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Keen to try RCI given all we had heard about them. We cruised on Carnival Spirit exactly 12 months prior for the same number of nights and very similar itinerary. Whilst we went with the mindset that it would be different to Carnival it is of course hard not to compare. We are a couple aged about 50. Embarkation went well, although took a little longer than I recall with Carnival, probably due to the additional number of passengers. We live in Sydney so very easy to arrive by train at Circular Quay and walk around to the OPT in 5 mins. This makes us very reluctant to fly anywhere else at this point. I love how you get on and your holiday starts straight away on beautiful Sydney Harbour. Lunch in the Windjammer quite chaotic as usual, but this does settle down a little after the first day. The staff I found to be friendly by and large but at times a little remote. VOS is very near the end of her AU season so perhaps some were understandably a little tired and ready to go home. Enjoyed hearing from the captain each day although trying to hear announcements outside was pretty hopeless. We had MyTime dining which suits us very well. Our request for a table for two was easily accommodated. I recommend pre-booking your preferred times if it suits you. We ate between 8 pm to 8.30pm each night and had the same table and same waitstaff. They were terrific, friendly, attentive but not obtrusive. The number of steps the wait staff must clock up each evening must be quite considerable. As we do not have children with us the late time is better for us. Service was a bit slow on the first night, about 1h 45 mins for dinner and we were a bit concerned that it would be like that every night but things improved significantly after that. The food was excellent, particularly the soups. I don't usually rave about soups but I am finding that it is the soups that I am particularly wanting to replicate. We had a la carte breakfast in the MDR also about half of the time. No complaints here either. Room Service breaky twice on the balcony. Lovely way to start the day. We enjoyed a light lunch from the Promenade Cafe about half of the time, very nice sandwich type offerings. The pizza was generally too much dough for me. Windjammer for the other half of breakfasts and lunches. Whilst the range and choice is great at the Windjammer, I am still not a fan of the buffet/help yourself and noisy indoors environment in the buffet. We usually made our selection and then took it outside to eat. They push the drinks and dining packages very hard on the first couple of days, including whilst you are eating. This gets a bit tiresome, but they do leave you alone if you say you are not interested. We did not buy either package but did have a steak one night in the MDR (additional charge) that is supposedly from Chops. We were underwhelmed, although on a longer cruise we would probably try the paid dining venues just to mix it up a bit. The paid dining areas never looked full and over 9 nights the MDR never disappointed. We never bother with "specialty" coffee or drink soft drink or juices. We drink ships water and maybe 2-3 cocktails on sea days and a couple of beers a day for the Mr. I purchased a bottle of wine and enjoyed it over 3 days. It was nice but at $US50 it would want to be. The fact that you can take a bottle of wine each on board is great. Kettle in room too, so I took coffee bags and asked the bar staff for wine glasses and we enjoyed a coffee on the balcony in the morning and a wine on the balcony some evenings. Awesome. A prepurchased drinks package would have cost us $AU1100 to $AU1350. We spent about $AU550 on the ship on drinks via pay as you go. The decor inside the ship is beautiful. Very easy on the eye. Plenty of spots to find depending on whether you are after a place with action or a quiet corner. Daytime entertainment mostly consists of Bingo, Trivia or presentations trying to sell you very expensive items of questionable and probably very overstated quality. We did not go on the Waverider, rock climb or ice skate etc, but those who did seemed to be enjoying it. We cruise for chilling out time with each other. The adults-only pool area was not very appealing to us. It is a thoroughfare to/from other parts of the ship. There was not very much seating available and it mostly felt a bit dark and dingy. An overall not very pleasant space to be in. This was a disappointment to us and we found ourselves continually comparing it to Serenity on the Spirit. In fact, it just does not compare to Serenity with the outlook over the back of the ship, no through traffic, a lovely shaded sitting area near the bar for those who don't want to be on a sun lounge and the pods and hammocks. The main pool area is big, but predictably noisy. It's "horses for courses" as to what takes your fancy here. We felt the outdoor areas overall felt more sterile on VOS than on the Spirit. I felt that there were noticeably fewer children on this trip than our last, but perhaps they were just all occupied in areas that we were not in. Shows: a bit hit and miss for us. The ice skating show was the standout. The rest = so-so. We could have happily missed most of them and in fact did only get to barely half of them. a nice ambiance along the promenade area in the evenings and the lady singing in the Pig and Whistle (Kristine?) was terrific. She was the stand out for us. The rock band outfit murdered many of the songs they