157 Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

Its interesting to read other reviews of this cruise. Were we on the same ship? As a seasoned "Celebrity" cruiser, I was initially disappointed with the small size of the ship etc. However, I soon got to like it and enjoyed ... Read More
Its interesting to read other reviews of this cruise. Were we on the same ship? As a seasoned "Celebrity" cruiser, I was initially disappointed with the small size of the ship etc. However, I soon got to like it and enjoyed easily finding my way around. Our embarkation experience was amazing - probably due to timing. We did not get to the port until about 2pm and breezed on to the ship. Our cabin (4068) was perfect - Marlon our attendant was silent and efficient. Noise from the Centrum could be heard only when the door was opened. Not a problem. Our dining experience in the main dining room was perfect - everything it could be. Sedrick and Sanjyot were totally on the ball, our table location by the window was lovely. Food was excellent. Not that impressed with Windjammer, but I was always able to find something to eat. The room was crowded so I took my food to the outer deck, which was delightful. The Captain was outstanding - his command of English superb, he was charming and very visible. The cruise director, Steve was also a plus - his enthusiasm and energy amazed me. We had such fun - the disco night was the best cruising entertainment I have had. The formal entertainment was disappointing, but we realize that these shows are organized well in advance by an on-shore company. The juggler was very funny. My one small complaint about the cabin was the "mini bar stuff" which clutters up the small counter area. No-one in their right mind would spend $5 on a packet of cookies when there is abundant food available on the ship. Please dispense with this, or give us the option to have these items taken away. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was my third cruise, and my first with Royal Caribbean. Our party consisted of 6 of us, a family trip of my wife and I, my parents, and my sister and brother in law. Overall, our experience was good to excellent, from wonderful ... Read More
This was my third cruise, and my first with Royal Caribbean. Our party consisted of 6 of us, a family trip of my wife and I, my parents, and my sister and brother in law. Overall, our experience was good to excellent, from wonderful excursions, above average service, entertainment which seemed to improve throughout the cruise, and activities which seemed to strike the fancy of the different interests of our family. Was it perfect? I'd have to say no. The first night's aerial act was cancelled due to rough seas, the adult comedy show was a bit too adult, and our cabin (and cabin steward) were adequate but not spectacular. Also, the ships layout was difficult in ways to navigate, and seemed somewhat lacking. With no aft staircase, with an awkwardly placed shopping area, and with no complimentary food option in the centrium, I was not overly impressed. That being said, there was also a lot to really, really like about this cruise, and RC deserves much commendation for the many things it did well. Beyond day 2 the entertainment seemed to improve exponentially from day to day. The ventriloquist (Jay Johnson) was really, really funny and wholly entertaining. The Magician from America's Got Talent was also very good (bringing both his talent, and his personality into his show), and the comedian who closed out was among the funniest I've ever heard. I thought the second of the Singers and Dancers numbers (tribute to Broadway) was the better of the two... though I'm not sure how one can have a tribute to Broadway, and ignore the contributions of both Andrew Lloyd Webber and Schönberg & Boublil? Somehow, having a Broadway tribute without a single number from Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express, Les Miserables or Miss Saigon? Overall, my wife and I were both impressed with the three specialty restaurants, the Aquarius dining room, and with the Windjammer. The food at all venues was very good, the highlights being Chops Grille and Izumi. The issue, I thought was the lack of other complimentary food venues, especially in the centrium. My study of more recently launched RC ships has shown that the cruise line has largely corrected this problem, but on the Vision, there are no options apart from Ben & Jerry's, which is not included. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise, and enjoyed it very much. Vision is an older ship, and it has some issues. But it also has a lot to offer, and the cruise line offers a great deal through it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
DW & I (late 50's) sailed RCL’s Vision of the Seas 4-day cruise, Port Everglades to Cozumel & back (2 sea days), over Memorial Day weekend 2014. I’ve never seen better cruising weather, 4 days of just blue skies, light ... Read More
DW & I (late 50's) sailed RCL’s Vision of the Seas 4-day cruise, Port Everglades to Cozumel & back (2 sea days), over Memorial Day weekend 2014. I’ve never seen better cruising weather, 4 days of just blue skies, light winds & calm seas. Even the Captain commented on his last noon Bridge Advisory. What a great start: Embarkation was the easiest ever. We were at the terminal 10:30 a.m. & right up to check-in. Done in 5 minutes & DW asks, when do we begin boarding? Answer: You can board now, cabins are not ready but the bars are & the Windjammer is open for lunch. And by 10:45 we were enjoying cocktails by the pool. Savvy thinking by RCL; more bar revenue, & everyone - staff & passengers - avoids the embarkation herd effect. The recently refurb’d VOS looks & feels brand new. Our outside cabin (Deck 2 Aft) was a bit small but certainly functional for 2 people, featuring wood, blue hues & colorful artwork. Very efficient cabin steward & the $5-spot assured we always had ice (signage on your vanity says ice must be requested). Engine noise & vibration were slightly noticeable especially when under way, but you’re just above the engines aft or thrusters forward on a low deck. New flat-screen cabin TV, but choices were, surprisingly, lousy. No interactive technology for tours or tab review, no movie rentals; just news, TNN & RCL informational loops. Dining was good, especially the first nite with Prime Rib & Escargots. We had 2 dining issues & I must say the RCL dining staff members I dealt with both “owned” the problem & resolved it to my satisfaction. Indeed, all ship staff to a one were professional & pleasant. The Drink Packages proved popular, as you could tell by the many folks who always had a drink in hand even early in the a.m. One foreseeable consequence though on the first nite was the worst bathroom throw-up scene I’ve ever encountered. No Pizza. What? Except for room service trays we saw in the hallway, no venues served pizza. We didn’t miss it. Outside Promenade was unusable for my daily, almost-exercise walkabout, as the bow was closed (permanently) & other sections often cordoned off for maintenance. But there were plentiful deck chairs & it was pleasant to just sit, relax, breathe the sea air & watch the ocean go by. Small, always crowded gym. The running track on top deck was pretty much impassable (crowded with sun-lovers & their chairs) on sea days. And Tip Envelopes are back; even if you pre-pay your gratuities (automatic $12.50 pp per day) you’re “reminded” that you can give something extra to that special staff member. We tried the self-help early disembarkation & learned if you do it, wait 20-30 minutes after it begins or you will hardly be able to get off an elevator & into the slow-moving line. Really can’t go wrong on RCL. Bons voyages always, extom. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I haven't seen many reviews by families with small children, so thought I might have something to add. I cruised with husband, my two daughters (ages 1 and 3), and my in laws. I had done quite a bit of research ahead of time, and ... Read More
I haven't seen many reviews by families with small children, so thought I might have something to add. I cruised with husband, my two daughters (ages 1 and 3), and my in laws. I had done quite a bit of research ahead of time, and Royal Caribbean was billed as a fairly family friendly cruise line, so we went with it. Embarkation was a breeze. We had done online check in, and when the RCCI employees saw us with the two strollers, they shooed us right to the front of the line, and we got right on board. The buffet was already open, and we were greeted immediately by a member of Adventure Ocean. the RCCI kids' program. They immediately outfitted my three year old with a bracelet identifying her in case of an emergency, which I thought was great. We had booked 2 adjoining cabins, because it was less expensive than booking a suite. The other members of our party were next to us too. It worked out great. The accommodations were standard - clean and functional, no WOW factor at all. The adjoining rooms gave us lots of space to spread out and unpack our things. We had the girls in one room with portable bedrails on the bed, and we were in the other room. It was nice having the extra bathroom just in case of a "potty emergency." The kids' staff were great - totally upbeat and friendly. It was interesting to find out that, aside from engineering staff, the kids' staff are the only people required to have a degree in order to work on the ship. They had daily activities for children 3 and up. Activities started at 9 AM and ran through to midnight on some nights. They included face painting, bubble blowing, playing with balloons, story time, games, etc. Mine is a young 3, so it was a bit much for her, and we only had her in there maybe twice. It was really organized though - they gave us a pager to call us in case of an emergency. For infants, they have a daily class sponsored by Fisher Price, one called Aqua Babies for 6-18 months, and another called Aqua Tots for 18-36 months. Basically, they set down some mats and a bunch of toys, and let the babies play. It was a nice way to meet other parents with small kids. We traveled in the off season, so only met about 4 other families with babies, but apparently during peak times of year, there are up to 40 babies there at a time(!). Food offerings were great. The Windjammer buffet food was just average, but it was a good constant for breakfast, especially since eating with kids is always a challenge. They always had cereal, fruit, yogurt, eggs, and of course, tater tots. I personally like dining in the dining room for breakfast and lunch, but there you are more limited, of course. We ate in the main dining room every night, and the food there ranged from above average to absolutely heavenly! Our waiter and assistant waiter were FANTASTIC (Joseph and Steve, are you out there? THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU)! They had a high chair and booster seat set out for us every night, with a fruit plate for the kids, and ice cream and cheese for them at the end of every meal. They also gave us 2 cartons of milk to take to the room each night for the girls. SO WONDERFUL! In terms of shore excursions, we did do the Cabo City highlights tour and the Mazatlan City Tour. Both involved 3-4 hours on a bus. This is something I would NOT recommend for parents with small kids. We unfortunately did not have much say in the matter - our tickets were purchased for us within the time frame where a refund was unavailable (curse those back to back ports of call on the Mexican Riviera itinerary), and so we would have lost money by not going. Instead, I would recommend doing what we did at the third port, Puerto Vallarta, which is find a local resort which allows free day guests, and camp out there for the day. It worked GREAT. Check the forums for recommendations on resorts in your ports of call. We didn't spend much time in the pools because of the weather. They don't allow babies in the pools at all, and my 3 year old was sick most of the time, so we stayed out of everything but the hot tubs. My husband and daughter were asked to vacate a hot tub after 4 PM in the Solarium area, which has a policy about no kids except between 12 and 4. (We didn't know about this at the time, and thought we were honoring the other policy, which is that children ARE allowed during inclement weather conditions.) Oh well. Overall, the service was great. We are Asian, and had a few inappropriate comments from some of the wait staff, such as "Are you Filipino?" "No." "well, you look Filipino." (Picture me thinking silently, "nope, still not Filipino, last I checked.") Maybe it's a cultural thing, since the wait staff are all international too - sometimes things get lost in translation! We also had one bad interaction with a waiter at the main dining room, who refused to seat us until we had our whole party. When we got our whole party together two minutes later, he completely ignored us, and seated everyone else before getting back to us again. He'd also told us he'd set up a high chair for us, but never intended to do so. But the higher-ups handled it well, and he apologized to us later. I can't comment on shows, drinks, or the casino - it just wasn't that type of trip for us. All in all, I'd give this ship and RCCI a solid B. Nothing was remarkable except for the food and our waiters. But for the price, I think it was great, and there is plenty to do for people of all ages. Hope this helps another family with thoughts of cruising RCCI! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Stateroom: This was a major problem. We had a problem with the bathroom smelling like sewage. After a couple complaints they fixed the problem (took til day 4 to fix). On day 5 a pipe ruptured outside our cabin and flooded our room. They ... Read More
Stateroom: This was a major problem. We had a problem with the bathroom smelling like sewage. After a couple complaints they fixed the problem (took til day 4 to fix). On day 5 a pipe ruptured outside our cabin and flooded our room. They came into our room and ripped up all the carpet and flipped up the beds. They took all of our clothes and put them in a corner and piled all of the furniture on top of them. It was an obstacle course to get to our clothes. We went from a junior suite to a smaller cabin. I understand that things happen. All of the 5 cabins that flooded went to the front desk on day 6 to seek resolution. The front desk said they cannot give any refund and if we speak of our situation, we would be banned from all future cruising with RCCL. The one cabin who got it the worst was only offered $75 per person to be applied to their next cruise. Their electronics were under water and shoes were floating in their room. (I won't give you their names, but they were also Cruise Critic members) On board, the cruise line did nothing to try to better our situation or try to make us feel more comfortable. I contacted the cruise line today and they apologized that we spent a lot of our cruise in a smaller cabin but they cannot offer a refund. What they did offer is $200/pp discount from this cruise to be applied to a future cruise that is only good for one year. I have two issues with this: First, I feel that $200 per person for a future cruise was inadequate for the problems we had. A good portion of this cruise, we were in a smaller cabin. Also, when they replaced the carpet in our cabin, they replaced the carpet with used carpet that smelled like a farm pasture. To top the smell off, the room smelled of glue they used for the carpeting. All of this went right into our clothes. We brought this up to the front desk but they said we would have to call the cruise line after we disembarked. The second issue I have is the fact I have to take a cruise within the year. I begin Police Academy Training that will take 9-10 months beginning January 3rd. This would conflict with my schedule. I have asked the cruise line for a cash discount and they stand firm that any discount has to be applied towards a future cruise only. I paid for a Jr. Suite, so I expect to be in a Jr. Suite or better the whole cruise. If I am to be downgraded, I should be compensated accordingly. This cruise we just got of of is RCCL Vision of the Seas. Background Information: We have been on over 40 cruises and this is our first serious incident. We have had small problem on other ships but nothing that couldn't be resolved on board. We have cruised on three lines, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. Ship Info: RCCL Vision of the Seas. Activities: Because of the new show on this ship, there seems to be less cruise staff running around. We only had one Vegas style show due to the new production staff just getting on board. The production show was good but not great like on the Freedom of the Seas. (B+). Service: Service in the dining room was outstanding (A+). All bar staff were polite and the drinks were very good. Note: The wine staff never made it to our table. Our waiter always got our wine. Shore Excursions: The staff in this department was awesome (A+). They put us on the perfect tours for our family. Travel To Port of Embarkation: All embarkations and disembarkations went smoothly. Had no problems. (A) Dining: Food in the dining room was always at a (B+) or better. Wait staff, (A+) During the day if you eat in the dining room, you always had different table staff. They were usually not very friendly (C-). Food in the dining during the day (B) Dining in the Windjammer: As for the food in the Windjammer, it was ALWAYS stale, cold, or not very tasty. We did try the food here and the only thing edible was the salad and cookies. Since I did not get food poisoning, I won't grade it an F (D-). Wait staff in the windjammer were very nice (A+) Children's Clubs: Small but the cruise staff were incredible. They made the best of the small room and the our kids enjoyed themselves.(B+) Entertainment: Mostly all comedians due to the new production staff. Only 2 comedians were funny. The other 3 were not funny at all. They lost the crowd. (C+) Disembarkation: Took less than 15 minutes. Fastest we have ever been disembarked! (A+) Cleanliness of the Ship: The solarium smelled like vomit the whole cruise. I let the front desk know about the smell and someone did try to clean it but the smell never went away. The rest of the ship was in good shape considering the age of the ship. (B+) Sail away: We were very disappointed. We had muster the first 20 minutes of sail away. I didn't think it was very safe for 1000 elderly to be standing in life jackets while the ship pulled away from the dock and began sailing. All other cruises we have sailed, the vessel set sail AFTER the muster drill was finished. So I look to my fellow cruisers to help me out. I do not know what would be reasonable resolution. I am still very upset about the cruise and I do not know what to ask of the cruise line. So I kindly ask you, what would be a fair resolution that is both fair for me and my family at the same time being reasonable to the cruise line? I do not want this bad experience to tarnish RCCL's reputation for we have truly enjoyed their other ships. If you have any suggestions or comments, please email me. I will update this post as I communicate with RCCL and speak with some of my fellow cruise critic cruisers. I can be reached at mcduck@aol.com. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
