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My family and I have been traveling with Royal Caribbean for several times and this was our first time on the Vision. It is probably also our last time on the Vision. The trip started in Tampa with an extremely long wait with little coordination of information on the part of those directing the incoming cruisers. We were told by the Sheriff personal while getting our luggage out of the cab to go to one door. At that door there was a line of over 50 feet of passengers before you even entered the building itself! After standing in line for quiet some time (at least 25-30 minutes) waiting to enter the building, out comes a man who tells all of us that we will now have to go to another entry that has a line probably over 100 feet long of people. Instead of telling those who were just arriving to go to the new line, he wanted everyone who had been standing in the line to now go to the line that was twice as long. It didn't happen. People let him know that they had been standing there and were not going to go to the back of another line to start all over again. Once inside the entry doors, we then waited at least 30-45 minutes before we were even allowed to go up the escalators to the check in area. Here we found that ALL the Diamond, Platinum, Gold etc. were all routed together into one line. There was no separate designation for those folks who have cruised enough to be treated with a little more customer service than those that were not in any of the above categories. This line took an additional 30-45 minutes. So far, we have been standing in lines well over an hour and have not even boarded the ship! Finally, we boarded the ship. We know that usually the cabins are not ready and that guest go to the dining areas when they first board a ship. The welcome staff as we stepped into the lobby are of the ship told us that the cabins were ready and we could take our carry ones to the rooms. We tried to do so and were met by a ship staff person at the elevator and told that the rooms were not ready. OK, we hadn't expected to go to our cabins anyway, so then we went to the dining area instead. That was the first of the mis-informaion. The Windjammer was about half full upon our arrival and I went to get a burger. There was a large empty bowl with a sign over it that said, sautéed mushrooms. I waited for a while for them to replenish the dish and when a member of the cooking staff came out, I asked if they were going to bring out more of the mushrooms. I was told that "we are all out of the mushrooms" and he removed the sign from over the empty dish. I thought this was very strange that the first serving of a new cruise and you are already out of an item on the buffet! The shortage of items not being replenished and the sight of empty bowls on the buffet in the Windjammer became a commonplace site for the next 7 days! Our family had two rooms. One room was the last before the elevators in one hallway and the other was the last of the rooms in the hall on the opposite side of the elevators. We had been told that the rooms would be opposite each other. Our family consisted of a man and wife in their 40's, a 5 year old boy and a 60 year old grandmother. With this arrangement of rooms being in two entirely different locations from each other, it did present difficulties/obstacles for watching over the little guy down if he wanted to go to one room or another. We could most definitely let him go from one room to another without an adult with him as he would have had to travel through the elevator area alone and out of our line of sight. I shared my room with the 5 year old and we had a very different experience than that of my daughter and her husband. Our Attendant came to meet us the first evening and at that time I asked him to bring some ice. He asked if I wanted it placed in the room daily and I said yes. The ice bucket was filled each day and our room was cleaned almost as soon as we left it. We were well supplied daily with shampoos and other such items one should expect to find in a room. We also had two bathrobes and our glasses were replenished as needed. Our Attendant provided exactly the service we had come to expect from Royal Caribbean. He unobtrusively provided for our cruise experience and made our trip enjoyable. We filled out a WOW card for him because of his good service as a Royal Caribbean Attendant. Unfortunately, my daughter and son in law did not have the same cabin service. They were not provided with robes, shampoo, ice and their room was not cleaned as well or fas promptly as ours. They are both Diamond travelers and have come to expect a certain standard from having traveled Royal Caribbean that was not forthcoming on this cruise. DINING AREAS WINDJAMMER Most days we ate in the Windjammer for breakfast. Since the 5 year old was with me for breakfast, I would go to the buffet for his food. Starting with our first full day on board, our 5 year old was lucky enough to be noticed by one of the servers, Olga Zmuravlyova who made a point of watching over him while I retrieved his cereal and milk. He is a very well behaved child who was just as happy to sit with the IPAD waiting for me, but it made me feel a lot safer knowing that she was keeping watch over him from the corner of her eye. She was in the Windjammer for the day 2-4 of the cruise and we made a point of sitting in her area each of those days. She was very friendly and a true ambassador for Royal Caribbean. We missed her on day 5 and later found out that her grandfather had died and she had needed to take a break for a day to collect herself. We ran into her her on day 6 in the Park Cafe and learned this information. We filled out a WOW card for her because she deserved it! The food in the Windjammer was adequate. It was not outstanding and the better items were frequently waiting to be replenished. Prime example of this