58 Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Alaska Cruise Reviews

We were not very happy with our cruise. We have been on RCCL 8 times, as well as numerous cruises on Sea Dream Yachts, Windstar, Costa, Celebrity, Silverseas, Norwegian, and Princess, and this was the worst one we were on, and will ... Read More
We were not very happy with our cruise. We have been on RCCL 8 times, as well as numerous cruises on Sea Dream Yachts, Windstar, Costa, Celebrity, Silverseas, Norwegian, and Princess, and this was the worst one we were on, and will probably cause us to avoid RCCL in the future. We know things can go wrong, and we have a sense of humor, but this cruise just was too much to take. We booked a mini-suite, which was very nice, and the cabin steward was superb. We boarded in Vancouver, which went very well. The only problem is that to save RCCL money, RCCL books the distant piers (Balantyne in Vancouver). It costs us more in taxi fares. At every stop, we were the distant ship at the remote pier. Long walks or taxi fares. Other cruise lines were docked right downtown. At the poolside bar at sail away, we asked for the drink of the day WITHOUT the souvenir glass. Sure enough, we get the glass, and the extra charge for it. I asked for a refund and they said they couldn't do it. Dinner was a nightmare every night. They just couldn't do anything right. Although the quality of the food was very good, the service was very poor. We had a table for 8. We all arrived on time at the first seating. We didn't even get our main entree when the house lights came up and the staff was doing loud vacuuming around our table. They were pushing us out for the next sitting. The other tables around us, served by the same waiters had the same misfortune. We were not taking our time eating, as we wanted to see the production show. We had to skipped desert and got to the theater too late for seats to the show. When we complained to the head waiter, he kept saying he was sorry, but never did anything to help. The wait staff was pleasant - just incompetent. The same waiters did the wine. EVERY night the wine order was wrong. They would never bring us what we ordered. I would repeat the order 3 times. I'd say "White, White, White". Yes sir, White White White" the waiter replied. When we got our wine, it was Red, Red, Red. They even screwed up the charges. They couldn't comprehend that we were charged for an extra bottle of wine. I knew that they couldn't get that right, and rather than confuse them even more, we paid for a bottle of wine we didn't order. The cocktail server would take the order from our table of 8. We asked for 1 Absolute Vodka, and 3 house vodkas. They were charged for 4 Absolute Vodkas. No big deal, but it adds up. At the pier in Skagway there was supposed to be a shuttle to the end of the pier. There was none, and there was no RCCL rep at the bottom of the gangway to direct us. We found her at the end of the pier, staying dry in a shed. Most people on the cruise thought that we would see glaciers and icebergs on this trip. Every cruise has been to Tracy's Arm, but our cruise did not stop there. They said it wasn't in the itinerary. It sure was in their advertising. The production shows were excellent. One piano player in the Schooner Lounge was very entertaining. Another one was terrible - he played all songs, even slow ballads, at double to triple time, like he was trying to rush out early. When passengers complained, he was not very nice. Funny - the first player's tip jar was full, the second one was empty. Doesn't anybody on the senior staff monitor these people? We had fun trivia contests. One, however, had 30 people waiting for the posted starting time. Passengers made 4 phone calls, and were told they were on their way. After waiting for 25 minutes, we left. We later found out that the activities staff was having a meeting. They could have sent somebody there to let us know, or left a sign, so we didn't waste our time, but they didn't. We were not interested in the bingo and art auctions (Will cruise lines every get rid of art auctions?), but we heard many loud announcements about them. I realize other people like them, but it's not for us. We wanted to have a cocktail party in our room. Our head waiter (the one who apologized but did nothing) said that he would get with the chef and order appropriate hors dourves. Guess what - he didn't. We asked for a bottle of vodka from room service. They said we had to be charged $5 an ounce. That's $160 for a $10 bottle of vodka. I'll never forget the same head waiter, standing at the front door on the final dinner night, taking tip envelopes, all the time talking to his fellow head waiter, and not even acknowledging those who were stuffing his hands and pockets. Would you want him working for you? There were several other little things that were annoying, but not worth mentioning. The ironic thing is that all of the things that went wrong could have easily been fixed, and at no cost. I regret that we did not have as good a time we had hoped. I think RCCL is now going to homogenized cruising, with little or no oversight by senior staff. There are much better cruise lines out there, and I decided that those lines will get our money in the future, not RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
We just returned from our cruise to Alaska. We were on the September 6th sailing of the Vision. In one word WOW! My wife and I traveled with one other couple and I will give the ups and very few downs of our cruise. We went in a day ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise to Alaska. We were on the September 6th sailing of the Vision. In one word WOW! My wife and I traveled with one other couple and I will give the ups and very few downs of our cruise. We went in a day early...This is an absolute must! I would have been a nervous wreck after spending so much on this cruise to have had a flight delay. We flew into Seattle and was picked up at the airport and arrived at The Westin within an hour or so. We had a beautiful room on the thirtyninth floor that overlooked downtown. We walked down to the waterfront and had some wonderful seafood at Elliott's Oyster House. We sat there and watched the ships go in and out. Then my wife and our friends began their shopping experience. We went back to the room and had a great nights sleep. Cruise Day! We got up early had breakfast and arrived at the ship around 11:30. The boarding process was easier that I had remembered. We were through the line and eating in the Windjammer within twenty minutes. Our room was not ready until one so this gave us an opportunity to tour the ship. We also used this time to confirm our table assignment. If you are from the east coast remember the time difference when selecting your dining time. Entertainment The first night we saw the Drifters, great show! The best show of the week to me was a comedy team called Wild and Hanes. There were several singers and bands that all did an outstanding job keeping the relaxed mood going throughout the cruise. Brad Cummings and Los Pampas Gauchos were also very entertaining. The remainder of the cruise was amazing we stopped in Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm, and Prince Rupert. I am not sure why Royal Caribbean makes a stop in Prince Rupert. After the beauty of Alaska it is rather anticlimactic. The journey through Tracy Arm was by far the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. We were able to view several whales and a few otters. Down Side The food was not as good as I had remembered. The quality has certainly diminished over the years, but not the quantity. The deserts were extremely good! Even many of the sugar free deserts were very good. We were in 3644 and 3646 the rooms were great, the only problem was that we were situated over the galley. Disembarking This was as smooth as boarding. We got of the ship around 9:30am and were sitting at our gate around 11:00. We are already planning our next cruise! It is going to be hard to top this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
This was a 9 day reposition cruise for the Vision of the Seas beginning in Vancouver BC, visiting Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, San Francisco and ending in Long Beach. Day1: Our flight from Denver was uneventful (that's the way I like ... Read More
This was a 9 day reposition cruise for the Vision of the Seas beginning in Vancouver BC, visiting Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, San Francisco and ending in Long Beach. Day1: Our flight from Denver was uneventful (that's the way I like them). We qualified for US Direct so we didn't have to bother with Canadian Customs, just off the plane, follow the signs and on to a bus to the pier. The ship was as we've come to expect, clean and professional, check-in was a breeze. This was our 29th cruise, 27th with RCCL and our 5th Alaska cruise, so we knew what to expect. Room: We had an inside cabin as the upper level cabins on Alaska cruises are a bit steep for us on a retirement income. The room was adequate and the attendant was thoughtful and made sure we had everything we needed. He even liked the dummy I created in the cabin chair even though it scared the pants off him. Food: Dining room service and food was excellent, not like it was 20 years ago, but still better than I expect for the price. We had a table for 4 by the window which was just right for my wife and I and our daughter and her husband. Our waiter was from India and his assistant was a young man from China. The assistant was a lot of fun because he was new and still learning, once when asked what kind of bread he had on his tray; he left and returned saying "pumpernickel, new word". I also had to remind my son-in-law that the wait staff often doesn't understand our slang. Day 2 at sea: It was a bit rougher than usual because the ship was outside rather than in the inside passage, I don't think anybody noticed as I've seen it rougher in the Caribbean. Day 3: In Juneau we went on the Mendenhall Glacier and Hatchery tour, it was good because there had been a bear in the area a few minutes earlier and everybody was psyched up. Later we rode the Mt. Roberts Tram to the top and had lunch. I didn't know that my son-in-law had a fear of heights, so he didn't look out the windows, but looked at the ceiling the entire time. Day 4: In Skagway we took the White Pass and Yukon Railroad up to the Canadian border and back, lots of ooos and ahhhhs. We had lunch at the Red Onion Saloon which is more about atmosphere than food. Day 5: We had lived in Ketchikan back in the 1960s and our daughter was born there, so the visit was mostly to show our son-in-law around town and reminisce. We had lunch at Annabelle's. Days 6 and 7 at sea: We got a tour of the bridge along with 6 other Diamond plus members. Day 8: The ship docked about 2 blocks from Fisherman's Wharf. While the kids took the Alcatraz tour we hung out in the area and did some shopping. They joined us later and we had lunch at the Hard Rock. Day9: We disembarked in Long Beach (San Pedro) and went to LAX for the flight back to Denver. LAX was a zoo! PS: I carefully read the previous review by jandon771, it's a shame that someone who claims to be a seasoned cruiser can be so misinformed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
This was the first RC cruise for my DAd and me. I flew to PDX to meet him and we drove from there to Seattle. We thought about spending the night in a hotel where we could leave the car and take a shuttle to the port, but elected to drive ... Read More
This was the first RC cruise for my DAd and me. I flew to PDX to meet him and we drove from there to Seattle. We thought about spending the night in a hotel where we could leave the car and take a shuttle to the port, but elected to drive and park in the parking garage across from the ship. This worked out very well. Having never been to the Seattle port before, I was a bit apprehensive at first, but it ended up being quite easy to park there. The garage used valet parking and even shuttled us and our luggage to the front door of the port. Upon arriving back to the port, we quickly got the shuttle back to our car and were on our way back to Oregon. We had no problem with driving in and around Seattle. As I mentioned, this was our first RC cruise. We chose it mainly because it left out of Seattle and returned to SEattle. Before this, we had both been on 2 Disney cruises and I had been on 2 Carnival cruises. I found this RC cruise to much more sedate then either of those cruises! Not saying that's bad, just not as memorable on ship as the other 2. We shared an outside cabin. After having stayed in inside cabins 3 times, I decided it's nice to be able to get sunlight into the cabin during the day. Our cabin wasn't as large as the Disney ships', but bigger then the Carnival ones. I liked that it had a love seat in it, as well as the 2 beds. It would have been nice if there was a curtain that could be drawn between the 2 beds. In fact, even though I told them we needed 2 beds, it was originally set up as one. The room stewart had to separate them. I really don't remember much about this room stewart. WE didn't see him much, but we didn't have any complaints with him. The ship itself was somewhat typical of the other ships we were on. It was nicely maintained. The buffet restaurant was on the Lido deck just like all the other ships we've been on. The buffet was typical, too. We did eat breakfast in the restaurant a couple times and nice conversations with the people at the table with us. We had the 2nd seating for dinner and sat in the balcony overlooking the main floor. That was rather nice. We only had 2 other people show up at our table of 8. The table next to us only had 2 people after the first couple days, so they joined our table. Fun people. But turned out their table mates (also family of theirs) had an accident onboard and had been left in Juno for a hip replacement surgery. Later in the trip, we saw another passenger fall in Prince Rupert and taken to the hospital there. Anyway---the food was actually just so-so. I often didn't really even find anything on the menu that I said, wow, I want that! Service was so-so. We did have a memorable head waiter. I don't remember his name, but he always said, "Yummy, yummy". At first it was rather annoying, then got rather comical. I will never hear yummy again without thinking of him. Activities on the ship were ok---again, not too memorable. We did stay up one night to see the northern lights and a lunar eclipse. I was surprised how "dead" the ship was at 1 am. We were 2 of only about 5 people on the deck watching the northern lights that night. Conditions have to be just right, so I feel we were lucky. BUt none of the workers that we talked to even knew about the northern lights, so don't expect to find out if conditions are right from them. It has to be a clear night. It was fantastic! I had also read that there was an adult only pool onboard. I was very disappointed to find out they don't enforce that in Alaska, even though the weather was beautiful and the outdoor family pool was heated. It was almost impossible to enjoy the "adult" pool with all the unsupervised kids in it. Another highlight of the ship, was the enrichment talks by a geologist. I learned a lot about fiords, glaciers and such by going to his talks. On to our excursions: In Juneau, we went on the photo-excursion. I really enjoyed that. It was a small group of about 20 people---some even without cameras. The guide gave some hints on photography, but nothing that I didn't already know. We first went on a small boat into Auke bay and were fortunate to come across about 60 Orcas. They said it was 2 pods. That was really neat. Then we continued on our tour to Mendenhall Glacier. Another really cool place. We took a little nature hike in the park and came upon some great views of the glacier. It was an expensive tour, but all the Alaska tours seemed to be very expensive. We enjoyed it. Back in Juneau, we took the Robert's tramway up to amazing views of the town and fiord. We even ate lunch at the little restaurant up there. It was very good. In Skagway, we went on the Yukon/while pass railroad excursion. This was about 7 hours long and well worth it. The Yukon is full of beautiful lakes. We had a bar b q in Caribou Crossing and on the way back, stopped to catch the White Pass railroad. Even if you don't do the Yukon trip, I highly recommend the White Pass railroad. The views are amazing. In Skagway, we caught a bus to the Skagway Brewery and had a brew and spiced nuts. Both were unique and good. Then it was time to get back to the ship--all too soon! In Prince Rupert, we didn't see an excursion we wanted to do. WE were not impressed with Prince Rupert and wished we had another Alaska port to stop at instead. But we roamed the town for about an hour, then returned to the ship. We also were treated to fantastic views of Tracy Arm fiord and glaciers in there. We lucked out with the weather, although overcast would have made for better pictures I'm sure. All in all, we had a great time and loved Alaska. I hope to get back there by land some day. I wouldn't mind another Alaska cruise, too, but I think I would pick one that only goes to Alaska ports. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
Overall we enjoyed our Alaskan Cruise. This was our third Cruise but the first to Alaska on the Royal Caribbean. We met many nice people and the weather was in the 60's & 70's. The onboard entertainment, and staff involved ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed our Alaskan Cruise. This was our third Cruise but the first to Alaska on the Royal Caribbean. We met many nice people and the weather was in the 60's & 70's. The onboard entertainment, and staff involved were great. In addition our stateroom and dining attendants provided excellent service. We enjoyed excursions at our ports of call in Juneau, Skagway and Prince Rupert. We took great pictures. However, we feel that the food was not as good as other cruise lines that we have been on in the past. There were some dishes in the dining room that we enjoyed but many were just okay. If there was a meal that we didn't enjoy we did order something else. Actually we thought there would have been a greater variety of seafood dishes, such as fish, crab, lobster and shrimp. These dishes were provided but sparingly. Other meals provided throughout the ship were the same. We were expecting the food to be excellent and menu items didn't meet our expectations. The gala midnight buffet was a huge disappointment. We were hoping to take several pictures but the structure was so disorganized. The gala buffet was small and the area were sectioned off. We had to stand in line for over ½ hr. just to take pictures. Then we had to get back in line to go to the buffet. The selection of snacks and desserts were limited and many of desserts (that we would have enjoyed having) were not on the regular menu during that week. Once we received our food we couldn't seat ourselves we had to be escorted to seats. Many people just took their selections and returned to their staterooms. There were a few incidences when we thought that the guest services didn't follow through when we called with questions. We were told someone would call us back and they never did and that was a little disappointing. Since we enjoy traveling we realize that you have to adapt to the environment. However we do expect a certain level of service. We will cruise again but we aren't sure if we would choose Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
