12 Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Australia & New Zealand

15th Cruise (2nd on RCCL) in our 50's. All previous reviews about Voyager are mostly correct. If you have a Suite or are Diamond status or higher then you can escape the crowds generally. LIFTS These are always crowded with long ... Read More
15th Cruise (2nd on RCCL) in our 50's. All previous reviews about Voyager are mostly correct. If you have a Suite or are Diamond status or higher then you can escape the crowds generally. LIFTS These are always crowded with long waits and are very hot. WINDJAMMER On Sea days it is very difficult to get a seat. Food is generally OK with lots of variety. Desserts are average. Announcements are made for you to move out once finished  eating. Walking areas like public freeway traffic. COFFEE Coffee from Cafe Promenade (Starbucks) is good if customised but has no table service area. Service was quick with short queues generally. LOUNGES AND BARS Due to $80 Million refurbishment there are less lounges and bars to sit in (due to addition of extra cabins) REFURBISHMENT (EXTRA CABINS) Ship CANNOT cope with the extra people they have added. Ship's original capacity 3138 has expanded to 3700-3900 SAPPHIRE DINING ROOM We had 6pm seating. Menu changed every day (also menu has a Classic - Always available selection) Very good variety. Temperature problems with food - Soup - luke warm and Fish never hot. After making a complaint to Head Waiter all future meals on our table were always hot and service significantly improved. JUNIOR SUITE Very comfortable (Cabin 1612) lots of space and well maintained by cabin steward. ENTERTAINMENT Very lacking. Two nights in La Scala theatre there were no shows on (only played a movie). Only two main production shows. The singers/dancers had an easy cruise. The rest were guest entertainers with mixed standard (please avoid the Hypnotist - unless you want a nap) GYM Equipment is good and reasonably large area. Plenty of cardio equipment. Music is way too loud for comfort. Noisy spa in centre of gym area. Some staff with attitude. DIAMOND STATUS LOUNGES Excellent - especially to escape the masses. One lounge on deck 14 and a Diamond area for breakfast and lunch in the Sapphire dining room (deck 4 left side at rear). ROYAL PROMENADE Nowhere to sit. Too crowded on theme nights. Dancing is impossible - the area blocked by crowds standing around or through traffic. No view of the ocean. SUMMARY If you need to cruise on RCL then the Radiance of the Seas is a much better choice. Voyager has a public crowd feel about it. Better still try another line (CELEBRITY or PRINCESS) for more intimate cruising. COST CUTS by RCCL: No free lobster night. No baked alaska night. No chef's parade. No chocolates on pillow. No toiletries for balcony or lower. Windjammer closes at 9pm (no supper provided). No fruit carving demonstrations , ice sculpting or cooking demos. No enrichment classes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I have recently returned from a 14 day New Years Eve cruise to Fiji and New Zealand with my husband and 11 year old daughter. Having previously sailed with P & O, which we enjoyed, we were really looking forward to our cruise on a ... Read More
I have recently returned from a 14 day New Years Eve cruise to Fiji and New Zealand with my husband and 11 year old daughter. Having previously sailed with P & O, which we enjoyed, we were really looking forward to our cruise on a 'bigger and better' ship. To say that we feel let down by the experience is an understatement. The trip started well, embarkment was relatively easy (although we did have our power board taken off us before boarding), and we explored the ship, excited at all the new features. However, when I took my daughter to book her into kids club, I was warned that it was 'first come, first served' as there was over 900 kids on board. This was the start of what turned out to a very unenjoyable experience. Let's start with the kids on board. Despite seeming to have so many options for the kids to do, in reality there was not much at all. The ice skating rink was only open for the passengers to use a handful of times in the 14 days. The rock climbing wall was only open a few hours a day, and as such, had very long waits to get on. The flowrider had height limits, and therefore only teens could do the stand up, and only over 10's the body boarding, which was also open limited hours and had very long lines. With the kids clubs full, the kids had nothing to do, and a ship full of bored children resulted in kids hogging the spas, playing up in the pools, running amok in the hallways and stairwells and playing around in the lifts. Speaking of the lifts, with the Voyager's very expensive makeover, came a lot more cabins and therefore a lot more passengers. This made the ship very over crowded. The lifts on the ship cannot cope with the extra passengers. Many times we would have to wait over 5 minutes for a lift to arrive, and then we would find that it was already packed full. I would have to say that I used the stairs more often than the lifts as it was usually the only option (I wouldn't normally mind using the stairs, except I have a knee injury, and needed panadol and neurofen to help me to sleep each night because of this). The overcrowding (and lack of staff) was a problem thoughout the ship. Everything that you wanted to do, or buy, required a lengthy line up. The only (half) decent coffee on the ship (the free coffee tasted like dirt), was at the Cafe Promenade. Here the lines were up to 20 metres long, with only 2 staff serving (this counter also served the Ben and Jerry's ice cream and the soft drinks). The coffee was also not cheap at $5.95 American (do the conversion). We ended up buying our own coffee at the first port. I had also paid for a soft drink package on the ship, but barely used it, as being served at the understaffed bars took so long that it was just easier to get water from the windjammer. The windjammer was also a disappointment. In 14 days the food barely ever changed (only when they started running out of food towards the end of the cruise). Breakfast was exactly the same every morning, and there was the same food served for lunch as for dinner, and this had very few variances. I am vegetarian, and I basically ate either pasta and sauce with salad, or vegetable curry, for lunch and dinner for all 14 days! (We don't eat in the restaurant as my husband gets seasick in the closed in room. On our last cruise we found that the buffet was a nice option). Now to the (lack of) entertainment. This was the biggest gripe that I heard on board. Every single person I spoke to complained about how bad the entertainment was. My husband was very excited that with the refurbishment, they were installing a big screen on the deck. My husband is a smoker, and on our last cruise he spent many hours relaxing on the deck watching shows on the big screen. Well he was extremely disappointed! In the first 2 days all that was played on the screen was Spider-Man 2 (5 times), and after that, there was 2 movies a day (the same movie at 4pm & 8 pm), and very, very rarely they put something else on for 1/2 an hour. The rest of the time the screen had 'Welcome to Royal Caribbean' written on it! New Years Eve was also a big disappointment! I have seen videos online of other cruise lines throwing huge parties, with acrobat shows (and similar) on the deck and was looking forward to what they would do (I really should have known better by then, as it was 3 days into the cruise!) Well, we went to the deck early to get a good seat, sat there for two hours, and at midnight we got a glass of champagne, a countdown from 20 and some popped streamers! Apparently in the promenade they had balloons! A band played on into the night, but that was it! The nightly shows were also lousy (the few that there was). A Rod Stewart impersonator who cleared the room, a very unfunny comedian, a classical pianist (not everyone's cup of tea), a boring hypnotist (spent most of his time on stage hypnotising people and ran out of time to do much else). The 3D theatre showed the same 2 shows for the entirety of the cruise, and although the ice show was brilliant, there was only one show performed 5 times to accommodate all the passengers. The trivia was in the very small bar areas and the larger Star theatre was unused for a large amount of time. Most of the 'things to do' on the cruise compass involved drinking, gambling or other ways to take our hard earned cash. To finish, I'd like to say that Never Again will we sail with Royal Caribbean, and my husband says that if he'd seen a P & O ship passing by, he would have jumped overboard and swum to it!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My family and I recently went on a cruise on Voyager of the Seas to New Zealand, leaving the 9th December from Sydney and returning on the 20th of December. This is our second cruise with Caribbean, the first being on Rhapsody of the Seas, ... Read More