was the day they had a Taco bar set up. The taco shells were there, the meat fillings were there, but there was Nothing in the bowls that should have held sufficient quantities of Guacamole, sour cream, chopped lettuce or tomatoes. Tacos without the condiments to put them together is a waste! People waited and waited for these items to arrive. The person who appeared to be the head chef was running around like a chicken with his head cut off and getting nothing out of his staff when it came to their doing their job. There was also very little gracious interaction between the cooking/serving staff and the passengers. The people behind the buffet tables who were restocking barely spoke to the passengers and acted like it was an imposition if you asked for anything not out on the buffet at that time. EXAMPLE: The little man had Fruitloops cereal most mornings, but one day there was none on the buffet area, I asked if they had any and the staff person opened the cabinet under the cereal area, took out a box, handed it to me and never said a word. I thanked him, but thought to myself, what if I had wanted more than one box? Shouldn't he have at least asked? Overall, the Windjammer was a place to go because it was open and you didn't have to wait for the food to be brought to you. Adequate at best. AQUARIUS DINING ROOM We had the early dinner (5:30) and were seated at table 218. Our waitstaff were good but slow. We were consistently one of the last tables to leave the dinning room each night. We had a table of 10 and shared it with a lovely family of 6. The family consisted of a mother and father, their two daughters and the daughters boyfriends. This was the first cruise for the two boyfriends and the second cruise for the rest of the family. It was their first on Royal Caribbean with Carnival having been their only previous cruise experience. Our waitstaff were pleasant, but did not make us feel that our cruise enjoyment was a priority for them. They did all those things that a waitstaff should do, but none of us ever made a real connection with either of them. I thought it was just my family till the last night at dinner and the other family mentioned it too. Our primary waiter made a point over and over of telling us about the survey we would be receiving after the cruise asking about our trip and how important it was to them that we "tell how good our service was." Unfortunately, the service was so middle of the road that I can't even tell you either of their names. I do remember that the server who brought the breadbasket and the drinks was named Carlos. For us not to remember the names of our servers after 7 days with them should let you know how memorable their interaction was with us. The food - was ok, nothing outstanding that I can say was memorable. Standard fare for a cruise ship dining room. In fact, I am a big fan of Escargot and the Escargot served was ok. I wasn't impressed the first night and tried to give it the benefit of a doubt and have it again the second night. Didn't go any further, because it didn't get any better. PARK CAFE Why in the world would you put the Park Cafe, which was the go to eating place when the Windjammer was closed in a location that required anyone eating there to have to walk through the adults only Solarium pool area? Families with small children were walking in and out of the area all the time that the Park Cafe was open. Adults who had gone to this area for peace and quite were inundated with teenagers who had their activity area right outside the Solarium and with small children coming into have a snack. Really? Who did this design? The food at the Park Cafe was very good. The Roast Beef sandwiches and the soups were very nice. The staff was efficient and there were no empty bowls waiting to be restocked. ROOM SERVICE I did get room service one night. It was the best steak sandwich I had! When I called, they told me that there would be about an hour wait, I said I had a 5 year old with me and didn't think it would work for me. They said they would take care of it and they had our food to us within 20 minutes! Fabulous service! The food was hot, the salad was cold and I was very happy with this Royal Caribbean service! I was so impressed with my sandwich, that I mentioned it at dinner the next night and both of the young couples at our table ordered it from room service during their stay and also raved about it! KUDOS! SHOWS & ENTERTAINMENT There wasn't a really big show. We have become used to bigger ships having Cabaret, Hairspray, etc. for shows...nothing like that on this ship. The shows were what I would class as B or C shows. The majority of the entertainment were standard ship board things....bingo (I don't play it), movies, casino (small, little variety and extremely smokey smelling - even thought I am usually at the blackjack tables every night, I only went down one night and couldn't stay.... it was so strongly smelling of smoke), piano bars, and the regular passenger involvement games. The Cruise Director appeared to have been around a long time, his sidekick Marvelous Marv was the primary visual guy. He lead a salsa dance class and did a good job...but never introduced his female partner nor had her interact other than with him. I am still not sure if she was a staff member or some one he had picked up the night before at the club. The entertainment staff did their jobs, but nothing to excite me or to expect to see them moving up into the bigger ship entertainment personnel. SHOPPING AND SOCIAL AREAS The shopping areas and the social areas (piano bars, sport bars, theaters, show venues etc. were all in odd places. The shopping areas on the bigger ships are prominently positioned and you know exactly were they are from the first few moments on board the ship. I stumbled on the shopping area after the third day. The theaters and other entertainment areas are oddly placed and none of