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Pre and post-cruise We used priceline to rent a car to take us from Austin to Galveston (we flew to Austin from Boston, to take advantage of a low cost flight). After the cruise, our car was waiting for us at the E-Z parking lot, and we drove from Galveston to San Antonio. We spent a day after the cruise in San Antonio before returning home via Austin. Even though this entailed hours of driving, it was wonderful to visit San Antonio and nice to see some of Texas. Being from New England, we wanted to visit the Alamo and the River Walk. Priceline is definitely worth considering if you are going on a cruise from Galveston and want to rent a car for 8 or 9 days. After hearing "Deep in the Heart of Texas" in the main dining room on Friday night of our cruise, it felt right to get a little feeling for Texas by extending our vacation in the Lone Star state. The ship We found very little to criticize. We loved the ship, the service, the food and the entertainment. The ship really was spotless. Someone was always polishing glass or metalwork or otherwise taking care of the public spaces. The ship is not only clean and well run, it is alot of fun for kids. Our kids, ages 8 and 11, loved it. There were other kids on the ship, but not as many as we had expected (given it was school vacation week). our children did not participate in the Adventure Ocean structured activities since we preferred that we all do things together. From what we could see Adventure Ocean was well run, however, and had many great activities listed in their compasses each day. Still, it was easy for us to do things with the kids outside of the context of Adventure Ocean they loved miniature golf, the rock climbing wall and ping pong (although ping pong can be interesting when it is windy). The entertainment in La Scala and elsewhere on the ship was also fine for the kids. They loved the magician, the juggler, the comedian/ventriloquist, the ice skating show, and the singers and dancers. They also liked the cooking demonstration (arrive early for this - it will be worth it), the parades in the promenade area, and the cruise director. Royal Caribbean is lucky to have Eric as a cruise director. He obviously loves his work and is very talented - We would particularly recommend the Question and Answer session he does on Friday, about working on a cruise ship. He answered all questions honestly and with humor. There were also wonderful musicians who gave zest to the Voyager cruise experience. They were everywhere on board - in the spacious promenade, on the pool deck, and in the 17 or so bars. There was so much to do, and so many nooks and crannies, that the ship never felt crowded. It was also an easy ship to find our way around in. The ice show was held on two days. In addition to being able to buy tickets on Monday morning for a show that evening, there were also tickets left out at guest services for a Wednesday afternoon performance. We went on both days and although both were good, Wednesday's seemed better. The pool area was nice, and it often seemed to be the focal point for family activities on the ship. But it was exposed to the wind, and when it was relatively cool in the northern Gulf on the first and last days of the cruise, swimming was not always the most enjoyable activity. The food was almost always great. We heard a few people on the ship saying that the food was not as good as on previous cruises, but since this was our first Royal Caribbean cruise we had no basis for comparison. We ate at the Windjammer every day for breakfast and almost every day that we were not in port for lunch. The fresh fruit at breakfast was always wonderful. The pancakes and other breakfast items a bit less so. The lunches in the Windjammer were always great - especially the soups, honey chicken on the first day, and desserts. Some of the lunch dishes at the Windjammer really surprised us with their quality. We also enjoyed most of the food at dinner in the main dining room (if you have Clayton and Akiel as your waiter and assistant in the Magic Flute you will be glad). The staff at the Promenade Cafe also helped make it a great cruise. Our kids have food allergies and the staff at the Windjammer and in the main dining room always went out of the way to accommodate us, making food to order if necessary. The pizza at the Promenade Cafe is amazingly good, and again, it was made to order to address our food allergy issue. In short, the Voyager surpassed our expectations. A couple of criticisms seem to be called for, however, when it comes to getting off the ship. When we arrived at the ship at around 1:00 pm, embarkation was very easy. No lines whatsoever. We just walked right on and went up to the Windjammer for lunch. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was a different story entirely ... This was definitely the worst part (maybe the only bad part of the cruise, aside from ordering the pasta with smoked salmon on the last night)... we would STRONGLY suggest that you do the express checkout. Even if you think you have too many bags, try to do the express checkout. We packed too much stuff, so we did not do it, and were assigned a departure time of 10:00, and then waited in a very long line to get out of the terminal. We were in a line that snaked through the terminal forever and we did not get to our car until about 12:30. When you get into the terminal you will be given a choice of using a porter or not using a porter. The porter line was much shorter and would have been a better choice. There was so much that was so good about the cruise that it is difficult to find negative things to say other than disembarkation. One other thing, however, was that the hot tubs were not hot. They were either cool or warm, depending on the hot tub that you tried. Also, it was not possible to get lockers that locked in the men's gym. They either were broken, or were already locked (we don't know if they were used by other guests who took keys early in the cruise, or by someone else, but the gym should try to fix this). When using the gym, it is best to leave your valuables back in your stateroom. A suggestion if you want to buy portraits... We bought a bunch of the portraits of our family taken by the ship's photographers. You might want to wait until the end of the cruise to buy the pictures. They take pictures early in the cruise, on the first formal night. They also take them on the second formal night. Since you might like the second formal night photos more, it makes sense to wait and see which you like more before you buy any. Excursions Our experience with excursions was as follows: Cozumel We booked tickets for the dolphin swims at Chankanaab. It was easy and felt very safe to pay $10 for a short cab ride to the park. The weather was sunny and warm for our 10:00 meeting with the dolphins. First there was a talk outside, and then we walked into the enclosure. My kids loved the dolphin adventure (the "dolphin adventure" is the middle of the three offered options). The staff there was informative and it was amazing to see how the dolphins responded to the trainers (and us). We were surprised that we were asked to take off our water shoes before entering the water (but the metal walkway we walked on was ok even without the water shoes). The staff was patient and helped my son, who is not a strong swimmer yet. We bought photos and the dvd afterward. We also snorkeled at Chankanaab. We paid in advance for the snorkeling, but I would advise that you not pay in advance for the snorkeling. There are several places where you can rent equipment on the beach, and it is cheaper to do it that way. Also, as others have said, it can be rough getting into the water to snorkel at Chankanaab. There are about four places you can walk into the water, and some are easier than others. Grand Cayman I went on the Nativeway Rays, Reefs and Rum Point trip with my son. The water was a bit choppy, but it was still a good excursion. My son said this was the highlight of his trip. Very good value since you get three things for a reasonable price. The best part, in my opinion, was the Rum Point Beach stop. The mahi mahi sandwich offered at Rum Point looked like the best lunch. To do this excursion, you need to get an early tender off the ship, and this can be a challenge, even if you get in line at 8:00 am that morning and get a low number. Nativeway did wait, however, for those who had signed up to arrive at the dock. My wife and daughter when on the ship's turtle farm and island tour. They enjoyed the tour, which also provided time for shopping. Montego Bay Jamaica was THE HIGHLIGHT of the entire cruise. Once you get into the countryside it is beautiful and interesting and totally unlike the other ports of call. We booked a guided trip, with Carolyn Barrett's company. Errol took us to Mayfield Falls and we also stopped by at a primary school. The road was very rough and narrow, but we felt safe. Errol stopped often to describe the foliage we were seeing. He put on some reggae music on his CD player and we enjoyed the lush scenery. Once we arrived at Mayfield Falls, a local guide, Lester, walked with us up the falls. He was informative and very helpful. He showed us cocoa, breadfruit, plantain, African tulips, and other trees. I would suggest that if you do this excursion you arrange for it to include lunch at Mayfield Falls. They have a restaurant there and it looked OK. Our daughter is interested in becoming a teacher, and she wanted to visit a rural school in Jamaica and drop off a bag of supplies (teaching aids, pens, markers, etc.) The specific school that we would visit was not arranged in advance but Errol stopped at a roadside gift stand near Mayfield Falls, and at that stop we learned of a school (the Hillsbrook All Age School in Flower-Hill, Eastern Hanover), which was close to Mayfield Falls. We went there and had a very meaningful and moving experience. We met the principal (Dothlyn Peart-Sharpe) and visited with the children. The principal was very grateful for our gifts and would welcome similar visits. Rural schools do not get much from the Jamaican government. If anyone is interested in making a similar stop, the principal would love to receive anything ranging from crayons to used computers, and either Barrett Adventures or another tour guide could certainly find the school.

