenient and Anthony brought our choices right away, along with our favorite soft drinks. Ronald, the bar waiter, brought my Dad's beer...and later all of us digestifs (ok, shots of the day). We loved going to the MDR each night and would consider it a great experience. KID'S ACTIVITIES: Our kids have been on a few cruises, but have never really enjoyed going to Kid's Clubs (even on Disney). They tried it on our Falmouth Day. We all just got off the ship for an hour or so and they went when we came back at 10:30 or so. They planned to stay for an hour, but that turned into wanting to stay for lunch (the staff took them to The Windjammer). After that they went to Cleopatra's Needle to play Hide and Seek. We had to bribe them with ice skating to get them to leave later, even the 11 year old. What a pleasant surprise! They begged to return the next morning, but this was a sea day and much more crowded, so they didn't like that as much. The rooms are on the small side and could definitely be more high-tech, but the counselors were organized and very enthusiastic. Our kids didn't return after that but saw counselors around the ship and talked to them and shared stories with us for the rest of the trip. To me, this was a successful club! We don't take our kids on vacation to spend time AWAY from them, but it was a nice treat to get to spend a bit of time in the Solarium and the gym/spa. MEET AND MINGLE/CRUISE DIRECTOR: Our M&M was set for 11:00 on Christmas Day. We went to see Santa in Studio B (the kids got lovely Adventure Ocean blankets) and then to mass, so we arrived a little late. We missed the introductions, so it wasn't until later that day that we realized that the staff member running our M&M was our Cruise Director Keith Williams. I was really impressed by this! He was really visible throughout the cruise and quite talented (Disco Night!). It was nice to meet other CC members (Marie, Terri) and spot them on this ship later, but I wish I had met more of the group. It was hard to stay on Christmas Day with excited kids pulling us in many directions! PORTS: Our favorite day was in Cozumel. We took a cab to Paradise Beach. I agonized over this decision, but read many favorable reviews and decided we would try to. Let me tell you, it was paradise. They have a lovely new swimming pool, beautiful beach, bar/restaurant and clean restrooms with separate changing facilities. We paid $2.00 per person for lounge chairs and umbrellas on the beach and opted to pay an additional $12.00 per person to use the massive inflatables in the water plus canoes and snorkel equipment for the day. They had a huge trampoline in the water plus several slides and we all had a blast right beside our kids climbing and jumping. We snorkeled in the afternoon and saw a few fish, but it wasn't a good spot to snorkel. It was good practice for our snorkel tour in Grand Cayman, though. Tip: The right side of the beach (facing the water) is smooth, but the left has a lot of rocks and it tough to walk into the water from that side. We ordered lunch and drinks and our service was excellent and extremely attentive. This was truly a lovely facility and a beautiful day. In Grand Cayman we pre-booked our own snorkel and sting ray tour through Moby Dick Tours. We were in line to get tender tickets about 30 minutes ahead of time, and still got group #3. This means we didn't get off the ship until about 11:30, despite having anchored at 10:00. We met people who had group #8. I can't imagine when they finally left the ship! Moby Dick's was easy to find and they bussed us to their boat. They gave us a lot of safety information as well as history of the sting rays and the area. We snorkeled (very nice equipment) for about 45 minutes by a reef and saw tons of fish and an eel. Then we went to Stingray City. My hubby and I were here about 13 years ago and had been swarmed by stingrays. This time there were so few! There were many boats and it was afternoon when we got there, so maybe they weren't as hungry...not sure. Our guides, Mark and Nicholas, made sure we all had plenty of opportunity to touch, hold kiss and feed several stingrays and to photograph our family members. The tour was really nice and we were happy with it. They offered to drop us off at the beach or port afterward, but most went back to the ship (it was raining then). Cost was $45.00 for adults and $35.00 for kids, far less than the ship's excursion. We chose not to do an excursion in Falmouth, which meant that we would stay inside the fenced-in area at the port. It is quite nice and almost completed, but not really the "real" Jamaica. It was very commercial. We bought a Jamaican soccer ball and my daughter and niece had their hair braided. The kids had snow cones. Overall, it was clean, sterile and expensive, but the safest way to be in Jamaica without a tour and with young kids. STATEROOM HOST: As I mentioned earlier, we were disappointed with the condition of our room, but Julio, our Stateroom host kept our room very clean. Since we had our two kids in the cabin with us, they were sharing the sofa bed. I had read on CC to ask for an egg crate to put on the bed right away. We asked Julio when we first met him at about 3:00 and he said they were too hard to acquire, but he would put padding on the bed. When we returned later that night, he had an extra mattress pad and a duvet on the bed with one sheet over them...no top sheet...and two battered-looking blankets on the bed. My niece and nephew's bed next door was the same way. We had to call and have top sheets brought to us. The next day we saw tons of egg crates in bags sitting in the hallway and asked (strongly) for them. Low and behold, we got them and the beds were made up properly for the rest of the trip. This may have been due to the Christmas stocking we had left Julio the night before with $20.00 in it... No problems after this and our room was always spotless!! POOLS: I thought the pools were very spacious. We were on The Disney Dream in March and the pools were so much smaller there. We liked to hear the band by the pool, but as usual, the chair hogs were out in full force. Two days we ended up back by the kid's area (Adventure Beach?) and waterslide, where there were plenty of chairs and lots of sunshine. It is all of the way in the back of the ship and believe it or not, pretty