Day 1 -We arrived at 12:45 to udder confusion. We drop the luggage off at the curb and head to the parking garage. There we find out that we could have had our bags taken care of there. GO DIRECTLY TO THE GARAGE AND CHECK YOUR CAR AND ... Read More
Day 1 -We arrived at 12:45 to udder confusion. We drop the luggage off at the curb and head to the parking garage. There we find out that we could have had our bags taken care of there. GO DIRECTLY TO THE GARAGE AND CHECK YOUR CAR AND LUGGAGE IN THERE!! We make our way back to the curb and grab our bags. After we hand off our bags we head for a long line to get checked in. Next time arrive EARLY! After we get on the boat we headed to the pool area where the crew is selling their goods. Very confusing atmosphere and could be done a little better. We make our way to the spa and take the tour of treatments and sign up for a raffle. We now head to our room, 7062, on deck 7. We arrive and the door says Happy Anniversary and my heart drops because the room has been decorated before our anniversary. The room was small, but did have lots of storage. This was a surprise because an ocean view room on Carnival was bigger and had a 19" TV. This room only had a 13" TV. The balcony was very nice. When it came time for the muster drill we hung out on the balcony until all was clear. We then enjoyed the bon voyage from the balcony. We headed to the spa for the raffle at 5:30. We won a $50 certificate for a message which I used later for a stone message. We signed up for facials as well. We then headed to the Aquarius for dinner. There was a mix up on the table numbers, but once that was resolved all was well. Our Head Waiter was Roscoe, our Waiter was Jergit (pronounced Jerry) from Germany and our Assistant Waiter was Leghit (pronounced Leah) from Costa Rica. Dinner was very good and they met my wife's gluten-free diet needs, which was a big plus. Carnival took a couple days to figure this out. The whole cruise they wouldn't tell my wife what she would have for dinner. They would just surprise her which made it fun. I headed to the spa for my facial after dinner and my wife went with the family to the Welcome Aboard Show. My facial was fabulous and was done by Donna from England. We then met up at the Showboat Lounge for the team trivia contest. We joined a couple from Greenville, South Carolina to win the contest and a pen. Day 2 - After a restful night we head to the dining room to have breakfast. We attended a shopping class in the morning and purchased the Savvy Shopper book. IF YOU DON"T PLAN ON CHASING DOWN ALL THE "FREE" ITEMS IN THE BOOK DON'T BUY IT!!!!! We did so we made our money back. We then go the Champaign Bar at 11 to meet the Meet & Mingle couples who I had talked to before the cruise. We then headed to the dining room for lunch. The boat is really starting to rock as it heads north to Alaska. We then get dressed for our first formal night. At 5 we meet up with group to attend the Captain's reception in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge. They serve hour d'oeuvres and drinks. The chicken wings are tasty. We had our picture taken with the Captain after the reception. Dinner is prime rib which is just ok. After dinner we head to the evening show by Paul Boland (Impressionist) and he is really good. I stay up to watch Blades of Glory and Suzie heads to bed. Day-3 We awake in Juneau. Breakfast is room service which is nice. We then make our way out to catch a tender boat into town. Once on shore we catch a bus to Aula Bay. There we board a boat to head out to sea to do some whale watching. My wife is starting to get sick from her patch. The whale watching was fabulous. We spotting a pod of Orca's that decided to breach the water numerous times. We then watched a few humpback whales that were having a fun time. I then headed back downstairs and found my wife was not doing so well. On our way back we saw a group of Stellar Sea Lions making a home on a light buoy. We boarded the bus for a drive to the Mendenhall Glacier. I went to the viewpoint with to shoot photos There was a talk on the glacier near the bus waiting area that was very informative. There were also a couple pieces of ice which were nice to see up close. This was a shore excursion worth the money! We then caught the bus back into town where we went shopping. After shopping we went back to the ship and dinner. We had dinner in the Windjammer. The show was Los Pampas Gauchos. They are Argentinean dancers who were very entertaining. Day 4 - Today we wake in Skagway. We get a late start and by the time we get on the tram into town we realize that if we get off we won't make it back for our excursion. So we take a tour of town and head back to the pier. GIVE YOURSELF A GOOD 45 MINUTES TO GET BACK TO THE PIER IF YOU GO INTO TOWN. There we caught a bus that takes us to train station. We hopped aboard the White Pass Yukon Railroad for our trip into the Yukon. The scenery is all on the left side of the train so if you don't plan on standing outside on the platform for pictures this is where to sit. The weather was partly cloudy making for spectacular viewing. The deep valleys were breathtaking. To see the route prospectors took 110 years ago made you realize the desire they had for gold. When we crossed into Canada the terrain turned downright ugly. When we stopped we showed our passports the one and only time on the trip. We then boarded a bus for a narrated ride back to Skagway. Along the way we stopped at the Gold Rush Cemetery to see where the characters of town were buried. This was the only boring part of the trip. Once in town we went shopping and along the way stopped for ice cream. We then headed back to the ship. Tonight at dinner we tried escargot for the first time. They tasted like mushrooms! The show tonight was Boogie Wonderland with songs of the 70's and was just ok. Day 5 - Today we wake up to crystal blue skies in the Tracy Arm Fjord. Words don't describe the beauty of this 13 mile route. To see the icebergs floating in the water, the granite mountains soaring 3000' out of the water, ice fields tucked into the creases of the mountains and roaring streams flowing down. We ordered room service for breakfast and enjoyed the spectacle from our balcony. When we arrived at the Sawyer Glaciers the ship stopped in the ice field as we listened to a geological talk. The captain then turned the boat 360 degrees and headed back out of the Tracy Arm. The afternoon was spent just relaxing and playing Scrabble. THEY REALLY NEED TO HAVE MOVIES ON THE AFTERNOONS AT SEA. BOTH SEA DAYS WERE BORING! The dinner was a rock and roll theme followed by the comedy of Etta May during the evening show. She was just ok. Late evening entertainment was the Quest game show. A scavenger hunt for adults that was quite hilarious. THIS IS A MUST IF YOU WANT TO CUT LOOSE AND HAVE FUN ON A CRUISE! At 11:30 we headed to the Midnight Buffet. It looked good, but we only had enough energy to take pictures. Day 6 - Today my brother-in-law and I went halibut fishing. I woke at 6:45 and headed to the Windjammer for breakfast with my brother-in-law. It's a rainy morning so I am prepared with all my rain gear. Once docked in Prince Rupert we head to shore. We sign in and then head towards the boats to purchase our licenses. Our captain is Al and joining us is a couple from Santa Clarita. We try to settling in as our captain heads out for a 50 minute ride out into the ocean to go fishing. We drop our lines in and start waiting. After about 30 minutes Katrina catches a 15 pound halibut. She later catches a rock fish as do I. Loren & Scott did not get a bite. As we reached the end of our time I got a bite and I reeled in a 15 pound halibut. UNFORTUNATELY IT COSTS $160 TO SEND YOUR CATCH HOME. SO CONSIDER THIS BEFORE GOING! FUN EXCURSION, BUT BE READY FOR DISAPPOINTMENT. My wife and the ladies spent the day exploring the shops of Prince Rupert. The day was dry, but humid for them. Tonight was the second formal night. We had our picture taken before dinner. After dinner we had the group portrait done on the staircase. Dinner was fabulous as it was lobster night. I had three of those buggers and my wife had two! The show tonight was Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme. It was a quick run through a number of the famous Broadway musicals. This was a good show. Day 7 - Today in the morning we took a Behind the Scenes tour of the theater. The lighting portion was boring, but the stage portion was good. In the afternoon we packed and played Scrabble again. Our final dinner was fun as we said our goodbyes to the staff. The farewell show was very good. Day 8 - We had breakfast in the dining room at 7. We then made our way to the theater to wait our turn to disembark. Finding our luggage went well. Getting to the car took a little time, but soon we were on our way. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
I used this site a lot before we went on our cruise. I found it to be extremely helpful. I felt like I knew the ship before we ever boarded. It was our first cruise and an incredible experience. To start I would highly recommend if you are ... Read More
I used this site a lot before we went on our cruise. I found it to be extremely helpful. I felt like I knew the ship before we ever boarded. It was our first cruise and an incredible experience. To start I would highly recommend if you are traveling from any far distance to spend the night in Seattle after a day of traveling. Get a good night sleep. We stayed at the Westin Seattle. Wow, what a treat. They are famous for their Heavenly Beds and linens and I have to say we enjoyed it very much. On Friday we arrived at the pier around noon and was on board with in about 30 minutes. Royal Caribbean made everything so easy. We were in awe of the ship. Beautiful. We went to the Windjammer for lunch. I was pleased with the choices and happy that they had good Iced Tea since I am a big tea drinker. We learned that the water purification system on the ship is top notch. The iced tea and wonderful coffee proved that. The stateroom was an eye opener, even though we knew about the square footage and had seen pictures, it really is small. But a place for everything. As the week went on, it actually became very comfortable. The beds and linens were very nice. I loved the service, our room was made up twice a day and it was wonderful coming in at night with the lamps on, bed turned down, chocolates on the bed next to our cruise compass and towel animal. The cruise compass it the next days events (very helpful.) We found the ship to be just beautiful. Music playing everywhere! We loved the schooner lounge for relaxing and watching out the windows. Deck 9 is pretty awesome. We used the Windjammer up there for all breakfast and lunches. It is so festive on that deck with the food, pools, and music. We loved the solarium pool. It was more beautiful than we could have imagined. We used it early in the morning and were usually the only ones there. I didn't learn until the last day about the sauna and steam rooms. They are located in the spa and there was no one else in there when I used them. The service on this ship is unreal. Everyone was friendly and wanted to please their guests. Our dining room waiter, asst. waiter and headwaiter were fabulous. I loved them and will always remember their kindness. The dining experience was great, but I do have to say I actually hated the food. I only had one great meal and that was the salmon cooked on the wood plank. Other than that I was disappointed every evening. I didn't think I was hard to please, but I am a very good cook and love good food, this food left me flat. We never missed a show in the magnificent Masquerade Theater. We loved the entertainment each night. You have to go to the adult Quest game. What a blast to watch. Alaska is beautiful. We loved Juneau did a little hiking and lots of shopping. But watch out for the jewelry shops. High pressure. Unless you are really shopping for high dollar jewelry stay clear of them. Skagway was our favorite. Quaint town with nicer shops than Juneau. We went to the fire station there and bought our son a hat and shirt as he just became a fireman here in Michigan. I got this tip from someone here on this site. We did the White Pass trail excursion and loved it. The Tracy Arm was a real highlight. We couldn't believe the beauty. Our weather was mild all week, but this day you do need gloves and a hat. It gets chilly on deck and you want to be on deck for a few hours going into the arm. There were a lot of ice burgees the day we were there. So blue, and beautiful. Prince Rupert is just a good way to get off the ship and walk around a bit. A real downer after the previous 3 days. We did the museum tour with the tribal experience. They did a nice job, but pretty boring. The day at sea in the inside passage was pure delight. A really fun day on the ship and just an awesome viewing at sea. The last night was kind of sad; it is hard to think about going back to reality. I actually welled up in tears saying good-bye to our wait staff. And we met the most wonderful couple (our dinner partners) they live in Washington and us in Michigan so I doubt we will see them again, but will be e-mail friends for sure. Getting off the ship wasn't as bad as we had read. But it is crazy getting a bus to the airport and Seattle airport is not the nicest. We had 4 hours to kill while we were there because of delays due to bad weather in the Midwest. Then another several hours in Denver. Welcome back to the real world. L To wrap things up here, I rate the ship very high and the service top notch. They take lots of pictures of you and it was fun buying the ones of us on formal nights. My biggest complaint was going to the Savvy shopper seminar held in the theater the day before Juneau and getting roped into buying a $25.00 savings book that wasn't worth it. It was a big rip off and I am still angry that I bought it. I also wish the dining room food would have been higher quality. For an example on the last night they offered Turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and apple stuffing with pan gravy. Now a good turkey dinner sounded wonderful...Nope...terrible, out of potatoes so they gave me rice, about 1 tablespoon of what they called stuffing, maybe 2 tablespoon of gravy, and the turkey was like a frozen entrEe. I really didn't want to complain about the food, but I have to. We never tried dinner in the Windjammer because we were enjoying our new friends and wait staff so much, but I bet we would have had better food there. I hope I have touched on a few good pointers. I hope you enjoy the Vision of the Seas as much as my husband and I did. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on board. Bon Voyage Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
We cruised with a group of 8. A total of 3 cabins located in a row on the 4th deck (4014, 4010 and 4012). Ages of the group ranged from 19-57. This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. We voted this one the best one yet! ... Read More
We cruised with a group of 8. A total of 3 cabins located in a row on the 4th deck (4014, 4010 and 4012). Ages of the group ranged from 19-57. This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. We voted this one the best one yet! We arrived in Seattle the same day as the cruise. Got to the ship around 12pm and boarding went smoothly - no line at all. Even though the travel docs say don't show up until 1pm....I suggest earlier. We left our camera in the shuttle from the airport so had to go back out to meet the driver ar around 1pm and the line was way out the door...glad we didn't have to wait! Days at sea were great - lots of things to do! We were up early (mostly because of time change) and there were constant activities. Something for everyone in our group to do. Juneau - we went on a whale watching trip. Great - but on the first day at sea we saw a ton of whales from the ship - so some of the allure of whale watching was gone. Nice to see them up close though.... The other thing to note about Juneau - this is the best opportunity for shopping on this itinerary....I waited until Skagway and didn't find as many selections - and really NO shopping in Prince Rupert! Skagway - we did the Klondike Bike Tour. You rode to the top of the mountain back into town. It was really chilly - but was a fun ride. The staff providing the tour were hilarious! Went shopping through Skagway afterwards...fun to look around. Prince Rupert - didn't have an excursion planned here - pretty boring. Got off boat and shopped for about an hour. Cow Bay was the best spot for shops - the rest of the town looked like any little town.....same run down shops, etc. Not sure why this town was on the itinerary for this ship. Overall, the ship itself was great. We ate as a family every night in the dinning room. The service was great and the food was good. All of the fish selections were great (we ended up turning back some of the pasta dishes - so I don't recommend those). The Chef Selections were always great! Lobster was great - some of the men at our table ate 3 or 3.5 lobsters a piece! Can't beat that! Windjammer Cafe was okay - the food was not the best - especially after eating in the dinning room. We ended up eating all our meals in the dinning room - great food, great service and a nice way to control portion size. Entertainment was good. There were two comedians that were hilarious - one did an adult-only show one night - was a little raunchy - but the audience was forewarned (even though, quite a few of the older crowd left halfway through). All the outside talent was great. The Royal Caribbean singers/dancers were good - but the sound quality was terrible. For some reason, every show they did, you couldn't hear what they were saying and it sounded like they were shouting in the microphones. Need some adjustment in the sound department for those shows. We stayed in cabin 4014. Nice room - great new bedding. Always clean and the oceanview was great. All in all, we love cruising. It is a great way for our family to enjoy a vacation - we can all do our separate things and still know where each other is. We will cruise again and will definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
