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15 Royal Caribbean Oslo Cruise Reviews

Europe, of course is great as always Good and comfortable ship with generally good food and entertainment. Guest services is abysmal. Boarded at Oslo. It was raining and no one from the ship came to get the approx 12 of us. The ... Read More
Europe, of course is great as always Good and comfortable ship with generally good food and entertainment. Guest services is abysmal. Boarded at Oslo. It was raining and no one from the ship came to get the approx 12 of us. The port authorities then took pity on us and allowed us onto the boarding area but the ship guys just wouldn't let us in and made us stand in the rain waiting for someone from the guest services to come with our papers. It was only after we protested very loudly that someone finally appeared and let us out of the rain. However no one was there to help us with our bags which we had to haul into the ship, onto and off the xray machines, to deck 4 for immigration, then further still to deck 5 for check in formalities and then finally all the way to the other end of the ship to the cabin. Ship had to reschedule due to bad weather and skip the stop at Zeebrugge where we were to get off so we had to get off two days earlier at Helsinki. Guest services again were not too bothered about any problems this may cause us. Offered us ONE phone call for us to rearrange our schedule. No thanks. We did it ourselves on the net which, of course, they charged a pretty penny for. I asked for a letter from them explaining the rescheduled program so I can lodge a claim with the insurance company. Yes sir we will try and give you something, we were told. But till the last nothing was forthcoming and i have been told to write to the "company" for it. Of course, no mention of any compensation/refund or even any genuine regret at our discomfort. Finally, no one to help with the bags for deboarding at Helsinki. Had to haul them ourselves all over the ship and off it. Wish they pay as much attention to the comfort of the guests as they do to the dining and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Took a family cruise out of Oslo, Norway to St. Petersburg, Russia, Tallin, Estonia and Copenhagen, Denmark. Overall we were happy with RCL (it's our 3rd cruise with them), the ship and the services that they provided so we will most ... Read More
Took a family cruise out of Oslo, Norway to St. Petersburg, Russia, Tallin, Estonia and Copenhagen, Denmark. Overall we were happy with RCL (it's our 3rd cruise with them), the ship and the services that they provided so we will most likely cruise with them again. As usual, the Adventure Ocean kids' club was a huge hit with our kids. Only a couple of things that I wanted to mention. 1) We loved the ports of call. However, the ship is not in port long enough in Denmark and Estonia. We took ship sponsored shore excursions. Spent a lot of time in a tour bus taking pics as we flew by major attractions. Would have been nice if the shore excursions had been longer/more detailed so we could have taken more time to see the attractions. St. Petersburg was the highlight of this cruise. We did a detailed, private tour of the city with Best Guides. Was an 11 hour excursion but the most detailed and enjoyable excursion we've ever been on. The ship didn't sponsor this excursion. 2) Overall the ship was clean. However, they allowed smoking in the casinos and right outside of the sliding glass doors on the pool deck. For us nonsmokers, we had 2 concerns with this arrangement. a) they put the free ice cream machine for the passengers in the smoking section on the pool deck. so anyone (kids or parents) getting ice cream was forced to breathe in secondhand smoke. i also felt sorry for the kids forced to sit with their parents in this section while they puffed up a storm. b) because they allowed smoking in the indoor casino (which is an open room), the faint smell of cigarettes could be detected in the nonsmoking areas of the ship as well. 3) The ship is not very big (2,300 passenger) compared to the newer ships that are coming out. Over time, it becomes a bit of a struggle for the parents to find something to do on a boat that size. And with only 3 ports to visit on this particular cruise, you are on this boat an extra day (past cruises on other ships were 4 ports in 7 days). Last year, we took the same size ship to Alaska. There were 18 of us on that trip (versus us 4 this year) so we didn't notice that there weren't that many things to do on the boat of interest to us. The next time we cruise, we will look for a bigger ship or invite more people to cruise with us on a smaller ship that stops in more than 3 ports. 4) I would say 90+% of the folks on this cruise were retirees. Not a deal breaker by any means. The cruise was still quite enjoyable. However, it would have been more entertaining for us as a younger family if we could have cruised with more families with younger kids. In spite of that, our kids didn't have any problem finding a couple other kids to play with regularly thanks to RCL's Adventure Ocean program. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We were impressed with the embarkation process in Oslo but a little alarmed when one of our suitcases didn't arrive. After several hours trying to find out what happened, we were told that it was being held by security. As another ... Read More
We were impressed with the embarkation process in Oslo but a little alarmed when one of our suitcases didn't arrive. After several hours trying to find out what happened, we were told that it was being held by security. As another reviewer mentioned, a phone call or message from the steward would have been nice. We were told the message service on the phone system was not working that day (and many other days by the sound of it). The problem items in our suitcase included a bottle opener that Cunard had given us (OK for them but not Royal Caribbean apparently) and a pocket knife with a blade about a third of the size of the steak knives used in the dining room. What a fuss and waste of time as we were sent on a wild goose chase around the ship and then no security officer around for the people waiting. Not a great start to our first (and most likely last) cruise with Royal Caribbean. We ate supper in the Aquarius Dining Room and our waiters (especially Clifford) were quite good. Forget about eating in the dining room for other meals though as service is terrible. Staff are hard to find and are quick to direct you to buffet tables for many menu items and never offer a refill on coffee. So that means you have to head to the buffet. Find a table first or you will be wandering around while your food gets cold. And be prepared for the extremely bad manners and gross behavior of some of the other 'guests' at the buffet. One man ahead of me in line at breakfast practically crawled under the sneeze guard to help himself to a dish. Gross. After getting his head and shoulders all the way under the guard he grabbed the dish and dumped most of it on his plate (dude, I think that was a garnish). Needless to say, I went to another section of the buffet to get my meal. We found the