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Voyager of the Seas Review

4.5 / 5.0
1,477 reviews

Another Great Experience on the Voyager

Review for the Western Caribbean Cruise on Voyager of the Seas
2-5 Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Apr 2011
Cabin: Promenade Stateroom

Port of Galveston:This is our fifth cruise on Royal Caribbean, and our second on Voyager. While Galveston is a very convenient port for departure (about 8 hours drive for us) the port itself is fraught with aggravation. Why they cannot open a second entrance for the second terminal is beyond me.Embarkation: Once inside the terminal, the embarkation process can be frustrating, but we have learned to arrive a bit early, around 10am to avoid the long lines That still means you must wait about an hour for loading. I was surprised that my tiny pocketknife was considered contraband, but it was taken from me and stored. Unexpectedly, it was returned to me Saturday night in my room, so all is good. If one has been to a Disney park, the lines and waiting shouldn't be a problem.The Ship:The Voyager is an incredible ship, with ample nooks and crannies to satisfy any explorer. It is amazing to me that with 3100 passengers and 1100 crew, there are still places you can go on this ship where there are no people! There are large, loud bars and small quiet ones. There is the main pool area crowded with people on the desk, and then there is the Adult pool area with a lower-key level of relaxation. There is the hidden Golf Lounge near the rear, the Helicopter landing pad at the front, and a neat little window overlooking the Ship's Bridge near Deck 10. One of my favorite places is the Crown Deck which overlooks Decks 11 (Pools) and 12 (sun deck) and provides a great view of the activities below from an air-conditioned environment with bar service. Doesn't get much better. The only negative this time was a slight pungent smell of sewer odor tht seemed to always be present on Deck 5, Port side. Never had that problem before, and it was a bit annoying, but tolerable. Voyager has been around quite a while now, and is starting to show its age just a little, but the more one looks around on this ship, the more impressed one becomes with its design and features.The Crew:The Voyager crew is first rate. If I didn't know better, I would think Cruise Director Mike Szwajkowski is really a triplet, with two other clones working the same job. He seems to be everywhere at once! As you leave your room he is on TV telling you about the 3 P's allowed in the ship's toilet. In the theater he is on stage doing a cooking show. Minutes later he is on the *previously* undefeated crew dodgeball team. Wherever you see him, he is funny, informative and approachable. I cannot imagine a better cruise director. Other notable crew members are Melissa, the gold-chain-by-the-foot salesperson who opens her "shop" wherever the crowd gathers. We met her last year, and her charm and bright smile with that eastern-european accent always brings a smile to the faces of the passengers she meets. Cannot say enough good things about the waiters, both in Windjammer and in the dining room who are are always ready to serve, and anxious to visit with you. A particular star is Ryann, a fellow from the Phillippines who works as an assistant waiter at night and a server in the pool area during the daytime. His smile and bright outlook is contageous.These comments wouldn't be complete without mentioning Captain Leif Bang who, in addition to being captain of the ship, and CEO of the Voyager of the Seas corporation, is often seen mingling with passengers in the Royal Promenade, or in one of many special events. This man obviously enjoys his job, and meeting the endless faces that pass through his world each week.The Ports:Our cruise took us to Roatan, Belize City and Cozumel, and I must say this was the best group of destinations we have experienced. Roatan is surrounded by jungle, so the roads, buildings and even parked cars (if they are in one place for a few days) are covered in vines and tree limbs. We took a guided tour from the dock, which was informative and interesting. It was obvious, however, that the guides stopped only at places where the prices were a bit high... no doubt to cover their commissions. Once we escaped that trap, the shopping was interesting and reasonable. In Belize, a tiny country where the local language is English (Yea), we went on a ship's excursion with a city tour and airboat ride. The country is very small and poor, and it was interesting to hear the tourguide tell us how grateful they were to the Canadians for building them a water treatment plant, and to the Chinese for building a badly-needed bridge. A little money here goes a long, long way. The Airboat was 450HP of pure excitement! The tour crew clearly enjoyed their jobs, and were simply terrific as we "flew" from one area to another in that airboat. We saw a variety of birds, and even stopped to feed chicken to two alligators right next to the boat. Cozumel is always an enjoyable stop, but this time we did something we had never done... we walked outside the dock gates and hailed a local cab driver. For $80 this guy, who grew up on the island, took us anywhere we wanted to go, and gave the grand tour along the way. He took us to the Tequila Tour where we paid the special "cab driver" rate of $10 each instead of the ship excursion rate for entrance to a Tequila paradise. We went to several beach locations, stopping along the way for photos. We stopped for lunch at an authentic Mexican restaurant and purchased some silver and black coral from inside the home of a family who made jewelry for the big tourist shops on the main street. Our cab driver, Carlos, seemed to know everybody, and despite passing through a maze of streets where we would never have traveled on our own, we never felt unsafe. It was a wonderful trip and one which we will repeat as soon as we can.The only really bad experience we had on the Voyager was the tinder process in Belize. We had an 11am tour on shore, but wanted to leave early so we would have time to shop and see the sights beforehand. The ship crew held back those with excursions to permit the non-excursion passengers to leave first. This, even though the published procedures said those with excursions could leave anytime. One crew member even ridiculed another excursion passenger asking why they were in such a hurry when their tour wasn't scheduled until 11am! That was all it took for us to go rogue, slip around the corner and join the line of departing passengers without permission from our "guards." My wife always follows the rules, so she felt like we were escaping from jail, but she was much more relaxed when we arrived on shore without having been "captured."Disembarkation:There are two types of people... those who are content to take their time in everything they do, and who enjoy having things done for them, and those like me, who do things for themselves and don't like to wait. Royal Caribbean recognized there are many people like me, so they instituted the self-carry disembarkation process. I was up at 6:00am for breakfast, having packed the night before, I was in the LaScala theater at 7:15am with my one piece of luggage and carry-ons. I was off the ship by 7:30am and in my car driving homeward before 7:45am. While the type-1 person was waiting for 2 hours in a comfortable (but closed) bar seat to pick up his luggage in the terminal, I was well through Houston and on my way home. I appreciate the RCCL self-disembarkation procedure.Final Thoughts:We aren't big cruisers, having just completed our 5th... but this is a wonderful way to spend a week. As one passenger told me, "this is how I should have been treated all my life." Indeed, Royal Caribbean has achieved a high level of service on the Voyager. We were told that next year the Mariner of the Seas will replace Voyager in Galveston, and that Voyager will move to New Orleans. That makes for a difficult decision... stay with Voyager in New Orleans or try the newer Mariner. That decision will likely depend upon whether Mike Szwajkowski is on one or the other. Can't imagine a more enjoyable cruise without him.

Cabin Review

Promenade Stateroom

Cabin PR

Our room overlooked the Royal Promenade. We have had balcony and the no-frills rooms before... but this is what we will look for next time. The window overlooking the Promenade was great. We could always see what was going on from the comfort of our room. The shower is tight for my large frame, but it had great pressure and seemingly unlimited hot water. I highly recommend the Promenade rooms.

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