1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Vision of the Seas
After reading all the awful reviews of this ship before we left on our cruise, we were worried, but we had a great time. It almost seemed like all those other people were on a completely different ship. Embarkation We did get off to a little bit of a rocky start. We had signed up for an embarkation city tour of Dubai. We had been to Dubai before but our flight landed first thing in the morning and we wanted something to do before we could board the ship. Just before we left home, I received a bunch of emails suggesting that some change had been made to the tour, but none of the emails was very clear. I think they were just trying to remind us that the tour would only work if our flight arrived before a certain time in the morning, but they already had our flight info, so it wasn’t clear why they sent me so many confusing emails. Anyway, they greeted us and took us to the bus, where we sat for 45 minutes without any explanation. I think they were waiting for more people from other flights, but no one told us that. There were already a bunch of people on the bus, and we could see the hotel they were taking us to from the bus, so it seemed like they could have taken us to the hotel and come back for the rest of the people. Eventually, we got to the hotel, where we were told we could have a nice, relaxing hot breakfast before our tour, but relaxing it wasn’t. We had less than half an hour to wait in line and check in for the cruise, go to another desk to check in for the tour, and have breakfast (it was a nice buffet). We were still trying to gobble down some food when they announced that we needed to get on the bus for the city tour. In the future, they should get people to the hotel faster or adjust the departure time of the tour so it isn’t so hectic. The tour itself was great, with a couple photo stops, a short visit in the bastakiya quarter, and a longer stop near the souks. We thought it was a nice overview for anyone who hasn’t been to Dubai before. We got to the pier around 2:00 and the only thing we had to do was have our pictures taken. Then we were able to get on and the cabin was ready. The bags went straight from the bus to the cabin, arriving around 4:00. Cabin I think cabin selection can be a little tricky on this ship. We had a mini-suite on deck 8. We chose deck 8 because we had heard that cabins on deck 7 got a lot of noise from the theater and bars on deck 6. We knew we would have some noise from the pool deck above us, but it turned out to be more noise than we expected, with lots of heavy footfalls overhead, people dragging chairs around, kids running, etc. It never kept us awake at night, but it did go on intermittently all day and very late into the night. That said, the cabin was otherwise pretty perfect, and there was no noise at all from neighboring cabins. There were two chairs with footstools and a full size couch and coffee table along with the usual desk, bed, and nightstands. By ship standards, the balcony was unusually large – sadly, the chairs on the balcony did not recline. The cabin probably had the most storage space of any cabin we’ve had, and a big bathroom with a tub. Our steward was maybe the best one we’ve ever had. He anticipated our needs and always kept everything just right. It was also nice to have a functioning fridge that wasn’t full of stuff they were trying to sell us. If we stood near our door, we could hear the music from the atrium, but it was never a problem. The crew did not seem to make sure that the atrium doors were closed in the evenings, but the passengers caught on and did it themselves, which helped a lot, but you might want to avoid cabins right on the atrium, because they do put the volume pretty high on the activities in the atrium. We did have to keep the A/C turned up almost as far as it would go to keep the cabin cool enough. There also seems to have been a big cutback in the room service breakfast options – no omelets, no oatmeal – the only hot option was scrambled eggs. One thing that seemed odd was that there didn’t seem to be a TV channel where you could hear the announcements, like on other ships we have been on. It was also really annoying not to have beach towels in the cabin, but RCL still treats its passengers like thieves, requiring them to check out towels and return them at specific times and places or face being charged $25 – ridiculous. Dining We ate most of our meals in the buffet – the selections were good and the food was generally very good and it was hot. The only small problem was with beverages. Sometimes the beverage and ice machines worked and sometimes they didn’t. The crew tried to discourage you from getting your own drinks, steering you to prefilled glasses, but the ice melted and watered them down while they sat there. The staff in the buffet was terrific – they were very quick about clearing dishes and offering to get drink refills, etc. On a couple of mornings, the buffet was mobbed due to the number of early tours. Some people were complaining but I thought they handled it just right. They had everyone queue at the entrance while staff with walkie talkies located a table for you so you didn’t have to fill your plate and then wander around trying to find a place to sit while your food gets cold. The system worked well and the line moved quickly. The Purell ladies at the entrance to the buffet (I didn’t catch their names, but they were from Romania and Trinidad) had the perfect personalities for the job – they were funny and welcoming and didn’t give too much hand cleaner. One thing that was both unusual and disappointing was that when the buffet was closed, there actually closed the doors and there was no access to the tables or the drink machines. There was coffee and water available out by the pool, but I think on all other ships we have been on you could still use the tables to play cards or hang out and you could still access the other beverages. We did not eat in the dining room. The food in the specialty restaurants was fine, but I don’t think they were worth the extra money. The food in Izumi was good, but if you’re not a sushi lover you probably don’t need to go more than once. The service got off to a rocky start when the hostess was on the phone for some time, making us wait even though we had a reservation. She then took us to the table but walked off without giving us the menus. When we finally got the menus from our server, one of them was in Chinese and we couldn’t read it. Overall, good food and it was fun to do once, but I don’t need to do it again. Also, there were small children running around. If they want people to pay