them were big enough to really accommodate a large size gathering. EXAMPLE The salsa class was in an area so small that people were shoulder to shoulder. The PORTS OF CALL If you have ever taken a cruise, you have probably been to Cozumel. It is the same and has exactly the same things and vendor interaction as the last time you were there. Belize is another Cozumel. Just different name on the T-shirts. The one really cool thing in Belize was the dolphins right at the cruise site that you can interact with. This was a $20 excursion and anyone can watch it as it is right there in the port area. I really thought this was a good experience for the money. You might also want to wear your bathing suit on shore as there is a really nice swimming area in the middle of the shopping area that you and children will enjoy. You can even swim up to the bar that is attached to the pool and have a drink while being in the pool area. They also have loungers and massage tables in this area. Several folks had booked the trips to the ruins and the beach, but the weather was misting rain and most did not speak favorable of their experience. Our ship was turned away from the Grand Cayman port due to high seas. There were also 5 other ships turned away due to the waves being so high that the port closed for the day. The Captian made a point to communicate with the passengers that it was the port that had turned the ships away. She (YES, one of only 5 female Captains piloting a passenger cruise ship) said that she would steer us away from the waves until noon and then we would have to go back to the course for the trip. When the turn was made, you noticed the difference in the waves! DISEMBARKING We were #3 for departure and were scheduled to disembark at 8:30 AM. It was after 10:00 when our number was called and we were finally starting to disembark. We sat in the dining area inn deck 5 waiting for over an hour and a half while we overlooked the people being served breakfast in the dining area of deck 4. We did not have any waitstaff in our area and therefore no breakfast was served as we waited. I would have thought that if you are going to have people wait in a dining room and you are running well over an hour late in departure time, you would make an effort to have waitstaff feed them! OVERALL The weather could have been better (we had two good warm sunny days and five not very sunny or warm days) the waves kept the ship rocking and there were a few people who did get ill. The Captain announced that some people were having flu like symptoms and they post lots of info on keeping clean so as not to get ill. The food, entertainment and other portions of the cruise were adequate but certainly not up to the standards that anyone who has cruised on the bigger ships of Royal Caribbean has come to expect. Vision of the Sea was probably a big deal 20 years ago but if you have sailed on the the bigger and newer ships you would not be impressed.  

Not Up to the Royal Caribbean Standard

Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by bakisme

Trip Details
My family and I have been traveling with Royal Caribbean for several times and this was our first time on the Vision. It is probably also our last time on the Vision.
The trip started in Tampa with an extremely long wait with little coordination of information on the part of those directing the incoming cruisers. We were told by the Sheriff personal while getting our luggage out of the cab to go to one door. At that door there was a line of over 50 feet of passengers before you even entered the building itself! After standing in line for quiet some time (at least 25-30 minutes) waiting to enter the building, out comes a man who tells all of us that we will now have to go to another entry that has a line probably over 100 feet long of people. Instead of telling those who were just arriving to go to the new line, he wanted everyone who had been standing in the line to now go to the line that was twice as long. It didn't happen. People let him know that they had been standing there and were not going to go to the back of another line to start all over again.
Once inside the entry doors, we then waited at least 30-45 minutes before we were even allowed to go up the escalators to the check in area. Here we found that ALL the Diamond, Platinum, Gold etc. were all routed together into one line. There was no separate designation for those folks who have cruised enough to be treated with a little more customer service than those that were not in any of the above categories. This line took an additional 30-45 minutes. So far, we have been standing in lines well over an hour and have not even boarded the ship!
Finally, we boarded the ship. We know that usually the cabins are not ready and that guest go to the dining areas when they first board a ship. The welcome staff as we stepped into the lobby are of the ship told us that the cabins were ready and we could take our carry ones to the rooms. We tried to do so and were met by a ship staff person at the elevator and told that the rooms were not ready. OK, we hadn't expected to go to our cabins anyway, so then we went to the dining area instead. That was the first of the mis-informaion.
The Windjammer was about half full upon our arrival and I went to get a burger. There was a large empty bowl with a sign over it that said, sautéed mushrooms. I waited for a while for them to replenish the dish and when a member of the cooking staff came out, I asked if they were going to bring out more of the mushrooms. I was told that "we are all out of the mushrooms" and he removed the sign from over the empty dish. I thought this was very strange that the first serving of a new cruise and you are already out of an item on the buffet! The shortage of items not being replenished and the sight of empty bowls on the buffet in the Windjammer became a commonplace site for the next 7 days!
