8 Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Caribbean - Western

This is my third cruise but first with Royal Caribbean; the others have been with Celebrity so that is what I can compare to. This 7 night cruise out of NOLA was average to below average compared with my experiences on Celebrity. ... Read More
This is my third cruise but first with Royal Caribbean; the others have been with Celebrity so that is what I can compare to. This 7 night cruise out of NOLA was average to below average compared with my experiences on Celebrity. Embarkation- We arrived at the port around 11:30 and it took about 30 minutes from the time the taxi dropped us off to the time we were on the ship. It went very smoothly. Ship Appearance- Even though the Voyager of the Seas is an older ship, she looked just fine. I didn't notice much wear and tear. The decor was not always to my liking, lots of pastels, but the quality was okay. The one thing they could improve on was that many of the chairs were not that comfortable. The ship was decorated for Christmas. One of the other noticeable issues of this ship was the long wait for elevators. As much as possible I recommend taking the stairs. You could be waiting for an elevator for 15 minutes sometimes... Stateroom- We had an inside stateroom on deck 9. The room was small, as expected but had adequate storage. We found putting our empty suitcases under the beds worked best. The couch was not very comfortable to sit on (shallow with a low back), but luckily we were only in the room to sleep. Our room had a flat screen TV, and looking in other rooms it seemed some had older televisions so maybe they are changing them out when they break. Service- Our stateroom attendant was very friendly. He took good care of the room and left us towel animals every night except the first night. I asked him for extra towels and ice on the first day and he delivered them everyday after that without being asked again. We had My Time dining, so our waiters were different every night. Some were better than others- we had a few that we placed a drink order with and the drink never arrived. Food- The food was very disappointing. I am not a picky eater at all, but there were some nights I struggled to find something to eat on the MDR menu. They didn't have much variety, usually offering 4-5 dishes to choose from with one being an Indian dish. I had pork, chicken, steak, veal, pasta- and none were very good. The Chicken marsala was particularly bad- like microwaved chicken covered in brown gravy. The one dish I did like was the Onion Tart we had on the first night. The Windjammer was okay, but the selection was the same EVERY DAY! No variety. We went to Portofino one night. The service was attentive, but I didn't really care for the veal dish I ordered. I wish they had an outdoor grill like Celebrity has. Also I wish they had drink stations near the pools like Celebrity. When you are in your swimsuit you don't want to walk into the buffet to get a glass of water. Entertainment- The entertainers were talented, but some of the material they chose was bizarre. The broadway and movie music shows picked some of the most obscure songs to perform. We had 3 comedy shows. The first one was really bad, I forget his name. We had another guy named Milt who was pretty funny and Yakov Smirnoff (yes, that guy from the 80's). We left the juggling show early- it was pretty bad. There was also an Elvis show that was okay, although he spent a lot of time roaming the audience. The ice show was interesting, we had two, one for Christmas and then a regular show. None of the ice shows we went to were filled. It is pretty amazing what they can do with a small ice surface and it being on a moving ship. Excursions- We took the Maya Ruins Express tour in Cozumel. It was incredibly disorganized. And at the end they dropped us at the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel which deposited us 3+ miles from the ship, with only 30 minutes to get a taxi and get to the ship. I don't understand why they would take ~100 people on this excursion and then just dump them on a ferry with no guide to meet them at the pier. The ruins themselves were interesting and the view to the sea was gorgeous. So overall, we had great weather and enjoyed relaxing, but I think if I cruise again I will go back to Celebrity. There were just too many things that I didn't like about VOS and Royal Caribbean to spend that amount of money again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Transportation: we drove from Indiana to New Orleans to catch the cruise. Going down, terrible rain resulted in a 14 hour trip. After the cruise, the weather was fantastic and because it was New Years Eve, the roads were empty - no ... Read More
Transportation: we drove from Indiana to New Orleans to catch the cruise. Going down, terrible rain resulted in a 14 hour trip. After the cruise, the weather was fantastic and because it was New Years Eve, the roads were empty - no truckers. We got home in a little over 12 hours. Hotel: We stayed 2 nights prior to the cruise at the Hampton Inn Convention Center in New Orleans. This is not your typical "chain" hotel. Local ambiance, great fitness center, breakfast was wonderful, self laundry, exceptional proximity to pier - we walked to it. Valet parking only - $29 per night. Less than a mile walk to French Quarter. Parking: We parked at Fulton Street parking garage for $12 per night for cruisers. It is a 1 block walk from the hotel to the parking garage. It is 2 blocks from the garage to the cruise port. Easily walkable with rolling luggage. Cruise Embarkation: So very easy - took perhaps 15 minutes to get registered, etc. Waited for about 15 minutes to be allowed on the ship - we were in the first group to board the ship. Went right to Windjammer and "camped-out" while we ate and explored the ship. Note: the stateroom hallways were blocked off 'till 1:00pm. We could explore all of the public spaces though. It was way too cold to use the swimming pools, but we saw a few brave souls in the hot tubs! Security/Luggage: Luggage did not arrive prior to first seating dinner. We got 4 of the 6 bags around 8pm. I packed a clothes steamer on one bag and held my bag. I scoured all of the travel documents and nowhere did it state that I couldn't bring a steamer - it says no irons. I was so angry that I didn't get my luggage because of this. The security people wanted to keep my steamer, I said No Way! I told them that I use it for medical reasons to steam my nose and they let me have it back. This is a completely stupid rule from RCCL and is a reason that I may not travel with them in the future. Cabin: Small, inside, no natural light. This is exactly what we paid for so we were not disappointed or surprised. There as so many cubbies and places to store stuff. Our family of 4, over-packed, and still fit everything in the small room. We stored our luggage under the bed. We took giant trash bags to keep our dirty clothes in. Made great use of the in-room safe. The coffee table was in the way so we just stored it in the closet and gained additional storage room by doing this. Took command 3 storage clips to hang on walls for extra storage but didn't end up needing them after all. Cabin Attendant: Wonderful! So nice. The first day he met us and even presented us with his business card. We got towel animals every night. He had to work extra hard because we had an accident on the bed. No problem, he took care of everything and told us not to worry about a thing. Food: MDR food was not so good on the first few nights but got better at the end of the week. Best meals were, Garlic Tiger Shrimp, Onion Tart, Angel Food Cake with Strawberries. Overall, the appetisers were great and the desserts were not so great. The main meals were hit and miss. Did not eat lunch in the MDR. Ate breakfast in the MDR 1 day - not so good, we preferred Windjammer for breakfast. Windjammer had typical buffet food. Totally enjoyed the french fries! Also, on one afternoon around 3pm they had chocolate croissants that were great - never saw them again. Promenade: learned late in the cruise that on level 5 during lunch they have lunch stations. We enjoyed the Nachos, Ribs, and Bananas Foster! Yum. The Cafe Promenade is open 24 hours a day. This place is really strange. You can self serve for drinks but have to ask for someone to give you muffins, pizza, pudding, etc. One guy who worked here in the morning was a total jerk - the only employee that we came across the whole week who was like this. MDR Service: Exceptional! No other way to say it. They work so hard to please you. Could not have been any happier! Best part of the entire cruise was the service we received from the MDR staff! Great Job!!!! Drinks/Ice/Ice Cream: Wish you could access water, tea, lemonade at more places around the ship. We drink tons of water and had to go to Windjammer or Cafe Promenade to get it. Also, we like ice in our stateroom - you get this through room service - sort of strange to do this. Coffee stations at the ends on floor 11 ran all day. We get up really early, like 4am, and had to go to Cafe Promenade to get coffee. Ice cream stations also at the ends of floor 11 - for some reason these are only open from around 11am to around 6pm or so. Bar service was good. Servers continually walk around the pool decks to get your order. Drinks were good - average price. Entertainment: Really bad. Most shows say that they were produced by the Cruise Director so perhaps he just isn't that great of a producer or something. Ice skaters were ok. Movie musical review was horrible. Last night performance was really bad. I've seen tons better at Club Med!!! On-board Activities: Sports court: Always busy, this place could use some love and refurbishment. They need drinking stations here. The water fountain is useless when the boat is moving the water just sprays in the air and not in your mouth. Rock climbing was the best. Basketball courts were always in use! The putt-putt is in need of renovations and is a bit dangerous when small kids don't know how to play. They can