sang. The musicians were OK but the singer not so. We would have liked more comedy, and missed that after the Spirit. As we were aiming to avoid two cyclones in the area (off QLD and Fiji) the captain and crew took a different route to Noumea than is usually the case. We headed towards Lord Howe Island and passed a piece of land sticking up out of the ocean called Balls Pyramid. That was a nice and unexpected detour. Quite spectacular. We then headed northeast to Noumea. The ship certainly feels nice and stable. Ports were Noumea (did the train = Ok and bought pastries at the popular pastry shop.) No indication as you left the ship that you could not bring food back onto the ship, only that you could not take food off. So the pastry's that I bought back for the hubby (he did not get off in Noumea) had to go into the bin beside the drinks stand on the wharf. (Where they probably came on board with the rubbish anyhow to be disposed of via ships waste). I did feedback about this suggesting that advising of this fact on exit would be a good idea. I felt my feedback was dealt with adequately, although I am not sure that anything will change. Would not get off again in Noumea (been here 3 times now) unless we were going to go to Amadee Island or some other tour further out of Noumea appeals to us. (We have been to Amadee 28 years ago and would go again). It is still grotty and dirty and the main town area has a slightly menacing feel about it. The area around Lemmon Bay and Orphanage Bay is quite pleasant. Mystery Island was replaced with Lifou due to a predicted 3-meter swell at Mystery. This was disappointing to us but there is nothing that can be done about the weather. Tendering at Lifou was a bit tricky due to the wind and chop. We have been here before. The wind made it a little unpleasant although still pretty. Beach here is nothing special, although I understand there is a beach about 30 mins drive away which is very nice and a lot of people like snorkeling here about 10 mins walk away. Port Vila: I have not been here before, it was the standout and I would look for it as part of our next cruise. On this occasion, we went to Iririki Island and chilled by the pool after a quick walk around. Next time we will venture to one of the other resorts a little further away or perhaps tour to one or two of the popular spots to see here. Very pretty harbor area and markets not too bad at the pier. It is a little daunting as you exit the wharf area as there are lots of drivers touting for business. The police force was there keeping drivers outside the gate and allowing a few operators to escort you out to their van or "water taxi". I have never seen so many vans in one place! I would recommend that you have a reasonable idea of what you want to do here prior to arrival. The yellow building Duty-Free was very cheap and worth a stop if you are after alcohol duty-free. Finally Mare, very underdeveloped, which is part of its charm. It looks like they have done some work on the pier since we were last here 12 months prior. This time I just had a little wander around near the pier. Some people do swim or snorkel near the pier but it is very rocky and so difficult to get in. We did not go around to the beach this time as my husband was not feeling very well and it was quite windy. The beach here is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen however and I would go there again. I understand that RCI is not visiting Mare again? I am not sure if that is correct. We had a balcony room on the hump #7318. Great room and would book it again. Steward was unobtrusive but did a great job of keeping us very tidy. I still think a balcony room is one of the best things about cruising for us, as we like to come back to our little bit of space and just enjoy looking at the ocean or port in peace after the busyness of the ship. This is, however, a matter of personal preference. I did the All Access ship tour which covered the Bridge, laundry, engine control room with a lot of detail from the Chief Engineer, Waste Handling Area, crew recreation area and the Galley. Whilst the Galley area is very large I am still amazed at the number of meals that they manage to produce out of this area each day. A very interesting insight behind the scenes and I would do this tour again on another ship. In summary, the ships each offer a very different product but, if we were to compare VOS to Carnival Spirit: Food about 20% better on VOS, although my husband does not think so. Drinks and tours in $AU on the Spirit about 25% cheaper and easier than thinking in $US all the time. Decor on VOS is FAR easier on the eye. Gym, used by the Mr, better on VOS than the Spirit. All equipment seemed to work on VOS; on Spirit half of the bikes were out of service. Pool towels and gym towels on VOS were often stained and looked a bit tired. Bathroom towels good. Buffet area larger on VOS. Full glass balconies on the Spirit. Love, love, love them. Guys Burgers on the Spirit excellent and free. About 1000 less pax on the Spirit. Comedy and shows overall better on the Spirit, but ice show up close on VOS very good. Water slides on Spirit, none on VOS. Bigger pool area on VOS. Two separate pool areas, + Serenity on the Spirit Serenity area on the Spirit by far way better than the Solarium on VOS. I would travel again on RCI, given the right price and itinerary etc, but will probably be back on the Spirit (or Legend after the refurb) or will try one of the other ships out of Sydney.