Our family had two rooms. One room was the last before the elevators in one hallway and the other was the last of the rooms in the hall on the opposite side of the elevators. We had been told that the rooms would be opposite each other. Our family consisted of a man and wife in their 40's, a 5 year old boy and a 60 year old grandmother. With this arrangement of rooms being in two entirely different locations from each other, it did present difficulties/obstacles for watching over the little guy down if he wanted to go to one room or another. We could most definitely let him go from one room to another without an adult with him as he would have had to travel through the elevator area alone and out of our line of sight.
I shared my room with the 5 year old and we had a very different experience than that of my daughter and her husband. Our Attendant came to meet us the first evening and at that time I asked him to bring some ice. He asked if I wanted it placed in the room daily and I said yes. The ice bucket was filled each day and our room was cleaned almost as soon as we left it. We were well supplied daily with shampoos and other such items one should expect to find in a room. We also had two bathrobes and our glasses were replenished as needed. Our Attendant provided exactly the service we had come to expect from Royal Caribbean. He unobtrusively provided for our cruise experience and made our trip enjoyable. We filled out a WOW card for him because of his good service as a Royal Caribbean Attendant.
Unfortunately, my daughter and son in law did not have the same cabin service. They were not provided with robes, shampoo, ice and their room was not cleaned as well or fas promptly as ours. They are both Diamond travelers and have come to expect a certain standard from having traveled Royal Caribbean that was not forthcoming on this cruise.
DINING AREAS
WINDJAMMER
Most days we ate in the Windjammer for breakfast. Since the 5 year old was with me for breakfast, I would go to the buffet for his food. Starting with our first full day on board, our 5 year old was lucky enough to be noticed by one of the servers, Olga Zmuravlyova who made a point of watching over him while I retrieved his cereal and milk. He is a very well behaved child who was just as happy to sit with the IPAD waiting for me, but it made me feel a lot safer knowing that she was keeping watch over him from the corner of her eye. She was in the Windjammer for the day 2-4 of the cruise and we made a point of sitting in her area each of those days. She was very friendly and a true ambassador for Royal Caribbean. We missed her on day 5 and later found out that her grandfather had died and she had needed to take a break for a day to collect herself. We ran into her her on day 6 in the Park Cafe and learned this information. We filled out a WOW card for her because she deserved it!
The food in the Windjammer was adequate. It was not outstanding and the better items were frequently waiting to be replenished. Prime example of this was the day they had a Taco bar set up. The taco shells were there, the meat fillings were there, but there was Nothing in the bowls that should have held sufficient quantities of Guacamole, sour cream, chopped lettuce or tomatoes. Tacos without the condiments to put them together is a waste! People waited and waited for these items to arrive. The person who appeared to be the head chef was running around like a chicken with his head cut off and getting nothing out of his staff when it came to their doing their job. There was also very little gracious interaction between the cooking/serving staff and the passengers. The people behind the buffet tables who were restocking barely spoke to the passengers and acted like it was an imposition if you asked for anything not out on the buffet at that time. EXAMPLE: The little man had Fruitloops cereal most mornings, but one day there was none on the buffet area, I asked if they had any and the staff person opened the cabinet under the cereal area, took out a box, handed it to me and never said a word. I thanked him, but thought to myself, what if I had wanted more than one box? Shouldn't he have at least asked?
Overall, the Windjammer was a place to go because it was open and you didn't have to wait for the food to be brought to you. Adequate at best.
AQUARIUS DINING ROOM
We had the early dinner (5:30) and were seated at table 218. Our waitstaff were good but slow. We were consistently one of the last tables to leave the dinning room each night. We had a table of 10 and shared it with a lovely family of 6. The family consisted of a mother and father, their two daughters and the daughters boyfriends. This was the first cruise for the two boyfriends and the second cruise for the rest of the family. It was their first on Royal Caribbean with Carnival having been their only previous cruise experience. Our waitstaff were pleasant, but did not make us feel that our cruise enjoyment was a priority for them. They did all those things that a waitstaff should do, but none of us ever made a real connection with either of them. I thought it was just my family till the last night at dinner and the other family mentioned it too. Our primary waiter made a point over and over of telling us about the survey we would be receiving after the cruise asking about our trip and how important it was to them that we "tell how good our service was." Unfortunately, the service was so middle of the road that I can't even tell you either of their names. I do remember that the server who brought the breadbasket and the drinks was named Carlos. For us not to remember the names of our servers after 7 days with them should let you know how memorable their interaction was with us.
The food - was ok, nothing outstanding that I can say was memorable. Standard fare for a cruise ship dining room. In fact, I am a big fan of Escargot and the Escargot served was ok. I wasn't impressed the first night and tried to give it the benefit of a doubt and have it again the second night. Didn't go any further, because it didn't get any better.