and do drive the ball from the putt-putt course clear to the rock climbing wall. They had a funky roller blading area that was never open when we went there. Demonstrations/Talks: We attended the napkin folding session - was pretty lame. The talk with the crew was really good though. Ice skating rink was cool, really enjoyed this. Santa came to visit, this was a nice touch and all of the kids got a little present while the adults got loaded on eggnog! Arcade: Always busy and fun. Children's club: Easy enough to register for, my son just didn't want to be there much - he went 2 times and had a good enough time. Getting off the ships for ports-of-call: Cozumel and Jamaica both have piers so it is easy and quick. Grand Cayman uses small boats and let's just say that RCCL needs to improve this whole process. First, you have to wait in line for an hour to get a "number" to get off the boat. Then, you have to go sit in a public space for over an hour before your number is called. We were in the 2nd boat to leave the ship and we didn't get off the boat 'till after noon! This should and absolutely could be a better experience for all. Disembarkation: We took our own luggage off the ship. They began letting this group off at 7:15am. We were through customs, met by the Fulton Street van, driven to the parking garage, in our van and exiting the parking garage at 7:36am. So easy! Would I cruise on this ship again? Probably not - we've been there done that now. If I ever cruise again it would probably be on one that has more ports of call like Alaska. With 3,600 guests and over 1,200 employees, it was a crowded cruise. Too much time waiting around and hideous on board entertainment. I was happiest when I was at the port of call. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My travel party This trip was booked at the end of August with my parents. We tend to like cruises over Christmas, but pricing just didn't work out for us this year. We caught this voyage at a decent price (later found a military ... Read More
My travel party This trip was booked at the end of August with my parents. We tend to like cruises over Christmas, but pricing just didn't work out for us this year. We caught this voyage at a decent price (later found a military rate right before final payment which made it even better) and I found a great cabin. I am D+ and this was my parents' last cruise before becoming D+. We have left from New Orleans once before (and stopped there a couple of times on Carnival cruises) and I was fairly familiar with the downtown area after spending 4 nights there last April for a conference. Pre-cruise I can understand why the Port of New Orleans would seem attractive to cruise lines. New Orleans is obviously a tourist draw in itself and there are also plenty of locals who love having a nice, big ship like the Voyager within easy driving distance. With that being said, though, I'm not a huge fan of NOLA as a cruise port. There seem to be relatively few flights into NOLA, meaning they tend towards the pricey side. The port itself is not that well designed, causing other issues. I guess some may be enamored by Bourbon Street, but I am not ... I live in a college town, so I don't need to travel far to see vomit in the streets on a Friday night. Don't get me wrong ... there are many, many great things in NOLA, but in terms of cruising, I'd take Fort Lauderdale any day of the week. Our trip started with a Continental flight that kept getting earlier and earlier the closer trip came. It actually wasn't that bad, but I was not thrilled that we ended up with a 5:30 AM flight out of Indianapolis with a 4+ hour layover in Houston on Friday 12/30. Thankfully we got free bags checked because of using the Continental credit card. We were also given "Priority" tags on our luggage and boarding passes which made absolutely no difference whatsoever. The flight to NOLA was on a turboprop ... my first flight in about 15 years that had propellers. We landed in NOLA on time, had the usual longish NOLA wait for our bags, and grabbed a cab to our hotel. Cab rates are fixed between the airport and downtown/cruise port. 1-2 people will be $33. 3+ people (many larger taxis that were vans or SUV's ... but 5 seemed to be about the limit) run $14/pp. If you are traveling solo, there is a shared-ride shuttle that runs for $20/pp but you might have a bit of a wait. Time to downtown depends on traffic. I've had it take up to an hour during rush hour (when you are thankful for the set price), but with normal traffic, it may take 20-30 minutes. When I was first making reservations, things were very booked up for 12/30 (Friday night before NYE) and I ended up reserving the Embassy Suites Convention Center for $159/night thinking it would be a quick trip to the port (across the street) and that we would at least get a free breakfast. Closer to sail, however, I ended up scoring the JW Marriott on Priceline for a $70 bid. This moved us further from the port, but also closer to most of the French Quarter attractions. I was very happy with this hotel as all of the service we received was very friendly and the location was hard to beat (right on Canal Street). I was able to request a roll-away for no charge which is always nice. It was a very long arrival day, but we made the requisite tour of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. I had made a reservation for Emeril's using Open Table months earlier, so we headed there and had a wonderful meal on Friday night. The pricing wasn't too bad considering how easy it is to drop about $50/pp on a meal anywhere in the city. I'd definitely recommend the escargot, pork chop, and banana cream pie. They were all great. Embarkation Morning Listening to the local weather on the previous night, they warned of fog. Waking up on NYE morning, we were greeted with and dense, gray curtain covering the city. We headed to The Ruby Slipper on Magazine Street for breakfast as I had visited it previously and enjoyed it. Once again it did not disappoint and offered some great specials like Eggs Cochon (think eggs benedict but instead of ham on an english muffin, there was pulled pork on a biscuit), lemon cream stuffed pain perdue (stuffed into real French bread), and bananas foster pain perdue ... all enormous and wonderful. After a huge breakfast (which ended up being a good idea), we headed down to explore more of the fog-covered city. My dad and I took off down Riverwalk to see if the ship made it in and then met the rest of our party at Jackson Square. No issues with the Voyager making it to port, though I did talk to several people who missed the ship in NOLA because fog closed down the airport for the entire morning ... one more reason I guess to try to fly in early. At around 11 AM, we checked out of the hotel and grabbed a cab to the ship. It was probably walkable if we were all a bit more athletic, but with large bags and a few people with mobiilty issues, that just wasn't feasible. Taxis to the ship were a set rate of $10 for 1 person, $7/pp for 2 or more, or the metered rate IF it is higher than the per person rate. Embarkation After arriving at the port, I can see why there have been issues with backups at embarkation. Our taxi drove us down a few narrow alleys to reach where the porters were located. It seemed about 6 vans at a time could unload passengers in this area right outside the terminal. It was fairly painless at 11:15 or so. After dropping bags with the porter, we went into the terminal and stood in the first line to have our passports/SetSail Pass checked by security (which means they have to be out upon entering the building). After that, we headed through the metal detectors (and they were requiring laptops out of bags unlike other ports). Once past that checkpoint, we were allowed to check-in. At this point, we were told that boarding was delayed until 2:30 or so and were given a general boarding sticker. We went up to the counter, checked in, and then were told that we had the option of sitting in the already crowded terminal or exiting and being able to return through "express" lines when we came back. Let me just say that even though I know that this delay was unexpected, it was not handled well by the terminal staff. The waiting area is tiny and was already close to full by 11:30. We were told to sit or leave and, when we moved off to the side to discuss it, were yelled at by the staff for being "in the way" ... which we weren't ... and forced into "the way" where we were still trying to decide what we wanted to do (mobility issues, etc). I specifically asked if 2:30 was a "hard" boarding time (not a general guess) and was emphatically told YES (ha ha), so in the end we decided to leave instead of sitting in the crowd for 3 hours. We ended up going over to Riverwalk for a while and, while over there and outside, heard on the Voyager's PA the captain telling the crew that extra cleaning had finished and the Voyager would be boarding (about 12:30ish). It turns out that there had been enough Noro on the previous cruise to require extra cleaning, CDC handouts, etc. We headed back to terminal and found huge lines for security. We inquired about the "express" line as we already had our SeaPass cards and were essentially told to wait with everyone else. Once we cleared the first checkpoint, we actually were allowed into the handicap line to go through the metal detectors again. Once back in the waiting area, we finally worked our way through the huge mass of disorganized people to where people where boarding. We were placed in the handicap line to have our security pictures taken which ended up being 3 times as long as any other line as the ground staff said nothing while people cut under the ropes and into the wheelchair "chute" in front of us directly at the security podium. It was a mess where we were not allowed to switch lines but nothing was said to those cutting in front ... not the end of the world, I know, but still quite frustrating when you just want to get onto the ship. We were finally onboard a little after 1 (cabins did not open until 2). I've never