I have only a few complaints with respect to our RC cruise on the Vision of the seas The check-in process at the airport was a nightmare. We were directed outside the terminal and were given little or no instructions on what to do once we ... Read More
I have only a few complaints with respect to our RC cruise on the Vision of the seas The check-in process at the airport was a nightmare. We were directed outside the terminal and were given little or no instructions on what to do once we were out there. Apparently, we were supposed to check in to get a bus pass. Once we arrived at the Pier, we were given instructions by a RC representative on where we were to go to continue the embarkation process. A man on our bus inquired as to the process for those who were in a Suite. Apparently, Suite holders were to check in at an entirely different spot at the Pier. As we were in a Jr. Suite, I asked the RC representative if that meant that we were to also check in with the other Suite holders. We were told, very rudely, to read the signs. We never did get an answer to our question from any of the RC representatives so we decided to get in the line with the rest of the "regular" cabin holders. The rest of our party came in on the bus behind us, who mysteriously, took them on a 45 minute tour of Seattle prior to taking them to the Pier. They should have been arriving on the bus that departed directly behind us. Instead they didn't get on the ship until close to 2:30 p.m. (an hour and a half after we arrived). Needless to say, they were not happy. If I had to do it all over again, I would not have paid the $36 per person transfer fees and would have secured my own transportation to and from the Pier. A couple in our party also had a bad experience with the debarkation process due to RC never calling their assigned color and number. Apparently when they called Pink 1, it meant Pink 5 as well (go figure). We waited for them for almost an hour and almost missed our flight home. Now on to the good stuff! We were very, very happy with our Jr. Suite. It was very roomy with a lot of storage space (well worth the money). The bed was very comfortable and ship was very clean. Only one night of rough seas, but Bonine did the trick. Thank you to all on this website who recommended it. I felt that the food, overall, was good not great. Although I had my expectations set pretty high from everything we had heard about RC and from our previous cruising experiences on other cruise lines. We had second dinner seating and our wait staff and bar staff were awesome. We were very happy with the second seating in that we did not have to rush back to the ship while in port. As far as the ports; we were very surprised at how commercial Juneau and Skagway were. I guess I expected something else; although we enjoyed both very much. We were pleasantly surprised by Prince Rupert. It is a very friendly, authentic town. Unfortunately, I feel in a few years this authentic fishing village will become as commercialized as Juneau and Skagway. Our weather was fabulous, apparently one of the best weeks of the season. I would definitely recommend and will cruise with RC again. The demographics on the ship fit us perfectly. Our group was all in our mid to late 40’s; which is a pretty good descriptor of the general population on this cruise. There were some older, some younger passengers but for the most part I would say the main range of ages was 35 to 55. It is sad to think that this is one of the last cruises to Alaska for this ship. Thank you to all who have shared their cruising experiences on this website. We learned a lot which made our cruising experience that more memorable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
We just got back from a great cruise to Alaska. This is our family's 6th cruise and our 3rd on RCL. I still think RCL is the best overall for a family. While neither the food, service, entertainment, or cabins are individually the ... Read More
We just got back from a great cruise to Alaska. This is our family's 6th cruise and our 3rd on RCL. I still think RCL is the best overall for a family. While neither the food, service, entertainment, or cabins are individually the best, as an overall experience -it works. Embarkation was very easy. I also recommend coming into Seattle the day before you set sail. We arrived from the East Coast on Thursday morning and had the rest of the day to explore Seattle (Space Needle and Pikes Place Market) as well as adjust to the time difference. We were asleep and cozy at the Renaissance Marriott downtown before 9:30 pm. It would have been a shame if this was our first night onboard the cruise. Friday morning we leisurely hung out and boarded about 12:30-there were no lines and we walked right onboard. For the first time, we had 2 cabins. Myself and my 15 year old daughter in one and my husband and my 12 year old son in another. Both cabins were fine and it was nice to have the extra space and not cramp all 4 of us together. The beds and sheets were very comfortable. My husband and son said their cabin steward was fine however, my daughter and I had MaryLou and she left a lot to be desired. One of my favorite things about a cruise is the extra service and attention you usually receive and this was not the case. We didn't see her at all for the first two days and she barely greeted us the rest of the week. We did have clean sheets/towels but none of the VIP treatment that is usually evident. Maybe we have been spoiled in the past. The ship itself was ok. Not enough activities during the day but we managed to relax. This ship is a little older than most of the RCL fleet and it is time for some improvements. The fitness center can benefit from some new equipment. The rock climbing wall is a nice feature but on an Alaskan cruise, the weather often closes it down. The solarium pool is a very nice place to hang out. The food was ok. Always something yummy to eat but nothing amazing to boast of. Our waiter, Michael, asst waiter, Hugo and Head Waiter, Vijay were all super great. After a day or so, they knew what we liked and always made sure we had whatever we wanted. They are a great asset to the ship. Our table was also very fun. We sat at a table for 10 with 6 assorted other people. Very nice, friendly and we really enjoyed sharing our stories every night at dinner with them. I also recommend sharing a table if you have children because I think they are better behaved if there are strangers present. If we had a table for just the four of us, there would have been some whining. We did the whale watching/Mendenhall excursion in Juneau. Kate, the guide was amazing and we had a great time. It is very pricey but we felt it was worth it as a once in a lifetime experience. In Skagway, we went hiking in the rainforest and floating down the river. We really enjoyed both excursions. Prince Rupert was OK. Just got off, walked around for a bit and was happy to get back on the Vision. We went to most of the shows and they were all enjoyable. Again, nothing amazing but a nice way to spend the evening. We also spent a lot of time in the casino where most of the dealers were extremely friendly and fun. Our 12 year old had a lot of fun. Our 15 year old said this was her favorite cruise. Both of them went to the kids programs the first night but there weren't many other kids onboard that attended. After that, they both found some kids to hang out with and they had a great time. All in all, we had an amazing time. Alaska was breathtaking-I am looking at my pictures in awe. The ship was good, not great but certainly very good and it fit our needs. We will certainly cruise again (it is our family's favorite vacation). I would cruise again with RCL but probably look for a newer ship next time. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
This was our first cruise and it turned out to be the vacation of a life time. We flew to Seattle (via Alaska Airlines which were a bit rough on our luggage) a couple of days early and rented a car. We took in a couple of the usual sites ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it turned out to be the vacation of a life time. We flew to Seattle (via Alaska Airlines which were a bit rough on our luggage) a couple of days early and rented a car. We took in a couple of the usual sites in Seattle: Space Needle and Boeing's Museum of Flight. The Museum of Flight was very impressive and our tour book was correct in recommending 3 hours to see it. We only had 2.5 hrs and didn't get to see everything. We drove to Mt St Helens on our second Seattle day. It was a fantastic experience. I had been there before but was still amazed at the site and especially enjoyed the visitor centers. One of which is, unfortunately, closing permanently and the other will only be open in the summers. Our Cruise began on Friday. One note to anyone renting from Thrifty Car rental. We were told that we could pick up the car at the airport and then drop it at Pier 66 to get on the ship. We drove by Pier 66 atleast 5 times and couldn't find a Thrifty dropoff. Finally went to pier 48 and there was one there. THey told us the internet (as well as talking to Thrifty people on the phone) are incorrect in telling people that they can drop a car off at pier 66. You have to pick up or drop off at pier 48 then catch the shuttle to 66. After we knew what was going on it was simple. We arrived at the pier 66 terminal at 10:30 am and we were on board by 11am without any hassles. Had lunch in the Windjammer and wandered around the ship until after 1pm when we were told we could get into our room. We had a stateroom on deck 2 with a window. It was quaint and cozy. Plenty of room for two of us, bed was very comfortable, soft linens, we were very pleased. Our stateroom attendant brought our luggage by 3 pm. He, Mervyn, was great. The room was always clean, we had plenty of towels, towel animals, and mints. Our first full day was cruising up to Juneau. The seas were only slightly rough. I am prone to motion sickness. I only took one Bonine the whole trip, and that was the first day. After getting used to the motion I was fine. We arrived in Juneau bright and early. We had to tender in to town but since we were on an excursion (whale watching and Mendenhall glacier) we were taken off first. Getting all of the excursion people together on the ship was a bit disorganized but it all was straightened out and next thing you know we were on a bus to Auke Bay. We boarded a smaller boat and set out to whale watch. It was fantastic. We were lucky and saw a huge pod (maybe 2 merged pods) of Orcas. They were even breaching. Even the tour guides were excited and amazed. Next we saw a group of 3 humpbacks feeding and then some sea lions. Back on shore we were bussed to Mendenhall glacier. We were a bit rushed here since the ship was only in port half of the day. We only got to spend an hour at the glacier. We hurried through the visitor center and to the view point of the glacier were we could take pictures. We were then bussed back to town where we only had a little bit of time to visit some of the shops and see the Red Dog Saloon. I would have liked more time in Juneau. There were many things that I would have liked to see but didn't have the time. Our Next stop was Skagway. This town was crowded with atleast 4 other cruise ships. I didn't care for it much...too many people, too many jewelry shops. Just a tourist town. In hindsight we probably should have taken one of the excursions out of town. This itinerary also took us to cruise Tracy Arm Fjord. The trip up the fjord was breathtaking. We were lucky in that we had wonderful weather, not a cloud in the sky. We were able to get fairly close to the glacier but not close enough to see any ice calving. We were a little disappointed in that. Maybe next trip we'll try Glacier Bay. Our last port of call was Prince Rupert. I had read that there wasn't anything to do there and that was correct. Although, we didn't mind it much. It was the only day we had rain, and there were few people out and about the town. It was really quite pleasant and peaceful. We liked just getting off the ship and walking around. This would be a good place to do an excursion if you saw something that interested you. We decided just to investigate the town and relax on the ship. The last day of the cruise was in the Inside Passage. It turned out to be one of my favorite days on board. THe scenery was beautiful, we saw more whales (Orcas and Humpbacks) and a huge group of porpoises. Disembarking from the ship was uneventful. We were renting a car, again, and didn't have to rush off so ended up being one of the last groups called. It was a bit boring waiting in the theatre for our color to be called but the good news was that it was easy to find our luggage when we finally got off the ship. One note on the entertainment on the ship. We weren't too excited about some of the musical shows. Just wasn't our type of show/music. We enjoyed the comedians immensely. We also enjoyed all of the live music on board at the different venues. Food was just fine. We liked all the choices at the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. We ate breakfast in the dining room once, but preferred the Windjammer. We had some snacks in the Solarium and they were good too. Dining room experience was wonderful. We especially enjoyed our table mates. Whomever decides how to seat people did a great job matching us. We all became friends and did things together throughout the entire cruise. Overall. We loved the Vision of the Seas. It is a wonderful ship. It might not have all the bells and whistles of a newer ship and it might be a bit worn, but we found it quite comfortable. The crew was extremely friendly and helpful. We met some wonderful people on board, passengers and crew. Read Less
Sail Date August 2007
This was our first cruise to Alaska but not our first cruise. We decided to fly to Seattle a few days earlier than our cruise left so we could see the sights and take advantage of lower airfare since we flew out on July 4th. We stayed at ... Read More
This was our first cruise to Alaska but not our first cruise. We decided to fly to Seattle a few days earlier than our cruise left so we could see the sights and take advantage of lower airfare since we flew out on July 4th. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt which a very nice hotel but a little pricey. However, it was very convenient to most of the attractions that Seattle has to offer. We arrived at the hotel by 9pm and since were on the 14th floor, we got to watch the fireworks display from our room which was really nice especially for the kids. The weather in Seattle was great and we walked to Pike Place market and took the shuttle to the Space Needle. On Friday we left the hotel around 11am - we arranged transport through the concierge - and got to the dock by 11:30. Since we were there so early there were plenty of porters available to take the luggage and we breezed through check-in. I would say that we were on the ship by 11:45 - it was that quick! Once on the ship we discovered that the rooms would not be ready until 1pm so we headed to the Windjammer and toured the ship. We've sailed on Enchantment of the Seas before which is from the same family of ships as Vision so we were familiar with the layout. Although the ship is 9 years old, I thought it was in pretty good shape. Everything was clean and didn't look too worn out. This was the first time that we'd gotten a junior suite so I was anxious to see the room. I have to say, it didn't seem much bigger than a balcony cabin on Voyager. However, the balcony itself was alot bigger. I had ordered Champagne to be delivered for sail away but it wasn't in our room when we got there. I had to call guest services who told me it would be delivered after 6pm. Once I told them that I wanted it right away they sent it over within 15 minutes. I'm not sure what the issue was but I got my sail away Champagne so I was happy! One thing to be aware of as far as Adventure Ocean goes - my daughter is 11 yrs old and 3 months away from turning 12. She's also going into middle school this fall. On this particular sailing we had 450 children, 250 of which were teenagers. Because of this they lumped the 6-8 yr olds with the 9-11 yr olds. You can imagine how happy my middle schooler was to be hanging out and playing ga-ga ball with kindergartners. She was "smuggled" into some of the activities for the older kids but once discovered was sent back with the little kids. Later on in the cruise my daughter was told that I could have signed a waiver to have her grouped in with the 12 yr olds but when I had approached the counselor about this at the beginning of the cruise, they said no. That being said though, my 16 yr old son who has never participated in Adventure Ocean prior to this cruise had a great time and met alot of other teens! The cabin - a little smaller than I was hoping for but adequate. The new linens were nice but not plush. I had forgotten how hard the beds on these ships were and was pretty uncomfortable most nights. If you're thinking of getting a junior suite for the bathtub, think again. Because the bathtub is elevated by a few inches, taking showers was a little awkward as the ceiling was low. As far as storage goes, it was actually pretty spacious. Especially since we packed coats, sweatshirts, jackets and about 3 outfits for each of us every day. (We way overpacked!) Our cabin steward was Sebastion and he was pretty good. We had a little trouble syncing up a few days. We are late sleepers and he was clearly anxious to get our