My family and I recently went on a cruise on Voyager of the Seas to New Zealand, leaving the 9th December from Sydney and returning on the 20th of December. This is our second cruise with Caribbean, the first being on Rhapsody of the Seas, which we absolutely loved. Firstly, we all thought that the ship itself was pretty amazing. The facilities and the overall look of the ship were fine. It was very clean and our room attendant was really lovely and nothing was too hard for him. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end. This cruise was SO incredibly crowded. We had to line up for up to half and hour just to get a cup of sub-standard coffee. The Windjammer was completely over crowded for every meal. It was impossible to hold a table and leave it to go and get seconds, as upon our return it was ALWAYS snapped up by other passengers. The food in the Windjammer was very average at best. The food in the restaurant, however, was marginally better. There was no actual little cafes available for during the days when meals weren’t available to us in the buffet or restaurant. The only place we could get snacks was along the Promenade and that food was rubbish. On Rhapsody they had lovely little beef rolls and salads to snack on during the day. The service was completely different to our first cruise. On Rhapsody, we had wait staff constantly asking us if we needed anything. We didn’t have to walk through the crowds to find a drink. With the Voyager, it was the opposite. We could barely ever find available (not-run off their feet) staff to ask for things or direct us to places. Waiting for lifts became a nightmare and in the end, I used the stairs - this is the first cruise i've ever been on where I was forced to lose weight, not just from using the stairs everywhere, but also the lack of good decent food. (so i guess that had it's positives) I enjoyed the spa days that i had on board. I had four or five various treatments done and even though they were all lovely and relaxing, the hard sell at the end was VERY annoying. One lady even sat silently staring at me after her sales pitch, until I’d made a commitment to purchase the products (which in the end i refused to do). The service was so stretched to its limits, that I even had the gratuities reversed, something I have never done before. I then made sure the people who deserved our tips, received them.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Where to start..... Having cruised on Radiance last year, and knowing this ship had been overhauled, we were really excited and had huge expectations. Because our last cruise was so good we talked up RC and how good their ships were. 7 ... Read More
Where to start..... Having cruised on Radiance last year, and knowing this ship had been overhauled, we were really excited and had huge expectations. Because our last cruise was so good we talked up RC and how good their ships were. 7 people, all first time cruisers and 1 being the mother in law booked to come on with us. For us being Crown and Anchor members, check in was excellent. 2 of our friends however had to wait 3.5 hours in line to get on. This is not acceptable at all and yes they were in their designated time slot. So we all head to our cabins. Ours was really good, no complaints there, at first. 2 of our friends had booked a suite and we were very supised to see how basic and small it was, especially for what they paid. As I said, ours was really good except that the air con did not seem to work and the fridge was not cold. Luckily the weather wasn't very good and it didn't get hot. First thing we noticed was that the staff didn't seem as happy as the Radiance staff. Then the line ups started. They were ridiculous, having to line up like cattle to get a feed. Even in the dinning room where we made reservations, we still had to wait upto 45minutes. 2 of our friends waited 2 hours fo their table. What a joke. Even waiting to speak to someone from guests relations had massive lines every day. Dont try and get a decent quick coffee, you'll wait ages for that too. Only one cafe on the whole ship which also serves the Ben and Jerrys icecream. They didn't tell anyone until near the end that you could purchase coffee from the Schooner Bar or Windjammers. The coffee is horrible, definately not worth the money but is better than the brown water they give you for free. The food in Windjammers was horrible. Definitely not what we got on the Radiance more like P&O. It was the same slop every night. The dinning room wasn't much better. Same food, just dressed up. The food in the restaurants however was amazing. We ended up eating at them everynight instead. Yes, we had to pay but it was well worth it. If your looking for a relaxing child free cruise, then forget Voyager. The place was overrun with them. Their junior curfew was 1am, how ridiculous is that. They were running all over the place causing havoc. They were even in the bars. When we questioned why children were in the bar at midnight whilst adults were drinking and having adilt conversations, we were told that they are more lenient around that time as there weren't as many guests around. Serious. There was even a case where a elderly person had their arm broken by being knocked over from a child running around unsupervised. My husband and his friends witnesed a brawl in the arcade between 2 unsupervised boys that had to be broken up by security. This just isn't good enough. Another thing we encountered was not alot of general beer. On the Radiance there was all the beer that you get at the pubs, clubs etc. My husband asked for a tooheys extra dry, none, carltons dry, none. The were told it was coming in 2 days from Singapore! So they started drinking Caronas, they ran out on day 5. Everytime they asked when the ship would be restocked they were told in 2 days. They never resocked anything. We also noticed around day 8 that the cocktails were being iced up heaps. One thing we were really impressed with RC was that they were not shy with their alchol nips. Not with Voyager. I had one cocktail that had no alchol in it at all. There are so many things that went wrong, it was just a nightmare. They were definitely understaffed and over populated. A few staff members we spoke to told us that most of the staff were miserable and couldn't wait for their contracts to end so they could get off. Everyone we spoke to felt the same. We did not encounter one person who had something nice to say. There were even numerous people that got off and flew home. I wanted to but unfortunately my husband does not fly, so I had to stay on until the end. You can imagine how bad we felt for our 7 friends who we brought on with us. This cruise has ruinen their thoughts on cruising again with 4 of them saying they will never cruise again. Voyager has alot to answer for.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband and I went on New Year’s Eve cruise leaving Sydney 29 December 2014 on the Voyager of the Seas for 14 nights around Fiji and New Zealand. Last year we did a similar cruise for New Year’s Eve on Princess around Fiji and New ... Read More
My husband and I went on New Year’s Eve cruise leaving Sydney 29 December 2014 on the Voyager of the Seas for 14 nights around Fiji and New Zealand. Last year we did a similar cruise for New Year’s Eve on Princess around Fiji and New Caledonia and enjoyed it so much we wanted to experience it again. Overall we had a great time on Voyager but there was a lot to be desired. We read up on the Voyager of the Seas and liked that it had an $80M renovation although included 700 more passengers. Ultimately, this made the cruise overcrowded which was a common complaint amongst passengers. The promenade was beautifully renovated/amazing space but with designer shops, 1 pub and small 24 hour café. Embarkation was easy. CABIN Our deluxe balcony cabin on Level 8 was big and comfortable with a three seater couch. Lots of cupboards and storage space. This was a big plus for us. FOOD Overall the food was of a poorer quality compared to other cruises. (Anything for RCL to save a dollar). Windjammers was newly renovated but not enough seating for the extra passengers. The food was very average and much the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It started to feel like a cafeteria. The only food that served 24 hours was a small café with pizza, cakes and coffee which did not cater for over 3,000 passengers. Coffee was awful. The Sapphire Dining Room was beautifully renovated but the meals were hit or miss. Waiters were great. I once ordered Venison but was told it was really beef! Chicken Cordon Bleu was a dry crumbed chicken. Lacking presentation. No lobster night but you could order lobster each night at a cost of US$40! Gone are the Bombe Alaska and theme nights. Bars were all understaffed with so many more passengers it became a common waiting game. Drinks were expensive and I noticed many cocktails had no prices on them. Surprise, surprise! The pre paid drink packages were all based daily and not the entire cruise which made it expensive. New Year’s Eve was great! A formal night. Party on the pool deck with a live band and the promenade was crowded with balloons falling down at midnight. Something to remember! ENTERTAINMENT A common complaint amongst passengers was “there is not much to do”. Lots of karaoke with finals at the end which was really good. The Love & Marriage Game is always fun. There was 3D movies (with glasses) in the La Scala Theatre but not enough over 14 days. One afternoon a really good film was cancelled as the rights to the film had expired so we watched half an animated movie. Not good enough! The theatre was under used during the day. A new smaller screen has been addedd on the pool deck for afternoon movies but was noisy from the pools and obstructed viewing. They could have had music videos during the day and make it lively. There were movies some nights around 8pm but who wants to sit outside in the cold. The Ice Show was really good but the live theatre each night was hit or miss. Out of the 14 nights we enjoyed the hypnotist, Rod Stewart impersonator and Mario Queen of the Circus but everything else we found pretty average. I went along to a card making class which consisted of a kit and make it yourself. I also went to a Ladies Pamper Party one day in the gym but was all about trying seven different facial products and trying to sell them. Also free health seminars in the gym and then signing up for more US$$. Amazed that the gym was free! There was a terrific big round spa in the gym which we used with pleasure. I enjoy reading on a cruise but the library was more of a walk through with noise everywhere and no quiet spots on the ship to read except for the cabin. STAFF Staff are a credit to the Voyager with all staff being friendly but they work long hours for smaller pay. This includes waiters, cooks, cleaners, barmen etc but I can’t say the same for the entertainment crew. I think they could have done better with the activities. NOTE that Voyager of the Seas and all RCL cruise prices are in US dollars so don’t forget to convert to Australian currency throughout the cruise as you will get a nasty bill at the end of the cruise. As with all cruises a plastic Sea Pass (Credit Card) is used and your spending can be viewed on the TV. Lots of unhappy customers at the end of the cruise complained about the bill. We conservatively spent just over $700 but was actually $1,000 Aussie dollars. At a Q&A with the captain a passenger asked why there is no chocolate on the pillow any more which he then replied… with the renovation you need to cut costs somewhere. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves but Voyager of the Seas and also Oasis of the Seas which we have previously done is all about BUMS ON BEDS, spending US$$ and not value for money. PORTS Latoka and Suva, Fiji These ports were not worth visiting. It would have been so much better to see the Fijian islands. Both are very poor and underdeveloped cities. Full of the same Indian shops and were told many times to watch our bags. Very unwelcoming. We have been there before and unless you want to see the real Fiji you need to take tours which can find off the ship. Cruise tours are way overpriced. Note that all ship prices are in US dollars so don’t forget to convert throughout the ship. Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington, New Zealand Having been to NZ before we took the Hop On Hop Off in all three cities.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I booked our cruise on line and had no trouble what so ever. Used an internet site. The staff were exceptionally helpful. However we were not informed about the drop off luggage area. Consequently we booked a motel room for the morning ... Read More
I booked our cruise on line and had no trouble what so ever. Used an internet site. The staff were exceptionally helpful. However we were not informed about the drop off luggage area. Consequently we booked a motel room for the morning as our flight from Perth had left at midnight & we arrived in Sydney at 6.00am for a boarding at 1.30pm Not wanting to carry our luggage around Sydney we thought this was best. The motel was a flop also we could not get in. We woke the receptionist up who informed us in (Chinese) room not available until 10.00am Despite being told it was serviced 24/7. After discovering we could drop our luggage off - we did so. We proceeded to board & was pleasantly surprised to be able to board earlier given our obvious look of tiredness. The room was a little small- had to climb over the end of the bed to get to any other area of the room. The bed was veryyyy uncomfortable gave me a back ache every night. Bathroom was adequate, having cruised before it was better than was expected. Lucky I took my own shampoo & conditioner, as I could not work out the wall mounted system. Meals on board were very average, dinned in the buffet room nearly every meal. This was disappointing that it closed at 9.00pm In the main dinning room the waiter was very helpful, however when you have allergies to food and have to pre-order the night before it becomes quite daunting. We booked an early seating for 6.00pm and was approved this however our sea-pass stated 8.00pm Entertainment was very average, the comedian was boring and a lot of people left during his show. Excursions were very much over priced we took the train ride, beautiful scenery however lunch was disappointing. A salad & beef roll. Coffee /Wine. Cost of this trip $200.00 pp. The on board staff we did not think were very helpful or polite. Cabin assistant was friendly & assisted with extra pillow when requested. Ordered a coffee to be delivered to room via room service was told 1 hour waiting period. (cancelled request) walked down stairs to have to buy one. later discovered that 2 mtrs away we got one for free. The trip through the sounds was very cold but pleasant. The crew sold windcheaters on the deck for all those unprepared guests. However this would have been better done the day before. A few guests were wrapped in towels to keep warm. However the final straw was when my husband came down with gastro/vomiting on the 9th day of our cruise. He got so ill from other complications that he spent the night in the on-board hospital. Although he did get very good treatment and we were disembarked at Tauranga to a waiting ambulance and transferred to hospital whereby he spent the next 12 days in Tauranga hospital( I was in a motel) before our flight home to Perth. As we were leaving the ship I was handed a letter which was the report to give to the awaiting hospital, also was the bill for 1 night $5692.00Aus Despite telling the doctor we would not be covered for insurance as what he had was pre-existing. ( Breathing complications) they didn't care. The bill was like a service report for a motor vehicle. Every item itemised. Royal Caribbean, have offered to pay for our flight home. I am still waiting for the refund. So how did we enjoy our xmas....In a hospital room. Would I cruise with Royal Caribbean again NO Would my parent who did the same cruise 1 week later NO Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We were 2 of group of 6 travellers, embarking on this ship was pleasant, friendly. Room availability with no hold up, luggage arrived 10 - 15 minutes later all good. ship is beautiful, very large, from memory 3,200 passengers, short ... Read More
We were 2 of group of 6 travellers, embarking on this ship was pleasant, friendly. Room availability with no hold up, luggage arrived 10 - 15 minutes later all good. ship is beautiful, very large, from memory 3,200 passengers, short version; room staff were excellent, wait staff in dining were also excellent, food 90% of the time in restaurant was great(needs a little more variety) based on this little information cruise was well worth the experience. OK! Windjammer Cafe very unimpressed; food for 99% of cruise was attractive but very cold every day same variety(none) if you venture to grill part of Windjammer you could have fresh cooked eggs & omelets for breakfast, Lunch salads were best choice (limited variety though) & dinner again if you chose grill for this you could have pasta cooked in front of you. We only dined there for dinner twice.(thought we would give them a 2nd chance to heat food & offer a variety, but no.)Staff in Windjammer were limited in helping with any request, very unhygenic tables were alway sticky to touch. Persons Desk on the few times asking for some assistance was difficult as they struggled with interpretation of your request & not having information on what was asked of them without having to ask someone else. These people are trained for this position & still don't know!. Entertainment on this ship (shows, etc) were great, well done & ice show excellent. other daytime entertainment i thought was limited & most of the time too short with little variation. to be cont. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We arrived in time to embark on time and only took 30 minutes, as the rooms weren't ready we disembarked immediately to have lunch with family and friends at the Waterfront restaurant - great day had by all and embarked again at ... Read More
We arrived in time to embark on time and only took 30 minutes, as the rooms weren't ready we disembarked immediately to have lunch with family and friends at the Waterfront restaurant - great day had by all and embarked again at 4.30pm to check out our stateroom (top of the range balcony)!!!. I could not believe the condition of the cabin, small, dated, faded curtains, sofa, carpet etc. In need of urgent refurbishment. Pillows lumpy and linen worn thin, had to ask for an extra towel - two is not enough - women generally need an extra one for hair... After unpacking went to explore this big ship. I'm sure when first built it would have been quite grand however the entire ship is tired and showing its age especially in the furniture and fittings. First night dinner went quite well, as usual staff are always trying their best to please you, nothing is too much trouble for them. Some dishes were warm however all improved in time. We tried the specialty dining restaurant "Portofino" which was excellent and made reservations to dine there more regularly. Disappointed that there is only one speciality restaurant and towards the end of the cruise you could not reserve a table. We arranged our breakfast via room service and not one day was our order correct....warm coffee,no milk, incorrect order etc etc. what can I say! Our highlight of the cruise was the two day bus and sail excursion to Queenstown, well worth doing. excellent two days and one night in top class hotel. Also very disappointed they did not cater for Xmas lunch for the Australians on board who were the majority anyway. Nearly all the passengers turned up for lunch at the dining room expecting a Xmas lunch. Guess what they were not prepared! panic by all staff and management, however I must say that they managed quite well to feed over 2600 passengers that day. And only due to the staff having to work overtime and the kitchen staff's experience. Well done to all staff! This however could have been avoided if they researched their passengers Xmas dining requirements beforehand. We realised there would be children on board, 800 of them and I'm sure I saw each one of them in the dining room, in the library,in the adult pools,in the specialty dining room and wherever else they were no supposed to be...never a quiet moment anywhere! No supervision by parents who allowed their children to roam everywhere unsupervised. Bar service slow and some staff did not know their drink menu... I asked the waiter in the bar what the cocktail of the day is???? she did not know and had to check, the service in the Schooner bar was dreadful waited 20 minutes. After this experience we will never cruise with RC again, unless they improve the condition of their ships and ensure their newly recruited staff can communicate with all passengers. We favour Princess cruises and have booked with them again for the next two cruises. There were many parts of the cruise we enjoyed but will steer clear of large overcrowded ships - line up for everything, overcrowded public areas, and many young noisy unruly children, even the captain had his children with him. I recommend this cruise for young families and and people who are budget conscious. If you prefer a more relaxed and quiet cruise try another cruise line. There are many options out there. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My second cruise with Royal Caribbean. The first was on Radiance of the Seas from Fremantle WA to Sydney. This was our first cruise with a balcony and it didnt disappoint. The balcony was large, with two chairs and small table. Plenty ... Read More