peaceful! My daughter begged me to go into the "Adults with Children" hot tub with her. Many kids were in there without adults, some with parents using the whirlpool as their own private pool. They had on goggles and went underwater, grabbing, kicking and pushing anyone just sitting there. Parents said NOTHING. I had several kids grab my legs and two kick me in the face while doing headstands (their mom was sitting right there) before I had enough and left. It was pretty amazing. I enjoyed the hot tub in the spa/gym area a lot. DISIMBARKING: We carried our own luggage off the ship. After breakfast at 7:15, we got an elevator easily (what a surprise!)at 8:00 and went down to La Scala Theater where we were escorted off in minutes. Customs was fast and our agent was a bit shaken, saying she had just been treated SO RUDELY by the people before us. We tried to make her feel better, as she seemed very upset. Angel at Machu Picchu gave us his cell # to call as soon as we had disembarked with our luggage. We called and were picked up in about 10 minutes-no waiting for other people as I noticed the Fulton Street parker's shuttle doing. I can't say enough good things about Machu Picchu! NORO!: We heard rumors about the norovirus being on the ship. One day I opened the door to our stateroom and it was sticky. Julio explained that there had been some cases of noro and they were sanitizing all door handles. We received a letter in our stateroom explaining how to prevent noro. We also saw a teen boy throwing up as he disembarked in Cozumel (his family was helping him), so maybe that was it. We all came home healthy, luckily. Overall, we had a ton of fun and really enjoyed The Voyager of the Seas. The staff was so friendly and really made our vacation great. Having just been on the brand new Disney Dream in March, I was afraid that I would be constantly comparing the two ships (which is kind-of an unfair comparison) but even when I did that, The Dream did not always come out ahead! What a way to celebrate Christmas! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We take a cruise every year in Dec. that usually ends a week before Christmas. Because my brother in law choose this cruise we left out of New Orleans. New Orleans is a disappointing cruise terminal difficult to get to and difficult to ... Read More
We take a cruise every year in Dec. that usually ends a week before Christmas. Because my brother in law choose this cruise we left out of New Orleans. New Orleans is a disappointing cruise terminal difficult to get to and difficult to work your way to the actual check in area. Disembarking after the trip was a nightmare. The ports on this trip were not of much importance as we had been to the Carib at least 10 times on various cruises by RC. The diamond member status offers very little anymore, and has ticked off a lot of loyal cruises of RC. Many of them per our conversations have been seeking and tried other cruise lines. We have also discovered the fine service on Princess, Holland, and Celebrity. This I believe will be our last trip on RC. We will be moving to Celebrity and Holland America. Enough of the problems with RC! To be more precise the ship Voyager of the Sea's was extremely worn, the cabin furniture was dirty/soiled fabrics, beds were sunk in, pillows were of a very low class hotel, and the wood on the furniture was worn. Giving an overall appearance that this ship was in need of redo, and quick. As the prices of all cruises are going up up up, to command the higher prices keeping the cabins up is required for this cruiser. The food in the main dining room was pretty much the same, lack luster, same menu, no taste, waiter was acceptable but at no time did he smile and was not friendly. The assistant waiter on the other hand was excellent. The food in the Windjammer was also about the same, but better than main dining room. The staff in the Windjammer was excellent and always helpful. The mixed drink in the sports lounge was awful. I ordered on Sunday night did not order another one from this bar, which doubled as the Diamond lounge every night, unfortunately the same bartender. In general this ship was worn, dirty, and the food was poor. Every year we write the good and bad on the review sheet for the cruise that RC provides. We have yet been called or asked for more detail. It is obvious that RC is not concerned about individual guests opinion, just how to attract more groups or guests for the first time. I devoted 12 cruises to RC at a cost of about $25,000.00 or more, it is unfortunate they are running off their loyal customers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We have cruised with RCCL many times, but this was our first time cruising on one of the Voyager class ships. We stayed one night in advance at the Marriott Convention Center and left our car there for the duration of the week as part of ... Read More
We have cruised with RCCL many times, but this was our first time cruising on one of the Voyager class ships. We stayed one night in advance at the Marriott Convention Center and left our car there for the duration of the week as part of the stay and park package. Based on the terminal parking, it was a good deal. We were able to catch a shuttle at 11 AM and were were onboard before noon. Check-in was very quick. Our initial impression was "wow...this is big". We sailed on the Emerald Princess last year for reference. Although it's a large ship, it's really easy to get around especially if you're used to the RCCL ship layouts. We quickly made our way to lunch and then our cabin was ready right on time. The weather was kind of "so-so" during the week, but hey you take what you get sailing this time of year. It was neat sailing out of NOLA after dark. We had late seating and the food in the MDR was good to very good every night. Our waiter (Donaldo) and the assistant waiter (Colin) were top notch. In terms of the shipboard activities, we saw most of the shows and enjoyed them all for the most part. The Beatles tribute band was very good and the first night comedian was hilarious. There was a nice variety of activities throughout the day and into the evening. It's definitely a ship for folks that like to stay busy. The only complaint we might have would be related to the children's program. Now, the program itself and the counselors