This was our second Royal Caribbean Cruise and the second time on Vision. We travelled on the same itinerary Thanksgiving 2007 but this was our first vacation alone since 1999! The cruise was to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto ... Read More
This was our second Royal Caribbean Cruise and the second time on Vision. We travelled on the same itinerary Thanksgiving 2007 but this was our first vacation alone since 1999! The cruise was to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. The destinations are secondary to us, we prefer sea days and look forward to doing a relocation cruise at some stage. Arrival and Embarkation Since we live in SoCal we drove to San Pedro and self-parked at the port. At the time of writing this costs $12/day and is very convenient. Credit cards are accepted. The fact that the cruise departs on a Sunday means that driving is much easier than during the week. Those who have experienced LA traffic probably know what I am talking about. We arrived at around midday and unloaded with no problems. We stood in line for about 5 minutes to get our Seapass and then proceeded through security which probably took 10 minutes. After photos (Security and otherwise) we were onboard at around 1230pm. We went to the Showboat lounge to wait until the stateroom was ready at 1pm. Since we had travelled on Vision before we were familiar with the layout of the ship. I cannot comment on larger ships, since we have not been on them. Mariner will probably be our first at some stage. We went to our Stateroom and dropped off our carry-ons and then proceeded to the Windjammer. Fighting the usual crowds, we had lunch and then returned to our Stateroom. Luggage arrived after the safety drill. The stateroom itself was midship above the foremost of the tenders. Prior to the cruise, I was a bit worried about the noise level from the pool deck above and this turned out to be justified. I was expecting the music and this did not disturb, more the sound of running early in the morning. The only time we heard scraping chairs was after the "Midnight Buffet" on Friday morning. We will try to find a stateroom which is not on so high a deck next time. Stateroom As far as the stateroom was concerned, we liked it a lot. We did wonder about the drawer storage space for clothes, although there was plenty of hanging space. Being two of us, it was enough, but if we had been our usual 3-person family, things would have been tight. Our stateroom attendant was Anna from Gdansk, Poland and she was excellent. Everything we requested was taken care of in a quiet and efficient manner; we could not have asked for more. We had ordered the Romance Package and the bottle of Champagne and other goodies were in the stateroom upon arrival. The champagne for the package we ordered was real champagne Veuve Cliquet, not just sparkling wine. I recommend this package if you are looking for something different as part of the cruise. Activities We are more freestyle and do not take part in a lot of organized events. We were on 2nd sitting for dinner and so we like a pre-dinner drink in the Schooner Bar. Milton from Beverage, Jamaica (private joke) was always attentive to our needs and was quick to greet us when we returned each night. He was able to design libations for DW who is more adventurous than I am! We did go see the ventriloquist (saw him last year as well)and also the late-night comedian. We did not take part in Quest or similar events. We did go to the Viking Crown Lounge for 70s night and also for the Meet and Mingle. Our table-mates were victims....um.......friends we met on the Roll Call who had kindly offered to sit with us. It made for a lively table, so thanks to Jilly, Michelle, Teresa and Jason for an entertaining week! Our waiters were Revelino and Clifford from Goa who were very attentive. We regularly got additional items that we did not ask for and they were sampled with gusto! Some of us were more beer drinkers than wine drinkers so we found it better to bring something from the Schooner Bar, since it did take time for the bar waiter to reach our table. The head waiter (name eludes me at the moment) was seen more at the end of the cruise than the beginning and was very deft with the knife when dispatching the lobster tail. Food Food in general was good with a few highlights. I had duck one night which was excellent and the vegetarian curries brought as extras were generally good. I am not really a dessert person but they never disappointed. The NY strip was a bit tough but I did not see the "extra-cost steak" on the menu. The Fisherman's Plate (Shrimp and Lobster tail) were served on the second formal night. There are no speciality restaurants on Vision. Windjammer food is best described as so-so. We only used this a couple of times. We did not use the Solarium for food. Destinations We have been to these ports before so we pretty much knew what we wanted to do. In Cabo we steered towards Soloman's landing which came recommended by members of CC as well as a passenger on the ship. Good food and a great place to people watch. In Mazatlan we headed to Victors on Stone Island utilizing Randi (of Randi's Happy Horses) for transportation. We love the shrimp and her new dog Bonita is a real city. In Puerto Vallarta we went to Pipis, a restaurant near the Malacon which was had visited last year. Margaritas are good and the combination plate hit the spot. A few issues..... Our dining friends had a significant flood in their stateroom on deck 8 towards the aft of the ship. I will leave them to comment on CC if they want to. We had a slight problem when the bottle of wine we ordered was not available. We ordered another and were told that the original sale had been voided. When we got the final bill this was not the case, but Guest Services dealt with this in a timely manner on departure morning. Be careful when using Gift Debit Cards as part of your onboard account. After a while we started getting letters in the stateroom that charges were being declined. I think this is because RCCL does not authorize the full amount at once, but does varying amounts each day. I had asked them to authorize the full amount but they did not seem to. All in all, we had a great and relaxing cruise. Our next cruise is on X to Russia in the summer. We will probably cruise the Mexico itinerary again on Mariner in 2010, now that Vision is leaving. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Pre-cruise: We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro for one night pre-cruise. The Crowne Plaza is about a 20-25 minute ride from the Long Beach airport, but the hotel doesn't offer an airport shuttle. However, we had reserved ... Read More
Pre-cruise: We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro for one night pre-cruise. The Crowne Plaza is about a 20-25 minute ride from the Long Beach airport, but the hotel doesn't offer an airport shuttle. However, we had reserved space on-line in advance for the four of us with Prime Time Shuttle service for $42 total. The shuttle was ready and waiting when we arrived! The Crowne Plaza itself is a very popular pre-cruise hotel. Though we arrived to the hotel at 11 a.m., and check-in was not until 3 p.m., our two rooms were ready for us. The concierge was the highlight of our stay, welcoming us warmly upon arrival and promptly giving me his business card and offering up his area recommendations (which I did use). After unpacking and quickly settling in, the concierge arranged a driver for us who would first take us to In-N-Out Burger, wait while we nibbled, take us to the Queen Mary back in Long Beach, then pick us up at the end of the day and drive us back to the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. He promptly offered a driver who would do all of this for $65 total. What a bargain! With tip, we ended up paying $80 (or $20 per person) for this service. The Queen Mary tour is something I highly recommend for anyone interested in ghost stories or the paranormal. While the ship itself really has not been well-maintained, i.e. stained carpets, mildew smell in certain areas, paint chipped from walls, scrapes and marks on walls, and a basic look of a once-beautiful ship just kept for tours, it does offer a fun and engaging look at the ghosts and legends that make up her history. We opted for the "Haunted Encounters Passport" which entitled us to the self-guided tour (beware that if you are not good with directions, your feet will become weary from losing your way in the bowels of the ship), the "Ghosts and Legends" tour and the "Haunted Encounters" tour for a cost of $27.95 per person. The fee was well worth the tours of areas not open to the public for general browsing, as we were exposed to a doorway where a crew member had been crushed and has been known to still visit the space, the boiler room where a young girl's spirit visits on occasion, and various cabins where passengers had died - and have "come back to life" - over the course of Queen Mary's life on the seas. Dedicate 3-4 hours to ensure you have time to join in the guided tours as they do fill up fast! Once back to the Crowne Plaza, we asked the concierge for a good recommendation for dinner. He made no hesitation in recommending Raffaello's Ristorante in San Pedro. The valet drove us in a complimentary hotel van to dinner, where we were promptly seated simply by mentioning the name of our concierge (though we had no reservations and the place was packed!). The Italian food was very, very good with the mozzarella sticks being the table favorite! They really weren't "sticks" per se - they were really more like flattened pieces of cheese that had been lightly breaded and baked, and swimming in a very good marinara sauce. None of us finished our huge meals, probably because the chef sent us a couple of appetizers "on the house". After the meal, we ventured back to the Crowne Plaza, only a 4 block walk. The morning of disembarkation, we leisurely made our way to the lobby where we caught the Crowne Plaza's free cruise shuttle just before noon (the shuttle actually begins at 10:30 a.m.) and arrived to the port by 12:05 p.m. As easy as pie. Embarkation: Upon arrival, porters collected our luggage and we made our way through the check-in process. The check-in line was about 25-30 people deep, but moved swiftly. We were at the check-in counter within 10 minutes, proceeded through security, posed for our Welcome Aboard photographs, and stepped onto the ship by 12:45 p.m. Cabin: We booked an Inside cabin (#4461), midship, Category K, just down the hall from the Champagne Bar. The great thing about the location of this cabin was that it is located in a corridor as opposed to a main hallway. The result is absolute quietness from passersby, though we did hear the occasional footsteps from those above us in the casino. The size of the cabin was much larger than we were expecting, providing ample storage and closet space with a mini couch to sit and lounge without feeling cramped or claustrophobic. Be warned though that there was no mini fridge in this cabin. While not a big deal, it was a surprise. To see a tour of this cabin, click this link or copy and paste it into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHOpnIHBIbU The Ship: Royal Caribbean really knows how to create a flow-positive ship that promotes ease of progression from one space to the next. Vision of the Seas is no exception. From the beautiful Centrum, to the public spaces such as the Schooner Bar, the Champagne Lounge, or the adults-only Solarium, Vision was filled with many spaces for simple relaxation - and that is exactly what we did. With three sea days, we found ourselves first exploring the nooks and crannies of the ship, then settling in to comfy lounge chairs from 10 a.m. until about 6 p.m. each night on Days 6 and 7, only taking breaks for a zip through the Windjammer Buffet, the Solarium Cafe, the hot tub or the restroom. The ship really lends itself to rest and relaxation, but also offers the fun stand-bys such as the Sexy Legs Contest and the Belly Flop Contest. Even in 65 degrees and an overcast sky, men will still dawn their hairy bellies and fall straight into the pool in order to win a ribbon. Being that this was a New Year's cruise embarking on December 28th, many holiday decorations adorned the Centrum, the hallways, and most public spaces. An elaborate gingerbread neighborhood filled the lower Centrum area in front of the waterfall, and Hanukkah banners hung from the upper decks. By Day 4, many of the decorations were removed in favor of New Year's decorations. New Year's was celebrated with a variety of entertainment options throughout the ship. We chose to ring in the New Year on the pool deck, alongside other partiers enjoying complimentary champagne and dancing to the sounds of Heat Wave, the ship's own calypso band who played Bob Marley tunes most of the night. Just before midnight, a countdown erupted and at the moment the clock turned to 2009, the captain blew the ship's horn for all to enjoy. It was truly a fun and party-like atmosphere that reminded me of the reason we wanted to be at sea to welcome 2009 - no need for a designated driver! Food: I must say that the food was the most disappointing aspect of this cruise. While I do not expect 5-star dining, I do expect flavorful food each evening in the Main Dining Room. The first two evenings, the four of us independently chose menu options that looked appealing based on the description. By the third evening, we were asking our fabulous Head Waiter - Rudolpho - what he did NOT recommend on the menu, as it appeared we were just making the wrong choices. No matter what we ordered from evening to evening, we were disappointed in bland-tasting food. The only love we truly had was for the garlic shrimp, the lobster, and the chicken with herbs. None of the pasta dishes were cooked correctly, the Asian tofu was extremely bland, the prime rib was overcooked and tough, and the Indian paneer was tasteless. We are all lovers of food, and not overly picky (though I'm a vegetarian, so I rely on the palates of my cruise mates for additional feedback) so it felt really unusual for all four of us to be so disappointed in the food. Vision of the Seas offers a few good options in the Solarium Cafe - Caesar salad, club sandwich, roast beef on focaccia, pizza options, whole fruit and fruit salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. Being a lover of pizza, my husband rates Vision's pizza somewhere between Sapphire Princess' and Carnival's (really just cheese on an English muffin). Additionally, soft serve ice cream can be had at the main pool deck, but it seemed as if they were running out of vanilla early on most days. Cafe Lattetudes offers a coffee card where you get a punch for each specialty coffee purchase, and after seven purchases, you receive one free specialty coffee. Additionally, as on many Royal Caribbean ships, with each specialty coffee purchase, you receive your choice of one of any of the pastries in the case. I had earned my free coffee by Day 5 and was still living the coffee high beyond that day. Next to Cafe Lattetudes is Ben & Jerry's offering a delectable array of milkshakes, sundaes, and simple scoops for a premium price. My husband highly recommends the Phish Food Milkshake for lovers of that dessert genre. Entertainment: We are not connoisseurs of big production shows and lean toward comedians, hypnotists, and magicians. We went to see Darrell Joyce, performing his late-night adult comedy, and wow was he funny! His story-telling could relate to most of the audience as he makes fun of everyday life experiences in a hilarious and "adult" context. The other comedian was good and the ventriloquist was a lot of fun. Due to a scheduling conflict we didn't see the magician, but we did see his assistant dress up as a call-girl on formal night. While my husband and I did not watch any, the selection of movies was pretty good: Wall-E, Indiana Jones, Get Smart, Batman and others. However, our friends said that the projector couldn't handle the compression rate of the movie, and the action sequences were very choppy. If you wanted to watch one of the movies in your cabin, you could do so in Spanish, French, German, or Italian, but not English. Ports of Call: Cabo San Lucas - We took a cab to Medano Beach and asked to be dropped off at Mango Deck, a bar/restaurant with service right there on the beach. Our early arrival to this port gave us the opportunity to find a good spot under a palapa with four chairs for our lounging. In no time at all, the loud thumping of music and obnoxious voice over a microphone was inviting beach-goers to drop trough for a shot of tequila, drop bathing suit tops for a shot of tequila, change bathing suit bottoms with the opposite sex for a shot of tequila, dance in a conga line for a shot of tequila, anything remotely embarrassing for a shot of tequila. And after joining the conga line, my husband found out that it was tequila and fruit punch. We quickly felt like we were in the middle of Spring Break festivities though it was late December and there were families with children present, alongside those aged 20-50. While we found this type of entertainment to be humorous, we didn't plan on such a loud and party-like atmosphere, and anyone with children should be warned about the profanity shouted repeatedly over the microphone. I am a former party girl myself, but this was over the top, and now being over 40, I guess I sound more like a grandparent than a fun-loving adult. Nevertheless, know what you're getting into, and if it's not for you, head next door to Billygan's where you get to enjoy Medano Beach without walking on the wild side. From Medano Beach, we cabbed over to Cabo Wabo to check out all the fuss about Sammy Hagar's nightclub. The club itself was extremely quiet, as it was only about 3 p.m. Only a few diners were nibbling on appetizers and drinking, and it was clear that the place runs on name alone. Service was shoddy with waiters hard to come by, and the food was overpriced. Don't plan on a free soda refill as you will be charged for each soda you order. The nightclub portion of Cabo Wabo is full of photographs of Sammy with various other musicians over the years ranging from Tommy Lee, Kid Rock, Van Halen, Iggy Pop and many others. I can easily see why this small venue would be ideal or even GREAT for a concert, but not for a remotely good dining experience. Visit it once, maybe take in a late-night gig, but don't expect much during the day. Mazatlan - We grabbed a cab from the pier and asked to be driven to Hotel Playa Mazatlan in the Golden Zone. Our plan was to again just lounge in the sun under a palapa and eat, drink, and cool off in the water all day. Our cab driver started driving us toward the Golden Zone, but passed the hotel and said he needed to turn around. When we arrived to our "destination", or so we thought, we found he had taken us to Diamonds International. We knew the drill at that point and