Great vacation with kids on the Voyager

Voyager of the Seas Cruise Review by soxfan1495

Trip Details
Pre and post-cruise
We used priceline to rent a car to take us from Austin to Galveston (we flew to Austin from Boston, to take advantage of a low cost flight). After the cruise, our car was waiting for us at the E-Z parking lot, and we drove from Galveston to San Antonio. We spent a day after the cruise in San Antonio before returning home via Austin. Even though this entailed hours of driving, it was wonderful to visit San Antonio and nice to see some of Texas. Being from New England, we wanted to visit the Alamo and the River Walk. Priceline is definitely worth considering if you are going on a cruise from Galveston and want to rent a car for 8 or 9 days. After hearing "Deep in the Heart of Texas" in the main dining room on Friday night of our cruise, it felt right to get a little feeling for Texas by extending our vacation in the Lone Star state.
The ship
We found very little to criticize. We loved the ship, the service, the food and the entertainment. The ship really was spotless. Someone was always polishing glass or metalwork or otherwise taking care of the public spaces.
The ship is not only clean and well run, it is alot of fun for kids. Our kids, ages 8 and 11, loved it. There were other kids on the ship, but not as many as we had expected (given it was school vacation week). our children did not participate in the Adventure Ocean structured activities since we preferred that we all do things together. From what we could see Adventure Ocean was well run, however, and had many great activities listed in their compasses each day. Still, it was easy for us to do things with the kids outside of the context of Adventure Ocean they loved miniature golf, the rock climbing wall and ping pong (although ping pong can be interesting when it is windy).
The entertainment in La Scala and elsewhere on the ship was also fine for the kids. They loved the magician, the juggler, the comedian/ventriloquist, the ice skating show, and the singers and dancers. They also liked the cooking demonstration (arrive early for this - it will be worth it), the parades in the promenade area, and the cruise director.
Royal Caribbean is lucky to have Eric as a cruise director. He obviously loves his work and is very talented - We would particularly recommend the Question and Answer session he does on Friday, about working on a cruise ship. He answered all questions honestly and with humor.
There were also wonderful musicians who gave zest to the Voyager cruise experience. They were everywhere on board - in the spacious promenade, on the pool deck, and in the 17 or so bars. There was so much to do, and so many nooks and crannies, that the ship never felt crowded. It was also an easy ship to find our way around in.
The ice show was held on two days. In addition to being able to buy tickets on Monday morning for a show that evening, there were also tickets left out at guest services for a Wednesday afternoon performance. We went on both days and although both were good, Wednesday's seemed better.
The pool area was nice, and it often seemed to be the focal point for family activities on the ship. But it was exposed to the wind, and when it was relatively cool in the northern Gulf on the first and last days of the cruise, swimming was not always the most enjoyable activity.
The food was almost always great. We heard a few people on the ship saying that the food was not as good as on previous cruises, but since this was our first Royal Caribbean cruise we had no basis for comparison. We ate at the Windjammer every day for breakfast and almost every day that we were not in port for lunch. The fresh fruit at breakfast was always wonderful. The pancakes and other breakfast items a bit less so. The lunches in the Windjammer were always great - especially the soups, honey chicken on the first day, and desserts.
Some of the lunch dishes at the Windjammer really surprised us with their quality. We also enjoyed most of the food at dinner in the main dining room (if you have Clayton and Akiel as your waiter and assistant in the Magic Flute you will be glad). The staff at the Promenade Cafe also helped make it a great cruise. Our kids have food allergies and the staff at the Windjammer and in the main dining room always went out of the way to accommodate us, making food to order if necessary. The pizza at the Promenade Cafe is amazingly good, and again, it was made to order to address our food allergy issue.
In short, the Voyager surpassed our expectations.
A couple of criticisms seem to be called for, however, when it comes to getting off the ship. When we arrived at the ship at around 1:00 pm, embarkation was very easy. No lines whatsoever. We just walked right on and went up to the Windjammer for lunch. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was a different story entirely ... This was definitely the worst part (maybe the only bad part of the cruise, aside from ordering the pasta with smoked salmon on the last night)... we would STRONGLY suggest that you do the express checkout. Even if you think you have too many bags, try to do the express checkout. We packed too much stuff, so we did not do it, and were assigned a departure time of 10:00, and then waited in a very long line to get out of the terminal. We were in a line that snaked through the terminal forever and we did not get to our car until about 12:30. When you get into the terminal you will be given a choice of using a porter or not using a porter. The porter line was much shorter and would have been a better choice.