were outstanding! Our daughter was in the 10 year old group. The only complaint is that the one entrance/same exit concept of the Adventure Ocean layout made for significant logjams at pickup and dropoff times. The newer Princess ships have this handled much better where they have a central check-in hub with pods feeding from there. Ports: We just shopped at the port in Falmouth. Weather this day was VERY bad so we didn't spend much time outside. The folks who did take tours were sort of victims of the weather. Grand Cayman - we've been here several times and getting there (via tender) was not a problem. However, there as mass chaos at the tender dropoff area in terms of where to go for excursions. We had to wait a long period of time for our cruise, sightsee, and beach excursion to get going and they only dropped us off at the beach. We finally got a portion of our money refunded for this. Cozumel - we did the jungle hike and beach break. It was pretty informative and a good mix of seeing the culture of the island and experiencing the beach. The food at the beach club (Playa Sol?) was awful in my opinion though. All in all we had a great time despite the sketchy weather. We do like cruises with more ports however, and will be doing the Southern Caribbean route out of San Juan later this year. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our winter break trip and decided to go out of New Orleans since it was an easy drive from our home and we wanted a break from dealing with airlines. Having been to the NO area in the past, we decided we wanted to stay on the ... Read More
This was our winter break trip and decided to go out of New Orleans since it was an easy drive from our home and we wanted a break from dealing with airlines. Having been to the NO area in the past, we decided we wanted to stay on the outskirts of town and avoid the busy downtown area, hence we stayed at the Slidell Sleep Inn the night before. This is a very comfortable accommodation and the room rate includes Continental breakfast. We will stay there again on future trips. Plenty of restaurants at the exits just north of the hotel as well. It was a short 15 minute ride to the port from there. New Orleans Port= This is where the port experience went down hill= The facilities at the port of NO are acceptable, with the exception of the parking and luggage drop off..this is where they have a long way to go. We followed the signs for RC terminal, stopped and asked police/security and still we were forced to make the "one way" drive around the Convention Center several times before we could find porters to check bags for us. "Security/police" told us to just drop our bags into these huge white bins on the side of the road and just leave them unattended,"they'll be fine there". With so much car/pedestrian traffic..not feeling this was a secure spot for our bags, we made another trip around the Convention Center/port area until we finally found a baggage porter who had come out & started taking bags. Once the bags were checked, we needed to drive around another time to get into the RCI designated parking lot, as the entrance was behind the car and there was no way to back up. We wanted to use the RCI lot because we thought it would be more secure! WRONG! We paid $112.00 for the week and the parking attendant indicated it was a secured lot. WRONG! This graveled/broken concrete lot with all it's pot holes & standing water is actually a combined RCI and hotel city type lot. And the only security is the section directly in front of the hotel, which has a security camera on it's roof. The section of the lot next to the RCI pedestrian ramp is not secured or monitored at all. We know this because the car next to ours damaged our fender while loading their bags the day of return. When we finally found a security guard to ask if there was maybe camera evidence of who did this, he said "the lot is not monitored by RCI. We were welcome to go over to the hotel to see if their camera caught anything tho!" So much for getting into a secured lot. Once you park your car, you will walk to the terminal along a very rough street with no sidewalks. You are forced to drag your bags over an ACTIVE railroad track to get to the taxi drop off area and into the terminal bldg. This is a heavy traffic area & not a pedestrian friendly area at all. I have written to RC to let them now that they really should consider making this a more pedestrian friendly area of their cruise facility. There is an elevator that will take you up to the restaurants and washroom facilities, however we attempted to use their back exit that has a sign "To Ships", but it is a "bridge to nowhere" and we ended up backtracking with all our carry-ons and taking the street walk to the terminal. For first time visitors this was a horrible experience. Can't imagine if I would have had kids in tow or a stroller to cross this railroad track. Once inside the terminal we stood in line in the lobby for approx. an hour before RCI agents opened the doors and started letting us file into the security and check in area. This was very much the same as most RC port facilities, however they have the different C&A levels segregated so they can let the Diamond & above cruise customers in first. Once on board we stood in another "4 deep" line which extended from the doors of the Windjammer out onto the decks for approx. 45 minutes waiting for the department of health to inspect & release the ship ..this was not an issue as I am quite happy that they hold the cruise ship's galleys to such high standards. Once inside, the Windjammer was extremely crowded and the food lines were very long. Note to the man in front of me "No eating in line,licking your fingers and then touching all the handles with your nasty fingers!" Yuck! New Orleans was rainy and overcast on this day and departure was uneventful. We were just happy to be heading for sunny warm weather. It takes 8 hours to transit the river before you actually enter the Gulf. First stop- Cozumel, we took the ferry over to Cancun and went on the Tulum Mayan Ruin excursion and it was a very nice day. Got some great pictures. Second stop-Georgetown- We took the tender to town for a little while, but there were so many ships in the harbor that there were over 12,000 people dropped onto the island all at once. It