Enjoyed our first RCI experience and would repeat given the right cirumstances

Voyager of the Seas Cruise Review by ELep

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Keen to try RCI given all we had heard about them. We cruised on Carnival Spirit exactly 12 months prior for the same number of nights and very similar itinerary. Whilst we went with the mindset that it would be different to Carnival it is of course hard not to compare. We are a couple aged about 50.

Embarkation went well, although took a little longer than I recall with Carnival, probably due to the additional number of passengers. We live in Sydney so very easy to arrive by train at Circular Quay and walk around to the OPT in 5 mins. This makes us very reluctant to fly anywhere else at this point. I love how you get on and your holiday starts straight away on beautiful Sydney Harbour.

Lunch in the Windjammer quite chaotic as usual, but this does settle down a little after the first day. The staff I found to be friendly by and large but at times a little remote. VOS is very near the end of her AU season so perhaps some were understandably a little tired and ready to go home. Enjoyed hearing from the captain each day although trying to hear announcements outside was pretty hopeless.

We had MyTime dining which suits us very well. Our request for a table for two was easily accommodated. I recommend pre-booking your preferred times if it suits you. We ate between 8 pm to 8.30pm each night and had the same table and same waitstaff. They were terrific, friendly, attentive but not obtrusive. The number of steps the wait staff must clock up each evening must be quite considerable. As we do not have children with us the late time is better for us. Service was a bit slow on the first night, about 1h 45 mins for dinner and we were a bit concerned that it would be like that every night but things improved significantly after that. The food was excellent, particularly the soups. I don't usually rave about soups but I am finding that it is the soups that I am particularly wanting to replicate. We had a la carte breakfast in the MDR also about half of the time. No complaints here either. Room Service breaky twice on the balcony. Lovely way to start the day. We enjoyed a light lunch from the Promenade Cafe about half of the time, very nice sandwich type offerings. The pizza was generally too much dough for me. Windjammer for the other half of breakfasts and lunches. Whilst the range and choice is great at the Windjammer, I am still not a fan of the buffet/help yourself and noisy indoors environment in the buffet. We usually made our selection and then took it outside to eat.

They push the drinks and dining packages very hard on the first couple of days, including whilst you are eating. This gets a bit tiresome, but they do leave you alone if you say you are not interested. We did not buy either package but did have a steak one night in the MDR (additional charge) that is supposedly from Chops. We were underwhelmed, although on a longer cruise we would probably try the paid dining venues just to mix it up a bit. The paid dining areas never looked full and over 9 nights the MDR never disappointed. We never bother with "specialty" coffee or drink soft drink or juices. We drink ships water and maybe 2-3 cocktails on sea days and a couple of beers a day for the Mr. I purchased a bottle of wine and enjoyed it over 3 days. It was nice but at $US50 it would want to be. The fact that you can take a bottle of wine each on board is great. Kettle in room too, so I took coffee bags and asked the bar staff for wine glasses and we enjoyed a coffee on the balcony in the morning and a wine on the balcony some evenings. Awesome. A prepurchased drinks package would have cost us $AU1100 to $AU1350. We spent about $AU550 on the ship on drinks via pay as you go.

The decor inside the ship is beautiful. Very easy on the eye. Plenty of spots to find depending on whether you are after a place with action or a quiet corner. Daytime entertainment mostly consists of Bingo, Trivia or presentations trying to sell you very expensive items of questionable and probably very overstated quality. We did not go on the Waverider, rock climb or ice skate etc, but those who did seemed to be enjoying it. We cruise for chilling out time with each other.

The adults-only pool area was not very appealing to us. It is a thoroughfare to/from other parts of the ship. There was not very much seating available and it mostly felt a bit dark and dingy. An overall not very pleasant space to be in. This was a disappointment to us and we found ourselves continually comparing it to Serenity on the Spirit. In fact, it just does not compare to Serenity with the outlook over the back of the ship, no through traffic, a lovely shaded sitting area near the bar for those who don't want to be on a sun lounge and the pods and hammocks. The main pool area is big, but predictably noisy. It's "horses for courses" as to what takes your fancy here. We felt the outdoor areas overall felt more sterile on VOS than on the Spirit.

I felt that there were noticeably fewer children on this trip than our last, but perhaps they were just all occupied in areas that we were not in.

Shows: a bit hit and miss for us. The ice skating show was the standout. The rest = so-so. We could have happily missed most of them and in fact did only get to barely half of them. a nice ambiance along the promenade area in the evenings and the lady singing in the Pig and Whistle (Kristine?) was terrific. She was the stand out for us. The rock band outfit murdered many of the songs they sang. The musicians were OK but the singer not so. We would have liked more comedy, and missed that after the Spirit.

