If its Wednesday it must be Rome!: Voyager of the Seas Cruise Review by robbinsca

Voyager of the Seas 4
Member Since 2003
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If its Wednesday it must be Rome!

Sail Date: June 2009
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
First time to Europe for DW and I, so we were going to be seeing things we had never seen. The ship itself was about the same as our other two cruises (Jewel on RCCL and Celebrity Summit) so we were not overwhelmed by it. We actually spent very little time on the ship and taking advantage of the amenities, so you won't learn much from this review about the entertainment, etc.

The only lectures I heard anything about were "Beginning Italian" and "Beginning Spanish"- besides the ones on the "best places to shop". look forward to learning (I am a classroom instructor myself) so I was disappointed that there wasn't a lecture on the history of Rome or Pompeii, etc.

RCCL did seem to have toned down the selling of everything at every opportunity. There was even a clothing sale published in the Cruise Compass that they never ended up doing. I do have to say I didn't see a single "Diamonds International" shop in any port........thank you!

The public rooms were very nice. More We enjoyed the little cafe in the Promenade area that provided bakery goods and sandwiches all day and night.

We were disappointed in the food on the ship. Celebrity, 5 years ago, was liking dining in a four star restaurant every night. This was more like a chain restaurant. I know it is difficult to mass produce food, but the disappointment was in the menus more so than the quality. No lobster- they have "substituted" giant shrimp instead. There was Prime Rib a couple of times that was goodand there was a new selection of dishes with a definite flair from Asia- mostly Indian. Steak was available every night, but not a real great cut of beef. What really got me though was offering breaded turkey strips twice......Almost everything that was served, except the beef, was also available in the Windjammer at lunch or dinner the next day.

The menu for breakfast was exactly the same day after day after day. It frankly was a little tiring. The Windjammer serves its purpose, but by day 5 you knew that the scrambled eggs were next to the hash brown sticks and the corned beef hash was next to the bacon. It was difficult to get someone to "break the rules" and provide me with a glass of iced tea- since I don't drink coffee and need some caffeine to get started.

The prices for the cruises have gone down from the economy, and it appears that what RCCL has done is to cut back on the quality in the dining room as a way to save $$$.

We generally ate lunch at the port stops, so I don't have much input about lunch.

The service in the dining room for dinner was good, but not great. Our Waiter, Michael from Costa Rica, had a ton of personality and did a fine job of serving us. The Assistant, Ana from Peru, was a little nervous and more than once tried to serve the wrong food or wine to someone at our table. They were both really nice and we enjoyed having them with us.

The service in the Windjammer and pool deck area was indifferent at best. if there wasn't a tip involved there was the "golden service" level that RCCL likes to say it offers. Service in the High Notes bar was slow. We sat in the Schoooner Bar to meet some people and they were more attentive there.

Our cabin attendant was Calvert from St. Vincent was VERY attentive and effecient. He did an excellent job.

We did try Portofino as one of our CC friends just raved about it. They would eat there every night. We were not that impressed that we would continue to pay an extra $20 each per night for the privilege. The food and service were better than the Dining Room. It was fine for a one time thing.

We did not go to any shows, spend much time at the pools, spa, bars or casino, or generally party around the ship. We were definitely on the cruise more for the port stops. We only saw the Cruise Director around the ship a couple of times so we really didn't see her (Jill Tasker) in action. She didn't show up for the CC Meet and Mingle.

All in all, this is the 2nd time we had cruised with RCCL and I think we will probably try another cruise line next time. We really like cruising, but Celebrity really was a cut above. We may look to Princess next time just to see if there is a difference. Don't get me wrong- cruising will probably be a part of our lives for as long as we live- we just want to see if the grass is greener elsewhere after having seen RCCL. Less

Published 07/04/09

Cabin review: 6672

We were very pleased by the cleanliness of the cabin. The one thing we did notice that we hadn't felt on other ships was the vibration of the motors. The cabin is a long way down the hall toward the back of the ship, and we were on one of the lower floors for cabins- but we felt a hum whenever the ship was moving. We felt the same hum up on the 14th floor in the High Notes lounge, so I think it was just the way things are at the back of this ship.The balcony was good size, the furnishings were only a month or so old as the ship had recently been in dry dock. The cabin was laid out very well and we never really felt cramped at all.

Port and Shore Excursions

We flew in a day early and stayed at the Renaissance by Marriott. I am a frequent guest in Marriott hotels so we had a nice upgrade. The room was large and well appointed. There was a lounge for the "elite guests" that we were able to get a good breakfast at. We stayed there for a night after the cruise as well, and it was just as nice.

We met some friends from CC for dinner at Los Caracoles restaurant near Las Ramblas. The meal was good, but we had our first experience with the slow service in Europe....definitely different! The restaurant itself is carved into an old buidling and you had to walk through about 7 rooms, and up and down 3 staircases to get to our table. It was an adventure in itself.

We also spent a day on the HOHO bus after we returned to Barcelona after the cruise. The architecture in the city is amazing. The La Sagrada Familia looks as if Gaudi had been involved in some heavy drug use, but once you go through the museum there and understand what he was trying to accomplish it made much more sense and seemed more beautiful.

Read 1726 Barcelona Reviews

We once again did the small group tour with CC people. I already miss my friends Judy, Stephanie, Michelle, Rusty, Adam, Deborah, Bob, Emy, Andrew and Jessica! Never met any of these folks before, but it was wonderfull to spend time with them during our trip.