board on New Year's Eve before and to be honest, I'm not sure I'd want to again ... flights are expensive for destination cities, hotels can be more expensive, and the first day is hectic. One major change for this cruise ... the first formal night was changed to the first night as opposed to the second. I can understand the WHY, but just barely. I typically have my tux pressed or dry-cleaned the first day so that it is ready for the second night (typical formal night). Obviously, I could not do it for this cruise, so I went formal-wrinkled and did not bother with the pressing as things would normally be a little wrinkled by the second formal night anyway. Many people did not have their bags by first seating anyway, so it was, in reality, shorts to formal night ... and this did upset some people who had purchased formal clothes that they were not able to wear. As for the NYE celebrations themselves, they started with hats and party favors being laid out on the tables in the dining room. Personally, I could go without the noisemakers at dinner because once they start, they take a while to stop. I guess I'm a fuddy-duddy, but I enjoy meals in relative peace where you can talk to people at your table without having being surrounded by kids loudly honking on their party favors. There was a special dinner with a special menu ... it was all actually quite good, including a nice, tender cut of beef. Beyond that, there were balloons ready to go in the Royal Promenade as well as many carts selling champagne. There were screens with a count-down. The Royal Promenade was completely packed ... body to body the whole way. The Ship It's been a few years since I've been on Voyager. Though she was not "new" when I went on her before, she was the first Voyager-class ship I sailed on. Obviously, after being on most of the other Voyager-class ships as well as two Freedom-class and the Oasis, she doesn't quite deliver the same WOW, though the Royal Promenade is still nice. What I found most interesting were the differences between the first ship of the class and the "changes" made afterward ... the fixed Cafe Promande bar out in the Promenade, the bar in the Back of the WindJammer instead of the front (Plaza bar), only a Portofino with a Florist instead of Chops, etc. There are definitely some spots where Voyager is showing her age. Some areas have a little bit of a "worn" feel, and she could definitely use a bit of an outside paint job. For the most part she is kept up incredibly well, but as with any ship, if you want to find a little fraying at the edge, you can find it. Quite a bit of work was going on in terms of repair, and on one port day, they even drained of the main pools for painting. There were two design issues that I did not like. One ... there always seemed to be an overwhelming line/wait for the elevators on the aft end (to the WJ). The elevators seemed slow and on several occasions, one or more would be out of service to be worked on. Most rides had everyone packed in, waving off people on other floors. Two ... the WJ has the old buffet style lines instead of food stations. When first introduced to food stations, I did not like them as people seemed to go at the food from every which way. Now, I can see their benefit. There were cafeteria-style lines with some people waiting to get to the dish they wanted while others just cut in. Extra note: I do have an extra story to share about an experience you never ever want. On day 6 (Cozumel) which was the second formal night, my dad and I were heading up to the Viking Crown in the elevator. Suddenly the elevator began to violently shake both horizontally and vertically to the point where we grabbed the sides to hold on. The door opened early on deck 12 and we ran out. It was utterly frightening. In the end, it was the whole ship shaking (which we didn't know since it was timed perfectly to coincide with our elevator trip) as the captain tried to get us away from the pier before the Liberty in Cozumel. However, there was a good three seconds or so when I thought that elevator was going to drop. Yikes. Dining I know that food quality is subjective, but in my opinion, I found food options a little lacking. There seemed to be fewer offerings in the WJ without stations (and special areas such as Jade). The dining room menus were standard except for NYE and the lobster and shrimp keep getting smaller and smaller. I avoided most of the cuts of beef in the MDR just because I knew they would be disappointing (though the one on NYE was good as mentioned earlier). Cafe Promenade had the standard selections of desserts, sandwiches, and pizza. There was also a featured panini each day, and I saw a press on the back counter, but I was never offered the option of a hot panini ... perhaps you had to request it? I wasn't sure. Since NYE was the first night, I inquired at Portofino's about using my B1G1 D+ coupon on another night and was told I could only use it on the second night. We had also gotten a coupon from our TA for dinner for 2 that was only supposed to be available on port days. However, they accepted both coupons for our party of 5 on the second night without issue (which was appreciated). The food in Portofino was definitely a cut above anything in the MDR, but it did not seem as "spectacular" as usual ... could just be that I'm getting jaded and it is no longer "new". I ordered my usual seafood skewer and it just seemed very small with hardly two or three bites of scallop and lobster. Dress Code Much to my surprise, dress codes were actually enforced on the Voyager beyond the first night. I actually overheard waiters in the MDR telling those in shorts on the first night that they would not be allowed to enter on future nights if wearing shorts because "diners don't want to see hairy legs". Over the week, I definitely saw a few people turned away in shorts. The exception to this rule, evidently, were children under the age of 13. I also saw strict enforcement of the footwear policy in the WJ, even for women carrying very small babies (there seemed to be a lot of much younger children on this cruise than I've ever seen before). Ports Grand Cayman It was pretty rocky on the night before, and my dad and I have brief discussion of whether or not we'd actually be able to dock in Grand Cayman the next morning. It turned out we could ... kind of. In the end, the Georgetown docks were closed, but the Voyager was allowed to tender on the other side of the island. For the tendering process, I never saw anything about tender tickets or heard announcements, however the concierge had included two Tender 1 Priority tickets in the welcome packet in our cabin. In the end, we did not go ashore. However, I did hear some information about the alternative docking site. Evidently there was pretty much nothing where the ship docked. It was a $5/pp taxi ride to the main port area (and $5 back). Others reported walking a bit from the tender drop-off site, renting snorkeling equipment for $5-10, and doing some very nice snorkeling off of a close beach. Falmouth, Jamaica This has been my fourth visit to Falmouth and, unsurprisingly, the port has vastly improved each time. On this visit, the large hall facing the ocean was being utilized as the entrance/exit to the port with two large banks of metal detectors (one closed ... obviously in reserve for Oasis/Allure). Some stores were just opening and did not yet have proper signs ... these were the stores furthest from the entrance from the ship and they tended to have better prices on souvenirs over the stores that had already been more established. The craft market was still doing lively business with the occupants still exercising restraint in their salesmanship (ie, you can walk through without being accosted) and the vendors all seemed very pleasant. Cozumel Voyager docked at the International Pier next to the Liberty. The pier itself was pretty much the same as it has been (a lot of no-name shops and very crowded) and the mall across the street is not yet done (proudly announcing a December 2011 opening). For the second time (after visiting a few weeks ago on the Liberty), we hung a right outside of the gate, walked about 4 minutes, and visited Carnival's Puerta Maya pier. Again ... this is a much, much nicer shopping area than what is available at the International Pier. My dad bought a few shirts at Ron Jon there, while I bought a shirt at Cariloha (much closer than the downtown version with the same prices). We also had lunch at Pancho's Backyard in Los Cincos Soles. This is our standard stop and as always it was great ... open room with view of the (Carnival) ships, a nice breeze, and live music. I thought the margaritas were plenty strong, but some of our party had fruit ones that they thought were tasty but pretty light. Pancho's Backyard also offers free wifi, so there were several people with their laptops and I admittedly did a bit of work on my iPhone. In truth, this cruise was probably mostly booked because of the cabin. We did not book until a month or two before final payment, yet when I was searching for cruises over Christmas or NYE, I noticed that I could book cabin 1688. For those unfamiliar with this cabin, it is a corner aft cabin on Deck 10 that is sold as a D1 and not a suite. The cabin was ... well ... wonderful. Yes, it was on the back of the ship. Yes, it was under the WJ. Yes, it has a pole in it and a beam coming through the balcony. No, there is not a side view. However, I thought this cabin was a great value. It was huge with a full-sized sofa bed and plenty of open area (standard bathroom to differentiate from suites). The balcony was large as well with 2 chairs, 2 loungers, and a table. It was mostly quiet in the aft with a noticeable reduction in "running children" pounding through the hallways. I never noticed noise from the WJ above. There were only a few drawbacks. Yes, there was some extra vibration (ended up sticking a folded piece of paper into the door of the safe to keep it from rattling), especially on the first an last nights while in the Mississippi. The TV was also old, out-dated, and