extra for food, they should probably make the specialty restaurants adults only. In Chop’s Grille, the service was excellent, although the waiter forgot to ask us if we wanted any drinks. The warm bread starter and the toasted goat cheese salad were excellent, as was the crab and shrimp cake. The steaks were terrific – even the petit filet mignon was plenty big, and very tender. The sauces were good, too. I wasn’t impressed with the side dishes, though. The corn seemed to be frozen – it was tough. What the menu described as tater tots turned out to be just cheese (no potatoes). The asparagus was fine, but ordinary. The molten chocolate cake with banana and coconut ice cream was excellent. Dinner in Giovanni’s started with excellent bread and olive oil. We got the antipasti and scallop appetizers and liked both. I wasn’t impressed with any of the pasta dishes, but the entrees and desserts were excellent. If you go to only one specialty restaurant, I would recommend this one, but get a salad or soup and skip the pasta. Shipboard Life There was a good variety of entertainment, including several acts that were quite unique and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on land or at sea. There were only two production shows, but they were good. We also enjoyed the three lecturers. Roy Short showed movie clips and read from his notes on various movie themes. Sehdev Kumar (a professor from Canada) gave excellent talks on a variety of subjects. Dean Papavassilliou spoke on some of the ports. He could be a little bit difficult to understand, but he was basically reading from his slides so you could follow along. Any slides shown on the main screen in the theater were very difficult to see, but the ship was supposed to get a new projector the day we disembarked, so hopefully the AV issues have since been resolved. They showed some good movies, but they were always too late at night. Even on nights when there didn’t seem to be anything else going on in the theater, they didn’t start the movies until 10:30, which was a shame. Some nights we had a hard time finding anything to do in the evening. If you went to early show, there might be one entertainer playing music somewhere before 10:00 or so, but it was always the same entertainer in the same lounge. We couldn’t figure out why night after night there was a block of 1.5 or 2 hours with no music at all or just the instrumental piano player. Several nights we ended up just going back to our cabin because we couldn’t find anything to do. They’ve done away with the library on this ship, but there are a couple shelves next to the coffee bar that have a few books (many of them were not in English) and some games and the daily puzzle (no newspapers on this ship). I suggest you bring all the reading materials you think you’ll need. The shore excursion and front desk crew that we dealt with were great. This was one of those cruises where they have to repeatedly collect passports and then give them back to you, but they put a desk on every deck and there was never much of a line. In addition to the normal boat drill, there was another passenger drill to explain what the special procedures would be for going through pirate territory (basically, they wanted to keep the ship dark at night, so for three nights the outside decks were closed and balcony drapes needed to be kept closed) and what we should do in case of trouble. There were also extra security on board, just in case, but we had no issues. Muscat, Oman We took the ship’s tour to Nouvelle Nakhl Fort and Resort. We enjoyed the tour. The lunch was very good, with very good service. The fort was interesting and had very nice views of the countryside. It was very hot at the fort, and there are a lot of steps, so you probably don’t want this tour if you have mobility issues. Then we went to the hot springs, where the fish will nibble on your feet. This wasn’t much – basically a stream next to a parking lot. I had expected something more rural, but it was basically in the middle of a town. We were supposed to go to a fishing village next, but the tour description was not accurate and they brought us back to Muscat to the souk instead. At first I wasn’t very happy about that, but it turned out to be a nice experience. We got to the souk right around sundown, when the covered women and the children come out, so it was very good people watching. The souk was also much different from the one in Dubai, with a lot of antiques and architectural pieces (doors, window shutters, etc.), so it was interesting. Aqaba, Jordan The crew favored the ship’s shore excursions over everyone else, so there was a very long line for everyone on private tours and it took a long time to get off the ship. We had an independent tour to Petra and Wadi Rum, which was excellent. We used Jordan Horizons and would use them again, but they were unwilling to group people from the ship, which was sort of a pain. We had to post the tour on CC and come up with a van full of people on our own. That said, it was a very good tour, and we covered a lot more ground than the ship’s tour at a much cheaper price. Suez Canal Excellent. Very interesting day. If you’re going through the canal north-bound, book a balcony cabin on port side – there is a lot more to see on that side of the ship. Ashdod, Israel We booked an independent tour to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea through Guided Tours Israel. We covered a lot of ground with an excellent guide and would not hesitate to use them again. Haifa, Israel We had another independent tour with Guided Tours Israel, which was again excellent. About half the people in our group had trouble getting off the ship because the Israeli authorities in Ashdod had put the wrong dates on their landing cards -- not the ship’s fault. Athens, Greece It was Easter Sunday and almost everything was closed, so we took a ship’s tour called Keep Greek Tradition Alive. They drove us around the city with a couple photo stops and then we went to Zafiro, where we had demonstrations on how they used to make olive oil, grind flour, etc. and cooking demonstrations. The place has amazing views of the city. We had an excellent (and huge!) meal with music, dancers in costumes, plate throwing, etc. The meal was excellent and it was a very nice time. Disembarkation in Venice was easy. We took the ship’s disembarkation tour to Padua on the way to the airport. We got to Padua a little late because the traffic was bad, but it’s a nice place and we had a short walking tour (including the basilica)and then some time on our own. It was a nice way to see a little more before going to the airport. All in all, we had a great time!