My second cruise with Royal Caribbean. The first was on Radiance of the Seas from Fremantle WA to Sydney. This was our first cruise with a balcony and it didnt disappoint. The balcony was large, with two chairs and small table. Plenty of room to stretch out. The bacony rail is wooden and the outer wall is metal so far up then green clear glass up to the rail. The glass was dirty until the attendant gave it a good clean. Our room was on port side. I specifically asked for portside going to New Zealand as I remembered from my last cruise that I would see land for most of the cruise, rather than sea, sea and more sea. The room was like all the others, aside from the glass balcony doors, which sealed very well, blocking out noise and had thick curtains to keep the heat and light out, which gave us a good sleep in. The bed was large double and the sheets were of good hotel quality. The pillows were shockingly hard and didnt do much for my neck, but I survived by asking for a second pillow which helped alot. We had a double couch, small glass table and small curtain between the couch and bed, which didnt serve any purpose except for appearance I guess. The wardrobe was a good size and opened right up which meant we could access the rails and shelves. Our cases went under the bed. Our bathroom was very clean. Plenty of room to move about. Our shower had a curved screen (my last cruise did not. There was just a curtain and water got all over the floor) The hot water was hot and had great pressure. Shampoo is in a dispenser and there is a washing line in the shower. Towels are replaced when needed and the bathroom was cleaned daily. Our Room was on the 8th floor. We were in midship and could access both ends of the ship/elevators and stairs easily. On our floor, we had the library. Actually the library was on floor 7 and 8 and in the library there was a curved staircase going to floor 7. Daily, there were trays of puzzles and people exchanged magazines and you can borrow books by writing in the file and returning books in the shoots on both floors. Internet consoles here. Internet is about $65 per hour. Wifi is available in staterooms at the same price. We used free wifi in Macdonalds at the ports. Many took iphones and ipads. The Windjammer dining room was on floor 11 at Aft. On the first 4 days, the crew served us the food, due to a stomach flu in November. It was annoying for us and for them and the staff didnt appear to be very happy. Rarely did we experience staff smiling. There appeared to be alot of stress and even the manager of the dining room was not friendly. The quality and variety of food was very good. On Christmas day we had a a christmas lunch with other choices, complete with christmas puddings. The children were give christmas crackers. It was a low key affair, although there was carol singing in the promenade. Johnny Rockets is a diner which has a cover charge of $4.95 each. We went once and once only. The food was disgusting and there was very little choice AND it was rowdy as it is right next to where the teenagers hung out. For what it had, it was too expensive and noisy. We had a 6pm dining time at the Restaurant. We went a couple of times, one night being new years eve. We were given hats and noise makers. The meals at the Dining room are really nice. Some a bit strange and ended up going back and having something different. We discovered that we could go to the dining room for breakfast and lunch. we waited in line for a table for two but the service is great and the food it really good. It is nice to be waited on and after a few days of buffet, the stomach welcomes the rest and measured amounts. I just wish I hadve known about the dining room earlier. I think I would have used it alot more than the buffet. The dining room covers 3 floors and is very grand. There is a huge staircase which leads up to the other floors and it is beautiful. It was said that it looks like the Titanic staircase. It wasnt something I wanted to be reminded of, on a cruise! Althought the wait staff were friendly, the woman at the door who directed diners to their tables was like a commando and didnt smile. She was grumpy when we asked for a table for two and we felt we were imposing on her. Breakfast in the dining room is nice. While seated and your order taken, you can also make your own breakfast in the centre. Most mornings we had breakfast in our stateroom - using the room service. For room service, you can order your breakfast on the menu card and hang it on your door handle before 3am. The only problem we encountered with room service is that although we ordered the same thing every morning, we rarely ever received what we ordered and it was never the same two mornings in a row. But it was free and we were able to enjoy our breakfast on the balcony. Our ship had a huge open space down its centre called the Promenade. It is like a street, complete with street signs and a car outside the pub. There are shops, including Coach, Lacrosse, watch and jewellery, booze shop which sold a few basics, a perfume shop and Royal Caribbean items. The shops were very expensive and I found it frustrating because like the last Royal Caribbean cruise, they didnt sell Estee Lauder "Beautiful" and I was told that port staff didnt have time to load it. Same story as on last cruise. I figured that they just didnt want to sell it. I didnt bother with the other stores as they were very expensive and some items I could buy on land in Sydney and Perth. On some nights there are sales on tables in the middle of the promenate. These are not always advertised and you find out about them when you look at the tv and see people milling around the tables. Otherwise there are sales advertised in the ships daily notices called "the cruise compass" The Compass tells you what is on the following day, the weather, sales, specials, photo packages, casino and movies etc. The events have times and costs. Some things did cost money, eg, Pilates and Yoga. I went to daily stretch classes and my husband went to the gym each day. The gym is on level 11 behind the solarium pool. It has many treadmills and bicycles and a hot whirlpool. And weights. There is also a steam room and sauna. A staircase from hear leads up to the spa, where you pay for massages, treatments etc. They hold info segments which are free. These are generally about acupuncture and dieting etc. A bit of a sales pitch. I enjoyed a try at yoga. This was $13. The solarium has deck chairs, two hot whirlpools and a rectangular pool. It is an adults area and it is a quiet place to relax. Of course there is a bar, but you can get iced water here too and soft drinks. All alcoholic drinks had 15% gratuitaries added to the cost. Walking through the solarium, you find the swimming pools. There are bars here and other whirlpools. There is a gold card are upstairs (apparently you have a gold card if you stay in a suite). On level 12 overlooking the pool area is the running track. Walking through from the pool area, you come to the WindJammer buffet. This is disappointing walking into. All the food serving areas are not used, until you get to the very back of the ship. On entry to that area, there is a sushi counter and the soft serve icecream machine. Most days it was easy to find a seat in the windjammer but after a movie or show it can get busy and you have to hunt. The eating areas onthe way in were blocked off and unused. On entry to all eating areas were the antibacterial dispensers. It was mandatory to use them and I was glad about that. In the Promenade, apart from the shops, there was a Cafe which had free percolated coffee and food - pizza and cakes and sandwiches. There was also fruit. It got very congested in this area and it was annoying when it was crowded. That was the inside. On the outside was Barista Coffee and icecream. The Barista coffee was Starbucks and about $4 a cup. I found it frustrating as the girls making the coffee lacked friendliness and didnt know how to make this type of coffee. The icecream was expensive and I didnt bother as I could get icecream at Windjammer with dessert for free. I did have the Starbucks coffee and in the end the girls realised that they had to make the coffee hot and fill up the cup. They were making half a cup! The reason I bought cofee was because the percolated coffee was DISGUSTING!!!! Bitter and disgusting. I bought a jar of coffee in Hobart. It was also frustrating that there was only one coffee shop on board for 3000 