frankly almost impossible to use with the onboard account system. It definitely was a walk from the midship elevators (but not too bad, IMO) which also meant that our "main" elevators were the ones leading up to the WJ which made them also the busiest. Service The crew on the Voyager seemed very friendly and helpful. Our stateroom attendent Aldwin was wonderful and was very quick in responding to requests. Many of service people were incredibly quick at learning and remembering names. Servers in the WJ were fairly quick at cleaning tables and offering to get drinks (which was an improvement over my recent Liberty cruise). There was a little bit of awkwardness ... it came from our waiter at dinner. He was very polite, remembered names, and tried to make sure that everything was exceptional. Great. However, each night, we heard a spiel about letting him know if something made us unhappy, that he was only human, but that he was trying his best. One night he let us know how upset he becomes when someone laughs at his English (which we were not doing). He would tell us why he was doing something (ie, delivering a 2nd appetizer while the 1st was still being eaten) because of the long lines in the kitchen to pick up entrees. I chalked this up to a rough holiday season away from home and/or perhaps bad reviews on the previous cruise, but it seriously got to the point where it was somewhat uncomfortable for everyone at the table. I also felt in a bind ... he was obviously trying to excel and we encouraged him each night (ie, we did not complain, told him he didn't need to worry, etc). It got to the point where I wondered what we could do ... I thought that reporting this to the head waiter would only make the problem worse based on the circumstances. C&A My last few cruises have been on ships with a Diamond Lounge and, to be honest, it was slightly disappointing to go back to a ship without one. The Diamond Event on Voyager was held each night in the combination of the Cloud 9 and card room. On the positive side, there was plenty of space, the service was very attentive, and they did not care if you took a glass of wine down to dinner. On the negative, drinks still consist of either La Terre(ible) or Coke without a surcharge. One night I made the mistake of having more than one glass of white wine paid dearly for it with a headache the rest of the night. I could have gone down to the CL, but since my parents were not eligible (though they are now ), I did not. Since there is not a DL, there was a Diamond Breakfast each morning in the small, side-room of the 3rd floor dining room. They actually kept track of who visited each morning (writing down party size and cabin numbers) and they also were pretty thorough in keeping people out who did not belong, though this led to a few raised voices as people tried to bring in ineligible family and friends (BUT WE JUST WANT TO EAT AS A FAMILY .. Yes, sir, and you can do that in the dining room next door). The service was very good each morning with the same waiters getting to know your orders. The only thing I did not like were the parents who brought their younger children in and let them run around. I don't have anything against kids, but I like the Diamond Breakfast for its calm and don't appreciate children running around the table and crawling into the window spaces to play right next to me. Beyond the standard C&A parties (return guests, top tier), the Voyager also put on a lunch with staff for Diamond and above (and evidently suites). I enjoy these events as you get a chance to have a nice meal and talk with the crew. This meal was slightly awkward as we were placed with the only Pinnacle couple onboard who had specifically asked to sit with a crew member because they knew her mother. I don't think the couple was sending the vibe too strongly, but I felt like we were intruding on the time they wanted to spend with her. That's fine ... it was still enjoyable. Shows I'm not going to be very helpful here, and for that I apologize. Frankly, I've gotten sick of standard cruise fare, though I do appreciate the trends in shows started by the Oasis/Allure. With that being said, I only saw one show in the theater which was the headliner, Yakov Smirnoff. I thought his show was a little aged and hokey, but was a pretty good time and beats most of the "guest" entertainers I've seen. I heard rave reviews about the Motown group (which I think I've seen). We had tickets for the last performance of the ice show on Tuesday night at 9 (ice show was the only entertainment for that night). Unfortunately we hit some waves and that show was cancelled and moved the last day. You had to get tickets for the ice show and they were available a couple of different times throughout the first few days. They handed them out in the casino at 3 PM on boarding day (walked right up and got them). They also handed them out in front of Studio B the first sea day and the line was quite long. I thought that the ice show (Ice Odyssey) was very good, though it was not my favorite compared to some of the others on other ships. I'd definitely recommend it however. One odd thing ... on Voyager, they have both "corner" sections roped off for suites instead of just one ... something I found surprising. Other Random Things (good and bad) -I thought that this ship had many more trivias than the other ships I've recently been on. For me ... a big plus. This was also the first week (evidently) they had a progressive trivia. On the second formal night, there was actually a Crown and Anchor trivia about RCI and RCCL in general. -Lines were generally long at guest services. I had to go down near the end of the cruise because of a mistake on my bill ... this made me mad. I went to the pub on the promenade to use my B1G1 coupon on a larger selection of beers. I asked the bartender what I could get with coupon, he asked to see my card (I'm guessing to verify I was actually D+) and then he said anything on the menu. I ordered two beers and, when he returned with my charge slip, he had charged me for both. I showed him he had made a mistake and he re-rang the beers correctly, but did not give me back my card. I asked for it, he said he gave it back, went over and looked, found it, then handed it back. When I checked my account later, the incorrect charge had been removed, the correct charged added, and then the incorrect charge added again. Guest services corrected this without too much hassle, but it was still irritating. -While waiting at guest services, two other guests came up and were help. In my evaluation, the guest services rep told both completely wrong information (one was about paying down the onboard account with cash and one was about luggage for a post-cruise tour). -For the snack time in the WJ, they prepared sour kraut. I'm sure this is a personal opinion, but that stunk up the place so bad it was hard for me to go in. -The men's restroom outside of the WJ on 11 is pretty amazing with its view and design. -The captain seemed overzealous when it came to using the PA that went into cabins ... especially on New Year's Eve. I heard a few speculations from passengers that they thought he was drunk ... I don't buy that, but I can't imagine that a captain should act in such a way where passengers would speculate that. I guess he was just excited. -Can I mention again that being in the elevator during a ship shudder on sail-away scared the heck out of me? -I really hate it when they set up formal pictures in the entrances to the dining rooms ... especially when they use those drops when people are trying to get in to eat. There were lines at open every night made worse by the crew making sure everyone used the hand sanitizer. -Early seating was 5:30, late was 8:00. I'm not sure why, but this seemed early. -Did I mention that they were vigilant, after the noro outbreak, to make sure everyone sanitized upon entrance to every eating establishment? However, napkin twirling in the MDR was still encouraged. I still don't get that one. Debarkation We were in no rush to leave the ship with a 12:30 flight, but we didn't really want to linger either. I believe self-assist was set to leave a little after 7 AM. In actually, they actually called self-assist before 7. The first tags (1-4) were scheduled for 8 AM and that is when they were called. We headed up to the WJ for breakfast which was, as usual, crowded on debarkation day. We then retrieved our small bags from our cabins (I hate taking them to the WJ which is already crowded enough) and headed to the Magic Flute dining room (deck 5) for the Top Tier lounge (Platinum and above). Though the debarkation flyer announced that those in the lounge would have priority debarkation with a special call for guests in the lounge, this was of course not the case. We heard our call over the PA like everyone else. The elevators were completely jammed, again as usual, but we were able to manage one floor down to deck 4. The line backed up a little out on the open deck, but then they finally opened up a second check-out stand and we were dinged off. While the facilities in NOLA are not as bad as some of the old terminals at Port Everglades with a long outside walk, once you collect your bag, you do have to walk it quite a ways. The porters were advertising a "priority" line they could take, but by the time we found bags (lined up on the floor) and got to where the border patrol officers were located, there was virtually nobody in line (4 officers helping people and no one behind them in either line). Then it was quite a wheel around to the outside of the port where we had a taxi called for us (same rate back to the airport as from downtown ... $33 for 2, $14/pp for 3+). We ended up at the airport by a little after 9 AM. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
RCL Voyager of the Seas - 7-Day Caribbean Cruise -- 24 to 31 December 2011 Executive Summary On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would rate this cruise a 15!! I am a 55 year old male and did this cruise ... Read More