Excellent

Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by pirasea

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
After reading all the awful reviews of this ship before we left on our cruise, we were worried, but we had a great time. It almost seemed like all those other people were on a completely different ship.

Embarkation

We did get off to a little bit of a rocky start. We had signed up for an embarkation city tour of Dubai. We had been to Dubai before but our flight landed first thing in the morning and we wanted something to do before we could board the ship. Just before we left home, I received a bunch of emails suggesting that some change had been made to the tour, but none of the emails was very clear. I think they were just trying to remind us that the tour would only work if our flight arrived before a certain time in the morning, but they already had our flight info, so it wasn’t clear why they sent me so many confusing emails. Anyway, they greeted us and took us to the bus, where we sat for 45 minutes without any explanation. I think they were waiting for more people from other flights, but no one told us that. There were already a bunch of people on the bus, and we could see the hotel they were taking us to from the bus, so it seemed like they could have taken us to the hotel and come back for the rest of the people. Eventually, we got to the hotel, where we were told we could have a nice, relaxing hot breakfast before our tour, but relaxing it wasn’t. We had less than half an hour to wait in line and check in for the cruise, go to another desk to check in for the tour, and have breakfast (it was a nice buffet). We were still trying to gobble down some food when they announced that we needed to get on the bus for the city tour. In the future, they should get people to the hotel faster or adjust the departure time of the tour so it isn’t so hectic. The tour itself was great, with a couple photo stops, a short visit in the bastakiya quarter, and a longer stop near the souks. We thought it was a nice overview for anyone who hasn’t been to Dubai before. We got to the pier around 2:00 and the only thing we had to do was have our pictures taken. Then we were able to get on and the cabin was ready. The bags went straight from the bus to the cabin, arriving around 4:00.