simply walked straight through the building, making no eye contact, and out the other side about a half block from our true destination. We made it to the sand, but had to walk the equivalent of about two more blocks before we found any palapas or lounge chairs or beach service. We ultimately landed at Los Sabalos which is located at Hotel Sabalos, now part of the Ramada chain. The food here was the best! The drinks were strong, the guacamole was fresh, the tacos were flavorful, and the quesadillas were plentiful. The beach service started at 1 p.m. so we spent the first two hours just sunning our Pacific Northwest bodies until we could order some food and beverage. Once we did, we had wished we could place "to go" orders and show the Chef in the Main Dining Room on Vision some great examples of excellent food. I highly recommend this beach, and will return here next time we are in Mazatlan. Puerto Vallarta - We grabbed a taxi and headed to Los Muertos beach and the area next to Blue Chairs, now called Blue Seas. The restaurant adjacent to this area of the beach has changed ownership and unfortunately the food was simply awful. Our love of this beach day was the comfort of the chairs here. Look for the beige umbrellas and the mesh-like lounge chairs. Not only were the chairs ultra comfortable, but because they were made of mesh, the sand from your body would just fall through the ground rather than sticking to your skin. This is the best beach in Puerto Vallarta for people-watching, so if you'd like to relax with a good book, cool off in relatively warm water, and do it all over again and again and again with a diverse crowd, this is the beach for you! Disembarkation: Following two sea days at the end of the itinerary, we landed on disembarkation day. We opted for self disembarkation since our flight from Long Beach to Seattle was scheduled to leave at 11 a.m. Royal Caribbean has a new self disembark policy which enables all passengers (who are walking off the ship with their own luggage) to meet in the Centrum, Deck 4, at 7:15 a.m. and simply walk off the ship. The Centrum itself became tightly packed with virtually no where to stand, and disembarkation began about 10 minutes later than scheduled. After a halting of the process after about 20 passengers were allowed to disembark, Customs boarded the ship and had some conversations with crew that delayed us about another 10 minutes. Finally, we were able to disembark at close to 7:45 a.m. and were quickly off the ship and grabbed a waiting van. The sign next to the cab line indicated that the fare from the pier to Long Beach airport was a flat $45. When we arrived to the airport, the cab driver tried to charge us $48 and told us the $45 was just an "estimate". "No way" I said, and we gave him $50 allowing him to decide if his tip would be $5 or $2. We were nearly three hours early for our flight and headed home to snowy Seattle. In Summary: While this ship was smaller than other ships we have enjoyed sailing in the past, Vision of the Sea's layout, the hospitality of the staff, the ease of traffic flow from forward to aft, and the beauty of the ship itself, lead me to recommend this ship for short or long itineraries where relaxing is your number one goal. Get out there and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
This was our first cruise. My dad helped us book it. He is an experienced cruiser (33 and counting). Our expectations have been formed by listening to the endless recounting of past, present and future cruises by my parents. We have six ... Read More
This was our first cruise. My dad helped us book it. He is an experienced cruiser (33 and counting). Our expectations have been formed by listening to the endless recounting of past, present and future cruises by my parents. We have six children, three boys and three girls 11,10,8,5,3,1, so vacationing holds a good amount of work and we were not going to cruise for a few more years until the youngest was more manageable and would appreciate the trip (and remember it). However the 50% savings off the lowest rate was too appealing to turn down and we booked on the one day special getting an 8 day cruise for the base price of 359 for the first two in cabin each and 200 for the third and fourth each. With everything included except tips we paid $400 per person or $3200 for eight. This was a bargain. We can't fly anywhere w/hotel, 8 passenger van, gas, food, and entertainment for less even though we are super frugal. This was a good deal. All our children went to the Adventure program the first sea day. One child really stuck, my eight year old girl. She was there the whole cruise (80% of the time). My two little boys 3 and 5 did a few more sessions but wanted to hang out with Grandpa and parents most of the cruise. My 10 and 11 are like little adults, they hung out with us, played, swam, read, and watched some movies. They did not like the Adventure program but enjoyed the cruise. The ports were ok. We swam at a public beach in Cabo San Lucas, since my dad new all the secret places and how to walk there. It was great, not crowded, free, and we had the whole beach to ourselves with the exception of a few locals. We walked about 1.5 miles through the Cabo street sellers but were not impressed with anything and then returned to ship for lunch. Second port was Mazatlan. OK. Port disembarkation location only ok. We walked to the church, kind of exciting lots of local feel, very poor. In the shopping area for locals and super cheap tourists we got 4 tee shirts for 10 dollars (same shirts at the ship area were 9 dollars each.) If we had bothered with the exchange and paid in pesos I think we could have come away with 5 tee shirts for 10 dollars US. We skipped the golden zone and all tourist attractions to spend the afternoon swimming on the ship and playing with the children. We are not too big on cobblestones since we have a stroller and what we had seen of Mexico was sufficient in 3 hours. Third port was Puerta Vallarta. Big deal here was local Wal-Mart, right across from the ship. Walk there in under 10 minutes with stroller. Big upscale mall next door to Wal-Mart. Sam's Club too. Dropped $40 US on 515 pesos worth of souvenirs at Wal-Mart. Good value, paid with AMEX. Returned to ship, tired. Skipped sight-seeing, it was hot, and we choose again to spend the day with the children who were happy on ship. In general lugging 6 children around port cities is not appealing when they are hankering for the simple pleasures of the ship, swimming without sand (my 5 year old hates sand, my 3 year old eats sand), unlimited good food ( children get hungry every 10 minutes), safe atmosphere (walking around Mexican streets is dangerous because the traffic is everywhere and sidewalks are awful. Also, we were not too impressed with Mexican landscape, California is nicer. View from the ship was good. Got the postcard and lots of digital pics. People of Mexico appear very poor. We handed out toys from home to children in Mazatlan and ran out in a few minutes. The cruise entertainment was ok. Best night was magician and his fiancee. Worst was the dancers/singers in 70's show. Ventriloquist was ok, kind of long, fell asleep. Comic was ok, again fell asleep, too long. The music night with vegas entertainer was ok, kind of loud but didn't fall asleep. 3 out of 8 attended all nights. Others with my wife were sleeping by 8:45-9pm when the show started. We had first dining. Excellent food in Aquarius. We dined there 70 percent of the time. 30% in windjammer which was ok. Service was good. Cabin service was ok. Complaints: 1) No shampoo in one of the cabins (my wife's) dispenser empty when we got into the cabin on DAY One. It took 4 calls and leverage with Diamond member (my dad) to get it filled finally on the 6th day of the cruise. On the 5th day we went to Wal-mart and bought shampoo. Lots of song and dance about why Shampoo was not available, finally it was available. 2) Pool Sprinklers. There is a big metal grate with about 20 sprinkler/fountain jets which are supposed water up in the air on both sides of the main pool (children's side) and deeper side. This is perfect for little ones to enjoy and play through. These did not work the whole cruise. Inquired and complained 4 times before a complete answer was given. Evidently it's been broken for about a year and they are still awaiting a part (the official story). I think if sufficiently motivated it could be repaired right away but for some reason the cruise line is not motivated. 3) Safe in one cabin did not work, maintenance came and fixed it. 4) Ping pong tables where moved off of deck 9 outside where we had plenty of space to play. On DAY 2 they were moved to deck 10 inside near the children's/teen's areas into a area that was partially a walk through to outside. Very cramped for ping pong play. The reason for the move is people on deck 8 suites complained about the foot noise. This was ludicrous since about 2000 people walk across the deck 9 where the ping pong tables were constantly. Enjoyed ping pong anyhow because there were a half dozen very good players that were cruising. We liked the vitality program especially the family adventure events or tourneys. With 8 children we always had some participating. Earned 130 chips and redeemed them for 6 tee shirts, a backpack, 4 key chains and 2 visors at the end of the cruise DAY 7. Tips: Bargain with taxi cab people for best deals. Visit non-tourist areas for some excitement and realism. Eat all meals on the ship to save money and have the best food. Report problems ASAP to get resolution in a timely fashion or to attempt resolution anyhow. We will cruise again when the smallest child is 3 most likely unless we can get the super duper deal we saw yesterday for $35 per day in Australia a little closer to home. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We just returned from cruising on the Vision of the Seas to the Mexican Riviera. Our ports of call were Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. All in all, this was a very enjoyable vacation. There were a few high points, and also a ... Read More
We just returned from cruising on the Vision of the Seas to the Mexican Riviera. Our ports of call were Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. All in all, this was a very enjoyable vacation. There were a few high points, and also a few low points, but in total...a great time. We sailed out of Los Angeles. We flew in the day before and stayed overnight with relatives. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port at 1:00 pm and were onboard by 2:00 pm. We tried something new for this cruise. We decided to make this an "all casual" trip. We opted for shorts and T-shirts all week long, leaving the dress clothes at home. We ate in the Windjammer all week. We went this route after planning excursions at all three ports of call, as we figured we'd be exhausted each day and we didn't want to have to worry about a scheduled dinner. The good part of this plan was that it allowed for a very flexible schedule. The bad part, the food in the Windjammer was just OK. We feel we missed out on some potentially good to great meals by not eating in the dining room. We expected this going in, and had set our expectations accordingly. Still, the food was even more bland than we had anticipated. It wasn't until almost the end of the cruise that I said, "Wow...that was a really great meal!". Oh, well...live and learn. The first day was a sea day. It was a bit chilly, but there were a few die hards poolside and in the outdoor pool. The pool in the Solarium wasn't filled. We spent our day exploring the ship and relaxing on our balcony. This was our first cruise with a balcony, and we snagged an aft corner. We were in cabin 7152, and the balcony just flat out ROCKED! It wrapped around the corner of the ship, making the balcony at least twice as large as the standard balconies. The only downside to this cabin was that it sat immediately over the Some Enchanted Evening lounge. The bass from the band could be heard in our room until whatever time they shut down for the night. Not a problem for night owls, but if you're somebody that likes to crash early you may want to consider trying for the same type of room on deck 8. The next day we arrived at Cabo San Lucas. This would be our only tendering port, and that went off without a hitch. We had booked a sail/snorkel excursion through RCI to Chileno Bay. The sail part was a great time, but the snorkeling was a bit of a disappointment. The winds were up, and Chileno bay was very unsheltered. The water was rough, which made it tiring to snorkel and stirred up silt, limiting visibility. On a good note, we had purchased prescription lenses for DW's mask and they worked flawlessly. She was able to see the fish for the first time...and she was VERY excited. I only wish that the conditions could have been better for her. On the ride back the margaritas were flowing, and the crew had folks up dancing. They stopped the sailboat at several locations for photo ops, taking pictures with their cameras to sell but also with yours if you asked. The next day found us in Mazatlan. We booked a horseback riding tour with Randi's Happy Horses. They were waiting for us on the pier as soon as we exited the ship...EASY! They loaded us into taxis which took us to a marina. Here we boarded a boat that took us over to Stone Island. We again boarded taxis which took us to the horses. The horses ALL looked healthy and well fed, and they matched people up to their horse based on their skill level. They paired me with Unico, a very intelligent and well mannered hose. We rode from the ranch a short distance through a palm grove and exited onto the beach. We followed the beach for a good bit, then stopped to turn around. When we stopped the staff took pictures of each family with their own cameras...very cool. We rode back along the beach and then ended up at a cool little restaurant right on the beach...Victors. We had a freshly prepared lunch and a few beverages, then caught a taxi ride back to the marina. Another short boat ride, another taxi ride, then we were back to the ship with time to spare. An EXCELLENT day. Note: For those looking for a glitzy and polished excursion, this ain't it. They utilized pickup style taxis, small boats, and you'll get to the ranch by passing through some depressed areas. That said, the staff was beyond friendly and helpful, the horses were healthy and even tempered, the lunch at the beach restaurant was awesome, and the sights were among some of the best we've seen. If we ever find ourselves back in Mazatlan we would definitely ride with Randi again. The next day put us in at Puerta Vallarta. We booked a zip line canopy tour through RCI. I'll say right here that this was the HIGH POINT of our vacation. They were waiting for us as we exited the ship. They had us board a small boat to haul us over to their office across the bay. They gave us a quick runthrough on what we'd be doing, let us use the facilities, supplied us with bottled water, then had us board Mercedes Uni-Mog all terrain trucks. These took us about an hour up into the hill country to their base camp. We then zip lined from tree to tree about a dozen times, swung on a tarzan swing, and rappelled down 75 feet to the ground. The staff were a lot of fun, while at the same time extremely safety conscious. Again...the high point of our trip. The final two days were sea days. From our balcony we saw a whale and several pods of dolphins. We took in most of the shows. The comedians were a mix of good and bad. The musical, Boogie Wonderland, was top notch. It was a brand new crew of performers, and we saw them for their first show at the early seating. I was a bit leery with the disco theme, but they impressed enough to get a standing ovation for their first show...and deservedly so. Exiting the ship proved to be as easy as boarding, though with far less anticipation on our part. The Vision introduced a new process, where they let you stay in your cabin right up until your posted time. Only then did you need to head to your assigned location, in our case the Masquerade Theater. We were only there for about fifteen minutes before they called our color. Very easy...very cool. We stayed the night and caught flights out the next day. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro, which was very nice. We arrived at the hotel at around 9:30 am, fearing that we'd be waiting quite a while for a room to be made available. They immediately assigned a room, and the window faced the port and the Vision. We were able to watch her sailing back out from our room. I would give the following grades in these categories: Overall Experience (cruise + excursions): A Ship: A- (Showing some minor wear, but a great ship. After cruising Voyager class on our last cruise, it felt to us like there weren't enough interior spaces on the Vision. Enjoyed the outdoor areas and all the windows that brought the outdoors in.) Cabin: A- (bass from band the only knock) Food: C (Windjammer only. Food was bland all week, except for Friday night's Asian theme.) Entertainment: B (Musical was great. Comedians were fair to good. Ventriloquist was downright bad, telling jokes that I receive via e-mail from joke of the day type websites...no original material. Younger kids seemed to like him.) Cruise Director: B- (Excellent stage presence...high energy. Activities planned for sea days were lacking, at least for what we're interested in.) Room Steward: A+++ (Excellent in all areas...couldn't ask for more than what was provided.) Staff in General: A (Friendly and helpful at all times.) Port of Los Angeles: B (Very well organized. Our second best experience, next to cruising Disney out of Port Canaveral.) Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
My family went on our first cruise this year on the Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas Mexican Riviera Christmas cruise. Our group consisted of myself, my wife and our three sons, ages 24, 22 & 9. Overall, I would say we are ... Read More