RCL Voyager of the Seas - 7-Day Caribbean Cruise -- 24 to 31 December 2011 Executive Summary On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would rate this cruise a 15!! I am a 55 year old male and did this cruise solo. I did three cruises last year -- Carnival Conquest out of Galveston for a 7-night Caribbean cruise in May, a 10-day eastern and southern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess out of Ft. Lauderdale in October and the Voyager of the Seas 7 --day Caribbean cruise on 24 December out of New Orleans. Of the three, this last cruise was about as perfect a cruise experience as one could hope to have and I would highly recommend Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas to everyone. Pre-Cruise I arrived in New Orleans via an American Airlines, independently-booked flight from Dallas about 1:30 p.m. on the day before the cruise, 23 December, and stayed the night at the Hampton Inn Convention Center, 1201 Convention Center Bld., 504.566.9990. This hotel is only three blocks from the Julia Street Cruise Ship Terminal and was filled to capacity. Two other cruises were departing New Orleans on 24 December -- the Carnival Conquest and a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. The hotel was outstanding for the price. I paid $99 plus tax for my room -- very clean and comfortable. The Hampton Inn always had fresh coffee and tea, and an outstanding hot breakfast. For dinner I went to Rio Mar Seafood, 800 South Peters Street New Orleans, 504.525.3474, just a five minute walk from the hotel and it was good but expensive -- about $40 just for me alone without drinks or wine. This restaurant offer Brazilian fusion seafood. The owner was very nice and helpful. The next morning early I walked up to Cafe du Monde, 800 Decatur St., (504) 525-4544, for some of those fabulous beignets and a cup of their exceptional coffee. If you have not been to New Orleans or are not familiar with Cafe du Monde, it is a must do in New Orleans. New Orleans is one of my least favorite cities in the US, but they do have some neat attractions. The National World War II Museum is located about five blocks north of the Hampton Inn, 945 Magazine Street, , (504) 528-1944; EMAIL: info@nationalww2museum.org, and has a very impressive collection of WWII displays. The opening film you see on the tour done by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg is really incredible -- a great place to take your kids if you are ever there. The French Quarter holds no appeal for me. It always smells extremely bad (yeah, you know why) and the people there are most unfriendly. Plus, the merchants do their best to pick your pockets with high priced food and drink. Another option for a restaurant close to the Hampton Inn is Harrah's Casino. They have an incredible buffet that is not too expensive. Last time I was there in May, I think it was about $18 per person, and it is only a short cab ride or a good stretch of the legs from the hotel. Two other restaurants I like in New Orleans are The Court of the Twin Sisters and Commander's Palace. Both are expensive, but I really enjoy the food and ambiance. Embarkation Even though the cruise terminal was only a few blocks from the hotel, I did hire a cab to take me and my three bags to the cruise terminal. Pay the ten bucks for a cab as you have to weave around to get to the bag drop and if you are toting bags and get lost, it will be a real pain. I arrived at the terminal at 10:42 a.m., waited until 11:00 am for the counters to open, and was on the ship at 11:16 a.m. Best and fastest embarkation process of the three cruises I have done, but I did have all of my SeaPass papers completed beforehand and had all of my travel documents in order. The Ship Voyager of the Seas was built in 1999, can carry over 3,000 passengers and has a crew of about 1,100. It has an ice skating rink, a rock climbing wall, three pools, six hot tubs, and a unique promenade in the center of the ship that is six or seven stories tall. There are a number of bars -- smoking and non smoking, a mini golf course, a roller blading area, Johnny Rockets -- a 50s style hamburger joint, a two story library (that didn't have many books), an internet lounge and many Wi-Fi hotspots, and a huge auditorium called La Scala. Although the ship is older, it has been well-maintained and everything was clean and new looking. It is your typical mega-ship. One of the really neat things to do was you could walk out on the Lido Deck and look into the bridge of the ship. They has a display that showed what each piece of equipment was inside of the bridge and it is the first time I have ever seen the bridge of a cruise ship. It looked more like a sophisticated game machine or an airline cockpit simulator. I found it very interesting. The Stateroom I was in 9372, a standard balcony stateroom on Deck 9, the third from the last stateroom on the starboard side of the vessel. Since I was alone, there was more than enough room for all my stuff. The interior did look a bit dated and some of the glass in pictures, doors and the Plexiglas on my balcony was dirty. Most people probably wouldn't have noticed, but being a neat nik, I spent about an hour thoroughly cleaning the room to my specifications. There was more than ample storage for two people and the bed was OK, but not as plush as I had anticipated. The mattress was a bit too hard for my liking, but I did not lose any sleep over it. Although I make the stateroom out to be average, it really was above average. The bathroom had great storage, but only had a shower, no tub, and the shower had a hard-surfaced surround instead of a flimsy shower curtain. Water pressure was excellent and the water was always hot. My stateroom steward, Darwin, was from India and was just the absolute best! He kept my room nice and tidy, always had new towels and sheets, and he left me alone when I had my Do Not Disturb sign out. The first night of the cruise I had requested a lot of ice, and from that point forward, there was always several containers of ice in my room day or night. His towel animal creations were unexpected and very much appreciated. I gave him a handsome tip for all his hard work. The television was interactive and it was very easy to access my on-line account information, order movies, change languages, had parental control, and other neat options. Most of the television stations were promotional channels for Royal Caribbean, but they did have CNN and Fox News. They did not have the Weather Channel and that would have been a nice additional. They did have two channels in Spanish, one in German, and one in Japanese. There weren't any good movies on the entire week, but the point of a cruise is not to sit in your room and watch TV so that didn't bother me. The Food When I made my reservation, I was assigned to an 8:15 p.m. seating, and since I was alone and did not want to dine alone, I took all of my meals in the Windjammer Cafe on the Lido Deck. The food was excellent, but lacked variety at breakfasts. They had the same thing each morning. But that wasn't all bad as I am watching my weight. The menu varied for lunch and dinner and everything was delicious. What I liked most about the lunches and dinners is they had drink stations with an attendant who filled glasses with lemonade, ice tea and water, and orange juice, apple juice and water for breakfasts. If you needed more to drink, all you had to do was get up and get it yourself or ask a waiter/waitress to bring you more. On Princess, it was almost impossible to get a second glass of anything at any meal. The waiters and waitresses were very attentive and always offered to get whatever you needed. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, from the wait staff to the people manning the buffets were beyond friendly and helpful. Not once did I encounter a crew member that was in a bad mood or offered poor service. On Princess, everyone on the dining room staff acted as if the passengers were annoying them if they asked for something or just said a cheerful good morning. And I must comment on the ice sculptures and food carvings. On Christmas Eve, one of the chefs had created one of the most awesome ice sculptures I have ever seen. On an eight foot table at the entrance to the Windjammer, there was this huge ice carving of Santa Klaus in a sleigh with his eight reindeer in front. It was an incredible sculpture I will never forget. Absolutely fabulous!!! On Christmas Day, there was a sculpture of the face of Santa Klaus in a watermelon that looked as if it had been carved my Michelangelo. It was one of the most detailed and ornate food carvings I have ever witnessed. On another day, a child's face had been carved in a watermelon and it was so real and lifelike, it was spooky. Definitely reminded me of something out of a Steven King novel, but it was incredible. The last night I spoke with the officer in charge of the food service and he introduced me to the sculptor and I had my opportunity to express my gratitude for these awesome works of art. The coffee on the ship was Seattle's Best -- excellent coffee! They had coffee stations throughout the ship and it was always very easy to get a cup of Joe. And it was great coffee. On the Princess Cruise I took, I don't know what they used for coffee, but it was awful -- almost undrinkable -- and tasted to me like instant. It was a real let down and I know Princess did this so you would buy the $5 a cup coffee at the specialty coffee bar. Again, Royal Caribbean did it right and didn't skimp. Multi-Lingual Whether it was the television, the daily newspaper -- Cruise Compass, or menus in the restaurants, everything was multi lingual. The first two cruises I took last year I was with a friend from Mexico who spoke very little English. Carnival had nothing written in another language and Princess only had menus in the dining halls in other languages. This was an incredibly nice touch for foreign guests on RCCL. Ice Cream!! They had six ice cream machines, two in three stations. One station was near the pools on the Lido Deck and two stations were in the Windjammer Cafe. My only complaint, and it really