There was so much that was so good about the cruise that it is difficult to find negative things to say other than disembarkation. One other thing, however, was that the hot tubs were not hot. They were either cool or warm, depending on the hot tub that you tried. Also, it was not possible to get lockers that locked in the men's gym. They either were broken, or were already locked (we don't know if they were used by other guests who took keys early in the cruise, or by someone else, but the gym should try to fix this). When using the gym, it is best to leave your valuables back in your stateroom.
A suggestion if you want to buy portraits... We bought a bunch of the portraits of our family taken by the ship's photographers. You might want to wait until the end of the cruise to buy the pictures. They take pictures early in the cruise, on the first formal night. They also take them on the second formal night. Since you might like the second formal night photos more, it makes sense to wait and see which you like more before you buy any.
Excursions
Our experience with excursions was as follows:
Cozumel We booked tickets for the dolphin swims at Chankanaab. It was easy and felt very safe to pay $10 for a short cab ride to the park. The weather was sunny and warm for our 10:00 meeting with the dolphins. First there was a talk outside, and then we walked into the enclosure. My kids loved the dolphin adventure (the "dolphin adventure" is the middle of the three offered options). The staff there was informative and it was amazing to see how the dolphins responded to the trainers (and us). We were surprised that we were asked to take off our water shoes before entering the water (but the metal walkway we walked on was ok even without the water shoes). The staff was patient and helped my son, who is not a strong swimmer yet. We bought photos and the dvd afterward.
We also snorkeled at Chankanaab. We paid in advance for the snorkeling, but I would advise that you not pay in advance for the snorkeling. There are several places where you can rent equipment on the beach, and it is cheaper to do it that way. Also, as others have said, it can be rough getting into the water to snorkel at Chankanaab. There are about four places you can walk into the water, and some are easier than others.
Grand Cayman I went on the Nativeway Rays, Reefs and Rum Point trip with my son. The water was a bit choppy, but it was still a good excursion. My son said this was the highlight of his trip. Very good value since you get three things for a reasonable price. The best part, in my opinion, was the Rum Point Beach stop. The mahi mahi sandwich offered at Rum Point looked like the best lunch. To do this excursion, you need to get an early tender off the ship, and this can be a challenge, even if you get in line at 8:00 am that morning and get a low number. Nativeway did wait, however, for those who had signed up to arrive at the dock.
My wife and daughter when on the ship's turtle farm and island tour. They enjoyed the tour, which also provided time for shopping.
Montego Bay Jamaica was THE HIGHLIGHT of the entire cruise. Once you get into the countryside it is beautiful and interesting and totally unlike the other ports of call. We booked a guided trip, with Carolyn Barrett's company. Errol took us to Mayfield Falls and we also stopped by at a primary school. The road was very rough and narrow, but we felt safe. Errol stopped often to describe the foliage we were seeing. He put on some reggae music on his CD player and we enjoyed the lush scenery. Once we arrived at Mayfield Falls, a local guide, Lester, walked with us up the falls. He was informative and very helpful. He showed us cocoa, breadfruit, plantain, African tulips, and other trees. I would suggest that if you do this excursion you arrange for it to include lunch at Mayfield Falls. They have a restaurant there and it looked OK.
Our daughter is interested in becoming a teacher, and she wanted to visit a rural school in Jamaica and drop off a bag of supplies (teaching aids, pens, markers, etc.) The specific school that we would visit was not arranged in advance but Errol stopped at a roadside gift stand near Mayfield Falls, and at that stop we learned of a school (the Hillsbrook All Age School in Flower-Hill, Eastern Hanover), which was close to Mayfield Falls. We went there and had a very meaningful and moving experience. We met the principal (Dothlyn Peart-Sharpe) and visited with the children. The principal was very grateful for our gifts and would welcome similar visits. Rural schools do not get much from the Jamaican government. If anyone is interested in making a similar stop, the principal would love to receive anything ranging from crayons to used computers, and either Barrett Adventures or another tour guide could certainly find the school.
soxfan1495’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7648
Great balcony, and the location is perfect since it was easy to get to the stairs/elevators going to dining areas. Also, it was quiet.
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