Voyager of the Seas Cruise Review by luv2cruisenz
- Sail Date: April 2015
- Destination: Asia
Embarkation in Singapore took a long 2 hours in a busy, non air-conditioned terminal, the first indication of what it’s like being on such a large ship with over 3,500 people. The actual Royal Caribbean check-in was only about 20 minutes, the rest was security & immigration etc. but the queue to actually get on the ship was at least half an hour which I thought was unnecessary as this was the ships process, then once on board there were two sets of photographers trying to get an embarkation photo, as if one is not enough!
We had an inside cabin overlooking the promenade (8593). It was smallish but was very nice with light modern décor and a bay window with two sofas that easily sat two people, excellent lighting especially the individual reading lights over the bed but storage space was a bit challenging however the suitcases easily fit under the bed. There was a desk, chair, a fridge and a kettle both of these were a surprise – they provided 2 mugs, teaspoons, sugar, milk & tea bags but no instant coffee. The bathroom was newish, very clean, had good lighting and was a bit smallish but OK, however the shower was very small – barley room to turn around to shave your legs! Amenities provided were tissues, liquid shampoo dispenser inside the shower and a bar of soap replenished as needed.
Location of the cabin was great, mid-ship and three decks up to the Windjammer and three decks down. A little noise drifted in from the parades they’d have around 10.30pm but this wasn’t a real problem, it might be if you are a very light sleeper. By the way, the captain told us if you suffer from motion sickness the best place to be on the Voyager of the Seas is mid-ship on deck 2. But the modern stabilisers on the ship mean you hardly feel any movement at all and it is very impressive the way the captain manoeuvres the large ship in & out of small harbours.
They certainly seem to look after their top tier guests with special seating areas in the showroom & pool area, and I think some of their benefits are at the expense of others to the point that we are subsidising their cheaper drinks and giving up half the space in the High Notes bar which is a bit on the nose as that is a special area of the ship that should be a public space.
Drinks were over-priced at $14 for a cocktail, $10 for a vodka & tonic (it was only Absolut vodka so not top shelf) and $8 for a drink of the day (cocktail). Beer was between $6.50-$7.50 and wine around $7-$12 a glass and bottles from about $32. These are in USD and included a whopping 18% tip – then they asked for more tip on the receipt! Bar service was poor and we always had to wave our hands to get someone to take our order. This happened in the Star Lounge & Schooner Bar where we actually walked out twice due to no service and most of the time had to go to the bar and get the drink but still paid the 18% tip! The R bar was better but it was a smaller venue. The wine menu was surprisingly limited, I did expect more from a ship of this size. It also changed half way through and they had even less wines available. We would have bought more drinks if the service & offerings were better.
The Windjammer buffet had a nice outlook and was light & airy but was very, very noisy and used melamine plates which I didn’t like. There was a wide variety of food choices for breakfast and lunch catering for all the nationalities on board, and they also had gluten free and sugar free sections. The food was fresh and well presented, and there was free snow freeze ice cream at lunchtime only. At busy times it was like a zoo, so be prepared for being pushed in the crowds, the noise factor and trying to find a place to sit. Staff in there were great, clearing tables etc. If you just want a snack try the Café in the Royal Promenade instead, as they had fresh food also like nice little filled rolls, pizza, savouries and much better cakes throughout the day, although that got very busy at morning & afternoon tea time.
The main dining room was crowded, a little noisy and didn’t feel very special. They did not maintain a minimum dress code which was very disappointing as they allowed people wearing tank tops, T-shirts and shorts in at night. The meals were average & uninspiring which was disappointing – not a wide variety of choice each day, small selection of entrees/appetisers, mashed potatoes with just about everything, the meat was always dry except for a roast/carvery style where it was delicious, and the sweets weren’t that special. The dining room staff always seemed hurried but were good. There is an extra charge for lattes etc. in the dining room which is OK except it was a rip off - $4.50 for a very small cup that was luke warm. Only did that once! Pretty disgusting offering since you’d pay that at the Royal Promenade café for a bigger serving and it would be hot.
Cabin attendants did a great job & were personable. Other staff we encountered were good except for the bar staff as mentioned, and at the main dining room entrance – the people that assign you a table were not very welcoming, and it was our challenge each night to try and get them to smile!
There were very, very long queues each day for the Guest Services (Front Desk). They seemed to have a rough time as usual from rude people but I got excellent service the two times I needed to use them and they reversed an incorrect mini bar charge right away. Also very long queues for the Shore excursions desk, but you can book excursions on your TV in your cabin. You can also view your account in your TV which is excellent, as were the touch screen way finders all over the ship.
It was surprising that hand wash/sanitisers were only prominent outside the Windjammer, main dining room and the lower level of the show room, but using them was not enforced by staff. I could not find hand wash at any of the bars or around any other public areas – considering there are over 3,500 people on board I think they need to improve on this as a priority.
Entertainment was not a wow factor as I expected on such a large ship, but I did enjoy what they did offer. Day activities were great but night time lacked live music in all venues and there was a gap in the 6-7pm time slot with no live entertainment anywhere. The 8 piece resident band was excellent and very talented, the other singers/bands were great too except the piano player at the Schooner bar who sadly was not a very good singer in my opinion. There was a rock and roll night which was great but after only an hour this was disrupted with a stupid ‘game show’ so the momentum and mood was lost and the crowded Star Lounge half emptied which was a shame.
The wave rider, rock climbing and ice skating should be open more often and I also suggested they have a beginners time each day to encourage more first timers to use them. The ice skating show was great but it was only advertised for fixed seating guests so be aware if you are on the flexi time dining you can go at any time even though they don’t say this.
We loved the itinerary and had no real issues getting on & off the ship except the authorities in Nagasaki took so long with their processing of all the passengers we didn’t get off the ship until 11.30am, so only had half a day there in the end which was a real shame. The tender process was OK, the largest for any cruise line ever apparently and a first for the VOS. But if you have mobility issues and need assistance be warned that the ship did not make this easy. They said they would not allow people in wheelchairs to use the tender which is just ridiculous is it was a very new, wide and modern tender area that would easily accommodate them, maybe it’s the staff or union who didn’t want to help, I don’t know, but I was disappointed to see that. I spoke with someone in a wheelchair who had to absolutely insist they would go ashore and were eventually allowed to.
These comments are just based on our preferences and observations. We were expecting more from such a large cruise line & ship going by their marketing & other comments we have read, but overall we did really enjoyed this ship and the itinerary. We knew there’d be crowds of people everywhere and went with an open mind, but decided a large ship and therefore the crowds, are not for us as a holiday. We would do another Royal Caribbean cruise if there was a good deal on a short cruise, but I don’t think we’d like them for a longer cruise.
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Location of the cabin was great, mid-ship and three decks up to the Windjammer and three decks down. A little noise drifted in from the parades they’d have around 10.30pm but this wasn’t a real problem, it might be if you are a very light sleeper. By the way, the captain told us if you suffer from motion sickness the best place to be on the Voyager of the Seas is mid-ship on deck 2. But the modern stabilisers on the ship mean you hardly feel any movement at all.
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