Vision Value for Money: Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by jaggyfleur

Vision of the Seas 4
Member Since 2009
1 Forum Post

Overall Member Rating

Vision Value for Money

Sail Date: July 2009
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Stockholm
OK - so we were two first-time 30something cruisers not really knowing what to expect and booking mainly so we could see St Petersburg in a cost effective way.  We considered the price of the cruise fantastic: £150 sterling (plus £60 taxes) for an indoor cabin.  We chose the indoor as it was a short cruise and we didn't plan on spending much time inside at all.

We travelled from Scotland to Stockholm via Ryanair (due to the incredibly cheap £5 flights!).  Ryanair fly to an airport 80minutes away, but we had pre-booked the coach and it delivered us right into the Stockholm coach station just before midnight.  Our hotel was the Nordic Sea right next door and we managed to get an upgrade on arrival.  Hotel was very nice and breakfast (included) was great. (Booked through for £40).

We were able to store our bags at the hotel and tour Stockholm in the morning before collecting bags and getting a bus again from the coach More station next door to the port (about 25mins).
Stockhom was suffering a heatwave this day and so the walk from the bus to the boat was rather torturous.  We agreed we'd take a taxi next time!

There seemed to be a bit of a rabble outside the terminal when we arrived, no real queue for the bag drop-off but staff were very helpful and polite.  Bags gone, we entered the terminal and saw lots of lines - oh no! but a member of staff approached us and on realising we had all docs and had filled them in directed us right to the front of a queue. Once again, staff were so friendly and polite.  After another short queue through security we were on the ship.

The ship carried just over 2000 guests and 750 crew and is one of the smallest of the RCI fleet.  It is 10yrs old but still very glitzy and exceptionally clean.  (Nice touch were the doors on the "public" lavatories swinging OUTWARDS so you have loads of room in the cubicles!).

Our stateroom was internal and as expected, functional and small but perfectly fine for us.  Storage and shelving was impressive for a small room.  The room was set up as a double bed, but I spoke to a steward and within a couple of hours (in which time we went for a wander) it was converted to twin.

Our steward, Julio was constantly cheerful and always greeted us with "Laaaayyyydeeeees" - really added to the fun of the cruise. (his Towel animals - something of which I had lived in ignorant bliss until then - were also great! )  In fact all staff were incredibly polite and helpful and you really did feel looked after.

We had decided on "My Time Dining" and dined twice in the dining room and twice at the Windjammer cafe.

Windjammer was an open buffet - lots to choose from.  It did get very busy at peak periods and we had to walk around a few times to find tables but on the whole we thought it was great.  Dining room was set up like a fine restaurant and service was very good.

Entertainment was on the whole good.  The Champagne terrace always had great piano music - jazzy / bluesy tunes and was lovely for sitting chilling with a cocktail.

The Schooner bar also had a piano but we felt this was a duplication (and not a great one).  We'd have preferred a pub type bar rather than another glitzy attempt and a juke box or more contemporary tunes.  The Revue cast put on performances each night and these were better than expected (although when they performed their own tunes we were not as impressed).  The cruise director, Matt Sole was unfortunately exceptionally "cheesy" and a bit more "Butlins" than we liked.

The biggest hit was the Towel animal demonstration!!! (and if you'd suggested this to me before I went I'd have been scornful, but we really did find ourselves easing into the whole cruise ambience and embracing things like this).

As it was a short cruise, there were ports on day 2 and 3 with one day cruising before returning to Stockholm.  Tallinn was beautiful and we easily walked into the old town from the port so did not purchase an excursion.

We did however opt for the full day St Petersburg excursion (£90) as it saved us organising visas or negotiating with a local firm.  We got to see everything we wanted and were taken for lunch at the Radisson (champagne and vodka included).  Our tour guide, Victoria was lovely.
We didn't get to the spa as we only had one full day on the ship but it looked good (although on the first day, the indoor pool was being painted).

This being a short cruise out of Stockholm, 90% of guests were Swedish.  Ship announcements were made in English and Swedish so we picked up a lot of the language!  We enjoyed being part of a multicultural ship and were glad we hadn't booked one out of the UK.  Some of the entertainment was geared for Scandinavians but there were always alternatives on offer as well.

Disembarkation was smooth and we grabbed a taxi as soon as we were out of the terminal, straight to the coach station where we stored our bags and spent the day in Stockholm before returning to pick up our bags and get our connecting bus to the airport.

All in all a great break; fantastic value for money; great locations; wonderful service and a real eye-opener to the world of cruising.  We plan to cruise again, maybe for 7 days and hope to get a larger ship with more opportunity to try out all the amenities on board. Less

Published 07/16/09

Cabin review: Q3xxxx Interior Stateroom

internal; good size for twin arrangement (less useable floor space if double bed).  PITCH black when door shut / lights off!; shower could do with an overhaul, but adequate.

Read All Interior Stateroom (Q) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

We took an RCI excursion here. The itinerary was advertised as a Full day trip to include the Hermitage, Peter & Paul Fortress, Lunch and souvenir shop. We got all that and also a stop at the Church on the Spilled Blood. The Hermitage tour took around 2.5hrs and we got early entry to avoid the queues. The tour guide took us through various rooms and gave us brief histories of the buildings and the artwork. We wore radio transmitters which were great and meant we could hear eveything clearly. At the end of this part of the tour we exited into Palace Square (photo opportunity). Lunch was included and we were taken to the Radisson SAS on Nevsky Prospekt. Bit of caviar, vodka and champagne was a nice touch. The souvenir shop was surprisingly reasonable (we had expected a trap here) and catered for various budgets. Peter and Paul Fortress allowed us to see the resting place of the Romanovs. It was very busy however but Victoria the tour guide moved us to alternative areas as required. We got a bonus extra stop at the Church on the Spilled Blood then headed back to the ship. St Petersburg is spread out and for a first time visit with only 1 day I'd recommend the RCI tour. It was £90 but I had investigated alternatives and it held its own.

We visited Stockholm before and after the cruise. Loved Gamla Stan, the old town. Can be seen in a morning before embarkation. One our full day 2nd visit, we enjoyed a wander round the town proper, went to Skansan the open air museum and saw the Vasa (a must see), the 17th century warship. The purpose built museum there is exceptional. Took a short river sightsee cruise and ended up at the Ice Bar. Taxi cost approx £8 from the port to the coach station

We visited Estonia on day 2 of the cruise. The old town of Tallinn is about a 15min walk from the port and is a beautiful time warp of a medieval town. Lots of places for a coffee and cake and a seat to watch everyone else doing the same. It did get very busy after midday - lots of tourists. A full day is probably too long for here but we advise getting up early, seeing what you wish to see then heading back to the ship to prepare for the formal night!

Read 697 Tallinn Reviews

Compare Prices on Vision of the Seas Baltic Sea Cruises

Read more Vision of the Seas cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Vision of the Seas Review >>

Compare Prices on Vision of the Seas Baltic Sea Cruises

Member Since 2009
1 Forum Post
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?
Skip X

See Vision of the Seas deals up to 82% off:

September Deals
Vision of the Seas 68% Loved It

13 Night Fall Foliage Cruise
See all Vision of the Seas Deals >>