My family went on our first cruise this year on the Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas Mexican Riviera Christmas cruise. Our group consisted of myself, my wife and our three sons, ages 24, 22 & 9. Overall, I would say we are very satisfied with the trip. It was better than we thought it would be and we are very likely to partake in more cruises in the future. That's not to say that things were perfect, there were a few things that would have made the cruise even better. Being first time cruisers, we had a lot of questions going into the trip, so we are writing this in hopes of perhaps helping out others that are in the same spot we were. Pre-cruise Research Once we booked our trip, like others in the internet age, my wife and I spent hours researching cruises. We booked the cruise early, in March so we had a lot of time to look things up. Unfortunately, this may have caused us more grief and confusion than necessary. Like everything in life, what you experience is based on expectation, so what is good for one person will be crap for another. For example, when we read reviews on the food that was served on the Vision of the Seas, we were told the food was ; great, terrible, bland, tasteless, fresh. Try to base your expectations on those remarks! In hindsight, I would suggest that we tended to believe the negative reviews more so than the positive ones. I'm not sure if it's human nature to do so, but we went on the trip with a relatively low expectation which may have added to how much we actually enjoyed the cruise. One things we found on the internet that really helped was YouTube. There are a number of excellent videos people have put together documenting their cruise experience and you can likely find a video that was done on the same cruise ship and voyage you will be taking. We found these helped in answering question like what clothes we need to bring (for example, what is acceptable for Formal Night dining), what activities you can expect on boards, shore excursions and so on. We would highly recommend you check these out, especially you fellow first timers. Boarding Our cruise didn't exactly get off to a stellar start. We boarded in Los Angeles and to be frank, it was a bit of a cattle call to get onto the ship. It took us over an hour to get processed, through customs and then aboard the ship marching through various line-ups along the way. A large part of this was due to security checks (screening bags, documentation checks, the usual customs procedures) and really can't be helped, plus we were very tired after fighting our way down to Los Angeles (remember, this was the winter of the bad weather and even getting to Los Angeles on time was a triumph). But it should be something to expect when you board the ship. Stateroom Our stateroom was pretty much what we had expected. We had checked out the Royal Caribbean website and they had a virtual version of the stateroom we had. My wife and our 9 year old, shared one room and the two older boys had their own. In our room we had a queen size bed and our son slept on a Murphy style bunk bed above our bed. At first glance, the room actually feels smaller than what we had seen on the web, but it is functional. We also had an inside stateroom which meant we didn't have a window. I know from reading other reviews that people weren't crazy about the accommodations but really, let's get serious. You're on a boat with limited space, do you really expect something spacious? Oddly enough, we actually did spend a bit more time in our room than we expected and found it quite cozy. One thing we noticed about having an inside stateroom without a window is how easy it was to sleep in. Without a window, you really have no idea what time it is when you awake from sleep and there are no alarm clocks provided in the rooms. You can arrange for wake up calls if you have to get up a specific time. We found ourselves sleeping in until 10:00 on a regular basis, when at home we normally do not get up any later than 8:00. Our stateroom attendant really looked after us well. Very courteous friendly. It's also weird to have your bed turned down for you every night, but again it simply adds to that sense of being pampered. SeaPass The SeaPass is the card Royal Caribbean issues you to cover almost all of your shipboard expenses. It works as advertised, everyone on the cruise gets one and it's tied to a credit card you provide when you register. About the only thing it won't cover while you are on the ship is tips for those people who deliver your room service orders. Kind of weird, but unless I missed something tips for room service are in cash only, although the card covers for tips at pretty much every other service. One helpful little note. If you are like me, you sometimes have a hard time keeping track of where you put your cards, especially if you are constantly pulling it our of you wallet or pocket and then putting it back. I know when I'm wearing my hiking shorts, which have like a million pockets in them, I am constantly going through my pockets looking for my card. I bought one of those card holders that hang around your neck and hold your SeaPass. Best investment I made. Shipboard Activities Since this is a cruise, obviously we knew we would be spending a lot of time on the ship. So what is there to do? Here's where I give the crew a lot of credit. There are activities on board that go on literally from dawn until late night. These range from Family Scavenger hunts, to the old standard Bingo games, seminars on Health and Exercise and activities for the kids. Again, we had read reviews where activities have been rated as "lame", "boring" and "old". But again, it depends on what your expectations are. I can appreciate how difficult it is to try and come up with programs that will keep 2,000 different people ranging in ages from 1 to 90 years old happy. So, for the most part, we felt the activities we participated in fun and enjoyable. I give the crew credit in this area as it was the enthusiasm they show when organizing the programs that made it work for us. The other component of entertainment on the ship where the shows put on in the Masquerade Theatre. Again, we had read a wide range of reviews on the shows put on in the theatre, so we really didn't quite know what to expect. To our delight, we found the shows quite entertaining. I mean, if you are expecting someone like Jay Leno to do stand up, or a David Copperfield magic show, obviously you'll be disappointed. But considering the vast range of people in the audience, we thought the shows were quite well done. For the kids, the ship offered the Adventurer's Club, which has activities for varying age groups. Our 9 year old went to a couple of events and didn't really enjoy himself though from the sounds of it was more due to the other kids rather than the staff or the activity. From what we could see, it appeared that the younger kid especially had a grand time of it. I mean, how can you lose when they march you around the ship chanting pirate rhymes with the appropriate costumes and face painting. Food We ate at three locations on Vision of the Seas, The Windjammer Cafe, The Aquarius Dinning Room and the Solarium Snack Shack (our name, not the ships). In addition, there was also the room service option. Each offered something different. The Windjammer This was where we ate the vast majority of our meals. This is the buffet style of dinning on the ship. Before I go any further, let me explain my perception of buffets. I am by no means an expert on buffets, but like many I have eaten a number of meals in buffet settings. Generally, if you are looking for fresh, tasty and perhaps something exciting to eat, I would say that a buffet is not the place to be. The purpose of a buffet is to get the greatest amount of food to the greatest amount of people in the shortest amount of time. So, having said that, I would say the quality of food at the Windjammer is very good, for a buffet style setting. Is it fine dinning at it's best? No, far from it but I would say there was a far amount of variation and they didn't run out of any specific types of food. One thing we would liked is perhaps some variety for breakfast. The main course for breakfast consisted of a variety of breakfast meats (ham, bacon, sausage), a few versions of scrambled eggs and a selection of pastries. Unfortunately, it was the same selection for all seven days. I love ham & eggs, but after eating it a couple of times in a row, the thrill wears off quickly. It got to the point where I actually spent the last couple of days eating cereal for breakfast, something I don't even do at home! We would suggest an egg station would be an improvement on the ship, as I know I like to have eggs either over easy or sunny side up. Aquarius Dinning Room The Vision of the Seas version of fine dinning and for the most part, they pull it off spectacularly. For us, this was because of the serving staff. We were spoiled and pampered for seven nights. As another fellow traveler noted, she has eaten at several of the so called "elite" restaurants back home, but few provided the service we experienced every night when we dined in the Aquarius room. The waiter, assistant waiter and even the head waiter provided excellent service, yet at the same time came across as extremely friendly. One thing that was recommended in some of the other reviews was to check out your table in the dinning room fairly soon after boarding the ship to ensure the table was acceptable. We did so when we boarded. We had assumed that being party of five, we would have our own table, but when we checked we were actually seated at a table for eight, which meant we were sharing the table. When we went to change our seating arrangements, we found that there was a wait of about an hour to make changes, so being our first day on board, we just decided to live with it. In hind sight, we should have taken the time and changed our table. This is not a knock on those we shared the table with, they were lovely and for the most part, we had a grand time. But, it would have been more comfortable and perhaps more fun with a table to ourselves. The food was, for the most part, great. The menu had great variety with new and exotic (to us at any rate) dishes every night. For example, Liam, our 9 year old, tried on consecutive nights as an appetizer, Strawberry Soup and then Peach Soup and to our surprise, actually liked them. The entries were likewise very good. The one quibble I would have is that at times, the beef was not quite cooked to order. For example, my son ordered his prime rib well done and I ordered mine medium rare. When we got our orders, both appeared to be medium rare. One dish to note, on our last night they served a Stewed Beef Shoulder. It was absolutely delicious. Also note that the Aquarius room serves both breakfast and lunch as well as dinner. However, the hours of service are somewhat limited. We missed all of the breakfast servings and only managed to have lunch there once. The one lunch we did have was superior to the meals served in the Windjammer. Before the cruise my wife and I were somewhat concerned about having the appropriate clothing for dining in the Aquarius room. Just so you know, the guys wore shirt & ties with a jacket for the formal dinner and we were neither over dressed or under dressed. For the Smart Causal dinner, we wore golf shirts and khakis and again, we were neither over or under dressed. Solarium The Solarium is the option for those who are looking for a real quick bite or a snack. The Solarium has hot trays where guest can make themselves either a hot dog or a hamburger, French fries, pizza as well as some fresh fruit or cookies. We often wandered down to the Solarium between 10:00 pm & midnight for a late snack. Room Service My wife and I only used room service a couple times in the morning to have some coffee and Danishes. My two older sons order more substantial items from them and told us the chicken wings and turkey club were both excellent. Internet Access One sore point with us was the limited access to the internet. On the information package that was sent us, it stated that the ship had internet access, which we could access via a wireless card for "a nominal fee". I packed my laptop and when I inquired I was told the cost for internet access was $0.55 per minute, or the better rate of $28 per hour. Now I don't really expect to get free internet access, but I would suggest that the rates offered were far more than just "nominal". Hell, the hourly rate is more than my monthly DSL charges at home. Shore Excursions On our cruise, the ship made three stops in Mexico; Cabos San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. A disappointment for us was the lack of information on these destinations. We had anticipated having internet access on board, so we didn't bother printing off any information on the ports of call, assuming we could look things up as we approached the ports, so we were somewhat in the dark without the internet. The ship did offer a seminar with a "Personal Shopping Guide" the day before we reached our first port. She did offer some information during the seminar, but it was more like an infomercial as she really pushed the so called official approved "Royal Caribbean stamped stores", which for some reason focused a lot of attention on jewelry. Actually, they taped the seminar and then ran it on the ships TV station several times a day. My wife and I watched it over and over again to get whatever information we could on the various ports of call. It worked it to about five minutes of pitching to one minute of information. The down side is my wife has developed this uncanny impersonation of the shopping guide pushing for jewelry from "Diamonds International". Sorry, insider joke but I think anyone who has sailed on this specific cruise will know what I'm referring to. In hindsight, the one regret we have is we should have gone on at least one excursion per port of call. We did go on a tour of the Puerto Vallarta on the last stop. We bargained with a guide and managed to get a 1.5 hour tour for $15 each. We drove around the city in an air conditioned van and saw the sights. We were then dropped off in the old part of town and leisurely walked around the city, grabbed a quick lunch and made our way back to the ship. On the other two ports we wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how to get around, and then proceeding to get lost. We spent way to much time wandering and not enough relaxing. One thing to note. We were informed by the ship that in Mazatlan, if we wanted to go to a resort, we should go to La Flores resort because if we went to any of the other resorts we would be charged for using the facilities, but that La Flores would honor our SeaPass and allow us free access. We actually went to the El Cid and got the same deal, and other passengers we spoke to told us they were not charged for using the facilities at other resorts. Summary As I said at the start, we are now hooked on cruises. I have never felt as spoiled as we were during this vacation. We were treated first class by the personnel on the ship, we had a lot of fun with the activities offered, we ate very well, we saw a part of the world we have never seen before and all in all, it was a blast. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We sailed on Vision of the Seas on the November 9 departure from Los Angeles. Embarkation was quick and efficient. We had spent a couple of days in advance in Anaheim, returning our rental car to the airport (LAX) and then catching the ... Read More
We sailed on Vision of the Seas on the November 9 departure from Los Angeles. Embarkation was quick and efficient. We had spent a couple of days in advance in Anaheim, returning our rental car to the airport (LAX) and then catching the RCCL shuttle bus to the dock. We were on board shortly after 11am and since the cabins were not to be occupied until 1pm we explored the ship and had lunch in the Windjammer. We were in an outside cabin on the port side of deck 4. The cabin was in good shape and more than adequate for our needs. We had originally booked a balcony for the cruise but decided to drop that and move to the outside to save the money. We did not regret that decision as we spent little time in the cabin. Our cabin steward was excellent and did his job efficiently, keeping everything very neat and clean and making some really neat towel animals. The only negative comment, which I have made about other RCCL ships, is that the old TVs really need to go and be replaced with modern flat screens. This is very minor point however. We seldom had the TV on anyway. The ship itself is in good condition and shows few signs of wear and tear. It is a very attractive ship and well laid out. We were on the Splendour of the Seas last year in November so the layout was very familiar to us. We did think the shopping "mall" was a better design on Vision and the theatre seemed to be roomier with better sight lines. We were in late seating for dinner and had an excellent wait staff. Excellent work by everyone involved there. We only ate in the Windjammer a couple of times for breakfast and the one lunch on the first day. We had breakfast in the Aquarius dining room some mornings and also room service breakfast a couple of times. We also had lunch one day in the dining room. All dining experiences were very good. We also ate lunch a couple of times at the snack bar in the Solarium and it was good. Overall we were happy with the food and service and had no complaints at all. The shows, with the exception of the pretty lame comedian on the last night, were very good. The magic show was excellent as was the ventriloquist. The production shows were very good, with the last one being the best. We did the back stage tour and it was very interesting to see the small space they have to work with for costume changes and storage of the clothing and so on. We also learned about the lighting and sound systems. This was very interesting. One highlight was our private galley tour, which are no longer given as a standard practice. We had asked our head waiter about the possibility and he was able to arrange for our table of 6 to have a private tour of the galley. This took quite a bit of work on his part to arrange so we were really please to have the tour. The three ports of call were very enjoyable, with Puerto Vallarta being our favorite, Cabo second and Mazatlan third. We did only one excursion and that was the Colonial City tour (the 5 hour one) in Mazatlan and that was a very good tour. The rest of the time we explored on our own. Overall we give this cruise an excellent rating and had no problems. We are loyal RCCL cruisers and will be using them again in 2009. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
I combined my trip to visit my family for Thanksgiving with a 7 day cruise leaving out of San Pedro, CA the Sunday after the holiday. Had my sister drop me off at the pier to avoid paying the significant cost for parking at the pier. ... Read More