public areas of the ship to be very pleasant and bright but got confused getting around occasionally. Entertainment was generally OK except for the last night when it was absolutely terrible. The Entertainment Director and his staff were great - better than some of the headliners! Please do yourself a favor and don't ever bring that unicycle rider back! Our inside cabin was pretty shabby and the decor is definitely dated. Storage was a bit of an issue. We booked this cruise because of the ports and we really enjoyed them all, especially Paris, Liverpool and Edinburgh. We were upset with ship staff that insisted there was no alternative but their shuttles and tours from the pier in Dublin and Edinburgh. Always a lie and an expensive one as well! The ship is built for fair weather cruising and we felt a lot of motion even when the seas were slight. This cruise worked with our schedule (fit right in between two transatlantic crossings) but we were not impressed with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This ship has been recently refurbished and is beautiful and functional. The attitude and service level of the crew and staff could not have been more delightful, courteous, and outstanding. The Ship's Captain is an extremely ... Read More
This ship has been recently refurbished and is beautiful and functional. The attitude and service level of the crew and staff could not have been more delightful, courteous, and outstanding. The Ship's Captain is an extremely no-non-sense, experienced and professional individual--generates a lot of confidence regarding his capabilities, commitment to his profession and to safety--very, very impressive professional. Food and dining options were fine. Entertainment on some nights as an "A"; other nights a "B". DOWNSIDE: 1. The TV choices on this ship are awful--so bad that we will never use Royal Caribbean again. Our waiter agreed with us and said, "Please, please put this in your comments; we live on this ship and we know how awful the TV is." I discussed this with several key crew officials. They know and it is not a priority to them. One comment: "We have a limited entertainment budget and we choose to use it on quality showtime entertainers and not on paying for better TV programming." Nuts! NCL has as good of onboard entertainment as we have ever seen AND they have CNN and other good TV programming. (On Vision of the Seas, you get NO U.S. news--we went almost three weeks with no info about our home country.) A few TV shows or movies are played over and over again; e.g., One episode of "The Good Wife" played 4 times a day every day. We enjoy relaxing to TV on certain evenings or certain afternoons during sea days but not on this ship. 2. Staterooms are a little smaller than on other ships. We noted certain interior staterooms were like walk-in closets in size. Out ocean view stateroom was 152 sq ft--a tad smaller than other ships, but configured in such a way that the head of the double head had to be at the window. Hence we could only enjoy the window view if we stood up at the foot of the bed. Note: some ocean view rooms have a large rectangular window; others have one or two small round port holes. 3. This ship is smaller than other cruise ships we have been on. Hence in the open seas you feel more motion. One night, with a cross wind, the ship was quite uncomfortable with rocking--and we were on the third deck. We could only imagine how bad the motion was on say, decks 7 or 8. Bottom line: Very nice ship with outstanding service and food options. Would never sail on this ship (or this line again) due to indifference to TV programming, size of ship, size and configuration of the ocean view state room. BUT: We certainly felt we were in good hands with the amazing skills, experience, and confidence of our Captain. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We have cruised with NCL and Princess several times before and this was our first cruise with RCL. Pre-cruise information from RCL was very scarce compared to NCL and Princess. Since we were going on consecutive cruises, we needed ... Read More
We have cruised with NCL and Princess several times before and this was our first cruise with RCL. Pre-cruise information from RCL was very scarce compared to NCL and Princess. Since we were going on consecutive cruises, we needed additional information on how this will be handled. It was difficult to get an answer from RCL representatives. Day of Embarkation - We booked airport transfers since we do not want the hassle after an overnight transatlantic flight from Canada to Oslo. We were met by a representative and were informed to wait at a designated area for other passengers. This was the only information we received. It was disappointing and confusing to hear from another passenger that she checked her e-mail and there was an advisory from RCL that due to the public sector strike in Oslo, the Vision of the Seas is actually in Gothenburg and that we will be transported there. We could not get any information from any RCL representative to confirm this. When we reached the port, there was no one announcing anything to the passengers and it was total chaos. We were only told to go through the embarkation process and pick up a sandwich/drink for the ride to Gothenburg. Again, no one from RCL was providing any additional information. The ride was very tiring - after a transatlantic flight - and we had babies who were crying non-stop throughout the long drive. Simply, not a good start to a cruise. Stateroom - We had a large interior stateroom. It was difficult to find it first since it was tucked in another side hallway. However, it was very quiet and the interior arrangement was great for the long days of light. The size was good for two adults but it is not recommended beyond that number. Also it was very noisy at the end of the cruise since it was near the service elevators used by the stateroom attendants to bring the bags down. The amenities were barebones - shampoo and soap. No refrigerator and ice was only available on request. Turn down service with no chocolates but our stateroon attendant made up for it with nightly towel art display. Our attendant, Christian, was very helpful, reminding us to wear our raincoats for potential rain and to wear additional portection for the chilly weather. Dining Options - The Vision of the Seas is one of the older ships of RCL so it does not have alternative restaurants on board. We selected early dining at 6:00 p.m. and the menu choices were actually excellent. Portion servings were pretty decent-sized. We prefer eating at the main restaurant, Aquarius, even for lunch since the menu choices are also quite excellent. The buffet restaurant, Windjammer, has the same selections as the main restaurant. However, it was almost always crowded. It closes at 10:00 p.m. - and that is the problem. There is no other non-paying option except the Solarium Cafe. The Cafe serves only pizza and sandwiches. One can get pretty hungry at nights at the Vision of the Seas. However, you get what you pay for - Vision of the Seas was bare bone cruising compare to the other cruises we have taken before but the price was reasonable. Entertainment - Relatively decent and acceptable for the price. Lots of choices for dancing, karaoke and afternoon trivia games. Ship Information - Although relatively old, the Vision of the Seas has retained its old world elegance. The Centrum has beautiful views of the sea. The Masquerade Theater has pretty decent seating arrangement, the lounges and bars are decorated in understated ways. The Solarium is a haven for chilly days at sea. The Library is designed in the old sea days kind of vibe. Service - This seems to be a happy crew. Everyone is quite accommodating, most especially the Guest Relations and Port Excursions staff. I like to especially mentioned Denis He from Guest Relations - no questions were left unanswered and he accommodated all our requests within reason. It was easy to cancel trip excursions or make last minute changes. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We pick cruises based upon the destination and the ports. This cruise included Oslo, Copenhagen, Riga, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. This was only a seven night cruise and it included 6 countries. No other cruise line offered ... Read More
We pick cruises based upon the destination and the ports. This cruise included Oslo, Copenhagen, Riga, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. This was only a seven night cruise and it included 6 countries. No other cruise line offered this same itinerary. Even RCI offered it only once (our cruise in July 2011). We also liked the "one way" nature of the cruise so we could arrive early in Oslo and stay later in Stockholm. We had never cruised with RCI, lately NCL and Regent. So, we had an Owners' Suite which are the largest 8 suites on the ship (except for the one Royal Suite). We stayed two nights in Oslo prior to leaving on the cruise. We stayed at the Thon Hotel by the Opera House. This Thon hotel is right next to the train station so was more convenient for airport transportation rather than convenient to the port. The RCI port in Oslo is not far from the main tourist area and downtown but the cab ride was still about 300 kroners. As a suiteholder, we had access to a speed-line that basically let us cut in front of all other passengers. The check-in was simple and quick and then we took off for our cabin --- no one escorted us to our cabin, offered us drinks, etc., just "go and we'll see you later". The cabin was very nice and very comparable to the same class of suite on NCL. Kingsize bed which could be separated from the sitting area, nice jetted tub and separate free-standing shower, 2 sinks, 2 TV's and a very large balcony with 2 cushioned recliners. There was no directly-assigned concierge or butler. When you would call the "special" extension for suite services, you would get various people in Guest Services dept.-- much different from NCL. For suiteholders, there was free wine and champagne every night in one of the lounges (a come as you want 3 hour designated area). Very nice touch. Also, you had special balcony seating for the shows, however, no one ever checked our cards. One show was completely full and so was our section with non-suite holders. We bought the pre-paid "My Time Dining" which included prepaying gratuities. This seemed to have no bearing on the service, which was wonderful. However, they seat you in the same general area each night (and try to seat you at the same table) so you have the same staff serving you each night. Because of that, they preferred to know when we planned to arrive each night so it wasn't really my time "just show-up at the door at some random time" dining. The food was great. There was always a steak, grilled chicken or fish on the "everyday" menu but each night there were about 5-6 choices for main entree, starters and desserts. We always ate dinner in the main dining room. For breakfast, we ate in the main dining room three times (in a separate section for suiteholder where we also had menu service). The other mornings we had room service. For room service, we ordered breakfast items from the regular menu (not the room service card). Room service always arrived exactly when we noted on our card. When we needed other snacks, etc, we ate from the buffet which seemed to be always crowded and chaotic. Entertainment - The regular ship singers and dancers were ordinary. The special guest entertainers were different. One was a "tennis juggler". Besides being one of the best jugglers that I have ever seen, he juggled tennis rackets too (hence the name). The other unique one was a unicyclist. He was excellent as a cyclist but unfortunately he tried to talk too much instead of sticking to his talent. Overall, I'd rate the shows "average". However, the cruise director was a female (and hot). On days at sea, the fitness center was crammed. They had 2 pools, one indoor and one outdoor. Both were nice and depending upon the weather were well used. We were not traveling with kids so can't comment on other activities but shuffle board and ping pong appeared to be popular. On day of departure, we were assigned a waiting area in one of the lounges. Once we got there, they said our bags were on the dock and we could leave. In Stockholm, there was no passport control or anything. We were at our Stockholm hotel by 9:00. Overall, we had a great cruise. The ports were fantastic and the itinerary perfect. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Overall, this was a great vacation. We took this cruise for the itinerary, as the boat was much smaller than the ones we prefer. I was slightly worried about the boat because it was small and not much to do.. But my doubts were shut down. ... Read More
Overall, this was a great vacation. We took this cruise for the itinerary, as the boat was much smaller than the ones we prefer. I was slightly worried about the boat because it was small and not much to do.. But my doubts were shut down. The crew was wonderful and the boat is kept very nice. You don't even know it's a lower class ship for rcl! Our dinner staff was the best we have ever had, and we cruise quite often!! There was another review that mentioned being sick when coming home and I laughed when I read it. Sure enough though, my mom and I both came home and had caught the sickness. Apparently the norweigens are bad about washing their hands and it spreads that way. About six people on our floor were sick. It certainly didn't ruin our trip but coming home and being sick is never fun. The staff tried really hard to prevent illness with sanitizer everywhere and hand washing videos but I guess we caught it!! The entertainment crew was great, very friendly and fun for a younger crowd! If your trip is like ours, expect mostly older people on your boat!! Our head waiter and staff were great! We had special requests and they always fulfilled them(: Sol, the cruise director, was very fun and did a great job with things! Our food was really good, just like any other royal cruise we have been on! Don't be discouraged by the picky reviews you have read on this sight, I was a little worried but you shouldn't have to worry about anything! It's a great vacation and we went to beautiful ports including Paris, Cherbourg , England, Ireland, and Scotland. If you're not picky, expect to have a great time. It is up to royal Caribbean standards, entertainment and food and cleanliness up to par. It's no oasis of the seas, but that's okay!! I had a great time and sad it's over:( Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I purchased this cruise as a 65th present for my mother. She comes from New Zealand and has never cruised before. The actual cruise was for 7 nights from Oslo to Copenhagen, Tallinn & St Petersburg. This is the first ... Read More