was very crowded and so we took the opportunity to go back to the ship and just lounge by the pool for the day. Third stop- Jamaica and it rained most of the day. Of course the umbrella & rain ponchos were left in the cabin. Poor planning. The dock area has been built up like a shopping village and there was music and dancers and lots of shops. We did the Dunn's River Falls and lunch at the Dolphin Lagoon excursion. It was ok, the rain & cold really messed things up. Jamaica is still allowing the tour companies to use the old tour buses with the jump seats in the aisle. This may not bother others, but for a claustrophobic, this is hell on wheels. If there is a wreck and you are at the back,there is no way out! The lunch experience at the Dolphin Lagoon was not customer friendly at all. By the time our tour arrived, all the covered eating areas were taken. We were walked all the way to the end/back of the property through the muddy path to the beach picnic area. There were three picnic tables under the canopy , which were taken and the rest of the tables were on the beach in the rain and of course all wet. They really need to consider putting up some kind of sun/rain tents for their customers. Our guide ended up trying to wipe tables and chairs for us with napkins so we could sit down and eat our hamburger and salad. The operators were clearly unprepared for the crowds they had that day. The shark show was interesting, and there were a few shops to look in. Back on the bus for the rainy ride back to the dock area. And of course the sun came out just in time for us to leave! Perfect end to a nasty day. Heading back to NO and we had a passenger who became ill on board. We sat just off the coast of Cancun for quite a while waiting for medical people to come and pick her/him up and get them to a hospital in Mexico (I think). Then we continued our trip back to NO where we arrived on time. This was the second Caribbean trip where an ill passenger had to be evacuated and in both instances Royal did a fantastic job of caring for the ill person, getting them timely medical help and still making sure that the rest of the cruisers experienced very little interruption. I feel this is a mark of a great cruise line. The entertainment on board was enjoyable and we were happy to see that the Beetles type group "The Revolution" was on the list of entertainers. We always enjoy that show. We carried off our luggage and find this to be the best option. No searching for bags in a sea of luggage at the dock. We love that Royal allows us to do this. An hour to get through the customs officer, a 10 minute walk through a maze of terminal hallways, a walk across that scary railroad track and in our case the wheels got stuck in the rails and it took two of us to wedge them out. Thankfully the freight train had just passed and the guard rails did not come down on our heads. We were on the highway within 45 minutes of clearing customs. The 8-9 hour drive home was easy. We will use the NO port in the future because it is the closest drive from our home and we don't enjoy air travel anymore. BUT we are hopeful that if they want to retain the ship business they are enjoying, that they will make the port experience safer and more user friendly for the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was our second cruise, second on RCI. The Voyager of the Seas is a great ship without the cost of the higher level(Oasis/Allure). New Orleans is fun city to go in and out of. We used Fulton Street Parking which made it easy to ... Read More
This was our second cruise, second on RCI. The Voyager of the Seas is a great ship without the cost of the higher level(Oasis/Allure). New Orleans is fun city to go in and out of. We used Fulton Street Parking which made it easy to get in and out. The food was always good. The dining room was always a pleasant experience and we took advantage of the after dinner shot-of-the-day with the souvenir glasses. The Windjammer Cafe had a great variety and was nice to go to in the afternoon after an excursion to get a snack before dinner. The Cafe Promenade would get a little crowded but had nice sandwiches and pizza slices throughout the day. Had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to go to Johnny Rockets but for the additional $4.95 plus beverages, it was nice to get a good burger and fries for a change of pace. The Health Club/Spa facilities were immaculate with a variety of classes, some with an additional cost. The entertainment was enjoyable with various themes like a Beatles tribute band and former Olympic gymnast. The usual ship singers and dancers also put on a good show. What is really unique is the ice skating rink where they had a number of shows including a holiday revue. You can also skate there during certain times. Check for when the give out the tickets a day or two before each show. Our first cruise was only 4 days with ports everyday. I really enjoyed the days at sea on this cruise so I could really experience all the ship had to offer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My wife and I are Emerald Crown and Anchor members and this made for easy embarkation after staying overnight in at the Country Inn on Magazine Street ($14 cab fare to the port). Going through the C&A lines we were on board and in our ... Read More
My wife and I are Emerald Crown and Anchor members and this made for easy embarkation after staying overnight in at the Country Inn on Magazine Street ($14 cab fare to the port). Going through the C&A lines we were on board and in our cabin in 15 minutes. It was nice to be able to leave the life vest in the room for the mandatory muster drill. This cruise spends the first and last several hours on the Mississippi River and the shops and casino are not open during this time. New Orleans Port Authority is very serious about items brought on board. We had one bottle of Diet Coke in a bag and it was held in Security. Our bathroom bag did not make it up either so another trip to Deck 1. Not sure what they keyed in on in the bag, but after picking through they released it without any problem. They let me keep the soda as well. A few people in front of me had their sodas confiscated, before the ship's security staff figured out the policy stated no alcoholic beverages could be brought on board. Our cabin was neat