2010 - A Baltic Odyssey: Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by madra2112

Vision of the Seas 5
Member Since 2007
684 Forum Posts

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2010 - A Baltic Odyssey

Sail Date: August 2010
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Copenhagen
I was a little apprehensive for a while before this cruise. Vision OTS was getting a bit of a critical mauling from some quarters, from suggestions the interior decor was "tired", to intimations of grave dilapidation. The food was awful (people were LOSING weight), and some staff just wanted to get you onboard, take your credit card number, sell you every service they could, and then get you off the ship as quickly as possible.

There must be two ships called Vision of the Seas, because I certainly didn't sail on the vessel described above!

After a lovely night in Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, we stayed at the Absalon Hotel. Cheap as chips, did the job. After breakfast, we got a taxi to the port, arriving at 11am, just as the heavens opened and an almighty deluge soaked as as we were getting out of the cab. It lasted about 10 minutes, and far from being a warning of what was to come, it was the last time we got wet until we got home to Ireland, apart from a little More drizzle in Tallin and a shower in Stockholm.

After a relatively painless embarkation, we boarded the ship, and while my better half chose to sit and read near the Champagne Terrace on Deck 4, our two teens and I went to explore. Very impressed with the decor, spotlessly clean, with lots of art all around the interior. Having previously cruised on Navigator OTS and Freedom OTS, we felt the inside of Vision was nicer. Obviously she can't compete in the area of outside facilities but we always knew that. The sea is so much more visible from the public areas, I love that!.

The food was on a par with other Royal Caribbean cruises, I liked the Solarium Cafe more than I expected, but my son and daughter were slightly miffed that chips...sorry, fries were not available in Windjammer, presumably because they were in the Solarium Cafe. The Solarium sandwiches were lovely, and the availability of tea and coffee on the pool deck was welcome. Windjammer was extremely busy at times, but isn't that always the way? We had My Time Dining, and didn't expect to end up with the same wait team each night, but that's what happened. Rodrigo and Charleen were lovely, and helped make MTD "the best of both worlds" as far as we were concerned.

The solarium was lovely, and had a sign saying it was restricted to adults. It wasn't. Obviously, the Baltic is not the Caribbean, and while the weather was very bright and sunny most of the time, it was still very cool. It's reasonable that children should be allowed in the covered solarium in cold weather, and indeed, the Cruise Compass suggested "family time" from 12 noon to 2pm and 4pm to 6pm. Personally, I'd add a proviso of two hours after all aboard. However, there was no enforcement most of the time, and on a number of occasions, it seemed to be the location for a "how many kids can fit in to a whirlpool" Guinness Record Attempt. I found the steam and sauna facilities better than the other ships I've been on, but it's a shame there isn't direct access from the Solarium into the changing rooms.

The entertainment was as any Royal Caribbean guest would expect, but as is often the case in Europe, comedians are dropped in favour of juggling and magic. Indeed, the magic show and the Love and Marriage Show both suffered slightly as a result of the language barrier. Quest was a blast (and any resemblance between me and the idiot blowing a kiss into the camera on the Cruise in Review DVD is totally coincidental, honestly!), and we met some lovely people at the Meet and Mingle that we bumped into regularly on the ship.

All I can say is to my relatively untrained eye, there is nothing wrong whatsoever with Vision of the Seas. I was delighted to spend a week on her, and will happily do so again at some point in the future. Less

Published 09/14/10

Cabin review: H4564 Large Ocean View Stateroom

Connecting to 4562 where our teens were. Very handy arrangement, nice window, good use of space, very quiet despite being under Casino Royale and Promenade Deck

Read All Large Ocean View Stateroom (H) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Lovely port. A very expensive shuttle brings you close to Market Square, from where we caught the 3T tram. Again, plenty of info on the Northern Europe boards in the forum. A very informative map available from Helsinki Tourist Board, scans and a PDF version available on the forum.

Read 611 Helsinki Reviews

I don't propose to write a lot here, there is so much information in the forum all of it valid. We did a one day tour with TJ Travel. Katya was an excellent guide, and she totally changed the running order on the hoof to reflect traffic patterns. We did a city tour, followed by an interior visit to the Church on the Spilled Blood. Then a canal cruise, lunch in Stolle, the Hermitage and then Peterhof on the hydrofoil with a subway visit during the journey back. One word of advice, if going with TJ Travel, buy your souvenirs in the gift shop they bring you to pay. It's the cheapest of all the shops you visit that day, and I wish I'd known that at the time!

We took a ship's excursion to the Skyview gondola on the Ericsson globe. Very enjoyable, followed by a city tour with regular photo stops. To be honest, after the relentless walking we did in Tallin, St Petersburg and Helsinki, sitting on a bus and watching the world go by was just what the doctor ordered!

A lovely town, very manageable as a DIY port. Cruise critic member Lair Bear has produced a wonderful walking guide which is available on the Baltic and Northern Europe pages of the forum. If you do get the Royal Caribbean shuttle, it drops you off at a different gate to Lair Bear's starting point. A lovely port in which to begin our adventure.

Read 692 Tallinn Reviews

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Member Since 2007
684 Forum Posts
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