people. Maybe three over a few floors would be better! And if they could change the percolated coffee for Nescafe or something equally as good would be great, especially if they are going to keep selling cruises in Australia and New Zealand. We dont generally have percolated coffee in Australia. The majority of coffee drinkers drink Barista Coffee. This time I didnt bother buying photos. They have photo packages, which I have bought previously. I couldnt see the value in buying them this time. As a suggestion, I wouldnt buy the package straight away. I would wait until later in the cruise as they often give a better deal toward the end of the cruise and if you have been with Royal Caribbean before, you will have received a voucher book, which has a photo voucher in there. On one of the top floors is a Cupcake shop, there are cup cake making classes and things to buy. Nearby is a games room, where you can get some cards and board games to borrow for the length of the cruise. On the same floor is a pub, and this is where the jewellery making sessions are held. On the next floor up is the chapel. Weddings can be held there and the reception in the area where the jewellery making is held. There are lovely views from here. There are daily quizzes and origami and towel or napkin folding mornings. These are fun! Worth attending. The shows were not all that great. I had see the same magician and the same impersonator on the last cruise. SO that was disappointing. The impersonators wife sang and she was quite good. Aside from that we didnt see anything else. Some of the entertainment can be viewed on your stateroom tv once it has occured. There is an icerink on the lower floor. We had christmas card making down there and they must put a cover over the ice or something because I didnt see anything like that there. One night we went to see the jazz band down there and the ball room dancing. There is tiered seating all around. There is a small cinema below the theatre. Its a little hard to find and takes some working out. On the smae floor is a conference room. The captains Bridge is worth taking a look at. At the front of the ship you are able to stand above the bridge and look into the bridge. there is a glass section where you can look down into the bridge and see the controls etc. Where the glass is you will find an up to minute map showing where we were and going. From here you can see down to the helipad. We couldnt work out how people got to walk out on that. We searched the ship but didnt see a door. We were thinking it was probably a gold card privelege or something like that. Of course, there is a casino. You have to walk through that to get to some of the other things. ALOT of slot machines and bars there. Room service during the day was free too. Its in the early hours that there is a surcharge. The room service is booked using the tv and remote control. It doesnt always work so its best to check that they received your order otherwise you will be waiting a LONG time. There are plenty of deck chairs for all and you are unable to reserve them, which is a good thing because people can get a bit precious about them. It gives everyone a change to enjoy themselves. If you dont like smoking, then the smell can be a bit of a problem as there is meant to be a smoking area but the smoke and smell travels into the dining room and trying to relax on the deck can be difficult when inhaling someone elses smoke. We noticed smokers when out on our balcony. It was annoying and we went inside a few times to get away from the smell. There are plenty of places to take a book and relax. There were no rules (as far as I could tell) which prevented anyone from reading in the buffet area or in the bar areas. I saw people playing cards at lunch! You can hire tuxedos onboard. Not sure about womens clothes though. NOW...land stops. We didnt do any tours, as we had been to most of these places before. Sometimes it was frustrating as the ship only provided one gangway for the entire ship to get off! It took a long time to get off and it can get hot in the stairwells and corridors. Be prepared to wait! Tours get off early as they are organised. AND some land transfers cost money and they dont tell you. You find out when you get off. Wellington is like that. It is $12 each return. Doesnt sound like much but after alot of them it adds up. Most ports were a distance away and transfers were the only way to get there. Dunedin is similar. At the port we didnt get the ships transfer. Instead we got the hop on hop off deal which took us into town and a tour of the area. We got to see the steepest street in the world, museums and the beautiful train station. On the way back to the ship we had no trouble finding the bus. At the port is a little town called Chambers which is a lovely little town that is well worth strolling through. there is a library and museum there and the street has shops and a newsagency and chemist. We asked to be picked up and dropped off here. Be mindful that if you are on a tour, you rarely have time to look at the actual town you are docked in. For example, Hobart. If you take a tour to Port Arthur, it may not leave you time to look over Hobart on the way back. I missed out the first time I cruised there and this time didnt do any tours so I could see the city. We took a bus up to the top of Mt wellington. Fantastic views. Being a cruise over Christmas and New Year it was frustrating at some of the stops because they had their state holidays. Shops were closed and amenities were limited. It is something to think about when deciding on a cruise. The cruise ship was very clean and very tidy. Workers were cleaning and disinfecting all the time. It is a real shame that equal attention could not have been spent on being friendly and smiling. It was disappointing that the attitude of staff could not have been more cheerful. That was the most disappointing part of the cruise. It really is something Royal Caribbean should look at. But in saying that, our stateroom attendant was lovely. We didnt mind tipping her at the end. I understand that Voyager of the Seas is having a refit in 2014 (couldve heard wrong). I hope that they look at providing great coffee, more coffee shops and better value shops. Leaving the ship at the end of the cruise - During the cruise you will be asked when and what time you are flying out and need to be off the ship. They will work out a time for you to put your cases out. The night before leaving you are given baggage labels and these correspond with your times. It will pay you to check that these are correct well in advanced. you put your cases out by a certain time that night and they are taken down below ready for screening and immigration. Had I realised that I can take my own case off at 6.30am, I would have chosen an early flight home. As it was we got off the boat at the latest we could, which was 9.30am and our flight was at 5.30pm. We had alot of time to waste at the airport. I couldve taken a 10.30am flight without worry had I have know about the 6.30 walk off. Bus transfers to Sydney airport - DONT buy a return bus ticket from any of the drivers at the airport. Take the train. Seriously, the train costs $15.40 one way but takes only 20 minutes. It will stop at Circular Quay. You walk about 500 meters to where the ship is. The reason I say dont get a return bus ticket from the little buses is because a few of us did that and found getting to the quay easy but to get to use our return ticket to the airport was madness. Altough we had a return ticket, we battled to get a ride back because the drivers were taking others who hadnt booked. I felt it was like they had our money and didnt care. Others were new money and they could afford to get a bunch of people onto seats. We noticed other drivers organising groups and ringing the other companies with the numbers. I would recommend not bothering with these and use the train instead. The train is quick and easy. We did it last time and wish we hadve done this time. We and another family who had return tickets eventually got our return ride to the airport, not without having to fight for it! It was digusting. I should mention that the cruise ship offers a transfer to the Airport which is good value and worth accepting as it will get you there on time. Getting off the ship with our luggage took 20 minutes! I was impressed. We have lovely memories and had a relaxing time. I would recommend Royal Caribbean as the ships are beautiful and you wouldnt know you are on a boat as we didnt feel any motion from waves. It was well worth what we paid for the cruise and a balcony is wonderful. Always do homework before you leave and look at the reviews as these hold so much information which can make your cruise much more enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
After reading so many negative reviews of Voyager I felt that it was important for anyone considering Voyager for a future cruise to gain another opinion. From my experience most online reviews are generally from the complaint perspective ... Read More