and clean and maintained throughout the week. This cruise has 3 sea days for great relaxation. The trivia sessions were great fun and the production and ice shows were good. The Beatles tribute band and the gymnast on the last evening were great entertainment. The power boat excursion in Cozumel was a lot of fun although beat you about a little at times. In Grand Cayman we enjoyed just walking around the island for several miles. In Jamaica the Jamaican Bobsled and Dunn's River Falls tour were OK. The weather was rainy in Jamaica, but the tour was fun. Debarkation was easy and painless and we were in our hotel room within an hour of our number 18 being called (we did not choose an expedited debarkation, although eligible). We ate mostly in the Windjammer. Our one night in the dining room was well done, but we just prefer the ease and convenience. I have yet to go away from a cruise hungry. Congrats on another great cruise for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
As suite guests, our "expedited" embarkation was well over two hours of standing in line, not to mention the horrific traffic to make it to the terminal...luckily, the service made up for it once on board. We have previously ... Read More
As suite guests, our "expedited" embarkation was well over two hours of standing in line, not to mention the horrific traffic to make it to the terminal...luckily, the service made up for it once on board. We have previously cruised with Royal, but this was our first time with access to the concierge and all of the amenities that come along with that. The service provided by the concierge was superb! He was very helpful and assisted every possible change. Our dinning room staff was extraordinary, as was the food. The waiters really catered to our three year old son, making special little things for him, which was so sweet. Our cabin was AMAZING. It was so spacious and we've decided it is well worth the extra expense to upgrade to suite level. The extra balcony space was nice. We had breakfast out on the balcony and that was so awesome! The ship was very clean, which was surprising with so many guests on board. I have no complaints of getting seats or going through from area to area. I feel the layout of the ship was perfect. Prior to boarding the ship, we purchased the cd of all photographs taken, as a price of $159. WHAT A BARGAIN!! The first day of the cruise, I noticed the cd was $199.....by the last day, it was $299. With over a hundred photos taken, we really made out! The photography staff went out of their way to make our photos the best that they could be. By the end of the cruise, so many of them knew our son by name and were so playful and helpful, it was GREAT! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I had read so much about the problems on the two previous departures from New Orleans that I was expecting major problems. Thankfully we were the only ship in the port that day. There were supposed to be up to 200,000 extra people in New ... Read More
I had read so much about the problems on the two previous departures from New Orleans that I was expecting major problems. Thankfully we were the only ship in the port that day. There were supposed to be up to 200,000 extra people in New Orleans for the Bayou Classic football game. Actually it was one of the easiest embarkation we have ever experienced. That may be because we got there so early. One self important person in the terminal told us we had to get out but another (apparently higher level) person told us to wait against the wall. We were in the first 30 or so processed and got out Sea Pass. We were on the ship by 1030. There was one thing that really ticked myself and a lot of people off on this cruise. The RCCL website listed the Meet and Mingle at 10:00 AM on the Sunday morning. We made our way to the location to find that the M&M had been reschedule for Thursday at 4PM. No one had notified anyone that it had rescheduled and no one from RCCL showed up on Sunday morning to explain who changed the day or why. Some people went to the help desk to find out what was going on. There were no messages on the interactive TV, no nothing. To me it seems ridiculous to have a M&M after we had finished up the ports. I called and spoke to the lady in charge of the M&M and was told that the Cruise Director, the Activities Director and herself had decided we may miss too much on Sunday (sea day) so they moved it to Thursday. She had no answer when I asked why no one had been notified of the change. When I spoke to the Cruise Director he stated he had no knowledge of a change. I just can't understand why if they wanted or needed to change the date that they couldn't have at the least notified the people signed up for it. The dining room food was OK but nothing special, the food in Portofinos was excellent and I would recommend it. The wait staff in dining room was good but sometimes mixed the orders up or everyone but one person got there food and 10-15 minutes later the food came for them, even though they had ordered the am thing as 2-3 other people at the table. Leaving the ship was very easy if you use the walk-off and have a maximum of one suitcase and one carry-on. We were off the ship before 7:30 AM. Right after we were off the ship a Carnival ship pulled in and I was really happy that we got there before Carnival and that I was already off. The small street going by the terminals is used by everything from 18 wheel tankers to 18 wheel produce trucks and there is not really anywhere to pull off at the RCCL terminal to load or unload passengers. We weren't able to get off at the port of Georgetown, Grand Cayman because the seas were too rough. Cozumel was very windy but at least it wasn't too hot. Jamaica port of Falmouth was very clean and had numerous shops from locally made thing to very high end jewelry. Overall I think the cruise was well worth the money we paid but would have to think very hard about going again unless it was a very super deal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
It was home runs and strikeouts on this sailing, really nothing in between. In the home run category was the service in general. Waiters, stewards, bartenders and staff were extremely attentive and kind going above and beyond their duty ... Read More