I purchased this cruise as a 65th present for my mother. She comes from New Zealand and has never cruised before. The actual cruise was for 7 nights from Oslo to Copenhagen, Tallinn & St Petersburg. This is the first "short" cruise I've done and had not previously experienced one of Royal Caribbean's smaller ships. The first thing to say about the Vision of the Seas is that it now has a distinctly tired feel to it. The entertainment over the week was pretty poor with only one real show the remaining nights were filled by single performers, which were "ok". The cruise we were on had period of 2 consecutive days at sea, one of which was raining & windy. This is really where the smaller ship falls down as there is very little to do. I have to admit that I'm rapidly going off Royal Caribbean as a company as the whole of the cruise experience is becoming a big sales opportunity - & I mean "hard sell". At almost every turn someone is trying to sell you something. Next time I book a cruise I'll be making sure I book on a larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We cruised onboard Vision for 8 days on a back to back cruise in June, we have cruised a few times before, but weren't looking forward to this cruise due to the negative reviews on Cruisecritic. However, we were pleasantly surprised. ... Read More
We cruised onboard Vision for 8 days on a back to back cruise in June, we have cruised a few times before, but weren't looking forward to this cruise due to the negative reviews on Cruisecritic. However, we were pleasantly surprised. We spoke to people from different nationalities and for a lot of them this was their first cruise and they really enjoyed it, we spent the first couple of days comparing it to Princess, then decided to snap out of it and enjoy the cruise. We had an inside cabin which I wouldn't do again, having cruised with RCCL before I feel their cabins are smaller, don't know if this is a fact or due to the layout, but definitely claustrophobic at times. I thought the ship itself was nice, did not notice too much wear and tear as others have commented on. We enjoyed the food, we had anytime dining and usually ate at 8pm, for the first four days this was extremely unorganised, you are eating in the same dining room as the 8.45pm seating and everything was geared towards them. For the second four days however, we managed to book the same table at the window for 8pm every night, this went more smoothly and we enjoyed great views as it stayed light until around 11.30pm. Ports of Call We never book a ship excursion unless there is no other way to get there, this cruise was perfect for doing your own thing. Copenhagen - We walked from the ship, about 15mins to the centre, we went on a canal tour, had lunch, wandered for a while and got back to the row of shops at the ship just as the rain started. Tallinn - beautiful place, around a 10min walk from the ship, we walked around the cobbled streets to the highest point for great views, visited a couple of churches and had lunch in the square. Most of the centre of Tallinn has free wifi, so a great place to use your laptop. At the cruise ship dock they also had about 30 stalls all selling local crafts and gifts to take home, some were really lovely. Stockholm - there was a free shuttle bus here which dropped you at the nearest station, it was then just a couple of stops to Gamla Stan in the centre of Stockholm. We had a great time just wandering around here, although we spent ages looking for an ATM to get money from, if I went again I would exchange money beforehand. St Petersburg - Spectacular city, one day is just not enough! We booked a 12 hour trip through TJ Travel and I would thoroughly recommend them. We were one of the first off the ship around 8am, our tour guide Anna was waiting as we got through customs, we had agreed to share the tour with another couple, the four of us were taken to a Mercedes van, which was very luxurious, included water and a gift bag from TJ. We had a quick city tour and then were taken to a gift shop to pay for our tour, I thought this was a scam, but the shop was really cheap with most gifts 3 or 4 times cheaper than the ship! Our tour included the Hermitage Museum, Catherine Palace, Petergof and the fountains, Hydrofoil ride and Church of the Spilled Blood, it was a great tour but we were completely exhausted at the end, Anna our guide was both friendly and informative. All in all we really enjoyed this cruise; we couldn't fault the staff, they went out of their way to be friendly and helpful, also full marks to the cruise director and his assistant who done a brilliant job. Finally, others have written about people having no manners, we have found this on every cruise we have been on no matter what the nationality. It does make us angry at times but we just have to remember we are on holiday and make the most of it! I'd definitely recommend the 4 day cruise for anyone wanting to try cruising for the first time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Let me preface this review by saying that we recognize the challenges that arise due to an outbreak of the Norovirus, and have accounted for those challenges in this review. My wife and I have taken 7 cruises, all of them on Royal ... Read More
Let me preface this review by saying that we recognize the challenges that arise due to an outbreak of the Norovirus, and have accounted for those challenges in this review. My wife and I have taken 7 cruises, all of them on Royal Caribbean. We are in our mid 40s and have been married 23 years. We opted for this 9-night cruise out of Oslo, Norway instead of a 7-night Mediterranean cruise mostly due to price-per-night when airfare was factored in. Prior to sailing, we stayed at the Thon Munch Hotel in Oslo. It's a great hotel to start a cruise vacation because the rooms are only slightly larger than an outside stateroom. The bathroom fixtures are the same that we have seen in the cabins on RCI ships! The main difference is that the bathroom floor is heated and the bed is more comfortable. The hotel was quiet, clean and comfortable. We booked a room with the breakfast option. The breakfast buffet included scrambled eggs, soft-boiled eggs, a variety of cereals and fruits, cold cuts, cheeses, artisan bread, pickles and one of my new favorites; pickled herring. Free wi-fi was available throughout the hotel. It is a short walk to the "main" downtown area restaurants and sights. It was a nice walk from the hotel to Vigeland Park on the morning before we sailed. It's a 15 minute cab ride from the Thon Munch to the pier. The hotel front desk clerk (never went home?) was kind enough to call the cab company without charge. After sailing on Radiance, Voyager