I combined my trip to visit my family for Thanksgiving with a 7 day cruise leaving out of San Pedro, CA the Sunday after the holiday. Had my sister drop me off at the pier to avoid paying the significant cost for parking at the pier. Embarkation was a breeze. Only problem was I wanted to verify my On-board Credit received from my Travel Agent, but they said they couldn't do that until the second day of the cruise, which doesn't really allow for fixing a problem if it happens. Not to worry, because it was there, but would've been nice to have a system for verifying things like OBC and pre-paid gratuities online. Got right into my room which was set up with the beds together which is how I wanted it. My stateroom attendant introduced himself right away and was super attentive through the cruise. I asked him if taking care of a solo was easier than two people and he said it depends on the people. Some solos can trash a room daily, where some whole family suites would be so clean you wouldn't know people were staying there. Cabo San Lucas - Did the Sea Trek Helmet Dive. I was a little worried about how cold the water would be but needn't have worried. Had a great time. Be aware, at least if you're a single guy that you'll be offered everything under the sun, both legal and illegal right when you get off the boat. Not my cup of tea and it made me a little uncomfortable, but your mileage may vary. Not anything the ship could do about that as it was after you left the protected area and were walking around in the town. I would imagine (hope)that single women have a different experience. Also, as a solo, it's not a good idea to wander too far, as I found myself in some sketchy looking areas just a block or two away from the tourist area. Again, solo women would not be advised to do this, but most of the ones I know would already know that. Mazatlan - You have to catch a cab into the city, and I didn't see any excursions I was dying to try out, so I looked at some stores on the pier. Didn't see anything I haven't seen a million times on other Mexico cruises so I went and had a ship day! Puerto Vallarta - Had to catch a cab into the town to see anything. There is a huge WalMart within walking distance of the ship, which I think about 1 in 4 of the passenger and about half the crew made a beeline to. Caught a cab downtown, but between the Timeshare hucksters and the cabbies trying to get you to go anywhere but where you were, it was kind of a bust. Went back to the ship after about an hour. The ship itself was great. Smaller than some of the other ships I've been on, but a really attentive crew. Formal Dining Room was incredible, and the Windjammer Cafe was really good too. As a solo, something to note was that the 7 day cruise has a lot more of an older crowd, and a lot more couples. Not a lot of singles or solos on the ship, but enough to have a pretty decent time. All in all a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
When we booked our cruise on the Vision of the Seas there was a little apprehension about the ship as on Cruise Critic there were some reviews that were quite negative about the condition of the ship. We are happy to report that the ship ... Read More
When we booked our cruise on the Vision of the Seas there was a little apprehension about the ship as on Cruise Critic there were some reviews that were quite negative about the condition of the ship. We are happy to report that the ship is in great shape and it was a delight to be guests on the ship for seven days. This was our fifth cruise and I was looking to see how it compared to the other ships we sailed on. The Vision of the Seas was excellent but I would have to rate it behind the Brilliance of the Seas and The Norway. The Brilliance was newer and just simply gorgeous. The Norway had history as a former transatlantic liner and was a one of a kind cruise ship that will never sail again as she has been scrapped. The Vision would be third and the Norwegian Dream fourth. I was very disappointed with the Celebrity Horizon not only because it was older and in need of a renovation but because I had better expectations for the food and entertainment, so it would be fifth. The crew on the Vision of the Seas did their utmost to make sure that we were happy and satisfied with the service and if there was a concern or complaint they did their best to rectify it. This was very evident by the service from our dining room staff; Zsolt, Tonngamla, Diago and our room steward Garnet. A special evening was organized by the Canadian crew members to meet with the Canadian guests and to enjoy a pleasant conversation with complimentary drinks. They were all very personable and we enjoyed talking to a Jamaican-Canadian who is the head steward by the name of Noel. Royal Caribbean did not have to do it but it was a very nice gesture on their part. Thank you. The food was very good but a common complaint at our table was the Angus steak which was on the menu every day and was rather tough and tasteless. The lobster was excellent and Zsolt gave us more when we asked for another helping. Zsolt was excellent with a good sense of humor and seems to be well connected to get what you want. If you did not like what you ordered they would happily bring you something else until you were satisfied. Park Avenue who do the art auction have cheaped out by not having enough champagne or not having any champagne at all even though the Compass said they would. The art auction went for too long a time and the complimentary print was the same every day. The art auction on the other cruises were enjoyable but not this one. The duty free liquor on board is a bargain and if you buy a camera on board, Royal Caribbean will guarantee it for an extra year. Last cruise on the Brilliance we bought a Samsung digital camera for a very good price and have been very satisfied with it. We had a very good cruise, beautiful weather and will cruise with Royal Caribbean again. ease enter your review. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Embarkation Security to get on the ship was a repeat of airline security. Make sure you have your ship pass & passport/drivers license(if applicable)in hand for instant viewing by security personnel. This also applies when departing ... Read More
Embarkation Security to get on the ship was a repeat of airline security. Make sure you have your ship pass & passport/drivers license(if applicable)in hand for instant viewing by security personnel. This also applies when departing the ship in port and even more stringently when returning from an off-ship activity. All hats, glasses etc must be removed for your pix to be snapped when you get back on board. By the way Do Not! try to slip booze you bought in port back onto the ship! I saw a couple get caught at the x-ray/magnetometer gate trying this, and the liquor had to be turned over to ship personnel. I didn't stick around to see about any other repercussions. All the staff at San Pedro gateway were businesslike friendly. Nothing stood out as exceptional customer service. All bags arrived as they should, thank goodness! Altho I had to retrieve my bags from the 3 deck lobby pileup of bags myself, in order to get them on time to change clothes for dinner. Ship Board I wasn't as blown away by the ships' accoutrements' as I had expected to be from the online pix & descriptions. Indeed some of the reviews I had read left me apprehensive about the physical state of the ship due to age. However, she was clean & pretty well cared for. At nite I would walk around & was impressed by the number of people cleaning, vacuuming, polishing etc all over the ship. The effort showed. Every morning the whole ship was immaculate. The food was good, not great & the customer service by waitstaff was better than good but not superb. Our head waiter didn't do anything to prove to me the job was necessary. As a matter of fact one nite some at the table ordered wine and the glasses were barely half full. We all noticed,& complained to the Head Waiter who tried to dispute our complaints. We stuck to our guns, & the shortfall was made up to a barely acceptable level. We never had this problem again during the cruise. The Lobster meal was the last port disembarkation nite. The lobster tails were very small, altho tasty & properly cooked. Shrimp was also served. I was surprised there was no midnight buffet. I also wish to note that the 1st night in port when you returned to the ship the Windjammer was closed until 6:30p. Do be careful of the "Art Auction" on board. If you choose to attend look at it as more entertainment than a serious auction, altho the auctioneers are serious about taking your money. I did not attend any of the 'floor shows' or any other Masquerade Theater productions. Excursions - If I have any disagreements about booking your on shore excursions online it's the time blocking elements. There is way too much time made unavailable for some activities while you are left sitting cooling your heels waiting for other participants to show up. I could not fit in parasailing because of poor time management which was out of my control due to lack of knowledge. The Americas Cup Yacht excursion was GreaT! (Cabo San Lucas)a bit scary but definitely worth the money. The wind was so strong the jib actually tore. The zip line was terrific, and very scary! The secret is learning how to slow down just as you reach a platform. For some it was easy, not so much for me. But I'm glad I did it & had enough fun. The dolphin swim was astounding. I had no idea what to expect, but the dolphin was so powerful I have a much better understanding of the stories I've heard of their saving shipwrecked sailors from drowning. The only thing I suggest on this is to check the interior of your life vest before donning it. Both I & another member of our group wound up with bug bites inside the vest area on our chests. The horseback riding was leisurely and great fun. Altho I hadn't been riding in years the distribution of horses according to experience level was well done. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
This was our 6th cruise. 4-RCL, 1 Carnival, 1 NCL....and our daughter's first. We began our vacation traveling to LAX from Denver. Delta dogged us by changing our nonstop flights to a short layover in Salt Lake (and a tiny little ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise. 4-RCL, 1 Carnival, 1 NCL....and our daughter's first. We began our vacation traveling to LAX from Denver. Delta dogged us by changing our nonstop flights to a short layover in Salt Lake (and a tiny little plane which freaked out the family) Upon arriving in LAX, we were surprised when our luggage was on the baggage claim carousel when we got there. BRAVO! Then we hopped onto a Super Shuttle with our pirate friends who were also sailing with us. Next stop, the mouse house and the Fairfield Inn in Anaheim. The hotel was clean and convenient. The mouse house was fun and we found it to be a very different experience than WDW in Orlando. Sunday morning we were off to the port again by Super Shuttle. After having a car go flying out of control and coming a little too close for comfort, we arrived at the port. Quite different than the east coast ports we are used to. Embarkation was quick and painless. We found the ship to be very beautiful and in decent shape for its age. I was not accustomed to seeing the fingerprints and haze's on the chrome and brass (especially up high) as well as the large amount of light bulbs that were blown out in the public areas (I counted 13 blown bulbs in the solarium alone). This has not been my experience on other RCL ships. This was the only drawback to this beautiful ship. We had 8088, a corner aft JS with the most wonderful balcony. It has to be the nicest cabin we have had on any ship so far. Clean and fairly roomy for a smaller ship. Storage was a little shy for our luggage. It would have been fine for 2, but we had our DD aboard for her first cruise. Our cabin stewards' name was Junior. Boy was he great! He kept the ice bucket full and the cabin in great shape the entire trip. He was timely with all our requests and was one of the best stewards we have had to date. RCL somehow ran out of the mints for our cruise which i found unusual. Day 1 was explore the ship and unpack. We did get together with the cruise critic folks before muster drill in the schooner bar. Great group of people. We had an awesome time at sailaway with our friends Dave & Cindy. Champagne was flowing on the balcony and there was plenty of room for all 5 of us. We could have fit alot more. We Dinner was in the formal dining room, late seating. We ordered the prime rib. BEWARE! We found the beef extremely tough and avoided it except for the fillet. Other food was very good as always. We spent the evening at the schooner bar. The pianist was okay..We have seen better. Day 2 - Day at Sea - Seas were a little rough, but not too bad. The temperature was cool and I took some time to wander around the ship a little more and visited the hottubs which were not too crowded. We had a late lunch in the windjammer. I found the food there good and the service unreal. It was almost as good as the service in the formal dining room. Dinner was good in the formal dining room where we dined every night. Day 3 - Cabo - Tenders were from the ship. quick and frequent. We had booked the horseback ride thru the ship for the girls and the beach buggy excursion for myself and Dave. My DW wound up missing the excursion as she wasn't feeling well, but Cindy & my DD had a wonderful time. As for the beach buggy excursion, I thought it was going to be a bust when we arrived at the site. 4 to a car and 84.00 per person. We did take turns driving and it was surprising how much fun we had. Pay someone 84.00 to beat the heck out of a buggy on the beach/riverbed for a few hours...it was fun! If you book this, be aware the buggy's are manual shift transmissions and be prepared to get filthy from the dust. Another champagne sailaway on the balcony with our friends. We took in a movie to cap the evening off. Day 4 - Mazatlan - We again booked our excursion thru the ship. WE all went on the Sierra Madre, Concordia & Copala tour - MZ06. This was a fantastic tour! You got to see lots of culture, as well as some shopping. Irma was our tour guide and she was the best! She was very informative and active with our group. If you do this tour, be sure to save some cash for the last stop, Copala. Lunch is included and was very good. A band plays while you eat. As far as shopping, they have the most awesome masks there. The artist makes them from animal and fish skins. Prices topped out at 40.00 US but well worth it. These are truly works of art. They also have some carvings that are sold by the church that are nice. The evening on the ship concluded with the Quest. We won silver thanks to Dirtgirl who was our runner and some skinny guy from the schooner bar that was kind enough to help out with some of the more interesting quests. We even had the dentures this time (no names mentioned!) Day 5 - Puerto Vallarta - By far the nicest port. We booked a ziplining tour off the ship. La Vista tours (67.00 US pp)..10 minute cab ride from the port. Then off on a 40 minute ride into the mountains. My DW was nervous on this one as she is afraid of heights....the fear was quickly replaced by the fun. This place was by far the best excursion we have ever done anywhere. 15 ziplines await you. some thru, some above the canopy. Most are longer than the other places I have seen. The guides were very involved in the tour and kept us safe and well entertained. They send you out with a photographer and a video cameraman. Prices for the same were 35 & 45 respectively. Well worth the money for the video. They capture the whole experience and it comes out like a television show. This is a DO NOT MISS tour. Sailaway again with champagne on the balcony only to be turned back by a medical emergency. I hope the person is ok, but it does go to show that RCL takes good care of the passengers. Day 6 - Day at Sea - We just kicked back and went swimming in the solarium. Spent some time in the casino. And enjoyed each others company. We did go to see the adult comedian at midnight who was very entertaining. Day 7 - Day at sea - After getting our bags packed early, we took some time to get some sun on the balcony. Last trip to the casino for some blackjack and craps. And another fine dinner in the formal dining room. Randy and Rubin were our waiters at our dinner table. They were among the best I have had. Kudo's to the both of them. Day 8 - We arrived back in port where there was alot of smoke and haze from the Cali. fires. Getting off the ship was fast and painless, We booked the Malibu, Santa Monica,Beverly Hills tour thru the ship. I personally found this soso. I don't have alot of interest in actors etc. We has lunch on the Santa Monica Pier at the seafood place next to the restrooms (south side past the police station)...in one word, HORRIBLE!...We definitely will not go back there! It was nice to see some of the area as we had a late flight back to Denver. The smoke from the fires really made it a nasty day to be touring and the tour guide was not the best. In closing, this was a great vacation for all of us. Overall, the ship was very nice. The crew was exceptional, very personal, and very in tune with our needs. Food was good except the beef (I did miss Chops & Portofino's). The entertainment was average. What really topped off this cruise was the company... my DW, DD, pirate friends and cruise critic friends that we met. We had a wonderful time and would sail this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
I'm just back from a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise on Vision of the Seas with Carol (Dirtgirl), our second annual girls' cruise. I had a fabulous time and wanted to post a few thoughts and observations: The ship in ... Read More