isn't a complaint, is that only one of the ice cream machines in each station was ever operational. Lines became very long in the Windjammer Cafe and by the pools at times. All of the machines should have been up and running. And the machines were always shut down by 9:30 p.m. at night. I wish they had left the one station by the pools open until midnight each night -- it would have been the perfect touch to an almost perfect cruise experience. Personnel All, and I do mean all, of the ship's crew and personnel were over the top on customer service and a friendly, positive attitude, whether it was other stateroom attendants encountered in the halls, maintenance personnel or the security personnel I encountered at 3 am one morning when I was entering one of the hot tubs. This security guard even opened up the towel locker and offered me a new towel -- at 3 am in the morning!!! I did hear Royal Caribbean had launched a new customer relations/service program, and whatever they did, it is working beyond expectations! The crew just seemed happy and went out of their way to help. If they couldn't help for one reason or another, they always offered an alternative suggestion. This is the way cruising was meant to be and I was thoroughly impressed. This is so unlike the Princess cruise I took where the staff would avoid passengers and were not helpful in the least. Royal Caribbean has remembered the cardinal rule of customer service -- passengers are the profit and the crew are the overhead. Royal Caribbean is doing it right! Smoking As soon as I boarded the ship, I went immediately to the customer service desk to ask about the smoking areas on the ship. I was handed this very helpful, pocket guide showing day by day all of the venues where smoking was allowed. The venues changed daily and gave the smoking passengers the opportunity to visit each of the bars and lounges with the ability to have a smoke. Not once was I chastised by a crew member or passenger for smoking in a non designated area. On the Princess cruise, no one, and I mean no one, could tell me where the designated smoking areas were located on the ship. There were only 74 seats on the entire Emerald Princess that were designated as smoking. If you smoked on chair one foot outside of the designated smoking area, the crew or passengers would let you know in uncertain terms you were violating the rules, which were totally unclear and nebulous. There was a dedicated smoking lounge next to Cleopatra's Needle on Deck 5, called the Connoisseur's Club, where cigar, pipe and cigarette smoking was always allowed, and the Club offered a fine selection of cigars and specialty liquors. Smoking was allowed along the port side of Deck 11 with more than ample chairs. I was always able to find a seat at a smoking table day or night there. The only coffee available early in the morning was at the Cafe Promenade on Deck 5. You could get a cup of coffee and have a smoke in either the Connoisseur's Club or the Scoreboard Sports Bar on Deck 5 -- nice touch. One could smoke in High Notes, the jazz club on Deck 14, and the 19th Hole, both on Deck 14 after 5 p.m. Smoking was also allowed in The Vault, a kid's night club, on Deck 4 and the Casino on Deck 6, but only during certain hour. The printed card I mentioned earlier listed where you could smoke each day and at what times -- a very nice touch for smokers. Entertainment Yaakov Smirnov had two shows one evening and he was very good. I had never seen him live before and he was pretty funny even though some of his jokes were dated. There was also a show put on by the crew that was incredibly good. High energy, great music. And there were two shows for each of these performances -- one for early dinner seating and one for late dinner seating. I'm not a gambler, but the casino was larger than the other two cruises I took last year and there always seemed to be many people there. One night they had a BBQ on the Lido Deck near the pools that was really cool. They had ribs from the grills and an assortment of picnic food at 11 p.m., and it was very well-attended and yet they did not run out of food. The food was dynamite, too! The last night of the cruise they had a parade on the Promenade at 11 p.m. that was a lot of fun. Shore Excursions Since I am a Certified Scuba Diver, I did the two tank dives in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Both were awesome! Water temp was perfect and visibility was incredible. Both dive boats were very well organized, the equipment appeared to be well-maintained, and the staff very friendly and helpful. This is the first cruise dive experience where the boat crew prepared all equipment for the divers and dismantled it all after the dives. Another very nice touch. I've never liked Jamaica and hadn't planned to get off the ship in Falmouth, but there was a relatively new shopping area that was just off of the quay, so I went down and explored all of the shops, but I did not see any good prices on anything. I then decided to go out of the secured shopping area to a super market to buy a couple of twelve packs of soda. As soon as I got outside of the shopping area gate, I was approached by no less than 25 people, all wanted to sell me pot or cocaine. There were so many people in the streets, and they all looked so poor and many of them looked like they'd slit your throat for a dollar, I honestly thought I might get mugged. I was wearing a $9,000 Rolex that was very visible because I had on a short-sleeved shirt. I normally am not too concerned about getting robbed, but I know if I had stayed in that area for more than 15 minutes I would have gotten robbed. As I was walking back into the main gate at the secured shopping area, I saw a few women getting ready to leave the secured area and advised them against it and they did not go out of the secured area. Jamaica really needs to clean up its act. I hope to never return to that dirty and destitute island. Why cruise ships go there is beyond me. Overall, it was an exceptional cruise experience. The ship was outstanding, and the crew couldn't have been any better. It reminded more of the golden age of cruise lines. Royal Caribbean is doing it right and I would highly recommend Voyager of the Seas and Royal Caribbean to anyone seeking a fantastic experience on a main stream, mega liner. Kevin M. Pearson Wichita Falls, Texas kmpearson@wf.net Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I've been fortunate to enjoy many fine traveling experiences in my lifetime, but my experience aboard the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas during this past Christmas is not among them. I will never cruise again on ANY ship; I do ... Read More
I've been fortunate to enjoy many fine traveling experiences in my lifetime, but my experience aboard the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas during this past Christmas is not among them. I will never cruise again on ANY ship; I do not have any animosity toward Royal Caribbean; I do not want to be contacted by anyone affiliated with RC to compensate or apologize to me; I simply wish to warn others about making the mistake of booking this trip. You really need to accept giving up your freedom if you cruise. My wife and I are in our forties and we travelled with our 17 and twenty-year-old daughters. I speak for all of them by saying this was hands-down the worst family vacation we ever planned. If you are considering taking the Royal Caribbean Christmas Cruise out of Galveston and you have teenage children, I strongly recommend you consider our experience. Here is the good and the bad: Boarding in Galveston: Extremely efficient process. We stayed at the Hilton the night before and enjoyed a complimentary shuttle to the pier. Hilton parked our vehicle free. Stateroom: Room was hospital-clean; however, there was a distinct sewage odor upon opening the door to the stateroom. The room attendant did his best to correct it, and his efforts seemed to help initially. By midweek, we realized the odor was not emanating from the bath but from the ventilation system and it was affecting the adjoining room occupied by my children. RC was very courteous about the problem, but could not repair it and could not relocate us on the ship because there were no available rooms. Luggage: Everyone in my family received their luggage except me. I finally got mine at 11 p.m. and would have had it sooner if the staffer who called me could actually speak reasonable English. By the time I got to sleep Sunday night, buyer's remorse was setting in and never really ended for me. Food: We live in the Dallas area and are certainly spoiled by great restaurants. The food on board was not bad, but certainly lackluster. Aside from the nice presentation and the opportunity to replace any dish you did not like, it is definitely not remarkable unless you appreciate quantity. The ship faces a daunting task trying to feed 3,000 people in short time periods, so make your mind up before you go to expect somewhat bland food for an entire week. Plan ahead to pay for the upgraded meals occasionally to break the monotony. We could not wait to eat something with some spice in it when we got off the ship. I know we are spoiled; it's just that I would never plan a trip where I eat hotel food for seven days. Staff: Very friendly and genuinely engaged all of us. Unfortunately, my stateroom attendant seemed to be in fear of me since I repeatedly told customer service about the odor in our cabins. It was not his fault but apparently he was blamed. I did see a technician working on the air handler in the hallway but the problem never went away. Weather: Probably the most compelling reason you should reconsider this trip. It was 47 degrees in Galveston upon departure and still too cold on Monday to be on deck. We had good weather in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica, but a storm appeared on Friday after lunch and it quickly became too cold or windy to enjoy the deck. My teenagers had a misconception that they would be in deck chairs for most of the trip, but with the exception of Friday