and Freedom class vessels, the smaller size of the Vision of the Seas seemed like a pleasant change. We booked a balcony guarantee about 8 weeks prior to sailing. We were upgraded to a Junior Suite just a few days after making the reservations. We boarded the ship in Oslo at about noon on May 6, 2010. Since we were in a suite, we were able to go into the short line. The cabins weren't expected to be ready until 2:00 p.m., so we went to the Windjammer and had a little lunch, and wandered the ship a bit. At 2:30 we were given the "all clear" that our cabins were ready. We didn't discover till later that ours wasn't really ready. The bed was made, but little else was done (tub felt slimy, toiletries were used, room not vacuumed). This should've been a warning sign of things to come from the cabin steward. We were in Suite 8084, second from last aft cabin on the starboard side. As far aft as we were, the ship's motion was not objectionable. We always take a Transderm Scop patches and didn't need them this time. The only night we ran into rough seas was day 2, the North Sea. Passage through the Hebrides was smooth as glass. The junior suite is considerably larger than a standard balcony stateroom; about 50% wider. The bathroom was much bigger, with dual "medicine cabinets" and a bathtub. The tub was more of a hindrance than a benefit. It was difficult to step out of since the bottom of the tub was about 6" higher than the floor. The closet is about the same size, as a normal cabin, but there are a couple of other tall narrow storage areas in the room. The widescreen LCD TV is easily viewed from the bed(s), but doesn't tilt/rotate to improve the view from the seating area. The various inputs on the TV weren't disabled like we had experienced on other ships. We hooked up the netbook via the HDMI port and watched a couple of DVDs on the days at sea. The "ship's channel" was not viewer friendly. Too much time was spent on switching between various image sources instead of using a split screen to display the information all at once. The in-suite coffee maker was a nice touch. As I mentioned, the Norovirus outbreak affected most of the cruise. In an attempt to combat the apparently ongoing outbreak, the crew was constantly disinfecting all exposed surfaces (kudos!). They used a bleach solution, but never wiped the surfaces dry (boo!). The stench of oxidized copper in the polished brass elevator to the Viking lounge was horrible. I'd like to know how many pairs of pants were ruined by leaning against wet, bleached handrails. The shops on board were not very well organized. The "booze" shop was PACKED with cases of different types of liquor. So much so that there was not enough room for two people to pass in the "aisle" - scarcely enough room for one. The jewelry shop was very spacious, with plenty of room, as was the cosmetics shop. The logo shop was the most sparsely populated. They probably should have swapped places with the booze shop. The advertised special sales (scarves, rings, etc.) never took place. The cabin steward was very personable, but never performed his duties adequately. He was obviously very anxious to make up our room as early as possible each night. Despite our repeated reminders that we have late dinner seating and he can make up the room at that time, he usually tried to get into the room around 7:30 p.m. When asked to replenish the toiletries (shampoo, conditioner and lotion), he hesitated, and said he wasn't supposed to, but would see what he could do for me. The coffee maker was filthy when we arrived on day one, as was one of the cups. He never vacuumed the room during the whole cruise. The worst infraction was that he read our comment card that I left in the room while we were at the Solarium bar. I thought it was strange that he tried explaining his performance, unsolicited, but didn't realize till later that he read the comment card. A number of times during the cruise we were charged for mini-bar items that we did not use. We ordered the water package, and had to have the charges removed from the account three times, including the final day. This was the first time I had rented a tuxedo on board. The tux was delivered late on the 2nd day of the cruise. Once it was delivered, I found that the size was wrong, and not all accessories were included. I called the number provided, and it turned out to be housekeeping. After transferring my call to the tailor, he took my information and arrived at the cabin in minutes. After a verification measurement he left and returned in about 20 minutes with all of the accessories and the appropriately sized pants. I was surprised at how readily some the staff used profanity - not in a derogatory fashion, but sort of "friendly" fashion. It's not a question as to whether I was offended or not, it is just unprofessional. There are three dining venues on board; Main Dining Room, Windjammer Cafe (buffet) and the Solarium Snack Bar. The MDR was open most days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On some sea days brunch was served. The food served in the MDR was a little better than we had on Liberty. Burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches were served in the Solarium Snack Bar. I have mixed reviews about the food service staff. They were saddled with an enormous task of individually serving everybody in the Windjammer due to the presence of the Norovirus. Perhaps that was the reason for much of their seemingly irrational behavior. Most obvious was their apparent lack of awareness of the port schedule. In more than one port, most excursions were returning at about the same time, which just happened to coincide with the time that they closed half of the Windjammer. I understand the precautions that must be taken to combat the spread of the virus, but the crew frequently left their post unmanned, and did not confront pushy passengers that reached into the bins to help themselves. The Main Dining Room staff was some of the best we've encountered. The waiter was professional, friendly and very well spoken. Each night after dinner, he always asked if we'd like to try something else from the menu. After the second night, our assistant waiter left the ship; a young woman with an apparent case of homesickness. Her replacement, Sanjay, was superb. He always made sure our water, tea, coffee was filled and never assumed that he knew what we wanted to drink, but would ask, "Would you like Diet Coke again tonight, sir?". The Head Waiter, Colin, spent more time at our table than we've ever encountered on any other cruise. He assisted with serving and bussing our table. Perhaps an artifact of the smaller ship, but the MDR wait staff seemed much more attentive. The staff at the Solarium bar was very good, despite the fact they never knew what the drink-of-the-day was. The bartender, Artur, was from Brazil and spoke English very well. After the first couple of days, he greeted us by name, and never assumed what our drink selection would be. The excercise facilities are very small, and always crowded. The area designated for the excercise classes - a "dance floor" - took up a large amount of the available space. It was by far the smokiest ship I have