I'm just back from a week-long Mexican Riviera cruise on Vision of the Seas with Carol (Dirtgirl), our second annual girls' cruise. I had a fabulous time and wanted to post a few thoughts and observations: The ship in general: I love the Vision class, only a little less than the Radiance class. I realize that I'm in the minority here, but I'm quite sad that RCI is sending Vision away and replacing her with Mariner. I enjoy the "small" ships and will miss the relatively intimate cruising experience that they offer. Vision is very well kept and there was the usual army of housekeepers out and about keeping things spotless. The staff and crew were largely friendly and accommodating. Embarkation: flawless. We arrived at the port about noon and were onboard by 12:15. The cabin: we booked 8588, the starboard corner aft JS. It's a great cabin except for the vibrations from the thrusters coming in and out of port (we docked starboard side against the dock in Mazatlan and PV). I have stayed in 8088, the portside cabin, several times, and have never experienced the level of shaking that we did on this trip. Our cabin steward, Junior, was terrific - he kept the cabin clean and filled our bucket with ice twice daily (the norm is only in the evening, but they will do it in the morning as well if you ask). Food: I ate breakfast in the Windjammer all but one morning. I found the selection to be very good - eggs (scrambled plain or some flavor of the day), pre-cooked omelets, pancakes, waffles, french toast, hot & cold cereal, fruit, etc. I am still puzzled when I hear that the selection is limited. Breakfast in the dining room was just ok - the crew seemed a bit grumpy and the food was lukewarm. I had lunch in the dining room on our sea days and partook of the fabulous salad bar - after ordering you wait in line and have them build the salad of your dreams from a huge selection - shrimp, chicken, bacon, eggplant, corn, peppers, kalamata olives, to name just a few options. Lunch options in the Windjammer were also varied, although I usually didn't get there until 3:00 and so had "snacks" instead - sandwiches, salads, fruit, etc. We ate all of our dinners in the dining room, drawn there by our fabulous tablemates. Our original arrangement fell apart when our tablemates decided to move to main seating, so we persuaded Pat (music) and John to switch to late. Together with Marge and Kris, two Englishwomen, we had a wonderful, boisterous time. The service provided by Amet (HW), Anil (W) and Susan (AW) was impeccable, and the food was generally very good, with the occasional "oops" and the occasional home run. I sampled each of the Indian vegetarian offerings each night and they were superb. There was lobster on the second formal night, and the tail was a decent size with good texture and flavor. Drink: Upon embarkation we went to the Schooner Bar to wait for our cabins to be ready at 1:00. That became our favorite place to hang out, with excellent service and strong drinks from Alison, Milton and Filip. I did feel a bit like Norm from "Cheers" by the end of the week, though. The ports: I've done this itinerary 3 times now, so I had a good idea of what each place had to offer. I did the America's Cup yacht race in Cabo (it's no longer offered in Puerto Vallarta) and had a blast, as always. I stayed in the port in Mazatlan, just took the tram to the shops there and bought a little Internet time to check my email. In Puerto Vallarta I had a splendid massage at the Krystal. Activities and entertainment: I didn't go to any shows or activities, so I can't tell you anything about them. I did get an almost-daily workout in the gym. It has been completely renovated, a most welcome thing! All of the ancient Cybex machines have been replaced by Lifefitness (they were setting them up on the first couple of days of the cruise), the 3 ellipticals worked for the entire cruise (and looked new) and the handweights were all new as well. It's still too small, but they can only work with what they have. The gym was seldom crowded (and we did get up there 6 days out of 7). Miscellany: Carol is Diamond and I am Diamond Plus in C&A. We had robes but no slippers waiting for us in the cabin. We did not receive chocolates on the pillow at night (I did hear that they were out of them, not that they'd been discontinued), nor did we receive the Diamond Plus toiletries that I have always gotten on Vision. Because I don't wear the slippers, eat the chocolates or use the toiletries, I didn't ask if they were available. We did get a cheese plate (consisting of a single piece of Brie with a few crackers and a bit of fruit), and a plate of petit fours. No chocolate covered strawberries, although there were plenty to be had at the C&A and Platinum/Diamond parties. Speaking of parties, the Captain's welcome aboard party offered champagne or non-alcoholic punch only with no munchies that I saw (not that I needed them). There was a nice spread for at the repeaters' party, as well as the ability to order whatever drink we wanted. Guest services was a bit of a mess. Because all the OBC had been assigned to my account, I paid Carol's gratuities. Instead of following my instruction, they put her charges on her folio and I had to sign a form to transfer them to me. Then we did not get a folio on disembarkation morning, so we had to stand in line to make sure that the transfer was made (it was) and that Carol didn't get hit with a conversion to Canadian currency (she didn't). Disembarkation: flawless for me, not so much so for Carol. The procedure in Los Angeles, which we experienced on Monarch in October, now allows US citizens to leave the ship, collect our luggage and hand in our customs declaration without having to present ourselves to immigration. Non-US still have a fairly lengthy interview process. Had I been alone, I would have been off the ship and at the curb waiting for DH in 3 minutes. As it was, it only took about 20. Vision will be departing LA on January 4, passing through the Panama Canal to her new winter home in Santo Domingo. I will miss her greatly! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
OK...First time cruisers, Listen Up!! We are a large family of 7. My wife is employed by the Airlines and we live in Hawaii. We are very much a paycheck to paycheck type of family. We traveled as a family of 5. Two older kids ... Read More
OK...First time cruisers, Listen Up!! We are a large family of 7. My wife is employed by the Airlines and we live in Hawaii. We are very much a paycheck to paycheck type of family. We traveled as a family of 5. Two older kids couldn't afford to miss college. So, Mom and Dad and 16 yr. old girl, 11 year old boy and 6 yr. old girl packed up and headed for Los Angeles. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. Its literally walking distance to the pier where you meet the ship, so its VERY convenient. We used "Zippy" shuttle for all of our ground transportation. EXCELLENT. The CP offered a shuttle to the ship on Sunday. We left the hotel at 10:30am and were on the ship by noon. The process of checking in and clearing customs etc. was simple. The initial entry onto the ship is overwhelming. The ship seems soo big. The staff was very friendly and point you in the right direction. We signed up for the soft drink program for the kids and then headed to lunch. Ate at our own pace and decided to visit our room. Probably no later than about 1pm and our room was ready to go. We had a family suite. We loved it. It offers 2 twin beds together as a queen, a set of bunk beds in a separate area and a fold out sofa in the living room area. So, it sleeps 5 perfectly.This was least expensive way per RCCL for us to travel as a family of 5. It was great. Be ready to be overwhelmed with things to do. We received the schedule of activities daily and you cant believe how much stuff is going on. That was our problem. We figured that since we paid for it we might as well get our monies worth. So, the first day we tried to do everything. After, missing a couple of activities, getting lost on ship, and generally frustrated we decided to just slow down and go with the flow. That was the best thing we did. Select a couple of things you might like to try or watch and really enjoy them. You will never be able to do everything. We did use the Ocean Adventures program for our 6 year old. She loved it. Well run, organized, safe, etc. Great. They offer it for selected age groups depending on who is booked on the cruise. Regretfully, not a lot of 11 year old boys. So... our son did sneak into the 12-16 year old activities and they do have a full arcade which he loved. Also, ping-pong tables by the main pool on deck 9 were fun because he could play with any age. One day I found him getting beat in ping-pong by a man who had to be 70 yrs old. Thats the fun of it, all ages mix on a cruise. Our 16 yr old daughter liked the freedom the ship offered. She could roam around and make her own decisions. Have a soda, have an icecream, go to the gym, use the internet, watch a movie, whatever...She was safe and had the means to eat and drink so she was very pleased with the cruise My wife loved the casino. In Hawaii we do not have legalized gambling so a casino is a rare find for us. Either travel to Asia or fly to Las Vegas. Coincidentally our cabin was located immediately below the Casino. My wife really enjoyed it and made alot of friends. I am sure she went every night but she won some and lost some. We had late seating for dinner. I would recommend it but, our 6 yr old did fall asleep at dinner twice. We loved getting dressed up. Formal nights are very cool. Pictures, flowers, great meals. Just like going to the prom. The staff that was assigned to us were very cool and we had so much fun interacting with them. My wife speaks multi-languages so she could speak some of the staffs native language. I think that was fun for the crew. The last comment is a little negative. It seems cruising is 50% the ship experience and 50% the destination. We are lucky to be from Hawaii. We traveled to Mexico. Visiting beaches and sun probably wasn't our best choice. We live that daily. If you come from cold weather or an inland state the Mexican Riviera would would be great. We are already looking into an Alaska Cruise with RCCL next summer. We made lots of friends and would recommend it to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Drove up from san diego and stayed at the doubletree san pedro pre-cruise for one night. The hotel was clean , well kept and the staff was friendly and helpful. We chose the "park and cruise package" including accommodations, ... Read More
Drove up from san diego and stayed at the doubletree san pedro pre-cruise for one night. The hotel was clean , well kept and the staff was friendly and helpful. We chose the "park and cruise package" including accommodations, breakfast and champagne or cider. Bed was extremely comfortable and the location was great . Our room had a view of the marina. The hotel offered a free shuttle to and from local restaurants free of charge. Check in was great and arranging departure with the bell desk the following morning took only a couple of minutes. We met in the morning after breakfast and the bell man loaded our luggage and then it was only ten minute to the ship. We chose the 11:00 departure time from the hotel (you have a choice of times). Our luggage went directly to the ships baggage handler and away we went to check in. They allowed us to board around 11:30 which was early , the rooms are still not ready until 1:00. It gave us enough time to explore the ship, take photos and have a nice lunch at the buffet. By the time they called us to board it was only approximately a 30 minute wait.It takes quite a bit of time to deliver luggage to that many guests we found our own luggage at the staging point at the end of the hall. Not a big deal we just did not want to wait and those luggage handlers were working really hard. Amazing how much luggage some individuals brought. We have traveled on the larger RCCL class of ships and knew that the Vision was smaller and older. We also decided to try an inside cabin which was new for us. The ship was well kept for its age and we found the crew to be more pleasant and personable then on the larger ships we have been on. Also the food in the main dining room was also above what we had experienced on the larger vessels. The service was also a notch above. The buffet dining was great, you have your choice of eating healthy or not with plenty of choices for everyones tastes. We did not go to the dining room for breakfast so cannot comment on that, but is the past the buffet was better. There were always shows and activities for all age groups and we did see an excellent magician from Las Vegas. They had regular movie times in the theater with very current movies. The spa and steam and sauna rooms were great, clean and well kept. Even though this is a smaller vessel we never really felt overwhelmed by the rest of the passengers except in the main pool area. We mainly stayed in the enclosed adult solarium, which is very nice for a more quiet and relaxing area. People could nap in their loungers and read and they set up a buffet lunch in the afternoon. The gym was alittle bit smaller and I think would have been less crowded if those passengers that really did not want to work out and wanted to chat would have done so elsewhere. There was always the running deck which was nice and not crowded at all. Point is you could always get a good workout. The room attendant was excellent and very friendly. Our stateroom was always ready when we returned and any requests we had were promptly seen to. Its an older ship so do not expect everything to be sparkling new, expect some wear and have a little perspective. The inside cabin worked well for us and we always like to be mid-ship to avoid any motion. The tendering and docking at the various ports was on time and very efficient. They kept the guests informed overhead exactly as to what was going on. There is no need to crowd around the stairs and disembarking area of the ship but passengers continue to do so which only makes the situation worse for themselves. The ship has plenty of tenders for those ports that call for that and they are very efficient. The tenders hold quite a few people so if you rush to get on, you are just going to have to sit and wait for it to fill up. Bottom line everyone gets ashore and it goes real quick. RCCL does and excellent and safe job. In Cabo we did it "on our own" and walked around the marina to medano beach about 30 minutes and we also brought our own umbrella. You can read more on that at trip advisor. It was a fun day. In Mazatlan we also checked out the city "on our own" and went to the golden zone to start (not impressed) and then took the bus to solabado centro which is the central market for the locals and it is next to the big yellow church. We ate at a nice restaurant called Panamas (check out trip advisor). The we walked back to the ship. In Puerto Vallarta we di the eco-snorkeling tour on a 65 foot power cat to marietas island. Well worth it for an all day adventure with kayaking, snorkeling, beach time, open bar and great buffett.You can just hang on the boat and feed the fish, dive off, lounge etc. The boarding and disembarking the tour is right next to where the ship docks. We the changed and headed into town, taxis are pricey but if you walk to the head of the pier you can catch a bus for about 60 cents or so, we just gave the driver a dollar, no big deal. The days at sea were great and as always our trip exceeded our expectations. Travel with open mind, be a little more adventurous, do not set to high of expectations but be informed and more often than not you will be pleasantly surprised. Travel happy! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
About us: We are 30 years old, married, with no children. Overall Review: I had a great time aboard the Vision of the Seas during Thanksgiving. Overall, my trip was great and very much worth the money I spent. Before I sailed on the ... Read More
About us: We are 30 years old, married, with no children. Overall Review: I had a great time aboard the Vision of the Seas during Thanksgiving. Overall, my trip was great and very much worth the money I spent. Before I sailed on the Vision of the Seas, I wrote myself a list of FAQs. These are my responses to those questions after having sailed... 1. How was the weather (day by day)? Sunday - It was cool and breezy. I was comfortable with a light jacket on. Monday - Very breezy and cool. Uncomfortable on the top deck by the pool without a jacket. Tuesday - 90 degrees and very humid. Wednesday - 85 degrees and very humid. Thursday - 90 degrees and a little less humid. Friday - 70's but way too windy to be on the upper deck. Saturday - Very cold and very breezy. Need a jacket for the upper deck. Sunday - mild weather, but very foggy in LA. Note: The pool outside was very warm and heated. Those who were in the pool even on cold days enjoyed the pool but there were plenty of deck chairs available because it was so cold. 2. How many casual days vs. formal days - what day was which? Sunday - Casual. The dining room allowed you to come as you are. I saw many people being let in with shorts and Tshirts on. Monday - Formal. The formal wear was less formal than later in the week. Mostly people wore black cocktail dresses and suits. Tuesday - Smart Casual. This is supposed to be slightly more formal than casual, but I didn't notice a difference. Wednesday - Casual. Jeans were ok and most people wore dressier shirts/tops. Thursday - Formal. This night seemed very formal. Almost all people were dressed up. Black cocktail dresses and suits were popular. Friday - Casual. I saw a lot of sundresses on this night. Saturday - Casual. This night seemed a lot more casual than other nights - a lot like the first night. 3. How casual/formal were people dressed? I was very worried about this before we went because I didn't have a gown and the hubby just had a suit and tie. But I can tell you that the majority of the people on the ship were dressed just like we were. We didn't feel out of place at all. The casual nights were also pretty casual. On the first night we saw people in the dining room with shorts and tshirts on but later in the week we saw the dining room staff ask people dressed in tshirts and shorts to leave at the door. 4. What is the #1 item you wished you had on the ship? Pony tail holders and barrettes. I have long hair and forgot to bring a pony tail holder. My hair ended up being a nuisance to me and I wish that I had remembered this. I searched all over the shops on board and was unable to purchase one as well. 5. What was the best part of the trip? It was nice to have everything planned out in advance and not have to make too many decisions on the trip. It was easy going and an inexpensive way to travel. 6. What was the worst part of the trip? Waiting in lines. The tender process for the first port (Cabo San Lucas) is not very good. You have to stand in a long line that wraps around the Centrum to get a tender ticket. We had an early excursion planned through the ship and we were hoping that it would be no problem to get a tender ticket that got us off of the ship in time for our excursion. There was no priority for the tender tickets and we ended up having to force our way out before our tender ticket number was called by showing our excursion tickets in order to make our excursion on time. Also, there were TONS of kids on this trip. They said there were about 600+ onboard. We had a stateroom that was somewhat close to the stairs and we were constantly being disturbed by kids who were jumping flights of stairs. The landing would make a really loud thump and this happened all of the time. None of the staff onboard ever enforced rules or asked the kids to stop. Kids were all over the indoor pool area eventhough there were signs which said it was adult only. Also, kids were pressing all of the buttons on the elevators which made it very difficult to ever catch an elevator. Things were rarely open on the ship when we wanted them to be. We expected the ship to be a 24 hour ship and it was far from it. We had to always be aware of the ship's schedule for things. For example, the casino tables didn't open until noon while we were at sea and closed when we were at port. The shops on board had weird schedules and were rarely open when we wanted to shop. The Masquerade theater only showed one movie per day and was closed otherwise. The Windjammer buffet was closed several times when we wanted to get a snack. 7. How is the casino's blackjack? Craps? The blackjack was average. There were several $4 minimum $200 maximum tables with multiple deck shoes (6 or more) where blackjacks paid 3 to 2. There were several single deck games but blackjacks paid only 6 to 5 on those tables. Craps had single odds so we didn't play. There was also a 3 card poker table. There was a special deal where you could get $30 of chips for only $20, one per seapass card. This was a great deal and we took advantage of it. 8. What was your favorite port and why? My favorite port was Puerto Vallarta. It was very clean, very upscale, and we really enjoyed the Las Caletas Hideaway excursion. My hubby liked Mazatlan the best. Although the port looks very industrial, the beaches were great and the shopping was fun. 9. Did you take any excursions and which ones? Were they worth the money? We took the following excursions: Cabo - Chileno Bay Snorkel Adventure - This was so-so. The boat ride on the Tropicat wasn't nearly as neat as the excursion description made it sound. The waterslide was not used. We didn't snorkel at Lover's Beach, but just headed straight to Chileno bay. The snorkeling was fun and the fish were pretty. I wished that I had gone to Lover's Beach instead. Mazatlan - Beach, Lunch, and Shopping Tour - The start of the tour was a Mexican show. The show was ok and fairly entertaining. Next we walked to "the Golden Zone" for shopping. There were lots of shops and this reminded me a lot of shopping in Tijuana. There were lots of bracelets, necklaces, and fake watches/sunglasses. Next we went to a hotel for lunch and some time at the beach. The lunch buffet was really not very good at all, but the beach was beautiful and the hotel was nice. Puerto Vallarta - Las Caletas Hideaway - This was amazing. You are taken on a catamaran to a remote jungle hideaway. There is snorkeling, kayaking, hiking in the jungle, a cooking show, and one of the best buffets we had during our stay. It was fantastic. 