morning, it was too cold. Age of children: Royal Caribbean can't help this, but there is very little for a 17 and 20 year -old to do aboard this boat. If you have small children, perhaps pre-middle school age, I think it would be fine. Excursions: Without getting too lengthy here, the excursions are fine but the mechanics of getting so many people off the ship and onto shuttles takes up too much of the days ashore. Yet another compelling reason to take your dollars and fly to a resort of your choice and not have to deal with lines and transfers. It isn't that RC isn't well organized, it's just a time consuming process to get 3,000 people where they wish to go. I cannot imagine what it would be like on their newest, even larger craft. In Jamaica, I hired a cab to take us to a private beach just so we could avoid the shuttle herds. I regretted doing so on the return trip back to the ship because beggars were tapping on the windows of the cab and my daughters were justifiably frightened. I really cannot imagine why RC stops there. Communication: I own my own business and unfortunately I always travel with the laptop and cell phone. I'm used to paying some high fees, but the rates aboard the ship are the worst I've encountered anywhere. I did make arrangements with AT&T before the trip so I could concentrate my cell use while ashore and not on the boat where it's $6.95 per minute. The web speed onboard was excellent and I had no email issues. Departure: My bill came to my room as promised on Sunday morning, but not without an overcharge. I got to wait in line at customer service only to be told the computers were down but they would correct my bill. I told him a final time about the odor in our room and he said he would make a note of it. He made no such note and some other poor souls spent a week the same way we did. I know that computers fail everywhere, but it did disappoint me again when my visa bill arrived without the correct charges and I had to call RC and write a letter to Visa to protest the charge. RC did agree to correct it. In summary, we just don't get it. My family felt trapped in a hotel for a week with the exception of the three days of excursions where more time is spent on the transfers than on the activity itself. If I had flown to a destination and had the sewer odor problem, I would have cut my losses and returned home early. I realize many people enjoy cruises, but my family got a good lesson in making the best of a disappointing situation and we learned how much fun we've had on our other vacations enjoying our FREEDOM. For my family, we enjoy doing what we want, when we want and eating when and wherever we wish while on vacation. Other than the Disney trips when the kids were little, we don't go places where we stand in lines. I backpacked across Europe after college and stayed in my share of unpleasant accommodations, but I would never consider putting my family in those conditions, especially not when trapped aboard a ship. My last thought before drifting off to sleep each night was wondering if Legionnaires disease had an odor. A final humorous note: we took advantage of the early departure offer and carried our own luggage from the ship. The Hilton shuttle greeted us at the dock and we were quickly transferred back to the hotel parking area. You could sense the relief as we closed the doors on the Suburban to make the drive back to Dallas. We had only travelled a few blocks before my wife asked "My gosh, do you smell that? It's following us!" The unpleasant odor of the staterooms had permeated our luggage. We pulled into a Starbucks and drank coffee while watching the open windows of the Suburban! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My family wasn't in the "Christmas Spirit"... My dh passed away 6 months ago due to Swine Flu, so we needed something to get us through the Christmas day...I can't imagine this Christmas without having this cruise... ... Read More
My family wasn't in the "Christmas Spirit"... My dh passed away 6 months ago due to Swine Flu, so we needed something to get us through the Christmas day...I can't imagine this Christmas without having this cruise... I "woke up" in November and decided we HAD to do something to make it through Christmas --so, I booked this cruise for me, my 21 yo, 17, 15, & 11yo... I didn't do any research... I only looked for close to home port and a cruise that would be gone over the 25th. I spent a little time searching these forums and received TONS of encouragement & help!!! Could not have done it w/o you. I really didn't start doing ANYTHING until the morning b4 the cruise... I got my birth certificate the day b4 we left, and with all your suggestions, I shopped AND made it ONTO the ship -- I was scared there for a while. I went in blindly, and for the first 2 days, I probably would have told you I would not come back, BUT I soon fell into the "routine" of cruising. CHECK-IN- Was slow b/c of a coast guard inspection. It took almost 3 hours from the time I dropped off my luggage to arriving on board! The SHIP - It was so clean....they were always wiping the handrails, the elevator keys down. THey were fanatical about using Hand Santizers (glad they did b/c my dh's experience). DETAILS -- You can get caught up in just the "SHIP" -- WOW, but if you look around, it's really pretty. I don't know that I'd take pictures of it all, but if you just stop and look at how pretty they make things -- the ceilings, the niches, the color schemes, Cleopatra's Needle, La Scala Theatre, even the hot tubs in the solarium -- there are nice touches all around. SPA - I swore that I would not go near there, I mean $195.00 for a massage? When you can get one at home for $60.00, but after 5 nights of lying on a rock-hard mattress, I let them talk me into acupuncture. Actually, it REALLY helped. I didn't do the massage -- but the acupuncturist was really nice, and I'd probably do it again. GYM- Okay, I walked into the gym and sat in the steam room. I was surprised at how many people were working out! Was also surprised that they charged extra for Pilates and Yoga classes. I can understand charging for the Personal trainer, but shouldn't the classes be PART of the experience??? just wondering POOL - I can't talk about the pool. It was really cold and windy, and even rainy...so I didn't come back with a sun glow. DECK 14 - SPORTS My kids loved the mini golf. Didn't do the inline skating. They had ping-pong, a basketball court, and a rock-climbing wall ARCADE - My kids had a good time in the arcade. I had given them spending privileges, so they could play tons of games (like Guitar hero, etc...) I was surprised that the arcade cost $... As a first-time cruiser, I assumed this was just part of what RCCL did to make this a good cruise line for teens... By the end, I figured it all out -- DINING - I loved the 3 story dining room. We ate at La Boehme. Next time, I'd probably dine on desk once. I don't understand why people would want to pay an extra $5.00 pp to eat at Johnny Rockets, or $15.00 pp to eat a Portofino...as someone else mentioned, you can always get a chicken or steak. Service was 5++++ Birgen figured out that I love lemons w/ my tea, so I was NEVER w/o...and I didn't have to ask. She knew that my 11 yo wanted macaroni and cheese everynight as his appetizer, and for dessert, he'd want 2 things (brownie + scoops of ice cream). If my 15 yo didn't like her Chicken Marsala, she brought a steak for her. I was sorry to say goodbye. I was disappointed that the other guests from our table showed up about an hour late, so we didn't get to talk and make friends, but.. c'est la vie. Food - was NOT creative at all. I wish they would do something like a BBQ theme night, Mexican, Chinese, Seafood, etc... The food was bland and unimaginative. I understand they are feeding TONS of people, but I wanted to feel like I was in a nice restaurant and that the food was on par with that -- it wasn't. For lunch, we ate in the WINDJAMMER cafe. The food was plentiful. It was basically the same every day. Penne, Bow-tie, Sandwiches, etc... I can't say it was any better than a buffet (like Golden Corral), but my kids were happy. SHOPPING ON THE PROMENADE - I was disappointed... there really wasn't much there. A General Store, The RC Store, Watch & Jewelry Store Make-up & Perfume The "deals" were just dollar-store type of items, but maybe I'm just not in the shopping mood! OUR CABIN - We had a balcony. I thought I had requested a window room, and boy amd I glad that we had a balcony. There were 3 of us in 1 room and 2 in the other. Even though it was cold leaving Galveston, we used the balcony (e.g. luggage, wet bathing suits, and reading). I loved having the door open (couldn't figure out the magnet trick though). Our steward was awesome. I rolled my eyes when everyone said they'd want to treat their steward with candy, etc... but at the end of the cruise, I more than did "my fair share" of tipping, and I left him with candy as well. I "GET IT" now. I loved the little animals that he made for us every night. OMG - they really work hard!!! SHOWS - I really enjoyed the shows. They were well done! Some of the shows must have been "oversold", b/c there were 100+ people standing w/o a place to seat. I was impressed with the talent. ACTIVITIES- I showed up for a LEARN TO BALLROOM DANCE class. I was the only one w/o a male counterpart. It was okay, though, I learned on my own, and then the activities director partnered up with me... felt sorry for him, I'm a terrible dancer, but he was gracious. BINGO - Had fun... was naiive though, I thought this would be included as part of my cruising...didn't know it cost :0 KIDS/TEEN CLUB- I had a 11 yo son. He didn't LOVE it, but I'm glad it was there. My teens would have enjoyed the TEEN club more if they had TRIED to make friends -- I didn't push them too much. I heard LOTS of teens LOVED IT. There were 900+ kids on board for Christmas, and except for a ice cream cone nearly hitting me from a higher deck, it was okay! CASINO-I hadn't spent ANY time in my 45 years in a casino, and w/ all the encouragement from RCCL TV, I went in and played the slots. Totally lost $, but, others won. All in all, I figured out that most everything costs $, I just went into this with a different mind-set... but now that it's over, I'm definitely going to go again... I'll research everything this time, as to where to go next, what ship, etc... If I can plan and go on a cruise as a single mom to 4 kids, who had just gone through a traumatic event, ANYONE can do this. You have some of the friendliest people on these ships, as NO, they are NOT ALL from Texas (Texas inside joke). You can sit and read a book in the library the entire time, you can entertain yourself w/ all the activities on board, you can send your children off to their adventure clubs, or you can bond as a family w/o the distractions of their cell phones and internet!!!! This was GREAT for our family. We are closer together and I'm so thankful I went. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