ever been on. I don't know if it was just that there were a higher percentage of smokers than previous cruises, or inadequate ventilation, but most of the Centrum from deck 4 to deck 7 was very smoky, all of the time. The starboard side of the pool deck was dedicated to smoking and was always smoky. At every port, disembarking was very disorganized. The crew always had two of the Seapass readers at the exit point, but only ever used one at a time. Frequently, the lines would stretch from the deck 1 door up the stairs onto deck 2 landing and into the elevator area. Similar problems were encountered in returning to the ship, with the exception of one port where they actually had both lanes operating. Also, the crew got annoyed with passengers that didn't know which way to put the card into the readers. It was strange that the two readers were different - one was card face-up, the other was card face-down. I could never tell which was which; they looked identical. The itinerary was the reason we selected this cruise. The only issue is that we didn't have enough time in any of the ports! The train trip from Le Havre to Paris is about 2 hours each way, so 4 hours of the Le Havre stop is in transit - still well worth the trip, though. Getting a cab from the train station back to the pier at 10:30p.m. is a little difficult. We went to the hotel across the street, and they called a cab for us. Edinburgh is about a 30 minute shuttle ride from the tender port. The final trip of the private shuttle is about 3 hours prior to weighing anchor. Unfortunately, those 3 hours could've been utilized on the Royal Mile. We booked excursions through the cruise line for Cherbourg (Normandy) and Invergordon/Inverness. We relied on the Hop-on, Hop-off bus in Paris and Dublin. The final disembarking in Oslo was moved earlier to allow the ship to be decontaminated. According to a crew member, over 300 passengers got sick with Norovirus on this cruise. As with other disembarkations, this was disorganized. Some staff instructed passengers to enter one line, other staff told the pax not to stand there. We purchased transfer from the pier to the airport while on board. It was fairly easy, but not as cheap as a taxi to the train station, and the Flytoget to OSL. Despite the crew issues we encountered on this cruise, I would recommend this itinerary on this ship, although I would probably opt for a stateroom without a tub - it's dangerous for those with short legs. I would encourage potential passengers to not prepay gratuities and bring cash. In retrospect, we tipped the cabin steward way too much. I probably should've told him early on that his tip will depend on the service he provides. Perhaps he would've kept the room a little cleaner and wouldn't have run up bogus mini-bar charges. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Boarding time scheduled 11am We arrived at 12:00. We were not allowed into our cabins until 2:00. We had to beg a maid to leave our bags outside the room so that we could leave the ship and visit Oslo No Welcome Aboard Party. No ... Read More
Boarding time scheduled 11am We arrived at 12:00. We were not allowed into our cabins until 2:00. We had to beg a maid to leave our bags outside the room so that we could leave the ship and visit Oslo No Welcome Aboard Party. No complimentary aspirin at front desk. You had to buy two tablets for $.50 from a vending machine or an overpriced bottle from the shop. No lobster night. No robe or slippers No iron available. No TV on treadmills. The staff does not seem to know where anything is on the ship. The ice cream dispenser never seems to be on. When it is on, they only turn on one of the two. The Solarium after hours cafe serves cold pizza and the beverage dispenser which only serves hot water coffee and ice is located at the other end of the ship The photographers seem much less experience than other cruises I have been on Considering the fact that there are 3 sea days there is very little in the way of ship activities and a very minimal selection of movies playing on the in cabin TV Never anyone to supervise computer center. I was unable to connect to the ship's WiFi with no one qualified to help me Upon arriving in Tallinn, The Cust Relation Desk told us that we did not need our passports, then announced while we where in line that we did need our passports so we had to leave the line and return to our rooms. There were no immigration officers and no need to show a passport. The line to return to the ship in Tallin was 45 minutes long. St Petersburg Before leaving US, the only excursions I could see for St P were for a min of $500. I was not aware that these were for multiple people so I had to make my own arraingements with a local travel company. It was only when on the ship that I found out that there were less expensive excursions The line to return to the ship in St. Petersburg was 30 minutes long at 5:30pm I did enjoy my vacation, but the long list of budget cut, short comings, incompetence and disorganization was very disappointing. I have been on cruises in Alaska, Mediterranean, Canada, Hawaii, Bermuda and Caribbean. I would have place Visions of the Seas at the bottom of my list of well run ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Background Information: I am a solo traveler, male, mid 40's, and have cruised on Royal Caribbean several times previously. Travel To Port of Embarkation: Though I had not pre-booked, I had no difficulty at all in adding myself to ... Read More
Background Information: I am a solo traveler, male, mid 40's, and have cruised on Royal Caribbean several times previously. Travel To Port of Embarkation: Though I had not pre-booked, I had no difficulty at all in adding myself to the RC-supplied bus-transfer group being collected at the Oslo airport. The bus ride was $36, and took approx. 45 minutes. The express train back from Oslo was quick, easy, and an even better deal. Check-in: A bit confused on the pier—perhaps because of the windy, rainy weather...? Hotel Info: Thon Hotel Astoria was an easy walk from the Central Station. Clean, no frills, ok price for downtown Oslo. Stateroom: 8011. Inside. Odd shape, near elevators but quiet, no refrigerator. Ship Info: Vision is older and smaller than many other RC ships. I knew this, but found myself disappointed after a few days at the lack of any specialty dining and other amenities. If you want / need all the newest bells and whistles, this is not the ship for you. Dining: Dining room service was excellent. The food adequate. Not up to RC's usual standards. Buffet in the Windjammer Cafe was just OK. Drink service slow. Variety poor. No late night or specialty items (Chocolate / dessert buffet, etc.). Activities: I spent quite a bit of time walking and taking photos on deck when the weather was nice. Music was good. Shows not so great. Guest-relations staff was excellent. Children's Clubs: Did not use. Service: Cabin attendant was excellent. Most bar staff good. Some waiters seemed distracted. Casino staff was particularly knowledgeable and helpful, perhaps due to a lack of patrons...? Entertainment: See above. Port & Shore Excursions: Excellent. Oslo-Copenhagen-Talinn-St. Petersburg See