After reading so many negative reviews of Voyager I felt that it was important for anyone considering Voyager for a future cruise to gain another opinion. From my experience most online reviews are generally from the complaint perspective as happy cruisers are off planning their next cruise not online voicing petty complaints. On that note, here goes! We travelled as a family of 5 on Voyager on 22 Dec Christmas/New Year cruise. We have cruised 6 times previously. We are in the age demographic of 25-40 with kids aged 3-8. One of the few cruise lines in the world who offer a family of 5 accommodation in 1 cabin. Boarding was fantastic, quick and painless and happy and helpful staff who understood everyone's eagerness to get onboard. 20 mins and we were on. The kids were hungry, so we sought out Windjammer for our first lunch. It was busy, but nothing like the Westfield food court we had encountered the day before. We were pleasantly surprised after the poor reviews of the Windjammer, food was fresh, hot and oodles of variety. After lunch the cabins were ready so we ventured off to find our family ocean view cabin! OMG, huge is an understatement, main bedroom with queen bed, dresser, tv, double wardrobe and porthole, a separate bedroom with bunks, sidetable and wardrobe for the kids and a three-seater, double fold out sofa in the spacious loungeroom, with 2 single chairs and more wardrobe space and another tv, but sadly only one bathroom ;) We had My-Time dining, so we decided to have a rest and then get ready for dinner. The Magic Flute restaurant (top level of dining room) was gorgeous with service to match. The children were treated like royalty and we too were made feel very special each and every night. Our kids mixed up their meals by ordering from the main menu and kids menu depending on what they wanted each night. My-time dining is fantastic. Room service breakfast was in order for Day 2. Perfect, apart from I thought that ordering 4 pastries meant 4 pastries, not 4 plates of 4 pastries on each plate, oops, kids thought it was awesome. Like a few other days we skipped lunch as there was just so much food. Our preference was to enjoy lunch in the Carmen dining room, same with breakfast as we enjoy being served. We also had bbq by pool on last day. Kids went and visited kids club. Wow, the kids club is kids heaven. Every day was something new including PJ party, discos, pirate night. A family holiday is not a holiday unless it has kids club, and Adventure Ocean is in a league of its own. Our kids loved every moment. Special thanks to No-hair Pierre, Kitty Kat, Alex, Happy Humphrey, Hello Kitty, Lauren, Step-up Steph and all the other amazing staff. By Day 2 we were experiencing what I call 'Cruise Rage'. Here goes my complaint! The passengers are the only problem that we found onboard. Cranky, miserable, poor attitude and unfair treatment of staff provided for an overall negative vibe onboard. This continued for all 14 nights and we were disappointed that there are so many Australians with such self-righteous attitudes. There were exceptions, just felt embarrassed to be an Aussie. Everyone had a problem, instead of enjoying their holidays they felt it necessary to whinge and complain to whoever would listen. It was like they couldn't wait to criticise everything. Hearing things like 'that's going on my feedback form' gave me the impression that their holiday entailed writing lists of anything they could find to criticise. Entertainment - overall was below the standard we have found on other cruises. With the exceptions of Dreamworks Move it! Move it! parade, the ice skating show, 70's disco inferno street party, illusionist John Taylor and Marty Coffey. We left many shows, and The Denise Canby Trio in High Notes were dreadful, making it impossible to sit through an entire drink. 3D movies, in-room movies and game-show type shows were excellent. The piano bar with Ed Manego was a true highlight. I could go on for hours about how excellent the ship was, but I will just list everything we participated in and found to be AMAZING, really top notch! - blackjack tournament, rockclimbing (yes made it to the top), ice skating, rollerblading, mini-golf, gingerbread decorating, bingo (hubby won!), photos, arcade, day spa (went twice & reasonably priced), pools and spas, Dreamworks character breakfast,fitness centre/gym, cupcake cupboard, adventure beach waterslides and casino. Shore excursions - we booked all our own tours before the cruise. We mostly booked either our own hire cars, or private tours. Special thanks to Neil from TopHat Limousines Dunedin and Nicci from Marlborough Tours. Highlights - we LOVED Portofino. We booked prior to boarding and our experience was brilliant, so good that we went twice! Kids loved Johnny Rockets, and the burgers were pretty good. The weather was so kind to us, perfect seas and plenty of sunshine. Kids also loved Ben & Jerry's icecream. As a coffee lover, I understand other posts about Starbucks onboard. But people, we are on a SHIP in the middle of the ocean. The coffee was OK. Cocktails were very reasonably priced, and bartenders always made sure you were well supplied and happy with your selection. The overall quality of the food onboard was brilliant. Each and every meal was excellent and a well-thought out menu. We (including kids) enjoyed 3 courses every night and were all very happy, except with the bathroom scales on our return home. Overall we had a sensational time, with so many happy memories and will sail with Royal Caribbean time and time again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 4th cruise and first time RC. This was a family holiday for my wife & I, and 2 teenagers (13 & 15). We were fortunate to be on the ship for Christmas & New Year. We arrived in Sydney a couple of days before the ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise and first time RC. This was a family holiday for my wife & I, and 2 teenagers (13 & 15). We were fortunate to be on the ship for Christmas & New Year. We arrived in Sydney a couple of days before the ship sailed so we wouldn't be rushing. The first time we saw Voyager, it was the 'wow' factor that hit us all. This ship is huge. Embarkation day was not the smoothest experience I've had. Many others on our Roll Call group had a similar experience. When you do your mandatory online check in, you are issued with your boarding pass. In our case our boarding pass said embarkation was 1.00pm. Once you start going through the RC web site, you get conflicting information that the ship loads passengers by deck. So with our room being on deck 3, the website said we had a 4.30pm embarkation. We sent an email to RC to clarify if we were supposed to board at 1.00pm or 4.30pm and we got a reply after we got back from our trip. A tad late! So having to sit around Circular Quay for 3 ½ hours after what our RC issued boarding pass said was disappointing. We had to check out of our Sydney hotel by 11.00am so we had no choice but to sit and wait. Previous cruises to ours had problems with Norovirus so we weren't allowed to our rooms until 4.30pm as the staff were doing extra cleaning. This wasn't a big issue as it was in our own best interest anyway. It gave us a chance to start to explore the ship anyway. On previous cruises, the sail-away party has always been a huge highlight and sets the mood for the rest of the cruise with staff interacting with passengers from the outset. No big sail away event on Voyager which was disappointing. A main feature of Voyager is the Royal Promenade which is a big mall that runs down the middle of the ship on deck 5 with shops, boutiques, pubs and coffee shop (Starbucks) scattered down either side. On previous cruises we've done, most of the major activity takes place on or around the pool deck. On Voyager, all the important stuff happens on the Royal Promenade which is fine until the ship is at full capacity with guests, and then it doesn't cope at all. They had 'Dreamworks' parades that took place down the Royal Promenade but we didn't see any as our dinner setting time was always at the same time as these parades. Our stateroom was great. As with all cruises, the staff on board make the difference and influence your experience. Our cabin steward was Jerry. Nothing was too much for him, he was outstanding. Anything we needed or requested was taken care promptly. The staff throughout the ship were very professional. Also, this is where we also noticed a difference between this and other cruises we've done. It's not a criticism; it's not that the staff were better or worse than any other cruise, just different. It's hard to explain. The best way to explain it is that I don't think RC have quite captured the Australian market and Australians yet. For example, it took us 3-4 days for us to get a smile and a joke out of our waiter at the main dining room. With previous cruises, the staff have engaged the guests and seem to be in party mode with the guests from day 1 whilst remaining professional. It almost as if Voyager staff need to chill out and relax with Australians a bit more. While we are talking about differences on the Voyager, let's talk bacon. On Voyager for breakfast they serve 'hickory smoked bacon'. I don't know what they do to it, but it is a cross between beef jerky and potato chips. Super thin and kinda deep fried, not crunchy but kinda chewy. Fortunately after a few days they started doing English/Australian bacon. Also coffee. There was only one barista style coffee place on the ship, Cafe Promenade on deck 5. There was always a line 20 deep most of the day because the percolated coffee they serve throughout the rest of the ship was undrinkable. Christmas day on the ship was a little disappointing. Once again, just the difference between how Americans celebrate Christmas to how Australians do. New Years celebrations were a different thing. Possibly the best New Years experience I've ever had in my life. Live music; huge build up all day. At dinner, they provided every guest on board with a 2013 party hat, noisy blower, beads, ratchet thingy, poppers, etc. The main countdown was in the Royal Promenade. We were packed into 'mosh pit' with over 2,500 other passengers, what a party. At midnight, 1,000's of balloons were released from the ceiling along with confetti cannons, free champagne. The place went off! During this trip on the Voyager, the ship was at full capacity with 3,800 passengers. With a packed house, the Royal Promenade had difficulty coping with so many passengers on New Years Eve. There were 3 BBQ's that took place on the pool deck over the 14 nights we were on the ship. These weren't advertised on the ship so it was only by chance that we found the last one near the end of our cruise. You really had to walk around with your daily planner during the day to know what was going on. If you don't normally wear a watch, make sure you do as there were only 2 clocks around the ship that we found. Important if you don't want to miss an activity. Meet & Mingle put on for Roll Call guests by Voyager was a disappointment. RC sent us an email telling us all that the M&M would take place at High Notes bar, then we were moved to Cleopatra's Needle. We arrived and were greeted by the assistant cruise director. Canopies were provided, introduced herself, spoke for a few minutes and we were left to catch up with all the contacts we made on Roll Call. Regretfully RC had double booked the room as just as we were about to get down to the serious mingling, were kicked out. 