Cabin

I think cabin selection can be a little tricky on this ship. We had a mini-suite on deck 8. We chose deck 8 because we had heard that cabins on deck 7 got a lot of noise from the theater and bars on deck 6. We knew we would have some noise from the pool deck above us, but it turned out to be more noise than we expected, with lots of heavy footfalls overhead, people dragging chairs around, kids running, etc. It never kept us awake at night, but it did go on intermittently all day and very late into the night. That said, the cabin was otherwise pretty perfect, and there was no noise at all from neighboring cabins. There were two chairs with footstools and a full size couch and coffee table along with the usual desk, bed, and nightstands. By ship standards, the balcony was unusually large – sadly, the chairs on the balcony did not recline. The cabin probably had the most storage space of any cabin we’ve had, and a big bathroom with a tub. Our steward was maybe the best one we’ve ever had. He anticipated our needs and always kept everything just right. It was also nice to have a functioning fridge that wasn’t full of stuff they were trying to sell us. If we stood near our door, we could hear the music from the atrium, but it was never a problem. The crew did not seem to make sure that the atrium doors were closed in the evenings, but the passengers caught on and did it themselves, which helped a lot, but you might want to avoid cabins right on the atrium, because they do put the volume pretty high on the activities in the atrium. We did have to keep the A/C turned up almost as far as it would go to keep the cabin cool enough. There also seems to have been a big cutback in the room service breakfast options – no omelets, no oatmeal – the only hot option was scrambled eggs. One thing that seemed odd was that there didn’t seem to be a TV channel where you could hear the announcements, like on other ships we have been on. It was also really annoying not to have beach towels in the cabin, but RCL still treats its passengers like thieves, requiring them to check out towels and return them at specific times and places or face being charged $25 – ridiculous.

Dining

We ate most of our meals in the buffet – the selections were good and the food was generally very good and it was hot. The only small problem was with beverages. Sometimes the beverage and ice machines worked and sometimes they didn’t. The crew tried to discourage you from getting your own drinks, steering you to prefilled glasses, but the ice melted and watered them down while they sat there. The staff in the buffet was terrific – they were very quick about clearing dishes and offering to get drink refills, etc. On a couple of mornings, the buffet was mobbed due to the number of early tours. Some people were complaining but I thought they handled it just right. They had everyone queue at the entrance while staff with walkie talkies located a table for you so you didn’t have to fill your plate and then wander around trying to find a place to sit while your food gets cold. The system worked well and the line moved quickly. The Purell ladies at the entrance to the buffet (I didn’t catch their names, but they were from Romania and Trinidad) had the perfect personalities for the job – they were funny and welcoming and didn’t give too much hand cleaner. One thing that was both unusual and disappointing was that when the buffet was closed, there actually closed the doors and there was no access to the tables or the drink machines. There was coffee and water available out by the pool, but I think on all other ships we have been on you could still use the tables to play cards or hang out and you could still access the other beverages.

We did not eat in the dining room. The food in the specialty restaurants was fine, but I don’t think they were worth the extra money. The food in Izumi was good, but if you’re not a sushi lover you probably don’t need to go more than once. The service got off to a rocky start when the hostess was on the phone for some time, making us wait even though we had a reservation. She then took us to the table but walked off without giving us the menus. When we finally got the menus from our server, one of them was in Chinese and we couldn’t read it. Overall, good food and it was fun to do once, but I don’t need to do it again. Also, there were small children running around. If they want people to pay extra for food, they should probably make the specialty restaurants adults only.

