Chose this cruise for the itinerary. Sailed from New York (actually Port Liberty, NJ) to Galveston, TX via Bermuda, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Progreso. Initially, we were worried about sailing on the Vision since it was a smaller, older ship but we were pleasantly surprised in the really great condition it was in for it's age. None of the bells and whistles of the newer-built RCCL ships like a promenade, ice rink, flowrider, sport court, zip line, etc. but with only 5 sea days out of a 14 day cruise, we were OK. The best part of a smaller ship is no waiting in lines for anything.
We did My Time Dining and NEVER had to wait for a table and we always asked for a table for 2. We chose not to make "reservations" or request a particular waiter so we had a variety of waitstaff and they were all excellent. We thought the food was better on this ship compared to the larger ships. Hot food was served hot, cold food was served cold and beef/steaks was tender. Service was also very good throughout the ship.
We enjoyed all the ports of call except for Progreso which was not good because our docking was not until 1:00. Because we had to be shuttle-bused to town (and it getting dark by 6:00), we felt there was not really enough time to do a tour since most of the highlights were at least an hour or more drive away. We usually do not book the ship's shore excursions. We like to do our "homework" and usually take public transportation to the beach to snorkel, do a private tour, or do our own thing. Only in Curacao did we book a tour from one of the port tour companies because the weather looked like it might rain and we decided not to go to the beach that day.
Cabin 2085. Location was very good. Two doors from aft elevators and just one flight down to Deck 1 gangway for ports. When we booked 7 months prior to sail date, there were only Inside Cabins available. Our cabin category was "Large" Interior Stateroom but not what I would call "large" by any stretch of the imagination. We split the bed into twins and put the table in the closet to give more floor space which really did make the cabin feel larger. The bathroom appeared to have been completely redone with new flooring, vanity, sink, walls, storage cabinet and plumbing fixtures. The water pressure was very forceful and the water extremely hot. The air-conditioning was very good and we'd crank it down so it was really cold. Flat screen TV worked fine and they had both FOX and CNN (although not always at the same time). A few old movies and videos of ship's entertainment, etc. Closet was small and we could have used more drawer space but we managed. I would have no qualms about booking this cabin if we sailed on the Vision in the future.
The port of Cape Liberty is located in Bayonne, New Jersey in a very industrial location. The embarkation process was very quick and easy and the workers friendly. There is an absolutely beautiful monument to 9/11 that was given to the United States from Russia called the Tear Drop Memorial. It depicts the twin towers with a "tear drop" in the middle with all the names of those who died inscribed at the base. This monument is located right next to the cruise terminal. I would highly recommend visiting this monument before or after any cruise that sails from/to Cape Liberty.
We have been to Bermuda on multiple occasions and still enjoy visiting this port. If you do your homework in advance, you do not have to do a ship excursion as the public bus and ferry transportation are excellent and we've found the bus drivers to be very helpful. If you think you want to make multiple stops and visit multiple locations, an all day pass is the best bet.
For $20 per person, round trip, we took the water taxi to Klein Island Beach where we snorkeled. The water taxi tickets are sold right there at the port. For the scuba or snorkel lovers, this is the place to go.
We did not take a ship excursion but took a 3 hour tour from one of the tour operators at the pier. For $25 pp he gave us a city tour, took us to the Curacao Liquor Distillery, the Hato Caves ($9 pp extra but well worth it), took us to see some flamingos. We were supposed to spend the rest of the time at a beach but it started raining with lots of lightening so we opted to go back to the ship. The tour was in a van with about 6 other people, not a big bus that takes forever to load and unload. Despite the weather, it was a decent tour. That afternoon the rain let up for a while and we walked into the town (short walk) and crossed the moving bridge and visited the colorful town.
We took the public bus to the far north end of the island to Arashi Beach to snorkel. $5 pp round trip The snorkeling could have been better but the beach and water was absolutely beautiful. We then took a walk to the very end of the island and got some amazing photos.
Normally when we visit Grand Cayman we take the public transportation ($5 pp round trip) to one of the beaches near 5 Mile Beach to snorkel. This cruise, it was threatening rain so we decided to stay in town and shop/look around. I still gave it 5 stars because GC is one of our favorite cruise destinations.
We took a taxi from the pier ($12 per taxi each way) to Chankanaab Marine Park ($21 pp admission) and spent the day there snorkeling and just relaxing.
I consider Costa Maya a "fake" port because it was built by the cruise line(s) so that the passengers can shop at cruise-owned shops. If only the cruise line(s) could construct a beach there it would be awesome as the water is gorgeous. I do realize there is a little fishing village down the road where you can buy cheap beer and get massages, but we have been there many times and it just doesn't get any better. Sorry.
Not impressed at all. We did not dock until 1:00. By the time you're shuttled into town, it's 2:00 and you're met with the most aggressive sales people we've ever seen. It was dark by 6:00. Any highlights of that area are an hour or more away (each way) in Merida or some Mayan Ruins, so we opted to just walk along the beach at Progreso and look in a few shops. The water that day was all churned up and a brownish-green color with lots of seaweed on the shore.