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Vision of the Seas Cruise Review
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1229 Reviews

Copenhagen to Venice - A Wonderful Cruise

Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by tomcruiser7

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2010
  • Destination: the Western Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Large Ocean View Stateroom

Overall, we were very satisfied with the cruise. The itinerary was wonderful with great places to see. The staff on the Vision were terrific, food was great, and many activities were available. The ship is older and so the cabins (even though very well maintained by the staff) had old TV's, limited stations, and few amenities (e.g., no refrigerator). We had an oceanview with a full picture window. Some of the oceanviews come with a porthole or split window.

We were traveling with another couple on this cruise and we divided the port research and plans between us. We embarked (9/11) from Copenhagen. Make sure you know which pier you are leaving from. We were at Frihavnen (Freeport). If you don't have too many bags, it is relatively easy to get to by train. Get your ticket (35 DKK per person - around $7) at the airport to the Nordhavn station (you will take the train from the airport to Oosterport station and change there for the train to Nordhavn - one stop past Oosterport). It is a walk of about 300 yards from the train station to the pier. Many people were doing this including the people disembarking in Copenhagen from the previous cruise. The other option is a cab if you can split the cost - around 400DKK - $80 depending on traffic or use RCCL shuttle (I believe it was about $36 per person). Embarkation was well run by RCCL, even though we arrived early (9:30 AM). We did get on board at 11 AM and our room was ready by 1 PM.

Our early dinner seating (6 PM) was supposed to have linked our bookings so we would have dinner together. That didn't happen and the dining room management was unable/unwilling to move us so we could be together unless we wanted the late seating. The other choice was My Time Dining which we chose (you must prepay your gratuities with this choice), and which worked out wonderfully. We were able to have a 6 PM table for 4 by a window every night with the same staff who couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. The food was excellent, however, we were disappointed that this ship no longer serves Lobster. They have replaced that with extra-large prawns which we felt were subpar.

The shows on the ship varied in quality. The RCCL dancer/ Broadway shows were average. The special entertainers (comedians, magicians, and a Beatles Impersonation group) were terrific.

Excursions - For most ports, we did our own planning and arranged for our own excursions. The ship and crew (including the cruise director) had never been to Cartagena, Spain, and offered "that we would all learn about the port together". We also found it difficult getting information on doing things on your own for Split, Croatia.

Disembarkation Day - Venice 9/24 - The disembarkation process went well as long as you followed the instructions. When you received your luggage tags the night before leaving, RCCL was very good about letting you change your colored tag for another so you could leave when you wanted. As they warned, luggage would only be available based on the time associated with your tag. The ship docked at 6 AM as scheduled. We left the ship around 8:15 AM, our luggage was found quickly, and we headed to the airport. A short walk from the cruise terminal, is the Venice People Mover. It costs 1 euro (there is a ticket machine that takes bills and gives change) and runs like a small monorail. You take this to Piazzale Roma. When exiting, you will see a central area with many buses. Make a left at the corner and you will see the ATVO ticket store where you purchase the ticket (3 euro pp) for the airport. We were going to Marco Polo airport which is the most popular. They also sell tickets to Treviso Airport, but only a few small airlines are there. When leaving the ticket store, go straight and to the right side of Piazzale Roma looking for stop D2. When the bus arrives (make sure it says Marco Polo), load your bags underneath and upon entering, validate your ticket at the machine by the driver. The bus ride to the airport took about 25 minutes and we arrived around 9:15 AM. Unfortunately, the Venice airport was a disaster. The escalator to Departures and Ticketing wasn't working and there are only a couple of elevators available. Eventually, the escalator started running again. When reaching the Departures and Ticketing area, it was a total zoo. Five cruise ships had disembarked that morning and the airport, security, and airline personnel were totally overwhelmed and unprepared. It was chaos! Crowds were everywhere, with no room to walk. Our airline (Lufthansa) would not allow us to check-in, until their earlier flight had departed. So they had everyone standing around, making things even more crowded and chaotic. If passengers had been able to check their bags and go through security, things would have been much better since the gate areas had plenty of open space and shops to keep everyone happy. The airline agents were rude, had little information, and showed no customer skills whatsoever. We were finally checked in and through security at Noon - our flight was 12:55 PM, but was delayed until 2 PM. We almost missed our connecting flight in Munich to the US. It was scheduled to leave at 3:20 PM, we boarded it at 3:05 PM and it left at 3:30 PM. I will say that both flights and plane personnel were excellent, just the staff and airport in Venice that were horrible. People we spoke to that day said they had never seen Venice airport like this. It is usually well run, but not on this day! Next time I will see how many ships are in port, and decide if its worth staying an extra day.

The ship is going into drydock at the end of November for a 10 day overhaul. It sounds like many of the open areas will be refurbished - not sure about the cabins.

Improvements that I would like to see are: additional or upgraded TV stations. Those provided on the ship have limited American news or sports information. Additionally, the ship does not provide the daily newspaper shorts that other ships have to keep us informed of world activities. Even though we never used it, after 9 PM, the only food available is in the Spa lounge and consists of pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs. I would suggest they also add a small snack like cookies, to be included in the offering. Also would like the return of the nighttime chocolates that we received on our pillows on other ships.

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