10. Tell me about the food choices in the main dining room. The food was great. I really enjoyed the soup and appetizers. The steak choices were mediocre. The portion sizes were small, but that is okay because we were sampling appetizers and having dessert at every meal. Overall I really enjoyed the food and thought it was worth hitting the dining room rather than the buffet. Also, we went to the dining room for breakfast and lunch and I highly recommend this. The food in the dining room was always much higher quality than the buffet in the Windjammer. 11. What was your favorite activity on the ship? We tried a ballroom dancing class, but for the most part, we weren't too interested in the ship's activities. We spent the majority of our time in the casino or in our stateroom relaxing. 12. Did the Masquerade theater show any movies and if so, which ones and what time of day did they show the movies? Yes, the theater showed one movie per day, usually at 3pm or at midnight. The movies were newer and included "The Hulk", "Ironman", and "Chronicles of Narnia". 13. What was the average age on the ship and did you see a lot of children? The ages on the ship were quite varied I think because of the fact that we were on the Thanksgiving cruise. There were TONS of kids. 14. How crowded was the pool area? The pool area never seemed too crowded and there were always plenty of deck chairs. 15. Any gotchas about Embarkation/Debarkation? We arrived at the San Pedro port at 11, but they didn't let anyone on the ship until about 12. Debarkation was a little rough as there was lots of fog in L.A. the morning we arrived. Overall the experience was a little bit of a hassle, but not too bad. 16. Since you are taking a holiday cruise, tell me more about that experience. Was there special food served on Thanksgiving? Were there special decorations? I was really disappointed by the lack of Thanksgiving celebration on the cruise. There were no Thanksgiving decorations. The Thanksgiving meal included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce but was really lackluster. But for those taking the Christmas cruise, they were putting up a Christmas tree in the Centrum as we were leaving the ship. 17. What time did you arrive at San Pedro's port and how quickly did you get on the ship? We arrived at 11:00am, and they let us get on the ship around 12:00pm. Once we were on the ship, we weren't able to go to our rooms until 1pm. 18. If you could have left one thing that you packed at home, what would it have been? Laptops. We didn't use them once. We didn't want to pay the huge fees for internet access, so it was worthless to have them on board. 19. What was the shampoo/soap like? The shampoo was in a pump dispenser and resembled Suave. It smelled like coconut and was adequate. There was no conditioner. The bar soap was mediocre. 20. Did you get seasick and how rough were the seas? I used the scope patch so I didn't get seasick but did find myself a little woozy from time to time. My hubby isn't prone to seasickness, yet did find himself feeling a little "off" when we were at sea. 21. What was your favorite/most useful thing that you packed? We packed a 12 pack of Diet pepsi and 12 pack of bottled waters in a carry on which we then put in a cooler in our stateroom. Our stateroom attendant kept our cooler full of ice and we were able to enjoy sodas and water without worrying about the $2.25 per drink charge. I would highly recommend this as it saved us a ton of money on onboard expenses. 22. What was the onboard entertainment options like and which were your favorite? The Knight magic magician show was pretty good. The comedian was somewhat below average. We didn't attend the majority of the shows because we had the late dining time (8:30p) and the shows were after dinner for the most part. 23. Was there anything about the trip/cruise/ship that surprised you? The service on the ship was good, but not excellent. We had always heard that the service was amazing and we found it to be just ok. 24. Would you recommend this itinerary to a friend? Yes, but we wish we had an itinerary with more time in port. 25. Would you recommend this cruise ship to a friend? Yes, for the value it was great. 26. Tell me more about the midnight buffet? What midnight buffet? We completely missed this. They didn't announce it and we didn't know it had occurred. 27. What was your dining time and how did it work out for your schedule? Which time would you recommend? Our dining time was 8:30p and it was really weird with our schedule. We would recommend early dining time instead. The early dining had better times for the shows. We were always really hungry around 6, but didn't want to eat and ruin our dinner. If you have a late dining assignment, I would highly recommend that you get this changed. 28. Did you use the spa? What were the prices like? We didn't use the spa, but on the last day there are great deals. (half off) 29. Did you try out the gym? Rock wall? What is the walking track like? We didn't try out the gym or the rock wall, but the walking track was great. 30. How did you feel about the service of the cruise? The service was just ok. Our stateroom attendant (Giselle) was excellent. Our dining room waiter, assistant waiter, and head waiter seemed to be just going through the motions. They barely spoke English and made several mistakes on our meals. 31. Tell me about the soda card, how convenient was it and was it worth the money? The soda card was around $50 and was not very convenient. We don't feel that it is worth the money and we were quite satisfied with the soda/water that we had brought on ship. Overall, we had a fantastic time and would sail with RCCL again. This ship is a little bit older, and can be awkward at times to navigate. I am looking forward to the Mariner of the Seas replacing this ship for this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We flew into LAX on Saturday and stayed at Renaissance Monturi hotel which is close to airport on club level - small room but nice hotel. Free shuttle to hotel. Misleading add on their website when we booked (now it's gone) about a ... Read More
We flew into LAX on Saturday and stayed at Renaissance Monturi hotel which is close to airport on club level - small room but nice hotel. Free shuttle to hotel. Misleading add on their website when we booked (now it's gone) about a free shuttle to Manhattan Beach but for a few $$ there is a trolley. Took shuttle and spent evening on beach and pier - bought cheese and wine at a store nearby and watched sunset in the haze of the fires. Quite a bit of ash and haze from the fires. On Sunday, took shuttle back to airport and took Prime Time shuttle ($16 pp)to San Pedro Pier. Longest embarkation we've ever had but still not bad - we got there around 1:20 and on ship by 2. We'd already signed up for wine and dine and our excursions from home, so went to check out our dinner table (1st seating) and then unpacked. This was our first time ever in an inside cabin and it was fine - enough room and actually loved the total dark-great for sleeping. We never did meet our cabin steward, (another cruise first) but he or she did a fine job of keeping ice bucket stocked and room in perfect order. Went to the sail away party then off to dinner to meet our other 8 dinner guests. Our headwaiter Pavel was great, but he had very big tables and had a hard time keeping up some nights. Nothing that changed our good time though. Great company at dinner. Food was good but not grand - I don't expect grand as I'm an RCI groupie but do know their menu by now.First day at sea was my 52nd birthday and I just soaked up the sun and 84 degrees on our way to Cabo. Had our meet and mingle Hi Rich and Sandy if you're reading! Good turnout and nice treats provided. Next day was Cabo and my favorite port. Took a snorkel and beach catamaran tour while husband took dive trip (funny aside - nice couple on catamaran asked me if I was cruising alone - I said "no, my husband dives". She seemed so concerned for me and they both kind of hung around me through the snorkel and beach and made sure they kept me company (DH and I always split up so he can dive, so I'm quite ok on my own). I was asked late in the excursion how my husband "died" and once I clarified, they must have been a bit embarrassed because after that they never even looked my way - LOL).My tour was not with the ship and I never feared I would not get back on time and paid less than half ship prices. Next day was Mazatlan. DH and I took private tour to city of Copola and visited different craftsman on the way (brickmaker, bakery, pottery and stone tiles) This was arranged through Mazatlan Frank who was not available but set us up with an associate, Tomato (yes, you read correctly), and made sure he met us personally before we took off. Ate at a great restaurant in Copola, then returned for shopping in Golden Zone and watched the cliff divers and had tour of the town and local church with a drive throughout the ritzy neighborhoods as well. The downside to this port is the horrible begging by little children at virtually every stop, even the restaurant. P.V. I did not see as I took off on a 7 hour tour for snorkeling, Yelapa island and beach excursion. We got back and shopped for my requisite magnet (the only souvenirs I usually get as I collect them and display on fridge as my travel "brag board") right at dockside; chose to have mucho margaritas and fajitas tacos and rellenos at a restaurant right there (again, the children hawkers and beggars whilst trying to eat)but good food and didn't have to dress or go to dinner onboard. Without dinner to attend we went to early show - comedian and singer who was so hysterical we went back for his second show too. Next day at sea was another 85 degree sunny day at the pool (2 books read on my kindle this trip!!) Saturday, our last day, hubby played in a Texas Hold-em tournament that I signed up for and chickened out of at the last minute. I was a bit queasy that day and don't know why. We have never been on such a calm cruise. We never saw a white cap the entire week, but on Sat. there was a gentle swell and maybe the "new" motion got me going. Still, I had my scop patch on so not sure what was up. Stayed in the solarium all day and relaxed. (DH made it to heads up at his table and then went all in on a pair of jacks. Other guy called on a 5 and 6 of hearts and flops a flush!) Went to our last dinner and had all the requisite table pictures exchanged and taken and exchanged our cruise stories for the final time. It was a very pleasurable dinner group-we've never had bad company at our dinner tables on RCI cruises. We did have a group on board (some of you are probably reading this) who live an, how shall I say, "alternate love-life style". They were frequently the talk of our table as some of their poolside activities and after dinner coziness was "interesting". We attended both the welcome back and captains gala; the wine tasting (wouldn't of had it not been free to loyalty members). We are pretty easy to please and are not high maintenance. Never had room service, didn't go to all the shows (comedians funny and magician good; missed 2 of the production show nights). Didn't play bingo or get to Quest. Love and Marriage show good as always (the longest married couple always makes the show don't they?) Disembarking was a breeze - we carried our own luggage off ourselves, so we had priority disembarkation time at 7:15 and we were checked in at LAX by 9:10 for our 12:30 flight. Random thoughts I didn't include yet: Ship very, very clean. Staff very polite and friendly -plenty of bar service (didn't use much). Hate their wine list, always will. Not worth the worry or stress of trying to bring own on board, but did have my own plastic flax with my DiSarronno Amaretto for my p.m. drinks. Husband had disappointing dives and wants to stick with the caribbean from now on (we've been on Navigator, Adventure, Legend and Serenade also. Enjoy the smaller ships but miss ice skating show and parade on the bigger ships. Hope I've covered some of the things that matter to readers. I think your attitude is what makes a trip, and the mediocre RCI food is part of the package - I will continue to wish I could bring my own wine (even if they improved their list the prices would be so jacked up it would be ridiculous as right now the low-end bottles I could get for $8.99 at home were running $35-$30). We are off to the Caribbean on our first NCL cruise Jan. 10th, so it will be interesting to see how we like the "freestyle" after all these years of RCI. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We chose to arrive a day early. We took Super Shuttle to the Holiday Inn San Pedro. Booked Super Shuttle on the internet and used their coupon. This was our second stay at this Holiday Inn. Their staff was friendly and very ... Read More
We chose to arrive a day early. We took Super Shuttle to the Holiday Inn San Pedro. Booked Super Shuttle on the internet and used their coupon. This was our second stay at this Holiday Inn. Their staff was friendly and very accommodating. I did ask if we could have a room on Gurley street side so we could see the bay in the morning. We were upgraded to a beautiful 2 room suite with a door that opened onto the balcony which wrapped around part of the building. We ate dinner and breakfast in their dining room. The food was above average and arrived as we requested. We took a short walk to Rite-Aid to get a case of water for the ship. We asked about getting to their pier and found out they had a shuttle. Since we were priority club there was not charge. They also have a parking area where you can leave your vehicle. Not sure of the cost but all cars were parked in the covered garage. We arrived at the pier about 11 a.m. with our bags easily taken for check in and off we went to check in. The lines were short and the line for suites shorter. We were waiting in the lounge by 11:15. At 11:30 the escort came to take us for boarding. We went to check out the gym and spa, taking a tour. We walked around to get acquainted with the ship then headed off to Windjammer for lunch. The food on the ship was adequate and we did not have any complaints. We always found something to eat that we liked and there was always more than enough, even in the main dining room. Sail away was cool with high winds. We had late dining with great tablemates. Our server was Locman and his assistant was Leah. Locman and Leah are a great team who also serve the Captain's table. The bar server was Damian who kept the table well stocked for those who desired bar items. Day One: Day at sea. We went to the gym, used the Jacuzzi, laid by the pool, and dressed up for dinner. We also attended the Meet and Mingle which was great. There had been a cabin crawl which we did not participate in but heard was a blast. We did participate in the gift exchange and that was a nice touch. RCCL went all our with appetizers and nice gifts (could use some new ones in the future) plus asked what we liked or disliked. Just a nice get acquainted time with those we blogged with online. We attended the C&A reception. Day Two: Cabo San Lucas and we did not have an excursion planned through the ship. It is a tender for the ships. When you get to the shore, you have many people trying to get your money. We did bargain for $10 a person for a water taxi out to Lands End and back. We then took a walk into town. We wandered until we found Cabo Wabo for lunch. Lots of people go to say they have been there but the food is great. A short walk back to the dock, take the tender back to the ship for a relaxing time on the balcony. Day Three: Mazatlan and we did a private tour with Mazatlan-Frank. We took the City Tour which took in the city overlook, the Cathedral with beautiful windows that contain the star of David. We went to the market and that was an experience with mothers and small children sitting on the sidewalks begging. Off again to see the cliff divers. We visited old town with it's unique shops and beauty. Then off to the Golden Zone and Michael's Gallery, which had free margaritas. Then we toured the time-share area and upscale new home areas where a lot of American's are buying homes. Then off to the beach and lunch at Tony's. What a wonderful place to eat. They have a luscious shrimp and lobster for 2 that is huge. Everyone was well satisfied with the dining experience. Lunch was followed with tequila shooters for any takers in the party. We walked on the beach and back to the ship. Frank is a delightful host who knows the community and has well established relationships with very reputable merchants. He has a great tour for a very fair price. Day Four: We did not do any tour in Puerto Vallarta. We did cross an extremely busy street, which lead to Sam's Club or Wal-Mart and a very upscale mall. We walked through the mall, crossed back across the busy street then walked through shops leading back to the ship. We ate lunch on the ship and relaxed. Day Five and Six: Both days at sea which we enjoyed immensely. Attended the Platinum, Diamond, Diamond Plus reception. The only negative was how busy the gym and hard to get to the equipment. The last day was cool and windy. By 2 p.m. there was no one in the outdoor pool! We enjoyed the shows we went to and will chose early dining from now on as we like going to earlier shows. We did not buy any spa services except for having my toenails re-polished. We did attend the art auctions. We bought a couple of pieces that we knew and wanted (don't beat me up as we know about the negatives to Park West but have not encountered any,) Our room steward, Romeo, was cordial and took very good care of us,. He was not over friendly but professional. Disembarking was okay. We waited in the C&A area for Platinum and Diamond/Diamond Plus. We were escorted off, took a bus to the airport and had time to spare before realizing life would be back to normal shortly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We sailed on the Vision of the Seas Nov 9, 2008 - Nov 16, 2008 out of San Pedro (Los Angeles Harbor), CA. We live in NJ and this was our 13th cruise. This was a last minute cruise for us and this was the first time that we had not chosen a ... Read More