First of all, I'm not normally compelled to write an online review. Second of all, this will most likely be part of a letter being sent to RCI (as our room steward chose not to give us the ship's questionnaire our last night ... Read More
First of all, I'm not normally compelled to write an online review. Second of all, this will most likely be part of a letter being sent to RCI (as our room steward chose not to give us the ship's questionnaire our last night onboard)... Check-in and embarkation went great. I was traveling with my 83 year old mother who is on a portable oxygen concentrator and in a wheelchair, along with my 82 year old aunt (her sister), a second cousin and a brother onboard the Voyager of the Seas. The RCI staff in Galveston could not have been any more pleasant and helpful. We used EZ Cruise parking, but that's for another review. We arrived about 10am, hoping to board early as we did on Carnival last Christmas. First little snag we ran into was the checkin clerk sent us to the side to have a seat until they were ready to board the ship. (Keep in mind, my mother is on oxygen - highest setting which is 6/lpm and a battery life that is limited on her machine). I kept watching people go up the stairs and elevator, and nobody else seemed to be congregating where we'd been sent. When asked again, a staff member told us they were not boarding yet. But we continued to watch dozens of people walking through the hallway and disappearing into the walkway toward the ship. I decided to go into the hallway myself where I asked someone if the ship was ready to board - he said yes, they've been boarding for a while now. Ugh. Once onboard, we were told to wait in another area as the staterooms were not ready. I was quite anxious to see if Mom's oxygen cylinders and concentrator had been loaded, so asked a crew member if I could peek in her room. He was very sweet and walked with me to check. As planned, CareVacation had placed everything in the room. Whew. We went to the 11th floor buffet (Windjammer) and were very impressed with what we saw. It was beautiful. Snacked a little there, and began plans for dinner. We had heard a lot about the delicious burgers and marvelous fries and onion rings at Johnny Rockets. For $3.95, you get the WORST hamburger and onion rings imaginable. Was not fit to eat. Strike one. Later that evening, my cousin and I went to one of the bar areas on the promenade and waited for an eternity for someone to ask for our drink order. After finally getting up and finding someone ourselves, we enjoyed watching people wander around the beautiful 5th floor shopping area. Was really impressed with the beauty of the ship. The rest of the cruise, we experienced an inattentive staff at nearly every turn. At breakfast in Windjammer Cafe, not ONCE did any staff member take the initiative to approach us to ask for our drink requests. It is not an exaggeration to say we had to seek out someone every time we went in there. Most frustrating. The dining staff in La Boheme was superb. Our waitress and asst waiter were outstanding. Used our first names frequently, which was a nice touch. However, the food was an embarrassment. Sure did miss the food we enjoyed last year on Carnival Conquest, especially the molten chocolate cake. Yummy. Nothing like that on Voyager. The food was bland and often cold. Steaks were tough and chewy. But the service was superb in the dining room. Room service food was marginally better than the regular food outlets. THe only edible hamburger on the ship was through room service, but it arrived quite cold after a 50 minute wait. THey forgot the chips for our sandwiches (big deal, I know), so we enjoyed those as dessert after another 20 minute wait. Finally we met our room steward on the third day. Third day? Yes, third day. The room was musty smelling and the hallway reeked of cigar smoke most of the time even though we were in a hallway where all the rooms had non-smoking symbols on the doors. Glad we had a balcony so we could get fresh air. Our room steward did an ok job on cleaning, but lacked personality - didn't even leave us a towel animal until the fifth day. Not that a towel animal is a make or break deal. But it is a nice little touch. Spa staff was the best I've experienced on a cruise ship. We went horseback riding in Grand Cayman, and afterward I had spasms in my upper back from an old auto accident injury. One of the massage therapists (Tessa) got me right in and did the most amazing deep tissue work I've ever had. The next morning, I awoke a new person. Thanks, Tessa! We were also snubbed by a preoccupied crew member at the Cafe Promenade, where the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream beckoned to us on a daily basis. The boy was too busy flirting with the cute little teenagers and couldn't be bothered to wait on us post-20 year olds. His shift mate was a young woman with far more patience than I have. She was doing all the work, bless her heart. Getting off the ship was another chore. They made us wait in a crowded bar area where folks decided it was a good time to light up the cigarettes. Keep in mind, mother on oxygen and in a wheelchair... hmmm. Not a good combination. Looking around the area, which was the holding area for ALL the wheelchairs and people needing assistance, there were other people in respiratory distress. I asked a crew member if they were allowing smoking, and we were told we could move to another area. We gathered all our bags and moved into a dining room. If not for the help of a sweet little crew member who saw my distress, we might still be trying to get out of there. It was by no means a disastrous cruise, and we did enjoy the ship very much. But overall in my list of preferred cruise lines, RCI is at the bottom of the list behind Carnival, Princess and Norwegian. Once you could corner a crew member, they were nice enough. It was cornering them which proved to be exhausting. We'll choose Carnival next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Overall, an enjoyable cruise. We (my spouse, 15 year old daughter) and I drove to Galveston and parked our car. Galveston still looks damaged from Hurricane Ike and as one of the first post-Ike cruises, it was clear that the City ... Read More
Overall, an enjoyable cruise. We (my spouse, 15 year old daughter) and I drove to Galveston and parked our car. Galveston still looks damaged from Hurricane Ike and as one of the first post-Ike cruises, it was clear that the City both had a lot of clean up to do and had to work on their parking / traffic control procedures. We (wisely as it turned out) avoided the city / cruise suggested parking and went with a lot just across the street from the Terminal (EZ Cruise Parking - $50 for the 7 days). Fortunately, we have an elevated status with RCCL...it took some folks 4 hours to park their car and get onboard...ship departed 90 minutes late and never made up the time until the last day and returned on time. D1 level cabin was a bit disappointing...turns out that ours was a bit smaller than normal. Cabin service was okay...again had the wrong age for our daughter so she got the wrong Kids' Programme until we straightened that out...and had to ask for the towel animals which we've always enjoyed. We found lots of evidence of previous occupants...nothing gross, but clearly there wasn't much of an effort to get the cabin in tip-top shape. First sea day was stormy - good selection of activities though sparsely attended. My spouse and I were 2 of the 4 who showed up for the Meet & Mingle event. Voyager crew tried to make the best of it...but this ended up being the most effort they made. We ate at Portofino's - the "Wine Pairing" dinner very excellent including awesome service. Unfortunately the Murder Mystery dinner was oversold and sold out else we would have ate there twice. We had fair service for our dinners...waiter and assistant barely spoke English and attempts at several other (European) languages failed. Took them 5 nights to get our standing drink orders right not just us, the others at the table had the same issue. But their attitudes were good and they tried. Food wasn't up to the normal excellence either...we ended up eating in the Windjammer for Breakfast and Lunch - better selection, fresher, tastier. Spouse and kid ate at JR Rockers they liked it too. The Cafe on level 5 was good for a quick snack. Bar service throughout the ship was first rate. Entertainment guest celebrities and regular crew was very good. While not what we would pay / go to see in our town, we really enjoyed all. Other than the first day, the other two sea days activities weren't as robust as we expected. There was no organized bridge past the first day (nor an instructor), no golf pro (despite a golf simulator), no midnight gala buffet. Overall, the "at sea" activities were disappointing... Our daughter had a great time with the 15-17 year old organized activities. Again, very high marks for that aspect of our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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

Find a Voyager of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click