Vision of the Seas, part of Royal Caribbean's Vision Class of ships, is known for its stunning glass exterior -- more than 2 acres of glass were incorporated in its construction back when it launched in 1998. Nowhere is this more breathtaking than in the ship's Centrum, which spans five decks. A glass-topped dome floods the space with bright sunshine.
While Royal Caribbean is known for some of the largest ships on the ocean today, Vision is midsized, holding about 2,500 at double capacity. Passengers seeking some of the bigger attractions found on the larger ships -- such as water slides, skating rinks and the like -- won't find them on Vision of the Seas. There are just two pools: one general pool and one adults-only Solarium. That said, even during peak spring break travel, it was rarely difficult to find a deck chair.
A ship that is more than two decades old is bound to show some wear and tear. We saw this in some of the staterooms, with some discoloration on the walls and well-worn carpeting and furniture. However, most of the public areas seemed clean, comfortable and well-maintained, and the glass gave the ship a bright glow throughout.
What Vision doesn't offer in bells and whistles or the latest-and-greatest thrills, it makes up for in an enthusiastic cruise director and crew and low-tech onboard entertainment, such as the wildly popular trivia sessions and evening game shows. Younger passengers and families seem to enjoy the opportunity to unplug and just have fun on this ship.
In general, Vision of the Seas provides a good value, and maybe a good entry into cruising for people who might be intimidated to try a larger ship. Its shorter itineraries will help give you a good sense for whether cruising is an ideal vacation for you. For travelers who don't mind making their own fun, getting involved in the low-tech onboard activities, there is more than enough to stay busy during a shorter sailing.
Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Dress Code
During the day, swimsuits, cover-ups, shorts and tank tops are par for the course aboard Vision of the Seas. The ship's shorter four- and five-night itineraries feature only one formal night in the main and specialty dining rooms, and the rest are deemed "casual." Shorts, tank tops and baseball caps are specifically not allowed, but we did observe a few passengers skirting these rules. For the most part, people wear sundresses, long pants and casual or button-down shirts to dinner. Formal nights range from special occasion wear, like beaded dresses and suits, to sundresses -- and many passengers opt not dress up at all. There are typically a couple of theme nights, such as "1970s" and "Tropical," which are completely optional.
Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Gratuity
Passengers are automatically charged $14.50 per person, per day for gratuities, or $17.50 per person, per day for suite passengers. These tips are shared among dining staff and stateroom attendants. When you order a drink at the bar, enjoy a spa treatment, dine at a specialty restaurant or take a fee-based fitness class, you'll be automatically charged 18 percent for gratuity -- and there's a line to add an extra tip, if you wish.
Note: Australians and New Zealanders do not have the stateroom service charge added to their daily account; fares automatically include this gratuity as long as it was booked in AU/NZ dollars.