room done on the mornings when we didn't leave early enough. We had early seating dinner but I guess our room was last on his list by that time because we'd come back from dinner and our room wasn't always made up. Overall though, he did a good job and we didn't have any complaints. The Food - I thought it was good!! Breakfast in the Windjammer was the same every morning but they had EVERYTHING. Omelettes, bacon, sausage, biscuits, cereal, waffles, pancakes, fruit, etc. The room service menu was pretty limited and on this particular itinerary we utilized room service alot - and they did a great job! The dinner menu was good and if we didn't like what was on offer we ordered from the alternate menu. The one thing we missed on this ship was the specialty restaurants. The Itinerary - Juneau and Skagway were interesting. Prince Rupert was a waste. There's nothing there, the shopping was sparse - don't bother getting off the ship. We did ziplining in Juneau with Zipline Adventures and had a great time. I was a little disappointed as I'd heard they were willing to take a detour on the ride back to the ship that offered a nice view of the Mendenhall glacier. When I asked about it I was told that I could get a tour for $6 back at the Tram station - I guess they got tired of people asking. We all enjoyed it though and had a great time. Later that afternoon we did the panning for gold excursion and the kids loved that. It's pretty touristy and if I had to do it over again I'd probably go see Mendenhall but it was interesting and our guide was nice. In Skagway we had lousy weather and took the City and White Pass tour (bus, not train). It was interesting although we couldn't see much through the fog. The tour took us to the Gold Rush cemetery though and that was pretty cool. There's also a waterfall close by the cemetery which was beautiful!! Inthe pm we did the Sled dog excursion which was great! Very interesting and the puppies were adorable. Tracy Arm - It was a foggy bitter cold morning (room service!) but the views were magnificent! We saw seals and puffins plus clear views of the 2 glaciers once the fog lifted a bit. Icebergs everywhere!! Pretty amazing sights for us Floridians. Prince Rupert - STUNK! At Sea Days - The weather was rough on the first day at sea day and the evening leaving Tracy Arm - they were handing out Bonine like candy and bags were hung on every stair rail. Shopping in the Ports - You'll find lots to buy but anything priced within reason was made in China. The Native American art is beautiful but costs BIG $$$. We didn't find much in the middle of the road area - unique souvenirs that didn't cost an arm and a leg - but we didn't leave much time for shopping either so t-shirts it was. Meet & Mingle - this was the first one we'd been too and it was great to meet all the people we'd been chatting with. RCI provides snacks, soft drinks, door magnets and some kind of pad/pen combo that hangs around your neck and you can put your sea pass card in it. Welcome Back gifts - We got tote bags and the kids got a tote bag too, but a little different than ours. Spa - Used them a few times and it was great. One thing to be aware of - as part of our C&A loyalty package we got coupons - kids too! The kids coupons were for a 10% discount on Y-spa services. My 16 yr old got a massage but I was told that because of his age, the coupon wasn't valid. Disembarkation - Actually pretty quick, we were off by 9am. Overall, we had a great trip and enjoyed Alaska immensely. However, for other first time Alaska cruisers I would suggest a different itinerary, perhaps one that includes Sitka or Ketchikan. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
First off I want to get the negative out of the way. When we got back from our 3 day cruise to Ensenada in 2006 we decided to book another cruise because we had so much fun. Due to being unsure how to schedule an Alaska cruise we decided ... Read More
First off I want to get the negative out of the way. When we got back from our 3 day cruise to Ensenada in 2006 we decided to book another cruise because we had so much fun. Due to being unsure how to schedule an Alaska cruise we decided to go through a travel agent. When my husband went, the travel agent picked up the phone and called Royal Caribbean who took care of it all. That was a lesson learned, we now will call Royal ourselves. When we booked this cruise we were not sure our son could go so we initially reserved for the three of us, this was eight months before the cruise. Everything was fine until we added our son which was 6 months before we were to go, when we went to the travel agent she once again called Royal and added him. Three weeks before our cruise we got our documents and found out that our minor son was on a separate flight (4 hours before we were to leave for Seattle and 4 hours after we would be leaving to come home). Our travel agent called and got a hold of a few very rude customer service people in the flight section of Royal Caribbean to get the problem resolved. This took two weeks which included me calling and getting a very rude man that could care less that we were on separate flights. When Royal Caribbean fixed the problem and put us on the same flights there wasn't an apology for the rudeness or the stress that it put us under. I thought since we were Crown and Anchor society members that our treatment would have been somewhat better, but that isn't true, their customer service people are rude to all. Ok, negative over. Now on to our trip: the morning we left for our cruise until we got home was the most wonderful time that our family has ever had. The flight to Seattle was the morning of our cruise, my husband TC was nervous about what we were going to do about finding a Royal Caribbean representative at the Seattle airport. Well, we got off the flight headed for the area where you get your luggage and when we got there to our surprise there was a Royal Caribbean representative waiting for us. After she checked us in we were directed to where we were to leave our luggage and then we got on the bus. We didn't see our luggage until it arrived in front of our stateroom door. This part of Royal Caribbean scheduling our flight and transportation to the ship was great. Embarkation: TC checked us in and after standing in line for about 15 minutes to have our picture taken we were aboard. This was fast and efficient which surprised and pleased us. Stateroom: We decided on a balcony cabin on deck 7 for the 4 of us. This room was fantastic. All 4 of us fit just great. We had plenty of storage and the kids didn't mind sharing a room with their parents. The balcony is the only way to go when you cruise any place in Alaska, we were glad we chose this room. Every time we went out on the balcony we had our cameras and were in awe of the sights. We even had an amazing rainbow one afternoon that looked so close we could have touched it. Food: I read a lot about the Solarium cafe food being good; to me it was nasty, ate there once and didn't go back. The windjammer's food for breakfast was the same every morning, which was fine because we tried it all until we found a favorite and kept eating that. We ate breakfast once in the dinning room because I wanted eggs benedict and it was worth it. The lunches in the Windjammer changed daily and we enjoyed all the different kinds of food. The kids loved the soft serve ice cream and as soon as it was open they were up there. For dinner we had the late dinner in the dinning room and we are glad we did, it worked out for all the ports so we didn't have to rush back for the early dinner or miss it all together. The food was good for the most part, I didn't care for the lobster and TC didn't care much for one of the steaks he had, but everything else was great. I think our favorite part of the meal were the appetizers, especially the cold soups. The best part of eating in the dinning room is that you can eat as many of each course that you want. My husband tried all of the desserts one night because he couldn't decide, which was funny because our table was full of plates. The midnight buffets were on two nights, the first one was Saturday night and the other was on Wednesday night, both on formal nights. It was insane to get near them with all the people so we didn't hang out there. But, what I saw was truly amazing. My son made the last buffet around 1 am with the friends he made and told us the food was good. The service: If you ever cruise on the Vision of the Seas try and get the Head waiter Herman (from South Africa). What an awesome man. He would welcome us at the door of the dinning room every night, calling us by our names, and his wife made a point of chatting with us and getting to know who we are. And our waiter Red (from Manila) and assistant waiter Darwin (from Peru) were the best. We ended up giving them hugs goodbye and we miss them terribly. One night my daughter JB saw another waiter making paper roses for his guest and she wanted one. So our waiter, Red, told her that he would make her a chicken, she thought he was joking until he walked up and put a towel animal of a dead chicken in her lap. We laughed and knew then that Red was someone that could take the kidding and could dish it back, which totally fits our family makeup. It took us three days to break the ice with them and for them to get to know our personalities. Our room steward, his name was Troy (from Costa Rica), would get us what ever we wanted. Our room had clean towels every time we walked in, and if we wanted extra pillows there they were as well. He was friendly and very kind. He talked with us and spent time getting to know us and letting us get to know him. What an experience to have a nice man like that taking care of us. The Ship: It is bigger than the Monarch of the Seas, but we didn't get lost at all. The layout was well planed and the beauty of the ship made it feel like a fancy hotel. The Centrum was elegant and all the windows helped make sure you didn't miss anything during the cruise. My husband enjoyed the library at night when they turned it into a cigar bar. They did something to eliminate the smoke because you couldn't even smell it during the day. This was our kids first cruise and they enjoyed every inch of the ship and took every opportunity to explore and find their favorite places. Ship activities: There is so much to do on the ship that it was hard to choose. My son, RB, headed out to the dances that were held every night at midnight. He didn’t even mind having adults there that were supervising the activities. My husband and son did the rock wall and my son entered into the competition and won, he did it in 17 seconds. We all took dance lessons and found out that my son enjoys ballroom dancing and is really good at it. We went to see the quest game and we were laughing so hard that our sides hurt (we didn’t let our kids go, good choice). My husband and I took Tango lessons and had so much fun; I’m planning on talking him into more dance lessons on our next cruise. Yes, we are going on another one in September and looking at going on another next year. Ports of Call: Juneau: We decided to rent a car in Juneau and it was well worth it. We took it North on Glacier Hwy to the Shrine of St. Therese and then to Mendenhall Glacier. We are not Catholics but we had heard that it was beautiful and worth the drive. Hardly anyone was there and the views from the island were breath taking. The drive was quiet with us being the only car on the road. Skagway: We took the excursion to the Yukon. It rained all day but the trip was beautiful. I think if we decide to go back to Alaska we would do the do something different in Skagway; yes we plan on someday going back. Prince Rupert: We did the rainforest hike and then walked around the town, not a whole lot to do but it was pretty. By the time we had reached this point we were not looking for something to do by then, but to relax. Tracey Arm Fjord: What can I say……The beauty was beyond description. Wild life: Our first morning on the ship we walked out on to the balcony and saw dolphins below us jumping out of the water. We saw quiet a few whales and there were a lot of eagles. Disembarkation: It took us about 3 hours to get off the ship and it took some time to get on the bus to our hotel but when we got to our hotel we were on the go to see the sights. Seattle is a beautiful city and our hotel “The Westin” was very nice. If you go to Seattle take the Monorail, $4 round trip and it is a lot of fun. Tips to remember: The main one was the over the door shoe hanger. We got ours from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It had double netted pockets. We all picked our pockets and kept all of our bathroom stuff in it. It fit perfectly over the door and that part of the room stayed organized, and when the kids needed sunscreen or shower gel it was right there. The other tip was to take an extension cord with adapter cords (looks like a long octopus) so the kids could charge their phone batteries, Ipod batteries and camera batteries at the same time. I also took this jar called dorm room deodorizer; it helped with all the smells that four people can create in a small room. This was an awesome cruise and I would definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
What a trip!! The scenery was incredible and the weather was mostly fantastic! Now I have 338 pictures to download and that is from only my camera! Onto the trip report: We arrived in Seattle on Wed the 18th and stayed at the SeaTac ... Read More
What a trip!! The scenery was incredible and the weather was mostly fantastic! Now I have 338 pictures to download and that is from only my camera! Onto the trip report: We arrived in Seattle on Wed the 18th and stayed at the SeaTac Sleep Inn for two nights- nice hotel, okay breakfast, free shuttle to airport and one computer for guests to use. Took Shuttle to airport where we caught a city bus and headed off to the Woodland Zoo. Had a great time at the zoo and took a bus to Pike's Market after that. Took Shuttle Express back to Hotel ($7/pp one way)- great weather- Pike's Market was incredible but avoid eating at Kell's Irish pub (UGH!! Worst food and service EVER!) On Friday we took the Seattle Express from the hotel to the terminal ($10 pp- kids $5)got 10:00 shuttle and we were at the terminal by 10:45. Check in could have been a breeze but the kid I got behind the counter didn't know his ass from his elbow and it totally confused him having to check us in and my kids in the adjoining cabin- so 30 minutes later (!) we were done and waiting to be called by group onto the ship (when I started the process they were handing out tickets for group 3, by the time I was done - I barely got the last ticket for group 5)- but I never saw a buildup of a line so that was good! Onto the ship where they take an ID picture and of course the requisite welcome to the cruise snap. Once onboard they directed me over to the kids table (I have 3 kids ages 3,7,and 10) where they got their emergency bracelets with what muster station we were at so if there was an emergency, they could be brought to that station. Got the kids schedule for that day and off we went to lunch. We expected something simple like burgers or dogs for the first day- but there was a full buffet at the Windjammer! What we didn't know was once you were through with the first line (which was though was all there was) there were several other stations (that had even better food) in the back! We found out it was like this for all meals there. We drank mainly the free lemonade, water and ice tea (all which were fine for us). Depending on where you sat, sometimes a waiter would come by with refills, but that was not consistent. By the time we finished lunch our cabins were ready and we went to find them- Cozy and intimate is a good word to use for these two inside cabins (4061, 4063). We found lots of storage space, so we really didn't have any problems with unpacking everything. We found a lovely gift from our travel agent (Brownell Travel) and we were thrilled with the surprise!! My mom got one too even though I was the one who had done all the booking and stuff. The parents had an outside cabin (3050) that was a smidge bigger than ours- Our cabin steward (eva) was nice. The rest of the day was spent with touring the ship, going to dinner (we were at a table for 11 and the other 4 people there were absolutely lovely- we really lucked out!) and seeing the Adventure Ocean (AO) (or "my clubhouse" as my 3 year old called it). The show that night was just one show for both seatings with a great comedian- Kevin Jordan- he was terrific!! The weather that day was terrible so we didn't go on deck for the sailing- and the muster drill was every bit as amusing as you think with all these people dressed in big orange floatation devices- and it felt quite long as well (but all for safety!) Saturday was at sea- we checked the kids into AO and set off to do our own thing- I just relaxed and went to some events while my hubby went for a jog-weather was still slightly dreary- and waves slightly bumpy but with two Bonnie and a nap- I was fine! Almost all our breakfasts were in the windjammer - your basic large breakfast buffet (with undercooked bacon) - we did do the restaurant once (my parents did it all the time) but I found service to be iffy and food only slightly better. Dining Notes: Most of our lunches were at the Windjammer as well (when you have small kids, the buffet was a better, quicker option)- the food was hit or miss, but there was certainly enough to choose from! There was always a salad bar, carving station, 2 soups, sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers (most days)and a dessert section (with good cookies). We went to the solarium once or twice for lunch and they have hot dogs, burgers, a soup and usually three types of pizza. Of course we did room service as well- the menus were pretty good and the service was quick. For breakfast they had a door hanger menu you could use. Dinners were all terrific- the ONLY complaint I had was when I had the steak, it was overcooked- but out of 7 meals- one complaint is pretty awesome!! Our head waiter was "Boon" and the asst. waiter was "Orlando"- what a incredible team they were! After the second night Orlando always had my kids juices (which were free) waiting for them at dinner. Boon was right on target if he recommended something and once when we didn't listen to him, he brought it anyway- and boy was he right!! After that we only ordered his dessert selections! We had a seat right by the window (thank god, since it kept my 3 yo quite occupied). The kids ordered off both the regular menu and the kiddie menu. The soups were the best part of the meal- all the soups were had were terrific! In fact- most of the food was very good (and yes, there were lobster tails with shrimp on the second formal night and yes, I did order two- but ended up eating 3- I do LOVE lobster!). I do not have a sweet tooth so I rarely ordered dessert- but my family said they were all quite good- even the sugar free ones. One night was Italian night and the waiters did something cute (will keep it a surprise), there was the introduction of the chefs another night and the last night was a cute act as well. Dining room service was efficient and incredible and my only regret is now it is back to reality for me with cooking, serving and cleaning! On Saturday my mom went to the "discover Alaska shopping show" which was packed and basically an infomercial for certain stores in the ports- but the guy did give away a ton of stuff- so she felt it was worth it. We never did make it to the rock wall ( I know, we hang out heads in shame) but did a bunch of other activities to earn us ship shape dollars-we wound up with 3 water bottles, a lanyard and a t-shirt! My father went to the Alaska enrichment lectures with Professor Lamm and found them very interesting. I actually read a magazine cover to cover without being interrupted- so I was happy! J My mother went to the captain's reception (boring she said). The entertainer was "Tony Tillan- master entertainer"- so corny I thought- but hey, it was free so I went- It was EXCELLENT! He was a mix of Ben Vareen and Sammie Davis jr.