below. Disembarkation: Easy, thought the tent on the pier could use a bit of an upgrade—particularly in the unpredictable Oslo weather! Summary: I heard from both crew and other passengers that: a) many crew were about to depart at the end of this cruise b) that many crew and passengers had also been ill on the previous cruise (Norwalk virus?) This may explain the many little things that went wrong or seemed "off" on this cruise: - Long wait times to re-board. - conflicting answers from different crew members - sometimes poor, slow, or indifferent service - early closures, Etc. No big problems, just lots of little ones, and a seeming lack of the attention to detail and customer service that I've experienced on other RC ships. The weather was rainy for the first few days—which also put a literal damper on things. But overall, the itinerary and price were both good so it was OK, but not the special cruise it might have been otherwise. Oslo: No tour purchased, just walked the city center on my own. Vigeland sculpture park and the Viking Museums are a must. Copenhagen: Rained, but still fun. The Prehistory and "Viking" rooms in the (free) National Museum are excellent. Talinn: No need for a tour—the old town is an easy 10 minute walk, and is spectacular for history and architecture lovers, and shoppers seeking unique local crafts (hand-made linens, leather goods, glass, etc.). An $8 shuttle bus was also provided. Don't miss the overlooks from the Upper-town/castle if you want to take some good panoramic photos. Had a fun medieval lunch at the central if touristy Old Hansa. Very short time in port (10-4:30) so plan accordingly. St. Petersburg: Purchased a non-ship private tour with car & driver & blanket visa (despite RC's heavy "buy it from us or else" pushiness) with other passengers so we could see both the Catherine Palace (Amber Room) outside the city, and the Hermitage and other sites in town. Pricey, but well worth it if you have a specific itinerary you want to see, or don't like to deal with bus tours, crowds, traffic, etc. If I had it to do again, I world have chosen one of the itineraries with 2 days here as there is so much to see, and far too little time to do it any justice in just one day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
I made several cruises with Princess. I always booked a Suite and I never had problems with the quality of service. I don't mean the service of the waiter and or my room mate. I mean the service of the personal who were not paid by ... Read More
I made several cruises with Princess. I always booked a Suite and I never had problems with the quality of service. I don't mean the service of the waiter and or my room mate. I mean the service of the personal who were not paid by tips.I had 2 major problems: a) RCL booked us to the worst dining-table in the ship (at the entrance). I understand RCL Miami is responsible for this..... Do this people know everything about the different categories of guests? I would think they should give us a table for 4 at a window, because we were suite passengers and we had 2 kids in the age of 2 and 5. But they put us to a table of 8. I think not all cruise guests would like to have kids in this age at their table. After the 3rd day I went in the morning to the guest relation department. They told me they would investigate.In the evening I asked my chief waiter what he would think if he would have such a table as a guest with the most expensive suite.... He offered me another table and I got a free bottle of wine as well, great!!!!! But do you think it's the guest who should ask for another table or should it be the cruiseline who should ask if the guest is happy with the table....????? I asked him if he knew something about an investigation from the guest relation department? No, he said.b) I wanted to see a show. When we boarded I received a letter saying we are VIP guests and on all shows we have reserved seats. I asked for this VIP seats in the showroom. Nobody knew about them......Next day I went to a guest service officer. Ligia Kandler from Costa Rica were her name. First she told me this ship has no VIP seats for suite passenger. I told they should change it on the letter. After she went to her boss she told me they have always enough VIP seats. I'm wrong!!!!!!!!! How should she know that?????? Is that how you handle "VIP" guests????I told her as well the story about my dining table. She told me if I don't know the name of the guest relationship department she could do nothing....... Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This year Vision of the Seas ran a series of shoulder-season mini cruises out of Oslo during the month of May.  After seeing the prices drop as the sail date approached, we decided on the spur of the moment to take a few days off work for ... Read More
This year Vision of the Seas ran a series of shoulder-season mini cruises out of Oslo during the month of May.  After seeing the prices drop as the sail date approached, we decided on the spur of the moment to take a few days off work for a quick getaway.Ship Layout:This was our third time sailing RCCL and our second time on a Vision class ship (We'd sailed Rhapsody in the Caribbean back in 2004).  Vision seemed surprisingly well-maintained, given her age.  In general, I find the Vision-class layout to be open and easy to navigate with a few exceptions I remembered from our trip on Rhapsody.  Despite my best efforts, I still have trouble remembering the route to the spa and fitness center, and the shops on board feel like they're in an underground maze with exits at 3(?!) ends.One overwhelming positive that makes Vision a great ship for northern itineraries is the fully-enclosed solarium.  We were lucky to have astonishingly good weather sailing out of Oslo, but when the weather turned a bit damp and gray on the homeward journey, the indoor pool and bright solarium were warm and welcoming.  Some of RCCL's newer ships don't seem to have a fully-closing glass ceiling, which prohibits swimming in cooler weather.Stateroom:Since the cruise was so short, we booked an Inside Guarantee to save a few kroner.  As the ship wasn't sailing full, we ended up in a large inside cabin, midship on Deck 4, and were very pleased, especially since we'd booked just 2 weeks out.  Our cabin steward was efficient but not particularly friendly, and his attitude tended to come across as a bit surly.Fellow Passengers:With a temporary Oslo homeport and heavy local marketing, the majority of the passengers were Norwegian.  There were many families with small children and an enormous number of first-time cruisers.  As this was a generally short trip and one of the best days Oslo had seen all year, the atmosphere on board was very similar to what we experienced on our Caribbean sailing.While some announcements were translated into Norwegian, the crew continued to function primarily in English.  At dinner the maitre d' managed to find us seats at a table with two other English-speaking couples (along with two Norwegian couples).  Thankfully, most Norwegians speak almost-perfect English, so conversing with our fellow passengers was never really a problem.Food & Dining:The food was fantastic.  