'Meet & Mingle' became 'say goodbye & leave'. Bookings tours with RC was easier. RC tours were well organised and ran like clock work. Portifinos is the specialty Italian restaurant, cost an additional $20 cover charge. Food was great. I was expecting a bit more of a special dining experience here but the service was probably better out in the main dining room. Highlight of our cruise was having Australian artist Donald Waters on board painting most days on the Royal Promenade. The art auctions on the Voyager featured his works and we bought several pieces. We have loved his artwork for years. Our teenagers didn't hang around the teen club much after the first few days once they formed their friendships as there didn't seem to be much happening or organised for them. Photo packages are available and if you intend on buying a lot of photos or if you are cruising with your family, buying a package is the only way to go. The quality of the photos we got were exceptional, well worth it. The photographers on the ship were fun and creative. Overall we enjoyed our cruise though we found it much Americanised. Gratuities and tipping did a lot of people's heads in. Not customary in Australia so we struggled with what was an acceptable sized tip without being insulting or too generous. Australians tend to tip because they feel staff deserve it for exception service, not because they are given and envelope and told how much to tip each person. We were generous with those staff that made our experience memorable. I would certainly cruise with RC again. Once they work out us Australians, cruising will be even better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
It's a biggie. I will attempt to bring my review on a timeline, so please forgive me if I get a bit sidetracked. Firstly, we flew in from NZ to Aussie via Air NZ. Arrived in Sydney the evening prior to embarkation, mainly because ... Read More
It's a biggie. I will attempt to bring my review on a timeline, so please forgive me if I get a bit sidetracked. Firstly, we flew in from NZ to Aussie via Air NZ. Arrived in Sydney the evening prior to embarkation, mainly because I am a huge planner and want to avoid any risk of missing the ship due to an airline issue. We were greeted by the driver that my brother had arranged to collect us from Sydney International Airport and taken to our hotel, The Grace, in York Street. Check in at The Grace was very straight forward and we went to our rooms to enjoy a bit of space prior to meeting my brother for a late dinner. Had dinner at a late night restaurant in the Darling Harbour area and watched the inebreated people stagger past. All very harmless. Considering the large amount of people out and about order was maintained. I might note at this point that this was the last Friday prior to Christmas. Breakfast was included in our rate so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the reastaurant at The Grace the following morning. Some of our party even took a break from brekkie to meet another member of our group at the local train station, Wynyard, then they were able to resume their meal. The rooms at The Grace are lovely, spacious,and the furnishings so comfy and inviting. The bathroom ammenities were of a very high standard, yes, cleared out the little bottles and soaps as we left. Check out was straightforward, even with a split bill and the wonderful concierge, Troy, even arranged for our luggage to be held securely so we could explore Sydney after check out and before boarding. We wondered around Sydney a bit, went to the Paddys Market in the China Town end and took the monorail back to the CBD area. Then nipped into the local Coles supermarket about 100m from The Grace to purchase some wine for the trip, we were allowed 2 bottles per cabin at embarkation. The lovely young man on the Concierge desk at The Grace then hailed us a taxi and we, with our copious luggage, headed to the wharf. The taxi ride was about AUD $15, but the driver did such a great job that we gave him $25 for his trouble. Our suitcases were dropped off to the white tent area, labeled and the lovely porters then loaded them into cages and took them for loading onto the ship, very easy. I did note some fell off the top of the open cages, so pack studiously, no red wine in the bag to be safe... Check in was a breeze. Our check in time was 1-30pm, we didn't get into line until about 2-15pm, just wound our way down the line, filled in a health form and moved to a new line, then another line and so on until we got to check in. The people ushering you from one area to another were really nice and communicated well. They advised us what was needed for the next area, declarations, passports, customs forms, tickets etc. Lines moved, sometimes slow, sometimes quickly, but they kept moving, we were hardly stationery at all. A big shout out to the OPT staff, great job. The counters were a bit of a squeeze, couldn't really get two people standing abreast at a time per OPT staffer though. The friendly and efficient staff made up for it. Total time to get on board was less than a half an hour. Had prepaid a drinks and a photo package so once we were onboard we headed to the Customer Services area to sort out our cards and to get the kids drink stickers etc. A b-i-g line here, but we perservered. The staff here were sweet, mostly young asian ladies, some language issues, but they work oh so hard with some not very amiable passengers. The notice over the PA that rooms are ready was about 4-30pm and we stayed in the Windjammer with our cc family meet and greet to avoid the rush. Eventually we ambled down to deck 8, we had connecting Promenade cabins, one for us DH and DW and one for the kids DS, 16 and DD, 12. This worked out really well. Promenade Cabins We found these to be big enough for 2 and even 3 or 4, if everyone was sitting down. The bay window seat was huge and we had a two seater couch too. The 'fridge' is a chiller only, get a bucket of ice and you will be fine to keep your milk etc cool, not cold. Full of junk food and soda, we asked for this to be taken out, it wasn't, so I put the stock into the mirrored cupboards for the trip so we had a fridge for our milk and our cheese plate. Having a jug, cups and tea making facility was a nice surprise too. Got some hot chocolate sachets and had our hot chocolate in cabin before bed most nights. Our bed was awful, really hard, but the kids had soft beds. Our steward was Frederick from the Philippines. A real honey, we just had to ask and he would help. You can adjust the air con in your room. The bathroom is small but functional with lots of storage space. The telephone kept flashing that I had voice mail, I didn't. Asked for this to be fixed three times, was told maintenance would come, sailed for 14 days, still not fixed as at debarkation. Close your curtains at night! Cabin 8301 is just above the arch in the Promenade and 8303 is over the customer services and cruise tours desk. Also looks over the stairwell so you get to see, a little, into the Champagne Bar and the Aquarium Bar down to the photography area and the queue for the ice skating. Food The first night we had the pleasure of being seated in the Majic Flute dining room, as we had My Time dining, placed at table 21 with the amazing Thiek (pronounced Trey) and assistant waitress Hazell. We simply loved these incredible ladies we booked their table, by the window, for 6pm every night of the cruise. They really made us feel like family, it was very sad to leave them. The food was very nice, I think I had a luke warm soup once, other than that, if something didn't work for you then the ladies would change it for something else. I am very fussy about my steak being cooked, it was medium to well whenever I ordered it. The bar staff in the restaurant are fabulous, Dipak, sorry, I know the spelling is wrong, learned our kids names straight away and anticipated their orders, mocktails, on a nightly basis. Even talked us into shots... The Windjammer was interesting. A bit hit and miss. Often the food had been out for a while and the waffles in the morning were often more like toast, really crisp to the point of inedible, my daughter just smothered them in the fake maple syrup until they were easier to chew. Not much change in the menu there but you could easily find something nice to eat. The first few days we were served due to a lingering Noro outbreak. From about day 3 we could serve ourselves. The iced tea, lemonade and the strawberry/kiwi drinks are refreshing. Coffee way too strong for me, everywhere. Just hot watered it down and it was fine. I did find that the times that the Windjammer was closed were a bit funny, afternoon tea etc. Cleanliness was an issue here. Although passengers were encouraged to use the hand sanitiser one could sneak past. Also, the wiping down of the tables was either really good or terrible. Promenade Cafe Nice, but the