In Chop’s Grille, the service was excellent, although the waiter forgot to ask us if we wanted any drinks. The warm bread starter and the toasted goat cheese salad were excellent, as was the crab and shrimp cake. The steaks were terrific – even the petit filet mignon was plenty big, and very tender. The sauces were good, too. I wasn’t impressed with the side dishes, though. The corn seemed to be frozen – it was tough. What the menu described as tater tots turned out to be just cheese (no potatoes). The asparagus was fine, but ordinary. The molten chocolate cake with banana and coconut ice cream was excellent.

Dinner in Giovanni’s started with excellent bread and olive oil. We got the antipasti and scallop appetizers and liked both. I wasn’t impressed with any of the pasta dishes, but the entrees and desserts were excellent. If you go to only one specialty restaurant, I would recommend this one, but get a salad or soup and skip the pasta.

Shipboard Life

There was a good variety of entertainment, including several acts that were quite unique and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on land or at sea. There were only two production shows, but they were good. We also enjoyed the three lecturers. Roy Short showed movie clips and read from his notes on various movie themes. Sehdev Kumar (a professor from Canada) gave excellent talks on a variety of subjects. Dean Papavassilliou spoke on some of the ports. He could be a little bit difficult to understand, but he was basically reading from his slides so you could follow along. Any slides shown on the main screen in the theater were very difficult to see, but the ship was supposed to get a new projector the day we disembarked, so hopefully the AV issues have since been resolved. They showed some good movies, but they were always too late at night. Even on nights when there didn’t seem to be anything else going on in the theater, they didn’t start the movies until 10:30, which was a shame. Some nights we had a hard time finding anything to do in the evening. If you went to early show, there might be one entertainer playing music somewhere before 10:00 or so, but it was always the same entertainer in the same lounge. We couldn’t figure out why night after night there was a block of 1.5 or 2 hours with no music at all or just the instrumental piano player. Several nights we ended up just going back to our cabin because we couldn’t find anything to do. They’ve done away with the library on this ship, but there are a couple shelves next to the coffee bar that have a few books (many of them were not in English) and some games and the daily puzzle (no newspapers on this ship). I suggest you bring all the reading materials you think you’ll need.

The shore excursion and front desk crew that we dealt with were great. This was one of those cruises where they have to repeatedly collect passports and then give them back to you, but they put a desk on every deck and there was never much of a line. In addition to the normal boat drill, there was another passenger drill to explain what the special procedures would be for going through pirate territory (basically, they wanted to keep the ship dark at night, so for three nights the outside decks were closed and balcony drapes needed to be kept closed) and what we should do in case of trouble. There were also extra security on board, just in case, but we had no issues.

Muscat, Oman

We took the ship’s tour to Nouvelle Nakhl Fort and Resort. We enjoyed the tour. The lunch was very good, with very good service. The fort was interesting and had very nice views of the countryside. It was very hot at the fort, and there are a lot of steps, so you probably don’t want this tour if you have mobility issues. Then we went to the hot springs, where the fish will nibble on your feet. This wasn’t much – basically a stream next to a parking lot. I had expected something more rural, but it was basically in the middle of a town. We were supposed to go to a fishing village next, but the tour description was not accurate and they brought us back to Muscat to the souk instead. At first I wasn’t very happy about that, but it turned out to be a nice experience. We got to the souk right around sundown, when the covered women and the children come out, so it was very good people watching. The souk was also much different from the one in Dubai, with a lot of antiques and architectural pieces (doors, window shutters, etc.), so it was interesting.

Aqaba, Jordan

The crew favored the ship’s shore excursions over everyone else, so there was a very long line for everyone on private tours and it took a long time to get off the ship. We had an independent tour to Petra and Wadi Rum, which was excellent. We used Jordan Horizons and would use them again, but they were unwilling to group people from the ship, which was sort of a pain. We had to post the tour on CC and come up with a van full of people on our own. That said, it was a very good tour, and we covered a lot more ground than the ship’s tour at a much cheaper price.

Suez Canal

Excellent. Very interesting day. If you’re going through the canal north-bound, book a balcony cabin on port side – there is a lot more to see on that side of the ship.