It was home runs and strikeouts on this sailing, really nothing in between. In the home run category was the service in general. Waiters, stewards, bartenders and staff were extremely attentive and kind going above and beyond their duty to make us comfortable. Except for the concierge, that was a strikeout. Withe our OS cabin we concierge service and he was a complete failure and very disappointing. He didn't maintain his hours, was evasive, and in general made us feel like a burden. When Eddie ask him for assistance, the answer was always "no" and he never offered alternatives or assistance. Paying a premium for a suite is justified because of the concierge benefit, I was denied that this cruise. He was an epic failure. Food. The dining room was great .Johnny Rockets was a treat. Poolside bbqs were yummy. Windjammer cafeteria is massive. Portofino was a waste of time, a strike out. Everything was simply slathered in garlic and presented more fancily, but it wasn't actually good. Even if it were free, I wouldn't go back. Entertainment, home run. I can't elaborate more than that. It was great. The ship is dated, needs some spiffing up, but I wouldn't say it's beat up. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
A little background - We are a family of 7. Our children are ages 10 - 17. We have taken many cruises on different cruiselines over the years. We took this cruise Thanksgiving week with extended family. The Good: The Voyager of the ... Read More
A little background - We are a family of 7. Our children are ages 10 - 17. We have taken many cruises on different cruiselines over the years. We took this cruise Thanksgiving week with extended family. The Good: The Voyager of the Seas is a beautiful ship. It was clean and very well maintained. We never felt any of the areas were ever overcrowded. The layout of the ship is the easiest one we have ever been on. We were able to learn our way around quickly. We enjoyed the ice skating, ice show (even though there was only one performance that they did 4 different times and you need to get tickets in), walking the promenade, the ports, and the great main dining room staff. Our kids had a great time and met lots of other kids. They all said this was one of the best ships they have been on. Disembarkation was the easiest and fastest we have ever had on any ship. This was out of New Orleans. Embarkation was very fast and easy once you got to the terminal. If you want a much easier way to get to the ship, do this: Do not get in the long line of traffic that leads you into the terminal. Instead, get dropped off at the corner of Julia Street and Convention Center Blvd. (Mulates restaurant is across the street.) You then walk about one block to the railroad tracks and the terminal is right there. There is a gate that is open and people will then direct you into the terminal door. Also, there is a parking lot (but not covered) across the street from Mulates or there were lots of other places to park. Just don't get into that long line of traffic and you will get onto the ship very quickly. The Bad: Somewhat of a bad start with our bottled water being confiscated. We had to go claim our luggage. Every other cruise we have ever been on allowed 12 bottles per person. Not this time! I offered to open the bottles to prove it was not alcohol and they said that is wasn't necessary and that bottled water was sold on the ship. It was given back the last day. There were 100's of people claiming their luggage and all very upset. One older lady was trying to explain that she needed the bottled water for her husband's C-pap machine but they wouldn't listen to anything. They did offer to give a bottle of water for C-pap machines though. If you need a fan to sleep with, you need to buy a very small one and try your best to hide it. They had tons of fans. They seemed much more uptight than any other cruise I have ever been on. Elevators - the worse, very slow! Thank goodness we had a cabin on the 7th floor. We used the stairs 90% of the time. Food - was average but the staff in the main dining room was great. Service was excellent in the main dining room. Everywhere else, it was average and the food was average, nothing great. On the last day, they do not deliver breakfast room service. You must go down for breakfast by 8:30. Entertainment was average. We enjoyed some of it but nothing special. Rock Climbing, Ice Skating, Inline skating - Just be aware that they have very limited opening hours. The line was usually long for the Rock Climbing and the Ice Skating rink was only open a few days of the trip. They have 45 minute sessions and only take about 50 at one time. If they fill up, you have to get a sticker and come back. If these things are important to you, go ask about them the first day. Also, if you want to go to the ice skating show, try to get tickets the first day you get onto the ship. They don't do a good job of advertising these things. I read about this on CC and glad I did! The ugly: Being that it was Thanksgiving week and this is a new ship to New Orleans, there were many locals onboard. Everyone assumed that the big LSU vs. Arkansas being be shown on Friday after Thanksgiving but it was not! People were stunned and very upset. Most of the staff handled it very well and assured us that they were doing everything possible but the main guy (the big boss of the ship, Mike) didn't handle it very well and was very rude to people. He had very poor communciation skills. Many were shocked by his comments and the way he handled the situation. In the end, about 200 people hung out on the promenade and watched a single laptop computer that was hooked up to the internet. That will always be a great memory! Would I go again on this ship? Yes! Overall, we had a great time. As with any cruise, there will always be pros and cons, things that disappoint but things that exceed your expections. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Having heard nothing but raves about RCL and their larger ships, we were thrilled to be going on the Voyager out of New Orleans! Unfortunately, we started out poorly enduring several hours standing in the terminal trying to embark. The ... Read More