As we were aiming to avoid two cyclones in the area (off QLD and Fiji) the captain and crew took a different route to Noumea than is usually the case. We headed towards Lord Howe Island and passed a piece of land sticking up out of the ocean called Balls Pyramid. That was a nice and unexpected detour. Quite spectacular. We then headed northeast to Noumea. The ship certainly feels nice and stable.

Ports were Noumea (did the train = Ok and bought pastries at the popular pastry shop.) No indication as you left the ship that you could not bring food back onto the ship, only that you could not take food off. So the pastry's that I bought back for the hubby (he did not get off in Noumea) had to go into the bin beside the drinks stand on the wharf. (Where they probably came on board with the rubbish anyhow to be disposed of via ships waste). I did feedback about this suggesting that advising of this fact on exit would be a good idea. I felt my feedback was dealt with adequately, although I am not sure that anything will change. Would not get off again in Noumea (been here 3 times now) unless we were going to go to Amadee Island or some other tour further out of Noumea appeals to us. (We have been to Amadee 28 years ago and would go again). It is still grotty and dirty and the main town area has a slightly menacing feel about it. The area around Lemmon Bay and Orphanage Bay is quite pleasant.

Mystery Island was replaced with Lifou due to a predicted 3-meter swell at Mystery. This was disappointing to us but there is nothing that can be done about the weather. Tendering at Lifou was a bit tricky due to the wind and chop. We have been here before. The wind made it a little unpleasant although still pretty. Beach here is nothing special, although I understand there is a beach about 30 mins drive away which is very nice and a lot of people like snorkeling here about 10 mins walk away.

Port Vila: I have not been here before, it was the standout and I would look for it as part of our next cruise. On this occasion, we went to Iririki Island and chilled by the pool after a quick walk around. Next time we will venture to one of the other resorts a little further away or perhaps tour to one or two of the popular spots to see here. Very pretty harbor area and markets not too bad at the pier. It is a little daunting as you exit the wharf area as there are lots of drivers touting for business. The police force was there keeping drivers outside the gate and allowing a few operators to escort you out to their van or "water taxi". I have never seen so many vans in one place! I would recommend that you have a reasonable idea of what you want to do here prior to arrival. The yellow building Duty-Free was very cheap and worth a stop if you are after alcohol duty-free.

Finally Mare, very underdeveloped, which is part of its charm. It looks like they have done some work on the pier since we were last here 12 months prior. This time I just had a little wander around near the pier. Some people do swim or snorkel near the pier but it is very rocky and so difficult to get in. We did not go around to the beach this time as my husband was not feeling very well and it was quite windy. The beach here is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen however and I would go there again. I understand that RCI is not visiting Mare again? I am not sure if that is correct.

We had a balcony room on the hump #7318. Great room and would book it again. Steward was unobtrusive but did a great job of keeping us very tidy. I still think a balcony room is one of the best things about cruising for us, as we like to come back to our little bit of space and just enjoy looking at the ocean or port in peace after the busyness of the ship. This is, however, a matter of personal preference.

I did the All Access ship tour which covered the Bridge, laundry, engine control room with a lot of detail from the Chief Engineer, Waste Handling Area, crew recreation area and the Galley. Whilst the Galley area is very large I am still amazed at the number of meals that they manage to produce out of this area each day. A very interesting insight behind the scenes and I would do this tour again on another ship.

In summary, the ships each offer a very different product but, if we were to compare VOS to Carnival Spirit:

Food about 20% better on VOS, although my husband does not think so.

Drinks and tours in $AU on the Spirit about 25% cheaper and easier than thinking in $US all the time.

Decor on VOS is FAR easier on the eye.

Gym, used by the Mr, better on VOS than the Spirit. All equipment seemed to work on VOS; on Spirit half of the bikes were out of service.

Pool towels and gym towels on VOS were often stained and looked a bit tired. Bathroom towels good.

Buffet area larger on VOS.

Full glass balconies on the Spirit. Love, love, love them.

Guys Burgers on the Spirit excellent and free.

About 1000 less pax on the Spirit.

Comedy and shows overall better on the Spirit, but ice show up close on VOS very good.

Water slides on Spirit, none on VOS. Bigger pool area on VOS. Two separate pool areas, + Serenity on the Spirit

Serenity area on the Spirit by far way better than the Solarium on VOS.

I would travel again on RCI, given the right price and itinerary etc, but will probably be back on the Spirit (or Legend after the refurb) or will try one of the other ships out of Sydney.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7318
Very good. A typical amount of space. Balcony Ok size. Like the glass shower rather than a shower curtain. Maybe a little less space and storage than we had in a balcony room on Spirit? Good location here, mid ship, on the hump of the ship. Not far from stairs but we did not hear any noise.
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