Ashdod, Israel

We booked an independent tour to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea through Guided Tours Israel. We covered a lot of ground with an excellent guide and would not hesitate to use them again.

Haifa, Israel

We had another independent tour with Guided Tours Israel, which was again excellent. About half the people in our group had trouble getting off the ship because the Israeli authorities in Ashdod had put the wrong dates on their landing cards -- not the ship’s fault.

Athens, Greece

It was Easter Sunday and almost everything was closed, so we took a ship’s tour called Keep Greek Tradition Alive. They drove us around the city with a couple photo stops and then we went to Zafiro, where we had demonstrations on how they used to make olive oil, grind flour, etc. and cooking demonstrations. The place has amazing views of the city. We had an excellent (and huge!) meal with music, dancers in costumes, plate throwing, etc. The meal was excellent and it was a very nice time.

Disembarkation in Venice was easy. We took the ship’s disembarkation tour to Padua on the way to the airport. We got to Padua a little late because the traffic was bad, but it’s a nice place and we had a short walking tour (including the basilica)and then some time on our own. It was a nice way to see a little more before going to the airport.

All in all, we had a great time!
pirasea’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Cabin 8032
Great cabin, but quite a bit of noise from the pool deck above.
  Vision of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Petra Walking Tour
    Our tour to Petra and Wadi Rum was excellent. It included a nice lunch and a short city tour of Aqaba at the end. We were able to cover a lot more ground than the ship’s tour at a much cheaper price.
    View All 75 Petra Walking Tour Reviews
  • Athens (Piraeus)
    We had about a one hour city tour with a photo stop before going to Zafiro. There, we had cooking demonstrations and were shown how they used to make flour and olive oil. There was live music and dancing and a really great meal.
    View All 1,241 Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    We took the embarkation transfer that included a city tour of Dubai. They greeted us and took us to the bus, where we sat for 45 minutes without any explanation. I think they were waiting for more people from other flights, but no one told us that. There were already a bunch of people on the bus, and we could see the hotel they were taking us to from the bus, so it seemed like they could have taken us to the hotel and come back for the rest of the people. Eventually, we got to the hotel, where we were told we could have a nice, relaxing hot breakfast before our tour, but relaxing it wasn’t. We had less than half an hour to wait in line and check in for the cruise, go to another desk to check in for the tour, and have breakfast (it was a nice buffet). We were still trying to gobble down some food when they announced that we needed to get on the bus for the city tour. In the future, they should get people to the hotel faster or adjust the departure time of the tour so it isn’t so hectic. The tour itself was great, with a couple photo stops, a short visit in the bastakiya quarter, and a longer stop near the souks. We thought it was a nice overview for anyone who hasn’t been to Dubai before. When we got to the pier around 2:00 the only thing we had to do was have our pictures taken. The bags went straight from the bus to the cabin. Overall, I would recommend this if you have time to kill after your flight lands before you can get on the ship.
    View All 35 City Tour Reviews
  • Nakhl Fort
    We enjoyed this tour. The lunch was very good, with very good service. The fort was interesting and had very nice views of the countryside. It was very hot at the fort, and there are a lot of steps, so you probably don’t want this tour if you have mobility issues. Then we went to the hot springs, where the fish will nibble on your feet. This wasn’t much – basically a stream next to a parking lot. I had expected something more rural, but it was basically in the middle of a town. We were supposed to go to a fishing village next, but the tour description was not accurate and they brought us back to Muscat to the souk instead. At first I wasn’t very happy about that, but it turned out to be a nice experience. We got to the souk right around sundown, when the covered women and the children come out, so it was very good people watching. The souk was also much different from the one in Dubai, with a lot of antiques and architectural pieces (doors, window shutters, etc.), so it was interesting.
    View All 4 Nakhl Fort Reviews
  • Venice
    This was a tour in Padua on the way to the airport. There was not enough time to do a lot, but we had a short walking tour and saw the basilica and then had some free time. For something to do before an afternoon flight, it was fine.
    View All 1,439 Venice Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Venice Cruise Port Review