We sailed on the Vision of the Seas Nov 9, 2008 - Nov 16, 2008 out of San Pedro (Los Angeles Harbor), CA. We live in NJ and this was our 13th cruise. This was a last minute cruise for us and this was the first time that we had not chosen a cruise because of the ship and itinerary. We planned to visit the grandchildren in Seattle. The weather in Seattle is not conducive for a vacation in November, so when I saw this cruise at a reasonable price I booked it. As it turned out this was not our favorite ship and certainly not our favorite itinerary. We flew down from Seattle the night before arriving at 10:30 and stayed at a Marriott Springhill Suites hotel that was in Manhattan Beach. It was too far for free hotel pickup and the taxi ride was $20 with tip. The hotel had free breakfast and since we were too far from the airport to go back for the shuttle, we had the hotel call us a taxi to the ship. The fare + tip cost $50. For the convenience of taking taxis and not having to hassle with shuttles, throw in the free breakfast and the fact that we got a good leisure rate on the hotel this was an adequate choice. There was nothing to do in the area of the hotel, and I would not have chosen this hotel for an earlier arrival. The next morning we arrived at the cruise terminal at 11:30 and the porter took us to get luggage tags. (I really would prefer preprinted luggage tags, even if they emailed the rest of the documents). We had no lines, and the entire check-in process with security and pictures might have taken half an hour. Since we were on deck 8 we had check in with the suites. But I didn't see anyone with lines. The cabins were not ready yet so we wandered around the ship and had some lunch. We had a 3:00 meet with our roll call at the Schooner Bar. We moved to the Sports lounge next door and the football fans were doubly happy because Sunday football was in full swing. It was great to meet the others from our roll call. It had been a very active group. My DH was less interested in meeting the group since we were not doing independent tours with anyone as we did on previous cruises. Others on the roll call were more into drinking and zip-lining. We had early seating with 2 other couples. They were very pleasant. As with our other 12 cruises, we've always enjoyed the company of our tablemates. FOOD - The first 2 days the food at dinner was on the bland side. After that, I ordered differently and I had some very interesting meals. I do not let the appetizers, soups and salads being smooshed into one course stop me from ordering one of each. When I do this, I am not as disappointed and certainly not hungry if the main course ends up not being my favorite. I also order a baked potato where appropriate. I can always fill up on a baked potato. Our server always asked us if we were happy with the food and always offered to bring a different selection if we were not satisfied. CABINS - The cabins on Vision were the smallest we've experienced. We had inside 8579 and at 160 square feet, I think I've reached my minimum cabin size. My poor DH had to climb in and out of bed because that is the only way around the drawers that stick out at the end of the bed. Also missing was a refrigerator, but this is something we never used anyway. This cabin had a small hidden staircase next to it that went up to the spa. This was definitely a bonus. Our own staircase (to be shared with the other cabins forward of 8579)to the spa, fitness center and the Solarium. It was a nice quiet room, with a little walking above at about 7 a.m. which was no problem for us since we were up by then anyway. The bedding was very comfortable. The cabin steward was great. ENTERTAINMENT - The cruise director on this ship was outstanding. He added a lot to the shows (along with the group of 50 from Alaska). We went to all of the shows and enjoyed them all. They included 2 production shows (good cast), a comedian, a ventriloquist/comedian, a singer/comedian. All the other usual activities were available including different types of trivia, arts and crafts and excellent dance lessons. PORTS - These ports were not my favorites. Out of my 13 cruises, I would rate these as uninteresting. If I lived in southern California, what the heck, it is a cheap cruise, but I would not fly to get to these ports again. We love to enjoy the ambiance of a new port and/or share independent excursions but these ports did not have a lot to offer. We walked around Cabo which was an okay day. Because of tendering we didn't get off the ship until after noon. In Mazatlan we took a taxi too and from Old Town. The church there was interesting and there was a little more of the ambiance we were looking for. In the afternoon we walked to the little ferry boat and spent a few hours at Stone Island. I would have really loved to have rented a few chairs and umbrellas on the beach (hint to vendors). We put our towels down and went swimming, but now had nothing to to use to dry off. In PV we went to the Westin. Their limited day pass provided us with the chairs and shade we were looking for, but the first 12 feet into the ocean was very rocky with a steep drop. You can sit on the hotel property away from the vendors. If you want to go to the beach, this was not my favorite. If you want a pool to hang out at, this is a good choice. DEBARKATION - We took priority debarkation and as we left the windjammer at 7 a.m. we saw people already walking off the ship. Because of the time change the night before, 7 a.m. felt like 8. We left at 7:15 when priority self debarkation was called and walked right off. There is really no customs anymore for U.S. citizens - just hand in your customs sheet as you walk past the immigration officer. We took a cab to the airport for $60 and we were there at 8 a.m. We were hoping to get onto the earlier flight but it was completely booked. So we hung out at the airport for our 12:30 flight. I think I would chance an 11:30 flight if it was a Sunday and I was taking the priority debarkation. DH and I both agreed that the 10:30 flight would have been cutting it too close. We still had to wait on line to check in at the airline counter and then there was another line to go through security. SUMMARY - Another enjoyable cruise, but not our favorite. Our last RCL cruises were on larger ships Brilliance and Explorer. I prefer the larger ships. But this ship was adequate and provided most of the amenities of the larger ships. I think the regulars from CA are going to love the larger ship that will be sailing out of San Pedro. The food was similar to the other RCL ships although there appeared to be fewer juice choices than on the larger ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
We were first time cruisers with RCI on Oct 19,08 on the Vision of the Seas. Not our first time cruising or to the Mex Riv. Our port was San Pedro (LA) and the weather was just right for sailing. Embarkation went well especially since my ... Read More
We were first time cruisers with RCI on Oct 19,08 on the Vision of the Seas. Not our first time cruising or to the Mex Riv. Our port was San Pedro (LA) and the weather was just right for sailing. Embarkation went well especially since my companion was in a wheel chair. We were told of the luncheon buffet in the Windjammer and as soon as we dropped off our carry on bag we headed to the buffet. We were hungry. Darryl from Mumbai India helped us get a table and was excellent in his efforts to make everything go well and make us feel like old friends. The food was good and service was excellent. The ship is beautiful and well maintained. Our stateroom was wonderful except for one flaw which I will get to in a moment. Location, location,location we could not have asked for more. The one flaw is the noise form above. Our neighbors felt the same way. It's a steel floor (ceiling above veranda)with no sound proofing or carpet where they have set up the ping pong tables. Jumping, stumping, and running echoed down to us below and into the room. I mentioned this in my survey at the end of the cruise. Life boat drill went smooth and we were released to go before the rest since we were with wheel chair. Very kind. The stateroom was large and plenty of room with a nice big veranda. Ideal for sitting and watching the sea go by. Our room steward was Wayne from Jamaica and could not have been nicer. Our dining room table was just inside the door at a window, very nice. Our waiter was Raj from New Delhi India and he was excellent. The food was very good and just enough without being too much or too little. Compliments to the kitchen. The only meal we had that was not quite up to par was the breakfast in our stateroom on the first morning. So we headed to our new friend Darryl for breakfast and lunch every day. We did try the hamburger and pizza in the Solarium one day but didn't return. We had a breakfast and a lunch in the dining room to try it out. Quite good but we missed Darryl. Our bar in the evening was The Schoonor and Miguel from Jamaica took care of us at the same table at the window every night before dinner. He was a hoot. He made us laugh and we made him laugh so it was a good time for all. The seas were with us all the way. Could not have asked for better along with the sunny and warm to hot weather. Fog on our last evening out which persisted into the morning as we sat motionless out side the harbor. We were an hour and a half late docking and that set things back for the ship and crew. However, they handled it very well. It just gave us more time on board, great. We didn't go to any of the shows or entertainment or the casino. We were on board to relax and do nothing which was most enjoyable for us. As we were finally able to get off the ship, the new passengers were starting to arrive. A little congestion curb side but the people who work the pier were more than polite and making our way easy. Wish the Vision were staying in L.A. but she goes to South America and Europe next year. We'll miss her. We are trying to get a booking on the Mariner of the Seas February 22, her first Mex Riv cruise. All the disability cabins with veranda are taken so we are wait listed. We'll see if bigger is better with RCI. We tried that with the Queen Mary 2 and it proved to be a major nightmare. NEVER AGAIN. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
The good news is that we just finished a fabulous cruise on the Vision of the Seas. The bad news is that she's about to be replaced by Mariner (aka Monster of the Seas). My husband and I are Diamond members. This was our 3rd time to ... Read More
The good news is that we just finished a fabulous cruise on the Vision of the Seas. The bad news is that she's about to be replaced by Mariner (aka Monster of the Seas). My husband and I are Diamond members. This was our 3rd time to do this cruise in three years. We prefer the smaller ships and will sail the same itinerary several times in order to avoid the big ones. Ports don't matter to us that much. We want sea days on a ship that is easy to navigate and caters to people who want a more relaxed, intimate atmosphere. We flew into LAX a day early and stayed at the Crowne Plaza in San Pedro. We were given a large corner suite with a view to die for (thanks, Crowne Plaza!). We were able to see our ship come into port the morning of our departure. A great way to start the day. We took the free shuttle to the pier and waited briefly in the Priority Lounge. Embarkation was a breeze and we were on the ship by 11:45. Our cabin was a large interior on deck 7 - a convenient location, close to the pool, Windjammer upstairs and to the theater and casino downstairs. We rarely took elevators which was a blessing compared to the long waits on Mariner. Movies were shown in the theater in the afternoons and we enjoyed our time there. The weather was perfect all 7 days for sunning at the pool or at the beach if in port. We didn't go to too many of the evening shows since we've seen them many times. The ventriloquist, however, was very good. Production shows not so much. They tried hard, but they are what you'd expect. My husband and I love to gamble and spent time in the casino. The staff there was absolutely wonderful. They introduced themselves the first night and called us by name after that. Even when we lost we won because of their friendliness. We've been to the ports many times and only ventured off the ship in Puerto Vallarta. This time, after reading about the Krystal Hotel on Cruise Critic, we booked a couple's massage at their spa. The massages were done in a villa instead of in a tent near the beach because it was quite warm that day and there is a high rise being built next door that contributes a lot of noise. After the massage we spent time at the hotel pool. It was glorious! And the $5 margaritas weren't bad, either! My husband and I do not eat in the dining room because we don't want to dress up, we can't get a table for two, and we do not want to be forced to dine at a set time (Please, RCI, give us an option here!!). That left room service and Windjammer. Room service was quick and professional. Windjammer staff couldn't have been more gracious. The food there was average at best and pretty much the same thing for the entire week. But I don't go on an RCI cruise for the food. Disembarkation was delayed for 2 hours due to dense fog at the pier. We had a late flight home so decided to book a Los Angeles tour. Because we'd booked the tour we were among the first off the ship. The tour was fun - Beverly Hills, Grauman's Chinese Theater, and lunch at the Farmer's Market. Our tour guide, Alan, was funny and full of information. All in all, it was one of the best cruises we've been on. We'd do it again in a heartbeat, but not on Mariner or any of the other megaships - too many people crammed onto one ship for a week. Yuk!!!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My partner and I just returned from a 7 night cruise out of Los Angeles, and visiting the Mexican Riviera. We flew into LA a few days prior since we had never been, and stayed with a friend. We arrived at the San Pedro Port around ... Read More
My partner and I just returned from a 7 night cruise out of Los Angeles, and visiting the Mexican Riviera. We flew into LA a few days prior since we had never been, and stayed with a friend. We arrived at the San Pedro Port around 11:00 on Sunday to board the ship. The previous cruise, however, was delayed coming in due to fog. They gave everyone a group number, and began boarding, by group, around noon. We were on the ship around 1:15. Even with the delays, the staff was very nice and worked to get everyone on the ship as quickly as possible. The big surprise came during check-in. The lady checking our Set Sail Pass and checking us in could not find our reservation under our room number, 8046 - a junior suite. I began to get irritated and requested she check with a supervisor. The first supervisor indicated that our room had been changed, so she double-checked with another. I was not happy with the process. After about 5 minutes she came back and indicated that our room was changed to 8014. I knew this room was a bit more forward, and was not excited about any extra sea motion. She asked that we go on the ship and check it out. Finally, we are on the ship, open the door to our room, and we were UPGRADED to a Grand Suite, room 8014!!!! Obviously, I was quite happy about that! A little about the room - it was quite large - at least double a regular balcony room, with a wet bar, 3 closets, 2 chairs and sofa, and separate desk/vanity area. The balcony was double sized with a lounger, 2 chairs, and 2 tables. The bathroom was double-sinked with a tub/shower. Overall, plenty of space and storage. Other than a tiny bit of carpet wear, the room was great!! We received a complimentary bottle of Evian water, champagne, and various snacks thru the week. The only issue with the room is that it is on Deck 8, and located directly below the entryway to Windjammer. You could definitely hear some noise from heavy footsteps and carts, at times, from morning to evening. This was NOT an all-the-time occurrence. The noise would be random. It was not overwhelming, but you could hear some things. At night I had earplugs (which I use all the time anyway) and had no issues sleeping. The Vision is a nice ship, now smaller than most. The service was above and beyond. I cannot say enough about the friendliness of the staff. We were always greeted. Much of the crew was quite experienced. The main dining room service was fantastic, and the food overall very good. Particularly good was the NY Strip, and lobster (I had 2). The Windjammer buffet food was good, not great. We stayed mainly in the main dining room for meals, only eating buffet when we were in a rush. We had room service breakfast one morning, which was fine. Nice to eat it on the balcony. The Vision appears to be in great shape. The crew was constantly working on port days. The staff really got into Halloween. They decorated a huge table in the Centrum with carved pumpkins. That night, the kids dressed up and sang at the beginning of dinner. Later, there was a full Halloween party and buffet on the pool deck!! We celebrated Halloween on Oct. 30. Some people dressed in costume for dinner. Oct. 31 was a formal night. Both pools were clean, and orderly. I spent most of the time in the Solarium. The entertainment that I saw was good as well. The broadway production and "Boogie Wonderland" by the RCCL singers & dancers were both great, as well as the Farewell Show. The magician was also quite good. I did not watch the comedian show. I did catch The Quest, and it was also alot of fun! Ports of Call - Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. Cabo - cute town. We tendered off quickly. They give out tickets for the tender. We were on tender #1, due to being in a suite. Walking around was fine. I didn't notice any great shopping deals. We had lunch at Cabo Wabo which was good - and good drinks! Found a nice bar by the dock and people-watched for a while. Mazatlan - unimpressed. The so-called "golden zone" was not that!!! Small stores, dirty streets, and no shopping deals... We decided to go back to the ship and hang out at the Solarium. I heard other people mention great excursions, but I cannot speak on those. Puerto Vallarta - We took the Canopy Adventure Tour - ziplining!!! One of the greatest things I've ever done! I had so much fun. It is about an hour ride up to the location, but well worth it. I definitely recommend it. By the time the excursion was over, we were hungry and dirty. Decided to go relax on the ship. I did not go into town at all. The final day at sea was a bit more rough and very windy, as the temperature was dropping heading back north. Still lots of fun. Disembarkation - We decided to do the Priority Disembarkation. We had a flight scheduled out of LAX at 11:00, and didn't know how traffic would be. We were in to port right on time, and they called for priority at 7:05. We were off the ship with no problems. Customs did not even check our passports on the way out. We were at LAX by 7:50. Overall, the Vision is a beautiful, well-kept ship. The room was fantastic! The service was great, and I enjoyed everything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Vision of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.0
Dining 3.5 3.8
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates N/A 4.2

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