- WOW!! I could have watched him for hours! (they do show most of the shows again on the TV- but not this one- which I would have loved to have seen again!). Sat was the first formal night and everyone did dress up- it went from vests to tuxes for men and a variety of dressed for women- most people did change afterwards which I thought was a shame- our family got pictures taken- this is were I spent most of my $$! We were asleep most night by 10 (Darn east coast time change killed us) and with the kids- we didn't see much of the "night time action". Sunday was Juneau's port- when I woke up and unearthed myself from our "cave" (and I mean that in a nice way!) the view was breathtaking- it was sunny, warmer than I thought and everywhere you looked there was a beautiful view! Although the boat docked at 11- they didn't let people off until 11:20- the line was HUGE!!! We had to rush to catch our whale tour- otherwise we would have waited!! If you stayed on the ship they still had tons of activities to do and the spa had specials as well. We took the Orca whale watch tour with Captain Larry ( a man of few words!) and we not only saw whales, but seals and porpoises (plus some girls on a nearby boat mooned us and flashed us, so the men were quite happy with what they saw!). The tour was fantastic- the views were amazing and the staff was super- I learned a lot about the "real" Juneau from talking to them. I took my youngest and went shopping in town- visited some "real" stores as well as touristy ones- found great things in both. Tim and the other kids went to Mendenhall Glacier which they loved- (took the $6 shuttle- $12 roundtrip). There is a $2 shuttle that you can ride all day from the ship to town and I HIGHLY recommend it- it is a nice walk (about 1.5 miles- I did it back with the stroller) but it is uphill and with carrying bags back- it could be quite the trek! The weather was gorgeous all day- the people in town kept remarking how unusual this was! Dinner that night was casual and the ship left promptly at 8:00. The entertainment that night was "Los Pampas Gauchos" but we were all too tired to make it! Our tablemates saw it and said it was wonderful. We had also picked up the new Harry Potter book in Juneau for our 7 year old and noticed the large amount of people reading the new book- all different ages! Monday (day 4) was Skagway- and although we docked at 7- we had learned our lessons and didn't get off until more like 9-What a great town- we docked at the end of a very long pier (they did have small shuttle to take you to the end of the pier and then there was another bus for $1.50 you could take into town- probably a mile walk) The town was great- all stores looked historic thanks to the false fronts even if they were brand new jewelry stores! We took the Park ranger tour (tickets are free given out at ranger center) and it was both funny and fascinating- we learned a ton about the town and it took about 50 minutes- well worth the time- even the kids had a good time (although, this time we did leave the 3 year old on the ship at AO- we learned our lesson from Juneau!). Tim and my dad did the basic 3 hrs train tour (which left from right across from the train station) and said it was terrific- someone even saw a bear! The kids and I did the Liarsville Gold rush and salmon bake- It was hokey and corny and we loved it! It was SO cold that day- but sunny and they had a fire going with free hot cider- so that helped! Of course panning for gold gave us a few chips- but nothing to retire on! J The salmon was delicious and there was baked chicken legs as well as baked beans, pasta salad, corn bread and blueberry cake- there was lemonade to drink and beer to buy. Dinner was smart casual (which I think is kind of wishy washy) and the entertainment was "boogie wonderland" by the Royal Caribbean's; singers and dancers- It was kind of corny and after awhile boring- esp if you don't like songs from the 70's- I did so it was fine by me- but my parents were bored. The singers are amazing and the dancers are good too- it was just the show itself that was lacking. Tuesday was Tracy Arm Fjord day (which is really another day at sea) and it was cloudy and COLD but well worth trying to stay warm to see the glaciers- big chunks of blue ice floating right by you- I couldn't stop taking pictures! The captain sent some crew out in boats to get some ice and they brought it back- it was really cool (actually cold)- the ice was much lighter than normal and it had tons of air bubbles in it- of course we all got pictures taken with it- this is not your usual freezer ice! (it was there the next day- that should tell you how cold it was on deck!) Tim and I took the fox trot lesson and reminded ourselves of why we never go dancing! But it was fun! My father went to a presentation by the ships environment officer and learned a bunch of fascinating things- starting with (this is what he was told) this will be the VOS last season going to Alaska- they want the bigger boats to go here and the VOS will be used for transatlantic crossings (not sure if that is a wise idea IMO)- Since there will be bigger ships- they will not be able to do the Tracy Arm Fjord stop- which is a shame IMO! Dinner was casual/ Rock n' Roll (whatever that meant!) that night. The entertainment was Chris Faison (one of the RC singers) who was very good and comedian Robert Lind- who had me in tears! (in a good way)- he was so great! He did this whole thing with this kid (who turns out to be his son) and it was hysterical! My parents enjoyed it as well and my kids loved it! My mom had gone to " A tribute with the ladies" starring Sherri Carfaro (who was the main music in the champagne lounge) and she said it was wonderful. We heard her singing many times since our room was right off the lounge and she was fantastic. Day 6 was Prince Rupert Day- I had read a lot of negative talk about this port but wanted to give it a fair shot- The town although incredible friendly and clean was very tiny with really not much to see- they had a playground at a park that was close to the ship- so we took the kids there to get off some steam- that was about the highlight- My dad and my geeky 7 yo son loved the museum of Northern BC- but I found it slightly boring. Tim and my daughter did the shore excursion where they row an ancient Indian canoe to an island, tour the island and have a crab bake- they loved it and would recommend it to anyone. My son (the 7 yo) and I took a ferry (more like a Gilligan's island boat) to another island where we had a tour of ancient villages (big holes in ground overgrown with plants) and Peteroglyphs (rocks with carvings-which were really cool). We had a sockeye salmon lunch there and watched bald eagles dive to get the salmon remains- that was pretty neat. We barely made it back to the ship in time (and this was a ship sponsored excursion) and were literally the last people on board! The tours are mainly run by the Tsimshian First Nation which was kind of cool and we learned a lot about their culture. From what I could gather- this port is a relatively new stop and they are tying to make it more impressive- just the same- I think I would have rather gone to a different Canadian stop. It was formal night so that meant a really quick change since I was NOT missing my lobster tails for anything! The show that night was the RC singers and dancers doing "Broadway Rhythm and Blues"- as a Big Broadway fan, I was kind of disappointed- they have some very interesting (read: strange) arrangements to the tunes and it really took away from the show- My parents hated it even more than boogie wonderland and we actually saw a bunch of different people get up and leave which we hadn't seen before! There was a late night show with adult comedy by Kevin Jordin and although I would have LOVED to seen it- my parents were babysitting so we couldn't stay out that late. This was also the night of the Gala Buffet (pictures 11:30-12:15, buffet from 12:30-1:30)- We went and took pictures- but to tell you the truth- it wasn't worth waiting up for and waiting on line to eat! There was a chocolate buffet earlier in the week and that was a MADHOUSE! So we went to Karaoke (woo-boy is all I can say!) and the casino ( I lost $30 on blackjack- which I played for the first time!) Day 7 rolled around and we knew our cruise was coming to an end- mainly since there were tons of things about gratuities and departure information around the ship! Tons of sales in the shops, just time to catch up on whatever you need to do and of course PACK! We needed to buy a duffel bag since our garment bag had broken when we got to the ship (though no fault of theirs- it was old)- The show was comedian Greg Otto and he was again- incredibly funny! Very dry with observational humor- but we have been quoting his lines ever since- he ragged slightly on Prince Rupert which got a roar from the audience! Earlier that afternoon was the parade of flags which was amazing- highly recommend getting a spot on the second deck (deck 10) right by the front of the pool (actually above the pool). That day I also took a tour of the theater and found that amazing as well- their shows run 4-6 years (too bad) but the cast seemed very nice. The offered swing, salsa and hip hop dancing lessons during the cruise- that was fun! My daughter and I did the hip hop one and worked up quite a sweat! That night we tagged our bags, put them out in the hallway and hoped to see them the next day! Up early on Friday to disembark-a little too early I think- we were due to be called at like 9:25 am and my husband had us up and out by 7:00! At least there was no line for Breakfast!! It was gorgeous out so instead of going to our assigned place (the theater) we waited on deck like so many people- good advice someone gave me! We left when called- found our luggage and waited for our hotel shuttle! We stayed that night at the Silver Cloud Inn on Lake union- highly recommend it to anyone! They had a free shuttle that would take you to all the tourist attractions so we went to the Pacific Science Center and had a wonderful time there ( my mom got to see the Harry Potter movie on IMAX)- we had dinner at Duke's Chowderhouse- YUM!!!!! And went to bed early since we had a 9:30 flight the next am (or so we thought!) when we got to the airport- we found out our flight was cancelled and waited on line and called the airline to make other reservations- they got us out the next day but we had to fly separately (not first class like we came in on) and Tim, myself and our 3 yo had a flight from SEA-Chicago and then Chicago- NY. This should have been fine but there was a 3 hours layover (instead of the 1 hr due to weather) and the luggage was on another flight that didn't get in until 1 hr after our flight! Not the way I wanted to end our wonderful vacation! The good part was when we found out the flight was cancelled, we immediately called the Sleep Inn back and got their last two rooms. The shuttle driver heard our tale of woe- it was also my 7 year old's birthday that day (he was turning 8) and they (the driver and the woman at the front desk) surprised him with a birthday cake and refused to take a tip- giving the $$ to him instead. Another man overhearing this in the hall also gave him $20 as a gift- talk about the kindness of strangers! It was so heartwarming and made me believe in mankind once more! To sum it all up! (WHEW!) Good things: Loved the Ship- just the right size for us- they were always cleaning and doing repairs and keeping it in great shape- sure at some places the carpets were worn, and maybe the brass wasn't as shiny as it used to be, but it was perfect in our eyes! They had tons of great music around the ship and overall the entertainment was terrific. The food in the Windjammer was mixed but in the dining room for dinner- overall it was consistently delicious! Service was amazing with tons of good mornings and how are you. Exercise room as small and consistently crowded- but people were good about not hogging machines. The kids program was terrific!! They had a pirate night which was adorable - my son still does all the sayings and for the older kids (9-11) on the last night they did a song with the RC dances and singers- my daughter was in that and it was an amazing part of the trip she will never forget! They also did a kids talent show (again- woo-boy!) which was umm.... Interesting! At times they did not stick with the exact scheduled activities which bummed out some kids - but all in all- they had a great time. The TV schedule was adequate and I saw some movies I wanted to see on DVD- so that was good! We saw about 6 whales one day when we were cruising- that was really cool! They were very close up so we all got a great view- It was very funny watching people run from one side of the ship to the other to see them! Our room was in a great spot- right by the dining room- we could never hear any noise thanks to big heavy doors and if we needed to run back- we could do so easily. I would get those rooms again if I needed to. Things to not like (note I do not say bad things since they weren't terrible things): I felt that I spent more money in tipping than I did on anything else- we tipped the shuttle drivers, the longshoreman who took our luggage at the pier, all the excursions, ship sponsored or otherwise had tip jars out, it was HIGHLY recommended to tip room service as well as bar staff (above and beyond their 15% that was already given) as well as the staff at the windjammer. I just felt like most of the time I was finding cash to give to people and it really adds up! The other thing I didn't like was the solarium pool- I am a stickler for rules and kids were only allowed in their on Sat and Monday if there was inclement weather and only between the hrs of 12-2 and 4-6. I am the first to only allow my kids to do that- but give us a break- this is not a Caribbean or Mexican cruise where you can swim outside- it was between 56-65 degrees most days- the kids should have more time to be allowed in the Solarium pool. I saw lots of kids in it outside of allowed times- but in reading all the posts- I know how frowned upon that is. Maybe for Alaskan cruises they can make a change. I already wrote about the RC shows- although the talent was great- the traditional shows were not. Would I take another RC cruise- most likely- I do like to try new things so maybe a different ship next time. It was a very sedate crowd- I have a feeling a different venue might be more active. All in all the trip was well worth the $$ and I would highly recommend this trip to anyone. Mikki Harkin VOS to Alaska 7/20-7/27 Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
This was our second cruise with close friends and we had a blast the last time so we looked forward to this cruise alot, especially since Cruisin4jewels was constantly telling us how much better RCL was. After the trip, I will reserve ... Read More