Having heard nothing but raves about RCL and their larger ships, we were thrilled to be going on the Voyager out of New Orleans! Unfortunately, we started out poorly enduring several hours standing in the terminal trying to embark. The embarkation staff seemed clueless (the supervisor just walked back and forth, never adding advice or help) and the computers malfunctioned. When we finally reached the ship, we were surprised that the room did not include the small amenities we were used to having on other cruise lines(shampoo, rinse, lotion, etc.). We went to dinner in the same clothes we spent the day in since our luggage was nowhere to be found and we could see the 40-50 carts full of luggage still sitting on the dock. It finally showed up after dinner. We heard several others say that they actually went down to highway 95 at midnight to locate theirs! The stateroom was adequate but nothing special - although it was a Superior Balcony room. We probably will not cruise on a 3,000+ passenger ship again. In addition to the crowding in most areas and waiting forever for elevators that still had room in them, there were several "crowd" events in the Promenade area that made it terribly difficult to navigate when you wanted to go somewhere. Several of the venues required you to go up a floor or two and then down to your destination since the theaters created unexpected dead ends. The food was good and our dining room service was excellent. Our room steward did a wonderful job, too. I felt that RCL really "nickles and dimes" the passengers every chance they get. The main theater is not well set up to allow good views of the stage in all areas - unlike theaters we have been in on other ships. The entertainment offered on this cruise was pretty sub-standard. There was only one production show and it was OK but several of the numbers were pretty amateur. The production itself didn't seem to carry much of a theme...or if it did, it wasn't well done. Most of the entertainment consisted of comedy acts and a juggler. The one outstanding exception was the Horizons who were terrific. We found out that the ship had a "new production team" who were rehearsing on the ship so we would only see one show. We were used to cruises with production shows with excellent singers and dancers offered at least 4 or 5 nights on a 7 day cruise, so we were disappointed. Other cruise lines rehearse the new team after the shows while the current team is still on board and performing. As we disembarked, we saw Martina McBride's bus pull up for the next cruise - REALLY? We found the clerks in the ship stores less than helpful and the merchandise was extremely limited and very over-priced. The jewelry offered was nothing special and I could not find a single thing that excited me. Although we thought ahead and brought medications we might need, when we unexpectedly ran out of normal drug store items, they were unavailable on the ship. Even worse, the medical facility was closed except for minimal hours so we had to endure overnight before getting medication. Once the medical office opened, they were very helpful. Everywhere we shopped on the ship we heard "We sold out on the last cruise and haven't restocked yet" - huh? We felt that this cruise was completely disorganized and no one really cared that the passengers were not very well served. The best thing on the ship was the Promenade coffee area that was open all the time - and it was free. Our shore excursion on Grand Cayman started out totally disorganized. The excursion was saved by the driver who was friendly and knowledgeable. The port shopping in Jamaica was easy to get to, friendly and enjoyable. We learned several things on this cruise: 1. Carefully check out the port history and try to find out if there are major crew or show changes before booking. 2. Don't expect to feel like royalty ... it did not happen for us on this cruise. 3. Don't fall for the "big ship" myth! A 1500-2000 passenger ship offers enough without the crowding. Besides the food, waiters and room steward, the best thing about this cruise was the easy disembarkation! Too many excuses were made for a cruise experience that did not live up to our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Our family group of 6 [daughter, g'son & stepfather & son and girlfriend and m e] arrived in New Orleans day before the cruise; stayed at the Best Western French Qtr Hotel. Made reservations thru Expedia for $152.52/rm (3 rms ... Read More
Our family group of 6 [daughter, g'son & stepfather & son and girlfriend and m e] arrived in New Orleans day before the cruise; stayed at the Best Western French Qtr Hotel. Made reservations thru Expedia for $152.52/rm (3 rms total, the only hangup was that my daughter's party arrived earlier than us and couldn't get into their room until I got there even tho the rooms were paid for and listed under individual names because I made the reservations long ago and confirmed them a day before leaving home. If this an Expedia rule it will need to be explored before I use them again. They called a cab for us about noon the day of the cruise and we headed for the pier. CC had warned us about no early boarding because the ship just relocated from Barcelona, Spain. Our taxi had a difficult time getting to the terminal with all the traffic tieups in the area. Learned later that customs held up the debark process a long time and New Orleans seemed unprepared for the traffic trying to go both ways at once along with all the semitrucks trying to unload at the ship. Inside the terminal was also rather chaotic with computers not scanning well and what appeared to be people not familiar with their jobs but we got on without much trouble, each carrying our carry-on bag with essentials for overnite. Our rooms were ready when we got aboard (2:00 pm?). Ship was late leaving probably due to the confusion at the pier but we were enjoying our early dining experience. All our bags were at our door after supper except for mine which puzzled me because they were all loaded together in the same forklift cage. About an hour later I got a call to come to deck two to pick up my bag; my DD & S-in-L went down to 2 with me, got off the elevator, saw a big line, got into it and asked what it was for. A couple told me they were waiting because they all had liquid (i.e. booze?) in their luggage. Knowing that didn't include me I went to the other side of the elevator where the x-ray machine was and saw my bag with a few others against the wall behind the