food there was bite sized and the plates were plastic and tiny. The crossants and the paninis could be heated if you wanted. Staff were lovely. Teens took over at night, grabbing booths and enjoying pizza etc before curfew, not complaining, just an observation. This is where I often picked up the hot chocolate sachets for later in the evening. No strawberry/kiwi or lemonade here. Johnny Rockets Did the obligatory visit here while going through the Milford Sound region, lovely. Sat in the outside area. The staff were fabulous, the food was burgers, fries, onion rings with an ice cream sundae and a milkshake to wash it down with. I liked it. A novel experience with singing and dancing waiters who were sweet, kind and funny. Happy to go there again. Thought the USD$5 price tag for a milkshake was a bit steep. Yummy milkshake though. Portofinos A nightmare trying to book this prior to cruising. Wanted the embarkation special. As I was booking a party of 12 from 5 cabins had to go through RCI in Australia, was told by the lady on the telephone that they would contact the ship and I would get an e-mail reply, didn't happen, followed up, told I had to e-mail RCI bookings, did this, reply came after I phoned again. Too close to sailing, book onboard can get the same deal, although restaurant likely totally booked out. Printed email correspondence, checked with Portofino on embarkation, no booking, lots of space available, made the booking. On arrival for our dining time I spoke with the maitre de who advised that the special deal only applies to bookings prior to cruise, I showed him the correspondence and he allowed our booking at the special rate on this occaision. Really put the dear fellow on the spot, he was very nice about it. Meal was lovely but I really don't understand why people rave about this restaurant. Poolside BBQ These were fantastic, but they were not advertised! At all! Please RCI, put something in the daily calender, mention it on the PA system or on Gordon's show. I noticed the one on the last day at sea had a 30 minute queue. Very nice food though. Just watch out, the one queue is for the meal including the pudding line. Entertainment Saw one comedian show, it was on the tv. Didn't really go to any shows, just not my style. Some said they were great, others horrible, I can't say yea or nay. There were three 3D movies screened in the big theatre in the evenings over the 14 day trip, yay, except I wear glasses and 3D just doesn't work for me. What annoyed me was that these movies weren't shown in 2D elsewhere. The 70 seat screening room was often full, but the variety was pretty good as far as generes goes. The queue for bingo was shocking. How about selling the books from various outlets during the day, or selling them over a longer time? I heard the artist was very popular but his painting time often clashed with things people wanted to see or do. Gordon, the cruise director is wonderful. Really don't know how he stays 'on' as fluidly as he does. Sorry Gordon, I hardly partook of any of the events, but I enjoyed your dailys with the Captain, the tour people and your assistant cruise director. Now remember, Tau (towel) raung (wrong) a (a), Tauranga. Yes, elecution lessons from NZ, who would have thought. Spa Had one session in the spa. Very nice, watch for those specials. Felt a bit invisible while waiting for my treatment. Reception was nice, but while waiting for my treatment the staff didn't relate with the waiting clients. The beautiful attendant Rachel who did my treatment was fabulous. She asked a lot of questions to ensure I was getting what I wanted and checked that nothing she was going to use would have a reaction with my skin. What a lovely, positive and elegant young lady. Bars Were always tidy and the staff were nice. Tipped very happily here. If the wine list is a bit owie for you there is a half carafe, so 500ml of Wolf Blass blended white or red available for US$10. Can take this to dinner with you if you like. Drinks were generous in the alcohol content. Major issue for me was that the sports available in the Scoreboard bar and on the tv was Gridiron and USA basketball. Really! Put some local content on, you will keep the locals in the bar a lot longer then. Kids My two were in the younger and the older teen activities. They enjoyed these, attended some and not others. There were some activities for the whole group but most were in the age divisions of 12 - 14 and 15 - 17. Please note that certain activities for the 12 year old require supervision, the rock wall, in line skating and ice skating all require adult supervision if the child is participating in these unless he or she is with the youth group. Photography If you like your photos get a package! We paid USD$399-96 for the unlimited package and got 180 photos with a full disk copy of these and stock photos. We found the photographers so much fun and very obliging. We collected our photos from the boards and had them placed in our folder daily. The package covered us and our children. Also included any photos that the kids were in with their friends, our Johnny Rockets photos, Dreamworks breakfast photos, dinner table shots, formal photos and any of the around the ship photos. The photo boards have title, Dreamworks, formal 1st sitting, special events etc, this makes the photos easier to find. Pictures with the Captain posing was available for about 30 minutes, advertised in the daily compass. Dreamworks breakfast Not advertised that you could register from day 1, grrrr. We almost missed out. Was great fun, somehow we managed to get in twice. Take your own camera though as the photographers were there for the first breakfast but were not there on the last one, not sure why. Was really fun. Usually three characters per breakfast. Don't rush the characters as you get called up a table at a time. Can order off the standard menu if chocolate everything isn't your style. Room Service Another hit or miss area. Ordered a light lunch on a sea day, took 2 hours and 3 telephone calls to arrive, and stuff was missing. Tried again with preordered breakfast, stuff missing but on time, tipped anyway. Pools Often full of people, fine by me. Mostly soaked, yes, not swam, in the adult area, the Solarium. Very boyant, think they add extra salt to the water. Had a beautiful spa one evening, just DH and I in the Solarium watching the sun set, ah, sigh. Plenty of deck chairs available in all pool areas and bar staff taking and delivering orders. Ensured my pool towel was checked as returned. Rock wall, Ice Skating, In Line Skating Really sad, didn't get around to doing these myself but the kids had fun. Yes, some queing, but people got to enjoy the facilities. Mini Golf Yes, did this one. Was open 24/7 and was a lot of fun. Not the usual mini golf I am used to but there are definite rocks and paths etc to negotiate. Card room I think it is called the seven of hearts. This was a regular place for me, ok, now I might get labelled as boring. It was nice to go up to a covered viewing area and play cards or scrabble at night. Took the daily crossword up too. Many people used this area. A variety of games to play and a communal jigsaw puzzle that got a lot of attention. Library Yes, now I really sound like a fuddy duddy, don't care. Is on two levels, has computers on one deck and a table with the daily Suduko, Crossword and Quiz on the other. Some said not a lot of books, others were happy, I thought it was ok. Also, there is a table with a sheet to register for the weekly Jewish Sabbath. Emergency While on board one of our party had a call to advise her mother had collapsed was in hospital and that the Police had to break into her house to get to her mother. My friend was, understandably, quite distraught. The customer service staff arranged telephone calls, internet access and assisted so much to help my friend through this awful, unanticipted situation. We certainly thanked them for this. They were caring, kind and generous. Debarkation Too easy. Usual story, bags collected the evening prior to debarkation, take a corresponding sticker to your luggage with you. Go to your meeting place when called, get off when directed to, very easy. General comments Could have done with an interdenominational service for Christmas, Catholic Mass was available. If anything spoiled my cruise it was fellow passengers. Seriously, I thought Aussies, yes, I am an ex pat Aussie, were warm and easy going. Many I encountered on board were rude, drunk or both. I saw one guy ripping a dear sweet maitre de a new one because he couldn't sit at his usual table for dinner that one night. A quater of the planet is going hungry and you can't have a different chair? Get a grip. Also, there were people complaining about kids on board or too many people, uh, this cruise is in the school holidays and the ship takes over 3000 passengers, read the brochure. The staff had some language issues but did their best. They were warm and welcoming. I even saw the Captain speaking with the plebs as he walked through the Promenade one evening. As for the noro, we washed our hands and managed to stay safe, I know you can take the precautions and get sick, but I figure you can get sick anywhere. We ensured we had travel insurance. Ports were all fabulous, been to most of them before. Do your homework and book tours privately if you want to save some cash or book the same tours with the cruise line to ensure you arrive by departure time. Would I cruise RCI again, yes. This ship, possibly. Our preference for cruising is somewhat more sedate, but even on a ship this size you can find a quiet area. For families I think this is a neat ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Voyager of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates N/A 4.2

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