A Comedy of Errors: Voyager of the Seas Cruise Review by sammyowl

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A Comedy of Errors

Sail Date: January 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Galveston
We flew into Dallas from the west coast on January 29, late after mechanical trouble. My sister and I few into Houston Hobby on Sunday the 31st, planning on meeting our 89 year old Mom, who bussed down from North Texas with 59 of her friends. I had never received my cruise documents (tracked as leaving Houston on 4 Jan) but "borrowed" two luggage tags from mom, and read the rest online. After all, this is my umpteenth cruise. Worried a bit that online reservation did not show that we had purchased transfers, but we were on the list. Arrived at the ship around 11:30. Platinum status bought us a slightly shorter but still long and chaotic line. On checking in, RCCL had no record of my purchase of the soda card. Guest relations tracing this, but bought another in the interim. Those who arrived on the bus with Mom waited over two hours in a cold wind outside to board.

Stateroom: Arrived at cabin to find carpets soaked throughout and in the hall. Reported to guest relations and More huge fans set up, which I eventually had to heft out into the hall so that we could sleep. Water persisted until Tuesday am. Not as much storage as Celebrity. Wished balconies connected as on Princess.

Dining room: 90 people in our group. Travel agent had carefully listened to seating preferences and filed list with RCCL, which fouled it all up. Food pretty good though. In general found RCCL food a cut below Celebrity in innovation and variety but OK. Several entrees outstanding, and Chef's Selections a good idea. Shawn G from Trinidad the best waiter I have experienced. Seating problems persisted for several days, with tables reshuffling.

Looked forward to room service breakfast...but Mom had forgotten to put room # on the hang card, and huge fans blew it off the door. Note to RCCL: the graphics are nice on the card but they obscure the text. called room service, said no problem, it would take half hour to 45 minutes. Took an hour. So missed the stampede for Monday pm ice show tickets, and settled for Wed night tickets. Sister next door didn't get her hot tea on multiple days. Tues: looked forward to room service breakfast. Mom forgot to put time on hang card. Room service called at 5 am, rang once (waking mom)then left message.

Tried to use computer to check on private tour of Jamaica. Computers down. Reported them down. Went off to Cozumel for fun shopping and lunch. Before getting off ship checked with guest relations, who decided my card was demagnetized. Insisted on issuing a new card. Didn't transfer soda stamp, 2 for 1 daily special or wine stamp. Didn't tell me they were canceling old card (which continued to work on cabin door) so I left new one in room and couldn't get off ship. Left mom in blazing sun while I raced back to room. On return to ship went to guest relations to get stamps transferred (why didn't they do it to begin with?)and found they wouldn't/couldn't transfer wine stamp. Told me to deal with dining room directly. I insisted they fish the old card out of the trash so I would have proof of wine purchase. Good thing I did, as the dining room refused to issue another stamp. Oh yes, it was a computer problem not my card, in the end. Spa: had a great 3 item mini spa for $99--facial, neck massage and foot massage. Sister's prepaid massage never showed as a booking.

Shows: In general the shows have gotten better or I have gotten older. Tribute to MoTown was super, one of the best I have ever seen. Singers and dancers were wonderful in broadway tributes, esp Jeremy and Corey. Piano Bar adjacent to casino was good. Ice show was the best of all.

Casino: Paid off better than Celebrity and Princess, at least the slots did. Don't understand why they didn't enforce no smoking rule.

Shore excursions: We booked one $19 trolled ride in Grand Cayman, which was well worth the $$. I booked a private trip with Marva Shaw, a great lady. I found it very very important to be specific. We wanted to see and do, not eat and shop.

Ship size: We will not book on a ship this large again. We were always in the most crowded places, especially trying to get into dining room while ice show exiting and photos being taken. Promenade impassible during sales and parades. I encountered serveral elderly folks who felt very crowded and dizzy.Elevators were totally inadequate, often had to add 15 minutes to destination. Disembarkation: Difficult, crowded, not enough customs officials. Got on bus for Hobby airport. No one to load bags, so some of the passengers did it. Told to get off bus, collect luggage, and go to another bus 100 yards away, which we did. Then told to go back to original bus, again with luggage. Someone loaded my bags, at that point I didn't care. At Hobby, told to find and unload own bags. We could have booked a private limo for what this cost us, and will do so in the future. Oh yes, remember the soda stamp? A nice lady from Guest Relations called me repeatedly to let me know they were still checking. In her last call she mentioned that she had sent me a RCCL souvenir for my trouble. Guess what? It had not arrived. In conclusion we had a great time despite minor problems. Guest relations tried hard. Our problems were with "corporate", in terms of lost reservations and dining room mix ups and computer glitches. I still shudder when I think of the wet germy carpets. And nothing will fix the sense of being crowded and pushed and shoved in the public areas. So I am back to the small ships---you know, the ones without ice rinks and climbing walls and water slides. Less

Published 02/16/10

Cabin review: 7636

this cabin may have wet floors all the time--the crew had the fans out before we arrived. Quiet, good location re the public areas.

Port and Shore Excursions

Cozumel has rebounded quite nicely from the hurricane. It is clean, seemingly prosperous and an amiable city. We didn't go to the beach parks because this was our fourth trip, and we have been there. Snorkeling, which I have done there previously , would have been fun.

Read 5492 Cozumel Reviews

We took a one hour trolley tour, and our guide was a local fireman/paramedic, who knows quite a lot about the country, the local government,and the Cayman lifestyle. I would highly recommend this tour. We have done the sting rays etc. Mom (89 years young) went back to the ship for lunch etc. My sister and I shared a taxi ($4 each) went to a local beach club ($5 admission, more for chairs) , which we really enjoyed. There was a restaurant/bar and we had a nice lunch-- she had the blue cheese burger and I had the grilled chicken with basil mayo sandwich, both with fries, for about $10 each. The sand was fine, the water clear, and we shared a van ride back to the ship with two dancers from the show, both 18 and the youngest crew members. We tried to do a little shopping but the stores were picked over and the price of gold high.

We booked a private tour with Marva Shaw. She is excellent and I would heartily recommend her. We wanted to do something different,not water sports, not the falls, not shopping--and here we ran into trouble. I planned the trip for Mom, my sister and myself. We ended up with 14 of us in a small bus. We thought we would be going to a bird sanctuary, Rose Hall and a plantation. Our guide, on meeting us on the pier, said we would not have time to do all three, due to the conditions of the roads and the distance involved. So we chose to drop the plantation, as many of us have seen bananas growing etc. The bird sanctuary was a private home on top of a mountain in the "jungle", where the owner, over a period of years, tamed thousands of hummingbirds to perch on a finger and drink nectar. So we did that, and also hiked and had a talk on the local plants and their uses. I enjoyed it and everyone was polite, but I think that some of our group were looking for something a bit more dynamic. Rose Hall was spooky and spectacular. We were the only tourists at that time and the guide was excellent. We could have followed up with lunch, or shopping, but our 3 hours was up and many wanted to return to the ship for lunch and the afternoon. My sister wanted to go to the beach, and we had come prepared with suits and towels. We dropped everyone else off at the ship. The guide from Marva Shaw took us to a private local beach club and arranged for another guide to pick us up several hours later. The beach club was great fun--we had jerk chicken and a Red Stripe. At the appointed time our driver came on to the beach and approached us. He was in uniform, driving a 30 person van, and for $5 each he returned us to the ship. This was above and beyond on the part of our Marva Shaw guide, but maybe it also reflects the economy of Jamaica.

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