PARK CAFE
Why in the world would you put the Park Cafe, which was the go to eating place when the Windjammer was closed in a location that required anyone eating there to have to walk through the adults only Solarium pool area? Families with small children were walking in and out of the area all the time that the Park Cafe was open. Adults who had gone to this area for peace and quite were inundated with teenagers who had their activity area right outside the Solarium and with small children coming into have a snack. Really? Who did this design?
The food at the Park Cafe was very good. The Roast Beef sandwiches and the soups were very nice. The staff was efficient and there were no empty bowls waiting to be restocked.
ROOM SERVICE
I did get room service one night. It was the best steak sandwich I had! When I called, they told me that there would be about an hour wait, I said I had a 5 year old with me and didn't think it would work for me. They said they would take care of it and they had our food to us within 20 minutes! Fabulous service! The food was hot, the salad was cold and I was very happy with this Royal Caribbean service! I was so impressed with my sandwich, that I mentioned it at dinner the next night and both of the young couples at our table ordered it from room service during their stay and also raved about it! KUDOS!
SHOWS & ENTERTAINMENT
There wasn't a really big show. We have become used to bigger ships having Cabaret, Hairspray, etc. for shows...nothing like that on this ship. The shows were what I would class as B or C shows. The majority of the entertainment were standard ship board things....bingo (I don't play it), movies, casino (small, little variety and extremely smokey smelling - even thought I am usually at the blackjack tables every night, I only went down one night and couldn't stay.... it was so strongly smelling of smoke), piano bars, and the regular passenger involvement games. The Cruise Director appeared to have been around a long time, his sidekick Marvelous Marv was the primary visual guy. He lead a salsa dance class and did a good job...but never introduced his female partner nor had her interact other than with him. I am still not sure if she was a staff member or some one he had picked up the night before at the club. The entertainment staff did their jobs, but nothing to excite me or to expect to see them moving up into the bigger ship entertainment personnel.
SHOPPING AND SOCIAL AREAS
The shopping areas and the social areas (piano bars, sport bars, theaters, show venues etc. were all in odd places. The shopping areas on the bigger ships are prominently positioned and you know exactly were they are from the first few moments on board the ship. I stumbled on the shopping area after the third day. The theaters and other entertainment areas are oddly placed and none of them were big enough to really accommodate a large size gathering. EXAMPLE The salsa class was in an area so small that people were shoulder to shoulder. The
PORTS OF CALL
If you have ever taken a cruise, you have probably been to Cozumel. It is the same and has exactly the same things and vendor interaction as the last time you were there.
Belize is another Cozumel. Just different name on the T-shirts.
The one really cool thing in Belize was the dolphins right at the cruise site that you can interact with. This was a $20 excursion and anyone can watch it as it is right there in the port area. I really thought this was a good experience for the money. You might also want to wear your bathing suit on shore as there is a really nice swimming area in the middle of the shopping area that you and children will enjoy. You can even swim up to the bar that is attached to the pool and have a drink while being in the pool area. They also have loungers and massage tables in this area.
Several folks had booked the trips to the ruins and the beach, but the weather was misting rain and most did not speak favorable of their experience.
Our ship was turned away from the Grand Cayman port due to high seas. There were also 5 other ships turned away due to the waves being so high that the port closed for the day. The Captian made a point to communicate with the passengers that it was the port that had turned the ships away. She (YES, one of only 5 female Captains piloting a passenger cruise ship) said that she would steer us away from the waves until noon and then we would have to go back to the course for the trip. When the turn was made, you noticed the difference in the waves!
DISEMBARKING
We were #3 for departure and were scheduled to disembark at 8:30 AM. It was after 10:00 when our number was called and we were finally starting to disembark. We sat in the dining area inn deck 5 waiting for over an hour and a half while we overlooked the people being served breakfast in the dining area of deck 4. We did not have any waitstaff in our area and therefore no breakfast was served as we waited. I would have thought that if you are going to have people wait in a dining room and you are running well over an hour late in departure time, you would make an effort to have waitstaff feed them!
OVERALL
The weather could have been better (we had two good warm sunny days and five not very sunny or warm days) the waves kept the ship rocking and there were a few people who did get ill. The Captain announced that some people were having flu like symptoms and they post lots of info on keeping clean so as not to get ill. The food, entertainment and other portions of the cruise were adequate but certainly not up to the standards that anyone who has cruised on the bigger ships of Royal Caribbean has come to expect. Vision of the Sea was probably a big deal 20 years ago but if you have sailed on the the bigger and newer ships you would not be impressed.
 
bakisme’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin 2588
Cabin was fine
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