This was our second cruise with close friends and we had a blast the last time so we looked forward to this cruise alot, especially since Cruisin4jewels was constantly telling us how much better RCL was. After the trip, I will reserve judgment until i try a larger ship. I think the smaller size of this ship definitely affected our enjoyment. The kids program however was phenomenal and our 8 year old triplets and even our 15 year old daughter had a great time. I feel that when the weather is cold, and the outdoor pool is out of the question, that the smaller ships limit your options. That being said, this was a once in a lifetime trip and we had a great time (except that I was ill (not seasick) from day one and Prince Rupert was terrible). The scenery, especially in Tracy Arms, made the trip memorable. BRING EXTRA MEMORY FOR YOUR CAMERAS. Also, the temperature was normally pretty cold for us SOuth Floridians so I am glad we brought Parkas (I would highly recommend the Storobags to shrink wrap them). Embarkation was easy. We got to Seattle a couple of days early and explored. We arrived at the Pier at 11:00 and were aboard in 30 minutes. The only reason it took that long is they had screwed up the Seapass account (recurring theme). There wasn't much to do the first day until after dinner, but it gave us a chance to explore. We were disappointed to be told on the first day that all the spa treatments were booked solid except during the maid dining seating, which did not work for us. Keep trying though as they do have cancellations and we were able to get massages if we wanted. We had a Junior Suite and an inside cabin (7 of us). The Jr. Suite did not really impress me much as other than a tub (not really used) and a little wider balcony, it did not seem like you got much for your extra money and I really see no reason why the gratuity was higher. Our friends had the next door suite so communication was easy (too easy given one particular photo that I mistakenly got of Cruisin's hubbie - YUCK). Our stateroom attendant was excellent and the kids really looked forward to the towel animals every night. Dinner every night was nice and fun. We had a loud group and our waiter seemed to enjoy us. Great service from all. The head waiter was very involved and i felt good about giving him a gratuity at the end. Food was sometimes very good and sometimes average. Kids had alot to choose from and found food they liked. Waiter always brought lots of desserts to try, even if not ordered. The activities were a mixed bag. The comedians were good, the musicians were ok, and the cruise staff was really trying to make sure all had a good time. The "Newlywed game" was fun as was the adult "Quest" game. It was nice not having to get to the shows hours early as there was usually tables avail. I tried all the bars, and found the drinks good and easy to get. I was constantly being asked if i wanted to order drinks (not true on my last cruise) and never had to wait for a drink. Some of the bars seemed not very well stocked on premium alcohol (casino bar especially). We had a great time the last night in the Viking Crown Lounge disco even though Cruisin got us there very early and threatened to "punch" her husband "in the heart". :) We probably booked too many excursions and did not leave ourselves enough time to explore the town, especially Juneau. Juneau was great, our friends took the older kids zip-lining through the rain forest and they all raved about it. We took the younger kids whale watching. They had a good time and we got really close to several humpback whales. GREAT TOUR guide. Really knew his stuff. We all went panning for gold at the end of the day and everyone enjoyed it except for one of my son's who fell in the freezing cold river and had to spend the rest of the excursion on the bus with me wrapped in my parka. Skagway was also good. We did the city tour and klondike summit by bus. Nice relaxing trip with great scenery. Kids got to see snow (remember we are from South FLorida). We also did the Mushers' Camp and again it was great! Towed around by sleddogs then got to hold puppies. Great for the kids. Explored the town a little, had a drink in the red onion (take that cruisin4jewels) and shopped. Tracey Arm was AMAZING. COLD but great scenery and got pretty good view of the glacier. The crew brought up a couple of icebergs and the kids got to touch it. Was able to prevent my nephew from putting his tongue on it (yeah, I know but at least he isn't mine). Prince Rupert was a waste of time. Small town with nothing to do, no good shopping and excursions offered didn't interest us. Maybe it will get better, can't get worse. I would recommend staying on the ship. Overall we got lucky on the weather. Last two days were sunny and in 80's so kids got to use the pool and i got to get some sun while feverish. Rest of the time was typical ALaska weather, cool and rainy but we were prepared. Disembarking was ok, were showing FOx News in the Theater where we waited and it was all murder and mayhem which served to bring us back to the real world. I would recommend this trip as a once in a lifetime experience, especially for the kids, but I don't think I will do it again and the cost of this vacation was shocking! I also prefer the big ships and will stick to those in the future. Again, we are glad we did it, had a great time, and will remember this vacation fondly (except having the misfortune of being mooned by Cruisin4jewels' hubbie - the deepest Fjord). Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
We sailed on Vision of the Seas on the June 8th cruise. This will probably be lengthy, but hopefully it will make someone else's trip to Alaska better. This was our third cruise, all on Royal Caribbean. All of our cruises have been on ... Read More
We sailed on Vision of the Seas on the June 8th cruise. This will probably be lengthy, but hopefully it will make someone else's trip to Alaska better. This was our third cruise, all on Royal Caribbean. All of our cruises have been on the vision family ships(Enchantment and Splendour were our other two). Royal had been so good for our first two cruises, we saw no need to try anyone else. We flew out of Charlotte and had a direct flight to Seattle. We actually live along coastal South Carolina, but saved over $800 flying out of Charlotte instead of Myrtle Beach on US Airways. To be safe, we flew in a day early and planned some sightseeing around Seattle. Our flight was actually 30 minutes early! We stayed near the airport-most hotels have shuttles. Our family bought bus passes in advance for our day in Seattle. We visited the Museum of Flight(a must if you like aviation), Space Needle, EMP, and Science Fiction Museum. Note: Boeing sponsors free admission on the first Thursday of the month in the summer to many of the museums around Seattle. All of these attractions were first class. We left the hotel for the cruise ship dock at 11:15 on Friday. We took a limo service which cost us $60 for our family of four. I'm not sure how much Royal charges for airport transfers to the dock, but I figured it would be at least $15 dollars apiece. Check in was very efficient(too efficient for us). We thought we would just check our bags and walk over to the fish market until we could get on the boat, but they moved us right to the boarding process. We were on the ship by 12:10. We were eating lunch at the Windjammer by 12:45. The boat left right at 5:00 and the weather was absolutely perfect for Seattle in June. Saturday was at sea and it was the roughest worst weather day , but improved as the day went on. There were 13-20 foot seas on Saturday morning in the open water, but I did not hear of or see many people getting sick. My youngest son wanted to swim in the afternoon and the water was 86 degrees and the hot tub was especially nice. The pool deck was much less crowded on the Alaskan cruise relative to our Caribbean sailings. Our family also spent some of the afternoon in the card room and played shuffle board. My kids also played table tennis. Sunday was probably one of the most memorable days of my life. You have to remember it is not dark very long in Alaska. I woke up at about 4:30 in the morning and looked out the window and it looked like a post card. Snow in the mountains, sunshine, and beautiful scenery. I enjoyed getting up early and just spending time on deck 10 drinking coffee and talking to other passengers(all week). My wife, who usually is a late sleeper, was even pulled out of bed by the scenery. By 8 am we were watching whales spouting on both sides of the deck. In Juneau we took the city bus to the Glacier Gardens(a beautiful attraction that came highly recommended by friends and relatives) and then continued on the city bus to Mendenhall Glacier. Note: the city bus is $1.50 for adults and $1.00 for kids each time you board. It is a 1.25 mile walk from the bus stop to the glacier. If you take the blue bus from downtown directly to the glacier it is $12.00 round trip. The glacier was amazing and by going on your own, you can spend as much time as you want. On the way back to the bus stop, a mother black bear and her cub ran across the road about 50 feet in front of us. A tour bus coming the other way nearly hit the bear. Seeing the bear and cub was a thrill for our whole family and we were probably closer than we wanted to be. Monday was Skagway. We got off the boat and went to the Klondike Gold Rush Museum and signed up for the 9:00 am ranger tour. If you want to learn about the gold rush, this was an excellent tour and it was free. We went back to the boat to eat and then went on the train/gold camp excursion that we booked through the cruise line. The train is a must in Skagway and we enjoyed the camp as well. There was plenty of snow at the high elevations of the train ride. In Fraser, you depart the train and take a bus to the gold camp(Liarsville). They have a little show, let you walk around the camp, and give you a pan and you separate the rocks to find the gold in your pan--they are pre made, so everyone is guaranteed to get little gold. On Tuesday morning, we sailed into the Tracy Arm Fjord. It is one of the most scenic places that I have ever seen. The pictures that we have are beautiful, but don't do the fjord and glacier justice. You have to see it in person to truly appreciate it. We saw a few seals and got in pretty close to the Sawyer Glacier. Captain Stein said it was as close as he had gotten this season. A few crew members went out and brought pieces of some icebergs for everyone to see and take pictures . The waterfalls in the fjord were spectacular. They had over 200 inches of snow around Juneau this past winter, so there was plenty of snow melt. The Wednesday stop was Prince Rupert, BC. We liked Prince Rupert because it is kind of quiet relative to most cruise ship stops. We went on the Butze Rapids walk and really enjoyed it. The scenery in BC is outstanding as well. Our guides were friendly and knowledgeable. We also went to the Museum of Northern BC--it documents the history of the First Nation. You can walk there from the ship and it was $10 for our family. Thursday was a day at sea. My wife and I went to the Alaska talk, which was excellent. The crew had their parade on deck 10. There was an ice carving demonstration and a towel demonstration--my kids love the towel animals. In the afternoon, I did the rock climbing wall. I hadn't done it on the other cruises, but wanted to. It was a blast!! That will be on my list to do for future cruises. We departed the ship at about 9:45 on Friday. That was a little chaotic because it was raining and people were blocking the terminal exit waiting for rides. The Royal people were trying to clear the exit and people wouldn't move. Our dining experience was outstanding as it has been on each Royal cruise. We don't generally eat out at fancy places, so the dinner experience is a big part of the cruise for us. I generally don't eat things like salmon, lamb, etc. Both of these meals and every other one was excellent. My oldest son had the lobster tails and they brought him all he could eat. Everything that we ordered was very good. Our waiters--Merliza and Notaya were excellent and our head waiter(Vijay) was outstanding as well. One night, we had strawberry cheesecake for dessert and I was commenting on how much I loved strawberries, so Merliza brought two extra pieces for us to take back to our room. On piece of advise. If you are from the east coast, I would pick early dining. Remember, there is a 4 hour time difference. Six o'clock dinner is going to feel like 10 o'clock. Our youngest son went to bed two nights as soon as dinner was over and I found myself nodding a bit at the shows. Our room attendant , Andre, was top notch and I even talked to him about the Mexican Riviera cruise that Vision does for the winter season. He was telling me about all of the ports. The nightly entertainment was great. For us the highlight was the performance by the Drifters. They were great and the audience really seemed to enjoy that show. The comedians were excellent and our cruise director(and wife) kept everyone entertained and informed. We spent alittle time in the casino and I probably enjoyed the penny slot(a mining game) the most. We lost $10, but played for about an hour. After we got off the ship, we rented a car and spent two more days in Washington(Boeing Factory Tour, Snoqualme Falls, Mount Rainier, Northwest Trek Park, and Mt. St. Helen's Visitors Center). We enjoyed our days in Washington and we were glad that we allowed some extra time before and after the cruise. If you do rent a car, be ready for Seattle traffic--it is heavy!! During the whole week of the cruise, I only heard two people say anything negative. I heard one couple complain that their seating arrangement wasn't right, but they hadn't checked on it and one man was mad at his wife because she wanted to buy a cruise picture and he thought it was too expensive. During the parade, passengers were yelling to Captain Stein to turn the boat around!! Once again, we found Royal Caribbean to be notch in everyway. We just have no reason to cruise with anyone except Royal at this point. We were very lucky weatherwise. Most natives in Alaska and BC seemed to indicate that if it wasn't raining, it was a good day. It rained on us probably everyday a least a little, but mostly very light rain or mist. Take a raincoat and don't worry about it. If you have are considering cruising to Alaska, I wouldn't hesitate going with Vision. I thought this was going to be a once in a lifetime trip(Alaska), but we are already talking about going back again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
This was our 20th cruise - the second time to Alaska - so we are experienced cruisers. The Vision is a nice ship, though lacking some of the pizzazz of newer vessels. Our cabin was outside on the second deck, and showed some wear and tear. ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise - the second time to Alaska - so we are experienced cruisers. The Vision is a nice ship, though lacking some of the pizzazz of newer vessels. Our cabin was outside on the second deck, and showed some wear and tear. However, the lovely bed linens and attentive cabin steward made up for any deficiencies. Embarkation went smoothly, and lunch was available in the Windjammer. Though the cruise line advises passengers not to arrive before 1:00, we arrived at noon and there were many other passengers who were there before us eating lunch and getting settled. The buffet lunch was not great, and we hoped it was not an indication of how the food on this ship would prove to be. We chose this ship because we were going to be in Seattle for one week prior to the sailing, so it was basically for convenience. I would suggest, for anyone interested in an Alaska cruise, not to choose this itinerary. The boat does not go into enough ports and one port in particular, Prince Rupert Island, was worthless. So, the only two ports that were interesting were Juneau and Skagway. The itinerary absolutely needed to include Victoria and/or Sitka and Ketchikan to make the cruise more interesting. We did sail around Tracy Arm, which was very nice - but having done Glacier Bay a number of years ago - we knew the comparisons, and Glacier Bay is definitely more impressive. We did the train ride in Skagway which was enjoyable - though we had a real loudmouth in our "car" who insisted upon singing and making off color comments - but no one can control that sort of thing happening. For those of you interested in saving a small amount of money - you can go right to the train station in town to purchase tickets. In Juneau there are also numerous booths selling all kinds of tours, as soon as you get off the ship. The food on the Vision is alright, though it was obvious that the company is trying to economize. Instead of rack of lamb, they serve lamb shank. Caviar is in very short supply, and the lobster tails served on the last formal night were small and tasteless. Most of the meat, like prime rib, also had little flavor, and in many cases was tough. The Windjammer provides afternoon tea, however, the selections are limited and hardly vary from day to day, and the display messy and unappetizing. The baked goods at breakfast never change, and the lunch menu served in the dining room hardly varies. At lunch they offer a pasta bar in the dining room - which is a very inexpensive way to fill up guests with lots of carbs. On the positive side, the ship is attractive and, other than the Windjammer, is kept clean and orderly. The entertainment was wonderful - really top notch - with the exception of one old vaudevillian who needs to retire. The special effects and shows were great, with a talented cast. There are bands playing and groups entertaining all evening long, which makes it very nice for dancing and relaxing before and after dinner. The waiters in the dining room are all friendly and want to please the guests and the cabin stewards seem to be excellent. We never had to ask twice for additional towels or robes. Disembarkation went very smoothly and one can choose to pay extra for valet luggage service which is a wonderful way to end the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
seattle pre cruise stayed at sleep-inn seatac nice hotel to stage day of sightseeing. hotel shuttle from airport. hired 4hr city tour with stops that picked up/return to hotel. shuttle express to pier arrived at noon and embarkation was ... Read More
seattle pre cruise stayed at sleep-inn seatac nice hotel to stage day of sightseeing. hotel shuttle from airport. hired 4hr city tour with stops that picked up/return to hotel. shuttle express to pier arrived at noon and embarkation was smooth no lines and straight on the vision. all ships common areas were clean and comfortable. all ships staff we met were very pleasant and cheerful. Captain stein was the best we have had. out among the guest often with many interesting things to say. main seating dinner was great for us. Our table had 3 couples all celebrating 25 years of marriage plus our 2 kids. we had table 066 anthony & roberto was our staff and they did a great job. John and Katrina were the cruise directors married team. they kept us all informed and on track not to miss anything. the ship was in great shape. juneau was great and our excursion to the taku glacier via jet boat was incredible. Shopping was good. red dog saloon was fun. skagway excursion was great train/bus tour 8 hrs to the emerald lake in the yukon,lunch & a great guide Nancy. no time left to really check out skagway. tracy arm was the best we went all the way in to the glacier with in 1/2 mile. lots of wildlife lots of sun and snowcapped mountains. lots of whales that breached the water in front of the ship as we watched. ice bergs with seals sunbathing. prince rupert. forget about it. by this time we had already seen many bald eagles. inside passage was very nice. the best cruise i have taken i will do alaska again someday. just got to say wow. RCCL has done it again for my family Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
Vision of the Seas Alaska Cruise Review I booked this 7 day cruise with air through the RCCL group department. There were 40 of us that went. We had Category H oceanview cabins on Deck Three. Day 1: We had flights on Delta leaving ... Read More