Back to Florence, we used Rome in Limo again here. Laura was our driver. We asked her to take it easy on us and not run us so hard as we were getting exhausted. As a result she changed things up for us, and it made it harder for her to not do the "normal tour", but she adapted to what we wanted and we were very pleased.

The city and countryside are gorgeous. I can understand why some people just spend their whole time in Italy in Florence. We went to a church overlooking the city for an overlook and then down to another one where I had seen that view from some of the pictures that have been posted on CC.

The highlights in the city are the churches and the museums. The Duomo is magnificent and majestic at the same time. We spent 14 Euros each just to go in and see Michaelangelo's David in the Accademia.......and it was worth every penny. It is marvelous and truly amazing to me- a non-lover of art. We didn't make the time to go through the Uffizi- but now wish we had.

We had lunch in a cafe in the Republic Square that Laura was not familiar with. The food was OK, but the service was terrible! We practically had to beg for bread, and then had to beg again for a plate to put it on! Laura has vowed her vengance on them. The Maitre D got her to come in to that cafe rather than the one that she was headed for, and she says she is going to stand out in front of the restaurant for an hour during her next tour and tell people not to eat there......and she has told the other tour drivers not to take anyone there.

To make up for it she took us to a Gelateria called La Carraia. It is a small shop and they have "real homemade" gelato- not the "industrial" style that you see all over the place. I want to franchise it and open my own shop over in the US, but my waistline won't allow it!

I didn't put a rating here, because the port was too far away from being able to really see anything. We just hung out on the ship. It was not worth $175 to see anything I saw listed on the itineraries. The ship offered shuttle fare for all day for $9 per person, but we decided to just relax.

We found Rome in Limo through CC and a group of 8 of us hired them. Our driver was Rafaele and he really did a good job for us. I really was interested in seeing Pompeii, but the company communicated very well and found out that there was a wildcat strike at Pompeii in the morning by the tour guides so we changed plans and went down to Positano and Sorrento in the morning instead.

Positano is on the Amalfi Coast and is gorgeous. There is a toursit shopping area, but the colors around town are beautiful. Be careful about buying anything at the stop just before you get into town, as you will find it for 1/3 the price later in the day- however the fresh fruit sold at the stand was delicious!

Sorrento is considered to be a separate coast, but it is just as pretty . We got out for an hour or so at each town and shopped in the downtown area. We also had a nice lunch in Sorrento at Tassa....Lo and behold another CC group from our ship was eating at the next table over- what a coincidence!

Pompeii was marvelous. I had originally wanted to spend 3 hours there to compromise with the 4 hours that some people had recommended and the 2 hours that is "normal". 2 hours really, really, really isn't enough if you find it interesting. I felt as if we were running from one place to another the whole time. DW was very satisfied with that amount of time as she is not as interested in the historical aspects of things as I am. Rome in Limo arranged for a guide for us- and Enzio was great. He had been giving tours in Pompeii for 45 years and was "dynamic".

To cap everything off at the end of the day there was another wildcat strike at the port. They shut down the main gate and Rafaele was in constant communication to find us another way in. What was normally a 30 minute drive from Pompeii became 1 hour, 40 minutes. We were 15 minutes past the boarding dealine- but knew we were OK because a RCCL bus was behind us. There was very stressful air of silence in the van on the way back though!

Read 1161 Naples Reviews

Different day, different CC group. We used a company called Dream-Tours here. The driver was Jean Marc and he couldn't have been nicer and more fun. The van was very comfortable.

He first took us to an overlook of the Villefranche harbor. It was breathtaking. Our next stop was in a medievel village called Eze. That was fun as the village dates back to the 12th century. There isn't much room in the streets, but is is interesting to see how things were that far back. Suffice it to say Southern California doesn't have any building that old.

Next we visited the flower market area in Nice. DW and I spent a little less time there, and instead went and dipped our toes in the Mediterranean...just something we like to do as we travel to new places. The market was pretty, but not memorable- except for those french pastries we bought.

St. Paul de Vence was the next stop. Once again, a medieval village. The walls were still surrounding the area. It is a bit of a tourist trap, but was a fun diversion. We had lunch in a shop there....did you know that you can get a piece of quiche, an open faced roast beef sandwich (um-mm) and three cans of coke for only $50? It was good, but I winced when we got the bill! Of course we paid $9 for a Big Mac in Barcelona, so it wasn't expensieve just in St. Paul.

Our final stop was Monaco. We stopped outside of town at an overlook to get an understanding of just how small it is and a bit of a history lesson about the principality. We then went into town and had our first celebrity sighting- Princess Caroline walked across the street in front of us.....just walking around the town like everyone else. The casino costs 10 euros to enter, so we didn't bother. We went and saw the palace and did a little tourist shopping then headed back to port. 90 minutes- that was about the right amount of time there.

Read 135 Nice Reviews

Just try to do Rome in one day! I dare you.....Once again we had a small group of CC people and used RomeCabs. Maurizio was our guide. He was full of energy and knowledge. We saw the Colosseum and all the other "touristy" sights, but there is obviously so much more to see.

We had lunch in a sidewalk cafe just outside of the Vatican. He had arranged for Felice to be our guide in the Vatican- and I think he was the best tour guide we had on the whole trip. He was very knowledgeable and patient with our stupid questions. At least he didn't try to tell us that the Sistine Chapel had been purchased by Fuji Film (like one family that we had breakfast with the next day had been told and they still believed).

Be prepared to take lots of photos, because there just isn't time to soak it all in. We need to go back, so we tossed our coins in the Trevi Fountain to make sure we could.

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