Our wait staff was fun, friendly, and attentive, though they made a lot of surprising mistakes.  However, given our table's challenging ordering habits and special requests, we were all willing to overlook a few blunders.  The head waiter was especially accommodating to some of our tablemates' more involved requests.Embarkation & Disembarkation:Embarkation was a little confusing, because there were very few signs or instructions on where to go.  As there is no permanent cruise terminal at the pier Vision was using, embarkation procedures were handled in a tent set up alongside the ship.  Some of our cruise documents mentioned the adjacent ferry terminal, so we first ended up there and were redirected to the shipside tent on the other side of the port area (kind of a hassle, as we were dragging our luggage).  At the tent, the staff directing everyone spoke in Norwegian, adding to the general confusion (for us at least).The actual check-in was extremely quick and smooth, and the Norwegian check-in agent was cheerful and friendly.  Despite her apologies and insistence otherwise, her English was fantastic, and she was able to quickly track down English copies of all the information sheets (those on the counter were all in Norwegian).One of our friends was working at the pier and had warned us that on the first cruise out of Oslo, there had been huge delays with people waiting around for hours as the staff tried to get the check-in system to work.  Thankfully, they seem to have worked out the kinks in the first few cruises of the season, and we had no such issues.Once on board, we were informed that the cabins would not be ready until 1:00pm.  Since the cruise was so short, many people had opted for hand luggage only, so the buffet and pool areas were quite crowded with passengers and luggage waiting for the staterooms to become ready.Disembarkation was quick and painless.  Since we had only hand luggage, we opted for early self-disembarkation and were off the ship quickly and into a waiting taxi right away.Entertainment:I can't comment on the daytime activities, as we chose to spend most of our time this cruise swimming and reading by the pool.  Evening shows consisted of musical performers and production shows, which would appeal to all language groups.Shopping:Given the Norwegian affinity for Duty-Free alcohol, we checked the on-board shops as soon as we left port and found that the ship had wisely stocked extra alcohol.  Though the stocks did deplete somewhat during the trip, I don't believe they ran into a shortage.  Though there were some Norway items in the souvenir shop, most items seemed targeted at the full Baltic itineraries (including Oslo) the ship would be running later in the summer.Ports currently not available in the Port Review option list:*** Hamburg Germany ***Rating:  3 starsWe had one port day during the trip, and our particular itinerary headed to Hamburg, Germany.  We docked in Hamburg Port at the Cruise Center, which is only a short walk from the city center.  Though Hamburg doesn't have a lot of major tourist draws, it was a pleasant place to just walk around.  The ship provided a map with some of the major sights like the town hall and historic churches marked, and we filled the day just walking around the city enjoying the canals and the Hanseatic-era architecture.Convenience - The pier location was extremely convenient for sightseeing, and actually lies within the historic and picturesque Speicherstadt customs-free port zoneAmount to do - There was enough sightseeing to fill a leisurely port day without being rushed, and we didn't feel that we missed out on much being limited to a single day in port.Highlights - Rathus (town hall), Gothic remains of Nikolaikirche (St.Nikolai's church), a stroll along Inner Alster Lake, Speicherstadt (historic customs-free port zone), Michaeliskirche (St.Michael's church) Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We booked this cruise direct with RCCI at short notice as a way of traveling in style and comfort for a short holiday to Germany to see our son, who lives there. We were Platinum C&A members when we booked (diamond now) so went via ... Read More
We booked this cruise direct with RCCI at short notice as a way of traveling in style and comfort for a short holiday to Germany to see our son, who lives there. We were Platinum C&A members when we booked (diamond now) so went via the personal booking agent and RCCI were excellent. We chose an Ocean View Guarantee, our first time using this method and were delighted with our cabin, 1082, port side and mid way between the atrium and the stern. We flew independently to Oslo and stayed overnight, also booked ourselves; wow was that expensive, never again. Embarkation was simple and very quick, onboard within 12 minutes of arriving at 12pm in our taxi. The cabins were out of bounds until 1pm but the sky bar was open and were took advantage of the sunshine, great bar staff, Carlos and Lorenzo aided by Wu Ling - look out for them, they are just great. The ship looks tired - and is ready for the refurbishment it is getting in November. We have sailed on her for each of the last three years so I suppose that why we notice the wear and tear. But as always, she is a real Jewel. The cabin was just as we expected, if not better, a full size bath and so much room there was a walk in closet. The balcony had two chairs, a table and a sun lounger and room to spare. Our cabin attendant, Nendo, was just the best ever, he looked after us very well and always responded to our calls fro extra water, ice and dry cleaning with efficient professionalism. Dinner was main sitting, at 6pm and suited us just fine. Our dinner companions were from the US, Germany and Scotland and we got on very well from the start - more new friends made. The food was the usual range of differing cuisines, good quality always hot and served by our waiter, Walter and his assistant Amico with efficiency and flair. Two of our table companions were due to celebrate their 25th Anniversary the next weekend and some of the dining room staff sang to them and presented a cake. As always the wait staff can be relied on to add that little extra in terms of entertainment. Entertainment on the ship was good; the opening night show was fun, Tango Buenes Aires was also presented (we gave it a miss, having seen it three times already) and the Backbeat Beatles were fantastic. We did miss the fun that the Trivia quizzes usually generate, as there were only 29 British and 13 Americans onboard the enthusiasm from the Scandinavians and Germans was a little low. But we did win a prize, thanks Anthony. The only port of call was Copenhagen, and having been before we did not do much at all, just relaxed. Leaving the ship in Hamburg was smooth and only marred by my one big complaint. I am disabled, walking with a cane and all the lifts were too busy to get into, the stairs were totally blocked by people sitting and waiting to leave - and no crew to move them or organize them. Even when I accidentally knocked one or two with my cane, you'd think I was the one causing a safety hazard. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
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