Vision of the Seas Alaska Cruise Review I booked this 7 day cruise with air through the RCCL group department. There were 40 of us that went. We had Category H oceanview cabins on Deck Three. Day 1: We had flights on Delta leaving Charlotte, NC at 8:00 am, a short layover at Salt Lake City and then on to Seattle. The flights were smooth, no major problems at all. We arrived in Seattle and there was a team of representatives from RCCL there. Once we claimed our baggage, the RCCL team checked it in for us and we boarded a bus for the port. So easy! We were on the ship just in time to check out our cabins and then go to the mandatory muster drill. The drill lasted about 30 minutes. After that we purchased our soda package and headed to the Solarium cafe for food. The pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs were quite good. We went up on deck to watch the sail away from Seattle. There are great views of the Seattle, The Space Needle and Mt. Rainier from the ship. Since we were dead tired we went back to the cabin to rest. I woke up at 6:15 PM and decided to go up to the dining room. My husband and son did not wake up at all. They slept all night. I ate a little dinner and then went back to bed. I had been up all night packing so I was ready for some zzzz's! Day 2: Today was a sea day. This was a good day to explore the ship. We went to the shopping talk where we purchased a Savvy Shopper book for $25. There were a lot of free or free with purchase coupons in it for all of the Alaska ports. We played (and lost) a bingo game, tried our luck on the slots, and checked out the shops onboard. We also ate lunch at the Windjammer and had some ice cream. The captain made an announcement that there was a medical emergency and we had to turn around and sail back 2 hours to meet a Coast Guard helicopter. We heard that a man slipped and hit his head on the pool. At dinner we watched as the helicopter hovered over the ship. They must have dropped a basket down and when they loaded him up it came back over the deck and picked him up. This of course would make us @ 4 hours late for Juneau, but that was okay, we understood. Tonight was the first formal night. The food, especially the desserts, in the dining room were very good each night. The entertainment tonight was a comic by the name of Ralph Harris. He was very funny. You can see him on Last Comic Standing on NBC. We also enjoyed the karaoke tonight. Day 3: In Juneau, better late than never! We had booked the Mendenhall Glacier/Whale Watch excursion here. It was not cancelled although some other excursions were because of our late arrival. We got to Juneau @ 3:00 pm. It was so warm...@ 73 degrees. We boarded a bus (not air conditioned) and he drove us to the glacier. It was a little cooler there. Mendenhall is a beautiful place. We were there for about one hour. We got back on the bus and headed for Auke Bay. On the way we saw a black bear just sitting in a ditch by the road! We got to the marina and boarded a boat. They had free bottled water, hot chocolate, coffee, juice and apples. Later they gave us some chips and cookie. This was a great excursion. We saw so many whales (well, at least we saw their backs, tails and the spray from the blows). We also saw bald eagles and harbor seals. We enjoyed this very much. We got back to the ship just before it left. My son & I ordered room service. He got the pizza and I got the chicken wings. Both were very good. We were tired so we just went to bed. Day 4: Today we arrived in Skagway. There was a very light rain, but we caught the shuttle into town and walked around and shopped for a while. We came back to the ship for lunch and then boarded the White Pass Rail Road for our excursion. This excursion lasted 3.5 hours. It was a train ride up to Fraser, B.C. We never got off the train. It just made a loop and came back the same way it went up. We saw two bears during the trip. The scenery is beautiful. The train has free bottled water. It was very comfortable and each car had a bathroom. My son & I spent a lot of time on the platform taking pictures. We got back to the ship and boarded the shuttle and went back into town for more shopping. We used our Savvy Shopper books and picked up several freebies here. We were not able to use any of our Juneau coupons due to our late arrival. Day 5: Today was another sea day. We actually went through Tracy Arms Fjords today. It was so beautiful. It was a little cold on deck but the sun was shining and the icebergs were a beautiful shade of blue. The captain sent some of his crew out on a raft and they came back with big chunks of ice from an iceberg. The ice looks like it is put together like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle. We enjoyed our day on the ship. Tonight's entertainment was fabulous…….the Drifter's! They signed autographs and sold CD's after the show. Day 6: Today we arrive in Prince Rupert, BC. It was raining (a light mist) but we got off the ship and walked to the shops nearby. We had planned to take my son Halibut fishing here, but it was cancelled due to the weather. We went back to the ship and had lunch. After lunch we went back out and walked around the town. There is not much to see or do here on your own and the transportation is not great. Someone from our group did the Grizzly Bear excursion and really enjoyed it. The whale watching did not go so well - I heard that they did not see one whale. I would have preferred going to Victoria or another Alaska town. Tonight's entertainment was the ship singers/dancers in a production show called Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme. It was typically ship entertainment...not bad but not great either. Day 7: Today was another sea day. We went through the inside passage today. It was very scenic. We enjoyed this relaxing day. The captain and crew had a parade of nations carrying flags around the pool area today. Tonight's show was a variety show. In addition to the ship dancers and singers there was a juggler/clown named Charlie Frye. He was okay. There was a comedian names Kevi Rogers. He was so funny. He really talked about how terrible Prince Rupert was and he imitated the Captain speaking over the intercom. We enjoyed the show very much. Overall this was a nice cruise and we enjoyed our excursions very much. The ship was very clean and the staff was very friendly where ever you went. The ship has a lot of public areas with a lot of glass for viewing. We even spotted a few whales from the ship. The food was great and the entertainment was good too. We enjoyed the “lounge singers” in the Centrum area and Dan the Piano Man in the Schooner bar. I did not attend, but I did catch the Marriage and Quest game shows on the cabin TV. They were very funny. The cabin was kept clean and the shower had good water pressure. The hair dryer supplied by the ship was fine too. The captain was very visible around the ship. We even saw him & his wife and new baby eating at the buffet one day. We all chose to pay the $20 per person for Luggage Valet. This was well worth it. We put our bags out Thursday night and did not see them again until we got home. We were the second group called off the ship. Express (carry your own luggage) was first. We walked right off the ship and onto a bus that took us to the airport. I will definitely do this again. This was a great cruise and it just made me want to go back to see more of Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
My extended family visited Alaska this summer. We had three generations ranging from age 13 to 73. All told we had four cabins...three on Deck 8 and one on Deck 7. Our flights were arranged through the travel agency and we flew from ... Read More
My extended family visited Alaska this summer. We had three generations ranging from age 13 to 73. All told we had four cabins...three on Deck 8 and one on Deck 7. Our flights were arranged through the travel agency and we flew from Louisville to Atlanta and then had a long (5-hour) flight to Seattle. Atlanta's airport was hot and crowded, but a necessary evil. When we arrived in Seattle things went very smoothly. We met the Royal Caribbean representative near the baggage claim, checked our bags, and waited perhaps ten minutes for a bus. We were at the terminal within 1/2 hour and went through checkin without any major problems (slowed a bit because one member of our party was in a wheelchair. We were on board by 2:00 and had time to explore a bit (and have a cocktail or two). The mandatory muster drill was almost fun. Some of us changed for dinner and hit the happy hour at the Schooner Bar before our first dinner. Food: Seldom did our entire family eat together, but almost all of our dining experiences were fine. The main dining room offered many choices and the staff wanted you to try as many as you liked. Our waiter and assistant waiter were just a pleasant as can be. Dinner was the only meal that most of us ate in the main dining room. Breakfast was almost always at the Windjammer Cafe. The buffet was amazing, surely anybody could find something to eat there. Lunch (and dinner) in the Windjammer also offered buffets with various choices and the place never seemed crowded. We also tried the pizza and burgers in the Solarium and room service...and there were no complaints (even from the teens). Service: We felt that everybody on the crew; from the Captain to the room stewards, was eager to please and wanted everybody to enjoy their cruise. Bars/Lounges: The adult members of the family spent a lot of time in the Schooner Bar and Viking Crown Lounge. The Pool Bar was popular when the weather was nice. We were especially happy with the entertainment of "Dan the Man" in the Schooner Bar and the waiters Denzil, Willie and Baldwin. Good guys all! Most cruisers are aware, that alcohol costs can add up quickly...so be careful. Children's' Activities: We had three teens with us and they all seemed to be pretty involved. They did some rock climbing, video games, swimming, and even had a hot dog eating contest. Cabins: All of our cabins had a balcony...which is money well spent. Some nights it was nice to leave the sliding doors open a bit and listen to the ship's quiet cruising. On only one night were the waves enough to be noticeable. All the cabin stewards were friendly and efficient. One cabin was handicapped accessible and there were no complaints. Ports-of-Call: Juneau is a very beautiful city, but we docked in the harbor and had to take tenders in to the dock. We didn't arrive until 11:00 and many didn't get off the ship until after noon, thus missing out on some shore excursions. Some family members did take a whale watching cruise, while some us contented ourselves with shopping and hanging out at the Red Onion Saloon. My concern with Juneau is that when five BIG ships are in town at the same time...the little town is awful crowded. Skagway: We did several shore excursions and all were enjoyed, but the White Pass Railway is a real thrill. Just breathtaking. There are some neat places to shop in town, and of course, you must visit the Red Dog Saloon. The Vision of the Seas docked right next to the boarding of the railroad, but you might want to consider taking the shuttle into town...it is probably a good 3/4 mile to walk. Prince Rupert: I've seen reviews that really blasted this place, but honestly, we enjoyed it. It was cloudy and rainy, but we took the "Sealife and Crab Extravaganza" Cruise and saw dozens of bald eagles, several whales, orcas, deer, and seals. Plus we feasted on Dungeness crab. I would also suggest stopping by the Breakers Pub while you are shopping in Prince Rupert. Outstanding fish and chips! The last day of cruising was sunny and almost 70 degrees. Beautiful day to lay by the pool and listen to Caribbean band. Departure: We sat in a lounge and most of us departed about 9:00am. Customs and the terminal lines were no problem...until we got outside. The only negative of the trip was trying to get on the busses to the airport. Royal Caribbean dropped the ball here and it was total chaos...every man, woman and child for themselves. It was a such relief to finally get ON a bus that I didn't mind having to walk 1/2 mile to the Northwest Airlines terminal at the airport. Our flights home (connecting in Minneapolis) were no problem. ALL of us enjoyed our Alaskan vacation. The Vision of the Seas is small enough that you get to know it pretty well. It is a beautiful ship, clean, modern, with amazing views from everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
This was our 1st trip to Alaska, our 5th cruise total and our 3rd with RCL. We loved this trip over all but had a few problem with the beginning and end of our adventure. We flew out of Pittsburgh, PA into Vancouver BC with a layover in ... Read More
This was our 1st trip to Alaska, our 5th cruise total and our 3rd with RCL. We loved this trip over all but had a few problem with the beginning and end of our adventure. We flew out of Pittsburgh, PA into Vancouver BC with a layover in Chicago. No problem with the flight although it was a long,long flight. We booked our transfers with RCL in order to take advantage of the USDirect program and avoid the long lines through customs, only to find out upon arriving at the airport that they were not running the USDirect program. So we stood in the customs lines for a little over 1 1/2 hours. Then no one from RCL was available to direct us to the bus for the ride to the pier. This was very frustrating. When a bus finally did arrive it took FOREVER to get to the pier and we didn't board the ship until 4:30 p.m. in just enough time to make the muster drill. We were not too happy about this because we really like to have time to explore the ship before the sailaway. Once aboard this all went much smoother. The ship was beautiful (although we have now decided we much prefer the larger ships) and the staff was excellent, very helpful and friendly. Our cabin was small but sufficient and we just love that "friendly" shower curtain!! Our luggage was in our cabin very promptly and we were off to dinner. Our servers, Desima from Jamaica and Leah from the Philippines were very good. Our head waiter, Ryan from Bombay was the most attentive head waiter we have ever had. The food was the best we have had on any ship so far. Our favorite bartenders Dionnie and Oscar were lots of fun and always very prompt! We enjoyed the nightclub in the Viking Crown Lounge this night. We also did very well in the casino coming out $500 ahead. The second day at sea we found sailing a little rough. Waves of 18-20 feet made for an interesting ride. We had a great time at our Meet & Mingle with new friends we met via the internet prior to the cruise. RCL provided a wonderful spread and the group enjoyed a very interesting gift exchange. We attended the wine tasting class (great fun) and enjoyed our 1st formal night dinner. The comedy show starring Wilde & Hanes was fantastic. We enjoyed a 70's Disco night that evening. Day 3 was our visit to Juneau. It was rainy and cold and we spent the afternoon hopping in and out of the shops near the pier. We enjoyed some drinks and a sing-a-long with our new friends at the Red Dog Saloon to pass the rainy afternoon. After another fantastic meal we attended the magic show featuring Kyle & Mistie in Knight Magic. Day 4 we visited Skagway where we took the Ghosts & Good Times Girls tour. We had lots of fun despite the cold weather. The walk from the pier into town was quite alittle hoof and we were glad to find a shuttle bus to get back to the ship. Skagway is a tiny little town (total population is 820 people)and if you don't have an excursion booked there you could probably see everything there in about 1/2 hour. This evening we enjoyed our dinner followed by a great vocalist, Julie Grace. The Love & Marriage show was very entertaining and the casino was again very good to us with another $500 filling our pockets. (We played the slots all week and won on the $1 Wheel of Fortune). Day 5 was our trip into the Tracy Arm Fjords. The scenery was truly amazing. We felt like we were in an IMAX theater. We saw mountain goats, eagles, dolphins and a whale. We went to a magic matinee and learns some tricks. After dinner we attend the Tribute to the Temptations show. These guys were great. Day 6 we stopped in Prince Rupert, where we took a whale watching tour. We saw lots of eagles and lots of sea lions but the highlight was seeing the humpback whale less then 50 yards from our boat. Our tour guide was very very informative and the boat was nice and small with only 40 passengers. The town was very small and didn't have alot to offer other than the excursions. After yet another great meal, we enjoyed the production show Boogie Wonderland and were very impressed with the singers and dancers. Another good night in the casino netted us a profit of $300. Are we lucky or what? Day 7 we sailed the inside passage and the weather was perfect!! The scenery was again truly amazing. We sat for hours on the deck and watched the majesty of the creation around us. After our last scrumptious dinner, we saw the farewell show (with tears in my eyes) and enjoyed the comedian Tim Jones. The Karaoke finals were quite entertaining and we gave back a little of our winnings to the casino (you gotta know when to walk away, and know when to run!!) We packed up the luggage and fell into bed. Disembarkation went smooth and we were off the ship by 8:30 a.m. Then it all went horrible again. The transfers to the airport were an absolute nightmare. The loading of buses was total chaos and to make a long, ugly story short, we ended up having to get a cab to the airport after 4 buses passed us by and we had only 15 min. to get through airport security. We will NEVER book transfers through RCL. We have learned our lessons!! For the icing on the cake, our airline lost our luggage (thank God it was on the way home!!) The ship's comedian joked that Delta stands for Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive and boy was he right!!! In summary we had a wonderful cruise. We aren't in any hurry to head back to Alaska. We thought it was beautiful and we had lots of fun, but we missed the warm weather. The ship's staff was excellent from the cruise director, to the captain, to the wait staff, to the room steward and the activities staff. Food was the best we have ever had. Drinks were great but a bit pricey. The entertainment was top notch. The friends we made were priceless. We are planning our next cruise with RCL to a warmer climate and on a larger ship!! Thanks for taking the time to read our review. Mike & Lynda Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