machine. I told one of the workers that was my bag, he said they needed to x-ray it while I was there so I put it on the conveyor and looked at the display with him. His interest was centered on a bottle opener with a fold out corkscrew. I've carried it for many cruises since local beer needs an opener and was surprised he was so concerned about it. My DD was having such a good time laughing at me (seems like everyone is always trying to kick me out of everywhere for no reason!) and the guys seemed to enjoy joining in on the kidding because everyone else down there was so upset about being there. They then pointed to a pair of cowboy's spurs I bought on sale and brought for my grandson (he's a jr rodeo participant) and in their broken English began asking me if I got those at "Victoria's Secret". I couldn't find the bottle opener in all the pockets and by then they didn't care about it anyway so I left with my bag. My DD loved it and I'm sure its in my grandson's required (by me) journal of each day on his trip. This is getting longer than I intended; I'll include only a few other observations. The tours at Grand Cayman & Falmouth, Jamaica seemed a little disorganized getting started but went well when they did. The tour people should have & hold up their tour signs to let people know where they need to be. One can avoid the long line at the tour desk and buy your tour at the main desk if you know what you want, i.e. GC-089. The stage production outfit put on their first performance on this cruise so they might not have been really polished up but the magic show, comedian and juggler programs were very good in my opinion. My son took a behind the scenes ship tour I didn't know was available (around $100?) and learned a lot about how things work and what caused some of the problems. One of the staff he met told us as we were waiting to leave the ship that RCCL had made a call to New Orleans and reminded them they could take the ship to Tampa or Galveston and I noticed that there was NO LINE at customs but then the luggage was held up cause #11 (halfway thru) didn't come off the ship until almost last. Another new crew thing, I think. I got scolded by the wall climb crew for jumping up & off the wall to ring the bell in order to beat my grandson (a technique tought to me on the Splendor 8 yrs ago and accepted on several ships until now). What's a poor old man supposed to believe, anyway? Our wait staff and cabin steward well very good and humorous. I thought the food & menu was also very good. The head waiter had something for my grandson almost every night. The Meet & Greet didn't meet until Thursday (5th day) which didn't leave much time to get together during the cruise. I didn't see or use much of the favors for Diamond Extra but I had 5 first-timers with me and didn't expect to drag them along to those kind of activities and I don't have my Diamond Extra spouse any more so I can't judge that part of the cruise. I found it to be a wonderful cruise but different in many ways from earlier cruises but nothing stays the same! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Embarkation day started out awful! For one thing, they were using the Julia St terminal, and an outdoor parking lot that had no signs indicating where to turn to park. Traffic in the area of the terminal was horrendous, and it took an ... Read More
Embarkation day started out awful! For one thing, they were using the Julia St terminal, and an outdoor parking lot that had no signs indicating where to turn to park. Traffic in the area of the terminal was horrendous, and it took an extraordinarily long time to go "around the block". This was due to a huge jewelry show at the convention center, which is adjacent to the ship terminal. Hubby and I arrived around 10:30 and it was bumper to bumper traffic on Convention Blvd all the way to the terminal. No one knew where to park because the parking garage was closed (it was later found to belong to Carnival and they didn't want any other ship line to use it). What they did provide was an outdoor parking lot that had no signs to indicate that was the RCI parking lot. Finally after getting proper instructions, we parked the car ($112 for the week) and made our way to the terminal with luggage. Wait time at the terminal was awful, as these were new employees and didn't quite know how to handle 3,000 passengers on their first cruise out of New Orleans. The ship had been late in getting all the passengers off and all 3,000 of us on board, so it was well after lunch before we stepped onto the ship. No time for lunch, as we had to attend muster (safety drill) as soon as we got our luggage settled in our cabin. I did manage to get a cup of coffee at the coffee station on Promenade Deck and was allowed to bring it on deck with me for the drill. We went to dinner right after the safety drill, as we had early seating. We soon learned who our waiter and assistant waiter were, and also met the head waiter. It's important to remember these people because you need to give them something at the end of the cruise. The next day, Sunday, was a Sea Day, and our group had its first session Sunday morning. On Monday we were in Cozumel, Tuesday was Grand Cayman, and Wednesday was Falmouth, Jamaica (see port reviews). Activities on the ship are varied, and depending on what you liked to do on board, you had plenty of things to choose from. Rock wall climbing, karaoke, trivia contests, a belly flop contest in the pool area, dancing lessons, live entertainment, and of course the casino. They had more slot machines than anything else. The ship's decor was wonderful! I enjoyed this over the decor of the Carnival ship. It seemed more elegant. Lots of chrome fixtures, colorful lights, very modern feel to it. The Windjammer buffet, as well as the Island Grille had a variety of foods to choose from, so if you left there hungry, it was your own fault! Disembarkation was a bit unclear at first, but this is because we were first time RCI cruisers. The next cruise (and I hope there will be another) will be easier for us since we'll know how the system works. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Voyager of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursions 3.5 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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