This was our second Alaskan Cruise and Alaska is still one of the most scenic places we have been. We flew into Seattle the same day the ship left and had no problems getting to the cruise dock. We took a taxi and the cost was $35 with tip ... Read More
This was our second Alaskan Cruise and Alaska is still one of the most scenic places we have been. We flew into Seattle the same day the ship left and had no problems getting to the cruise dock. We took a taxi and the cost was $35 with tip for the two of us. Taking a taxi was much easier than waiting for the cruise bus. The Seattle port in undergoing renovation so embarkation was a little confusing. We were booked into a Grand Suite for the cruise but when we got into the Suite/Vip line we were told that since we had our luggage with us we would have to wait in the main line to register. We waited in this line then another RCL employee saw that we had Suite tags and tried to redirect us to the VIP/Suite check in line again and we were again redirected to the main check in line. After all the moving and losing our place in line twice we elected to stay in the main line and just move with the flow. We then checked in and were on our way! Room- Since this was our second honeymoon we booked a Grand Suite. The room was large and had a fridge and bathtub. We enjoyed the room however, for the cost of the upgrade; we would opt for a standard balcony next time. I would also warn against the bathtub if you are tall. My DH is 6'4 and was unable to take a shower because when he stood in the tub his head hit the ceiling. So he took baths the whole time. (He didn't complain too much :)) Ship- The ship is nice enough but the common areas could use a little TLC. Many of the chairs and couches in the lounges and bars are thread bare and in need of a cleaning. Other than that the ship is very nice and the outdoor pool was never used but it is also heated. We had the pool to ourselves most of the days. Warning! If you get sea sick then bring some medication for the trip from Seattle to Jeanie. Most passengers were very ill that day. There were so many people ill that every floor had Barf bags tied to the railing of the stairs and in every elevator. The crew was unable to keep up with the level of illness on board so when we ventured from the room that 1st day we were unable to avoid seeing other passengers illness. Just be advised. Juneau We took the ships excursion and did the 4 glacier tour by helicopter. It was wonderful and it is always so peaceful up and away from town. After the excursion we walked around town near the dock and did a little shopping. My DH and I are not big shoppers so we didn't spend too much time and went back to the ship for an early lunch. Skagway We love Skagway! We took the White pass train ride and trail camp adventure. The railroad is wonderful but the bus down and the gold panning camp "Liarsville" was a little disappointing. We would do the train again but not the bus ride and " Liarsville" stop. We also found a wonderful art gallery in Skagway and bought some local art and my DH has always wanted to gold nugget so we got that there too. Tracy Arm Fjord There was too much ice in the water to get into the Fjord so the captain attempted another Fjord later but the ice was too thick there also. No Glacier viewing from the boat that day. Prince Rupert Very nice place. We booked the fishing excursion from the shop and had a WONDERFUL time. It was very fun. My DH and I caught 4 Halibut, 2 sharks, a cod and an octopus. It was a blast and the area is breathtaking. We also visited the local art gallery right off the pier and bought some local items and then headed back to the ship for the day. Over the entire cruise was good. The food quality on this ship however has gone down over the years. My DH and I were so disappointed by the food that each morning we looked forward to the breakfast buffet in the windjammer since the food was the best. We have booked another Alaskan cruise next year but we will take the Carnival Sprit and go out of VC to avoid the rough seas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Vision of the Sea out of Seattle. We spent 4 days in Seattle taking in the sights. Nice town and plenty of great food and sights. Boarding the ship was a bit longer than our other cruises but the line did move along. Not much help if you ... Read More
Vision of the Sea out of Seattle. We spent 4 days in Seattle taking in the sights. Nice town and plenty of great food and sights. Boarding the ship was a bit longer than our other cruises but the line did move along. Not much help if you have a Crown and Anchor Card, just get in line. The ship was fairly well kept. Food in the dining room was fair most of the time. Windjammer offered more choices and was pretty good. Seas were rough one day and most folks just stayed in rooms. The rest of the trip was fine as far as seas go. I did expect some mention of Memorial Day. Many Military couples on board as well as older veterans. RC welcomed our money but not even a flag or mention of this holiday. I was a bit put off by this lack of concern or at least a mention at the show or in the daily paper. I heard many others say the same thing and the comment cards surely reflected this. Departing the ship was fast until you hit the street. Not very organized compared to other ports we have experienced. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
This was my first cruise anywhere and it won't be my last. I enjoyed that much. My friends and I had flown into Seattle the night before from Tampa (and the time change was a definite shock to our systems). We had flown on AirTran ... Read More
This was my first cruise anywhere and it won't be my last. I enjoyed that much. My friends and I had flown into Seattle the night before from Tampa (and the time change was a definite shock to our systems). We had flown on AirTran and arrived at the airport in time for a security lockdown and had to wait for our baggage. We were lucky in we had booked private transportation (AirportDirectShuttle.com) from the airport to hotel, hotel to ship, and ship to airport. I would recommend them as a reasonable priced method of transportation in Seattle for cruisers. We had a large group for this cruise, a combination of friends, and friend's family members. We meshed into a nice group in very short order when we all met at the Georgetown Inn, Seattle the morning of the cruise. The Georgetown Inn was fine, but it's location wasn't very convenient for seeing Seattle's sights before boarding the Vision. I wasn't sure how the boarding process would go as this was my first cruise, but I found it to be very smooth and orderly. We arrived at the port around 12:45 and only had to wait in line for 20 minutes or so. Then it was off to see my first stateroom. I found my stateroom very easily after circling the Centrum a couple of times so I could get my orientation of bow to stern. I had stateroom 4522 and I feel I had the best stateroom attendant (Steve) on the ship. He was wonderfully helpful on where and when things were happening and things I should try. His team kept the stateroom spotless and fresh. After dropping off my carry-on bag, it was off to the Windjammer for a bite to eat. I love the fruit and vegetable carvings on the counters -- very talented people. I bought the Soda package on my way into the Windjammer and I got plenty of use out of it. The food in the Windjammer was good and they kept it refreshed often. The waiter's in the Windjammer did a good job on providing a good level of service. Later that night I had my first experience with the Aquarius Dining Room. We ate at the second seating and all I can say is Fantastic. The food experience in the dining room was extraordinary, with a new experience each night (plus the standard alternatives for those who didn't want to try different things.) Our waiters, Fateh and Mercy were the best in my opinion (we had three -- including me -- at a small 4 person table, next to the large table with the rest of our party). My friend's son is 15, 6'5" and has a large personality to match and he found a friend in the waiter at the large table. Zolton had them all laughing while providing great service. Our Head Waiter, Ryan, is from India and each night provided tidbits of information on our next port, keeping us updated and excited. It was an excellent experience each evening. For myself, the Vision of the Seas met all my expectations and more, providing me with a wonderful experience. I would cruise with them anyday, especially to Alaska. Shore Excursions: Juneau: We did the Juneau excursion to Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake. I loved Mendenhall Glacier (wasn't so sure of the Salmon Bake as it was outside and cold and wet). We exited the ship and waited for about 30 minutes (we left the ship to early for the excursion as we were all excited). We boarded a bus to Mendenhall and had a very well informed bus driver that showed us the sights and highlights of Juneau (including where the whales were seen the day before). Too bad that the whales didn't visit when I was there, but it was still fun. I didn't enjoy the Salmon Bake as much as it had started to rain and the food and seating was outdoors. I also found it a little outputting to see one of the food handlers petting the dog (a husky) with his serving gloves on and then returning to the food. Skagway: In Skagway, we exited the ship in the morning for some shopping and sightseeing. We returned to the ship before noon in order to have lunch before boarding the White Pass and Yukon Railroad for a trip to Frasier, BC and a return by motorcoach to the Gold Rush Cemetery and Skagway. The White Pass railroad trip was absolutely my favorite excursion and I would have loved to do it again that day, but time didn't allow. I highly recommend it. Prince Rupert: As I didn't do any shore excursions in this port, I didn't find it that interesting. It had a nice artist gallery in Cow Bay, but not much else in the line of tourism. Tracy Arm: The Captain wasn't able to go completely in to the Glacier due to thick ice, but even where we went was gorgeous and majestic. I loved it and took many photos. Debarkation: We choose to do the express checkout. While we waited on Deck 5 Centrum for customs to clear the ship, people said good bye to their newly made friends on the ship. We were told we would debark before 8:30 and they were right on the money. We were off the ship and through customs by 8:20. We were picked up right away by our airport transporter and made our 12:45 flight with time to spare. Overall this was a fantastic trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
We just returned from a seven-day cruise up the Inside Passage on Royal Caribbeans Vision of the Seas. This is our third cruise on RC and by far the nicest ship weve been on. Vision of the Seas has the same Windjammer Cafe and the ... Read More
We just returned from a seven-day cruise up the Inside Passage on Royal Caribbeans Vision of the Seas. This is our third cruise on RC and by far the nicest ship weve been on. Vision of the Seas has the same Windjammer Cafe and the rock-climbing wall as the other ships weve been on but also has a solarium. This is a pool and Jacuzzi area, which is covered so if the weather is crummy, you can still enjoy swimming and/or soaking. The best part is that its adults only although they do allow kids in there during inclement weather. We were disappointed that during nice weather, the staff didnt seem to enforce the adults only rule. It would have been nice to have a quite place to be away from kids although we didnt complain because there werent many kids on our cruise and those in the solarium were pretty well behaved. In addition to the Windjammer, the ships solarium has a little cafe where you can get pizza, burgers & French fries. This was great for us because we are vegetarians and the Solarium Cafe actually had vegetarian burgers! There was also a table across from the cafe, which always had fresh fruit and plates of cookies! One of the best things we found on Vision of the Seas was the Relaxation Room. This is a room off of the Spa in the very back of the ship. It has comfortable chairs lined up in front of the windows and a nice, soothing water fountain in the back of the room. We would often go there for the perfect view and a quiet place. There was a table in the back of the room with coffee, tea, and fresh fruit. The Visions staff seemed to have been trained to know your name. This was nice. Not only did our waiter, assistant waiter and headwaiter know our name, but also our cabin attendant. It felt good. A nice touch. We were impressed with this&thats a lot of peoples names to memorize every 7 days! The cruise itself was nice. The first day is a bit rough because they actually travel in open sea on the way up so bring your Dramamine! After that, all calm waters. I cant comment on any excursions because we didnt do any since weve been to Alaska (not cruising) twice before. This trip for us was about relaxing & eating! The food was very good in the dining room, both breakfast and dinner. Our waiter and headwaiter catered to our requests since we are vegetarians and asked for some specific dishes. The desserts were awesome! The Windjammer food is good but consistent with the other cruises weve been on&tasty but just not hot enough. There was a chocolate buffet one night where every darn thing was chocolate! Chocolate margaritas, chocolate croissants, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! It was fabulous! After pigging out at dinner, we just couldnt eat anymore that night (the buffet was at 10:45 pm or so), so I took some stuff off in a napkin and saved it for the next day. My husband was rolling his eyes at me and I told him, youll be happy I did this come tomorrow. The next day we docked at Hoonah and we had a picnic lunch on the beach. It was a beautiful, clear, blue skied day and after our lunch, I whipped out all the chocolate goodies I took from the night before and yes, my husband was grateful I did! The chocolate croissants, & cookies were just as good the next day! The Crown & Anchor Party the ship throws for its members also had a fabulous spread&.a huge table with the RC logo carverd out of ice as its centerpiece. The table was filled with a gorgeous display of fruit and goodies&yum, yum yum. Also, free drinks. A nice thing to do for repeat guests. The shows on our cruise were just ok. The comedians were good but the RC Singers & Dancers & the house band that backs them up were not too good. Being a musician, I know whats out there in terms of talent and although Im sure cruise gigs arent the highest paying jobs, Royal Caribbean can do better by hiring better quality people. It would have helped the RC Singers & Dancers had they had access to a better choreographer. The Love & Marriage Game Show is a hoot as always and we enjoyed the Quest Game but they need to change it up a bit. If youve cruised before, the questions are too much the same.One horrible, horrible story to share with everyone is the problem our dinner buddies had. We were seated at a table set for four and the first two nights, we ate alone. No other guests. We figured the cruise wasnt sold out and that there just wasnt anyone else assigned to our table. The third night, we were surprised to be joined by two older gentlemen. We, of course, asked them where they had been. They told us the awful story of how they left Orlando, Florida via Alaska Airlines and were scheduled to arrive in Seattle by 11:00 am (in plenty of time for the 5:00 pm sail time). Apparently the pilot got sick and they had to make an emergency landing in Arkansas. It took Alaska Airlines 7 hours to replace the pilot and flight crew therefore getting these folks to Seattle after the sailing time. So, Alaska Airlines flew them up to Juneau where they joined us on the ship. At this point they missed two nights of the cruise. The story gets worse. The night before our last night one guy says to the other guy, So, I guess this is our last supper. I said, What do you mean&we still have tomorrow night. They proceeded to tell us about the Jones Act. For some reason, they were required to get off the ship in Victoria, Canada and take a ferry back to Seattle where they would find their flight home. None of us could figure out the reasoning behind this since Seattle is in the U.S. and so is Juneau (where they boarded the ship). It was some sort of law, we think, pertaining to U.S. immigration. They said RC would be fined $350.00 per person if they didnt get off the ship. Maybe if RC has a certain number of people on board in Seattle and has more upon its return, U.S. immigration fines them? We dont know. At any rate, they werent going to take the chance that Alaska Airlines would foot the bill for the fine RC would have passed on to them. So, these poor folks paid for a 7 day cruise and only got 4 days. Plus, they had to pay for hotel and ferry service from Victoria to Seattle. Their plan was to get Alaska Airlines to re-imburse them for all these costs and possibly pay for an entire future cruise. One of the guys e-mailed me with an update and so far all Alaska Airlines has offered them is $175.00. That doesnt even pay for their out of pocket costs. The reason to share this story is: When taking a cruise, either book your flight through the cruise line OR if you are making arrangements on your own (we always do), be sure to arrive at least one day early before any cruise. Its not the cruise lines fault if you arrive late. Its not the cruise lines fault about the immigration laws. Apparently, the airlines dont care if they get you to your destination on time or not (I would have demanded Alaska Airlines put me on another airline and get me to Seattle by departure time!). I would definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again and found Vision of the Seas to be a really nice ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
Vision of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.5 N/A
Dining 3.5 3.8
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 3.5 N/A
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursions 3.5 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.5 N/A
Service 4.0 4.3
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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